Order And Chaos: A Superpower RP (Started, Closed)

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Intet's increase in altitude upon seeing the knight's transformation did not protect him from the scorching heat wave that accompanied the dragon's breath. "Well. That's something I don't see every day. You will make a fascinating specimen for study... once th'art subdued." He spun in midair and jabbed his staff up to the sky, causing the ground to shake beneath the draconic creature. Chunks of concrete, earth and stone began to erupt from the ground, sailing upwards and coalescing into a large stone spike.


What the hell... Oh, son of a - DOME! No sooner had the thoughts been 'spoken' than Talsper switched spells, punching the ground to produce a bubble of light in hopes it would protect the mage from the searing flames. It seemed to work at first, then the heat from the fire pierced the shield.

You gotta hold it until the flames die down... I know! It quickly got hotter inside the dome, but the dragon's breath was kept at bay. Not for long, though, as the spell began to falter. Tongues of flame slipped through where the light dimmed, until it failed completely. The heatwave blasted Talsper off his feet, closely followed by the fire seeking a food source.

Talsper rolled, for what little good it would do, and got to his feet. "I cannot hold against this fiend! Its breath is too strong!" His shirt was smouldering in places.

Then fall back! Get inside and let me back in so I can get some help out here! Talsper hurried to do so, favouring one leg more than the other due to the raw burn-marks already present. The mage and the freerunner switched places as they retreated. Mark, having regained control, put one finger to the earpiece he had linked to his phone.

"All available Seraphim agents, this is Mark Robinson! There's a big fucking dragon outside! And someone call the fire department!"

"rrGRRAAaaaRrRRAHH!!" The dragon bellowed skyward, quickly taking flight to catch up with the wizard. His spell of stone went majorly ignored by Soarele as he began to brandish the Whiteraze once more. As it began glow alight with flame, a very rapid doompdoompdoompdoomp came from the ground, the android KAMI open firing upon the opposing villain with high powered armor piercing rounds. A hail of bullets ripped through the (comparitively thin) membrane of his wings, yet merely scratched the much tougher hide of the dragon's back. Either way, she now had his attention.

"Disintegrate, automaton!" He roared, falling into a dive. Mouth agape, he soared overhead all that planned to opposed him. A dense, inky black column of smog poured from his mouth and down into the street. An agent meant to obscure, stun, and subdue. Along with being highly explosive.

Even with his goggles on, Justin could still feel the smoke sting it way into his eyes as he fell to his knees. "Th...what the fuck is this stuff?!" He let out through painful coughs. It had a faint stench that resembled gasoline. Soarele Negru rounded back towards the heroes, using the spinning momentum to put extra force behind the Whiteraze as he threw it.

Time seemed to slow as it passed through the wall of blinding smoke. Said wall quickly changed from black to an orange-red as the flaming halberd caused an ignition. A massive explosion that blew Justin back into the Seraphim lobby. What glass panes that had still valiantly stood during prior attacks, had now fallen prey to the heat and shockwaves. "Oh god...oh god...I picked the best day to get out of bed..." Justin groaned and coughed, his head spinning as he tried to get back up and failed. His head was throbbing, his ears were bleeding, and he was almost certain that his eyebrows were missing.

Confident in the results of his onslaught, Richard landed, stepping through the flames of his explosion as the Whiteraze raced back into his grip. He made heavy steps towards Seraphim Tower, with a snarl that dared anyone else to oppose his power.

WARNING
FLAMMABLE, EXPLOSIVE
WARNING

KAMI had to get to higher ground. Her visuals would quickly drop in this poison fog, not to mention the damage an explosion would do at this range. There was a tiny tug at her logic, however. A few heroes were in the fog. Very human heroes. She counted three. She hesitated for a second, but leapt up nonetheless, vaulting higher with the aid of a streetlamp. Her fingers dug into the rough wall as she spidered up the building's face. They were heroes. They should know not to stay in explosive gas. The fog was fortunately heavy, and she was clear of it a few stories up. That didn't save her entirely when the smoke erupted in vicious plumes of fire. The force shoved her up higher, giving her another plan. She found her footing and jumped off the building, eyes locking on the now gray smoke. She found her target again, formulating another mode of attack that would hopefully work better.

SERAPHIM ALERTED. ETA 10 MINUTES.

She had to hold him back for a few more minutes. Kami landed elegantly several yards away, as quietly as a metal being could, and quickly sprinted over the lizard, jumping on its back and clamping her arm around its neck for support. In a blur a sharp blade sprouted from her hand, and she plunged it into the thing's golden eye.

SPLURCH! The android attack was deemed successful as her blade plunged wrist deep into his eye. "GrRRAaaAAHHHHHH!! The monstrous reptilian screamed, now crippled by the automaton's attempt at his life. He managed to rip himself from her grasp, using as much pressure as he could muster to crush his way through her torso. He roared again as she began squirming her way out of his clutches.

"You've plagued my presence for far too long!" THDOOM! A dull noise rang out as he slammed her into the ground. He looked up momentarily, spotting the wizard that still hovered above the battle. Seeing an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, he grabbed for the android's leg. "Begone!" He conjured a bit of strength to rid himself of the girl, putting her on a collision course for Intet as she barreled skyward.

Meanwhile, Justin slowly rose to his feet. Basic motor skills returning, he managed to limp his way outside, where Faraday stood in waiting. "Marcus, he's weak...I think you can finish him...C'mon man, get involved!" He managed to let out through stifled, heavy breaths.

