Life on Mars? [Closed]

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Axiom
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Life on Mars? [Closed]

Post by Axiom » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:38 am


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THE END
Subjects: Arno Flint, John "Meshindi" Hudson. Kelly Sanderson. Styx the Child-Assassin. Romuel Saunders, AKA Stygian Moth. Arin "ODIN" Gestalt. GUEST STARRING Tanner Graham.
Location: Solar City
Objective: Putting it right

The drive was mostly a quiet one, from the Sanderson house towards the Moth's location. Arno Flint and John Hudson - not Axiom and Meshindi. For Flint, that identity had been shed. All that remained was the uniform sans sleeves and leggings, used simply as an undergarment beneath his Hawaiian shirt. He hadn't brought his shield. It was wrong to use it for something so personal. It was wrong for Axiom to just carry out a hit on someone. Supers were looked up to, rightly or not. They didn't do things like this.

But here they were, all the same. The times had changed. Surgath had been defeated. The world was safe, and prepared to deal with future threats. But the way of dealing with them had changed too. There was no more room for the chaos of vigilante justice, the fallibility of the virtuous element. The future was to be protected by a unifying system. Something that could save more lives, maybe, and that could put to rest the need for supers. The foibles of cape-action had been exposed.

Civilization had caught up. There was a new frontier, and no room for men like Flint in it. He'd come to grips with that. That was what drew him to Deterrence, initially - the anti-supe corporation that sought to replace them, quickly and efficiently, as the main protectors of planet Earth. It'd gone down in flames to delay doomsday, and he'd switched sides. Then the supers won by the skin of their teeth, and it just about cost them everything there was. The world was damn thankful, but it wasn't willing to gamble on another miracle.

And he was tired. His powers were fading. He felt old.

The war had ended, but there was still one last thing they had to do.

There was one man that had to be dealt with, one man who'd not been found until earlier that week.

Arno and John had spoken at length about the mission. Flint had spared no detail in explaining what the Moth had taken from him, intentionally or not. He was just collateral damage to the man's rampage-by-proxy. The same could be said for Arin Gestalt and Kelly Sanderson.

What had been done to them was unforgivable.

"You know, I thought I was done with this, John," he said after a while of driving. The sun was low in the sky, not quite setting. It was mid-day in Winter. That was just how it was. "For a time I was done, at least. I was a certain man for a certain time. Maybe just enough time to make a difference, in the grand scheme of things."

They'd discussed how they were going to do it. Nothing indulgent. Confirm the identity, then finish it. Arno had brought his gun. Violence was a horrible, horrible thing. Flint knew that, so he'd make it fast.

It was one reason why he'd wanted Meshindi to come - he'd make damn sure they made it fast.

"I'd always been an angry man."

Arno turned off of the highway, heading South. South, to the place it'd all end.

You know who I am, Meshindi. That's why I called. With you here, I won't be misunderstood.

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Re: Life on Mars? [Closed]

Post by Meshindi » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:07 pm

Hudson was not a good man.

He had never claimed such; in New York, at the Eclipse Apartments, he had stated that he was far from a moral paragon-- no better than the scum he killed in the name of protection and righteousness on behalf of those who could not defend themselves from the pervasive miasma of evil which clouded every corner of this Earth. That night felt as if it were a lifetime ago, and it might as well have been in the mind of the Spinebreaker; the past was not worth dwelling upon, and no matter how much he tried to change, he would forever remain the ruthless killer of men, the ungodly bane of those who sought to kill the innocent.

Assassinations were rarely personal. In his time under Praeceps, he had been tasked with the neutralization of businessmen, businesswomen, moguls, dictators, and revolutionaries; now would be no different, save the absence of anonymity. Neither man would hide behind a mask, upon this day. They came as they were, and as they would always be. Hudson would have asked to carry out the hit himself, but-- both men knew the futility of that proposition, so he let the inquiry remain quiet and unspoken.

"I understand."

Truly, he did.

He double-checked the cylinder of his revolver, single-action, and stared at the rounds nestled within. Habit. He idly wondered how many of these rounds he'd have to shoot-- and which ones, if any, were to hit their mark. Killing was not to be taken lightly. Every night before he carried out a cleansing, it was the same ritual. Check ammunition. Adjust mask. A nip of whiskey, and then he was gone.

But there was no whiskey, there was no costume, and his ammunition had already been checked; anything else, now, would carry the excuse of distraction. Slowly, he holstered the revolver and drifted a hand over his other hip-- to the thin cylinder which remained clipped, hidden. Waiting to be used. He'd slid the patches, built by Teja to grant him what she had once taken away, over the empty cavities of his eyes. It was... unusual, to see such vibrance returning to the world after months of sculpted pitch.

Sight was needed, here. He would not turn a blind eye. Not to this.

"I'm here with you. Until this ends." He spoke. It was the highest manner of respect, those words-- Hudson was hardly a man who was emotive, and neither would waste time by showering the other in praise. They knew the risks. They recognized the bond each man shared.

Idly, he wondered what Teja Docesznic would think of this-- but the thought was dismissed. She was not here, now-- just as she would not understand if she had been present. Or, perhaps, she would have. Times changed, after all.

