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Dreamwalker

Saturday Night At Morley's

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It was the first weekend since Moira had quit her job at Morley's. Since the split was amiable (they thought it was for grieving purposes), she was still on good terms with the regular patrons and workers. She decided to go back and see some friends. Plus, she would be the customer this time, not the worker.

She arrived early. The pub was filling out nicely for a Saturday night. It wasn't too full, but the business was thriving. There were even a few people she knew besides the people that worked there. They all greeted each other like the great big extended family they were.

There were games be played, food to be eaten, beer to be drank. There was even a local band (The Vigilantes, a folk rock cover band) playing later that night. It seemed like it was old times, before her father died. They even raised a pint in his honor. There was nothing that could make this night go wrong.

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There are no regulars among the small group of pretty people in the corner, though a few in their number have been schmoozing it up with some of the regulars. Dressed in fashionable, sometimes retro clothes, they look like rich college kids or young professionals out on the town looking for a good time. This is the first time Jack's been out with his friends in the community for a while, and there is something remarkably satisfying about unwinding with his peers. There aren't any muggers to shake down tonight or drug dealers to beat to a pulp; just good friends and maybe a good time.

"C'mon, Jack, I bet you can pick her up," said Stan, leaning close and whispering in Jack's ear as he nodded towards the red-headed hottie who'd gotten such an enthusiastic greeting from the bartender.

"Oh, that's real classy, Stan," said Jack, laughing as he turned back to the man behind him. They'd been turned at about the same time, but Stan had never quite gotten over the awesome rush of his powers. "There's nothing girls like more than men they've just seen take bets on asking them out. They're really into that sort of thing." The truth is, the redhead was a little too beautiful.

Not that he wasn't imagining the way she'd taste; he did that with most pretty women. But he'd learned his lesson about the impossibly beautiful with Claudia, and he wasn't going to put himself out there again. After all, this was supposed to be his evening off. Still, the thought had him in the mood. He rose to his feet, gently setting his drink aside, and began flirting pleasantly with a lithe little blonde sitting alone at the bar, a cute little thing who seemed very interested in what he was offering. It was a good start to the evening.

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The drinks were getting scarce amongst the group at the billiards table. They all started wondering out loud who would go get more. When Moira picked up a mug, they jokingly said it was her day off. They kindly backed down when she wouln't budge from the task. Everyone put some cash into the mug and she was off to the bar.

When she got there, she sat down and started counting what was in the mug. This was enough for five or six rounds for the whole group. She put the cash under the mug and called for the bartender, "Hey Joe, we're getting dry over here!" Her voice was demanding, but obviously playful.

Joe snickered, picking up the mug and the money, "You want us to keep it coming?"

Moira nodded, "But let me take it over there."

"Sure thing," Joe said going off to get the drinks.

A few seats down, she saw a friend of hers, Stephanie, talking to a new guy. While she was waiting for the drinks to be delivered, she figured she'd go mingle with the two. "Watch out for this one," Moira smirked looking at Jack as she put her hands lightly on the blonde's shoulders, "she's a handful." The two women greeted each other with a hug as Moira sat down.

"Who's your new friend," Moira asks Stephanie, looking back to Jack.

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"This is Jack," said Stephanie with the big, friendly smile that says she's a tiny bit buzzed, "he's in investment in the city." She leans forward over her drink, her blonde hair carelessly disordered in that artful way that takes thirty minutes in the mirror.

"Jack Faretti," replies Jack, shaking Moira's hand with a warm smile. Tall and well-built, Jack does look a little bit like the sort of young professional that tries to make himself look a little younger still. "Stephanie here was just telling me all about what brings her to this lovely place." Jack is certainly being very friendly to Stephanie, in the way most men are to a slightly inebriated young woman.

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"Nice to meet, Jack," Moira smiled at Jack, "I am Moira Morley." She looked to her friend feeling the affects of the alcohol and snickered, "Are you gonna need a cab soon, hon?"

"Nope," Stephanie shook her head, "I'm only a teeny bit into the night."

"Hey Moira," Joe called, "Drinks are up!"

Just like old times, Moira thought. She got up from her stool and nodded to Joe. She smiled at her tipsy friend and then looked back to Jack, "Well, maybe you and Stephanie would like to join us at our little gathering?" She offered her hand to Stephanie to pick her up from the stool, "We'd all like to meet you, Jack." After Stephanie obliged, Moira gently pulled her to her feet.