After the failure to subdue the grey super villain and Arlana becoming infected with some unknown disease, Waldemar had started to take his employment with Seraphim even more seriously than before. It still had this feeling of absurdity to him, this whole superhero malarkey, but if he didn't take it seriously enough things had the potential to go south, and fast. Truth be told, he felt like luck had been the only reason he and Mark (and Talsper, he was sort of beginning to understand his situation after having talked to him at the training facility a few times now) weren't in there with Arlana right now. As such he had asked Christopher for a somewhat unusual request after the botched mission, he wanted to help Seraphim as a doctor and put his superhero 'mantle' away for a while. He needed to prepare, and until then he was just a liability to other superheroes.

In the end it had proven to take a good bit of bureaucracy to get his papers in order in America, but it had all come together with more than a little help from Seraphim's legal staff. And with a little training in Seraphim's emergency medicine routine he became a part of their medevac effort, apparently they weren't going to turn their noses up at an anaesthesiologist if one was offered to them. His time with the medical team came to teach him just as much, if not more, than his previous two encounters with super villains. More importantly it gave him the chance to steel himself when it came to what he was liable to encounter out in the field as a hero. Hearing about a particular showdown between villain and hero was one thing, watching a recording was better, but seeing the carnage and the injuries first-hand... It was far from pretty, but at least it would help both him and others survive their peculiar choice of career.

That is not to say that steeling his will was the only change during the last month, he had intensified his training regime quite a bit, realizing that he needed to get his body as well as his skills sharpened. Though a month can only do so much, and though he himself was starting to feel the effects from training he was still pretty much his old self. In that regard his weapon training had gone much better. He had some real progress on his ability with a handgun without his powers assisting him, and even though it was still nowhere near being good enough to rely on it could save him in a pinch. One of the scientists employed by Seraphim had also taken it upon himself to map Waldemar's unusual ability, as to what exactly it worked on. And they now had a pretty basic understanding surrounding it.


Waldemar strained his arms against the weight in his hands, he was seeing an improvement in his fitness after doing this for nearly a month now. He was still far from the goal he had set himself of getting into the same shape he had been in during his military days though, and hopefully even exceeding them. Things were moving forward however, and every improvement lead him closer to his goal. He had even asked Christopher to put him back on the list of active heroes a few days ago, he felt like he was getting ready to head out into the field again, more prepared than he'd ever been before (though admittedly that wasn't saying much).

Setting down the weight again and getting up from the bench he'd been laying down on, Waldemar figured that he'd had enough training for today. His muscles were aching and he felt like having a refreshing shower before going on his first patrol in a while. Spotting Lynne, the firearms instructor, getting ready for some coaching over at the range, Waldemar gave her a nod of acknowledgement. Lynne nodded back and motioned towards the shooting ranges, indicating that he hadn't been at the range yet today, her face plastered with that cheeky smirk. Waldemar was just about to shake his head in an overly exasperated gesture he hoped conveyed 'Give me a break, I'm getting old you know', before this he was interrupted by the sound of an explosion and the whole building shaking around him.

"Men for faen." He muttered as he spied a black plume of smoke rise past the one-way windows outside the training facility, was someone attacking Seraphim? He broke into a sprint that his already tired muscles protested against as he made his way to his apartment, and his gear.

Fumbling with his keys at this front door, he got in and quickly got his new kit together. He hadn't tested it all properly yet, but this wasn't the time to be concerned with that. He donned the under armour he had gotten from the engineering department, a tight fibrous mesh close to his body, which should disperse kinetic energy over a larger surface area. Quickly followed by his new fatigues in grey and Seraphim blue, with the Seraphim logo displayed on his shoulder together with his adopted alias "Jaeger". On top of this went the over armour, consisting of armour plates strapped to the outside of his fatigues in important locations, mainly chest, back, and thighs.

Dragging the balaclava over his head and adjusting it so that only his eyes were visible he scrambled to unlock the storage locker at the back of his wardrobe. Once open he retrieved his two weapons and his harness, which went on first. The pistol was the same as ever, a good old Glock, but the rifle was a Seraphim make. A devastating .50 calibre anti-materiel rifle, specially lightened and its recoil reduced by the engineers and technicians in Seraphim's employ. The grey villain they had encountered about a month ago had made Waldemar realise that he needed more fire-power despite his somewhat pacifistic tendencies (in that he wouldn't kill anyone at least). This rifle would be that fire-power, and since it had been extensively modified it could even be used by an average bloke like Waldemar in most situations.

Needing only one more thing before heading out he grabbed his backpack and some of the advanced first aid agent that the Seraphim medevac teams regularly used. Described only as a combined binding, clotting, painkilling, and stabilization agent. The stuff could keep heroes without regeneration in the fight for a longer period of time, or save their lives if they had to be evacuated. Applying the stuff was usually the first thing a medical team did to wounded when they arrived at a scene, and it had probably been responsible for more than one successful recovery since its development. To Waldemar the stuff had become invaluable, and having some of it at hand was critical.


The express elevator seemed ridiculously slow as it brought him down to the ground floor, even though it was going as fast as safety would allow. Another explosion rocked the building, this one less powerful than the first, and the elevator momentarily stopped until the shock had passed before continuing its descent. Whatever was going on outside seemed to be major if it hadn't been dealt with by the time Waldemar had gotten his gear in order. He slammed a magazine into the rifle and drew back the bolt, ready to jump into the fray as soon as the elevator doors opened.

As they opened he was met with a disheartening sight, the lobby was in ruins, nearly all the glass that had surrounded it lay in pieces over the floor, the plants and some of the furniture were scorched and smouldering, and the floor had clear scorch marks leading inwards. Luckily it seemed like all the personnel working here had evacuated as soon as the chaos began, so nothing that needed immediate attention there. Outside however was a different story, he could spy several of his fellow heroes battling what he could only describe as a bloody dragon.

