Comatose

What Happened in Edmonton

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Arachnerd followed Riley - sparks, it was still weird to think of him with a normal name after seeing his powers - in silence for awhile. She probably had something to do, but she wouldn't be gaining any time by falling asleep in the middle of it.

 

Edited by Sazedezas
Removed wrong picture.
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The next words that appeared were amusingly in a different font, one that indicated exasperation and annoyance. Kokichi's ability to tick near anyone off was in full swing. Finding chill pals like Lee was surprisingly difficult, not that they actually wanted to be pals with this mystery Epic. Most Epics who weren't Kokichi were all shouty and condescending-like. 

So they preferred maples as pals, even though they were lame sometimes too. The last few times they'd tried the "come in through the window of a moving vehicle" trick, the potential pals usually either screamed or started begging for mercy, which was totally lame. 

Whatever. It didn't really matter, they were definitely not going to hang out with this one. Both cuz they seemed boring and cuz they already had a bestie. Lee wanted them to help him do a murder! If they left a friend to do a murder on their own, they wouldn't be much of a friend, would they?

An awesome one, they wrote in the same shade and stuck out their tongue as their face warped. Kokichi didn't know if the OP of the letter would be able to see it, but whatever, didn't matter. They turned to Lee.

It was tricky to figure out what he was thinking, with his relatively stoic face, which was actually a plus. Having other chaotic people around them always had, well, really freakin' weird results. Sometimes it made facing the creepy kind of Epic seem less terrible. At least they could usually dropkick those guys through a few walls.

They took a break from their internal monologue to remember the time they literally yeeted a gross guy into space. That had been awesome. He'd been hitting on them, like some sort of idiot, even though he'd said he was only into girls (which meant he was misgendering them by implication). Well, they'd shown him. His only Epic ability had been impenetrable skin. Hence, the yeeting into space.

Kokichi actually had no idea if he'd died. He'd turned into a star in the sky. It'd be totally lame if he'd fallen back to Earth after he got out of their range. Oh well, they didn't really care. If he showed up again, they'd yeet him again. He was lame like that. 

Speaking of lame... They were in the middle of talking with someone lame right now, weren't they? Right, the OP. They were looking at Lee because they'd wanted to say something about that other lame guy they were gonna have to deal with soon. 

"You wanna keep going, Lee? The OP's boring and we've got a guy to murderify." A nonexistent wind sent their hair swooshing back and forth. They adjusted where their shades fell on their nose with one hand, pushing the other in their hoodie's pocket. As they moved a light that'd been concealing their eyes vanished, revealing their violet shade. 

Edited by winter devotion
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The conversation log moved to the side of Liam’s vision.

I assume you are an epic too?  I might be able to help you kill whom you want if you do me a favor.

Or I can crash your car.  That works too.

Edited by The Young Pyromancer
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As the paper shifted to focus on Lee, conviently ignoring the fact Kokichi had already asked him a question, they grabbed it out of his face to read it first. 

I assume you are an Epic too? 

Wrong. 

I might be able to help you...

They didn’t need help and even if they did, OP wouldn’t be the first person to ask (because that person would probably be Megan). And ‘might.’ They didn’t even know if they could help.

...Kill whom you want if you do me a favor.

That was even more insulting. If they wanted Kokichi’s abilities, then they should’ve just asked gay up, not lacing it up in a condescending word bubble of stupid pretentiousness. Like, the last time they’d been in school might’ve been, like, a little more than over ten years ago, but they weren’t stupid. 

Or I can crash your car. That works too. 

Their opinion of the OP plummeted even lower, hitting rock bottom and then grabbing a pickaxe. In addition to being a total boring lame-o and having literally no manners, they thought it was a good idea to try to threaten them. 

Hah. They didn’t realize they’d started laughing with that sinister edge until they noticed Liam’s reaction. 

The lighting of the alley shifted, probably leaving part of the people watching the brawl wondering about the almost but not quite unnatural shift in the weather, leaving them framed by shadows and a misty purple background pierced only by Calamity’s crimson light. That same wind that didn’t exist ran through their hair but this time, it was designed to attract attention instead of providing simple motion to what would otherwise be a quiet momentz

Kokichi’s violet eyes didn’t exactly change color, but they glowed like a cat’s and their normal almond shaped eyes were somehow shaped differently, canine pupils stretching out. Their shades had fallen onto the ground, right before their feet, and the lenses cracked.

Their teeth didn’t sharpen, but their grin was too wide and rendered in detail that didn’t suit their normal all over the place silly attitude. Every part of their appearance which was once lighthearted and mischevious was sharpened to a terrifying point. Even Lee, who he was their friend, looked scared of them. 

