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Liz Baker

The Alchemist

0 · 441 views · located in Atlas City

a character in “Hadean”, as played by Kiyokojordie

Description

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Image
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Theme 1 – Heads Will Roll
Theme 2 - You Don't Own Me
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Full Name: Elizabeth 'Liz' Baker
Alias: The Alchemist
Age: 60
Gender: Female
Ethnicity: White
Hair: White
Eye color: Gold
Body: Average
Height: 180cm
Weight: 65kg
Hometown: Atlas City, NC (Formerly Arcadia, FL)
Affiliation(s): NAHLA (Retired)

Personality: Liz is a real boss. A queen. An empress. Think Miranda from Devil Wears Prada. Liz can get away with almost anything she wants. Money? It's hers. Fame? Naturally. Everyone hates her - the law, old colleges, the public, hell even her own family - they all love to hate her certainly, but she is one of the most respected heroes out there. Shes from the cream of the crop. An old hero and one of the most notorious in America. In her old age nobility and patriotism has faded into a mild, chaotic nihilism. If only you had seen the shit she has seen.

Likes:
- Alcohol
- Gold
- Animals
- Chaos
- Fashion
- Celebrity life

Dislikes:
- The weak willed
- Cheap shit
- Heroes
- Time wasters
- Idiots

Fears:
- Being a failure
- Attachment
- Commitment
- Her family hurt

Skills:
- She can create millions of dollars from a pile of rocks
- Technologically adept
- Marksmanship
- Getting away with illegal practices

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Equipment:
- A cool fucking cane
- Maybe also a pocket knife

Costume Identities: Same as picture above. She doesn't really wear a suit or armor, instead opting for cool fashionable clothes in white, gold and black - her token colour scheme.



Background: Not much is publicly known about Elizabeth Baker. She was born in the 80's and has lived a long and exciting life. She joined NAHLA when she was young and has fought many villains and crimes over the years. Once known as the 'Star of America', the Alchemist was an extremely famous and mass produced hero. She fell in love once and gave birth to her daughter whom she now has a strained relationship with. A few years ago Liz left NAHLA after a series of unfortunate incidents and is now enjoying her life as chaotically as possible. There are rumors that Liz has been asked to join villain organizations. Much of her history beyond her Alchemist years is classified or she keeps private.

Powers:
Transmutation
[Shaker 1 - 10]




 Power Origins: Liz is able to manipulate and transmute objects around her, like a real living alchemist. She has the ability to directly manipulate atomic particles and physics to change things into something completely different. She was born with this power.
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NPC CHARACTERS

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Full Name: Margot Essaïdi
Alias: None
Age: 29
Gender: Female
Ethnicity: French Morroccan
Hair: Long, black and curly
Eye Color: Brown
Height: 178cm
Weight: 88kg
Hometown: Paris, France
Affiliation/Occupation: Liz Baker's personal assistant

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Full Name: Walter H. Schmidt
Alias: None
Age: 73
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Jewish American
Hair: White
Eye Color: Brown
Height: 174cm
Weight: 58kg
Hometown: New York
Affiliation/Occupation: The handyman and janitor employed on George's submarine

So begins...

Liz Baker's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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March 11th, 2045, 8:43pm: Atlas City, North Carolina, USA

Maxwell smiled under his mask, already beginning to enjoy the company of the starlet, and starting to understand why others felt the same. "The man of the house?" He chuckled slightly. "I don't think I've met many men with houses quite as busy as this one. But yes, I suppose I am the 'man of the house', and very pleased to have you as a guest Miss Vicky." He did a playful flourish and bow.

She continued by trying to coax him out of the darkness, using some rather charming guile to quite successful effect, but The Shape had guile too, and more than enough experience to know how to keep himself protected. "You make such a tempting offer, and I'd be inclined to accept almost, but there's a little hitch in your plan." He said in a soft voice as he leaned his left arm against the countertop.

"I don't like to make things easy." He waved over the waiter, who quickly brought over a platter filled with packets of cigarettes. The Shape plucked one up, lit it, and placed it to the lips of his mask. When the smoke filtered out, it came gracefully through the lips of the mask, like a gentle, smokey cloud.

"But I suppose it wouldn't be fair of me to play too hard. You can call me Shape if you like, it's what everyone else does. Of course, you don't seem like an 'everyone else'. Trendsetters never are."


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The arena of Shapeless was a glittering gem of a sports realm. The walls were made of black marble, with highlights of white and gold folded into that polished stone. The seating was steep, going high up the cylindrical room to maximize on space as much as possible, and to provide a high vantage point for fights that occurred in the center.

Above the seats were located a series of separated rooms with floor to ceiling windows, reserved for VIP guests, and The Shape himself, to observe fights from.

Crowds had already taken their seats in the tall room, and at the center, the fighting ring, a series of bright white spotlights found themselves centering, landing on a single man. His body was mostly thin, other than the bulging beer belly he sported, jutting awkwardly from the fine, crisp black tuxedo he wore. The hair on his head was black, but heavily balding, and he sported a very long, thin, and curling mustache.

The man was Monsieur Ric, the announcer of Shapeless's prestigious fights. The lights stopped over him, and the sound of an electronic drum set began to resound around the room. The crowd began to clap along in time with Carpenter Brut's "Maniac", the energy in the room quickly rising.

Finally the main riff of the tune kicked in, and the crowd erupted into raucous cheers. Monsieur Ric began to cartwheel, back flip, somersault, and dance around the stage with a kind of possessed energy that absolutely did not make sense in a man of his physical appearance.

"LADIES!!! GENTLEMEN!!! EVERYONE ELSE BETWEEN!!! Welcome back to another Shapeless Superhero SHOWDOOOOOOOOOWN! Tonight, we TRULY have what could be the FIGHT OF OUR LIVES!"

The crowd began to erupt into more cheers and shouts of praise for Ric, for Shapeless, and of course, for Cannonade.

"HAILING from Trinidad and Tobago, the last survivor of the FAMED Super Roma PC, one of Europe's GREATEST heroes, the strong willed, GRAVITY wielding CANON of a person, it's CANONAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADE!" The crowd was electrified as men and women called out the name of their favorite hero, some throwing money, and other symbols of affection, to the center of the arena.

"And their challenger for tonight, HAILING from the Emerald Isle of IRELAND, a GIANTESS of a woman, with strength no MERE MORTAL may yet understand, a MOUNTAIN of MYSTERY, it's MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAEVE!" Now the crowd was noticeably less energized, though some did still cheer, and throw their own bits of affections (some out of mere drunkenness), but others still even felt the need to boo. They were fewer, as it wasn't seen as quite as 'high class', but not everyone could maintain the same standards expected in Shapeless.

The match was about to begin.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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March 11th, 2045, 8:40pm: Atlas City, North Carolina, USA

A striking figure stood near the bar, leaning against one of the giant pillars and staring out into the arena. Liz Baker lifted a cigarette to her red lips, breathed in gently and then released the held breath with a sigh of wispy smoke that curled around her sharp nose and slowly drifted up into the air of the arena. From behind her a mans voice called out her name. She flicked away the ashes from the end of her now lipstick-stained cigarette and turned to face the familiar voice, golden eyes piercing his, "Evening, Alec."

A short man with dark hair and dark eyes approached her, holding a glass of Dalmore whiskey and sporting a large, arrogant grin that matched his expensive velvet suit. Everything about him oozed money. Alec was one of Atlas City's many millionaires who owned a tech company. He was not a super. "I hear we're in for a good'n tonight, my friend. That Maeve certainly looks a strong contender," Alec's thick accented voice seeped with opportunity, "How's 'bout we bet, no?"

A silent, thoughtful moment. The smoke from Liz's cigarette drifted upward in an elegant spiral pattern.

"Five," Liz finally offered, "On Cannonade."

"Ten."

"Darling, please. Six."

Alec paused, considering whether or not he should push his luck, "Seven."

"Hm. Very well, deal," the older woman offered a pale hand to his. Surprised with himself, Alec shook fervently, eyes gleaming with the joy of illegal gambling, "Now, now, Liz. You may regret tonight!"

