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Jun 6th, 2014
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  1. Konnie floats down into the room, and Meg and Sherry follow silently. Inside, they see Damon and Ryan, both wearing old athletic shorts and T-Shirts, asleep on a couch and an aero-mattress, respectively. A top of the line flat screen TV is turned onto Sportscenter with the volume low, and an Xbox 360 is connected to the TV.
  2.  
  3. It smells stale inside--old food, old beer, some smokiness. Looking around, Jules sees they're in something closer to a squat than an apartment.
  4.  
  5. In one corner, there's a microwave on the floor next to a mini fridge. Pizza boxes, empty cans of beer, and hot boxes spil out of a black heavy duty garbage bag next to the stairs. Near the stairs there's a doorway to what looks to be a bathroom.
  6.  
  7. In the other building, Karl looks at Jules blankly. Through him, almost. "Okay, but I should call." He says, not moving from the door.
  8.  
  9. On the roof of that building, Liana watches as Eric retrieves the Nanos from Trevor's neck wound. They flood out of the wind like millions of tiny ants out of a hole. "Have some respect for the dead, boy." She says in response to his comment.
  10.  
  11. Of course, Detective. There are bronze particulates, as well as traces of a combustion reaction that I can't find in our indexes. I'll gather samples. As for what happened, generally, I'd get into the city records and compile a summary from the various reports. For obvious reasons, I can't do that here.
  12.  
  13. "He was killed with one strike," Liana says, walking a circle around the body, bending at the waist to inspect it. "From the front, a smooth, slow, underhand blow." She pantomimes the movement for Eric's benefit. "Too clean for a struggle."
  14.  
  15. Jules
  16.  
  17. "Call?" Jules asks, not really surprised at Karl's response. Jules is pretty sure he'd be hard to deal with if someone scrambled his brains as well. "Do you remember where you work?" He indicates the doorway, "May I come inside?"
  18.  
  19. Eric
  20.  
  21. No struggle. Combustion. Bronze.
  22.  
  23. "Trevor can fly. He probably flew up here, got a bird's eye view of the rooftop. No way anyone is sneaking up on him without making at least a little noise."
  24.  
  25. No struggle.
  26.  
  27. " Trevor's killer was probably the one who fried that guy's brain downstairs. He may have done something similar to Trevor, before the slash, that'd explain the lack of a fight. Based on the condition he was in when we met him, I'd wager Jules has more info on what he can do."
  28.  
  29. Combustion. I need to examine it in the lab...more than simple charred carbon or hydrocarbons. What could it be?
  30.  
  31. "Got signs of combustion. Not sure yet what it is, it's atypical though."
  32.  
  33. Bronze.
  34.  
  35. "The knife had bronze on it somewhere, fragments ended up in Trevor. That mean anything to you? Usually these're stainless steel, you don't hear bronze outside of collector's items from antiquity."
  36.  
  37. I knew there was a reason I came here today...
  38.  
  39. Meg
  40.  
  41. Meg bounces once as her bubble hits the ground, then again as it dissipates and leaves her a few inches from the ground.
  42.  
  43. "Oooh. Hey, this looks like your place, Konnie," Meg whispers to Konnie. "Like, after you had a fight with Steph and neither of you will take the trash out."
  44.  
  45. Meg sneaks up towards the guy at a painfully slow place, taking a look at them. Nope, they're alive. And asleep. Meg grins widely and gives a thumbs-up to Konnie and Sherry.
  46.  
  47. Konnie
  48.  
  49. The mist reforms, and Konnie pokes her tongue out at Meg.
  50.  
  51. "Ok." She whispers barely audibley at the two. "Sherry, wrap him…" Konnie points to metallic shark. "Up in your hair. Meg, as soon as he…" Konnie points to the electric eel. "Does anything that looks like moving and zapping punch him in the face or something." She explains, moving herself into position near to eel. "On three." She says, waiting for the girls to get into position before starting to count wordlessly with her fingers.
  52.  
  53.  
  54. "Sure, if you want." Karl says, a little bit confused, then points to his shirt, "Best Buy. Why wouldn't I know where I work?"
  55.  
  56. Up on the roof, Liana answers, "All the ideas you've put forth are reasonable conclusions to jump to. According to Jules, this is the same as an entity we all encountered a week ago. The same feelings of nothingness were pervasive then. Not a man, but a number of shadow figures that seemed to corrupt reality around them to serve their purpose--making cement bounce when they were about to fall, turning into sand to deal with Konnie's water powers...at first, I thought their powers were illusory, or manipulation of some kind. They stabbed us literally, with nothing, and hurt us by fooling our senses of touch."
  57.  
  58. "My least favorite words in any language are 'I don't know', and right now, I don't know nearly enough about...whatever we're dealing with, and why it came after Trevor."
  59.  
  60. She continues pacing, making a circle of the roof. Eric sees her bend down, "Come here. If I know anything about weaponry," Eric's eyes move to the sword strapped to her back, "He's not going to be happy he lost this."
  61.  
  62. Walking over to her and looking over her shoulder, Eric sees a bronze knife with unfamiliar etching along the blade that's held by a chipped wooden grip. Both the grip and the blade are stained red with blood. "This killed him." Liana says, "Don't touch."
  63.  
  64. Inside the other apartment, Konnie and Meg sneak closer to the two guys while Sherry remains under the trap-door. Both of them recognize the cloying scents of smoked marijuana and stale beer, and neither Damon or Ryan shows any signs of noticing them.
  65.  
  66. Edit: just saw Biee's post in the MIA thread, so assume Sherry's in the background for now.
  67.  
  68. Konnie
  69.  
  70. With Meg and Sherry in position Konnie counts down on her fingers.
  71.  
  72. 3.
  73.  
  74. 2.
  75.  
  76. 1.
  77.  
  78. She forms ice cubes at the ends of her fingertips and spits them out at Eel and Shark. "Wakey wakey hands off snakey fuckfaces!"
  79.  
  80.  
  81. Meg
  82.  
  83. Meg edges close to one of the guys - Damon, she thinks - and stays in a crouch. A shimmery ball form about him and lifts him up off the couch, trapping him in a force field.
  84.  
  85. Force-field [+2], Bubble Boy spinoff to trap the dude. I knew that'd be useful eventually.
  86.  
  87. Eric
  88.  
  89. "Looks old. Don't make em like that much anymore. Why would a killer use something like that? It stands out like a sore thumb, it's heavier than a steel knife, and less sharp."
  90.  
  91. He peers closer, as well. "How is it dangerous? I don't need to touch it to examine it's structure."
  92.  
  93.  
  94. On the rooftop, Liana looks at the knife warily, "I don't know if it's dangerous in any way that other knives aren't. But if there wasn't something about it, then, like you said, why not go to a military surplus store and get a better knife?"
  95.  
  96. "As for examining it...I'd much rather we do that in a closed Environment. Is there anything you can do about all the blood? It's going to be a bout a half an hour until a cleaner gets here...and what's on the stairs and down below is pretty blatant."
  97.  
  98. On the top floor of the other building, ice flies from Konnie's fingertips and shocks both Ryan and Damon awake. Immediately, Damon finds himself floating stuck insdie Meg's forcefield and Ryan is wrapped up, trapped inside Sherry's mane of hair. Sherry can feel the electricity radiating off of Ryan, but manages to contain it inside her mass of hair (which, she knew, would be extremely frizzy once all was said and done).
  99.  
  100. Damon's skin, meanwhile, turns from its usual tan to a shimmering silver. He spreads his arms and legs akimbo, feeling for the boundaries of the forcefield, then pushes off of one side, slams into the other, and breaks through it. He lands on his feet a few feet away from them, the disbelief clear on his face, "What the hell are you doing here? She's gonna kill you." When he sees his friend covered in Sherry's hair, "What are you doing to him? Let him go!"
  101.  
  102. Damon's defense beat Meg's attack. Sherry narrowly beat Ryan. Donde Esta Jules?
  103.  
  104. ERIC
  105.  
  106. Eric shakes his head, and cocks it to the side. "Normally, I don't like divulging too much about myself, but you don't seem too bad." He puts his finger into a small rivulet of blood on the heating unit, not yet dried.
  107.  
  108. "Dried blood, I can get rid of. I could turn it into wood, lead, pure iron would probably be the most appropriate choice. Anything you'd want. But the wet stuff," he says, pulling up his finger and letting a small teardrop of blood protrude from the tip, "I can't. Too much water. It has to do with the polarity of water, its strong bonds...long story short, if it's liquid and not oily, I can't do anything more than pour Lysol on it and grab a rag."
  109.  
  110. For the blood that is dried on and near the heating unit, Eric focuses on transforming it into very fine particulates of sand. The wind would help it fly away soon after, appropriately.
  111.  
  112. Jules
  113.  
  114. "Yeah, Best Buy, I know, but there's more than one store. Which one do you work at? Can you tell me that?" Jules shrugs, "I want to help you, but I need to know just how much you can remember."
  115.  
  116. OOC: Life's been crazy. Overheating comp, Mass Effect 2, etc. etc.
  117.  
  118.  
  119.  
  120. Meg
  121.  
  122. "Ack!" Meg yelps as the guy batters past her force field. There's a dirty metaphor there, somewhere.
  123.  
  124. She narrows her eyes and desperately tries to get it back up.
  125.  
  126. Trying to forcefield him again, or is that too soon?
  127.  
  128.  
  129. It's fine. I'm treating it as an attack. Every time he fails his defense (IE -- an opposed check against w/e your attack roll is plus modifiers) he stays trapped. Should note he's not actively trying to fight back. At least, not right now.