 

“It’s cute,” Kokichi said, unusually calm. “How you think you can threaten me.” They let the words and actions sink it for a moment, savoring the impact. “As I said, we’re on our way to kill Karabiner. If you care for your life, you won’t interfere.” 

 

The terror their shift in demeanor inspired would infect the OP, no matter how far away they were. They couldn’t actually do that much more than put on a nightmare face, but, well, the only person who’d ever walked away from their ultimate move without symptoms worse than being shaken for at least a half hour was Arabella.

They’d once sent someone into a BSOD for a month with that face alone. According to rumors, they might’ve actually killed someone with it and there were more than a dozen they’d permanently traumatized. The longer Kokichi acted harmless for, the worse the affect.

So yeah. The OP wouldn’t be messing with them for any longer. 

 

“‘Kay?” Kokichi asked, the picture of innocence as the nightmare face dropped. 

Edited by winter devotion
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The kid grabbed the paper again.  Interesting.  So they could affect ill-

Suddently, their face shifted.  Blank only saw it for a second before the connection was instinctively broken, but that face...

The High Epic had seen many things, and as an illusionist could tell when something was fake, but that half a second... 

Blank then realized two things.

The first was that they’d pulled back all their gifted power.

The second was that they’d blacked out the city.

Oops.

Edited by The Young Pyromancer
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The floating paper rotated towards Liam as more script appeared on its surface.

I— Before Liam could read any more, Kokichi snatched the illusory paper from his face and read it. He opened his mouth to object but froze when he saw Kokichi’s rapidly darkening expression. And that wasn’t the only thing darkening. The color of the world dulled, shadows growing longer and bolder. Distant objects became murky and even the sun seemed to dim. Only Calamity remained bright, eerily glowing crimson. Kokichi glared at the illusion in their hands, only an inch away from actually glaring daggers. Their eyes took on a malevolent gleam, and their teeth were pointed and canine.

When they spoke, there was no usual pip or joking in their voice.

“That’s cute. How you think to threaten me.” The words were saturated with threat and hung in the air like a venomous spider. “As I said, we are on our way to kill Karabiner. If you care for your life, you won’t interfere.”

Nothing was said. Liam didn’t dare move an inch. Even the van’s motor seemed to quiet in fear.

Then the eerie darkness and ambient dread retreated as quickly as it came as all of the malice and danger in Kokichi’s face disappeared. “’Kay?” they asked, as if what just happened had never occurred.

The paper disintegrated in response.

And everything went black.

For a startled moment, Liam found his voice again. “HOLD ON!” He shouted as he slammed on the brakes, sending the van screeching to a halt. He blinked, then blinked again, but he still couldn’t see anything. Not even the lights on the dashboard.

“Kokichi?” Liam called. His voice felt muffled by the darkness.

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 After what seemed like an eternity—but Riley had managed to dissociate through part of it—the two of them reached a shopping center. The vacant lot was littered with rubbish, and most of the stores were defaced. Riley glanced around. To his luck, a half-broken shop sign declared: “A VIL Co fee  ou s .” A coffeehouse, no doubt. Good thing too; he was exhausted, and Arachnerd looked like she might pass out any minute.

“Hey, look!” Riley exclaimed, pointing towards the café. “Coffee!” Arachnerd perked up immediately.

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Amanda Whitaker tried to blink back the tears. They had her. There was no escaping now. Karabiner had decided that she would be the best bate for a trap he was setting, and there was no escaping after the monster involved you in a business venture.

Try as she might, she could not keep the tears from coming. She couldn't scream yet; Karabiner wasn't about to tip some vigilante off that there was a damsel in distress before she was close enough for his quarry - Bloodlight, this one was called - to hear her.

She wasn't new to these kinds of operations; she had been used as bait in several other cities already, and had notably been invaluable in the creations of the Haywire and even the Quarantine; an obscure device that could be used to keep everything within a certain area inside and everything without the area outside. Karabiner had yet to use it for anything big, as it had some nasty side effects when moved.

Her familiarity with the process kept her from worrying about what would happen to her, took away the terror that had been present in her first mission. She couldn't truly worry about an outcome she already knew. Instead, she was left to writhe in horror at what she knew would happen again.

Before Calamity, there had been laws to protect her, and others in her situation. Many women had been afraid to speak out about their abuse anyway, but at least they had been able to. If Amanda were to try that - again - the response would invariably be along the lines of "he's an Epic! Why should I risk my neck if I can't even save yours?" 

