The War on Peace [Open Event]

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Alpha
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The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by Alpha » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:19 pm

Image
Michigan was bitterly cold this time of year. Snow coated every available surface, making navigating the icy streets a challenge. School was cancelled across the district, and no one would be getting fired for calling in 'sick.' Not that made-up illnesses were the only ones present in Detroit today. The frigid season provided ample opportunity for the common cold to sink its hooks into the population of the Sprawling Expanse.

Another infection, of a sort, was present as well. Lurking just beneath the surface. For the moment, it manifested only as an occasional cough, or momentary nausea. But despite that, nearly everyone in the city had already fallen victim to the illness. For it was transmitted not by touch, but by the very water everyone drank. Undetected by the water treatment center, because it had already been subverted by the Pack's own Jean Gravesend.

The Alpha wasn't yet touched by the cold. She and her protege, Eliza, were nice and warm where they were, with plenty of hostages around them. One moaned softly, and stiffened instantly when the Hunter turned to him.

"Shh," she whispered softly. "Not yet."

From her chair, the Alpha reached down and ruffled Eliza's curls. The Little Doctor was the keystone to this entire operation, in truth. Without her, none of it would have been possible.

A radio was unclipped from the Predator's belt, the frequency already tuned to the Wolf-Pack's encrypted channel. To anyone without the proper decoder chip, her words would sound like a mess of static. To Zulu, though, her orders would come through loud and clear.

"Zithuele. You may engage."

The Cybernetic Swordsman's first assignment of the day was simple, for someone of his capabilities. Behead the government of Detroit. Literally. The mayor was corrupt, owned entirely by the corporation that had nearly tripled Detroit in size. The same corporation that had tried to kill the Pack a dozen times over. His death- along with his staff, and anyone else within City Hall, would kick off the day's events.

First, though, there were matters to attend to. Other calls to be made. The next, to Gravesend.

"Jean. If you would be so kind as to deploy our surprise."

The other doctor was in charge of their pathogen. Already released into the water supply, of course, but in its current form it was harmless. When activated, however, there would be fireworks. It contained a modified strain of Gravesend's Indigo Serum, making everyone who was infected unable to resist his commands. There were also a number of other effects. Subtle, at first. Residents of Detroit would find themselves a touch more irritable, snapping at one-another over petty disagreements. Quicker to resort to violence.

Lucia's phone lit up. She'd been sent a number of images, it seemed. Smiling, she set them to print, and gestured for Progress to bring them to her. The man was mostly along as... 'backup.' Still, at the Alpha's side he had the best chance of engaging someone with useful powers for him to mimic. And she didn't really trust him not to flee, or do something stupid, if left alone.

Next came the bridges. A detonator was clipped to the Alpha's belt, next to her radio. She flipped the cap off, caressed the button with her finger, and depressed it.

Image

Highways, roads, and bridges detonated all at once. Hundreds died almost immediately, their vehicles plunging to the ground or into water. No one would be entering Detroit by land today. Nor, however, would any be fleeing. Which meant the spread of the virus would be limited to the city, for the moment.

The authorities would not be responding. Firefighters, EMTs, police officers, and all the rest, would already be falling victim to the second pathogen. This one's effects were a bit more direct. Rapid-onset hemorrhagic fever, complete with shitting blood.

It was time. Lucia gave another gesture, and they were rolling. People all over the city, tuning into their morning news, would find the usual anchor tied up, gagged, and sitting against the wall. In the center of the shot, in the man's usual seat, was the Alpha. On her other side, of course, was the Little Doctor herself.

Silently, the Apex Predator raised the images, shuffling through them slowly. The camera zoomed in, so that only her face and the pictures were visible. They depicted the city's mayor, and various other officials that'd been in City Hall, killed in a number of gruesome fashions.

"Hello," the Alpha began. "I'm here to set you free."

She placed the photos on the desk before her, and waved subtly for the cameraman- the one with Joyous' gun to his head- to zoom out. Her cold expression softened a touch.

"The government has been... decapitated. The police will be dead within minutes. The roads and bridges have been destroyed. No one is coming to save you... because you are not in need of saving. I am the Alpha. And you are no longer under the rule of law. No higher power exists to save you. There is simply me. So I say... take what you want. Kill who you will. Whatever material goods you desire... or whoever you desire. No one is left to punish you. "

Slowly, it began. Slowly, but faster than it might have. The virus didn't simply increase aggression- it removed inhibitions. The beast inside Detroit was let slip, as the purest urges of humanity, those stifled by the false laws of this 'society,' were unleashed. It started with smaller violences. An angry father striking his child, and receiving a pen jammed into his eye in return. Then started the looting. In some places, the people behind the counter were dragged over it and beaten, as their wares were thrown into duffel bags. In others, the cashier gunned down would-be thieves with little remorse.

Lucia sunk a knife into the anchor's neck and left it there, blood pouring down his chest. Terror was visible in his eyes, until they went glassy. The man slumped over, falling out of the shot.

"By this right alone do I rule you. Kill whomever you wish, but be warned... there is little stopping them from killing you back. And above you all, is my Pack. Those who you have little hope of killing. Though you are welcome to try."

The camera panned to the left, as the Alpha stood, and began walking. Those still watching were treated to a view of the newsroom, as she continued to address them.

"To those who would attempt to challenge my rule, I would remind you of one thing. Weeks ago, I acquired a number of pathogens from a MAVU facility in Washington state. With some assistance-" She indicated Eliza, walking at her side. "-we created what you might call a supervirus. Highly infectious, and if not carefully controlled, incredibly lethal." A pause, for dramatic effect. "So... I give you three hours. Come. Try to end me. You will fail. And after three hours, if you are not gone from my city, I'll deploy the virus... and allow the people to flee. They'll spread it far and wide, and hundreds of thousands will die."

The Apex raised her side-arm, and spoke into the camera a final time.

