Comatose

What Happened in Edmonton

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Jade and Nathan both looked like they'd been hit by a truck. Not literally, duh, that'd be silly, Kokichi didn't think that so it didn't actually pop up or anything. It was more the way they tightened their fists, lines of shaking around their body. Shadows extended down their face, and their actions were smoother, for a moment. 

"That part's boring."

Was it?

Was it really? 

"What matters is that we're here, you're here, you don't have any icky expired hot sauce, and there's cake. Everyone wins." 

Yeah. She was right. Whatever shared memory had bubbled to the surface in their minds, it didn't matter to Kokichi. As much as they were curious, there was cake to be eaten. Also, expired hot sauce was gross. 

Hot sauce in general was pretty gross. 

Nicroburst's movement sent the conversation back towards the Serious Business tree guy brought, not any of the Serious Baggage that Jade and Nathan were packing. 

"Here to claim this territory for ERA?  I didn't think you'd move this quickly.  Though I guess time bubbles would help with that." 

Time bubbles? Sounded like something that they should probably avoid. There were some Epic abilities theirs worked well with, like illusion making, and there were some that theirs did bad things to. Like, scary people. Scary people that weren't them. There were also Epic abilities that theirs did weird things to. 

Such as powers that directly controlled space or time. That got complicated, rather quickly. 

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Megan nodded, tucking her arms into her armpits as she stood up from the cold ground. But her carefully groomed brow, furrowed in concern and confusion twitched a little in surprise.

Now she's inviting me to her house? Well I guess she didn't technically deny being an angel.

She glanced sidelong at Indy as they walked towards the house.

"So not a hallucination. That leaves an angel then? I can only assume you're here to smite me or something. Calamity's arrival didn't really leave me particularly religious. At least hell will be warm I guess."

She tried to make herself laugh at her own terrible joke, but only managed to twist her wry mouth into something that probably more closely resembled a snarl.

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[should I put an image here?]

Still now

The more Karina thought about the world, the less sense it made.

To be fair, she'd mostly gotten used to it. She could handle there being reality-defying people with superpowers from comics and movies and really bad books. She could even accept that every single person with those powers was a sadistic murderer (well, if they could actually sadistically murder). It was a pattern. Easy to follow.

It was the exceptions that made Karina uneasy. The exceptions that made her wonder, Could it be that not all Epics are evil?

She was jarred out of her thoughts by the probably-(hopefully)-not-evil Epic beside her, who snarkily asked if she was an angel here to smite her. Karina laughed again, then replied, "Nope, not an angel. Just trying to help, because hell, I mean, you kinda look like you need it? You were sitting in the snow wearing a t-shirt crying. And here we are." Karina walked through the open door, then smiled. "Wait here, I think I can get some food."

She walked upstairs. First, she entered the bathroom and popped open the medicine cabinet, which had been completely unraided all these years. Cough medicine...Benedrill..."Yes!" she whispered quietly while snagging a half-full aspirin bottle. She popped two pills then left the bathroom and entered her bedroom, which, just like she'd remembered,  was completely empty. Well, unless you know where to look. She pulled up on a certain part of the carpet, revealing a small compartment, undisturbed for years. A weathered almost-unreadable cardboard box lay inside. Covered in dust and cobwebs and nearly full of plastic wrapped little cakes, she smiled and walked downstairs, looking for MV. When she found her, she smiled and tossed one of the packages towards her.

"Want a Twinkie? These things last forever."

Edited by breakingamber
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Starting a little, Megan fumbled her catch, the small package bounced off of her numb fingers and fell towards the floor, but a reflexive burst of power froze it in midair, the small momentum it had was transferred away into the ground.

She stared at the hovering package for a moment before picking it up out of the air. She hadn't used her powers much since Impact had left, only when she'd had to for protection. Usually Backtrack's protection, he did need a lot of it after all. But it still burst out of her on instinct from time to time. Something about the powers just wanted to be used.

