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Two Suns in the Sunset


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April 2020 Approximately 1 week after the founding of Rurland

9:00 PM 

Ruins of Former Foundry Depot

 

Two weeks ago this strip mall was shuttered, tenants bought out of their leases and ordered clear of the premises effective immediately.  The convenience store and frozen yogurt shop that anchored the suburban holdfast vacated without even time for a going out of business blowout.  One week ago the mall folded in on itself and fell into the hidden sub-basement of the Foundry weapons depot it had served as cover for.  The owner of record claimed no ownership nor responsibility for the clean up.  Curious teens crossed the police barriers some nights to poke at the craters edge.  Private security had been placed within a few days to oversee the site at night when the initial cyclone fencing proved insufficient to deter the locals.

 

Few had questioned why land that was left unclaimed was now under guard.  They simply went about their lives happy the kids would be safe until it was cleaned up.  Even fewer saw the small crew arrive and descend into the crater under the guards watchful eyes with nothing more than a knowing nod and wave.  Which was why they had waited, now it was an eyesore best ignored not a recent disaster under careful watch from local authorities.

 

Half an hour later the neighborhood shook with an all too familiar rumble as the edged of the crater began to collapse inward swallowing most of the street surrounding the hole.  Alarms sounded up and down the streets and dogs were set to barking as lights lit up up and down the blocks shrouding the former depot with frightened civilians emerging to look on in fear as the crater slowly grew and broken pipes spewed water and natural gas into the sky just awaiting a spark.   The guards car teetered on edge not quite swallowed by the growing sinkhole, but threatening to topple with every movement from the terrified rent-a-cop inside.  Something had gone desperately wrong. 

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And so she arrived, a blur of black and white streaked with purple as she examined the scene, her singular eye flickering around assessing her surroundings, they briefly settled on the teetering car before settling on the broken pipe.

 

It's familiar but foul stench filled her nose and turned her stomach.

 

Natural gases, highly flammable.

she looked back at the car suspended over the crater.

 

I'm probably fast enough. She reasoned as she took in a deep breath and unleashed a blast of artic cold down into the pipe, freezing the moisture in the air over the break in the pipe.

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This was it, then. Parker had just happened to be close by... that sort of thing had kept happening to him, even when he had lost his powers. Parker hadn't been able to do much, then. It had been frustrating, but he had gotten used to only being able to help get people away, but... that wasn't all he could do anymore, was it now? 

 

It was risky, of course. His powers hadn't been back for long. He had no idea if they would even work right, but even with the woman he didn't recognize swooping down with her freezing breath. She was fast, but was she fast enough? 

 

He couldn't take the chance.

 

In a flash of black and white, Spaceman flew towards the falling car. The rush of wind in his face, the pull of the cape behind him... He had missed this. Any doubts on what he should go disappeared in an instant as he grabbed on to the car and slowly lifted it away from the growing sinkhole. 

 

"Don't worry. I got you now."

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The arrival of the heroes was greeted with applause from the nearby civilians and more faces appeared in windows up and down the street looking on to the heroes in action.

 

The Jovian managed to freeze solid the leaking gas main, the super compressed air from her lungs icing over the pipe and increasing the pressure up to safe levels up the line.   It wasn't a permanent fix but it would hold until the professionals could take care of it.

 

Cheers erupted anew as Spaceman flew in and heaved the car free from the precipice just as the edge below it gave way.  When the car was back on the ground the guard scrambled out panic painting his features as he backed away from the hole gasping for air as he leaned against a light pole and caught his breath after the harrowing experience.

 

"Wha- what could have cause that..."  he stammered, "The- uh," he paused glancing nervously at the heroes, "Out of nowhere I've been here all week and nothing."  he swallowed hard peering around Spaceman to look at the hole like it might give way again or perhaps expecting something to come out.

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Aliza tilted her horned head as she regarded the guard and his shivering and stuttering.

 

Humans were so hard to get a bead on with this stuff, their body language was so different from what she was used too.

 

Ah well maybe the other hero had some idea of what all this meant.

 

"Are you OK dude? You're shaking like a leaf...you need medical attention?"

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Parker looked to the alien next to him. She was heroic, no doubt about it, but the man seemed scared anyway, and not just of the hole and had just happened. Parker knew people, and this man was hiding something. 

