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Sairyn Pendrake

The Arcanist of NAHLA

0 · 402 views · located in Atlas City

a character in “Hadean”, as played by XianEvermor

Description

Sairyn Pendrake

Image Image Image Image Image






Image✖|| Full Name ||✖
Sairyn Pendrake

✖|| Aliases ||✖
Arcanum

✖|| Age ||✖
Appears to be in their mid 20’s

✖|| Gender ||✖
Male

✖|| Nationality ||✖
Brittish-American

✖|| Ethnicity ||✖
Caucasian

✖|| Hair ||✖
Silver-White

✖|| Eye color ||✖
Green

✖|| Body ||✖
Athletic, but slim. Sairyn still manages to cut an intimidating silhouette in spite of his lack of muscle mass. His silvery white hair is nicely groomed and well take care of, having a near metallic sheen. However, it’s often hanging in his face or kept in a messy pony tail, which sometimes detracts from his professional demeanor. He has sharp, almost chiseled features, and olive skin in contrast to his white hair.

✖|| Height ||✖
6’1’’

✖|| Weight ||✖
170 lbs

✖|| Hometown||✖:
Washington, DC

✖|| Affiliation(s)||✖:
NAHLA

✖|| Face Claim ||✖
Akira Hayama | Food Wars




✖ Personality ✖:
{ Intelligent | Calculated | Reserved | Haughty | Arrogant }
Calculating and reserved, sometimes haughty to the point of arrogance. Sairyn is extremely intelligent and it shows. Although he tries to keep a reserved, professional demeanor he often comes across as an insufferable know-it-all. He’s one of those people that derives enjoyment from trapping his opponent, and then explaining his elaborate plans at length. Sairyn is primarily an enforcer of law, and a highly talented investigator, however he is not above bending or breaking the rules if it suits his goals, or protects his plans. There is a cold, almost sociopathic air about him, and sometimes working with him can seem like you’re just a pawn in one of his elaborate schemes.



✖|| Likes ||✖Image
Tea

Shogi

Cooking

Fine cuisine

Electronics and Gadgets

When a plan comes together

✖|| Dislikes ||✖
Junk food

Smoking, Drugs

Anything bitter

Most things to do with Kiran Kingsly

Genetic tampering

Purposeless killing: every life is… useful.

✖|| Fears ||✖
Failure

Becoming unhinged

Being ensnared in someone else’s web

Being killed by his own inventions

✖|| Skills ||✖
Intelligence: Sairyn is highly intelligent, which may or may not be a bi-product of his powers. He is able to quickly piece facts and information together, which makes him an extremely effective crime scene investigator. He is also an effective strategist, able to piece together effective counters after having faced an enemy a handful of times.

Master Chef: Not necessarily useful in combat, but Sairyn is an extremely skilled cook and can produce restaurant quality meals with even mundane ingredients. It's made him a food snob, and he doesn't just not care for the cooking of others, it's quite beneath him. As a habit, Sairyn doesn't eat anything he didn't prepare himself.

Martial Arts: Although Sairyn prefers not to engage in hand-to-hand fighting, he has mastered NAHLA’s standard close quarters combat program and is a proficient martial artist.

Marksman: Sairyn is capable of making complex ballistic calculations on the fly, and can make incredibly difficult, near impossible shots with most firearms easily.

✖|| Costume Identity ||✖Image

Uniform:
When not in plain clothes, Sairyn wears the signature silver and white NAHLA uniform with trench coat. The coat itself has a stylized crimson Celtic cross stretching across the back.

Mask:
None

Equipment:
  • “The Glasses:” One of Sairyn’s first inventions. A pair of innocent looking glasses that obscure the user’s face so long as they aren’t standing in direct light. They absorb and re-direct light to project a silhouette-like appearance onto the user. The lenses have a tendency to shine as though light is glinting off of them, which adds an intimidating air to the silhouette he projects. Mainly used for thematic effect, though he can use them to go unnoticed or unrecognized in dimly lit venues such as night clubs or arenas.
  • “Arx Magni:” A small, clamp-like ring with a focused magnetic field that allows for a bullet to be fired outside of a weapon chamber. One of these is fitted to every round in Sairyn’s arsenal.
    Image
  • “Arx Volta:” Sairyn’s signature weapon. An almost hilariously large pistol that fires whole, undischarged bullet cartridges through magnetic acceleration. It’s typically loaded with 9mm rounds, which it has the highest capacity for, but it’s compatible with all pistol caliber ammunition. It can be fired in semi-automatic, three round burst, and fully automatic modes. The muzzle velocity of the weapon is lower than if the bullets had been fired conventionally, but the cartridges can be triggered remotely through telekinesis while in flight.
  • “Arx Arbalest:” A wrist mounted magnetic accelerator which can be loaded with “Stratagem” cartridges. Sairyn has one on each arm, each typically loaded with different Stratagems. Each Arbalest has a capacity for 8 cartridges, and a maximum range of about 30 meters.
  • “Arx Stratagem:” Small octagonal cartridges with a diameter of approximately 1-inch. The cartridges are designed to be manipulated through telekinesis while in flight, and adhere easily to any surface. Once fired they can be triggered remotely at any time manually by Sairyn, or by proximity sensor. The interior of each cartridge is compressed space, which can be loaded with any object that will fit through the 1-inch octagonal opening (regardless of its actual size). Upon opening, the contents are ejected through explosive decompression. The more mass compressed into the stratagem, the more force the contents are ejected with. Stratagem cartridges are typically destroyed upon use.
  • Ensnare: A stratagem cartridge loaded with a net of electrified filament
  • Concussion: A stratagem cartridge loaded with steel ball bearings – is typically non-lethal, but bearings can be ejected with lethal force if the stratagem is packed with enough of them.
  • Ignition: A stratagem cartridge loaded with a shaped charge
  • Chaff: A stratagem cartridge loaded with strips of metal foil and metallic powder designed to confuse radar and sensory electronics.
  • Fusillade: A stratagem packed with 100 9mm pistol rounds. The bullet casings are fit with miniature firing pins that will discharge the bullet about 1 second after a significant velocity change.
  • Mjolnir: A stratagem loaded with a magnetic accelerator and an 8-foot steel rod. When opened, the rod is launched at approximately 1000 meters per second. Developed in response to an encounter with one of Kiran’s creations.
    Image
  • “Arx Magnos:” A pair of single edge, curved swords made of a hafnium-carbide alloy. The blades themselves are not sharp. However, they are lined with miniaturized magnetic field generators. When activated the swords produce a blade of magnetically contained argon gas plasma, which burns with a brilliant purple-white light. The magnetic fields keep the plasma from contact with the metal, though they will still overheat and reach melting temperature after a few minutes of continuous use. The coherent light blades have a contact temperature of approximately thirty-thousand degrees Fahrenheit, and can instantly slice through most materials effortlessly.
    Image
  • “Arx Mechanicha:” A dark, leather-bound book which hangs from Sairyn’s belt. The hard exterior cover is embossed with a Celtic-like border surrounding a diamond-star. The design carries a metallic sheen, and seems to shine with some sort of energy when touched. The pages are dark and almost metallic, and if one looks extremely closely they’d see that while the circuit tracing is nearly invisible, each one has the appearance of an electronics board. The book itself is divided into two sections, “Schemata” and “The Appendix.”
  • Schemata: A collection of blueprints from objects and devices that Sairyn has either built, or Traced.
  • The Appendix: A complete list of ready-built equipment, items, weapons, ammunition, and vehicles stored in his Arx Emporia. This list is updated in real-time.
  • “Arx Emporia:” The treasure room of Babylon, rumored to be a vast NAHLA facility built and designed by Sairyn himself, at some secure, undisclosed location. Rumors are that it’s a storehouse that stretches off to infinity in every direction the eye can see, and is stacked with shelves of weapons, both conventional and exotic, vehicles, gadgets, prototypes of all kinds, vast stores of ammunition and ordinance, and piles upon piles of materials of every element. The Emporia is technically a Lost Arx. Though it is currently in Sairyn’s control, nobody knows the exact location of the Emporia, not even Sairyn.

[font=avenir light]✖|| Background ||✖

Sairyn is an interesting case, in that he was not only born with his powers, but began expressing them very early, when he was just three years old. In the world of rising supers, cold war tensions and advancing technology he became famous as a child prodigy very quickly. When Sairyn was 10 he was kidnapped by a terrorist organization and made to produce weapons and gadgets of all kinds.

He was missing for 5 whole years, during which many incidents occurred involving what became known as Sairyn’s “Lost Arx.” Many of the Lost Arx are out in the world someplace, unrecovered and often squabbled over by various organizations. Sairyn doesn’t talk about his time in captivity, but it’s rumored that he himself was often traded and fought over as much as the things he created. That was his life until an unknown WMD detonated in an underground facility on the outskirts of Lozovoye, near the Kazakhstan-Russia border.

A nuclear test was ruled out, as there was no radiation found on the disaster site, but the ordinance did destroy an area roughly ten miles in diameter. Sairyn was found by United Nations disaster relief, nearly crushed in the wreckage by the edge of the blast zone, and ultimately turned over to NAHLA once his identity was confirmed.

Nobody is sure what the long-term ramifications of having spent many of his formative years in the captivity and employ of various shady organizations, both villainous and terrorist. Sairyn seems to have grown into a highly capable leader and investigator in spite of that, and has quickly climbed the ranks and made a name for himself in the super community. Sairyn has since become a widely respected gadgeteer, and is almost solely responsible for much of the equipment that NAHLA affiliated supers use, including Silver Fang’s iconic armor.

Although he has a nearly flawless track record, there are two things which trigger a complete paradigm shift in his personality: Pursuit of the Lost Arx, and most interactions with the villain known as Kiran Kingsly. Sairyn was on close, even friendly terms with Kiran during their time as a doctor for supers. He even personally called Kiran to perform a delicate surgery on one of the most beloved supers of the time. Unfortunately, due to an accident during the surgery her life was ended.
There was reportedly a loud argument between them, in which Sairyn could be heard yelling “You could have done better!” It later came out that Sairyn had been having a secret romantic affair with the beloved hero and was furious when he’d heard how she died. He vanished for some months at around the same time Kiran vanished from the world. It was assumed he was on the trail of the doctor whom had reportedly gone rogue. When Sairyn re-surfaced he was… different.

