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Swan Song

Lost Haven

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a part of Swan Song, by Lycos.

Main City. Will make Genesis once we get to that point.

Lycos holds sovereignty over Lost Haven, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Lost Haven

Main City. Will make Genesis once we get to that point.

Minimap

Lost Haven is a part of Swan Song.

7 Characters Here

Anel [0]
"WolfsBane" Shepard [0] She always carries a knife.
William Livingston [0] Leader of Sanctuary.
Justin Krammer [0] Jeremy's twin and polar opposite. Justin supports Sanctuary and is the founder of the Krammer organization.
Jeremy Krammer [0] A Swan with a past he would rather forget, seeking to live a normal life under the alias of Sean Sheppard.
Jenrya Chikusa (J.C.) [0] A drifter who's illusions hide more than reality.

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J.C. walked under the shadows. Even though one of his eyes was covered with an eye patch, the sun was still too bright. Thankfully, the buildings around here were tall, blocking out most signs of the sun. There was also many people out today. That's good. The more people, the less chance there is to be spotted. He headed over to the local bank. He stood right outside the large building, no one caring that he was just standing there. A security guard came and shooed him away a couple times, but they didn't care to make sure J.C. had left. He simply stuck around and watched. J.C. checked the time. 2:20. He looked up. Sure enough, one of the female workers came out of the building on break to smoke. J.C. grinned. Just like clockwork...

He quickly entered the bank and headed towards the back corner of the building. No one even noticed him. Perfect. J.C. took this opportunity to shift his appearance. Almost like a mist, his original form fades, being simultaneously replaced by the image that is the female bank worker. The image was perfect. The brunette hair, the charcoal uniform, even the earrings and her name tag, 'Kristy Jennings'. J.C. made sure he spared no detail. He had been studying Kristy for a long time now, her habits, her schedule, even her secret life. From what J.C. gathered, she had been simultaneously dating at least three guys behind their backs. She also manipulated them so that she could spend all their cash for her own selfish reasons.

J.C. smiled. She had been chosen. He reasoned that he was only doing this to punish her for her sins. But he would need to act fast. She always took at leasat 15 minutes smoking, so that left him with at most, 10 minutes to get in, get out, and vanish without a trace. He walked past the security in Kristy's body and went straight to the vaults. The security here was cake for him. It was activated through face recognition. Once the computer confirmed J.C.'s pseudo Kristy face, he entered the vault and looked around. The room was lined with cash bricks, gold chunks, even drawers large enough to hide priceless heirlooms.

After about eight minutes in the vault J.C., in the guise of Kristy, walked out calmly out of the room with a specially prepared sack, filled with ten thousand dollar bricks. They were pretty heavy, but J.C. was still able to swiftly jump over the bank counter. Security was already all over him, but J.C. had already expected this. He just kept running. Out the door, he dropped his illusion and ran right past Kristy, bumping into the confused woman. Security came out looking around, and found the real Kristy still smoking her cigarette. The guards turned and arrested the bewildered bank worker, with J.C. in the alleyway, counting his earnings.

Kristy would later be sent to court that day and be charged with theft and the destruction of official dollar bills. She would be sentenced to 5 years in prison, and would owe the county 5 million dollars for the stolen cash. Kristy would be found guilty with evidence from security camera's, the security logs on the vault, and witness accounts of at least twenty to thirty people from the bank. As for her three boyfriends, none of them would visit her in jail.

After spending about an hour hiding in the alleyway, J.C. figured it would be safe to come out and head back to base, where he'd hide his prize money. He stuck to the shadows again. No one questioned why a young man was walking around with a sack full of who knows what. No one questioned, because nobody cared.

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Lizabee's Crap Studio Apartment - Lost Haven - 3:00 PM

Beep, beep, beep, beep.

Lizabee groaned under the heavy layer of thin blankets while the alarm on the side of her bed sounded off obtrusively stirring her from a deep narcotic induced slumber of which she was very much enjoying just then. The alarm clock was set to go off once at 3:00 PM and again at 5:00 PM on the occasions that the alarm clock suffered an unfortunate smack to the ground.

Lizzy you have to wake up now. There are things to be done today.
The voice in Lizabee's mind said lightly though firmly causing another elongated groan to escape from beneath the futon's blanketed depths.

"I...I'm awake. I swear. I'm awake. Just let me lay here a second and...You know...Deal." Lizabee muttered to herself in a clouded groggy tone. Five more minutes was all she needed, all she longed for, in that specific moment.

Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. beep, beep.


Having finished its first round the alarm clock sounded again. This time for a few seconds longer an at a more shrill frequency. Yeah, it looked like that extra five minutes wasn't even close to happening.

"Fine. I am awake. I am getting up. See Lizabee run or...Whatever." The young woman mumbled as she gingerly turned from her right side onto her back as if to test just how much effort and time the process of getting out of bed was going to cost her that afternoon.

On a scale from 1 to 10. One being "Never going to happen again" and ten being "Somebody call 911 and have them scrape me up off the floor." Lizabee estimated that she was sitting at a respectable six on the pain spectrum. Which was remarkably good for the current time of the week. With a little limbering up and a few of her happy pills Lizabee figured she could knock down her pain to a tolerable four in less than an hour or so if she got started on the process right now. The hardest part at the present was going to be coaxing her fingers out of their clenched state long enough to lift the blankets from her body before she willed herself to sit up.

For joy.

Lizabee already knew her muscles were going to rebel the instant she tried to move. Well? Fuck them. She had things she needed to get done today. Like buy food for example and attempt to work for a living. Work for a living? Ha. Wasn't that a joke.

First thing, first.

Now on her back Lizabee rolled to the left and with a very calculated jerk of the cord caused her alarm clock to go smashing to the floor in just such a way that it effectively turned the alarm off without breaking the machine to pieces. Oh, yes. Defusing alarm clocks, like defusing bombs, was an art form. Step two of the three part ritual was to lean over the edge for the stash of pills that were sitting safely on the floor. Lizabee found the proscription bottle exactly where she hand left it and, without looking, gave it an experimental jiggle.

"Only six. Shit."

There was barely enough Percecet to get her through the night. Meaning that on top of what she already had to do that afternoon Lizabee would have to make a street run for more. There was no way in hell she wasn't going to be covered in this particular area. Beg, barrow, or steal.

Rolling onto her back again with the bottle still in her grip Lizabee unscrewed the inverted child proof cap on the small bottle and shook two of the horse pills onto her tongue swallowing them both dray from her reclined position. Easier said than done. But she was a pro. Lizabee would wait another thirty minutes like that to allow the narcotics to go to work before she tried to move. It would take her at least another 45 minutes once she stood up to get dressed and when one considered she was already half way there as she was, that was saying alot.

"I hate my life." Lizabee lied sardonically.

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Fastest typist of the entire company. It wasn't the achievement of the century, but Jeremy was glad that it allowed him to finish his daily routine slightly earlier than the other drones he unashamedly formed a part of. With his job done, he would be able to return to his exciting single life of sitting on his second hand sofa, flicking through different channels that only showed repeats and occasionally picking up the news to read about the exhilarating lives of people he really didn't care about. It wasn't the lifestyle he had dreamed of as a child, he had wanted to be a musician, but his current monotonous state kept problems away. That was enough to keep him from sighing as he finished his most recent report and began to gather his possessions from the desk of his grey cubicle.

