Night City(5): Prison Mayhem
Britestar, force field blazing, flies up and around the roof looking for any other suspicious people and any vehicles that could have transported the figures to the roof. The roof appears clear; there are a few air-handler vents and a couple of trapdoors, but no one other than the the raven-haired beauty and the hazy figure. Neither of them are standing near a trapdoor or air vent; there's no way to tell how they got on the roof.
As Britestar gains altitude, he can see now that the first figure isn't actually wreathed in smoke at all: the air around it seems hazy and blurry, like the effect one sees over asphalt on a hot summer day, only a thousand times stronger. Something very odd, there.
Below, Adaptor drops from the tree branch he was standing on and hits the ground running, covering the open ground between the grove and the nearest section of fence at Olympic sprinter-level speed. As he does, he says into his communicator, "I am entering the grounds. Emerald, if you have any suggestions, please advise. Britestar, perhaps you would be so kind as to knock one of those two down here to our level..."
When he is within a few feet of the fence (as he makes his request), he gives the staff a twist of some kind and throws it into the air ahead and above him. At the top of its arc, it abruptly halts and hovers ten feet in the air, perfectly parallell to the ground. Without pausing, Adaptor leaps and grabs it, allowing his momentum to spin his body around once. As he completes a full rotation, he flicks his wrist and the staff lets go suddenly. The momentum from his flip carries him up and over the fence, where he lands, rolls, and crouches in a defensive posture, staff at guard position, awaiting his foes' response.
Adaptor and the rest of the group see that as Britestar aproaches the building, the voluptuous pale blue-grey woman turns her head and smiles at the flying hero. Turning her back on her hazy companion, she takes a few steps toward Britestar, puts one hand on her hip, and beckons him with a motion of the index finger of her other hand.
Britestar can now get a better look at her. Her breasts and pelvis seem to be covered (barely) by small metallic plates (one each), while her arms and shoulders are clad in a midnight-blue material, the same as her cape. Her spike-heeled boots come to just above her knees, and are the same midnight-blue color. Her smile is warm and inviting (and not innocent at all) beneath her glowing red eyes.
Inside the prison, El Langosto covers his ears. He yells into his ring, "I got one, amigos! He's, like, a musician that plays the dentist drill!"
El Langosto leaps down the hall, landing about a few feet in front of the musician, between the man and the cell he's facing. Stretching to his full height of almost 8 cm, he yells as loudly as possible.
"Hey MariachiMan! Put down the keyboard and I won't hurt ya none!"
The keyboard player's eyebrows knit above his white sunglasses, and El Langosto can see a tiny wire snaking from the earpieces of the glasses down to button-like white nubs tucked into each ear. He glances around, trying to find the location of the tiny challenger. After a moment his gaze settles on the tiny purple figure of El Langosto.
From behind the diminutive hero comes a woman's voice, with a slight Hispanic accent. "About time you got here," she yells to be heard above the din made by the keybaord-wielding man. "He took his sweet time getting me out of this hellhole. How do we get out of here?"
Glancing back, El Langosto sees an attractive Latino woman, dressed in orange prison garb, stepping through the bars of the cell. The blurrily vibrating bars seem to pass right through her. After she steps into the clear area of the prison corridor, the man's fingers play over the white keys of the keyboard, and the air around El Langosto shifts in pitch, becoming more painful. The sound drives nails into his head, getting behind his eyes, throwing the world into a dizzy spin of agony and white glare.
The demonic-looking woman appraises Donna with an amused expression.
"What, you suddenly manifested your mutant abilities, just in time to save yourself from certain destruction? And instead of running away, you thought you'd spend your last moments trying to rescue your fellow inmates?" She tilted her head back and laughed, a clear ringing laugh.
"Oh, don't worry. You aren't the reason I'm here. In fact," she says, turning her head to look over her shoulder, "that should be him, now. We'll talk later."
With that, the voluptuous blue-grey woman turns her head and smiles at the approaching hero, his force field lighting the sky. Turning her back on Donna, she takes a few steps toward Britestar, puts one hand on her hip, and beckons him with what can only be called a "come hither" look.
Suddenly, Donna's hyper-acute hearing picks up a high-pitched whine from within the building. Whatever it is seems to be coming from the third floor, somewhere beneath her. It's like nothing she's ever heard; it almost sounds like music, but music that's louder and more powerful than anyone but Donna could stand to hear. As she listens, it changes pitch, becoming more intense and insistent.
I drive home, lost in thoughts of what Dr. Roberts was actually up to. Reaching home, I go to the fridge, grab a glass of milk and sit down in front of my computer screen.
For the next hour or so, I will attempt to type into the computer everything that I can remember about the data I saw (I do have eidetic memory).
After I am done, try to draw out all the schematics that I can remember from that suit I saw. Look at the design, the infrastrcuture, everything. Does it look familiar at all. Dig into the depths of my mind to try to remember.
Here's the plan. First, let's look at the facts. One, Dr. Roberts was fanatic about his research, more so than I -- well, I would not classify myself as fanatic, maybe a little on the excentric side, but anyway -- he was also in need of funding.
Steph starts typing:
- "significant" work
She stares at it for a moment -- (actually kind of like I am doing now).
Dr Roberts would have to have offered something to Vanguard in order to stay there and benefit from their resources. However, he would have probably never disclosed what he was really workin on. He called Dr. redgrave his assistant -- probably never disclosed too much to her either. If he had disclosed it to her, she would have access to those files -- because it would not matter. She does not know what he was up to -- logic points to that.
