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October 31, 2019 

Lantern Hill 

 

"This seems awfully high-profile," said Judy uncertainly as she looked out the window of the historic mansion rented out on behalf of the federal government. "Tell me again why we're meeting the space people in the middle of town, on a night when the streets are crowded with people?" Judy had dressed for the occasion so she could 'pass' if spotted. Dressed in denim and a jacket, she looked vaguely like an outlaw with her domino mask, black cowboy hat, and the bandanna she was not leaving tied over her face unless absolutely necessary. 

 

"It's the easiest way to do something covert in Freedom City," said Ashley with an easy shrug, looking downright unrecognizable to her Claremont 'friends' in a black jacket and white dress shirt, a look that matched the other agents who were along for the ride today. "That is, do it in plain sight. The average person who spots their ship coming in, if they spot it at all, will think it's a superhero thing, and superheroes are too busy dealing with the usual Halloween magic BS to dwell on a ship they know is friendly. And if anybody does spot the Lor, well, they're just partygoers on their way to a party." As she spoke, she and the rest of Judy's team were heading down the corridor and towards the central atrium of the mansion - the better to be there when their contact arrives. 

 

"Ah guess that's why Ah don't do the planning," said Judy philosophically. A part of her rather wished they'd gone on to the haunted house Mia had been talking about, but of course going to an unvetted spookhouse wasn't something she was gonna be able to do in Freedom City - or ever, for that matter. Oh well, she thought, probably nothing scarier there than at the Hell House at the church back in Oklahoma City! She took another look at Ashley, narrowed her eyes, and said, "Agent George, are you wearing makeup?"

 

Ashley smiled thinly, glad Judy was remembering to stick to protocol. "Ms. Cahill," she said with a smile, "I am officially off-duty once our guests are finished with their work and you're on your way back to school, which means there's a Halloween party out there with my name on it."  Ashley was, in fact, wearing makeup - a striking red lipstick and a smoky eyeshadow, and she'd even freshly dyed the tips of her hair pink before coming out again. If she slept in on Friday, she could probably stay out as late as she wanted. Or...whatever. 

 

"Nice," said Judy, smiling back. She had never really liked Halloween, so she wasn't put out at the idea of missing Claremont's Halloween party - it wasn't like she could eat candy anymore. "Well Ah hope you get yourself a good treat." She distinctly detected a blush on her guardian's cheeks, and smiled even more broadly. Maybe she'll loosen up a little bit if she gets a boyfriend! It must be hard for her to find a date... 

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"I'm certain this is not protocol Fa'Rua."  Jolan scolded beleagerdly.  He also was fully aware that was hardly going to stop his sisters hair brained scheme to sneak out of diplomatic duties for some kind of tawdry 'hook up'.

 

"I'm a scout.  I'm scouting."  She replied clapping him on the shoulder, "You just dock with the station catch a ride to their liberty hall or whatever it's called and do your make nice give them the gift basket and I'll meet up with you there before anyone notices."

 

The scheme earned not but a frown from the more by the book sibling.  "Though wisdom may fall upon deaf ears ..."  he quoted the liturgies only to be cut  off as she palmed the airlock seal shutting the door and starting the pressure cycle.

 

Fa'Rua pointed at her helmet as she locked it in place shaking her head to indicate she couldn't hear and as the door behind her opened she backflipped out into low orbit and with a nudge of thrusters began her descent into the atmosphere too small a target for most any ground based radars to even note her presence no less trajectory.  Some amatuer astronomers perhaps caught the flare of her re-entry burn and noted it in a log somewhere, but little else to mark her passage as she hurtled toward the glowing lights of Freedom City.

 

Firing her jump jets as she came in close she arrested her descent a scant few hundred feet from the surface and with a moments concentration folded the space between and landed lightly on the balls of her feet in the spacious backyard.  For the time being she ignored her twins droning scold.  He'd grow distracted once he docked regardless.  Checking her suits HUD she confirmed this was the agreed upon location and released the fastenings on her helmet tucking it under one arm as she shook her hair free with a self satisfied smile and approached the house.