That grey cubicle was a perfect representation of his condition. Sealed of from others in a cage of what for some would be depressing boredom under the guise of Sean Sheppard, with only an average computer providing contact with the outside world. Of course, he had many times had the chance to create a mediocre social life with which he could spice things up, but the truth was that doing so scared him. This was more or less how his mother had wanted him to be, for protection, but she had disappeared before being able to specify exactly how protected he needed to be. For now this would do, however. It kept him safe, away from whatever it was that would seek him out relentlessly if he were to reveal his identity as Jeremy Krammer.

Fortunately, or unfortunately for Jeremy, all of this was about to change.

"Hey, Sean, we're going out for a drink later. Me and a few others. Coming?"

James Linz, the drone that worked in the cubicle next to Jeremy's and was currently leaning over the thin board that separated them. He was a year older then Jeremy, but appeared to be around his early thirties with his balding head and slightly retro dress sense. There was no established friendship between them, but James had seen Jeremy leave the office every day alone without saying more than a simple 'goodbye', 'see you tomorrow' or 'have a nice weekend' and felt it was time to get him out and about.

Jeremy, as he placed a number or files in his case neatly, looked up and smiled. He appreciated the offer, and he found it even touching that someone would open up in such a way without a hidden motive, presuming their wasn't one, but he knew that making himself known in public, even a little, was out of the question.

"I can't, James, but thanks. Work to do, you know? Maybe another day," he replied with an almost apologetic shrug and smile. "Listen, though. I heard Stevenson complaining earlier. If you want, I can get those reports you need doing finished by Monday."

At first, James offered a similar shrug to Jeremy's. It wasn't the first time Jeremy had rejected his offer, and a nice as the loner seemed, he was beginning to consider whether Jeremy really was being sincere with his cushioned response. This though faded as soon as Jeremy asked whether he wanted to save his job, however. He had been asking people to come out with him to his favorite bar because, as Mr. Stevenson had said, he was walking on thin ice. His job was in danger, and before being fired he wanted to have a little send off, even if nobody else knew what the get together was for.
Jeremy had offered help in his time of need. There were the reports that needed to be written, and James knew that there wasn't enough time to do so.

"Err, thanks. Really, thank you." James replied with a surprised smile. "I'll just get the files."

James' head disappeared behind the grey board, and immediately Jeremy began to hear the rustling of papers. It may have seemed like Jeremy was doing James a favour, and he was, but it was Jeremy that felt he was obtaining the most benefit in the deal. It was something to keep him busy during the passing hours at home. Even another report, doing the exact same thing he did at work, was good enough. It was an activity that would stop his mind from going numb as he stared out of the window of his apartment upon Lost Haven city yet again.

James reappeared with a brown folder in his grasp, leaning back over the cubicle border with a relieved expression. His gratitude was clearly visible, and Jeremy could tell he wouldn't be forgetting the favour any time soon.

"Just remember to invite me next to you and the guys go out." Jeremy said as he placed his hand on the folder, earning a nod from James. That was expected, but what happened next wasn't.

Jeremy felt himself being suddenly soaked, as if someone had decided to install a well camouflaged shower in his cubicle. It startled him at first, until he saw the same happening to James. The incendiary sprinklers had been activated, and the only clue as to why was the terrified employee that ran past screaming.

"Evacuate the building!"

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Once Lizabee actually got on her feet and started going most of her discomfort, thanks to the narcotics in part, blended together to the point where she could mostly ignore the constant presence of her pain. In fact it actually took her less time than normal to work her way into a clean white wife-beater and her favorite black hoodie and make herself presentable enough to be seen in public.

Her "apartment" was more like a closet than anything else and just large enough for her futon and a tall worn dresser to fit into with enough room left over to move around. The hole in the wall didn't have a kitchen to speak of and the stove had long since been disconnected from it mounts with the gas turned off. The little bathroom wasn't much better. While the toilet worked Lizabee had to fill the tank with water from the sink if she wanted it to flush and even then the damn thing was iffy at best.

If the place had one small saving grace it was that there was a perfectly huge claw footed bathtub that, although beat up, worked perfectly fine. Lizabee just couldn't guarantee the water that came out of the faucet would be hot. Not that she was very picky. The Apartments were intended for the low income population which pretty much meant that the people who lived in the building should have considered themselves lucky they weren't out on the streets. Living in secure squealer was at least more safe than not living there in her opinion.

After throwing her pills, keys, and wallet into her pocket Lizabee fled from her apartment into the streets with her hood up. More times than not the young woman felt cold even when it was relatively warm out. Although she would have liked making contact with one of the dealers who pushed prescriptions in the area, it was safer to do that under the cover of darkness rather than in broad daylight. So instead Lizabee headed for Lost Haven's nearest Catholic Church. As she expected the large opulent building was mostly empty with the exception of several unfortunate looking individuals who were using the place to protect them from the elements as well as their sins.

Sighing to herself Lizabee slipped around them easily avoiding eye contact where possible as she made a straight line for the wooden confessional to the far right of the main room and knocked thrice on the receiving end to ensure the confessional wasn't in use.

"Enter my child." The priest indicated from the obscured side of the large box.

Before entering Lizabee gave a careful look around to ensure no one was watching her and stepped into the confessional. One hand was pushing aside the curtain while another slipped into her pocket to touch the cool metal of the Rosary she had concealed there.

Once inside Lizabee reached up and pulled the window partition to the left opening the obscured center so that she nd the preist on the other side could speak.

"Forgive me, Father, fore I have sinned. It's been nearly a week since my last confession." She began.

"What is the nature of these sins my child?" The priest inquired evenly.

"I accuse myself of anger towards my mother and father, anger towards the greater world, and anger towards my creator. But mostly father I accuse myself of indifference to myself. Surely this is the greatest sin of all." Lizabee confessed.

"I see." The priest replied. "Many times, my child, God asks us to look within our own hearts and refelct on the aspects of ourselves we do not always like. Maybe when you look into yourself you feel ashamed. You feel like you're being petty and out of line for feeling so strongly about people and events that were so entirely outside of your individual control. God would ask us to forgive and love ourselves just as we forgive and love others. But as you know this is often easier said then done. Compassion is often easier to bestow upon others than it is to bestow upon yourself."

"How may I reconcile with myself?" Instead of being a heartfelt spiritual question this response was scripted like a code between herself and the man behind the veil.

The Father did not answer for a minute or two and instead reached into his robe to produce a sheet or two of folded paper that had names and addresses written upon them. Although the screen was meant to separate them one of the corners had been broken enough for the papers to be slipped through the screen. Lizabee grunted and took them.

"You know I don't like you doing this, Elizabeth." The priest muttered evenly after Lizabee took them. "Its not safe I don't want to see you targeted by somebody some day, or worse, do something that puts your life in immediate jeopardy."

"I know, Father. You tell me every time I come, and yet every time you have a new list of the suffering for me to take. We all pay our dues one way or anther in the crappy world, Father. Are you going to honestly deny me mine?" Lizabee asked with somber curiosity.

"No." The priest replied.

