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Cyroa

Invasion! - Danger Mansion (IC)

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That day started like so many others in Freedom City. The sun was shining, a few light and fluffy clouds in the sky. People went about their business as usual. The day started like any other; but it certainly didn’t stay that way…

The first warning was quiet, subtle even if there wasn’t a lot of lead up time. Seers and psychics, ESPers and precogs felt like someone shoved a hot needle in their brain as the horror of what was coming crashed over them like a tidal wave. They saw the destruction of everything, the death of all life coming. And not just coming eventually; it was standing on their doorstep and knocking. The coming event and the things they saw crushed them and kept them from doing anything but try and pull themselves together.

Elsewhere:

At the base of Centurion’s statue, a young man appeared. He seemed to have arrived in mid-stride. His skins was dark reddish-brown, his eyes were black. Beyond that, he could have been human. He looked around the park, taking everyone in with his contemptuous gaze. He turned and looked up at the symbol for righteousness and all that was good in the city and sneered. He threw his hands forward and massive lances of black flame struck the statue. For an instant the statue held, before breaking off at the knees and falling backward. The tremor from the impacts was felt for hundreds of yards.

Quickly, the broken legs of the statue became darker, an ugly color of stone as they changed. An arc formed, connecting the two towering stone legs. The space between flickered changed and, with a tear that screamed into the horrified citizens, a rent in the fabric of the world opened and filled the space with a gateway. On the other side, waiting, stood rank after rank after rank of nightmares of various shapes and sizes. With a roar and scream, the demonic horde charge through the opening as their summoner leaned against a pillar and smiled coldly.

Everywhere:

Across the city, the sky darkened. This was no eclipse, there were no clouds. It was as if the sun died and went out. While it was dark, a harsh reddish glow filled the city with enough light to see. The gloom of a hellish eternal night settled over the city.

The city itself began to change. Slowly at first, starting in the city center and quickly moving outward. Grass and plants withered and died; just dead husks as the life was drained from them. Roads became pitted and cracked as if they had not been used in ages. There were splits in the earth where magma burst forth, creating new rivers of destructions. Fire burned everywhere; some just springing into being. Even the buildings and landscape were altered. Things twisted and changed; sometimes no longer even recognizable. Everything took on a dark and malicious appearance. Horrific creatures, demons of all shapes and sizes quickly appeared. Some came from the hellish glow in the city center while others came from the numerous small portals that opened everywhere.

A wave of fear, terror, hatred, sadness and hopelessness seemed to engulf the city. People shook in fear, cowered or ran. They knew in their souls the end had come and they were powerless to stop it. Nowhere was safe now. No place was untouched. The world of heroes was over. Suffering and death was all that remained. Freedom City was gone. Hell had come to Earth and it wasn’t going anywhere…

Amidst the darkness, amidst the terrified people, there were those that stood strong. Those who shook off the darkness and rose above it despite how it ate at the center of their being. They could still feel this new city/world trying to tear them down, but they were strong enough to fight through it. The world may have gone to hell, but not everyone was willing to give up and quit. Some were not going to go down without a fight…

Over in the North End, visible for miles around, a pillar of golden-white light rose to pierce the darkness. It shone like a beacon in the tainted city; a sign that not everywhere was changed; not everywhere was Fallen. It called to the hearts and souls of the terrified people. Hope wasn’t completely gone yet.

North Bay: Danger Mansion: Thread

On the North Bay, in a large prime building lot with beach access, a piece of land lay empty and vacant. Or so it seemed to everyone before that day. Only a select few knew that this empty lot actually concealed the estate of Ace Danger.

Those who had been invited would drive into the deserted lot and it would suddenly change before their eyes. There was no a long drive up to large colonial-style mansion. Hedges, topiaries and cultivated landscaping throughout the sizable lawn and gardens were spread out before the visitors.

The mansion itself was sizable, practically reeking of classic old money. Inside was somewhat eclectic. There were tribal decorations from all over the world, animal heads. The general look of the place was dominated by mostly wood construction with leather being the main type of furniture. Despite the size and evident money, the mansion had a ‘homey’ feel to it. Everything was impressive, clean, neat (if somewhat cluttered/eclectic) and definitely expensive looking.