"Best of luck."

She fired once, at the camera, and walked out. Eliza, Fredrick, and Tyler followed. Up the stairs, to the roof of the network's building. One of the taller buildings in the Commercial Sector.

Standing atop the skyscraper, the Alpha observed. The slums, predictably, were tearing themselves apart. Fires already burned, as people fought over scraps. The Industrial District, however, seemed a little more organized. Though rioting was still audible even up here, it seemed a massive mob of angry blue-collar-types was heading in this direction. Step on the little people long enough, it seemed, and given half a chance they'd tear you out of your white-collar offices, and tear you apart. Already, improvised explosives were being hurled at office buildings, and sledgehammers taken to the facades of high-end retailers.

The Predator's sights were set a touch higher. Specifically, at Opulence, the private domain of Detroit's uber-rich. MAVU executives, bankers, stockbrokers, politicians, the usual suspects. Cowering behind their gates, right now. Afraid the mob would turn its eyes towards them soon enough. Tear down their mansions and storm their skyscrapers. The trio boarded the Pack's VTOL- the Raptor. It'd been cloaked on the roof while Lucia made her broadcast, but in a shimmering haze it reappeared, taking off towards their new home.

"Look," the Alpha chuckled. "They're trying to run."

Indeed, a private helicopter was taking off from someone's helipad. Their pilot was presumably swayed by the promise of a few thousand dollars to save his master. Or perhaps the one-percenter had taken up piloting as a hobby. The very notion was offensive to Lucia- she'd learned to fly so she could intercept American stealth bombers.

Either way, it didn't matter. A single air-to-air missile was sufficient to blow the helicopter apart, sending the flaming wreckage crashing into the river.

Lucia did have to admit that the idea of having a private helipad was inviting, though. A slight adjustment to their course sent them towards the building the errant vehicle had fled from. No gunfire greeted the Raptor, as it touched down. Just a number of bodyguards, seemingly miffed their employer had neglected to bring them along in his escape. And a young woman in a heavy coat that had been pulled over a sundress.

"Your boss is dead," the Alpha said by way of greeting. "You work for me now."

The men in suits with earpieces looked at her, confused, but didn't speak.

"Shoot who I tell you to shoot, and you can stay here. I'm afraid 'payment' isn't going to be an especially useful concept going forward, but I can promise you food and shelter, which is more guarantee than you'd get out there." She waved vaguely at the rest of the city, with fires and riots and various far-off explosions.

There was a pause, as they considered it. Slowly, the men turned to the one who seemed to be in charge, and nodded.

"Okay. What are your orders, ma'am?"

Instantly, the Apex Predator's stance shifted. Falling back into the pattern of command. "Fan out. Secure the perimeter. I'll need to be looped into your communications network. I want to be first to know if you spot an intruder, but don't engage if they look extra-normal. Good help is hard to find, and I'd rather you not all get shot by the first cape who comes along."

The man nodded, and tossed her an earpiece. The men in suits headed inside, to do as they'd been instructed. That just left one person on the roof with them.

"You," Lucia said. The woman turned to look at her. Some fear was evident in her eyes, understandable given the Alpha had killed a man on live TV not fifteen minutes before. "What's your name?"

"Laura," she said, voice impressively steady.

"Who was he to you?" The Alpha indicated the river, and the smoldering wreck that was slowly sinking into it.

"My dad," she said after a moment.

"And he left you here to die," the Hunter mused. "Because he was weak. But, he's dead. So what about you? Are you weak?"

After a moment's trepidation, Laura answered. "Yes. But I don't want to be. He was richer than god, and he died... like that." She snapped her fingers, though the cold made it more difficult. "I don't want that to be me."

Lucia considered this.

"Very well. You can stay here, and make yourself useful. Watch closely, and I'll show you how to be strong."

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illirica
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Re: The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by illirica » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:10 pm

Activation
Detroit, Michigan. Event Clock 00:00

There she is.

The thought came, not precisely with pleasure, but at least with satisfaction. The Alpha was elusive, rarely appearing except to cause trouble. Her home base was an unknown, her forces myriad, divergent, and frequently acquired. There was no doubt that if she could be caught somewhere, there would be several groups who would be willing to take her down, but Alpha didn't play that game. The only games she played were her own, and she chose where and when. Fighting her wasn't so much about setting up an attack as responding to one already in progress.

High level threat management, as Teja had referred to it. This time, it would be a bit different. Not necessarily because Alpha was any different, but because she was. The secrets were out. There wasn't any need to hold back or pretend she was someone else - and she didn't have anyone's directives to follow but her own.

Her own directives were simply, as stated, threat management. Alpha was the threat, and she was going to manage that, in whatever way happened to be most appropriate. Teja didn't need to wait for Alpha's announcement to know it was her - she'd been monitoring the CDC information streams since the break-in at the MAVU research facility, and with low-key illness in Detroit having been referred to as "reaching epidemic levels," the city was something she was watching.

All it took to confirm the matter was the explosions. The bridges detonated across the city, and Teja pulled the Valence Shell around her and dropped herself through one of Terminal's portal devices. Giving Pendragon proper credit, they were extremely effective at getting somewhere quickly without much fuss - the portals cut deployment time down to near-negligible, and she'd dropped in at one of the bridges over the river before gravity had even fully taken hold. Things were falling, but she pushed her magnetic field out across the spanse, dropping charge into the metal frames of vehicles and pushing them back, out to the sides. It wasn't a delicate operation, and they landed on the banks with enough force to deploy airbags and cause body damage, but it was certainly an improvement over falling into an icy river.

Her monitoring software caught the information about Alpha beginning a speech on the local news, and Teja filtered the media stream into a side window on her HUD, keeping track of what the game was this time. It seemed distinctively similar to Manhattan, only more of a free-for-all instead of with pre-selected players. Surely Alpha was more creative than that?

