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LIVING LEGENDS ΣA: Age of Angels & Men [IC]

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Forest State
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Capitalist Paradise

LIVING LEGENDS ΣA: Age of Angels & Men [IC]

Postby Forest State » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:36 pm



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WHEN THE WORLD EVOLVES, WILL MANKIND SURVIVE? It’s 2025, and fights between metahumans - sometimes superheroes and supervillains, sometimes not, have become common. The Hero League is one of the largest international organizations in the world and is tasked with protecting the common people of Earth from every threat, metahuman or otherwise, but not everything is a black and white fight between good and evil with a clear target. Metahumans can change the world, and as such, everyone wants their hands on them. The feds, the big corporations, shadow factions looking to push their own agendas for better or worse. And it’s not just metahumans. Anomalous events happen more and more often these days. The paranormal seems to be appearing more frequently, the connection between Earth and the spiritual realms of the magic world growing stronger. New subtypes of metahumans have been appearing, some of them more dangerous than others. With the circumstances rapidly changing, and with everything continuing to evolve, will mankind come out the other side of a singularity in tact? This is the story of the age where angels and men walk the Earth…



This is one of the IC threads for Living Legends. You can find info on what that is by visiting the link.


i'm the bad guy... duh.

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Forest State
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Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:44 pm

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Portsmouth State College is located in a firmly upper middle class area, and hosts the dreams and hopes of much of the city’s youth. However, the city is currently clueless to the fact that the entire area is under the watchful eye of the Bureau of Extrahuman Activities, due to a national safety hazard which the BEA has sent two officers into Portsmouth to contain... For a few unlucky citizens here, life is about to change in a big way. For others, it's blissful ignorance.


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    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 1: “HOMO SENSATUS
    Portsmouth, Connecticut
    October 25th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State & Lunas Legion
_______________________

“They aren’t like regular metahumans… In fact, the species name for them is different. Homo Sensatus. Known to the common person as sensates, although the common person hardly knows the truth about them at all and thinks them to be another regular type of metahuman,” said Dima Chaykovsky, a peculiar Russian agent of the Bureau of Extrahuman Activity, the organization responsible in the western world for managing and mitigating the threat of metahumans. They weren’t, in fact, superheroes - rather, they were the governing body that licensed superheroes and had the power to revoke those licenses at the same time, making them perhaps the one organization with the single most control over metahumans in the world.

And yet, these cases still perplexed them because they knew so little about this particular kind of metahuman. This kind that wasn’t anything like the others.

“Their powers don’t have to do with the physical world but the mind, or at least, most of their powers don’t have to do with the physical world. But unlike regular metahumans, all of them report to have something in common that then branches out into other abilities,” Dima continued, gesturing for his subordinate, the Czech Lida Kader, to sit down in front of him across the desk. She did so, looking down at the file that Dima slid across it towards her, turning it around and looking at the name: ‘ON HOMO SENSATUS.’

“Mind control, telepathy, implanting thoughts, attacking mentally, all of these things can be done with the powers of sensates, although not all sensates have all of these powers. However, there is reason to be concerned, particularly because of the other thing that all of them share to some degree… The ability to passively and sometimes actively influence non metahumans, which can, even inadvertently, result in these regular humans doing their bidding,” Dima said yet more. “Obviously, you can see why this makes them dangerous. A class of people that can’t be detected by normal means and yet they have the ability to influence others, as well as other abilities that vary depending on the person…”

“So you’re telling me…” started Lida, opening up the file and starting to look through the pages quickly, not reading each one in depth but rather scanning quickly. “That they could just like, walk up to someone and ask them to give them their money and they would do it? And there’s no visible signs of the power being used?”

“No visible signs. But the actual strength depends on the person. Still, even if not all of them have strong suggestion, the fact that some of them do is a matter of national security. It’s bad enough that some metahumans have these abilities. But an entire subtype that all share it as a common trait? I believe this is the reason why we, the Bureau, are dealing with this rather than superheroes.”

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Sometimes things are handed off to the ‘black helicopter’ forces, the BEA.
Yes, for threats such as this which weren’t as blatant as a villain threatening to destroy a city or some other event that needed an immediate response, things often fell to the Bureau - something they were both proud of and annoyed because of. Proud because it was their organization that weeded out the more insidious threats that didn’t get public attention but were just as dangerous or more than any villain or regular criminal or terrorist. Annoyed because despite doing this, they didn’t get near the public credit the superheroes did for their more flashy work.

There was no celebrity Bureau agent, after all, but there were dozens upon dozens of celebrity superheroes that many people could name off, and even more that were known to enthusiasts - of which were were plenty. And this, an entire subtype of metahumans that posed an inherent risk to national security, wasn’t the kind of thing that those superheroes dealt with. That fell to the men in black vans, the ones that had to do more research and legwork on the ground, the ones that didn’t get the credit.

It fell to the Bureau, and part of it was falling to these two agents in specific, as well as the small team they had been assigned.

Which… Definitely left something lacking. “Six people isn’t nearly enough to contain something like this,” Lida stated, folding her arms across her chest as she stared at one page of the file, the one that started describing just what these people - Sensates - were capable of.

“We’re not responsible for a large area. Portsmouth, Connecticut, specifically. Not a large place, mostly a middle class college town, six people should be enough-”

“I just have a bad feeling about this based on the fact that we hardly know anything about them and have a tiny team trying to handle the entire area.”

There was a pause across the table. “Fortunately, I don’t think there’s been too many sensate trigger events in this particular area, although the exact nature of what triggers the ability in a latent sensate is still unknown. AI!”

On a screen next to the desk, on the wall, an image of a digital woman was displayed, and Dima gestured to her. “Can you give the rundown on the current theory about the trigger events?”

The woman on the screen nodded before going into the information. “Yes, Agent Chaykovsky. The main theory going around the Bureau and the science community about the trigger events of sensates is that these events are caused by the energy emissions that have hit some areas in recent months, including Memphis, which is the site of the largest and most well known of these emissions - it is not, however, the only place that has experienced emissions around the world, or even in this country-”

“You mean the emissions that are rumored to be extradimensional?”

Nodding again, the woman continued. “Extradimensional, extraterrestrial, whatever theory you want to go with. Nothing has been confirmed yet either way, and the answer might be something out of left field that no one has heard of before. Whatever they are, however, they’ve been blamed for the trigger events because every time there’s an emission, there seems to be a series of trigger events in the time immediately following it. As such, we have reason to believe that after a series of emissions, Portsmouth is the next city that will have this trend appear. This is also the reason why you’ve been equipped with energy meters - sensates have been known to display this extranormal energy on their bodies. It’s not definite, but it’s better than nothing to help you find them.”

The two agents finished their meeting, going over the different tasks they had to do - all related to the main one, before stepping out of the office and heading to the armory to pick up a couple of things they needed. Pistols, submachine guns to keep with them in case they needed something heavier when they were in the field, which would be stored in the trunk for now, as well as tactical equipment they wouldn’t be putting on now but was good to have in reserve.

“I know you have some reluctance about this job,” Dima said, pausing as they carried their equipment out of the building and towards the black Dodge Charger that was waiting for them outside, standard fare for a couple of BEA agents who had been assigned to a special task like covering something like this. “But think of it this way… At the very least, this should look real good on both our resumes if we manage to contain something like this.”

“One thing I forgot to ask,” Lida spoke up, putting her things in the trunk and then climbing into the passenger side. “How exactly do we… Contain these people? What happens when we find them?”

“Well, Officer Kader… That is something that I’ll explain on the drive over. I don’t think we should waste time with checking out this incident that sounds like it could have happened because of one of them.

And with that, the Charger pulled out of the lot and they started off towards their destination, the two out of towners dedicated to weeding out the… Problem before it became a big thing.



Portsmouth, Connecticut - little more than an upper middle class suburban expanse filled with people trying to make the American dream. Wedged between the wealth of New York City and some of the richer towns in Connecticut, this place was a mix of people who had made it and people who were on their way to making it… Or so those people would tell you, anyway. Everyone wanted to be at the top, but really, numbers dictated that there was only room for so many millionaires. Inflation was, after all, verifiably a bitch.

Portsmouth State College was home to plenty of those people but with its status as a college in the state system, it was still filled with bright eyed youth who hadn’t yet had their millionaire dreams crushed by the working world. If Portsmouth itself was ambitious and optimistic, the same was doubly true for PSC, the place that was responsible for sending a number of new workers into the workforce every year along with all of the dreams they carried, as well as being a place that took in a large number of people every year from both in and out of state and promised them it’d help make their dreams a reality. It wasn’t that Portsmouth was a college town, but the college was a big part of the town.

It was also the heart of many of the events in town, including the concerts that were happening tonight at the music festival traveling to town… Not that it was a huge festival - it was no Coachella and the largest act wasn’t BTS but some B list artists who had seen better years in the past - but at a place like this where there wasn’t all that much to do without heading to either New York City or Boston and waiting in traffic for ages, it was definitely enough to stir the populace and get them to turn out. And it was understandable that they’d turn out for something like this, because even if it wasn’t the best festival, it was the time of year when the campus just looked good and was the kind of place that was nice to hang out in.

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Nothing better to do right now in Portsmouth.
The trees had turned shades from green to orange and yellow, some leaves even taking eye catching shades of red, the sun was setting in the distance as things were almost ready to start, and well, there was a certain feeling about being around a few thousand other people with the same idea that had an appeal to it. It wasn’t a question of why go, it was a question of why not go and join your friends who were likely doing the same thing? Wasn’t much else to do on a night like this around campus.

Unless you were Elyse, in which case, well, she’d much rather have been back in the flat she shared with her younger sister, Jade, and not dragged all the way out here through the power of extremely persistent prodding. That, and she knew if she let Jade drag her out for just one night, she’d have a few other nights in relative peace and quiet. Or as peaceful and quiet as when you were staying with Jade.

“You look like I’m marching you to a firing squad sis.” Jade laughed, a small bottle of… Something, Elyse couldn’t quite tell what, held in one hand, the alcohol of whatever form inside swirling around as Jade led her in to the festival’s grounds. Elyse didn’t really know what Jade was so excited about, she never did understand what her younger sister saw in things like this, but Jade just didn’t understand why Elyse spent all her time on boring work. “Cheer up a little, it’s just some music and booze and people, it isn’t going to kill you or anything.”

“Last time you got drunk you almost got killed driving your car out of wherever you left it.” Elyse replied dryly, rolling her eyes.

“I was hungover, not drunk.” Jade said, giving a mock glare up at her elder sister. “Besides, you might actually have some fun here.” Elyse said nothing in response, just giving Jade a derisive snort. “You will.” Jade continued, a grin breaking out on her face. “I’ll find something that you don’t try and excuse your way out of eventually someday.”

The two of them didn’t continue for long by themselves as they headed into the festival before they ran into a familiar group… Familiar for Jade at least. Some of the football players of the Portsmouth Pirates were there, easily identified by their black and gold jackets which bore one of the insignias of the team, a laughing skull in front of a golden flag. It wasn’t just any group of football players either, but one that was gathered around one of the more famous people around this town, their quarterback, Art Norwell. Someone who was… At times intimately familiar with Jade.

“Hey, didn’t know if you’d make it here,” Art said, stepping aside from the group upon noticing the two of them, nodding to Jade first and then looking to Elyse. “And you brought your older sister I see.”

“Managed to drag her away from her books and laptop for the first time in too damn long.” Jade said, waving towards Art while Elyse let out a subdued sigh. She wasn’t exactly a fan of football players.

“She interested in joining the partying afterwards or…?” asked Art, glancing back to Elyse and referring to the wild parties that the football team liked to throw, well, whenever there was a reason. Usually when they won, but sometimes when something like this was happening or even if they had lost and didn’t feel like waiting until the next week to throw the party. The gatherings tended to be some of the busiest on campus when they happened, and many of the players had gained legendary status around here because of them.

“Yes.” “No.” Jade and Elyse said at the same time, pausing briefly and just turning to look at each other, not saying anything, seeing who would blink first. A few more long, awkward seconds passed, both of them still silent, before Jade finally spoke up. “That’s a maybe leaning no, you know I’ll be there but it’s hard enough to get her out here, let alone to get her to stay out here.”

Art just chuckled, somewhat amused by the double reaction and the fact that they weren’t sure. “Well… If she decides getting out of the house is more fun than she thought, you guys both know where to find us. Jade, you going to be with her tonight or are you hanging out with us? We’re going to be pretty close to the stage… Managed to get good tickets, obviously.”

“Aw, nice. Maybe if I leave her to her own devices she’ll figure out how to enjoy herself.” Jade smirked, looking at Elyse and stepping away from her to stand next to Art. “Have fun sis, but I have good tickets with my name on it, so go enjoy yourself!”

When the group was about to split, they would find themselves approached by yet another person, the somewhat strange and definitely withdrawn journalism student Andrea Natale, who looked between everyone in the group before… Butting in somewhat, awkwardly, her hands shaking a little bit when she showed up. “Am I uhhh… Interrupting anyone?”

“Not exactly.” Jade shrugged. “Was just about to go off with Art back to the team.” While praying Elyse didn’t just leave without her to keep her there. She honestly wouldn’t put it past her sister to do that, and after she’d been nice enough to get tickets for them both. “Why?”

The nervous blue haired girl froze as she worked on her answer, eventually just reaching into her jacket to pull out a small packet. “W-Was wondering if you guys wanted to buy s-something to h-help with the experience,” she said, holding up something that looked like MDMA. “It u-uh, goes towards my metahuman watching thing… And my class stuff…”

Art looked between Jade and the nervous girl. “Don’t think I’m looking to get high just yet… But I could probably get something for you if you wanted it,” he stated towards Jade.

“I’ll pick up something for later, sure, since you’re being generous.” Jade said, Elyse shaking her head. “No thanks, not exactly the biggest fan of that stuff.”

“See what I mean, she’s such a spoilsport.” Jade added, motioning towards Elyse and rolling her eyes. “Gets here, doesn’t get high, I’ll be lucky if she gets a drink.”

“Just means more for the princess of the school,” said Art, ruffling Jade’s hair slightly - wasn’t hard for him, he was much taller than her at 6’6”, which wasn’t all that uncommon a height for a star athlete who played the quarterback position.

“T-This will be s-seventy five dollars,” said Andrea, causing some murmurs from the football players. And some words of discontent from some of them.

“No team discount?”

“How much are you marking that up?”

“The hell?”

Next thing Andrea knew, someone - probably a linebacker from the way they were built, was pushing her to the ground and the bag from her hand was now in the hands of one of the football players. “I think we’ll just be taking this,” that player said, before Art stepped in, between the two.

It wasn’t that he was the richest person out there, most college football players weren’t owing to the fact that they weren’t allowed to, well, earn any money from playing, but perhaps the quarterback didn’t want the controversy. “Chill…” Art said, reaching into his wallet and finding seventy five dollars, extending it to the girl that was still on the ground. “Sorry about that… You know how they can get sometimes.”

“R-r-right, t-thanks,” Andrea said, quickly pocketing the money, remaining where she was on the ground and not getting back up just yet, one hand feeling her jacket as if she was… Making sure that she had something within one of the interior pockets, her hand eventually resting by her side again once she was satisfied with the fact that she had it. “Fuck…” she muttered out in a low tone, either due to her unconfidence or because of the entire situation.

“Anyway,” said Art, looking to Jade. “Show’s going to start soon, although, if it’s not that interesting, we can slip off halfway through or something, just me and you.”

“Don’t give my sis ideas of leaving, Art.” Jade said, lightly swatting at his arm. “She’ll-” Jade turned towards where Elyse had been just a few moments ago. “Aaaand she’s gone to who knows where. Well, she’ll stick around to save my high ass, so let’s go grab somewhere good. Bye Andrea! Tell Sis where we’ll be if you see her.” Jade gave a wave to their dealer as she turned away, not really caring where Elyse had run off to. She could do what she wanted, but if she found her back at their place squinting over psychology books, then she’d have hell to pay.

They started further into the grounds, Andrea having picked herself up off the ground in the meantime and heading in a separate direction from Elyse and from the group of football players plus Jade. She still had some work to do, after all, and whether or not she made a decent profit tonight would play a role on if she could head down to NYC again soon to work on her personal ‘metahuman watching’ projects.

Meanwhile, Art was quick to throw an arm around Jade’s shoulder as they headed towards the area where people were moving towards the stage, setting up on the open grass - the people at the front standing, the people on the hill a bit further back sitting down with blankets and such. “So, you’ve been around me enough to get familiar with the guys, right?”

“Pretty familiar, yeah. Might get one or two of their names wrong, but eh, close enough.” Jade made a dismissive gesture. “Some I know more than others though, even if I know you the best.”

Art offered a smirk, his hand reaching around and touching Jade’s chest. “Was just talking with some of ‘em earlier and we had the idea of maybe dipping out of the afterparty a little ways through and heading to the lake outside of town, just the six of us. Somethin’ a little out of the ordinary, y’know? You in?”

“Probably, seems fun enough unless I’ve collapsed by then.” Jade shrugged, turning around and looking over the hill but failing to spot her sister. “You know me and anything vaguely alcoholic, can’t help myself at the best of times.”

“Oh, don’t worry, we’re bringing plenty of that, passing out is, uh, part of the plan maybe. Depends on if we feel like taking the hit for it the next day or not. You think you’d be able to rope that sister of yours into coming along? I mean, it’s quieter than a party, just a different kinda action if you get my drift.”

“Was lucky enough to get her out here, now I’d have to track her ass down and convince her and I don’t think I’m good enough to do that.” Jade shook her head. “I think she’s only here so I don’t bother her again for a bit.”

“Shame… She’s hot,” someone else said, the group making their way to one of the front rows in front of the stage.

“She doesn’t ever really do much, does she?” Art inquired, arm still around Jade’s waist.

“She pretty much throws herself into work and that doesn’t leave much time for anything else in her eyes.” Jade shrugged. “I do my best, but, well-” Jade gave a vague gesture to her other side and the notable lack of Elyse. “She’s better at vanishing into thin air halfway through a conversation than literally anyone else and I don’t think she’s much of a fan of sports either so…” Jade shrugged. “She’s probably in a league of her own of unreachability for everyone here.”

“Don’t worry about her too much tonight, if she doesn’t wanna have fun she can miss out on it… Still got each other, princess,” said Art, lifting Jade up quite easily. She was probably less than half his own bodyweight, wasn’t much of a challenge especially after doing plenty of weightlifting in preparation for football.

“True, if she wants to miss out it’s her loss. Just makes me wonder why I keep trying with her, y’know?” Jade sighed, shuffling herself around slightly to shift into a more comfortable position. “Granted, she has saved my drunk and or high ass more times than I can count, and she’s a godsend if I need help, I swear she knows more about my classes than I do at this point. Just wish she’d get out of her ivory tower and live a bit…”

“Yeah, well, some people are just hard to help. Gotta get them to want to help themselves before they’ll take your help. But in the meantime… She’s not a problem,” said Art, still lifting Jade up and pressing their lips together, holding her up to make up for the large height difference between the two of them, as the show was getting ready to begin in the background.

“She’ll probably let herself loose when she’s done with her course.” Jade said after pulling away after a few seconds. “She’s only got like a year left, and given all she’s missed out on I’d bet she’s going to have one hell of a ride for however many months, unless she’s still boring then too.” Jade finished, squirming to turn around to face towards the stage. She did want to see if the show was literally any good whatsoever at all.

Little did they know that this would be the least interesting and least memorable part of their night, overshadowed by events that still had yet to come…

They didn’t realize back then that soon, they’d be doubting if they were human at all.
Last edited by Forest State on Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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anti: catgirls & people who step on snek

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Turmenista
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Founded: Apr 09, 2014
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Turmenista » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:41 am

    Life of Bob - Act 1

It hadn’t been easy living off the grid, but, then again, where was it ever said it would be easy?

Trojan had lost track of how long he had been out here...in the middle of Africa, living among the wildlife in little more than a ranch somewhere in the Congo..the same place he’d killed Ilunga however long ago it was. Life had been reduced to a monotonous, rigid cycle of relying upon stimuli, food, and regular exercise—nothing Bob didn’t hate, after all. He enjoyed the monotony and repetitive nature, finding it similar to meditation. It took his mind off some things, allowing him to focus on interests like watching the animals as he went back to nature. Human interaction was rare, if it even happened at all, limited only to poachers, lost travelers, and the occasional tourist, but, for the most part, he was isolated.

Probably for the better.

Setback after setback with the NYC Aegis team and a bad PR streak had led to its eventual disavowal and decommissioning, merging with the London Aegis team and the Atlantic Coast Cosmopolitans. Whatever Aegis operators that didn’t go freelance joined the London team or went their separate ways...but Bob’s story was different. The higher-ups knew the sensitivity of such a worm with a terrifying ability going public, let alone going rogue or even freelance. The best way to cover up his existence without risking a massive PR or OPSEC breach was to simply kill the worm with mercenaries—paid Paradise Assassins, to be exact.

However, Bob rather easily saw through this plan, personally taking it upon himself to isolate himself from the outside word. However, this didn’t stop the Paradise team from pursuing him, the high-tech mercenaries from little more than a modernized cybernetics-infused cartel determined to hunt him to the ends of the earth all for a drop of clout and money. For obvious reasons, Bob knew this wasn’t going to end well. High-tech, well-armed mercenaries didn’t mix in well with a setting like Africa. Paradise had quickly lost track of what their mission was, razing innocent settlements in the Congo, propping up local security forces (or just massacring them), and establishing themselves as the judge, jury, and executioner of their own little set of Africa.

Now, he had to make a hard choice: would he continue living in self-imposed exile, or help free the people of the Congo region from these deadly, high-tech mercenaries?

Trojan got up from his prone position upon hearing the sound of a motor running, turning towards the entrance of his little settlement. A white off-road Land Rover appeared, the doors opening to allow an eccentric man in a white linen shirt, khakis, and gold-tinted aviators out, his ginger hair flowing in the light breeze as he took off his fedora. Why such a man was here was beyond him, but at least Bob could rest easy knowing it wasn’t Paradise. If it was, his settlement would’ve been little more than a smoldering pile of debris by now.

The man took off his glasses, folding them as he placed them on his shirt. “Are you... uh..” he paused for a moment, looking over the grimy, dishoveled former Aegis operative, still wearing his old uniform. “Are you Trojan?”

“Yes.” Bob answered monotonously. “I am.”

“You wanna know who I am?” The man asked, to which Bob tilted his head to the side, narrowing his eyes. “How did you find me?”

“Now, now, fella, I’m the one askin’ questions here. Before you ask, I ain’t one of ‘em Par’dise or Fed types,” the man grinned. “M’names Oscar Watts, you might know me as Mega-Watt. You know, the Mega-Watt.

“Can’t say I’ve heard the name.” Bob muttered.

“For good reason. I’m one of ‘em “Underground” types—I work for the highest bidder. That happens to be a Pharma company I work for called Monterey Pharmaceuticals. Anyways, I’m in need of some help.” Oscar placed his hands on his hips. “Y’see... I’ve got some problems with these “Paradise” types. So do you,” he pointed towards the grimy man’s chest with a finger, as if to emphasize his point. “They’re evil, outta control, and quite frankly a buncha assholes, goin ‘round killin’ people like a buncha skinheads. Now I will admit to a certain cynicism and say that I do enjoy some killin’ myself, but not to a buncha innocent villages. Not like this. Paradise has been a pain in the ass in Monterey’s side, but so have you to those bitchass cartel types.”

He paused, giving Bob time to think. “It’s tha perfect opportunity to get back in the game, so to speak. Work for Monterey, kill assholes, ‘n profit. I’ll give you time to think about it but... in case ya wanted to get some early hours in, Mr. Trojan..”

He flicked a card Bob’s way, which the parasite grabbed out of the air with impressive reflexes. “Y’know where to find me. See ya.”

With that, the enigmatic southern man known as Oscar Watts left Trojan in his car, leaving behind only a playing card of an ace as proof he was there; coordinates were written on the side of the card, pointing towards a location in the Congo that Bob knew correlated to a village...at least, one Paradise was using as a glorified base of operations.

Still, he was going in blind, Monterey had also come to him seeking his help, which was already as sketchy as it sounded. The needs of the little man outweighed the needs of corporate or any other body, so he had to take his chances on this one...just this once.

“I’ll do this job.” He told no one in particular, pocketing the card as he made his way back towards his shack, presented with a rack of knives, rifles, and weapons looted during his previous attempts on Paradise. “Maybe, I’ll find my place in all this, after its all said and done.”

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Forest State
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Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:26 pm

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Due to a series of anomalous energy emissions in Portsmouth, Connecticut, in the the past weeks, a detachment of Bureau of Extrahuman Activities agents have been dispatched to the area to deal with the strange events that are likely to follow - it's not known what this energy is, or why it appears, but anomalous events tend to happen in the areas struck by it... And more recently, it seems that these emissions have the ability to unlock powers in the new and dangerous subtype of metahumans, the sensates.


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    ACT I – CHAPTER 2: “THE PEREZ CASE
    Portsmouth, Connecticut
    October 25th, 2025
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The black Dodge Charger pulled into the parking lot and stopped, finding itself in front of an office building in suburban Portsmouth, not far away from where the State College was located. “This… Is the place where someone reported something that seems like it could be a sensate at work. Supposedly, there was an incident here where a number of people reported feeling… Mental influence, something that definitely sounds like the work of a sensate, but they weren’t sure exactly what it was. It was only one person that reported it to us, because remember, not many people really know much about these people at all. It’s something that takes a bit more research than average,” said Dima Chaykoysky, climbing out and shutting the door behind him while gesturing for his partner, Lida, to follow.

“Do you think these sensate people are ever going to go mainstream?” she asked, curiously. It seemed like something that the news would love to report on, after all - dangerous metahumans who could influence people mentally and who had abilities that could include but weren’t limited to implanting thoughts directly into someone’s head. “I mean, it sounds like it would be a major story and I hadn’t even heard of them much beyond reading one or two things.”

“The Bureau has told the media that they should be careful on reporting on this kind of thing to avoid a panic and most of the outlets to cover it are smaller ones. People aren’t going to listen as much to a Vice as they are to a CNN,” Dima stated, walking towards the office building and pushing through the two glass doors at the front, reaching to his side at the same time to pick up the energy scanner. Each one of them was equipped with one of the things. “And… The exact nature of sensates being unknown makes it hard to report on them. It’s easy to call it clickbait if an outlet runs a story on some dangerous type of metahuman without being able to back up that their claims are for real. For sensates, that’s largely the case.”

Image
The Russian turncoat turned BEA Special Agent.
Dima walked further into the building with Lida close behind, his voice trailing off as he continued before looking down at the scanner. “We think we know about them, but really, our info is still incomplete, even in the Bureau. We might act like we know everything, but some of that is for the public’s sake…”

They didn’t even know what energy the scanner was looking for, really. There were rumors that the massive energy emissions that had happened in recent months around the States and other locations in the world, which tended to cause unexplainable anomalous events, were extradimensional. But they didn’t know, and if they were extradimensional, that still didn’t give them an idea of how they actually worked and why they caused the things that they did. Unexplainable events such as bizarre creatures appearing, objects being brought to life, things and people being changed, and plenty of other things.

Perhaps sensates themselves were a result of some mutation caused by exposure to this energy, but that wouldn’t explain why they continued to appear around emissions as if it had some kind of effect waking up their abilities. If they understood this energy better they would likely have a better idea of what they were dealing with, but the fact of the matter was, they didn’t. It had been termed ‘red energy’ because of the color it often showed up in when it was in its purest form during the emissions, but despite having a name for it, they didn’t know all that much about it.

Portsmouth had been hit with a couple of emissions during the past week or two although they hadn’t been major ones - it seemed that the emissions could move around like the regular weather, hitting one place a few times before hitting another place, and then traveling elsewhere. Although, other times they struck with no rhyme or reason. The fact that the Bureau knew so little about the reasoning behind where they hit just went to show how little was known overall about the sensation.

“Excuse me,” said Dima, approaching the receptionist at the front desk in the lobby, taking out his badge for a moment and showing it to the woman, a fairly average looking brunette who was likely in her 40s and possibly lamenting being stuck in a rather average and boring position such as this one. “I’m Dima Chaykovsky, from the Bureau of Extrahuman Activities. Me and my partner are in Portsmouth this week investigating certain events, and we were told that something strange was happening at this office?”

“Ah, yes. I was told to expect you two. It’s actually a matter of one of our employees, Kade Perez. There’s rumors going around the office that he’s… That he’s some kind of metahuman or something,” the receptionist said, a hint of nervousness creeping into her voice like talking about this kind of thing was uncharted territory for her. “Maybe we’re paranoid but for the past week or so it’s felt like his mental state rubs off on everyone around him. When he’s in a bad mood or something… E-Everyone else around his cubicle is… I know it sounds crazy but it’s actually making it hard to work-”

Dima held up a hand to stop her. “No, that’s actually normal. We’re looking for a specific subtype of metahuman that we believe has been showing up in this area for the past couple of weeks. They… Can exert a degree of influence over the human mind. I believe this might be one of the branching variations of that power.”

“Oh. What are you two officers going to do, exactly? He’s been acting kind of funny ever since his… Powers, or whatever they are, started to appear. I don’t know if he’ll go along with you.”

Pausing for a moment to register this information, Dima nodded. “We intend to take him to a treatment center in Pennsylvania run by the Bureau, where the experts there can work on… Limiting the danger of his abilities and hopefully allowing him to return to normal. And yes, many people do not cooperate when brought in by the Bureau, it won’t be a problem.”

The receptionist nodded, gesturing further into the office. “Would you like me to make a call to have him brought here or something?”

Dima shook his head, turning to start moving into the office proper, heading towards the elevator in particular to head to the first of the two floors where it seemed actual business was conducted. “No, that will be everything we need. We both have devices that should lead us to Perez, if he is indeed a sensate. If not, we’ll be able to walk out of here without doing a thing.”

“Treatment facility?” asked Lida, raising an eyebrow as they entered the elevator, Dima pressing the button to take them up to the first floor. They could have just taken the stairs but, well, Dima wasn’t the kind of person that would expend the extra effort when it wasn’t necessary, despite being a vigilant agent.

“Not sure about the details of it, personally I’ve never been to one. But I have the feeling we’ll be making some drop offs there soon if we continue on this job of tracking down sensates,” Dima stated with a shrug, unsure one way or the other about the facilities. “I think they use drugs and such for power suppression, but unlike a metahuman prison, they have the goal of integrating people again. How that will work when someone can just pretend to have taken their drugs once they end up back in society… I have no idea.”

“Sounds like a bad plan at best,” said Lida, the doors to the elevator opening up as Dima led the pair of them into the office space, looking down at the scanner and adjusting the settings. The yellow device was now emitting beeping noises which indicated they were indeed getting close to a source of the energy - sensates seemed to be linked to the red energy, after all, and they tended to carry traces of it on them for whatever reason. It proved to be a way of finding them.

“Now let’s just see where our suspect is, this shouldn’t take long, he has to be on this floor based on the sounds…” Dima said, creeping through the office floor which was filled to the brim with cubicles. It didn’t seem like they were going to find their target immediately - too many people. Unless the target gave himself up-

“Ah fuck, it’s the feds,” they could hear someone saying, both agents turning to their right to face the source of the sound.

Someone - most likely Kade Perez - had jumped up from their cubicle and was now moving to get out of the building, causing both agents to reach for their pistols. A Desert Eagle for Dima and a Glock 17 for Lida, both of them quickly aimed at the man. “Stay where you are!” Dima shouted, but the man didn’t seem like he was going to stop, as he dashed towards the door to the stairwell. “I repeat, stay where you are-”

“Intimidation’s not gonna work,” Lida said, taking off and chasing after the man on foot, reaching the door not long after Perez had and seeing that Perez was now continuing down the stairwell to attempt to get outside of the building. “Hey, stop! We’re trying to help you so you can get back to work!”

“You’re trying to haul me off somewhere!” Perez shouted back, reaching the bottom of the stairwell as Lida vaulted over the railing and landed roughly on the level of the next flight, throwing herself over the railing once again and hitting the ground floor, the receptionist from earlier watching both of them as Perez dashed through the front doors, Lida close behind and the slower Dima trailing. Dima, while he did have many good traits as an agent, wasn’t the fastest person in the world in a footrace.

“Ah shit,” Lida muttered under her breath, pointing her gun at Perez and keeping it leveled as the man went for his car. She could take the shot right now… But it was a matter of if she wanted to risk killing the suspect just so they could haul him in. He wasn’t wanted dead, after all. And their goal wasn’t to mindlessly shoot people, but to contain a specific threat. Perez didn’t seem all that threatening but at the same time, if she didn’t shoot him, he was almost certainly going to get away…

She moved to line up a shot through the windshield as Perez started up the car and prepared to pull out of the lot, making eye contact with the suspect, but she didn’t pull the trigger even as both of her hands rested on the gun. She simply watched as Perez pulled out of the lot, Dima running out of the office and showing up behind her. “You had the shot,” Dima stated, panting from running down the stairs as fast as possible.

“Didn’t think it would be right to take the shot, dude’s just a regular civilian and the only angle I had would have probably killed him. We’re only supposed to shoot threats, right?” she said - she tended to have a shoot first mentality in other situations, but the line was blurred in this case when they weren’t going after a known villain but some regular office worker from an ordinary suburban town like this. And it didn’t seem like Perez had threatening powers, at least not overtly…

“We’ve been told that all sensates are threats,” Dima said, watching as Lida lowered her gun. “Which… I would imagine includes the ones that don’t have directly threatening powers. I would have taken the shot if he still didn’t stop after getting outside,” he added. He did tend to be colder than his partner, perhaps owing to growing up in a colder country both metaphorically and literally. “Did you get the license plate number?”

Lida felt like kicking herself for missing such a detail. “Uhhh, no, sorry. Was busy trying to decide what to do.”

Dima lingered, putting his own pistol away before taking out his phone. “I see. I suppose I’ll call into the office and tell them to be on the lookout for a grey Toyota Corolla. In the meantime… I think we have another job that’s been given to us from the boys in New York, let’s head back and we can get briefed on that.”

“Alright,” Lida nodded, starting back towards the black Dodge Charger. “I just wonder what had that dude so scared to talk with us…”
Last edited by Forest State on Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

for: the anime right
anti: catgirls & people who step on snek

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Lunas Legion
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 29429
Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:15 pm

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Image



It’s a regular night in Portsmouth, Connecticut, but the sudden appearance of another massive red energy emission will soon send the town into a relative panic…


_________________________________________________________________________________________

    ACT I – CHAPTER 3: “FIRESTORM
    Portsmouth, Connecticut
    October 25th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State & Lunas Legion
_______________________

Just as Jade had said, Elyse had left as soon as she’d gotten the chance to slip away from her younger sister. Music festivals, well, were not exactly her idea of fun, she didn’t exactly know many people there, and she wasn’t about to hang around with Jade and her friends since they weren’t exactly the company she liked to keep either. So, she’d driven back to her and Jade’s apartment, figuring that she could just go pick Jade up in whatever drunk, high state she ended up in by the end of all the partying.