But not Hudson.

"Better to be angry than to be complacent."
Last edited by Meshindi on Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Life on Mars? [Closed]

Post by Axiom » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:40 pm

More silence.

"Thanks. I mean it."

It was nice to partner with someone who knew what they were in for. There were no illusions about the evil they were going to visit on the anonymous Stygian Moth. No reward except rest. Meshindi mentioned that it was better to be angry than complacent. Flint supposed that was true. It was a Hell of a thing, to kill someone in cold blood. If peace came to him, it'd be a long way down the road. Whatever he deserved, it'd find its way to him. That was how things usually shook out.

Arno watched Meshindi put the patches on over his eyes, restoring what his friend Teja had once stolen. In their time together as teammates, he didn't ask her about her personal affairs. There was a mutual understanding between them. But she wasn't here today. She was resting, her power spent. That was what happened to superheroes, it seemed. They'd do their duty, and fade away. A new generation would fill in. The same people weren't meant to stay forever.

"Last time I let someone go, he took a good man away from us all. A better man than I'd ever hope to be."

Whoever Stygian Moth was, did he have those who cared for him? Was he responsible for anyone? To kill a man was to take away everything he ever had, and could ever have. Love, virtue, redemption - gone, in a flash.

Arno turned over his SOS watch. A small light flashed on the band, pointing in the direction they were going.

"Satellite records from whenever Moth did his thing show a unique energy flare. There's a low yield background signature that I've been tracking with the SOS global network. The strongest surveillance apparatus in the world, one I didn't have access to until I joined the team. It's the only way anyone'd ever find him."

His lips tightened.

Just another way we went too far. Another thing that should be left behind in the past.

"There're records of him doing this to a Myne Anisele in Nebraska, as well. There's a pattern - he targets people experiencing profound negative emotions, mostly centering around loss."

Vulnerable people.

"So, try to keep a clear head."

He was talking more to himself than Meshindi.

"If he pulls anything tricky, just focus on taking the shot. Don't worry about me or my safety. That's the kind of thing he'd punish. The target is the only priority."

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Flint's watch pinged as they passed a simple medium-sized house. It looked middle-class, with one car in the driveway. No discernible security at the moment.

"He's in there."

Flint didn't stop, driving the car around the block some more. Now was when the pressure was on. They couldn't just stop outside on the road - too suspicious. Better to case the neighborhood before committing, agree to stick to a plan of approach.

"One front - one back, or should we both go through the main door?"

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Re: Life on Mars? [Closed]

Post by Meshindi » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:18 pm

Flint spoke of a surveillance device-- his brow furrowed at that, hidden gaze turning reflective as he looked back out the window. Had that been how Invictus had found him, time after time? Had that been how she had found him? Carter had found out about the boxing gym, after all-- which was precisely why he had moved to the most barebones of apartments in a far corner of the city after his release. A release that came with a promise; to cease his lethal crusade against the evil undergrowth of society, and to merely jail the filth instead of killing them outright.

He supposed that today meant a formal breaking of that promise. Part of him knew not what to feel-- the time to weigh consequence had long since passed. His actions would catch up to him, inevitably; that much was a given, and he could not fight the convergence of whatever forces wished to take their pound in flesh. All he could do was kill, and kill, and kill until the convergence was thinned, until the forces were vanquished preemptively so that they could not muster the strength to gather and defeat him when the time came. Was that not what was occurring here, today? A culling of an evil soul to prevent others from following the very same path? He had no reservations, no regrets.

He had tried the way of his antagonistic peers, and it did not work under his practice. He may break a promise, he may break his code, but in an honorless land, what did a code truly mean?

Nothing.

Hudson would keep a clear head-- he trusted Arno would do the same. The home of a heartless soul stood before them, unassuming, hidden-- for the best predators kept an unbreakable camouflage at all times, weaving their corruptive threads through the fabric of civilization to tear the fragile cloth at its most weakness.

Only the most experienced of hunters could see through the veil, for they too were keepers of the very same façade; they, too, were camouflaged killers. To kill a beast often meant becoming one.

"I'll take the back. Keep him from fleeing, and get another angle on him."

His gaze hardened as he looked out the window once more, at the suburban residencies and innocent houses which housed innocent people. Did they know of the wolves which prowled in sheep's clothing at their very doorstep? Was it even possible to know?

Hudson knew, now, why the Sandersons were at such a risk.

"He will not be leaving this place alive."

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Re: Life on Mars? [Closed]

Post by Axiom » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:34 pm

"Affirmative."

Arno waited until Meshindi was in position, around the other side of the house. He'd be breaching any second now, silently, if possible. That left him to take the front.

The best course of action was one of not just surprise, but drawing the target in closer. Simply busting through the door would alert him and anyone else in the house. The optimal move was to prey on expectation - take advantage of the environment, and improvise using a tool before finishing him off.

Flint got out of the car, having checked his weapon beforehand. Seven shots, and another clip at his belt. He held it behind his waist, concealing it expertly. Arno wanted to use the gun, so he'd make the shots count. It was a more civilized weapon than bare hands, and didn't have the sacred connotations of Brock's shield. Because it was Brock's now. He didn't want to dirty it up like this.