  130.  
  131. Konnie
  132.  
  133. "Oh, so coming over to our place to ruin our shit is fucking fine but when we knock to return the fucking favour it's 'nooooooooo'?" Konnie asks, both loudly and angrily. "Fuck that, and doublefuck that cat bitch. She couldn't even stand up toMeg."
  134.  
  135. Sherry
  136.  
  137. Sherry grimaces as she covers her nose and mouth. The smell in here is bad enough to straighten a perm! Well... maybe, for someone who's never been exposed to the scents of old weed smoke, flat beer, and the alchemical nightmare that occurs when marijuana pipes get ashed in mostly-empty bottles. The overflowing garbage bag doesn't help much either.
  138.  
  139. As the other two move in further, Sherry realizes that she should have asked for more info on these two jokers. Konnie wouldn't steer her at the guy who turns into knives and scissors though, would she?
  140.  
  141. When Konnie opens up with ice cubes and obscenities, Sherry's hair loops out and wraps around the one sleeping guy. Fingers, elbows, knees and shoulders, she parleys what Liana's taught her about grappling and immobilization techniques into keeping the guy hung up dry. She imagines that she can smell his electrical aura cooking her locks and inwardly cringes at the thought of what they'll look like when she gets out of here.
  142.  
  143. Annoyed, Sherry gives Ryan a short shake and glares at him. "Turn the juice off, and I'll think about letting you down."
  144.  
  145. ---
  146. I'm back. Apologies for the vanishing act.
  147.  
  148.  
  149. On the Roof
  150.  
  151. Liana looks at Eric, it's not a judgmental look, just a look of recognition, "Well, I"m less concerned about what's up here than what's down there, at least in the immediate...so... we'd better hope that Karl," she says with a sardonic tone, "has a mop."
  152.  
  153. Jules, with Karl
  154.  
  155. "Downtown," Karl says, "In Union Square, Circuit City's going out of business sale is on, so we're...just as busy...which doesn't...really make sense to me..." he cocks his head to the side, "Why wouldn't I be able to remember that? I'm sorry...please, sit down...what do you want to help me with? Do you...want something to drink, I've got..." Karl walks over to the fridge and opens it, "Um...water." He pulls out a Brita Jug, "It's filtered."
  156.  
  157. Across the Street
  158.  
  159. Meg attempts to surround Damon with a forcefield once again and seems to succeed. She sees the red glint in the air around him, but Damon, still metallic, doesn't seem phased by it in the least. He's opens his mouth to speak, but is preempted by Ryan, yelling at Sherry in an angry, indignantly high pitched tone,
  160.  
  161. "Bitch what the fuck? You fuckin'... come in here and try and jump us while we're sleeping? The fuck is that? And now I'm the bad guy for trying to defend myself? What....WHAT? Not for nothin, but how does that make any fuckin' sense!?!"
  162.  
  163. "Ryan" Damon says nervously, "Hold off a sec."
  164.  
  165. Sherry feels the electricity fade from the her hair, though she knows she'll have to cut it if she doesn't want it floating around her, burnt from the charge.
  166.  
  167. Damon steps back, away from the girls, and Meg sees that this iteration of the forcefield isn't affecting him, "Hold up..." He puts his hands up non-threatningly, "Cat Bitch? Is that some like...girl talk...no...what are you talking about? Listen...as far as I know, Maya made sure that bar's gonna be better than it was in a month, and... she could pro'lly do the same for you...if you play ball."
  168. Konnie
  169.  
  170. "Maya?" Konnie repeats, dropping down into a significantly less hostile posture. "And that… you guys really don't have any idea what's going on here, do you?" She asks them both probingly and pointedly. "You think her name's Maya, huh? And what else do you 'as far as I know'? Do you know her abilities, has she told you about what her powers? Hell, what do you think she is?" Konnie puts to Damon and Ryan. "Do you even know that she's murdered innocent people here in New York already?"
  171.  
  172.  
  173. Sherry
  174.  
  175. "Relax a second. I don't want to drop you on your ass," Sherry advises Ryan. The sound of static crackling and scent of burnt hair add to the already foul odor and mood about the place as she releases him from her tangling tresses.
  176.  
  177. "Just like she's going to set you up in a place that isn't a tinderbox? She set a crowded bar on fire. Don't say you're not nervous about being in a place like this, where the only way out is straight up or likely to get you on the news." Sherry makes a valiant attempt at getting her hair under control while she speaks, but the best she manages is a ponytail the size of a Clydesdale.
  178.  
  179.  
  180. Meg
  181.  
  182. Meg looks gleefully smug as the guy gets trapped in her bubble. The fate of so many men. Meg sticks her tongue out at him. Wait. People are talking. Crap. She should pay attention.
  183.  
  184. "Woah, woah, is Maya the same as the cat lady? She have aliases now? Or are you guys talking about somebody else?"
  185.  
  186. Meg leans over towards Sherry. "Braids," she suggests, "takes up more length."
  187.  
  188. Ryan does as Sherry says. In an instant, he's on his own two feet and her hair is gathering itself, snakelike, into a pony tail.
  189.  
  190. "Yeah, Maya" Damon says, "That's her name."
  191.  
  192. "The fuck are we gonna tell you that for? All what we know" Ryan says incredulously, mockingly, "She been there for us when nobody else is. That's all I care about."
  193.  
  194. "And," Damon continues, "she hasn't killed anybody." The sincerity shows on his silvered face. The girls can see that Damon truly believes what he's saying. "She wouldn't...she promised nobody would get hurt. Except--"
  195.  
  196. Ryan cuts him off before he can continue, "D! Shut the fuck up!" Ryan looks at Sherry, "First of all--" He catches himself, laughs, and says, "Yeah, we're not worried about this place burning down. Look around you, it's a shit hole."
  197.  
  198. ProTip / Memory Jog: Ricky referred to her as Maya when he said, "Naroa, or Maya R'Kel, as she is also known, was a warrior queen in an Animalistic Spirit World adjacent to ours." Apologies if it's your characters being forgetful, but I realize sometimes small details get lost as scenes develop over the course of weeks.
  199.  
  200. Also--Milky, Pander, Mass Effect 2 Has a Save Button. I haven't played the game so I don't know for sure, yet I am sure of this. HINT HINT. If you guys are at a loss for what to do, and that's why you haven't posted, holler at me in IRC or here, we'll figure it out.
  201.  
  202. Jules
  203.  
  204. "Water would be great," Jules says, "Look, Karl, someone did something to your head. I'm not sure what exactly, but I think I can fix it, I'm not sure, but you need to trust me. You just need to hold out your hand and take a deep breath. It's going to feel a bit weird."
  205.  
  206. Telepathy +2 to look around inside Karl's head, a detailed scan, to see if the damage can be repaired.
  207.  
  208.  
  209. Meg
  210.  
  211. "Oh yeah!" Meg snaps, waving her hands. "That's always how it starts. 'Nobody will get hurt!' 'My massive destructo-ray is for peaceful purposes only!'" Meg releases her forcefield and drops Dameon to the ground. "So spill it!" she insists, shaking a fist.
  212.  
  213. Hah. That was me forgetting but Meg's forgetful too. How convenient!
  214.  
  215.  
  216. Konnie
  217.  
  218. "Her other name." Konnie corrects Damon, before looking at Ryan. "You would tell, but knowing shit about dick kinda stops that dead doesn't it?" She snorts. "See how much she's there once she's done using you."
  219.  
  220. "Because burning down a bar is such a safe way to make sure nobody is hurt?" Konnie asks back to Damon. "And the security guard and bank executive who were in the vault she stole a safe deposit box from just happened to die by themselves? Yeah, if I had one person to throw my lot in with it'd be her alright."
  221.  
  222. ~
  223. i forgot too! but i am slick and covered it up
  224.  
  225. Eric
  226.  
  227. Nanos collected, Eric gives Trevor one last look-over.
  228.  
  229. Not me.
  230.  
  231. "I'm done here. I'll go see how Jules and the vegetable are getting along."
  232.  
  233.  
  234. Damon watches as the forcefield around him dissipates. He breathes slowly, forcing himself to be calm, and the metallic sheen of his body fades to back it's normal tan. "Wait a second," Damon says, "What security guard, what bank executive? That doesn't make any sense! They--"
  235.  
  236. "They're lying. Gotta be." Ryan sucks his teeth angrily, "Fine. The bar. She said it had to be done. Something about some old chinese fucker asking for it. And after the nerd that's in love with you," he points, some sparks dance towards Meg harmlessly, "went around trying to mind fuck D, you think I feel bad about it? Really? You're lucky no-one got hurt after that bullshit. And not for nothing, but when you're trapped, you "throw your lot" in with whoever fuckin' gives you a way out. Even if it means crashing some shitty fuckin' metal concert."
  237.  
  238. Across the street, Karl pours Jules some water, walks over, hands it to him, pulls up a plastic-composite chair whose design screams Ikea, and sits down across from him, "I don't know... what you're talking about. Someone did something to my head? Like...my brain? How do you know? And...how can I trust you?"
  239.  
  240. Up on the roof, Eric finishes gathering the Nanos into their container. They walk back downstairs. Liana looks in through the door's peep-hole again and sees Jules and Karl sitting face to face, closely. "It might not be smart to interrupt whatever he's trying to do." Liana gestures to the floor around them, "Dry enough for you?"
  241.  
  242. Held off on the Telepathy because Karl hasn't given permission for it. If Jules wants to go and do it anyway, he can. And because MOPPING AND CLEANIN' isn't what superheros do, we're going to assume the blood is dry enough to transmute into something. That doesn't preclude the possibility that Eric thinks this menial work is below him.