"You're kidding right?" Waldemar muttered under his breath in disbelief as he broke into a run towards the outside, act first, ask questions and make hypothetical theories later. As he got out into the street he got into a crouch and levelled his gun at the beast, just as it threw one of his comrades skywards towards something, or was that someone? No matter. He took aim at the creature and fired at one of its limbs, and missed. Retreating back a step Waldemar realised his predicament, he hadn't been it contact with his weapon for long enough for his ability to take hold. He needed to stay back for at least another five to ten minutes. Swearing under his breath for his eagerness to help his fellow heroes he started to retreat slowly from the dragon, trying to keep it in his sights for another shot. At this distance he could still hit it if he aimed at its central mass.

Intet rolled his eyes at the construct being catapulted at him. "Ugh. I cannot abide being set aside so easily. And to be used as target practice? 'Tis insulting!" He held up a hand, and the stone he had torn from the ground split apart and reformed as a flat wall between himself and KAMI.

"Thou didst warn me not to interfere, intriguing creature of metal and electricity, but I shall lend a hand against this foe. T'would not go well for all sides if this beast is allowed to rampage unchecked," he noted to the robot as 'she' landed on the stone wall and promptly pushed off of it to return to the fray. With the wall no longer necessary, Intet dispersed it into a handful of chunks that followed him as he drew closer.

Not a lot in his arsenal would help against a fire-breathing dragon. Undead servants would be burned to ashes in seconds, water would evaporate, ice would melt... stone seemed to be the best solution. Another theatrical spin in midair gathered all of his torn-up stone pieces a dozen feet above the dragon, coalescing to take the shape of a giant clenched fist.

Intet punched downwards, and the stone mimicked his action.

I'll put this here.

WARNING. PRESSURE UNSUSTAINABLE. 0.007019 KGM/CM2.
00.007020
00.007025
00.007034

If she could aspirate, KAMI would have been in a precarious position. For now, it was merely inconvenient. If she herself was made of the most durable alloys available, what a human might call her brain was virtually indestructible. KAMI struggled with the reptile's grip, calculating, planning, fighting to keep the thing's nails from piercing her more delicate systems. Fortunately, it quickly tired of this effort and hurled her away.

DAMAGE ASSESSMENT
FLUID LOSS 0.555556 ML/S
UNSUSTAINABLE FOR MORE THAN 1 HOUR
RESERVOIR 2 JAMMED

KAMI righted herself midair to land on whatever he had thrown her against. According to her projection and spacial position, he had thrown her out into the air where Intet had been. There was only a miniscule chance that she would not be reflected, so she counted on him erecting some sort of barrier between them. Thankfully, the barrier he erected was made of stone, and he did not maliciously magic her out of the air. She was not sure how much magic she could withstand. KAMI successfully pushed off of the Intet's shield, and made it safely to the ground. From her reflection in the glass, KAMI surmised that the counterattack did very little cosmetic damage. She ran back towards the fight.

   At first there was only darkness. Not the shadowy dreams of stonesleep, as memory and thought, desire and fear danced through her mind, but the inky blackness of oblivion.

And then as though God had spoken there was light, a searing blue-white lance that pierced into her eyes like the faerie magics she had faced what felt like a lifetime ago.

The errant thought roused others from the dark. There had been something before the long thoughtless dark...a world of steel and stone, of living machines and shining cities of glass.

Home. Or the closest she had to one.

She willed her eyes to fully open, to endure the searing. But as her vision 
began to expand from that distant, tiny, painful pinprick the pain spread with it, and she remembered her flesh.

And then for the first time in a month Arlana opened her mouth, and let out an earsplitting cry, a shuddering wail of agony that rang through the Seraphim medical facility.

Arlana Dehannsen, Warrior of the Gargoyles had returned to the living.

It was a rather bizarre scene in retrospect,  a man in a wifebeater and underpants tied to a rickety, cheap wicker chair while a woman in a black bodyglove stood in front of him with a gun in her hand, her face covered by a mask with dull red lenses.

"Why are you doing this?"

"Keep your voice down, Mister Cramer. It would be a shame if your wife and daughter had to join you. Better to let them sleep."

"You wouldn't touch them." The words were certain, but the tone was full of fear and doubt.

"You have no idea what I am capable of. Where is the disc?"

"I...what disc? I don't know what you're talking about."

"The disc containing the files you lifted off the top secret database. The files the Japanese paid you to steal."

"Wh...what?"

"Mister Cramer, if you don't stop babbling and start talking we're going to have to move onto more serious ways to talk." She drew her knife and flicked it on, the nanoforged blade forming in midair. "I'm going to cut off a finger. Try not to scream, unless you want your daughter where you are."

"No, please..."

She stepped behind him and pulled his fingers open, grabbing his smallest. "Disc."

He just kept blubbering. She shrugged and began to cut

"IF YOU LIKE PINA COLADAS AND GETTING CAUGHT IN THE RAIN"

"God damn it!" She snatched her phone and hit the switch. "Gimme a minute Cramer." He just shook, a puddle forming under him.

"Countess here. What is it..." She made a disgusted sound "...Leprechaun."

Leprechaun was the rather absurd callsign selected by her 'handler', an overly perky twenty something by the name of Caitlin Sterling, apparently what you got when Kevin Mitnick got a vagina and entirely too much pop culture. That and a laundry list of underworld contacts.

"Turn on the news!"

"I'm a little busy."

