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Night City(23): Vanguard Victorious!

The lawyer responds with practiced smoothness to Kakker's observation.

"I'll tell the Doctor you are pleased that she is recovering from her injuries. Still, I would warn you that she has suffered a great deal of pain and suffering, and she may yet have complications due to internal injuries. You aren't a doctor, are you, Mr. Kakker? No, I thought not. Then leave medical diagnoses to the experts."

"If that is all, Mr. Kakker?"

The lawyer makes an I'll-be-going-now motion, and turns to follow Doctor Redgrave.


Adaptor turns away from Prism and Black Bolt, trusting the crystal man and Krane to deal with the lone villian.

"Glimmer, quickly, please. Make yourself as light as possible while remaining solid."

He clasps his hands as Prism did, waiting for her runup. The strength of his arms isn't nearly sufficient to get her up to the object above, but the power in his legs is another matter.

Assuming she reacts as planned, Adaptor waits until the *exact* moment her feet hit his hands, and instead of trying to heave her up, LEAPS for all he is worth (inlcuding Pushing), hoping the months of jumping jacks have paid off. When he seems to be at the apex (no pun intended) of his leap, he flips back, flionging her a little further as best he can, and preparing for what might be a rough landing.

He's not averse to aiming for the top of Black Bolt's murderous little head, if it should come up...

Adaptor
Jim C.


In a message dated 97-03-01 08:02:12 EST, bblackmoor@blackgate.net (Blackmoor) writes:

As Steph taps her chin, thinking of what to do with a pocket AI, an alarm bleeps at her from her workstation. There's someone outside her workshop. She wheels her chair over to the display. There's a single heat signature, about the right size for a human being. She flicks a switch, and the screen shows a grainy picture of a white-haired man in a tan trenchcoat. It's Mesmeron.

[ If that's ok with you, I'll attempt a come back....??? Renata]

(If you could give me an update on what has happened to me in the lab, that would be great!!! I guess she has been spending much of her time studying the smples she brought back from the last battle and trying to figure out how she can get more money to get Lazarus up to his full potential...)

If I have an intercom (which I assume I do), Steph will turn it on --

"Who are you and what do you want? I am a busy person, if you are looking for a consultant, make an appointment..."

as she waits for the reply, a sudden horrific thought comes to mind..."This man was inside my head last time, maybe he knows my true identity... damm!" She turns us the volume on the intercom, so tht she can still hear it from the other side of the room ... "If he knows who I am then it doesn't matter, does it..." she makes a dash for her suit, still trying to hear what mesmeron's reply is ...

=+= Ren =+=


"Who are you and what do you want? I am a busy person, if you are looking for a consultant, make an appointment..."

The man at the door looks annoyed.

"I don't have time for games, Modulator. This is important. It's about the boy."

-=-=-

[I will assume Prism's kick is his Savate Side Kick, -2 OCV, +1 DCV, 12d6, which (with levels in OCV) will give him a 7 OCV and an 8 DCV. Prism rolls a 9 to hit, 11 Body, and 41 Stun.]

Prism's foot connects solidly to Black Bolt's sternum. Given by a normal man, the Savate kick might knock the target off-balance, but driven by whatever Prism uses for muscles, the kick propels Black Bolt off his feet and backwards four meters through the air. He lands on his back, hurt, but not out of the action.

Black Bolt (who has an action before Prism) struggles to his feet (unless he's interrupted by Krane, who has an action before Black Bolt does).

-=-=-

Adaptor strains his muscles to the limit, but even leaping in the air and then throwing Glimmer with his full might isn't enough to propel her high enough to reach whatever she senses up there, where he sees only blue sky. If only he had his staff (with its 10" of Superleap)!

[Even if Adaptor pushes his STR to 30, his leap up will be 3", and his standing throw will be 8" (which should technically be halved for throwing upwards, but I don't usually bother with that), for a total of 11" up. Glimmer's Gliding is 5" (no noncombat multiple), and her upward leap is only 1.5". The Master's saucer is 25" up, and is going to be moving away in the next couple of Phases: she's not going to make it. Just as well: The Master doesn't like uninvited guests....]


Glimmer's Gliding is 5" (no noncombat multiple), and her upward leap is only 1.5".

Hmmph. Glimmer could increase her upward leap by using her powers to push off of Adaptor's hand. But Adaptor probably wouldn't have much of a hand remaining.

The Master's saucer is 25" up, and is going to be moving away in the next couple of Phases: she's not going to make it. Just as well: The Master doesn't like uninvited guests....

Oh, well. Unless there's a really compelling reason to stay in the sky, she'll float back to the ground. She really doesn't like to hang in the air.