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#, as written by Lycos
"Will, you sure about this?" The masked man asked as the one he was talking to fiddled with the object that appeared to be a detonator. "We have done some stuff in the past, but this is ridiculous." Will looked back, holding his hand in the air as if he was about to snap his fingers. The other man grew wide eyed and backed off, taking a deep breath. He had decided not to question this man any more. Will finally stopped messing with the detonator and turned around towards his companion. "Hold this." The other man looked down at it, reaching for it slowly. Will pulled it away, pressing the button.

The Lennox Building. Controlled and run by Andrew Lennox, the creator of Genesis. This was William Livingston's first fuck you in a line of many since taking over Sanctuary. He was always one for the hands on approach.

The thirty-fourth floor windows started to crack as the blast smacked them. The technology of Lennox never ceased to amaze those who saw it, but even William thought the blast would surely make them break. It didn't matter though, destroying the inside was of greater importance. William watched as the flames became visible even from two football fields away. He walked to the edge of the roof and rolled up his sleeve, checking the time to make sure they were still on schedule. He tossed the detonator over his shoulder, landing in the hands of the other man. "Matt, how long have we known eachother?" Matt looked up, dropping his arms with the detonator in his right hand. "Twenty-five years. Since we were kids." His arm slowly started turning metallic in color, the shape of a sword blade taking over. "Why?" William laughed without turning around. "No reason. I just can't believe it was that long." He raised his hand, his middle finger and thumb rubbing the tips of the other. "It should have ended a long time ago." Shock was noticeable on Matt's face as he quickly regained his composure and made a lunge at William. William smiled and snapped his fingers, Matt's arm becoming engulfed in a dark black flame. He started hitting it with his other hand, trying to put it out, more of operating on instinct at this point. William turned around, picking up the detonator that Matt dropped as he tried to put himself out. William threw the detonator up in the air and caught it on its way down. "Didn't I tell you to hold this." He threw the detonator at Matt. As it hit his chest Matt became completely on fire, falling to the ground within seconds. William removed his mask to reveal evil looking black eyes and long black hair. He looked at his watch and sighed. "Now I'm late for my meeting."

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J.C. reached base, which was hidden underground, beneath an apartment complex at the edge of the city. It seemed to be the least likely place to hide anything, which was perfect for them. As an anti-sanctuary group consisting mainly of other Swans, they were not liked by either human nor other Swans, who say that they were traitors.

The young boy walked down, and down, stair case after stair case. You'd think that they were heading towards hell itself. It was cold and dark, the stairs were rusted and damp. If this wasn't the safest place, J.C. would have stayed away from a place as creepy as this, but for people like him, it was necessary. He simply whistled as he descended the stairs.

He finally reached the bottom floor, as he went up to a nearby pipe, and knocked at the wall sequentially, and in a specific order. Most would have found this strange, but he was activating the hidden switches that then removed a small part of the wall, revealing a keypad. He input the password into the pad, causing another part of the wall to come down, and showing a door which J.C. walked through. Then he was in a long hallway, but this time, it was brighter and cleaner. The walls were a silvery white, with dark carpets lining the floors. He turned to the fifth door on the right, which was his room, and dumped the large bag of cash he had been carrying all this time under his bed. Not exactly the most creative place, surly, but he was confident no one would have a reason to even search his room. He plopped into bed, turning on the TV, when he saw news of a bank worker being arrested for attempted robbery. "What is this world coming to?" J.C. smirked slyly. The news then turned to something much darker. A special report. The anchor was describing an explosion going of at one of the buildings in the city, causing the building to catch fire, and J.C. knew, would collapse in a matter of hours. J.C. sighed. "Really?" He asked the TV. "What has this world come to?"

His curiosity taking over, he leaped off his bed, and ventured back out to the surface, wanting to observe the situation himself.

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Having left the church, the red head took a moment to look over the list the priest had given her. Some of the locations were private homes while others were established businesses. One or two weren't particular places at all and just gave the cross sections of a street. The first thing Lizabee did was scan for familiar names. Given that her time and tolerance was limited she'd try to take care of repeats first since they were usually chronic cases and then move on to as many of the others as possible. In the beginning she had preformed this ritual nearly every day but experience had showed her that some afflictions took longer for her to bounce back from than others did and so Lizabee had concluded it was important to give herself regular rest periods between her acts of charity for personal recovery. Otherwise she ran the risk of never getting anything done for herself or overdoing it.

The first Name Lizabee recognized was Jane Millner. Jane was a waitress, a single mother, and a drug addict living in a seedy apartment across town with her four month old. Although the woman had tried to go clean several times relapses were common and, worse still, because Jane had used after she'd given birth and was breast feeding her baby Nora had become addicted too via her breast milk. Hopping a transport to get across town Lizabee entered the shady complex and made her way to the third floor. It wasn't hard to tell which apartment was Jane's. Lizabee could hear the infant crying all the way from the second floor and the sound absolutely chilled her. For some reason babies caught in the throws of withdrawal sounded noticeably different from normal children. The reality was sad. But true.

"HEY. HEY JANE. ITS ELIZABETH. LET ME IN." Lizabee said pounding hard on the door. For all she knew Jane could be strung out herself and either not there or passed out. Lizabee wasn't above picking the locks if she had to in order to get in. It would have been maddening to imagine Nora in there all by herself.

Image

To her relief the blond waitress was home after all and after a few long minutes did come to the door.

Despite Lizabee announcing herself it seemed like the woman half expected it to be someone else calling at her door, but the second she caught a glimpse of the younger woman's blazing red hair she threw open the door and let Lizabee in.

"Oh my God Lizzy I'm so glad you're here." The taller woman whimpered. "I swear, I only did a little this time. I didn't mean to, I mean, there wasn't any formula left..."

"Yeah, I know Jane. Just show me where she is and I'll do what I can." Lizabee was trying very hard not to be absolutely infuriated that Jane had been breast feeding again while she was using. While by some miracle it was true that she'd more or less stayed off the harder stuff during her pregnancy, Jane apparently hadn't been strong enough to resist getting her fixes after. The drug abuse aside, the woman had been told she could feed Nora using formula instead but apparently Jane's habit often came first over buying formula and other common necessities. That, or the woman actually forgot what she needed to do and had resorted to breast feeding out of instinct. This was the third incident since the child had been born, where Lizabee had been asked to intervene.

Per her request Jane lead Lizabee to the bathroom of the apartment where Jane had set up the out of order bathtub like a makeshift crib. Lizabee didn't like to imagine what could happen if Jane ever became too overwhelmed by the infants high pitched cries in such a condition.
Although Nora had a pad underneath her and a yellow baby blanket tucked around her, Lizabee could see the infant visibly trembling and in distress. The sight tore away at Lizabee's heart.

"Poor sweetie. Come on. Auntie Lizzy is here. I've got you little one." Jane helped Lizabee pick the infant up out of the bath tub and position her as best they could in Lizabee's arms. The screaming was almost unbearable to take as she carried the child out of the ominous bathroom and into the main part of the apartment which, although small, Jane kept relatively clean.

"How long has she been showing symptoms Jane?"

"Um...Since yesterday morning I-I think." The woman replied helplessly.