"No, this is serious. Do it."

There was a small TV set on the counter. She turned it on and right there it was, a breaking news broadcast. Seraphim under attack by...

"Is that a fucking Dragon?"

"Looks like. Tweets from those at the scene suggest a shapeshifter. We've got I think a full Choir fighting it, more of the Host on the way."

"You sound ridiculous."

"Shut up, it's cool. When're you gonna be back?"

"Not too long. This guy'll break."

"I'm ordering from Zao's. You want anything?"

"Lo mein, eggrolls."

"Boring. Alright, don't make a mess. See ya." Click.

"Alright, that's that. Dragon, can you believe it? Now, about the disc..."

"It isn't a twenty minute drive back to the flat."

"I took a detour."

"Are you going to Seraphim?"

"...No?"

"How are you that bad at lying?"

Keller didn't respond. The Seraphim building was looming, and she could hear the sound of the raging battle. Dragon fighting wasn't really her forte, but she could swing it.

The streets were clear, making navigation simple. She gritted her teeth - time was she'd be driving a million pound sports car with headlight missiles. This was barely acceptable.

Her jet black SUV swung around the last turn, pointed right at the Dragon. She swung her leg around into the back and flipped a switch before straightened. The minigun mounted in the back telescoped up as the roof split open, and she took hold of the weapon, swinging it up to drop the sights over the Dragon's torso before squeezing the trigger, and with a sound like a swarm of hellspawned giant bees the weapon began spitting four thousand 7.62x51mm rounds per minute.

The battle raged, and neither side seemed to make any progression. Both managed to take on major injuries, with the mighty dragon being half blinded by the opposition. Not to mention the numerous attacks coming from several directions. From above, a massive fist shaped boulder plummeted towards him. From ahead, the persistent android sprung into a sprint and rigidly bolted towards him.

"HrrRAH!" The forces exerted behind the boulder were much more than the dragon anticipated, he grunted as he managed to catch the rock, the very ground under him cracking from the added pressure. From behind him, a formidable monster of a carriage squealed up the street. SCREEEEEEE! The spin got his attention, and the resulting BRRRRRRMMMMMMM of the truck's weapon secured it. Even if there was no penetration, the grazing bullets definitely left scratches and bruising. "Damn yoouuuu-!" He roared and spun, throwing the massive fist of asphalt in the direction of the truck.

"I grow exhausted. I will not survive this endeavor if I keep down this road. I must find a opportunity to retreat." He fell to a knee, drawing heavy breaths.

Up the street, back in front of the building, Justin began to crack a grin as the dragon began to noticeably falter. "Ha ha, yeah! Fuck-him-up! Fuck-him-up! Fuck-him-u-" His vulgar chanting was interrupted by his fellow electromancer. "Charge me." Marcus declared, grasping at the boy's shoulder. His grin dropped. "What? No! Didn't I just say-" Justin was interrupted. Again.

"Justin, look at it. It can handle gunfire with no problem. A shock from my current charge most likely won't do anything either. Maybe if I could get a bit more, from a variable source-" Now it was Justin's turn to interrupt. "Yeah, I already know where you're going with that, and still, no. Cuz, y'know, untested. PRO-TOE-TYPE." He enunciated.

"Look, i'm not gonna let this monster do anymore damage because of your personal problems. Either supply me with power, or i'll just take it myself." Justin scowled at the threat. "Hrrrgrh...fine." He grumbled as he turned to the Awe, and began adjusting the illustrated meters on his phone's screen. "Changing parameters. Opening all currents." The gauntlet began to hum loudly, and sparks bounced from its fingertips. "Steel yourself, this might leave a mark-!" His open palm rushed into Faraday's chest, and the voltage flowed into electrician with haste.

His head shot up as he eyes began to glow from beyond his goggles. Justin was too busy monitoring the readings on his Awe to notice, however. "The battery's going down a lot slower than I was expecting...hmm...still not doing that much in terms of current and voltage output...I should try looking into portable forms of alternating current-huh?" Suddenly, the gauntlet went dead as Faraday pushed away from the young engineer.

"The fuck was that for-!" Justin paused, looking on at the man doubled over before him. Light spilled from Marcus' person, and only intensified as it vividly spread through his veins. "Get away...get awayaAAahHargh-!" As the cry escaped his lips, an explosion of electricity exploded from him, Dousing the entire area in blinding light, and knocking Justin clear off his feet.

Soarele looked towards the light, and like an angel calling from heaven, he flew towards it, seeing it as an opportunity to escape. He quickly climbed skyward, eager to clear the area, to find a safe place to resort back to his normal form. To recuperate and regroup.

"OHH FUCK! I'M BLIND! I'M BLIIIND!" Justin yelped, grabbing at his eyes as he was at the epicenter of the blast. "SEE?! I told you! I told you some shit was gonna go wrong! And now I can't see-!" He chewed the scenery as he rolled around on the ground. His vision would return, in due time, but what happened in Faraday that could've caused such a backfire?

"Jesus Christ!" She averted her eyes as the blast began and still felt like her eyes had gotten a bit more than strictly ideal as she opened them again. On the other hand the Dragon had fucked off and the Choir - dammit, now she was doing it - all still aeemed to be alive.

Keller got out of the vehicle, remembering to retract the minigun and close the hatch on the way out. She kept her mask on as she approached them. "Is amyone seriously injured? She said, the mask distorting her voice to little more than recognizably feminine.

In a flash of light, caused by someone on the ground, the dragon was in the air, and moving fast despite the hits it had taken. It would easily outrace Intet if he tried to chase it down for capture. "Curious that such a bulky creature doth fly that fast," he noted. And a newcomer appeareth... I shalt observe. The mage landed atop the stone wreckage he had caused, idly spinning his staff as he watched the aftermath from a distance.