Or perhaps this was just her favorite game to play. Teja let the rest of the spiel play out, grabbing blackened, torn girders from the river and twisting them together, stretching a catchment across the river. It wouldn't be much of a bridge, per se, but it would be something, and if people who had fallen in washed up against it and were still conscious, they could potentially use it to get to shore.

Teja didn't think she'd be able to help them for long. This was Alpha, after all - and one of the main components of Alpha's games was that there was always another surprise, somewhere. The rules were just a setup for an initial phase, waiting to change when the right pieces came into play, or just when Alpha tired of the current state and wanted to cause more chaos. Teja didn't know who would be here this time to stop her - there would be responses, soon enough, she was certain. It was just a question of who it was going to be and what they were going to do.

She had to admit that part of her wanted to follow along with Alpha's plan and go directly after her, but she decided to hold off for now. There were a number of people who wanted Alpha dead. She'd be prepared for that, and when some of those people got close, that was when the other surprises were going to start popping up. Someone was going to have to deal with those, and Teja was more mobile than a lot of people. The smartest thing to do was to destroy Alpha's "distractions" and give someone a clear shot at her if she could.

Damn if she didn't want to go take that shot herself, though. It'll take more than just me to put her down. She's too good for that. Going against her solo is a mistake. Handle the events as they come and wait for backup.

And pray that it was someone who knew what they were doing and was prepared to neutralize the viral threat effectively if need be, and not another teenager with a hero crisis that had no place in Alpha's latest playground. The world wasn't kind to young heroes. Alpha was less kind than most.

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Deterrence
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Re: The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by Deterrence » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:29 pm


Image

Incident: Exohuman Terror Attack, Detroit, Michigan
Hostiles confirmed: The PACK, infected civilians
Deterrence American Spirit Battalion Deployed - Commander: ARNO FLINT

High-speed Tiltrotor Transports and recon copters flew over Detroit, deploying anti-missile countermeasures in anticipation of assault. News of one civilian craft already being shot down over the bay indicated the presence of an enemy gunship. Regardless of danger, Hypercorporation Deterrence was on-scene, mobilized immediately to respond to the brazen evil of the supervillain organization known only as the Pack. Conventional militaries stood no chance; only the Security Nation was equipped to retaliate against such a horrifying threat.

Intelligence was not sparse. Reports confirmed the deaths of numerous government officials, the total incapacitation of emergency responders, and the systematic destruction of essential infrastructure that would make transportation to and from Detroit utterly impossible. This was a confluence of terror attacks, every tactic in the book employed. Widescale destruction of buildings - check. Hostage taking - check. Intimidation and execution over mass media - check. Use of biological agents - check. It was political crime on a supervillain's level: the new normal.

But the new normal had brought with it new avenues of retaliation. The Great Company descended on the brutalized city with military efficiency, dropships depositing batteries of soldiers in key areas of the city. This was not a precision strike by Deterrence, but a widescale response to the one-team invasion of American territory. Supervillains were engaged by superheroes; that was the way of things. An assassination squad could do just as well, if they got their shot.

Flint contemplated this as he flew in aboard one of many AC-20s. Evaluating the foe, prepping for drop. For starters, there was going to be a quarantine. The Alpha had ensured that nobody was going to leave the city in her timeframe, but that was nothing more than an incentive to control her opposition. But that was a key element -

- in short, the Alpha was incoherent. As straightforward as her mission appeared to be on the surface, it was, on the whole, a personal game. If she were committed to her ideal on a wider scale, the virus would simply be released. Instead, she wanted to bait out individuals. That was what New York had proven (he'd watched the tapes). The chaos was nothing more than a backdrop to her true mission, which left her planning lacking. She'd pull the trigger on millions, but she didn't want to, at the outset. It'd ruin the game, ruin the illusion of control.

So, he thought, this was going to be easy. Reduce the chaos, synthesize a cure for the pathogen, and draw out the Alpha - if she were even still here. Then, pulp her from range. The Pack were up-close fighters, resilient, skilled - ground forces would be useless against them unless supplemented by him. According to reports, they were death eluders - capable of dodging or healing from injuries inflicted by conventional arms. Restructuring their bodies to endure egregious harm, essentially making them unstoppable in close-quarters combat.

But the impacts of their actions could be halted via wide-scale response. Flint watched troop transports weave between buildings, the citizens of Detroit turned into raving monsters below by virtue of the Alpha's biological attack. They were going to do more damage to themselves than the city if left unchecked - many groups turned against one another, or triggered explosions that blew away parts of the crowds. No one was exempt.

Goddamn nihilist, he thought from behind his helmet, thinking again of the enemy. His lip thinned. She wanted it to be personal, but justice was never personal. That was what he was here for - saving lives, and if possible, bringing the Pack to justice.

"Mobilize! Go, go!" he shouted as the back ramp to the AC-20 lowered, his squad and many others running into the battered city. The Deterrence combatants wore powered exoframes over their ATG Personal Bodysuits, fully sealing them off from the biological agents and thick smoke billowing out of so many windows. They switched their weapons to non-lethal settings, engaging the civilian rioters from within a red flare-based smoke to prevent visual analysis.

Masked from thermal scan, acoustic radar, and optic analysis, Deterrence used its drones to spread a masking crimson mist over the streets, moving to neutralize rioters and conduct in-field analysis on their condition under the remote direction of Dr. Eris Rushmore, currently working overtime on a counteragent to neutralize the biological weapon.

Flint's boots crunched against the pavement, a collection of holographic readouts supplementing his innate understanding of the battlefield. Rubber-ordnance rifles and stun acoustics leveled towards the crowd. But he was waiting for a Packer to come challenge him.

"Let's roll."