 

"Did you expect something, then?" He stepped closer to the man. His hands were open by his sides, he didn't do anything to seem threatening. That wasn't the way he did things. "Is there anything you could tell us about this thing? What happened here, what are you doing in this place?"

 

He could feel the area below them. This... it didn't seem normal. The underground felt hollow.

 

Parker paused, looking down at the man. "What's underneath us?"

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Under the focus of the two heroes the guard froze up for several moments and shook silently before breaking down.  "This thing opened up right as that robot guy did his big speech you know?"  he eyed the hole uncertainly, "Happened at the same time all over, buildings collapsing in like this, hideouts from that supervillain guy."  the fearful guard revealed all too easily.  "People say there's stuff in there still you know?"  he suggested nervously.  He let out a big sigh, "They want down to get salvage, there are guys paying top dollar for that stuff all over."  he revealed in a sudden rush, "I don't know those guys really,  I'm just supposed to keep an eye out make sure they get in first."

 

He looked at the hole and shuddered, "I dunno what went down, they dropped into the hole half an hour ago and nothing the the ground opened up something musta blown late, they might be trapped or ..."  he trailed off and shook his head, "But I'm not with those guys I didn't do nothing but watch."  he added defensively.

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That robot guy with his big speech? Talos? 

 

Spaceman folded his arms over his chest and looked down at the man as he explained. One of Talos' old hideouts, and of course people had gotten greedy when it had been unearthed by the explosion. And of course he hadn't been doing anything but keeping watch.

 

He placed a hand gently on the man's shoulder. "I think you should give your life choices some thought, sir." Then he let go, and instead turned to the woman. There really wasn't any time to waste right now, was there? Still... He held out a hand towards her. "I'm Spaceman. I've been out of the game for a while, so I'm sorry if I should recognize you." After the woman's response, he would lift from the ground and start flying towards the hole, looking over his shoulder. "You coming? I don't really want to leave anyone down there."

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"I just got here." she answered as she took his hand "Glad im not as upsetting as i thought i might be given the whole...you know?" gesturing to her face with a fanged smile.

 

Infact its my first time out without a morphoguise on

 

momentarily distracted by her internal monologue she remained unresponsive for a moment before snapping back to reality with a rapid blinking of her eye.

 

"whoops zoned out there for a sec, sure im coming!" and with that she hopped on over towards the precipice of the gargantuan sinkhole.

 

"express route to the basement and work our way up on the way out?" she inquired as she pondered a little on the problem "any suprises on the way out might be troublesome but its the fastest way to get everyone out i figure."

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As soon as Spaceman flew to the crater teh guard backed away a few steps before fleeing the scene at a full run seemingly forgetting his car still conspicuously sitting where the rescuing hero had left it.  The crowd edged forward uncertainly as the heroes vanished into the sinkhole trying to catch a glimpse of what might have caused the collapse or a front row seat at Freedoms Heroes in action.  

 

Inside the crater were the sheared cuts through supports of an export implosion, the pillars stabbing up through the collapsed rubble from above.  Nothing present suggested that there would be remaining instability post collapse and yet it was clear not all had gone as planned.  The direct cause of the expanding collapse was clear however.  The basement level, some kind of warehousing, probably for the Foundrys illicit dealings, extended off the plot and under the surrounding streets.  These portions of hte structure had not been collapsed, preserving the streets above, but also leaving them vulnerable to less controlled circumstance.  Here where the street was collapsing the pillars were shattered and saggining the floor cracked and groaning threatening to give way into damaged structures further down below.

 

In one corner the remains of a stairwell signalled there was more to be found below.  The floors couldn't be too thick here, it would be a simple thing to punch a hole through to the level below and risk further collapse.  With sufficient speed and might one might less quickly clear the collapsed debris from the stairwell, or perhaps there was another way, after all the would be salvagers were nowhere to be seen and must have found a way down.

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"I'm not seeing a good way to get down." She confessed as her eye darted around in its socket before settling again on spaceman.

 

"I'll get moving the debris in that stairwell, lemme know if you have a better idea though!"

 

And with that she was gone, a blur of even faster motion this time as she ran back and forth removing hundreds of pounds of rock with each trip, slowing down only to move larger chunks of concrete and twisted steel.

 

Once a municipal servant always a municipal servant she guessed.

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"Not gonna lie and say you look like everyone else, but I've been around, and I've seen a lot." Parker smiled as he did his best to reassure the heroine. Alien or not, did it matter? 

