Glass Houses [Limited]

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illirica
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Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by illirica » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:55 am

It wasn't that it was the wrong time, it was that there was never, never a right one.

The emergency line built into the SOS devices was for emergencies only, and so when Teja and Flint had been talking in Duskburg, she had known it was going to be a problem even before the words came in. She'd tensed, the miniscule stream of ions arranging themselves within the device at the atomic level - the language of the universe.

The universe spoke of death.

"Noctua." Even now, his name didn't escape her. He'd guarded it so long, so well... protected it carefully. Someone should have protected him. She should have protected him.

The news of his death was hard, but she could bear it like a soldier - she had all too much experience with that. No, it wasn't that which was the breaking point. It was the manner of his death - the way he'd been killed, hunted, reduced to nothing.

She knew who had done it. How could she not? She'd come here, to Duskburg, to save people from the fire, and he had gone to Millennium City, to burn a man she cared for. No warning. No threats.

Teja knew exactly what he'd been thinking when he'd killed Garrick Valeria - because she'd been the one who had told him to do it. He'd understood how to hurt her, and he'd gone, and he'd done it - because that was what war was.

Preemptive strikes and unnecessary sacrifices.

She shouldn't have been here without her armor. She'd left it behind, because she wasn't in much danger, and because she was trying to humanize her aspect in the Society - but nine months ago when she'd built it, she hadn't built it to protect her. She'd built it to lock herself in. She could feel the buildup start, Erujaorn catching the first edge of it in preparation for war.

Teja moved, with a single word: "ECHO."

Electronic Containment Holding Operation.

The code triggered the programming she'd built into her Society watch, the first step of it being an instantaneous translocation back to AMPERE facility, leaving only a scattered lightning surge behind where she'd been a moment before - enough to hurt, but not enough to kill. Another time, she might not be so lucky.

The walls of the facility caught the blast that followed, or tried to - some of it chained back into her, a constant storm. Much of the facility's interior was simply gone, burrowed into a bunker within the desert below, with only the capacitive panels as an enclosure - walls, floor, ceiling. They hovered around her, much like her Valence Shell, but built on a scale to contain her in the future, when self-control became an impossibility. It was enough, in the sense that anything could possibly ever be enough - which was no sense at all.

>Apocatastasis?

The electrons in the panels whispered the words into her mind even as the word was displayed in text. Reconstitution, restoration, restitution. A return to the primordial condition, a rebirth. One day, it would be necessary.

Not today.

"Not yet." Damn it, not yet. She couldn't do it yet - not when she still needed to find that bastard and electrocute him until he died a slow and brutal death. Electrons traced the negation pathways, far more easily than she'd meant for it to be. It was supposed to be difficult, so that she couldn't do it when she was having an episode.

Erujaorn was helping her. Likely it knew she wanted to go start a war. Volksgeist had started enough of them, in his day. It was about time someone brought one to him. A war to end all wars - to end him, now and forever.

"And just what happened to 'death as a last resort?'"

"Piss off, Michael. You're dead." Dead like Noctua. "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" He'd taken on a demigod for her, and where had she been when that same demigod had come to extract vengeance for what she'd done? She'd been off saving people because that was what heroes did. They saved everyone, except the people who mattered.

No, those they left to die alone. The figment of her imagination resulting from her aberrant mental state gave her a cool look. "Everyone matters."

Of course he'd say that - and of course he'd know what she was thinking. He had the god damn mind gem didn't he? Or he was the god damn mind gem - at this point it didn't even matter. "You're not real." An accusation.

"I'm as real as you need me to be."

"I need you to be not real."

He was gone, and there was only the lightning, spilling out into the desert and turning everything it touched into glass to be broken.
.

This is a limited event, not an open one. It's meant to be further character development for characters that are already sort of tied in with this plotline, so I don't want people showing up just for the sake of being there. Ask-to-join, and if your character is not in SOS or does not have a standing invitation to AMPERE, the answer is no even before you ask - and within those parameters, this is still going to be limited. If you want to do something and your character doesn't fit here, try LA. I also don't want people showing up if they're not really invested in what's going on, so if you're not really excited about it, don't be here. I won't be offended.

Also, this isn't meant to be a long term event - I envision it being more like Circuit Break, moving very quickly and not taking too much IRL time. I'm not holding the plot for people, so keep that in mind as well.

