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"The dragon I know prefers a floating castle.)

 

Gabriel opened his eyes and turned to look at the others, his brow furrowed in thought.

 

"I can hear them. Without seeing them, and from what I can piece together, there's two dragons and four humans. Two of those are likely to be more...martially-inclined people. It sounds like they are "knights" of some kind. One of the humans is a religious figure, perhaps also a political leader, a priestess. The last is younger, perhaps not officially anything but a refugee."

 

He paused.

 

"I...I can hear them. I can interpret the individual words, but I can barely make sense of what the collected whole means. It's not traditional grammar according to any language I've encountered, possibly any on earth. All I can figure out is a rough idea of who's who, and that they don't agree about something. Without some kind of grammar guide I'm going to have trouble reliably interpreting. But. They're clearly not mindless, and they can have different opinions, so hopefully that gives us an 'in' for negotiations."

 

He glanced at everyone else for a moment before continuing.

 

"Why not just meet them out in the open a couple miles inside the dome? That's less threatening for them, and worst case it doesn't box anyone in. I think trying to meet in a middle ground and talk has more chance at success than charging all the way to wherever they're holed up at."

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PC

 

“It works well enough for me. I think we can leave the negotiations to you, Gabriel.” Terrifica dropped her transmitter into a pocket of her longcoat. She paused, obviously thinking. “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” She looked the group of heroes over. “Gabriel is going for diplomacy. Grimalkin and Hyperactive should be able to explore the cave system quite quickly. Meanwhile, Chrome and I will back up Gabriel just in case his people skills fail him just this once.” Her tone and a gentle smile conveyed that this wasn’t an insult. “Chrome, I trust you have some method of covering ground quickly? Otherwise we’ll have to stand fairly close and it might make them…testy.” She very carefully said absolutely nothing about how Chrome could easily be mistaken for an agent of the Terminus by a magic run culture, as they seemed to be.

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Raveled   

Chrome nodded, flexing his knees and bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Yeah, I can get to them quick, as long as we're not inside a building or something." He looked Terrifica over for a moment. "Listen, if they start shooting or something, you should probably get behind me. I'm a lot tougher than I look. I guarantee I'm tougher than you think I am, actually, and an easier target to boot. Don't worry about getting me out of the fight, just get yourself out of there if things get bad."

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Heritage   

Grim chuckled when she espoused a bit of her philosophy. "Are you Jewish under that mask? 'Hope for the best, expect the worst' is kinda our motto!" But then she got more serious as she looked between the the super-genius and the devout hero, and held up her hand.  "So just how upfront are we going to be? I am perfectly happy to be sneaking in while Gabe is making with the peace talk, but if I know our Boy Scout, he'll be less than happy not dealing in good faith, am I right? Between me and Hyperactive, we can get into any cave complex in a moment's notice, or be waiting in a third position waiting for instructions."

 

She shrugged.

 

"Like I said, I will happy lie through my teeth or sucker punch a bad guy for a good cause, but I just wanna to make sure we're all on the same page, y'know, in terms of both ethics and strategy."

Edited by Heritage

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"I can hear you without any trouble right now, Grim. For the record, I was never in the Boy Scouts, and I'm terrible at tying knots that don't involve shoelaces."

 

His eyes are still closed, his arms still crossed, and he's still doing that "floating serenely in mid-air" thing, but Gabriel's mouth is upticked very slightly in a smile. It grows serious once more.

 

"That said, I'd rather that any use of force be a fall-back plan. I don't intend to lie to these people. I have the ability but not the inclination. I just want to help them leave this twisted place. That said, I won't give them detailed information or numbers right away."

 

With that said, he uncrossed his arms and turned to look at the others.

 

"I'm about to fly over to a point about a mile away from them, as open of an area as possible, and attempt contact. I move fast but I can slow down for my visible backup. I want to try and get started, these negotiations could take a while."

 

Barring objections, he'd begin flying to a point about a mile out from the voices that was, as best as he could figure, a wide-open plain or something similar. 