This is NOT the house of a USC professor. That much seems certain. Well, Vinnie will do one last check around and see if there's anything in the way of surveilance devices (maybe I should have checked for those first.) He'll also do a last sweep to fix the layout of the house in his mind. Once that's done, it's back out the way he came in and hopefully have a nice uneventful drive home.

Maybe this will all make a little more sense in the morning.

If nothing happens, Vinnie will spend the next day researching the house (check the county records and all) and then pick up the professor's trail towards the end of the day and see where he heads that night.

Wraith


seeking a new life, a midnight-blue sports coupe pulls up at the curb. Dr. Redgrave, looking as she did when Kakker first met her (long straw-blonde hair, no tentacles), gets out of the coupe and strides gracefully yet purposefully toward the base. She does not appear to see Kakker, and seems intent on keeping it that way.

The lawyer makes an I'll-be-going-now motion, and turns to follow Doctor Redgrave.

I'm a bit confused; I thought Kakker accosted the lawyer amongst the construction while the lawyer was taking pictures and Kakker was moving some equipment. Kakker is about to attempt some skullduggery and wants to make doubly sure he knows where the various folks he should avoid are and are going relative to him.

Jeff


The construction workers (of which there are about a dozen) are milling about the outside of the base, removing debris, and so on. They will eventually start cleaning up wreckage from the inside, but have not begun to do so yet.

The lawyer was outside, near the construction workers, taking exterior photos of the damage. Kakker was talking to him in this area, near but not among the workers.

Dr. Redgrave pulled up at the curb further away from the workers, and walked up to and through the front entrance of the base. The lawyer is in the process of excusing himself so that he may follow her.


Oh, well. Unless there's a really compelling reason to stay in the sky, she'll float back to the ground. She really doesn't like to hang in the air.

Come to think of it, the best place to land would be between Black Bolt (plus whoever's fighting him) and the crowd. Glimmer might be needed to block flying wreckage.


Adaptor doesn't pause to brood on the failure of his attempt. He is twisting to face towards the combat even as he lands, contmaplating how to assist.

Brandon, tell me when my next Phase come up...

Adaptor
Jim C.


Krane, seeing the psychotic Black Bolt at a disadvantage, does a diving roll at him. Trying to place a well-timed defensive strike (don't want to get hit by this guy grin) on his jaw just as he raises his head to get up. Mainly for effect, Krane utters a bloodthirsty shriek as he strikes (call it a PRE attack).

, Krane


Krane dives at the rising Black Bolt and slugs him for all he's worth. Pow! [He rolls an 8.] Black Bolt staggers backward away from the blow, then shrieks and lunges for Krane. Krane, thanks to his Defensive Strike, side-steps the psychopath's all-out attack. Which leaves Adaptor...

[BTW, by my count, Prism had one recovery after the ray-gun hit, and one recovery after the Black Bolt attack to recover from being Stunned, which puts him down 47 Stun total -- 3 points away from unconsciousness. Be careful, big guy.]


[BTW, by my count, Prism had one recovery after the ray-gun hit, and one recovery after the Black Bolt attack to recover from being Stunned, which puts him down 47 Stun total -- 3 points away from unconsciousness. Be careful, big guy.]

[I know, I know...hence the little thought bubble at the end of Prism's last attack. But I'll be darned if I let this psycho see me wobble...]

Prism gulps as Black Bolt's acidic attack comes within inches of Krane's flesh. _Careful, guys,_ he thinks to himself, _some of you are still flesh and blood._

[I'm going to be out of touch until next Monday or so. Prism will continue trying to put Black Bolt down on any available actions, putting levels in OCV and generally trying to become Black Bolt's main target. He figures he can take a hit from the psycho better than any of his softer teammates... After the battle, if alive and conscious, Prism will mostly sit quietly at the back and recover a lot, though he will happily assist in any interrogations of Black Bolt or rescue schemes for the Magic Stick.]


Krane dives at the rising Black Bolt and slugs him for all he's worth. Pow! [He rolls an 8.] Black Bolt staggers backward away from the blow, then shrieks and lunges for Krane. Krane, thanks to his Defensive Strike, side-steps the psychopath's all-out attack. Which leaves Adaptor...

... who has slipped quietly around Prism to place himself just to the side of the path of Black Bolt's lunge. In a move that would be envied by the most skilled Limbo practitioners, as Krane sldes to the other side, he squats backwards and sideways under BB's lunging form (Contortionist & Double Jointed), attempting to jam one hand up between his legs as the other hand grabs ahold of that ill-fitting uniform he wears. Adaptor will then attempt to simply direct BB up over his body and into face-first contact with the floor (Simply a gloriously jazzed-up Martial Throw, hopefully leaving him prone and Adaptor behind him), letting his own momentum do most of the work (and hopefully some of the damage...).