"Is anyone seriously injured?"

"Uh-uh. You stay back, stranger, unless you provide a Seraphim ID. I'll see to them." Mark was closer to the flailing Justin than the masked newcomer, having returned to the scene soon after Faraday's light show had concluded.

"Justin... JUSTIN. Hey! Drama queen! It was just a flash, you'll be fine. Up you get, mate." He grabbed Justin by the wrist and hauled him back to his feet, keeping one hand on his shoulder just in case. Mark winced as he lifted his ally. "Ahh, hell. Damn dragon singed my leg. Nothing the docs can't cure, though."

He looked over at Marcus. "As for you... what happened there? Can't have been nothing. You looked like a Time Lord or something."

Time Lord? Seraphim has time manipulators?

A sigh escaped the traceur. No, Talsper, it's fiction. Ignore it.

Alice arrived just as the flash subsided. She covered her eyes, and then looked at the group around her. Her HUD was fitting faces to Seraphim profiles but she didn't know any of them; she blinked when she heard a male ask for a Seraphim ID from another.

"I'm a bit late to the party it seems. Dr. Alice Sallian, a new Seraphim recruit. Here's my ID." Alice said as she produced her ID from a hidden pocket in her belt showing it to all who cared.

"Can I be of any assistance or should I call for help?" She asked Fox giving her verbal diagnostics of the group but she decided to keep that information to herself just to make sure they could trust her, and if she could trust them. She then turned to the man the earlier male was questioning.

"I'm freelance. Don't be an idiot, if I wanted you dead I would have taken advantage of the blast and shot you." She snarled as she continued her approach, heading into the wrecked lower levels and beginning to pull debris aside, looking for wounded. Her every move was likely observed, so she made no untoward actions. Establish trust now, screw over later.

Soon, as he regained his composure, Justin also began regaining his sight, pulling up his goggles to get a better glimpse at all the wreckage and aftermath strewn around him and the others. "Oh...oh thank god." He praised breathlessly, shoving away from the magic-infused traceur to approach Marcus. "So uh, yeah, Faraday, mind explaining just what the fuck that was? I don't think I could personally pull off a event like that with just this piece a' shit." He slapped at the still-smoldering Awe as he knelt to the man's level. "Cool as it all was, I'm not sure I could even explain the phenomena. Not without tests or something..."

Faraday was still supercharged, with massive arcs and sparks of electricity surging and bouncing off of his person. "Can you talk? ...You still in there, man?" What was that? For a second there, did Justin sound...sympathetic? Towards the closest person he considered a occupational acquaintance, Justin placed a bare hand on the lightning lancer's shoulder, minding the jolts that wildly crawled up and over his hand. "Hey..." Then, his head shot up. "'Ey! Cripple! Can you give us some fucking space?! You're freaking 'im out!" He said to Alice, truly unaware of her name. Also, there was a lady in a skintight bodysuit making her way into the shambled lobby of the famed superhero building. Justin was too concerned with his current affairs to question her eagerness to help, or, really, to care about her motives in general.

White.

Everything was white.

His vision. His sense of touch. The halls of his mind. All of it a numbing static with no purpose, no order. He seemed to float there, in an endless sea of white, for what felt like an eternity.

And then, bit by bit, color started to return. Slowly at first - a tiny sensation of something pressing against his side. Then sounds - indistinct, but definitely voices. Then came true colors - his vision returning to something normal. Soon he was aware he was no longer standing - laying prone on his side. Pressed against... asphalt? Why would he be laying on a road?

Then the haze lifted from his mind, and the world and all its contrast snapped back into view. A sudden gasp escaped from Faraday's lips, and he returned to the waking world with one hell of a headache.

His arms felt like they were on fire, and a quick glance confirmed that they probably should have been. Electricity arced from his fingertips, and he could feel a massive amount of current moving through them - much more than he'd ever handled at once. He stumbled to his feet, still dazed and only half-cognizant. Something was different. Different was bad. Different meant something could go wrong.

He reeled about, trying to regain his mental footing. "Wh... what...happened...?"

"Whoafuck-!" Justin yelped, his balance faltering some as Faraday shot up. "Oh, so hey, you're awake! I...didn't think you were that unconscious, but whatever, right? So, about that explosion..." Marcus didn't seem to be listening. As he stood up, Justin followed.

"...Y'know, the one that fried everything in a 5 meter radius and nearly blinded everything else?" He looked to his equipment. The Awe prototype was smoldering. "Aw man, this phone is ruined." He groaned, extracting it from the wrist console, the smell of burning plastic and metal wafting up from the gauntlet.

"Guess I gotta make another prototype from scratch...gotta get my notes together, the files for the phone app...I wonder if I have to like, turn some sorta form in to get another phone...s'probably gonna come out of my paycheck..."

"Wh... what...happened...?" The electrokinetic's hesitant query interrupted Justin's incessant mumbling.

"Yeah! That's what I've been trying to ask you! Have you not been listening to anything anyone's been saying for the past five minutes? You exploded, man. You...you just caused all this, dude." Justin motioned towards the destroyed Seraphim lobby, the carnage in the streets, all the vacant piles of ash. "Yeah man, I don't know how else to put it. And the police are gonna be here any moment, man. They're gonna want questions. I'm thinking you should like, just, get on a plane, and get the fuck out of America. Don't worry bro, I ain't no snitch, they won't get anything outta me." He reassured his acquaintance, offering a hopeful pat on the back.