"Its been almost 24 hours then which means this could go on for another two days. I'm going to help her Jane but if there's actual health problems present you know I can't do anything. You need to get her checked out by an actual doctor. The shit your doing can seriously fuck up this child's system. Are you hearing me? JANE? ARE YOU HEARING ME?" Lizabee demanded.

"Y-Yes. Yes. GOD! I know. I know...I-I swear I'll take her in as soon as I can. J-Just help her now...Please." The blond pleaded.

Not really convinced, Lizabee sighed and shut her eyes a moment as she mentally prepared herself for what she was about to do. If she'd been trying t do this for an adult there was a chance she might have incompasated herself but with such a small child like this Lizabee was certian she could handle the after effects well enough.

Lifting Nora so that she was curled partially into Lizabee's shoulder, the red head began to slowly breath in through her nose and out through her mouth deep and deeper as she formed the meta-physiological connection between herself and the infant opening up a channel that would allow her to literally absorb all of the infants discomfort and place it upon herself. Slowly as the seconds ticked by Nora's tremors began to lessen significantly and her little body started to relax. After a few minutes even the infants crying subsided as the reprieve from its suffering and the warmth of Lizabee's body seemed to lull the child into a exhausted, although entirely peaceful, sleep.

Lizabee's body on the other hand had grown rigid and tense and the young woman mentally fought the flooding impulses that poured through her mind and body.

"Jane t-take her. Qu-ick." She choked out.

Jumping out of the sofa she'd sunken into the woman quickly took possession of her sleeping daughter again before Lizabee dropped to one knee as if the wind had been knocked out of her and collapsed against the edge of the sofa grasping her right wrist tightly as her whole body spasm-ed and the fine muscles in her hands, face, and throat began to twitch and mildly shake. Squeezing her eyes shut Lizabee sat on the floor like that waiting for her nervous system to adjust to the sudden physiological change.

"God, Lizzy. Are-are you going to be OK?" Jane asked, although, not with as much concern as she could have at least feigned under the circumstances and in light of what Lizabee had done to make up for Jane's mistakes.

"J-just give me a minute or two Jane. All right?"

"Sure sweetie. Its just...I need you to leave soon. I'm expecting company." Jane replied coyly.

It was amazing to realize that despite the fact that her infant child had, up until moments ago, been suffering needlessly; Jane had been expecting her latest boyfriend to come over so that the couple could squeeze in an hour or two of screwing before she was due for her shift that evening. Even more amazingly, if Lizabee hadn't happened to come by that day there was no doubt that Jane would have had her boyfriend over anyway and that they would have simply willed themselves to ignore Nora's pained crying the entire time.

The sad thing was that Lizabee knew this was the case and tried to help Jane anyway. Then again her actions had nothing to do with the waitress and everything to do with the life of the waitress's baby.

Yes, indeed.

Everyone paid a price for the life they lived. Whether it was their choice to live it or not.

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It took no more than an instant for Jeremy to rise to his feet, his mind flooded with as much worry as what was flooding James's lower clothing to his side. Now, the most logical conclusion would be that what they were all experiencing was a fire drill. There had been many recently, mainly because each one ended in over a dozen office workers hypothetically being burnt alive within the building. Of course, on those previous occasions the extinguishing showers had not been activated.

There was one convincing factor, however.

The smell of choking smoke and the sudden shake of the building was real enough. Already he could hear the petrified shouts from other floors. It seemed the fire drills really hadn't made much of a difference to people's actions in a crisis.

The flames had not yet reached Jeremy's floor, which was a relief, but still Jeremy's legs began to shake, leaving him frozen on the spot with his mouth hanging open, his eyes darting from one screaming drone to the next.

"Sean, we have to get out of here," James shouted in a high pitched tone. This, apparently, was his scared voice. Had he been an actor auditioning for the role of scared worker 1 he would have been given the part immediately. Some probably would have even made him the protagonist, so believable was his emotion. The growing, wet stain, distinguishable even as he was drenched from above, was simply a prop to immerse the crowd. But, unfortunately, this was not a film or a play, and they were not actors. Jeremy was scared stiff and James was peeing himself whilst others either did very good impressions of Jeremy, ran for the elevator leaving behind a trail of frightened noise or started to gather a much of the expensive equipment and possessions as humanly possible.

It was then that something happened, snapping Jeremy away from his shock and back into the much more pleasant real world. A loud smash was heard from above, maybe to floors away, followed by something that looked remotely human, engulfed in flames, falling past the floor's large window. This took a little while to sink in, perhaps longer than it should have considering the circumstances, but it was enough to cause Jeremy to look around and face James. His face was gaunt white with worry, and James didn't look to good either. It wasn't that much of a problem, however. Nobody looked good right then.

"We need to get down to the ground floor," Jeremy stated, hoping he sounded braver than he felt. "The flames are close by, I think."

The thought was correct. Smoke was seeping through the bad quality, white ceiling tiles above them, starting to fill the floor with its deadly form. Jeremy appeared to be the only one that had noticed this, and was maybe the only person present that had taken in the small details that would make all the difference. Smoke could kill, that much everyone knew, and it was increasing in its quantity by a fair amount per second. What hadn't been taken into account was that during these situations the elevators were shut off, leaving only the stairs as an option for escape. This hadn't seemed to motivate those standing before the elevator doors, pushing one another aside and even breaking into fights to be first in when it came. A couple of the more intelligent drones were fully aware of this, and were taking advantage of the chaotic situation to run through the emergency escape and head down before the rest caught on.

"There," Jeremy announced as he pointed towards what was usually an inconspicuous door. It was completely grey, and did nothing to stand out from the rest. Originally there had been a sign reading 'FIRE ESCAPE' but somebody had taken it for a door at home. In fact, Jeremy knew who had done so, and saw that one person follow another two through the frame and make their way towards the ground floor. For anyone who hadn't stolen the sign or paid special attention during there lunch hours due to lack of companions to socialize with the door was just another entrance to a small room filled with cleaning products.

"Right. right," James said as his head bobbed up and down in agreement. That was the thing about the memory. James had completely forgotten about that perfect exit, until Jeremy had decided to boot his brain into action by pointing.

No sooner had Jeremy done this, James began to sprint. Fortunately enough there were large spaces between that rows of cubicles, and that meant less manoeuvring and more rushing. Jeremy would have more than happily followed suit, but something caught his lucky eye. James was running into what was a potential deathtrap. The smoke had been leaking from mainly one area of the ceiling, and as it did so, that portion of white began to slowly turn grey and crack.

Jeremy accelerated. It was in that moment his bones tensed to painful proportions, and like a dog chasing it first meal in weeks he sprung forwards. Between James and himself there was a row of cubicles that James had decided to run around. Jeremy didn't have time to do so. One after the other, Jeremy's leg propelled him forwards, working together like a well oiled machine designed for maximum output. It was not speed that Jeremy was going for in his motion, as logical as it may have seemed only a second before. Each step he took was more like a leap forwards joined by Jeremy's insignificant weight being thrust against the resistance that the air proposed. This augmented Jeremy's momentum significantly, which was what gave his intensified muscles the burst of strength necessary to jump.

The left foot pushed with full force against the floor without the heel touching, springing the rest of his body into a diagonal trajectory. The right foot however, having not even come close to the ground, elevated itself, taking the leg with it so that it would pass over the cubicle's board.