Or at least it used to be…

When the darkness first swept across the city, the building and roads changed, the mansion began to change as well. But activating a defense that he had hoped to never need to use protected the house and grounds. The vacant lot suddenly appeared. A golden-white wall, glowing with power, appeared around the boundaries of the property right down to the water’s edge where the small private beach was. Inside, the feelings of fear and oppression that covered the city were still there but it was at a fraction of the strength. Demons and monsters threw themselves at this golden wall at first but, after the first few were incinerated, the simply waited in growing numbers. While the monsters from hell couldn’t get through, the glowing wall let the citizens and heroes through as if it wasn’t even there.

Now the mansion was much grittier. It was filled with people from all over the city. Some had gotten there themselves. Most had been brought or escorted by the brave heroes willing to risk themselves. People were huddled in groups, tired and scared but safe. More were brought in all the time, though less and less now. Small pigmies, apparently Ace’s staff, now carried bandages, food and water, helping out as best they could.

While the citizens gathered and rested inside the house, the heroes were outside on the grounds. Their clothes showed signs of the battles they had fought. While their bodies had been healed by one method or another, it didn’t help with the exhaustion from so many fights. But they were the defenders of this great city and were far from beaten. There was another battle coming and they would be ready.

The golden border was shrinking. The hordes outside those golden walls were growing in number. It would only be a matter of time until those walls were pushed back all the way to the house or weakened enough to allow the demons entry. For now, the heroes and the people they protected were safe. For now.

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As the wounded and frightened populace and their defenders arrived Ace quickly set about making sure the most gravely injured were taken to the infirmarey the rest he made sure were treated in place. He'd had this system put in after Hades invasion several years ago but he didn't know how long it could hold out against this kind of threat. Hopefully it woul hold long enough for Eldritch or Phantom to stop it.

His comlink and phones kept him in contact with associates all over the city, he only hoped they could hold out and try and direct what resources were available to his camrades.

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Stesha gravitated to the manor early on in the invasion. She hadn't known where to go or what to do, so she'd headed for the light, and been glad to find a friend. When she'd learned that the manor was a safe place, at least for the moment, she'd started helping to ferry people in from the areas closest to the invasion, sometimes snapping them up without so much as a by-your-leave when the demons were getting especially close. She'd never used her powers so much or so broadly before, and within a few hours, her head was aching from the strain. There wasn't time to stop, though.

Between her efforts and those of other heroes, the manor began to fill up with people, many of them injured, and lots of small children. Stesha turned her attention there, getting those too wounded for the infirmary packed off to the hospitals furthest away from the epicenter, especially the Catholic hospitals near the suburbs. No place would be safe if they lost, but at least she felt like she was buying them some time. She used most of her supply of medicinal herbs on a few grievously wounded people who'd been pulled in from Riverside. They'd gotten better, at least.

As the fighting went on, it became impossible not to notice that the beacon in the sky was starting to dim, pounded by countless demon hands. They couldn't go on like this indefinitely. Stesha went to find Ace. "What can I do?" she asked anxiously. "We've moved most of the wounded who need it, but how long are we going to be safe here?"

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Ace shook his head and shrugged, "I'm not sure how long it'll last." He said quietly not wanting to panic anyone, "It was originally desighned to protect against another Hades invasion, Phantom was able to pass warning along that something like this might happen so I had it retooled but this is way beyond what the spell was designed for." He didn't sugar coat it at all.

"Our best hope is that Phantom or Eldritch can get this thing closed before we are out of time." He glanced around at the refugees he had taken in, "I have some more standard defenses available, and weapons if it comes to that." They both knew that kind of last stand would be near hopeless but there wasn't really another option.

"If it gets bad I've had the children moved to the third floor west wing." His intention was clear, if she pushed herself she coudl probably get all the children at least out and maybe evade the demons long enough, hopefully it wouldn't come to that, there were more refugees but also more Heroes incoming. It might just be enough to hold back the hordes long enough, it was a a matter of holding out long enough there wasn't anything they could do to end this that was in the hands of others.

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Dark Star was tired. Very tired. The amount of energy expended so far...he couldn't even fathom how much. It wasn't enough. He was failing. People were still in danger, hurting, dying. No matter how hard he tried, he was failing. It was getting a little hard to focus, to concentrate, he was so tired. His white glowing eyes were not quite as bright as they usually were, showing how much energy he'd been expending. Blazing white was now more of a faded and dull grey. Not that most people would realize it. Otherwise, he looked like he always did.