Dr. Redgrave, on the other hand -- is very much concerned with appearances. She obviously thought that she was assisting Jason in something, and she probably was. Whatever she was assisting him in, was probably what he was offering to Vanguard in return for their funding. She is probably aware that he did not tell her the whole story and is very eager to find out. Too bad for her. She is very concerned with appearances, perhaps even glory -- and Jason probably let her have that so that she would stay ot of his personal work. Good idea ...
Anyway, the problem is that in order to get to that data, I will need to go one level higher and completely bypass her. She obviously works for somebody -- the key is to find out what Jason offered Vangurd and work from there.
After that Steph goes back to running the diagnostics on her suit.
She will finish fixing the vaccum seal. Perhaps she should see these people at work. Where was it that they were going to again? Ah yes, the women's prison -- perhaps I should go there and watch them. From the way they were talking I am assuming that they will hit it tonight or tomorrow night.
Ares will conveniently be there tonight and tomorrow night if need be -- for now, I am just watching.
Prism continues to wait, ready to spring into action if (a) any of his companions seem in deep trouble or (b) somebody looks like they're escaping in his direction (i.e. he's holding action and staying invisible).
Kakker will race (pretty fast, actually) from his post over toward where Prism was and looks about, not seeing him. Recalling Prism's invisibilty, he speaks into the Vanguard broach hanging from his pocket protector. "Prism, we're going in. I'm your ride over the wall, where are you?"
Kakker will spare a few moments to scan the skies and the orange grove for any signs of Beowolf, Grendel, or any other violent activity.
After a moment, Kakker notices Prism step towards him. The crystal man is barely visible; only the moonlight glinting off the facets of his body betray his position, and then only because Kakker is close. "Okay, big guy," he says, "you lead, I follow. Let's surprise some people." Looking warily around for any new enemies, he approaches the walls beside Kakker.
"A moment, please." Kakker reaches into his his carpet bag (carpet's pretty tough and if it gets destroyed, remnants are cheap) and begins to quickly slip into a helmet and breastplate. "I don't like the looks of that hazy thing. My plan is to take both of us up to the roof where I will draw their fire while you remain invisible and mpf rfuff merff. Memoor merr muh?" Kakker repositions his comlink inside the face guard of his helmet. "That's better. The blue person in the metallic bits is probably tough and strong like me. Her alien physique implies that any assumptions we may make about her, if it is a "her," are suspect. This armor should give me a second chance if the hazy figure has any kind of disruptive effect, as seems likely. I'm counting on you to take advantage of any immediate opportunity to neutralize one of them. Possibly, one of us may need you to save our bacon, as they won't know you're here."
Kakker stands, outfitted in record time, and runs toward the wall, pulling just ahead of Prism's assumed running speed. "You're what, 350 kilos? I'll clasp my hands near the base of the wall and when I feel you step into them I'll boost into an arc over the wall. It's probably crawling with alarms."
[assuming this mad plan gets this far]
"Follow me up the side of the building. I can test any holds with my strength before your full weight is on them. Slip over the top when you hear me try to arrest them."
[I'm not sure that there are suitable holds for the building ascent. It's a safe bet there aren't any suitable for a normal, but Prism's strength should let him take advantage of even finger wide ledges or seams. The only problem is that his weight might cause his fingers to chip the concrete off of the purchase he does find, and he says he can't jump very high. Kakker thinks he could leap to the top, but doesn't want to leave his "wingman" behind. As a last resort, Kakker could gouge some holes or just piggy back Prism, but he's not sure how that would go over.]
Prism waits for Kakker to get equipped with a look of "couldn't you have done this earlier?" on his barely visible face. He then races to the wall alongside the now-armored man; he seems able to maintain a pace just slightly faster than the average human, despite his mass.
"350 kilos?" he asks while running. "Try eight hundred. If you think you can boost that much over the wall without herniating yourself, that's fine; otherwise, save your strength. I might be able to reach the top of the wall with a running high jump -- any alarms must have already gone off --but I might have to rely on Britestar to get to the roof inside. I'm no climber, not in this state. Let's clear the outside wall first and see how it goes."
Suiting deed to word, he will attempt to jump up to the outside wall, with Kakker's assist if the latter seems willing to try. Once (hopefully) inside, he will remain motionless near the wall, scanning the grounds in search of new enemies or other information.
"800 kilos? Come on, come on! (grunt!) Whew!"
Kakker draws deep breaths, then vaults the wall to join Prism. "I guess you'd better forget about the roof; you might go right through it! I'm willing to bet I can drag them down to our level, though. Well, one of them. I'm sorry for the hold up, but that haze really has me worried.
"I think I can pass the odd attacker down here, but your weight is crunching holes in the turf. Think you can still evade detection?
"Oh, yeah, if you need to let me know you're there, just tap me a couple times on my leg."
Kakker assumes Prism is still nearby, and scans the rooftop scene for any changes as he prepares to make his leap.
El Langosto is interested in the prison lady, but hasn't time to find out who she is. Grimacing in pain, he figures that pushing keys doesn't qualify as putting down the keyboard.
El Langosto leaps into the air towards the keyboard. His intention is to smash it into little teeny pieces ASAP.
"No me friegues!"
The shimmering figure raises her head to addresse the flying hero.
"britestar!" she says in a tremulous voice that is equal parts whisper and shout. "thank goodness you're here. the pyromaniac kid is loose on the fifth floor and you're our best hope of stopping him. he's killed a half- dozen people and it was all i could do to prevent him from barbequing a dozen more."
With a sweep of her arm she tears a man-sized hole in the roof.
"you wrap up the flame-head. since i can walk through walls like she can, i'll keep miss silicon valley, here, busy until the others arrive. i'll help on the third floor as soon as i can. oh, and tell the others not to worry about grendel and clawthor -- i've already sent them packing."