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Being swept up as part of the general evening's festivities hadn't been part of Jack's plan. But on the other hand, going along with the crew here didn't necessarily interfere with his real plan for the evening: taking a lovely lady home for his own brand of fun. And truthfully, it was hard to ignore that pretty face. "Sounds like fun," said Jack, smiling as he joined Stephanie in heading over to the pool-playing group. After introductions are made among the regulars, Jack is content to hang back and watch the game ongoing. "I'll play the winner," he suggests, laughing as someone sinks a perfect shot. "I'm feeling brave."

Charismatic and social, Jack quickly throws himself into the heart of the group, joking with the regulars while taking special care to pay close attention to Stephanie. He buys her drinks whenever she's in the mood, as generous with his compliments as he is with his money. If he is after something with Stephanie, he seems interested in making sure she enjoys it as much as he does.

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Everybody took a mug when Moira got back. She smiled, "Everybody, this is Jack." The people around the table welcomed Jack with handshakes and hearty greetings. "Jack, this is David, Frank, and Simone," Moira introduced everyone as they met with Jack. "And if I remember correctly, you're about to face me,"

she said picking up her pool stick and pulling the cue ball out of the side pocket.

"I've came back from worse," Simone said, leaning back on Frank.

There were only four balls left to sink. Moira took aim at the only striped ball and sunk it, but also dropped a solid ball too. Simone stepped up and sank her last ball before the eight. Calling her pocket Simone almost got it. The last shot was set up for Moira easily.

"Well, Jack," Moira said looking to him before leaning over the table to take the shot, "grab your stick, it's our turn." Sinking the eight ball, the three other congratulated Moira on her win.

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Jack scooped up the cue with a graceful little flourish, making a great show of popping his back and flexing his fingers. Cue in hand, he bends over the pool table an instant below the lights go out. The moment of darkness is accompanied by the sudden, terrifying sound of bodies and tables falling, glass shattering, and a sudden scream from the corner. When the lights snap back on, everyone at the bar with the exceptions of Jack, Moira, and Jack's friends in the corner table have collapsed to the floor like so many boneless dolls, knocking over tables and breaking glasses as they go.

A few things happened quickly after that; the first of which is that the small party in the corner rose and bolted as one, leaving behind their drinks and unconscious "dates" with as much care as one might leave behind a sandwich in the event of a bear attack. One only lingers at the door, Stan reaching out for Jack. "C'mon, Jack! You gonna stand there all night?"

A thoroughly stunned Jack had dropped his cue by now, and he'd bent down to check Stephanie's vitals. The pretty woman had slumped in her chair, her head drooping as if she was just entirely too drunk. "She's alive...Stan, get out of here! Call the police! The real police!"

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Moira looked around confused and angry, "What's happening, Jack?" Seeing as he and the people he knew were the only ones besides her, she had no choice but to lay blame on them. When Jack started talking about getting the police, she was relieved and even more confused. Still looking around at the lifeless bodies she walked over to Jack hurriedly, trying not to trip over any bodies, "Is there anything I can do to aid you?" Her voice had changed from angry to worried.

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"Your loss, man!" Stan bolted like he'd been shot from a gun, leaving Jack and Moira the only two conscious in the bar. Jack, a deeply concerned look on his face, had left his erstwhile sweetheart behind to check on the welfare of the others.

"I don't know, I...I don't know of anything like this! I don't think it was anything magical..." He sat back on his heels, alarm on his face. "They're alive, I think, just unconscious to a man. It's like they've all been drugged."

He licked his lips and was about to speak again when the lights went out, this time for good. Jack could see fine, naturally, but that didn't stop him from cursing explosively as he bolted to his feet. "The nearest police station is two blocks down Durham," he says, with surprising knowledge of the neighborhood for a new guy. "How fast can you get there?"

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"Not magic? Unconcious? Drugged? Who was that guy," Moira rapidfire questioned Jack, "Do you know what's going on?"

Unfortunately for Moira, she wasn't blessed with the ability to see in the dark. When the lights went out for a second time she froze, not from fear but for sheer loss of equilibrium. She reached around trying to find something to hold on to. Knocking over a random pool stick, she quickly found the billiards table and latched on to it. She felt around the table to get enough information where she could eventually hop on it to sit.