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Ashley watched Fa'Rua's descent through the building's security cameras and thought That looks f*cking badassWhat she said out loud was "Okay, our contact is here. I'll go out and bring her inside." Even though part of me wants to get back in the Dawg and drive away! She gave a short nod to Agent Dawson, who was finally back on duty after he'd been rotated out after the brush with Wail, then headed out from the atrium through the backdoor. Okay. Okay, gonna play it cool, and not act like I have a crush, she thought as she headed towards the spacewoman. "I am a professional." Saying it out loud is how you really know you are, dumbass. Oh she's tall, too. She had never actually asked how tall Fa'Rua was. Well goddamn. 

 

When she was close, she called out cooly, "Welcome to Earth! I'm Special Agent Ashley George." She'd explained her name to her space contact since her last contact; George was the last name on her ID, but in her head she still used the last name of her real father. She'd be Ashley Tran a little later that evening. She kept her distance, mindful of the heat coming from that suit. "How was your...flight?" 

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Fa'Rua somewhat shamelessly looked Ashley up and down as she approached distracted enough by the attractive woman in a suit that she paused briefly at the offered name.  "Ah-Agent Geeooorge, of course."  She replied catching on to the false name as she regained her composure.  Her voice was still a bit husky from the thrill of the descent and chill fall air but held tones of unplaceable foreignness in the the accented english she spoke.

 

"I believe the phrase is any landing you walk away from yes?"  she was unclear on some pop culture reference but had put in some study on cultural touchstones ahead of the visit.  The ceramics of her suit were rapidly venting their heat into the air around her leaving a faint heat shimmer that was rapidly fading as the suits systems cooled the high tech materials.  She approached Ashley with a genuine smile and tapped the hard case on her back, "I have the requested equipment right here Agent."  she suggested  and looked over her shoulder toward the house questioningly.  "The Lor Republic is of course more than happy to offer it's aid in this matter."  She played it off as the professional meeting Ashley certainly was trying to make it appear to be.  None the less as she drew close she dropped to a whisper, "Ok this outfit is definitely going in the  memory banks."

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"You're not so bad yourself, Shooting Star. And if you like this," whispered Ashley a little breathily as she passed her hand over her torso, "you should see the outfits I wear for fun." She smiled at the gorgeous space Amazon, and turned and led the way back to the house. Like most Terran cities Fa'Rua had heard about, the skyline was distinctly odd hereabouts - so low and underpopulated that this hardly looked like a city at all, and the mansion itself would have disappeared into the lower levels of the average Lor metropolis - though ironically sitting by itself in the midst of its own grassy reserve would have bespoken as much wealth as whatever electrical fixtures lay within. 

 

They headed together through the house to the central atrium, open to the stars above, where Ashley's fellow security agents and their respective ward were waiting for them. The latter was a girl who vaguely resembled Ashley, albeit thinner and less athletic, with a nervous smile and a profile that ticked distinctively oddly - a faint aura of radio static around her and a distinctly warm handshake as she took Fa'Rua's hand. "A pleasure to meet you, Officer," she said with the sort of smooth grace that suggested she really was the daughter of somebody very important on this planet. "Ah'm Judith, uh, Smith." 

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Fa' Rua smiled at the quiet flirtation biting her lip appreciatively but being careful not to expose more of their relationship to the other agents in the moment.  The city had seemed sprawling on her approach and the low buildings dotting the relatively open terrain seemed quite luxurious to one raised in the confines of a mining station. 

 

She doffed her gloves and clipped them to the sling now holding her helmet as she entered the rear of the mansion with a purposeful stride.  She took Judys hand in a firm confident grip, "It is an Honor Ju'Deth."  She intoned respectfully her voice lilting on the syllables of the name in odd cadence.  Her eyes played across the other guardians and could tell this was a ward of some import to the Terran authorities.  "I hope we are able to answer some questions for you Ma'am."  she indicated as she released the hardcase on her back and typed in the code to release the seal.  She pulled a hand held scanning device from the container and gestured to it with her free hand, "My vessel above is gathering background readings on your homeworld."  she explained perhaps more for the others than Judy herself.  "If you are able to generate an energy locus we should be able to filter out the background noise to find out more about the origins of your condition."