Without waiting for a response, the mysterious woman steps away from the hole and strides confidently toward the blueskinned beauty. "okay, toots. you've taken tonight's jump to a conclusion. like to try a five-story jump to concrete?"
El Langosto launches himself like a tiny purple bullet at the man in white -- only to bounce unexpectedly off the wall of sound surrounding him [it's a force wall, though not necessarily obviously so]. The black man smiles, and the daggers of pain driving themselves into El Langosto's eyes and teeth make his head spin. The little hero hits the ground rolling, but he's too stunned to rise to his feet [26 Stun from the sonic NND, negligible damage from hitting the force wall -- Langosto wasn't expecting it, so he wasn't hitting it with anything near his full strength].
"We have to get out of here, I said!" The woman in the orange jumpsuit yells. "Now stop screwing around -- kill him!" Through a haze of pain, El Langosto sees the black man snap his fingers and point at the woman: he looks angry. The woman recoils a bit, taken off guard by the man's negative response. "Please! We have to get out of here! They'll be on us any minute now!"
The man glances over at El Langosto, obviously wondering if the little man will be causing any more trouble. He gestures with his free hand, motioning the woman to go back down the hall toward the center of the prison.
Kakker and Prism have no trouble following Adaptor over the fence of the prison. With a hefty grunt, Kakker boosts Prism over the wall, and vaults after him.
Scaling the wall poses more of a problem. The brick walls of the prison are relatively smooth, interrupted only by small barred windows. The women inside gather at the little windows to watch the approaching men, and a few shouts of "Rescue me! Rescue me! I was framed!" drift down to the heroes.
As Krane sees the blue woman's interraction with Britestar he begins to wonder if she's the villain he thought she was. But there's not much time to ponder that in all of the excitement. It appears that everyone else is changing the plan. He allows the others to charge into the prison while he hangs back, sticking to the original plan.
Krane moves to pick a good position to watch the prison and the others. One eye is watching for any escaping inmates while he also scans for any action from those on the roof or any sign of Grendel and Beowulf.
He speaks into his communicator. "Krane here. Watching the walls. If anyone needs help, give a yell."
Suddenly, the orange groves around the prison erupts with action. Teams of blue-uniformed soldiers in black full-head helmets sprint from the cover of the trees and level their rifles at the heroes that are still outside the fence. On the inside, sections of prison yard pop open to reveal pits, from which more armed soldiers scramble to surround Kakker, Adaptor, and Prism. A few of the soldiers are aiming their M-16's at Prism: obviously they know he's there.
"FBI! On the ground! Now!"
From the groves around the prison, two helicopters rise into the air, one's spotlights targeting Britestar and the other's pinning the pair in the roof. "FBI! You, in the air! Land immediately and deactivate your force field! You on the roof! Deactivate your --"
The command is interrupted as one of the helicopters explodes. The other 'copter veers into the sky, its spotlight sweeping to the far end of the building (as far as possible away from the other pair on the roof) to highlight a black-armored figure in a flowing red cloak. His right hand is extended toward the burning wreckage that is falling as if in slow-motion to the ground, and his left gauntlet is clenched in a fist at his side. His claws gleam wickedly in the spotlight, smoke drifting lazily from the palm of his right hand. Gunfire erupts from the remaining helicopter, obscuring the armored figure behind a firestorm as the roof explodes around him.
Britestar says in his radio "Well now this is getting crazy. Hopefully you all can deal with the situation outside. Supposedly somebody called the pyromaniac kid is killing a bunch of people on the 5th floor. I'm going to go inside and see if I can stop him."
Britestar will fly through the hole in the roof to the 5th floor, looking for the pyromaniac kid.
When Kakker inquires if Prism thinks he can remain unseen, the crystal man replies, "No promises, but assuming they're more worried about the enemies they can see-- SHIT!"
Military-style troops suddenly erupt from the prison grounds, and Prism is taken badly aback. "What the FUCK?!?" he exclaims, beginning to raise his barely visible arms in an incongruous surrender. "We're the good guys, you assholes! We--"
For a second time, Prism is interrupted, this time by the shattering boom of an exploding helicopter. Ducking his head, Prism screams, "THAT'S your fucking problem!", and points at the black-clad figure (Grendel?) on the roof. Ignoring the FBI agents, he races towards the corner of the prison below where Grendel (or whoever) stood.
[If any of the FBI agents get in his way, Prism will attempt to avoid them, or else brush past them with a move by, legsweep or other non-fatal attack. He hopes to be able to face the black-armored fellow if he falls; otherwise, he'll just try to stay out of sight, ready to take on any available bad guys while avoiding any FBI attacks.]
Lyle entered the lab and set his notebook on the table. Dr. Redgrave was sitting on a lab stool, her elbows on the table and her face in her hands.
"I take it that didn't go well?" he asked carefully.
"Lyle, she's worse than I feared. I was prepared for her to be uncooperative. I was prepared for her to be vain and self-absorbed. I was prepared for her to want to interfere with what we're doing here, or for her to want to take the files and run. I was even prepared for her to refuse to come here at all." The woman raised blonde her blonde head and, placing her palms on the lab bench, pushed herself upright.
"Lyle, that girl is hostile. Such rage, such pain. And I didn't deal with it very well." She rubbed her hand across her eyes, trying to rub away the evidence of too little sleep over too many days. She paused a moment, closing her eyes.
"She took great pleasure in pointing out that Jason left her the key to the lab, not me. She made it very clear that she thought I wasn't doing real research here, that I was just a lab tech for Jason. And she all but said that Jason and I weren't close, even to the point of reminding me her husband had been killed, while I hadn't lost anyone I cared about."
Lyle's mouth dropped open. "You can't be serious. He was buried this morning!"