Sairyn has never spoken about it, and doesn’t seem to recall any specifics, but whatever happened between them during his disappearance scarred him deeply enough to repress the memories. When it comes to Kiran, he becomes maniacally single minded, almost seeming to enter a fugue state. Their last few encounters involved extensive collateral damage, including the complete collapse of a ten story building which was struck by an unknown kinetic weapon.

✖ Powers ✖:

|| Adeptus Mechanicus ||
Tinker - 10
{ Subclass(s): Combat Tinker }
Given the appropriate materials, Sairyn can quickly create any item from his recorded schemata. Larger items require more time to re-create.

The main use of this power is the manipulation of materials by touch: Sairyn can imitate any modern material processing, shaping, or machining technique by touch, including the creation of composites and alloys. This power works on every solid and liquid element on the periodic table, including their synthetic and processed counterparts IE: motor oil, plastics, rubber, silicates & etc. It is possible to manipulate the molecular structure of these elements, such as creating steel from iron, or metal folding.

Sairyn is a combat-oriented tinker that specializes in magnetic acceleration and spacial-compression, mainly dealing in hand-held weapons or personal armor.

Weakness/drawbacks:
  • Limited direct combat application
  • Sairyn must remain in physical contact with the material he’s manipulating for the entire duration of the process.
  • Unable to create the materials necessary to make his devices out of nothing.
  • Does not work on gasses.
  • Does not work on most living matter, such as plants, animals, or people.
  • Cannot change the nature of one element to another element
  • Denser materials are slower to shape
  • His creations are not exclusive: anyone can use them (except the Arx Mechanica: anyone can read it, and even decipher the blueprints but only Sairyn can create items from it)




|| Trace ||
Thinker - 4
{ Subclass(s): Skill Thinker }
Sairyn can instantly learn and understand the workings of any electronic or mechanical device he can physically touch, and record a detailed blueprint including all necessary parts, their assembly, and exact measurements onto a Schemata page.

Weakness/drawbacks:
  • He must maintain physical contact with the object during the recording process, which takes several seconds or the Schemata will be incomplete.
  • He must have possession of the Arx Mechanica to record a Schemata.




|| Telekinesis ||
Shaker – 2 | Blaster - 1
{ Subclass(s): Accuracy Blaster }
Sairyn can lift or manipulate any object in his line of sight telekinetically that weighs less than 5 pounds, including accurately striking a point with some force, such as the primer on a bullet cartridge.

Weakness/drawbacks:
  • Must be able to see the object
  • It must have a total net weight of less than 5 pounds, including any effects from manipulated gravity.
  • Pinpoint accuracy, but limited force. While he can strike people with his telekinesis, inflicting even a bruise on a person would be difficult.




|| Equip ||
Mover - 4
{ Subclass(s): Gate Mover }
Sairyn can fold space between his Arx Emporia and himself, creating a rift from which he can retrieve any item stored in The Appendix, or deposit items into the Emporia. He has absolute control over the translocation within 15 meters and can deposit items into his hands, on his or anyone else's body, or anywhere on the ground within the radius.

Weakness/drawbacks:
  • Best used in combination with the Arx Mechanicus. The Appendix is a combination of item identification, and location coordinates within the Arx Emporia that Sairyn can read by touch. Because there are SO MANY things held in the Emporia, finding something without this information is possible but extremely difficult, like reaching blindly into a large sweets sack for a specific piece of candy. Incidental items he uses often, such as his phone, keys, stratagem disks, and Arx Volta and Magnos are "coffee table" items that he can call out at will (he always knows where they are in the Emporia because he uses them all the time.)
  • Anything not recorded in the Appendix is held in a temporary space, and will be ejected automatically after 1 hour.
  • The Appendix can be re-organized at will, but recording new items is a process that takes some time This involves finding empty space in the Emporia, recording the coordinates, encoding the Appendix entry, and linking it to the specific item.
  • Does not work on the Arx Mechanicus
  • Does not work on living things (people, animals etc)
  • Cannot transport himself or any other person
  • The larger the trans-located mass, the longer the materialization process takes. (A standard SUV takes about 10 seconds, but his phone is instant.)
[/list]



Power Origins: Sairyn was born with his powers, and began expressing them at an extremely young age.




Image Image Image Image Image


Color Code: #13B30D


So begins...

Sairyn Pendrake's Story

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Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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March 11th, 2045, 9:15am: Atlas City, North Carolina, USA


Sairyn stepped out of the diner and into the street, taking his glasses off as the light struck him. The silhouette melted away and he flicked a stray lock of silver-sheened white hair out of his eyes as he surveyed the scene. Busy little bees were already at work taking pictures, bagging and tagging evidence, and inspecting every inch of the battle. He gazed off to the corner where the Black-Coats had amassed for their attack for a few moments as he reconstructed the scene in his mind. The attack was not what surprised him: Yue and he had been waiting for the Witchfinders to make a move for several weeks now to confirm whether or not the leak of her identity was an isolated incident.

The timing, location, ferocity, and overall boldness was what concerned him. The careful bait they had prepared was ignored, and they struck at a perfect time when their guard was down, just before he was about to lift Yue's suspension and at a time when she wasn't covered secretly by nearby NAHLA supers. The Black-Coats were either watching her closely enough to figure out her routine, or receiving information from someone that was. They also identified her by sight in plain clothes, which led Sairyn to suspect it wasn't just her identity that was leaked.

He rubbed his chin in thought, raking his emerald gaze over the carnage and settling on the corpse of Balthazar... or what was left of it at least. Bringing a Bio-Engineered Weapon, 25 soldiers and power-granting drugs to deal with one lady in a diner might seem like overkill if you didn't know who the target was. Clearly they either learned from their last encounter where Yue pancaked an entire parking garage on top of them and crushed their leader to death with her bare hands in a fit of rage... or someone fed them information about her abilities from her file. Sairyn would have leaned towards the former if not for a few niggling details.

The team composition of that incident had been changed at the last minute, something he hadn't been involved in. Tracking down the source of the order led to a dead end: nobody in the organization recalled giving it. They'd also meticulously rounded up all the suspects and curated the news story to downplay Yue's involvement. Then there was the alarming increase in the number of Witchfinder incidents that Yue had been involved in over the past two years: somehow she managed to find herself in the center of nearly every Black-Coat appearance. Most of those incidents were low-scale, and only involved very light usage of Yue's abilities, but Sairyn didn't believe in coincidence.

He let go of the glasses, allowing them to dissolve in a dull flash of light, replaced instantly by a phone. He flicked idly through the screens, checking his messages and email while he waited for... something.

"Convenient," he remarked to the SINS agents as they approached. It wasn't: they were several minutes behind his timetable... but everyone almost always was. At least they were treading nicely and waiting their turn to investigate. "You can drop off your surveillance of the park and diner over at the evidence collection table. Or, if you can't be bothered to walk that far I can take it here," he said, holding his hand out without looking up from his phone, but couldn't hide the very slight smirk that tugged at the corners of his lips.

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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Atlas City, 9:13 - 10:20, March 11th.



Jericho wound their way back home with Alex on their back, stopping a few blocks away to let Alex dismount before they returned to a more humanoid form. He wouldn't look at Jericho at first, heaving a heavy sigh before sweeping the vastly shorter 'person' up in a hug.
Their form appeared to be a male roughly the same age as Alex, though far smaller. 'His' hair was a wild, shaggy mess of curls, dark black in hue. Their ears were pierced with some kind of bronze anchors, and from their neck dangled a woven necklace of 'leather' and copper, the main piece shaped like a crying crescent moon with a scowling, blazing, sun on the other 'half' of the same 'coin'.
The ink that swirled along with the coming change was thinner by a means, as if there weren't as much volume to the ichor-liquid as before.
Jericho blinked rapidly, returning the hug with quiet confusion before listening with focus as Alex spoke.
"I'm so glad you're alright," He began, speaking gently and with the heavy weight of someone who was only just letting go of their worries. Then he continued, his tone becoming stern and focused. "But don't do that again! That was a lot of unknown Supers! You could have been running ass first into a shit situation buddy! ... Jeez." Alex laughed briefly and shook his head before continuing. "Seriously, I'm glad you're okay, but please for my sake please don't ever do that again. Gonna shave a few years off my life with all that stress." he smirked and let go of Jericho, but not before ruffling their hair playfully. "Are you still hungry? I can make us something back at home. Though no dessert for you, I'm not rewarding your lack of sense!"

Jericho replied to all of this with simple nods and a brief, exhausted smile, they could feel the drain that their forms had put on their body. Though, for some odd reason, they still felt a deep satisfaction. And an itch for more, a deep part of their psyche screaming at them to return to the scene and return to combat...
They ignored it, sighing brightly and then in mock disappointment at the promise of no sweets. Oh well.

Alex smiled Back at Jericho and gave a thumbs up. "Alright, I'm thinking some pan friend chicken in a big ol' salad. Yes I will make extra, I swear we are gonna eat ourselves out of house and home one of these days, hahaha." He hummed to himself as they walked along. That whole situation could easily have been sumed up as a complete shit show. Alex was still somewhat baffled that the two of them had gotten away practically scott free. Though he would need a new phone. Gotta take the good with the bad though. He had already dropped his force field armor and tossed his hoodie in a nearby garbage bin. It already had a few holes and rips in it anyway and he really didn't want any sort of identifier that could lead back to him. Super stuff could wait for later anyway, he could contemplate this mornings events after a full stomach.


It didn't take Alex and Jericho too much longer to reach their shared home, with Alex unlocking and opening the front door in relatively companionable silence.




Atlas City, March 11th, 7:59 PM.


Jericho was sat in front of the viewing screen quietly, staring at the colors that spiraled and swirled across the flatscreen with a blank expression. Alex had cooked once they were home, some delicious meal that Jericho honestly couldn't remember. It had tasted good, that was for sure, but it was still... Not quite enough. After some time spent chit-chatting, Alex claimed himself tired and had gone upstairs to go to bed, with Jericho remaining downstairs to stare at a TV screen saver.

They stood up abruptly, taking the sudden deep breath that Alex took as a sign that he had begun to truly, deeply, sleep. They moved with purpose, turning about and letting ink swirl about their body. Their 'clothes' and 'jewelry' receded into their skin, and that same skin abruptly flickered with color before vanishing. Jericho themselves camouflaging against their surroundings with the accuracy and speed of a cracked-out cuttlefish. With even more precision in fact.
They crawled forth, moving slowly and yet with strides long enough to cover the distance needed- Fuck. A small creak echoed through the quiet apartment, with Jericho's knee having pushed against the coffee table in the living room. They were still hungry, still shaky after the excitement of the morning prior, and there was a battlefield possibly LITTERED with food items. Enough to satisfy that itch and craving that pulled at Jericho's core.