Adaptor
Jim C.

PS: Brandon, Rob won't be home for four or five days starting Thursday, because he'll be visiting me here in Ann Arbor (yay!). I'll make sure he stays updated, but don't be surprised if you get a Wraith post or two from my e-mail address.


As Vinnie is driving home, mulling over his findings -- or lack of them -- he is suddenly shicked form his reverie by a THUMP from the roof of his car. Red metal claws pierce the sheet metal and headliner just over his head, and the thin steel screams as it is torn up and back. In the space above, Vinnie can see the billowing shape of a voluminous expanse of red fabric.


In a move of daring pretzelness, Adaptor contorts himself into Black Bolt's path and does a kung-fu redirection of force on him. Black Bolt loses his footing and lands (painfully) at Krane's feet. Howling with frustration and rage, Black Bolt reaches out and grabs Adaptor!

The sizzling black energy hurts like a bitch, but both Adaptor and Black Bolt are surprised at how little actual effcet the attack has. It merely eats through the outer layer of Adaptor's uniform and sears the flesh beneath [after defenses, 1 Body and 29 Stun]. The pain is excrutiating, rendering Adaptor unable to do more than writhe and grab his wound [is that how Adaptor would respond?], but Black Bolt was obviously expecting something more... penetrating. Still, now that *this* target is down, his eyes search for his first opponent: Prism!

[Black Bolt is still on the ground, as is Adaptor. Everybody gets a recovery, including Black Bolt.]

Slowly, Black Bolt seems to realize just how outnumbered he is, and he begins thinking feverishly of a plan....


[Black Bolt is still on the ground, as is Adaptor. Everybody gets a recovery, including Black Bolt.]

I assume that, right about now, Glimmer lands between the combatants and the crowd. She'll turn solid (with force barrier on) and hold an action.


Red metal claws pierce the sheet metal and headliner just over his head, and the thin steel screams as it is torn up and back.

So much for insurance, but I did always want a convertable.

So now Vinnie's heading down the road and someone wants to talk with him. Seems reasonable. Maybe we can talk and reason this our, maybe it's a giant misunderstanding, maybe this .45 will explain things to him.

And with that thought, Vinnie draws the .45 and tries to put a moonroof in his convertible installer.

Wraith

Ed's note: I will be traveling starting tomorrow afternoon, but I'll be bringing a laptop and be hooked up that way, so don't worry 'bout me.

-Rob


Vinnie cracks off a few rounds with his .45, nearly deafening himself in the process. Just below the roar of the 60mph wind blowing in his newly-converted convertible top, Vinnie hears a low chuckle. The red and black apparition finishes tearing off the roof, and tosses it casually behind him. Cars to either side and behind Vinnie on the freeway screech their brakes, and in the distance Vinnie hears the crash of breaking glass.


Krane almost smiles at Adaptor's unorthodox methods, but he gets the job done admirably. The psycho is down and it's time to put him out. He twirls his stick slams it into the villain, dropping with all of his weight to add even more power to the blow (striking for maximum damage). "I've had about enough out of YOU," he screams as the stick lands (hopefully).

, Krane


he pain is excrutiating, rendering Adaptor unable to do more than writhe and grab his wound [is that how Adaptor would respond?]

Actually, Adaptor's arms would snap instantly across his chest, parralel to each other with fists under his chin, as if to protect his ribcage. The reaction si so fast it seems almost involuntary, like a reflex. He doesn't scream or yell out, but as soon as he's hit, his mouth expands and starts sucking in huge whooping gasps of air for three or four seconds, even as he seems to be recovering from the brunt of the blow.

Despite being flat on his back facing the opposite way, he twists his head a full 180 degrees around and then *cocks his chin up* to watch Krane deliver the coup de grace...

Adaptor
Jim C.


Krane cracks Black Bolt with all his might, and the villian reels from the impact. He's been taking a real pounding, and he obviously is having trouble keeping... well, if not on his feet, at least upright.


The others seem to have Black Bolt under control. Glimmer will look around the crowd to see if she can spot anything interesting -- like the guy who put the cryptic card in front of the TV monitor, for example.


Re: There he is...

Glimmer will look around the crowd to see if she can spot anything interesting -- like the guy who put the cryptic card in front of the TV monitor, for example.

And there he is, sitting in a police car, talking on a radio.


Glimmer will look around the crowd to see if she can spot anything interesting -- like the guy who put the cryptic card in front of the TV monitor, for example.

And there he is, sitting in a police car, talking on a radio.

Walking up to him and saying, "Hey, thanks for the tip you tried to pass to your friend Beowulf. What with him being dead and all, it's a good thing we were at his secret hideout after we'd been kicked out of the Vanguard mansion..."