Liz Baker, the infamous Alchemist, watched the man walk away. She was in her 60’s now but was no less beautiful. Lines framed the corners of her mouth and eyes, and her short hair was now a gleaming white from blonde, yet otherwise she seemed untouched by age. Hanging off her shoulders was a black suit coat, framing a plain white dress shirt underneath that was tucked into cropped black suit pants. Gold heels and jewellery accented the outfit, glinting in the dim light that surrounded them. She took another breath of her cigarette as the theme of 'Maniac' began to play overhead.

"Ma'am, the match is about to start." A quiet voice said from behind her. Margot, Liz's personal assistant. She nodded and stamped out the cigarette she held into an ash tray. As the two walked toward The Alchemist's personal viewing booth, Liz grinned and sang under her breath.

"He's a maniac, maniac."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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#, as written by Nulix
Cannonade emerged from the shadow of their entrance into the pit. The lean super jumped a few times in the air as warm up, each jump they raising themself higher and higher in the air. They then marched toward their opponent as extremely bad music played overhead, no doubt offending everyone at the club. They weren't here to talk. They were here to fight.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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#, as written by Nulix
Cannonade's body flew to the side, their head barely dodging the projectile microphone the Irish asshat had thrown. Off their shoulders the silken kimono flew, revealing black biker shorts and a top, similar to Maeve's minus the knuckle and forearm tape. Ok, Cannonade thought. They were strong.

And then Maeve launched forward, the giant of a woman immediately consuming Cannonade's view before they had a chance to react, a kick coming to their head. And they were fast. Of course, they were up against Cannon-fucking-nade, who'd made a career out of being fast. Cannon bowed beneath the kick frantically before side-stepping another, though they could feel the loose ends of their hair caught in Maeve's assault. As Maeve's foot came down a second time Cannon Maeve would suddenly find her extended leg crushed and smashing into the marble floor as though it weighed a metric ton.

Cannonade rolled behind Maeve before sending a fist out toward their back, the gravity distorting around it to make it heavier than a normal human's hand, the impact of which would feel like being hit by a wrecking ball.

"I can only get so hard!" A businessman in the crowd yelled, giving Liz an enthusiastic thumbs up as he recorded on his phone.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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#, as written by Nulix
Cannon dodged the easy jabs, sending a few in return as the two got into a comfortable spar, neither going hard. Her face was constantly open but Cannonade wasn't about to wreck Maeve's pretty smile. The courtesy rule of no face shots went both ways, as far as the Super Roman was concerned. Their stomach however was fair game. Ducking beneath another jab Cannonade fell for the bait, sending a leg forward with a heel coated in weight, not hard enough to damage but hard enough to knock the wind out of the opponent and perhaps open them up for a second onslaught...

"Fighting gives me direction, and also, a raging erection," The businessman called loudly to Liz.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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#, as written by Nulix
The first hit connected cleanly and the world went mute. Their jaw snapped out of place as their face flew backward- the black Shapeless mask they wore cracking at the impact. Maeve's other fist followed, slamming down onto Cannon, who managed to bend their neck so the second hit only grazed their well-defined face. Cannonade's left hand went to grab the broken mask while their right reached up to block a kick. Maeve's barefoot mashed into Cannonade's arm, and if it were in slow-motion you could see the very arm-hair wiggle as it absorbed the blow- like trees in a forest flattened by a nuclear blast.

Cannonade was sent flying. Their body rolled across the floor of the arena and then it came to a stop. They lay there for a moment, their rib-cage expanding and shrinking rapidly as they breathed. Their mind raced as they quickly tried to regain feeling and assess the damage to their form. Their jaw was dislocated, their arm was fractured, and... worst of all, their mask was broken.

Their hands reached up to the mask only to find that it was still attached. The bottom half had broken off upon impact with Maeve's fist, just below Cannon's nose, but the rest remained in place. Pieces of the black reinforced plastic lay on their lips. They rose one knee up, and then another, to the cheers of the crowds. Their hands went to their jaw and with a grunt they popped it back into place. They spat pieces of the plastic out.

Maeve approached, lumbering forward at not at all her true speed. Cannonade began to run, like a gymnast, straight for Maeve. And then, in one athletic stride they launched into the air, over Maeve's maw.

Only airborne for a second the last Super Roman came down behind Maeve. They smashed into the floor of the arena, not so hard to be an harmful attack on it's own (without their suit Cannonade could not stand the gravitational pull nor the impact of such a collision) but just enough to crack the black marble that lined it.

Maeve turned to face the injured superstar As they hurriedly collected rocks of marble from the mini crater. Cannonade looked up at Maeve, their eyes locking for a moment, and then spit at the ground. "Heads up, bol-face." They threw a piece of marble rock forward, straight at Maeve's face.

Maeve moved to block the fairly harmless projectile but it unnaturally dipped beneath their arms. The gravity increased rock collided with Maeve's legs and it swept their knees out from under them. It felt like being hit by a car. The giant flew forward and smashed into the earth. Behind them the rock hit the ground, leaving a fiery trail of impact behind Maeve's downed form.

Cannonade threw another piece of marble into the air and brought it down, directly beside Maeve's head. The arena shook as it broke through the floor and continued to borrow, leaving behind an impact hole that descended into darkness. With enough gravity on it even a piece of marble hitting the ground could become deadly as a high velocity bullet.

Cannonade flung the other rocks out into the air before reaching out and sending them plummeting toward Maeve.

"My defining trait is that I'm horny!" The businessman exposited loudly to Liz as he recorded.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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In the distance Liz watched the fight intently, her hand grasping on to a wine glass about to throw it at the horny businessman. She watched Cannonade join the audience, throw the glass at Maeve, and then pause, looking around the arena for some kind of weapon to use against the buff Irish woman. Liz pursed her lips and then smiled. The wine glass in her hand suddenly began to change shape, bending, twisting, growing larger and less opaque until finally the wine glass transformed into a bowling ball.

"M-Ma'am?" Margot hesitated from behind her, "Um, is that allowed?"

Liz turned slightly to glance at her personal assistant, her thin hand holding up the red bowling ball in plain view, "What do you mean, darling? I simply found this lying here!"

The Alchemist gave a sly smile and waited to see what would happen next.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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Maeve watched as Cannonade flew around the arena's skybox, pelting them with bits of glass and whatever else they could grab off the spectators. Apparently they'd grown tired of an actual fight and had resorted back to the idea that this was just a game.

How deeply, profoundly fucking pathetic.

Aside from one shard of glass which had sliced through her arm, Maeve had no real trouble dodging Craven Roma Number One's hail of garbage. Her arm shot out and slammed into the wall of the arena, causing several spectators to scramble away as a large section of it collapsed along with the seating behind it. Several of them screamed in shock and fear, and Maeve was vaguely aware that a few had started toward the emergency exit. Whatever.

Maeve crouched down next to the rubble, eyes tracing Cannonade's path through the air as she lifted up one fist sized stone, bouncing it lightly in her hand. They wanted to play catch. Maeve could play catch. She launched the stone at Cannonade at full strength, causing it to become momentarily invisible to the crowd of onlookers as it tore through the air, tousling Cannonade's curly hair as it barely missed the top of their head before ripping through the roof of the arena, soaring God and Mary only knew how far out into the city.

Maeve picked up another chunk of marble, only a pebble this time, bouncing it in her hand as she followed Cannonade's attempts at evasion before firing it from her hand, this time scoring a deep gash through the back of Cannonade's thigh.

"Is this better for ye?" she asked nobody, her voice too soft to be carried to her opponent. However, though her face never changed expression, there was a sense of deep, animalistic intensity to her gaze which absolutely could not be ignored.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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Vic took a cigarette from the platter almost subconsciously. The cigarette held lightly in the fingers of a limp-wristed hand. The waiter's lighter flickered up beneath it and she brought the smoke to her lips. Eyes never once leaving this 'Shape'.

"Shape..." she repeated, the 'p' popping off her lips. Fittingly vague. She’d taken on such an identity before too, a nothing name to a white, blank figure. She found comfort in it, not giving her superpowered identity any, well, power. It was Nobody. It didn’t mean she felt any connection towards the man for it. She knew her relationship with her super identity was different to most.