"Deadly serious, and so was she." She sighed. "I don't know why he did this. I've wracked my brain. The letter was dated three years ago; that was long after we were working together. Even if he forgot to go back and change his will, so to speak, why her? She's spoiled and selfish. And god, Lyle, the hate, the pain. You could see it in her eyes. I wasn't prepared for that. I should have gone further into her background. There's no way on earth she'll work with us, now, and it's my fault. I was hoping she'd accidentally access the lab while I was here, but no such luck. She just brought up the armor files, the things we already have."
She put her face back in her hands. "It's over, Lyle. Without his files the project's finished. We can't fake it with them forever. Even though we did pick unknowns, they'd have to be unbelievably dense not to suspect something eventually. Rasputin thinks the Mexican boy already suspects."
"And there's no way around Rasputin?" the young man asked, his brow creased.
"I designed him, Lyle. With his mainframe on the island, there's no way to bypass his security. And without Jason's key, we can't get to the island. I couldn't re-create the Gate with Jason standing here, much less from memory and my notes. I don't think anyone could."
She paused, and Lyle waited. The silence grew pregnant.
"I keep thinking," she said quietly, "that maybe he didn't forget. That even after all we'd been through, that we... that he..." Lyle swallowed, but said nothing. "That's what she thought, obviously. She made that painfully clear. But why her? He was obsessed with the thought that his research would be used against humanity, rather than for it. He was terrified that someone would use it without considering the consequences. Was it because they worked together at MIT? Because she was a child prodigy, like he was? He wouldn't do that, I know he wouldn't. He was sentimental, but not that sentimental. What about her made him give her the key?"
"I guess it doesn't matter, now," she finished, barely breathing. "It's over."
The hazy apparation looks at the aftermath of the helicopter explosion and at the flurry of activity in the orange groves. She seems stunned by the death and carnage -- and by something else.
"they knew," she says quietly. "those f.b.i. bastards knew about this attack ahead of time and they just let all those people die."
She shakes her head as if to clear it and speaks to Britestar and the blue-grey woman.
"britestar, you've got to stop that pyro now. the f.b.i. doesn't give a rat's ass about the lives of the people in this prison, so it's up to you and me. tell krane to convince these idiots to stop shooting and to send in some medics -- they're hurting the people under grendel but they're not doing anything to him.
"me, i'm going to the third floor to shut down that musician.
"and you, you blue bitch -- you can use that psychic link to tell your people to get out of here without any more killing or you can go to hell and wait for me, 'cause i'll kick your ass when i get there. but right not you just aren't worth my time."
With that, she increases the blurriness around her until she becomes transparent and sinks through the roof into the prison.
When the FBI appear out of nowhere Krane raises his hands in a non-threatening manner. "Take it easy officers, we're the good guys..."
BOOM! The helicopter bursts into flame and plummets to the ground. Krane whirls around to face it. It takes less than a moment to realize what has happened and a scant second to see Grendel gloating in the fire light.
Krane forgets the FBI and heads for Grendel with all possible haste. His promise to watch for escapees forgotten, but with the knowledge that the FBI can handle it in the back of his mind.
Ron said there'd be days like this...
Grim humor in the face of adversity was something Adaptor had observed in his teacher, but never really understood until now. The irony of the situation was not lost on him: Vanguard under the guns of the police while thier enemies roamed within the prison walls; the reserved and sullen Prism suddenly exhibiting an unseen, passionate side (a glimpse of his former self, perhaps?); and a hazy, fog-shrouded unknown turning out to be on their side, after all. 'And then it starts getting interesting...' Ron might have said. But Ron wasn't here to guide him. He'd have to live in this moment, and so he does...
The current chaos probably wouldn't last long. If he wanted to act, he'd do it now, while the FBI was shaken up by the explosion.
Taking off, he runs a few steps to build speed and then leaps into the midst of the nearest group of FBI agents, hoping to get among them where they can't shoot at him for fear of hitting each other.
'My friends, I'll attempt to keep the attention of our blue gatecrashers. Good Luck inside...'
Once among the agents, Adaptor will methodically try to take them down, using his staff to disarm as many of the agents as possible early in the fight. If they attempt to pile on, I will let them, but attempt to direct the melee into the pit that the agents came out of, toppling into it if possible, where the combat can continue unobserved by other agent teams...
Langosto muses a brief moment as he regains his footing.
"Lemme see. Air gets in and out of the sound wall, but it stops me. It'll zap me whenever I push it. If I was one a them gadget guys, I'd spray his face or use nerve gas or somethin'. Ahh, screw this! How can I...?"
Suddenly, under his mask, his eyes light up!
"Ey, soundguy! Thanks for the, like, the wall!"
Langosto gathers himself, and leaps...
...straight to the feet of the inmate woman.
"Sorry, mamita, but that's life."
Carlos attempts to grab the woman's foot. If he gets a good grip, he will attempt to tip her into the field of sound. (Imagine the Italian flea from Warner Bros. cartoon.)
"Well now this is getting crazy," Britestar said over the communicator. "Hopefully you all can deal with the situation outside. Supposedly somebody called the pyromaniac kid is killing a bunch of people on the 5th floor. I'm going to go inside and see if I can stop him."
Light a thunderbolt, the blazing hero dove for the hole in the roof (the hole torn open by the hazy figure with the sexy voice). Unfortunately, the scantily-clad grey-skinned beauty has other ideas. With a snarl she leaps for Britestar, her cape unfurling to become huge batwings. As he reaches the hole in roof, she catches one of his ankles in one taloned hand. [She rolls a 7, an easy hit.]