Half of Jeremy glided over, his torso arched forwards to pose less of an enemy against the ever present defence of the air that threatened his chances. His torso was then followed by the left leg that had been lifted to the side. Still, there was no way for it to simply pass over the board on its own. Jeremy placed his right, still in the air, on the very same board he had been trying to vault over, and pushed, giving him the impulse to lift his trailing left leg over.

The attempt was a success. Now over the cubicle, Jeremy braced himself to touch the ground and continue his sprint. He bent both legs into such a position that they would simply compress upon impact, and that was what they did. Jeremy reached the floor without having stopped and continued his run.

Above James, the ceiling had just opened up completely, revealing a large desk and computer covered by dancing reds and oranges, accompanied by electrical sparks. He had realised this, seeing as the roof's goal had not been stealth upon collapsing, and as he looked up and hopefully raised his hands to his head's height in defence, he felt a sudden force that slammed into his side, taking him off his feet. The next thing he saw was the grey fire exit drawing closer. He had only been a few feet away in the first place, but was approaching his destination far quicker than he had expected.

Jeremy, his arms wrapped around James' stomach area, lifting the man from the ground be a few inches, turned slightly to the right, preparing his left shoulder to burst through.

What followed was much more dramatic than he had expected. The door gave way like a boxer who had just received the knockout blow, slamming against the metal stairway with a loud clang. Jeremy, still carrying momentum, followed suit, collapsing with James in his arms to the floor just as the ceiling collapsed completely behind them, effectively sealing off the fire escape to anyone not already inside.

Jeremy panted heavily. His shoulder ached and he was out of breath. James breathing such a way because of his stunned condition. It had all happened in a moment, and it seemed strange enough, but it had definitely been real. Jeremy had vaulted over a row of cubicles and tackled him away from a collapsing ceiling with enough strength to knock a security door from its hinges.

"Thanks, Sean," James wheezed, climbing to his feet using the balustrade on offer to balance himself. "But how did you-"

"No time for that," Jeremy stated firmly, regaining his breath as he jumped back into a standing position. "We have to get out of here."

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There could be no doubt, among those who monitored such things, that the present attack being carried out on the Lennox Building was being orchestrated by someone connected to Sanctuary.

Anel couldn't help but growl audibly from the shadow of his lair when the first sounds of commotion erupted in the the streets above and nearest to the Lennox building as it burned. The point of the attack was clear. Somebody was trying to get back at Andrew Lennox the creator behind Genesis. What better way to send a message than to destroy one of Andrew most symbolic architectural achievements? Yet the fact that the building was burning during the peak of the afternoon showed a particular amount of malice. How many innocent lives were currently working before the chaos broke out?

"Always with the fire." Anel muttered, remembering how Genesis had burned much the same. "someday you're going to be held acountable for cleaning up your mess."

At that the shadow-man disappeared from his concrete habitat shifting into his corporeal form as Anel projected himself like a great swooping bird up and out of his haunt and into the streets above. To anyone looking it almost appeared as if a great cloud of steam had erupted from a sewer vent as it passed through the streets heading straight for the upper floors of the Lennox building. Anel didn't bother entertaining the notion of trying to stop William Livingston. The initial damaged had already been done and unless the fire responders could do some serious damage control along with the sprinkler systems the building was doomed to burn from the inside out. Anel wasn't about to let the hordes of innocent people burn along with it. At least not all of them.

Using his corporeal abilities which were separate from his physical body Anel took a moment to identify which floors had the largest groupings of people trapped on them. The most vulnerable were the people closest to the upper floors as the black smoke began to seep in level by level. Pretty soon most of the people on these floors wouldn't be able to see where they were going and would probably succumb to smoke inhalation and mass hysteria long before the flames actually reached them. There was at least a few things Anel could do about that.

Centering himself about fifteen floors below the highest floor, Anel's corporeal form began to build up its strength using the combined energy being released by the fire above him along with the collective panic driven energy being built up by the large grouping of people stuck in the elevator waiting areas.

A minute or so later a second explosion (more of an implosion really) rocked the Lennox building. This time blowing out every window that sat between the 17th and 32nd floors. It was also true that every glass watering cooler along with quite a few peoples lenses also cracked. Anel's abilities weren't an exact science after all. There was a certian amount of random chance involved.

Now caught up an a whirlwind of righteousness along with the accumulated energy that the shadow man had built up in order to shatter the windows a feral sounding cry erupted as Anel used his corporeal form, intense speeds, and ability to pass through solid matter to effectively take hold of whole groups of normal people, many of them screaming in alarm, as they felt their bodies jerk violently while Anel dragged them six and seven at a time through the multiple floors underneath them. To the poor people experiencing this phenomenon the sensation felt very much like a combination of intense vertigo, a series of sudden short drops, and the worst full body tingling anybody could imagine.

The shadow man repeated this maneuver a dozen or so times all within a little over ten minutes focusing on the area's closest to the elevators and beginning from the 17th floor and working up. If he'd done it any other way there would have been a greater risk of colliding with groups of individuals on the floors below him. Although thanks to the alarms going off it was safe to bet that most of the people on the first ten or fifteen floors where already pouring out into the streets. Anel could extend his abilities to a moderate sized group of average people but he wasn't capable of doing so with everybody all at once. By the time he was through nearly 70 people had been deposited in the main elevator lobby on the first floor. Dazed and very confused but well enough in most cases to collect themselves and help each other stumble out into the streets. If anyone had been counting the might have averaged that the shadow man had plucked two groups of about five people between the 17th and 32nd floors.

It was enough.

Enough for rational objectivity to take hold again and for the Shadow-man to recede from the Lennox building entirely and pull his corporeal form back into himself from several yards away on a different street where he stood. His form obscured in shadow. Having collected himself again Anel sank against the brick wall of the alley way he's been standing in as a strong combination of intense vertigo and nausea over took him forcing the very tall, very pale, man in the trench coat deeper into the shadows. Anel wasn't as young as he once was and feats like what he's just done were not easy on his constitution.

It was terrorist act of personal vengeance like this that had caused organizations such as A.R.C.H.A.N.G.E.L. to come into existence and while that particular organization was no more some of its most unifying principles lived on thanks to individuals like himself. Though exhausted and momentarily exposed, Anel was satisfied.

It would have to be enough, even if it technically wasn't.

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#, as written by Lycos
Andrew Lennox arrived by helicopter to the scene, watching his building burn to the ground. He gripped a briefcase tightly in his right hand, seemingly trying to hold back his emotions. "Take me away from here." The pilot nodded and turned the helicopter away from the building. Lennox was an old man even by today's standards. With all the breakthrough's in modern medicine he has been able to oversee his company even at ninety-four. He was completely bald with no facial hair and oval shaped glasses complimenting his pale wrinkled skin. He was a reclusive man, many not even knowing what the most powerful man in the world looked like was a scary thought.