“Maybe, but give it a couple months. Then everyone will be like me. You can never get slack,” she said while she twisted, her back leaning on the bar and both elbows resting on it. She took in a long draw and tilted back her head. The smoke slowly filtered through her parted lips and nostrils as she looked across the room. Wilma was setting papers out on their table. That never meant anything good.

She chugged the rest of her drink, pushed the glass away, and rapped her scabbed knuckles on the table. "Vodka shot." She ordered, pushing herself up from the bar. She ran her hand halfway through her hair, but quickly drew it back, remembering the Frankenstein's monster-looking stitched up gash across her forehead. "Well, Shape, I came, I drank, I played hooky on business. It's been a night. I'd dance, but," she cocked her head, eyes squinting up at the ceiling and face scrunching at the EDM echoing from the dance floor, "Not my scene."

The Shape smiled under his mask, giving a slight nod in return as she contemplated walking away. "Understandable, it's certainly not everyone's scene." He chuckled lightly to himself. "But Shapeless tries to ensure we have plenty of secnes, for plenty of tastes. Perhaps this is less to your liking, but we even have a fight tonight. The great hero Cannonade, facing off against a giantess named Maeve. I do believe Cannonade was at that terrorist attack earlier, weren't they?"

He let another wave of smoke gently pass from the lips of his mask, spiraling upwards and almost framing the black, sheening face. "I have to go and watch shortly in fact, the man of the house shouldn't miss such important events. I have a private viewing box, which I'd be inclined to invite you to. If you'd think it's more your seen. You can even pick the music if you like, but we can just call that some... Club Shapeless hospitality." The words came out almost luridly as the man leaned quite comfortably against the bar counter, his gaze meeting her's.


Vic’s tongue ran across her teeth behind her lips, and her eyes crinkled at him. “Really?” Oh, this felt dangerous. It wasn’t just the sound of this legally questionable superhero fight nor the alcohol responsible for the adrenaline buzz. This man felt dangerous. And that feeling just made her all the more ready to make some bad decisions. She threw back her shot without a flinch, wiped her bottom lip and chin with her palm, and grinned.

“Right, I’m down. But I’m not making things too easy for you, either,” she said, “You choose the music that I’ll like.”

Though she couldn't see it, The Shape raised an eyebrow under his mask. "Well now, that is quite the challenge you've put to me Miss... Hmm, would it be Vortex you go by?" He asked in a light, playful tone.

"Vic. Skip the miss. Let's go." She answered, in the midst of a little puff of her cigarette, and took a step back from the bar. Before my manager notices.

"Vic it is then." He replied, again in a light, yet unassuming tone. The Shape took a step away from teh bar as well, grinding out his cigarette as he ushered Vic to follow him, with the flair of a gentleman. "Though I have to say Vic, you've got me feeling like we're doing something very bad. That's probably a feeling we're both familiar with though." There was a rougishness to his gentle words, something akin to a gentlemanly bankrobber, an old fashioned highwayman, or perhaps a much more hygenic pirate.

Nonetheless, The Shape led the way to his private viewing box. It was a spacious room, with it's own bar at the back, red velvet chairs with dark oak frame, and a light colored wood that looked only a shade away from gold colored. The room was clean, radiant, and oppulent, in contrast with some other parts of Shapeless perhaps. But The Shape rather enjoyed contrasts.

He noticed Liz Baker across the arena in her own VIP spectators box, equipped with sliding glass windows so that she could have a little more 'active participation' in the fights. The Shape gave her a slight nod in recognition. Liz was an interesting patron to have attending, she was certainly a person who exuded power and wealth, of a calibur that The Shape felt competed with him. Though at this time, it still remained to be seen if they would be competitors or not. "Now Vic, I believe the deal was for me to pick music you would like? Let's see what we got in stock."