 

Once in the crater, he paused for a moment, focusing. They could smash through the ground, but there were tunnels down there. He could go in there, but probably couldn't bring his new friend along like that, and it wouldn't mean anything if people had to get out of there. 

 

Then she started moving, far faster than his eyes could initially follow. He took a short breath and focused. He could move fast, but it wasn't quite the same, was it? Focus the right way, and move. Cutting out all movement between, he picked up debris, moving it to the side, one by one, piece by piece, as much as he could grab. He was just there, then back to drop it off, then back. Unlike his new friend, it was not exactly super speed, no. She wouldn't even be able to see him moving between his positions.

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With the combined might and speed the heroes could bring to bear what would have taken a demolition crew days and heavy equipment was removed in minutes by hand.  The stairs were largely intact though badly damaged with railings missing and chipped and broken steps leaving footing uncertain.  The lower floor was much more enclosed with a long partially collapsed hallway and rooms off to each side running it's length.  Nearly pitch black with nearly no light reaching from the chasm above to these broken and failing levels of the substructure.   Distant calls could be heard drifting on the still air but muffled as if from beyond some further barrier.  

 

Where the hall ended in collapsed rubble it was clear this is the damage that collapsed the floors above, removing it would not be so simple as the stairwell, here it supported the floors above, remove it and the chasm in the road would open further perhaps endangering nearby property and certainly putting the gawkers above at risk.  They'd have to make their way through the rooms and halls to find a way around.  

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"Looks like we're taking the long way huh?" She said with a sigh of resignation once she'd finished taking in the scene of devestation before her; that said she was getting more social interaction from this day alone than she'd get in a week working her old job on Europa farming those immense isopods and algae.

 

"Nice planet you got here." she commented as she moved through the rooms with spaceman examining every piece of debris with scrutiny before brushing it aside, crushing it to dust in her grasp or stepping around it.

 

"Bit Rustic but i find it charming; Very Nostalgic, Big fan of your club sandwitches." she wasn't great at small talk but hey it was just being honest and finding common ground right?

 

she'd been about to continue her tirade when the loud crack in the distance rang out before her, it was a strange sound, loud and sharp and yet echoing it made her skin crawl a little in discomfort even though she didn't know why or even what the sound was

 

"What was that?" she whispered to spaceman as she tensed a little.

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It didn't take too long to clear the staircase while they worked together. Going further into the place, everything was dark. Parker could feel where everything was, but the darkness was still unnerving, in its own way. No way to actually see anything down here. 

 

"You should try a cheeseburger," he added to the comments about the planet, while he moved through the rooms. To be honest, he was only half focusing on the small talk.

 

Expanding his senses, Spaceman moved above the floor, making sure not to touch anything. Anything or everything that moved within the distance of what he could sense, he would catch it. This place had to have power at some point, so whatever had happened, it had knocked that out. There was no reason that this place would be shut down like this, unless someone had done it on purpose.

 

"There's a lot of damage here." Did it seem like Talos? He had never personally gone up against him, but would he have left any of this intact on purpose?

 

Then, the gunfire, his companion wasn't sure what it was. Couldn't have been here long or faced a lot of people with guns. He would have to ask later.

 

"Guns, weapons. Someone's shooting at someone else." He didn't hesitate. "C'mon." No more taking it slow, then. In a flash of white, black and gold, Spaceman moved, flying through the rooms at full speed. He didn't make a sound while moving, no trail, as he let his senses guide him towards his target.

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The heroes rounded the final corner to the larger open area Spaceman had sensed ahead.  The large room was strewn with rubble some looking as if it had burned or melted as well as large blocks of collapse from the initial implosion of the structure.  The scavengers were here, though fewer in number than the guard had indicated.  They had cast flares and industrial glow sticks around the nest of rubble they sheltered in casting long shadows against eerie flickering light that didn't penetrate to the far side of the room.  

 

Before Jovian or spaceman could fully take in the situation another burst of gunfire sprayed out of the impromptu foxhole wildly ricocheting off the walls and rubble across the room.  The noise and flash of the muzzle dazzling in the dim echoing surroundings.  As the guns fell silent a grey-black pseudopod snaked out of the darkness and snatched one of the vultures from it's nest and dragging it back beyond the light.  The mans screams devolved into a wet gurgle and his remaining compatriots fired another burst of automatic weapons fire.