Andrew developed Genesis for the same reason Sanctuary exists, fear. However, Andrew knows that Livingston has no fear, at least not a known one. Lennox sat back and felt the copter slowly start to descend and touch ground, barely two football fields away from the Lennox Building. "So, its time." The pilot turned around and pointed a gun at Lennonx, removing his helmet to reveal cat-like yellow eyes and dangerously sharp teeth. Lennox opened the door to the copter and calmly walked out onto the roof, gripping the briefcase tight. "I must admit. I wasn't expecting this to occur so soon." Lennox closed his eyes waiting for a response. "Destroying your precious building was the only way to lure you, old man." William appeared from behind a vent, dressed in an all black suit with a gray tie. He walked in front of Lennox with a wide smile on his face. "Here I thought you'd let me scare you. What a pity." Lennox opened his eyes and removed the glasses off his face, taking a deep breath. "This is what you want, right?" Lennox held up the briefcase which Livingston immediately snatched away, throwing it over to the pilot. "I'm surprised you brought it. Of course knowing you, you probably already knew we would just storm your lab and kill everyone there. Smart move in a way."

Livingston grabbed Lennox's shirt collar and forced him over to the ledge. "From this height, the fall won't kill you." Lennox looked down to see they were a good forty stories in the air. "Well you see, at this height the shock would be enough to cause a heart attack, likely killing you before you hit the ground. Last words?" Lennox turned his head and looked at Livingston. "Your eyes didn't always look so lifeless. I know it was you. Your the one that burned Genesis aren't you?" Livingston smiled and let go, Lennox falling over the ledge. "So long ago I don't even care old man." He turned around waving lazily to the ledge, as his final good bye to Lennox. He approached the pilot, grabbing the briefcase and opening it, a large bright light shot out, though in the sun it wouldn't be noticeable beyond the roof. Livingston's eyes grew wide as he closed the briefcase, motioning for the pilot to get back in the copter to take him away from there.

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It didn't take long at all to escape. In fact, Jeremy wasn't sure how he had escaped. Everything had happened so quickly there was no way to explain why he was suddenly on his knees in the main lobby.

He saw James nearby, adding to the stains on his clothing by vomiting in the corner, partly covering his own shoes. A small number of others were doing the same, although the majority had darted to either the street or the nearest bathroom. Jeremy could easily understand why many were reacting in such a way. The sensation during those few seconds, the seconds during which he felt as if he had been thrust through matter itself, had been horrible. His stomach was strong enough to hold down whatever revolting liquids could attempt to project themselves out of his mouth, but all the same, he felt incredibly weak. He was wet, still being rained upon by the lobby sprinklers as he attempted to stand up.

He failed that mission. One leg gave way as he pushed himself away from the floor, allowing him to collapse back to the floor. His previous sprint and huge physical effort had taken a lot out of him, and the recent minute, well, he wasn't vomiting but was quite close to doing so.

"What the... what was that?"

It was James' voice. As Jeremy looked over his shoulder he his work comrade approaching, wiping a number of half digested pieces of meat and vegetables from around his lips. He had looked better.

"We're safe now. That's what matters," Jeremy said in an assuring manner, wiping a combination of sweat and water meant to protect the building from fire from his forehead. This statement was contradicted almost immediately, however, by a sudden crash from above. It seemed that no matter how quickly you could suddenly appear in a building's lobby surrounded by other workers having been on one of the top floors moments before, you were never completely out of harm's way. The building was, apparently, still in flames, and judging by the amount of people around him, the floors above still contained innocents attempting to escape.

"They'll be fine," James spoke softly, kneeling at the sitting Jeremy's side. "Whatever helped us, or whoever did it. The others won't be left behind." He had more than likely seen Jeremy's face, and after working in cubicles next to one another for five years, even without being friends, James knew more or less how Jeremy thought and what he was planning. One could learn a lot simply from reports. Jeremy had covered for James more than once, and the reports that Jeremy took care of said a lot about him. "Look, I know you helped me. But, you can't help a whole building full of people to escape. It's probably already being taken care of. We need to get home."

Jeremy nodded. In all honesty, James was right. Jeremy knew he had an ability, knew that like others throughout the world, he was a Swan. He was physically superior, despite whatever story his appearance told, but being able to run and jump better than most others wasn't enough to save thirty-five floors worth of terrified innocents. And that was what hurt the most. He wanted to prove that Swans deserved the same freedom and equality that everyone deserved, but was afraid to confess he formed part of that frowned upon group, without the power to demonstrate just how much a simple genetic mutation could benefit society. He had no doubt, though, that his sudden escape from the burning floor was the work of another Swan. Technology wasn't that advanced. It had to be the work of someone with an ability. The world needed more people like the one that had just been the saviour of many, without searching for thanks or glory. Such selfless acts maintained Jeremy's faith in the Swan's acceptance.

James placed his hands under Jeremy's shoulder and, with their joint effort, Jeremy managed to stand. As physically evolved as he was, he still knew what it was to be fatigued. He ached, his legs mostly.

"I'll give you a ride home," James offered as he allowed Jeremy to place his weight on him. Jeremy's arm was slumped around James, and he was staggering onwards towards a rusted brown vehicle. He immediately recognised it as James' car. "Come on Sean, nearly there. Where do you live?"

With help, Jeremy sat in the seat next to James' and rested his head against it. He wanted to sleep, and to do so he wanted his bed. To get there though, he would need to tell James where he lived, and that made him uncomfortable.
This discomfort was cast aside after a moment. If his body could talk it would tell him to forget his slight paranoia just for a little while and let James take him home.

So he did.

After thirty minutes driving, they arrived at the shabby block of flats that housed Jeremy and his neighbours. It was a cheap area in the city centre, covered with graffiti and haunted by family arguments constantly present. It was Jeremy's home, and had been for the last six years. Despite his job being a mundane one, it paid quite well, and would normally allow one to purchase a slightly... cleaner, home.

Their goodbye was quick, and as he saw James drive away he fumbled around in his pockets for his keys. In reality, despite having a key chain, there was only one key for his one door and lack of vehicle. This one key was used a minute later to open the door to his home, revealing the empty space that was his flat. The conditions in there were considerably better than in the rest of the building, mainly because Jeremy had next to nothing to do, leaving him with the grand activity known as cleaning. There was also a small television that had kept him occupied, but that had been broken for a week. What Jeremy had recently chosen to keep himself buy was his work, which, as he thought about what had just happened, he realised was lost. The building was burning down, and he would be left without income. A stressful situation to say the least. He would have to check the news to see what was happening. That would mean purchasing another television.

The purchase wouldn't be a problem. Jeremy had his savings, hidden in a ceiling tile, saved for when the need rised. Now was a better time than any to break it out.

As he made his way over to the chosen ceiling tile, something caught his attention. His phone, normally inactive, had a little light that would flash red if a message was left. As the situation was, that light was flashing. For Jeremy and his lack of a social life, this was a rare occurrence.

Abandoning the sealed away money, Jeremy approached the communication device with curiosity and pressed the button that would allow him to hear the voice of whoever had chosen to leave the message. Said voice was muffled, a if someone was making an effort to be completely unrecognisable. Jeremy was honestly intrigued, but frightened by what was said.

"Hello, Jeremy. We know about you, and are coming."

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J.C. watched as events unfolded in front of him. The building shattered, numerous people were taken out of the building by a mysterious enigma. Anel... J.C. thought. Subtle as usual. J.C. knew that he had no real reason to be there. What use was he?