Even if that meant not getting quite as much sleep as she’d like, but someone of the pair of them had to be the responsible one and it sure as hell was not going to be Jade in any possible multiverse.

So, instead, she was cooking. Well, not exactly cooking right now, mostly just waiting for things to finish cooking in the oven as she listened to the soft background warble of the radio, staring out the window at the street and just waiting for dinner to finish cooking.

BOOM!

The first flash of light in the distance appeared with a sound that was a combination of a slam, a rip, and a bang, as if somewhere off in the distance, miles away from the apartment, the fabric of the sky itself was being torn as something seeped through the “gap,” red energy which was… Almost like lightning, almost like the northern lights, and some part unexplainable, a sight that was both eye catching and possibly deadly and dangerous all at once.

BOOM!

The sound was repeated, more of the energy showing up, swirling and mixing with itself and changing the color of the sky as things changed from their usual blue to an eerie blood red, the deep red turning a bit brighter in some spots momentarily when more flashes of energy appeared, the secondary flashes more like lightning than they were like… Whatever the other ones could be qualified. The energy emissions that had struck Portsmouth and other cities, that’s what they both were. Except… Last time, it hadn’t been this big. Hadn’t been this notable.

BOOM!

Some of the energy could be seen heading towards the ground, like lightning, the flashes a combination of bright red and white - it seemed they were the same red energy, they just appeared white because of how bright they were… Although, even now, most of the light show remained in the sky, more of the sky turning red as the flashes continued, and as the swirling energy in the sky continued to ebb and flow, and oddly calming look to it that was strange considering the terrifying sounds and the odd nature of what was actually happening here.
“What the fuck...” Elyse swore, a note of awe in her voice as the rather spectacular lightshow erupted in front of her, clearly visible from her window. They’d had… Well, they’d called it odd meteorological phenomena on the news, but she was about 90% sure something like this was not that. She didn’t know what the hell it was, and that booming was most certainly not just thunderclaps like had been said.

But none of that was relevant in the here and now. Dials were turned, dinner abandoned as Elyse sprinted out of the kitchen, hands darting out to grab her phone from the table and her jacket from it’s hook as she sprinted her way out of her apartment, not even locking it as she made for the stairwell. Her left hand called Jade, holding the phone up to her ear as her right tore open the stairwell door and she began to make her way down.

The phone rang for a few, long, too long seconds before Jade picked up.

“Are you seeing this?” Elyse blurted out, not bothering with normal conversation in the urgency.

“N- Yes I’m fucking seeing this I’m not blind.” Jade shot back. “Wait you’re seeing it too? I thought I was just getting really messed up he-”

“Yes I’m seeing this too-” Elyse snarled, not exactly wanting to put up with her sister now of all times. “Where are you, I’ll pick you up and we can drive away and wait for this to blow over?”

“Down by the lake, with Art and some of the others. Wait you-” Whatever Jade was saying was cut off as Elyse ended the call, phone sliding back into the pockets of her jeans before a few moments later she emerged into the street, all but leaping into the driver’s seat of Jade’s Porsche and plunging the key into the ignition. The engine roared into life, but it was more of a whimper against the colossal booming sounds that accompanied whatever the fuck was going on and she floored it, wheels spinning briefly before she shot off down the street, heading down to the lake.




Don’t move a muscle, don’t move a muscle, don’t move a muscle-

BOOM!

The ground shook as one of the energy discharges hit the ground directly, and this time it felt like it was somewhat closer to where Andrea Daniele Natale happened to be hiding, near the lake, a little ways out of Portsmouth proper - truth be told, she didn’t know exactly how she had ended up here, she had come to follow after Jade when Jade and Art and a group of others slipped away from the afterparty to head there, but, well, in her typical fashion… She hadn’t gotten up the courage to actually reveal herself. To actually reveal that she had followed them here without saying anything.

Already think I’m a fuckin’ weirdo without seeing that… That would be the last thing I need...

But right now, with the sound of the energy discharges happening… Dangerously close, and with the sky a mix of red with flashes of white, and the ground rumbling every once and awhile, Andrea couldn’t stay hidden forever. The latest strike, the one that had scared her because it had been close, shook the Earth and caused her to slip from behind the tree that she’d been using as a spot to hide, her phone falling out of her hand at the same time.

“Son of a bitch…” she said under her breath, the phone just out of her reach, and her hand immediately extending to pick it up before she looked up, freezing in that position on her stomach as she realized just how bad of a position she was in right now, the… Discharge or whatever it was immediately going to the back of her mind as her face flushed and she focused on the spot she was in during the present.

“Why did I bother with trying to get high today…” Jade mumbled out, sitting cross-legged on the ground as she looked up at the sky, a confused mixture of emotions running through her as she just stared at it, colours dancing and flashing and weaving across it before her eyes. It was oddly beautiful, even if the constant ominous booming ruined it in her eyes. Her eyes drifted back to her phone, Elyse’s number sitting on the screen, as if taunting her, asking her to call her sister back even if she was already on the way over here.

“What the actual fuck is happening…” Jade asked, not really actually to anyone, her eyes still transfixed by the sky.

Andrea crept forward and picked her phone up, pulling it close to her before looking up at the situation, the group only starting to notice her just now - fortunately. “Uh… R-Red energy discharge… No one knows what it is or what causes it b-b-but starting this year it’s been happening in the S-States and other places, m-m-most of the noise is just reactions from u-unstable red energy colliding with other r-red energy, but sometimes, it hits the ground, and if that happens here, we’re, uh… Fucked…” she said, quickly blurting out the information she knew without thinking about how wise it would be to reveal herself. They were, though, going to find out about her being here either way…

“On a scale from, uh…” Jade mumbled something under her breath, not really bothering to wonder where Andrea had come from since that wasn’t important right now. “Me while recovering from a hangover to me like a few minutes ago, how fucked is that?”

“Direct impact can destroy things in the area, uh, being too close to the impact and e-exposed to the energy can m-make some… Weird things happen. Lovecraftian shit, if you d-dig for it you can find pictures and s-stuff from other places like M-Memphis, it’s not always p-pretty,” Andrea said, before finally getting the attention of Art.

“When the fuck did you get here?” Art asked, noting that since they’d shown up, they’d been alone. And now Andrea was here? Something was definitely off.

“D-Doesn’t matter, I have a c-car if any of you need t-to get out of here-”

“I think we’ve got that covered…” Art said, looking down at her. It seemed she’d been hiding which was… Interesting, but starting a fight over that right now might spell bad things for the group as a whole. So for now, Art remained silent.

“Elyse is on her way over here with my car anyways…” Jade said, moving to stand on shaky legs, eyes still trained on the sky as if hypnotised by it. “But, uh, yeah I think quitting town for a bit maaaay be a good idea, or that’s what Elyse and me were gonna do.”

“We can get in the Maserati…” said Art, gesturing back towards the trail that had led them here, and his own Maserati which was only one of the vehicles parked there. He turned to the rest of the team members, waving for them. “She’s probably right, y’know. Best to get ouuta here before that shit comes too close,” he added, before looking back to Jade. “But you said your sis is coming? Don’t think she should drive towards whatever the fuck we’re looking at.”

“Yeah, she’s coming out here to pick me up, but I can tell her to turn the fuck around.” Jade said, waving her phone.

Art nodded, starting towards the trail where the vehicles were parked. “Would be the smart thing to do.”

Jade said nothing, moving to follow after Art but at a slower, more unsteady pace as she dialed Elyse. “Hey, yeah, I’m leaving the lake with Art and the others, uh-” Jade paused, moving the phone away from her mouth. “Where are we going anyways? Sis will meet us there.”

“Back towards the apartments, I’d imagine. Doesn’t look like much is happening over there with this.”

“Apartments, no quit whining that you just came from there see you soon.” Jade finished, ending her call with a flick of her thumb, still walking. “She’s turning back around, as much as I like her looking after my ass she does do it a bit too much sometimes.”

The group continued walking towards the cars, Andrea picking herself up in the process and starting to move after them towards the trail - her own car, a Honda Civic, was parked further back behind the ones belonging to the jocks. However, something stopped her in her tracks… Something that only a couple of other people noticed - Art and Jade, in specific. For… It was hard to judge how long, because it was something of a sensory overload when it happened, but around everyone in the group… There was suddenly a glow.

And it was like there was an aura around each and every person, including Andrea herself, something that displayed a different color around each person, but more than just seeing the color, Andrea could almost… Feel it. She could, to an extent, feel some of what they were feeling, she could understand them without having to talk to them, without having to be in their heads and it was… Strange. It felt like it might be something drug related but the problem was that, well, Andrea hadn’t taken any drugs recently enough to do this. And the ones she had right now weren’t the kind of drugs that would make someone see this of all things.

The moment, it was something all three of them were experiencing, but the others weren’t - and then, after a few moments, or after however long it had been… The auras faded, and it felt like time was moving regularly again, and there was no more sensory overload.

“Art… You okay?” one of the football players was asking, seeing that the quarterback had stopped in his tracks.

“Felt something weird, this… Storm or whatever must be fuckin’ with my head,” Art stated, pausing to get his bearings for a moment before looking to the side to Jade to see if she had also noticed whatever the hell had just happened to them.

“I thought it was just the drugs, but…” Jade shrugged, likewise having stopped and leaning forwards slightly, hands resting on her knees. “Not like anything I’ve taken before.” She rubbed at her head, as if she had a headache or something as she began to slowly walk again. “Fucking odd…”

“Molly doesn’t make you see shit like that.. ‘Least it shouldn’t,” Art said, continuing towards the cars, stopping once they had reached the white Maserati that belonged to him. “You saw it too, right…? Lights and shit? Colors? Felt stuff?”

“Pretty much.” Jade nodded, moving around to the passenger side of the Maserati to climb in. “Weird shit but it’s probably just the storm and drugs mixing or some shit like that. Don’t worry unless it happens again.”

“Whatever you say,” said Art, climbing into the driver’s side of the Maserati and starting the engine up, before pulling forward just slightly and preparing to move out of the lot. If only things actually were that simple, and this was something that was never going to come up again… If that was the case, things would be a hell of a lot easier, but while they didn’t know it at the moment, this would only be the very first time they’d touched something like this…

They could deny it for now.

They wouldn’t be able to deny it forever.
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4012
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:31 am

_________________________________________________________________________________________

    ON THE ROAD AGAIN
    Portsmouth, Connecticut
    November 1st, 2025
_______________________

I tell a bad bitch do whatever I say
My block behind me like I'm coming out the driveway
It's grind day, from Friday, to next Friday
I been up straight for nine days, I need a spa day…


The music continued to play in the background as the free agent… ‘Superhero’ made his way back into the bedroom of the apartment, coming from the shower and having just dried off. Living away from the public spotlight, away from some of the luxuries of the past, it was a mixed bag. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. But there were a few things that the hero didn’t move many places without. The music was one of those things, it traveled with the hero even when heading to different places like this, an otherwise nice apartment in an otherwise nice area that had the simple problem of lacking many things in it.

No point putting a ton of things in it when the place was soon going to be left in favor of somewhere else - that was just one part of staying off the radar, and of not keeping too much of a profile. Fact of the matter was, the hero needed to keep a low profile at the moment to prevent getting wrapped up in trouble larger than he could deal with at the moment. Didn’t mean, however, that he was obligated to live in shitholes until things changed. The apartment wasn’t a bad place. It was just… Not filled with luxuries that would have to be moved when the time came.

Me turn that 62 to 125, 125 to a 250
250 to a half a million, ain't nothin' nobody can do with me, now who with me?
¡Vámonos! Call me Hov or Jefe
Translation, I'm the shit, least that what my neck say
Least that what my check say, lost my homie for a decade…


The hero had finished getting dressed - the more elaborate costume that the hero had was now packed into a bag, ready to be moved with the rest of the things the hero was taking to the next location, which would likely be a hotel rather than a dedicated and regularly visited safehouse like this one, all of which were packed in their own bags already and could easily be moved into a vehicle once it was time to head out. However, before leaving, the hero still had some business to finish. Some rather… Important business.

“Yo,” the hero said into the phone, holding it up while moving to stand by the window and look out at the skyline. “I’m headed out again today, you know. Changing locations and all that, looking for the next adventure I guess you could say… That and, well, I have the feeling that they’re close on the trail right now, felt someone walk into my magic field, seen a few things…”

The Asian voice on the other end of the line replied after a pause of a few moments. “And you’re calling me…? Because?”

“I’ll come out and say it, I’m looking for your help with something. Specifically with finding another job, which I’m sure is what you’re already thinking, but well, I kind of need help right now. Like I said, been noticing too many things, I’m not trying to waste much more time around here-”

“Alright, alright. I’ll see what the deep parts of the net are saying,” the voice on the other end of the line said. “You, uh… Where are you? You at the airport and you need something right now right now, or you can wait a little bit? Because if you don’t need it right now right now, I can ask my IRC people. They can usually get better jobs than just a quick search can.”

The hero continued moving, walking through the apartment with his main bag on his back, moving to pick up the other bags and take them outside to the rental car that was waiting. “Well, I’m still moving by bags and such, so why don’t you ask them but make it quick?”

“I mean… I don’t know what kind of results you’re going to get but-”

“At least tell me if you know of anything interesting?” the hero asked, as he took each bag up and down the stairs before placing it in the back of the sedan, some time passing by on the line as he did so. Which was fine… The woman had said that this was going to take a little bit of time, after all.

“Well, I’m seeing if there’s anything out of the ordinary, but as far as open hirings… There’s the usual stuff with the Middle East. You know, security details for minor countries, similar stuff for, uh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, a few other places like that, I’m imagining you want something more intensive than that, though…” the woman spoke up from the other end of the line.

The hero nodded and shrugged as the last of his bags was thrown into the trunk and he shut it behind him, stepping out one more time to lock up the safehouse before it would be left to disuse for some unknown amount of time before his return in the future. The place probably wasn’t going to stay abandoned forever, but right now, at this moment, there was a bit too much heat on it. “Pretty much.”

“And uh… Something a bit more out of the box that I found is a job in Congo, looks like it’s dealing with cleaning up Paradise and their mess over there. Apparently a bunch of Paradise mercs showed up in Kivu and started claiming shit as their own, the consortium is making a lot on the mines and they have some enemies of their own ranging from other criminals to the Congo’s government itself, seems like taking them out is going to be a job that some people want metahumans to do. Anyway, I just got this one, so if you’re interested… I can get more info while you head to the airport.”

There was a bit of a pause on the line before the woman spoke again. “Not going to be easy to get a flight to the part of the Congo where this is all happening but well, right now this is probably the least average job I’ve seen. Pays well too-”

“Yeah, that’ll do. Looks like my next destination is Congo. Or somewhere close to it. Thanks, you can give me the further details on the way to the airport…” the hero siad, climbing into the front of the car and putting the key in the ignition before getting it started up and shifting into gear. “Sounds like the kind of thing I’m looking for, the kind of thing that pays decent and it should give me some more credit for this whole independent career thing than just doing some security work for an Arab royal…“

The voice on the other end chuckled. “Just don’t get yourself hurt out there,” she said, before adding something a bit more ominous. “And just don’t grow too fast… You know you don’t want to be on their radar any more than you already are at this point.”
i'm the bad guy... duh.

for: the anime right
anti: catgirls & people who step on snek

User avatar
Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4012
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:12 am

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Image



The city of Portsmouth recently experienced a large emission of the mysterious 'red energy.' One week later, it's still unclear just what the effects of such an emission are, if any. To one person who was affected, however, another strange happening sends the current order of things further into question.


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    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 4: “BLESSED ARE THE MEEK
    Portsmouth, Connecticut
    November 1, 2025
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Research wasn’t something that Andrea Daniele Natale liked doing - except for when it was about a few subjects in specific. Like everyone, Andrea did have her things that she liked, and metahumans and the paranormal were that for her. She could name the rosters of both the top and the minor teams, she could list off superhero battles of the past, movie appearances from heroes, and while she didn’t typically care for fashion, some of the few branded clothes that she did have were from superhero designed lines… The shirt she was wearing right now had the retro logo of the Toronto Northmen on it, and across the room, she had something that she was somewhat embarrassed about, a series of figurines of some of the celebrity superheroes she followed…

Money came hard for her, she didn’t have a nine to five job per say and she was here in college on a combination of her parents’ money and the money that she made from dealing drugs, and one could make an argument that spending it on such things was wasting it when she could be directing it towards more important things for her studies and her life here at Portsmouth State. However, having an interest was one way to take the mind off of… Other things.

She had enough anxieties to worry about without taking away one of the hobbies she actually had interest in, something that she could focus on instead of her own problems. But she had the feeling right now that, somehow and in some way, one of the things she had faced recently in her real life was related to the paranormal and metahuman things that she spent so much time researching. It was the reason her fingers were flying across the keys right now, doing even further research to confirm or deny her fears.

But much of it just led her to more questions. Red energy. What was it? Was it extradimensional, extraterrestrial in origin? How did the anomalies that had shown up in places like Memphis and elsewhere appear in places where red energy struck? What caused it to strike in the first place and what was the difference between stable and unstable red energy? She knew that the explosions in the sky and much of the visual effect had been from the instability of the red energy, but the fact of the matter was she could hardly find out what difference that made when it seemed that no one even knew what stable red energy was in the first place.

Andrea sat back in her seat and took a sip from the can of soda which was resting on her desk, her face the only thing that was lit up in the room - she didn’t mind the darkness, the fact that the only light was coming from her screen. She’d gotten used to that. Done plenty of assignments for college like this, done plenty of late night research like this… Perhaps it was a stereotype, the social outcast sitting alone on a night when everyone else was partying, working on some mundane task such as doing research, but she had somewhat accepted that as part of her identity at this point.

The reason it didn’t bother her was because it had become her natural environment.

Looking to the screen, she wasn’t sure which search query to enter next. There were plenty more subjects to look into with this but none of them had answers, really. And she knew that. She was checking to make sure but she had always known she would have trouble finding anything about this online. It was all too new, the scientists working with this stuff were still figuring things out every month, and it hadn’t even been a complete year since the largest emission had shown up in Tennessee and created an exclusion zone which started in Memphis and radiated outwards as time progressed, the actual effects of all of this not yet known because scientists hadn’t been able to do much on the ground to figure out the extent of the damage and how things had changed.

Red energy, it did have the potential to change things. There was supposedly a small desert somewhere in Tennessee because of it, and that wasn’t something that happened naturally on its own. It had also changed people. Given people powers. Messed with people’s head. Red energy was almighty, it had the power to play god with people, but the people that it was playing god with tended to not know a thing about how it worked.

Leaning forward once again, she decided to look more into how it could change people. Because even though she was reluctant to accept that it might be the truth, she wondered if it might have changed herself. That was the only thing that could explain what she had seen and felt back then, on the night when she had been caught near the energy, and had felt like she was trapped in some kind of weird drug trip despite not having taken any drugs. No, it wasn’t drugs, it was something different entirely, it was something from deep within her and it wasn’t just a chemical rush.

She exhaled.

She had to approach this calmly. There was a chance that something had happened, that something had changed, and there was a chance that nothing had. She just had to sort through the noise and figure out if what she had experienced was close enough to what anyone else had experienced to make a judgement. The auras she had seen, she was… Sure that they were of metahuman origin. And yet, she wasn’t a metahuman. Not that she knew of.

Andrea typed something else into the search bar, going off of something she had heard of in her usual metahuman corners and the enthusiast internet sites she visited, but something that was also shrouded in mystery and she wasn’t sure applied to herself. Even if she read over the available information once again, she didn’t think she was going to be able to make a solid statement either way on whether or not it applied to her.

Two words had been typed into the search engine.

“Homo Sensatus.”

Otherwise known as the sensates. The rumored type of metahuman that was supposedly different from your everyday average metahuman, but that was also… Shrouded in secrets. Not secrets, really, as much as a general lack of info. Some said the term didn’t even refer to a real thing, others claimed these people were extremely dangerous. But supposedly, all of them could see auras. And the only way to describe what Andrea had seen before was… Auras-

Andrea jumped. She heard something behind her, reached for the pistol that was on her desk immediately - she kept at least one of her guns around her all of the time, and in this case, it was the smaller Ruger that she happened to grab. She cursed under her breath that it wasn’t the Five Seven, and she spun around in the gaming chair, seeing nothing in the darkness at first but hearing something that sounded like air being displaced, possibly like the sound that would be made if a large bird - no, a massive bird - moved its wings. It was strange. It wasn’t like it was even possible for a bird to get in here with her.

But then she set her eyes on it, eyes that cut through the darkness, a golden glow to them, that were somehow… Distinctly beautiful to her. She didn’t know why. They just were.

The voice behind the eyes spoke.

“So… You’ve been blessed by red energy…”
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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Lunas Legion
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Posts: 29429
Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:40 pm

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Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Lunas Legion
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 29429
Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:12 pm

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Following the strange events in Portsmouth and rumors of the Feds showing up in the town, a small group of Portsmouth State students meet to discuss just what the recent events mean for them…


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    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 6: “OPENING HOURS
    Portsmouth, Connecticut
    November 2nd, 2025
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Saint’s was not the largest bar around, or the most well-known. It didn’t have the cheapest booze, or the best selection either, but it nonetheless the bar in a side street most certainly had its share of fans. But it was still early evening, and the bar was shut and empty, even if the lights were on; the chairs were up on the tables, the floor wet from being cleaned in preparation for the usual evening crowd of drunken students and occasional but rarer groups of locals.

There was only one figure in the bar, behind the counter, wiping it down with a cloth while humming to herself. Gabriella liked working here; it paid alright, wasn’t too bad in terms of company, had decent enough hours, and she got a discount from working there. Not bad for a student job. It was also a decent place for the, well, she didn’t really have a term for what they were, fellow sufferers of storm stuff was a good enough one in her eyes. Her eyes flicked briefly to the clock on the wall. The others should be showing up soon, if they showed up at all. She wasn’t entirely sure about all this, if she was being honest with herself.

Andrea showed up, but she didn’t make it immediately obvious who she was - she had a baseball cap and hoodie on, obscuring her face in the shadows, and she kept her hands in her pockets, not looking up or making eye contact with the one person that was there. But, when she saw that things were indeed how they had been advertised, and that there was no one else here, she looked up, sitting down at the bar counter… She spoke softly, not an intentional thing really, but just a side effect of having such a quiet volume. “Jade said I should come here after the… Weird shit that went on,” she stated, flatly.

“She didn’t say who’d be showing up beyond herself, make yourself at home, we may be waiting a while.” Gabriella shrugged from behind the bar, gesturing to the stools in front of it. “You want a drink?”

Pausing, Andrea looked down and away as she considered the offer. “Ummm… N-No, I don’t really drink… I m-m-mean, not to be rude or anything but, y’know, um, w-when you a-always have guns around it tends to be a g-good… Idea to not be drunk…”

“I don’t mind, not everyone’s a fan of the stuff. I can just get you something without alcohol if you want.” Gabriella said, turning her focus from Andrea back to wiping down the bar, eyes briefly flicking towards the door.

“Umm, water, I guess,” Andrea said, looking down at her phone as a distraction, currently lamenting the fact that she couldn’t seem to talk properly. “And uh, you know, I’m u-usually better at t-t-talking than this but it’s just that god you’re really pretty I mean what?”

“I deal with drunk people on a daily basis.” Gabriella said, waving dismissively, having slid further down the bar to grab a glass from under the counter and pour out a glass of water so she missed all of what Andrea said. “You say something?” She asked, moving back up the bar and placing the glass in front of Andrea.

“I…” started Andrea, stopping herself for a moment as she took the glass of water in her hand, setting her phone down. “I called you pretty, but uh, that was pretty stupid t-to say so don’t get mad at me?”

“Can’t exactly get mad at you for a complement, don’t worry about it.” Gabriella said as she glanced down the bar, making sure it was actually clean before turning around and taking several bottles off the shelf, forming them into a line as she began to mix herself a drink. For all she knew, she might need it to steady herself depending on where the conversation went once everyone else showed up.

“I uhhhh, guess you could say I have a problem with worrying too much,” Andrea shrugged, taking a sip of the water and looking at the counter as she absentmindedly tapped her fingers against it. “Sorry…”

“It isn’t a problem, I’ll take apologies for something that didn’t offend me over drunken idiots not apologising for literally anything.” Gabriella said as she finished pouring and mixing her drink, giving it an experimental sip before setting it back down on the bar and turning to clean the bottles away. “You got any idea how many others we’re expecting?”

Andrea shook her head - she hadn’t been given many details, really, she just knew she was invited because the night of the recent energy storm, she had been there and she had explained some of it to Jade. She was probably the first one that came to Jade’s mind when thinking of who to call. “Dunno… W-Was with Jade when the storm h-happened, there were some football players around too, d-don’t know how many people ended up noticing the… Strange shit…”

“Great.” Gabriella sighed, rolling her eyes. “Of all the crowds to have around the storm, it had to be them. They’re the worst when drunk by a large margin, but hopefully it isn’t too many of them.” Gabriella paused for a moment. “And Jade didn’t invite too many of them either because it’s her.”

“They buy drugs, at least, which is good for me… But I avoid cliques in general,” Andrea said with another slight shrug, taking another sip of water. “I don’t know how many people were affected, though, if we felt strange things and we weren’t even around the actual spot where the energy storm hit… T-That one was sectioned off b-by the BEA already.”

“What does that even stand for anyways?” Gabriella asked, picking up her drink in one hand and taking a long sip. “I just knew there were feds in the area, didn’t know who they were from though. Not heard that acronym before but I’m not exactly into the metahuman scene at all. Even Jade knows more than I do.”

“Bureau of Extrahuman Activity. Anything outside the realm of regular human activity is t-their domain, they license the superheroes, deal with i-identifying dangerous metahumans, and since t-these storms have resulted in p-p-people gaining powers, they’ve started handling those too. B-Because the last thing the feds want is someone getting e-exposed to one and turning into a w-walking nuke or something,” Andrea explained, as simply as she could. “But… T-They’re known for being pretty heavy handed.”

“And given all the… Oddness around the storms, then, well…” Gabriella set her drink down, leaning over the bar and letting out a sigh. “And the oddness we’ve-”

“Heya Gab!” Whatever Gabriella was about to say was interrupted as Jade strutted into the bar as if she owned it, hopping up onto a stall next to Andrea. “Gimme one of what I normally get?”

“Sure.” Gabriella said, turning away to get a glass out to mix up Jade’s drink while Jade seemingly finally noticed Andrea, turning slightly towards her. “Didn’t keep you two waiting or interrupt something, did I?”

Andrea looked away, not saying anything but shrugging with her shoulders. “Not really,” she said eventually, awkwardly.

“Good, uh, I don’t know if Art is coming or not.” Jade said, taking the glass Gabriella offered to her and taking a long gulp before continuing. “But we may as well start anyways, fill him in when he shows up if he does. So, Andrea, basically, uh, tell us literally everything you know about this whole thing and if I need to be worried by the weird colours I know I see sometimes.”

“Yeah, well, i-if I tell you everything I know it’s going to m-m-make me look like a schizo,” complained Andrea, setting her own glass down and thinking back to that night, and to what had come a week following it. “Are you absolutely sure you want me to explain?”

“It’s what I asked you here for.” Jade said, shrugging. “More we know, the better.”

“Promise not to think you’re mad or whatever no matter what you say.” Gabriella added. “I’m, well, slightly worried too.”

Letting out a long sigh, Andrea scratched her head and brushed her hair out of her face before delving into the best explanation that she could give. “Well, to put things simply, whatever it is that we know as red energy - that is, the stuff that you saw in the sky - is a powerful force capable of creating things, of changing things, of destroying them, you get the idea… And it does tend to change things when it’s around them. We’ve seen it in other places, we’ll probably see it here, too. But… And this is where things get different from what any of you would have seen…”

She paused, considering her words carefully. “I saw someone in my room. Or maybe someone was really there. Either way, this person was… Able to control the red energy. Able to use it like some regular metahuman might be able to use a power, even though there’s no known metahuman that can do that. The person had wings, too. Told me that a certain number of people end up blessed by red energy for the entertainment of the… The entertainment of the ones that caused it in the first place. I didn’t get the full information, though. A lot of it was left out, intentionally, but from what I can get from it… We’re expected to be in some kind of ‘game’ now. Don’t know what it is. Don’t know what it means. I’m j-just repeating what I heard, t-that every one of us that was changed by red energy is now locked in a… G-Game, with high stakes supposedly…”

Neither Jade or Gabriella said anything, remaining silent for a few long seconds.

“Okaaaaaay…” Jade eventually said, taking another long gulp of her drink before continuing. “I don’t like the sound of literally any of that at all, assuming it’s true but it isn’t like you’ve got a reason to lie.”

Gabriella held up her hand, drinking from her own glass before setting it down with a sigh. “I think the better question is what do we do now? Why the red energy ‘blessing’ is happening, who this ‘game’ is for, that’s just irrelevant to us here and now. I think we can assume we’re, well, ‘blessed’ even if it isn’t the word I’d choose, I’d prefer ‘royally screwed over’, so… What do we do?”

“I… I don’t know. I d-don’t even know what this game is… But I think the way the energy changed us might have something to do with… Homo Sensatus. It’s… Relatively obscure, but there’s a subtype of metahuman called that, a-and the subtype grew after the energy storms s-started originally… But they’re supposed to have powers of the mind, and the o-one thing they have in common is being a-able to see auras… A-And being able to influence people,” Andrea stated, pausing. “But I think when w-we saw lights, that might have been… The auras that sensates are supposed to be able to see… T-That’s the other name for them.”

“I knew it wasn’t just my head being fucky.” Jade mumbled out in between sips while Gabriella simply nodded, pushing her now-finished glass aside. “So… We have powers, potentially. Well, probably, and we’re this special subtype of meta and just to make it even better the BEA is in town and I’d bet that they’re going to be poking for this special type of metahuman if they’re linked to the red energy storms. I’m not saying it’s a good idea to leave for a while while we let this all blow over, but…” Gabriella shrugged. “I don’t exactly like the idea of being dragged off to a metahuman internment camp or wherever the BEA takes new metahumans if they do that kind of thing.” One could never be too sure when it came to government organisations, after all.

“And what am I going to tell my family if I just up and disappear from college?” Andrea asked, unsure about the idea of picking up and leaving. “A-And the BEA is everywhere, t-there’s probably more of them in New York or Boston or somewhere like that than there are a-around here… B-But yes, I don’t think t-the BEA feels safe h-having metahumans that can inherently i-influence people.”

“Same problem here.” Jade added. “Can’t just up and leave on nothing.”

Gabriella groaned. “Look, it doesn’t have to be for long, make it a day or three, we go to somewhere that isn’t a big city but is decently sized, relax for a bit and see what happens. If it’s all still normal here then we can come back, but… I just think it might be a good idea for all of us to prepare to bolt. Just… Worst case scenario stuff, you know? Better have and not need than vice versa and all that, we may not need to.”

Andrea let out a slow sigh, looking down at her phone - she’d have to figure out soon what she was going to say to her family if they did have to get out of here quickly. “I g-guess I’ll let you two lead the way on that,” she said eventually, in a slightly resigned tone. “I d-don’t know what’s going to happen with this, d-don’t know what kind of game we’re in but… Somehow I know you might be right… G-Guess I just don’t want to have to handle it a-any sooner than I h-have to.”

“I don’t think any of us wants to handle this stupid thing.” Jade said, Gabriella offering a single nod of agreement. “I don’t want to leave either-” Jade continued. “But I guess it can’t hurt.”

“Yeah, just because I came up with it doesn’t mean I like it.” Gabriella sighed. “But I don’t want to be caught off-guard, you know? Can’t imagine anything worse than being forced to leave with no preparation at all.”

“And where would we even go if we have to run? I don’t have somewhere to take off to, a-and it’s not l-like I can ask my family for help, t-they wouldn’t approve of leaving c-college behind,” Andrea pointed out, finishing the glass of water that was in front of her. “T-They would probably think it was strange if I j-just up and left for three d-days, since they k-know how I am… Unless I said it was for metahuman watching, b-but… I don’t usually travel with other people.”

“We’ve still got time to work the where out and God knows my family would be livid for running off from college.” Gabriella said, picking up Andrea’s glass and setting it down on the other side of the bar.

“Same.” Jade added, nodding.

“Besides, it isn’t like you have to tell your family you’re with a group.” Gabriella continued. “We all go to like Providence or something, stay a bit, see how things are back here, if it’s fine we go back, if it isn’t, well, we decide what we do then if that’s good with both of you.”

Andrea let out a sigh but she nodded. Didn’t seem like the best option to her, but… She wasn’t the one calling the shots per say. “If you think it’s the best thing to do,” was all she said, speaking slowly and avoiding a stutter. She really needed a drink herself right now… Although she didn’t trust herself to actually have one.

“I don’t know if it is or isn’t, if I’m being honest.” Gabriella admitted. “I’m making it up as I go along, but I’d much rather avoid having my door kicked down at 4AM by the government, if you have a better idea than a brief holiday of sorts while we take stock I don’t bite.”

“I think that if the government…” started Andrea, pausing to collect herself. “Wants to kick in your door, they’re going to do it whether you’re here or staying in Providence…”

“They have to figure out where we are first, but that’s not going to be hard.” Gabriella mused. “So… What would you do instead? I don’t really feel like just sitting here and waiting for it either.”

“I don’t know, guess I’m not the best fuckin’ person to figure this out,” Andrea said in frustration, standing up from where she was sitting, letting out a slow sigh. “I’ll come up with s-something to tell my parents… J-Jade, you can text me when you guys figure something out about what you’re doing.”

“Got it.” Jade nodded. “I’ll need to figure out what the fuck I’m telling mine too.”

“Same, I suppose.” Gabriella nodded her own agreement. “Even if they’re on another continent.”
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Durmatagno
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Founded: Oct 10, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Durmatagno » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:37 pm

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The Initiative for a New World is one of the largest shadow factions in the game of world affairs - offering metahuman mercenaries, running a number of companies from behind the scenes, amd generally brokering influence and force, no one quite knows what the Initiative wants… But that doesn’t mean they aren’t a force to be reckoned with. Today, Initiative run metahuman mercenary team Theta 13 is set to receive a new member, who will join them at the Initiative’s Hong Kong base.