Amanda struggled again to blink away the tears. When her eyes opened, there was only blackness. Amanda blinked several more times, still trying to scream through her gag, but all of it to no avail. She wasn't blindfolded, she could tell; she would have at least seen bits of sunlight through any type of cloth, and she surely would have felt it on her face, considering her acute awareness of the gag.

Calamity...

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Arachnerd caught herself in the middle of a yawn at the words, perking up audibly.

"Coffee?" She asked, unsure if she'd heard right.  Yes, coffee sounded perfect. Then she could... Why do I need to stay awake, again? Nate. Right. Gotta catch Nate before he gets settled. A sudden worry occurred to her. Before he gets settled...

"What day is it?" She inquired of Riley. Oh, Calamity, if he's here...

Then the world went black.

Arachnerd instinctively tapped her Spyderweb for vision, but still saw nothing. She could hear just fine on all channels, but all of her Spyders saw only blackness. There's supposed to be a way around that, right? Didn't she have a Gemborn who could see without light, rather than just in the "dark?"

Then she remembered that Jetmaw was gone. Her new, Gemborn was Aqua Marine, and all she did was swim really well and use echo-locate. Under water.

She would just have to triangulate with Aqua Marine and the other two nearby Spyders, one of whom had been following Riley until recently. She tried, but it was too much math for her tired mind.

"What's that?" She asked Riley, yawning once again.

 

(I am having a few more obligations come up than I expected, so expect the other POV reactions in a day or two.)

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                                                                                                            Image result for end of the world

Armageddon was standing outside the Webrynth, hoping that he would be noticed when the world went back. Well that's interesting. The so-called "Blank," perhaps? They seem rather powerful, and what I've seen of them would fit rather well with this. Thinking quickly, he shouted out to his guards. "Apocalypse Guard! Gather around my voice. We'll wait this out. Hopefully it's not specifically targeting us."

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So much to be done today. Thank Calamity Finley made his time count.

He stopped pacing and lowered himself into his armchair, letting out a long sigh. He would need to have Quietus screen Jacklyn at the soonest possible opportunity. Speaking of which... Finley shifted his vision, focusing in on the checkpoint that Quietus was defending, taking in the scene from multiple angles. The street was suffused with smoke drifting lazily away from the two combatants, impeded on one side by Finley's own barriers. The two epics glowered at each other from across the street, apparently having reached a lull in activity. This has gone on for too long. Epoch felt a swell of impatience.

"Ashla," he called out, demanding her attention. "Have the counter-epic division rush the checkpoint. No holds barred."

These were individuals whose training and arsenal was guided by the assumption that conventional attacks would be ineffective; they might upset the balance in the best possible way. Perhaps he should bring Phytomagnet to bear as well... Unfortunately, Finley's own time barrier was coming back to bite him in the arse. It took just as long to lift a time zone's effect as it did to lay it down in the first place.

"Your team is to wait inside ERA territory until I give the go-ahead that the slow-zone blocking their way is gone."

The epics at the checkpoint would see the team coming, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Satisfied that his orders were being followed, he focused back on the border. That was when things started to get weird.

A red VW bus pulled up on the street, screeching to a halt. It was a familiar vehicle. The fugitives from the government break-in? An eclectic party filed out from the van, including one woman that looked uncannily similar to the one engaged with Quietus, and an epic that was packing more neon than Las Vegas.

The woman ran headlong into the fight. Probably an epic as well.

Adding to the general confusion, a scroll popped into existence next to the vehicle, seeming to float in the air while the fugitives examined it.

Sparks. Alarm seeped through Epoch. He was dealing with 5+ unknown epics all converging on a single inconsequential checkpoint, and it was all because of the girl that made coincidences happen. How the hell was that even possible? How did--

Void.

He could see nothing. The entire scene was gone. Finley's unease multiplied. His vision had never failed him before. Could one of the new arrivals have an ability that countered his sight? He shifted his focus further out, trying to determine how large an area was rendered unobservable. Blackness. With growing concern, he scrolled his vision rapidly across the city. More blackness, everywhere he went. Epoch recalled his sight back into his own surroundings. Within the confines of headquarters, he could see fine. And yet, pressing in from the outskirts of the facility, there was still darkness. Absolute darkness, blanketing the entire city. Either the rumors of Nightwielder's death had been greatly exaggerated, or an epic of similar capabilities was making a move. Now that he knew what to look for, Finley realized that the darkness did not completely bar him from seeing other parts of the city. If he focused in the right places, he could still peer inside of buildings. With the structures as a reference point, he began sealing off the entry points to his headquarters.

"Order all citizens to shelter in place," he addressed his staff in a measured tone. "We go on the defensive until we figure out what's happening."