Her tears had finally dried up, so she quickly wiped her face down and brushed her fingers through her hair, restoring it back to how it had been, how she'd seen impact wearing it earlier. With her other hand she held the twinkie up, looking it over quizzically for a moment before opening it up and taking a bite.

Oh wow, I'd kind of forgotten what real food tastes like. She mused, feeling a little more tension draining from her as she ate. All those trail rations and scavenged meals... next time I go on a long trip I'm bringing a truck of these with me instead.

She looked over towards Indy, trying to make sense of her still. What kind of person saw an Epic crying on the road and went up to talk to them? Megan was an Epic herself and even she would likely steer very wide of someone like that. Or maybe try to kill them while they were distracted, if they were an enemy.

Where did that come from? We don't kill people. Well, maybe Allis- Impact does now, but we didn't used to. Just harmless fun. Maybe break someone's arm if they get a bit handsy or something but...

She shook her head for a moment, trying to clear it. She felt a frown still creasing her brow, the way it did when she was really annoyed with someone, and tried to force her expression back to something calm.

"So, Indy." She started, trying to distract herself. "You from around here?"

Dumb question, she brought you into her house, of course she's from around here. Though she doesn't have the same accent as everyone else.

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Posted (edited)

Now

The Epic in front of her fumbled the catch, froze the plastic-wrapped Hostess treat in midair, and grabbed it, opening and eating it. Powers over wind, perhaps? That wouldn't account for how it just stopped though. Her face visibly relaxed as she swallowed, and she looked towards Karina curiously. MV frowned briefly, then asked, "So, Indy. You from around here?"

Karina shrugged. "Kind of? I haven't been here in years, but I was raised here, yes." Karina opened up another package, and nibbled one of the cakes inside. 

Karina had forgotten how good Twinkies tasted, wolfing down the two of them. damnation, wish I had more of these - oh wait, I do. She sat down on the stairs and dumped out the rest of the golden-yellow cake packages on the floor. There were seven left. I should probably save some of these for later... Eventually, Karina decided to just eat one more, and she reached out to grab another one.

Her gaze turned to the girl in front of her first, looking more closely this time. California? Maybe Oregon? Karina asked, "So, where do you come from?" She frowned. "And why does your hair look like a supermodel's?"

Edited by breakingamber
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Indy took another twinkie from a small pile as she responded, apparently she was from the area a while ago at least, which explained the house and why her accent was a little different from most of the others.

But still doesn't explain why she decided to try talking to an Epic.

Megan finished her own snack, almost choking on a few crumbs that got stuck in her throat. But after a small fit of coughing she recovered enough to answer.

"Oregon. Portland" She said, a touch of anger creeping back into her voice. "Right in the middle of all the turf wars, just managed to get out in time before everything really blew up."

Hopefully, the city took all those Slontzes with it when it exploded. She thought with satisfaction, taking a moment to enjoy the mental image of Nighthound and Lightwards both screaming as the museum erupted in a ball of flames around them. Then again, they were both High Epics right? So they're probably still stalking the ruins of the city trying to figure out who gets to rule the ashes.

Then she realized the second question Indy had asked. Her hair? She toyed absently with a loose strand for a moment, noting the silky sheen that it had regained that morning.

"I don't know about a supermodel, but it was a lot worse this morning. I met this weird Epic, he... I don't know really, but suddenly it was like this again. All clean and nice. Not tangled."

For a moment she considered tracking Kokichi down again, they had been really helpful. Maybe not exactly awe-inspiring as Epics go, but if they could keep doing that trick then she'd keep them around just for that if nothing else.

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Karina watched MV choke on a few crumbs as she swallowed the last of her Twinkie, which almost brought a smile to her face. Kinda funny to see that even Epics occasionally choke. Well, when they need to eat. And breathe. Her voice trembled slightly as she recalled, "Oregon. Portland. Right in the middle of all the turf wars, just managed to get out in time before everything really blew up."