"I want to talk to you, Lightbringer!" Britestar is pulled back away from the hole, and he struggles with the winged woman in mid-air. The bat wings don't seem necessary for her flight -- she has no trouble wrestling with him. She's incredibly strong: she and Britestar seem evenly matched.
Through clenched teeth, she hisses, "The mortals can wait, Lightbringer. They're all going to die in a few minutes, anyway. I want to know what you've done with the stone! Where is it? Tell me, mortal!"
Meanwhile, on the ground below, Prism and Krane race toward the far corner of the prison, intent on intercepting Grendel. The FBI agents seem stunned by the rapidity with which things are happening. They dive aside as Krane zooms past, while most of them don't seem to see Prism at all. A few drop to the ground and take a bead on the heroes, but no one fires. Krane outpaces the crystalline man, rounding the corner well ahead of him. The far side of the prison is also filled with a dozen or more FBI agents, but they have retreated from the building and taken cover in the fox-holes from which they sprang. The barrels of their weapons are aimed up toward the roof, where the guns from the helicopter are distintegrating a corner of the building. Rubble and shards of broken brick rain down on the soft green grass of the prison courtyard, accompanied by the roar of the helicopter's M-60 machine guns and Weir Machrone plasma cannon. There is no sign of Grendel.
Adaptor tries to engage the agents to divert their attention from Prism, Kakker, and Krane, but the agents aren't biting. It takes them only a moment to realize that Adaptor is more than they can handle. Those he hits go down with very little fight, and the rest back away as fast as they can.
Kakker sprints toward the prison wall and executes an impressive running jump, soaring five stories into the air. With a grunt and a *whump!*, his body impacts the wall of the building, his fingers just reaching the edge of the roof. Straining his fingertips, he hauls his bulk up onto the tarred-gravel roof of the prison. Rising to his feet, he sees the grey-skinned woman and Britestar wrestling in mid-air above him. Looking around the roof, he glimpses the head of the hazy-looking woman [Glimmer] as she disappears, sinking down into the roof.
Glimmer sinks into the roof, the vibrating fabric of her body sliding sideways between the molecules of the prison walls. As she reaches the third-floor corridor, she sees the El Langosto recover from the dizzying sonic attack of the man with the keyboard. While El Langosto was recovering from being stunned, the musician and the escapee ran down the hall toward the center of the prison. Shaking off the sonic attack's effects, El Langosto launches himself down the hallway after the pair, but this time his target is the woman.
She's no match for the speed of the diminutive hero. He lands next to her and grabs her foot, getting ready to throw her against the wall of sound around the musician.
The woman shouts at her white-clad rescuer. "White Noise, he's got me! Get him off, get him off!" The musician (White Noise? El Langosto thinks to himself) turns his attention back to the tiny hero, and El Langosto can see his blue costume reflected in the man's white sunglasses. With blinding speed, the man's fingers play over the keyboard, and a hypersonic whine targets El Langosto, drilling into his skull behind his eyes.
[E.L. can throw the woman, try to dodge, or just hope his DCV is enough to keep him from being hit. This attack sounds different from the area-effect attack: more focused, and probably not stun-only like the first attack was. As an aside, the force wall around White Noise isn't a damage field: E.L. didn't take any damage from hitting White Noise; he took damage from White Noise's area-effect sonic attack.]
"can you use a little help, little guy?" With that terse introduction, our hazy heroine attempts to place herself between White Noise and El Langosto. As she does so, she takes care not to touch the hero or the woman he's hefting. Perhaps White Noise' force wall is harmless to the touch, but the same cannot be said for the shimmering field which surrounds her.
[Assuming she's successful at interposing herself:] She gives an up-and-down glance to White Noise. "so which one are you?" she asks. "milli or vanilli?"
[She will attempt to take the blow that is intended for El Langosto.]
El Langosto seems willing to take the sonic blow, although he seems surpised that White Noise would try to zap him. He waves the prisoner around a little. He seems a little at a loss. "Uh, yeah, whatever. I'm El Langosto." :: sotto voice into ring :: "Uh, guys, the misty lady's down here."
:: to Glimmer :: "You gotta way for us to klonk this pu...uh, lady without hurting her? After that, I say one of us breaks his wall and the other kicks his ass." From the way his mask moves, he must be grinning at White Noise.
Kakker laboriously pulled his bulk over the edge of the cell block roof to confront...nothing. The fuzzy figure, the exposed woman, and the metallic-clawed aparition were gone, with nothing moving on the roof but settling debris. He caught his breath and tried to assess the situation.
The stars he'd been seeing cleared away, and the shifting shadows on the roof made him look up to find Britestar grappling with Kakker's intended wrestling partner. Hell of a time to cut in, Kakker thought.
He flicked his communicator with his distended bottom lip. "This is Kakker," he said, "I've secured the rooftop for the moment." He proceeded to a near corner of the building to give him the least obstructed view of the roo and grounds and keeping an eye on Britestar, he became very still, trying to feel the tell-tale shaking of superhuman combat in the structure below.
Krane is relieved that the FBI agents aren't making a concerted effort at stopping his progress. He continues with all possible speed, hoping to get a chance at Grendel or one of the other murderers.
When he starts to get close he reaches behind his back and draws out his Escrima stick (deciding to go with a single stick this time). The patterns and numbering systems of the Escrima systems flow through his head as he prepares for battle imagining the combat before it actually begins. Trying to account for as many possible attacks and counters as he can.
Britestar says to the grey-skinned lady "I'm afraid I can't tell you anything about the "stone" unless you say pretty please with sugar on top. I hope you have enjoyed your ride on the Britestar express, but this ride must end now."
Britestar will try to blast her with his energy blast.
(Glimmer and El Langosto)
"people have a way of being pulverized to dust when i touch them, so i'll leave the klonking and ass-kicking up to you. but breaking down walls, well, that's kind of a specialty of mine."