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Re: Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by Akhilleus » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:42 am

Image
THE EYE OF THE STORM
The return to being was swift.

Patchwork swirls of strawberry lights swept across the desert canvas, the air muddling into a discordant haze as if the heat shimmer from upon the distant horizon had warped to the space in front of the AMPERE. Light was distended, space was torn, and a flourishing rainbow of light rose from the sands in a lustrous glare; photons, electrons, particles of every kind were dragged across the electromagnetic spectrum in a startling array of manipulated wavelengths, the decay of radiation instantaneous yet infinite.

A silhouette with a verdant fire glazed upon its darkened visage walked forth, and in an instant, the mirage was shattered.

Have to--

LOCAL MAGNETIC FIELD SUBJECT TO

The lightning reached him before the warning of the Styx, and the absence of one worry was remedied with another.

Electricity would have been a welcome presence in any other situation-- his exchange with Hal within whatever broken realm the man claimed to lord over had left his mind and body utterly drained-- but there was something terrifying in the way each stray arc coursed along the dunes which littered the Mojave, leaving naught but fragmented glass in its wake; the suit-monitored AI kept droning into his ear, listing off the status of the world around him, but he didn't need an explanation. He had eyes, and he knew how to use them, and he could clearly see that something was very wrong.

"Truncate."

A bolt struck him directly, the sensation of rising hair creeping along the arm that had been touched by whatever wrath Teja had imparted upon the desert. His reserves were momentarily boosted, having been supplied enough energy to activate the thrusters upon his limbs and get him right to the gaping maw of the laboratory which lay before him.

If one could even call it that.

The gaping maw of the laboratory had been replaced with walls, gargantuan sections of the bunker's interior which once lined each corridor and dedicated workshop room; now, they had been planted firm within the earth, arranged in geometric patterns and arrays that reminded Akhilleus of a faraway memory. Flashes of a cleanup assignment in Nebraska came to mind, shapes upon shapes burned into grass and dirt to form brilliant puzzles of lines. That was then, though. This was now.

Another bolt struck his shoulder as he moved in, the force carried with each impact stronger as every footfall took him closer and closer to the source of the blinding storm; the group of panels had turned into a maze, almost, each section turning into a pylon that shot miniature arcs into his form to be stored away by his ability. He was being healed, in an almost poetic sense, the sheer output of the magnetic tempest providing more than enough energy to mollify the pain felt within his skull and neck.

POWER LEVELS REACHING UNDEFINED ENDPOINT, PLEASE ADVISE

"Truncate."

ACTIVATING--

"TRUNCATE!" Hector screamed above the deafening hiss of each flailing spark of lightning, his own voice stamping out the mechanical assistant which had suddenly becoming entirely terrible at doing its job. The maze turned, and the arcs cleared, and he finally saw her, standing, the sight of her condition narrowing his eyes in concern and curiosity.

"Teja." The voice of Akhilleus murmured, beams of superheated plasma dancing upon the refined point of the SPEAR still lashed across his back. Would she be able to hear him? The roar of the storm blotted out all else-- sight, sound, thought-- so he moved closer, boots crunching upon the lattice of glass which had burned underfoot.

"Teja," He repeated, unsteady in the tremors which plagued his voice but calm nonetheless.

"What are you doing?"
Last edited by Akhilleus on Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Axiom
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Re: Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by Axiom » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:43 am


Arno just stood and watched her go, his finger on his earpiece, his eyes staring through her. She'd listened in, so he didn't have to be the one to say what happened. He was still processing it himself. Garrick - deceased. Another casualty. A pit opened beneath him, one he couldn't see, but one he knew was there.

Just like being shot in Alaska, this was a familiar feeling. One he was foolish to think would never return.

"Acknowledged. Get your people somewhere safe," was all he managed in return, the voice on the end of the line still as shocked and sad as he. He clicked the earpiece off, still staring ahead into the distance, mind trying to process what had happened. What had been taken.

I can't...can't breathe...

He pushed his hand against head, straining, pushing, stumbling. It didn't make sense.

No. It made perfect sense. He'd come full circle. Back to mercy, back to hope, and he'd lost someone he cared about for it. It was always someone else who paid the price.