 

She glanced to Ashley to confirm she wasn't at risk of revealing too much. Then back to Judy as she activated the device and began taking readings and transmitting them to the shipboard systems for analysis.  "When you are comfortable Ma'am."

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Judith shot Ashley a nervous look - one reflected, albeit discreetly, in the faces of her security detail. With a deep sigh that she almost entirely hid from her friend and her ward, Ashley said, "Team, move out and take the perimeter. We'll handle things in here." Once the security staff had cleared the room, Ashley put an encouraging hand on Judy's shoulder. "It's okay, they're out of range." She didn't sound terribly worried on her colleagues' behalf. "You already know you can't hurt me, and Fa'Ura here just fell from space! She's pretty badass." She grinned at Infinity, then turned back to Judy. "You can do this." 

 

"Well...okay..." Judy closed her eyes, concentrated - and began to glow. The effect was quite striking; a pure white light that arose from skin and hair and eyes, bright enough to obscure her features without actually blinding anything. She was emitting EM radiation across the spectrum, glowing brightly enough that she was almost hot to the touch (from the sensor scans, anyway) without actually being dangerous to be around. She opened her eyes, a distinctly brighter white, and spoke. "Is-is this helping?

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The Lor scout glanced to Ashley at the hesitation and sending away of the other agents.  For a moment concerned she'd missed some subtle Terran cue that the other agents shouldn't know the reason of her visit and was relieved when it was Judy's concerns about her power instead.  She offered a confident smile of assurance, "And as you may have noticed space if full of lights."  she joked casually and hefted the device as Judy began to glow and dialed in the bands on the detector to focus in on the most likely stellarian spectra.  "Yes just a few moments longer Ju'Deth."  She replied as she pulled in the algorithm to filter for local and global background radiation.

 

Holding up the scanner results for Ashley she glanced to judy, "You are doing great just a few moments longer."  she encouraged and pointed to the initial results where results where the radio frequency signature of the stellarian home system adjusted for atmospheric interactions was displayed as a pale yellow underlay to the reading output from judy as the system filtered the readings down paring away the most likely interference and absorbance from terran sources to show what match might be unveiled.   "I am piping the readings to the 'hoppers databanks for a more complete processing but these are the initial results."  she whispered to Ashley and looked to the pretty Terran questioningly not sure how best to break the news of what they had uncovered to Judy.

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Ashley was saved from admitting she had no idea what the screen she was looking at said (or from thinking about how great Fa'Rua smelled, like the way she imagined the stars smelled by way of what must have been engines) by the sound of a muffled boom outside. She stepped away, all business, and raised her comm to her lips. "Perimeter, report! Jacobs? Anderson?" There was the dead sound of static on the line, and with a muffled exclamation Watchdog drew the gun at her hip without a second thought. "...Judy, we need to take you out the back way. Fa'Rua, you've got the rear, she's between us." She shot Infinity an almost-apologetic look; and then the three of them were on the move towards the back door of the Terran mansion. 

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As soon as the sound reached her ears Infinity crouched with a soldiers reflex.  She however did not cast about for the source as most but tilted her head slightly as she felt out the space around them through her finely tuned spacial senses her eyes flaring with a violet fire as she engaged her powers.  With a seamless motion she rolled her helm back into position and slid the sensor back into its housing before drawing her rifle.  The energy weapon flared to life as her palm hit the grip the barrel extending and stock ratcheting out as she brought it to her shoulder.  "Wait!"  she hissed as she felt for any presence in that direction that shouldn't be there then when confident it was sufficiently secure nodded for Ashley to move.

 

She followed walking backwards with surprising grace and no need to look where her next step would fall her scout rifle trained at the entrance on the far side of the room awaiting any enemies that might be foolish enough to reveal themselves.  The infuriating calm with which her brother shared across their mental link that he was on his way spoke volumes of his own preternatural senses having forewarned him of this eventuality.  "I have backup incoming, ETA... Something about crude Terran transport."  she let out a sigh.  "He'll be here as soon as possible."

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Later, Ashley would think about how extremely attractive Fa'Rua's cool professionalism under fire was, but right now she was focused on saving Judy's life. 