Karina's mind whirred for a moment. Oregon... I've heard it is - was? - a volatile place. The turf wars were legendary. I can easily believe that it literally went up in a big ball of fire. In fact, in hindsight, that was probably the most likely outcome. She looked again at the Epic, and silently marvelled at the fact that this 19-20 year old girl had survived. Well, duh, she's an Epic. And she's clearly worried about someone, probably her sister?

MV continued talking. "I don't know about a supermodel, but it was a lot worse this morning. I met this weird Epic, he... I don't know really, but suddenly it was like this again. All clean and nice. Not tangled." Karina's eyebrows crept up a quarter inch. "A beauty Epic? Wonder what she looks like. I met this one unrealistically beautiful Epic once - think her name was Fantine or something - her waist was thinner than a needle and it looked like she had waaaay too much makeup on. She had some sort of strong illusion power, and she made everybody around her look real ugly - probably to hide the fact that she looked sparking ridiculous." She neglected to mention she'd helped kill her. Not sure if that would tick off this Epic or not, but what she doesn't know can't hurt me.

Karina resumed a more serious expression and asked, "Speaking of Epics, have you heard of the deaths of any Epics - any other Epics recently?" Reciting the line she'd said several times before, she continued, "I'd like to know what parts of town to stay away from, and if Epics are dying anywhere, that seems like a good place to stay away from."

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Posted (edited)

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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.

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"Karabiner."

"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.

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"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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Nudge followed.

Skeet did not.

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"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.

Edited by Sazedezas
Updated.
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The stadium. What Taya had mentioned. Though he had never personally been to Edmonton, even before Calamity, all it had taken was a quick and quiet call with the Circle and the stadium’s location was now highlighted on the dashboard’s screen. According to Taya, Nate had known the stadium was where Kokichi had been teleported by Jade and Nathan. More than a little suspicious, Liam thought. Then why wasn’t Nate leading? He glanced at the side mirror at the red car tailing him. Perhaps Nate wanted the comfort of a big bulletproof shield between him and any danger they might encounter. That made sense to Liam.

It wasn’t terribly long before the Commonwealth stadium could be seen peeking over the trees. He heard Taya stirring in the backseat as they approached. He scanned the vacant parking lot. A terrible place to park. Instead, Liam pulled the van behind a house across the street and parked. With a tap, he locked the dash controls and activated Parallax mode. He glanced back at Taya as he grabbed the shotgun.

“We’ve arrived. You can stay here if you’d like--don’t bleed all over the place--but I’m leaving.”   

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This is a collab by Hemalurgic Headshot and Sazedezas

 

 

 

Lord Kelvin rested on his broom-crutch, basking in the sun. It was a fairly inefficient form of heat gain, but certainly reliable. The throbbing of his leg was only a dull ache, buried in the back of his mind under the guilty euphoria of power. He hadn’t realized the true potential of his abilities, but now… Olympia Polaris would watch its back.

He stood in the middle of a random suburban street, Arachnerd some distance away, looking around. Or perhaps communicating with her spiders. Kelvin didn’t know. Or care really, for that matter. He glanced around. Were there people living here? He wondered. These houses looked identical to the others: worn, poorly tended, darkened windows, overgrown lawn. He squinted, scanning for tiny signs of humanity, or a frightened shadow through a window. Nothing.

Arachnerd the Blackweb was awake. It had taken three cups of the blackest coffee available, but she was finally ready to… Whatever it was she had been planning. She was having a bit of trouble remembering at that moment, so she checked her Spyders.

Spyder had lost its target somehow, so she checked its memory - which for a spider included only the highlights - and found that the young cartoonish Epic of yet indeterminate gender had apparently teleported away with a couple from out-of-town. Odd, she thought. I didn’t think there were many teleporters left after what happened in Portland, Oregon. Just Obliteration and a few others who - according to probability - should be much farther away. Spyder 5 had followed her established procedures - or perhaps her subconscious mind had directed it, she was never sure which - and followed the Epic’s companion, the man with the van.