They crept onward, moving ever so slightly faster, and with a grace that nearly didn't fit the human form they wore. They stalked forth like a cat, or perhaps something with more alien grace that it should have. Their movements were sure and fluid, and they had the window unlocked, opened, escaped through, closed, and re-locked in moments. They were clinging to the wall of their apartment building, high up on the fourth story, with a face set in grim determination.
"I'm a fucking comic-book hero. Sticky hands for the win." They whispered to themselves, their voice unnaturally high-low pitched. They turned about, and made their way to the ground floor on their hands and knees, crawling down the side of their building at a rapid pace.

It took them little time, after taking the form of a German shepherd, to reach the park once again. They camouflaged yet again upon arrival, vanishing from sight as they avoided street lights and ... Lights in general really. Slipping in through the back door of the broken diner, they turned to approach the park... They could nearly smell the-

The bodies were gone.
In their place were some federal agent looking types- Nothing Jericho needed to deal with. Along with the cloying scent of someone with powers in the nearby area, it stung their nose like synaptic static... And it was vaguely familiar. They sucked a breath in, pulling deep and letting their nose fill with... Nearly three different scents. The unfortunately familiar scent of wind-swept grass and sweat dripping onto wood and string. The newer, yet still vaguely familiar scent of static on static and halting speech, and the infinitely more familiar of ozone and rust, of copper and starlight-
Alex. Shit.
"Fffffuck." Quietly rumbled an 'invisible' voice, standing just shy of the shattered window in the empty, dark, diner. Ink swirled as they dropped their camouflage long enough to change their shape to an amorphous blob.
Slinking back over to the alley behind the diner, they found themselves face to face with glory: A dumpster. A steel dumpster.
Food time.

Meanwhile, all the while, from the apartment to the park... A certain telekinetic man followed the footsteps of a shapeshifting trouble maker, dressed in his proper costumed attire, with a bag over his shoulder and focus on his mind. He stepped into the park to find nothing there, except for a vague shadow moving about in the diner across the way, and the subtle sound of swirling ink.
And perhaps a certain Hound Master would hear the voice- Or maybe even the slight creak and crack of glass being crunched under-paw. Perhaps they would notice first, the slightest smell of pen ink and fur rising and fading away... Or perhaps they would notice the shape of a canine swirling and shrinking before a completely black blob returned to the alleyway.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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March 11th, 2045, 9:15am: Atlas City, North Carolina, USA

Peter turned to look at someone who'd spoken to him, the 'hero' Sairyn. He paused, looking the Silver-White haired man up and down as the cigarette hung loosely in Peter's lips. "Our surveillance evidence huh? Didn't realize NAHLA thought they got to tell SINS what to do. You don't, as a matter of fact. But seeing as this will result in some kind of altercation where your boss and my boss have to negotiate and come to some conclusion that'll probably be the same anyways, I guess we can make it easier and avoid the paper work. I'll have someone bring it over when it's done being looked over. Had some... Technical difficulties we need to work out."

The SINS Special Agent pulled out his phone and began texting his orders out. "And listen Sairyn, we need samples from the Witchfinders and that big guy. We're trying to track down a source for where these things are coming from. The running theory is it's not domestic. I hope you can understand the necessity of SINS dealing with an issue that falls into the scope of our government's Foreign Policies. It's part of why we exist." he began to walk away, waving a hand to the super. "Your government thanks you."

As he got further away, he could be overheard muttering about where to find the staff coffee.

__________________________________________________________________


March 11th, 2045, Around 8:00pm: Atlas City, North Carolina, USA

The streets were starting to get cleared up, bodies taken away, samples placed in glittering stainless steel briefcases. Peter stood in the park, looking down at the diner and the disappearing chaos. He was, once again, smoking a cigarette. The relations between him, Ivetta, and Sairyn were tense, to say the absolute least. He snicked slightly to himself, thinking about how he cared far less about that then they perhaps thought he did.

It was clear that they were trying to 'interfere' with SINS business here, but they failed to know what that business even was. When Sairyn and NAHLA finally look at the recordings SINS had, a great deal of the content would be 'lost' to static and cutoffs from the EMP the shapeshifter had released. That was the official story at least. SINS, and Peter, didn't need this information getting to uncontrollable third parties. They wouldn't see much of the other heroes that showed up, and they definitely wouldn't see where the shapeshifter ran off to, the asset they were most concerned about keeping a lid on.

He'd spotted the shorter girl from earlier at the park, here to do her own investigation? Peter almost felt bad for the poor thing, she had the mark of a bad day all over her.

Peter, as he expected when the day started, had had a great day. He grinned as he took another drag of smoke.

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Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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March 11th, 2045, 9:15am: Atlas City, North Carolina, USA


"Hmm. Surprised caution? Maybe. Aggression. Backpedal. Offer 'compromise.' Pretend to acquiesce. Predictable," He responded, looking up from his phone and rubbing his chin in thought for a moment. "I suppose your technicians are still scrubbing sensitive footage of something you don't want me to know about," he sighed, turning towards the agents.

"I suppose you'll blame the cuts on electromagnetic interference then? I wish you would just save me some effort and deliver the raw footage, I'm going to figure out whatever it is you're hiding if I haven't already," he responded haughtily, lifting his nose to look down at them.

"If you insist, I will play along," he informed after a moment, looking back down at his phone. "You'll have your samples, Agent. I'll even make sure our team doesn't run into any 'technical difficulties' when delivering them," he informed, trailing off a little. He appeared to be having an intense conversation through messages on his phone and muttered something under his breath.

"I'll have my people contact your people... run along now," he said, lifting a hand to shoo them away.

Their conversation did have him wondering what exactly it was that they didn't want him to see. Was it one of the combatants they were watching? Something about the Witchfinders specifically? Or perhaps the shape-shifting monster that they were interested in? His eyes flicked to one of the used syringes on the asphalt for a long moment, one of the CSIs was taking a picture of it next to an evidence marker and carefully bagging it.

I don't care.
Deliver it to Atlas immediately.
If I don't have it by noon I'm coming to take it.




He finished typing, ending a pages long argument with a huff and throwing his phone over his shoulder with a note of frustration. It dissolved in a flash of light before hitting the ground and he stuffed his hands in his pockets. So hard to find good help these days.

"I'll take that," he informed, snatching the evidence bag containing the syringe from the CSI as he walked past and turning it over slowly in his hands. The CSI rolled his eyes and went back to work.

What about this has you so worked up, Agent? It couldn't just be that it was dangerous, illegal, and possibly manufactured by a foreign power. Nothing is ever that simple with SINS.

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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Atlas City, 9:13 - 10:20, March 11th.



"Inconvenient," Sairyn muttered from behind the wheel of a white SUV emblazoned with a red Celtic cross and the NAHLA emblem. He wiped a trickle of blood from his lip while Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" played through the speakers. Sentimentality was a waste of time, and grieving families could be unreasonable, but he got what he needed. Sairyn's emerald eyes flicked up to the mirror to check and make sure the large crate strapped down in the cargo area was still there. They'd acted like he wasn't going to bring it back to them the next day.

The highway miles melted away as the music played, leaving him to his thoughts. His brow furrowed, clearly annoyed. Having to drive more than an hour out of town and make a copy on the spot had put him much farther behind his timetable than he wanted. Sairyn was already going to have to stay up most of the night to make the necessary alterations, and then there was the investigation and the mysterious syringe to deal with. He was deep in thought when he pulled off the Atlas City exit, confirming the quickest route to the NAHLA facility where his lab was located and turning onto the road passing Soldier Park and the diner scene. He almost didn't notice the slim figure crossing the street to the Diner's alley in front of him. It was the flashing holographic crime scene tape and the light of a police drone returning to its dock that caught his attention.

The SUV screeched loudly to a halt. Sairyn looked at the clock quickly... did he even bother? He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel apprehensively for a long moment before he shut off the engine and got out, not bothering to park it. As he shut the door, the SUV lit up like it was struck by a strong light, and began to dissolve from the top down over several seconds while he walked towards the alley. He stopped a handful of steps away from the woman... close, but not close enough to get clobbered, even if she lunged at him. Sairyn wasn't even looking at her, he was rapidly tapping something into his phone with one hand while the other was held behind his back.

"I'm behind schedule so... ID and explanation, and then I'll be on my way," he instructed impatiently. He guessed she was someone from the incident returned to do her own investigation. Sairyn didn't recognize her from the morning, but he'd been too busy to check every face. It never hurt to be sure, but it was probably nothing...

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Alexander Dalton

The meal with Jericho had been filled with chatter between mouthfuls and the occasional pause when Alex would point at a character on TV and see how well Jericho could mimic it. Sometimes it would look horrifying depending on what it was, just goes to prove that some cartoon characters really shouldn't exist in real life. Scooby doo was too good for this world . . . but not that version Jericho had become. He was glad to see his friend more animated after how exhausted they looked walking into the loft. It was the moments where the two of them were just here in the apartment isolated from the rest of Atlas city that Jericho and him could actually relax and let their worries go. no worry of being seen doing anything weird and not having to be paranoid of some random person spotting them. It was nice.
Even though the two would usually stay up later, Alex found himself thinking about laying down more and more. A glance at the clock confirmed that it was getting a bit late. Damn, that felt too early to go to bed. Maybe a nap would be a good idea though, then get up and sneak out for some vigilante work later. He didn't have any work tomorrow and he was sure he could sneak out this time without waking Jericho.

He got up from their coach and gathered the twos bowls. ""I think i'm gonna turn in early man, today was a bit much for me. Don't stay up too late alright?"" The shapeshifter gave him a thumbs up, their eyes glued to the tv still. Alex chuckled lightly and went to do the dishes and clean up. Not too sure why they found the tv screen saver entertaining but he wouldn't complain if it was a distraction for them. Alex dried off his hands and made his way up to his room. He swore he could hear his bed calling to him at this point. After closing the door behind himself he dressed himself down to his boxers and threw on one of his comfy T-shirts before flopping onto his bed unceremoniously. The "custom" bed frame groaned slightly under his sudden weight but held firm. Took nearly a week to make and it was still holding up thankfully. Alex shifted till he got comfortable and sighed loudly, waiting for sleep to take him.