 

To the Jovian and Spacemans enhanced sense the darkness was no hindrance, but there noise and light was certainly a distraction.  On the far side of the room there was some sort of pool of liquid, emerging from it's surface the waving tentacle that had drug the scavenger away weaving unphased by the bullets striking it as it prepared to launch another attack!

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Gunfire. A man screaming. The flares and glow sticks illuminated the area, but it wasn't really necessary, was it? The scavengers had holed up, protecting themselves from a pseudopod, doing their best to stay out of its reach and failing, before Spaceman could react. Whatever that thing was, it was clearly hostile to the men. No matter what they were here for, he couldn't let more of them get taken, could he?

 

He threw himself in front of the men. One second, he was just there, hand held out towards the creature in front of them. It was difficult to get a read on it, but it was there, so he could stop it. "Stay down, don't fire. We'll keep you safe." Then they could discuss whatever else was going on here, and just what these people were up.

 

Focus, then. Stop the creature from moving. Lock it in place, not allowing it to strike or move. It had been a while since Spaceman had last tried this trick, but as long as he didn't know what this thing was and what these people had done, he wasn't about to just start hitting it.

 

"Any idea why this thing started attacking you?"

Edited by RocketLord
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"I don't know man!" One of the cowering scavengers yelped as Spaceman appeared.  "Dino found some flask an' thought it was hooch or something."  he was tearful and panic'd clutching his gun in a white knuckle grip.  "He took a swig and started choking then said something about an upgrade and went nuts."  he cowered under the shelter of a collapsed pillar, "He was talkin all weird and grabbed Ice an broke his arm, then ran off when Ice shot him."  he shivered as Spaceman focused his power on the creature but it seemed to flow right around the hardened block of spacetime unimpeded.  "Then that tentacle came outta nowhere an started melting the supports and grabbed Ice an...."  he broke off in in comprehensible sobbing at the sight and sound of his cohort being dissolved or devoured by whatever this thing was.

 

Across the room another pseudopod erupted from the pool and flew forward to wrap around Spaceman and try to pull him in to no avail.  Despite the Things steely grip it was unable to budge the dimensional Paragon however and merely tried to focus it's efforts on confining his limbs until it could bring more limbs to bear.

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if she claimed that she hadn't felt any fear at all in that moment it would've been a lie, watching one of her distant ancestors being tossed around like a ragdoll and vanishing into the blackness of the darkened subterranian structure, in her own time on her own world she was surely significantly more hardy than they were but still vulnerable to the monstrosity's strength, her legs were locked in place even as space man raced to intercept the tentacle, the air alive with the vibrations echoing in her hollow horns.

 

But she was not on her own world, nor in her own time and beneath the yellow sun of ancient earth she was extremely poweful so she had no excuse!

 

her locked legs loosend and tensed again, this time in preperation to carry her forth with explosive speed, her pupil dilating and shimmering as it began to gather and focus what ambient Infrared light was available, she raced around the pools left side, attempting to divide the things attention and take some of the strain off spaceman's shoulders, unleashing a pulsing bolt of bright crimson heat and light towards the base of the newly errupted pseudopod that made the air shimmer as it blasted forth, still unfamiliar with her powers however her eyelid slammed closed reflexitively to protect it from the heat and light it was itself producing.

 

"Dang it!" she cried in mild annoyance as she rubbed the back of her palm against the scrunched eyelid "Still not used to that."

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The thing moved around hardened space, not an easy task. It moved with purpose, not just flailing wildly. It could sense them, somehow. The tentacle moved to try and catch him, but he managed to push it aside. "Stay behind us and keep your heads down. We'll deal with whatever this is." Parker sounded more confident than he probably should. Back in the day, this would have been easy, but this wasn't back in the day, was it? He was rusty, not nearly as powerful as he used to be. He needed to stay on guard, but he also needed to listen. The man had rambled something about Dino drinking something and then...

 

Wait

 

Inside the tentacle, there was something, a face, screaming at them as the tentacle moved. Parker watched with growing horror as the tentacle moved... and then, he struck. He remained in front of the men, then moved his arm, reducing the distance between his fist and the creature's arm, where he had seen the face. Strike at it. Strike through it. Try and grab the person inside and get them out of there.