  243.  
  244.  
  245. Konnie
  246.  
  247. "Why the fuck would I be lying? If we wanted to screw you over we'd be throwing down. Which I was itching for, by the way, since my friend was just fucking murdered across the fucking street here." Konnie angrily explains, her eyes glazing over with a dark and murky moss colour with most of vitriol directed at eel. "But, believe it or not, I don't think you two really know what your in here and want to at least try to help you out before something worse happens."
  248.  
  249. "That old chinese fucker was the one trying to stop her from killing those two people and stealing the safe deposit box dammit!" Kon exclaims, almost wishing that drunk was around in some capacity at all. "Do you see him here? Jules was outta line, he's still grudging you for crashing into her." Konnie similarly gestures to Meg."
  250.  
  251. "Even if it means killing someone, 'cuz she said it had to be done? Even if it means getting beaten down with her and being thrown in a cell?" She antagonises. "If you're just a spineless fucking eel who's too lazy to change and dumb to see what the fuck he is in over his head in then fine, but don't you dare fucking cry when you end up locked up in the same fucking place 'Maya' will."
  252.  
  253.  
  254.  
  255. Both Ryan and Damon slump a little bit when Konnie mentions Trevor's murder.
  256.  
  257. Damon puts his hand against the wall behind him to steady himself, "What? The loud guy at the bar? How? This doesn't make any sense!" His body shudders, he covers his face with his other hand and his body begins shimmering silver once again.
  258.  
  259. Ryan, however, isn't nearly as phased. "So what were you gonna to do when you came in here? Avenge your friend's murder on some people who had fucking nothing to do with it? If anyone deserves revenge, it's Damon... G--"
  260.  
  261. "Ry...don't." Damon cautions.
  262.  
  263. Ryan, apparently, doesn't. "I'm sorry your friend was killed, but if I'm a spineless fucking eel," he spits the words out, "then what does that make you?" He shakes his head, "Some fucking help. How do you know the chinese guy wasn't the one who killed 'em? That he wasn't after the safe deposit box himself and they got in his way? And don't you worry about us. Soon enough, we'll be gone, and you won't hear from us ever again. We'll be on a beach somewhere drinking them fancy drinks with umbrellas and salt on the side of the glass."
  264.  
  265.  
  266. Konnie
  267.  
  268. "Got his throat slit by some weirdo magic guy with a knife, if you care." She tells mostly Damon, then gets more angry at towards Ryan. "Nothing to do with it!? The only reason he was fucking here was that stupid map that bitch flashed into his head. So yeah, sorry if I think that your boss, who does nothing but manipulate everything around her for her own benefit, had something to do with it."
  269.  
  270. "I know that because Ning Shui is a river spirit know for being a cryptic drunk whose too mellow to proactively to anything, including murder." Konnie spits back, . "While Naroa is a warrior queen and a cat in the spirit world, and from day dot has been trying to lord over and rule New York and this world. She's cold, calculating, cunning bitch and won't stop trying to get more power." She repeats. "Of course you knew all of that didn't you? And that nothing is off limits to her; not blackmail, arson or murder as long as it furthers her plans. You'll be gone alright, and nobody will find you again."
  271.  
  272. "Makes me have more balls than you do. I'm not so afraid of actually trying to make something good of myself despite this powers shit that I blindly follow whatever a manipulative, power hungry murderer tells me to just because she put me up in a P.O.S condemned fire hazard."
  273.  
  274. Eric
  275.  
  276. Eric glances around at the blood. Flakes of blood began to contort oddly, and all around the hallway tinny clinks could be heard as staples began to fall where blood once stained.
  277.  
  278. "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, and iron to iron," Eric notes. He heard the continued talking between Karl and Jules. Eric had grown accustomed to his life of privilege from an early age, always sent to the best schools with the best tutors, given the best clothes and access to the latest trends. He knew, somewhere deep down, that he was innately a better human being than most others in most respects. And that was before he had received his powers.
  279.  
  280. It was this, he realized, that annoyed him so much about Jules. Jules was seemingly devoid of qualities Eric would call valuable, a walking dearth of culture, and yet he remained strongly opinionated about everything. After having added powers to this mix, he suddenly viewed himself as a prophet, or maybe even a God, destined to fix everything and be better than everyone.
  281.  
  282. Eric figured it was a matter of time before Jules fucked with someone under the pretense of good intentions, and gets a gun pulled on him. And what a tragedy.
  283.  
  284. He turned back to Liana, "I'm done here. Let Jules stay here and play Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, I'm going outside to make sure that Konnie girl hasn't done something stupid. She seems the type."
  285.  
  286. Sherry
  287.  
  288. Sherry leans off toward Meg, speaking low. "Yeah I know, but when I let it unravel it's cuisinart city," she says of her hair.
  289.  
  290. Following up on Konnie, she gestures around the place with a thumb. "That's what I was getting at with calling this place a tinderbox. Place like this goes up in flames, it's a paragraph in the newspaper. Firemen find a couple of bodies that probablydied of smoke inhalation, it's a paragraph with a bit of tragedy that conveniently wraps itself up."
  291.  
  292.  
  293. "I care." Damon protests weakly. And, to Sherry, "Fire can't kill us. So...yeah."
  294.  
  295. "Sorry," Ryan says, "But you still didn't explain how him getting killed is her fault. How do you know this guy didn't have it out for your boy? That he wasn't hunting him anyway? That he wasn't going to just jump him in his house or something? How do you know it wasn't some fuckin' coincidence? And not like you believe a word I'm sayin' anyway, but we don't know anybody with a magic knife and she hasn't talked about anybody like that. And she's not even hereright now. And how would somebody just put a map in somebody's head. None of this makes any god damn sense!"
  296.  
  297. "And River Spirits? And he's a Wino? Who better to trust!?! How do you know he wasn't like us? Doin' a job for somebody else! And Naroa...Maya...Are you listening to yourself? Do you hear how crazy you sound!?! If she's a "warrior queen" in the "Spirit World" what the fuck does she care about New York City!?!"
  298.  
  299. "Ry..." Damon says softly, "what if they're right? If what happened to me can happen... I mean. I should be dead. And you...who even knows. Maybe they're telling the truth. She promised we'd split the bank jobs even...but...why haven't we gotten it yet? We're supposed to be laying low, but we can do that in the Caribbean... that was the plan. If what this girl says is anything close to true...we're" His hand flashes silver as he punches the wall. The sheetrock crumples is no match for the force of his hand and dust flies everywhere, "God Damnit!"
  300.  
  301. "So what if they are?" Ryan answers, "Does it change anything? What the fuck are we supposed to do?"
  302.  
  303. Across the street, Liana answers Eric, "Yes, lets. The building was boarded up, but...that won't be a problem, will it?" The question is clearly rhetorical. She begins descending the stairs, "Cut Jules some slack. He just watched a friend get murdered, then fought the murderer and lost. He needs to help Karl as much for himself as for the other man. And, in the state he's in, he's better served trying to save that poor man than get involved in anything...tense."
  304.  
  305. Outside, Liana and Eric see that Konnie, Sherry, and Meg are nowhere to be found. Across the street, they see the building in question, a four story brownstone, front door and all the windows boarded up with plywood.
  306.  
  307.  
  308. Konnie
  309.  
  310. "You know your boss, do you think she'd let somebody who's sneaky and magicy enough to get close to a telepath to kill his friend without raising an alarm without at least knowing about it?"
  311.  
  312. "Of course it sounds fucking insane, but it's the truth. You can shoot electricity out of your ass, you turn into a metal bouncy ball, I turn into mist, and they're inhumanly fast and have living hair. It all makes no fucking sense but here we are, how is the rest of that less believable than powers?" Konnie implores, looking at all four others there. "I'm not smart enough to make up that much bat shit stuff just to fuck with you, but I'm not so dumb that if I was trying to bullshit you I'd throw you a halfway fucking believable line for you to take."
  313.  
  314. "Do something. Confront her, run away, look for help, pled for sanctuary, whatever. But if you two just stay tagging along with her you are going to get hurt, if not by her then the Sheriffs once they've had enough of her."
  315.  
  316. ~
  317. Eric swear to god you come in here and ruin everything i'll stab your eyeballs out. Xian, with Konnie all eyed up and still on the lookout for a catty appearance would she sense the two outside this building now? or anything different about the portal sinkhole dealie?
  318.  
  319.  
  320. "I don't know." Damon says, "The loud guy, right? She liked him. Got a kick out of the whole "engaged to the telepathic douche bag" stunt he pulled. She thought it was funny. That...goes a long way with her." Damon's voice begins to get choked up, he's staring at the floor, "Why would she kill him!?!"
  321.  
  322. Ryan continues for him, "And...yeah. Your story's nuts. I don't believe you...but I don't not believe you. Confront her? We're dead. Run away? Sounds like fun. WIthout the money? Be down and out, poor and freakish in some other city? Look for help? Who's going to believe us? Plus, we're crooks! Plead for sanctuary? With who? The state of New York? At Rikers? Sorry, we break out, do some more running. I told you already, once we get our cut, we're gone!"
  323.  
  324. Damon looks up, "Who are the Sheriffs? You mean the cops?"
  325.  
  326. Konnie can't see anything. The waters are murky. It might be the sinkhole. It might be because she's pretty emotional at the moment. It might be because she rolled badly.
  327.  
  328.  
  329. Meg
  330.  
  331. "Maybe you could get a cooking show," Meg says to Sherry. "And hey, if this place goes up, I just forcefield us. No sweat! Err...wait..." Meg still needs to breath. "Crap." Meg mutters.