"Well, I could get there a lot faster if I could see the hand in front of my face," Moira quipped as she tried to keep worry from turning into fear.

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"All right, here's what I think we should do." Whatever Jack's brilliant idea, events are already moving faster than he can deal with. No sooner has he spoken than two huge spotlight beams stab their way through the bar's window, powerful blasts of light that cast everything they don't touch into light but nearly blinding everyone who can see. His eyes protected against such things, Jack blinks away the glare without a problem, but a moment later it's not so easy when the door bursts open in a shower of wooden shards!

A half-dozen men in body armor enter, carrying shock rifles, and with a nod three each run towards Jack and and Moira each. "Surrender now and you won't be harmed," says one of the men, his voice filtered uncannily by the helmet and gas mask around his head, his eyes invisible behind his bodily protection.

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Somehow, Moira knew the lights were coming and like instinct shaded her eyes. What she did not expect was the loud crew of people to come barging on to her property. Her eyes finally adjusted to the blaring light, she saw perfectly clear. Three men were pointing guns at Jack, three men were pointing guns at her. "Excuse me," she scoffed angrily, "you need a warrant to do this kind of thing, right?"

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Jack squares off against the men surrounding him, the tall, slim guy bending down in a wary wrestler's crouch. The goons surrounding him evidently realize quickly that he's not going to surrender without a fight. Two of them jab at Jack, sizzling bolts of electricity stabbing at his face and midsection as he ducks and weaves. Jack's new to this sort of combat, though, and doesn't realize it's a feint until the third goon strikes directly for his heart with his sizzling stun gun. The third soldier misses too, though, Jack dodging out of the way of what would otherwise might be a painfully punishing blow.

"You have no idea what you're dealing with," growls Jack, his deep, menacing voice a sharp contrast from the charming pretty boy only a few minutes ago. He could kill these men in a dozen ways; lay them low in a dozen more, but so very many of them would involve revealing his vampiric nature to them and to the nearby Moira. "You think I'm just going to stand here and let you hit me?" He lands a sudden, solid punch to the face of the soldier who attacked him, the man's face visor cracking as Jack punches him out right through his helmet! Jack keeps moving, too, lights from outside cutting odd shadow shapes against his pale skin as he suddenly leaps up into the air and simultaneously kicks his two other attackers in the face in a bit of super-fast kung fuery worthy of a John Woo flick.

They fall, too, their helmets bouncing as they come in for a very uncomfortable landing, and Jack lands on his feet in the darkness.

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They were definitely not the cops, Moira surmised. The cops usually gave you many warnings before they applied that kind of force. She lept off the billiards table and grabbed one of the men's weapons. "So, you think you can just knock out my customers and run in here like you own the place," her voice was calm while she questioned her attackers. She began to bend the weapon as she raised her voice angrily, "And then try to threaten us? That's not gonna happen here!" As if it were on cue the weapon snapped in half as she spoke her final word.

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As one of the two still-conscious bar patrons tears through their men like a hurricane and another shouts with the authority of an angel and fury of a god, the three remaining soldiers step back with shocked looks on their faces. "Geez, they're supers!" calls one, slapping at a red button on his chest. "We need backup in the West End, now!" The other two drop their shock prods and pull out handguns, pointing them with shaking hands at the unconscious Stephanie and the bartender.

"You'd better back up, or they're history! I mean it; put your hands up!" The men with guns are focused on Moira, the infuriated goddess, so it's the guy with the radio who calls out, "Pluto's might, where in Hades did the other one go?" Sure enough, Jack has disappeared entirely.

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Moira looked around to see her friends in danger. Memories of her and Stephanie and her and Joe flashed before her eyes. She couldn't bear to lose either of them. She wanted very much to get both gunmen. Looking around to see the only other person that seemed to be helping her was gone, rage along with fear was building up inside her. As quick as the wind she rushed and grabbed the one holding a gun to Stephanie. Using him as a battering ram, she smashed the him into the one holing a gun to Joe.

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With a sickening crunch, both men fall like broken dolls as Divine hurls one into the other like a bowling ball and pin, a single gunshot going wide as it ricochets off the ceiling. The last soldier left standing is about to break and run when a dark voice comes hissing from the shadows behind him: "Tell your friends..." Jack emerges from the shadows in a blur of speed, smashing his fist into the back of the man's head with a crack of metal and plastic. The final goon drops without a word, head snapping back as he hits the ground bonelessly. "The party's over!"