There was what looked like an antique record player off to the side, though it was actually part of a much more complex sound system for the room. The Shape flitted through a list of rock songs, trying to sort by artists and genres for a few moments. At the end of the room was a large, floor to cieling window, outside of which sat the monolithic arena, with large crowds belting out muffled cheers.
Vic sauntered up to peer out it. Smoke rolled across the glass as she opened her mouth in an impressed 'o'. It didn't last, and she turned her back on the empty arena, leaning her bottle-red head against the glass.

~~~

A ghostly pale man in a dark red outfit stepped out of a non-descript black vehicle in front of the club Shapeless and marched inside. Nobody gave the striking man a second glance while he didnt so much as slow down for any of the security or bouncers. He shrugged his large blood red fur coat to hang around his elbows and adjusted his mirrored glasses with a hint of a scowl. Kiran Kingsley was not in a good mood. He had been forced to end one of his "test subjects" far earlier then he liked when he had recieved some rather distressing news from his current employer. Super power granting drugs that weren't his own creation had somehow made it into the city. Of all the insults one could muster, somebody had the unmidigated gall to step in on HIS work? Kiran's craft?? This could not and sure as hell would not stand. Oh no it wouldn't survive at all if this doctor had anything to say about it. They at their hands, minutes ago they had been covered in gore from their tantrum moments after hearing the unforgivable news. A coppery tang still hung around them even after they had washed them clean of any blood or viscera. It was a shame really, the test subject had such a good reaction to the recent batches of their new regenerative formula. At least the Biomass could still be used later, for now it was left in one of Kiran's freezers.

But that was business that could wait for another time. The sound of loud EDM and moving bodies filled his ears, almost drowning out the yells and echos of a fight. Right, THE fight. Kiran had been told beforehand and he did want to see it from the start, regardless of it being rigged or not. but he got caught up in his work as usual. No worries though, it sounded like it was still going and there was always videos for later. He struted up to the bar and tapped the counter twice. When the barkeep glanced his way and nearly froze. "Poison me dareling, I need a pick me up." The barkeep said nothing and simply nodded. In less then a minute, a dark purple drink on ice in a short but stout glass was slid into Kiran's awaiting hand. He grinned and set down a one hundred dollar bill on the counter with his other hand before turning on his heel, "Thanks love, now dont mind me, i have to see the boss." and was marching off again. The Doctor stopped at the VIP box's door reserved for Maxwell and knocked on it to the tune of shave and a haircut two bits. He sipped his cocktail paciently. it tasted sickeningly sweet and had a host of drugs masked by the alcohol. Probably would kill anyone else what tried drinking it.

The door opened for Kiran, and as he quickly rushed through he was met by Maxwell, closing the door behind the enraged mad scientist. "Kiran, how very good to see you again. Please, have a seat, enjoy the show and your drink. We've a guest with us this evening, so business will have to be brief. But allow me to introduce you to Vic." He smiled under his mask as he indicated to the girl in the room. She acknowedged him with a lift of her brow, nothing more.

Kiran quickly looked over at the unexpected extra body in the room and tilted their head. "Vic? You seem familiar. Sorry I've been a bit . . . distracted tonight so excuse me if i dont recognize you right away." He gave a wide grin and was careful not to show their maw of fangs, yet. He gave Vic a once over with his eyes. She seemed rather thin, if not unhealthy. poor health leads to swifter deaths. Kiran held his tongue though for now. He had other things to attend to. The scientist turned to Maxwell and sipped his drink before speaking in a more hushed tone. "This is a big problem for me boss, I'll hold off on doing anything too drastic but if this desn't get sorted out . . . you know what im willing to do to make sure this is done." He glanced at Vic quickly before hissing. "We cant have someone stepping into our market this early." Kiran huffed and took another sip before swirling the liquid absently. It was at least starting to calm him a little. sometimes he wished he hadn't mutated and changed himself so much, though his drink might have instead hit like ground glass otherwise.

"The thing that worries me, Kiran old boy, is that they may not be new to this market. We'll have to do some more research I think, perhaps check in with our suppliers and distributors. I don't mean to worry you though, take a seat and relax yourself for a moment." He turned his gaze back to Vic giving a slight nod as apology for the interruption, before returning to the music set up. Another moment later, the sound of The Rolling Stones "Sympathy For The Devil" began to quietly build up in the room, emanating from speakers built into the cieling and other hidden spaces.

"Well Vic, let me know how I did. I was certain I'd heard before that you enjoy a bit of classic rock, and this one certainlly seems like a theme song. Not just for me though, I assure you. I'm certain most people in Shapeless could say this has been their theme once upon a time, maybe even yours. Though, if I'm being honest, I would think the Devil would be considerably older than anyone present here tonight." He chuckled slightly to himself as he made his way back to the viewing window.


Something about the way he said that. It made Vic squint suspiciously at him then check over her shoulder in case the devil really was in the crowd. And this song... she had to have a heart-to-heart with Anastasia for giving away her info. She let out a mildly amused exhale from her nose and flicked her cig into the ashtray.

"I think you're trying to taunt me," she replied, "You know, Slash called this song the sound of a band breaking up." She paused a second. "And he was right. Improv drum solo, right between the bridge and final chorus. That's where it happened for me." A dry smile. "The fucking audacity to release my identity during a cover. Oh, there we go." The announcer's voice boomed over the stereo and she bounced over to to a chair, flopping into it with the same comfort as she would her own lounge.

"A hundred on the big one, by the way," she piped up, "Cannonade might be running on a few less ribs tonight." She pursed her lips, then added nonchalantly, "Not that I would know anything about that. Make it five hundred."

Kiran grumbled but nodded. He slinked over to a seat near Vic and sank into it with an over dramatic sigh. He held his drink up to the light. Cocaine, Meth, touch of Acid, and a bunch of small time synthetics. All floating in a swirl of pomegranate, grape, and moonshine. tasted just right. He downed all of it in a gulp. Not feeling like sipping it anymore. Almost half his tongue flicked out as he smiled broadly. Well, no dwelling on unpleasent thoughts right now. He reached up and took off his glasses, hooking them in the colar of his buttonup. His red eyes gleamed with a manic excitment as he became focused on the match. That giant of a woman was interesting for sure. Kiran's mind started to form all sorts of ideas for what he could do with a body like that. Oh the number of surgeries that could be done on a body that big and strong. "700 on the Big one for me, I wanna see her crush Cannonade. Might be fun~" He cackled a bit to nobody in particular.

The Shape chuckled slightly at the comments made by both Kiran and Vic. He grabbed something from a liqour cabinet next to the record player. The Shape walked over to the seats, taking a middle one placing himself between Kiran and Vic, and placing a bottle on a table in front of them. "Well, I'm not sure if you're a Cognac fan, but as a peace offering for the 'taunting', you're welcome to some of this Henry the fourth." He placed some glasses down along with the bottle as the fighting began outside.

"And I'll unfortunately match your bet Vic, your's too Kiran. Someone has to. $1200 on Cannonade." He smirked slightly as he poured a glass of the vintage liquid from the table. "Although to be honest, it's quite a dilemma for me. My money, like most of the spectators tonight, is on Cannonade. And yet I've got an upcoming business arrangement with Miss Maeve down there. Either way it looks like I'm losing, or perhaps winning. Guess we'll find out."


__________________________________________________________________


Monsieur Ric had tumbled out of the ring with a strangely graceful bumblingness as he ran over to the announcement box.

"LET'S get ready to RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMBLE!!!" As he finished, Maeve and Cannonade began their bought. It seemed like it may be mostly respectable, but it wasn't long till face shots found their mark at Cannonade's head.

"Uuuuuhhhh.... AH!!! A LOW BLOW from Maeve! Going for the face and holding nothing back!" The beatings came swift, hard, and angrily as the two titans clashed. At one point, Maeve sent Cannonaade skidding across the floor of the arena.

Monsieur Ric was silent a moment. Beads of sweat cascaded down his face, soaking into his fine white dress shirt. "C-c-c-c.....CANNONADE IS DOWN!!! The MIGHTY Maeve has sent our beloved hero through the ringer, but CANNONADE is FAR stronger than this! Just you wait, folks, they'll ahh... Get back up and ah... REMEMBER to ask the waiter for a nice, refreshing SLAMMONADE while you enjoy the fight folks! A house special, made espcially to commemorate SUPER ROMA'S surviving member! LEMONADE, VODKA, AND- Wait... CANNONADE IS UP!"

His speech was cut off when the Super of Gravitas stood once more to continue the grandiose match. They went to blows again as an annoying man in the audience made grotesque remarks about his bodily functions to one of their great partrons, Liz. Monsieur Ric was feeling his patience wear quite thin.

The sound of glass, rock, and a variety of other substances breaking filled the room, as Maeve and Cannonade took to projectile combat! No, no no no no no! This was absolutely not part of the deal! The supers WEREN'T supposed to do this!

"Daaaaah, CANNONADE! FINISH THE FIGHT! DEFEAT THE MAD BEAST! And try to reduce the property damage..." He muttered the last words.

"My defining trait is that I'm horny!" The businessman

That DID IT. Monsier Ric was DONE with this night. He marched his way into the stands, face red as a tomato, anger and hatred rising in his entire being. When he reached the perverted pebblian, he stood firm a moment, as if he were a soldier at attention. The gross guest looked Monsieur Ric up and down a moment, before the announcer's fine Italian leather shoe shot up, and into the throat of the rotundely rude rabble rouser.