...would be a *TERRIBLE* idea, so Glimmer won't do it. : )

Instead, she'll do her usual keeping-a-watch thing.

[ Isn't anybody going to thunk Black Bolt one mo' time? ]


[ Isn't anybody going to thunk Black Bolt one mo' time? ]

[Nah... I'm sure Black Bolt has seen the error of his ways. I'm sure he's decided to put down the scalpel and be a better monkey.]


Well, this definitely isn't covered in the detective's handbook. Then again, these last couple of months haven't been covered there either.

Quickly assessing the situation, Vinnie realizes that he just might be in some trouble here. Problem one, the maniac on the top of the car is something that he doesn't really know how to handle. Problem two, tearing down the highway in a now dangerous "convertible", now THAT'S a problem that he knew how to deal with. Tossing the gun in the passenger seat, Vinnie quickly glances behind to see if things are clear. If they are, he'll swerve over into the breakdown lane and do an emergency stop. On instinct, he'll draw in the shadows around him and the car hoping to provide a brief distraction to handle the car problem.

If this works, and he doesn't get his head ripped off in the process. (Vinnie doesn't know exactly what winged chuckling maniacs on cars do to people) Vinnie will slam the car to a stop as quickly as he can (maybe it'll jar the creature loose). Once the car has come to a stop, he'll draw in the shadows again and lash out with them with all his force.

Too bad Vinnie isn't a praying man...

Wraith


Vinnie makes sure the roadway is clear, then executes a controlledskid into the breakdown lane. The cloaked apparition clinging to what's left of the roof of his car seems thrown off-balance briefly, and digs his claws into the frame of the windshield to stay erect, shattering the glass.

Vinnie pulls the shadows close to him, and in a way he doesn't completely understand, lashes out with them at the cloaked man.

The attack, whatever it was, catches the man offguard. He loses his grip on the windshield and is thrown away from the car by the impact of the... blow. He rolls in the street, wrapped in his enormous cloak. Slowly, illuminated by the headlights of the stopped cars some hundred meters behind them, the man rises.

The figure is wearing a skintight black fabric that looks somewhat metallic, and a voluminous blood-red cloak. His mask covers his entire head, and it's black except for two large stylized red eyes [like Spider-Man's mask, except the mask is black and the eyes are red]. His right hand is wrapped in his cloak, probably to keep him from tripping as he disentangles himself from it, but his left hand is clearly visible, the razor-like claws gleaming in the harsh automobile headlights.

"My goodness," he says, his voice a shocking contrast to his appearance -- an oddly pleasant voice, rather like that of Jeremy Irons (deep voice, smooth English accent). "You *are* full of surprises."

"So," he says after a pregnant pause, "should we find out what else you have up your sleeve, Mr. Antonio, or would you like to talk like gentlemen?"


"So," he says after a pregnant pause, "should we find out what else you have up your sleeve, Mr. Antonio, or would you like to talk like gentlemen?"

Vinnie has always been one for reasoning, at least reasoning with people who can rip the roof off a moving car. (In fact, Vinnie just made that a new rule to live by.)

"Well," Vinnie muses, "I don't think we've been properly introduced. I'm guessing that you didn't 'drop by' just to see how I'm doing. So what should I call you?"

And with that witty opening, Vinnie will wait to see what our caped friend's next move is. And here he'd gone and avoided the other fight so his car wouldn't get damaged... Vinnie will spend this time trying to get a better handle on the entire situation. The car's still running, so maybe we can use that as a blunt instrument if necessary. Right now however, he'll take the "wait and see" approach.

Wraith

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

[I'm sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. I've been busy. I'm going to skim over some of the details of Black Bolt's capture; if anyone has a problem with that, feel free to add to it.]

It's almost too much to believe, but Black Bolt is down, and no innocents were hurt. Now that Black Bolt is unconscious and can't resist, Adaptor holds him still while Krane applies a yoga-master nerve pinch to a pressure point at the base of Black Bolt's neck. They want to make sure the villain stays unconscious.

Suddenly, cameras and microphones are everywere. The questions come thick and fast.

"Who is this 'Master', and what did he want?" "Why did these villains strike at this particular time and place?" "Who was the woman in armor, and what did she take from you?" "She seemed a lot faster than you: does it bother you to be outclassed?" "Do you have any idea where this Master and his team of supervillains will strike next?" "Who is the leader of Vanguard now?" "You took out the ice-villain almost immediately -- what martial art do you use?" "What were you thinking when the Master opened fire?" "Were you afraid when Black Bolt put his hand into your chest?" "Vanguard seemed to take special care to protect bystanders -- whose idea was that?" "How did Vanguard respond so quickly?" "Are you the same mystery woman who rescued some of the prisoners from the Orange County Women's Prison? Are you a member of Vanguard now? Were you then?" "You seemed to have the big orange guy under control, but you never even touched him -- do you have psychic powers?" "Do you think this is the beginning of a new era for Vanguard?"