Then he heard the creaking.

it was a small sound, but load enough for Alex to hear up in his room with the door closed. God damn it Jericho. He slowly began to sit up and stretch his body. He wasn't going to get sleep till later tonight for sure now. Jericho never made any sound around the house despite their eccentricities . . . except when they were sneaking out. Alex took one of his pillows and practically screamed into it in frustration. There was no guessing where that Shapeshifter was going. They wanted the bodies at the Diner. Alex was no idiot, Jericho was made with the purpose of hunting and eating supers. a bunch of dead villains was just asking them to go snacking. By now Jericho was probably out of the building and heading that way. Alex got back up out of bed and began to grab pulling on the pieces of his costume scattered about. He opened the window next to his bed to crawl out of before pausing. Jericho might try hunting any one of the other supers that had been present during the attack. Though he was sure his friend at least had the sense to not go after any of the known hero's, it was best he went out prepared if things got weird. Alex rounded about and grabbed a black duffle bag by his bed that had at least three different changes of cloths. two plain and casual while the other was a bit more fancy. after an incident at a penthouse party he decided having nice cloths on hand if needed was a lot more practical then storming some rich young villains party in costume.
With the bag on his back, Aegis leapt out his bedroom window and into the night air. A sky blue platform formed below him which he quickly bounded off of with great force to catapult himself back into the air. After building enough momentum, Aegis made his way towards the Diner.


Atlas City, March 11th, 10 PM

Alex landed with a loud thud on one of his platforms just above a building near the diner. he was sure he was high enough now that he couldn't be accidentally seen. Thank goodness for humanities natural field of vision. He dropped to the buildings rooftop and quickly made his way to the edge to get a good vantage point of the Diner. There didn't appear to be any obvious activity going on from his angle but that wasn't a guarantee nobody was around.
He had to make his way around the rooftops again, he was hopping if Jericho was anywhere he would get a view from the side. A quick minute of bouncing off his platforms gave him a line of sight of the Diners alleyway. Not that it did much given how spotty the lighting was. there DID appear to be two people currently there. he would have to move closer to make out any details though.

Just lovely.

No turning back now. He dropped down to a lower roof that was close to the street the alley was on and crept forward towards the edge. Thankfully it wasn't one of those older buildings with gravel on the roof. When he got to the edge he slowly and deliberately peered over the edge towards the diner alley. A tall man was addressing a considerably short woman with bright red hair. He couldn't tell who was who or if either was a super right away. For now he would wait and see what happens. Jericho might be in the area still and if these two were supers there was a good chance he might be "Hunting" them. Alex bit his lip in annoyance. This would be easier if he had a more solid way of tracking Jericho but he had no other options right now. he just hoped his assumptions were right.

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Atlas City, North Carolina, March 11th.
Jericho froze in their movement and consumption of the dumpster, having climbed partway inside of the thing to get at any left over food and or thrown away trinkets. Where the flesh of their ‘blob’ form touched metal or food, branches of jagged, tree-spread veins spread out over the surfaces. Ink seeped from the veins, coalesced and dissolved the object(s) nearby, and quickly receded back into Jericho’s form.
The researchers back at their… old ‘home’, said they ate much like a starfish. Though far more ‘disgusting’ in essence.

Jericho had heard the clatter of some glass piece tinkling about behind them. They were vaguely aware of the static-scented super having come closer, but the fact they were so close was worrying. Another super then appeared, and Jericho silently cursed their luck. Their heartbeat thundered in their ears, and for a moment, adrenaline poured in and Jericho got ready to pounce and defend themselves… Before they heard the talking.

It seemed as if one, or maybe both, had no real idea as to where Jericho was. An advantageous situation to be in, if one were attempting to hide… or surprise your surroundings and flee.
Quietly, unbeknownst to those around Jericho, the Polymorph began rapidly consuming everything they could in the dumpster, including the dumpster itself.
They were consuming as fast as they could, and considering they never really tested how fast they ate; to say that the dumpster disappeared along with most of its contents save for plastics and a rare few articles of clothing or cloth… Jericho ate the damn thing in just under three or so seconds.

The form nearly doubled in size as Jericho ate, and ate, and ate. Stopping only when they gently let the lids of the bin rest on the concrete of the alley. Their form swirled with ink, the noise of it was enough to grab the attention of the two (three) Supers before they could continue any further conversation.

The ink swelled for a moment, filling the alleyway with a cacophony of sloshing and splashing noises before it vanished!

And revealed the barely visible form of an extremely confused raccoon. The animal hisses at the two supers before fluffing up, swelling to an abnormal size… And splattering open on its chest. A spray of viscera flew in almost all directions, but the majority of it was slung towards the two supers in the alley with Jericho.
Organs and intestines and what looked like a broad net of webbing coated in black ichor. The air filled with the rancid stink of waste and blood.

The raccoon then ‘vanished’, once again taking the methodology of a cuttlefish and blending into its environment. Left in place of the raccoon were a collection of coins and a necklace with a leather tag reading “Pawn me off. Price me for $120.

Moments later, beside the Aegis who watched from the roof, a raccoon scrambled up and then silently shifted into the form of a massive hound. In its mouth was an equally massive shield. The ‘face’ of the shield was of a Roman helmet, with intricate carvings of bronze surrounding the helmet with geometric shapes and small spiraling shields. The shield itself was made of iron, and in the night-light, reflected the stars and clouds above nearly perfectly. It receded back into Jericho as the dog quickly and quietly ran to the other edge of the roof- Another scent filling it’s snout as it located yet another target.

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Sheri looked over her shoulder for a brief moment at the sound of a car approaching, followed by footsteps. She put up one finger to silence him when he opened his mouth, not bothering to look at them, then reached into her back pocket and tossed them her wallet, which was completely empty aside from a printed contractor's card.

There was a loud screeching of metal being dissolved in the alley, and Sheri poked her head around to see a large…

What the fuck? Sheri stepped back from the wall to avoid the… king slime from splashing her as it writhed and undulated until it filled the alley before immediately collapsing in on itself to reveal… a raccoon. What the fuck?

She exchanged a look with the woman- wait, no, it was just a very beautiful man- in the crisp white dress uniform of NAHLA. He saw it too, right? She stepped closer to get a better look, stopping when it hissed at her. It fluffed itself up, probably trying to look bigger Sheri thought, except it kept getting bigger and more bloated.

Oh.

Sheri grabbed the man from NAHLA and pulled him to the side, barely avoiding the cone of waste and viscera which exploded out of the raccoon. She pinched her nose as the smell assaulted her. What the fuuuuuck.

"I'll admit, this is a first," she groaned, gingerly trying to place her feet between the strands of filth as she tried to get a better look down the alley. She did not want to step in this crap. "Don't suppose I was lucky enough to get the one NAHLA guy who carries a flashlight."

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Atlas City, March 11th, 10-ish PM



The wallet arced beautifully, tumbling lazily in the air until it rested open gingerly in Sairyn's lazily outstretched palm. What a perfect throw! He tossed a stray lock of silver out of his face with a flick of his head when he looked at the card, turning the whole wallet over in his hand once before the sound in the alley caught his attention.

"Raccoon...?" He muttered quietly, more to himself than her. Unusual... but he had something else on his mind that was more pressing than the local wildlife. He gingerly snapped a photo of her face when she looked back at him, the flash exploding brilliantly in the darkness in contrast to the gentle *click* of the phone's camera. He flicked the photo off into his facial recognition app and began a scan, holding her wallet back out to her like a dirty rag one wasn't sure they wanted to touch. Sairyn jiggled it a little to get her attention when she didn't take it right away, his attention rapt on a new notification from his phone.

"Ugh, it never ends...," he grumbled, blowing a sigh through his nose. Building collapsed near the city shopping center... he held his thumb on it for a tangible moment before flicking it into the contractor pool. Someone else will deal with it. "Can-," his sentence was interrupted when the woman suddenly pulled him to the side, narrowly out of the way of a disgusting cone of viscera and waste exploding out of the alleyway. Sairyn was quiet for a long minute, holding the bridge of his nose against the migraine that threatened to explode behind his eyes.

Sairyn looked down at her for a long moment, his eyes flicking between her and the mess in the alley before he took a deep breath... which was a mistake. He held back a gag and pressed the wallet back into Sheri's hands slowly, clearing his throat. The grimior on his belt floated up between them, flipping rapidly through the pages. He skimmed quickly through a list with his finger, flicking something off one of the pages several times in different places. At first, a dimly lit outline, a dull flash of white, an anti-climatic hiss, and a portable flood-lamp materialized in her hands on top of her wallet. Sairyn had one floating idly next to the book as well. Three more flashes. A pair of filtered re-breathers appeared in hand, and an investigation drone materialized over the alley, floating lazily on its repulsors like an gigantic bumble-bee.

"Trace," he commanded to a happy bloop from the drone as zoomed into the alley to take pictures and samples. The grimior snapped shut and hooked itself back on his belt as he slipped the re-breather over his face to combat the stench. He started to hold the second one out to her before quickly taking it back.

"Stick your tongue out as far as it goes," he requested with a note of suspicion as he held the mask out of her reach.

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Sheri's eyes followed the appearance of the drone and floodlights as she shifted the lantern to one hand, stuffing her wallet back in her pants. Ooo. Handy. She reached over to take the mask, then squinted at him slightly when he pulled his hand back. Her tongue? What?

"Is that a fetish?" she asked, looking skeptical. "God, whatever, stop being stupid." Her eyes flicked over to his hand, a second version of her appearing in a slight burst of static before snatching the mask away and tossing it to her. It disappeared as quickly as it had manifested.

She put the mask on, pulling her braid through the straps, then turned back to the alley, picking her way carefully over the mess from the… "raccoon". "Don't think I've ever seen a city alley this clean before," she remarked, taking in the empty space. A few bits of old clothing, some plastics… aside from the viscera, the place was basically spotless. The beam from her floodlight glinted off a small pile of coins sitting in the center of the alley. She hopped over to it with a quiet "Oo, money," before squatting down to count it out.

"Looks like… three-eighty-nine in small change, and a necklace worth… a hundred-twenty? So, junk." She stuffed the loot in her coat as she cast her glance around the alley, shining the light around the edges and up the walls. "I don't see anything else." She pointed the flood lamp at the drone. "What about you?"