As the man sat choking on his tongue a moment, Ric grabbed the phone, and threw it into the arena, shattering it on the ground. "DOWN THERE CANNONADE!" He shouted gleefully before returning to the announcer station.

__________________________________________________________________


The Shape rapped his fingers against his glass, getting concerned at the direction the fight had taken. "This fight may need to be called if this keeps up." He spoke quietly with a slight smirk. "It's certainly been more interesting than it was supposed to be..."

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Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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#, as written by Nulix
Cannonade ducked midair as the rock flew over their head. It shot through the domed roof of Shapeless, revealing a hint of the light-polluted night sky beyond. A few cracks spread out across the vintage building's ceiling from the damage. And then, Cannonade screamed. The back of their thigh was sliced. Before they had time to recover a chunk of roof about a metre wide plummeted down from the ceiling.

"Come on!" Cannonade exclaimed before flinging their body down. The businessman who had been recording the fight for his own perverse pleasure yelled out in terror as the chunk of roofing threatened to come down upon him. "Horniness isn't a crime!" But, before it could hit, it began to hover to a stop. The businessman raised out of his seat as Cannonade landed beside them, their hand stretched out and raising the gravity surrounding the chunk of ceiling.

"You... you saved me," The businessman whispered as he began to back away. Cannonade released their grip, and the roofing mashed into the man's now empty seat. Cannonade exhaustedly turned around and looked down at Maeve from the spectator ledge. They presented the Irish irritant with a middle finger before leaping up toward Liz's booth.

Cannon had spotted the famous Liz Baker when they had first entered the club, about an hour earlier, but had not spoken to them. The two had only met once before, at a party in Monaco. It was passing introduced with the other now deceased members of Super Roma. Chances were Liz would not even remember the helmeted wonder of the world. Unless they frequented superherocandids.com and Cannonade's frequently featured backside.

Or perhaps she did remember them for now Liz seemed to be beckoning them from their booth. And in their hand... was a bowling ball? Cannonade landed at Liz's feet and rose slowly. Deep breaths as they nodded at the older woman. They gripped the bowling ball. "Thanks." And with that, they leaped.

As soon as they were in the air more rocks shot up at Cannon’s form, but the super managed to just avoid impact. “I’ve abandoned my BOOOOY!” They said as they rose the bowling-ball. Their body was consumed by intense gravity as they plummeted, at a sudden speed faster than Maeve could react. With a ferocious scream Cannonade brought the gravitationally weighted bowling ball down on Maeve's head.

It cracked apart around their skull, and Maeve went down. Cannonade landed atop them and for a moment there was silence. And then, a cough of recovery. Cannon’s body began to rise into the air off of Maeve's, like a face-down angel. “The fights over," The spoke down to the woman. “Time to give up.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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Maeve was still for a moment as Cannonade rose off of her into the air, declaring the fight over. The arena was completely silent, aside from a few tentative cheers for the hero’s victory following the brawl which had been quickly growing out of control a second before. The air seemed to take a breath as everything calmed.

Then Maeve got up. Her body rose limply off the ground, thick, black ichor dripping down her chin. Then massive tendons exploded around her, encasing her limbs and thrashing outward as a massive rib cage grew like a horrific white tree out of the air, bone impaling the nearby seats and ripping them apart as the VIPs scattered in terror. Cannonade swerved away to evade before they could get caught in it, and then again as first one shoulder and then another sprouted into existence and a single giant clawed arm slammed down into the center of the arena, sending a cloud of dust and rubble exploding outward to fill the entire building.

The vast, incomplete skeleton tried to lift itself up off the ground as more of it started to form, the back of its spine sending cracks spiderwebbing across the already damaged ceiling as it strained to break through. Tendons and sinew began snaking their way over the skeleton’s frame, muscle crawling down and threatening to encase Maeve’s form inside. It tilted left, unable to support itself fully with only one limb, crushing a few unfortunate patrons under its torso.

Then it fell still. Maeve’s body began to slip, ever so slightly, then snapped free from the meat which had bound her limbs and fell back to the demolished floor of the arena. She stayed crouched there on her hands and knees for a moment, dazed, and the monstrous form above her began to dissolve, dripping down in drops of oily tar which caused whatever they landed on to smoke and hiss from the intense heat. It was gone almost as quickly as it had appeared, manifesting and then vanishing in only a handful of seconds.

Maeve got slowly back to her feet, then stumbled and fell to one knee. She blinked away the fog that clouded her mind, returning to her senses, and tried to stand again. She looked around in a daze at the destruction of the arena, dust and rubble drifting gently down to the abused ceiling of the club. She slapped her cheeks, trying to focus, as she attempted to recall what had just happened.

She had been fighting Cannonade, and then… had she lost control? No, she might’ve gotten a little carried away with the fight, but… Then how…

Oh. The bowling ball, she must have lost consciousness. Her eyes scanned around for her former opponent, then abandoned that when they landed on one of the VIP booths instead. That one in the mask, looking like an anthropomorphic shadow. Was that her contact?

Shit.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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Clack. Clack. Clack.

The sound of heels on marble approached the two fighters, stepping over broken pieces of marble and dirt that littered the now destroyed arena. Guests cried out in different sorts of fury; a man swore at the two supers in the center for ruining his suit, a woman cradled a bloody leg that had been hit by a flying clunk of debris, other guests who were backed up against the far walls of the club complained in hushed tones. Dust made a cloud in the center of the arena, turning Maeve and Cannonade's silhouettes into shadowy figures surrounded by destruction. No doubt Shape would be here soon to try and minimize the fallout.

"Bravo, bravo Cannonade!" Liz's voice emerged from the dust, her hand waving the dirt away before her face, "And to you, dear Maeve. Are you alright, darling? Not too injured? And you, Cannon?"

Liz Baker looked around with a dramatic sigh, "Well, you certainly destroyed this place. Ah, don't worry, it was technically my fault," her tone was jovial, "But you see, I had to ensure your victory tonight Cannonade. No offense to you, Maeve, of course. Well, bygones will be bygones, I shall burden the blame for tonight's mess."

In the distance Alec sobbed, his incredible loss of $700,000 echoing throughout the ruined club.

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Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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#, as written by Nulix
Cannonade lowered from their hovering position to land beside Liz in the rubble. "What the hell was that?" They asked, their eyes squinting as they looked over Maeve's body.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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J-3 kept bounding away, humming thoughtfully for a second before leaping from one roof to the next, peering forth into the night sky as they kept moving. They figured that the chances of either of the supers from before following were high, but the urge to 'Complete the mission' was stronger than the call. A twinge of regret flashed through their core before fading as quickly as it came. They felt the eagerness for combat rising once again, before the disappointed voice of Alex filtered into their thoughts... They couldn't do again what they had done this morning. It would be too much.
The safety that Alex offered would be forfeit if Jericho lost control again. So instead they attempted to hold a cold, nearly clinical, focus until they could arrive at their destination.

Which only took a few moments longer, what with Jericho once again shrinking their form just a bit more. They took the shape of some odd stream-lined thing, appearing as if a shark's skull was forced onto the feathered shape of some cat-like body. A fan of tail-feathers sprouted mid-stride, and Jericho leapt once more from one roof to the next before taking to the sky as a legless felid-lamidae with a quartet of wings flaring into the night air.
They flew onward, their body streamlined for as much aerodynamics as they could get with the particular form. As they rose up, with Alex following ever onward with an otherwise unseen rhythm, at least for Jericho.
The super was leaping from telekinetic spires, each spire forming mid-air to catch and then catapult Aegis forward, lending the distance and speed required for Aegis to keep up with J-3.

A small distance away, after a few moments more of leaping and flying for the two of them, Jericho spotted the building- and breathed the strength of the now closer scents- that they needed to enter. A duo of security guards were positioned atop the roof, one on north west corner, and one on the south east corner.




For Jackson and Dumas, the night was the same as any other. The 'man of the house' was once again making an appearance, and they were supposed to be keeping an eye out for disturbances. But with the relative silence of the world around them, they were in no real mood to be on high alert. There was the sound of... Probably an explosion, earlier, but Dumas had told Jackson that it was too far off to really be that big of a deal.
How Jackson would come to regret fucking listening to his boyfriends bullshit excuse for continuing their lazy lookout, in the morning, was paramount to a mother's scorn.
Before then, they were shooting the shit, simply chatting for a while, when Dumas mentioned something about seeing some kind of blue light in the distance. Jackson had turned to look over, prepared to give Dumas grief.