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The waving pseudopod jolted away from the searing beam disappearing into the pool once more almost as if frightened on some animal level.  A caution it had not shown to the volleys of gunfire clearly.  Spaceman was able to free himself from the Things grasp, the limb wrestling him slowing and giving him the upper hand as it was distracted retreating from the energy blast Jovian had unleashed.  

 

Spacemans fist struck true his mighty fist driving deep into the writhing mass where the face had been moments before the surface giving way with too much ease he nearly went right through.  But there was nothing solid within to grasp just the cold gelatinous interior of  whatever this Thing was.  Almost as soon as his fist sunk into the mass the consistency began to harden around his arm the surface crawling up his arm trying to engulf him further than his own strike already had.

 

While spaceman struggled to free his arm from the tar like grasp of the Thing the other pseudopod emerged once more and seized upon a large block of fallen concrete and rebar hafting the massive chunk of debris like a feather before hurtling it directly at Jovian with deadly aim.  The rubble smashed into the alien paragons body, it's full weight behind the spikes of sheared metal driving like spears into Jovians chest.

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The jovian shrieked in surprised pain as the metal rebar laced chunk of concrete slammed against her.

 

Her echolocation had of course caught it coming and she had foolishly opted to let it crash against her, a little overconfident in her own power, a painful lesson in humility that made her stumble in shock

 

Having snapped her eye closed before her beam of searing heat found its mark and completely unaware of the strange creatures reaction she opted to this time take a deep breath, compressing as much air as she could in her lungs and again unleashing a blast of intense cold that frosted the ground over which it passed and over the creature.

 

At least this weird power didn't dry out her eye.

Edited by Exaccus
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Reduce the distance. Pull his arm back out. Parker was still in front of the men, he didn't have to move. 

 

So, what was this thing? It didn't seem to be bothered by his punches, they just flowed into it. It had been hardening around his fist, like it was trying to pull him in. It was strong enough to hurt his so far unnamed ally, and she had seemed strong enough to handle herself up top. And it didn't like the fire?

 

"Keep trying to burn it. I'll see if I can hold it in place."

 

Focus, then. Grab onto space, pull around the thing. Stop it.

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Despite Spacemans efforts to warp space around the writhing tentacle he smashed through the grasp of his powers with barely a hint of resistance.  In the flickering light of the flares it seemed to hold an almost metallic sheen as it dove into yet another pile of rubble to withdraw some abandoned stainless steel shelving.   The awkward shape was hurled with deadly force directly at Jovian tumbling end over end in a chaotic wild rush.  Whatever cunning this Thing held it was one tracked and reactive more than strategic or even tactical.

 

Both could sense a throbbing movement at the pool as a hand and arm seemed to erupt from the surface only to melt away and fall back into the roiling mass.  Both the arm and the much larger pseudopods did not disturb the surface they emerged from, instead tapering to meld seamlessly with the pool that was slowly shrinking as more of it's mass was pumped into new ropey tentacles to  grasp at the walls and piles of rubble around it as if bracing for something.

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Posted (edited)

Pain and fear had sharpened Aliza's wits and this time as the hurled detritus came flying towards her she was ready for it, with a swift swing of her arm she swatted the twisted steel projectile away with the back of her hand sending it skittering through the darkness of the subterranian chamber.

 

then the spaceman told her to try burning it, she hadn't really seen what had happened the first time she'd directed the heat blast from her eye but the thing seemed particularly upset with her now....maybe it was worth another shot!

 

"Ok! this time im gonna zap you like i mean it you stinky sticky nasty nonesense goo!" she snarled "Eye Wide Open!"

 

framing her eye with her forefingers and thumbs to keep the lid from snapping closed again she took a moment to brace herself before drawing up all the power she could and focusing it into her eye.

 

where before there had been a breif shimmer that danced across her iris was now a deep glow of crimson as it undulated with barely constrained power ready to be unleashed upon the creature.

 

she held onto it as best she could, till her vision began to blurr with strain and small whisps of evaporated fluids began to seep from the corners of her sight; Only then did she release the energy and project it towards the creature.

 

this time it was far more potent, no longer an elogant lance of light but a Bristling blaze of crimson heat that made the concrete around it glow and crack with the diffusion of its heat as it raced towards the centeral mass of the creature with all the power of a rampaging beast and the focus of a laser.

 

gonna need to buy some saline after this.

Edited by Exaccus
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