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    THE PSYCHIC WARS CHAPTER 1: “INTRO DAY
    Initiative for a New World Hong Kong Office
    November 15th, 2025
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The Initiative for a New World - something that sounded right out of some action movie about a global conspiracy. The stereotype wasn't that far off but in reality most secret societies weren’t that glamorous. In fact, this one could hardly be called a secret society at all. It existed in plain sight, running a number of corporations, and the INW’s buildings could be seen in major cities such as Hong Kong, which was where the organization largely ran its Asian-Pacific operation out of. One would think that it would be dangerous running shady activities right out here in the open, with no secrecy from the law, but the fact of the matter was, obfuscation was sometimes better than actively hiding. People would find it strange if black helicopters were heading to and departing from a blacksite. They didn’t find it strange at all that plenty of people left and arrived at the office of a massive holdings company every day.

That was just normal life. And that normalcy was largely what allowed the Initiative to work on goals that were more fitting of an organization of their name. In public, they were just a collection of companies, in private… They did work to change the world, for multiple reasons, the least of which wasn’t profit. They offered a lot of services - they were experts in metahumans, not in superheroes but in metahumans in general and the science behind them. They did a lot of research, experimented with inducing powers in regular people, and perhaps most importantly, they had metahuman mercenaries on every continent, perhaps more than any other company around did. They’d worked with giants of industry and they’d worked with governments, cutting deals to remove enemies and restore order to rebellion stricken regions, or sometimes to help those rebellions in removing a government that some other funder wanted gone.

If someone wanted to fight a shadow war, there was an almost zero percent chance that they had never heard of the Initiative. If someone was involved in that community, in fact, it was safe to say that the name of the company would be very familiar to them. It was everywhere, in some circles, regardless of what anyone thought of it. Some said that the company was too powerful for what it was, a non state actor that had intervened in the affairs of several states over the years, others said the entire thing was a forced labor operation and that the metahumans that were involved with the Initiative didn’t want to be there, or that they had even been taken from their homes as children and thrown into the power induction process without their consent.

Whatever the truth was, though, it semed where was nothing stopping the Initiative. No brakes on the train. They continued to grow. Continued to interfere more. Continued to offer an increasing list of services and postured themselves increasingly like they were a real military or a real government organization. They had more buildings going up around the world, more metahumans in their ranks, more corporate ties with other powerful companies, and more politicians working with them to the mutual benefit of both parties. There was no telling when it would stop.

Their Hong Kong based Asian office, which had been opened in 2018, was an example of their sharp rise in recent years. It was the newest out of their regional headquarters buildings but despite that, it still seemingly had a full staff all of the time, and was one of the busier buildings in the area where it was situated. Additionally, there were deeper underground levels where the real operations were conducted, the ones that affected world geopolitics and made the biggest money for the organization, or gave them the influence to grow further in the future in a repeating cycle.

Shining glass made up the aboveground section of the building, while the belowground section which could only be accessed from certain elevators and stairwells based in certain parts of the building might as well have been completely different, the glass replaced with more steel, a colder and sleeker metal look taking over as far as the design went, with far more… High tech computer screens and the like strewn around compared to the aboveground part of the building which was designed for civilians and didn’t carry as much of the same advanced technology. Fact of the matter was, the civilians just didn’t need it as much - the underground, section, though, had a completely different purpose.

Some of the most advanced military operations in the world were happening out of here. And somehow, all of it was kept out of the eye of the public for the most part, anything that was visible aboveground only being a small hint of what actually went on within the deeper parts of the base…

Sage tapped her foot as she waited. She’d been told about this earlier, but today was when she was being introduced to her new team. She wasn’t sure why she was being taken from her sisters, but it mattered little. She had a job to do, and her orders were putting her into this new team. The computers and other things around the area interested her very little. They weren’t part of her job, though she could use them if she had to. Her job was simple most of the time, at least on paper. In execution it was more complex, but in the end, it was still her job. She’d have to learn this new team, these...humans, and figure out where her role was in this group. She knew where and what she was supposed to do on her old team, but this was new territory for her. New leader, new teammates, new missions. She just wondered what was taking so long to introduce her.

She was taken to a room which was like an office, although this specific one seemed much more military focused than the average one that someone might find within a building like this under normal circumstances. The door was opened for her and, within the ‘office,’ she saw the squad leader that she would be working under - obviously, a metahuman and a powerful one at that to have been made the squad leader by the Initiative. “Sage Shields,” the young woman said in recognition of the approaching member of her squad, looking up from where she had been looking over a map which was probably for some future operation. It was marked out with red ink, after all, with circles and some lines. “New member, right?”

“Correct, reporting to new assignment.”

Sage still wasn't used to humans. They were odd to her, but then, she was odd to them. Part of that oddity came from her limited exposure to them, unless she was fighting them most of them came from hard to understand higher ups. It was rare that she interacted with more ‘normal’ humans. Now she was in a squad with them, she was unsure how it would go.

“Well, what are they sending you to me for? I mean… I could offer a tour or something, but it’s better figuring it out for yourself, probably quicker for everyone that way and most of the locations around here explain themselves easily,” shrugged the squad leader, looking back down to the map with the red markings. “The name’s Kaelyn, by the way. Kaelyn Woods. Also known by a few other names including Hazard and ‘pretty motherfucker.’ Nice to meet you.”

“I don’t know, I was just told to report to you, then...that was that. Guess I’ll just...find where everything is.”

Sage wasn’t used to things being...relaxed like that, her last commander had been fairly strict and formal, but then she had Sage and her sisters to wrangle. Ashura wasn’t exactly the most normal by even their strange standards, and then Carolina was...something else entirely. Sage shook her head, and after a moment of hesitation to make sure Kaelyn didn’t need anything, turned to exit the room and...figure out where everything was. She looked left, then right, and chose right. She’d know if she was getting close to somewhere she didn’t have clearance to be, for now she just had to figure out the layout.

She would find a number of sights, although they were mainly people moving around through the hallways, some of them in business outfits and others in scientific uniforms, a few of them even in CBRN suits for whatever reason, and the next place that she would find herself in after roaming that area was the team’s training center, where when she stepped through the glass door, she would find someone who seemed, at least from appearances, to be another team member, working on training at one of the punching bags.

Sage tilted her head a little, watching the form of her teammate. She was rather good, though Sage wasn’t sure how they matched up. Form against a punching bag was much different than in sparring or real combat. Still, she wasn’t surprised. She highly doubted anyone on her team would be incompetent or a liablity, those weren’t tolerated. She considered speaking up, but decided to wait for the nameless in front of her to stop for a breather before saying something, not wanting to interrupt an active sequence.

“Nice form, though I’d personally widen my stance a bit.”

The girl turned slowly and looked up to see who was making the comment, offering a bit of a shrug as she reached for a towel to remove some of the sweat from her neck. “Everything I do is calculated,” she said simply, no emotion in her voice at all, just a plain stating of the fact. She looked Sage over, not saying anything immediately other than that, waiting for something else to be said as her cold eyes seemed to just… Bore into Sage in a way. She was the kind of person that could make someone feel like they were being looked through, rather than at.

Sage wasn’t bothered by the look, she’d dealt with plenty of oddities from her siblings, this was just one more to shrug away.

“Gives me more power behind my hits, when I do it right. Not a big deal, just commenting. New team member, name’s Sage Shields.”

She didn’t offer her hand to shake, it wasn’t something she’d ever really had to do before, so she didn’t even give it a thought. Now she was just wondering about the name of the girl before her. She seemed a dangerous one, a good person to have on your team and not against you.

Kodiak paused, noticing the lack of an offer for a handshake, not extending her own hand either. Didn’t bother her. She wasn’t the most social person and she didn’t care for formalities as much as some others would, because of it. “Kodiak Marsden,” she said simply, in introduction. “Also the executive officer around here… Or just Kaelyn’s assistant, honestly.”

“Not interrupting for long. Just meeting the team and learning the layout. Already met Kaelyn, you’re the second I’ve bumped into. Probably end up in here before to long, I don’t enjoy being idle very much.”

Sage studied Kodiak for a little while longer, before relaxing her gaze. Kodiak was interesting at least, different than the people Sage was used to, Sage was the odd one here. Maybe, she wasn’t quite sure, Kodiak wasn’t like most humans she’d met before now either, but hey, she wasn’t sure what ‘normal’ was. For herself or for humans, so she just moved forward taking things in stride.

“Cool.”

It was the only thing Kodiak said before she moved to sit down on one of the benches, looking up at Sage still, her eyes still cold but, well, she obviously had some interest in Sage at whatever level considering she was still looking at her… Even if she didn’t say much at all, her behavior mysterious even if that was unintentional. It was just how she acted around someone she had just met, really.

“Well...see you around Kodiak, I’ll swing back by later for some training of my own, but first I need to figure out where everything is in this place.”

Sage was unsure about Kodiak, she was cold, though it was far from the coldest reaction Sage had ever had. Whatever the case, they weren’t at odds so Sage counted it as a win. She frowned for a second, and looked down, concentrating for a moment, before turning and moving away, slower than she had been before. She wasn’t entirely sure why, but she felt...odd. Maybe she’d eaten something that didn’t agree with her.

After stepping back into the hallways she would have the chance to roam around some more, and she would pass a number of empty rooms with different labels. It looked like this floor was partly used for science and was partly used by the unit that she was now assigned to, Theta 13. Some of the facilities were related to the Initiative’s research and other ones were for her team, such as the medic’s office that she passed, which wasn’t occupied, and the place that she found herself in front of right now, the store. Seemed they had a store deep underground for the employees that worked down here, which included her team. Coming out of it with a bottle of alcohol in hand was a peculiar looking girl who seemed younger than the others, maybe eighteen or nineteen, and had, interestingly enough… A pair of horns on top of her head, contrasting with her pink hair?

Not human?

Sage tilted her head slightly, curious about the horns. She assumed the hair was dyed, but...wait, maybe it wasn’t. Not with those horns. She glanced at the alcohol, and then back to the horns. She wasn’t a big drinker, but she was intrigued by the horns.

“Mmm...”

That was the only noise she made for the moment, she wasn’t sure this girl was on her team, she had been given a list, but quite honestly didn’t remember it anymore. Her impatience, or perhaps curiosity had shunted it from her memory. She wasn’t going to bother anyone not on her team if she could help it.

The girl also seemed to be checking Sage out - not in the usual sense that someone would check someone else out in, but in the sense that she seemed just as interested in her and who she was as Sage seemed interested in her horns. “Not from around here?” she asked plainly, as if it was something obvious. Although, it wasn’t just Sage not being from around here that stood out to the girl. It was the fact that something about her was straight up different.

“Just got here today.”

Sage’s eyes moved away from the horns and studied the rest of the girl. If the girl was human, she was some kind of genetic mutation, but knowing this place, she could easily be non-human or only part human. Sage wasn’t sure, and was hoping the rest of her would provide some kind of clue. She spotted fangs when she spoke, but that didn’t help much either, some humans had them, for one reason or another.

“Name’s Sage.”

“Aqua Schone,” the girl with the horns said, moving closer, pacing all around Sage as she examined her, and then stepping out behind her and chuckling to herself. “Yeah, you’re not human,” she stated. Didn’t seem like she was upset by it, more like she was amused by it. “So what are you?”

“They probably have some kind of fancy name for us, but personally we call ourselves Arcanum...how do you know?”

Sage tracked Aqua as she moved around her, never letting her out of her sight for more than a moment. She felt like she was being hunted, stalked. She wasn’t sure why, there was something...odd in Aqua’s gaze, something she couldn’t quite place.

“Good senses,” was all Aqua said, moving around Sage a bit more before she settled in front of her, and then leaned against the wall, shrugging slightly. “And you can probably see that I’m not all human myself, make of that what you will. Haven’t run into someone else like you, though… Heard whispers but… In the rumor mill around here, you’ll learn not to trust everything you hear. Everyone thinks they know what’s happening in the labs…”

“Don’t know about all my sisters, but some of the others got reassigned to. Not being human doesn’t really mean much to me, or not being all human for that matter. Wonder what the rumors say about us, I know Ashura would color us in some...odd ways.”

Sage said the name as if it was supposed to mean anything to Aqua, but then a six armed spider girl stood out when she showed up. Even her name was related to that, while Sage’s chosen name was a bit more...humble, in a manner of speaking.

“Don’t think it will mean all that much here if you perform,” shrugged Aqua. “And I think they’re going to throw you right in the action. Next job is in North Korea or something like that, it’s not that long from now. Like a week or somethin’. I dunno. It’ll be good having more help.”

“Fighting is what I’m good at. Sneaking I’m decent with. North Korea huh? Hmmm, probably what Kaelyn was looking at when I reported to her.”

Sage still wasn’t sure what the little gleam in Aqua’s eye was, but she attributed it to whatever non-human she had inside of her. Whether or not it was true was another thing, it was easier for her to just label it and move in than wonder about each and everything she didn’t understand.

“We’ll see in the field. If what I heard is true, we’re going to have a lot of fighting to do ‘round tere…” Aqua said, taking a step away from the wall. “But uhh… Guess next time we talk will be at dinner or in training, right now I got something or someone to do, you know.”

“Not really, but I’ll let you go do...that.”

Sage wasn’t quite sure what Aqua meant, but it mattered little. She had to find out where everything else was, including her quarters, and then maybe she’d get something to eat. Her ‘sweet tooth’ was acting up, if you could even call it that. She gave one last glance up at Aqua’s horns before turning to walk away.

The winding hallways of the area would eventually lead her down one floor which was where she would find her own room, among the rooms of the others in the unit, their first initial and their surname carved on a metal plate on each one. Hers was obviously the one that had been carved out the most recently, and she had been given the key when she had very first arrived - the inside of the room was pretty plain at this point, but that made sense. Wasn’t like she’d had any time yet to add anything, or any missions with this new team to acquire things in the first place to place in the room.

Sage looked around her room, and pulled from her pocket one of the only personal items she owned, placing it on the bed for now. She’d find a better place for it later. It was a small jade spider, not much else was on it, but she had made it herself, and it was perhaps one of the only material possessions aside from clothes she owned. She sat down on the bed, and looked around the room, before stretching out and laying there for a bit. After about twenty minutes of just thinking, sorting through the new names and faces she’d learned, she got up, and went to get a bite to eat.
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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Forest State
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Posts: 4012
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:26 am

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Welcome to Task Force Theta 13, Sage Shields! As a part of this unit, a member of the Initiative for a New World’s Special Warfare Command (SWCOM), you will be expected to take jobs around the world as a part of the INW’S metahuman mercenary force. Today, your mission will take you to the Persian Gulf region, which is frequently one of the most volatile in the world. The Houthis, a violent rebel movement based in Yemen, have acquired intermediate range ballistic missiles from some foreign power - possibly Iran or North Korea, based on Intelligence's reports. You have been hired secretly by the Saudi Arabian government to destroy these missiles, which will likely be used to target Saudi cities and allies alike, in retaliation for Saudi Arabia's destructive campaign in Yemen. You will be brought into the area of operations via helicopter, under the cover of night, and you will trek through two villages before arriving in the valley where Houthi forces have set up camp. Sneak in, destroy their launchers using demolition charges, and escape the area and await exfil to the INW office in Dubai.

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    THE PSYCHIC WARS CHAPTER 2: “AN INTERMEDIATE RANGE PROBLEM
    Initiative for a New World Hong Kong Office
    November 20th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
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Sage moved through the halls, heading to the meeting room. She had a mission, and was going to be briefed soon. She wondered what abilities she’d need for this one. Her ability to blend in was the one she had the most practice with, though she enjoyed using her geomancy more. Still, a mission was a mission, she’d always do what she could to the best of her abilities. She rubbed at her neck as she opened the door into the room, she’d slept a little funny last night it was a little sore. She noted Kodiak was also in the room, and gave her a nod, before turning her attention to the briefing.

Kodiak didn’t say anything, taking note that Sage was there and once again keeping her eyes on her for quite awhile, but she didn’t go any further than that. Didn’t offer a greeting, but then again, she didn’t seem like the kind of person that did that for anyone, let alone people that she didn’t know very well. It was only a few moments before the squad leader, Kaelyn “Hazard” Woods, walked into the room and turned on the television screen that was being used for the briefing.

“You might be surprised by the size of the team but as stealth is optimal for this operation, we decided not to commit more than two agents. Having a larger team just means more chances to get caught,” she stated, a map displayed on the screen showing the path they would take. “On the map, you can see the path that you’re using, although, of course, it’s open to change if you notice that things on the ground are different than what intelligence has reported. And as you can see here, you’re going to be dropped into the mountains, where your path will then take you to a lower elevation and into a rough valley-like area, where you’ll have to advance further to your target.”

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Intelligence has reported that the Houthis managed to get their hands on IRBMs.
She paused, looking to Sage and Kodiak. “Your targets in this case are a unit of the Houthi rebellion - a movement in Yemen, these people have gained the attention of the Saudis following their acquisition of intermediate range ballistic missiles from an unknown source. The Saudis would like to quietly remove the problem and while we don’t know where the missiles are from, it’s our job to remove them after taking the contract. If the mission fails, there could be major consequences of course, with these missiles able to hit all over Saudi Arabia, the gulf states, and perhaps interestingly enough, Israel. We’re getting paid a large amount to handle this, so your success is of the utmost importance.”

She pointed to the map once again. “After heading down to a lower elevation and entering the valley, you’re going to proceed down the path marked out and you’ll have to pass through two villages. There should be a Houthi armed presence there, but it should mostly be footsoldiers with cheap rifles. After passing through two of these villages and hopefully not making a big deal out of your presence, you’ll enter a patrol zone where two BTR-70 armored fighting vehicles have been seen. Preferably, you can avoid these, but if that doesn’t work, you’ll both be equipped with RPG-22 anti vehicle weapons. They are, however, single shot, so you should preferably make sure that you don’t end up relying on them. After making it through the last stretch, you’ll come across the Houthi camp, where your last goal is to sneak in and destroy the three IRBM launchers using the demolition charges that you’ll be provided with.”

Kaelyn gave a pause for them to take in the information. “Of course, you’re going to be conducting this operation at night. It should provide some help with the stealth based sections, although intelligence seems to indicate that a night watch does exist - and gunshots would alert the enemy. To help with noise reduction, you’re being assigned silenced AS VAL rifles for this. They are not, however, completely silent, despite what I’ve just said. Now, any questions?”

“Would me taking the guise of one of the patrolling soldiers be out of the question? I know the language, and most radios distort voices enough that I can pass off a sore throat if needed. If allowed, I might be able to just walk past their patrols and get to the targets without much difficulty. I’d just need overwatch incase anything goes south.”

Sage responded after a few moments, studying the map. Silence wasn’t too much of a problem for her, she could throw a knife or other weapon much further than most people, and they were far far quieter than even suppressed gunfire. If it was night, it’d give her long enough to bury the body, take the guise, and get back on track. She frowned, if she was forbidden from taking this path she could probably create dust cover, as if a small dust storm was blowing in. That wouldn't be very suspicious, and it’d give them additional cover against poorly equipped enemies. Many of them might abandon their patrols to take shelter if she made it convincing enough.

“You can go ahead with that plan if you can reasonably imitate one of their soldiers without revealing your mission. If you find yourselves alerting all of them by taking out one patrol for the purpose of getting a uniform and identification…” started Kaelyn, looking towards Sage. “You’ll find yourselves with a far harder mission on your hands. You want to expose yourselves as little as possible in this one.”

“Alright, I’ll leave it as an option. What about creating a dust cloud? If it’s windy enough, I could pull in enough dust from the mountains to hide us without too much suspicion, sudden dust storms are common in the region.”

“Again… Do what you can without getting exposed. You also reduce your own visibility, and don’t expect the guards of the camp to abandon it in the event of a dust storm. If anything, you may risk waking up more of the enemy forces than you would have otherwise by just walking regularly,” Kaelyn said with a shrug. “You also risk running into one of the BTRs with the low visibility obscuring your own awareness.”

“Mmm...I’ll only do it an emergency then. No further questions from me.”

Sage had maybe underestimated the discipline of the forces if what Kaelyn said was accurate. Still, as a last ditch effort it could still be effective. She had other tricks she could pull, but nothing so large scale, more for individual encounters.

“No questions,” Kodiak said, and with that, she stood up. She turned to her new teammate, speaking coldly - although it didn’t seem like it came from a place of hostility, it just seemed like it was the way that she was, and it seemed like her tone was more… Methodical. “Our equipment will be in the armory. We should pick it up and continue to the airport,” she stated plainly.

Sage stood and nodded. She was used to this sort of treatment, not many people were strictly speaking friendly with her, not outside of her siblings anyway. It didn’t really bother her, even if she had hoped things would be different here. Aqua and Kaelyn were different at least.

“Let’s get moving.”



By the time they ended up reaching the corner of Yemen that they were heading towards, it was dark, just as Kaelyn had said, and the two of them were wearing night vision equipment as the helicopter descended - that was the main notable piece of equipment they had on them. Other than that, both of them had AS VAL rifles and on their backs, attached to their medium sized backpacks, were RPG-22 anti-tank weapons that could be used on the two BTR-70s if they ran into them. The goal, of course, was not to run into them. “Let’s get moving,” Kodiak said, hopping out of the UH-60 helicopter as it hovered about a foot off the ground, waving for Sage to follow and gesturing down towards the ground, beyond the mountainous and elevated position they were in right now.

Sage took only one moment to take a deep breath, before jumping out of the helicopter, heading with a heavier thud than even her large frame seemed to hold. Kodiak was the more experienced soldier here, so Sage would follow her lead unless circumstances pushed them otherwise. She smiled softly to herself, on some level she always hoped for a fight, she enjoyed them, but she wasn’t going to risk the mission just to get her fill of blood.

The terrain would have been nicer looking if they weren’t looking at it through the grainy lens of night vision goggles, although the operation did have a somewhat surreal feeling to it because of that fact. The greenish tint and glow of everything was strange looking and they had to be careful with each step, since it was hard to judge what was in front of them completely accurately when they were wearing the night vision equipment, but it was still… Something out of the ordinary at the least. As they started the trek down, heading away from the mountain and towards the valley, Kodiak finally made conversation.

“So where the hell are you from, actually?” she asked in her usual tone, not looking back as she kept up a swift pace moving down the rocky terrain, having no trouble. Either because of her enhanced dexterity or because she was already experienced with this kind of thing from past missions.

Sage was slightly slower behind Kodiak, but part of that was her trying to keep her unnatural weight from creating her problems. Her connection to the dirt and stone around her let her place her feet confidently, but she had to avoid anything that’d make too much noise.

“Lab grown. Same as my sisters and brothers. I think someone told me once that I have Canadian and Swedish DNA in me, but that could have been a dream.”

“Fuckin’ hell.”

Kodiak didn’t say a lot as she continued moving down the path - they eventually reached the point where they were at the dirt trail. It was driveable if one had a vehicle, but not really. It could be driven, but it seemed there were plenty of hazards. It made sense that the missile camp was located further down this road… It was hard to interfere with an area that couldn’t be reached, but that was part of why they were on foot. “Texas,” she said eventually, stating her own birthplace but not giving an indication of just what she was talking about. “Fort Worth, actually. Can hardly remember what life was like before INW, though…”

“Never been to Texas, closest has been Central America. Most of my life has been moving between labs, and classrooms. Let me tell you, they weren’t prepared for some of the...variety they got with my siblings. I have one sister with six arms.”

Sage kept her voice low, and her ears peeled. The moment there was sounds of footsteps or signs of a patrol, her mouth would clamp shut. Talking was nice and all, but the mission came first. They had plenty of time on the way back to base and at base to talk when they wanted to.

“Not going to ask,” said Kodiak, continuing forward, reaching down to her pocket and pulling out the paper map they had with them and examining it one more time before starting forward once again. She looked around, probably checking for any landmarks that would give them an idea if they were getting close to the village. The first one, anyway. It wasn’t that far off, but they still did have a little bit to go. “When we get to the first village… I’m going to go invisible. Just so you know where I am… If you need help, shout.”

“I’ll be trying to avoid trouble if I can, the less likely this ends in a shootout, the better.”

Sage used the pause to pop her neck, and crane her neck upwards, eyes closed for a moment, just listening. Once they were ready to move again, she checked her gun to make sure it was ready to fire in an emergency, then the crystalline knife strapped to her side. An hour after she stopped touching it, it’d cease to exist, left behind less evidence, especially evidence hinting to what she could do.

They arrived at the first village, but at night, the guards weren’t keeping that close an eye on it, it seemed. They were able to pass into the village without attracting the attention of the masked gunmen, and the village itself wasn’t the most developed in the world. Some buildings that were the same color as the sand, a parked vehicle here, a parked vehicle there. Most of the people that lived around here walked or used animals to get around, however. They were a far cry from the larger cities of the region, including some of the ones they had passed by air on the way here.

Eventually they were able to pass through to the other side of the village in a reasonable amount of time, not alerting the twelve Houthi soldiers that had been positioned throughout. It seemed that while they were headed to a well defended site, Kodiak’s invisibility and the fact that they were moving at night, was enough to keep them from getting discovered. Still, Kodiak was sure to keep her mouth shut until they were a further distance away.

“One more village. And then the main site,” she stated flatly, not looking over her shoulder as they ended up back on the dirt road headed towards their destinations.

“Going to be more eyes, and the BTR-70s are still around.”

Sage was moving more slowly now, ready to drop into the dirt and lower still if needed the moment she heard the sound of the BTR-70s approaching. She was fine with Kodiak being in the lead, it was much less likely for the smaller, invisible figure to be spotted, but after they blew the targets, there would be some fighting on the way out. Sage wanted to save her ammo for that.

“Not until we pass through the second village,” Kodiak said simply. “They’re further down the way. Closer to the site itself… Although the fact that they’re sticking close to the target means they can run more frequent patrols.”

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The scenery looks dramatically different with NV gear.
Kodiak kept leading the way, as they started approaching the second village. She stopped. She could see a couple of guards manning a post by the road, but unfortunately for them, they didn’t have the same night equipment that herself and Sage had. “Come on,” she said in a low enough tone to not be noticed, and they started forward once again. Her hope was that they could move past without alerting the guards thanks to the darkness, but when they’d moved for a bit and they were in front of the guard post, Kodiak heard footsteps. Her head swung to the side and she saw movement. “Contact,” she said, her voice perfectly calm as she kept her cloak of invisibility up and swung around with her gun, shooting but watching as her shot went over the shoulder of the first of the two guards.

Sage swung her rifle up, black crystal forming around her to protect her from return fire, she was a big target after all. Her shots tracked wide, peppering the ground behind her target towards his right side. She cursed under her breath, knowing that they’d likely have more than just these two to deal with soon enough. Getting shot, though, wasn’t something that Sage had to worry about immediately as neither of the guards noticed the invisible Kodiak, instead turning their AK rifles towards Sage and spraying in the darkness, trying to hit but not ending up coming that close to her thanks to the fact that they couldn’t aim properly.

There was plenty of shouting in Arabic.

“The light, the light!”

“I’m looking for it, calm down!”

It seemed one of the soldiers was backing off to look for a light inside the guard booth, and Kodiak took some shots of her own, but she cursed her luck as the man ducked low and her shot narrowly missed the spot where he had just been standing. The sound of footsteps could be heard in the distance also as three more soldiers started running from another part of the village, out of a building which was likely a makeshift barracks - or as close to a barracks as one could get while out here in practically the middle of nowhere. “Handle the guards,” Kodiak said to Sage, spinning around to face the three newcomers and taking the first shot… Her aim, though, was once again off.

“Got it.”

Sage released her grip on her rifle, letting the strap keep it attached to her form. Instead she shot forward, she was large, and covered in crystal, she was hoping that she could keep the fire focused on her and not Kodiak. Her charge missed, narrowly, as the guard scrambled to the side, but now the almost seven feet tall crystalline...thing, was more visible to these two, and to close for any explosives.

There were panicked shouts. Soldiers that were looking for something but not quite able to find it, probably another weapon. A flashlight was turned on and shined around the general area, looking for Sage before settling on her, but the thing was… These soldiers didn’t have the weapon on them to deal with the armor right now. The AKs were raised once again, both of the soldiers backing away while still laying down fire, while slightly further down the road, Kodiak went into a crouch and took another shot from the cover of darkness. She watched her enemy crumple down to the ground, letting out a slight sigh of relief at finally hitting something, stopping to dart to the left and take cover behind one of the buildings, obscuring her position as they started looking for her.

They didn’t find her, though. Being invisible had its perks, and she leaned around the corner with the sight of her rifle raised, holding her breath and taking a second shot which went right past the head of her opponent… Shit. She still had two left to take out, but at the very least, it seemed like the entire group was only armed lightly with desert clothes and assault rifles in their hands.

Sage advanced quickly, charging at the same first soldier. She missed, again, which annoyed her as these soldiers were proving slippery. She whipped a gauntleted fist around to smack the other guard, and missed again. She was going to keep as close to these two as she could, if anyone wanted to break her armor, they’d have to sacrifice their allies to do it. Growling in frustration, she reached for her magic, and yanked up a wall of dirt and stone behind them. Low, and not to tough, but if they weren’t expecting it...she hoped it would them over.

The wall worked well enough for its purpose, and while the entire group, both guards and their backup, were looking towards that and figuring out what had just happened, Kodiak burst out from her cover with practically lightning speed, firing a shot that sent one of the other soldiers flying backwards, leaving the second group with only one left as Kodiak found her way to the wall of another building, pressing her back to it while the last soldier looked to the side but kept advancing, rifle trained on Sage’s back.

Sage hopped over her tripping wall, and glared down at the desperate guards, before bringing up one boot, and caving in one skull, and then crushing the chest of the other. That one would die a little slower, but he was dead, his heart and lungs destroyed. She turned back around, searching for and then facing the last soldier Kodiak hadn’t killed yet, and began advancing, her boot now covered in the blood and bone of his comrades. Kodiak, though, was already on the move, peeking around the wall of the building and firing one more shot, which missed but didn’t expose her position just yet. She did take the attention of the soldier off Sage and towards the alley she had fired from, however.

Sage drew the crystalline knife, it was ever so slightly faster than bringing her rifle to bear given her armor and the straps. With practiced ease, she flung the knife at the last visible standing soldier, the knife burying itself in his back, and hitting with enough force to break bone before even considering the blade. She then brought her rifle up, and did a sweep for any further reinforcements as she moved forward, they still had an objective to reach.

“Let’s keep moving…” said Kodiak, letting out an exasperated sigh as she reloaded her gun and walked at the same time, heading towards the other side of the village and the path where they would continue towards their last destination. “Fuckers are going to be on high alert after this. Probably going to have both of the BTRs roaming around, and the only detour would take us up through rough terrain and there’s no guarantee we don’t end up getting lost with this visibility…”

“We still have our launchers if we have to use them. I’m just hoping the other guards don’t have any anti-tank at the ready, this armor can take a beating, but the only way I can stop that is a lot more stone or crystal than this. Either way I’d be immobilized.”

Sage had the fight she wanted, and it’d gone well for them, no injuries, but Kodiak was right. The enemy was on high alert, and the BTRs would be a problem, especially if they got the first shot. She frowned beneath her helmet, she could probably drop them in a pit if she had to, but their crews could still clamber out and be a problem.

“You don’t want to depend on using those things in the dark, you have to be relatively close to use them and even then, they’re single shot. Miss, and things become a lot harder. No guidance, either,” Kodiak warned, picking up her pace. “And I’m sure they will. A couple of launchers at least, you can find those on hand in large numbers around places like this… We’re entering the patrol zone, soon. According to what intelligence reported. About the time to decide if we’re going straight ahead or going for the detour.”

“With the BTRs on alert...risk the detour, we don’t want to fight them unless absolutely necessary.”

Kodiak raised an eyebrow, slowing down when they approached the patrol zone but not stopping. “You realize that there’s a high chance we get lost and wander around looking for this camp if we go up into that terrain?”

“Fine, we’ll risk the BTRs, if I have to I can pit them, but that’ll take time.”

Sage rolled her eyes under her helmet, the paths didn’t matter much to her, she’d just wanted to avoid the heavier equipment if they could. Still, Kodiak had a point, not that Sage would waste time admitting it right now. She had more field experience, Sage would default to her unless pressed.

“I’m just pointing out that it’s mountains and that there’s a good chance we end up pushed off course if we go around…” Kodiak stated, and she picked up her pace once again, continuing with their trek until they were well within the area which was being actively patrolled.

“No time to debate, we’ll just push through. They already know we’re here anyway. If you have to, leave me behind to plant the charges, I can draw fire at least.”

Kodiak paused, letting out a slow sigh. “...Don’t be stupid. We were sent here as a team, we stick together,” she stated, and she continued along the trail until they could hear the sound of footsteps. She didn’t hear engines, however, which meant one of the BTRs wasn’t closeby just yet. She gestured for Sage to find somewhere to hide - there were plenty of rocks and there was some shrubbery in this area, too, and it helped that it was in the dark against an enemy that didn’t have night vision equipment, just flashlights which came into view. Making a gesture for silence, Kodiak pressed herself against a rock and knelt low.

Sage shifted the color of her armor to match that of the surrounding rocks, then enclosed her rifle and head to make the rocks seem less humanoid, she was relying on sound now, not sight to know when the enemy had passed. Even if they spotted her, and realized what she was, getting through her armor was a very different problem. She smiled beneath her disguise, waiting.

It was a few more moments before the threat was past, although Kodiak waited until they were also out of the earshot of sound to move from behind the cover and to continue. “Alright, we might just face one or so more patrols and then we should be arriving at the front gates of this base,” she said, looking down at the paper map one more time to judge where they were, looking up to the face of a cliff just behind them and using it as a landmark.

While Kodiak was busy checking the map, Sage dismissed the excess crystal, it returning to wherever she summoned the stuff from. She looked back to where the other patrol had headed off to, hoping that if another fight broke out, they were far enough away to be avoided. A group that big might actually have something that could crack her armor, or nine AKs at once could wear through it at a decent enough pace.

“I hate having to do that rock trick, it will never feel right to be frozen in rock.”

“You get used to it when you do enough missions like this. Easier to hide for some tense moments than get into a gunfight,” Kodiak stated before waving for Sage to follow her as they started off again, moving slower and more carefully but not running into, well, anything. It seemed the BTRs weren’t out on patrol for whatever reason, as they hadn’t run into one before or now, only the one foot patrol. Weren’t any other foot patrols in the area, either.

“We’re approaching the gates to the rebel camp.”