  332.  
  333. "Yeah!" Meg tells the guys, underscoring Konnie's longer point. "What, you're just like spineless little boys hiding behind cat-mom's skirt? Does she wear skirts? IT doesn't matter. They're like warrior skirts of whatever. But still, you guys are all cowards. And you've got superpowers and shit! You're little boys when you could be, you know, Men!"
  334.  
  335. Slow posting because of our ginormous snowstorm. May loose power too.
  336.  
  337.  
  338. Sherry
  339.  
  340. Some of the conversation zooms right past Sherry. When it's stuff about a dead friend she never met, and a fake engagement, she's sadly out of the loop. When it comes to the Sheriffs though-- there she's got a good chance to pipe up.
  341.  
  342. "The Sheriffs have been helping keep a lid on this superpower stuff for a long while now. Like, back when the city was just one street and a bunch of log cabins. Because, you know, people'd talk about that guy who could fly around with his butt on fire, and maybe try to figure out how he did it. Or maybe try to get him to set other people's houses on fire. Or maybe try to kill him when he's sleeping."
  343.  
  344. "Sheriffs mostly don't care what people like us do, as long as we're quiet about it and they can cover it up. Running through a bank vault is... kinda loud. Doing it because of a lady with a really long history of messing with this city..." Sherry holds a hand up, thumb and forefinger pinching an imaginary inch. "Bit more."
  345.  
  346. "They don't send you up the river though. That's dumb, like your friend said. They just tell you that there's a lot of people like us around here, who are a lot happier when everyone's quiet and doing their thing. Then they leave you to worry about whether knocking over a bank is going to bring a couple of angry musicians to your hideout, or a bunch of thugs who won't wait for you to get up before blowing your brains out."
  347.  
  348.  
  349.  
  350. Eric
  351.  
  352. "I understand and appreciate the stress Jules' been under, but I'm not going to give him slack or mercy, simply because whatever power killed Trevor won't give it to him either. If he's not a big enough boy to compartmentalize when his life is at risk, he shouldn't be out looking for dangerous people without a reasonable plan."
  353.  
  354. The two walked over to the foreboding house. It's charming stoop and antiquated construction style said 'hello, welcome', while it's plywood barriers screamed 'nothing to see here, move along folks!'
  355.  
  356. The plywood was held across the door's frame by several nails. Simple enough. Too simple, in fact, for Eric's tastes.
  357.  
  358. Eric looks to Sherry hopefully, "So I can either get rid of the nails quiet-like and we can pull the plywood aside, or I can blow them up and we can rush in like a SWAT team."
  359.  
  360. He wasn't surprised to see her return an unamused expression.
  361.  
  362. "Get ready to pull down the wood down carefully so it doesn't go thud when it falls."
  363.  
  364.  
  365.  
  366. "It's true." Liana says, in regards to Jules, "But at the same time, he survived the fight. That's more than many might say. And while a telepath that can't control his isn't emotions ideal ...he's got more than a respectable amount of fight to him. I don't know that you, or any of them, for that matter, could have done the same."
  367.  
  368. The INP butts in, in Eric's head, before she continues, "To quote Hansel from Zoolander, "OH, SNAP!"
  369.  
  370. When they cross the street, Liana takes up a position to catch the plywood as it falls, "I would have assumed you just turned it to sand, but this works too. Easy to board back up, what with those staples."
  371.  
  372. Liana watches as the nails holding the board in place begin to disintegrate into their base elements "Wouldn't want someone random looking on as I sandify the board."
  373.  
  374. "Very good point," Liana says, "but, give yourself enough time, you learn to calibrate your powers to a certain degree of mundane disbelief. If there's no reason to believe that wood turns to sand, people will not accept what they see." Liana catches the board easily against her chest and sets it against the wall the stoop, "Well done. Shall we?" She says, eyeing the portal ahead of them.
  375.  
  376. Three stories above them, Damon seems to ignore Meg's taunt.
  377.  
  378. But not Ryan, "Bitch! Are you fucking kidding me! We're not men!?! I've been a man since I was ten. What do you know about having to provide for your whole family when you can barely do fucking long division. What were you? All living your life in some rich ass private school cul-de-sac haven playing your fucking junior league soccer and music at school dances doing your thing while the world fucking goes on around you but doesn't fucking touch you until" He waves his fingers, electricity shoots into the ceiling, causing small flames to catch in the sheetrock above them, spreading slowly. He doesn't seem to notice, "Then, oh no, Life intervenes, you get powers, and now you're on some, feel good do goodery, well good for you. For some of us, it's not that FUCKING SIMPLE! And you!"
  379.  
  380. He looks at Sherry, his whole body shimmering between dark skinned, skinny black seventeen year old and rings of tesla-esque electricity taking up the same form, "And you, we didn't rob one bank! We robbed Seven!"
  381.  
  382. Damon shouts "Ryan, SHUT UP!"
  383.  
  384. But Ryan doesn't, "They send us up the river? Fuck that. They tell us, 'Oh, be nice, be kind to fucking everyone, good things will happen. Yeah, right. Some fuckers wanna blow our brains out, I'd like to seem them try."
  385.  
  386. Aaand Ryan jusr barely avoided crit failing his [-2] Hothead Roll. fun times.Someone bold, someone blue, someone borrowed, someone new...
  387.  
  388.  
  389. Sherry - Faceoff in the Corner
  390.  
  391. God damn it. Why is it so many guys start waving their dicks the second they feel vulnerable?
  392.  
  393. "Dude. I just got finished saying they don't do prison with people like us. We just get the 'do whatever you want, just don't make us clean it up' speech."
  394.  
  395. "I got kicked out of the house when I was seventeen, because Dad's new wife wore his balls for earrings. I don't know about being the man of the house. I just know about trying to finish high school with no fixed address, trying to get work when people think the only things I'm good for are flipping burgers, flopping on my back, or pretending to be office furniture. Private schools, and college, and sweet sixteens? Shit, I wish."
  396.  
  397. "You're right it's frigging complicated. Most of my bosses were frigging mobsters. I'm lucky the cops never put me away as an accessory. I'm here because your friend got you two to knock over a week's worth of banks, left you here across the street from a weird murderer, and frigged off after killing two other people and running off with the money."
  398.  
  399.  
  400. Konnie
  401.  
  402. "Unless you're an immortal spirit like your boss, if she's possessing a body that can die but her actual self can't. You two can, and might just if a beat-down squad comes to get her and you're still here, but she'd just get thrashed bad and thrown back into the spirit world. And then come back out again in 20-ish years and get two more hard pressed powers on her side blah blah blah." Konnie says, not really caring if Ryan thought she was crazy anymore.
  403.  
  404. "And, by the by, how much of this stuff about the fucked up world you both are now in did she fill you in on? More than us? Same as? Less than? Or did she just point you at some bank vaults and said hop to it?" She leaves the with, collapsing into a cloud of mist and shooting up into the ceiling to put out the flames.
  405.  
  406. ~
  407. +4 Wodnik's Chosen Body of Mist to go and put out the flames. Konnie is so generous today. Maybe +0 water and ice control too
  408.  
  409. Meg
  410.  
  411. "Some of us worked hard to learn long division!" Meg snaps back. "I'm from Brooklyn, and not the snooty Park Slope part!" she says, jabbing a finger angrily at Ryan. "You wanna go, let's go! You gonna play stickball in Canarsie, you better learn Brooklyn rules!"
  412.  
  413. Meg does a double take at Sherry. "Wait, what? You're like a...hench chick?" she asks.
  414.  
  415.  
  416. Jules
  417.  
  418. Jules takes a long drink from the water, thinking about what to say. He can't really tell Karl the truth, but he doesn't know how else to put it. "I don't know, call it a hunch. And..." Here goes... "You can trust me because I tried to stop the man who did this to you. I don't really expect you to understand, but I think I can help, if you'll let me."
  419.  
  420. Yeah, that telepathy was if Karl let Jules.
  421.  
  422. Eric
  423.  
  424. As Liana moved the board aside, Eric scratched his chin with a "Huh."
  425.  
  426. "I've always been enraptured by the scientific method and set results from an experiment. I forgot that half this nation is retarded enough to believe in UFOs, and the other half probably believe in divining rods and Mormonism. I guess a few slips probably wouldn't be the end of all things."
  427.  
  428. Stepping inside, he begins trying to hear for any signs of life. "Given the fact that board was still there, not I'm exactly sure where the others are. Any thoughts?"
  429.  
  430. To compensate for the dimness in the unlit house, Eric periodically transformed minute amounts of the wall into a self-oxidizing magnesium-sodium mixture. A small bit could create a lot bit of light.
  431.  
  432.  
  433.  
  434. Konnie mists up to the ceiling, and within seconds, the telltale hisses of a dozen small fires going out at once fill the room, as well as a fair bit of smoke. It's clear that Ryan want does want to go, but Damon moves off the wall, next to him, and puts a calming hand on the smaller boy's shoulder, unaffected by the electricity joling over Ryan's body.
  435.  
  436. Damon listens to Sherry's story, and it's clear some parts of it resonate with him, "But what happens if we already made the mess? If we already crossed the point of no-return. Just assume that your bosses will be like 'oh, this one's on us'?" There's a hopeless, resigned sarcasm in the question.
  437.  
  438. "And she's not gone..." He hesitates, makes a decision, "She's out recruiting someone else. As for what we know... pretty much nothing. All this shit about her being a spirit is totally new. We assumed she was like...I don't know...a spy, or a thief, or something, who could teleport. She never told us anything more than we needed to know."
  439.  