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Alexander Dalton

Just when Alex was about to try scoping out the area from another angle the sudden explosion of viscera that was flung out towards the two in the alley made him jump to his feet. For once his hunch didn't leave him high and dry. Though he felt relief that he had found Jericho rather quickly, Alex soon was overcome with annoyance. That shapeshifter was in the dog house now. Going back to the scene of the crime even if you didn't take much of a part in it was still a moronic decision. He wanted to pinch his brow and swear loudly.

The two down in the alley seemed to not try and take up pursuit. Good sign, it meant Jericho had either given them the slip or neither wanted to bother with whatever it is he did. Question was what direction the shifter had decided on going. If they had gone full camouflage this was going to give him a migraine by the end of the night. But once again Alex was surprised by the sudden appearance of a massive hound beside him. Alex was about to speak when he noticed the beautiful shield the hound was carrying. He blinked once in confusion before the dog quickly absorbed said shield and bounded off in silence.

"Oh you are NOT off the hook that easy." Alex Clenched his jaw and formed a barrier beneath his feat and proceeded to launch himself after Jericho. He wasn't sure if the two still near the diner would be able to see him "running" off, and honestly he didn't care. He had to make sure his friend didn't get themselves caught or killed for the second time in the course of this day.

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Sairyn raised a silver eyebrow at her, then his hand recoiled reflexively when the mask was yanked free. He whipped his head around in time to see a burst of static, and then back towards her... already putting the mask on. His emerald eyes squinted at her suspiciously as his phone chimed from... somewhere. It materialized in his hand with a dull flash of light and he glanced down at it expectantly.

NO MATCH.

"Hmm? ... Yeah," he replied absently while considering the results. Sairyn let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding and cleared his throat, regaining his composure and tossing his phone away. It dissolved in a flash of light over his shoulder as he carefully stepped into the alley behind Sheri.

"That's..." not his crime scene. He reflexively wiped his hands on his jacket as Sheri picked up the change and the necklace and jammed both straight into her pocket, unable to suppress the shudder running up his spine. The pages of his grimiore fluttered loudly behind her and latex gloves suddenly materialized on both their hands in a dull flash of white light.

Who knows where that's been??

"There used to be a dumpster here," he informed, stepping gingerly past the viscera onto clean concrete and kneeling down. "Recently too, you can tell from the discoloration here," he remarked, running his gloved finger along the edge of a patch of concrete that was a noticeably different shade. This might have been obvious information to Sheri, who had clearly been paying attention, but it was news to him. She shined her light on the drone, asking it for advice instead of him... Sairyn raised an eyebrow, his ego deflating only slightly. The drone trilled happily, an Info-Slate materializing in Sairyn's hands as he rose to his feet while he scrolled through the list of materials. He muttered them off quickly, mostly to himself.

"It's... bloody stool," he remarked with an air of disappointment. The drone trilled again, its indicator lights illuminating blue. "It has a unique signature," he continued, slightly more optimistic. He raised an eyebrow. "Track signature?" He asked, hopefully. The drone blurted something rude at him. "Please?" The drone gave an irritated blat, and then rumbled something in a mocking tone as it swept the alley, then highlighted a potential path out of the alley and across the street. The pulsing line swept up onto the rooftops.

"Rude..." he muttered as he followed it out into the street, his gaze sweeping up. Movement suddenly caught his eye. "Tag suspect!" he ordered, to which the drone blurped loudly, flashed red, and shot after the person running along the rooftops. With a few taps on the slate he swiftly had a map of the city, moving location of the drone, potential location of the suspect, and quickest route to intercept on the screen.

Sairyn tossed the slate to the side and it settled into a lazy orbit while his grimiore snapped open in front of him, pages fluttering to the Appendix, his stride purposeful but not fast. He flicked an item off the pages onto the street a few meters ahead of him, and the white SUV he arrived in began to materialize in a dull white light from the tires up. It gave a hissing whoosh as it displaced the air. He snapped his fingers, dismissing the flood lamps and masks, snapping the grimiore shut, returning the slate gingerly to an outstretched hand, and opening both front doors of the SUV as he approached it.

The engine roared to life as Sairyn stepped in and closed the driver's door, waiting expectantly for Sheri to follow, the slate already outstretched to her. His emerald eyes flicked to the dashboard clock with an air of exasperation. Sairyn had half a mind to just drive off and leave her. He wasn't sure why he didn't, there were pressing matters to attend to that would take him several hours yet.

You're just a sucker.

He pondered the unbidden thought for a moment, raising a silver eyebrow at... nothing in particular. Sairyn jiggled the slate impatiently, eyes flicking to the passenger seat, then back towards the alley when he saw that Sheri hadn't got in immediately. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel apprehensively for a moment before rolling the window down and poking his head out.

"Coming?" Well... that thought wasn't wrong at the very least.

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Sheri looked from the slate, to the passenger seat, to the suspect, frozen for the barest instant, eyes screwed shut and gritting her teeth.

Don’t be hasty and fail.

Don’t let the suspect escape again.

You don’t do well up close.


Sheri mussed up her hair, then grabbed the slate and ran around to the passenger seat. She skimmed through the data quickly as the man sped off after the fleeing silhouette. It didn’t match any of the signatures for the mutants she’d hunted before. A new type? This was a bit far out for a Vanguard thing… another organization, then? Damn it, this speculation was pointless.

She leaned forward to look for the drone pursuing the suspect through the windshield. Whoever it was, they were fast. There’s a good chance they’d be able to evade the van at this rate. ”How many toys can you pull out of that thing?” she asked, rolling down the window. ”I’m gonna try to slow that guy down. Give me a sniper rifle, something small and lightweight you don’t mind losing.”

The man’s book slipped off his belt and between the driver’s seat and the door, into the back of the van where it started flipping through it’s pages rapidly. ”I wouldn’t want it back anyway, I’ve seen where your hands have been.”

”The money was clean, jackass,” she replied, climbing through the window and bracing her legs against the dashboard to hold herself steady. She snatched the rifle out of the air as it manifested above the cabin of the vehicle in a burst of light, then took aim at the fleeing figure.

She placed her right hand not at the trigger, but on top, against the cartridge chamber. She peered through the scope, tracing where the figure was coming from and which direction it was heading. She exhaled slowly, stilling herself, feeling a crackle of energy flowing through her hand… and then rocketing out of the barrel, an instantaneous purple line tracing through the sky from where she’d fired it to where she anticipated her target would be.

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Alexander Dalton

Alex was nearly at his top speed at this point. building blurred a bit bellow him every time he would fling himself forward. Even if he had done this dozens of times he couldn't help but feel free with the sense of sudden weightlessness that came with each initial launch. Keeping sight of Jericho wasn't turning out to be so bad. Granted Alex wish he had some clue of where they were going. They seemed to be moving in almost a straight line though so he couldn't complain much. He kept his platforms decently spaced to send him in reasonably tall arcs with each "Jump". Smaller spacing would help with maneuverability of course but that really wasn't necessary. He kept a reasonable distance in his tailing even though he was sure Jericho could at least smell him still. Too bad, the shapeshifter was either going to have to explain trying to shake Alex off their trail or just explain themselves after he brought them home and put an end to this night.

Then suddenly Alex's body began spazzing and locking up on him mid leap. A strange numbness blossomed on the back of his right shoulder and spread around his body. That break in his concentration made him unable to create any sort of emergency landing pad. Alex slammed onto one of the roofs bellow, skidding to the point that he was sent over the edge.

After falling more then five stories Alex hit the concrete with a belly flop that practically shattered the ground around him for a few feet, nearly causing a small crater. What the hell was that?! Alex moved to get himself up as quickly as he could, but everything felt like he was almost moving underwater. on top of that whatever had hit him was giving him a raging headache. No no no! he was going to loose Jericho at this point. Wait, what if whoever did this was with the people trying to find him? Even if they weren't Alex couldn't take that chance. Alex forced himself onto his feet and up straight. A survey of his surroundings showed he was on a side street that didn't look like it got too much traffic. That was a relief at least. He noticed the sound of a engine being gunned was getting closer. That was probably whoever shot him.

Good. let them come. His eyes flared bright blue through the visor of his helmet as he balled his fists. Maybe he would have something to vent on now instead of breaking another makeshift punching bag at home.

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The drone whipped past overhead, shining a spotlight on Alex and seeming to only give him a cursory scan before zooming off. Sairyn steadied the wheel telekinetically and flicked a CS gas grenade out of the Appendix, which he'd left open on the dash in case Sheri needed more equipment. "LOTS," had been his reply when she asked how many toys he could pull out of the book. The question had made him smirk.

"This isn't our guy: signal keeps going," he informed. "Do we keep going? Or do you want to bag this clown?" he asked calmly. The man had stood up after falling from a fair height, looked no worse for wear, and had shattered the ground pretty handily. Clearly they were dealing with a brute that looked like he was going to stand his ground. His foot slowly increased the pressure on the pedal until the transmission dropped a gear and the SUV lurched forward while he yanked the pin of the grenade, holding the spoon and a fistful of black disks in his hand firmly.

"Just drive around him," she instructed.

"This probably won't hold him for long if he decides to follow," he explained, keeping his palm on the wheel to steady the vehicle. Sairyn's emerald eyes narrowed in concentration as he angled like he was going to try and run the man over, keeping the speed steady until the very last moment. The cab of the SUV lurched precariously as he juked around Alex, grazing a few meters past him.

"Sorry bud!" He called out the window as they passed. The grenade and the disks flashed out of his hands like tiny fireworks and crackling around Alex as they displaced the air around him. The CS gas grenade hung in the air in front of his face comically for a single moment before the spoon went spinning into the distance and it began spewing out noxious fumes. A flash erupted from a couple meters away: a thunderous CRACK as an Ignition strategem erupted, driving an inch diameter molten copper slug straight down through the top of the grenade and into the pavement at his feet.
The canister erupted in his face a split second later, igniting all the gas at once in a massive cloud. A machine-gun of pops followed, as eight Ensnare strategem burst open from all around him, firing nets of electrified filiment.

Sairyn feathered the throttle a few times to get the SUV back under control as it fishtailed and then stomped the petal to the floor to hopefully gain some distance before the man could recover.

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There was a brief moment where they were sure Alex was following them, and that everything was going okay. They were in trouble, that much was assured... But they were heading in the right direction, with the scent getting stronger and stronger the entire time. They knew he was following, they knew he could keep sight and keep up!