Flint crossed the threshold and went up the steps towards the red door.

He knocked three times -

KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK -

- and waited.

He was careful to avoid standing in front of any peephole in the door, anything that would tip off the resident.

The tracker on his wrist would intensify as the Moth approached. When it was at maximum - right as the man was to open it - he'd lash out, kicking the entire thing from its hinges and sending whoever was behind it flying back into the hall. Immediately, he'd close in after, weapon raised - prepared to fire. But he'd hold back, until he'd seen the man's eyes.

The wrist tracker beeped. He'd been waiting for this for so long...

Come on.

Beep-beep.

Come on...

Beep-beep-beep.

Come on...
Last edited by Axiom on Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Life on Mars? [Closed]

Post by LunaHawk » Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:30 am

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I like the way you say Human history, as if it's impressive. Human history can be summed up as a blade of grass in the field of time, and not an impressive blade of grass either. Yet there is one attribute Humans have that does impress me--an infinite capacity for darkness, surpassed only by the human desire for control. You rail against the ending of life, yours or another's, as if your petulant thrashing could stop it. Only the Reaper has any control.

The more you thrash the more your despair grows. The closer those you care for come to death, the more your heart sinks and where, prey tell, does a sunken heart end up? Shrouded in darkness and writhing in a vat of rage. All it takes to tap that beautiful potential is a little nudge and all your control crumbles around you like the house of cards it is.

Tell me again Mr. Saunders, about your will power. Are you willing to trade the life of your wife for the life of one girl who once fancied herself a hero? Think about the reason you put me on. It's close, you can feel it. The God's Eye is watching. What's one more Akuma between friends?

Oh yes--give me all your impotent rage. How long did it take for us to get here? How long before you realized what you should have always known, but were too blinded by your need to control to understand? You came to Solar City because you thought it might weaken my control, but you don't understand. Solar City only negates powers not necessary for life.

I AM your life. Take me off. It will be like ripping out your own heart and you'll die pathetically, whimpering on the floor, estranged from your daughter. Your wife will die. Or...

One more time.


Stygian Moth stood in the center of a house that was no longer a home. The mansion may as well have been empty for all the love it contained. Pictures on the walls and tables were turned around so eyes could not see the images they contained. Every mirror was broken or covered with a black sheet. Even the grand piano was out of tune, were someone to play it. He had been standing, velvet gloved hands atop his cane, for the last twenty minutes. He had said nothing after Kelly was brought before him, he looked at her but his eyes were distant, as if he wasn't seeing her at all.

He stood in the manner of a prideful man but it was a visible shell. His body was emaciated, his eyes sunken. He had the pallor of a terminal cancer patient. Sometimes, when he blinked, his eyes would change and become impossibly old and impossibly maleficent. When they were normal, they were just--forlorn.

"Of course we'll have to take her out of here. The God's Eye won't work properly in Solar City." He wasn't looking at anyone when he finally spoke. He was about to say something else when there was a knock at the door. He hesitated and belatedly remembered he'd sent the house staff away. He took a breath, as if the effort of walking to the door was nearly too much and turned away from the two girls in the middle of the room.

Stygian Moth strode across the room and something dark followed in his shadow. He put his hand on the door knob and wondered who the hell would be interrupting and why the hell they were knocking. He nearly left the door. His other hand lifted to the Numinous Stone he wore at the center of his cravat and something within him, something he'd forgotten about two years ago, penetrated the shroud around his weakening heart.

Hope.

Where had that come from? Why did it make him want to open the door? These were questions he wanted to ask but instead he acted, he didn't open the door, he flung it open so that it slammed into the wall. For the briefest moment in his life, he sensed something on the other side of that door. The smallest chance, the slightest possibility...

That this would all finally end.

The Stygian Moth clamped down on that idea and surged forward anew, enshrouding a weak man's heart once more and reminding him of all his silly ideas of control and how fragile they really were.

The door had some help in opening. A foot connected with it and drove the door even faster than he'd already intended. As he was stepping away from the door it caught him across the face and sent him stumbling backward. It also activated his fight or flight instincts. He drew the sword from his cane and used it to stop his backward momentum, driving it into the tiled floor like a wedge. He stood still a moment, feet planted on the tile and opened his senses to his apparent enemy, wondering what kind of emotional darkness lay within the man's mind.

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Cold Cold Cold

Post by WILDE JAGD » Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:20 am

T E D D Y
-Bzzzzzzt-

Giving the device in his hands another futile slap, Teddy finally gave an annoyed sigh and rose from his crouched position. Lowering the end of his long-range directional microphone as the car rounded the block for yet another time. He had to admit, this was proving far harder than he'd thought it would be.

The young boy stood perched upon the roof of a large apartment complex, where he'd watched and monitored the black Chevy as it made its way through the city. Or rather, he carefully observed the man who now sat behind its wheel. Utilizing his preternatural mobility to make haste through the city at speeds just fast enough to match pace with the vehicle as it pathed its way through the suburbs.