Her statement was simple. She didn’t say anything more than she had to, while they made their approach towards the last destination on their list. There were three guards manning a small post out front, responsible for letting traffic in and out of the camp, and due to the prior disturbance they were actually doing their jobs actively, and the area was lit a bit better using floodlights stationed just past the guard booth at the main gate which they were responsible for controlling. It seemed the two BTRs were on the interior of the camp for whatever reason - Kodiak could catch a glimpse of them.

“We can stealth this, but they have floodlights… Would work better for me than it would for you,” she warned. “Or… We might be able to blow the guard post with one of the RPGs, but that… Would obviously alert the others.”

“If I can get close enough, I can pit at least one BTR while you blow the gate. They’re in there to keep us from our objectives, and there’s no way my armor can stop a 14.5mm round. We need those heavy weapons out of the picture. Alternatively, I can blow the gate if you can take out one of them.”

“Those BTRs are further in the camp… We’re not going to be able to take them out and take the gate out at the same time, I think,” Kodiak pointed out. “Although if the gate is taken out, they will have to come to a predictable spot, but they have a lot of footsoldiers also…”

“I can’t sneak past those flood lights, so we’ll have to do it loud…”

Kodiak nodded, looking to Sage. “I can try to slip in during the chaos, but you should fire the shot - whoever shoots is going to give their position away, after all. And come a bit closer, it’d be better to not miss because of range.”

“I’ll get into a better position, soon as you can get in there. I might be able to hold off the foot soldiers, but those BTRs will force me to retreat.”

Sage moved up, getting some decent cover in so that she was less likely to take a direct hit from any of their weapons strong enough to actually get through her armor. After about fifteen seconds in position, she fired the launcher at the gates, giving Kodiak a little time to get ready before the chaos started. The rocket hit the mark, the guard post going up in an explosion as Kodiak had already went invisible, pushing her way past the gate while the wreckage of the guard post burned, reaching to pull her backpack off her back to hold it in one hand while she kept her rifle in the other, turning towards Sage even while she was still invisible. “Come one!” she said. Fact of the matter was, if Sage stayed in the current spot she was in, she wouldn’t be in position for exfiltration once they were done.

Sage moved quickly, her rifle had been ready incase of any rapid response, but that obviously wasn’t happening. She was terrified of the BTRs, but the normal soldiers she could deal with. She waved Kodiak to keep moving, she couldn’t get spotted here, the entire point was that they’d only known one of their positions.

Ten infantry soldiers made themselves apparent, rushing to the front of the camp from various locations almost as soon as the guard post was destroyed, but Kodiak hadn’t yet been spotted. She charged off towards the three launchers which were now only guarded by a couple of soldiers and were plainly apparent, the massive trucks with their large missiles mounted to them impossible to hide. As Kodiak continued, though, the engines of the first BTR roared to life and the thing pulled forward while turning to follow after the infantry, at least one of the soldiers dropping to a crouch to raise a dated RPG-7 anti-tank weapon.

“Allahu akbar!”

With the shout, the sky lit up briefly as the weapon was fired towards Sage, the warhead making impact with the armor and exploding, sending chunks of gem all over the general area and kicking up quite the dust storm while the rest of the soldiers prepared to fire as Kodiak moved in the background towards her own task.

Sage gasped for air flat on the ground, her armor had saved her life, but she was sure she was pretty badly injured. She could feel broken ribs and burns, but she was still breathing, and she could still see. After reforming her armor, using the dust as cover, she struggled back to her feet. She knew the path the BTR was taking, and while she was still hidden in the dust, she pressed her gauntlet to the ground and opened a pit in front of it, maybe under it if it was faster than she was expecting. The pit dropped down five, ten, then fifteen feet, and was just as wide, the ground rumbling as the dirt and stone shift, sand and dust pouring into the whole from the edge. She shouted through the dust, using Arabic to insure she was understood.

“I’M STILL ALIVE, AND NOW I’M PISSED!”

The first BTR found itself going into the pit before it could stop, a product of the restrictive nature of the field of view inside the vehicle, which could at times be compared to a metal coffin in an environment with a lot of surprise threats - such as sudden pits in the ground. The BTR went into the pit but the infantry, however, still raised their rifles and fired, the one AT soldier having dropped the RPG momentarily while picking up an AK rifle to fire with the rest of the soldiers rather than reloading.

Sage gritted her teeth as rifle fire impacted her armor. Normally it’d not bother her, but with the damage from the RPG, it stung with each hit. Stepping from the dust, and tossing her ruined rifle aside, she instead drew up both arms, launching crystalline javelins at her enemies, blood red crystal glenting in the light as they sailed through the air. One of the javelins speared the AT soldier through the chest, his body slumping over, kept upright by the javelin protruding from him. The second wobbled a bit, her aim hadn’t been true on it, but it still found it’s target, burying itself in his gut. He was still alive, for now, but she doubted he’d be fighting anymore. With those away, she picked up the pace, it hurt to run, but it’d hurt worse to be left here. The soldier would be focused on her, but unless they wanted to scramble for the dead AT soldiers weapon, they didn’t have anything that could seriously hurt her.

Kodiak, meanwhile, had finished placing the charges and was on her way to the other side of the camp to await exfiltration. She picked up the radio that was at her side. “This is Theta 13, awaiting exfil…” she said into the radio, looking back to see Sage’s position. She did have some idea to help her out, as the second of the two BTRs roared to life and turned to start heading to Sage’s position. Throwing her rifle around her shoulder, she ran to the side of the BTR while she was still invisible, taking a grenade as she worked on climbing the side of it. Once she was on top of the now moving vehicle, she struggled to open up the top hatch, doing it with one hand with some effort and dropping the grenade into the vehicle before throwing herself back down towards the ladder, the grenade going off a moment later as the thing went off and killed the majority of the crew.

The vehicle came to a sudden stop as the driver was still alive and stopped to investigate, and Kodiak pulled herself back up the ladder and went visible as she disappeared back into the BTR, leaving Sage to her own devices for now. The helicopter was on its way, according to the radios they both had. Now, it was just a race against time to get to the extraction point.

Sage kept moving, angling to pass the second BTR incase Kodiak needed help, her breath was ragged, and she was definitely bleeding into her armor. The now dead AT soldier had done a number on her, but she was really glad that he was dead, and both BTRs were out of the picture, or so it seemed. She got to the BTR, and jumped on top, opening the top hatch. She didn’t speak, she was struggling to breathe, let alone talk. “If you want to do something…” Kodiak started, from the spot where the driver had been located, as she worked on handling the vehicle. “Use that machine gun and spray while we get the fuck out of here.”

Kodiak, once they were both in the vehicle, pressed down on the button to destroy the launchers, the explosions happening quickly as both the trucks and the missiles stored on top of them went aflame and exploded, shaking the ground and practically threatening to knock the BTR off the wheels, the sound being almost deafening and sending a number of pieces of debris raining down over the general area in the process.

“Uh huh.”

Was all Sage got out as she took control of the weapon, turning to aim at whatever soldiers she could see, prioritizing any that had an RPG, and opening fire on the. She hoped most of them would be coward enough to just hide at this point, but she doubted that luck would hold. She saw some soldiers drop under the machine gun fire, five maybe six, it was hard to tell. She used this time mainly to steady her breathing, but she was pretty sure the enemy was beyond threatening them, though she didn’t let up on the weapons.

Kodiak accelerated and took them towards the other side of the camp and the other gate faster than they could be pursued by the Houthi soldiers that were chasing after them in the darkness, not even able to get a good look at where they were headed before they disappeared out of the lighting of the camp. “We go a bit further and then we ditch this thing and continue on foot,” said Kodiak, reaching for her radio and briefly informing their transport of the situation. They could hear more machine gun fire in the distance, which meant that the helicopter had shown up and was pounding the camp further as it passed over, and they could also hear rotors not much longer after.

“Alright, here’s where we head out on foot,” Kodiak stated, stopping the BTR and moving to climb out. “You should have a flare in your bag. Break it open when we get outside, the helicopter is going to come in real quick and kill anything that comes close to us…” she added, reaching the ladder and starting to climb out.

Sage nodded, and looked up, watching Kodiak before climbing out herself. Once on the ground, she reached into her bag, which had its own holes from the shrapnel, and pulled out the thankfully still intact flare. She lit the flare, and tossed it down, finally done panting. She said her first words since yelling in anger back in enemy camp.

“They had one guy who was a damn good shot with his RPG.”

The helicopter could be seen circling and approaching, and Kodiak watched as the rocket pods mounted on the outside of it lit up for a brief few moments as it fired a series of rockets to level the camp, or what was left of it, anyway - the priority targets had already been taken out. “Well, the healing back at base is pretty good,” she stated, as the helicopter came in hot and fast, the nose pulling up late to cut the speed before the thing touched down on the ground in front of them, the doors opening up and making room for the two mercenaries to come on board.

“And this would be out ride,” Kodiak said, waving for Sage to follow her as she quickly moved into the helicopter, letting her guard down for the first time since they had embarked on this mission. “Let’s move quickly, don’t want to spend too much time around here… This place might as well be SPAAG alley.”

Sage climbed in quickly, and after dropping her armor, got herself strapped in. She was burned, and bleeding, and not happy. A good piece of shrapnel had glanced off her jaw, and that was bleeding pretty decently. She was just happy it hadn’t cut open a major vein or artery. She put on a pained smiled, and closed her eyes, leaning back her head.

“A little further up and I’d have lost my pretty smile.”

It wasn’t a good joke, but she felt she needed to give a sign she wasn’t dying, at least, not quickly. She hoped the ride back wouldn’t take too long, she didn’t want to be bleeding forever.

“Still, guy who did this is dead. Has a spear through his heart, and then the rockets almost certainly ripped apart his body.”

Kodiak just nodded silently, settling into her usual silent and cold demeanor as she rested and waited for the helicopter to take off, which happened seconds later, taking them into the desert sky where they would head into Saudi Arabia and then, from there, they would head back to Hong Kong where they’d await their next operation… She had plenty of mental notes on her new colleague. For now, however, she said nothing, and just settled for observing.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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Lunas Legion
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 29429
Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:32 pm

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With the growing federal presence in Portsmouth thanks to the recent energy storm, three students who may have been ‘blessed’ by the red energy have evacuated to nearby Boston while things cool down for a bit back around the Portsmouth State campus.


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    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 7: “SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON
    Boston, Massachusetts
    November 5th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Lunas Legion
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Gabriella had never been to Boston, and also had the minor issue of she didn’t actually have a car in the first place, she just leeched off of Jade to drive her whenever she needed to go anywhere that needed a car. Normally, that wasn’t exactly a problem, but this time there were three of them, not two, and given Jade’s car was a two-seater Porsche, well… That had made things more awkward, so they’d had to borrow Andrea’s car instead for their hopefully short trip up to Boston.

Not a hotel, but since most of the city had been made relatively stable, she’d found a small flat for a few days for the three of them just to, well, chill for a bit, see what happened down in Portsmouth and then go from there if things seemed to quieten down enough. Cautious, yes, maybe overly so but, well, Gabriella didn’t really feel like vanishing off to who even knew where and she had enough money to afford it, so there was no reason not to really.

“Should be fairly close now.” Gabriella offered from the back seat, looking up from her phone, Jade in the other back seat lazily staring out the window and scratching her leg with one hand, both of them having elected to have Andrea drive given it was her car they were using for this. “Next left, uh… Fourth on the right, decently sized apartment block. I think it has enough space for all of us but you never know with this type of thing.”

NOW PLAYING: Antisocial, on ALTERNATIVE RADIO BOSTON

Andrea nodded silently, still moving the radio knob with her hand. The song accurately reflected how she felt much of the time, even as she was going on this trip with a couple of others. She simply continued driving, following the instructions that Gabriella had given her.

“And we’re here.” Gabriella said, leaning over Jade to peer out the window up at the apartment block as the car pulled up. It wasn’t the fanciest or the most modern looking block, but at least from the outside it didn’t look like an absolute shithole even if outside appearances could be deceiving. Jade opened the door and climbed out in silence, Gabriella following after her as they moved around the back of the car to grab their bags from it before shutting it with a thud.

“We’re two floors up, key’s in a mailbox or something in the lobby.” Gabriella said, leading the way up the short flight of steps into the building’s lobby. It was empty and dim, one of the lights flickering on and off, the other one dim and faded as Gabriella moved to one of a row of boxes against the wall, a few moments passing as she searched for the right one before entering a combination and the box opened with a screech of aged metal and she pulled out a set of keys, rattling them slightly in her hand.

“Well, let’s go get settled in and see if I’ve accidentally fucked up on the place.” Gabriella said, moving off towards the stairs at the far end of the lobby, ignoring the elevator with a piece of tape in front of it since it seemed to be broken. They were only two floors up, so it wasn’t that far of a walk, although the staircase was a bit dirty as they emerged into the corridor, Gabriella pacing down it, head flicking from side to side until she finally jammed the key into a door and turned it, the door clicking in as she entered. It seemed decent enough, at least from the hallway, a kitchen and bathroom visible through open doors on one side, a lounge from the couch and old TV at the far end, two more rooms she assumed were bedrooms on the other side of the hall.

“This one’s mine!” She heard Jade shout from one of the bedrooms, making her sigh slightly as she dropped her own bags on the floor of the lounge, turning the TV on and moving to set her laptop up. She’d get settled in properly later, she had research to do now since she couldn’t exactly expect Andrea to do all the work on that front, it’d be unfair of her.

Andrea didn’t say much, hearing Jade shout that one of the bedrooms was hers, and she simply flopped down onto a couch and took her phone out silently, scrolling through something as she looked over to see what the others were up to. “So what the hell’re we doing now?” she shouted from the couch, her mood seemingly… Resigned, as she rested into her position further, closing her eyes.

“Seeing whatever else we can find out, I know some more of those… Lights or whatever we’ve been seeing, I know I saw an awful lot more of those on the drive over.” Gabriella replied, wincing slightly at the shout while Jade said nothing from her own room. “Might be a good idea to start focusing on those specifically, and, well, I’m not sure if it’s me seeing things or a trick of the light or a mix of both, but I swear my eyes were glowing a little when I woke up today. It’s gone now but, well, kinda freaked out a little.”

Andrea opened her own eyes, letting out a slow sigh. “As far as the lights, from what I know, it’s connected to Homo Sensatus. That is, sensates, the other type of metahuman that I told you about. What you’re seeing… What we’ve all seen at least once… Is probably their ability to see auras which reflect someone else’s mental state and their general feelings and emotions. The ability that links sensates together and separates them from just metahumans with mental abilities.”

“So… Visual telepathy? I don’t really know powers but it seems like it’s basically that. I haven’t really noticed much differences in the lights themselves, but I think that’s just something that’ll come with practice I suppose.” Gabriella said, sitting down on her own couch and flipping open her laptop. “Do they get powers beyond the visual aura telepathy?”

“Already been over this,” Andrea said with a shrug. “But… The powers vary. The other one that’s generally shared between all of them is the ability to influence regular humans, passively, without needing to put a lot of effort into it… However, the strength varies based on the strength of the sensate, and it’s not exactly an infallible thing. Otherwise, their powers can vary, but they’re in the… Category of mental rather than physical powers. From what I know, anyway. Hardly anything known about these people.”

“I’m not saying it’s a good idea, hell I think it’s probably somewhere up in the mother of all bad ideas, but… There’s no way to more actively use that influence for, like, small things? Just to see if we can actually do it in the first place. I guess my eyes might, at a stretch, be a sign of one of those other powers, but since we’ve got these things it’s… Probably worth trying to figure out how to use the things.” Gabriella leaned back slightly, glaring down at her slowly-loading laptop. “Or at least figure out how to make it a thing we can control, not just aura-vision flickering on and off at random. Doubly so for the passive influence, don’t want to be accidentally using that.”

Andrea sat up, looking down at her hands. “Wouldn’t know about controlling this kind of thing because hardly anyone knows about it in the first place, and obviously, I don’t have any experience with this… I guess… I guess you could try focusing on it, sometimes powers need focus to work… But I don’t know about these powers is the thing.”

“Well, for the sake of simplicity, let’s treat them as if they’re normal powers.” Gabriella gave a small shrug. “Yes, I know they aren’t, but it’s the best and closest guide we have to learning how to use these things. Even if it doesn’t work, it might give us a better idea of what will work. And there’s three of us, so hopefully something someone does will work.”

“I’m sure it’s common knowledge that with regular powers,” started Andrea, her voice trailing off while she recollected her thoughts. “You focus on them and meditation helps and at some point it gets easier to use them without actively thinking about it. I’ve read a lot on the subject. Zen type stuff should help, it can also help to use the power, but well… Can’t use it if you can’t trigger it on will yet. Pushing yourself a bit with it helps too, but again, you need to think about first things first.”

“So… We just sit around and meditate? I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but it’s… Rather mundane, I suppose.” Gabriella said, leaning forwards so she was sitting upright, moving her legs together. “But it’s worth a try, if nothing happens then we can try something else, we just need a metaphorical foot in the door rather than just letting it happen randomly. Once we’ve got something… Well, something, anything at all, we can work from there.”

“You can try it. I think for now… I’m just going to let things happen as they happen,” said Andrea, standing up and starting to move towards the door before stopping and turning to face Gabriella. “Plenty of people have gotten their powers ‘naturally’ so to speak, anyway. Just more unpredictable that way.”

“Wouldn’t mind you staying to keep an eye on me, make sure I don’t do something and not notice, but you can go if you want.” Gabriella said, shutting her eyes and facing forwards, keeping her breathing slow and measured. She’d never done anything similar, even for mundane reasons, but it wasn’t exactly uncomfortable or hard to just sit there in silence and focus internally. They were mental powers, after all, which logically, probably, hopefully, meant that they were all about the mind. She just needed to trigger it somehow.

“J-Just need air,” Andrea said, which was really an excuse to get out of here and to get away from others. Really, even when she was on a trip like this… She found herself isolated. And while she hated it, she could hardly bring herself to change that either… For a multitude of different reasons.

“Go get yourself some, not like I’ll be going anywhere after all.” Gabriella said, her focus still remaining on her most likely horribly butchered meditation attempt.
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4012
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:46 pm

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After heading to Boston, the matter of rooming arrangements and awkward relationships has come up for a group of possible sensates…


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    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 8: “AN AWKWARD CONVERSATION
    Boston, Massachusetts
    November 5th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Lunas Legion
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Saying that Gabriella’s meditative exercise hadn’t accomplished much would be an understatement. She’d spent around an hour in contemplative silence with exactly zero signs of any powers, sixth senses, glowing eyes or any business that could remotely be considered to be progress.

And then Jade had walked in, flopped down on the couch and put on the latest episode of that superhero reality TV she liked so much, even if she knew almost nothing about superheroes, and that had been the end of meditation and silence in there. So she’d gone back to the room her and Andrea were sharing, surfing the web in silence on the laptop sitting on her lap, perched on the edge of her bed with her back against the wall. She figured that keeping tabs on Portsmouth was a good idea, after all, just to see if things did quieten down.

It was already dark by the time Andrea walked back into the apartment, after she had spent a few hours out of the building, not really doing much but just walking around the city and looking at a few places of interest while trying to figure out just how she was going to approach all of this. This… Staying with Gabriella and Jade thing. Awkward for a number of reasons, and she had never been the most social person, and there was the fact that they were technically here avoiding the law. She had a lot of things on her mind. Walking around and thinking of how to deal with it hadn’t helped as much as she had envisioned.

She made her way back to her room - no, the one that her and Gabriella were sharing - and paused when she realized that Gabriella was already there. And so, slightly more awkwardly, she entered slowly and kept her mouth shut for now.

“Welcome back.” Gabriella said, glancing up from her laptop and giving a small wave towards Andrea. “You were out longer than I thought you’d be, but not everyone likes being trapped in a small apartment all the time. Didn’t accomplish anything with that meditation, but Jade kind-of wandered in and ruined it so I’ll try it again tomorrow.”

“You’ve never done it before and it’s not exactly normal meditation, it will come in time,” Andrea stated, surprisingly calm and avoiding speaking with a stutter. For now, anyway. She moved further into the room, standing there a bit awkwardly, her gaze set on Gabriella. “I could, uh… Sleep on the couch if it would make things less weird,” she added, trying to think of a way to resolve things.

“If either of us is sleeping on the couch it’ll be me.” Gabriella shook her head. “I’m used to sharing with others, either my sisters back home or my roommate here, so it’s not weird at all for me.”

“Yeah, well, I guess you’ve realized by now but I don’t exactly get around a ton,” shrugged Andrea, letting out a slight sigh as she leaned against the wall. “And well, I don’t usually get to spend much time around… People like y-you. So it’s a-awkward a-at least on m-my end.”
“If it helps, I know Jade won’t mind sharing with me if you’d rather have this to yourself.” Gabriella gave a small, nonchalant shrug. “I don’t mind if it’s easier for you.”

Andrea shook her head, sighing again and looking away. “And then I feel bad for kicking you out? N-Nah, I can deal with it without doing that. It’s just… Hard being around you, and I know the reason is going to sound stupid…”

“It’s probably not that stupid, and it isn’t throwing me out, it’s me making your life a bit easier for not that much trouble on my end.” Gabriella sighed, shifting her laptop off her lap and leaning over to set it down on the floor. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, I’m sure whatever reason it’s hard being around me is perfectly valid and entirely understandable, but… If you tell me, well, I might be able to make it slightly less difficult for you to be around me.”

Andrea let out a long sigh, moving to the window and staring out of it rather than looking towards Gabriella. “It’s just that I… Kind of… L-L-Liked you for awhile, I mean, it’s not like I’ve ever k-known you or a-anything like that but you always managed to m-make thing a little brighter… Around c-college and stuff… But because, well, I a-am how I am, I n-never said anything and… It’s so damn a-awkward, hanging around you now… I d-don’t know h-how I even m-made the drive up here…”

Gabriella was silent, pushing herself backwards slightly on her bed, simply thinking and mentally processing everything that had been said. Eventually, however, she let out a small sigh. “You have managed to say something though now, haven’t you?” Gabriella said, cocking her head slightly as she continued. “I… Well. Hmm.” Gabriella paused, lost back in her own thoughts once again. “Honestly, I… I’m not actually sure what to say here. It’s not exactly a position I’m used to being in.” Gabriella admitted, looking down at her lap. “You like me, while I… Well, both of us don’t really know each other all that well and-” She stopped talking, letting out a long sigh.

“Yes, I can now fully understand why it’s been so awkward for you, but… Thanks for having the courage to tell me, Andrea.” Gabriella smiled slightly, looking back up towards Andrea. “Although I’m not entirely sure how make being around me less hard when that’s the reason.”

“Yeah, I know,” Andrea said eventually, still looking out the window before finally turning to look back to Gabriella. “M-Maybe I should just s-stay away, not l-like I’m even a great p-person to help you g-guys anyway…”

“You’re not going anywhere, Andrea.” Gabriella shook her head. “Of all of us, you’re the one who had any clue what was happening in the first place, you’re the one that knows the most about metahumans in any way, shape or form. Pretty much everything we know thus far is because you’ve found it out, so don’t tell yourself you’re not a great person to help us out because we do appreciate it, I appreciate it. Without you we’d… We’d probably still be floundering around clueless on search engines with no idea what’s going on. So… Thanks.”

“I’m sure there’s others that c-could have helped you w-w-without any of this. Without any of the trouble,” Andrea stated, shaking her head. “The o-only reason I was able to help you was that I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Maybe, but you’re the one we’ve got, and you’ve helped us a great deal. And that all depends on how you look at it, you know?” Gabriella said, leaning forwards and resting her hands on her lap. “You aren’t trouble, Andrea, and you were in the right place at the right time to end up having this… Slightly awkward conversation here, with me, which without everything never would have happened and who knows where we’d all be. But it’s a fact that you’ve helped me and the others with this absolute mess of a situation and we’d be lost without you and you shouldn’t put yourself down for it, okay?.”

“How the hell am I supposed to not do that when I can h-hardly even talk to y-you properly?” Andrea asked in frustration, her voice rising slightly as she stood there, unsure of what to say. “You w-wouldn’t even be friends with someone like me if I d-didn’t know the t-things I do… The things you needed h-help with…”

“Probably not, no.” Gabriella admitted. “But you do know the things you do, and I… I’d like to think we are friends.” Gabriella sighed, shifting over to lie down on her side. “We are where we are because of circumstances, I… I’ve never liked entertaining the what ifs, so I focus on what I have. I… I’m running out of things to say, if I’m honest, Andrea, but you’re here, you like me, I’m flattered by that…” Gabriella made a vague skywards gesture with her free hand, falling silent. “I just… Don’t know what to do, for once in my life, but I think it might do us both some good if we just stop talking for a little bit and think over this together, if you’re fine with that.”

Andrea paused, tears welling in the corners of her eyes. “T-Thanks for confirming t-the only reason y-you’re even talking to me is because you need something,” she stated, and with that, she turned to walk out of the room, only stopping before reaching the doorway to say something else. “I’m g-going to go sleep on the couch.”

“I thought I told you if anyone’s sleeping on the couch it’s me?” Gabriella sighed, moving to stand up. “Yes, the only reason we actually met is because you were part of this little group of ours, but even though we’ve only known each other a small time, you’re not just a source of information who’s here because she’s useful, Andrea, you’re a friend which is why I asked you along and didn’t just bring Jade. I’m sorry for wording that poorly, it was a mistake on my part, but... I don’t lie to friends. Never will.”

“Look, I’ve s-slept on the fucking street and i-in traps before, you don’t have to go to the couch because of me,” Andrea said, sighing exasperatedly, meeting Gabriella’s eyes as emotion was written all over her own face. “And… F-Fine. I trust you, it’s just… Ugh, I’m sorry for bringing any of this up in the first place.”

Gabriella shook her head slightly. “Don’t apologise, it… It would have come up eventually at some point, the sooner the better for the both of us and thank you for trusting me, Andrea. It… It’s… Yes, it’s an awkward mess, but it was always going to be an awkward mess no matter how it came up.” Gabriella paused as she sat back down on her bed. “We… We’ll figure something out between us, I’m sure of it. Neither of us know what we’re doing here-” Gabriella smiled slightly, still looking at Andrea as she spoke. “But… Sometimes all we can do is try and see what happens.” She fell back into silence, shutting her eyes. “Maybe you just need to get used to having me around and, well, there. I don’t mind your company.”

“Right… I guess we’ll see,” Andrea managed to say clearly, before she departed and found herself moving out of the room almost as an instinct to get out of the awkward situation. Maybe it would be less awkward in the future because of this… For now, it was definitely still awkward.

Gabriella didn’t move to follow or say anything else, just lying there in contemplative silence, mulling everything over. She’d give Andrea her space, let her handle this on her own terms rather than forcing anything. Their group would likely be together for a while, so it was for the best that this was handled now, as awkward as it was for the both of them.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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Durmatagno
Negotiator
 
Posts: 7048
Founded: Oct 10, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Durmatagno » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:51 am

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After your success in the desert, command has trusted you with another high profile mission. Your mission today is to attack an apartment building being occupied and used by a criminal gang in Manila, the Philippines. This gang has something that we want, a test tube of organic matter which we have been able to track back to this gang through our intelligence sources. This test tube is very important to our scientific goals, making this an important mission by extension. Eliminate all gang members that you find, and proceed to room 16B on the 12th floor to recover the test tube.

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    THE PSYCHIC WARS CHAPTER 3: “TWELVE FLOORS OF HELL
    Initiative for a New World Hong Kong Office
    December 1st, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
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There was no one in the office except for two people, one of them the superior and the other one the second in command. Kaelyn Woods and Kodiak Marsden, the commanding officer and executive officer of Theta 13. In this case, Kodiak was here to give a report that the commanding officer had been waiting on, because it was needed for further information for her own report which would be sent into the upper ranks. Specifically, the subject they were on was the performance of the newest member of the unit.

“...I can say for sure that I didn’t see a hint of cowardice in her,” Kodiak stated honestly, speaking slightly more relaxed than she would around most people. She was a loner, she tended to isolate herself, but there were a few people she could get along with regardless and she worked well with the commanding officer, Kaelyn. “I do believe that this may also be a double edged sword when it presents itself as recklessness…”

She paused before continuing, looking up at the woman across the desk from her. “But I do think she’ll be a good addition to the unit, yes. Her performance wasn’t anything less than top notch last time, and well, you know I don’t give praise like that out for no reason. Whatever she actually is… I don’t have complaints about her, really. I like her.”

“You don’t usually take a liking to people very quickly,” Kaelyn stated, noting what Kodiak had said and typing it out as she worked on her own report which she’d have to send into the upper offices soon enough - it was already slightly overdue, but it was somewhat understandable due to the busy life of someone that had to lead a unit in the field and in paperwork.

“Well,” Kodiak said, pausing awkwardly. “You also know that I value competency. Guess you could say someone that’s competent and almost as unusual as me intrigues me, is all…”

She let her voice trail off somewhat awkwardly, and Kaelyn nodded. “Right, then. That’s all I needed you for… You can head out now. Couple of hours, though, and we’ll be having our briefing and headed to the next destination. In this case… Manila.”



Manila was the site of the latest mission for Theta 13, the Filipino capital also being a city that had a decent sized underworld - that underworld was where they were headed. The briefing hadn’t been that long, with no precise instructions like there had been last time, the mission considerably simpler. They didn’t have to sneak, didn’t have to worry about attention - wasn’t like the authorities here would be able to do anything, but more likely, they just wouldn’t care about the shootout between metahuman mercenaries and gang members that was about to ensue. The fact of the matter is, for whatever reason, an apartment in Manila was home to something that the INW wanted. Specifically, it was a test tube, which was said to have some kind of organic material in it.

They hadn’t been given pictures. Hadn’t been given that much of a description, really, whatever they were after was shrouded in some kind of secrecy and the only thing they really knew about it was that it was something they were supposed to bring back. Not the most information to work with. Still, the task at hand was simple compared to what they had done last time, and this time out, they had a larger team on hand. Just raid the building quickly, get to the twelfth floor, and get out after fetching something from room 16B. Wouldn’t be a problem. Probably, anyway.

Aside from Hong Kong, Manila here might be the biggest city Sage had ever been to. She wasn’t quite sure, she didn’t keep careful track, but she did know this wasn’t one of the languages she’d been taught, so unlike in Yemen she wouldn’t be able to understand or mimic the opposition. Though she wasn’t going to have to mimic them here. No no, the job was simple this time, on paper. Get in, get the target, and get out. That meant smashing whatever was between them and their target. Sage hadn’t seen Kaelyn in action yet and was curious, but mostly right now she was excited. The last mission had pissed her off, mostly from getting hit by an RPG, but here...here she could let loose and just smash, slash, and stab anyone in her way. Probably, of course she had to keep an eye open for any tricks, even gangsters might have something stashed that could get through her armor, but she really hoped they didn’t. She wanted a slaughter, craved it really. She had few cravings stronger than her craving for blood, though she had a good handle on them as well.


“This is the place,” said Kodiak when they arrived in front of a decent sized apartment building in the metropolitan area of Manila, buildings of this size all around them. Nothing was immediately too special about this one but supposedly if they went inside they would quickly find that the residents of this place weren’t normal per say. They had been told that the inside was fortified, that they could expect at least one heavy weapons post, although the type wasn’t specified.

“Three options for breaching,” Kaelyn stated. “Front entrance, side entrance on the left or right, and back entrance. Not enough intel on this place to know exactly what we would end up facing with each of these. All of them are legitimate options, though.”

“Well...with my armor there isn’t much most gangsters can throw at me that’ll do much of...anything really. I could go in loud through the front, and draw their attention while you and Kodiak go through one of the other entrances. Thing is though...we know they have at least one heavy weapon, and if they’re as stupid as most gangsters, it’ll probably be aimed at that front entrance, though it isn’t a gurantee. I’d hazard going through one of the side entrances as a group instead, but me drawing attention should still be on the table.”

“We don’t know where in the building it would be, it could also be on one of the higher floors, but we know to expect something of the sort - small scale anti tank weapons, machine guns, that kind of thing,” Kaelyn said with a slight shrug. “And splitting up should be avoided if we have the choice. If you did run into something dangerous, you should be close enough to receive help…”

“As I said, I’d hazard going through one of the sides as a group, there’s too many unknowns to just open with me alone. And if they have these things, they’ll be expecting an attack, and while the rank and file might be stupid enough to fall for it, anyone higher up would know I wouldn’t be alone.”

“We’ll head in through the side,” said Kaelyn, gesturing towards the alleyway and starting to lead the group towards it, until they came across one of the doors. “Locked…” she muttered. “You want to smash this thing open or try one of the other doors? Depends on how loud we’re going… I can work with either way.”

“I could try picking it, most locks aren’t too hard, and I can make most tools I need on the fly.”

“Go ahead,” nodded Kaelyn, looking down and adjusting her SCAR-L rifle slightly before directing it towards the other end of the alleyway in case anyone showed up.

Sage knelt down, peering at the lock as a variety of basic lockpicking tools formed in her hand. After testing a few to get an idea of the internal mechanism, she had the right tool, and it only took a second for the lock to click. Dismissing the tools, she regenerated her gauntlets, and holding her HK416 with one hand, the other holding a large shield designed to give those behind her cover, while still allowing room to fire, assuming an average size hallway. She opened the door slowly, and stepped inside.

As they entered the building, they would hear the sound of talking in a foreign language, which was enough to alert them that something was up. They had, it seemed, run into the enemy that they had expected - the voices, though, stopped talking when the group emerged into the building, seemingly having noticed that something was different. Kodiak went invisible in anticipation, while Kaelyn looked to Sage. “Have your weapon ready,” she stated, her own skin starting to get covered in a thick and dark grey almost liquid substance as she activated her power and coated herself in it to use as armor, and possibly as an offensive weapon in and of itself.

Sage rarely didn’t have a weapon of some kind ready when fighting was about to or already was taking place. Still, she adjusted her grip, and made sure the thing was set to full auto. With her strength, she’d have little trouble keeping it under control and in the general area she wanted to fire at. Advancing slowly, she was ready to pull the trigger the moment an enemy presented themselves to her, she wanted nothing more than to get the blood flowing. Still, sense must temper aggression, unless commanded to or it made no sense not to, she wouldn’t just go charging in. As much as she really, really wanted to.

They found themselves meeting the group of gang members in the hallway, the group fairly well armed all things considered - there were AK-103 rifles in the hands of some of them, older but still viable AK-74 rifles in the hands of some of the others. The group fired immediately, but they also seemed to realize right away that this wasn’t a normal group, backpedaling into a tactical retreat as soon as Kaelyn and Sage - and the still invisible Kodiak - turned the corner in the hallway.