All larger grops of citizens had been save and crowded in the Mansion by now. But who knew how many smaller groups were still hidding out there, trying to avoid the demonic hordes? Despite the massive size of the mansion and the space it had, they had filled it quite quickly. Dark Star shook his head. They had to find more space. He had to go back out there, to keep looking, to find anyone still alive. Every time he was out there, he found a few more. That's all he'd been doing, ferrying groups of people since it started, besides the occassional strafing run to help out other groups of heroes.

Dark Star flew back through the light wall, it let him past without incident. He quickly outraced the demons that flew after him. He moved to the mansion, gently releasing the people he had been carrying. "You're safe here. Head inside and rest. We'll take care of these things." He was confident they would prevail. Good would overcome. Even though things were looking rather dark and he was feeling so tired. But he held to his beliefs as he glanced around.

He floated over to Ace and Stesha. He longed to take his girlfriend in his arms. To take a few minutes to himself and hold her. But if he changed now, he doubted he'd be able to stay conscious. He settled for using a little wisp of power to brush her green locks to one side. "I'm heading back out again in a moment. The city is almost completely overrun at this point. I can't get too close to the center of this, I get stuck in some kind of time dilation and slowed down from returning here. Last time I checked Avenger, Phantom, Atlas and another were fight a truly sizable group. Some kind of distraction they said. I don't have a clue if it was working. But they can't stay out there by themselves for long." Not and survive, he thought to himself grimly. "I'll keep looking for people but there aren't many left. And some are...changing. Ill see if I can can get to Avenger, Phantom and the others. Bring them back here if it looks bad. If anyone has a plan, I would love to hear it. I just don't know what else to do."

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Stesha gave Dark Star a tired smile as his power whispered over the tendrils of hair that had fallen from her long braid over hours of work. "Reinforcements are coming," she maintained earnestly, "we just have to hold out long enough for them to get here, and they'll find a way. The Freedom League won't give up on Freedom City. You should stay here for awhile," she told him, "get some of your strength back. We might need you here, very badly, if it comes to a fight. There are a lot of vulnerable people packed into a small space here, and the demons are already at the door. Phantom knows where we are, she can get all of them safely here."

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Yuki emerged from the mansion. She was still stumbling. Stumbling, but alive. Yay.

"You know, an aspirin the size of Texas would really hit the spot right now." Her voice, for any who met her before, was missing it's usual youthful exuberance. Dispair was obviously kicking in, yet she was bravely fighting it. Walking over to two light posts, she sprayed Psychic webbing to the point that she created a hammock, la6ying on it and allowing it to swing like a cradle. "You guys want a bed too? It's quite comfortable and beats sitting on the ground."

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Ace put on a brave smile about the inevitable rescue at the hands of the league or other heroes. He'd been trying to contact anyone outside the city since this began and had no response, the league woudl try certainly but the only thing they could rely on here was eachother.

"I'm sure they'll make every effort." He said, "None the less we best be prepared to handle what we can on our own, after all don't want to leave all the glory to the League."

He left Dark Star and fleur to have what privacy the gardens coudl afford approaching the young heroine Tarantula. "Hopefully the rest does you well, we'll need you once again before the day is through." He had heard of her daring exploits at the Archetech building.

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"Don't remind me."

Her body's weariness increased tenfold due to his statement. It was both depressing AND annoying. Right now, despite her amazing abilities, she'd give her left leg for the ability to slow or stop time. That way she could sleep...

But sleeping won't allow her to get in contact with her mom.

Yuki became desperate to get that particula thouhtline out her head. "What are those things? Anybody else make it?"

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Dark Star shook his head slowly. "There might be others still out there in need of help. Someone needs to keep looking for them. I'm mostly immune to their attack as few can even touch me; it makes sense that I should be the one going." Of course, he'd be volunteering to go even if ever demon out there could hurt him. He just couldn't sit by if there was somethign he could do to help. "And if Phantom's hurt, they might have trouble getting here. I have to go." And given that the demonic hordes had to hate her more than most, she was likely a major target for them. "But I'll be back. When Ace's wall starts getting weaker, I'll stay. But it should hold for a little longer at least. It doesn't take me long to to fly throughs of the city."

He smiled internally as Ace gave them what little privacy was available. "If it comes to it, take everyone you can into your plants for safety. Hide and keep moving. We'll buy you whatever time you need." He believed they would win in the end, triumph over evil. But that didn't mean the worst had already come to pass. He loved her more than anything but he knew she wasn't exactly a heavy combatant. "If or when it does go down... Just...just make sure you watch yourself ok?" The thought of of failing to defend her, to not be there for her, her being hurt was more than he thought he could bear. "I won't be gone long. I love you."