He'd been playing it safe of course, following from as far a distance as he physically could, giving him around a block or two of buffer space between him and the car. A range that the microphone had unexpectedly been able to accommodate. Teddy wasn't exactly sure how it worked, but he got the general idea. Point, click, record. Simple enough. It, like most of the more advanced tools in the companies arsenal, was designed by Woden. Back when he still made things.

It wasn't even all the clunky to carry around either, with most of the device contained in a lightweight backpack, sans the headset and physical microphone. Admittedly this version was a bit weaker to accommodate his size... but it still worked fine! So long as he had a good line of sight on his target, which was becoming an increasingly difficult task.

Tracking the man had been hard enough, but following him was a different beast altogether. It was all but impossible given the teleportation and all the bouncing from space and back. Even with flight, there wasn't a chance that Teddy could ever hope to keep up with him. But ever since he'd gotten into the car, the job was far more manageable. It hadn't been easy, especially not with how he couldn't move right within the city, but at least now it'd been possible. And from the sounds of it, this might be the moment that counted.

Hooking the mic onto a strap on the side of his backpack Teddy began to back up slightly as he eyed the edge of the building. Jumping up and down once or twice to shake out his legs before he began to move. Sprinting forwards before he kicked off the roof, and effortlessly glide off the side of the building and floated across the gap towards the next. His foot striking the roof next to him with enough force to propel him back into the air and bounding towards the next. Quickly picking up enough momentum that with each hop he began to cover the distance of a good two buildings. It wasn't perfect, but it was a lot safer than just trying to rocket off. Because unlike some flyers, he'd done his homework. Or at least enough to know that flying like he normally did would be a no go.

And besides, as good as it felt to have the breeze in his face, going too high just meant he was asking to get spotted. Hopping across the buildings had been fast enough to let him keep pace with the car since they left that Sanderson place, and after a few short jumps, it was enough for him to reposition himself to aim his mic towards the open passenger-side window once more. It was a risky position given how often the passenger had been looking outside, but it was the best way to listen in on the conversation.

Quickly flipping the microphone on he adjusted it slightly, sifting through the static as he honed in on the voices. Turning up his volume as the passenger spoke once more.

"He will not -- leaving this -- alive."

Teddy paused, looking up as the car door swung open and the man slipped out. Then after a moment. The other followed suit. One moved towards the back with the other marched straight towards the front. It was clear from that alone, this wouldn't just be a simple talk like the previous stop.

This time it was it.

Shutting down the mic, Teddy switched over to his comms. Patching himself back into Syro-Turkish Border Post.

"They've made it to the Moth. Sending over the location now."

C W N
A N N W N
"Grim... linked in."

"Padfoot... in"

"Shrieker... I'm linked."

"Shuck... -munch- ...linked -crunch- in"

Several seconds of pure silence. Broken first by a faint muffled giggle.

"Keith... what. the. FUCK!"

Shrieker's giggling erupted into uncontrollable laughter.

"Dude, I'm hungry! Percy's had us in briefing since oh-eight-hundred and I didn't have a chance to eat. He wouldn't even let me go get a snack."

"That's because briefing started at oh-seven-hundred and you missed everything on Nebraska."

"That's because no one told me!"

"We all did... several times. I told you this morning! Then you got halfway out of bed, groaned and went back to sleep."

"I mean... did it even matter? Ymir missed all of it."

"BECAUSE HE ISN'T COMING!"

"Wait... really?"

"Jesus fucking Christ... ending sync."

Grim's eyes flickered open, before after a moment's delay the three other boys riding alongside him in the back of the truck followed suit. Padfoot, sitting quietly with his legs crossed as he slung his arm over the side and looked out at the tree's moving by. Shrieker, almost lying on the bed of the car doubled over with laughter, tears streaking down his cheeks. And Shuck, sitting with a bag of salted peanuts slowly chewing as he looked back at Grim like a kid caught with his hand stuck in the cookie jar. Well aware, he was doing something wrong but so far past the point of no return that he just wanted to get as much as he could.

Grim looked at them all, his steadfast loyal teammates and sighed.

"Alright... now does anyone else have to go to the bathroom or get a snack before we go? Because if we get in and you're still eating fucking peanuts I'm going to shoot you Keith."

Turning the bag upside down over his mouth the boy gave Grim a thumbs up.

"You -munch- -munch- got -crunch- -munch- it."

God, he wanted to strangle him.

Never the less the link had been confirmed. Even now, Grim could see trees rushing by, a blurry mess of colors and shaking blue package. Squad Sync. Facilitated by the contact lens resting upon their left eye, and giving them each the ability to peer through each other's contacts. It was a variation of the ALLFATHER tech utilized in Woden's prosthetic eye, simply toned down in a manner that made it far more accessible. While the size of the ALLFATHER allowed it to sync up with just about as many auxiliary video-feeds as it needed to, the devices used by Cwn Annwn were only capable of linking with identical models. A sacrifice to be sure, yet one that allowed them to use the gift of shared sight without having to fully replace an eye.

Though he swore it felt more like a curse half the time.

Yet eventually, Shuck finished chewing and stuffed the emptied package into his pocket, giving Grim a slight nod. While Shrieker finally picked himself up from the ground and wiped his eyes, a stupid giddy grin still plastered on his face. Still, it was just about the best they were going to get from him. For as soon as the hyperactive brawler took a seat the message they'd been waiting for finally came through. Teddy's voice playing through their comms as the truck began to sway with a turn, before coming to a stop.