While the gangster’s fire was still pinging off her armor and shield, cracks from the larger rounds healing as she used her powers, she smiled. She smiled because the fools had grouped together so nicely, and she just so happened to have a weapon that could spray back. She pressed the trigger, holding it down for about a second, before releasing it. If she had to guess, she used about a third of her ammo with that burst of automatic fire, but for her reward, three gangsters dropped. She had wanted more, but it was still a good opening salvo.

Kodiak dropped another one of the gangsters using a precision shot from her AS VAL rifle, which wasn’t visible right now, and continued pressing forward as Kaelyn lurched towards the remaining two, her speed increased by the material which was covering her body - whatever it was actually made of. Her power hadn’t exactly been explained to well, anyone, but it was supposedly some kind of biomass which she was able to manipulate and control. And in this case, she was using it to help push herself to the limit. She didn’t, however, reach the group before one of the gangsters in question responded to the threat of Sage’s armor by tossing a grenade down the hallway, continuing in the process with the tactical retreat backwards, AK-103 rifles firing at the same time but failing to score hits on Kaelyn or Kodiak, the latter of whom hadn’t even been spotted by them.

When the grenade rolled forward, Sage planted her shield, and hid her gun behind it before it could explode. Much to her surprise, the grenade had been far enough away that what shrapnel did hit her, did even less than the AKs. With the threat of the grenade out of the way, Sage hefted her shield, brought her rifle back to bear, and moved down the hallway. Now easily showing that despite all the crystal surrounding her, she wasn’t slowed in the slightest.

Kaelyn came to a stop as the two remaining enemies rounded the corner of the hallway, spinning around to check and see if the explosion of the grenade had hit any of the members of the team. It seemed that it hadn’t however. They were unsctahed, and she could hear footsteps indicating they’d already gotten a fairly decent distance from here. “They’re gone,” she stated. “But we can expect the others to know that something is up around here,” she added, the biomass peeling back somewhat to expose her face. “Let’s find an elevator. Getting up to the right spot in the quickest way possible is a bit more important now.”

“My armors weight might present a problem for a residential elevator, you want me to dismiss it and follow, or you and Kodiak head up while I move up the stairs quickly?”

Kaelyn was the CO, so Sage was going to present her concern, and do whatever her CO thought was best. She didn’t have the field experience to make these calls, nor had she received any kind of officer training.

“My armor and other creations are only weightless to me, they still affect everything else as they should. I’m probably close to...seven, eight hundred pounds right now with the armor up.”

Kaelyn paused before making a decision, waving in the direction she had seen a flight of stairs. “You can meet us on the twelfth floor, be careful to avoid running into any more of those guys… We haven’t run into their heavy weapons yet, after all.”

“Alright, I’ll get moving now. If I encounter anyone, I’ll favor barreling through them unless they have something that can actually stop me.”

Sage nodded as she spoke, before turning to the flight of stairs. She paused only to reload her rifle, taking a clip from her left side, and putting the partially expended clip onto her right. With that done, she got moving, her heavy form making plenty of noise as she charged forward, and into the stairwell, where she started moving straight on up. Despite her racket, or maybe because of it, Sage made it to the 12th floor unmolested, and while she kicked open the door to the 12th floor, she didn’t move immediately into it, instead after a moment, peeking her head in to see if she saw anything she should actually worry about. She spotted an enemy that had somehow not reacted at all to everything she’d just done. Not wanting to alert the entire floor, she drew her normal combat knife, and flung it...badly. It spiraled through the air with great force, and promptly hit the wall next to her target...pommel first. It did stick into the wall though, a testament to her strength she supposed.


The sound and sight of the knife nearly hitting seemed to finally alert the one gangster that hadn’t noticed Sage, who promptly spun around and faced her for a moment before taking off running down the hallway, probably to alert the others that hadn’t yet realized Sage was here.


Sage could be made about the knife later, instead a shard of red crystal materialized in front of her, before with a slight wave of her hand, she launched it forward. Wasn’t as satisfying as something else, but it was faster. The shard buried itself in his back, and as she dropped to the ground, she fanned the hallway again, checking to make sure no one was trying to sneak up on her.

There was indeed no one there and the shard had downed the gang member in front of her, allowing her to continue on her path where she would meet up with Kodiak, who was visible again, and Kaelyn, both of whom were hanging around the elevator. “No engagements on our end, but I expect that’s going to change when we find the door that we’re looking for. I think based on the numbering scheme, it might be around that corner if we keep going a bit,” Kaelyn stated, as Kodiak offered a silent nod of acknowledgement to Sage now that she had arrived.

“You ready?” Kodiak asked, keeping her eyes on Sage with interest as the group started moving, heading to their last destination.

“I am, though I’m surprised everyone in the building doesn’t know we’re here given how much noise I made in the stairwell.”

Sage didn’t bother retrieving her failure of a combat knife, they were cheap, non distinct, and she had as many as she wanted personally at a whim. She hadn’t even used any ammo, though Sage did keep her voice quiet because...somehow they hadn’t heard her. Maybe they assumed the racket was active fighting lower down, she wasn’t sure. What she did know is that she was anxious about...something, though she couldn’t put her finger on what. It was odd, it was a feeling she was unused to.

They continued on their way, not running across any more groups of gang members yet. It seemed they were busy looking in other parts of the building for them and they had missed that they were rather obviously headed for the target which was supposed to be protected. They ended up outside of room 16B like they had been instructed to head to, and they were now faced with getting in. “Might as well break the door down, Sage,” Kaelyn said, stepping out of the way and standing at the end of the hallway to look for enemies on the way.

Sage obliged without comment, pretty confident her weight alone could break the door, let alone all that weight alongside her strength. She kicked the door as hard as she could, near the center instead of by the handle as was conventional. She wanted to send the door flying into the room as its own projectile, instead of just forcing it open. There was nothing in the room to hit in the first place, however, and the group was able to enter without incident. Sage grunted at the empty room, somewhat disappointed by the lack of fighting in this mission, but she could live with it. Fanning out, she moved to examine a cluttered desk, and spotted some papers that might be useful. Grabbing them, she dropped her armor long enough to stuff them into a bag, they could examine them later. They were here for one thing, and then to get out, no dallying.

Kodiak had entered the room behind Sage and she looked around through some of the different things to see if she could find the organic material that they were looking for, which was supposedly located within a vial somewhere. Hard to find a small thing in a full sized apartment but that was the task and she worked on it - she found a cocaine brick earlier than they would find the organic material, though, interestingly enough. Picking the thing up, she figured it must be worth something and she shoved it into her bag of things before continuing the search.

“Found it,” Kaelyn said from one of the other rooms, emerging from a bedroom and holding up a vial which had a strange substance inside of it, one that was unknown to any of the ones on the team, including Kaelyn herself as the team leader and the one who had found the thing in the first place. “Everyone ready to head out? We haven’t run into that last group yet, I’m happy to keep things that way.”

“Mmm,” nodded Kodiak, turning from looking through a cabinet and nodding, looking to Sage one more time before she started towards the door to the room.

“Yeah, got some papers for you to look at when we’re safe. Quick glance seemed like it could be important, but I wasn’t going to dally.”

Sage got her shield and rifle ready, taking her place at the front of the group. She already knew she could survive at least one hit from an RPG, she didn’t know about Kaelyn, and highly doubted Kodiak could. With her abilities she could survive a fall from even this high up, though it’d hurt like hell and she’d have several broken bones. If it was just her she might risk that jump, but she had two others to help, and those two to help her. She couldn’t just abandon them without a really, really good reason. Namely orders from them, as they both outranked her.

As they continued through the halls to head back to the exit, though, they would soon realize that there were more enemies to deal with, about seven more including the ones with the promised heavy weapons that they had heard about - one of them being an old RPG-7 and the other one being a more modern RPG-22, the latter of which was single shot but newer and able to take out a tank under the right circumstances. Kaelyn pointed the group out silently as they found themselves approaching them from behind, raising her rifle but not firing just yet. She looked to the others, almost as if she was waiting for an answer on if they wanted to make a move.

Sage considered it for a second, and reached down to her side, pulling out a grenade and pointed at it. Her arm was good, she could get it into the group from a good distance, or even try to cook it so it exploded before it landed among them, but both were still risks. The enemy was moving away, and if they didn’t impede their exit, there was no need to clash without reason, especially with something that could possibly kill all three of them in one go. She cocked her head, and using her generation powers, mimed making a wall between them so that Kaelyn, Sage, and Kodiak could just avoid them, or force them to use one of the AT weapons to bring down the wall. She then looked to Kodiak, to see what Kodiak at thought.

“Toss the grenade and then we bail,” Kodiak said in a low voice, turning invisible immediately after as Kaelyn nodded at the plan and started doubling back, ready to move and switch which corridor they were headed down as soon as Sage had thrown the grenade. No need to get into a fight for no reason when they could avoid the danger.

Sage nodded and after both Kaelyn and KOdiak were out of sight, readied her throw. She pulled the pin, but didn’t release the lever quite yet. She aimed her throw carefully, before using all her strength to chuck the thing into the group, before turning to run back after Kaelyn. The grenade sailed through the air, narrowly missing one of the groups head, and bounced into the middle of the group, before detonating. Sage didn’t know how many it got, or how close it’d come to hitting one of them directly, but she still allowed herself a smile.

The grenade had taken out most of the group but the INW team didn’t stick around to see how much damage they had done, fleeing the scene ASAP and heading out to the front of the building after descending down the stairs pretty quickly, passing a machine gun post on the way that had been set up but wasn’t being manned actively. “Car is going to be outside,” said Kaelyn, pushing her way through the front door and looking around, pausing before pointing it out. “There it is. Come on.”

The car was rather unsuspecting looking, and she opened the driver’s side door and climbed inside while Kodiak watched the street for further danger. “Contact!” Kodiak shouted, pointing out further down the street to where some people that looked like members of the same gang - they were both wearing red and blue rags - ran out of another building and into a truck that was parked on the street, quickly joined by a bunch of others, six people in total, with rifles in hands who started rushing to that truck to climb into the back after they had apparently been alerted and had spotted the INW team moving to get out of the area.

Sage stopped for a moment to look at the truck, before simply smiling, and waving her hands, opening deep pits under the front tires, bringing the front of the truck into contact with the ground from the size of the potholes. It’d take some effort to get them out of there, though they could still shoot at them. Sage dived into the car, it sagging under her weight, before releasing her armor, but using her shield to cover herself and Kodiak from possible return fire.

Even as the truck was immobilized, they found themselves under fire from the rifles that were still active in the back, six gunmen shooting away and breaking the glass of the car and plenty of nearby vehicles as they sprayed randomly, still hitting the general area though with the sheer volume of shots that they were putting down. Kodiak dropped to the ground with a spray of blood after finding herself hit multiple times by the sudden attack which they hadn’t been able to avoid completely, while Kaelyn found herself covered completely by biomass once again as she shifted focus, ripping the door of the car off entirely to use as a weapon and hurling the thing at about a hundred miles per hour towards the truck, decapitating three of the gang members as they attempted to pull out of the potholes and escape the entrapment - as they’d turned, though, they’d just exposed themselves to attack by the powerful metahuman, who propelled herself up one story and disappeared onto a rooftop, presumably looking for an angle to attack from above.

It seemed that things had gotten more serious to her now that one of them had been hit. Now that blood had been drawn from their own side. Sage pulled Kodiak fully into the car, covering her with the shield entirely. She was bleeding fairly badly, but at a glance Sage thought she could survive long enough for them to take out the enemy. Climbing back out of the car, armor already reforming on the half of her exposed to her enemies, though they could still injure her through it at this stage, it’d be reduced damage. Instead, a small cloud of several dozen shards appeared before her, and she launched them at the still standing gangsters, a swarm of buzzing death hurtling through the air. Sage was angry, if she was any angrier she would just have charged in and been clubbing. She got no enjoyment from two of the three that dropped, shards of different sizes sticking out of them. She did however, quite enjoy the ‘poor’ unfortunate soul that got caught by the vast majority of the shards. He was reduced to little more than a pile of gore, and a splatter of blood, bone, and organs coating those he had once called friends.

The rest of the group was quickly taken out by Kaelyn, who dropped down from the rooftop of a building before ripping an entire car from the ground to use as a club, the biomass straining as Kaelyn smashed the thing against the truck and nearly tore the truck in half, wrecking both vehicles from the force of the blow and leaving no survivors in the second one. With that, she sharply leapt into the air, cracking the pavement as she came down in front of Sage, the biomass rippling and shifting as it withdrew a bit, coating her back but not her entire body for now. “Where is she?” she asked, looking for Kodiak.

“Under my shield in the back of the car.”

Sage turned, dismissing her thin armor and the shield. She could awe at the physical strength later, right now, all that mattered was getting out, and keeping Kodiak alive.

“I’ll drive if you need me to.”

Kaelyn shook her head, moving towards the car. “Going to be quicker if I patch her up here. Head down the street and keep watch, I know those guys came out of one of the buildings down there.”

Sage nodded and reformed her armor, grasping her rifle in both hands. Turning, she moved down the street to head the enemy off, but was careful to stay in earshot of Kaelyn. She wasn’t quite satisfied with the suffering of the enemy just yet, so she quite hoped they were stupid enough to keep coming.

It did seem that more of the enemy gunmen were pouring out of the second building by now, the stakes raised and the enemy desperate to keep them from getting away with whatever it was that they had taken from them in the other place. Another group of about fifteen started pouring out of the building with mostly rifles in hand, usually the same AKs with a couple of Korean made K1s and American M-16s in their hands also, but a couple of them with old RPG-7s, or perhaps similar looking copy weapons - all of them had their sights set on the nearest target which happened to be Sage, the gunmen open firing immediately.

Sage didn’t care much about their guns, it was the RPGs that concerned her. Another cloud of crystals, bigger than last time, appeared before her. And like last time, it was lunched, a buzzing cloud of death destined to eviscerate at least some of its foes. Six of her foes dropped, three of them splattered and turned to gore as one of their earlier friends had been. What caused Sage to curse, however, was that both RPG-7s were still standing. Bloodied, and maybe terrified by the literal explosion of their allies, as well as the scene on the street, but still alive. Then, she had only a moments warning, to form a shield in front of her as both RPGs fired. The world flashed white, and she was thrown several feet backwards, only her and her armor’s weight preventing it from being further.

Sage was alive...somehow. Everything hurt, her ears were ringing, and she was having trouble breathing. A punctured lung, great. What concerned her more was the twisted mess of her left arm, bone sticking out and cracked in many places. Strangely, her bones sparkled lightly, as if they were partially or entirely crystal and not normal bone. Still, she was able to get back to her feet, armor reforming quickly around her, protecting her mangled form, and badly twisted arm. She moved as fast as her injured form could carry her, back to the car. She didn’t quite make it in before the pain hit her in wave after wave of agonizing torture. She hit the side of the car as she slumped over, pain taking her out of the realm of living, and into painless sleep.
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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Forest State
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Posts: 4012
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:38 am

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Following a ‘success’ in Manila, Theta 13 has returned to the Initiative for a New World Office at Hong Kong to recover from injuries and learn further information about the nature of the most recent operation.

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    THE PSYCHIC WARS CHAPTER 4: “WAKING UP
    Initiative for a New World Hong Kong Office
    December 2nd, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
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Beep. Beep. Beep.

Sage stirred from where she lay, the beeping nearby annoying her. After a moment, she opened her eyes, look up at an unfamiliar ceiling. It took her a moment, her head was still fuzzy, and she wasn’t quite sure where she was. She raised her right arm and rubbed at her eyes, before freezing as she realized that her hand was almost pure white, like ceramic. She remembered now, those gangsters in Manila had used RPGs, and they’d hit her with them. If her skin was this white, she must have been out for awhile. She raised her left arm next, testing it by rotating it. She wasn’t surprised, they could patch things up pretty good round here. Still, it didn’t suppress the pang of fear in her chest. She’d never liked doctors, or places that held them. She sat up, realizations hitting her that it was more than just her skin, everything had reverted. She put her face in her hands, sighing, before looking around the room.

Perhaps the first thing that she would see when she opened her eyes was that Kodiak was present in the room, not just present but standing over her, looking down at her with the same distant gaze that was usually on her face - her face was neutral. Not positive. Not negative. Just how it typically was, really, and that was… Cold, her eyes seeming to bore into Sage as if they had some kind of special power of their own, to look through someone.

Sage blinked in surprise, she’d never had anyone watch her like that before. She shook some of the grogginess out of her head, trying to fight off the last of the sedative she knew they must have used on her. She hadn’t been in good shape, probably worse than even she knew. She offered Kodiak a small smile, though she was worried, given her current appearance, that it would be more disarming than reassuring.

“Hey Kodiak, glad to see that you’re okay.”

“That’s the first thing you’re going to say?” Kodiak asked, raising an eyebrow as she kept her eyes on Sage, turning away after a moment now that Sage was awake, moving over to the window and looking out of it at the city view - the medical center in this case happened to be in the aboveground part of the building, giving them a look at some of the surrounding buildings from their position rather up. “I’m not the one that took a couple of RPGs.”

“Maybe, but you took three or four good hits. Besides, you’ve seen me take an RPG before, though this time it was...much worse. Let my anger get the better of me.”

Sage swung her legs over the side of the bed. She hated lying around like this, idle wasn’t in her nature much. For now though she didn’t stand up, she was still getting a feel for how bad the sedatives in her system still were, she didn’t want to misjudge and fall face first onto the floor. She would normally be putting on her human appearance as well, but she wasn’t quite confident she wouldn’t mess up some details till the grogginess faded more.

“But yeah, I’m glad you’re okay, you were bleeding pretty bad back there.”

“I shouldn’t have let my guard down, my fault back there,” Kodiak said simply, staring out the window some more before turning and facing Sage, looking her up and down once again - although she had already gotten used to seeing Sage’s true appearance, and she was aware by now from the records that Sage wasn’t human like the rest of them. Like most of them, anyway. It seemed like there were more and more unusual types of team members showing up around the different INW teams in recent months and recent years in general as the organization made strides in different experimental departments. “Anyway… Kaelyn stabilized your condition and the crew on the exfil helicopter sedated you until we reached Hong Kong, at which point they kept you like that until the medical people were able to do their thing. But… You should be mostly good now. Probably sore. But nothing too major.”

Sage shivered a little as Kodiak looked her up and down. She didn’t like having her real face on display, it’s why she hid behind the one she’d crafted for herself. She shook her head, and got to her feet, a little wobbly, but able to stand.

“I’ll be alright, sore I’m used to. I’ll have to thank Kaelyn next time I see her.”

Sage tested her movement gingerly, making sure everything was back in place. She was well aware she had a strange biology, and her strangeness was stronger than most of her siblings, though Ashura took the cake on the strangest among them. She shivered again, and was tempted to pull the IV out of her arm, she hated these things, but knew she’d probably get yelled at, and have it put back in. Most doctors and nurses were picky about their patients well being.

“As much as I dislike being in places like this, that view isn’t half bad.”

Sage flicked her eyes to the window before she started talking. Pulling her IV bag with her, which was likely just fluids at this point, she moved to the window. She wouldn’t be unsteady for to long, she didn’t want to be out of the action for very long. Besides, the thought of having to stay in a medical bed any longer made her shudder.

Kodiak paused, unsure of what to say next, but she went into the details of the mission further, things that Sage had missed while out that had been explained to Kaelyn and Kodiak after they had landed in Hong Kong. “After we got back, you know, they told us that the cargo manifest that you found ended up being useful. It seems those guys were moving something for the Paradise Consortium that we want, and we found both the last point that the box traveled and the place where it was headed after this - seems it was set to go to Albania of all places after getting sent in from Heilongjiang… Somewhere real cold and rural north of Harbin, in a secluded location.”

“Glad I could be useful then. Sounds like there’s something else up there somewhere. Unless that was just another stop, but either way they had something ready up there.”

Sage frowned as she thought about it, before sighing. Reaching down, she yanked out the IV. She knew she shouldn’t, she knew they’d be mad at her, might even put it back in, but she didn’t want it in her arm any longer. Sure it hurt to pull out, but it was better than leaving it in.

“I don’t know how important the cold part is, but if it’s isolated and rural, they have something hidden in the area. That’s my best guess.”

“That’s basically the idea,” Kodiak said. “Higher ups know more about what it is that they’re hiding but the long story short is that there’s a number of shipments apparently and we’re probably going to have to follow up on this and try to intercept one of them at some point… That’ll bring us into conflict with Paradise, which isn’t going to be fun but well…”

Kodiak paused, letting out a slight sigh. “But some things need to be done.”

“Orders are orders. If we’re told to fight them, we fight them. It’s simple on paper, it’s the execution that’s complex.”

Sage put the IV stand back next to the bed, pacing slowly around the room to make sure she had a good feel for her balance. Her left arm was more sore than anything else, but it’d been mangled pretty badly, she could deal with it. What bothered her more was that she was still stuck in her ‘true’ or ‘pure’ face. She sighed, and found a mirror. Working on small details, and changing slowly.

“Any ideas on what Paradise can bring to bear against us? I’m not very fond of the idea of going up against another RPG anytime soon.”

Kodiak gave a slight shrug. “Paradise can bring a lot more than an RPG depending on just where we end up hitting them… Wouldn’t be too surprised to run into a fucking tank with how heavily armed and defended some of their largest compounds can be. On the smaller side of things, they’re running with more modern stuff than just RPGs… ATGM is more like it.”

“Greeeat, we’ll need our own heavier firepower to take on some of those things.”

Sage was close enough to what she considered her chosen face. After checking some smaller details, she turned back to Kodiak. She smiled much more broadly now that she was in the skin she had chosen for herself.

“How do I look?”

“We may have Mi-24V support next operation… Depends… I talked to Kaelyn about it for a little bit,” said Kodiak, before pausing, waiting to address Sage’s second question as she paced around the room slightly. “You look very you,” she settled eventually, stopping her pacing, looking back to Sage, the same neutral expression on her face, no emotions betrayed by her words.

“Perfect, it feels good to look like me again.”

She looked down at her hand, as if still unsure that she truly looked like how she wanted. She sighed lightly with relief, and stretched, hospital gown pulled with her. It had been fitted for the smaller, paler her. It wasn’t exactly made to cover this form as properly, though some adjustments of the strings would fix that, Sage paid it little head.

“Well, whatever we’re up against, I'm sure they’ll give us the tools we need to succeed. Still, I don’t want to be staring down the barrel...tube? Tube-barrel of an ATGM, RPGs are already nasty enough.”

“Kaelyn said we’re probably moving out next week for that - probably to China, although we wouldn’t be far from the northern border with Russia. We’ll find out about support and the like once we hit that point, I suppose,” Kodiak said with a shrug, another awkward pause setting in. “Do you want me to get you anything or something? Or to go get the medical staff to take another look at you now that you’re up?”

“Get me something? I can’t imagine what, I can change once they release me, and considering I’m not having any...cravings, they know about my non-human dietary needs. And...yeah, get them please, I’d like to get out of here as soon as possible. And...thank you.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” said Kodiak, nodding slightly and moving to step out of the room, taking one last look back at Sage before shutting the door behind her quietly, disappearing into one of the many winding hallways of this building to look for the doctors.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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anti: catgirls & people who step on snek

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Lunas Legion
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 29429
Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:12 pm

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The city of Boston is still recovering from the metahuman caused collapse of the electrical grid earlier in the year - and some parts of it are more dangerous and uncontrolled than others. Certain parts have a reputation for near anarchy… And for being places where metahuman clashes aren’t uncommon. In those places, heading there looking for a story might just be lethal…


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    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 9: “DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS
    Boston, Massachusetts
    November 6th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Lunas Legion
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Boston - the city was getting back on its feet but it had been hit hard earlier in the year by metahuman attack which had sent it into brief anarchy, the Hero League response not quite being up to part because no one had predicted that a couple of amateur villains would be able to send the power grid into collapse. It had been a case of underestimation, but by the time the Hero League took the problem seriously, the damage had been done. The city had went dark, things had reverted to medieval standards, and metahumans had battled for control for weeks before the Hero league eventually made progress clearing it out, the military handling the parts that they didn’t clear themselves… Months after the weeks of chaos, there were still some parts of the city that had been damaged during that time, and were home to unruly populaces, many of the more ‘normal’ people having moved elsewhere due to the situation and leaving the odd ones out. Drug dealers, metahumans who had bad intentions, those types of people.

In fact, during the crisis, many metahumans who were working with criminal organizations or just as independent villains had come from other cities to loot. Some of them had stayed. And a lot of them ended up staying in a few specific neighborhoods, with the rule of law having been established again in most other parts of the city. That didn’t mean one couldn’t find trouble if they looked for it, though. No, it was pretty easy to figure out which parts of town were the bad ones, which ones still had powered and non powered threats running around that the local heroes hadn’t subdued and that the police didn’t want to go through the effort of fighting - it was said the best solution to deal with these areas was to leave rather than depending on the police force, which would rather look the other way than risk death fighting with some more powerful metahumans.

And yet, it was the area that Andrea Daniele Natale was heading into, along with her two… Friends, if they could even be called that, really. Wasn’t like they had resolved the tension or like she felt they truly were. But by circumstance, they had ended up stuck together for whatever reason fate had decided, and somehow, they hadn’t left her just yet. She had a camera in hand - she wasn’t actually looking for trouble, per say, but she was hoping to come across it. To photograph it. Would she find it? Well, they hadn’t had much luck so far, but the sun was headed down, and things like this happened more often in the dark.

She continued along the road, camera still in her lap, looking for… Any signs of something of interest. “You can see that we’re heading into one of the worse areas because, well… Look at the buildings, most of them haven’t been repaired since the initial incidents…” she stated, watching the side of the road as she drove.

“I thought they’d have cleared everything up by now.” Jade commented, looking out the rear window of Andrea’s car, Gabriella sitting in silence with her eyes shut. “Or maybe I’m just being an idiot, I don’t pay much attention to the news unless, well, it’s something relevant to me.”

“Most of it, anyway. Some of the parts have been too dangerous to send too many people in there… City could probably do it but they decided it’s not worth the risk, basically. It’s mostly contained to these parts of the city… But that’s why we’re looking here right now,” said Andrea, stopping the car at the light. They would see something that was a mildly interesting sight - an armored vehicle rolling past, painted in dark grey with white lettering on the side, the door having a familiar symbol. Familiar to Andrea, at least. “That’d be the BEA. I know they have some presence here… Well, an increased one. Not enough to clean things up all the way, though.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Gabriella asked, not opening her eyes. “I mean… We’re pretty much trying to avoid the BEA, aren’t we, even if we’re not at all on their radar, and now we’re driving into somewhere they’re interested in. I know you can handle yourself, I’m just, well, worried for the pair of us.”

Still stopped at the red light, Andrea just gave a shrug and reached next to the seat to pull out a small Ruger pistol, smaller than the main pistol that she carried. “You want this or something?” she asked, offering it to Gabriella as if she should know instinctively how to use it… And like having it should be a comforting factor for her.

“I’ve never shot a gun in my life.” Gabriella admitted, eyeing the pistol nervously. “Jade?”

“Do I look like the type of girl who’d have gone shooting?” Jade shook her head. “I’ve got as much experience with guns as you do.”

“I… I guess I’ll take it then.” Gabriella said, hesitantly taking the pistol from Andrea, eyes still looking at it nervously. “You have your own pistol, right? Wouldn’t want to leave you without one.”

“Don’t go anywhere without two… Might lose one in a fight, and I’ve had one jam on me before in a shootout… Never letting that happen again,” Andrea stated, giving a somewhat incidental hint on her past as she started driving once again, continuing slowly through the streets before approaching a gas station and truck stop that had a store, which she parked in front of. “Anyway… Take the safety off if you need to shoot, it’s already loaded basically. Aim with two hands, keep a firm grip, and pull the trigger. Shouldn’t have too much recoil, it’s not a large gun.”

“Thanks.” Gabriella nodded gratefully, still holding the gun uneasily, as if it was alien to her, before setting it down on her lap, barrel pointed away from her. She knew that much after all. She fell back into silence, obviously still slightly uneasy from the way her head flicked towards the window every once in a while, but slightly more relaxed.

The sun was down by now, and Andrea opened the door on the driver’s side before stepping out. “I’m going to pick up a couple of things since we’re over here, might need to wait a bit for it to get darker before we see anything real interesting, anyway. You can come or stay,” she said, throwing her camera strap around her neck and shutting the door behind her, starting towards the gas station store.

Gabriella and Jade just looked at each other in silence, remaining where they were, coming to a silent decision to stay put. Gabriella wasn’t about to just leave Jade alone and unarmed, and Jade didn’t really feel like getting out right now.

Andrea walked into the store, an odd tension setting over the area, the lights of the store cutting through a very thin but still visible layer of fog which just added to the strange atmosphere. The interior was somewhat visible through a glass panel that ran the length of the building’s wall, but the exterior was dark, a single light serving to light up the truck stop area as two of the other ones elevated above the complex seemed to be damaged and non functional, leaving the place only covered by the one which wasn’t really bright enough to prevent most of the place from well, being completely dark. Furthermore, the danger was something that could be… Felt. The feeling of fluttering in the chest, perhaps, but more intense, not an anxiety but almost the feeling of knowing that something was set to go wrong.

Jade shivered, face all but pressed against the window, eyes watching nervously over the outside of the gas station. She blinked as she heard Gabriella flick the safety of the pistol she was holding off, clutching it between a pair of trembling, clammy hands as she watched the opposite direction from Jade, looking away from the gas station, tapping a heel in nervous anticipation against the floor of Andrea’s car.

The situation began to become apparent, slowly. Off by the truck stop, in the darkness, something was visible - something cutting through the shadows, illuminating that layer of fog that was set out over this entire place, specifically a number of trails of light which had a specific pattern to them, which seemed to be some form of armor, and the shape of a person could be made out… So some kind of person walking slowly through the area as if looking for someone, wearing some kind of armor which was illuminated. Almost certainly a metahuman from the looks of things, or someone using metahuman created technology.

“You see that?” Jade hissed out, Gabriella turning around and squinting at the pattern of light in the fog, nodding.

“Yeah, I see it. Very bad news.”

“Uh…” Jade stuttered out, obviously nervous. “What, uh, do we do? Andrea’s inside...”

“We wait and see. We… can’t fight a metahuman.” Gabriella said, fighting down the panic and keeping her voice calm. “We see what they do, go from there, okay?”

Jade said nothing, just nodding and waiting in a nervous silence. It was only seconds later that the ground off in the distance exploded, orange energy forming the shape of a fist and slamming into a spot that narrowly missed the person in the armor, another figure apparently controlling it but not making themselves seen yet - Andrea ran out of the store right away, pistol drawn, the loud bang having been enough in terms of indication that something was up, and she quickly turned her attention to the direction the sound had come from. She offered a wave to Gabriella and Jade - the intent was clear: she was going to head closer, they could either stay where they were or follow.

Gabriella sighed, rolled her eyes, and pushed open the car door with a loud click, climbing out. She thought this was a stupid idea, but she wasn’t about to let Andrea go off alone. “Come on.” She said, offering a hand to Jade who reluctantly followed after her before they made their way after Andrea at a more relaxed and cautious walk, Gabriella holding her pistol ready with Jade slightly behind her, letting her lead as she had the gun.

Seconds later, they found themselves in a bit of a dangerous situation, a figure emerging from behind one of the trucks, radiant orange light coming from a pair of wings made of the same energy, lighting the entire area up pretty well as a rapid spray of knife shaped constructs were propelled towards the second figure, who moved out of the way with enhanced speed before firing what seemed only like some kind of massive laser attack at the enemy in the sky, causing that enemy to fire back with another spray that hit wildly, shattering random car windows and causing quite the stir. The sound of a camera clicking could be added into the fray as Andrea did her best to take pictures of the incident as it happened, the pistol lowered while she held up the camera in one hand and looked through the viewfinder, standing still dangerously close to the fight that was going on.

Gabriella and Jade stopped, Jade pulling Gabriella to the side behind an abandoned car, further away from the fight than Andrea was, watching with concern. Gabriella would’ve liked to get closer, but more movement might draw the attention of the two fighters away from their duel and towards Andrea, so she stayed where Jade had pulled her, watching through the shattered car windows while Jade crouched beside her, occasionally pushing herself up to take a hesitant, nervous look at the action.

They would all be distracted from the action, however, by something else. As the adrenaline continued pumping for all of them, there was… Something of a change. Like someone had flipped a light switch, like someone had opened a third eye, whatever. It was hard to explain to anyone that hadn’t felt it but for a moment, the only thing that Andrea, Jade, or Gabriella would be able to feel was energy, a white flash filling the vision of all of them for a moment even though nothing had been done particularly to cause it - it didn’t seem like the powers of anyone in the fight. And it would subside a moment later but the feeling of being connected to things in a greater way, and the… The colors that were surrounding each and every person now, more vivid and visible than they had been before… These auras… They weren’t going away. They didn’t seem temporary this time. They seemed like they had been properly awakened.

But not giving time to think about it, the fight continued on in the background, the figure manipulating the orange energy reaching out with it and forming a fist to grab the other metahuman who couldn’t evade in time, picking the rival up and throwing him roughly through the building, a large smoke cloud showing up as the gas station store might as well have been destroyed, the thrown metahuman seemingly surviving because of armor and exiting through the other side as a hole was ripped through two of the walls. Things had… Gotten more intense.

“Uh, Gabs, you-” Jade began, not even needing to finish her question before Gabriella nodded her answer. There wasn’t exactly time to process this new development now though, Gabriella moving around Jade and away from the store, anticipating that the fight would now gravitate towards there, Jade following after a second before slowly starting to make their way towards Andrea now that there was something ever so slightly more important than fight pictures potentially.

But Andrea was, for once, fearless, moving in the direction of the wrecked gas station store and climbing into the rubble herself, keeping her pistol in one hand and aiming her camera with the other. Although, it wasn’t like the pistol was actually going to do much against these metahumans from what they had seen of them - it didn't seem like a normal bullet was enough.

“What is she thinking…” Jade mumbled to herself, Gabriella not acknowledging her complaints as she slowly led the pair of them after Andrea. They… They finally had something, anything about their powers now, and Gabriella wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get just a little bit more knowledge about everything even if it was risky.

RATATATATATATA

The sound of more of the thin knife like projectiles could be heard, and they were sprayed right in front of Andrea - close enough that she could feel the heat coming off them, but still, she remained where she was, no flinching at all as she looked upon the scene in front of her, lowering her camera ever so slightly before taking more pictures. It looked like the figure with the wings was trying to finish off the opponent, but that opponent wasn’t downed yet… And with sirens approaching off in the distance, the figure flew away from the gas station in pursuit of the opponent which was headed on course for an alleyway across the street.

With the figures moving away from the gas station, Gabriella allowed herself to relax a little, still remaining low but breaking into a quick jog to catch up with Andrea while the two battling figures were further away, Jade not following her and instead remaining where she was, watching nervously from a distance as the fight moved away from them.

