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Summer 2023 They were there for various reasons. Echohead and Predator had been contacted through their connections to the US government; Mirror Knight had been reached through a third-party contact. But they were all here in what was typically the main conference room of the Wharton State Forest's main ranger office, having been contacted by the New Jersey state police and asked to gather together with one of their top agents. There were light drinks and snacks and a fine view of thickly growing pine trees outside, a legacy of the nature heroine Fleur de Joie's recent visit to the park. But so far, nobody had come to join them yet.
Sunday, February 27th 2022, Midday afternoon Predator /Shift end in approximately 14 seconds…/ “Thank you, Cynthia.” Jean snarled as the tentacles tightened around her, trying to crush the armored shell protecting her from the alien environment of the dimensional transition. Servos strained as she fought to pull herself free of the creature. She didn’t even know what it was or what it wanted, and frankly she didn’t care. Honestly, she didn’t even know if it was actually sentient. It had been pulled into the space between worlds with her when she shifted. She’d been through this often enough that she’d been able to tune her sensors to the subtle signs of when a shift would hit her and estimate when it would drop her into a new world. Seconds ticked down as she fell through the nothingness between worlds, struggling against an abomination nearly four times her size. Freeing an arm finally, the fingers of her gauntlet retracted and a click-snap was lost to the colorful void. A foot and a half long blade extended from the back of the hand of the foreplate, just under the Duster plate and clicked into place. With a vicious slash, the edge bit into the tendrils ensnaring her other arm. Again and again she hacked until her other arm was freed. In an instant, a matching blade appeared and Predator began driving the mono-edged weapons deep into the rubbery flesh of what seemed to be the main ‘body’ of the creature. Purple ichor ran from the numerous wounds she dealt it. /4…3…/ The numbers echoed in her ears as she desperately tried to free herself. /2…1…/ Crap, wherever she was about to wind up, it seemed she was going to have an unwanted tag-a-long. /0…/ Inside her helmet, Jean shut her eyes against the disorientation of shifting. Nothing happened for a full two seconds. It was only an estimated timing after all, it wasn’t right all the time, to be honest it was never 100% correct. Another second passed and a tentacle slipped around one of her arms again. She pulled her other arm back to slash… A new reality slammed into the combatants. The force driving them apart as the duo fell through open midday air. Predator quickly recovered, it wasn’t her first shift after all. Noting the pull of gravity on her again she twisted as she fell, getting a view of where she was falling to. Below her a city stretched out beyond her current field of view. Inside her helmet, screens flickered and shifted as a wave of new data was being processed. /Locate gravity detected…calculating time to impact…7 seconds…6…/ Jean grunted, but her primary concern was the mass of tentacles and teeth mere meters away from her. It was slightly lower then her, most likely due to their relative orientation when they shifted. Somewhere in the corner of her HUD the local time and date synced and she made a split second decision. ‘Sunday…’ She thought briefly. /5…4…/ Predator twisted again, bring the hands of her gauntlets to bear on the creature. The blades click-snapped, collapsing and sliding back into the forearms of the suit as her palms opened to reveal the focusing lens of the twin blasters set within. Taking only a moment to note her surroundings and judge her attack. /3…/ Light erupted as the energy blasts struck the creature. The force actually slowing Predator’s decent even as they drove the creature down with more momentum. The angle of the attack drove the thing into a nearby building, sending it plowing into empty offices before it could land on the populated street or sidewalk. The sound of the impact alerted those below, causing a commotion as people either ran for cover or pulled out cell phones. /2…/ It didn’t matter to Predator though, as long as they stayed out of harm’s way. Using her maneuvering thrusters she slowed her fall and angled into the opening in the building’s exterior. Inside the ruined office Predator rolled with her landing and came up with her palm blasters ready, Cynthia’s countdown cutting off. The creature was not in sight though. Dust and papers fluttered in the air, settling around the destroyed furniture. She could hear the buzz of damaged lighting and the interior was dim, but not dark. It had only been a moment between her shots and her entering, it should be in sight. Slowly the smooth faceplate of the helmet scanned the room. Nothing registered on her sensors and she began to worry. /Negative signs of movement…/ Cynthia offered. “Gimme thermal vision.” Jean ordered. /Engaging.../ On her screens the color palette of her imaging switched to the colorful gradations of infrared thermal sight. It was hiding, waiting to strike. This had been how it has surprised her just before she shifted. It had come out of nowhere, latching on to her seconds before they both dropped out of that world and fell into the void between worlds as she had decided to call it. What it didn’t count on was that this time it was the prey, and a Predator was the one on the hunt for it.
Spring 2022 Jean had heard plenty about agents of the US government; even met a few during her settling into this dimension. This one was female, which was a trifle unusual. Her hair cut short and black, her eyes hidden behind sunglasses, her body wrapped in a suit and tie - well that wasn't so unusual. Once she'd shown her US government ID to the fox woman, demonstrating her bona fides as a member of the organization called the "United States Secret Service" 'Ashley Tran' said "Do you mind if I come in?" Well she's definitely a bipedal fox. Ashley remembered her meeting with the Copycat of Ani-Earth back when she was in high school and decided she wasn't going to cast judgement on this dimensional refugee. What the hell; being here had to be like a little slice of madness all the time. Well it's about to get even crazier.