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PC

 

Terrifica tilted her head, looking slighty puzzled at Grim’s words. She stood with her hands clasped together behind her and her feet shoulder width apart. Then Gabriel added his ideas. “I can assure, no part of me is Jewish. You’ve met my double on this world today, after all.” It was decidedly odd for Grim to forget the Empress’s mostly Chinese appearance, but stranger things had happened. “Of course, Grimalkin and Hyperactive’s task is purely a scouting mission. Cave systems can be fiendishly complex, and if we have to go in that way, I would really rather not get lost. And this is no benefit to revealing our full numbers unnecessarily. As Gabriel said, any use of force should be a backup plan at best.” Of course, she was now reminded more fully of her duplicate’s wishes, and sighed. “With that said, if we do end up in combat, I suggest not holding back. Our numbers are virtually even, and two of them are apparently dragons.” She did know of the one on the Freedom League, Gabriel’s colleague. That was more than enough to encourage her to go all out. “If everyone’s ready, then let’s get started. Gabriel is already on his way. Chrome, shall we follow as a discreet distance?”

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"Well I guess I'd better get running." Hyperactive started to move. The rest of the group might catch a shimmering after image of him for a brief moment, but then Hyperactive was gone. He ran as quickly as he could while still remaining well invisible. It wouldn't take too long to check these caves, at least he hoped, and Hyperactive made sure to give Gabriel a wide enough berth. 

 

While le he wasn't running he turned over the idea of the rebellion over in his head. Would they be doing any good? What if the Empress was just waiting for them to find the rebels for her? But then these were smart people and far far far smarter than him. They'd have a plan for that. Right? Would he even know if it was a trap? 

 

Hyperactive shook his head to clear it. He needed to focus on the job at hand, scouting. Seeing where to make a stand or ambush if need be. Places where they might get ambushed in. He could manage this and so he could do the best he could.

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GM

 

The plan firmly in place, everyone set out. Gabriel in front, Chrome and Terrifica a discreet distance behind, and Hyperactive and Grimalkin scouting out the cave system. Gabriel selected a nice wide open field to hold his negotiations. The dragons picked up on the approaching mortals before the disagreeing allies did, and flew off to meet the Freedom Leaguer. Seconds later, the humans who could fly followed, carrying the one who could not. The face off was tense. Nobody was supposed to be able to get through the force field, after all. The Priestess was fairly obvious, as she wore a robe and fairly elaborate circlet. As for he Knights, the one with a sword looked like this and the one without looked like this. The fourth, the youngest and the dissenter, looked like this. The dragons looked a bit off somehow. One couldn’t quite put one’s finger on it. One had red and green scales, and the other had light blue and orange. They were both spoiling for a fight and muttering something about how tasty Gabriel looked.

 

The Priestess glared and spoke at Gabriel with naked hostility. The gist of what she said (nearest he could tell) was “Who are you and how did you get past my barrier?”

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Hyperactive loved running at this speed. .9c nine tenths the speed of light. Nothing could touch you at that speed. And the world was still. Water droplets from stalagmites (or were they stalagtites? Vagabond had told him once but he hadn't been paying attention.) seemed to be suspended from the air. He could do this all day, and for him it almost did feel that way. In the end though he did have things to find. And find them he did. 

 

The space was fairly open. At least enough for their purposes without being too big. The lighting was poor, which should give them places to ambush, and hide. There were also stalagtites, (tight to the ceiling right?) that hung up above, hey could be useful to drop on an angry dragon's head. He sent a shower of gold coins up into the air with a kick and slowed his senses down to let himself watch them turn and twinkle as they fell.

 

"Gabriel don't know if you can hear me, but if things go south I think I found a good spot to settle things with fists." He paused. "Really hope you can hear me and I do not expect an answer." 

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Gabriel landed and waited for the dimensional refugees to arrange themselves as they wished. He kept his hands entirely visible the whole time, making no sudden motions, with a soft smile (that showed no teeth) on his face. When questioned, he spoke, his voice loud and clear. He spoke slowly, hesitantly, one still learning the language in some ways, but hopefully at least marginally understandable.

 

"I am called Gabriel. I am a...defender. I strive to keep people safe. I am not from this world, I was brought here. I want to help you become safe. I want to help you go to a place where you are safe and no one fears you."

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Heritage   

The speedster had been nice enough to give Pixie!Grim a lift, carrying her in special fanny pack she'd conjured up just for the occasion. Once they'd reached the caverns she dispelled her travel accommodations and took to the air to do a little scouting of her own. As she flew, she paused periodically to stick a wad of gray goop to strategic places throughout the complex, a sort of conjured 'gum' that allowed her to shift her senses or teleport to any of dozens of angles.

 

Nothing slips by my airtight security net! Muhahaha!

 

She also lent here fae sense to the enterprise to see if there was anything only she could notice.

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