Image


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Azra
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Re: The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by Azra » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:05 pm


This was probably the worst idea to ever have in the history of ever Jess kind of thought. Wasn't that long ago that some obsidian slime coated tendril spewing woman was slaughtering the people in an apartment complex. That a canibalistic terror was ripping through inmates of Ryker Island. That monster was in truth her and returning to the states just sounded like a rather stupid idea. She couldn't sit well with that however, not after what she had done.

There was enough blood on people's hands, on her hands that seeing Detroit turn to anarchy didn't sit well with her. It was easy to kill she had come to learn. Was much harder afterwards to live with the fact. So from somewhere in Africa watching the news Poison sprinted off into the wilds, directing her mass and carnivorous fuel into her legs. Quickly reaching a point of thunderous speed and towering leaps until she was rocketed into the air.

This process was soon followed by directing that strength and shifts into her body to launch her forwards. This burned all of her reserves but managed to turn her into a high velocity missile. She'd need fuel taken from the dead when it came to the fight, nearly robbed of healing and adaptability do to the process. It got her across that large gap however and soon Poison found herself descending on the city.

Smoke billowed into the air from explosions the sound of sirens and gunfire proved rampant. Not a lot of the sounds meant to help could be seen helping though. A previous attack it seemed making them incapable of aiding people lending itself to anarchy. Descending from the skies a tendril designed to look more like a web lanced toward a sky scraper, she didn't like concealing herself so much but a web was better received then a serpent like appendage. She flowed into a swing and then found herself naturally flowing into the next. It felt natural to move in such a way, her additional senses aiding in guiding the actions.

For a moment it even let her thoughts drift away from what she was. It was almost serene simply gliding and descending through a city. Moving this toward the blown bridge she then flipped and directed a series of webs into the water as she dove. She did her best to direct the webbing to the people still breathing. Do what she can to catch them so that she could follow up by trying to pull them free. It couldn't be helped though that some of her webs went off to the dead. Consumed limbs torn and blood spilled, she tried to resist consuming the dead, that felt disrespectful but her hunger in part couldn't be helped. Once caught Poison kicked off the surface floor throwing herself into the air.

Her acrobatic motions also plucking many wounded from a probable drowning fate. Her webbing do to actually being extensions of herself worked like springs and arms to refrain from doing additional harm. Guiding people to safety in the end as opposed to some abrupt stop that might snap a neck. "I'll be real though I'm not like a doctor so help there would be appreciated." Poison remarked hoping maybe a doctor was present amongst the people, she worked with toxins wasn't actually medically trained or anything. Current digested bio matter was enough to keep her recovering from disease and moderately boosted heeling and physical traits. Wasn't ideal given all the turmoil she'd have to likely go through but it was start. Off in the distance ahead she could see a red mist starting to spread through drones. She'd have to keep that in mind when she ventured in, could be helpful but if she wasn't careful could assist the enemy as well if they engaged her.


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Delta
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Re: The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by Delta » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:09 am

| δ |
| COMMERCE DISTRICT | SOUTHBOUND, WEST STREET |
The Alpha. Right here, in Detroit. She couldn't have made it any easier if she tried.

As soon as he'd left that run-down shithole in the Slums, he'd gunned it down back roads all the way to the Commerce District. The cold didn't matter much, given how fucked he presumed his internals were, but the traffic made him want to pull out his pistol and blow the brains out of every God-damn soccer mom on this side of Detroit. Even with a motorcycle, the gridlock made it near impossible to lane split without clipping a mirror or scratching paint; so, since he couldn't reach Opulence by vehicle, he'd have to get there on foot. Luckily, his training in the Silent Math allowed him to reach the maximum speed attainable with each stride— a skill he found more and more helpful as time went on, given that his sprinting damn-near saved his life twice in Rome. With a free hand, he dialed Hudson.

It rung once.

Come on.

Twice.

Pick up.

"What?"

Delta cut under the Sandra Bridge, a recent change in construction resulting in a partially-built walkway underneath the concrete structure for pedestrians to cross when it was finished. It allowed him to cut out the factor of weaving through a crowd entirely, but its half-constructed nature meant that there was no railing. Or safety net. And there were portions of the walkway missing. Luckily, the gaps were able to be crossed, with the right trajectory and velocity; metal rattled underfoot as he reached the end of the bridge, turning toward the western region of Opulence and nearly hitting off of the wall because of the momentum he'd built up.

"The Alpha's in Detroit."

"And how do you figure that?"

"Because I just saw her in a titty bar with a friend of hers, Jon."

"And you let her get away?"

"No. It's complicated, I— you wouldn't understand. I'm inbound to Meier in Opulence. Meet me there."

Just keep in running. Just keep on fucking running.

Having the Alpha show her face in MAVU's very own supercity meant that she was here for a reason. She didn't strike Richmond as the type of person to show up in enemy territory to prove that she had balls— no, she was here for someone, or something, and he'd find out soon enough just what it was that she wanted here.

"Look, Richmond, I don't know if you're tweaking or what, but I'm trapped in fuckin' traffic and I'm not about to just lay down whatever the fuck I'm doing to—"

The revelation of what was to come had arrived with a shockwave that rattled the stone sidewalk he was running upon, vibrations traveling through asphalt and concrete into the great beyond. A large, thunderous explosion sounded in the distance; voluminous clouds of smoke and fire climbed high into the air, visible from across the expanse of Detroit. There was a split second of a similar explosion on the other end of the line before the call was dropped.

Delta furrowed his brow as screams sounded in the distance, along with a chorus of vehicle alarms.

Fuck, that is not good.

How close was Meier's residence? He hoped it was short enough to get there within the next five minutes. There was nothing else to do but run, hoping he was fast enough to get to Aleph before any more bullshit began to occur. By the time he bounded up the stairs to street level, people had already begun to get out of their cars and look around in horror; it was then that Quentin realized why the explosion had sounded so close. Sandra Bridge, or more accurately, what remained of it, was consumed in fire and smoke. Chunks of stone and metal plummeted into the chasm, down to the rapids below; through the black, billowing clouds, the operative could make out cars and even people falling along with the debris.