 

At the back door, Fa'Rua's powers told them people were waiting for them outside - bringing the trio's escape up short for a moment. "Why don't they just come in after us?" asked Judy, still glowing. This was the longest she'd voluntarily stayed powered up outside of a hospital, which made Ashley worry - but luckily the adrenaline was distracting her sister from the reality of the situation. 

 

"Because they want you alive," she hazarded. "Probably you too," she added seriously to Infinity. "A VIP's daughter and an alien are worth a lot more than one Secret Service agent. If they killed anybody on my team..." Her voice trailed off as she adjusted her suit, glad she was wearing the Kevlar but oddly missing the helmet. "Let's do this." And with that, she pulled something off her belt, "grenade," pulled the back door open a crack, "two Mississippi," tossed it, and leaped backwards! 

 

 

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As the explosion rang out, Watchdog kicked open the back door and ran for the spare car; only to find the charge she'd used hadn't been enough! Floating above the scorched spot where the stun grenade had landed, an armored figure in jet black faced them down. "Eyes on the principal," he declared in a mechanical voice before raising his hand. Much later, Watchdog would appreciate the mercenary's refreshing directness. He didn't try to bargain with them or make threats, he simply opened fire with a beam of blistering orange light that erupted from the palm of his hand like the wrath of an angry god. Acutely aware she was the beam's target, Watchdog was conscious of the flare of power a moment before it came.

 

Automatically she brought up her tonfas over her face and felt the beam catch at the center of the crossed metal, their slight magnetic charge catching and absorbing the beam - even though it was still quite hot! She grunted in exertion as she felt the heat radiate through her gloves and the sleeves of her jacket, pushing forward to avoid being knocked off her feet entirely. She snarled fiercely, but didn't take the time to even swear. 

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Fa'Rua watched as the blazing energy pulse jolted Ashley surprised she'd weathered it so well.  There was more to this terran than expected, and good thing given the threats she apparently faced.  "Unlikely they know I'm here, almost no terran systems could detect a man sized object in re-entry at that speed."  she pointed out a bit cockily, "May work out to our advantage."  She added as she followed close on Judy nudging the first daughter toward the wall of the house to keep herself between the enemies and the young woman.  She raised the rifle and fired off a burst of emerald laser light in the direction of the the attacker in flight.  The shot went wide but might at least draw attention to the greater threat she hoped.

 

"Where's our exit?"  she asked hurriedly.  They were very exposed out here and there was no telling if reinforcements were enroute for the attackers.  "Not much room to maneuver here."  The Lor pilot HATED being penned in.

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"Over there! Run!" Watchdog and Daystar, the latter still glowing like a Roman candle, ran like Hell for a red nearby groundcar. Yelling wordless defiance (or maybe just "Aaaah!"), Daystar turned halfway through and pointed her hands at the floating man in iron. A beam of energy erupted from her outstretched palm and blasted at the floating villain, visibly lighting up a portion of his armor but not actually hurting him. "No, Daystar, in the car!" yelled Watchdog, pulling something from her belt and throwing it at the would-be assassin! The sticky bomb hit and detonated, even making the man in the air visibly wobble, but didn't seem to have done him any serious damage. She hit another button on her belt, and the car doors flew open. It looked like escape was inevitable, until - 

 

"Is that #(#ing gamma rays? Well screw all of you, I didn't sign up for this!" Black Armor raised his arm and fired what turned out to be a swarm of hissing chemical-powered rockets, each the size of a human hand but all of them moving with great speed. Watchdog ducked as the missile aimed at her went caroming off to smash through one of the windows of the house, then grabbed Daystar and hurled her behind the bulk of the Dawg. The strike that was intended for Judy hit the ground next to Watchdog, the force of the impact making her forehead slam against the inside of her helmet hard enough that she was sure she was bleeding.

 

The last of the missiles caught the usually space-bound Infinity and exploded, blasting her against the brick wall behind her with bone-cracking force! 

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Infinity felt the surge of her brothers precognitive warning just as the micromunitions landed at her feet and erupted in an explosion.  Acting on pure instinct she bent the space around her funnelling the bulk of the force around her and letting the rest carry her back into the wall uninjured.  Not waiting for the smoke of the blast to clear her scout rifle snapped to her shoulder and she drew steady aim on the hovering foe.  A blistering burst of laser light spat forth as she squeezed the trigger catching them full in the chest and sending them spinning out of control if perhaps only briefly.  Seeing Watchdog and Daystar safe at the vehicle she took a step and was at their side.