Then they head the crack of concrete, and the sound of an engine. Over their shoulder they looked, and Jericho watched in mute confusion and slight horror as Alex slammed into a rooftop and abruptly fell. Jericho came to a complete stop, turning about as their claws skidded against the rooftop. The turned, spotted some flying... Thing approaching them, it looked like a wasp, only fair too large and with the lights of some electronic thing. There was a moment of hatred as the drone approached, the very beginning of a warning blaring out of it.
Then it was swallowed whole. A giant maw forming, opening, and closing around the flying device with no real warning to the poor thing. Rows and rows of flat, square molars and scissor-like incisors filled the maw in moments, and as Jericho ran forward to return to Alex, the drone was crushed, shredded, and wholly consumed. Iron plating formed all along the outside of Jericho's body, and along the bones of their forms. Their teeth took on a metallic sheen, and the drone was simply crunched and crushed until it was no more. There was some sort of alloy in the center of the thing, acting as bracing. And the wings held some kind of metal as well. Wiring and circuitry... A tasty snack. The beast raged silently.

For Sairyn and Sheri below, there is an audible CRACK of something else, heavy, hitting the pavement behind the vehicle. Then the sound of tearing and screeching metal along with the sound of what could only be described as some beast from a forgotten age shrieking its' fool head off.
For J-3, it lands outside of the reach of the gas. It's form is one that Alex had yet to see, and just at the feet of the form lands the beautiful shield J-3 had showed it's friend earlier. The clattering rancor is nearly deafening, but J-3 then turns, silent in its' shape and plants a knee into the ground.
The form is that of an incredibly thin, tall, and lanky humanoid. It's head is a blank sphere, with thousands of small pin-holes lining the surface of it, and from it's back sprout two 'wings' made from brass and iron. The 'wings' looked as if someone uprooted a metal tree, and shoved the root-end of the stump on the back of a naked slenderman-like creature. The form was taller than Alex, and it's head would have reached the second story had the thing not fallen to it's knee.
From its kneeling position, J-3 took a deep breath in, held it for a moment while dragging its forearms as far back as the five foot long appendages would go... Before YANK-ing its body forward and WHIP!-ing its' arms forward. Two spines of roughly baseball bat length shot forward, spearing through the air like bullets from a rifle, before the two projectiles splayed out and open mid-flight. They spun themselves into metallic webbing, slamming into the back of the vehicle with barbs and adhesives. The ends of the things flailed in the wind but for a moment, before catching on the street below, YANK-ing the vehicle to a stop as two more of the 'nets' flew forward and really made a mess of things. Another was lobbed high above the vehicle, and splattered onto it from top down, thick rope-strands of material pinning the back doors and driver's side door shut as the webbing clung to the ground and SUV for the life of god.


J-3 stood rapidly from there, shrinking back down into the size of a four-foot tall wolf-hound, and barking with a terrifyingly human voice: "Follow me. I'm trying. To do good. Like you wanted." It then turned, and began bolting down an alleyway before once again scampering up onto a roof top and heading in a relatively straight line towards a certain Bar. Towards two certain, faintly familiar, scents from the morning prior.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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Alexander Dalton

Alex had been expecting something to happen. Another one of those attacks that had paralyzed him before maybe? Good chance of that. If these were the people after Jericho there was no way they would bring traditional bullets or tranquilizers, not that anything like that could have done anything to his body. Lasers would have been worse, those things hurt and would actually leave burns and bruises if strong enough. Alex flared his power more, His energy layering over his entire body in preparation for the worst. Whatever happened next he would have to try wrapping it up quickly. Bubbling and isolating the pursuers was the go to plan. Alex gulped, he was way too distracted right now. His mind was still focused on Jericho. He had to focus or- was that a grenade?

His senses were assaulted one after the other. He only perceived a second of the flashbang effect before the tech in his helmet blacked out his sight and dulled his hearing. Crap, not good! On reflex Alex layered more fields across his body. He breathed in without thinking and his lungs burned with protest.

Gas too?!

He hacked uncontrollably but managed to keep his barriers up. Alex had no choice, he had to give himself breathing room figuratively and literally. With a yell he let the barriers surrounding his body to expand outward with violent force before rapidly dissipating. Coughing and wheezing now, he bent over involuntarily as a new dome flickered around him weakly as he tried to keep himself with some form of defense up. A loud CRACK forced him to look up. That had to be a brute, shit he wasn't ready- wait what? He didn't recognize the eldritch form before him which made Alex scared, for a second he thought he was seeing another shifter like Jericho. And that worry was dashed when a familiar shield was dropped at his feet.
"Ha . . . ha . . Damn, that one actually scared me buddy." He wheezed out a laughed and reached for the shield.

Jericho wasn't playing around and not running on total instinct, Alex didn't have to worry and let himself regain his breath while strapping the shield to his left arm. It really didn't mesh well with his current costume but he wasn't going to complain now. when he finally got his breath back he found a four-foot tall wolf-hound barking at him in Jericho's growling voice. "Follow me. I'm trying. To do good. Like you wanted." Alex just grinned behind his helmet and nodded. He turned towards the totaled vehicle as the hound bolted off and bellowed out. "I'm sorry! No hard feelings!" He then turned and catapulted himself to follow Jericho. it took a few bounds to catch up with the unnatural dog. "I'll follow your lead. lets try not to cause any deaths if we can alright? we got enough bodies today."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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The pages of the grimiore flapped furiously as the car lurched, and he only just managed to slide his whole hand across a section labeled "Soft Things" as he witnessed the steering wheel rushing up towards his face, followed by darkness. Sairyn was vaguely aware that a large object had broken free of its restraints and crashed through the front windshield of the vehicle and onto the street. Most likely the large crate he'd been transporting. Sheri had been half standing out the window when the car had stopped suddenly and was jettisoned into the street. Sairyn's reaction had materialized some things to break her fall... a handful of bean bag chairs, some inflatable mattresses, a small pile of body length pillows with scantily clad anime women printed on them, and far more packing peanuts than was strictly necessary.

He climbed slowly out of the SUV through the passenger side door, staggering to his feet and standing there for a long moment while gazing at his hands. He wiped his face with his palm and slowly ran his tongue along his skin where the fresh blood had collected. The grimiore shot towards him from the vehicle like a bullet, and when he caught it with an outstretched hand, the markings on the cover burned with a crimson light. Sairyn swiveled on his feet to face Alex and Jericho, the air above his head on fire as space was sundered and... something began emerging. The roaring displaced air whipped Sairyn's silver hair about his face wildly.

You're weak.

Movement behind him sent a jolt through his body, and just like that, the tear in space vanished, dissolving the emerging object with it. The light on the grimiore faded as he lowered it back to his side, turning around unsteadily with his other hand pressed against his eyes. He spit blood onto the pavement and blinked his eyes open, his emerald gaze sweeping the scene.

"Inconvenient," he muttered, looking around for something before he seemed surprised to find his grimiore in hand. He blinked several more times as he flipped it open, flicking flares off a page that lit themselves as they landed in various spots around the scene. He knelt down next to Sheri with a grunt, checking to see if her chest was moving, and then leaning over to listen for breathing. He pressed his fingers against her neck just in case.

"Hurt? Can you move?" He asked, with what could have been a note of concern.

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Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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September 27, 2042
Salem, Massachusetts, United States of America
1:52 PM


Sheri stepped out onto the roof of the analytics building, a cold gust of wind stinging her face. She hunched her shoulders against the chill, indicating with her chin that Nina should stay inside.

”Not letting Nina join us in the Cool Kids Club?”

”She’d just complain about the cold.”

”Then we could be the Cold Kids Club!”

”Jack.”

The other woman put her hands in front of her in surrender, that same cocky grin on her face. She was lanky and brown, with black eyes and bleached hair that was turning back to black at her roots. She was the lightest dressed of the three, and the only one to be clearly armed, due to the dagger strapped to the back of her waist.

She leaned back on her heels, folding her hands behind her head as she watched Sheri move to the north edge of the roof and put down the case she’d lugged all the way up here. Sheri set about assembling the large sniper rifle contained inside, then checking and adjusting the sights to make sure they were calibrated properly.

”So, I hear tell you’re staying,” Jack commented as Sheri worked. ”Not saying I’m surprised, of course. S’pose I just figured… well. I didn’t think you’d wanna be Vanguard forever now the Project’s a failure.”

”It’s not a failure, they’re just closing it so they can focus on the next one,” Sheri corrected, not looking up.

Jack let out a short laugh, busying herself with pretending to walk an invisible tightrope. ”Yeah. Real successful project with five subjects left.”

”Success isn’t predicated on how much you get right, but-”

”-but on what you can learn from the results,” Jack finished the quote, abandoning her imaginary acrobatics and moving to sit on the edge of the roof a couple feet away. ”You really are a mama’s girl. And you still haven’t answered my question!” she added, poking Sheri in the shoulder.

Sheri looked at Jack from the corner of her eye for a moment, taking in the image of her propping herself up on her hands, legs kicking in the breeze off the edge of the building. Dr. Galloway asked me to help train the next group of subjects. It’s an important job, and I still have a debt to pay off,” she said, turning back to what she was doing.

”She’s got Salt and Petra,” Jack pointed out. ”She doesn’t have to keep you, forever, too.” Sheri didn’t respond, instead fixating on turning the knob for her sights back and forth to make sure she had it right. ”Sheri.”

”Shouldn’t you be in position?”

”Zima.”

Sheri sighed and clicked her tongue. She could count on one hand the number of people who could use her old name against her like that, and most of those were dead now. She considered setting the rifle aside for now, joining Jack in just sitting on the roof and surrendering to the discussion Jack so clearly wanted to have, but shook her head against it. They had a job to do, and there’d be time for it afterward.

March 11, 2045
Atlas City, North Carolina, United States of America
8:34 PM


Sheri’s head spun as her consciousness crept back into the world. She was only out for a second or two, but it felt like pulling herself out of a six month coma. Some part of her mind was aware that she probably had a percussion- a concussion. She heard someone talking distantly, though she couldn’t quite make out what they were saying as the words blurred together before the voice came into focus. Her eyes fluttered open to find her view dominated by dark skin and silver hair, and the sensation of something pressed against her neck.

Ah.

”God, off,” she said a little blearily, pushing the NAHLA agent back. She tried using her other hand to push her hair out of her face, but she must’ve still been a little out of it because it didn’t respond. That was a little weird.