"Oh what the fuck ever babe." Were the only words to leave Jackson's mouth. He was abruptly cut off by the sudden appearance of some large, not bird-bird thing. It wrapped around his throat with its' body, of which was as lengthy as a serpent, but nearly as thick around as a goddamn trout! It was strong as hell too, to boot. The security officer scrambled to get the creature off, hand moving towards the holstered pistol behind his suit-jacket. The beast moved quicker than he could react though, and his mind was overwhelmed by the sensation of searing pain... And then unconscious oblivion rose up to meet him along with the ground. The glory of Tarantula Hawk venom applied directly to the jaw and neck worked wonders.

Dumas had turned to ponder his partner's abrupt silence, opening his mouth to shout out in surprise before it slammed shut. All his vocal cords could muster was the sound of an overheld groan of pain. The world had lit up in his vision, sparkling and flashing brightly as a burst of electric agony raced up from his ribs to his mind. The only true option was to sleep! Sleep and escape the burst of electricity.



Jericho and Alex untangled from and gently laid their targets down to rest as they finished their respective business, with Jericho swirling with ink before taking on the appearance of the (unbeknownst to them) security guard by the name of Jackson. They turned then, and with a voice that was most certainly not theirs, spoke quickly to Alex. "Okay, they're probably going to do a check in soon. Let me speak when they do-" They, 'he', was cut off by the sound of an earpiece crackling to life. A voice echoed up from the earpiece for both Jericho and Alex to hear, coming from Jackson's prone form.
"This is Able, how's roof duty treating you two lovebirds? ... Dumas! Jackson! Quit sucking face and call in. Both of you. Boss doesn't appreciate sloppiness y'know."
To which the conscious 'Jackson' replied, leaning down and pressing a finger to reply into the microphone of the ear-set. "This is Jackson, we're doing alright." Jericho and Alex then waited for a moment with baited breath... Before sighing in relief as the voice from the speaker once again. "Good! Tell Dumas to get off your prick, and reply in about fifteen. The fight down here is getting rowdy."
They blinked and gave yet another quick reply. "Hey, Able, is the boss watching 'the fight'? How's the ring holding up?
"
An affirmative came through, along with a vague warning about being careful when 'coming downstairs' and for a moment Jericho stayed quiet as they considered their options in silence...

Jericho then turned to Alex and grinned, dropping the disguise as they whispered across to Alex. "Okay. We go down and in through the kitchen exit- I can smell the food, don't ask- and I'll take on the form of... I guess your work hound. You put on... The Dumas guy's suit, or if you brought one with you, use that one. I'll sniff around for the red-head and the silver-head. We find them, I give the red head her new phone parts, and the silver hair gets the same thing, then we leave, okay? Okay."

Alex seemed to grumble before he plopped a bag down on the roof, quickly going about and removing his armor and switching his clothing into a suit from a previous... Heist. Jericho cringed inwardly as they looked off and away from Alex. "Hm. Avoid the kitchen, stay focused. We keep our heads low and try to make this quick. Try and keep the EMP to a minimum unless shit gets bad." The man replied, standing upright as he examined his new clothing briefly. He was well dressed, sporting nearly the same dress-clothing 'uniform' that the two sleeping security guards were wearing.
Jericho nodded in reply and shifted once again into a large wolf-hound. The tips of their ears just barely reached the four foot mark, and around their neck grew a spiked collar, similar to one used to ward off attacks on cattle dogs. From the collar grew a lead made of leather, one that stretched out and quickly found it's way into Alex's hand, startling the giant of a man.
Jericho spoke one last time, before going quiet for the rest of the night. "If anyone stops us, especially security, tell them that we're here to pick up a client from the viewing of the... Sport."

And from there, the two continued down and into the club, both climbing down from the roof to enter from a side entrance that Jericho guided them towards, following the old scent-trail from the original two security.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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Maeve scratched the back of her head uncomfortably. "It's a... medical condition." What a God damn mess.

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Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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#, as written by Nulix
Cannonade took an awkward step forward, wincing in pain as they approached Maeve. They were somber in victory. "You learn to control whatever that was, you could be a great hero one day, eh?"

Cannon gave the Irish giant a half smile as Maxwell's medical aids ran into the arena, toward the two combatants. Cannonade rose their arms and let the medical aids grab them. With a grunt they began to escort the champ out of the arena, toward the fitting rooms to treat their wounds.

***

In the fitting room one attendant wiped down Cannonade's body with washclothes while another treated their wounds. "Jesus, careful," Cannonade hissed at the attendant wrapping their thigh. As their body was treated they swept through their glass phone. Suddenly, a notification. A payment from Maxwell's dummy account: a number with a lot of zeros. Of course taxes would eat it alive, even if it was legally considered a charitable gift. Cannonade sighed, laying their head back. It was still ringing. Irish had knocked them hard.

Cannonade glanced up as Sasha's sat up from the bench he'd been sat on. Cannonade's eyes traced the man for a moment before looking at their phone again, assuming he was one of the event staff.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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The Shape frowned slightly as the fight concluded, the guests now exiting the arena as they prepared to collect their winnings, and Cannonade walked off to clean themselves up after a barely successful fight. "Such an interesting fight... Shame about Maeve, but I certainly learned much more than I expected to." As he rose up from his seat, he began texting something into his phone, taking only a short pause from both Kiran and Vic. "Unfortunately I have to go down there and make myself useful, but about our bet..." He trailed off for a moment as he looked between the two.

"Let the people at cash out know you both bet on Cannonade. I certainly can't have you losing Kiran, and Vic... Well, I wouldn't be much of a gentleman if your first gambling experience at my establishment were a bad one."

The Shape began to make his way over to the VIP lounge exit, and before opening to the door, took one last look at Vic, giving a slight bow towards her. "Please, have a wonderful rest of your evening Vic. I look forward to our next meeting." And with that, he was gone.


_______________________________________________________________________________


Behind Maeve, Liz, and all others present, the sound of footsteps could be heard, echoing into the now damaged arena, heavy, purposeful, and steady.

Maxwell approached both Liz and Maeve, the black of his outfit nearly disappearing into the parts of the black marble still surrounding the room. "Liz. What a pleasure it is to see you again. And Maeve... Well, you certainly know how to make an exciting introduction. Pleasure to make your acquaintance." He extended his hand to shake hers.

The damage to the room had been more than Maxwell had wanted. Far more. And it reiterated a point he had considered for a long while now. It was time to build a new arena much further underground. This place was simply not going to continue to work if fights were going to go in this direction.


_______________________________________________________________________________


Meanwhile, outside Club Shapeless....

A slight plume of smoke rose into the air, illuminated by the soft glow of the screen of a phone. Peter took another puff as he rewatched footage showing a large, muscular guy with long hair, pouncing across rooftops with what was recognized as the shapeshifter from earlier at the diner. Hundreds of little scenes played out, playing recordings of the live footage that had been taken from security, traffic, cellphone, webcam, and even satellite surveillance.

Most of what took place was unseen, mere shadows moving in the dark. Some of what was caught would never even be seen except for by Peter; some folks just forgot to turn off whatever devices they had that contained cameras, even when they sleep. Of course, they'd never see the footage anyways, security or otherwise, he was already making sure of that. Meanwhile, the phone finished up a 'Remote Data Transfer', before erasing it from his phone completely.

"Well Nina, time to join the party, wouldn't you say?" He said with a smirk to the smaller, younger girl with him. Once his phone was back in his pocket, he made his way to the Club's entrance. "You should be good with a little crowd control if things get out of hand, right? Not that I want it to come to that. This is one of those cases I think needs a... Delicate touch."

They arrived at the entrance to the club, immediately stopped by security. "Excuse me sir, guests and club members only. You're gonna have to leave."

Peter chuckled as he reached into his jacket, causing the guards to tense up on their firearms. "Really guys? You're gonna try and turn away a VIP?" He presented them with a leather case, inside of which sat a card with his own face and name on it.

'SINS. Special Agent Peter Radovan'. The guard's heart sank with his jaw.

"Don't worry about me boys, I can look after myself easily enough. How bout you just let your boss know I'm here and we'll go from there." He patted the guard on the shoulder, in about as patronizing of a way as one could to a bouncer nearly six and a half feet tall.

"Care to join me Nina?" He called back as he walked into the club.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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Maeve moved her arm to take the man’s hand, then froze as her eyes finally took in the exact nature of his outfit underneath the vantablack. Oh, dear. The ensemble as a whole was certainly striking, and there was a character to it she couldn't deny, though she couldn't say it was something she herself may have chosen for her contact. She took his hand lightly, inclining her head slightly in what could be estimated as a polite acknowledgement.

”Howya,” she greeted, keeping her eyes from sliding back down to his turtleneck/suit jacket combo. Every ounce of her professional fashion sense straining to pick it apart with a more critical eye. ”Sorry for the mess,” she said to change the subject, waving her hand vaguely at the destroyed arena.