Arachnerd continued her inventory, and found Spyder 7 quite agitated. It had returned from ERA HQ with a letter, and Armageddon was walking away from the Webyrinth with that very letter. She sent the Spyder - one of her tarantula couriers - after him as quickly as she could, cursing the distance that kept her from giving new orders to the rest of her horde. The letter was still open in the Epic’s hand, however, and Arachnerd didn’t need to get Spyder 7 much closer to Armageddon before she could get the gist of it.

“Lord Kelvin” she called, using the Name Riley had adopted with the guy behind the coffee shop counter. She continued checking her Spyders “There’s a conference tonight at the stadium for Epics with an interest in the city’s rule. Thought you might want to know-IS THAT-WHO-I-THINK-IT-IS?!” She hadn’t meant to cut off like that, nor had she intended to think aloud, but the sight was so shocking, she couldn’t help it. She’d focused on Spyder five for just a moment, but it had been enough to reveal that following the impressively-armored van was a red car. Not just any red car, but a Saab 9000 Aero. And Nathaniel Snyder was driving.

“What?” Kelvin turned away from the houses at Arachnerd’s outburst. “Who? Wait, a conference?” An appropriate time to display his power, but if all of the city’s Epics were going…

“Yes. I think it will be the best place to establish my neutrality permanently, and you can make critical alliances.” Arachnerd was still reeling slightly that Nate was already in Olympia Polaris. She knew his car was fast - it was basically a Swedish snow race car - but he couldn’t have left Lost Vegans in time to be there already. Unless… He had left for Olympia Polaris the very day of their breakup. Interesting. Of course, they had always intended to move to Olympia Polaris if they couldn’t locate surviving members of the Survivors, with the hope that they could try to re-found the organization in Alberta, but Arachnerd had been sure that Nate would have taken longer to pack.

Kelvin nodded. “We’ll have to stop by then,” he said. “But… who was… the surprise…” He struggled to articulate what had made Arachnerd cry out. A tiny traitorous ball of fear coiled up in his chest. What if it was one of her enemies? Arachnerd seemed quite powerful to him with her army of spiders, but if this surprise person was dangerous… He had only one leg!

“Nevermind,” Kelvin declared, brushing aside his inhibitions. “What time is the conference starting?”

Arachnerd finished composing herself. “Bloodlight. [time]” was all she said. She knew that, considering the brevity of Nate’s Epic period and his lack of ambition made his name - both as an Epic and as a Hand or “Maple” as they called them here - was rather obscure. There were, of course, those who knew of the Snyders, as their organization - the Survivors - had maintained a surprising amount of sovereignty and security for [X] years, and if information about the goings-on in Lost Vegans ever got out, it could certainly have included the fact that the Epics Arachnerd the Blackweb and Bloodlight had destroyed the Survivors’ headquarters.

If nothing else, she thought, it will be interesting to see how much is known and how much by Lord Kelvin.

“How do we get to the stadium?”

Bloodlight. Kelvin filed that back in his mind. It was a cool name, but he had already picked his own. Based on Lord Kelvin of old, the namesake of the one true unit of temperature. He thought it had a nice ring to it.

“I honestly have no idea how to get to the stadium from here. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve been there ever… maybe when I was a kid…” Kelvin trailed off. “I suppose we’ll just poke around.”

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Posted (edited)

Posting for Mrake Darshall because he's not here.

Rook.jpg

Taya slowly sat up, barely processing what ‘Moose’ had just said. She was barely conscious, but she tried to stand up anyway. She half expected to simply slump down again, and she did. While her wound wasn’t necessarily life-threatening, it certainly wasn’t helping her accomplish anything.

Taya muttered something about meese, then slightly more clearly said, ‘If you don’t mind, I’ll just… stay here. Sorry about the mess.’ Unconsciousness overtook her.
 

Edited by breakingamber
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