Nate pulled his car into an alley near the stadium, put it in park, and swung his legs out to the street, careful to retrieve his Mobile from the loose hold of the picture frame mounted to his dash. He didn't want his Aero damaged or stolen in the event that a fight broke out, and he still didn't know who had tipped him off about the missing Epics. Whoever it was had also sent him a location, which he had put into his Mobile to find the place.
"... Just close you..." he was saying to the Maps application as he slid it's window off the bottom of his Mobile screen.
He was about to say more, but his thirty-second "wonder who that was" came out as "wonder who tha-SPARKINGDEATHLEGS!!!" Instead.
"Yes, Charles, they have arrived. I'm watching the feed too." Karabiner liked to be ahead of Charles on occasion, though it was generally too much work because Charles was perfect. He took a short sip of his fresh limeade before giving his order. "Alert Operative Nudge to the target's proximity, but see that he stays his hand until the Man with the Van can be removed or confirmed irrelevant." Boomerang, Conn, and Klutz were already securing the stadium, so Karabiner added "have security take care of that latter. And ready the Scottie."
"Presently, Master," Charles responded.
"Operative Nudge, the target is approaching the stadium on foot, accompanied by a Man with a Van" came Charles' voice over the van's speakers.
"Roger that," Nudge confirmed. He nodded, too, but he still didn't totally trust the virtual assistant's gesture-recognition technology, and he wasn't even sure if there were camera's inside of the vehicle.
"Do not engage until his companion's relevance can be confirmed and accounted for. Other agents are seeing to him now. Wait for my word."
"Understood," Nudge replied. He glanced at Skeet, who nodded. His eyes were red, which was odd. Nudge had assumed that Calamity took the ability to cry away with the rest of man's inhibitions, but it appeared that Skeet had been doing just that. "Toughen up, Skeet. We've got a job to do."
"Yeah..." Skeet replied despondently, composing himself.
Amanda rolled as the van stopped abruptly, her head striking the wall painfully. She heard Nudge and Charles talking, but she wasn't listening until he addressed Skeet.
"... We've got a job to do."
Then Skeet's voice: "Yeah..."
There was an odd sound to his voice, one that Amanda would have known from anyone. It was a mix of anger, grief, and despair.
She knew it, for it was the only way she ever spoke, the voice she thought in, even. Skeet, it seemed, felt the same way she did. About something. The same thing? But she knew that it was too much to hope for. Skeet was just like the rest of them. Skeet was an Epic. Skeet was... Wonderful, in his own way. He was all she had. Please don't hurt me anymore... PLEASE!
In that moment, Amanda knew. She knew that she wouldn't last through another mission. If Skeet didn't intervene this time, she would lose her mind.
It was almost a comforting thought. She had tried to slip out of the pains of sanity for years, but madness had eluded her. If she was right, then this mission would be a win-win for her. Either Skeet would save her from this living hell, or her mind would escape on it's own.
Nate drew his weapon from his left hip and fired on the spider. Years fighting off Epics - and fighting for Epics - payed off, and the small arachnid's life was cut short by - as he put it:
".20 grams of plastic in a 6mm sphere at 360fps." He paused, then added "Sorry if that was one of your special ones, Celia. That would have hurt." He winced as he thought of the possibility. Celia shared full sensory connection to her "Spyders," so she would have felt the creature's death if that had been one.
He holstered his airsoft gun before turning to walk to the stadium.
"Cake? Why is there cake? May I have some?" Nate was both surprised and confused. "Is it somebody's birthday, or what?"
Before Kokichi, Jade, Nathan, or either of the others could respond - though Nate was far enough away and speaking quietly enough that it is uncertain whether they heard him at all and would have responded - he heard someone scream off to his left.
He didn't wait to see if they had heard him, just bolted in the direction of the scream, muttering.
"... have Celia, they are in for it. It's probably a trap. What can I do, though? How can I stand and just listen? And where's Liam? He's probably with the others. That is why he came here..."
(I'm going top assume Liam doesn't get involved at this point. I can fix it if I'm wrong.)
Nate followed the sound of her - someone's - voice, adjusting every time she - someone - screamed.
"Stop, you monster!" he heard. He was close. Rounding a corner, Nate finally saw what he was tracking. His blood boiled, and no words escaped his mouth for anger.
Then he caught a bullet in the shoulder, and the world turned red.
Ice shot through Amanda's entire body as a blow to the head twisted her neck, pinching a nerve. It wouldn't be lethal, of course, or even cause lasting injury - Karabiner would see to that, because she was too useful to use up all at once - but it hurt. A lot. As every time before, she wished she had resisted screaming, bringing another element - in this case, the glowing red Epic running toward her at full speed - to the scene and, worst of all, giving Karabiner exactly what he wanted. But in the end, pain and despair won out. Every time.
She would have fallen to the ground, but the Monster was holding her wrist too tightly, so she just strained her shoulder as she went limp from the blow.
Amanda prepared herself for the violation that Epic-baitings always brought; there was nothing she could do to fight at this point, and it was pointless anyway. With her last moments of certain sanity, she turned her head to the left and took one last look at Skeet. Karabiner struck her, driving his fist into her gut. She let out a small gasp, and saw Skeet's expression change.
Whatever happened next was too fast for her to grasp.
Bloodlight took it all in as quickly as he could. There was a girl - a young woman, anyway. There were two men in front of her. One was holding her down and the other appeared to be undoing his belt. That - and the faintest memory of someone screaming "stop, you monster!" - was all he needed to know, but there were also two men holding rifles.
"You're breaking the law!" He screamed as he ran headlong toward the two men by the victim, ignoring the armed ones. The intensity of his scream shredded his weakened vocal chords and seemed to shatter the air with them. Then he dove through the air over the victim and stabbed at the assaulters with his index fingers.
Both struck home, and each man flashed red as the finger poking his ribs broke.
Having thrown his arms out to the sides, Bloodlight was unable to break his fall, and instead crushed his weak skull against the pavement behind them. Particles of Bloodlight-head raced back to his neck and his head was restored. Bloodlight jumped to his feet and turned around to see the two perpetrators shaking at the phantom pains their brains thought they should be feeling. He walked over to the girl, who now lay helpless on the ground, intending to demand a favor, when the blond-haired, blue-eyed man with the unbuckled belt got up and grabbed Bloodlight's arm with his right hand and reached for that of the other man with his left.
Bloodlight felt a slight push as the shorter of the armed men - now the taller man's headlock - fired some sort of energy from his hand, which the taller man had pointed to the space between the girl and the downed man. The Aryan's hand twisted slightly in the air and brushed the girl's head, missing the other man entirely.
The girl glowed red. Just like Bloodlight.
Nudge stared in disbelief as his blast - intended for Skeet's stupid nose - nudged Karabiner's hand into the bait. She glowed red, just like Bloodlight, and Karabiner ran for the van.
Skeet did not.
"Scottie!" Karabiner screamed. He dove into the open bay of the van, and then the Scottie's violet light enveloped him and he - along with the van - was safe at the picket.