Can't...can't think...

He let himself fall forward onto his knees, hands trembling uncontrollably.

Can't do this anymore...

"Can't..."

This isn't how it was supposed to be.

Pressure, suffocating pressure, the weight of the past and future colliding with him in the middle all at once, the same past, the same future, and no way out. Trapped, locked in. Same mistakes. New punishments.

My fault. Can't...

He was kneeling in front of the shield. A shield given to him, by someone who believed in him, and who had paid the price for that belief with his death.

Can't.

Arno picked it up and slid it onto his wrist.

Can't let him down.

He raised his watch, and sent out the signal. He knew what ECHO meant. She'd mentioned it after he'd woken up from his little rest after Krakatau. An unstable electric storm, with a person at its heart. Something that would fry anyone that got too close. Despite that, the AMPERE was the safest place for everyone to go. She'd used it to beat Volksgeist before - it was a better place to make a stand than a space satellite.

He left Duskburg, and emerged in the desert - some distance away from the terrestrial thunderstorm occurring over the sand.

Can't give up.

Who was next? Tremor? Hope? Virtue?

Won't give up.

"This is Axiom to everyone. Convene at my location, IMMEDIATELY. The SOS is under attack. All of us are under attack. We've already got a casualty. Move!"


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Re: Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by illirica » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:07 am

She should have expected them to be here, even if they shouldn't have. Even if the safest place for them was far away from her. Flickers, in the desert. Lives. She could feel them, in the field, little bits of current flowing differently. Magnetic vision. Extra-circuitry perception.

Glass broke as a man strode into the storm. She didn't need to look at him to know who he was - there was only one man who could survive her, unleashed, much less thrive on it - but she could feel him pulling in the lightning, drawing it close like a string he could use to hold on to something.

At the end of the string was only death, but he knew that as well as she did. He'd advanced in that regard, after all. Gotten ahead of her, somehow. It should have been different, but it wasn't. He spoke her name, the one he'd been so reluctant to use. Even after he'd died again in Alaska and she couldn't save him, he'd still thought he had to ask. After a moment, he repeated it, as if the first had been spoken only to himself. The second was followed with an inquiry, one voiced with careful, calm neutrality.

Exactly as she would have spoken it.

"What are you doing?"

Of all the things he could have asked, he'd found one for which she didn't have an answer.

"I don't know what to do." Something about her seemed to tremble, and the lightning crawled, sparks on the horizon. A short, sharp breath failed to bring them back. "He killed... Garrick..." She made herself say his name, once, if only once. "...because he wanted to hurt me. And I am supposed to be better than this-" The lightning crackled unwanted emphasis, pinpoints flickering along her skin, hesitating where the copper ledes were buried. "But... it... hurts. And he'll kill them. He'll kill Frankie and Hope and Dia and Daniel and Arno."

Another one of those not-neutral breaths - they hurt, every one of them a sharp stabbing pain against injured ribs, but they didn't hurt like Noctua's death. Her voice lowered, quieter, but still unsteady, "And he'll kill you. Again. And again. And again. And again." How many times am I going to watch you die, Hector? At least she still had the control not to ask him that question.

"I am supposed to be better than this." Electricity arced an argument, and she didn't have anything to counter it right now - or to contain it.

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Re: Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by Mach2 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:15 am

EMPYREAN

Adrenaline could only take you so far. The moment that reality had solidified into something consistent was precisely the moment that adrenaline ceased to carry Tremor any further. Her last explosion had struck its target, but it had also struck her. Hard. By the time she'd stopped seeing stars, Akhilleus had already been closing in on her again. If Flint hadn't intercepted his punch...well, she imagined her head would hurt even worse right now. Or maybe she'd be unconscious. With the way her head was aching, that might be preferable.

.
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
"Go to the med bay."
The butterfly had come with her, and echoed the same instruction that Flint had given her moments before. She resisted the urge to tell Amber that she knew what to do, because knowing anything right now seemed exceptionally difficult. This wasn't the first time she'd sustained a concussion. She'd been through this before, but the haze around her brain made it difficult to recall what she was supposed to do. It was easier to just follow the butterfly's instructions.