And on and on.

Long before the questions subside, a long grey tractor-trailer pulls up. On the side is the FSPD logo, with the words "Containment Vehicle 34". Where a normal tractor-trailer has eighteen wheels, this one has 26, and the windows of the cab are obviously armored. The hydraulic brakes hiss as it slows to a stop at the curb. Meanwhile, a matching grey Ford Mustang pulls into the parking lot and parks near the crowd. The journalists and gawkers part to let two grey-armored figures through: FSPD field agents.

One of them, a brown-haired Caucasoid man around 30, flips up his face-shield and grins at Krane. It's Derek Winston, the agent who showed up when Stacy and Krane rescued Mr. Park.

"Nice work," he says, looking at the unconscious man Adaptor is holding in a standing position. "That who I think it is?"

A pair of grey-jumpsuited FSPD technicians from the Containment Vehicle hold up various hand-held scanners and aim them at Black Bolt. "Just hold him right there for a minute, sir," they say to Adaptor. After they do their bit, they fall back and confer quietly, frequently glancing back at the unconscious villain.

[Glimmer can hear them plainly: they aren't sure what to make of the readings they get from Black Bolt. His power signature doesn't match anything in the FSPD database. They discuss some technical jargon that Glimmer doesn't get, and eventually decide on a "class 4JT neutralizing unit".]

The techs get some equipment from a storage space under the cargo area of the semi, and bring it back to Black Bolt. It looks like a motorcycle helmet and flak-vest, connected by a bundle of thick cables. Once he's suited up securely, they load him on a hover-gurney and carry him to the back of the truck. After one tech punches in a code on a clipboard-computer, the back of the truck hisses, slides out a half-meter, and then swings open on enormous hinges. They load Black Bolt in the truck and close the vault door, which makes a satisfying *THUMP-shssssssss* when it seals closed.

[Glimmer can sense nothing inside the semi. In case she tries.]

Meanwhile, Winston asks Krane to introduce him to the rest of the team. As he shakes hands with everyone -- including, after a moment's hesitation, Prism -- he thanks them for their help and congratulates them on the great job they did. And the flashbulbs flicker....

Almost as an afterthought (at least, he makes it seem so), Agent Winston asks for the team's version of the incident. He records it on a clipboard-computer similar to the ones the techs carry, but smaller. His partner (a woman of Vietnamese descent in her early 20's) does the same thing with a few of the bystanders, and takes some names as well.

Once the statements are taken and the CV technicians are ready to go, Derek shakes hands with Krane one last time, and congratulates the team again on an outstanding job. "And tell your friend Mr. Park I hope he's feeling better."

-=-=-=-

Grendel stalks closer to Vinnie, his posture oozing with menace.

"So nice to be able to talk like reasonable men," the red and black spectre says brightly. "So refreshing." He moves to the front of the car, casually reaching out and crushing the headlights as he passes them.

"I see you survived your... accident, Detective," the cloaked figure says from the other side of the car from Vinnie. "I should think you would be grateful for that; it need not have been allowed. What's more, you seem to have obtained some... benefit... from the experience." Vinnie can tell from the man's voice that he's smiling, but it is not a happy smile.

"Consider this your second warning, Detective. A second chance, even," the man says graciously, warmly, as though he deeply cares about Vinnie's well-being. "For your own safety, do not pursue this investigation any further. A third visit from me would be... unfortunate."

Grendel clutches the side of the car and flips it over toward Vinnie.

-=-=-=-

Kakker watches the lawyer trail after Dr. Redgrave as she enters the Vanguard bullding. Behind him, workmen continue picking up debris and loading it on a dumptruck.


Kakker watches the lawyer trail after Dr. Redgrave as she enters the Vanguard bullding. Behind him, workmen continue picking up debris and loading it on a dumptruck.

Kakker's mouth slowly closes into a frown. His eyebrows knit together. Assuming Dr. R wasn't wearing gloves (was she?), Kakker nonchalantly picks up some largish chunks of debris and carries them in a roundabout fashion to his own truck, casually snapping off the door handle Dr. Redgrave used as he contrives to walk past. Back at the truck, he double-bags the handle in garbage sacks and covers it in rubble. He whistles a vague tune in a minor key as he moves off to help clear away the mess and prepare for reconsruction, not incidentally keeping an eye and ear on things and people inside.