"They've made it to the Moth. Sending over the location now."

Grim took a deep breath.

"Game faces on, it's time"

P E R C I V A L
"It's been quite a while, hasn't it Sir?"

Percival asked, approaching the Son of Robotics as the boy looked up at the ODIN in silence. He'd been standing there alone for a few a while, ever since they'd taken it out of the hanger and prepped it for deployment. At first, the young advisor had simply stood back, dealing with the other tasks they'd needed to handle while watching him from afar. Yet now, all that was left to do was wait for the signal, which meant if there was ever going to be a chance to talk, now would have to be it. He wasn't sure if Woden would want to say anything, but after working alongside him for more than half a year, Percival was pretty sure he had a decent understanding of what was going through his mind right now.

"Hmm?" Woden turned his head slightly, still focused on the mechanical titan as he caught a glimpse of the boy standing next to him. "Oh... yeah. Not since the Dreams. It's strange though. I can't decide if it's been too long, or not long enough."

It was strange seeing hesitancy from him. Yet given the circumstances, it was more than understandable. If anything Percival was someone surprised that he was planning to go personally. Given the city, the Moth, and especially...

"Do you think you'll be able to keep it under control?"

"I suppose that's the million-dollar question. And to be honest, I'm not quite sure. The only thing that I know is that the alternative isn't an option."

Percival paused for a moment. Cautious about how he wanted to phrase what he was about to ask next. All but confident he knew the answer, yet obligated to ask never the less.

"Are you sure that you and the ODIN have to deploy here? Cwn Annwn can handle it by themselves. Or you could just let Styx deal with it."

"No." The answer was firm. Making it clear this was not an option that he be swayed away from. "Arno was right about one thing, the Moth has taken too much. I'm going to make sure to end this. Arno and the Moth. No matter what both problems end today."

The advisor gave a slight nod. He'd expected as much. Now the only thing left that he could do was set things up to best ensure they all made it back. In a way, it was frustrating to be able to do nothing but watch, yet at the end of the day, it was the best place for him to be. He just couldn't be like them, fighting on the front lines. He owned Woden more than he could ever say for that. For giving him that second option. A fate beyond a hollow death on the field, something more than a nameless corpse. A place that he could truly shine. It wasn't a debt that could be repaid, but he was willing to spend as long as it took trying. He'd saved his life, it was all Percival could do to try and keep him alive in return.

Woden was going in to try and keep as few of them involved as possible. It was in his self-sacrificial nature to bear far more Despite what he said, he still thought of The Dead Company and himself as separate. That his problems were to be kept as far away from them as possible. He failed to truly understand what those who'd chosen to follow him had sworn themselves to. The Wilde Jagd was Arin Gestalt. With him, they stood as a unified force far greater than its sum. Without him, the would fall.

He trusted him, completely. Yet he couldn't help but feel like this was a mistake. That Woden had set himself up for a test that could not be passed. He hadn't mentioned it himself, but Percival was well aware that amidst the frenzy of his mind his thoughts were drifting to the girl who would undoubtedly be present. He'd done his utmost to assist the One-Eyed Wolf as best he could. But this felt like a task bordering on impossible. The unfortunate clash between the two roles he'd come to occupy. The advisor, and a... friend. To ensure he succeeded and to ensure he didn't do something he would regret. Somehow it felt like he'd be forced to choose.

Nearly two minutes had passed, of the two simply standing there looking up at the ODIN. For a moment Percival caught himself almost chuckling. Looking up at the titan was oddly hypnotic. He almost understood how Woden had stood watching it for so long.

Shame there wasn't much time left.

As if on cue a rush of static flooded his comms.

"They've made it to the Moth. Sending over the location now."

Percival looked over to his right, it was instinct more than anything, he hardly needed to confirm. The look Woden gave him was enough.

"It's time."

G E S T A L T
Arin slid down into the ODIN's cockpit, sitting himself down as he looked upon its bright familiar display. He'd been struck by long it had been while simply looking at the colossus, yet that was nothing compared to being within it. Krakatau. He could still feel the heat radiating off the console, it was damn near suffocating. Reaching out slightly his hands floated above. For a moment he paused, cautious about what touching it might do. What might spread from him into the warmachine? He knew what damage it was capable of within his hands, what methods he would condone. The idea of what it could do if out of his control was almost enough to drive him to tear the titan down.

To risk another Aberdeen. Another Morro. Another Pripyat. How many times would his own weapons be warped against him? How many times would it take before he was the only one left to blame? The line when his complacency became no better than the act of destruction itself. When building, loading, and pointing the gun was just as bad as pulling the trigger. He knew he was putting countless lives at risk, yet all the same, he didn't have the luxury of turning back. He'd already suffered the guilt of six unthinkable tragedies... what was but one more? He'd shoulder them all until his body broke. His only hesitation? That nagging thought that defied all reason. A question he couldn't escape. What would she think?