 

"What kind of amatuer fires rockets at the target."  she grumbled with a shake of her head.  She looked over Watchdog and nodded to the driver seat, "Your ride why don't you do the honors."  She advised with a grin and mounted the sideboard, "I'll make sure they keep their distance."

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Infinity's shot was well-aimed; better than the armored Terran shooting at her. She hit what seemed to be a power source in his midsection, making him curse loudly as electric sparks crackled across his armor, sending him wobbling and bobbling around in the air, unable to get off a clear counter-shot. 

 

Daystar scrambled into the back of the Dawg, still glowing, and assumed crash position - she'd drilled for this with Ashley repeatedly, and after her big show hadn't seriously damaged their opponent she was ready to take cover. Guess I'm not so dangerous to super-people! Later it would be a triumphant thought, for the moment it tasted bitter in her mouth. 

 

Watchdog took a moment to think of her team out front - but knew that they were giving their all to protect Judy. "Jussec." She drew one of her last grenades from her belt and tossed it out the window like a softball, the sticky charge hitting the guy outside right where Infinity had shot him. She didn't hesitate; slamming on the gas and revving out of the parking lot with far more zip than a normal car this size! By the time she spared a look backwards, the charge had already gone off; blasting pieces off the armor as the man inside smashed into the wall where he'd tried to break infinity. 

 

"Don't give up," she said to Fa'Rua, "they wouldn't have sent one, not in Freedom City..." She opened her helmet, the better to get peripheral vision. She looked back to Daystar in the mirror and said, "Judy, we're heading back to school; there's more defenses there than at the safehouse!" 

 

"But what about---you know?

 

"It's not worth your life. Or anybody else's." She shot Fa'Rua a look that was downright apologetic. "Sorry." With the car speeding down the darkened streets of Lantern Hill, it was all she had time to say: for now. 

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Then the shots rang out - the screaming bolts of a primitive blaster pistol zipping past Fa'Rua's face like flares of red light, another set spattering against the rear windows of the Dawg with a sickening crunch. Ashley spared a single glance backward at their rapidly approaching antagonist - a maniac in all black, riding a one-man hanglider and blasting away with a laser pistol, just before he smacked into the rear of the armored car. Not quite hard enough to break his neck, dammit! "Judy get down!" she yelled, flooring it and trusting her ally to blast the hell out of the newly-arrived cling-on: especially once she saw him trying to burn his way through that already cracked window with a glowing yellow power glove.

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"Bogey on our six."  Fa'Rua announced as the glider came in hot ducking tight against the side of the Dawg as the bursts of blaster fire scorched the side of the surprisingly sturdy ground conveyance.  She might have been watching a few too many period pieces in her attempts to understand Terran culture better.

 

As the armored enemy latched onto the back window the Lor scout swayed in time with the swerves of Watchdogs evasive maneuvers carefully lining up her shot before releasing a tight burst of scorching laser directly into the armored chest of the new assailant.   The tight pattern scored the armored plate but didn't manage to penetrate nor knock him free of his grasp.  "Might have to shake him loose."  she warned and tightened her grip on the Dawg in preparation of more chaotic maneuvers.

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Inside the car, Daystar looked at the monster breaking in after her, the one her hero was helpless to save her from, the one who had probably killed all the other good people who'd been trying to save her - and she reached within. From her position wedged up between the driver's seat and the passenger's seat, Judy brought her hands together and spoke aloud. 


"But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day." Realizing too late what she was doing, Watchdog jerked the car from side to side, proving unable to shake the man behind them loose. "No, Judy, wait a second!" But it was too late, as a beam of blue light erupted from Judy's hands as she screamed in defiance. But it wasn't blue light, not really; it was the Cherenkov radiation produced by the gamma ray production of a small star. The blue light erupted backwards, shattered the armored glass - and blew off their unwanted passenger's head. 