The flicker around her hands increases in intensity as she raises both arms over her head. She is posed to bring two fists down upon the wall of sound in what will surely be a noisy expression of power.
"el langosto, say 'when.'"
[As Donna prepares her haymaker, she'll use her n-ray to check out the situation. Anyone sneaking up from behind?]
Nope. Even over White Noise's, er, noise, you can hear that the only people on this floor are what you see or trying to take cover in thier cells.
[What's Grendel up to in the middle of that pile of rubble?]
All you know about the location you previously saw Grendel is that a helicopter is blowing the hell out of the building. Ka-boom.
[And what's the deal with the middle of this building, anyway? There must be something of interest there, since that's where all the baddies seem to be heading.]
Hmm. Taking a quick listen in that direction, you do notice that there's *nothing* going on in the center of the building. At the very least, you'd expect guards to be running around ineffectually. Anything more would require her to focus her attention there for longer than a quick glance, and I get the impression that she's got other things on her mind right now.
By the way, what exactly is she doing to White Noise?
Actually, she's more concerned with the center of the building than she is with White Noise. Read on...
[By the way, what exactly is she doing to White Noise?]
She's striking his force wall with a haymaker. She'll do damage with two separate attacks: 12d6 from STR and 8d6 armor-piercing from her damage shield. At your option, she might also be doing a presence attack with her 15 PRE and appropriate modifiers for violence. Glimmer has positioned herself between El Langosto and White Noise so that E.L. can take cover behind her, although he is apparently not inclined to do so.
I'm figuring that White Noise will probably not sit still for this, which is why Glimmer's multipower is set on N-Ray Vision instead of Tunnelling. Although the Tunnelling would make it an almost-sure thing that the wall would come a'tumblin' down, Glimmer plans to use the N-Ray to track White Noise should he decide to retreat. Right now, it's more important to find out where all the villains are heading than it is to konk White Noise. But if that plan doesn't work out, hey, it's not like he doesn't deserve a konking. (Although he's apparently not one of the murderous ones.)
BTW, I'm assuming that Glimmer didn't hear that "The mortals can wait, Lightbringer. They're all going to die in a few minutes, anyway." bit because she was desolid at the time. (Darn that limitation.) Although perhapes Xanadu spoke those words while Glimmer was taking her reconnaissance break on the fifth floor. If she'd heard, Glimmer would suspect that the bad guys intend to blow up the building after they make their escape. That would be a tactically sound thing to do, the nastier part of Donna's nature would say, because the authorities might never figure out which prisoners had been sprung and which had been killed in the blast.
BTW #2: Donna, child of the media that she is, has had a snippet from "The Sound of Music" run through her head ever since she started to play superheroine:
The result of this deception Is very strange to tell,
For when I fool
The people I fear
I fool myself as well.
BTW #3: Does Donna recognize the woman that E.L. is carrying?
El Langosto tosses the orange-garbed prisoner lightly back towards her cell, so that the new hazy lady and Langosto are between her and any obvious exit.
He gathers himself, and begins to leap. "WHEN!"
Meanwhile, At Vanguard...
"No," she said firmly, liftng her head from her hands. "It won't end here. If we can't access Jason's files, then we'll just do without them."
Lyle looked confused. "I don't see how...?"
"We can go ahead with Zarathustra. All of the preliminary work has been tested, other than Jason's heuristic-analog interpreters. And I've designed alternatives to most of Jason's OBEI chips. Of course," she frowned, "there's the risk of rejection, or worse, viral mutation, but the immuno-inhibitors should prevent that. I'm willing to take the risk."
Lyle stood up from the lab stool on which he had perched. He frowned, his clear blue eyes clouded with concern.
"No, Carlotta. I can't help you do this. It's too dangerous."
Dr. Redgrave stood, her eyes steely grey to match Lyle's clouded blue. Her mouth was pressed in a line as firm as her resolve.
"If you won't assist me, then monitor the team's progress for Rasputin. He will be busy assisting me in the procedure. Good day, Mr. Hawthorne. Rasputin," she said, turning away from the startled young man, "access the medical --"
"Carlotta, please don't do this." Lyle pleaded.
"Mr. Hawthorne," she said, turning back to Lyle, "do I need to have Rasputin remove you from this laboratory?" It was no use; Lyle blinked, and left the lab to monitor the team in the comm room. As he left, he could hear her begin preparations for Zarathustra, the last, greatest project she and Jason had been working on before his death.
And At the Prison....
With a flare of light, Britestar spears Xanadu with an energy blast. The force of the blast drives her backward through the air, until she's hovering above the courtyard looking down on the FBI agents.
"Lightbringer, you're making this much harder than it has to be. I don't want to kill you, but I didn't track you back through time just to fail again. This time, the stone *will* be mine." Her glowing red eyes narrow, and she smiles a predator smile. Her enormous batwings flap slowly, keeping her aloft [fwap... fwap...fwap], and her breasts bob gently in rhythm with her wings.
The helicopter ceases its barrage of the prison, and the resulting quiet lays heavy on the prison courtyard. (Quiet being relative: the helicopter itself makes quite a bit of noise) Slowly, the helicopter gunship hovers around the end of the prison, its spotlight panning across the windows of the prison. The quiet doesn't last long, because as soon as the helicopter stops firing, a section of the prison's roof explodes upwards. Bits of crushed concrete spray into the sky, and a hole six meters [three hexes] in diameter is ripped in the roof of the prison. Oddly enough, there is no smoke or hint of fire, as one would expect from such a large explosion.