“Damn it… W-Wish I was able to see the e-end,” Andrea said, turning to face Gabriella, breathing deeply and starting back in the direction of the car, which was covered in dust but otherwise unharmed from the clash of titans which they had just witnessed. “If I was… C-Closer I could have gotten better shots…”

“If you’d gotten closer they might’ve noticed or you might’ve been caught in the crossfire.” Gabriella replied as Jade caught up with the pair of them, panting lightly. “I’m sure whatever you’ve gotten is perfectly good.”

“You’re kinda crazy, Andrea.” Jade admitted, looking in the direction had gone. “I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near that close.”

Andrea paused ever so slightly, nodding gently. “Y-Yeah. I know,” she stated, panting as she opened the driver’s side door. “But when you’ve faced death… It tends to scare you less. At least, it scares me less… I d-don’t shy away from things just because of risk…”

“Just surprised me, really. Didn’t expect that from you.” Jade said, shrugging as she climbed into the back, Gabriella adding “Yes, I… Well, it caught me off-guard with you charging off into the fray, worried me for a few moments.” She climbed into the back, shutting the door. “So, who feels like getting take-out if we can find somewhere, then, well… We should probably talk about the auras since, well… They’re sticking around now.”

“Oh yeah… They didn’t turn off this time…” Andrea muttered, having forgotten about the subject due to the general adrenaline rush and her focus on other things. “Guess we can find a place… Need to get out of here because of the sirens, anyway. Last thing we want is police, they work with the BEA after all…”

With that, she pulled out of the lot, turning the wipers on to get the dust off the windshield and accelerating in the opposite direction of where the fight had went, the sirens continuing in the distance as for now, they stayed in the shadows… Where it was safe.
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4012
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:08 am

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New York City is one of the cities in the United States with the highest metahuman population. That status makes it slightly easier for metahuman fugitives to blend in - and also makes it a breeding ground for young heroes and villains who haven’t yet found national fame…


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    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 10: “NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
    New York City, New York
    November 1st, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
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Elly leaned against a wall, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. She’d never been good at pickpocketing, she’d only gotten about fifteen bucks and a cheap steel watch. Still, she could pawn the thing. Might get four or five bucks for it, if she was lucky. She was still new to New York, only been in town for about three days. Ever since she’d left Portsmouth. She’d left in a hurry, one small bag of clothes and whatever else had already been in her car. Traded in her old car for something cheaper, something with a license plate tied to her new look. New ID, fake of course, with a new name. She still didn’t know what that light show of red energy was, or what it’d done to her, but she knew that not long after government spooks were in town. Andrea had been right to been paranoid about them, Elly still sometimes wondered what Andrea was up to. Pocketing the cash she had, she never kept more than forty on her, plus whatever she nabbed. She wasn’t good a pickpocketing, but plenty of other people were, and she needed that money. For food mostly, she was still sleeping in her car most of the time.

Tucked and hidden away on her was her trusty Ruger, she rarely went anywhere without the pistol. Better safe than sorry, she was hunted after all. She pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit one up. Cheap things, and still not something she was used to, but if she wanted to sell that ‘Kara Armstrong’ was a different person than Elly Thrane, she had to have more than just appearance to back it up. Habits, routines, all of it had to be changed. It’s part of why she’d come to New York City, there were so many people coming and going every day she wouldn’t stick out to pretty much anyone. Just another lost soul doing what they could to survive.

But while things were peaceful right now on this street in Manhattan, one of the many well patrolled streets of one of the cities with a much higher than normal number of superheroes, that could change in an instant - crime that happened in broad daylight tended to be dealt with but that didn’t mean it never happened in the first place. Especially things like this… Chaotic but still small scale incidents that wouldn’t warrant superheroes coming in. No, this wasn’t an attack from a criminal cartel or professional villains, but these people that seemed to appear out of nowhere, bursting out of an alleyway and shoving someone to the ground - their outfits made them seem like they were villains of some kind.

“Went down fucking easy…”

“Told you this guy is a lick…”

The voices spoke in hushed tones, and they came from beneath masks. One of the group, a late teens or early twenties looking female, although it was hard to tell the age exactly because the mask covered the entire face, was wearing a motorcycle helmet with a black visor, same color as the rest of her outfit. The other person in the immediate area, gender not decipherable yet thanks to baggy clothes and a face covering mask, was wearing a panda mask with a stylized cartoon design. Both of them, however, were armed, with weapons in their hands that looked like… Pistols but not quite pistols. Pistols, but not any kind that would normally be seen. Metahuman made custom designs, perhaps.

There was soon a third figure emerging from the alleyway, a boy wearing a mask which covered the top half of his face, and aside from that, a dark blue hoodie. “Hell are we doing with him now?” that member of the group asked, looking over the figure on the ground that the other two were standing over.

One of them reached down, ripping a notable golden chain off the neck of the other one, holding it up and examining it before stuffing it into a jacket - the black leather jacket that matched the black motorcycle helmet. “What do you-”

“I’m sayin’ he’s going to recognize our voices,” the boy with the half mask stated. “Are we getting rid of the evidence?”

“You mean getting rid of the witness, dumbass,” the person in the panda mask stated, leveling a pistol at the boy on the ground. “But… If we just shoot him, we’re going to end up with more heat…”

“FUCK!” the one in the black motorcycle helmet stated, apparently not having thought things through completely. “Look, whatever we’re doing, we have to decide it fast, I’m not giving us very much time until we end up with NYPD up our ass since well…” she gestured around them, to the fact that they were out in the open, a decent amount of bystanders around.

“Homicides get a lot more resources than a mugging.”

Elly spoke up, careful to keep her face hidden from the boy on the ground. She put out her cigarette, and tucked what was left of it back into the pack. She didn’t leave any cigarette butts lying around anywhere, much less somewhere like here.

“Plus, they’ve got what...nine million people to sort through? Hasn’t seen your face, hasn’t heard your name. Get moving and they’ll probably never catch you, long as you mind the cameras.”

“Yeah but the thing is,” the girl in the panda mask said, not taking it as strange at all that Elly had entered the conversation. “This prick knows us and he’s heard our voices. We were debating on what to do all the way over here, but we didn’t think of that factor…”

“Knows you how? Thing about voices is...lots of people sound alike. Besides, you kill him now, you got a ton of other witnesses. Get out of dodge...well, memories are tricky things.”

“Ugh…” the girl in the motorcycle helmet said. “My power is not helping me right now, I think it’s making me overthink things…”

“Let’s just get back to the car,” the boy stated, and the other two started to move before one of them, the girl in the motorcycle helmet, stopped and turned to face Elly.

“The hell are you? Some villain from ‘round here?” she asked, nodding towards her, perhaps wondering why she happened to have knowledge about these kinds of things and had decided to jump into the conversation. Wasn’t every day, after all, that some civilian ended up talking to them when they were out in the field, performing a robbery.

“New in town, and the neighborhood.”

Elly narrowed her eyes a little at the motorcycle figure, the strange auras dancing around her came and went. Elly still wasn’t sure what they were, or if they meant anything. Maybe she was just going crazy. Didn’t matter, she’d deal with that later if she had to. For now, the reason she’d said anything at all.

“Figured it might be good to have some friends in the area.”

“I mean…” the girl said, chuckling at the comment. “New York eats you alive if you jump on the scene when you aren’t prepared, you know? If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, and all that. You have some people you ride with or something? Or… Are you killin’ yourself by going solo out here?”

“Like I said...new in town. Don’t have much of anything or anybody.”

Elly finally pocketed the pack of cigarettes. She had her knife on her to, but for now...didn’t look like this was going to get violent. Besides, it was a hollow handle knife, didn’t last long as an actual knife, was more for crafting things than stabbing thing.

“You wanna come with us as we bang our way through Manhattan while trying not to get our asses arrested by the Hero League for it?” the girl asked, almost semi jokingly, but at least part seriously. “You seem like you know a thing or two… You a metahuman or something?”

The boy, though, had stopped in his tracks and was waving to the girl. “Come on! No time to spend sitting around talking…”

“Well that’s the million dollar question, answer is...no fucking clue, and might as well, not like I got anything else to do.”

Elly glanced at the boy and pushed off the wall, straightening her jacket to make sure her pistol was still hidden.

“Lead the way.”

They found themselves heading a couple streets over to an off roader style vehicle, with enough seats in the back to fit Elly albeit with a slight squeeze - four of them in total. The one in the panda mask was the one to start driving, although once they were in the vehicle they started taking their jackets and masks off before accelerating out of the parking spot they were in and nearly hitting another car in the process.

NOW PLAYING: N.Y. State of Mind on Manhattan BLK Radio

…Heard a few chicks scream my arm shook, couldn't look
Gave another squeeze heard it click yo, my shit is stuck
It wouldn't shoot now I'm in danger
Pulled my shit back had three bullets caught up in the chamber
Now I'm runnin' to the building lobby
And it was filled with children probably couldn't see as high as I be…

The boy in the front passenger seat adjusted the radio dial as they started weaving their way through traffic, doing the best they could to get away from the scene without attracting police attention for a different reason, for their driving rather than the robbery they had just committed. “So next time we’re going to think these things out more, eh? That’s your power, right?”

“Debatable,” the girl in the motorcycle helmet, or rather, the one who had been wearing the motorcycle helmet, said as they continued, driving relatively fast for Manhattan but still running into a decent amount of traffic.

“How much fallout you think we’re getting from this one?” the driver of the vehicle asked.

But the other girl, the one who had been revealed to have short, dark hair which for now was covering one eye, a gothic choker around her neck in the same color as all her other stuff, black, didn’t seem to think they’d be in much trouble. “The boss will take care of it,” she said simply. Apparently, they were working with someone else.

“Can’t always rely on someone else…”

“Yeah but, you know how my brain works… I just need to think these things through more in the future,” the black haired girl said in reply, settling back as silence mostly fell over the vehicle, the newcomer not getting much more than looks.

“Boy was terrified, I’d bet good money he’ll remember you all bigger, and nastier than you were. Probably doesn’t have a good read on smaller details, it’s the masks and guns that’ll stand out the most.”

Elly had been in college for awhile. Sure she didn’t take psychology, but her last ex had, and she’d helped her study from time to time. Memories tended to hook onto patterns, and outstanding features, like the ones she mentioned.

“If you’d shot him, a DA would push hard on it in an election bid. Murders always stir that kind of thing up, now it’ll be just another robbery, and masked robberies aren't rare. If anything, I’d be more worried someone will recognize the guns then recognize you without the masks.”

“Oh, those?” the black haired girl said, holding up one of the pistols. “I made these… But I don’t think they’re coming back in their current form, I have some tweaks to make-”

“I’m that thing jams on me,” the driver started.

“Yeah, I know. Sheesh, I’m working on it. Not like we needed it today anyway, and I still have the Glock… Anyway, that’s my own work, my power… Doesn’t have to do with making things directly per say, but it helps greatly with it compared to someone that doesn’t have it,” the black haired girl continued.

“Then it’s only the masks they can use to figure you out, and it’s a big city. Lots of different places you can go.”

Elly shifted, her height made even the squeeze a little cramped, but she was used to it. When she’d been on the volleyball team, she’d been the tallest even there. Tall enough she had made an exceptional blocker, it was what had kept her out of a lot of debt. That was behind her now though, no more double majors to work on. She didn’t have a cell phone anymore either, not yet anyway, so she used the cars radio to check the time. Sighing, she pulled out a bottle of pills, and popped one.

“If they’re jamming, it’s something in the reloading mechanism, the slide, or maybe it’s just building up residue to fast.”

Elly ran through a few options, she wasn’t an expert on guns, but she knew her way around them. When she used to go hunting, it was handy to know this stuff. Made it easy to deal with any problems that arouse while you were in the field.

“Ah, well, I’m not a fuckin’ engineer, just a fuckin’ genius,” the black haired girl shrugged as they kept going, eventually ending up en route to head to the Bronx. “The name’s Tempest, by the way… But I’m going by Prototype. Sounds catchy enough, even if there’s some hero in Cali using the same name…”

“I’m going by Kara here in town, but I was Elly back in Portsmouth.”

“The girl in the front that had the panda mask on is Risako, she talks mad shit but she’s actually all bark no bite and she’s pretty cool… The boy is Rad, he’s pretty chill most of the time but he’s a good guy to have in a shootout,” Tempest explained, going through the other members in the car.

“Fuck you, too,” Risako said from the front, flashing her middle finger.

“Yeah, yeah. You know you love me… Anyway, we’re headed towards my parents’ place. Kinda embarrassing but I’m still stuck with them for like the next six months or so, till we get a big payday… Maybe sooner. Me and Risako are students, or well, we are for a few more months, I dunno about Rad. He lives in a trap or something, he’s our connection to the whole villain scene thing,” Temptest continued. “But I’m the leader, of course, being, y’know… The genius of the group.”

“I was a student before I came here, some weird shit went down then there were spooks in town. Wasn’t sticking around to see what they wanted. Now...now I just sleep in my car.”

“The BEA is nasty, yes,” Tempest nodded, seemingly familiar with the kind of thing that Elly was talking about. They continued through the streets of Manhattan, heading north in the direction of the Bronx, eventually showing up on the outside of a smallish two story house which was located in a less dense and somewhat run down area, the lot next to the house on the right side being empty and the nearest house on that side being abandoned and in a state of nearly falling down. And it seemed the streets around here weren’t exactly safe from gang members, Latin Kings and Bloods being seen around some of the corners, the uncut and overgrown grass just adding to the contrast between this place and the nicer places in New York City.

“Here’s where my family stays… Also our headquarters as a group when we’re not using the boss’ place,” Temptest said as the off roader pulled up outside. “You can come in, family’s not home at the moment. Probably.”

“Alright.”

Elly waited for the path to be clear to climb out of the car. She stretched a bit, glad to have full space for her height again. She adjusted her jacket again, not wanting to flash that she was armed all over the place. Not yet anyway.

“I’ll have to go get my car eventually, got most of my stuff in it.”

“Shit, you really are on your own…” Tempest said, stepping out of the off roader along with Risako and Rad and starting towards the house, opening up the front door and stepping inside, the others following after her at the same time.

“Like I said, got outta dodge. Didn’t have a lot of time to arrange anything better.”

Elly followed them inside, rubbing at her neck a little as she did. It was taking every ounce of self control she had not to stare too much at Tempest or Risako. She quietly reminded herself what happened the last time. Thankfully it wasn’t too hard to keep herself focused. There were more important things to worry about for the time being.

They’d have to head upstairs and turn to a hallway to reach a room which was cluttered but was filled with things that seemed relevant to the work for the team, including parts for weapons, complex diagrams and plans and such, and what seemed like prototypes for costumes and related things. “Well, this is our headquarters, or the closest thing we have to one, anyway,” Tempest said. “We’re calling ourselves The Strangers. Because no one knows who the hell we are… Welcome to the little club, I guess. It’s nice having someone else ‘round here that knows what they’re doing…”

“Only on some things, I know guns because I used to go hunting a lot. Rest of it was just stuff I picked up in the three and some such years at college. It’s patchy, but it helps.”

Elly looked at all the stuff around the room, wondering how the hell they hadn’t been caught yet. Especially as other people were in the house. Still, it was a better position than she’d been in yesterday, so it was a start. Still, all her shit was in her car, including her rifle, and the cash she did have. Well, she had about forty bucks on hand. That’d be enough to get her back to her car, she could find somewhere safeish nearby to keep it later.

“Best thing is always experience. More time you spend using a gun, the better feel you get for it. Rinse and repeat with different kinds, and you end up with a general base.”

“Well… We’re getting some more experience, Rad’s boss has been giving us a bunch of jobs to do lately and it pays better than anything we’ve done before… More action, too. It’s how I’m going to move out of this place and how I’m gonna get Risako in her own place,” Tempest stated, looking out the window at the street behind them. “It’s a bit more dangerous but, eh, we didn’t become villains because it was safe, did we?” she continued, shrugging. “Either way… We won’t turn down help. We need all the help we can get, really…”
i'm the bad guy... duh.

for: the anime right
anti: catgirls & people who step on snek

User avatar
Durmatagno
Negotiator
 
Posts: 7048
Founded: Oct 10, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Durmatagno » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:37 am

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Image



New York City is one of the cities in the United States with the highest metahuman population. That status makes it slightly easier for metahuman fugitives to blend in - and also makes it a breeding ground for young heroes and villains who haven’t yet found national fame… The Strangers are one such group living and operating out of New York City, and as they welcome their newest member, it becomes apparent that the group has a long way to go before competing with the top heroes and villains.


_________________________________________________________________________________________

    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 11: “THE VILLAIN LIFE
    New York City, New York
    November 1st, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
_______________________

Once Elly was done looking around the room, she nodded and turned to slip past Tempest, Risako, and Rad. She stopped, and reached into her pocket to pull out the wallet she was using, she double checked how much cash she had on her, and did some mental math. A bus or uber ride would take a bit, subway might be faster if she was lucky enough to catch one at the right time, but she didn’t know the schedule for them yet. She couldn’t afford to use them on the regular.

“I’m heading out, going to go get my car and my stuff, find somewhere nearby to park it. Be back in awhile, gotta find a taxi, bus, or maybe an uber if I can find a cheap phone.”

“No need to take a bus or something, we do have a car, y’know,” remarked Risako, shrugging. She was sitting on the bed at the far end of the room, and had been keeping her eyes on Elly rather intently. “I can drive. Or you.”

“You guys just got back, I wasn’t going to make you cart me around town all day.”

Elly turned as she spoke, looking to Risako. She shrugged, not really caring whether it was them or a bus taking her.

“Not to big a deal, I’ll drive there, you can drive you guy’s car back. I’ll find somewhere nearby to park it.”

“I’m sure Risako doesn’t mind,” shrugged Tempest, as Risako stood up and picked up the keys, starting to move towards the door.

“Yeah. See you guys in a little bit,” she said, stepping out of the bedroom and starting down the stairs, and then out of the building entirely, heading back to the off roader that they had driven here. She opened the driver’s side door, getting in. “Come on… Which side of town we headed to, to find this car of yours?”

“Chelsea, near the dockyards. Gotta a little lot near a gallery I parked in. Put up some sun protectors and stay quiet, no one even knows you’re there.”

Elly raised an eyebrow and climbed into the passenger seat as she spoke. She’d said she drive, but again, it wasn’t to big of a deal. Really she just needed to make sure she had her stuff, literally everything but the clothes on her back that she had left was in that car. Buckling in, she adjusted the seat, remembering roughly where it was, to give her longer legs some room.

“Alright,” said Risako, pulling out of where they were parked and starting to head back towards the busy main roads, taking note of their surroundings and watching the corners carefully - they weren’t in the safest neighborhood, per say, although they had lasted long enough working out of the Bronx without anything happening.

She kept her eyes facing forward, towards the road, as she continued driving, not really looking to the side to the passenger in the other sea. “So… You said you were in college?” she asked eventually, curious about the background of who she was with.

“Yeah, was almost done with my Bachelors, just had three semesters left. After that, I was gonna take a break before buckling down on my masters.”

Elly propped her arm on the door and leaned her head on her hand. Watching the scenery, and the people. She sighed as she talked about college, at that time was basically wasted now. Not entirely, it had given her some useful skills, part of why she’d made it even this far. She pulled out her half finished cigarette from earlier and lit it back up.

“Was...a stressful time. Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about funding it, or it would have been even worse.”

“College…” muttered Risako, chuckling. “I don’t have the grades for that, you see - me and Tempest are basically done with high school and we’re moving out as soon as we get the payday, but you see, this villain thing is the only real shot we have… Tempest is a genius but neither me or her are really good with things like school or work or whatever.”

“I got a volleyball scholarship, but my high school grades were never amazing. Passable, but not amazing. Partially because I spent most of my time changing schools every month or two, parents traveled for work and so I went with ‘em. If the spooks hadn’t shown up doing spook things, I’d still be there. Didn’t leave many friends behind, and certainly no one I really cared about. Don’t have much choice but to turn to this kind of life now, so I decided if I was gonna be in it, I might as well be good.”

When Elly finished her cigarette, she made sure there were no more live embers, then she tucked the butt back into the pack. Her distaste for litter, especially lazy litter, was a habit she wouldn’t be able to get rid of. Unlike many, she wouldn’t just flick the butt wherever once she was done. She would dispose of it properly, when she got the chance.

“I don’t think Tempest gives a shit about grades and about keeping them decent - she can but she’s just not wired for it… I dunno. Rad is with like the Serbian mob or something like that, I just don’t feel like having someone else choose my schedule for me and have teachers boss me around, y’know,” Risako said with a shrug. “One of the good things about doing robberies is… No one tells you when to do them. That, and I actually make something off the work…”

“I can understand that, I chose the path for myself. Wouldn’t force it on anyone else. Not that it matters anymore, I had to bail pretty much overnight.”

Elly sighed and turned her eyes to the sky, watching it as they kept driving. This wasn’t a pleasant topic, brought back bad memories, and reminded her of what she’d had to abandon.

“Still, some of what I learned has already come in handy. Maybe the rest of it will too. We’ll see, the road I’m on now is an unpredictable one.”

“What are you actually planning on doing from here? You’re with us for now but you’re thinking of going into this villain thing full time or…?” asked Risako. “You have a place to stay since you ended up coming here last minute?”

“Planning? So far I’ve just been focusing on surviving and making sure I have food every day. Beyond that, it’s not like I have much of a choice. Any legitimate job I hold down makes staying hidden much more complex, and it’s not like going villain adds any extra pressure on me.”

Elly sat up, keeping her back straight. She was scowling slightly at the topic of conversation, but wasn’t so unhappy as to change it.

“As for where I’m staying, been sleeping in my car. That’s about it, that’s why it’s even stashed where it is. Less likely for something to go wrong.”

“I’m sure you can stay with Tempest or something… Not like her family pays too much attention to me staying over there,” shrugged Risako, as she continued driving. “Sleeping in your car isn’t going to do, especially if you’re spending time over on my side of town. You’re practically asking for someone to break the window and mug you…”

“Why do think I put it where I did? Safer neighborhood, in that way anyway. Even if it wasn’t, I never go anywhere without this.”

Elly sat forward to pull her Ruger out just long enough for Risako to see it, before getting it settled back into it’s concealed holster. She rubbed at her neck for a moment.

“I’ll talk to Tempest about it when we get back.”

“Not a bad gun… although Tempest has a Glock 19,” Risako said, as they came closer to their destination. They were arriving around now, with Risako following the directions Elly had given her, the best she could. “Although when it comes to this power thing, you learn pretty quick which guys you can use guns against and which ones are above those… The second group is scary.”

“Turn up here, lot’ll be at the end of the block on the left.”

Elly fixed her jacket, making sure everything was covered again.

“As for that, I’m well aware. An...acquaintance of mine runs a blog about metahumans, tuned into it on the regular. Supposedly there’s people out there that can take anti-tank crap to the chest and keep walking, and others that turn you into a puppet. Don’t know about all that, but I know you gotta pick your battles carefully.”

As they got closer, Elly dug her keys out of her pocket. First things first, she’d check to make sure all her stuff was still there. After that, they could get back on the road and head back, Elly would have to follow Risako. She hadn’t memorized the address quite yet.

“You’ll know about it soon enough if you’re getting involved in this kinda shit… Soon as you start going from fucking with normal people to fucking with metahumans, shit gets dangerous,” Risako said, turning at the street whee Elly had told her, and pulling up behind the right car and parking. “Here we are. This yours?”

“Yeah, that’s mine.”

Elly hopped out, and after a quick check on the locks, popped the trunk. The inside was organized chaos. She knew where everything was, but at first glance it was just scattered randomly. Shuffling a few magazines to the side, she dug through the clothes to pull out a small metal lockbox. Unlocking it, she checked inside, and slipped her cash from the day into it. Burying it again, she moved some more clothes around, and revealed a .308 rifle of some sort, and a few boxes of ammo. Satisfied, she moved to close the trunk.

“Interesting… Stuff,” said Risako, having followed Elly from the off roader to the other car, a slight smirk on her face as she watched and stood behind her, not saying much more than that for now.

Once everything was shut and locked. She moved round to the drivers side, and unlocked it.

“All I got, most if it was already in a go bag, just had to grab a few extra things. Left behind more than I wanted.”

She waved for Risako to take the lead, and got the car started up. It was a cheaper car, but it was in fairly good shape for being six years old. It came on without a fuss, and she turned down the radio, nothing interesting on this time of day. Not that she’d found yet anyway.

Risako moved back to her own car, climbing back inside and pulling off from the curb, pulling in front of Elly and starting to head back towards the Bronx. They went back roughly the way that they had come, avoiding the busiest roads and navigating a number of smaller streets, some of them a bit hard to get through quickly because of the tight traffic. The trip wasn’t the longest one in the world, but thanks to the traffic it wasn’t an instant one either.

They arrived eventually, pulling up outside of the building in the Bronx once again, Risako climbing out and walking up to the door as she waited for Elly to follow after her, unlocking the door but not heading in just yet and lingering around outside.

Elly parked out front for now, she’d figure out somewhere else to park later if she had to. Climbing out, she locked everything down again, and walked up. She stopped, curious as to why Risako was waiting outside for her.

“What’s up?”

“I wanted to give you something,” Risako said, before reaching into her jacket and taking out a piece of paper and a pen, scribbling something down quickly before extending the piece of paper to Elly - it had a series of numbers on it. Upon closer inspection, it was her own phone number, apparently.

“I uh...thank you?”

Elly was caught off guard by this turn of events. She didn’t exactly have a phone to put the number in, not yet anyway. She took the piece of paper, and tucked it away in one of her jacket pockets where she wouldn’t forget it.

“I’ll have to get a phone before it matters, but thanks.”

“You could ask Tempest, she has like… Five thousand dollars laying around, we’ve been doing pretty decently,” said Risako, shrugging casually as she pushed her way through the door and into the building, starting upstairs once again towards the bedroom they had come from in the first place - Tempest’s bedroom.

“I got some money saved up, enough for a decent phone and a good prepaid card. No need to beg for help just yet.”

Elly said, following behind Risako. She studied Risako from behind, trying to get a handle on just what her intentions were. She didn’t know the girl well enough to predict them, but she was still guarded. She wasn’t trusting at the best of times, at least not with this kind of stuff. The information she offered up was because it either no longer mattered, or was just as incriminating as what she’d seen of them. If they wanted to betray her, she had dirt on them as well. She didn’t think they would, but she’d rather be on guard then caught by surprise.

Risako shrugged as they kept going, and she opened the door and stepped back into the bedroom. “Back,” she told the others, as Tempest sat at her desk and worked on some of the pieces of machinery that she had sitting on it, a small screwdriver in hand while Rad sat on the bed in the background, both of them looking up wen Risako came back with Elly. “Anyway… Feel free to make yourself comfortable,” she added. “We’re probably going to mostly chill the next couple days till the boss calls in with something for us, but we might run the necklace from earlier out to our people in Brooklyn later tonight… But that’s after the sun goes down.”

“Alright, I’ll keep out of the way for now. Tomorrow I’ll probably run and get myself a phone, and maybe some more clothes. If you need me, I’ll give you my number once I have it.”

Elly moved to do as she said, and stay out of the way. She barely knew these people, it’d take some time for her to figure out how to handle everything, but for now...at least she had some allies. Maybe a place to stay to, she’d talk to Tempest about that later.

“Mmmm… You two have fun?” questioned Tempest, raising an eyebrow but not turning away from her project, continuing to work on some kind of mechanical device using a small screwdriver, a light shining above that spot of the table where she was working, cutting through the shadows and making it slightly easier to see the details of what was being worked on, such as the head of the screwdriver.

“Talked, got my car, not much else. Wasn’t bad though, I haven’t talked to anyone at length for almost a week, though most of that was my own fault.”

Elly leaned against the wall where she was. She wasn’t going to lie, she’d enjoyed the time she spent with Risako, even if some of the topics brought up bad memories or recent wounds. Thankfully she’d avoided a few of the topics Elly want to talk about the least. She would have just skipped those, hopefully without making Risako mad.

“Not what I meant,” snickered Tempest, the rest of the room except for Elly chuckling - they were in on something that she wasn’t. There was still a team dynamic to be figured out, it seemed, one where everything wasn’t entirely obvious.

“Uhhh...okay, not sure what you’re talking about but I said all that happened.”

Well, she didn’t mention Risako giving her her number. She wasn’t sure what they were chuckling about, but she’d find about eventually. Probably, anyway it wasn’t like it was that big a deal. A few laughs at her expense were nothing to get worried about, not at this level anyway.

“We’re laughing because we’re surprised that Risako hasn’t seduced you yet…” said Tempest, laughing slightly as she finally set down the screwdriver and the machine part in her hand, looking up. Risako didn’t reach too much either way, just shrugging as she leaned against the wall not far from the doorway. “She has some interesting ideas about… Fun.”

“Hmm..”

Yeah, that would fit being given the number so suddenly out of the blue. She arched an eyebrow, but stayed where she was. She’d known a few people like that. Jade for one, she’d never liked Jade much, but it was just because they’d never really interacted. It was her ex, Dawn, she’d been especially pissed at. Jade couldn’t have known, but Dawn knew full well what she did.

“No comment.”

“No comment?” Risako asked, her eyes traveling to Elly once again as Tempest went back to working on her project on the desk, a bit of sexual tension in the air as Risako hid her intents a bit less and let her eyes travel.

“For now.”

Elly smiled, enjoying her private joke amuse herself. She wasn’t sure what to this little revelation just yet. She’d figure it out in time. She chuckled a little, and locked eyes with Risako for a moment, before winking. A little teasing never hurt, especially not when someone’s intentions were so blatant.

Risako stared back, before she opened the door and turned to step out of the room. “Well, I’m going to go take a shower… You can follow if you want,” she said, nodding towards Elly before moving out of the room entirely, Tempest returning her focus to the table in front of her, as Rad simply watched the scene while looking down at his phone, the atmosphere in the room rather chill if not a bit isolated to someone that didn’t really know either of the people that were here right now.

Elly waited for a few moments, debating with herself on what to do. She closed her eyes as she thought, weighing her options and what she wanted. After a moment, she pushed off the wall, and took off her jacket. Revealing for the first time that she was in quite good shape, a direct consequence of having been on the volleyball team. It also showed her hidden holster, which she unbuckled, and remove it, pistol and all. Hanging it up with her jacket, she took a deep breath, looking down at her hands for a moment. Making her decision, she followed after Risako.
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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Lunas Legion
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 29429
Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:47 pm

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As the group returns to the apartment in Boston, emotions flare once again…


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    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 12: “PROBLEMS
    Boston, Massachusetts
    November 6th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Lunas Legion
_______________________

“I don’t think I’ll be doing that again, tiny bit too risky for me.” Jade said as she shoved open the door to their rented apartment with her shoulder, her hands carrying several pizza boxes, using her foot to hold the door open. “I like my metahumans on the other end of the screen, where they can’t shoot lasers near me.”

“Well, we’re all metahumans now I suppose, so I’m afraid you’re a bit closer than that.” Gabriella said in reply, taking the door from Jade as she entered and sliding the key back into the lock. “Just have to figure out how we turn it off now we’ve turned it on.”

“Eh, we have all the time in the world for that.” Jade shrugged, dropping the pizza boxes on the table in the main room of the flat. “Not like seeing glow-y things will make us accidentally collapse buildings or blow up Boston’s power grid. Again.”

Gabriella said nothing, simply shrugging in response as she made her way to join Jade, sitting down on one of the couches, Jade on the other and already having flipped open one of the boxes, a slice of pizza already in her hand.

“There’s the feds to w-worry about,” Andrea stated. “W-What are we going to do if they show up around here or if we head back to Portsmouth and w-we still can’t control these powers properly? W-We’ll have to figure them out s-soon I think…”

“Should probably figure out what the auras are first then.” Gabriella said, taking her own slice of pizza and starting to eat. “Sure, we can see them now, but we need to figure out what we can do with them, or if they’re a look don’t touch type thing.”

Jade nodded. “And turn the things off maybe? Although I dunno what turned them to ‘always on’, but turning them off is probably a useful thing to figure out.”

“Already told you a few times… You’re seeing auras. It’s a sensate power,” Andrea stated, with a slight sigh as she sat down, only taking a slice of pizza reluctantly. “I don’t know all the details… But I do know that what you’re seeing reflects on the person you’re looking at. Their emotional state, their current mood, all that. As far as what it’s useful for… It’s not telepathy, but it has some of the same uses.”

“I was wondering about the different colours.” Gabriella admitted. “But given it’s more… Visual than telepathy is, we should probably figure out the whole business of reading auras. What means what emotion if it isn’t exactly obvious, that kind of thing.”

“Mhm.” Jade added, not saying anything with a mouth currently full of pizza, but nodding enthusiastically as she swallowed. “I mean that shouldn’t be hard though, find large concentration of people, see what the auras look like, go from there if the knowledge of what means what doesn’t like appear to us. It’s powers, sometimes you just know like it’s a muscle or something. Could practice on each other I guess, maybe.”

“We do have each other, too, yeah,” said Andrea, shrugging. Heading out with a lot of people wasn’t exactly ideal for her - if she could practice with just the few of them she would probably do that instead of heading into a crowd.

“We can’t see our own sadly, I’m curious.” Jade said, smirking slightly. “But practicing with each other’s easier anyways, we know each other better, so we don’t have to try and guess what colours mean. You two can both look at mine if you want, I don’t mind.”

“It’s just pink…” muttered Andrea, taking a look at Jade before lowering her head again, not… Bothering with making eye contact.

“Huh.” Jade shrugged. “Can’t say I’m surprised, I’m a bit of a one-track person at times, but I don’t think we need to say what that means. You want to go next, Andrea, or should we look at Gabs’?”

“Don’t care,” Andrea said, letting the other two make the decision - although she couldn’t deny there was a bit of apprehension on her part when it came to the others examining her.

“Guess you’re up next then.” Jade said, shrugging, turning to look deeply at her, Gabriella doing likewise after a second or two of hesitation.

“A-And what are you seeing?” Andrea asked with hesitation in her voice, looking away to avoid seeing the gaze of either of them, turning her attention to the wall as awkward as that seemed.

“Well, you’ve got a lot more variety in terms of colours than Jade. Pink, blue, red, grey, white, black, purple… You’ve got a little bit of every colour in there I’m pretty sure.” Gabriella said, leaning forwards slightly. “For lack of a better term, messier too. Yours is more chaotic, colours all mixed together in blots and strings while Jade’s was just a sea of pink with a few tiny blots of dark grey in there at the edges.”

