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Heartbreaker

I Saw This Once (IC)

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Jack was never late for sound check. Yet here they were in Freedom City of all places, missing their drummer. They'd been looking for him all day. Last they saw him he was half down a bottle last night. Still, he never was this late. Tanya and Brandon strummed a few notes as Serena harmonized, but no drummer. It was weird. He hadn't answered his phone once. Two hours until the gig was supposed to start.

 

Brandon and Serena looked to Tanya. "C'mon, you ain't got some of that evil magic juju that can find a lost person," Brandon said half silly half desperate. Serena laughed at the dark tone, "don't worry, man. If he doesn't come soon, she'll drink his half of the bottle. And we'll all split his share," she said as if the threat of losing either would send him through the door of the bus. It didn't

 

Tanya sighed  She had already drank his half. "Yeah, I'm worried too guys. Not like him. At all." She pressed her eyelids closed, focusing on her friend. Nope. Nothing. She canted a few gibberish words that sounded magical. But really she could have been shouting for a magical doctor to appear and it would have done the same thing. "Bombay's not in, man."

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Talon stood atop one of the minor businesses in West End, his eyes narrowed behind his cowl. The recent disappearances in this area had come to his attention when he was investigating one of Lee's compatriots - a down-on-his luck Albanian gunman who'd fled his home country after several accounts of assault and other such crimes. At first, he hadn't thought much more of it than a regular kidnapping case, something the police ought to handle on their own... but then his conscience had intervened, and he'd looked more closely at the cases.

 

All of them reeked of suspicious activity - there were no hints of any invasions of the victims' rooms, or indeed, anywhere else that they frequented. They simply... disappeared. Now, Talon did not like that at all. There were a number of ways to leave no trace of one's entry, but in this city, he was quickly coming to the conclusion that it generally meant someone with powers. Especially since the pattern of the kidnappings had described an odd symbol that his computer searches had turned up to be some sort of old occult nonsense. Something associated with summoning demons.

 

Talon shook his head slightly, focusing. If his calculations were correct, however, this was where the next kidnapping would take place. Well, or had taken place. He... really wouldn't be able to tell the difference, now that he thought about it. By the Eyes of the City... He growled in the back of his throat. He did not like this. Glancing down, he saw a bus sitting on the curb nearby, and caught a glimpse of... something through one of the windows. It wasn't human, whatever it was. Switching to infrared, he saw the outline of a winged form. A demon?

 

With a leap, he glided down to touch atop the bus, and listened quietly. Surely, it cannot be this easy...

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GM

 

"Brother Nero," a voice called out, "you've finally made it." Three robed figures with apparently no skill at shutting up menaced the alleyway. "Our Broken Leader said the demon would be here," a female voice spoke up, "she definitely is of interest if Our captive speaks truths." The third robed figure grumbled out something that the other two did not understand. Looking at them, he pointed to the top of the bus. "Oh, it seems we have a peeper," the male voice said with a laugh, "Brother Nero you'll be recommended for your keen vision when we find the demon."

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Talon blinked, his head whipping around at the sound of voices. Oh, by the Eyes, what now? He paused at the sight of the robed figures, frowning in mock puzzlement. "Now, this may be insensitive, but you don't look like the neighbors." He extended his battle-staff with a flick of his wrist. "Indeed, you sound downright hostile. Not," he admitted wryly, "that I'm someone who can comment on other peoples' choice in dress, and I do mean dress. Seriously, where do you guys get those things?" He indicates their robes with a flick of his hand.

Edited by secondling

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Mona, when that voice called out, wasn't in Freedom City. She was in the South Atlantic, dodging raindrops for...a certain value of fun? It was technically a thunderstorm, after all. But alas, she was bored now. Something interesting was always happening in Freedom, so off she went. There was that concert she was invited to. That was...soon, for a certain value of soon. Boy, did she get there in a hurry. Several thousand miles crossed in the seconds a man took to speak a few sentences. So this was interesting. She hung back, out of sight to see what would happen. She could change and get involved as Pacer in an eyeblink, after all.

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GM

 

The three robed figures were not amused at the insults to their wardrobe. "We of The Broken do not take our positions lightly,"  the female said pulling out a knife as she looked over to the male voice one, "Learned, lift." Learned lifted his hands and spoke what could only be described as mumbo jumbo to Talon's and Pacer's ears. The knife-wielding woman landed right in front of Talon and slashed at him with a very ornate knife. The one with the grumble voice picked up a full dumpster clean off the ground like it was a basketball and checked it at the bus, shaking it Talon and the knife-wielding lady had to catch their balance, but the band members inside were now alerted to the presence of weirdness.

 

The knife wielder swung deftly at Talon, hitting him squarely. As the impact of the dumpster bared down, she did a graceful flip. In a robe even!