Jeff


Vinnie barely has time to even react.  There he was in the middle of a casual conversation with the friendly neighborhood homicidal maniac and now there's a car being flipped over on top of him.

Vinnie instinctively spins and crouches hoping to get out of the way of the car.  As he starts to spin, shadows pull in from all around him and his eyes go jet black again.  A careful observer would see the shadows flow up from the ground and surround Vinnie.  As the shadows flow in, Vinnie seems to merge with them until he becomes a shadow himself.  The car crashes down directly on top of him but has no effect.  The shadow of Vinnie completes the spin getting clear of the car.  As this happens, the shadows flow away again leaving Vinnie lying on the ground staring at the side of the car in disbelief.

Gathering what little is left of his badly abused psyche, Vinnie will just lay low on the other side of the car and hope that Grendel leaves.

Wraith


One minor correction to the post, otherwise everything is A-OK.

The part where...

A pair of grey-jumpsuited FSPD technicians from the Containment Vehicle hold up various hand-held scanners and aim them at Black Bolt. "Just hold him right there for a minute, sir," they say to Adaptor. After they do their bit, they fall back and confer quietly, frequently glancing back at the unconscious villain.

The second it becomes obvious they are readying some kind of scanning devices, Adaptor will (unceremoniously? with him it's hard ot tell...) hand Black Bolt off to one of the other heroes, whoever is closest: "Will you hold him for this process, please?"

He will retreat as far from them as he can, preferably behind them somewhere, perhaps even talking to the reporters in a clipped, factual tone about exactly what trasnpired (censored for public consumption, of course...). The flash bulbs and camera lights don't seem to bother him a bit. His ability to stare straight at them without nblinking may make up for the general lack of charisma that might otherwise hamper him in such endeavors...

Adaptor
Jim C.


[ I'm going to skim over some of the details of Black Bolt's capture; if anyone has a problem with that, feel free to add to it.]

[ S'allright. ]

It's almost too much to believe, but Black Bolt is down, and no innocents were hurt.

[ What about the invisible, inaudible and otherwise undetectable ship? Is it still there? ]

Suddenly, cameras and microphones are everywere. The questions come thick and fast.

Glimmer steps up to the microphones. The camerapeople might be disappointed that her shimmering force field obscures her image, but they should have no complaints about "placement" -- as they say in the trade. She'll make sure that the crime scene is visible over her left shoulder and that there's plenty of space at the bottom of the shot for subtitling.

"i know you've all got a lot of questions, and i'm sorry that i can only give a few answers.

"you're all wondering about the leadership and membership of vanguard. as you can see, a number of superheroes and superheroines are doing what we can to fill the void which was left by vanguard's recent tragedy. we want to make sure that the heroic members of vanguard did not die in vain.

"but we also want to respect the legacy of that fine team, so we don't want to be too hasty about trying to fill their shoes. am i a member of vanguard? are any of us? i think it's best to leave these questions for another day. today -- right now -- let's allow this city to continue to mourn its lost heroes. we will not try to steal the stage.

"but neither will we allow the forces of evil to take advantage of this city's loss. we will defend the city of light against the darkness.

"thank you."

She will wait for the predictable barrage of questions and will answer a few of them.

"my name is glimmer. gee ell eye em em ee are.

"yes, i predicted the attack on the prison and i was able to arrive just in time to rescue some of the people there.

"i would rather not elaborate on the nature of my powers, for obvious reasons.

"of course we took care to protect bystanders. that's part of the job.

"i have no predictions about the master's next action. yet."

"we are very please to have played a part in bringing black bolt in to stand for his crimes. but let's not forget the policemen, the f.s.p.d., the judges and all of the other people who are part of our system of justice. they're the real heroes."


[ Whoops. Glimmer would not make that mistake. She wouldn't call L.A. the "city of light" -- that's Paris. Let's make that... ]

"but neither will we allow the forces of evil to take advantage of this city's loss. we will defend the city of angels against the demons."


Krane is always a little uncomfortable with the media, but at least this time it's good press.

"We did what was necessary. As always, we tried to protect any innocent bystanders and-- while we may not be 'Vanguard, we are certainly trying to fill in as best we can. Hopefully no one will stand in our way this time. We're only trying to do what's right."

, Krane

The question is asked first by an attractive dark-skinned woman, then echoed by the other reporters:

"But if you aren't Vanguard... who are you? Who are you?"

-=-=-

Kakker helps pick up debris for a little while, then one of the workers (better dressed than the rest, in blue jeans, yellow hard-hat, and a button-down shirt) comes over to him and taps him on the shoulder.

"Hey, buddy. We appreciate the help, but our insurance won't cover you. Just leave the clean-up to the professionals, OK?"