He turned to Ace and Tarantula. "I can take care of any injuries you have before I go. Ace, if you have weapons or armorments, it would probably be wise to break them out if you haven't already. Either for the heroes who need something extra. Or even any citizens who can or will fight." He sighed. "I'll be back in fifteen or twenty minutes. If it looks like it's going to fall before then, call me. I'll be here."

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Stesha bit her lip, struggling with the impulse to ask him to stay. She'd taken off the domino mask that went with her costume hours ago, so it was easy to watch the emotions playing over her face. He was so tired, and things were only getting worse out there. If he was here, at least he'd be safe as long as there was any safety to be had. And maybe it was partly selfish desire too, to have him here with her, no matter what was going to happen. But that wasn't who he was.

"We'll hold down the fort here," she told him instead. "Just stay in touch, and come back soon. If something happens and I have to go, I'll leave a message for you so that you can find us." She pressed her lips to her own hand, then lifted her fingers to where his cheek would be. "Be safe out there. I love you." Turning, she hurried away towards the back of the house, before she choked up or anything else unheroic.

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Yuki eyes closed and they threatened to seal themselves up. Someone was willing to still go out there and help.... she wish she was that powerful. She waved off at Darkstar as he stated his intentions, awkwardly cutting into the semi-tender moment between him and fluer.

"Don't worry about us. I, for one, have not yet begun to insult or piss off the opposition.... just come back soon. If those demons breech, I'll need 'someone' to scrape my pulverized body off the walls..."

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Ionica

It had been a tough battle for Ionica so far. First she had helped carry a filled train wagon to the Danger Mansion and after that she had helped with the defense. In the brief pause in the fighting, the simple girl had then gone inside, to check on all of the civilians, making sure they were all okay, healing those who were in need.

Her outfit was torn in places and if she was anyone else, she would most likely have had some injuries, but this was one of the times that being a battery had been an advantage. She was now only a bit exhausted, but her injuries had healed by themselves.

She was floating a few feet above the air, as she met up with the other heroes, apparently missing the tender moment between two of the heroes. "Most seem fine inside, yaknow. A few were hurt, but they should be fine now and stuff. So... What's happening now? Anyone coming to like help us or something? Or what're we gonna do'n'stuff?"

The young woman's glowing red eyes glanced over the rest of the heroes, before she ran a hand through her hair, a strange mix og blue and blonde, waiting for an answer.

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Ace smiled at the fervor in the young heroes, "We are the help." He said with a wink.

Taking a more serious tone for the moment he elaborated, "We know there is a gate in riverside that is the source of the trouble. There is a team trying to get it closed. If they succeed its just cleanup from there, if not we'll find another way."

He hadn't been privy to all of Phantoms plans but he knew enough to know this had gone on long enough that the other teams success was becoming seriously in doubt.

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Ionica looked at Ace and then nodded.

"A gate? So, now we're like trying to close the door? Can't be that difficult, right?"

She shrugged, before her eyes widened slightly.

"Unless it's a very very big gate. Uhm, are there someone strong enough to help them? Yaknow, like if they need someone to close the door and stuff and they're not strong enough and such..."

The young woman frowned at that thought, not really wanting to consider that. If they didn't close that door, they would be stuck here fighting for a very very long time. And she kinda wanted to get back to Claremont so she could watch this week's Idol. No, she really didn't really have time for someone not being strong enough to close the door.

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Idiots! The whole lot of 'em! We told them to follow us, but that-

Oh, stop your Alpha Male posturing; you are not the only one upset by all this!

Doktor Archeville, Tarantula, and several wounded scientists and investors had been one of the last big groups of people to make it to Danger's house. Before explaining anything to Danger -- who seemed to be on top of things anyway -- he set to work tending to all of the wounded. The Mansion's lack of a true infirmary was an impediment, but the German genius was able to make do with watered-down versions of the Manaka Root extract Danger kept for serious injuries. Some time later, Archeville came back up to speak with their host.

"I believe your energies vould best be used in reconnaissance, Herr Star," he said to Dark Star, "or in clearing de vay for Phantom so she can... do... vhatever it is she does. I haff managed to stabilize de vorst cases, und fortunately some of de researchers I brought mit me are medical students. Dey can keep an eye on de vounded so I can come up here und learn more about vhat's going on."

"So, do ve know what dese... creatures vant? Just mindless chaos, or does dere seem to be a pattern to deir attacks?"