Edited by Drake Marshall
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Nudge watched the pathetic bait with a hungry eye. The main reason Amanda usually pulled through for their operations was that she was absolutely gorgeous; her perfectly tan complexion added to the soft lines of her face in a way that would have caught the attentions of every young man around even if it was the majority of her exposed skin. It was, however, a sever minority, as these operations didn't call for modesty. Especially since what clothing she had on her - short shorts and a very low cut shirt that also left her beautiful shoulders bare - would suffer severe damage, if Amanda was able to keep it at all. Nudge, for his part, wasn't hoping she would.

Her looks meant that most Epics would come when she was threatened, either because they would rather be the ones she was endangered by or - in a few rare cases, like those of Alcatraz and Downburst - to come to her rescue. These latter always failed, luckily. Amanda had been fitted with a Linked collar that would teleport her back to the Picket if she was ever seriously injured or somewhere she wasn't supposed to be, as well as any time Karabiner pressed a button on his super-cool console.

She tried to scream, and Nudge started to laugh at the pitiful sound that made it through her gag. She had to have been stupid to try screaming after she had learned so many times that it would do her no good.

Then the world went dark, and Nudge's laugh cut off with his sight.

Nudge felt himself decelerate suddenly as Skeet - a kinetic Epic, like Nudge but more powerful and limited - pulled their white van to a quick stop. It seemed he couldn't see either.

Amanda clearly didn't have as easy a time of the sudden halt as Nudge and Skeet, and the former laughed as he heard her roll and slam into the the metal grate between the cab and the bay of the van. She let out a tiny moan through her gag, and Nudge laughed again at how pathetic the sound was.

"Shut up!" came the driver's angry reply. At first, Nudge thought he was talking to the helpless girl in the back, but then he felt something strike his upper arm.

"Oww!" Nudge whined, firing off a concussive blast to his left, hoping to hit skeet with at least enough force to bloody his nose. He knew it was unlikely, as his blasts were typically too weak to do that much, but Skeet's response of "What the sparks is wrong with you?" was muffled enough that Nudge was sure he was at least covering his face, if not to stop the blood than to protect himself from another blast.

He knew where the next blow was aimed, and he raised both hands in from of him, firing two blasts just to the left of his head to push Skeet's flying fist backwards into the head rest or the grate. It worked.

"Stop this sparking bullcrap, now!" the other Epic yelled. Nudge felt everything vibrate ever so slightly as Skeet's own concussive blast was distributed throughout the street around them instead of actually damaging anything. That quirk never gets old.

"Why should I shut up? I'm in charge of this assignment!"

"Because it's a bad idea to spark off the driver, and you're torturing the poor Maple! I mean, she's pathetic, but is the trauma really necessary? She's got to be responsive when we spring the trap, or Bloodlight won't know the difference, probably won't even hear her! Then we get fired and I blow you up as soon as you trip!" Skeet's response was wholly void of sarcasm, but Nudge didn't think for a second that he was so mad because he could lose his job; it was no secret that Skeet could go soft on people if he couldn't presently kill them because they were touching the ground or something.

"Going soft?" Nudge retorted.

"What if this is just around us, huh?" What if Bloodlight's here and we've already lost the bait?"

Nudge was fuming almost like Skeet now, but he calmed himself.

"You're right." He replied. He hated to admit it, but Skeet was right. They needed a plan, and any extra noise they made would be to their disadvantage.

"We need to figure out what the sparks this is."

(I'll wait till tomorrow in in case Voidus is able to respond, and I'll put Bloodlight's reaction up then)

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“Coffee?” Arachnerd asked. Then she paused and glanced around confused. Likely a symptom of fatigue. “What day is it?” Riley started to respond but realized he didn’t know what day it was either. Tuesday?

Suddenly, his eyes stopped working. Or, at least they seemed to be. He blinked several times, but still only saw pitch darkness. He focused, and the world reappeared in false color infrared. The sun seemed to still be shining, and the asphalt radiated heat, which crossed off the remote possibility of the sun going out. Of course, Riley rationalized, with Epics around, it was possible, right? Using his heat vision, he glanced around. The glowing figure of Arachnerd glanced around warily.

“What’s that?” She yawned. She was too tired to care about the sudden blackness.

“Well, seems like the light’s gone out,” Riley replied. He glanced around again. He had poor depth perception when his heat vision was activated and didn’t really want to walk all the way to the café, but Arachnerd would be much more useful if she had a caffeine boost. Sparks. This was all so irritating.

He sighed. “If you aren’t too blind to follow, I’m going to find you coffee.”

