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Interceptors - Setting up shop (IC)


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It hadn't only been long since the team became "official", but Kristian was already hard at work putting his own personal touch on the place. After the declaration of intent to form a heroic team, the group had toured their new headquarters, both above and below ground.

The Underground, as it had been dubbed, was just his style. He learned the layout of the subterranean complex quickly, and the artificial intelligence Vince was very helpful, if not a bit flippant in his explanations. Kristian withdrew his "hero gear" from his duffel bag and stashed it all away in one of the empty storerooms and made his way up to the brownstone via the secret stairway in the living room.

Kris called dibs on one of the rooms on the third floor facing the terrace and garden. His possessions were meager, and most of it was stowed in the Underground, anyway. The room was spartan, but much more comfortable than he was used to. When Lynn had told him the third floor rooms were small, he was expecting something like the single room that he and the other Shadow Academy cadets, Omega team, had shared. Apparently, they had different definitions of the word. And it was much better than sleeping on rooftops and parking garages.

Using his "signing bonus", the young man spared no expense for his second phase of preparation. He had purchased a number of power tools and a workbench and went to work setting up a little workshop in the storeroom where he kept his armored jumpsuit and utility belt.

Which paved the way for his third and final phase of preparation: improve upon his skills and use the resources now at his disposal to make a serious effort at a war on crime.

November 5, 2009

A string of expletives could barely be heard over the loud and heavy music that echoed against the walls of the Underground's garage. Kris had busted his knuckles open, again, while wrenching on his motorcycle. It wasn't anything serious, really. It didn't even hurt that much, but cursing was like a reflex in this situation, something you were supposed to do when that happened. He stood from where he was squatting next to the Razorcycle and put his scraped-up knuckle to his lips. He tasted grease cut with copper and salt. Imagine that.

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Hearing the commotion, Blink appeared in the room in front of the young hero. She held a small first aid kit, having heard a bang followed by a string of curses. It didn't take a genius to guess the nature of the problem. Even as she appeared, she was opening the kit and pulling out a couple bandages as well as iodine.

With a smile, she crouched down before him and looked at the fingers in his mouth, "is not sanitary to be sticking wounds in mouth. Spit is not good for antiseptic."

As she peeled open a the bandages, she continued, "if using of curses... should be using Russian. Has much more color for cursing on bike."

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He hadn't thought he swore loud enough for anyone to come looking to see if he was alright, but he didn't mind that Nadia came with first-aid kit in hand. No sir, he didn't mind one bit.

Taking his hand from his mouth after she teased him, he returned her smile and held out his hand. "Yeah, you're right. Good thing you're on triage or I might have lost it," he said playfully, his voice soft and humble. He wasn't sure what it was about her, but he felt comfortable in her presence. She was a kindred spirit, and that was something that he knew wasn't going to come up often in the hero biz.

<"And as for my colorful language,"> he spoke in her native tongue, <"the bike doesn't know Russian.">

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Nadia took his hand and looked at it with a knowledgeable eye. Thankfully, he was right it wasn't much, the kind of thing you get when torquing a wrench around in tight spaces. Still, you got into good habits while in the field where things like Cholera and Dysentery were a real fear. It was habit that she intended to stick with no matter where she was.

She gently rubbed some antiseptic into the scrape and bandaged it quickly and efficiently.

"Ono ne dolzhno znat' russkogo, zakljat'ja kak raz to horoshee. Krome togo, on smotrit kak japonskaja mashina. Oni dolzhny znat' dostatochno dlja togo chtoby opasat'sja medved'."

Switching back to English she continued, "is nice looking machine, where are you getting it from?"



Translation: It does not have to know Russian, the curses are just that good. Besides, it looks like a Japanese machine. They should know enough to fear the Bear.

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Colt had never been one for subtlety. He certainly wasn't one for sneaking around in his own home. The two in the garage could her his boots echoing off the metal floors of the underground long before they saw him. "Y'all're causin' a mighty big racket in'ere." He said as he rounded the corner into the garage. Colt wasn't wearing his usual coat or brown pants. He had on a pair of jeans, a belt with a buckle, and a button down shirt. The cowboy hat hadn't left his head, however. In his hands he was carrying a leather wrap which clanked when he walked. It was likely a very portable toolbox.

He took note of the first aid kit and the bandages, then smirked. "Reckon I got just the thing ta take the edge off that there scrape." He strode a few feet over to his own bike. He dropped the leather wrapping on the ground, where sure enough, a wrench spilled out. Colt pressed one of the buttons on the console which opened up a compartment in the seat of the cycle. He withdrew a small bottle and tossed it to Kristian. "Little Whiskey'll clear that right up." Eying Nadia he added, "Got a bottle'a Vodka up in ma room if'n ya prefer."

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Kris could hear the heavy footsteps as he was about to answer Nadia's question. Looking over his shoulder he saw the cowboy strolling up in... normal clothes?!

"Y'all're causin' a mighty big racket in'ere." He said as he rounded the corner into the garage. He took note of the first aid kit and the bandages, then smirked. "Reckon I got just the thing ta take the edge off that there scrape." He strode a few feet over to his own bike. He dropped the leather wrapping on the ground, where sure enough, a wrench spilled out. Colt pressed one of the buttons on the console which opened up a compartment in the seat of the cycle. He withdrew a small bottle and tossed it to Kristian. "Little Whiskey'll clear that right up."