Alice sighed putting her ID away, and put her face in her hand. "Once you two are done with whatever you're doing I think we have more pressing matters to attend to. Like the damage around us, and helping any one who is hurt. That's just me after all." Alice started lifting debris looking for anyone that could be in harms way.

"This is what I get for helping stringers Fox." she said throwing some debris into a pile as best she could.

"Alice, don't be rude to our new friends. You never were that great at making them after all." Fox said with a snarky tone that everyone could hear.

"Oh thanks, I guess I'll just reprogram you if you enjoy being an ass." she said grunting.

"One more thing Alice, time for an injection." Fox said, and before Alice could respond she yelped in pain feeling a needle in her major muscle groups.

"You're an ass hole Fox." she growled knowing everyone could hear her, and Fox as she fell to her knees from the pain.

Countess flung another shard of debris aside and nodded. Thermal vision was becoming useful again, and there was no sign of anyone trapped on it either, or any sign of them oyherwise. Structurally the building was fine, so the upper levels wouldn't be in any serious danger. "Looks like we - well,Seraphim - got lucky." She said to no one in particular. Air was safe, so she tugged her mask off ans pulled her balaclava back to just wrap around her neck, shakimg out her black hair. A heartbeat after she did one of the Seraphim agents fell to her knees, her face showing intense pain.

"Are you hurt?" She rushed to the other woman's side. "Did you get hit?"

Alice just put her hand up to the woman and shook her head. "No, I'm fine. I just needed to take an injection for a minor cronic illness. Just something to keep me from getting sick, low blood surger and all. Nothing major." Alice lied not wanting to give away too much to the woman. "It always hurts like this. My AI Fox was just being an ass." she added.

"Only doing my job Ma'am." Fox piped up amusement in his voice. That's it, Fox was getting reprogramed later.

In her HUD the woman that was next to her was shown to be an unknown. Alice didn't like unknown. Not even a name popped up in her HUD. "Who are you? I'm nornaly good with faces but Fox isn't able to tell me a thing about you." Alice said so only the other woman could hear her.

"Call me Countess. I'm freelance." Low blood sugar? That was a crock, so whatever was actually wrong was secret, possibly dangerous. She filed the tidbit away for future use. "Came when I saw the trouble." She held out a hand to help Alice to her feet. "I knew Seraphim got some interesting problems, but I'm reasonably sure that was a Dragon. That happen often?"

"Freelance..." Talsper, did Chris or any other superiors mention Seraphim's policy on freelancers?

I know not.

"Damn it." Mark took a short step back from Justin and Marcus, hitting up Chris on his phone's speed-dial. With luck the Seraphim leader would pick up. Mark wanted to know what the deal was: did they need to keep the black-haired freelance lady out of the building? Was there a weapon or something that needed to be kept away from the general public?

Meanwhile, Intet hopped down from his pile of stone chunks with a graceful, almost feather-like landing. He casually strode past the three without a care in the world, using his staff as a walking stick. Instead of the heroes, he showed considerable interest in the Seraphim lobby and the damage done to it. "So few variances in the beast's attacks and fighting style... yet even the most basic of fire breath be'eth enough to ruin basic windows... nay, not basic, reinforced in some way. Curious," he noted, thinking aloud as he was wont to do.

A loud blast and violent tremor gave Kurt quite the rude awakening.

"What was..."

It took a moment for the startled Kurt to put the pieces together. When the penny finally dropped, so did his gut.

"...shit."

He flung himself out of bed and quickly changed into his gear. He exited his room in a full sprint while donning his mask. The halls of Seraphim HQ were an orgy of panic. Kurt forced his way through the crowd of frightened employees and started running down the stairs. Given the current situation, taking the stairs over the elevator was the wisest choice. However, it was not the fastest.

By the time Kurt made it to the lobby, whatever had happened was long over. The lobby was in ruins, as was the street for quite some distance. A few of his Seraphim colleagues were already on the scene. Perhaps they'd be able to fill him in.

"Jesus, what happened?" he asked, motioning to the carnage around him.

Coyote sat slightly dumbstruck in front of his television set. "BoB, am I high or did a giant dragon just attack Seraphim's HQ?"

"Yes, and yes." His automated assistant answered.

"Oh." Coyote rested Marilyn Bongroe on the ground decided to slid it way for a second, "Okay then. Maybe, I should get some fresh air." He wrested himself out of the his recliner and when over to his fridge. He opened the door and resting on the left opposite some blood bags for EPO doping was his assault rifle Widowmaker. Why was it there? Well last night after dropping acid he had developed a crushing fear that his gear was too 'hot' and there fore had to be refrigerated. Coyote giggled at his past self, then grabbed the gun, several empty beer bottle, and went out into the cruel unforgiving Jersey daylight. Outside the manager's office that had become his home, he had set up a firing range, nothing a passerby would notice unless they were looking for it. He set up the at one end and himself at the other.

BANG, the first shot went wide, thanks to his slightly stupored state he found he wasn't holding the gun firm enough. He tightened his stance, checked his sight then shot again. BANG, the first bottle shattered. Happy, but not satisfied, he tried something harder. He aimed higher, went for the middle of the bottle's next this time. BANG, the second bottle shook as the next blasted off, leaving the bottom intact. Hitting his stride he tried something a little different. This time he aimed just above the mouth of the bottle. BANG, the third bottle hummed as the bullet pushed an air current over the lip, BANG, then shattered shortly after. Now approaching boredom, Coyote started to get up from his firing position when he saw something move.

On the roof of one of the factories building a stray cat ran along. "Awww, look BoB a kitty, say hi to the kitty BoB."