.
COLD
"Ice."
Her watch first beeped as she was grabbing an ice pack from the fridge. All clear. She breathed a sigh of relief, muscles relaxing as a tension she hadn't even been aware of left her body. They were fine. Arno had found Teja, and everything was all clear. Tremor flipped the lights off and let herself sink down onto one of the med bay's beds. Her motorbike helmet fell to the floor beside her, a portion of the outer casing finally cracking off in answer to the abuse it had been put through over the past hour. All clear. She lay back, ice pack draped across her aching skull, and a small butterfly perched atop its surface, and shut her eyes. A long rest, and some Advil when she woke up.

Her watch beeped again.

Tremor's stomach sank before she even looked at it. She'd just received an 'all clear' message. Which meant that whatever was coming through now was...something else. Something worse. She sat up slowly, the world tilting around her ever so slightly, and turned her attention to the incoming notification. She read it once. Then again. Then a third time, because she had to processing the words incorrectly. She was misreading it. But every time her eyes scanned the alert, the words were the same. "...Noctua?"

Her voice was quiet, filled with confusion. Nearly every member of the Society had just escaped some variety of life-or-death conflict. And yet, it was Noctua. He was supposed to be safe, recovering in a hospital under a false name. He was the one who was gone.

She'd never even met him.

Tremor was still staring off into the dark, trying to force her injured brain to come to terms with the news, when her watch indicated a third transmission was incoming. She shook her head, a motion that sent needles of pain into the backs of her eyes, as though it would have any effect on her watch's communications system. No more. No more news. She just wanted to rest. But despite her protests, the alert came through. "This is Axiom to everyone. Convene at my location, IMMEDIATELY. The SOS is under attack. All of us are under attack. We've already got a casualty. Move!"

She waited, hoping for the rush of adrenaline that always came with a call. But it wasn't there. There was nothing on reserve. She stood, nauseous, and grabbed her cracked helmet from the floor. It wasn't over yet. Noctua was already gone, but it wasn't over yet. Who next? She opened her mouth, but couldn't force the command out.

.
COORDINATE COMPLEMENT COLLABORATE
"I'm with you. I'll help. But you need to go."
Tremor took a breath, and said the words, deeply dreading what she was about to find on the other side. "Bodyslide. By one."

She appeared beside Flint, her watch locking onto his signal. Something crunched underfoot. Ice? No. Alaska was gone, the temperature here was the other extreme. It wasn't ice under her feet, it was glass. And there was no snow above her head. There was lightning. Arcing in every direction. She crouched down as another bolt jetted out, splitting the air worryingly close to her. Lightning sought the quickest path to the ground. That was how it worked. Physics. She was fairly certain that it had been Teja that passed that knowledge on to her, during one of their tutoring sessions.

Teja.

Urgently, she shoved her motorbike helmet over her head. Ouch. The outer casing was visibly cracked, a portion of it still lying on the Empyrean's med bay floor. "What's going on?" she asked, fastening the strap of her helmet as quickly as she could. There was a deep worry in her voice. All of us, Flint had said. All of us are under attack. But the only offensive she could see was the lightning that was arcing from the remnants of the AMPERE facility. "What's she doing?
Last edited by Mach2 on Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by LunaHawk » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:11 pm

The Custodian wasn't there, and then she was. Her friends needed help and so whatever she was doing at the time didn't matter to her, what mattered was being there when they needed her the most. The first bolt of lightning caught her completely off guard but because she was coming down from light speed travel her reaction time and perception time was still up. She shunted the bolt away from her and into one of the panels with the near instant creation of a potent localized gravity well.

The lightning of course wouldn't be fatal, but it would cause extensive damage if she allowed it to hit and she didn't even know what was going on yet. Rather than risk it, she wrapped herself in a similar gravity well so any future bolts would warp around her and strike the ground instead. The gravity well was invisible and ultra thin, stretched out and controlled with constant minute adjustments that required a significant portion of her concentration to maintain. Since allowing the gravity well to do its thing beyond a very limited scope would cause damage she had to constantly maintain control.

No matter how many people she buried, Dia didn't know how to comfort others about death. It was difficult for her as an immortal being to tell people for whom death was very real how they should feel about it. She knew other people looked at her with envy when their loved ones and friends died so she tried not to say anything about it. Instead, she said the only thing she thought really mattered.

"I'm here, whatever you need."