She put her obedient hand on the man’s shoulder, using him to push herself up to her-

His hand shot out to stop her. ”Wait, I need to splint your-” Sheri put her weight on her right leg and every ounce of her clarity instantly came screeching back.

”OH MOTHER FUCKING SON OF A DISCARDED SHIT STAINED WHORE!”

The man pushed her back off her feet onto the pile of… body pillows? Not the time. ”As I was saying.” His book flipped open behind him and he set about splinting her lower leg, which had snapped cleanly in two when she was thrown and now rested in a bizarre s-shape.

”The damn thing and the dude are getting away,” she said, trying to get up again. He pushed her back down.

For now,” he replied. ”They can't outrun surveillance. If you really want to go after them like this, I can find them with a smaller drone. Still have the shapeshifter's trace on file and we know which general direction they went.”

Sheri clicked her tongue, resting her head back against the bare stomach of a cartoon elf. ”I need a phone.” His eyes flicked in her direction briefly, and she snatched the cell as it manifested in a flash of light. ”’Preciated.”

”This is Houndmaster,” she said after dialing ACHI. ”Your ‘monster’ is an unregistered shapeshifter, accomplice by a super with telekinetic abilities and hyper resilience. I am currently at the scene were they crashed the car in which I and a cooperating agent of NAHLA were in pursuit, on...” She craned her neck to look at the street signs. ”North Percy Jackson Boulevard. The NAHLA operator can send you more details.”

She tossed the phone aside and it vanished in another burst of light. ”Your taste in pillows concerns me,” she said, feeling exhausted. ”But thanks. I’m Sheri. I guess.”

Setting

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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March 11, 2045 Atlas City, North Carolina, United States of America 8:37 PM



"Mementos from a more... innocent time," he replied. "Don't bleed on that one, it's my favorite," he continued with an ounce of mirth, a small smirk tugging at the corners of his lips. Sairyn quickly checked her over for other injuries that might need treating before flipping through the grimiore. A black drone materialized next to him in a flash of light as he flicked an item off the page. It was a quad-copter about the size of a coffee table that looked like it'd mated aggressively with a Formula 1 racer, along with a collection of cameras and sensory equipment tucked aerodynamically into the bottom of its sleek carbon-fiber body. Unlike the Investigator, which bobbed like it was struggling against gravity, the Tracer seemed to be firmly rooted in space on it's repulsors.

"Go stealth. High altitude, maximum velocity. Scan for Trace. Follow and observe. Report position. Commit," Sairyn ordered in series as the slate flashed into his hand and he uploaded the Investigator's trace file. Tracer gave an obedient "Blop," extinguished all of its running lights, and then shot off into the air like a bullet with the TIE-Fighter shriek of high performance repulsors. It nearly vanished, blending almost perfectly with the night sky as it flew, extinguishing the odd star momentarily and occasionally leaving a streak of condensation in the air as it hit a hard bank.

"I designed Tracer to keep an eye on S-... an extremely fast associate. If they can outpace it, we weren't going to catch them anyway," he explained, laying the slate down on the pavement and picking up his grimiore again. The map on the slate scrolled past at a dizzying pace as Tracer searched for the signature in a bloodhound-like pattern, and the pages of the grimiore flipped noisily. "Your shoulder is dislocated too. I don't have anything to give you for the pain, so this isn't going to feel nice," he warned, materializing a leather strap for her to bite down on.

Sairyn waited only just long enough for her to bite down on the strap before swiftly setting her leg back into place. It wasn't gentle, but it was over quick. He flicked a boot-like contraption out of the grimiore and lowered her leg into it. Afterwards, a number of mechanical fingers closed down on the limb to hold it in place. "You should be able to walk on that if you don't push it," he said, grasping her dislocated arm and setting it back into place with the same ruthless efficiency.

He stood up with a sigh, wobbling for a moment as he approached the entangled vehicle, running his hand along the hood. A near imperceptible pulse swept through it and he sighed. The SUV dissolved into a swirling light clutched in one hand as the netting crumpled to the ground. He flipped through the Appendix to a section labeled "Needs Repairs" and pressed the light into the page, causing a new entry to scrawl itself at the bottom of a lengthy list. So many things to do... He muttered something that sounded like profanity and went to check on the crate, a sound of relief escaping him a moment after resting his hand on it.

A boxy, beat up grey station wagon materialized with a flash of dull light, and the crate dissolved briefly, re-appearing in the cargo area of the car. The slate chimed as he finished, and it flashed into his hand. A silver-white eyebrow arched as he examined it, and then texted the location to Ivetta. His eyes flicked to Sheri briefly, then back to the slate... just the location... if he mentioned anything about Sheri, Ivetta would try and cock-block him when it came time to poach her just to be aggravating.

"They... went into a nightclub," he informed with a perplexed tone, and then offered his hand to help Sheri to her feet. "Sairyn. Pleasure to meet you."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Maeve Butler 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

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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Sheri tested her weight on the brace, confirming there wouldn't be any pain from it. She rolled her formerly dislocated shoulder, finding its range of motion wasn't going to be an issue, then looked over at Sairyn's garbage can with wheels with a slightly raised eyebrow. She opened her mouth to say something about it, then shut it again. It was probably better like this; they wouldn't draw too much attention, and it would give them more time to formulate a proper plan. Rushing into a crowded nightclub after a shapeshifter wasn't exactly a recipe for success.

"Nightclub, right?" she asked to double check, pulling open the passenger side door of the station wagon. "Know which one, or just one of those trash clubs that pops up for like six months before dropping off the earth?"

"It's called 'Shapeless' according to the GPS. I don't really go... out, so I couldn't tell you if it's one of those clubs," he mused as he approached the car, snapping his fingers to clean up the pile of furniture (and more importantly the body pillows) that he'd used to break Sheri's fall. It also seemed that the best feature of the car was that it functioned as finely as it appeared. The door finally yielded after his third attempt to open it, creaking and groaning loudly as he let himself in.

The suspension complained as he dropped himself into the driver seat, and the car seemed to list a noticeably odd inch or so to one side. The door caught when he tried to close it and it took two attempts. Sairyn struggled to start the vehicle, and just when it may have been prudent to give up he pumped the gas a few more times and it sputtered to life. It backfired loudly and coughed out a noxious cloud of black pollution as he eased it into Drive and coaxed the machine into motion.

"What's your plan for this collar anyway? Are we trying to catch it?" He asked, rolling down the window to let some of the burning odor coming from the vents out of the cab.

Sheri settled in the seat and propped her uninjured leg up on the dashboard, considering for a moment. Shapeshifters were certainly an issue, but if she overloaded its nerves with one of her blasts it might lose control of its ability and become unable to maintain its form, rendering it harmless. No, the problem, she reasoned, would be its accomplice - the man with the telekinetic talents. At best, her strongest nerve blast had only distracted him. He'd gotten up just fine, even after falling five stories face-first into the pavement.

She tapped rythmically against the armrest on the inside of the door as the decrepit old vehicle puttered down the road toward their destination, engine crying out in protest at the strain. "I think our best bet would be to try and seperate them," she proposed tentatively, chest against her clavicle as she slouched down in the seat. "The target is probably keeping close to the man from earlier now that it knows someone is pursuing it, and I doubt either of us has much experience talking people into coming along willingly. That's not... I don't recall that really being how public security operators tend to do things."

She sniffed and straightened back up. Now that the adrenaline was leaving her system, she felt incredibly tired. "I don't suppose you have anything that can fire an electronic nerve pulse? Not like standard energy blasts, more like my power from earlier." She thought of how best to explain it. "Kind of like a bundle of junk data made out of the bio-electrical impulses fired off as nerve signals that confuses and overloads the target's nervous system."

"I meant more along the lines of what your actual orders were," he commented. The car backfired loudly as he thought. "But... seems to me like they are protecting eachother: When I engaged the large man, the shape-shifter came back to aid him, and then they both ran off together, separating them isn't going to be easy" he observed, easing the steering wheel over to keep the car in its lane.

"I don't really have an endearing personality: they don't usually call me when 'negotiation' is on the table but I'd prefer to use as little force as possible if that's how the situation is going to roll. I didn't hesitate earlier because I was under the impression we were tracking an animal, and that 'Brute' type looked like he was going to try and stop us," he explained, rubbing his chin with one hand as they came to a red light.

"As for a nerve disruption type device... Nothing I can think of that I have can do that. If I spent some time examining how your powers worked I could probably rig something, but I'm guessing we don't have that kind of time. My areas of expertise are electro-magnetism and spacial-compression," he explained, revving the engine a little when it threatened to stall. He gazed out of the front window for a long moment thoughtfully waiting for the light to turn.

"They might be more likely to split up if we wait for them to come out of the club: I imagine there are a lot of people inside, and it'll be easy for them to lose us in the crowd... if we're taking that angle."

"I suppose..." She doubted it would be that simple. They couldn't reasonably expect them to just walk out the front door, and without knowing how their targets might attempt egress... "If we go that route, we'll need to funnel them toward a specific exit. Otherwise, they could slip through somewhere else and we'll miss them entirely."

She clicked her tongue, watching the city lights pass by through the passenger window. She wouldn't be able to give any proper orders without knowing what their operating field would look like. She held her out out to Sairyn, gesturing for him to give her something. "I'll need to see what you have on the location before I can formulate any proper orders." A flurry of pages, a flash of light, and she was scrolling through a slate, examining the streets around Club Shapeless via sattelite imaging.

"This building here, to the south. I can take up position there if you give me another rifle. Something with more firepower this time." She flicked across the screen on the slate a few times, looking to bring up a floor plan of the club. She looked over it, then flicked back over to the satellite view of the street. Then back to the floor plans. Then back to the street. "Huh."

"Anyway, I'll take up position here. If we can get them through the south service entrance here, from the kitchen, I should have a clear view of the targets."

His hand had moved on its own again... at her request. Sairyn gave it a long, focused look before he narrowed his eyes in suspicion at her. Was mind control one of her powers? He rubbed his fingers together dubiously for a moment like something gross was on them.

You're just a simp for her.

"Well, d-," he stalled the car at a stop sign, looking flustered for a moment and exhaling patiently while he tried to get the car started again. He stomped the gas pedal a few times and the car sputtered back to life. "Don't forget about 'Tracer.' It's in low-power hover mode over the club right now conserving its battery. We've got about 40 minutes of uptime, 15 minutes of high-velocity flight before I have to bring it in for a battery replacement. What kind of firepower are we talking about here anyway?"