  440. Downstairs, the first floor blazes into light from Eric's compound. He and Liana both see that it is more or less a half finished construction site's debris site. A pile of broken sheetrock lines one wall, wooden horses are tabled with more plywood and various pieces of construction equipment--some kind of sander, a couple of power saws, drills, sit on top of it, heavy with dust. There's no apparent entrance to the basement level, if there is one, but there is a stairwell up to the second floor.
  441.  
  442. Across the street, the man assents, but doesn't give Jules his hand yet, "Sure, If you think you can help," He stops, "But...how are you going to help? What are you going to do?"
  443.  
  444. Konnie succeeded, Eric succeed, Jules failed his "does Karl trust him implicitly" roll (which I modified with +2 Empathy, +2 Tries to do the Right Thing and -2 Self Doubt). I'd encourage those of you guys in conversation to look at your qualities and see what might apply / help things go the way you want.
  445.  
  446. Eric
  447.  
  448. Keeping a hushed voice, Eric looked over to Liana and nodded at the staircase.
  449.  
  450. "I can go first, but I have a hunch you've done front-line combat more than me." He pulled out his NYPD shield, and held it up. "We still have these, too," he said with a shrug as he took a quiet step toward the stairs.
  451.  
  452. Meg
  453.  
  454. Meg's arms flail. "People make messes in this town all the time!" she declares. "I'm a mess, you're a mess, we're a big damn city of mess! We're used to it! You think anybody here's never done anything bad or wrong or messy? Pft. You're smarter that *that*, I'm pretty sure. So now you gotta decide if now's the time for yah to clean up your mess or if you're just gonna keep being a mess and we gotta send you to Jersey."
  455.  
  456. Urban Warrior [+2] to appeal to native New Yorker pride.
  457.  
  458.  
  459. Konnie
  460.  
  461. Her watery body has no trouble putting out flames, but the sensation to Konnie of her whole body stretching out and smothering naked flames was still one that created an ambivalence of instinctual flinching yet delightful contact.
  462.  
  463. "So." Konnie says some beats after Meg, emerging from the ceiling in a mist. "Your boss doesn't tell you anything helpful about the magical powers shit you're both in unless it's directly for something she wants. She has you rob banks and doesn't give you a cut, instead having you lay low here. Which we found, thanks to the mindmap she gave us. And she leaves you two alone in this place the day after giving the same certifiably pissed off people who's fucking bar you set on fire directions. And she's given you in return a shoulder to cry on and unkept assurances that she'll make things better?" She continues, both her form and voice distorted by the icy, misty water. "If that doesn't scream trust, reliance, dependability, honesty and not getting fucked over by her to me then fucked if I know what will."
  464.  
  465. "Look, you too could keep robbing banks or knocking over jewellery stores or just being bad or whatever the fuck, but wake up and smell the god damn roses. You two are being used as fucking tools and will get shafted as soon as she's done."
  466.  
  467. ~
  468. xian encouragement leads to ---> using all 6 of my hero points to upshift [-2] Lippy to [+4] to show them encouragement and the truth by snarking, swearing and shouting abuse at how gullible they are, goading them into proving to us they aren't grade-a suckers if you will
  469.  
  470.  
  471.  
  472. I am gonna look in the book to see if you can upshift weaknesses. If it doesn't say anything I'll probably allow it b/c that's a cool thing.
  473.  
  474. Liana nods, drawing her sword, which Eric recognizes as pure bronze, chinese, and at least thousand years old, probably closer to fifteen hundred. He can feel that there is a lot more to it, too, but he doesn't know what.
  475.  
  476. She grips it in her right hand and holds it flat against the back of her arm, so it would not be immediately visible to anyone in front of her. As she goes up the stairs, she says quietly, "There's a trip wire on the sixth step." Looking down at that point, eric sees a line of fishing cord stuck into the wall on one side and tied around one of the bannister pillars on the other.
  477.  
  478. The floor above them is one large rectangular room, dimly lit from a naked bulb hanging out of the ceiling. As they step into it, they see that it's empty, save for the floor, which is covered in Persian Rugs. Liana stiffens, looking around. Eric can hear voices coming down the stairs from the top floor, but to him, they're an inaudible blur. "Konnie, Meg, Sherry, two others. Not Naroa." Liana comments. She points into the middle of the room with her sword, "Do you feel that? With your power?"
  479.  
  480. Above them, Ryan begins to shout at Meg, "You make it sound so god damn--" but Konnie's voice and the intensity behind it shut him up. When she finishes her rant, Damon looks at around him, then at Ryan, then at the girls, "Ryan...they're right. We're on the wrong side."
  481.  
  482. Ryan nods, "So now what?"
  483.  
  484. I didn't need the book to remember rule number one, which is that awesomeness trumps rules. Everyone except Konnie & Jules gets 4 HP, 2 XP. Konnie gets 5 HP, 4 XP (+2 for guiding this scene). Jules Gets 5HP 4XP (+2 for the fight, forgot to give em out then).
  485.  
  486. Konnie
  487.  
  488. A small smile and sigh of relief is covered up by her mist apparition reforming into her real body. She might finally get through to these two after all, which meant just a little more than the fact it fucked over Naroa too.
  489.  
  490. "Well first thing, we gotta get you two outta here. Then, I don't know, somewhere safe where we can talk stuff out. But first, we need to be gone before Naroa decides to come back." Konnie tells everybody, looking back towards the roof access. "Can you two leave from the roof like us?"
  491.  
  492.  
  493. Meg
  494.  
  495. Meg reaches over and daps Konnie.
  496.  
  497.  
  498.  
  499. Eric
  500.  
  501. Fishing wire. What, am I up against John Rambo here?
  502.  
  503. He hated the sight of the Persian rugs along the floor in the upper hallway. They reminded him of his parents' study, which always had a faint smell of mothballs, which were near the rugs whenever they were put in storage. It reminded him of endless studying, tutelage, and stern lectures from his WASPy father. Along with unpleasant memories, the smell brought Eric a mild case of nausea.
  504.  
  505. The fact that two others were present made Eric anxious. He thought about making a new gun, but compared to Liana's sword he figured he'd just as soon make a water balloon, it'd be about as relevant in a fight. Upon her insistence, he focused upon the floor where she pointed. He was within 10 feet, he knew he'd be able to tell her the chemical makeup of every part of where she was pointing, better than the world's best mass spectrometer. Or at least tell her if there was a land mine there, or whatever she was afraid of.
  506.  
  507. +4 for matter manipulation, non-aggressive probing of What's There, with an optional +2 Science! to figure out WHY the materials there are there, ie. lots of steel, plastic, and high explosive might signify a claymore mine
  508.  
  509.  
  510. Jules
  511.  
  512. Jules takes another long drink, and finishes off the glass. Well, now or never... "I'm going to see if I can help you remember. I know my way around the human brain-" in a manner of speaking "-and I should be able to help you. Problem is, I can't tell you exactly how I will. All I can say is it won't hurt and that you have to trust me. I could have done it already, but I'd feel better with your consent. It'd take only a few seconds. If you don't want me to, fine, I'll just turn around and leave - but I want to help."
  513.  
  514. Even Jules can realise how crazy he sounds, but when his alternative is 'I'm going to read your mind, I'll know if you tell anyone and, if you do, I'll implant a nightmare so deeply into your hindbrain that you'll see it everytime you close your eyes,' well, perhaps it is best if Karl decides to remain a bit ignorant of the weird stuff that's happening in the world.
  515.  
  516. Jules kinda wishes he could remain ignorant.
  517.  
  518. Empathy +2 again?
  519.  
  520. Konnie
  521.  
  522. In return, Konnie flicks cold water at Meg.
  523.  
  524.  
  525. Ryan glances at the outlet that the television and XBOX360 are connected to, "Easier for me from in here. See you out front."
  526.  
  527. "Sure," Damon says as he moves to ladder and scaling it athletically.
  528.  
  529. In less than a half a minute, Damon, Konnie, Sherry, and Meg are on the roof. Below them, they hear a loud electrical crack, like lightning striking twenty yards away, as the transformer box on the streetlight pole on the corner blows open and a ball of lightning flies out of it. Above him, the streetlights go dark.
  530.  
  531. After a blink, that ball of lightning is replaced by Ryan. He calmly closes the transformer box as best he can, then lets his hand rest on it for a moment. The streetlight comes back on, resuming its normal intervals.
  532.  
  533. Up on the roof, Damon asks, "You guys good to go?"
  534.  
  535. On the second floor, Eric is unable to get a good handle on the chemical makeup of the area in the center of the room. There's nothing that stands out to him as explosive or immediately dangerous, although, he realizes, there's very little that stands out to him at all, save for an unpredictable quality to the atoms in the area.
  536.  
  537. Normally, he'd be able to pick out a single atom of oxygen in the air, but here, everything seems to blur together. Try as he might, he can't come up with a Scientific explanation for the phenomenon.
  538.  
  539. Across the street, a glimmer of recognition plays across Karl's face, "So you're a psychic? I don't...believe that stuff, but if you think you can help...what do I have to do?"
  540.  
  541. I need Jules to be specific about what he's trying to do with Telepathy. Like...system diagnostic? Or is he going for the full defrag?
  542.  
  543.  
  544. Eric
  545.  
  546. That's new.
  547.  
  548. "You're right to wonder. Normally I could tell you what's there, more information than you could process. But I have nothing. I think there's something there, but I have no idea what. The atoms are dancing, blurred. I can't tell what's there."
  549.  
  550. Eric shook his head, unsure how to handle this. "There's some power at play here I've never run across, and it fundamentally doesn't interact with our matter like anything else in our universe. I'd like to test it."