Kakker will undoubtedly chit-chat with the man, who will chit-chat back good-naturedly -- but will firmly ask Kakker to get off the worksite.

Soon, Dr. Redgrave exits the Vanguard building, striding as purposefully as she did when she arrived. She is carrying a large briefcase (or a slim suitcase). The lawyer is following in her wake, looking a bit flustered.


[Hey -- it worked! Cool beans!]

Prism will stand in the background and try to look heroic while letting his new chest cavity heal up. (Anyone who looks closely will be able to see tiny crystals growing larger at a furious pace inside the wound, though Prism will try to keep the healing process out of sight of the media by covering the wound with one arm.) He will let Glimmer and the more photogenic types answer most of the questions, though he will handle a few that are directed right at him.

"What were you thinking when the Master opened fire?" "Well, my main priority was to protect the police and civilians, since I'm a little better equipped to handle that sort of damage than they are." Prism taps a knuckle on his broad crystal chest [thunk, thunk] to illustrate his point. "I'm just glad I got there in time."

"Were you afraid when Black Bolt put his hand into your chest?" "This is going to sound like excessive machismo, but no. Our main concern was ending the fight with a minimum of property damage and civilian injuries. At the time, I was too busy to be scared." Prism chuckles, trying to make his alien voice sound as human as possible. "Looking back on it NOW, I'm terrified. "

"Do you think this is the beginning of a new erafor Vanguard?" Prism will add his own two cents on this one, even if others answer it. "There's nothing new about what we're doing. The original Vanguard was dedicated to protecting civilians from super-criminals and seeing that murderers like Black Bolt get the justice they deserve. That's exactly what we intend to do, and with the help of the police, the FSPD, and citizens like you, that's exactly what we WILL do."

Prism will be more than happy to hold Black Bolt when it becomes apparent that Adaptor feels a pressing need to be elsewhere.


Krane "...while we may not be 'Vanguard, we are certainly trying to fill in as best we can.

Glimmer's obscuring field prevents anyone from seeing the icy glare she levels at Krane.

The question is asked first by an attractive dark-skinned woman, then echoed by the other reporters:

"But if you aren't Vanguard... who are you? Who are you?"

"we are the team who brought black bolt to justice, who saved lives at orange county, and who stopped miles needleman. and for now, that's all we are.

"we want to honor the memory of the former members of vanguard, and we want to do it well. whether that means taking up the vanguard name ourselves or whether that means forming under another name and bringing vanguard's killers to justice -- well, we're not sure what's best.

"what we *are* sure of is this: you'll be seeing more of us."

Through body language and by deliberately ignoring questions, Glimmer will attempt to bring the impromptu press conference to a halt and guide the heroes off-camera.


"But if you aren't Vanguard... who are you? Who are you?"

"we are the team who brought black bolt to justice, who saved lives at orange county, and who stopped miles needleman. and for now, that's all we are.

"we want to honor the memory of the former members of vanguard, and we want to do it well. whether that means taking up the vanguard name ourselves or whether that means forming under another name and bringing vanguard's killers to justice -- well, we're not sure what's best.

"what we *are* sure of is this: you'll be seeing more of us."

Krane adds to Glimmer's comments. "We were brought together to be Vanguard, so perhaps that's who we are. We never quit. We were just sort of asked to leave." He leaves it at that (hopefully not getting Glimmer to upset [grin]).

, Krane


Krane adds to Glimmer's comments. "We were brought together to be Vanguard, so perhaps that's who we are. We never quit. We were just sort of asked to leave."

He leaves it at that (hopefully not getting Glimmer to upset [grin]).

Jaw drops to floor. Tongue spools out like a carpet being unrolled. Eyes pop out of their sockets and vibrate a foot-and-a-half in front of her face. Steam shoots out of her ears as a "kay-OOOOOO-gah!" sound is heard.

That's what happens inside Glimmer's mind, anyway.

Outside, well, she just turns to the crowd of reporters and waits for their reaction.

-=-=-=-=-

"You were asked to leave Vanguard? All of you? Who is in Vanguard now? Are you forming a new group? Are you saying that now *you're* the real Vanguard? Why were you asked to leave? Who asked you to leave? When were you asked to leave? Was it a professional disagreement, or a personal disagreement?"

-=-=-

Vinnie rolls aside, just missing getting squished like a bug under the bulk of his car. In an instant he is up, ready for the next attack... but there isn't one.

He's alone on the freeway.

To the north of him, on the other side of the stopped traffic some fifty meters away, he see flashing red and blue lights. He can see similar lights approaching from the south.


"well, guys," Glimmer says, turning to Krane, Prism and Adaptor. "it looks like the cat's out of the bag. does one of you want to tell them about our arrangement, or shall i?"