"MAG-FED thirty millimeter; raufoss mark 221 rounds," Sheri said, squinting at the image of the street. The gun in question would be twice her size - not exactly something you'd see a hero agency using in the middle of the city. "Actually," she added, a thought occuring. "Give me something lightweight with incendiary rounds, too."

"And here I was thinking you'd ask for a big gun," he chuckled.

The car fishtailed a little as the requested anti-tank rifle, and an M29 complete with ammunition and spare magazines materialized in the cargo area and over stressed the car's worn out suspension. He flexed his hand... he had to be out of his goddamn mind giving a girl he just met, who's capabilities were largely unknown that kind of hardware. Someone with average skills could hit a tank just about anywhere in the city limits with that rifle and turn its crew into liquid. A highly skilled marksman could hit a man sized target, like an extremely durable super, and kill everyone standing behind them at the same range.

Quietly he wondered if the caliber of rifle had something to do with that nerve shot she did, and what it would do to someone if she fired it through an anti-tank rifle. Sairyn shuddrd just a little bit, feeling only a little bad for whoever ended up on the other end of that mess.

"Sure thing," he found himself saying. Sairyn cleared his throat a little, he must have hit his head a little harder than he thought. "Your collar, Sheri: what do you need me to do besides bring the toys, of course?"

Sheri swiped up on the slate, and a hologram of the streetview images appeared over the dash in front of her. "Considering the nature of our targets, we can reasonably assume they'll avoid the standard entry points - the front is crowded with bouncers, making it unlikely they'd slip in undetected, while the service entrance to the south leads through the kitchen, where they wouldn't be able to avoid the eyes of the staff. Their most likely point of egress will be the same way they'd most likely go in: through the roof access door here, which will most likely be unguarded. I can cover the first two routes with myself and one of my doubles, but the roof has too many of these dumbass architectural flourishes on the sides to get an unbroken view from my vantage points. I'll need you to seal it shut."

She disengaged the holographic projection and let the slate fall from her hand. It vanished with a flash of golden light before hitting the floor of the car. "Ideally, I'd want them to leave through the service entrance into the alleyway. That route would be less guarded aside from the kitchen staff, and it'll be the easiest way for me to seperate them without civilians getting in the way."

The club came into view as she finished exposiiting the details of her plan. Valets directed cars around the neatly organized parking lot, each vehicle carefully spaced so there was never less than 3 feet between any of the several dozen cars, all of which cost more than Sheri cared to consider. The only outlier to the exacting designs of chief valet Monsieur Nic was a large black 2045 Chevrolet Suburban, its front left wheel sitting on top of the sidewalk near the front entrance, the rear end half-blocking the wheelchair ramp.

"That's a government SUV," noted Sairyn, indicating the Suburban as they drove past towards Sheri's drop-off point. "That degenerate SINS agent from the Diner this morning, I memorized his license plate. Depending on what they're here for this could get messy," he grunted, scratching his chin thoughtfully, speeding up a little to get to their destination.

"I can only guess right now, but based on what's come up in the investigation so far they're either here for the drugs that turned up on the scene, or the same shape-shifter we are." He parked the car in an alley behind the building Sheri wanted to perch on, and the slate materialized in his hands, bringing up the imagery from Tracer. He zoomed out, flipping through the vision modes and scanning for heat signatures on rooftops. Sairyn held his hand out to Sheri, producing a pair of earbuds so they could keep in contact.

Sheri took her earbud and put it on, clicking it once to make sure it was connected. So... SINS, huh. Sheri paused for a moment before opening the door, looking pensive. SINS, huh.

It took three tries to force open the passenger door, and Sheri stepped out of the ancient grey piece of shit into the cool night air. She went around to the trunk, hauling it open with assistance from one of her doubles. She and Sheri 2 pulled out the anti-tank rifle first, the suspension giving a relieved creak as the weight was removed. She turned her gaze to summon a second double she could hand her share of the sniper cannon off to, but hesitated as a thought struck her.

If SINS were after the same target, that could be troublesome. She was well aware of what usually happened to supers claimed by SINS. Most either wound up working for the organization themselves, or disappeared. And if SINS got their hands on someone like these two...

She slammed the trunk door shut once, then twice when it rebounded without latching, not bothering to grab the M24. "Actually, I think we're gonna take the diplomatic route," she said, hefting the larger rifle up onto her shoulders. "Can the Tracer broadcast messages?"

"No, it's-" Sairyn opened the door to get out, but he'd parked too close to the alley wall and the door wouldn't open wide enough. He contemplated his future for a tangible moment before he slid across the bench seat and out the passenger door, tapping somethign into the slate. "It's an information drone, but it's got a wicked powerful antenna on it because I often need to give it orders from far away. It looks like there are some unsecured wireless signals in the club I could hijack to send messages through," he said, showing her the slate image.

"No, I need it at a specific frequency."

"What's the frequency?" he asked, already having a pretty good idea of what she was up to. "If the club's sound system can't handle it I might be able to jury rig something, if we have a few minutes."

Sheri thought for a second, tapping her fingers against their palm. "I need it to oscillate across a full range between 30,000 and 40,000 hertz. Outside what humans can hear, but low enough for a dog to make out." She lowered the rifle for a bit while she considered further. "I have absolutely no doubt SINS is gonna figure out what we're up to, but jumping between frequencies at random might confuse them enough to buy us time."

Sairyn considered the options for a long moment, letting the slate float in front of him while he flipped through the pages of the grimiore to the Tracer blueprint and examining it thoughtfully. "Okay, the targets maybe don't hear it depending on where they are inside the club, but I can jury rig Tracer to generate magnetic resonance in those frequencies through the flight modules," he explained, tapping a few things into the slate. A minute later, the drone descended into the alley and landed on the hood of the car.

"So, ah... depending on where ACHI got this directive from, interrupting a SINS snatch and grab might catch you hell from Ivetta. Are you okay with that?" He asked, creating a makeshift electronics bench on the hood and going about with some quick re-wiring.

"Yeah," she responded simply. Somehow she doubted Ivetta would care much about defying a federal agency if it meant she got what she was after.

Sheri hauled the rifle back up onto her shoulders and walked toward the building's fire escape, ready to ascend up to the roof. "Let me know when you're done,"[color] she said, tapping the communication device in her ear. [color=#663399]"So I can tell what message to broadcast."

She climbed up the later and stairs of the rickety fire escape, having a pair of doubles cart the anti-tank rifle behind her as they ascended to the roof. She walked swiftly to the opposite end, then took the rifle from her duplicates and set it down so she was facing the club's front entrance.

Some sparks flew from his work, and Sairyn swore under his breath several times, but he was finished after just a few minutes work, and sent the drone back up into the air with a fresh battery. His impromptu workstation dissolved as he scooped up the slate and scripted up some code quickly with one hand as he trotted towards the club through the alleys. He opened his mouth like he would say more, was silent for an uncomfortably long moment, and settled into a run for his position after tucking the slate under one arm.

"It's ready," he said, finally.

Sheri exhaled slowly through her nose, making sure she had her sights right before relaying her intended message to Sairyn for the drone. "SINS has entered the building. Do not approach ground floor. Do not maintain the same form. Avoid public streets. Rendezvous at Elysium Housing Complex, Orion Street, Apartment 207." She cleared her throat, waiting for confirmation that the message had been received.

"Once you start broadcasting, I'll create a distraction for SINS. Feel free to leave on your own, but if you have any motorcycles in that book of yours I'd appreciate it."

Sairyn skidded to a halt, he hadn't considered that they might leave separately. He tapped his fingers on the grimiore apprehensively for a few moments before jogging back to the corner. The beat-up station wagon dissolved into light as he flipped through the pages for something suitable. The crate would be safe in temporary storage for an hour. There wasn't much in the way of bikes in the grimiore, just his two personal pleasure rides. He hovered over the entries apprehensively before he flicked his Bonneville out into the alley for her. The 2045 model was a true modern bike with classic styling, and should be forgiving enough to ride with her broken leg.

"Ride in the alley for you... just be careful and remember that brace won't stand up to any intense physical activity or riding."

He exhaled slowly as he once again began making his way towards the club: he wanted to be nearby incase something went awry. With a few taps on the slate he had the message programmed in and he moved himself into position in an alley near the club. He took a breath.

"I'm perfectly prepared. I am one-hundred percent ready for this," he muttered. His eyes narrowed in focus. He tapped the execute for the broadcast program and let the Slate dissolve into light, summoning Arx Volta to his right hand, and a long, curved sword to his left.

"Operation commence," he ordered.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Maeve Butler 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: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Sairyn Pendrake
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Alexander Dalton

Alex had barely moved since Jericho went into the bathroom. He stood straight with his arms crossed behind his back. He kept his chin tilted up slightly to help give an intimidating and watchful image. Kind of needed since his eyes were not visible. He wasn’t going to relax just yet. True, he was on edge more now then ever after the warning that SINS was here. One of his worst fears was being recognized. We’re they the people that had been chasing him and Jericho before? This was going to get ugly fast if that shapeshifter didn’t hurry up. Alex’s jaw clenched and he gulped down his nervousness. Had to just be ready. At the end of the night he had to make sure he and Jericho made it back home safe, but Alex would prefer to do that without showing up on any headlines or wanted lists.

They were not done here even if Jericho had found who they were looking for, the two of them still needed to get out of the club. Given the current string of luck if the marry pair simply moved quickly and quietly they could be in the clear. Make their way home, then finally call it a night. Job well done. Well, when Jericho explains what their job had been of course. Alex still had quite a bit of scolding to do before hitting the sack. Less then intended maybe if The shifter was being serious about this little adventure.

Then Alex felt . . . unsettled. A chill ran up and down his spine in a way that was instinctual. A hint of his power glowed within his eyes as he frantically scanned the room from behind his mask. He was being watched. When his gaze fell of a . . . Official looking man he had to suppress any knee jerk reaction. The man didn’t look all that recognizable but Alex’s gut was telling him to have his guard up. He kept his focus in the man’s direction and casually let out a low whistle, barely auditable with all the club noise. His one and only way to warn the hound still in the bathroom that something was wrong and they needed to go, NOW.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jericho Amile Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton Character Portrait: Sheri Galloway Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Cannonade Character Portrait: Kiran Kingsley Character Portrait: Maeve Butler 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?