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Re: Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by Akhilleus » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:39 pm

The air was made thick with binding coils of Heisenberg's uncertainty. Electrons, guideless in their trajectory and purpose, whirled through the negative space between each panel and rebounded; reckless, amplified in their excitement with each passing second, the lightning was consumed by itself-- yet, it was drawn all the while to a singular beacon which stood in the face of the tempest.

Be careful with how close you get to her, man, because she has a habit of fucking over the people who give a shit about her.

Once upon a time, the rage which filled the desert had been shared between the two. Not unlike the eternal exchange of fluent energy which coursed between them, hatred turned fluent and grew unimpeded in a lengthening circuit of blame, ignorance, and anger-- one that was broken, shorted by one bolt of electricity that had pierced the cold of the Alaskan tundra and found him, called down upon his dying form as it lay in the frost.

By her.

It had always been her, hadn't it? In Washington. In Alaska. In the Southwest, in AMPERE, in New York, she'd done her best to save his life, help him countless times-- but he hadn't known that, not then. Irrationality had grown alongside the festering radiation that had poisoned him, and judgement was superseded by raw, unbridled emotion.

The array of panels caught each electric scream into the abyss, and Hector realized that the tides had finally turned. He could have closed his eyes and felt the raw emotion which had imbibed each and every arc which crawled along his form; no longer was fervent rage thrust upon him. No, he bore witness to it, and it made him utterly scared.

She had never been like this. Like him. In the end, her demeanor was what kept him from spiraling all those times in the abyss, and now...


I couldn't help it. I just— I had to be here. To do it myself.

Now, it the duty fell to him. Just this once, to make certain that it would never happen again. To the both of them.

Hector's approach did not contain caution in the steps that brought him closer to the center of the storm. There could not be. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Apprehension meant he was scared. It meant that he thought she would hurt him-- and she very well might have been able to, but not with her electricity. Not with her grief. He'd built up a tolerance to both, in a way, by simply being around her all those months, even though the days were laced with uncomfortable silences and thoughts of regret. The guilt she'd felt over him had been palpable, and it had been his fault for causing it. Maybe if he hadn't said the wrong thing, maybe if he had been present around her, maybe if he hadn't left her to die to respond to another idiotic threat--

-- maybe if you hadn't tried to kill her, maybe if you hadn't told her you hated her countless times --

-- then she would have been strong enough to brave the loss of Garrick, a man who had also been regarded with immeasurable remorse by Hector, though not just for his death at the hands of the Volksgeist. His guilt was of a different beast; Williams had fought him in Washington, after all, and when he learned of the late superhero's induction into the Society, he had made plans to apologize. Achieve absolution, if that were even possible.

He had never truly dealt with a final demon which plagued him, and it would remain forevermore.

She spoke next of the losses that were to follow, tone laced with personal anguish as if their lives were purely dependent upon her unbreakable vanguard, and Hector's mind twitched with repressed memories of what he had said to her in the past. Once, he had thought she was immeasurably selfish-- you never really have cared for anyone, have you? -- and he had never been more wrong. A deep anger manifested within him, a vile self-hatred born from all the things he wish he could have taken back.

Dia. Frankie. Hope. Arno. Names he did not know well enough to attribute, but their relation was obvious.

The words that reached him after, however, would have made his breath catch in his throat if he'd still made use of his lungs.

And he'll kill you.


Darkness eclipsed Hector's vision and his mind turned into an empty void.

The shockwave outright shredded through the walls of the building--

Again.


With one last use of force, Hector split the blades of the scissors and gripped one with each hand, jamming the metal tips each into their respective slot in the outlet--

And again.


In the end, that was all he could say. He repeated it in a whisper, hoping that if he said it enough times, it would fix what he did. The lives that were lost--

And again.


Hector closed his eyes, falling into an endless sleep.

Unburdened.

And again.

The moisture in the air was burned away by the lightning that sheltered her form, leaving his eyes burning, but the pain was not just from his environment.

Was she truly supposed to be better than this? Maybe. Maybe not. He never was the most stable of individuals, even in the wake of his numerous casualties, and for him to affirm or deny the claim would have been unjust, hypocritical-- but he had spoken naught but a question since seeing her like this, and he felt as if he owed her answers. Current was laced inseparably into her emotion, and though it initially found no containment, it eventually found him. The neutral haze was lifted over his mind, and he allowed true sensation to seep through in what felt like millennia of being numb.