Maeve’s eyes flicked over to the woman next to him. Liz Baker was a surprise face. Maeve wouldn’t have taken Liz for the type to make an appearance in any sort of nightclub she didn't personally own. Then again, judging from the man’s greeting the two of them were acquainted. Her presence must be an act of consideration for someone she knew. ”Aye, no hard feelings, ma’am. You’re looking very well, by the way.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nina skipped up to the door after her boss. ”Oh, David Ayuda!” she exclaimed, straightening the tie of her black suit as she fell into step behind Peter. Practical Magic, though. Not exactly his best. He really phones it in here, he puts too much emphasis on the drums and bass instead of the piano or vocals where he really shines. I guess it’s fine for a normal club, but this place looks pretty nice, right boss? Don’t you think playing something from Nulix in a Vacuum would work better?”

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Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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Liz nodded at Maeve, having been in conversation with Shape, "Thank you. I hope your wounds aren't too severe. But you must tell me, Maeve, were you going easy on Cannonade tonight?"

The older woman gave the taller woman a sly smile, glancing between Maeve and Shape as if she knew about the fight being rigged.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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The Shape picked up on Maeve's eyes lingering for a few moments. She seemed to be staring... At his body? Or maybe his clothes? He wasn't certain but he figured that would need to be a conversation for later, whatever it was. "Don't worry about the mess. I'd have let you do twice the damage to see that all again. You're quite impressive, perhaps even more than I was originally led to believe." His voice was polite, but carried tones of someone impressed, and quite pleased as well.

There was a brief glance over from Liz as she spoke, evidently reflecting on the less than fair conditions. "Holding back or not, Maeve clearly is a match for Cannonade. I'd say it speaks very well of your future Maeve, if you don't mind me saying. A future I am very much looking forward to witnessing."


_______________________________________________________________________________


Inside Club Shapeless....

The light thud of leather dress shoes paused near the edges of the main dance floor in Shapeless. The guests continued to move to the rhythm of David Ayuda's voice, unbothered by the appearance of the grey suited man, and the young woman next to him. The guards, however, did notice, and they quickly made there way too and fro as they tried to figure out what to do, and how best to tell the boss.

"Well Nina, if you ask me, I'd prefer something with a little more... Energy to it." He smirked slightly as he blew out a puff of smoke, letting a small bit of ash fall to the dance floor as he continued to scan the room for any familiar faces. "But yeah, a little Nulix would do this place some good." He began to raise the cigarette to his lips once more, but paused half way there.

Peter's gaze landed on the women's bathroom at the other end of the dance floor. A large man stood near the door, wearing some kind of domino mask, long hair tied back, and next to him... A dog. A dog that walked into the women's bathroom.

A strange grin grew across his lips, but his eyes didn't move. Peter's eyes remained in a strange, relaxed and half-open shape, but were fixed upon the large figure in front of the door, and the dog that had disappeared within.

"That's quite the peculiar sight, wouldn't you say Nina?" Peter spoke in a calm, cool tone. His body remained relaxed looking, but something about him seemed tense, beneath the skin, not exactly visible to the eye, but a sense one might get, a feeling.

While his gaze remained fixed on the larger figure by the door, his pupils continued to dilate.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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Inside Club Shapeless....

Peter grinned a little wider when the big guy finally noticed him, and he could practically feel the anxiety starting to come off the guy. "Nina, keep your eyes peeled for anyone trying to move a little too quickly. I need a second set of eyes for any people of interest to us. Also... Keep the peace. I need to stir some things up." He chuckled to himself as he walked away, and towards...

The DJ. He flipped his ID at the woman running it, and drew a his index finger across his neck. She quickly fumbled around with the sound system until it went silent. The crowd stopped and looked around.

"Evening folks." He said with an all too pleased tone, somewhere close to being smug, but in that way where someone knew something everyone else didn't. "No need to panic or anything, just a little bit of SINS business here tonight. Making sure nothing illegal is going down." He let out a hearty laugh, raising a hand as if to tell people to settle down. "Not that I think any of you would do something like that. Just keep yourselves calm and we'll be done here soon."

Peter stepped away from the crowd, making his way towards the big guy and the dog that had reappeared with him. Seemed like he was ready to bolt, but before he could, Peter had produced something in his hand.

"Nice look pal! I should see your tailor! Wouldn't mind a pup like this boy here too, looks like he'd make a fantastic junior agent!" His voice was light, attempting pleasantry, and distracting enough to have caught Alex off guard, long enough for a flash to go off.

The SINS agent held up his own phone and wagged it slightly in his hand. "Hope you don't mind, but it's just so iconic, can't help myself!" He chuckled again as he walked past Alex and Jericho, heading towards the VIP areas.

Once he'd arrived, all the wealthy, well to do VIP's froze practically solid. The barmen didn't move, the waitresses paused mid service, and the guards looked on in almost abject horror, clueless on how to handle the situation. Two figures caught Peter's gaze, long enough to notice that at least one of them had noticed him, even if only briefly.

"Hey, you look like Cannonade. You seem like you've been through some kinda championship fight! But seems you might have come out the winner, eh? Nice job." His eyes gave a slow up and down of the hero, and the person they were dragging along with them. "Better look after your friend there too. VV doesn't look like she's doing too hot."

Each step he took seemed to carry the weight of the universe with it in that moment. His weird, 'knowing' smile gave the whole ordeal an existential atmosphere, and the anxious feeling in the air only intensified as his quiet, yet somehow heavy and energetic steps, took him up to a window near the bar. Curtains were drawn shut, but he soon opened them to reveal a wide, tall, black marble sided room.

The arena.

His gaze traveled down, where it landed upon a figure in black, the blackest black he'd ever seen.

_______________________________________________________________________________


"SHAPE!" A voice called out in a shout from the other side of the arena. It was Ulysses, eyes wide and panicked, Willoughby close behind, hand hovering by a pistol inside his jacket.

The Shape turned back to see his two associates standing at an entrance to the fighting room, looking as if they'd seen a ghost. And then a movement from one of the VIP rooms caught. Maxwell looked up and his eyes met the gaze of a man dressed in a grey suit. A SINS agent. His heart skipped a beat as his body began to flood with a sense of dread, and his mind raced to find a solution.

Ulysses and Willoughby both looked up to see the agent as well, staring down into the arena. They looked over to The Shape, to take some kind of direction from him.

With a slight, but noticeable movement, The Shape raised his hand to the two guards to ask them to stand down and just wait for now... See how this played out.

_______________________________________________________________________________


Peter smiled, tilted his head slightly, then let out a warm breath against the glass. It fogged slightly, and in that circle of condensation he drew a smiley face. He raised his hand, tapped the knuckle of his index finger against it, then with a satisfied smile turned around to return to the other guests of the establishment.

"Bit of a weird place, huh? Got all these curtains up to cover up random bits of concrete wall. Could at least put some more rooms in or something. Maybe something for a bit of show?" He smirked to himself as nervous eyes looked between him, then each other.

Concrete wall? Was he... Going to cover for them? Ignore the arena and the fight?

Why?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Liz Baker Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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Surveillance agent Zain Medhi leaned back in the old wicker chair, staring wearily at the collection of computer screens and data slates on age-stained wooden desks which filled the small apartment they’d rented out over the thrift shop near Soldier Park. He was sooooooo boooooooooooored. The boss got to go hang out in a nightclub with Nina, and they were all stuck here staring at screens all night. Again.

Medhi cracked his knuckles, stretching his stiff neck, then rolled his eyes over to the agent next to him, a tall, hawk-faced man named Rossel Lidia. Lidia was hunched over one of the desks in a leather office chair from 2002, chin in his hand. ”What are you so interested in?” Medhi teased, jostling Lidia’s shoulder. ”Another couple thinking they’re being discreet on the roof?”

”Shut up, man,” Lidia said gruffly, waving Medhi’s hand away. ”Come look at this.”

”If you’re just trying to show me another old homeless guy taking a shit-”

”What? No, man it- Ok, not right now, it’s actually something serious.”

Medhi smirked at him. ”Like what? Hack the club footage to spy on the boss?”

Lidia groaned in exasperation. ”Just look at this.” He grabbed Medhi by the collar and pulled him over to look at the screen. A satellite image had captured a photo of a red haired woman lying on a rooftop, fussing with what had to be one of the largest guns either of them had ever seen.

”Isn’t that the woman who was pursuing the shapeshifter?”

Lidia nodded. ”According to the satellite she’s about six blocks north of the club.”

Medhi scoffed, letting himself fall back into his chair. He leaned back, rubbing his chin with an incredulous grin on his face. ”So- so what, is she waiting for it to come back out? What makes her think it’ll even head that direction?” Lidia just shrugged.

Medhi thought for a moment, then sat up straight and snapped his fingers at two of the other agents in the apartment. ”Mayer, see if you can bring up surveillance footage of the area around where she is and where she came from. Bricker, try and analyze the angle of her gun. I want to know what she’s aiming at.”