"Greeting Feline"

BANG

"Farwell Feline"

SEARCHING DR. ALICE SALLIAN
BEEP
AGE: 26 GENDER: F ALIAS: THE MECHANIC
PHD IN PHYSICS, MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, CHEMISTRY, ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING FROM MIT
SUFFERS FROM UNSPECIFIED NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE
AI DETECTED
CHEMICALS DETECTED
LINK DETECTED

So far, Alice Sallian was legit. Not a medical doctor though.

"I'm freelance. Don't be an idiot, if I wanted you dead I would have taken advantage of the blast and shot you."
Another woman approached, this one more controversial. Just because she hadn't killed anyone yet didn't mean she wouldn't. Not to mention that was one of the weakest excuses for trust KAMI had archived. She seemed sincere enough, for now, as she helped Alice up. She identified herself as "Countess". Now, a thorough search revealed more than 50 variations of "Countess", but plenty of them had images that did not match. She managed to narrow the alias down to a handful of potentially dangerous users, but then again, this was hoping that she had been using this label for a long time. A scan of her bodysuit revealed a few more reasons to mistrust the Countess. There was no way she was getting any further into the building though.

Why did all the "freelancers" have to show up? The magician, Intet Yxi, was still loitering around the place as well. She put up an alert, but that was all she could do right now, with her leak.

Last, but not least, they were joined by a hero, Kurt Isherwood, aka Spectre. There were enough heroes here that getting herself fixed became priority. The four Seraphim affiliated heroes on the scene would be able to handle the two unaffiliated beings. "Mr. Case, Help Mr. Travers To The Infirmary, Please. His Condition Is Not Life Threatening, But He Needs Medications And Rest. Mr. Isherwood And Mr. Robinson, and Dr. Sallian? "Countess" And Intet Yxi Are Not Allowed Into The Building. Security Has Been Alerted, And Will Be Relieving You In A Few Minutes. Am I Clear?"

Alice looked over at the android, and sighed. "Well, if it keeps me for being shot I can wait out here for a little longer KAMI." she said thankful that Fox was quickly able to give her the name of the "woman" speaking to her. Looking around she noticed KAMI was damaged. Alice held her hands in front of her torso in a non-threatening maner and slowly stepped to KAMI.

"I can repair you if you will allow it unless you require something beyond my skill. I would at least like to stabalize your system." she said looking over the advanced android. "I can't do a full repair without being in my shop but I can do something." she added.

"Shall I deploy your tools?" Fox asked Alice but she wanted to wait for KAMI's reaction. Alice didn't make any movments that could be seen as hostile not knowing how KAMI is programmed.

"Your elevators are likely out of commission. I recommend relocating wounded to nearby hospitals. Until this structure can be analyzed it isn't safe." At the Robot's order she stepped back, not acknowledging. "Sorry to just drop in, but you looked like you needed assistance. I think that Dragon was a new player, I've never seen it before. Any chance Seraphim has their own data?"

"The Elevators Have Been Shut Down. But That Is Why Building Code's Require Fire Escapes. The Elevator Shaft's Will Require Minimal Adjustment To Become Safely Operational Again. Your Assistance Is Appreciated, But No Longer Required. Seraphim Is Equipped To Handle This Damage. There Is Minimal Damage To The Lobby, And The Building Remains Structurally Sound. If You're Looking For Data On This Dragon, You May Direct Yourself To The Seraphim Website For An Official Release."
"Countess" was prying, and KAMI grew suspicious.

"Dr. Sallian, I Appreciate Your Enthusiasm, However, I Politely Decline."

A good yank opened the fire exit door. The stairs were undamaged by the blast, which had been well contained in the lobby. With each step she verified their stability, testing for give and for cracks. Upstairs, the floor was alive with activity. Magic Inclined Personnel were helping with the building stability while damage assessments began. Orders were being placed for the materials for the reconstruction. It was a standard protocol, this was not the first time the building had been damaged by anything, and it wouldn't be the last. Just last year 5 of the upper floors were taken out by an aerial fight between Seraphim agents and a glass pterodactyl.

KAMI checked out a private mechanic area and closed the door. First things first... she armed her blade and made an incision in her skin, over a bucket. Bright blue liquid spilled out, collecting while she slit the skin on her throat. She didn't need a mirror, or even need to see what she was doing. She knew what she was doing. The cut to the hose was small, but significant. She wouldn't have to replace the whole thing, but she would have to complete her maintenance in a partial shut down so the fluid would stop flowing long enough for her to mend the leak.

Mr. Isherwood And Mr. Robinson, Dr. Sallian? "Countess" And Intet Yxi Are Not Allowed Into The Building. Security Has Been Alerted, And Will Be Relieving You In A Few Minutes. Am I Clear?"

"On it." Mark quickly hung up on the intended call: KAMI had provided the answer for which he was looking, and was dealing with one of the two non-Seraphim individuals present. That left the mage, Intet Yxi, who continued to examine the damages, paying no heed to the conversations at hand. Mark approached him. "'Scuse me, but I have to ask you to step back - "

"Doth mine senses deceiveth me?" the black-clad mage interrupted, rounding on the traceur. "You are not of my kind, though you possess some connection to that which I know well... dressed lightly, by the looks of you. No pendants, nor armour... remove thine gloves, and let me see your hands."

No. Don't let him.

"Mr. Yxi, that is not relevant to the topic at hand - Hey! Knock it off!" Despite Mark's protests, Intet grabbed his right hand by the wrist and yanked off the glove. Gold glinted in the sunlight.