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Everything went black. 

Kokichi wasn't scared of the dark. They had been, once, back before everything happened. After spending hours, sometimes days, trapped in the dark, they'd learned it wasn't the monsters that dwelt in the shadows they needed to fear. It was the ones who turned on the lights. 

The surprise of the world completely turning pitch black only lasted a few moments. The OP must've had some sort of illusion ability. That was why they hadn't expected Kokichi to affect the paper. Still, this was an impressive scale. They probably should've thought things through a bit better, but, hey, they'd started it by threatening them. Flipping out and showing off the biggest weapon in their metaphorical arsenal of tricks (and treats, they supposed) was probably a reasonable response. 

“HOLD ON!” Lee shouted, the fear and then the panic at the sudden darkness obvious.

The van slammed to a stop and they were pushed back against the seat, the wind temporarily knocked out of them. Kokichi breathed heavily. They were ways to play this off, ways to get them back in control, but they weren't thinking of them right now. 

"Kokichi?" he called out, presumably after a pause for him to put himself together somewhat. He didn't sound like he'd gotten hit with a nasty concussion or something, but what did Kokichi know. They weren't a doctor. People went to college for that title. God. College. They hadn't even graduated lower schoolHah. Hahah. 

They didn't laugh out loud this time. Kokichi figured they probably wouldn't be able to overcome this darkness illusion, unless it was specifically targeting the two of them and only them.

"Here. That darkness isn't me, FYI." After an awkward pause, they added, "Directly, anyway. That Epic probably panicked at seeing that. I... might've overreacted. Just a little bit." 

That was sort of like saying Calamity had caused some minor changes in the world, but hey. Whatever. It was fine. They could still be besties. Right?

...right?

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The first thing light up again was, of course, the area Blank had claimed.  Power was gifted out, and the solar panels started generating electricity again.  Hopefully the lapse in electricity generation hadn't actually affected the grid, but a few residents of the city were probably cut off from power for a few seconds.  The area around the fight dissipated next, and a signed apology briefly appeared in front of the combatants and spectators, as Blank didn't want to potentially alienate the powerful newcomers.  The area surrounding the van was left for now.  Anyone who looked at the area around the van now wouldn't just see darkness.  It looked somehow... Blank, like an all-consuming void.  Then, everywhere else was restored to it's former state. 

Using this much power felt... good, but as always, plans came first.

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Jacklyn was waiting patiently, her power trying to figure out what persona would please Epoch the most, when everything went dark.  Jacklyn's heart started beating wildly.  

No, not AGAIN-

Unbeknownst to her, her body language went through several subtle changes as she cringed back.  She became more pitiable, inspiring feelings of compassion in anyone who could see her.  She curled up into a ball and whimpered.

Without a mask to wear, and with the absolute darkness triggering something deep inside of her, she was exposed to the horrors of her past.

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As Nicroburst took the trenchcoat, a large hand grabbed his face.  The initial surge of power that always came when he touched an Epic occurred, and this time he found himself pouring more energy into whoever had grabbed him, as the hand's owner hadn't let go immediately, and the initial uncontrollable shockwave hadn't killed him immediately.  The hand blocking his vision began to swell.  That wasn't a good sign.  Then it began to shrivel.  The man pulled his hand back, but the damage was already done.  He soon collapsed backward, flesh hanging loosely off of bone, and revealing a collection of stunned faces.

Here we go again, Nicroburst thought.

Then the world went black.

Nicroburst started panicking.  It was probably him, which was very bad.  And so the Epic did what he always did when he was faced with something he couldn't handle;  He ran like hell.

Fortunately, everything lit up again soon after, or else he probably would have ran into something sooner.  As it was, he narrowly avoided running into...

Edited by The Young Pyromancer
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(I had to speed things up after all)

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Karabiner watched the walls go black as something clearly interfered with the Imager.

"What was that?"

"It seems that the city has been filled with a black... Something. My definition database is rebooting. Algorithms suspect an illusion, though it must have been created by a very powerful Epic to work so completely."

"Thank you, Charles."

 

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“If you aren’t too blind to follow, I’m going to find you coffee.”

Arachnerd stopped trying to triangulate as Riley finished. Thermal vision. Duh. Even so, she disliked relying on a power she couldn't yet confirm he had. He sounded only a little uncertain, however, so she shushed her worries.

"Coffee. Yes." She needed coffee. She didn't care what kind, though it would probably serve best if it was as black as... Everything, just then.
She was forced to rethink her simile as the darkness disappeared a few silent moments later.
 
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Nate dropped his bagel in surprise as everything turned black.
 