 

Judy screamed again, this time not in triumph, as there was a shower of something that was decidedly not human blood - green and black and other things, and the now-headless being behind them was impossibly _still_ hanging on, and moving as if planning to make a second attempt at them. "Oh my Lord, oh my God!

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The filters on her visor cut most of the frequencies Daystars gamma burst emitted but even with the protection her vision was dancing with the afterburn of the stellar energies.  She was not surprised it had cleanly seared the head from the attacker, not with an energy spike like that setting off environmental alarms all over her HUD.  That it was still moving after was much less expected.  She let out a loud curse in her native tongue and used the momentum of Watchdogs latest maneuver to roll onto the roof of the Dawg hooking her feet into the crevices of the rack atop it as she stood and drew aim at the still advancing foe.  With steely aim she sighted down the barrel waiting for just he right moment to light up the night once more with violet laser light as she sunk a powerful shot right into the hole where it's head had recently been.

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The alien thing fell from the back of the car as the shot tore away more of its weird flesh, bouncing along like a macabre Halloween prank before smacking into one of the parked cars on the side of the road.  Watchdog was sorely tempted to pull a hairpin turn, spin around and hit him at 200 MPH,  but she sped off into the night and left him there in pieces. She reached behind her with one arm and pulled a sobbing Judy into the front seat next to her, the girl's survival training taking over as she buckled herself in. "Judy, listen to me," she said firmly, "you didn't do anything wrong just now." It helped that the alien creature had almost certainly survived everything they'd just done, so any complications would be much less. "You have a right to defend yourself." 

 

"But...but I _killed_ him," Judy said, looking down at the green-black blood on her hands. "Isn't that murder?

 

"Defending yourself is not murder," said Ashley firmly. "And you should never feel ashamed about standing up for yourself." She took the girl's hand and squeezed it, having been forced to slow down in traffic. "You are strong, and you are brave, and you did the right thing tonight. And I'm reasonably sure he was still a hostile even after we drove him off." 

 

 

Both Watchdog and Infinity got radio signals after that; and with no coincidence. Ashley's team back at the mansion had survived, though they were all nursing injuries, and Fa'Rua's brother had arrived back at the scene of their original battle to help subdue a man in broken power armor trying to make his escape. "Okay," said Watchdog once they'd talked again. "I need to take her to our safe house. That's ten, twenty minutes, tops. Then we can head back and interrogate that asshole in the armor?" It was better than apologizing for her fellow goddamn humans ruining the goddamned evening. At least Judy had calmed down; and was even beginning to dim her fires now that they'd seemingly vaporized the alien blood on her. 

 

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Fa'Rua watched the thing fall from the back of the Dawg in pieces.  She shook her head slightly as it bounced down the expressway and came apart.  She'd faught grue remnants, Khanate super soldiers, the Communion, and pirates and smugglers of myriad species and not seen anything quite like it.  Before she was knocked from her perch by a street sign or low overpass she folded the space between her and the interior of the Dawg and appeared in the backseat as Judy was pulled forward.  She looked between Ashley and her charge trying to parse the relationship that seemed closer than bodyguard almost parental and released the seal on her visor to speak in her own voice rather than the mechanical drone of the suits systems.

 

"Ju'Deth, Ashley speaks the truth."  she assured the young woman, "If not for your efforts that,"  she paused searching for the word in english, "Thing.  Would still be attempting to harm us and take you."  The Lor explained her attention still split with following their surroundings wary for further pursuit.  "Against such a foe you did as you must."  she tried to reassure somewhat uncomfortably not knowing the girl well enough to offer support that wasn't at least somewhat hollow.  She looked then with concern to Ashley, "Are you certain that is wise?  They knew of the meeting place."  she warned not holding the trust Ashley did in the system.

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Ashley considered that, taking the suggestion considerably more seriously than she would have from one of Judy's friends. "Makes sense. Gonna be the best-defended spot around." She sent the coded message, and turned them around - resisting the urge to take the same route back so they could run over their mysterious antagonist one more time. It wasn't that she objected to that idea, really, just that she knew it might attract too much attention even on Halloween night. 