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"Jack," Moira grunted as she put her bare foot on one of the intruder's sternum, "you haven't answered me yet." She exhaled as she heard the satisfactory sound of snapping as she pressed down on her target. If not for the adrenaline she would have been a nervous wreck. "What are these people doing here," she said walking over to another eyes with a fiendish glare in her eyes, "and why are my customers all unconcious," she shouted with a swift kick into her other target's back. It delivered another stress relieving popping sound.

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Jack waves at her, a tense expression on his oddly-feral face. "Listen, didn't you hear that one call for backup?" he asks Moira as their armor gives way beneath her feet with a crunching sound. His eyes widen a little as she so easily shatters metal and plastic, but he's a man with secrets of his own. "We need to-" For the second time in the space of a few seconds, events cut him off as two women appear over the bar in a flash of light and noise, sending glasses tumbling to the ground with a tinkling sound. One is a tall African-American woman, covered in a tight blue and brown bodysuit that exposes one muscular thigh and one muscular leg, shining metal gloves on her fists; while another is a short, equally-fit Hispanic woman with the remnants of tattoos visible on her square, silent face.

"All right, ladies," says the African-American with a smile as she raises her glowing fists and her friend levels a heavy blaster pistol, "I'd say you should surrender, but I'd rather hurt you. Mi corazon here likes to play fair. What's it gonna be?"

Jack is taken aback by their sudden appearance, but does his best to recuperate. With a feral snarl, he disappears again into the darkness.

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Moira knew who the two new intruders were. "I'm sorry, Jack," she apologized for semi-blaming him for the whole incident, "This explains everything." Her adrenaline was still running high, she charged at the two ladies, particularly the one holding the blaster pistol. "So, you think you can kidnap people from Morley's," she began her impromptu investigation, raising her voice again, "Well then you're gonna have to go through me!" She took a swipe at the blaster but missed it in her raging blow.

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Targette's eyes widen at the sight of Moira's rage, but a moment later she practically bares her teeth as her eyes flare yellow in a sudden, malignant glow! As she does so, Moira can feel that same glow inside her head, a flash of pure electric pain ripping through her very soul!

Nearby, Sidetrack spits, "You take her, chica!" before leaping nimbly off the bar, landing nimbly on an empty table. "Come out come out wherever you are," she taunts the still-hiding Jack, "before I come out there and beat you!" By way of encouragement, she throws her fist into the wall, the glowing glove on her hand punching right through the wood, leaving behind a deep crater.

By way of response, Jack appears behind her and grabs for her throat, growling menacingly. He misses by inches, but she's distracted enough to turn from smashing up the place to fight him. Heroic, yes. Smart...not so much, Jack thinks as she smiles triumphantly.

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Moira reeled herself back into reality after the worse migraine she had ever felt. She stumbled about for a bit, but finally found her bearings. The woman who caused it was standing there in front of her still holding the gun she had missed before. Moira wondered why she even held the weapon when she could hit people like a freight train with her mind. The effects of the mental pain still playing in her mind clouded her judgement and she tried to grab the weapon again. Like last time she wasn't even nimble enough to touch the gun. She thought about raising her voice again, but her brain hurt too much for that loud of a noise.

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Sidetrack swings and misses at Jack's face, that terrible glowing fist passing within inches of his face. She swears an incredibly inventive swear in reply, growling at him with as much ferocity as he showed her.

Over at the other end of things, Targette grins wickedly, a smile on her face as she laughs silently at the poor battered Moira. She's just raising her pistol when Sidetrack calls, "Corazon! Over here!" Targette shrugs a little, pistol still in hand, and focuses on Jack. Her eyes flare yellow in the same terrible light that she just used on Moira, but now it's Jack whose eyes glow in reply! He staggers, but stays upright, though he's in pain too.

"My brain?! What did you do!" He swings again at Sidetrack, missing by a country mile.

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"Jack," Moira screamed in horror as if they had hurt someone she had known the forever. Fully back in control of herself, but a little worse for the wear, she shifted behind the woman with the glowing brain. "Maybe this calls for a little less finesse," she growled at her target. Trying to grab her target's head was a little tougher than she thought.

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