Meanwhile, a voice comes over the Vanguard communicators. It sounds like Lyle. "Attention, team, this is V-base. We've intercepted a request from FBI your 20 for FSPD backup. Expect a Warhawk in 13 minutes, the rest of the response team ETA 42 minutes. You don't have long to clean up and get out of there."
BOOM! The remaining FBI helicopter explodes when a heat-blast from the prison hits it. From his vantage point in the sky, Britestar can see the source of the blast: a young black guy in a denim jacket sitting in a fifth-floor window. The bars of the window appear to have been melted away, and the hands of the young man still shimmer with the heat that took the lives of the helicopter crew. The burning 'copter debris falls on the FBI agents below, who scurry to take cover.
Meanwhile, Krane, Adaptor, and Prism stand ready for a fight, expecting the unexpected. As soon as the helicopter explodes, one of the barred windows on the fifth floor is suddenly ripped away from the brickwork, and a sinewy mass of muscle and fur hurls itself into the air. Claws extended, the beast-man's leap seems aimed directly at Krane, who stands on the ground below, an escrima stick at the ready.
The sound draws Xanadu's attention away from the falling helicopter (or what's left of it), and as her gaze passes from the descending beast-man to the heroes waiting below, her eyes flare bright red and her mouth drops open. She snaps her head up to look at Britestar, her hair whipping around her horns. "What have you done? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?"
She clenches her hands at her sides, claws clutching at the air. She rears back her head at screams at the sky in frustrated rage. "RRRRAAAARRRGHHHHHHHH!!!"
Xanadu points a clawed finger at Britestar, snarling. "You will pay for this! You will pay *dearly*!" She looks one last time at the heroes gathered on the courtyard below, then hurls herself into the sky with a sweep of her leathery wings. [She flaps away into the sky. I'm assuming that Britestar would rather deal with the threats at the prison than chase her.]
El Langosto tosses the hispanic woman back toward her cell, and prepares to launch himself at White Noise. Glimmer interposes herself between White Noise and the diminutive hero, and the ripping sonic attack that was intended for the tiny man impacts against Glimmer's force field instead. The attack has a strange effect: Glimmer's force field seems to ripple, as the vibrations of her force field interact with the wavelength of White Noise's sonic blast. Ripples pass back and forth forming Moire patterns across Glimmer's force field, until the force of the attack is absorbed and nullified [actually, she takes 4 STUN]
White Noise doesn't look too happy. His attack has apparently bounced harmlessly off of Glimmer's force field, and she is in mid-attack on his force wall and there's nothing he can do. He doesn't have time to analyze the frequency of her sonic field and compensate for it; no time, no time.
As if in slow motion, Glimmer's fists come down on his force wall, her sonic field impacting his. The vibrations set up seem to interact, but where White Noise's attack was dissipated by Glimmer's force field, his force wall seems to have the opposite effect on her attack.
The vibrations are amplified instantaneously: as soon as Glimmer hits his force wall, the resulting explosion throws White Noise and El Langosto to opposite ends of the corridor. White Noise impacts solidly against the barred walls separating the cell block from the guard station, and he slumps heavily to the floor, obviously unconscious. El Langosto lands in the lap of the would-be escapee, almost as unconscious [-15 STUN, he'll wake up soon]. The prisoner was further from the center of the explosion, and was spared the worst of the damage, but she won't be waking up any time soon.
Inexplicably, Glimmer is moved only four meters by the explosion, and although she's stunned by the blast [she takes 22 STUN past defenses], she takes nowhere near the amount of damage that White Noise and El Langosto do. Unfortunately, that means that she's in the center of the explosion -- where the building is collapsing. The force of the blast has shattered concrete and twisted steel I-beams into pretzels. The roof has been blown off for several meters, and the nearby walls are disintegrated down to the first floor. Glimmer falls five meters down the ground floor [negligible damage], where she is soon covered in rubble.
It takes her only a moment [a Phase] to shake off the effects of the blast. The crushing weight of the rubble would smash a normal person into tomato bisque, but Glimmer's force field holds and keeps her from getting crushed. Above her, still on the third floor, El Langosto wakes from his explosion-induced sleep, skull throbbing and ears ringing. His entire body is one big bruise, and from the feel of it he has a couple of cracked ribs [2 BODY].
Just before she hits White Noise (and suffers the catastrophic consequences), Glimmer notices movement in the area of the prison behind him. Whoever it is is being stealthy, but even distracted her perceptions are pretty keen. It's someone in a skin-tight outfit with a voluminous cape: it could be Grendel, but before she has time to listen closer, Ka-Boom!, she hits White Noise.
Under the rubble, she gets her breath and her bearings. Assessing the situation, she's bruised but not broken [22 STUN, but now she's recovered from being Stunned]. I would imagine she'd take a recovery and look around: up above her she "sees" movement on the fifth and third floor (what's left of it).
Two figures are active on the fifth floor: she recognizes both Clawthor and the young black guy with the heat blast. Both are at windows -- until Clawthor rips away the bars and jumps, that is. Simultaneously, there's a loud helicopter-shattering KA-BOOM! as the second FBI helicopter goes down in flames.
Meanwhile, a figure is moving through the dust and rubble on the third floor toward the battered body of White Noise. She can hear White Noise's breathing and heartbeat -- he's still alive. The figure is crouching over him, apparently also assessing his health. El Langosto is twitching, and will wake up in a Phase or so.
From this unique vantage point (on her back looking up), Donna notices that the elevator doors have been ripped away from one of the elevators in the middle of the prison (all five floors). Looking closer, she can see that the elevator itself has been torn into pieces and thrown down to the bottom of the shaft.
The prison won't take much more of this. Even now, a significant portion of the population is either dead, wounded, or buried in rubble. (Some of them are laying around, under, or over Donna, as a matter of fact.)