Edited by Heartbreaker

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"You know, they have these wonderful things called doctors and therapists who fix people that are broken-" Talon began, but the woman leapt up to his position and lashed out before he could finish his words. Fortunately for him, he shifted just enough for the armor of his suit to protect him from the slash, and he leapt back several steps, frowning. "Now that's just inhospitable!" As the dumpster crashed into the bus, Talon easily maintained his footing, balancing lightly on the balls of his feet.

 

"Y'know, I've been getting the impression that you guys don't really like me. I could be wrong, though." Talon quipped dryly. Gotta make sure the people inside the bus are safe. Best to get off it as soon as I can. 

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Mona saw the dumpster impact and yep, time to do something. That guy was legit dangerous. In a instant, Mona Simms was no longer there and the superheroic Pacer was. An eyeblink later, she was in front of the powerhouse in one of her usual abrupt appearances. "Dude, that's dangerous. Maybe...don't? No? S'cool with me, I like punching bad guys. Seems like you qualify. Here, have some of my fists." She then hit him. A lot. A whole lot. Not one blow, but thousands of them all at high speed. She called it One Million Punches, but she never bothered with that many. "Need some more knuckle sandwiches, or will that do?" The man was on the ground, very unconscious. "Aw, but there's plenty for everyone." She smiled devilishly.

Edited by EternalPhoenix

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Talon barely registered that a woman was nearby before a costumed heroine appeared and swiftly dealt with the man who had thrown the dumpster. A speedster. Dammit, no time to throw bolas or set up any glue grenades. He was only slightly reassured that she seemed to be dealing with the cultists - when a third gang got involved in a conflict between two others, it rarely portended good things.

 

The hero from Anti-Earth leapt forwards at the knife-wielding woman, his battle staff a blur in his hands as he whirled it on one side of his body, then the other, before allowing one end to flick out precisely at the woman's temple. "Of course," he mused in the same vein as earlier, "I may be at fault for that. I'm not being very neighborly myself, am I? But no, I'm pretty sure you guys are just plain anti-social!"

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GM

 

Seeing her fellow robed figure go down seemed to quicken the knife wielder's reflexes a bit. She wasn't preternaturally fast like Pacer, but she seemed to dodge every blow that came from Talon. "Antisocial? We weren't the one spying from rooftops. What business do you have with the demon?" With a flip, she was behind him, "don't tell me with your words," she whispered into his ear as the knife plunged into his back, "bleed it on me"

 

Learned saw the fall of Brother Nero with shock, and anger, "Brother Nero, you'll have to go back to the lake! But first, let me take care of your problem." A giant ethereal yellow hand appeared above Pacer slamming down, it missed her. It tried to grab her and missed, "stop moving so I can erase you!"

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Talon grinned to kill his frustration as she evaded the attacks from his battle staff. She was skilled - no match for a Syndicate agent, but still. Skilled. She proved it almost immediately as she scored another hit on him, only to be deflected once more by his armor. Some days I'm really glad I invested so much of Lee's money into the suit. Most days, in fact. "My, my. I don't do that for just anyone, lady. You could at least flirt a little first."

 

Rolling his eyes inwardly at his own words, Talon stepped back slightly from his attacker, his staff falling into a defensive position.

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When the dumpster slammed into the bus, Tanya and the semi-complete band were not ready. She held on to her guitar for dear life not to drop it. Couldn't lose something else today. Looking outside, she saw the dark robed figures yelling at someone on their roof. Was it Pacer? She came out of nowhere and knocked one of them out. She wanted a piece of this action now.

 

"I'll be right back," she said as she twisted her hands into an arcane symbol, "door to door cultists need to get off our lawn." Chanting a few words, she turned into  a ball of hellfire with wings and fists, and went through the bus wall appearing in front of the vexed magician. "Lovely day for a spell measuring contest, isn't it," her voice now echoed with demonic flame. "Oh Pacer, you do need to introduce me to your friends," ball-of-hellflame Hell Girl said nonchalantly, "but first." Hell Girl's hand reached inside the cultist's hood and grabbed his face. It she could frown, she would have. "Of course, Wards."

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Pacer did not care about wards. She did not care about magic. "Hey, these aren't my friends. I was just watching a back alley throw down 'cause they're fun to watch and doofus here-" She pointed at the downed powerhouse. "-decided throwing city property at...is that your bus? Was a good idea and he should do that." She rather effortlessly sidestepped the large glowing hand. "And so I punched him a lot, as the guy over there seemed busy. Speaking of." Then she was in front of the magic man. "Can you not interrupt when I'm talking to my friend? Thanks."  Her tiny form blurred again and she literally punched the mage all the way to the ground. "I mean, sheesh. My friends don't go throwing heavy things at my other friends. That is your bus, right?"

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Talon sighed inwardly as the demon arrived. Huh. They know each other... He focused his attention on the woman before him, however, choosing to keep only half-an-ear on their conversation as he stepped forwards once more, launching a dazzling array of feints and attacks at the crazy knife lady. "I do so hate to be a party pooper, but you may want to go check on your friends. I think they may have encountered some, uh, difficulties."