  551.  
  552.  
  553. Sherry
  554.  
  555. Getting down is going to be the same pain that getting up was, Sherry realizes as she peers over the edge of the building. Maybe she can make a hairachute or something. Her scalp aches at the thought.
  556.  
  557. "Henchwoman?" she finally replies to Meg, looking back from the edge. "Not unless you include 'getting coffee' 'holding calls' and 'shouting at people as they rush past into the boss' office'."
  558.  
  559. She ducks at the sharp crack of the transformer being shoved past its tolerances, not sure-- well, that's not true. Given the state of her hair, it's probably Ryan again. God, she's going to need a vat of VO5. Or maybe just an electric trimmer. It's not like it doesn't grow like kudzu. Mmf. Getting back down might be trickier than she thought.
  560.  
  561. "Just about good," she nods, letting her hair unravel itself and reach out to grasp at a firmly anchored hunk of roof. A plumbing vent pipe, perfect.
  562.  
  563. "We going to borrow Liana's car, wait for her and that other guy, or leave a note and head off?" she asks, testing the strength of her damaged hair against the building's structural integrity.
  564.  
  565. ---
  566. HP 10, MAX 10, XP 7
  567. Prehensile Hair +4 - Testing the locks to see if they seem like they'll carry Sherry's weight after the shock she got. There could be a difference between the amount of strength she's willing to test, and what she'd need to fight gravity though...
  568.  
  569. And apologies for not posting, I've been distracted. Paperwork and stuff RL.
  570.  
  571.  
  572. "I wasn't wondering." Liana corrects him.
  573.  
  574. "When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.!" The INP interjects in the voice of a Professor Thayton, a Dean of Chemistry at MIT fond of both the scientific method and that phrase."
  575.  
  576. "It's a doorway," Liana explains, "To another reality, dimension, plane, world, whatever you want to call them. Sometimes you need a key, sometimes you can fall through. And unless you've talked to someone who's been on the other side, you've got no way of knowing where they lead until you step through them."
  577.  
  578. She hears something, then moves to the stairs, "Trip wire, fourth step. They've gone up to the roof," she says, before gracefully ascending the stairs two at a time.
  579.  
  580. Sherry is sure she'll need to cut this hair and regrow it, as it's not only fried but stretched beyond belief from the climb, but she's pretty sure it will hold for the descent, if not much more after that.
  581.  
  582.  
  583. Eric
  584.  
  585. "Wait, we're just leaving i-" Eric begins before he picks up his feet and follows Liana. Imp, get exact lat, long, and elevation of this point. This could be huge. George would fucking flip out if he could get his hands on inter-dimensional transportation.
  586.  
  587. Why the fishing wire? It just seemed aggravating to Eric, not deadly. Best to avoid it, regardless.
  588.  
  589. "Too many roofs today."
  590.  
  591.  
  592. Konnie
  593.  
  594. "Meg can carry ya down if your hair's a bit iffy." Konnie nudges Sherry, stepping off the side of the roof and waiting until mid-fall to turn into a cloud and avoid being splattered. Reforming, she walks out to the curb towards Liana's car.
  595.  
  596.  
  597.  
  598. Meg
  599.  
  600. "I dunno, I mean, people'd do a lot less damage if they had to sleep, right?" Meg muses on Sherry's response. "Whatev. You pitching in with us is all cool and stuff and things change and shit. You don't seem mean enough to be really evil and oh hey we should totally do each other's hair sometime!" Meg tosses her own reg locks.
  601.  
  602. "Forcefield express!" Meg says proudly. "So, wait, where exactly are we going?" she asks, having missed a beat somewhere.
  603.  
  604.  
  605. Konnie
  606.  
  607. "And when Meg messes your's up you can just cut it off and grow it all back!"
  608.  
  609. Konnie shrugs. "Iunno. Your place? Diner? Coffe shop again? Not where we were though, might be a whole 'thing' if we rock up with these two or something, might get followed o I don't know. Just somewhere to sort shit out right now, figure out what to do." She says in quick talk. "Cher, you got the car keys?"
  610.  
  611.  
  612. Jules
  613.  
  614. Karl's mind is... interesting, as all minds are. He's not very creative, rather simple in fact, but a good person. A quick scan tells Jules that there's no mental block affecting Karl.
  615.  
  616. It does tell him that Karl had been hypnotised, in such a way that would require a delicate touch. Jules isn't sure if he could remove the traces of it and its effects telepathically, it'd be like using a steak knife when all he needs is a scalpel. He could try, but he'd risk damaging bits of Karl's brain.
  617.  
  618. That'd be unacceptable.
  619.  
  620. He can feel Karl's mental impulses, it's a healthy brain, not one marred by addiction or harmful substances. And yet they're slower than usual, something that Jules realises he would expect in someone much older than Karl.
  621.  
  622. Odd. In a way, it's troubling - like something has aged him, stolen his vitality.
  623.  
  624. Probably best not to mention it.
  625.  
  626. Jules' perception comes back to him. "I think that, given time and therapy, everything should become clear again. It's like you were hypnotised. This sort of thing is kinda delicate, I don't want to mess with it if I don't need to."
  627.  
  628.  
  629. "It's not going anywhere." Liana says, heading up to the roof. When she sees Sherry, Konnie, Meg, and Damon all gathered at the edge of the building, "What the hell." There's no exasperation or puzzlement in her voice, it's just a flat demand for information.
  630.  
  631. "Who's that?" Damon asks quietly.
  632.  
  633. Across the Street, Jules can see that Karl expected him to fail, "Ok...thanks...I'll, uh, look into that. Thanks for trying, at least."
  634.  
  635. Sorry for the slow update, been feeling weird...not quite sick... the past couple days.
  636.  
  637.  
  638. Eric
  639.  
  640. Pretty girl, punk girl, angry girl, and...
  641.  
  642. "Who's the new guy? A vagrant?"
  643.  
  644. Konnie
  645.  
  646. "You say another word and I'll cut out your tongue." Konnie smiles pleasantly and says chirpy to Eric, belying her seriousness on the matter.
  647.  
  648. She looks at Liana for the rest. "We're taking them outta here so they don't get their faces clawed off or whatever when Naroa comes back." She tells Liana, putting an arm on Damon. "She is with us, hates Maya from waaaaaay back." Konnie says of Liana. "And that's a cunt." She then points to Eric, again with a smile. "And we really gotta get outta here, like, now. So…" She says, eying the edge of the building they came from.
  649.  
  650. ~
  651. still frog eyeing for sign of incoming badness, did konnie ever get a frog eye view of liana's sword?
  652.  
  653.  
  654.  
  655. Meg
  656.  
  657. Meg crosses her arms. "Hope they're worth the effort," she says, giving Ryan a look.
  658.  
  659.  
  660. Konnie
  661.  
  662. "Course they are, saving people without even beating things up (even though I really, really want to) is, like, gold star stuff dude."
  663.  
  664.  
  665.  
  666. "Could be." Liana says, lowering her sword. "It's good that we met while she isn't here. In different circumstances, I could see myself having to kill you. We've opened a door. There's no need to leave this way."
  667.  
  668. "Who are you?" Damon demands of her.
  669.  
  670. "Your lifeline. Come." She points the sword back to the hatch into the building, then hear something that everyone else doesn't. When she talks again, there's much more urgency in her voice, "Now!"
  671.  
  672. "Would you be interested in knowing the badge numbers of the officers in the two squad cars heading your way? Is that something you might be interested in?" Eric hears Gerrard's voice in his head, "Would you be interested in filling out hours of paperwork? Would you be interested in the legal fees if GGI is involved in this imbroglio coming out of your holiday bonus?"
  673.  
  674. Damon doesn't move. He's looking to see what Sherry, Konnie, and Meg do.
  675.  
  676.  
  677. Konnie
  678.  
  679. "It's okay, we can go with her Damon." She tells their new friend, peering over the edge of the building to catch Ryan. "There's the exit right here!" Konnie points to the roof bit where there ain't no roof bit anymore. "We can all jump down."
  680.  
  681.  
  682.  
  683.  
  684. "And save a a minute and cause a scene?" Liana adopts the tone of an exasperated parent, "Must you?"
  685.  
  686.  
  687. Konnie
  688.  
  689. "God okay fine!" Konnie throws up her hands and sigh, taking up the rear behind Meg, Sherry and Damon.
  690.  
  691. Eric
  692.  
  693. FUCK.
  694.  
  695. "Liana, two cars. Not sure if they're inbound for us or Jules' pad. I can create some emergency exits in the walls and floors as necessary."
  696.  
  697.  
  698. "I can too." Damon adds.
  699.  
  700. "No need." Liana shakes her head at them both, "We've got our way out. And there's no way to know what they're here for but we're not going to wait to find out? Are we."
  701.  
  702. Liana looks at Meg, "We need to leave now. Jules does as well. Can you get him quickly?"
  703.  
  704. Eric
  705.  
  706. Eric taps a pocket on his suit, holding the nanos with all the information he cared for.
  707.  
  708. "No reason to stay, multiple reasons to leave."
  709.  
  710. Maya? Naroa? Damon? Lots of information. Judging by the composition of the group, Gerrard will want answers.
  711.  
  712. Imp, ignore the Damon douche for now, look up Maya and Naroa. Anything you can find, starting with the Library of Crazy Shit. Dig on this Konnie girl too, I'd recommend cross-referencing her with Jules' and Trevor's names to find her full name. Find priors, hidden skeletons, anything worth noting. Also keep tabs on her and let me know if you pick up what her powers are. If she wants to play, we'll play.