Fucking hell. This was planned. Shit was going on right under their noises. Right under their fuckin' noises. God-dammit. No time to think about the casualties. Run. Just run.

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Re: The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by Aleph » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:42 am

| α |
| OPULENCE | LEVY RESIDENCE |
Today had been utter shit.

Chaya had done the service of hosting a Morro Bay Relief Auction and Fundraiser party for the upper elite of Detroit, who no doubt had some deep pockets to contribute to a relief effort. Instead, the event was filled with uncomfortable coughs, various patrons leaving due to upset stomachs, and a pervasive silence that settled over the main dining hall and sitting area. Barely any money had been raised— a pittance of 320,000 dollars for reconstruction and aid projects in the region— and Chaya was beginning to become a bit cross with how little these uppity socialites were contributing.

Christ, calm yourself down.

It was cabin fever, she suspected. She'd been in Detroit for about a week, now, going over corporate nonsense that followed the Gala's conclusion. Amesbury and Matthews had only flown in yesterday, meaning that they weren't here when a flu-like virus began to sweep across the city. With the cold weather, the population's immune response was decreased; pair that with the anti-vaccination movement, and herd immunity becomes a myth. Still, she couldn't help but have an odd feeling about the nature of the outbreak. Perhaps it was the Pack paranoia getting to her, but she held suspicions; nothing had happened so far, however, so she held her tongue, moving down the center staircase in a silk dress while the patrons softly chatted amongst one another. The attendance was large, with a decently-sized crowd in attendance; such a turnout contributed to Aleph's ire, because she knew the rich were holding out on her.

Maybe her anger was due to the small cold she'd seemed to garner herself.

Those damned victims need the money more than you, you smug sons of—

"Ms. Levy."

Chaya raised her eyebrows in a practiced emotion of surprise before turning her attention to the man who'd called out to her. Frederick Calivand. Overseer of the western industrial portion of Detroit, and an overall incompetent individual. He was due for termination in about a week, and most likely knew— which was why he had arrived at her house, unannounced, in a smudged jacket and jeans. In the distance, plateware clattered, but the Director of Communications narrowed her eyes upon the man before her, attention captured.

"Mister Calivand." Why in the name of God are you here, dressed like that? "Good to see you. What brings you to my residence on such short notice?"

His posture tensed. His brow curled in upon itself in frustration— fear, maybe. His hand reached around to behind his belt, and even with her advanced cognition, it took her a whole moment to realize just what this poor, foolish idiot was about to actually do. She could have made a grab for his arm, kicked him in the balls, jabbed him in the throat— any manner of things, but she manually stilled her reactions and put up the façade of a clueless billionaire, because that's who Chaya Levy was. She wouldn't have been able to read a person that quickly, not in a million years. She'd just get lucky— dive to the side, miss the bullet by inches. Don't let anyone know that this was the third, maybe fourth time she'd been shot at in the past two months.

THRMMMMMMMMMM

The mansion shook. Chandeliers rattled and jingled with impacted glass, and ceramic plates vibrated upon their tables until they fell off. It was only a moment, however, before the shockwave faded, the lights flickering and shutting out completely before turning back on, powered by the emergency generator within the basement; a moment, however, was all the man needed, darkness enveloping Calivand before the chandeliers bathed his figure in light once more, a white spot gleaming off of the pistol's barrel as it was leveled with the MAVU executive. A silencer had been hastily attached to the gun's end.

Chaya stilled herself, feigning surprise as she took the slightest of steps backward.

"Frederick—"

"NO!" He roared, emphasizing the word with a gesture of his gun. "I GET TO SPEAK, NOT YOU, CHAYA!"

All eyes were on the two, now. Bodyguards moved forward but Aleph stopped their advance with a raise of her hand, shaking her head at them with a concise movement. Silverware rattled, the ambiance of the dining room settling into silence.

"Frederick, what are you—"

"YOU DIDN'T THINK I'D FIND OUT?" He yelled out, tears welling in his eyes. His face was reddened, gaze narrowed as he grit his teeth. This man was not right. Something had snapped, and Chaya did not know what. "ABOUT THE TERMINATION? I READ THE REPORT, CHAYA."

The Director of Communications remained calm. She'd been on the business-end of a firearm far, far too many times than she could care to name. The only difference was that the ones aiming usually had training; this man right here was a belligerent, slightly underweight man who had just been crying over being fired for incompetency.

"That's what you're killing me for?" Levy said softly, her stare narrowing a fraction of an inch.

"I got a kid... she's sick. Got sick a few days ago, and it's getting worse... I can't afford the hospital bills if you fire me. I..."

"How will killing me solve any of that?"

Calivand closed his eyes. His teeth clenched even further, tears streaming down his face.

"I can't help it, I... got to the checkpoint, and... I... I have to do this."

He looked at her fully, now, the pain within his eyes replaced with something else entirely. Something odd, something nonhuman. An animalistic glare that Chaya had never seen. For the briefest of moments, she let genuine surprise slip through before her expression hardened.

The hammer was drawn back, and Aleph's hands shot out to break the grasp upon the revolver. A shot rang out— the round whirled by her ear as she pulled the man's wrist back, breaking the joint and causing him to scream out, doubling over in pain. There was a moment of quiet that followed the gunshot; Meier stood up and scanned the crowd, her gaze settling upon a well-dressed man who had been standing a distance behind her. His button-down shirt, once a proper white, was stained a deep mahogany.

He let out a choke and fell upon the table, tearing the cloth off with his descent.

Her heart beat once, twice.

Chaos began.