 

As he knocked the woman unconscious, he stood atop the bus, looking down at the two women who had begun conversing with one another. I suppose I do owe the speedster thanks... but not yet. "Now, I may be mistaken, but... you two don't seem to be your average citizen." He said dryly. "Who exactly are you, and why are you here, exactly?"

Edited by secondling

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Hellfire Mote Hell Girl quickly assumed her 'normal' form. Despite looking like a person, the wings, hooves, and tail were a dead give away.  Still, she thought the costume individual had a right to question. Not everyday a demon lady comes out of nowhere and beats up cultists. Though there were some 'publications' that made those types of stories, but besides the point. Her wings folded behind her and she put her hands on her leather clad hips. "So, he's not with you then," she said looking at him, but talking to Pacer. "I am Hell Girl," the crackling echo of her voice emphasized her name, like a signature, "as for why I'm here? That's my bus. Me and my band have a gig in a couple of hours at the bar around the corner. We are also..." Her eye widened, like a light bulb just went on above her head

 

"Pacer," she said looking at her friend, "I don't know why I didn't think about this earlier. Our drummer is missing. You know Jack. The guy with the tattoos about this high and can beat a drum like it stole something." She placed her hands on the smaller hero's shoulders, "how fast can you canvas this city?"

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Pacer grinned. Time froze. She ran. Hit the usual locations. Warehouses. Run down buildings. Where cults would probably hang out, according to her pop culture knowledge. She searched the entire West End. Lantern Hill. Greenbank. Grenville and Ashton. No dice. She went through South Freedom. The Boardwalk. Southside. Lincoln. Bayview and Claremont Academy. Port Regal. Lonely Point. Set off the alarm at the last one, left an apology note. "Sorry, looking for someone. Pacer." Still nothing. Okay, Downtown then.  The Waterfront. Riverside. Wading Way. City Center. Midtown. The North End. Parkside. The Theatre District. The Fens. Man, this city really had a lot of neighborhoods, didn't it? Still, no Jack. Doggone it, North Freedom then. Hanover, Kingston, and even North Bay. Surprised the pants off a rich couple having dinner. "Sorry, looking for someone. Not here, bye." Oh, wait. They weren't wearing pants to begin with. Awkward. She returned to exactly where she'd been, under Hell Girl's hands. Grinned again. "Fast enough for you?" It had been just long enough for her body to blur. "Couldn't find him. Weird. I could check Wharton, or hit Atlantic City. How long has he been gone, anyway? Cars, trains, and planes are slower than me, but they'll get a person far away faster than people think."

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Talon watched silently as the demon became... slightly less demonic, his masked face impassive. Hell Girl, huh? A tad on the nose, but... fair enough. She's presumably not the demon I'm looking for, though. Frowning, he considered the matter. This smelled faintly of a coincidence, and all of his instincts told him that coincidences of this sort were highly unlikely. 

 

He jumped down from the bus, scanning quickly for any signs of electronics on the cultists. "Your friend is missing. Searching randomly, even as fast as that..." He cast a significant glance at the promptly returned Pacer. "It probably won't get you anywhere. I suspect these..." He hesitated, grinning. "Snappily dressed lady and gentlemen are working for a local crime lord that I've been hunting for a few weeks now."

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The momentary blur of Pacer gave Tanya hope. If anyone could find a missing person it was the cosmic speedster. A split second later, that hope was dashed. She groaned, though the new guy might be of some help. "It would be my luck that he's kidnapped, yeah?" She 'cleared' her throat, putting back on the voice as it slipped for a second. "Well, looks like we have a lead then don't we," she stopped looking confused for a moment, "I don't believe you've mentioned who you are." She smiled, "entrance was cool though."

 

Pulling a phone from under her vest, she tapped out a message to inform her band members in the bus that she would be back in a while. With Jack. She also took a picture of the wreckage, "Insurance is gonna love this explanation," she mumbled, "glad I got the full plan."

 

Looking up from her phone, she looked at the two more apt heroes in costumes. She was wearing a black leather skirt, studded belt, and a vest. Looking more like a guitar hero than a superhero. "I really need to get this hero gig going." She looked to Pacer and Talon, "after this, you gotta show me your tailor," she said sarcastically.

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Talon arched a brow behind his cowl as he noticed Hell Girl's voice alteration, but repressed the smile that threatened to blossom on his lips. "I didn't." He acknowledged after a moment, before returning his gaze to the unconscious robed figures and beginning to go through their pockets with deft gloved fingers.

 

Should I tell them? Well, it's not like I'm wearing this costume solely for the protection it offers from bullets. After a moment's consideration, he rose, turning to face the other heroes. "Call me Talon. I came here hunting for abduction victims - or rather, their hunters. A number of people have disappeared from West End recently, and the pattern is... odd. I had hoped to find the kidnappers before they got their target, but it sounds as if they already have."

 

He returned his attention to the searching of the cultists. How much should I tell them? Not much. They are metahumans, or possibly an outright demon and a metahuman. They may have the best of intentions, but they can't really be trusted with this sort of thing.

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