  713.  
  714. Eric thought about what Liana meant by having their exit already planned.
  715.  
  716. Uh oh.
  717.  
  718. "Liana, does this involve that portal?"
  719.  
  720. Konnie
  721.  
  722. "It's the front door you cunt." Konnie spits, elbowing past Eric and down the stairwell.
  723.  
  724.  
  725. Jules
  726.  
  727. Jules clicks his tongue against his teeth. "Yeah. The expectation you have that I'm going to fail? It doesn't exactly help with what I do. Feedback loop." He sighs, "Sorry I couldn't help. But you'll be alright here, yeah? You've got some friends or family who can come over or something?"
  728.  
  729.  
  730. Meg
  731.  
  732. "Totally," Meg says. She takes off down the stairs faster than the others, leaving them in the dust. The Red Streak (ooooh, that'd be a good superhero name!) bursts through the front door and dodges across the street, running up into the building Jules is in. Meg doesn't know exactly where he is, so she searches door to door at hyperwarp until she finds him.
  733.  
  734. A red blur whips in the door and slows down into Meg. "Hey Jules!" she says, waving her hands. "Trouble. Cops. And shit. Gotta go. Now!"
  735.  
  736. Didn't update this earlier. Sorry.
  737.  
  738. Meg was: 13HP, 13MAX, 4XP
  739. Meg is now: 13HP, 13MAX, 6XP
  740.  
  741.  
  742.  
  743. Konnie leads the way downstairs, past what she interprets as the plugged bathroom drain at the bottom of the Ocean.
  744.  
  745. Eric follows on her heels, then Sherry, then Damon, who, as Konnie heads down the stairs to the first floor, calls out, "Um, guys, the woman with the sword never came down the ladder."
  746.  
  747. Across the street, Karl nods, "Yeah, I guess. I have to call in sick. Did I do that yet? Then, I don't know... I guess I'll take a nap or go--"
  748.  
  749. He's interrupted by Meg, who he hears banging on the door from the outside. "Hey Jules! Trouble! Cops! And Shit! Gotta Go! Now!"
  750.  
  751. Karl looks at the door, then Jules, "Aren't you...you should go, I think. What I can't remember won't hurt you." He says with a weak smile.
  752.  
  753. Konnie
  754.  
  755. "Oh for fuck's sake." Konnie has to keep herself from screaming, pushing her way back up the stairs. "You go with Sherry and fuckface, get Ryan and wait by the two black cars on the street. Be back out in a mo." She tells him assuredly, hurrying back up the steps and ultimately to the roof looking for Liana to throttle violently.
  756.  
  757. Eric
  758.  
  759. "What, and flee the scene of a crime in two black cars? We stay in here. There are other places to hide, and little reason for the cops to investigate THIS building. It's still boarded up! They wouldn't send two cars to investigate possible vagrancy. Odds are it'll be across the street. Don't take charge if you don't know what you're doing, and stop calling me names, urchin."
  760.  
  761.  
  762. Konnie
  763.  
  764. "Oh so we stay in here, the home of a psychotic bitch who wants to kill us, and leave the two cars which are a wee bit out of place outside? Right outside the building the police will be looking at? With licence plates that can be no doubt traced back to us and 'I'm a massive, smug, ignorant tool inc.'? Instead of leaving in two black cars before the squad cars even get here, leading to at best the pigs looking for '2 black cars' in New York FUCKING City!!?" Konnie violently hisses at Eric, getting right in his face.
  765.  
  766. "You get out there and wait by the car before I throw you into that portal and leave you here!!" She orders him, turning to go up and to the roof.
  767.  
  768.  
  769. Konnie once again pushes past Eric, this time to the back of the procession, and runs back up the stairs two at a time. Once she's back on the third floor, she turns to mist and wafts up through the hatch. Hovering just above it, her cloud form sees Liana on the other roof. The one where Trevor was killed.
  770.  
  771. Across the way, Konnie sees Liana, who appears to her now as an immensely still reflecting pool, "anchor" no longer in the sea. She's crouched over something else, something that Konnie and the Wodnik have seen--or not seen--before.
  772.  
  773. It's the same dark black squid ink obscuring something terrible, just as she saw and felt right before the shades attacked them after the GLN concert.
  774.  
  775. Konnie
  776.  
  777. Looking for Liana, Konnie is first angry that she is not there but on the other roof. But that fades away the moment she senses the that foul, murky presences like squid in deep in the ocean. On the roof where Trevor died. Casting her form out until it is barely cohesive, Konnie catches one strong up-drift and is thrown high up into the air, before gently collecting herself over the opposite roof and coalescing into her spectral visage of mist.
  778.  
  779. "That's the same ink that blocked out everything just before those shade illusions attacked the us in limo, isn't it?" Konnie says, solidifying next to Liana. "I couldn't sense anything through it but a loose feeling of fear." She waits a beat. "The guy with the knife who murdered Trevor, was he one of the shades too? Are they still here?"
  780.  
  781.  
  782. Sherry
  783.  
  784. If I didn't know Liana and the others back at the office, I'd wonder how people like us get along with not drawing attention. Everyone else seems to just frigging love shouting at each other.
  785.  
  786. Sherry looks to Eric, through the Konnie-shaped void in the air between them. "Whatever birdie told you the cops were coming didn't happen to mention car or badge numbers, did it? I might be able to run interference."
  787.  
  788. ---
  789. Combination of codeine, ice packs, and excruciating jaw pain has got in the way of coherent thought and posting of late. I'm one bad complication and worse excuse after another. :P
  790.  
  791.  
  792.  
  793.  
  794. Jules
  795.  
  796. "Sonofabitch," he mutters, where the hell had cops come from? And why? Probably to investigate Trevor, at least that's what Jules figures.
  797.  
  798. "Thanks," he says to Karl with a small grin of his own, "I might come and see how you're doing sometime! Or something!"
  799.  
  800. He ducks out the door quickly, "Right, Meg, where do we go? I could maybe fugue them with some mind stuff, or what?"
  801.  
  802.  
  803. Meg
  804.  
  805. "Finally!" Meg says with a huff. "Who were you talking to in there?" she asks. She doesn't even wait for an answer. "Screw it. We gotta go. Not really sure where, just not here. Whatever, we get back to my place or something we can call the Kontroller and see what's up."
  806.  
  807. Meg's force field shimmers. "Ready for a ride?" she asks.
  808.  
  809. Jules
  810.  
  811. "I'll explain later," Jules says and nods, "No point in waiting around, if the cops are here then I say we get the hell out. Let's do this."
  812.  
  813.  
  814. "No. It's gone. Jules chased them off.." Liana says, not looking at Konnie.
  815.  
  816. Konnie sees her kneeling over the knife, "Whoever murdered Trevor is involvedwith --or is--the same thing that attacked us that night. And this is one of their knives. Magical. Looks like one of a set."
  817.  
  818. "Problem is, we can't leave it here for the police to discover, that wouldn't get us anywhere, and it's...unhealthy...to handle magic items when you've got no idea what they do."
  819.  
  820.  
  821. Konnie
  822.  
  823. "So this thing could help us find out more about these voids?" Konnie asks, eyes leaving it and Liana to wander the roof. "No way we're leaving it behind then." Thankfully this area was still old enough to have rainwater tanks on the roofs, even if they are out of use and totally dilapidated. But all Konnie needed from it was some water, and that it delivered in spades.
  824.  
  825. She connects to the water and guides a flow over to them both, massing a large globule of water above the knife. Konnie then drops the water over the knife, grabbing it all again and lifting both the water and the knife now inside it into the air. She moves the water around until it throughly covers every point of the blade. The temperature around it then plummets suddenly, the water quickly solidifying into a frozen shell as it covers the magical weapon.
  826.  
  827. The knife now covered by a inches thick covering of rock-hard ice, Konnie holds it hanging in the air while looking at Liana. "That do?" She asks, letting it drop gently into her own hand.
  828.  
  829. ~
  830. 1hp to detect and discover! that there is a dilapidated water tank on the roof, water control to get it over and cover the knife then 2hp to upshift ice control to freeze a covering over it 2hp left
  831.  
  832. e:xian: xian: !r 2d6+0
  833. xian: foxxbot: xian, 9 +0 = 9
  834. xian: xian: !r 2d6+2
  835. xian: foxxbot: xian, 10+2 = 12
  836.  
  837. Eric
  838.  
  839. Tempers. Anger has always been a refuge of the small-minded.
  840.  
  841. "Badges? One second."
  842.  
  843. Imp, I guess I CAN use those badge numbers, and car numbers too while you're at it.
  844.  
  845. Imp replied back quickly, What, now you need my help to stay out of jail? Fine. Badges are 8802, 4278, 6006, and 3033. Cars are 454 and 112.
  846.  
  847. Eric repeated those number to Sherry as they popped in his head. "No idea how close or far they are, or what they want yet. Anything you could do would be helpful. Kind of wish Liana mentioned how much time we have, but in my experience the best move is always to hide rather than run. Too many cameras outside, traffic cameras, security cameras, police chase cameras...it's never worth the risk of showing your neck when you could hide.
  848.  
  849. minus one HP to gather details. 9/10. I'll check on XP later, not sure how many I have, probably like 10ish.
  850.  
  851.  
  852. Meg
  853.  
  854. Meg whips out her phone and texts Konnie.
  855. pre:
  856. Gotta dash. Taking Jules to my place. Meet you there?
  857. She tucks it back in her pocket, shooting a look at Jules. "You might want to close your eyes," she suggests.
  858.  