"That was a mistake." He thought out loud. "Things - notably bagels - tend to be hard to find when one is blind."
 
Though his voice was calm, Nate was grateful for the cover the darkness provided, because he was as tense as a rattlesnake a foot from being crushed at the thought of danger. He couldn't let the monster out, he had to stay safe! If Bloodlight was unleashed, Nate did not want to be the one at fault.
 
He found his bagel a moment later, muttering too quickly to tell how that lovely baker couple or the other patrons had reacted over the low sound of his voice.
 
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Amanda lurched as the van jerked to a stop, rolling right into the grate that separated her from her escort, and not without a few bumps and scrapes on the way. She hated Karabiner's way of phrasing things. Skeet and Nudge were no more an escort than she was a consenting adult, but the monster thought of himself as some greater morality than the ones society had lived by for centuries, so he didn't care.
 
She heard Nudge laugh as she smashed into the cold metal of the grate, and she lost all hope of ebbing the flow of her tears.
 
"Shut up!" Skeet yelled. Oh, Skeet, you wonderful softy. For the briefest moment, she felt something she hadn't in a long time: hope.
 
Then she heard fists fly, Epics curse, and she realized that her softy was likely to get himself killed and leave her alone with Nudge. She almost puked at the thought. She had insisted that Skeet come with her when she had heard about the operation. Skeet had promised her that he would go along, to protect her, and had blackmailed and scared the other prospectives for the task away so that he could. His next words bit her deeply.
 
"... I mean, she's pathetic, but..."
 
She refused to hear anymore. Skeet was no better than the others, no matter what he said when they weren't listening.
 
Amanda Whitaker cried herself silently to sleep as the darkness dispersed.
Edited by Sazedezas
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Arachnerd nodded, facing a bit to Riley’s left but close enough, “Coffee. Yes.” Riley turned and headed towards the coffeehouse. He made it a few feet before the crutch caught in a crack in the pavement and he stumbled. Startled, he reflexively reverted to normal vision, and was more startled when he realized he could see. Rising to his feet and sheepishly glancing around, Riley continued.

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Kokichi’s voice responded from the darkness, still to Liam’s right. “Here. That darkness wasn’t me, FYI.” Good to know, Liam thought. That answered one of his questions. They continued, “Directly, anyway. That Epic probably panicked at seeing that. I… might’ve overreacted. Just a little bit.”

The understatement hung in the air, making what wasn’t said painfully obvious. That was an image Liam wouldn’t be able to shake from his head. A moment of silence passed between them as Liam felt along the dashboard. After fiddling around for a bit, he had collected his shotgun, jacket, and van keys.

“Hey,” Liam spoke, the silence between them getting too awkward. “This darkness isn’t going to get any brighter if we stay here. The Epic probably had some sort of proximity effect to the paper, so by my reasoning, the darkness will disperse the further we get from the van.” At least he hoped it would. Being perpetually blind wasn’t beneficial to their mission. “The van has a tracker, so we’ll be able to come back for it when the illusion wears off.”

He felt around for the door handle and stepped out. He hoped Kokichi was doing the same.

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Some more quiet moments passed. They heard the sound of metal rattling against metal as he presumably found whatever he needed. The silence was as thick as the dark, everything they should’ve said earlier lying untold between them. 

He wouldn’t want to hear it, they thought, trying to convince themself of something. 

He’d need to hear it. Were those statements really incompatible? No, not really. They could show him everything, scaring him away like they’d done severwl others. Maybe they should. They closed and unclosed their hand, letting the small action keep them from trying to bounce around. They didn’t want to trip, unintentionally.

”Hey,” Lee said, finally interrupting Kokichi’s internal monologue. 

This darkness isn’t going to get any brighter if we stay here. The Epic probably had some sort of proximity effect to the paper, so by my reasoning, the darkness will disperse the further we get from the van.”

Maybe. There were plenty of strange variations on illusions floating around. They turned to face where they thought Liam was, despite the darkness blocking out any sort of expression. Kokichi pretended to themself that they weren’t grateful they couldn’t see his fear.

“The van has a tracker, so we’ll be able to come back for it when the illusion wears off.” Lee’s voice moved as they heard the door open. Kokichi slid out past him, feeling the ground beneath their crocs. 

No, they weren’t afraid of the dark. They were merely uncomfortable in it. That was different to the terror they knew they were capable of feeling, when push came to shove. 

They let the fear they knew was there but didn’t quite touch hover in the forefront of their thoughts as they squeezed their eyes shut. It was silence. It was monochrome. It was the numbness of complete and utter surrender. They’d reached out to it with their anger, using it to shake the OP and, by extension, the city, to their cores. But now the threat had passed. Kokichi didn’t need that anymore.