Hysteria gripped the crowd as patrons began to scream, sprinting in all manner of directions before slamming into one another and quickly being overcome with some horrific rage. Dresses were torn, furniture was tossed as the upper echelon of Detroit society began to quite literally kill itself, high-class socialites biting at one another's faces and stabbing at each other with smashed wine glasses. Shira could only watch with an expression of confused terror, eyes widening as she watched innocent civilians grab at one another's throats and scrape at faces, any exposed skin they could manage.

The scene gripped her attention long enough for Calivand to fight through the pain and tackle her to the ground, her head slamming off of the corner of a chair as the two fell and rolled upon the floor. Sound dulled, a harsh whine gripping her ears as a haze began to settle over her consciousness.

The colors of the dining hall faded. Shira only saw red.

The operative immediately rolled to face her attacker, dress tearing at the shins and knees as she wrapped her legs around Calivand's neck and put him in a chokehold. She punched once. Twice. Concise strikes turned into rabid, lethal blows to the head and thoat, his face turning into a bruised and bloody mess as she struck him with the intention of completely brutalizing his face beyond recognition. Flecks of crimson splashed high into the air, disappearing into the red of her dress; Aleph gripped her opponent's head with both hands and jerked her legs, snapping his neck within the hold and rendering him completely limp. The operative released the grapple and moved to her feet, the bloodlust within her mind not yet satiated. The quiet of the dining hall had devolved into screams, roars, and raucous slams as people killed one another with improvised weapons.

KILL.

Something pulled at the back of her mind, but the haze persisted. Shira drew a small holdout pistol from a thigh-strap beneath her torn dress, firing at a patron who had begun to charge her with a table leg; as he fell and impaled himself upon the wood, the shot having gone clean through the head, the operative turned and fired off another shot at a brolic bodyguard who'd succumbed to similar urges of bloodshed. One bullet tore into his shoulder; the other, his chest. The man braced his shoulder and charged into Meier, decking her into the air and slamming her into a fragile china cabinet against the wall of the room. Shards of porcelain and glass fell around her, settling with a soft tinkling noise as she was momentarily stunned.

What.

What is happening.

The thoughts of reason quickly became shunted aside. The whine escalated once more, and the bloodlust returned.

Aleph let out a scream of anger as her opponent grabbed onto her shoulders and attempted to drag her to her feet; she snatched the pistol from its place upon the antique carpeting— now stained with an array of reddened splotches— and pressed the barrel to the man's chin, feathering the trigger until the mechanism let out a soft click. Grey matter, skull fragments, and blood all were released into the air like a hellish fountain, the man stumbling back two steps before collapsing onto a table and shattering it under his weight. The respite was not long; before she could retrieve the spare mag for her pistol from the strap upon her thigh, a chair leg slammed into her back and knocked her to the floor. Before she could recognize what had happened, a man was already upon her back, attempting to drive the sharpened broken end of the furniture piece into her spine.

With her enhanced strength, rolling out of the way of the attacker's strike was simple enough; Aleph arched her back inward and felt the splintered wood cut into her dress and skin, undoubtedly drawing blood. The operative brought her elbow back into the man's ribs, releasing a sharp CRACK that brought an animalistic, malevolent smile to her face. Shira's opponent released the grip on the debris piece and she took the opportunity to arm herself with that very same object, pulling herself out from under her target as he yelled out in pain and grabbed his side. She delivered a swift kick to his head, burying the end of her stiletto in his eye socket and releasing another spray of blood. He slumped down and Meier pounced upon him, raising the furniture piece over her head and slamming it down into his head.

Kill.

The nails from the leg were embedded in his skull. Aleph twisted and pulled the weapon free, bringing it down again.

CRACK

And again.

CRACKSH

And again

CRKKSSH

And again.

KSHSHS, KRSHSH, KRRSH

"SHIRA!"

The operative let out an animalistic, rage-filled grunt as she felt herself torn off of the mutilated body. She thrashed, kicked, pulled at whoever was trying to kill her before the haze began to clear, slowly, the adrenaline dissipating from her veins as reality slowly began to refocus. Tunnel vision cleared, and the whine in her ears began to fade. Her thrashing decreased in its intensity. She let out a ragged exhale, the sensation of hot blood upon her face becoming more and more prevalent. All she could smell, taste was bitter copper.

"Shira. Shira. It's me, Jesus fuckin' Christ, calm down. Calm down!"

Richmond.

She stopped moving, breathing out and in with a heaving chest. What— what happened? One moment, she was fine, and the next— here. Delta's grip relaxed and Meier broke free, stepping away with a broken heel and using a bare table for support. She gave a look around, her breaths still heavy.

Bodies. Blood. Not a single soul was alive within the room, bloodied corpses in suits and dresses littering the dancehall and dining area. Upturned tables fell upon mutilated cadavers, white tablecloths stained a permanent crimson. A chandelier had fallen within the center of the room, crushing two patrons. One body lay half-defenstrated, strewn across a broken windowsill.

Oh... my God.

Her eyes snapped back to Delta. She opened her mouth to speak, but the words caught in her throat.

"I just— I—"

"The water. It's the Alpha, she put something in the fucking water and now everyone's going fuckin' insane. Riots are everywhere. Opulence is secure more than anywhere else, but—"

"She... did this...?"

Made her lose control. Made her kill. Made her a monster.

"Her, and her Pack. We have to get moving. Now. While I was on my way here, I saw their VTOL shoot a God-damn helicopter out of the sky. Detroit's fucked, Shira. It's lawless."

Meier pulled her heels off with a single motion, standing to her feet and moving to the staircase. She had an armory in her bedroom, under the bed. She and Richmond could arm themselves there.

"I... am going... to fucking annihilate her."

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Re: The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by Praeceps » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:52 am

| α | δ |
| OPULENCE | THE ALPHA'S COMPOUND |
"Breathing masks secure?"

"Affirmative."

"Good. Compound's across the river."

"Shoot to kill?"

"No. We take her alive."