Krane smiles at the flood of questions, it's about time some of this gets out in the open.

"I'm not saying that we are the real Vanguard. But we are the remains of the group that was asked to replace Vanguard.

"As to why we were asked to leave, we had professional disagreements with the Vanguard corporation. Heroes are by nature an individualistic lot, we don't take well to being ordered around and berated. Also, everyone has their own ideas on how to deal with a situation-- how much force is excessive force, what should be left for the police to handle, and so on. We simply couldn't come to an agreement-- which is a shame really."

, Krane


To the north of him, on the other side of the stopped traffic some fifty meters away, he see flashing red and blue lights. He can see similar lights approaching from the south.

(Well, if I recall correctly, the car that Vinnie is driving is not registered. If it does turn out to be registered to him then he'll just make sure the gun is ok and hang out waiting for the police to arrive.)

This just makes the perfect end to a charming evening. Vinnie wasn't sure how he could ever explain this one to the police. Come to think of it, he wasn't sure he even wanted to try. So with that thought, Vinnie decides to high-tail it. A quick check in the car to see if there are any personal effects, and then an vault over the guardrail and Vinnie starts to sprint away from the highway looking for some place to hide out.

Vinnie's sense of urgency causes him to tap into the shadows in a way he hasn't experienced before. Once again, the shadows flow in from around him, but this time they merge with his boots and he takes off like a shot (full NC on his running). Or at least, that's how it appears to him. Had anyone else noticed this hasty departure, they would have seen a man almost flowing along the ground like a swiftly retreating shadow...

Vinnie will lay low for a bit and try to avoid the cops. If this is successful, he'll eventually strike out on foot until he can catch a cab and make his way back home. His next step will be to find something out about his car guest from this evening.

Wraith

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

RE: Ending scenes

Surrounded by hub-bub, Glimmer extends her senses to the sky, to see if the vast, circular surface is still there. Nothing, nothing but empty sky.

-=-=-=-

Vinnie gets home much faster than he expected. He's pretty sure here's no way anyone can trace him from the unregistered car, but still he's a little nervous and goes through his pockets to make sure he hasn't forgotten something. Everything seems accounted for.

Who was the red-cloaked man? There's not exactly a Jane's Guide to Costumed Paranormals he can look him up in. But he knew who Vinnie was.


Bill winced involuntarily as the thunder of the costumed man's impact with the parked car filled the street. "Keep shooting," he admonished himself as his hands mechanically focused the camera and depressed the shutter as fast as his eyes found the shots centered in the lens. "Derek's not ggoing to pay for shots of your thumb... Damn," he broke off as his latest shot set off the whine of the automatic rewinder.

Watching the action move on without him in frustration, Bill stripped the film out as soon as it was finished, popping the cap off a new canister of film with his free hand. A second later, he slapped the camera closed and was already sighting in his next shot as the film advanced to the first frame. "Lesse... The guy with acid hands was definately on the films of Vanguard's murder, and I think I remember one or two of the others from them, but none of these heroes have any kind of a reputation before that disaster at the prison... You'd think at least one of them would've stopped a mugging or something... Yow! That had to hurt!"

* * *

Surveying the aftermath of the battle, Bill nodded to himself as he finished off his last roll of film covering the crowd, "They did good - very good... I think they're going to be the ones... Now all I need is a costume...."

* * *

With a sigh of disgust, Bill tossed the last catalog onto the floor with the rest of his discards and slumped back on the couch. Turning to the dog sprawled across the rest of the couch, he reached down and began to work his fingers through the thick ruff of fur at the Chow's neck. "Okay Brewster, I give up - how do they do it? Every hero - and villain - in the world appears in their costume from the start.... So where do they get the damned things? It's not like they're shopping at "Heroes-R-Us" or something...."

Rolling his head to one side, the Chow regarded his master with an air of supreme dogly indifference, then rolled over to expose his stomach to Bill's scratching hands. "Okay, okay big guy," Bill chuckled, I'll take that for an 'I don't know either'. It still doesn't solve my problem though."

"Y'know, I had people telling me that Chows were a 'vicious and dangerous breed' from the first day I came home with you," he continued as he obliged the unspoken request. "But about the only thing you're dangerous to is a bowl full of stale bread crusts... Not that it wouldn't have been nice a few times if you were a thoroughly dangerous creature... Like that time last fall when we ran into those kids all dressed up like heavy-metal rock stars and playing some silly game where they were all vampires...." Stopping abruptly, Bill stared thoughtfully at the tail-thumping animal for a moment, theen suddenly smiled, "That's it big guy!"

Rising abruptly, he grabbed up the leash hanging off of the television and snapped it to Brewster's collar. "C'mon Brewster, we're going shopping!"

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