As soon as his hands came down upon the console, they moved as if he hadn't missed a day. Traversing the familiar cockpit like it was second nature. The eyes upon the ODIN flickering to life as his ALLFATHER hooked in, letting him look out over the cleared patch of forest the titan stood in. Complete 360-degree vision, completely void of any blind spots and from the looks of it, lacking in any corruption. He was hesitant to call it a good omen, but at this point, he'd take any good sign he could. A quick internal diagnostic check revealed what physical testing as confirmed an hour before he'd climbed in. All systems were running without error, his ammunition reserves were fully loaded, and he had enough power to last years. Then there were the SUNBURSTS. Two of them. Deprimed, yet never longer than three minutes away from detonation. The thought of using them wasn't anything he derived pleasure from entertaining, he never had. Yet... he was prepared.

He looked over to the ODIN's right as a truck pulled to a stop, as the four Cwn Annwn lept from the bed and made there way over to ODIN. Grim peeled off to speak with Percival for a moment, yet within a few moments the team had gathered up around the titan. Entering into ODIN's containment and transportation module before sealing it shut behind him.

A few seconds pausing before Grim's voice came to life through his earpiece.

"This is the Cwn Annwn, all clear for departure."

Giving a nod no one would see Arin entered in a rapid string into the Intelli-Gyro. Accounting for the additional weight and preparing themselves for the trip.

"Affirmative... Percival?"

A slight pause.

"Ymir is ready, this will be just like the practice runs. He can't put you in the city, but he'll get you as close as possible. Same on the way out, you'll have to get outside the field and feed us the coordinates."

The implication wasn't lost upon anyone there. There would be no emergency exfills. Either they cleared all hostiles and got out alive. Or they didn't come back at all.

"...Good luck."

There was barely time to respond, as Arin tensed his body and prepared for what was to come.

A deep breath as reality shattered.

-

It was... bright.

It was the first thought that came to Arin's mind as he looked upon Solar City. It wasn't that bright all things considered, yet from the dark Syrian night he'd just been dragged from, the late afternoon was a shock to the system. It was never an enjoyable experience to be torn apart and reconstructed... but it wasn't like they had much of a choice. The good news was, a quick peek at the vital sides in the cabin revealed they'd all made it safely. Shame that had been the easy part.

He looked down at the coordinates Teddy had given him, overlayed upon a map of the city. Quickly plotting out the quickest way by streets as the ODIN's treads began to unlock. Converting the bipedal walker into something more akin to a tank. Less efficient for combat, yet far faster when it came to traversing flat areas. It would still take him nearly ten minutes to get there, but that was why he hadn't come alone.

"Location confirmed... move out."



Image

The containment bay flung open as four motorcycles shot from the ODIN, hitting the streets below hard as they kept moving forward. Quickly picking up speeds as the Cwn Annwn adjusted their compasses and began to weave there way through the city streets in standard fashion. Grim at the helm, Shrieker and Shuck at his flanks, and Padfoot at the rear. Ready for whatever they may encounter when they finally arrived. The ODIN would bring the storm, but they'd arrive to hareld its approach.

At long last, it was time.
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Lord of Nothing
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Re: Life on Mars? [Closed]

Post by Lord of Nothing » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:22 am

Freedom(?)

.
Some time ago

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.

Ring....Ring.


Payphones weren't really the easiest to intercept. And Stygian Moth didn't really seem to be the techy sort of guy. Wealthy as he was. But she didn't wanna chance it much. She left Arin a message indicative of her activities. Knowing little of the fact that the Moth was being tracked down by another.

"ODIN. It looks I'll need to take you on your offer for back up after all. The Stygian situation is looking like it'll be a little bit hairy. And from what I understand, he still has the ability to possess and mentally manipulate people. I've thought of a few techniques" She looked at Kelly. "But there is still a bit of risk involved with it. Plus, there...might be someone else here you might want to meet. Alright. Bye."

She hangs up. And begins to walk back to her bike where Kelly was.

You're close sis. Close to freedom.

Long has Sacha moved from master to master. Boss to boss. Paycheck to paycheck. Her ability to kill and to fight has gotten her undeniably far. Farther than those other girls who just laid down and took it. She came into America. She showed her skillset. And she was acquired by ODIN. By Arin. She did the exact same thing here, going on a rampage and then being acquired by the moth. It was a never ending cycle of violence that seemed like it finally might broken today. After today? If all goes according to plan? Then she will finally be free of her debt. Free of having to kill for others. If she does kill, she does it for herself. But no longer will every enemy be forced to be silenced like all those faceless thousand of people she has killed. Now she can choose how many. She can have a better life. Just as her brother had wanted for her. A new Chapter of her life was just over the horizon, adventures with Kate, Joey and many other people's she's yet to meet along the way waiting to happen.

So then....why does this feel so strange? Her brother says this is right. But there is something that tells her this is wrong. Something of herself. Of her own mind. That something is off. Yet she cannot think of what it is. The moth must die. And that will be that. Death will free her of having to kill. Maybe she was feeling bad because something horrible was imminent.

But she never content herself with thinking that life's obstacles are inevitable.