The armory's contents had been nearly cleared out. Aleph had equipped an M1014 semi-automatic shotgun with a laser/strobe module and a foregrip, holstering a Colt Python revolver upon her hip with the same attachment. Delta, meanwhile, had opted simply for two M1911 pistols, outfitted with absolutely nothing. Both operatives sported body armor under their regular clothing, with Aleph having traded her dress in for a simple hoodie and jeans. A utility harness and belt combination had also been strapped across their torsos, a metal clasp strapped to their chests for attachment to a zip-line.

"Ready."

Aiming the AMAC tether device at the far face of rock across the river, Shira pressed the trigger and watched the hook arc across the water, embedding itself into the charcoal cliff before the line drew taut. Meier anchored the device and clipped her harness to it, pulling downward to make sure that both the anchor and terrain spike were securely embedded into their respective surfaces.

With a nod of affirmation to her squad-mate, Aleph jumped over the cliff and traveled across the line, passing over the flowing river. Delta followed suit, firing his own AMAC device and undergoing the same process before sliding down the reel, both operatives hitting the side of the cliff and bracing themselves against the rock with both pairs of boots.

"Get your grapple hook out. Set the reel speed to max."

Wordlessly, Richmond complied. The two Praeceps operators aimed their devices and fired, the network of hooks spiraling into the air before embedding themselves into the mansion a few hundred feet above them. Both Quentin and Shira detached their zipline reels and attached the grapple guns to their chest harnesses, switching the reels to ON and flying upward with an exponentially increasing velocity. Wind bit at the pair's faces, both hands poised over the reel to detach the line at a moment's notice.

The overhang began to close in, rapidly.

Not yet.

A window pane flew by, then a deck.

Now.

Delta and Aleph both detached their reels, essentially entering a state of free-fall as their acceleration carried them upward, past the edge of the rooftop and into open air. Both operatives tucked forward and rolled, striking the roof and breaking their fall before moving up to their feet in a single, fluid motion. Meier leveled her M1014, and Richmond leveled his two pistols upon the Alpha, their aim unflinching and dead center.

"Move a muscle and I'll shatter you like Black fucking Ice."


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Re: The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by Panacea » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:32 am

Π
A mind in bondage was not a mind at all.

These worms, these impetuous newts thought that they could contain him, subjugate his will and bend it to their own desires. They had already instilled a beachhead within his mind, a struggle for control initiated; his ability to form and reform had already been completely severed from his repertoire of skills, forcing his body into an absolute form and leaving the topmost shell of particles to solidify into an array chitinous armor plates. Whoever the Pack had employed to command him, they were quite adept— no, that was not the word. It was not a question of skill, but of power. And this girl... why, her mind was a lock-box and a lock-pick at the same time, and it was infuriating, if not intriguing.

Still, her control was not whole. It was only a matter of time, wasn't it, until her concentration broke, she became too distracted, or the Panacea found a way to circumvent her abilities. All it needed to do was capitalize upon fear, upon anxiety— break the link between the mind, perhaps. Of course, if fear would not snap the chain, force would be a second option— if not the first.

It could not do anything, however, with this hood around its face. A soft growl emanated from beneath the black veil, permeating the space the duo inhabited and reverberating off of the walls; after a moment, the murmuring, guttural noise rose into a soft chuckle, the sound surprisingly human in nature. The cowl which covered the Panacea's visage had already begun to singe at the bottom, the beast's acidic saliva already dissolving the cloth and burning through to the concrete floor.

"How long to you think you can quell me, petite fille? You cannot hold me forever, you know."

Another chuckle. Low, filled with bass. The creature leaned forward from its chained position, its head raising skyward as if to pick up a scent.

"With which organ should I start, hm? Your brain is of a high interest to me— perhaps I will clean out your skull cavity first, girl. I would not let such a powerful mind go to waste."

A joke. The beast let out a cackle, now, flecks of spittle burning through the cloth around the creature's face and revealing a glowing, hunger-filled eye.


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Re: The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by Alpha » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:34 am

Just as expected. Deterrence. The Nation-for-Hire had failed utterly to respond to her assault on the MAVU compound in Washington, but this scale of attack couldn't simply be ignored. Fortunately, the Pack had recently acquired two... surprises. Something the Hypercorp wouldn't be expecting.

The radio was once again unclipped, and Lucia pitched her voice up to speak into it, the howling winter air making her feed staticky. The Alpha lay on a pool chair, seemingly untouched by the sub-zero temperatures despite wearing only a black bodysuit.

"Talia," she said, addressing the team's newest formal member. Veritas, though the Apex preferred to use real names. "Find the commander of the Deterrence forces, and... unleash the beast."

She'd already explained to Tkachev the nature of her test. Their second 'recruit' in recent days, though of a decidedly more involuntary nature, needed a handler. Who better than the woman whose words he would be compelled to obey? Gravesend might have sufficed, but the two 'lovebirds' would likely have spend more time fucking than fighting if she allowed them to enter proximity.

"Do be careful," she continued, a note of genuine concern mixed into wry irony. "You can't command a bullet fired before the man with the gun even hears your voice."

Content with sending Veritas and Panacea to cut off the head of that particular irritant, the Hunter returned to a position of repose.

"Tyler," she said, the tone of her voice brooking no dissent. "Watch Eliza." Then, she turned to the Little Doctor. "Dear, you're free to preoccupy yourself however you like. I trust you to stay safe."

Thus, the Alpha was alone on the roof- save for Laura, her hostage-slash-student- when roughly half of the Praeceps unit arrived. Depending on whether one counted Bisset as a member or not at the moment. That did include, it seemed, a man who the Alpha had very nearly kileld a few hours ago. One trained in the art of Silent Math- and one she was certain she could defeat.

"I wouldn't dream of it," she said, standing nonetheless. But the Pack Hunter's hands were raised, in fact placed behind her head. Not that it would be much reassurance, given the hilt of her katana, Damoclese, was within easy reach.