 

"Y-yeah," said Judy, looking down at her hands, opening and closing them now that her inner fires had died out. "That guy was trying to kill me, so Ah gave him what he deserved..." Her hands were still glowing slightly, like a phosphorescent echo. "It felt...it felt pretty good," she admitted tentatively. 

 

"Good. If you really like it..." god "...we can work on that." Ashley shot Fa'Rua a quick smile. "Nice shooting back there. And smooth teleportation," she added. "I've never seen anyone with that much fine control before," she admitted. 

 

 

Back at the mansion, Watchdog, Daystar, and Infinity found a bruised and battered Secret Service team. The second man, the Hunter, had used a long-range gas gun to take them out: luckily he'd used a non-lethal mixture, and one that had faded in a short enough time that they were all still on their feet. That probably meant he hadn't had lethal plans for Judy, but Ashley was planning to tell her that exactly never. They found the broken suit of armor outside, Jolan having sensibly separated man from equipment in the event of cyberpathy - a wise precaution for someone used to dealing with mentats. Said worthy was inside the front room of the mansion, scanning the bound prisoner (a Loroid male with dark features and a substantial bit of facial hair under his nose) when they arrived. 

 

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Beyond the initial assurances that the enemy had in fact both survived Judys assault and was a threat worthy of such she left the comforting of the young woman to Ashley who seemed much better prepared for such a conversation.  She offered a small shrug, "Control before power is kinda the rule for mentats."  she explained, "I got the first part at least."  she joked still riding the adrenaline high of the fight and running battle.

 

She was more collected by the time they reached the mansion once more.  She looked over the kit that had been separated from the assailant trying to place any of it as off world in origin or if this was a local hire.  She left any questioning to those better trained in such efforts.  She did pause ot confirm the findings of the earlier scan with Jolan.  For his part the Lor aesthetic stood by impassively observing the prisoners breathing and behavioral signals as he completed his scan.  He took a step back to stoically observe, introductions could wait, he gestured for Ashley and her fellow agets to make what inquiries they may need.  He'd concentrate on what went unsaid.  If it came down to it he might be able to trace the mans timeline but such efforts were difficult to validate at best.  

 

As the agents moved into begin the interrogation Fa'Rua flashed a friendly smile to Judy trying to draw her slightly away and keep her focused on matters other than her attempted kidnappers.  "That was quite the display."  she whispered conspiratorially, "You also pick up signals?"  she inquired and activated her suites narrow beam radio to try and send a transmission Judys direction.

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Fa'Rua saw the girl blink, then concentrate. YesShe was sitting in a big, overstuffed easy chair in a corner of the room, under the watchful eye of an older man with a bruise over his eyes and a younger one with a recently applied bandage to his face. They told me the energy works like mind-reading, but with radio waves

 

-

 

The conversation helped distract Judy from the way Ashley dragged their armored attacker into the other room and snapped open  her tonfa. "All right, you bastard," she hissed, "start talking." 

 

"Don't you have to read me my rights?" inquired the armored man curiously, Knight from the files Ashley had spent a moment or two glancing over. 

 

"That doesn't apply to prisoners of war!" Ashley hissed. "You think I don't know a New Freedom accent when I hear it? Why the hell would you come here?" The door behind them creaked shut, leaving her alone with two of her fellow agents, Jolan, and Knight. 

 

"Aren't you going to ask me how we knew?" he inquired, again sounding more curious than afraid. 

 

"Oh we'll find that out, #($(er! I want to know why!" 

 

Knight folded his arms, and looked cocky. "I know I'm not dealing with superheroes here, so you're _not_ going to try dangling me off a bridge or something, so why don't you-" 

 

"That's right." Ashley was sitting opposite him now, tonfa back in its place, staring at him. "You're not dealing with superheroes. There's no Raven to take you in, there's no Captain Thunder to save you from a rogue agent. You and your partner entered American soil to try and kidnap an underage metahuman and you opened fire on agents on the US government. The only reason you're not dead is because I saved my last grenade for your friend." 

 

"You're the one working with _aliens_," sneered the New Freedom agent. "Looks like you invited in the outsiders first." 

 

-

 

I don't know very much about science, admitted Judy through the connection. I study biology and medicine in school, but that's for nursing, not like...physics and stuff. 

 

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