They pushed that long dead memory to the back of their mind, burying it back beneath the layers of humor. Kokichi didn’t need it now. This darkness would fade in time, leaving them visible, and they truly didn’t need Lee seeing them like that.

"Marco,” they called, in the tone associated with the game. They’d taken a few steps away from the van, expecting to grab onto Lee, but he must’ve moved in a different direction. Dang internal monologue. Distracting them from being able to pay attention to what was actually going on around them!  

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Liam shuffled around in the darkness, his boots scuffing against the asphalt of the street. His steps were small and deliberate as he worked out where he was. The van had stopped in the middle of the road, it seemed.

“Marco,” Kokichi called out. Liam paused, and a slight smile slid onto his face.

“Polo,” he called back. This was more like what he knew of Kokichi. Humor. Not—no, ignore that. Focus on the now and what needs to be done. He repeated this to himself as he continued walking down the street.

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Blindside was blinded.

Was this sort of thing normal in Olympia Polaris?

She couldn't see a thing. Nada. Nil. Worse, she had no idea why. After a moment of utter loss and panic, she hit the ground, reflexively enabling her power. The asphalt was still sun-warm beneath her skin, incongruous with the nothingness that surrounded her. She could hear her heart thrumming furiously against the hard ground. She could hear exclamations of alarm from other people, footfalls stumbling and fumbling about the street.

Don't tread on me, the double commented with an impression of irony.

Amid the confused commotion of blindness-induced blundering, the darkness lifted abruptly. Blindside was quickly on her feet again, dusting the road-grime off of her clothes. A stranger was barreling full speed straight towards her. Not quite able to percieve that she was situated in his path. She realized her own power was hindering her, and disabled it. The stranger stumbled to a halt, as the delayed revelation that she was standing in his path struck home.

"Look where you're going," she commanded.

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Taya blinked. A power outage? It was really dark. Disconcertingly so. She couldn't even see her own hands.

Light? She fetched her mobile, mashing the buttons to light up the screen. Nothing. Still pitch black.

She felt a growing sense of alarm. Was she blind? Was this some kind of trap? The local government had reason to be pissed at anyone claiming to be from the Circle. She took a step back from where she had last seen Premier Notley, paranoia growing. Part of her realized that this was irrational. Part of her understood that the government already had many opportunities to harm her that they did not take. That part of her was overlooked in favor of the reality of being unexpectedly blinded.

And then, before her concerns could really sink in, the darkness vanished. Like flipping a switch, she could see again. Everything is fine. She released a breath she hadn't realized she was holding. What just happened?

"Did... Did you see that?"

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"Polo!" he replied, and using the sound, Kokichi managed to find where he was standing. They weren't sure, but it seemed like the darkness was either lifting ever so slightly or their eyes were adjusting. Coulda been either.

Anyway, they could see the faintest outline of his back, so they crouched down and jumped towards them, wrapping him with a glompy tackle hug. They made sure to leave Lee enough room to breathe. Didn't want to accidentally kill him, haha. (That wasn't very funny.) 

"Marco!" 

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Nicroburst stumbled to a stop, almost running into someone... or did he?  She was standing up... then on the ground... He shook his head.  Maybe a lingering effect of the darkness?  "Sorry."  He reached down to help her up, smiling in apology.  He was still irritated that his power was activated, but he wasn't about to be disrespectful to someone he had almost hurt.  He hadn't been able to get any gloves, but his luck couldn't be bad enough to run into two Epics randomly in one day, right?

Edited by The Young Pyromancer
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Quietus cocked his head, staring up at the sky with intense curiousity. The sun had just winked out of existence. Funny thing, that. The sky was making a valiant attempt at mirroring the shade of his soul.

He glanced back across the myriad of new arrivals. A cabal of epics. Their heat glowed like beacons in the gloom. Behind him, Epoch was evidently trying to raise the barrier to send in additional redshirts. You'd think the man would have figured out by now that redshirts can't do jack. Ever.

Probably, there were too many powers in play. It was a total clusterspark. With the right presentation, that would work out in his favor.

.  .  .

He moved with speed and silence under the curtain of blackness.

Quietus scanned the scene, and noticed the telltale glow of a human form cowering under a dilapidated ford minivan. One of his enforcers? Eh. The vanilla could fend for itself. More importantly, there was the red epic, who was waiting patiently with her face in the dirt like a good little hostage. She would make a satisfactory prize. He snatched her shackled figure up off the road, hauling her over the border into Epoch's territory and then expeditiously dumping her roughly on the ground again.