Andrea let out a slow sigh, moving to stand up, not entirely comfortable with the conversation or with having this talk in the first place. She stood up, letting out a smaller sigh before she spoke. “I should just go,” she said, moving to pick up a couple of things such as her jacket and her lighter, her voice wavering heavily as she spoke - her aura getting more turbulent, if that was even possible with how turbulent it had been before. “I’m not going to be a… Not going to be a fucking help to you w-when I can’t even get m-myself together…”

“You don’t need to be completely together, Andrea.” Gabriella said, setting the slice of pizza she’d been about to eat back down on the table. “You’ve been helpful this far, so…” Gabriella sighed. “Yes, you might be a bit of a mess, but it’s not like we can all be like Jade all the time and have just one thing on our mind at once. We wouldn’t have made it this far without you, so please, sit back down and the two of you can take a look at me and then we can set this whole business aside for tonight and we can figure more of it out in the morning. Okay?”

“You d-don’t… Know what it’s like,” Andrea said simply, frustrated, and she continued stuffing her things in her pockets before she picked up the last thing she had placed on the table, her Glock. “I d-don’t… See the fucking point in torturing myself anymore by making myself stay… I might come back… M-Might not,” she added, stuffing the Glock into the inside of her jacket, frowning.

“No, I… I don’t.” Gabriella said as she stood up, Jade leaning over to grab the TV remote and starting to flick through channels as she started on another slice of pizza, pointedly ignoring Gabriella and Andrea. “I have a vague idea of what it might be, but… That’s not going to be anywhere near to what you’re feeling. But I don’t want you to go anywhere, I know you can handle yourself, but I’ll start worrying over if you’re alright, if you’ll actually come back, if you’ve been picked up by the cops or feds or some gang or villain or whoever. Just… Stay in the flat, and me and Jade will leave you alone if you want us to.”

“How can you worry about me when you don’t even have a clue who or what the fuck I am?” Andrea shouted, raising her voice at Gabriella as she spun around on her heels to face her, the speed of her breath picking up also. “And it’s… H-Hardly even comfortable being around you guys, I just don’t know how much more of it I can actually take… The streets… Might be the better option… I-It’s not like I haven’t already gotten experience sleeping in abandoned buildings and stuff…”

“And then I’m supposed to just accept that just being around makes things too uncomfortable for you?” Gabriella sighed, her voice still even and calm. “If… If you absolutely insist that it’s the better option for you and there’s absolutely nothing at all I can do to make it more bearable for you, say so Andrea, and I… I’ll let you go. I don’t want to make you sleep on the streets just by existing, but if I do, then… I suppose that’s just how it is”

“It’s not a you problem!” Andrea screamed, her voice raising once again before she lowered it, tears welling in the corners of her eyes, pausing as she looked down and away. “It’s very much a me problem… A-And I’m sorry… This just… Already isn’t what I’m used to, a-and y-you and Jade aren’t m-making things any easier on me…”

“You don’t need to apologise for a you problem.” Gabriella shook her head slightly, sitting back down. “It’s just since I’m part of the cause, I assume that it’s something I can help with, even if it’s only a small way.” She turned back towards Jade, who said nothing, just giving her a small wave with her attention still focused on the TV. “Do you mind if we go out into the hall so we’re not bothering Jade as much? I’m not going to stop you leaving as I said, but… I just want to make it easier on you, Andrea, for your sake.”

“And what are you going to do?” asked Andrea, starting to walk out into the hallway, letting out another sigh, her voice still emotional but not quite as loud as it had been before. “It’s not like you have the power to… Fix who I am, and it’s not like y-you can fix my emotions and… All of this… I might as well just get out of your hair instead of expecting you to…”

“I can’t fix you, but I can help you deal with, well, being yourself.” Gabriella said, following Andrea out into the hallway and shutting the door behind her, the faint sounds of the TV audible behind it. “And you don’t have to expect me to, it’s freely offered help for someone I think deserves it.” She continued, placing her hands behind her back and standing in front of the door to the lounge. “I don’t want you out of my hair, Andrea. We’ve all got our flaws, yours are just greater than mine or Jade’s are.

As they reached the hallway, Andrea leaned in closely for effect, her voice practically a low hiss as she disputed the point. “Again… You don’t even know me… You don’t even know what I am… How the fuck are you going to help me with being myself? You… You don’t even return my crush…”

“In any way that you’ll let me.” Gabriella smiled slightly. “I do care for you Andrea, even… Even if it’s not quite on the same level as a crush, for now at least. As you’ve said, I… Barely know you, but you’re intelligent, you can be stupidly brave at times, you’ve been willing to put up with me and Jade for this long despite everything around the both of us, so I do want to know you better.”

“Do you really?” Andrea asked, not quite believing Gabriella… She lingered where she was standing for another brief moment before she leaned forward, pressing her lips against Gabriella’s as she placed her hands on her shoulders, needing to lean down a bit to make it work. But she pulled it off, at least, and she backed up after that, clearly just as flustered as Gabriella from what had just happened. “I should really go, now… Just wanted to do that first…”

“You don’t need to.” Gabriella shook her head, her entire face blushing as she looked down at the floor, embarrassed. “How… How long have you been trying to muster the courage for that?”

“Since the first time we talked…” Andrea muttered, stopping in her tracks. “Although we didn’t talk long, you probably don’t even remember it…”

“I don’t.” Gabriella admitted, giving a small nod as she looked up from the floor, stepping forwards to stand behind Andrea. “I barely remember how I met Jade either though, or most of my other friends here or back home for that matter.”

Andrea let a long silence set in before she spoke again, sighing and running a hand through her hair frustratedly. “And… Why do you want me to stay around, again, when the only thing I’m able to do is fight with these… Problems of mine and do things like this? Even though… I know I’ll never be as close to you as Jade is?”

“Jade’s my best friend but she’s…” Gabriella paused, searching for the right word. “Easily distracted by whatever she wants at the time. She’s not exactly the best company all the time, as fun as she can be at times, and trying to keep up with her’s just futile even for me. Yes, you have your problems, but they’re problems I can learn to live with and help you with, and I enjoy your company, or what little of it I do get for perfectly understandable reasons on your side.”

“I just want to go off and leave all of this behind… But fine,” said Andrea, leaning against the wall and rubbing her face with her hand, unsure of what to do or say. “I guess… If you want me to do it that bad… I’ll stay…”

“Thank you, Andrea.” Gabriella smiled, looking towards Andrea and taking a single step closer before stopping. “It does mean something to me, that you’re willing to suffer through Jade and myself despite how difficult it must be on your end, so if there’s anything I can do to help I don’t mind.”

“No… I don’t think there is…” Andrea stated, a hint of sadness in her voice, as she turned to head back into the apartment, setting her things down on the table once again before heading into the bedroom that she and Gabriella shared, dropping onto the bed and… Hoping to drown out everything.

“Okay.” Gabriella said, turning around to head back to join Jade in the main room. “Let me know if you do think of anything or you want to talk or whatever, I’ll be with Jade if you need me.”
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Forest State
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Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:56 am

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After your success in the Philippines, you have been assigned to another job in the same line… Your mission for today will pit you against the Paradise Consortium, which is involved in a smuggling operation that is in the INW's interests. This smuggling operation, based west of Harbin, Heilongjiang, involves a material that for the purposes of classification will be dubbed Substance B. This substance was designed to induce superpowers, but has had other effects and has rarely reached the desired goal - however, some aspects of it are valuable to our research. In this operation, you will break into a heavily secured compound in the north of China where Paradise is moving this substance, so a regular team can move in and seize their stores and production capability.

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    THE PSYCHIC WARS CHAPTER 5: “LOCKED OUT OF PARADISE
    Initiative for a New World Hong Kong Office
    December 8th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Durmatagno
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Sage left her room, maybe slightly later than normal, but still with plenty of time to spare. It’d never look good to be late to a mission. First stop on her list, the armory to get her gear and get suited up for the mission ahead of them. She took the fastest path she knew of to the armory, only making one out of the way stop to grab herself a big Granny Apple to snack on. She was pretty much always hungry, and this time she felt like something small to snack on was in order. Entering the armory, she spotted Kodiak, and offered her a wave.

“Hey Kodiak, any thoughts on the mission?”

Sage turned to start grabbing the equipment she’d want. A 7.62 machine gun seemed in order, she could handle the recoil to use it as a rifle. In the end, she decided against it, stealth was a big factor, something suppressed would be better. An HK417 with suppressor and good scope was her chosen rifle for this mission. Maybe not the high rate of fire she could handle, but it would do its job.

“Personally? Or as the Executive Officer?” asked Kodiak, looking through the armory and eventually settling for something which wasn’t an unusual loadout for her these days - AS VAL, MP5 as a sidearm which hung from her shoulder on a strap. She also tucked a pistol into a holster and grabbed a couple of grenades and a flashbang. It was interesting that she separated her opinion like that, but… It made sense to an extent. This was a strange mission they were receiving, after all, one where the actual details of what they were after were shrouded in secrecy. All they knew was that they were after what they had taken in a small vial in Manila… This Substance B, whatever the hell it actually was.

“I’m curious for both, but more curious for what you think personally.”

Sage said simply as she added a .45 pistol to her armament, though she doubted she’d use it. Of greater importance was the flashbang and other grenades she grabbed. With her arm she had a much greater ability to lob them without exposing herself. Well, there was Aqua and Kaelyn when she had the biomass thing around her, but Sage could still contribute in her own way. Finally she once again ignored the normal combat knives in favor of just generating one in the field.

“I’m curious about what the hell Substance B is and why the Paradise Consortium is smuggling it around Asia - and probably other places, considering they’re based in Nevada and have contacts all around South America… They’re everywhere, really. I guess I wonder what someone like them would be doing with something like this. It’s obvious this didn’t come about without a lot of research behind it,” Kodiak said calmly, finishing with looking over her things and turning to start heading up towards the helipad where they would depart for China - since they were headed out from Hong Kong, it was a trip they could make. While it would be faster to use a plane, it just so happened that there were no workable runways immediately close to where they were going, so they’d have to use a helicopter no matter what unless they wanted to go off roading.

“Well, if INW made people like me and my siblings, it’s not beyond belief that other people out there would want the same thing. We’re a bit...okay, highly variable, but as far as I know all the ones of us that survived the growth process were successful. If we can be made, others will be trying to make their own. If the briefing information is accurate, then this was one such attempt, and INW no doubt wants their own samples to look into. Beyond that...I can’t tell you what it actually is, but with the number of locations they have, it seems like they want an army.”

Sage followed after her, giving her own thoughts. It’d been something that’d troubled her, she knew INW was interested in this stuff, but now she was curious how many other people were messing around with it. The Paradise Consortium was at least one more group, and if there were two...there were probably more. She wondered what had made her group successful, why they were all the same species, and why Substance B wasn’t near as reliable. All things beyond her education or training, but she was curious at heart, though she rarely indulged it to find answers.

“Usually Paradise is out more for profit than control - governments all over the world are going to be kinda pissed if some cartel takes over actual locations instead of just running their business on the downlow… But I dunno. I guess if someone did manage to make a substance that could give powers, it would be pretty valuable,” Kodiak said, her voice a bit more casual than it usually was as they ended up in an elevator which was taking them up to the helipad. “By the way, I heard we have a stopover in Harbin before we head back. Anything you’re interested in doing before we have to go, if we’re not… Banged up again after this one?”

“Uhh...honestly never actually had free time outside of a base before. I have no clue.”

Sage’s pause was her still memorizing the information Kodiak had stated about Paradise, and the possibilities therein. She’d forgotten they were after profit, but still, her points stood. An Army to protect their dealings, to hire our, or even just sell members to the highest bidder. Still, Kodiak had more experience.

“What even is there to do in Harbin?”

“Not sure, don’t think it’s the most urban place… A lot of snow…” Kodiak said, pondering this and thinking of what she had seen when she looked the place up ahead of the mission, doing some research since it seemed like it was one of the key locations in all of this. Even if they were dropping west of it rather than in the city itself. “It’s a change in scenes, I guess, but cold,” she added. They were wearing heavier clothing for a reason - they were far north enough that the climate was more stereotypically Russian than it was average Chinese.

“I could probably find something if I looked then...”

Sage didn’t mention one thing she could think of. It was embarrassing and she didn’t know what Kodiak would think of her maybe wanting to try dancing. She pushed the thought away, if there was something there she’d find it, but the mission came first. Her thoughts had to be on that, not such frivolous things. She straightened a little, almost subconsciously to fight the embarrassment in her just from thinking about it.

Kodiak nodded, staying silent until they finally reached the floor with the helipad, the doors opening and Kodiak walking through the halls in the lead before a pair of sliding doors opened up and they were in the open air, the helipad in front of them as well as the large helicopter they would take from here to Heilongjiang. The other member of the team, Aqua, was also kneeling and looking off into the distance, beyond the helipad and at the surroundings in Hong kong. The helipad was, of course, located not far from the roof. It was a long way down and everything looked tiny from up here.

“Oh… You’re coming,” Aqua said when she noticed Sage, although she didn’t look up from what she was looking at, she just seemed to notice.

“The team list was in the briefing info, Aqua,” Kodiak said, continuing past her to stand next to the helicopter, pulling open one of the large metal doors with a creak.

“I forgot it,” Aqua admitted. It was pretty typical of her to have her mental state focused on whatever it was she wanted to think about at the time, rather than the mission. Her skill in certain areas in the field usually made up for it, however, even if it’d sometimes annoy their superiors.

Sage rolled her eyes while Aqua wasn’t looking at the comment and moved past her to board the copter. She took her seat, and strapped in. Crossing her arms and looking to the side while she waited. Aqua was still being cold to her it seemed. Figured as much, with Sage’s luck she was surprised Kodiak and Kaelyn weren’t colder. Still, if it didn’t hamper the mission, who cared.

Kodiak lingered for a moment as Sage climbed into the helicopter, waving to Aqua. “Come on…” she said, offering another wave as she herself climbed into the back, Aqua following after her at a slow pace and pulling herself inside, slightly slamming the door behind her - well, slightly by her standards. To most people, it would have definitely seemed like a slam. She reclined, taking up three seats on the row behind Sage and Kodiak, saying nothing as the rotors began to pick up speed and they started to lift off the ground to head towards their destination.



Hours later, they’d arrive in Heilongjiang, the ride having been without event. Like they had been informed before the mission, they were dropped along a trail in the snow which wasn’t paved at all and was used by the smugglers who brought their goods, including the mysterious substance, to and from Harbin where they could then be sent freely to other places from the larger city. They had some ways to go before they would be able to see the compound, and there were off and on snowstorms happening, which had made their landing awkward - but their pilot was skilled and the helicopter was equipped for this kind of thing. The group had soon climbed out, Kodiak with her AS Val in her hands as she looked around and scanned the area, Aqua moving a bit more casually with a KRISS VECTOR in her own hands.

“We’re going to have to walk for a while so unless we want to get stuck in the dark in the snow, we should move quickly,” Kodiak said with a nod towards the team behind her, starting forward down the trail and keeping up a good pace, Aqua stretching in boredom behind her as she followed after her. For now, they hadn’t run into the first of the multiple encounters with the enemy that had been predicted by command when they dispatched them onto this mission - the snow would perhaps help them, but there was also an inherent problem. If the weather kicked up, their support, a Mi-24V helicopter which was fitted with an air to ground loadout and would be taking off from Harbin to aid them, wouldn’t be able to fly. They’d only be able to call in help if the weather was good.

Sage followed behind, white armor matching the snow forming around her. Snow would crunch the same regardless of how heavy hse was, and if she was heavy enough it might actually become quieter because it crunched fast enough. She couldn’t change her unnatural, high body weight, so she might as well get her armor up. After all, no one wanted to get shot. She followed behind, careful in her footwork to prevent slipping. After a moment, it dawned on her to change the bottom of her boots to better match the terrain. She didn’t bother with a shield yet, while she could move it with ease, it’s large size could make climbing or other such things more difficult. If she needed it, she could form it.

They ran into the first sign of the Paradise Consortium in the form of a guard post, one where the guard didn’t notice them yet - the makeshift nature of it made it clear that this wasn’t government controlled but rather one that belonged to the cartel. Kodiak nodded towards the others before taking a silenced shot, but it wouldn’t hit, and the bullet would alert the guard who immediately reached for a gun - but it wasn’t that long before Aqua’s feet hit the center of the man’s chest as she closed the gap and propelled herself before the man could pull out an AK-103 rifle, reaching down and tearing into the guard with her hands - and her sharp nails, more like claws, until the man stopped moving and fell silent.

“Target down,” Aqua said coldly, looking over her shoulder to the other two and continuing in the front. For now, there was no more opposition in front of them, but they had a long time to go before they reached the place they were going. This had just been the first of a number of guards that patrolled around here. As they continued to walk, the snow began to pick up, the winds blowing the snow across all of their faces, and lowering the visibility in front of them.

It wouldn’t help them with figuring out where the enemies were, that was for sure. However, things went both ways.

“If we run into a tank during one of these snowstorms…” Kodiak said, pausing slightly and letting her voice trail off as she considered what was a possibility they hadn’t accounted for as much as they should have. “Our strategy is to back up and let Aqua make a move on it… Not like the main gun will be able to aim and fire before she rips the hatch off.”

“Alright, but all else fails, I can and will pit it so it’s main gun isn’t a threat.”

Sage responded with a nod. She was confident Aqua could do it if Kodiak was confident, but pitting heavy machines tended to take them out of the battle. Plus she liked putting them in pits. Even if it survived and the enemy could reclaim it, though not a factor here as they’d be taking the base entirely, it’d be annoying for the enemy to get it out.

“I’m glad my armor helps trap heat. Between it and my physiology, I’m snug in here.”

They continued on and they would pass through another area where the enemy was suspected to be according to aerial recon - however, they would find nothing, perhaps because the blizzard had picked up and it was impossible to see more than a few feet away. Maybe they had passed through a group of enemies… It was impossible to tell, based on the amount of snow, and it wasn’t safe to hang around and wait.

But as they came out of the snowstorm, they saw something they had been warned about possibly being there - a Chinese produced Soviet T-55 tank, the gun pointed at them, having spotted them before they came out of the snow and spotted the tank, apparently having been on a patrol of the area. The cartel took their security seriously it seemed, perhaps because of conflict with other criminal groups or with the government. And in this case, one of their strongest defenses was right in front of the INW Group.

Kodiak quickly turned invisible, Aqua meanwhile just looking at the tank before starting into a charge, running and propelling herself up the treads as the machine gun and turret had a hard time tracking her, as she got to work on ripping the hatch off the top - but she didn’t have an immediate success in this, and the turret was still able to spin to face the other two. Or rather, Sage as the only visible one. “Move… The snowstorm’s just about behind us,” Kodiak said, informing Sage of the best path towards safety. “We can either let Aqua handle this or call the Hind…”

“Save the Hind, she’s already on top and...”

Sage had been moving before Kodiak said anything, but that wasn’t what most of her concentration was on. Instead, a slab of rock, almost like a monolith, erupted from the ground and slammed into the barrel of the tank from the side. Preventing it from turning further towards where Sage was moving, as well as maybe fouling the barrel if she hit hard enough. It hadn’t, but restricting it’s fire arc was what she’d needed for now.

Aqua, though, didn’t have success with getting the hatch open just yet, as the tank began to back up to attempt to get around the obstruction. “Get back!” Kodiak said in annoyance at how Sage hadn’t moved back into cover like she had said, the tank away from the obstruction by now, the machine gun pointing towards Sage and roaring to life, bright flashes of yellow cutting through the snowy scenery as the gunner sprayed fire towards Sage, attempting to use the machine gun before the main gun.

“I already am!”

Sage had misjudged the distance to the nearest cover, as she ran she felt six heavy hits on her back, but nothing pierced through. The shock absorbing layer did its job, but she was bruised from the cluster of hits. One or two more rounds and something might be broken, three or four and one might have gone through. She’d be in much worse condition then. Once behind cover, which she’d been moving for before the pillar of rock to begin with, she locked where the tank had last been in her mind and moved the pillar again, once more keeping it from quickly aiming it’s main barrel at where she’d gotten to. This time as the pillar of rock slammed into the barrel, it bent it slightly, just enough that firing would be risky, or at least inaccurate.

The hatch, meanwhile, had been ripped open by Aqua - who dropped into the inside of the tank, a whirlwind of ultraviolence occurring within the vehicle. There were gunshots but there wasn’t anything the men inside could do… Aqua wasn’t exactly a normal person and it wasn’t hard for her to make short work of them, pushing herself up and out of the hatch a moment later with blood covering both her face and her hands. “We stealing this thing?” Aqua asked, looking to Kodiak.

But Kodiak just looked to Sage. “You able to fit in here or…?” she asked, gesturing to the tank. Soviet tanks, after all, weren’t known for their crew space.

“I can drop my armor and fit pretty easy, but...the main cannon is sorta...bent now. Might wanna see how bad it is before we plan around this thing. Still, armor and the machine gun will be a big help.”

Sage moved around to inspect the damage to the barrel. Between her and Aqua, they might even be able to bend it back into shape, though it’s life expectancy would be severely reduced. They didn’t need it for a long time, it would hold for a mission or two, maybe three considering the bend wasn’t that bad.

“Think the barrel on that thing is fucked…” said Kodiak, moving a bit closer and giving it a closer examination and looking at the damage from up close. “Yeah, pretty sure we’re not going to be able to do much with that, looking at it. Not going to be a help for us if we run into any more armor.”

“Crap, I could still pit any other armor we come across. We do know from experience it works. Uhhh...still, it gives us armor and a machine gun. If we run across any AT it’ll have to get through this thing before it can blow me up again.”

Sage was slightly joking at the end comment, but Kodiak was right. While they might bend the barrel straight again, it probably wouldn’t hold up but to maybe one shot. Maybe not even that, a misfire was a big risk for such a small team.

“It’ll be cramped with me in there, but I can fit.”

“I’d rather not get caught in a gun fight with a tank with only a machine gun, but if you’re confident in being able to deal with it…” said Kodiak, before moving to climb into the vehicle with Aqua, lowering herself into the crew area as Aqua worked on lifting up and throwing out the torn and tattered bodies of the last crew, which she had eliminated completely within great time.

“It is your call, you’re in charge. If you think we’re better on foot, we can go on foot. Besides...it would be very cramped with me in there.”

Kodiak pushed herself up and out of the hatch slightly, considering the options. “We’ll go on foot,” she stated, waving for Aqua to come after her, the group leaving the tank behind.

Leading the rest of them, Kodiak started down the path once again, the snowstorm having eased up for now - although it didn’t seem like a good thing for them considering that the low visibility had allowed them to maybe get past some of the opposition without trouble. She stopped to open up a map for a moment. They were almost halfway through but still had some ways to go.

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One of the blizzards around here…
She kept going, the snowstorm starting back up again as she did so, and it seemed that from the sound of gunshots coming through the snow, they had been spotted by… Something off in the distance. As shapes became clear and they realized who they had been spotted by, it was apparent that there was a group of seven enemy footsoldiers ahead, armed with basic AK rifles, possibly on high alert thanks to being warned about the intrusion from the crew of the tank, who must have reported in the attack to their superiors before being taken out.

And now, the Theta 13 team was under fire.

“Let’s return fire…” Kodiak said, raising her own AS Val and firing into the wind, her aim impacted a bit by it. Still, despite the trouble aiming, she was able to take out one of the soldiers - going invisible herself before attacking, concealing her position completely with the blizzard already going on around them.”

Sage planted her feet, she’d be difficult to see against the blizzard anyway, and let out a burst with her rifle. She smiled as she watched three of the enemy targets drop, she could always hope for more but she was happy with the results. She should have one more burst like that in this mag, and then she’d have to reload. Good as it was at clearing crowds, it was hard on her ammo.

Aqua fired and missed with the VECTOR, but she quickly threw it back over her shoulder and started forward, disappearing into the snow and bounding towards the enemy at speed - a couple of more shots from the high powered AK-103s would hit Sage in the meantime, but the gunmen didn’t last too long, Aqua moving in for the takedown and her silhouette bringing down theirs through the blizzard, after clearing the gap and making it into takedown range.

This group had been cleared effectively.

“We’ll keep moving,” Kodiak said, even though they had clearly been expected - even if that was the case, it didn’t change the fact that they had a job to do.

And so they kept going as they made it past the halfway point, finding themselves out of the snow once again, although the terrain was still plenty snowy, a lot of it built up from the blizzards. Uncomfortable to walk through, but there were worse spots they could be in. They continued without incident around a bend and kept going down the trail, this time moving downhill. The spot had been marked on the map as being one which could have enemies… But they hadn’t run into anything and if there was an enemy at that spot, it hadn’t run into them either.

As they went back into the snow, though, they saw a silhouette of something dangerous - particularly, one that belonged to a BMP-1 armored fighting vehicle, the gun pointed in their direction but the vehicle seemingly not making any moves. It hadn’t seen them just yet. “We have the option of either trying to sneak past this thing, waiting for the snowstorm to end and calling the Hind, or handling it ourselves…” Kodiak stated, kneeling down in the snow to make herself a smaller shape.

Sage got down low, using a snowbank to hide herself. Even if the thing could see part of her, she’d just look like the snowbank at this point. She looked at Kodiak, and mulled over the options.

“Well, if we capture it without me ruining the barrel, it’s cannon may be smaller but it is still an armored vehicle. It might be useful for actually breaching the base. Hind could be reserved for then as well. If either me or Aqua, probably Aqua, get on top of it...it’s ours. Question is, do you want to make that risk, or do you want to just take it out and find a quiet way to breach the base.”

“I’m not concerned about Aqua not being able to get in, I’m concerned about one of us getting blown away by the gun before she gets in there… As for the base…” said Kodiak, letting her voice trail for a bit. “I’m not concerned with going quiet once we get that far. Hmmm… Aqua, do your thing.”

Aqua didn’t say anything, remaining silent as she sprung from where she had been crouching and moved towards the vehicle, which noticed her and began to move the machine gun to face her… She took some of the rounds, stopping in her tracks for a moment as they hit her, some of the snow turning red under her as she bled, but the thing was… Well, for her, bleeding just meant that she was getting stronger. Her magic wasn’t nuanced like some. This was how it worked. And they hadn’t killed her, they had just given her a boost. Her body adjusting and regenerating slightly, and her magic kicking in, she propelled herself forward and started to rip through the front of the vehicle, ripping the nose of it in two and pushing herself through the gap, entering the first part of the crew area and immediately going to work tearing apart what was inside before she pushed through the wall behind to get to the rest of the crew - she didn’t need to go through the hatch in this case. She’d go through the front, opening her own door.

Soon, she did come out through the hatch, again covered in blood - some of it new, some of it dried from earlier, and she only did so after she had cleared the vehicle. “It’s disabled,” she said, her tone neutral, before she pushed herself up and out of the hatch and started forward while saying nothing more, moving a good distance ahead of Sage and Kodiak as they continued towards what would likely be the last leg of their trip.

Well...at least we still have access to the hind.

Sage kept her mouth firmly shut as they moved, but her opinion on the matter was clear. That IFV could have been useful. Still, she supposed it was better that one of their members was still alive given what she could do while hurt. Sage wondered how long she could last in that state though. They’d have to end this fast, maybe. Still, they had the Hind for the base, that was good at least.

They eventually found themselves with the base itself in view, a fence surrounding the place, the snowstorm still raging on around them. No support from the Hind unless that went away, although since they hadn’t been detected at the top of this hill which overlooked the base, there was a chance they could simply wait for the storm to pass and then call in the support. The storms had been off and on, after all. Around the main building, which was a singular structure, coated in white paneling which blended in well with the snow, there were… Strangely enough, a number of downed guards. Twenty four in fact. It seemed they’d been the ones responsible for protecting the facility, but they themselves had been taken out from some unknown factor, certain spots in the white snow stained red.

“Strange…” said Kodiak, looking at the scene in front of them, not moving immediately as she looked and realized that, well, there was no one here. Not anyone outside, anyway. There was an entrance at the front that was open, snow blowing inside of the building thanks to that fact…

“Someone else was attacking, and they used our own assaults to get inside. I don’t like it, we now have unknowns on the field. We should check the bodies for any clues before we move in.”

Sage furrowed her brow under her helmet as she surveyed the scene. She didn’t know if they had piggybacked on their assault, or if they’d just been timed together, but someone had beaten them inside. Someone they’d probably now have to deal with. She looked to Kodiak and shook her head.

“Considering the lack of attacker bodies, it or they, is, have, or are all metas of some nature.”

Kodiak was silent as she continued heading forwards, kneeling down next to one of the bodies after heading down the hill and looking at what was in front of them. “Looks like melee damage,” she stated, from looking at the wounds. “Some kind of knife or something, I don’t see any bullet wounds… Would also explain the dismemberments you see here or there. Probably was done with more than a knife, then.”

She stood up, looking into the open doorway, a lot of snow having blown into that hallway thanks to the door being open. She contemplated just how wise it would be to enter, but she waved for Aqua to come with her. “I’m headed inside to see if these people took the substance. You can either stay and investigate some more or follow,” she said, looking over her shoulder to Sage.

“Fair number of bullet casings..”

Sage noted as she moved to join them.

“Either they couldn’t hit what they were shooting at, it didn’t hurt it or them, it can take a lot of damage, or it heals really fast. Damn it, that’s too little to work with, but I’d bet it’s fast.”

Sage formed a shield as they got inside, and looked at Kodiak to see if she wanted to lead, or use Sage for cover. She also used this chance to reload her partially spent mag, and while she kept it just in case, was worried she’d have to join Aqua in melee against...whatever this was up ahead.

When they moved through the building they would find less bodies overall but there were still some, and some of the walls had blood on them as if the battle that had went on here left a mess. No survivors, at least none that had been noticed by Kodiak and Aqua. The hallways were many and narrow, giving the feeling that something could pop out and devastate them in an ambush at any moment. But there was just about zero noise from further inside the facility, and the blood and bodies seemed to be enough evidence that every living thing here had seemingly already perished. Or left.

After entering one of the largest rooms, they found what they were looking for - boxes, a lot of boxes, some of them opened. And the ones that were open had a number of vials in them. Substance B or whatever it was called. The thing they had fought for in Manila and the thing they were looking to secure now. “Well, we don’t have to worry about someone having taken what we’re looking for,” said Kodiak, looking forward at the boxes.

She also noticed something at the far end of the room, however.

But she wasn’t sure just what ‘something’ was in this case. ‘Something’ was the apt description because she couldn’t see who or what it was, it was just a dark shape, a shadow, a phantasm… One that was there for a split second.

The thing moved fast. The shadow had disappeared - not disappeared, but went through a doorway marked ‘EXIT’ by a red glowing sign at the other end of the room, on the far left hand corner. “The hell…?” Kodiak found herself muttering, readying her gun.

“We’re supposed to clear the facility. Chase it, or make it come to us?”

Sage readied her rifle, keeping her shield close to her body. She spent this time strengthening the crystal even more, and thickening it a bit more. It was stronger than she’d used it in the field yet, but also slower. Mostly because of its bulk, its weight didn’t matter. It had always been more a concern of speed and stealth, but now she could armor up more than before. They had...something dangerous in here with them, her armor might need to be this thick.

“It looks like it was made of shadows. Maybe flash it if we can.”

“I’m not doing shit,” Kodiak said plainly, moving to one of the boxes and taking out one of the vials, examining it in her hand. “You have to know which risks are worth it and which ones aren’t. They sent us to clear this place against a bunch of Paradise guards… Not… Whatever it is that we saw down there.”

“Alright, if it hits we’ll be ready, otherwise...we wait for them to get here?”

Sage still wasn’t sure about this, but Kodiak was the commanding officer. She also had more field experience. Sage kept her eyes peeled, but didn’t make a move to find the thing. She’d stick with the group for now.

“I’ll make the radio call,” said Kodiak, reaching for the radio at her side and starting to communicate with command about what they were going to do about the current situation they had on their hands, keeping her eyes on the exits on the other side of the room in case whatever they had seen down there decided to come back. It was awkward for sure to be in a spot like this they hadn’t prepared for but… It didn’t seem like there was a threat to them at this very moment. “Alright, I think the regular forces should be on their way… In other words, we’ve just secured all these boxes. It’s a mission success for our purposes…”

“Well, once they get here anyway.”

Sage refused to relax till they were ordered out of the facility. This reeked of something strange, something they should worry about. Their superiors would, but every fiber of Sage’s being wanted to know what that thing was and why it was here. She wouldn’t go looking, she had her orders and she would never abandon her team in the field. Still she kept herself on high alert for the thing.



It was about a half hour later when another helicopter had set down full of soldiers in high tech tactical equipment, showing up to seize what they had found here, and they hadn’t seen the thing ever since then. Kodiak had reported it to command but the soldiers on the ground didn’t say anything about seeing it - although the bodies were investigated quite thoroughly and it seemed there was proof something had been here. But whatever it was, it hadn’t shown up once again to anyone in the compound, either the special team or the regular one that was sent to seize the boxes.

Kodiak was almost slightly disappointed as they headed to the helicopter which had recently landed, and was also going to serve as the one to take them back to Harbin, where they’d stay for a bit before making it back to Hong Kong eventually. “Would have liked to get another clue or two…” Kodiak muttered about the whole situation, as she and her group approached the helicopter.

“Think I’m going to take the next helo back,” said Aqua, turning and departing without a word rather than following the rest of the team into the helicopter.

Didn’t take long for Sage and Kodiak, on the other hand, to board and sit down. The rotors were spinning, and it would be soon that they were in the sky.

“We might find out more if we get a mission related to this. I’ll bet they’ll do a very thorough search in there.”

Sage settled into her seat, armor gone. She had bruises on her back, but they weren’t to bad, she’d had worse from training. She was walking away from a mission without becoming a burned, broken mess, or just twisted and burned. Specific phrasing aside, she was almost unscathed, unlike Aqua who’d taken worse hits, but also unlike Kodiak who was entirely unscathed. She sighed as she relaxed, she wasn’t really all that tired, especially not by her standards, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy the ride back.

The helicopter was in the air before long, and Kodiak herself fell silent, nodding to what Sage had said before finally lying on her side across a couple of seats and resting her head on Sage’s lap, closing her eyes and waiting to enter the realm of sleep - wasn’t like the ride was particularly interesting, anyway, although it wouldn’t be very long before they arrived in Harbin. Still, it was some rest that could be gained, even if it was a short trip.