... she makes me feel.

"You told me that you trusted me, and I never believed you," Hector began, voice bordering upon a shout as he used the energy within the air to strengthen the volume of each word. He took a step closer, little by little, cape whirling in the lethal gales and turning singed with every passing moment.

"But I know, now. I know you trust me. And I-- I trust you. I never said it, but I do. More than anyone else on this Earth, I trust you."

His ability increased in its pace, exponential acceleration brought on by the melancholic sadness which spurred him onward. He neared, closer and closer-- a mere few paces away, now--

"Maybe you're supposed to be better than this. But you don't need to be. Not right now. It's alright to... to break down. To show vulnerability."


"Alright, I GET IT, CAPACITOR!" Williams snapped, frost creeping out in a radius from his seated form--

"You just need the right people to be around when it happens. You were always there for me."

And I'll always be there for you.

It was a sentiment that did not need to be mentioned. Akhilleus extended a hand, the argumentative arcs drawn to the fingertips, and held it out towards Teja in a proffered promise.

"Drain, if you need to. Whatever you need--" He stated, nodding in agreement to the newest arrival's words, "-- I am here."
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Axiom
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Re: Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by Axiom » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:14 pm


Flint took in the situation with alert eyes, though exhaustion was still setting in from the Alaska incident. Lightning arced around the desert, but he'd made sure to pull back to a safe zone. A rock and a hard place, if Volksgeist showed up, but it was their best shot at getting into that bunker. Running scared, like rats, panicked.

That's what Volksgeist would think, before the counterattack. But in the meantime...

Arno recognized a cloaked figure wading through the storm, one who had made an appearance in the Hellish facility moments ago. One who had lashed out at Tremor, but moved on after Flint intercepted the blow. Someone who didn't want trouble. The way he'd heard Teja talk about him, he was the kind of man who wanted to help.

Trust. Trust.

He repeated the thought like a mantra. Teamwork was how they were getting out of this one. Stand together or die alone. Relying on strangers wasn't a sustainable operations model, but sometimes it was better than ordering an assault. The lightning storm wouldn't go on forever. They could pick up the pieces after.

From now on, nobody was getting let out of his sight. They couldn't afford that.

Flint turned his head to face Tremor, relieved to see she was still with him.

What's going on?

No choking. Professional. She wasn't a kid anymore - she had to have the truth.

"Volksgeist murdered Noctua in the hospital and Teja's powers are overloading. We've got a man on the inside already helping her out. Good Samaritan, hopefully. Volksgeist's location is unaccounted for, which is why we're here. Safety in numbers."

He omitted the detail that the man inside was the same one who had lashed out at Tremor during the Alaska incident. Flint chose to believe he was under the thrall of some kind of illusion, pressured from all angles the same way he had been. There was no telling what happened in there, but that was then, and this was now.

The Custodian appeared with silent grace, establishing some variety of force-field that arced the lightning bolts away from them. Odds were that she'd been off in space dealing with a crisis of her own. Intergalactic emissary, one he was hesitant to trust. Always distant. But then, maybe there was a reason for that.

He could tell, though, that she inferred the news.

"Watch our backs and keep the field up, Custodian. The next attack could come from anywhere. We can't let him pick us off."


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Re: Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by Virtue » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:09 pm


Virtue was grappling with alot. The Alaska incident had left him with more questions than answers. The biggest of them all was...was he ready? He felt ready but, was he truly ready to bear the mantle. Small time crooks had been easy work and joining the society was a breeze yet, he found himself utterly useless in his first excursion. Trapped by something he couldn't comprehend let alone battle with a whistle. Within his first moments his powers were cast aside like an old toy and once he got them back he nearly died. He didn't have a divine shield or a robotic suit; he just had his hands and his wit. What was he really worth to the team?

His thoughts were shoved down when he got the call. He couldn't let them interfere with his mentality in the field. The messages hurt him and added another doubt to the small collection he already had. Noctua was a man who fought demigods with his fists and more than that he was an inspiration. With him gone Virtue couldn't help but feel that sense of unease. Like he was out of place among them. When Flints message came through he threw on his wing pack and goggles.