The two jumped to attention, quickly setting about their work. Medhi moved back to the computers to aid in the investigation, keeping his phone nearby with Peter Radovan’s number on speed dial just in case.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sheri checked her sights one more time, making sure she had her aim perfect. This wasn’t a shot she could risk screwing up; if she missed by even a fraction of an inch, the bullet would rip straight through the target without hitting anything solid enough to detonate against, potentially going until it hit a wall or the ground, potentially several yards away, endangering who knows how many civilians.

She checked again, and then again, and once she was perfectly satisfied with her adjustments, she let out a slow breath and activated her shade filter. She rolled carefully to the side, making certain not to brush against the stock of the rifle, and a double of her appeared where she had just been, taking up her position on the trigger. She stood carefully and moved back over to the fire escape before descending to the alley below.

Sheri dug her hands into her coat, pulling out a pen and three sheets of folded paper. She wrote in a quick, tiny scrawl, then folded them back up and stuffed them neatly into her coat pocket. Her eyes flicked to the Bonneville, and she walked swiftly to its side, making sure it was in good condition with a full gas tank. Sairyn had left a helmet sitting on the seat for her, and she picked it up and set it down gently on the side of the narrow alleyway. She would need her face to be seen clearly, so as much as she appreciated the concern for road safety, the helmet was functionally worthless here.

She gave the alley one more sweep for any sort of surveillance; it was free of cameras, and practically invisible to the road. It was also narrow enough, and the buildings tall enough, that the angle created a blindspot for satellites if she hugged the wall. She’d chosen a good spot. Satisfied with the preparations for her plan, she squatted down against the side of the building, closed her eyes, and pressed her palms tight against her ears.

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Peter had made his way back to the dance floor, passing by the big guy and the dog, giving them a little half smirk and a nod in recognition. Once he got back to Nina, he'd given a slight flourish of his hand, a waving off directed at the DJ, letting her know she could return to her music. Once it had resumed, he turned to his younger counter part. "Well I've had fun tonight, what about you?" He chuckled before being interrupted by his phone ringing out, playing Elton John's 'I'm Still Standing'. Upon taking the call, he gave a brief, cool response. "What is it?"

"Hey, uh, boss, how's it goin'?" came Agent Medhi's voice on the other end, quavering with nervous incredulity. "So, uh, funny story, we were watching the cameras, you know, like we do, all the time - shut up Mayer! - and uh, eheh, funny thing, we actually got a satellite overhead that picked up the contractor woman from earlier - do you remember her? Red hair? Was chasing the shapeshifter?"

Peter let out a soft sigh indicating a slight streak of impatient annoyance. "Yes Medhi, I remember her, I saw her like an hour ago when she was chasing the shapeshifter." He was less annoyed by Medhi's calling him, and more annoyed by the fact Medhi couldn't explain how serious the situation was, and that he was taking far too long trying to do so if it was serious.

"Haha, yeah, anyway, we were watching the monitors, and, funny thing, Lidia actually spotted her in some footage from a satellite moving over the city, about a mile and a half from your position! Isn't that wild?" Medhi let out a small cackle of nervous energy. "So, uh, anyway, we noticed she'd set herself up with a sniper rifle, which you know, we thought that was pretty weird, right? Like what are the odds the shapeshifter would even be going in that direction? So uh, as a joke, just as, you know, a goof, and in all due dilligence, I had Bricker run an analysis of the angle of her gun to get an idea of what exactly she might've been aiming at, and uh, eheheh, you aren't gonna believe this, boss, but it actually looks like she's aiming at your-" Medhi was cut off by an explosion loud enough to shake the walls of the building. "Oh shit."

The sound of the explosion rocked the whole building, causing a wave of people to dash away from the entrance of the club in fear for their lives. Peter's eyes narrowed as he marched outside, Nina close behind. Upon seeing the wreck of the car, he took a quick look around the area to spy if the saboteur was still around, but there wasn't anything he could see from the ground.

He stared at the wreck for a moment as he processed what feeling this inspired in him. Annoyance? Only briefly, but it was being fast replaced by other considerations.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Mere seconds after the utter devestation of Peter Radovan's government-issued Chevrolet Suburban, Sheri exited the alleyway's west end twice, one heading north, the other continuing due west. A moment later, Sheri exited again from the east end of the alley, tearing out of it on a black motorcycle.

She raced down the street and past Club Shapeless, coming just close enough to the front parking lot to make eye contact with the two SINS agents who had just been inside before zipping away to the southeast.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

The other end of the line was filled with a clammor of government agents shouting, some professionally, a couple losing their minds over the skill on display in the gunshot. Underneath the voices was a clatter of tapping against electronics and scooting of thrift store chairs as the agents went flying about in a flurry of activity. Medhi was silent on the other end for a bit before coming back.

"Don't worry boss, I'm sending someone to pick you two up right now," he finally responded. "I've got them working on tagging the girl-" his sentence was cut off when he turned to shout at someone else. "What do you mean which one? The one on the damn- God, just tag all of them!"

Peter didn't respond immediately, his eyes locked on the girl on the bike as she went by, fairly certain it could be assumed she was the one responsible for the damage.

"Medhi. Send that car, but keep word of this under wraps. I need the brass out of the loop while I try to figure some of this out. Got it?" He looked back at the wreck again, his face blank for a few moments, before contorting into a smile that soon erupted into laughter.

After a few moments of his uncontrollable fit, he finally managed to settle himself down again, though he made no effort to find how amused he was. "This just might be the cherry on top for today! Sabotage? An attempted assassination? Some kind of diversion? Doesn't even matter, cause I'm having the time of my life right now!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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”Some might consider that an ominous statement,” Maeve replied, her stoic gaze seeming to look for something in the man’s void of a face. She closed her eyes and inclined her head for a brief instant, as if to say whatever his intentions were were a matter for another time.

”Aye, I’m fine,” she said, turning back to Liz. ”A bit of bruising and a headache. Your hero’s no doubt the worse o-”

Maeve was interrupted by two men shouting as they burst into the arena. She looked from the two guards to her contact (Shape? Was that his name?) and then followed the angle of his gaze up to one of the VIP rooms. A man in a dull grey suit was staring down at them through the glass. The man breathed fog onto the window, drew a smiley face with his finger, then closed the curtain and walked away.

”That your man?” she asked, turning back to Shape.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeve Butler Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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Maeve would briefly turn to speak to Liz only to find that the woman was no longer standing beside her and Shape. Liz had mysteriously disappeared into the chaos of the night, nowhere to be seen....

Setting

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Character Portrait: Liz Baker
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A shrill ringtone began to sound throughout the darkened room. Movement slowly began to stir from the massive bed, a thin pale arm emerging from the pile of blankets to reach for a phone that vibrated obnoxiously on the bedside table. A few missed grabs, and then the hand found the phone and pulled it back into the warmth of the bed, answering with a raspy, sleep deprived voice, “Mmm…hello?”

“Hi mum.”

Liz propped herself up on her elbow, the rest of her body completely swallowed by a mountain of blankets and pillows. Her eyes squinted in the darkness of the room where small slithers of daylight struggled to push through the curtains. She cleared her voice and spoke, “Rose. Hello, sweetheart. Sorry, what time is it?”

“It’s around noon here. Is it too early for you? Oh, but I’m on my lunch break, I just thought I’d call since it’s been a while…”

Liz interrupted, “No, no. It’s fine. How are you, darling? How is Tauranga?”

The voice on the other end appeared to perk up slightly, “It’s really great. I love it here. Dad’s family is really kind, and the beaches are absolutely stunning. Everywhere in New Zealand is actually. I’m so glad to be working here.”

“That’s good to hear,” the older woman smiled, “How is Leila and the baby?”

“She’s good! The baby is a boy, his name is Xavier.”

“Wish them well for me.”

“Yeah, I will.” There was a moment of silence, the younger woman on the other end taking some time to pick her next words, “How about you, mum? Are you...are you still going to that club?”

Liz sat up properly now, her joints popping as she stretched her old back.

“No,” she lied, “No I’m not. I haven't used my powers for anything unnecessary either. Nothing illegal. I’m keeping my promise, sweetie. I’m done with all that.”

Rose seemed to let out a small sigh of relief, “That’s good. Great. I’m proud of you. As I said last time - I’m here, you’re here - we can support each other.”

“I know, Rose.” Except she wasn’t here.

“And you...you’re better than that. You were a hero once, mum. Like, an actual hero. You can be that again.”

Silence. Liz chewed her lip with a frown. Her daughter had never understood, in fact she doubted any non-super could. It was too hard to explain anymore. Too exhausting.

“Well...anyway. I have to go,” Rose hesitated, as if the next words she was about to say had to be forced out, “I love you.”

“Mm, you too. Ta-ta. Bye.”

The phone hung up and Liz was left there in the quiet of her darkened room, consumed by her lies and her thoughts. A pang of bitterness crossed her heart listening to how happy her daughter was surrounded by a loving family that wasn’t her. She dropped her phone on her bed and shuffled herself to the side, swinging her legs down to grey slippers. Her head was pounding from the previous night. Standing up and pulling the curtains apart, a flood of bright spring light swept away the tension of the conversation to uncover a beautiful view of Atlas City before her. It was a new day.