  859. Super-speed [+4] to run back to Brooklyn and carry Jules with her. Never really decided now Meg can take passengers. I figure either towing Jules in a bubble, or somehow sharing her speed with him, like a slipstream.
  860.  
  861.  
  862. Konnie
  863.  
  864. Nat's phone vibrates in Konnie pocket. "Oh, sorry. Forgot to turn it off." She murmurs to Liana, a bit anxious to leave before police arrive. She quickly shoots back a reply, forcing the dagger to once again hover mid-air for a sec.
  865.  
  866. pre:
  867. gotta sort this stuff out w/ L first be there in hour
  868.  
  869. ps keep the hanky panky to BEFORE i get there!!!1
  870. Meg is giving Jules a piggie back and that's all there is to it
  871.  
  872.  
  873. Some Music
  874.  
  875. "Yes, as well as anything," Liana says approvingly, watching as Konnie takes the block of ice containing the knife in her hands. "It's time to go." She says as she begins running down the stairs at a far slower speed than...
  876.  
  877. Meg, who's pulling Jules along with her inside the forcefield, flies out of the building in a slightly elongated red streak and within seconds she's running down the coastline of Pelham Bay, pulling Jules towards Queens, and then Brooklyn.
  878.  
  879. A few seconds later, Eric, Ryan, Damon, Liana, Konnie, and Sherry are all standing on the street in between the two buildings as the sirens close in on them. They've got time to leave or hole up in the abandon building, though that does leave the question of the cars, but they have to act quickly.
  880.  
  881. What do you guys want to do here? As the song says, Should We Stay or Should We Go? Liana has already made it clear her choice is to leave, but it's not her game, it's yours.
  882.  
  883.  
  884. Konnie
  885.  
  886. "C'mon!" Konnie waves Damon, Ryan and Sherry back toward's Liana's sweet ride while getting into the back herself with the ice-encased knife. "If you want to hide then you can leave your car out here, dickface." She pops her head out and tells Eric.
  887.  
  888.  
  889. Eric
  890.  
  891. Eric runs over to his car, "Fine, we're going. Lead the way, Liana. I think we both could answer some questions."
  892.  
  893. Imp, try to find a safe license I can change my plate to. No sense taking risks.
  894.  
  895. He got in the company car and fired the engine. Might as well see where things lead.
  896.  
  897.  
  898. Konnie
  899.  
  900. "That fuckelstein isn't really going to follow us back, right?" Konnie puts to Liana once she had jumped into the drivers seat.
  901.  
  902.  
  903.  
  904. Meg
  905.  
  906. The red streak goes down Pelham bay, out across the water of Eastchester and under Throg's Neck, bouncing back up onto land and then dropping into the open car-pit of the Cross-Island. From there it's an easy run past confused drivers through the matrix of expressways that criss-cross Queens and Brooklyn. Meg runs up a freeway wall to pop out near Flushing and angle her way back to home.
  907.  
  908. Meg skids to a halt in front of a three-story brownstone apartment building on a corner. Jules can see a sign that says 'Marcus Garvey Blvd'. Bed-Stuy, then. Meg's grinning like an idiot. "That was fun!" she declares, taking the stairs two at a time to go unlock the door and go upstairs to her apartment.
  909.  
  910.  
  911. Sherry
  912.  
  913. "I think I might..." Sherry shrugs as everyone makes for the cars. Probably for the best, even if she does know the guys in the cruisers. Explaining why she's here with all of these other people would be really awkward. She hurries off to the waiting car.
  914.  
  915. "Don't care. Just want to get somewhere that I don't have to worry about leaving a haystack all over."
  916.  
  917. ---
  918. Jaw pain turned out to be a huge abcess. Had to go into hospital to have it drained earlier this week. Think the michaelcaine has worn off enough to be coherent finally.
  919.  
  920.  
  921. Jules
  922.  
  923. Hooooooollllyyyyyy shiiiiiiiiitttttt is pretty much the extent of Jules' thought processes during their journey. He's sure Meg won't get him thrown into some wall or car or innocent bystander, but moving at that speed is just...
  924.  
  925. ...sort of ludicrous?
  926.  
  927. There's a strange feeling as his brain picks up on where he is. He's been here before, and a fair few emotions come flooding back. People leave imprints behind, sensations, thoughts, feelings. It's interesting, but not something Jules is keen on dwelling upon.
  928.  
  929. "Fun?" he asks as he follows Meg up the steps, a smirk on his face. "I think I actually prefer flying."
  930.  
  931. Bieeardo, that is literally one of my greatest fears.
  932.  
  933.  
  934.  
  935. Meg
  936.  
  937. Meg snorts. She unlocks her front door, reflexively checks her mailbox (it's empty) and then goes up the two flights of stairs to her apartment. She does this at normal speed.
  938.  
  939. "Sorry, can't do that," she tells Jules. "I mean I could toss you off a building but that's not really *flying*, is it?" She opens the door to her apartment and leads Jules inside. It's pretty much collegiate-chic, with used furniture, some dishes in the sink, some posters from bands, although in this case it's her own band. "Help yourself," she says with a wave at the fridge as she heads for the bathroom.
  940.  
  941.  
  942. Jules
  943.  
  944. "Throwing me off a building? Wouldn't get rid of me that easily," Jules shrugs before heading for the fridge, grabbing a glass of water. All in all, Jules likes to think that he keeps his place a bit tidier than Meg's. Not like he really cares though. "You want a drink or anything?" he calls to Meg.
  945.  
  946. After dealing with that, he settles down onto a couch, with an exhausted sigh, feeling suddenly like the entire day's just piled on top of him.
  947.  
  948. Meg
  949.  
  950. "You wish!" Meg snorts. She comes back from the bathroom once Jules is on the couch, heading there herself and plopping down next to him. She puts her feet up on her coffee table. "Man, what a crazy-ass day," she says.
  951.  
  952. Jules
  953.  
  954. Jules nods and unconciously slips his arm around Meg before he leans back, looking up at the ceiling. "Yeah... hell of a day..." He thinks of Trevor and of the strange man and of Karl and of everything else that has happened, drawn him out of his old life. All he can do is shrug. "It feels like a whole lifetime ago, doesn't it? Y'know, when we didn't have to worry about shadow people, or Naroa or whatever. Sometimes I swear I'm completely insane."
  955.  
  956.  
  957. Meg
  958.  
  959. "So Trevor's really...." she says, picking out her words. "Wow," she says. "It does. I's like I don't remember when I wasn't..." she makes a gesture with her hands. "Zoom zoom." Meg's head turns away from Jules, looking at his hand. "What's that?" she asks.
  960.  
  961.  
  962. Liana puts her sword back into the trunk and gets into the Driver's seat as everyone else piles in around her, Konnie in the front seat, Damon, Ryan, and Sherry in some order in the back.
  963.  
  964. Eric, in the car behind him, hears the INP in his head. Done. New York Plates, 9N0-MC23, but, to his chagrin, he's unable to complete the number shift before Liana starts to pull away. Plates muddled between two number sequences, he follows Liana's mercedes with his own as she begins to Head South, and doesn't see--but hears--the police cars roll onto the street he was on not thirty seconds prior.
  965.  
  966. Driving carefully, the two cars make their way into Midtown, and no-one in either car has ever been more content to be just another car in a logjam of bumper to bumper traffic on the FDR drive. Liana gets off at the 68th street exit and turns into an underground garage under a 20-story-or-so office building on 64th street between Lexington and Park avenues.
  967.  
  968. The car-park is virtually empty in the early afternoon on a sunday. There are a few other cars, mostly sedans of various brands and colors--Lexus, Audi, Saab, BMW--all new, models within the past three years. As everyone gets out of the cars, they're hit by the oppressive heat of what amounts to a subterranean cement oven, and everyone except Konnie, Damon, and Ryan immediately begin sweating.
  969.  
  970. Konnie feels the ice around the knife begin to melt, but using the humidity around her, it's no problem to refreeze it. "Come on, let's get inside," Liana says, walking to an elevator bay near where they parked. She pushes the button, the doors slide open, and everyone steps inside, immediately going from very hot and humid to freezing because of the elevator air conditioning. Liana produces a key from somewhere on her person, inserts it into a keyhole next to one of the buttons, unlocks the button, pushes it, and locks it once again. The 11th floor.
  971.  
  972. It's just as cold on the eleventh floor. As the doors open in front of them, they see double glass doors with the words UNIVERSAL UNDERWRITERS carved into them, and a "UU" logo under the words, the two U's interlinked. Liana leads them through the doors, where a professionally dressed male receptionist sits behind a desk. There's something off about him. Something that doesn't fit. He's slight of build, but incredibly fit, attractive, and he has an intense, powerful stillness about him, like someone who has tested the limits of his own existence and then pushed them farther.
  973.  
  974. "Miss Lian." He says in a chipper, British accent, the kind you'd expect from a personal assistant that was very good at their job, "You're not on the books today. How can we help?"
  975.  
  976. "Conference Room." Liana says.
  977.  
  978. "Right this way." He gets up from his desk and leads them through a vacant, and neatly maintained floor of anonymous office cubicles that look like they could belong in any bank, law, or real estate office.
  979.  
  980. The secretary opens a door on one side and directs them inside. The conference room is well appointed if plain--a table, chairs, apparatus for presentations against one wall, a refrigerator next to a table that has a pitcher of water and various canned and bottled soft drinks arranged on it.
  981.  
  982. The secretary and Liana exchange a look, then the secretary shuts the door, leaving the group to its business. "Put the knife on the table, let it melt" Liana says to Konnie, "Sit down, get something to eat, something to drink, we have things to talk about."
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