The illusionist turned to leave, and was a good distance away from the building, when he heard someone scream. "Oh my god!" A woman was pointing to the sky, towards the top of a tall building, and others around her were pointing as well. J.C. looked toward the direction the woman was pointing. Someone was falling from the top of the building, very fast. Right on top of J.C. The weight of the man had hurt him a lot, but he could only imagine how the fall victim was doing. J.C. got up, and carefully moved the body on the floor. There was a crowd of people gathering to see if the man was even alive.

He was old. Very old indeed. J.C. had put the man around his late eighties or even nineties. But he wasn't breathing. J.C. had to act quickly. The fall definitely didn't kill him, since the fall was broken by Jenrya himself. But the man might have had a heart attack from the shock. J.C. could hear an ambulance coming. Probably toward the building. He had no choice, it was now or never. J.C. ran out in the middle of the road, and waved his arms toward the ambulance. The vehicle screeched to a stop, the driver yelling at him. "Please!" J.C. called out. "This man needs help!"

Looking toward where the boy was pointing, the driver nodded and called the medics to get out. They got out of the back of the ambulance and rushed over to the old man. They checked his vitals, J.C. explained the old man might have had a heart attack from the fall he just had. Wasting no time, the both of them got a stretcher and loaded the man in the ambulance and began using the defibrillator. One shock. Nothing. Two shocks. Nothing. The medics agreed, and called the driver to get someone to collect the body later. Right now, they had to hurry toward the building. They ignored J.C. and quickly barreled down the streets back towards the burning structure.

J.C. simply stared as the vehicle vanished behind a corner. ...Who is this man... J.C. wondered. He was curious now. He needed to investigate. Looking back up toward the building he then thought to himself, ...and what was he doing jumping from that building...suicide? This bothered J.C. a bit. Something was not right here.

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Lizabee was still trembling slightly as she made her way out of the apartment building and an annoying facial tick caused her features to spasm and tweak every other minute. While blood tests would show that at best she was a pill addict, for all intents and purposes Lizabee was now stuck looking like a common hyped up junky for at least the next few hours. Luckily Nora was small enough where the symptoms Lizabee had absorbed wouldn't last very long in her system. Still, in the short term, it wasn't a pleasant experience.

Grunting Lizabee braced herself against the wall of the brick complex as she fished the pill bottle out of her pocket and carefully flicked two pills into her palm, before quickly kicking them back dry as usual. Hopefully the dose would take the edge off her tremors and numb out her nervous system for a little while.

The first thing Lizabee registered after that was the deafening sound of sirens coming and going from all directions and the sudden influx of people running about the city streets.

"What in Hell-"

Of course Lizabee had no idea what was going on or the chaos that had broken out in the city while she'd been inside. But whatever it was, as Lizabee reached out to touch the emotions of several of the passerbys running around the streets people were terrified. Something big had obviously gone down somewhere and when Lizabee finally gave a glance up at the sky it was easy to realize that something big was burning.

"Oh man. No way." Lizabee could make an educated guess where the black smoke was coming from and the realization made the under-skin of her left wrist itch where the Swan symbol had been tattooed into her skin like a brand. Certainly, if it was indeed the Lennox building burning, there would undoubtedly be Hell to pay. This was just the kind of charged atmosphere that got the Swan part of the population into hot water even if a Swan had nothing to do with the business.

"I've got to get over there." Lizabee remarked out loud as a frown formulated on her face.

Although the streets were crowded as emergency assistance vehicles struggled to get to and from the site, Lixabee was able to flag down a cab and to talk the driver into dropping her off near by. She walked the rest off the way coming onto the main scene just as an ambulance sped away leaving a curious looking young man behind it.

Lizzy you have to go back. It isn't safe here right now.


The inner-voice broke into Lizabee's consciousness as clearly as if someone had addressed her on the street.

"No. I can't do that. Not when people are suffering. And anyway you should be taking your own advice. If people do come trying to round up Swans you're certainly more of a target than I am." Lizabee muttered evenly under her breath seemingly to no one in particular.

Lizabee could feel the protective impulses of her counter part wash over her almost seeming to hold her in place but her position was firm on the matter and after a moment Lizabee felt the secondary influence release her so that she could move again.

Be careful.

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J.C. felt it wasn't safe to walk around the way he was. And if he was going to get any information, he might have to disguise himself. He went to the building the ambulance was headed. It seemed that that would be a good place to start. J.C. looked around, as he moved into the nearest alley and hide his appearance again. This time, as a person who looked like a private eye, like in those stereotypical stories. In truth, he probably stood out more this way, but he didn't care. As long as no one else saw him. He moved quickly toward the building.

As he neared the building, he was amazed at how much destruction there was. More and more people were still being brought out of the building, and the fire itself was more or less under control. And it seemed that everyone else was busy, and was not going to be easy to approach with all that was happening. J.C. looked around, and noticed that there was a pale skinned blond standing around. She might know what was happening.

He approached her, and hid his voice as he spoke, making J.C. sound much older than he was. "Excuse me ma'am. What are you doing here?"

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As it turned out there wasn't alot for Lizabee to do in the after math of the explosions. The water system in the building had more or less kept the fire on the upper floors contained. Although the building itself was more or less ruined. As for the people, thanks to Anel and the firefighters and police; most of the civilians were dispersing or being evacuated with the medic doing triage on the spot for those who needed to be tended to then and there. Elizabeth wasn't a healer and therefore her abilities were practically useless in this context.

Then again Lizabee could feel Anel nearby. Probably lurking somewhere out of sight where he could watch the goings on in the city without being seen. This was probably as physically close as they would ever consciously be to each other barring a terrible circumstance. So in a way Elizabeth was hesitant to depart from the scene just yet.

Twitching still as she moved through the crowd that had gathered to watch the disaster, Elizabeth dug the paper out of her pocket again to check for any addresses that might have been nearby. As it happened, McClint's Pub was just a few blocks down the street from her present location. Since she could do any good where she was it seemed only logical to move on with her day as planed.

The pub itself was just a little hole in the wall but it was well maintained and had a good many regulars. Lizabee knew the owner Charlie and when she wasn't busy sometimes she came down to the pub to visit and take advantage of the free glass of beer he always insisted she drink with him. Charlie had also gotten into the habit of letting her have all the free french fries and gravy she wanted on account of what she did for his granddaughter Annie.

Slipping through the door the small pub was more packed than usual with people from the Lennox building who had made a hasty escape early when the trouble had begun. Many of the men and several woman huddled around the bar drinking down cocktails and a shot or two to help settle their frazzled nerves as many recounted to each other their impressions of what had happened and how frightening the experience was. Lizabee took special note of the fact that the words Swan and Terrorism were being thrown together a little more than she cared to hear.

Slightly uncomfortable the red head pulled down the cuff of her sleeve a little more to hid the swan mark that was plainly branded into the inner part of her wrist.

"Hey, Mack. Let me in the back will you?" Lizabee called to the younger bartender who nodded and pulled out his keys to unlock the back door that lead up a flight of stars and into the tenants apartments that sat above the establishment.

Coming to the nearest closed door Lizabee knocked and after a few seconds a man of sixty or so flicked open the locks and let her in.