VROOOOOOOOOOOOOM

From what she gathered the moth lived in a relatively remote area. A lone mansion away from others. A mansion in the midst of the suburbs outside of the city itself. So as Sacha and Kelly bypassed traffick and escaped city limits, it made it easy for the renegade girl to additionally evade the police. She took the bike off road and cut through the California Countryside, driving along unmapped roads and guided by her rather uncanny intuition as she picked the perfect path.

She looked at the gate, pulling her holster off her bike with her guns and weapons. And then with a silencer attached.

PLING PLING PLING

The bars of the gate fell off, as the Diva of Disarray simply walked through . They ended up entering through the man's backyard. And Kelly would be in power dampening cuffs. They did have to make this convincing. As she explained before, she was incapable of lying. And Stygian would likely think it would be suspicious if Kelly were allowed freedom to use her powers.

Though Stygian probably wouldn't ask if there was a Key in Kelly's back pocket. That would be a silly question. Sacha would then start the long walk down Stygian's back yard.

"Here goes nothing. If something bad happens, remember you have the key in your back pocket. I can kind see the future, but there are too many unknowns for me to tell what's gonna happen. Keep calm and keep a cool head. I'm here for you. And I don't want anything to happen to you. You're....a nice girl, Kelly."

She roughly held her in the same manner of a police officer holding a prison, shoving her along the yard as she soon went to.

"Moth. I'm outside in your backyard. I have her."


Now

He could read emotions. So she manipulated her own in order to mask her actual intentions. She convinced herself to feel something of Joy. Of justice imminent to be delivered. The Moth was an evil man, was he not? He manipulated people. He made others kill while his hands remained conveniently clean of blood. Kelly herself, thought that
.

"You're wrong about Stygian Moth." Kind of a weird first thing to say, after all that, but there it was. "The part where he doesn't want to kill anyone. I was there when he took Arin, Lethe. Arin killed all of Mr. Flint's men, under Stygian Moth's influence. Stygian Moth could have given him the ability to shoot something like that containment foam stuff that they have up in Assurance, but he didn't - because he didn't care how many people he made Arin kill. And... there was me. I baited him last summer, because... because Arin went away, and I was worried that Stygian Moth would hurt him again, so I let him in and tried to hold him, so he couldn't have Arin. I don't know if it worked. I don't know how well it worked. But I remember really thinking it was a great idea just to jump off a building while I was under his influence. That's not what someone does when they don't want to kill someone."

"I still don't condone killing people - even him - but I don't... I don't want to underestimate him. And..." she hesitated, "...And if it comes to it, I... I'm not the one to make that decision. But I'd trust someone else to. And I wouldn't stand in the way."
.
"Gee Mister Moth, you sure do have a nice place."

Lethe was all smiles and all glee. Such a poor, wretched soul the Moth was. So petty. So obsessed with others for self satisfaction. Someone so obsessed with torture. Lethe? Styx? She was someone who gladly shot people. But she was no demon of pain. She was the Grim Reaper. A being of death. Her proficiency in firearms made her a master in delivering instant death. There was no suffering. No crying. Only the bittersweet embrace of another world. Another chance. A world which was not so cruel as the one they lived in. To kill the wretched was to send them to another world. To kill the innocent had always been to send them to a better place. When death was inevitable, it all was the same to Styx. To Lethe. To Sacha. For so long.

Until now.

Even as she peers at this man, so consumed by hate and obsession, she cannot help but pity him. She cannot help but wonder what had driven a man of such stature to be such a despicable human being. Few people wake up and decide "I am going to do evil today." She believed that it is human nature to wish to do right. The ultimate question for most was what is right ? But even she felt herself feeling a bit of joy in seeing the man suffer so. It was something well due which shall start here and company.

It is Karma, isn't it?

But Stygian seemed almost to her like he was pure evil. Why? He had so much clearly. What could possibly have twisted this man so? Does it matter. He's probably going to die anyway. Look at how feeble the man was. He was so weak. And the only physical security he seemed to have to her knowledge was Lethe herself and perhaps he could call upon some nameless goons. Best to carry on as though she was too.

"And now we wait."

She sat on the table, looking at Kelly who was loosely tied down.

Knock-Knock-Knock

"You should check that out."

The moth left the room. And as he did. Sacha stood up and creeped along with him harboring a sinister smile. Yet it almost seemed to be for him. Then she watched with wide eager eyes, seemingly overjoyed to see Axiom bust the door down. Rather than join in the fray, she left and returned to Kelly.

"Hey. Get up."

Sacha proceeded to cut the rope with a knife. And then unlock Kelly's power dampening bracelets.

"I saw Mr. Daemon. Axiom. He's at the door right now. So we can just leave it to him. Arin is coming too."

Once Kelly was free, she started to hear a rumbling. More than likely the ODIN itself. Sacha grabbed Kelly's hand and urged her to go with her. To leave. To let this be. What else was there, for them?

The cuffs would fall to the ground.

"Come on. We don't want to...get in the way of this. They've brought more than enough to take care of him. It looks like it's almost over.

She smiled. And yet, she almost felt her tugs and urging growing weaker.

Soon, I can finally be free.