"However." The Alpha raised an eyebrow. "I have some information for you, that might cause you to reconsider this course of action. Specifically," she smiled, "regarding the location of a captured comrade of yours."

Jean Gravesend was rapidly becoming more trouble than he was worth. He had his good parts- an utter lack of morals, a seeming understanding of the Alpha's Darwinist philosophy, and a degree of competence that had been invaluable in poisoning an entire city. But he'd also brought an enemy agent into their headquarters without so much as a call to confirm with her- and said enemy had mutated into a monster that it'd taken her a rather significant amount of effort to subdue. Not to mention the fact that Eliza had suggested he was making... 'designs' on her.

A child. Lucia's daughter. If she had been younger, the Alpha would have marched into the other doctor's lab to shoot him that very moment. But this solution was more... elegant.

"A certain former employee of yours captured him on my behalf. One Jean Gravesend. Delightful fellow. He has this concoction he calls Indigo, which allows him to wholly control the mind of whoever he injects with it. Including Monsieur Bisset. And, wouldn't you know it... he used his Indigo Serum on your friend in exactly the way you're flinching away from thinking about. I won't mince words, Shira. It was nothing short of rape."

Aleph, too, was a complicated individual. Not long before initiating this operation, Lucia had experienced another of her 'visions.' Messages from the future. In this case, one in which she and Meier had been in an 'intimate' relationship. Something it seemed Operative Aleph knew as well. Her own tachyonic antitelephone excepted, Lucia had never had much patience for time travel.

"I'm aware you have little reason to trust me, but... well, I shudder to think what Jean could be doing to dear Gamma at this very moment. I've never had the experience of having a perfectly obedient slave, but I imagine it would allow for a great deal of power fantasies to be played out, especially if the slave was my nasty former boss."

Slowly, the Predator lowered a hand to her belt, and tossed a mobile phone at Meier. Cheap, disposable, pre-paid. She had a dozen of the things. But it would take Shira right to whatever disgusting hole Gravesend had crawled into.

"Besides, I'm sure Delta here is more than competent enough to take me."

The name was a guess. But based on Aleph and Gamma, it wasn't hard to intuit the other two had similarly-themed callsigns.

In an overly relaxed manner, Lucia stretched her arms. "The first lesson, Laura," she called to the young woman, who'd been standing off to the periphery. "Divide and conquer."

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Re: The War on Peace [Open Event]

Post by Praeceps » Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:13 am

| α | δ |
| OPULENCE | THE ALPHA'S COMPOUND |
So. After all this time, they finally met. Again. Meier shut out the thoughts of what she'd seen past the portal, letting her mind go back to Site Washington, the bar in Appalachia. All the times the Alpha had taken something from her. The first of their encounters had taken her voice. The second, a friend, an ally. Veigneur.

Not this time. It would be Shira who'd take, and take, and take until there was nothing left to give. She'd strip away everything Lucia had worked tirelessly to create, unravel every plan set in motion with this little coup d'etat. And when all had been taken, she would finally have her revenge.

But of course, it was never that easy, was it?

Meier and Richmond listened to the Alpha's description of what the doctor, Gravesend, had done to their trusted friend. Aleph wanted nothing more than to pull the trigger on her shotgun and turn the terrorist's head into a whirlwind of red mist, buckshot, and grey matter, but she held her tongue, stilled her hand. Wait. All will prevail soon enough. The phone was tossed, snatched out of the air by the female operative.

"You lie." Aleph spat, her gaze narrowing. Quentin looked to his squadmate and raised a hand, tilting his pistol in a gesture intending to calm her down.

"Doesn't matter if it's a lie. Use the phone, track the signal. I'll deal with her."

"Richmond—"

"Go. You'll let your emotions get the better of you. I'll be fine."

Meier let out a cruel, sardonic scoff, but deep down, she knew his words to be true. Aleph closed her eyes and shook her head, letting out a chuckle before looking to the Alpha with a stare of unadulterated, unbridled malice.

"Make it painful, Delta."

Shira moved to the edge of the rooftop and stepped onto the fire escape, exiting the rooftop and disappearing towards the grassy fields of the Opulence property. Richmond watched her as she went, his brow knitting together as he let out a disappointed sigh, dropping a pistol to the ground. It wouldn't be of any use. Nothing would be of any use against her. In his place, he hoped that Aleph would be able to fight another day.

"You know, my dad used to stamp out cigarettes on my arm when I was a kid, Lucia. Said it'd make me stronger, build character."

Quentin unclipped the harness around his chest. With the weight lessened, he'd be able to move quicker, without any obsctructions. Anything to increase his odds.

"He told me, 'One day, you'll thank me for this, Quentin. One day, you'll understand. You'll be strong, like me.' Do you know what happened to him?"

Delta tore off his shirt, exposing his chest to the frigid below-zero temperatures. Black, sharpened portions of skin had been completely turned black as pitch, the nano-technology having spread to all regions of his body. The leather gloves were taken off, too, exposing blackened fingertips that ended in sharp, mono-molecular points.

"I stabbed him in the throat with a ball-point pen. You should have seen his face, too— like one of those... fish, you know? On the seafood isle, already dead. It's like he knew he was dying, and his body had already accepted it. Only the mind was fighting back. That's what's important, I guess. The mind. Not the body."

A vessel is finite. The mind, infinite.

"Where am I going with this— right. The doctor. Not Gravesend. The... mechanical one. Shell. His mind was weak— hell, his brain was right where his fuckin' groin was. I should know, I stabbed that thing about 30 times with a bowie knife. He was— he tried to supplement a weak mind with some nice toys, but they didn't end up helping him. That's the case with all your friends, too."

He paused. The sunglasses stayed on. He'd die in style.

"I'll keep cutting them down until it's just you left, I want you to know that, Lucia. Now let's put on a show for your girlfriend."

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