"Bodyslide by one"

He arrived to catch Flints recap to Tremor and he looked into the swirling storm. He couldn't get in there, he couldn't help her, a storm like that would cause permanent damage to his body. He'd be in the hospital for weeks and yet he wanted to charge in. Two portions of his mind clashed causing him to lock up right there. What was he supposed to do? What was he supposed to be?

"What ..what can i do? There's gotta be something we can do right?"


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Re: Glass Houses [Limited]

Post by illirica » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:10 pm

"I should have been there for him - just like I should have been there for you, all those times - but you always came back and I got complacent." She'd been the one who'd put him there, in that hospital, under the assumption that he would be safe there - that with his identity kept carefully secret, Noctua could rest and recover. He'd trusted her judgment - and what was more, she'd trusted it as well.

And Volksgeist had used that - because she had trusted him. He was an enemy, but she'd trusted him to be an honorable one. She'd trusted him to be a better person than she was, and she didn't know if it was more disturbing that he wasn't or more disturbing that part of her thought he still might be.

She had let him go earlier, because she didn't want to hurt him. Because she had been trying to be a hero like Invictus - but Volksgeist had already caused the death of Michael Carter on the battlefield, and if she had managed to accept that in some form, she was not going to accept the death of Garrick Valeria when he hadn't even been fighting. That wasn't war - that was personal.

And yet, as she knew all too well, war was always personal for someone. It just wasn't supposed to be her, because she didn't let herself get attached to people. Because she was reserved and neutral and distant so that when something like this happened, she stayed in control. Somehow, though, Garrick Valeria had slipped through her armor. Not Invictus - she had known to be cautious around Invictus. They were far too different, and she'd always wondered in the back of her mind if those differences would one day become overwhelming. They hadn't, but perhaps that was only because they hadn't had the chance.

Garrick hadn't been a force to reckon with in the same way Invictus had. He'd been quiet and unassuming, with all of Invictus' morality and none of the emphatic whirlwind that centered on Michael Carter and caught up everyone around him. Noctua hadn't been a great man, but he had been a good one - and that was something all too rare, in and of itself. Teja had thought, once, that he might be the one to take on Invictus' role in the Society some day. She'd planned to talk to him about that once he'd recovered.

Now, she wouldn't have that chance - and the Society wouldn't have that balance.

She could have told them to find Volksgeist and hunt him down. They were here - and if she'd asked them to, they would do it. Teja wondered when she had become someone who could order the execution of a demigod - and when she had become someone for whom the idea was tempting.

He'd kill them, though - and just like Noctua, it would be her fault. And just like Noctua, she would care too much. She knew it now, even if she had denied it before. They were here for her, exactly where they should not be - because she'd failed to push them away.

Hector stood closest of all of them, holding out a hand, even though he more than anyone knew what that meant. The path of least resistance, he'd accused her, once - and if she could change herself, she couldn't change the laws of physics. If she took his hand, the ions she'd unleashed would seek out his void.

What if she killed him? What if the current she could unleash was too much and he couldn't take it? She'd caused his death enough times indirectly, maybe it shouldn't have seemed so terrible to think about causing it directly - but it was different, somehow. It was different, and she couldn't help the quiet echo that wouldn't stop: What if she killed him?

And what if she didn't? What if she took his hand and by some unwanted twist of fate, he survived the experience? What if he could stand beside her and not get hurt? Then what? Then all her excuses would be stripped away. Distance was easier when it was a choice like the ones she had given him all too often - no real choice at all.

The path of least resistance was to walk away - but if she did that, how long did she have before Volksgeist killed someone else she cared about? Teja wished she were cold enough to make the tactical choice here: Leave them, find Volksgeist, kill him or die trying so that he has no reason to go after them.

She couldn't do it, though. She'd put too much into all of this to walk away from it now. Into the Society, into repairing the disaster of her relationship with Williams, into... into being whoever she was now, and that was a person who didn't walk away. It was easy to stay, if it was her own life she was risking. When it was someone else's...

Teja looked away for a moment, as if she might find a path that wasn't inevitable, then met his eyes once more. "Promise me you'll come back again."

Teja reached out and took his hand. She didn't give him time to make a promise he couldn't keep. The lightning abandoned the desert, and found a new casket.

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