Why did everything still feel so wrong?
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Re: Life on Mars? [Closed]

Post by illirica » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:55 pm

Okay, so Kelly was kinda sorta getting kidnapped. Was it still kidnapping if she went along with it? She wasn't sure. She'd emailed her parents and set the email to be delivered in two hours, because that seemed like a good idea. Mostly the email just told them not to worry, which... probably wouldn't work, but at least they'd tried.

She and Lethe had slipped out through the window, which Lethe was pretty good at and Kelly was pretty not. Lethe had contacted Arin - Kelly had tried really hard not to be jealous that the other girl knew how to get in touch with him and she didn't. That was... that was Arin's decision. And she had to respect that. She'd texted Mr. Flint instead, which would no doubt go over fabulously.

>hey i know this is kinda bad timing but i'm chillin with that person you mentioned. we're friends now. i kinda talked her around.
>anyway she's got a line on that control freak that keeps bugging arin so we're gonna go have a talk.
>arin might be there
>like, oof.
>anyway. i don't want him to kill the guy. he's kinda... been through a lot already
>and i know this is a lot to ask, but... when it comes to be time to make the decision about that, can you handle it?
>you've got that space prison. or, um, not.
>but i think you have a better chance at making a rational decision. so... i'm gonna trust your judgment on this one
>address is: 1234 Stupid Address Street, Solar City
>stay away from arin though.

Probably the last one hadn't been a good idea, but Kelly didn't exactly trust Mr. Flint where Arin was concerned. He'd... tell himself he was doing the right thing, but it would so not be the right thing. His decisions were fine for stuff like Stygian Moth, but definitely not for more delicate situations.

Arin probably wouldn't have liked being called delicate. Kelly wondered if he still was. She wondered... if he was going to be who she wanted him to be, even on the inside. There was no way of knowing, though - and only one way forward.

Lethe had made good on her offer to get in, although Kelly was surprised by how... normal-ish Stygian Moth seemed. Sure, he was a little bit super-villain-y, and he was apparently totally okay with tying up a teenage girl, which was not okay, but she'd expected more of a fortress-and-evil-supersuit setup. Not a house in the suburbs. In Solar City.

That last bit rankled - he'd been so close all this time - and not only that, Kelly wasn't going to be able to do anything at all as far as helping. Her abilities in Solar City were basically... the ability to make pretty colored lights. Stupid rainbow powers. There was a knock on the door, and Stygian Moth went to go answer, leaving the girls alone. Lethe freed her quickly, which was... good. Kelly didn't want to admit that there had been a little part of her that had been worried she might not. That wouldn't have been very nice.

Apparently Mr. Flint was already there, which was... not really good. They'd expected a little more time, in the original plan. Lethe was right - they should be getting out of here, where they wouldn't get caught in the middle of things. Where Mr. Flint wouldn't have to feel like he had to protect her.

"Come on. We can go out the back door."

Kelly hopped up, making her way towards the other side of the house and pulling open the door to the back yard - which proved to be full of the form of some looming guy with a gun. "Oh sh- sugar." Wow, she'd almost said 'oh shoot' there - that would have been bad. Kelly raised her hands, slowly, taking a step back. "Um. Hi? Please don't shoot me?" Apparently she wasn't going out that way. Kelly bit her lip, worried.

Now what?

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Re: Life on Mars? [Closed]

Post by Meshindi » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:55 pm

The moment he opened the door, he silenced a groan.

Two children. Wonderful. It seemed as if the world had not learned from its mistakes-- history was bound to repeat itself in the face of overwhelming ignorance, after all-- and the situation with Francine would be replicated in earnest. No matter; he had dealt with far too many obstacles to show annoyance now, of all times, and vexation would only cloud judgement. He retained neutrality, as he had done during his better moments with the Southam pair, and stepped forward, angling the barrel away from the two girls as he silently moved past them.

"Move. Leave this place, and find some place to run and hide." He whispered, hissing voice directed towards the open back door where they should have already sprinted out of. Why were there children here to begin with? What sort of idiotic children engaged in these suicidal activities? Had the suffering of his youth and the weight of being raised under war not reminded the world of how impressionable a young mind truly was? Had the destruction of his people in Botenuan been without consequence?

It was disappointing.

"Go." He stated with finality, stern, before moving through the living room with accelerated rapidity-- disappearing in the span of a second under his newfound grace. The noise of his steps were nonexistent-- a trait learned at a point in his youth where silence was the difference between life and death. Echoes of that long-repressed time reverberated through these empty rooms and hallways, and a steeled resolve settled in his gut. He did not like this. Not because it was an assassination, no-- not because of the moral implications. He had made peace with such problems in the past.

In his heart, Hudson knew that only pain would come for them, and soon.

He made contact with Flint and the suspected target. The gun was leveled and aimed, hammer already drawn back from before he had entered the house, and he fired. He fired because he knew the evil in this man's heart; through the echoes of unforeseen senses, the reaction was visceral, the feeling imminent. The presence of Kelly Sanderson and another girl was more than enough evidence that this was the man they sought. His gaze was sunken; from the sides of his face, paled skin was stretched across weakened bones. Hudson would not falter, here.

And, with any luck, this would be over.

Of course, Hudson knew within his gut that such a simple solution was nothing but a forlorn hope.

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