"Not to worry chérie, I'll be with you shortly."

He had lost at most a second or two wading across the checkpoint; the barrier was as good as open. Quietus grabbed some things from the team of waiting enforcers. A few finishing touches, and then he would ask Epoch to close the barrier again.

A colorful Welcome to Edmonton! brochure deposited near the flying epic, just as promised.

An explosive, hurled on a whim in the general direction of the red Samba. He could see that it was empty, but with any luck, it would be disabled. The vehicle was obviously well cared-for, so the damage would be felt.

And now I make my dramatic exit under cover of absolute darkness. Quietus turned his back on the checkpoint and re-entered his territory.

.  .  .

The lights went up. He would leave it to Epoch to figure out what the storms that was all about. Quietus stood before a group of confused looking ERA special forces, the red epic restrained at his feet.

A bedraggled-looking enforcer also stood before him. Apparently the cowering vanilla from before had made it after all.

"Who the hell are you?"

"A- Alder, sir," the enforcer replied, standing up straighter. He looked badly shaken.

"Right then, Alder. I'm disappointed by how these epics were handled, but I don't blame you."

"Thank you, sir." Alder was visibly relieved.

"See, it's not actually your fault. What you really needed," he continued cheerfully as he kicked Alder in the gut, doubling him over, "is more contact with epics."

Another blow connected with Alder's nose with a fleshy crack, followed by a combat-booted kick between the legs that sent him sprawling. Quietus continued to rain down choice blows on the enforcer's cringing body.

"I completely accept the blame for this lapse in your training, and I am rectifying it with all haste."

He kicked Alder savagely to drive the point home, breaking at least one rib in the process. Another impact followed. And another. When the man finally ceased all effort to defend himself, Quietus knew he was nearly finished. When he paused, and Alder made an effort to stand, he knew he wasn't quite finished.

.  .  .

Quietus turned on the red epic.

"Now it's your turn. Who the hell are you?"

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Blank chose the exact moment that the nonbinary Epic grabbed onto their partner to lift the darkness, revealing a crowd of curious onlookers who were investigating the apparent rent in space that remained after everything else dissipated.

A message appeared.

Don't do that again.

Then the car exploded.

That wasn't me.

Edited by The Young Pyromancer
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Beckett.jpg

Tarina accepted the stranger's hand up, finding her way to her feet. Kind of him, although running about like that had still been reckless. The sun was shining again, and a scattering of other people around them were recovering from that darkness thing, whatever it was. Speaking of which...

"I am a new arrival. Do you know anything about what just happened?"

Ask him where I can find something to eat in this Calamity-forsaken city.

Shush, you. We'll get to that.

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Nicroburst's vision exploded.  A dozen illusory copies of her appeared, each doing a different activity.  Some reading, some talking, and three were even playing jump rope.  Nicroburst looked down at his outstretched hand.  What was he doing?  Then he stopped the power flow.

Sparks.

Nicroburst jumped back a little, visibly startled.  He tried to mask it, but was unsuccessful.  He smoothed his expression.

"Sorry, static electricity.  There's an illusion Epic over there," he said, gesturing in the general direction of the forcefield, "so this might be their um, work." Nicroburst was still flustered from encountering another Epic, though this one seemed all right.  He was lucky she seemed to have not noticed the effects of his burst yet.  

Then her stomach growled.  

"If you're hungry, I have some food back at my place."  He gestured towards his warehouse, which was conveniently away from both the MEE forces and Blank's territory.

It's probably a good idea to bring her along, just in case.  Even though her powers are gone for a while, he could still burst her to get a temporary usage, though that was inefficient.

Edited by The Young Pyromancer
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Epoch.jpg

"Epoch, sir?" an attendant voiced timidly. "The darkness is--"

"I know," Finely said tiredly. "Lockdown's canceled."

He stared across the room at the assistant with a trace of agitation.

"O- Oh. Right. So... What do we do now?"

"Now," he answered, "We cut to the heart of this nonsense. I'm calling for a meeting. Commonwealth Stadium, tonight."

He reached out across the city with his mind, extending his powers, grasping the flow of time and squeezing it into the right shape. He plotted out six spokes radiating out from the stadium, precipitating the gradual formation of six massive corridors. Conjoined paths that cut across the city, leading from the outskirts to the meeting place.

"An invitation is to be delivered to each of the major players. This meeting will be relevant to any epic who cares about the rulership of Edmonton. We meet on neutral ground, and I am prepared to allow the epic Justice to witness that I shall make no move to harm or entrap those present for the duration of the meeting. We all have a great deal to discuss."

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