Adaptor frowned beneath his mask.
Things were rapidly deteriorating. If he wanted to take advantage of the confusion, he needed to do it NOW. As he broke away from the scattering FBI agents, he thought about his options, as well as Vanguard's. It was obvious they were now playing for keeps. The first order of business was to prevent any more violence against the FBI agents. The downing of the coptor was an act of wanton cruelty, a sadistic display of power. Vanguard would have to respond.
His problem (and Vanguard's in general, it was increasinlgy seeming) was mobility. Getting to the roof would be risky, but it was the only way into the facility. Gritting his teeth, he retracted his staff, slipped it smoothly into its sheath, and leaped high into the air...
And landed two stories up, grasping the precarious hand- and foot-holds offered by the barred windows. Lacking Kakker's enhanced musculature, Adaptor makes the ascent in time-honored primate fashion: scrambling up the side of the building hand over hand, standing on his toes on the lower bars and pulling himself up to the window above, repeating the process until a short leap gains him a handhold on the edge of the roof.
He pauses for a moment, feeling the strength flow from his toes that were once holding his weight, into his fingertips where he needs it. With an expulsion of breath, he pulls himself up and over in one fluid motion, rolling to a crouch, ready to leap aside from any attack...
If all seems clear, he will pause for a moment to survey the prison grounds from his newly-acquired vantage point, and report what he sees to his teammates otherwise occupied...
As soon as Adaptor makes it up to the roof of the prison, he and Kakker are showered with the debris from the explosion inside the prison. Bits of concrete and reinforced steel bars pelt them; the largest ones either bounce harmlessly from their armor or are nimbly avoided.
Looking down into the cavernous space thus opened, the two heroes (and Britestar, above) can see that the hole ripped open in the roof is almost six meters across, and that it actually gets larger the further down they look. It appears to be at its widest on the third floor, but the view is too obstructed by dust and debris to tell for sure. The groans of injured inmates drift up on the dust-laden wind.
"damn it! some heroine i am, making an explosion like that."
Glimmer's first priority is the safety of the prisoners. [An interesting contrast to Adaptor's concerns, BTW. While Adaptor thinks that "(t)he first order of business [is] to prevent any more violence against the FBI agents," Donna figures that those SOBs knew what they were getting into, but the prisoners are just innocent bystanders. Okay, maybe not 100% innocent in all respects, but at least the prisoners are not responsible for the immediate death and destruction. But I digress...]
Glimmer's first priority is the safety of the prisoners.
"hey, you in the cape. on the floor above me, leaning over the sonic guy," Glimmer says, standing up and (literally!) shaking the dust from what's left of her white tunic. "yes, i saw you sneaking up behind me earlier. look, i don't know if you're a good guy or a bad guy, and frankly i don't care at the moment. either way, you're going to help me rescue a few people from this rubble or you're going to have your butt kicked around the prison as soon as i can spare the time."
With that, the haze-enshrouded beauty will turn her back on the newcomer and will begin to point out the locations of wounded and buried prisoners. Apparently she can either see through solid stone or she's very good at pretending she can. "i can plow through this debris with ease," she says. "but i'm concerned about the condition of the structure above us. can you do anything to shore it up?"
Obviously, Donna is in full-sensory mode at the moment. If her 360 degree "vision" finds that Someone is going to jump her, she'll sidestep the attack and say, "see here, brainless. if you make me fight you you're really going to regret it."
As soon as El Langosto regains consciousness (something else she can apparently sense), she'll say, "yo, mi amigo. is your radio still working? i've got a message for the rest of the team."
[[It's someone in a skin-tight outfit with a voluminous cape: it could be Grendel, but before she has time to listen closer, Ka-Boom!, she hits White Noise.]]
[>What does the ol' sonogram-like N-Ray say about this Someone? Is Someone more or less solid than a normal human?]
About the same. Oh, his right arm from the elbow down is much denser than human -- hard to see through.
[Does Someone have any dense objects, like weapons or armor?]
Various trinkets about his person, and he has a crunchy outer shell like an M&M.
[And here's a key question -- does Someone have a Vanguard radio?]
How can she tell this? If he does, it isn't making any noise right now. I'll let you know if it does.
["damn it! some heroine i am, making an explosion like that."]
Not your fault; there's no way you could have predicted that.
[Glimmer's first priority is the safety of the prisoners. [An interesting contrast to Adaptor's concerns, BTW.]
[With that, the haze-enshrouded beauty will turn her back on the newcomer.]
He's a couple of floors up, actually, behind White Noise. He doesn't respond to anything Donna says. Instead, he leaves White Noise where he is and leaps/glides over your head (across the destroyed space) to where El Langosto is laying in the lap of sleeping beauty.
"uhhhh." A shape stirs in the dust on the third floor.
"Mierda! Donde estoy?" A 5' 4" Langosto regains consciousness sprawled in dust on the floor.
His head turns from side to side, looking around. "THAT din't work."
He pulls himself to hands and knees. "Did we win?"
Langosto rises shakily to his feet and looks around for the foxy hispanic prisoner. He eyes the huge hole in the third floor and takes note of the moans of injured prisoners.
"Me jodi! Hey, who knew?"
When Glimmer speaks to him, Langosto peers down to where she is. He looks intently for a radio or other Vanguard symbol.
:: quietly into ring :: "Uh, anybody know who the hazy lady is? We just, uh, blew up half the jail."
Hugging himself, Langosto shrinks back down. If he can find her, he will grab the unconscious prisoner first and try to leap to the roof. [He woke up with his head in her lap. He was a little teeny guy when he landed there, making his landing very gentle.] If not, he'll try to get to someone else who seems to need help.