"I thought so... Talsper Rekuhai. The old man cast out for that which he didn't commit." Intet gave a sour laugh. "I'm surprised they sent you to this old dumping ground we call a plane."

Mark wrenched his hand out of Intet's grip and replaced the glove. "One: watch your language. Two: move away from the building. Right now." The mage had just taken information directly instead of finding a better way to acquire it. Of course, giving something to a possible enemy of Seraphim was almost never a good play.

Thankfully, Intet stepped back, rummaging through his pockets, allowing Mark to step between him and the building. "Th'art a cripple without a proper connection to our Aura, Talsper. Mayhap this will help." He pulled a fist-sized sapphire from a pouch on his belt, resulting in raised eyebrows from Mark, and tossed it over. "No tricks, no traps. A gift, plain and simple. Use it well."

A gift from a mage whose allegiance we don't know... Mark caught the gem with both hands, careful not to drop it. Looking closer, there were thin lines of gold wrapping around the sapphire. Damn, look at this. Never seen anything like it.

It is a conduit for the Aura; I recognise these patterns. I helped design them. The gold and the crystal are bound and enchanted to assist in the manipulation of the Aura... an analogy would be your 'battery'. The gem stores magical charge and releases it gradually. Oft used to train apprentices.

Fascinating. "Um, thanks, I guess."

"Fare thee well, Talsper and his Warden. Until we meet again." With that, Intet spun his staff in his hand and took to the air, retreating from the Seraphim building until he was a black spot in the sky. Mark, in the meantime, hurried back into the Seraphim building with his prize secure in both hands.

Faraday couldn't really seem to answer, almost frozen in terror from Justin's words. "I think he actually believed what I said..." Justin tried stifling a laugh at the thought. "Oh my God, you aren't that dumb, are ya Marcus?" He shook his head. "Mr. Case, "Whu-" Help Mr. Travers To The Infirmary, Please. The android began giving out orders, starting with the lightning duo. "Already on it, sexbot." Justin replied, physically turning Marcus away from the carnage left in the streets in order to walk him into the building.

"His Condition Is Not Life Threatening, But He Needs Medications And Rest." She continued to their backs, only half heard by Justin, and not heard at all by Faraday. "Wrong. What he needs is some deep, painstaking, analyzation sessions. Complete with grueling experiments, blood and tissue samples, and a plethora of other, mentally scarring events! We gotta know what caused you to explode, the effects of the explosion on you, and see if we can replicate said explosion! Yup, it's gonna be a sphincter-clenchingly difficult next-five-weeks for you!" Justin described to the still-speechless electrokinetic, chuckling all the way up the emergency stairs.

Back from target practice, Coyote went to his PC and booted it up. "BoB do we have eyes on the Seraphim HQ yet?" he asked as his desktop appeared on screen.

"As per protocol Watchmen, I have scrambled SPD's to the locations of Seraphim's activity, and hacked relevant security cameras; in order to collect data on Seraphic agents."

"Good boy, now let's see what Santa left under the tree." Coyote opened up a stream and began scrubbing through the footage for something interesting. Security footage of the fight cut out with a massive white-out, the only camera nearby that could see what caused it seemed to have been fried. Choosing to give up on that particular investigation he decided to look at the aftermath to see which heroes showed their faces. An SPD camouflaged in the rubble was able to get a partial view of the lobby's interior. A black haired, rather plain-jane looking woman was playing bouncer, Coyote assumed she was a security staffer, "BoB, add her to the staffer database."

"Affirmative, contextual audio analysis of name is Kami with 78% certainty."

Standing next to her were two other women, talking to her, neither getting much traction. One of them, certainly a hero judging by the glowing armor and the guns that made Widowmaker look like an off the shelf Walmart 12-gauge. The other one's outfit screamed "I fight crime from the shadows!" Coyote made sure BoB added both to the database. Finally a scan of the place added several more faces to add to the data-base, including the magician that he saw fighting Virus. Once he was satisfied he sent had BoB extract the SPD's and send them back to their safe houses.

The Robot seemed to have things well in hand, and had all the gratitude of a gutshot buffalo, so this stage was pretty well wrapping. Authorities were on the way at any rate, and a car with mounted minigun might draw unwanted attention. She'd done all she could at this point anyway. She turned and began the walk back to her car, waiting until she was out of earshot before pulling her mask back on and making a call.

"Pot of gold."

"Oh, for the love of...Lucky Charm."

Damn code phrases.

"What's up, K?"

"Dragon's gone. I got a pretty good look at him, but I don't think he's a regular. Could be the same as the Anchorage incident."

"No, that was a confirmed takedown. White Lancer put a PPC into its eye, smoked the brain."

"So what, shapeshifting Kaiju?"

"I got feed from a Chi-com spysat showing an encounter between a Seraphim team and basically Mothra about a month ago, so maybe."

Keller quietly cursed. Giant monsters really weren't her forte. "I'm on my way back."

Alice didn't like all of the Countess's questions; she seemed to want to know too much. When she was out of ear shot Alice told Fox to pull any files he could on the Countess that matched her face. It was a long shot, but one that could bear some fruit. She didn't feel like waiting around for security, but it was best to not mess with someone on her fist day of work. Alice crossed her arms as Fox ran a search for users of Countess, but nothing certain was found. She may not have been fighting crime for long, but she knew not to trust the unknown.

Alice deployed her gauntlets allowing her to move heaver objects, she might as well help clean up; it was far better then doing nothing. She started to lift objects that were about her size, or bigger grunting. She found remains of lamp posts, and mail boxes, but thankfully not people. Today wasn't turning into her day.

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