Sage stiffened as Kodiak lay in her lap, but didn’t say anything, nor move her. After a little bit of internal debate, Sage made a decision. Kodiak couldn’t sleep there very comfortably at the moment, so Sage thickened her legs up a bit, making her thighs softer. A better pillow. She was unsure of what to do with her hands, and for a moment, considered slowly petting Kodiak’s hair. In the end she decided against it, and crossed her arms to keep them out of the way, leaning her head back. Though she didn’t sleep, she made no moves to wake the sleeping Kodiak.
Last edited by Forest State on Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lunas Legion
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 29429
Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:36 pm

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Welcome back to the field, Hayley! Your latest mission will take you to one of the strangest corners of Earth. Rikuto Himura is a Japanese metahuman scientist who specializes in rocket and missile technology and was allegedly kidnapped in 2020 by the North Korean government. INW Intelligence has confirmed this through extensive research, and believes that Himura should either be recruited to our ranks or returned to Japan to win favor with the Japanese government. Intelligence has also identified the location where Himura is being held, a place known as Research Laboratory 59. You are to enter North Korea via ship deployed RHIBs from Dalian, China, where you will then proceed out of Nampo towards the lab in Pyongyang. After raiding the lab's barracks and recovering Himura, you will have to make an escape into the countryside and return to your boats, which will be picked up in international waters from the larger ship that you originally departed from.

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    THE PSYCHIC WARS CHAPTER 6: “THE ROCKET MAN
    En route to Pyongyang, North Korea
    December 12th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Lunas Legion
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Hayley did not exactly like boats. That wasn’t really her fault, she just didn’t exactly trust herself to stay upright and not be seasick after one particularly unpleasant experience, but thankfully they’d be off the boats soon enough and back on dry land.

“You ready?” She asked, not turning away from looking over the black waters of the Yellow Sea, the only light from either the barely visible moon or the stars when the clouds cleared enough to let some through.

“Mhm.” Was Maya’s reply, giving a small nod. They didn’t exactly need to talk much when they knew each other so intuitively, not quite telepathy but close enough. “I’ll go first.” Maya said, moving past Hayley to climb over the side of the boat and down into the lone RHIB lightly bobbing up and down in the calm sea. Hayley followed her down a few seconds later, settling into the RHIB slightly unsteadily as she sat down, Maya opposite her as she checked her weapons and knives, Maya doing the same. It wouldn’t do to miss something after all.

Their team leader, Kaelyn, was the last one in, not saying anything and just keeping her mind on the operation as they were lowered into their water. She turned and started up the engine, controlling the small vessel while they headed towards the North Korean shoreline which was off in the distance - there was a chance they’d encounter resistance immediately but not a large one. Intelligence had done a lot of research on all of this before they had sent the team out here into the crossfire. “Won’t belong before we hit the shore,” Kaelyn said simply, leaning against the side of the boat, the only sound out here being the engines.

Peaceful for now, probably not very peaceful later.

Hayley and Maya simply nodded, eyes focused on the distant but closing shoreline, preparing themselves to get off the RHIB and hide it as soon as they landed; they’d need it if they wanted to get out, after all.

They hit the shoreline eventually, Kaelyn climbing out of the vessel and waving for the others to bring it towards the shore. “Maya… Take a look around the area. See if you can notice any guards off towards those buildings in the distance,” she said, pointing out the grouping of buildings a bit further off from them, beyond the beach. They’d have to acquire a vehicle from this area if they wanted to make it to Pyongyang in decent time.

Maya nodded, barely visible in the dark as her eyes brightened ever so slightly as she used her power, shifting her vision into night vision and letting her power’s other aspects form a wire-mesh frame of the area she couldn’t quite see even with her power.

“I count three guards.” She said, turning to help Hayley drag the RHIB up the beach but continuing to talk as she did so, eyes trained on the small cluster of buildings. “Unlikely to be more, didn’t see any signs of more.”

Kaelyn nodded simply, moving back and joining in dragging the small boat onto the beach. “Either of you confident in getting stealth kills here or is that my thing?” she asked, looking to both her subordinates as they finished up with that task.

“I can take one down.” Hayley said, drawing one of her black-painted knives from her bandoleer. “If I miss then it’ll just stick itself on the other side of a wall when it hits the ground.”

Maya was silent for a second, before likewise nodding. “Power means I know where they’re looking, should not be too difficult since I doubt they’re paying much attention. I’ll check when I’m closer.”

“Handle it,” Kaelyn said, not going to her own powers just yet but looking down the scope of her AS Val rifle before deciding not to take the shot. She’d let the ones whose powers were more suited to this do it - she was good at ultraviolence more so than sneaking around and getting stealth kills.

Hayley and Maya nodded, slowly moving forwards as Hayley drew a second knife in her other hand and Maya raised her VSK-94, looking for her own shot with the aid of her power while Hayley continued to edge forwards slowly, one knife held ready to throw as soon as she had a chance and a second ready to follow it up.

Hayley allowed herself to smile ever so slightly as she spotted the faint light of a torch in the darkness, bringing her knife backwards- only for the distinct, suppressed sound of Maya’s VSK behind her making her throw slightly too early, the knife sailing just past her target as Maya’s gunshots brought down a second guard. Maya switched targets quickly, her power making her fully aware that Hayley had missed her own through, firing another small burst of gunfire towards the guard while Hayley raised her second knife, looking for the third guard that Maya had mentioned.

Maya’s shots hit, the second guard dropping before he’d even had a chance to go for a weapon as the third came into view round the corner of one of the buildings, reaching for his rifle as Hayley threw her second knife and Maya turned her rifle back towards him, firing off a single shot towards him as she ducked back down.

The shot would miss, though, and the guard fired back, but in the darkness it wasn’t easy to see just where the targets were - none of the shots in the salvo hit, as Kaelyn went to her own power and allowed herself to be covered in a layer of black biomass, which would help with more than just stealth. “I’ve got the last one,” she said, pushing herself back up from where she had been prone and accelerating towards the enemy with enhanced speed, lunging forward and dropping the guard with an enhanced slash which ripped into the torso.

“Clear,” she stated, the biomass retracting.

From here, they had to find a way into Pyongyang, which would mean they had to find a vehicle somewhere around here. North Korea didn’t exactly have the highest number of cars per capita but having transportation was crucial to their goals. “Let’s start looking for something that’s going to get us into Pyongyang proper. Preferably not occupied,” Kaelyn stated, looking to get out of here quickly. Civilians had almost definitely heard the rifles, if not the silenced one than the AKM rifle the guard had fired.
“Car of some form behind the building.” Maya stated, seeing the wire-mesh form of the vehicle with her power. “Not running but it’s not like North Korean cars won’t be hotwireable.” Maya continued as Hayley sheathed her knifes, moving past the building towards where Maya had said the vehicle was, picking up her knife from where it’d embedded itself in the dirt as she passed.

“Yeah we can hotwire this.” Hayley said as she looked over the car briefly, not sure of the make or model in the darkness but it was definitely an older one as she moved up to the driver’s side. “Manual windows.” Hayley said, peering inside through the window, but they wouldn’t exactly be trying to pass checkpoints given none of them looked Korean by any stretch. She brought her rifle up, smashing the butt of it against the window once, then again and once more until it shattered and she reached inside and pulled open the door, hopping into the driver’s seat and unlocking the doors.

Maya climbed in the back, reaching under the steering wheel briefly as she fiddled with the wires until the engine spluttered into life. “Not sure how long it’ll go, but better than nothing.” Hayley said as she wound her window down. “Should be enough to the target and back though from the fuel gauge.”

Kaelyn moved into the passenger seat, positioning her rifle so she could fire out of the window if they had to do so, and then lowering it. No point in showing it off just yet. She took out her map - wasn’t like they would get a signal for most of their electronics in this country - and looked at where they roughly were. “Not that long a drive into Pyongyang,” she said. “We don’t have to head into the city itself… Get us moving and I’ll tell you when we can stop. Not going to be safe to take this thing on the last leg where there’s going to be patrols all over.”

Hayley nodded, moving her rifle off her lap and passing it back to Maya behind her as she flicked the headlights on and drove off down the dirt track, trusting Kaelyn to navigate for her. Wasn’t like this thing could go off-road. Kaelyn did just that, reading off the directions on the map and watching the terrain carefully for signs of where they were going, the atmosphere around them mostly silent as they continued. Wasn’t anything else on the roads at this hour, although Kaelyn wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or if it would just make them look more shady if they ran into any guards.

She hoped they didn’t run into more guards… Getting into a shootout before they even reached Pyongyang proper wasn’t the best idea. But as they continued, passing through different parts of the landscape as the terrain around them became more urban, they didn’t run into any trouble and they were able to pass into the metropolitan area of the city, which was where Kaelyn gave the order for Hayley to turn off from the main road and to head towards one of the more suburban areas outside the city itself.

Eventually, they reached a point where she put her hand up to stop them from moving. “This is where we stop,” she said, climbing out once the car had been brought to a halt at the side of the road. “There’s going to be patrols up ahead… But the lab is also right down this road.”

“Never was going to be easy.” Hayley shrugged as Maya handed her own VSK-98 back to her as she climbed out of the car, leaving the doors open.

“I’ll take point, I’ll see the patrols coming before either of you do.” Maya said, briefly using her power just to get the lay of the land around where they were, mostly fields, just so she knew where to come back to when they were exfiltrating before starting to walk down the road at a slow pace. “Let’s go.”

They started down the road, sticking to the side of it rather than the middle of it, but they wouldn’t immediately spot anything coming up. Rather, it was strangely silent around, perhaps because of local curfews and regulations. It kind of helped them in this case because even when they passed populated areas, it didn’t seem that there was any threat of getting seen. They just had to be careful, of course, of the threat of the military.

The cover of night masked them as they continued even further down their path. “I think we’re about halfway to the lab,” Kaelyn said eventually after stopping to look down at the map, and then starting off once again now that they were sure of where they were - this was the last place one wanted to get lost, after all. And getting back in a timely way was one of their main goals here. Having to backtrack would take time.

They kept going after confirming they were on the right path, but they would soon run into the first opposition they’d seen since taking out the guards on the beach.

“Four guards incoming, on foot.” Maya hissed out, raising her hand in a fist as she came to a stop. “We let them pass or?” She brought up her rifle regardless, aiming it and ready to open fire if ordered, Hayley doing the same only a second or two after in silence.

“We can try getting in the ditch… If it doesn’t work, we can shoot,” Kaelyn replied in a low tone before moving to lower herself into the ditch on the side of the road, pressing her back to the dirt and letting the biomass layer cover her skin once again, helping to blend in with the dark surroundings. The guard patrol made their way past without further incident after Maya and Hayley joined her in the ditch, and when they were a good distance away, she turned and pushed herself up once again, the biomass retracting from her head and face.

“Alright, let’s move,” she said, waving them forward. “We’re headed to the last leg…” she added, moving just behind Maya, rifle in her hands still in case she needed it. Soon enough, they’d be able to shift their focus to breaking into the lab and not just on avoiding these patrols - it’d likely be a harder task but they didn’t have to worry about it just yet.

“Six ahead-” Maya said, raising her rifle just as one of the patrol’s soldiers shouted out something in Korean, rifles being raised in their own direction. Maya opened fire immediately, ducking down, not even hesitating and only taking the briefest moment to aim as Hayley opened fire with her own rifle a second after she’d picked her own target to shoot before moving to dive into the ditch to take cover. They couldn’t afford to get stuck in a protracted firefight, not here and now.

One of the rifle shots hit and another one missed, as Kaelyn started forward to move into melee range, which helped in that it took some of the fire off the others as the group focused on the figure who was taking more of an aggressive stance, four of the soldiers shooting at Kaelyn but finding that their AKMs weren’t tough enough to penetrate through the constantly shifting and swirling layer of biomass, which also doubled as an offensive weapon as a blade formed on Kaeyln’s wrist, just long enough to slash into her enemies as she went into a quick spinning move, that and the follow up attack which came from the reverse direction felling four of the five enemy soldiers.

The last soldier panicked, letting his rifle drop from his hands and hang from it’s strap as he scrambled for his radio as he turned to flee, Hayley hauling herself up out of the ditch just in time to have a chance to fire off a single snap-shot towards him while Maya switched targets, having been looking for a shot on one of the soldiers that Kaelyn had killed, firing off a burst from her own rifle. Hayley’s shot would hit, dropping the soldier who was going for the radio and taking out the group, probably without alerting the nearest base about what had just happened.

“Lab isn’t far down the road,” said Kaelyn, pausing a little bit as she started forward. “Let’s start moving again.”

And so they did, heading forwards down the dirt trail until they reached the point where there was a noticeable building off in the near distance, two guards posted at the gate but not particularly paying attention right now as they sat at a guard post, the building surrounded by a fence. “This would be Research Laboratory 59, otherwise known as the place we’re breaking into… Home to some of the ballistic missile research the North Koreans are doing and also home to the captured metahuman that we’re here to recover. This is where things get interesting… If we fuck up in here, we’re going to have to deal with a lot more shit getting to the exfil point…”

“Interesting means bad.” Hayley sighed. “I brought wirecutters so we don’t have to fight our way through the guard post and we can just go through the fence, slower but less chance of someone finding corpses.” If they didn’t find any of the corpses they’d left from the patrols, that was.
“Slower though.” Maya pointed out. “I take one, you take the other guard, if we’re fast enough in and out then we won’t have to worry about the response since we’re gone. Kaelyn?”

“I think it’s safer to head around the back and try cutting the fence,” said Kaelyn, nodding towards Hayley and moving slowly and as silently as she could around towards the back of the lab, waving for Hayley to come and do her thing. “Give it your best shot…”

“Not like wirecutting’s difficult.” Hayley said, reaching down and pulling a pair of wirecutters from where they’d been attached to her belt, kneeling down and starting to cut away parts of the fence as Maya held her rifle at the ready, eyes open and watching for any patrols that might come across them while Hayley was cutting her way through the fence. It didn’t need to be a large hole, just enough for them to crawl through, so it shouldn’t take her very long at all if they were lucky.

They were able to get through successfully and they were soon within the compound itself, although they now had to find an entrance into the main building. “Front door obviously isn’t a good idea but there’s a side door here…” said Kaelyn, moving around to the side door and tentatively seeing if she could open it. It was locked, but she shifted some of the biomass, flooding the lock with it until she felt the mechanism break, at which point she withdrew it and pushed the door open a bit, looking to see what was inside. “Clear,” she added quietly, as they stepped inside.

“We need to find the dorms and the person we’re looking for… We can either stay together or split up,” Kaelyn stated.

“We move together.” Hayley said, Maya simply nodding in agreement. “Maya’s power should hopefully let her cover enough area that finding the dorms won’t be too difficult given it’s night and people sleeping are kinda obvious.”

“They’re lying down which when looking at heat…” Maya said, offering out a hand which was taken by Hayley as she shifted her vision so she was seeing heat. But that meant it was kinda hard to distinguish between the many patches of cold air, so she needed someone to guide her while she was using it so she didn’t walk into a wall or something.

They continued through the hallways, looking for the right area, ending up finding the doorway which led to the dormitories… Eventually. It was a larger building than it seemed just from looking at it in pictures. Now, they just had to find the right room - the names were written on the doors but they were in Korean, not English. Within this hall, though, there happened to be one security guard in their path. The guard hadn’t noticed them just yet, leaving them with some options of what to do.

“Can you two handle the guard?” Maya asked, gesturing down the hall towards the guard. “I can see what rooms have people in, so I figure knocking and asking for Himura should let us find him. Of course, we could just let everyone out as a distraction for the way out…”

“I can handle it…” said Kaelyn, pausing as she spoke in a low tone. “But I don’t know about it being silent…”

“I still have a knife.” Hayley said, drawing and raising it, ready to throw. “I throw it, you rush him, if you can impale his neck so he can’t make a sound and Maya can find our target.”

“Or I could drop him from here.” Maya said as she raised her rifle, sighting it over the security guard’s heart. “Shot would be audible though for sure even with the suppressor, but there may not be another guard close enough to hear, I can’t see any with my power. Or I shoot and Hayley throws, just to make sure we get him.”

“Throw the knife… I’ll finish off the target if that’s not enough,” said Kaelyn, eventually coming to a decision that they could go ahead with. It was better than standing around debating what to do and wasting more time, anyway.

Hayley nodded, taking a brief second as she lined up her throw before she threw her knife towards the guard, Maya already sprinting over to the first door she’d seen the heat signature of a person behind, knocking once and asking “Himura?”

The knife missed, leaving Kaelyn to charge forward without any support, and perhaps making a bit more noise as she went for the lone security guard in the hallway who turned to face her, an audible thud echoing through the hallway as she took the enemy down to the ground before delivering a slash to the neck as a finishing move. “Down. But that maybe alerted the guards,” she stated.

Meanwhile, though, the person behind the door would simply reply in Korean, not particularly offering anything that would be useful to Maya.

“Get knocking.” Hayley said as she ran over to another door, Maya moving onto another door that she’d seen a heat signature behind, again asking for Himura while Hayley did the same, moving along the opposite side of the corridor to Maya. They needed to find Himura fast, and then they could get out of here since they didn’t know when or even if anyone would show up to check on the noise that Kaelyn had made.

They’d eventually get a reply in Japanese instead of Korean which probably indicated who the one they were looking for was, but they would also hear the sound of footsteps headed towards them as some of the other guards of the facility came to check out what the noise had been. “Whatever we’re going to do here, we need to come up with it fast,” said Kaelyn, looking to Hayley and Maya as she crouched in waiting for the enemy to appear at the end of the hallway. “Especially since this might affect our exfil…”

“We check this is Himura-” Maya said as she pushed the door open, giving a vague gesture for whoever was inside to follow as Hayley began opening doors to let whoever was inside out regardless of who they were. “And we let the rest of the prisoners be a distraction while we try to get out.” Hayley finished, continuing to open more doors to let the prisoners out. She didn’t care if they lived or died, she just wanted the chaos of a prison break as a distraction and cover for their own escape.

“I’m pretty sure that’s him. Get working on that while I watch the end of the hallway,” stated Kaelyn, lunging forward towards the end of the hall in waiting, the group of guards not having reached them yet but their voices definitely audible.

“I’m on it.” Hayley said, continuing to open doors and motion to whoever was inside to leave while Maya grabbed Himura’s arm, starting to lead him back the way they came to avoid the approaching guards. Hayley wasn’t sure if the prisoners were metahumans, just regular people or whatever, but hopefully they put up a bit of a fight as more doors were flung open and confused prisoners began to emerge one by one into the hallway, slowly realising what was going on.

“Let’s head the other direction…” said Kaeyln, as the prisoners started towards the other end of the hallway. “I can break through the wall and get us outside,” she added, and she did just that, punching the wall once and then twice as it crumbled away under her strength and made it possible for them to take a step outside, looking around the immediate surroundings for more guards - but it didn’t seem there were any. “Alright, come on,” she continued. “We’ll head into the trees and lose them in the woods…”

“Not exactly going to wait around.” Maya replied, dragging Himura by the wrist after Kaelyn, Hayley bringing up the rear with her rifle held at the ready in case anyone tried to stop them from just leaving.

But they did make it out of the building, and they weren’t pursued by anything so far as they made the dash into the woods, the security forces at the moment occupied with dealing with the prison break that was happening inside the building, not yet even noticing or being able to do anything about the hole in the side of the wall which the group had used to get out. “We’ll head back to the backside,” Kaelyn informed them once they were out, the woods not far behind the hole they had cut into the fence earlier.

“Come on…” Kaelyn waved to the others, moving and ripping the fence open a bit more so it would take less time to get through, and ducking her head as she went through the gap and started towards the treeline.

Hayley and Maya followed after her in silence, Maya shoving Himura through the hole in the fence while Hayley held her rifle at the ready, watching their backs as Maya crawled through the hole and covering Hayley as she crawled through.

“Hopefully the car’s still there.” Hayley said, moving after Kaelyn while Maya continued to drag Himura along with them, not trusting him to try making a break for it despite the circumstances.

“We’re going to have to take the long way back, but it’s safer,” Kaelyn said as they moved deeper into the woods, unfolding the map as she retracted the biomass, looking at where they were. “Staying off the roads is the best idea… And we might be a little late, but for all intents and purposes, we have a mission accomplished here since they aren’t chasing us… Good work, team.”

“Woo, we’re done and we barely got shot at.” Maya let out a small cheer, a faint satisfied smile forming on Hayley’s face as she briefly glanced back towards the prison before turning to face forwards again. Even if they had to walk back, they were done here.
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Forest State
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Founded: Aug 23, 2016
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Postby Forest State » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:38 pm

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Following a trip to Boston, the group returns back to Portsmouth to regroup and share the information they’ve discovered - and figure out what to do from there.


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    P S Y C H - ACT I – CHAPTER 13: “AN AWKWARD MEETING
    Portsmouth, Connecticut
    November 8th, 2025

    Collaborative post between Forest State and Lunas Legion
_______________________

It was with a strange mix of relief and nervous apprehension that they returned back to Portsmouth. They had only been gone for three days, but that was three days that anything could have happened back in Portsmouth.

“We’ll stop off at Saint’s to meet Art.” Jade said from the backseat, looking up from her phone as they entered Portsmouth. “No idea if he’s, well-” She gave a vague gesture towards Gabriella, or more precise her glowing aura of emotional colours.

“Bar’s shut for Saturday.” Gabriella shrugged. “I’ve got the keys on me so I can let us in, figure it’ll be a good place to talk and I’ve got a shift in the evening anyways so I need to get the place clean and ready. No idea what’s been happening back here, but I suppose Art can tell us if there’s more feds out or not.”

“Just tell me how long I’ve gotta be here, I guess,” said Andrea as she pulled up in front of the bar, letting out a small sigh, her mood still… Depressed ever since they were in Boston. Even now that they were back home, it seemed that she hadn’t managed to recover entirely from all the stuff that was getting at her right now.

“It shouldn’t be that long.” Gabriella said as she climbed out, handing a set of keys to Jade before taking a lone key and unlocking the door to the bar. It was dark and empty, the chairs up on the tables, so Gabriella flicked the lights on and reflexively moved behind the bar, looking everything over as Jade followed her in.

“I figure Art will call or text or whatever when he shows up, but we can leave the door open for a bit.” Jade said, hopping up onto a stool by the bar and placing her phone out in front of her. “You want me to take your stuff back to your place I assume?” She added, waving Gabriella’s keys in front of her.

“Yes.” Gabriella nodded. “You know where it is. Art shouldn’t be too long?”

“Never been late without good reason.” Jade said, falling back into silence.

“I d-don’t see the point of this in the first place,” shrugged Andrea, sitting down at the bar counter and resting her arm against it, looking down and just staring at the wood rather than looking up and meeting eyes with any of the others in the room at the moment.

“We need to tell Art what we’ve… Well, found in terms of powers, he needs to tell us if anything’s happened with his and we need to know if anything’s happened around town.” Gabriella said, letting out a sigh. “It shouldn’t take long, as I said.”

It indeed wasn’t long before Art showed up, wearing a rather typical outfit - a black and gold Portsmouth Pirates jacket, and a pair of shades that were taken off once inside. “Well, there you are again…” Art said towards Jade upon entering, looking her up and down. “Was a rather sudden exit, you know. One day you just… Weren’t there. Worried a few people, y’know.”

“Gabriella decided we’d all go on an adventure up to Boston, spur of the moment thing.” Jade shrugged. “The glowy aura person things now have an on and off switch for the three of us, at least, so it’s been worth it I feel. Should’ve said but, well, Gabs was on a mission and then power stuff happened and it all got forgotten.” She smiled slightly, patting the stool beside her. “Forgive me?”

“Wasn’t the happiest about you just up and disappearing…” Art muttered. “Definitely not as fun having just that sister of yours around instead of you… Guess it couldn’t be helped, but whatever. I thought you said the aura things were just some reaction to the storm or to drugs and the storm or something like that? Something temporary?”

“Yeah, I was… Wrong by a few hundred miles there.” Jade admitted. “They’re, uh, power stuff. Lets you see emotions as colours which all of us get. And I’ll make up for the lack of my company, don’t worry.” Jade smiled slightly. “I missed you too, you know, the whole trip was a bit too serious for my tastes. We might get more power stuff while I, uh, remember to mention it, Andrea and Gabs say the auras are something we all get but we might get some other stuff happening, like mental stuff, making people do stuff by thoughts.” Jade leaned back, relaxing slightly. “Anything happened while I’ve been gone, apart from robbing you of my company?”

Art simply let out a sigh, taking in the information. “I would say that was the main thing… There’s more BEA people in the city right now, though. Lot of them heading to and from the main point the storm hit. It’s shut down, you can’t get to it by road for now, I’ve seen people in HAZMAT suits and all that. Not sure what all of it means. Other than that, I’ve had it reaffirmed that your sister is still a bitch…”

“I could’ve told you she’s still a bit of a bitch.” Jade groaned, leaning forwards onto the bar. “Elyse is so boring and I swear she has the Washington Monument up her ass some days, never does anything anyone could consider fun. But more BEA people is… Not good, really, according to Andrea they really aren’t exactly fans of people with our kind of powers, not quite sure what makes us so different to someone like that Ruler hero chick, we just see emotions we don’t body-puppet people. So, yeah, more BEA is not good news at all.”

“You’re forgetting that sensates do have an almost undetectable influence on regular people, which is shared across all of them,” Andrea spoke up to correct Jade, although she didn’t look up from resting her head on her arm. “Which is also one of the reasons the BEA is against them.”

“I still don’t even see anything consistently or have an on or off switch like you guys talked about,” remarked Art, otherwise silently listening to the conversation and the explanations.

“Point one for it being like an exposure to other metahumans thing.” Gabriella remarked from behind the bar. “Ours got the on-off switch after we got a little uncomfortably close to a pair of metahumans having a fight, so I’m assuming that or the threat to us from it gave us the mental switch. You weren’t there, so you didn’t get the switch, and since we all got it around the same time, it rules out it being a time thing.”

“Right then,” Art said before pausing, leaning against the counter of the bar. “So what are you suggesting that we actually do with… This entire thing? The BEA being here, the powers, all that? I can’t exactly just up and leave for Boston like you guys can, you know. I do have football, being the starting QB of the team and all.”

“I have no idea.” Gabriella admitted, Jade nodding her agreement. “We can ignore it, try and lay low until the BEA leaves, but we don’t know how long that is. We can’t exactly keep bolting off randomly either, I’ve got my job, we all have college… But getting caught by the BEA doesn’t exactly sound pleasant either, even if the only thing we did wrong was be in the wrong place at the right time. Personally, I’d say we stay, try laying low, but… If worst comes to worst, we should at least have some plan if the BEA do find us and try to stick us in jail. Which probably means running, and yes, I hate is almost as much as you probably do, but it’s not like we have any other options.” Gabriella shrugged helplessly. “Beats a jail cell.”

“Figure it out… And call me when you do, I guess,” sighed Art, standing straighter, clearly frustrated with the situation and turning to head out but not doing so just yet. “Pretty big fucking ask to just drop everything and leave, you know… But whatever. Talk to me when you figure out it’s not going to be for no reason.”

“I’m not running for no reason.” Gabriella shook her head slightly. “We lay low, pretend everything’s normal, probably don’t meet unless something comes up, and hope the BEA leave or figure they’re done here. I’m just saying we should just… Be ready to, if we absolutely have to, as in they’re all but kicking down the doors on us.”

The answer still didn’t seem to satisfy Art completely. “It’s a lot easier for you to say that when you have less on the line…” he said, pausing and eventually adding something else. “I’ll think about it, at least. But I didn’t work years at this just to drop everything and run off into the woods or whatever because of some powers or whatever they are…”

“Thanks for not ditching it completely.” Gabriella said, giving a small nod. “None of us want to run unless we have to, although as you said to different extents. If we’re running it’s either because someone else got caught or we know they’re coming for us, nothing less.”

“We’ll all hope that doesn’t happen, then, I suppose,” Art said, before finally moving to leave, leaving Gabriella, Jade, and Andrea alone together once again - the mood not particularly a happy one, with what they were talking about and how they couldn’t even get all of themselves on board with it seemingly. And Andrea was of course, still miserable.

“That went about as well as we could have expected…” she muttered, letting out a sigh and raising her head ever so slightly.

“I suppose.” Gabriella said, turning back to the bar. “Neither of you have to stick around if you don’t want to, I don’t think there’s anything else on that side of things worth talking about.”

“I’ll see myself out.” Jade said, waving at Gabriella as she moved to leave. “And yeah I’ll remember to take your stuff back to your place, not like I can’t grab an Uber.”

“I’m just going to go be by myself, I guess,” said Andrea, meeting Gabriella’s eyes sadly before turning to move on herself, moving her feet slowly as if she hardly could muster the energy to do the most basic of tasks, including walking.

“You don’t have to leave if you don’t want to, I wasn’t trying to throw either of you out.” Gabriella said as she looked over the bar. “Bar doesn’t open for a while so if you want to stick around until then you’re more than welcome to, even if, well…” Gabriella sighed. “It’s awkward with just the pair of us.”

“Why would I?” Andrea asked simply, looking back and looking Gabriella in the eye again. “Just… So there can be more awkwardness like you’ve said?”

“I’ll take more awkwardness over you being miserable, Andrea.” Gabriella sighed, picking up a glass and looking it over briefly before setting it down and meeting Andrea’s eyes. “Awkwardness is something I, at least, can deal with. You don’t sound like you want to be alone, so I’m offering company for a while. We don’t have to talk or anything if you don’t want to.”

“I don’t want to be alone but I don’t know if I can take being around you… So I’ll be fine. Even if my mind’s probably going to end up… In a dark place or two,” Andrea admitted, speaking slowly and choosing each word carefully, her aura a deep shade of blue mixed with some dark grey - perhaps the latter representing nihilism or apathy. “I’m sorry I can’t be better about things like this…”

“You don’t need to be better, Andrea.” Gabriella sighed, leaning across the bar and resting her chin on her crossed arms. “And if your mind’s going to go dark places if you’re alone then you stay with me.” Gabriella continued, stepping back moving around to the other side of the bar to sit next to Andrea. “We…” Gabriella paused, thinking before letting out another long sigh before falling silent for a few long seconds. “Do you, um, mind if I hug you? You just look like you need one right now but I don’t want to make things worse…”

“You don’t trust me not to shoot myself or something?” Andrea asked plainly, her voice completely flat as she said it, although she managed to get her words out without stuttering. “And wouldn’t that just be… A-Awkward?”

“You said you don’t want to be alone, and… I don’t know, I just don’t want you to be quite as miserable as you look right now.” Gabriella said, running a hand through her hair. “And it might be, but how much more awkward can it really get?” Gabriella smiled slightly. “Not that much more than it is already, I imagine. If it gets too much for you it’s not like you can’t just let go.”

“As if I’m going to be happier being closer to what I want and knowing that I can’t have it…” muttered Andrea, although she didn’t leave just yet, she simply stayed where she was right now.

Gabriella said nothing, instead simply standing up, taking a step to stand behind Andrea, draping her arms over her shoulders and leaning against her back. “I’ll let go if you ask, okay?” Gabriella whispered softly, resting her chin on Andrea’s shoulder before tilting her head to face away. “I’m not going to say anything else.” She finished, falling silent and just holding Andrea, hoping she hadn’t mis played her hand here.

Andrea’s aura simply became more turbulent and hard to read at this sudden… Development, her body tensing up tightly, although she didn’t move yet. “You sure act like you care a lot for someone that hardly knows me… For someone that doesn’t know much about me at all…”

“You don’t really need to know a lot about someone to care for them.” Gabriella said, her voice soft, not moving and just holding Andrea. “I don’t need to know your whole life story, Andrea, but I care from the little I do know of you or can guess at.”

“And how much even is that?” Andrea asked, her voice sharper, but just a little bit. Noticeable, but not the biggest change.

“I’m still figuring that out for myself, really.” Gabriella sighed. “But it’s a great deal. I’m not exactly the best at this kind of thing, not used to it.” Gabriella fell silent, not willing to say anything else right now.

“And you know when you’re close to me like this…” Andrea said, her voice still sharp. “It just makes me think of other things…”

“Mhm.” Gabriella said noncommittally, shutting her eyes and just resting her head. “I can guess.” She fell silent again for a few long seconds. “Do you want me to let go?” She asked, her eyes opening and turning back towards Andrea. “I don’t want to make it awkward for you…”

“It might be the best option,” Andrea managed to say slowly, her aura as turbulent as it had been up to this point, and her muscles tense, her breathing sharp and on the verge of hyperventilating.

“Okay.” Gabriella said, stepping back and letting go of Andrea, sitting down next to her. “There. That better?”

Andrea didn’t say anything at first, keeping her back turned to Gabriella, breathing silently for a few moments before turning around and pressing herself into Gabriella once again after muttering something under her breath, pressing their lips together and moving to push Gabriella against the bar counter - if she’d let her, anyway. All of this, it was one big risk, one that wasn’t guaranteed to be accepted or work out. But with all the tension… She couldn’t keep herself from at least trying it.

That was a yes, probably. Gabriella did nothing for a few seconds, surprised slightly as Andrea pushed her back against the bar before pulling her mouth back from Andrea’s, breathing deeply. “I think I should probably call in sick to work again.” She said, the tiniest hint of a smile on her face.

Andrea kissed Gabriella again, her hands touching her body, surprisingly more confident than one might expect from her… But she stopped, her hands ending up on Gabriella’s shoulders as she looked her in the eye, her face somewhat… Scared. “I think that… Before we d-do anything… Y-You should know what I actually am…” she said in a low voice, the stuttering returning and her own breath irregular and panicked.

“It doesn’t matter.” Gabriella said softly. “But if we’re doing anything, we’re doing it at my place, it’s not far, okay?”

“I’m sure I’ll talk myself out of it by then,” Andrea muttered under her breath, her lips moving forward to Gabriella’s once again as she showed a bit more confidence and… Allowed herself to act without restraint for once, one of her hands traveling up to Gabriella’s neck.

“I’ll talk you back into it, don’t worry.” Gabriella said, placing a hand over Andrea’s wrist to stop her hand moving up towards her neck. “That comes later.” She added, smirking slightly.

“A-Alright,” Andrea nervously agreed, backing down and stepping away, trying to control her own breathing and keep from seemingly having a panic attack - but she was focused enough on this that it seemed she had a decent chance of powering through her current state.

“Come on.” Gabriella said as she brushed herself down, quickly adjusting her clothes and taking Andrea’s hand before moving to lead her out. “Jade’s likely dropped my stuff of anyways and will be long gone by now. My place is in walking distance, it’s why I work here in the first place and I can call in sick on the way.”

Andrea nodded, following after Gabriella to the outside, heart still ready to pound out of her chest… But by now, it was probably too late to run, wasn’t it? She had started this, she had committed to it and now… She just had to remain confident enough to finish it. Even if she might as well have been completely unsure about just what she was getting herself into…
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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