"Hi Charlie. How is she today?" Lizabee gave the broad square bodied man a hug.

"Hello Kid. She's been calm but I can't get her to eat anything the last day or so. S'far I know, nothings changed. But I just get a feeling like somethings wrong. She's upset about something but I don't understand what." The older man informed her slowly.

"OK. L-let me go see her and I'll see if she'll communicate with me." She assured him.

As Lizabee turned away charlie saw her twitch and caught sight of the light tremble she had to her body. "Hey lil girl, you OK?"

"Yeah I'm OK. Its nothing to worry about. I had a client before this is all." Lizabee patted the man on the hand as he gripped her shoulder. Charlie didn't seem to like it but he let his had drop and focused on re bolted the door.

Annie was about 26 and had been born with a developmental disability that didn't allow her to speak and limited her mobility. Other than that she was a rather bright individual and although she preferred to keep to herself and remain in the apartment she was very capable of expressing her wants and needs in other more non-traditional ways.

"Annie?" When Lizabee walked into the back bedroom she instantly saw why charlie was so concerned. Normally at this time of the day Annie was alert and usually painting in her room or reordering her belongings to please herself. But instead of doing any of her normal activities the woman was sitting at the edge of her bed practically non-responsive as she looked straight ahead.

Lizabee approached her friend carefully. "Ann..."

As Lizabee neared her the older woman did somewhat aknowlege her presence by following her with her eyes which told Elizabeth that Annie was fully aware and that someone she knew was talking to her.

"Charlie says your not eating for him and he seems to think something is wrong.But he also thinks that maybe your not comfortable telling him about it. I thought maybe we could talk instead." Because of Lizabee's abilities the women had worked out a kind of emotional sign language involving a sharing of feeling through the channel Lizabee created for them along with a series of hand squeezing that meant different things. On Lizabee's part she needed only to verbally relate her own responses back to the woman to get her own messages across. In a way it was almost like communicating through colors that were connected to feelings.

At first Annie didn't seem inclined to respond to her but when Lizabee eased down on the bed next to her an acute expression of anxiety come over the other woman and with little warning Annie grabbed up Lizabee's had and seemed almost hysterically insistent that Lizabee connect to her. Surprised my her insistence Lizabee did swiftly open up a channel between them and that's when an emotional storm like no other seemed to open up upon them that was so intense Elizabeth's other hand curled into a shaking fist and the force of her nails digging into her own palm drew blood.

---

Several minutes later Elizabeth appeared back down in the main bar area with a wild kind of expression on her face as she scanned the crowded room for a particular face. Finally seeing the person she was looking for lizabee pushed her way through the crowd towards a pool table near the back.

The next thing anyone saw was a very crazed looking woman with red hair walk up to one of the patrons playing pool and clock the unsuspecting young man so hard in the face that the momentum kicked him sideways into the table. The next moment Elizabeth Mcgeehan was on top of the guy, pinning his torso against the table with her bleeding knuckle wrapped around the guy's collar.

"You think its fun to go around raping woman you don't know?" Lizabee haled off and punched the guy in the kindney while the crowd watched in stunned silence. "You better fuc-ing answer me if you know what's good for you. Do you think its fun?"

"What the hell Lady-" The younger guy gasped as he struggled to get out of the pin Lizabee had him in.

Overwhelmed with rage that bordered on sadism Lizabee leaned forward so that her teeth were practically grazing the man ear as she talked. "You think you're so hot just because you're young and where born with the business end of natures procreational stick. Well let me tell you a secret pal. You've hurt one of my good friends and in the grand scheme of things no one's going to kick a rats ass if I rip of that part of you that your so fond of waving around. I'm going to let you up now and your going to quietly stand up and walk your sorry butt out that front door. Then you're never going to be seen around here again. You know why? Because while I might not be so vicious as to kill you, that woman's grandfather might be alot more unreasonable. you get me? Freind?"

At that Lizabee released her hold on the guy and forced herself to back off and the crowd parted for her.

"I didn't do nothing to that hussy that she didn't agree to. I didn't hear her say no." The man said indignantly.

unhappy with this response Lizabee snarled and came forward again, this time knee the man hard in the groin as if to further her final point. Annie is Developmentally disabled. She verbally can't say no you asshole!"

As Lizabee backed off a second time leaving the scumbag curled in a ball on the ground the sound of a squad car screamed outside the pub. No doubt somebody, or several people watching the confrontation had dialed 911 with their cell phone.

"Hey, Liz! You need to get out of her now." Mack said as he came around the bar and gabbed hold of her upper arm encouraging her to come to her sensed before she got arrested and thrown in a cell.

It took a few seconds but eventually Lizabee was able to get herself somewhat under control as she felt herself being pulled by Mack and shoved through the back door leading up through the tenent hallway. There was an exterior exit onto the street from there that charlie quickly escorted her to. By this time the older man had figured out what was going on and felt the need to ensure Lizabee got away safety for what she'd done for them.

"Go down the back street and cut over to Kent street. There's a heap of construction going on and the police won't bother hunting you down through there. Oh and thanks...Thanks fer what you did back there for Annie. I woulda never been able to get any of that out of her and now we can see to it that the right guy pays." Charlie said.

It was all Lizabee could do as the angry tears streamed down her face to nod to him before she fled.

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She passed under another bridge. The shadows on the road she walked were like stripes, thanks to those twisting bridges. They go everywhich way and yet only so many of those ugly cars take them. She ket walking, her hands in her pockets. Her boots clunked on the hard pavement of the street. She turned into an alley, where the darkness hid anything to be seen, which there wasn't, except for a small bag and a box.

Her eyes slightly adjusted to the dull night black; not even the ridiculous lights of the towering skyscapers could block out the darkest of corners. The girl knelt by the two items. She unzipped the bag and dug around in it until her hand grasped a box. She pulled it out a quickly pulled a black bandage patch out. She took the white paper off and held the hair on her neck up. She placed the specially made patch on the back of her neck, over the burned-in Swan mark.

She was lucky no one in that book store notice when the old one fell off, her grabbing it and racing out of the store & onto the streets, until she was a safe distance away to walk. She was one of the more blessed Swans (as she called her kind) to get her mark on the back of her neck, carefully hidden.

After her patch was in place, she put the box back in the bag & switched it out for a lighter. Placing the old patch on the alley-way concrete, she lit it & waited until the ashes were barely there. She scattered the remains.

* * *

After a quick snack to hold her off on hunger, and a few sips of water, the girl slung her bag over her shoulder & bent down to the box still against the brick alley wall. Carefully, she pulled back the cardboard flaps. A purr and high-pitched mews responded. She smiled at her friend and petted her head. Hopefully the Alley cat & her two kits would be safe in this box until they'd be ready to walk freely.

She doubts it.

* * *

Leaving, the girl walked between buildings & across streets until she found a safe little corner next to a road that wasn't very busy. From the view of a car you probably wouldn't even see it. She closed her eyes for a moment and saw a flash of the future. Nothing dangerous would happen at this location for the two days she saw. Setting her bag down, she looked at her watch. 3:47am. It wasn't very late, but she pulled out a tattered blanket & curled up under it anyway. Closing her eyes, WolfsBane Shepard wondered where she'd go next.