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More than anything, at that moment when Stesha spoke, Dark Star wanted to be Derrick. To not be Dark Star for once, and that was not something that happened often. He wanted to take Stesha and hold her. To just be with her. Stars above did he love her. He turned to Ace as Stesha left. "Ace. If something...delays my return, could you take care of her for me? Make sure she's ok. As best you can of course. Just... do what you can," he said softly before bringing himself back to the his duty.

Dark Star nodded to Yuki who he had met only once, many months before. "I'm certain you'll do fine without me. You can handle this. But I'll be back shortly." He glanced at the Doctor and nodded at the genius's words. "I'll do what I can and be back as soon as I'm able. Good luck everyone." With a final glance at Stesha's retreating form, he shot forward through the glowing shield and into the fallen city so fast, he appeared to simply vanish.

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Watching the energy-based hero depart past the protective golden shields from his vantage point of patrolling along the drive-way, Razorwing silently wished the hero luck in his mission. Had he been in better shape than he was, he would have gone with Dark Star, but as he was he was more a hindrance than a help.

Looking through the golden barrier that held the demonic forces from crashing into the last bastion of Freedom City's defense, he couldn't help but feel a sense of survival-horror. It was odd how many times he had stared death in the eyes unblinkingly, yet the hellish invading force he saw before him caused him to shake in his boots. They clawed and gnawed and barked curses unfit for mortal ears, but he stood his ground and continued his patrol of the perimeter and points of interest.

His thoughts brought him back to earlier in the invasion, when the Interceptors hoped to aid the West End in defending against the infernal assault, but he put those thoughts out of his head as quickly as they came to him. Now wasn't the time for retrospection, but for assessing the situation.

The golden field of energy that warded the demonic horde from "home plate" had been weakening, fading, it's original luster dimming into a brassy tinge.

If we can't hold this position, we're done.

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Yuki wathed as DS flew away. There was still a long fight ahead. Se can't rest. She slowly sat up. "I'm going on patrol. Anybody want to lay here, be my guess. Last I checked, I was cootie free!"

With that, she bouced off the web hammock and web slung around the house.

Eventually she snuckup on Razor (by dropping from a tree in his patrol route and hanging upside down from a webline. "Penny for your thoughts?"

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Looking up at the web-descended heroine, Razorwing rubbed the back of his neck, working the tension of the day out as best he could. "It's been Hell out there," he remarked as he returned his gaze to the scene outside.

"How've you been holding up, Tarantula?" His voice was like a heavy heel on loose gravel, but there was a true sense of worry for the spider girl in his voice.

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"Well, I've been in worse warzones. Then I woke up." She also looked at the shield. "Hey look at it this way. If screw ups like us made it, then the heavy hitters should be okay, right?"

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For a brief moment he thought of what might have befallen other heroes in the battles that raged across Freedom City, he looked back up to the scarlet web-slinger. "I hope so. I don't know the headcount of Freedom's hero community, but there aren't that many of us that are here."

Thinking that this wasn't the time to chastise an ally for calling him a "screw up", he turned the comment back around on her in hopes of boosting her morale.

"And we're the ones that made it, so we're the ones that knew to take the initiative and bunker down behind cover. Whoever is still out there is either really crazy or really bold."

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Yuki chuckled. God, it felt good. "Didn't you hear? Insanity is a prerequisite of being a hero!"

She was still staring at the shield. "...seriously, I'm worried. Even if we win, how will this city be the same? I mean, it took two years to rebuild after the Terminus invasion... and now this. Doesn't the Freedom league have an... anti demon invasion thingie?"

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"You'd figure that's something they'd have covered," he said with a slight chuckle towards the end, "but then again, that could be too optimistic."

He had been scanning emergency services radio bands since the invasion, but there was nothing of any benefit that he could gain from the transmissions. But that didn't keep him from making routine scans.

With a grave tone in his voice, Razorwing asked his fellow survivor, "Where were you when it happened?"

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He had to remind her. Her homework, book bag and school supplies are probably being ravaged by some demon spawn as they speak. Razor didn't need to know 'that'. "You know the Archtech building in Hanover? It was turned into some sort of pyramid out of a cartoon..."

She paused as she thought on the memories. "Dozens of civies and just us five. Me, the doc, some guy who build things... then there was this guy who breathed fire... "

She shook her head. "If it wasn't for Archville, we'd be dead many times over. All I did was distract those things at best. They have no sense of humour."

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