"Looking sharp, Two-Gun Kid," he commented as he caught the bottle of whiskey with his good hand. He unscrewed the cap and took a deep pull, the liquid fire running down his throat and warming his core. "Much appreciated, Billy," he said as he passed the bottle to Nadia. "That's your whip right there?" he asked, nodding towards the anime space-bike that Colt took the bottle of liquor from.

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There was a small whoosh of air, a blur then All-Star appeared before them, looking worse for wear. "So this is where everyone is?" he asked. The skin beneath a hole in his costume, was puckered and pink as if it had just healed from a burn. The frayed edges of his cape, settled as he decelerated. A thin stream of dried blood tracked down his lip, but his eyes were bright, and his mouth split into a big grin. "Hey stop whatever your doing and check this out. Vince TV channel 11."

When he spoke a small flat screen monitor descended from the ceiling and turned on. On the screen a massive mechanical rampaged through the streets of downtown, crushing anything in its way. As they watched the spider dueled with a flying blue and white blur the two objects exchanging blasts of energy. "That's me," he said exuberantly. The blur smashed into the robotic form again and again, sending large pieces of the robot flying. "Pretty cool huh? I bet this makes the eight-o-clock news".

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"Damn, are you ok?" he asked when the blur settled into a steady image, a battered All-Star. Kris watched the television monitor with the others, watching his teammate pound away at the spider-mech.

Impressed with the display, Kristian said "You know what they say, 'If brute force isn't working, you're not using enough'."

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Nadia shoot her head and looked too the first aid kit in her hands. She was going to be busy here that was for certain. With a sigh, she took a drink from the offered whiskey before screwing the top on. As Colt had guessed, she would have preferred the Vodka but that would have required a trip up. The other was right here, and if not quite as good, was certainly adequate for sharing with... friends?

She got up smoothly, walking over to All Star, "let us be seeing to those."

Then as the video footage played she inspected some of the more egregious of his wounds, "you are not being required to move in front of every punch. This is true, no? Or is some kind of code for heroes in this place?"

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All-Star put his hands on his hips. "That's what my coach always told me. Who needs fancy plans? Hit things until they stop moving." He shrugged at Blink's comments. "No, but it looks good for the cameras. You ever seen a good action movie where the hero comes out unscathed? You gotta sell the danger. Besides you should have seen the other guy." He finally stopped and looked around, at the group.

"What the heck is going on here? Someone get injured?" He saw Blink approaching with the first aid kit and put his hands up. "Naw, I don't need that. My body heals pretty quickly when I'm not fighting." Then he stopped and stroked his chin. "But if you just want to touch me, go ahead. I wont tell."

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A series of progressively louder clangs and thumps preceded a fuming Eric as he lugged the mangled remains of a bicycle through the underground base to the garage. With a grunt, he tossed the twisted frame to the floor. Large portions of the tubing had been flattened and the spokes of the front wheel had been snapped in several places. Jack's clothes were dirty and drenched along his right side, and he flicked his wet sleeve in annoyance.

The young man let out a sound that was part groan and part scream. "Nrrgh! So, I'm riding downtown, just trying to get some stuff done," he vented exasperatedly, "when some maldito idiot starts throwing chunks of giant robot all over the place. So, first off, y'know, what, right?" He threw his hands into the air and continued his ranting. "But more importantly, who does that? I was like, two city blocks away, and there's scrap falling on my head! I felt like Endor at the end of Jedi." Jack gestured with his thumb and forefinger. "I was this close to getting pancaked. Ended up in a flippin' puddle, and my bike got..." Struggling to find words strong enough, the frustrated swashbuckler settled on another groan. Jack leaned against the garage wall and let out a long breath. He blinked as he realized just how many people were in the room and allowed his disgruntled brain to process as he blew a dripping lock of hair out of his eyes. "Huh, garage party. What happened to you?" he added, glancing at the jubilant All-Star with a raised eyebrow.

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"Damn, are you ok?"

"Mentally? Or physically?" Colt asked under his breath.

As the tv replayed the scene of All-Star's battle, Colt accepted the whiskey bottle from Nadia, replaced it in it's hatch and set to working on his bike. A few turns of the wrench later, and the newscast was over. It was no secret what All-Star's powers were. Colt didn't need a refresher course. "Yaknow, All-Star," Colt said, sitting back on his haunches, and dropping a wrench to the ground with a clatter, "I reckon the day's gonna come when we have ta fight somethin' that's got a brain in it's head. Soon as we do, it's gon' know all 'bout you. You ain't got nothin' ta hide, which is fine. But you ain't got no ace up yer sleeve neither."

Colt kneeled on one knee, and used a rag to clean out some of the parts on the inside of the bike. When Jack entered the room, and he heard the story, he simply shook his head and quietly said, "Hoo boy, here we go..."

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Nadia looked at All Star trying to find veiled insult in the comment. However, it seemed to be simple male machismo, something that she had seen plenty of in her years in the military. It wouldn't be the first time that a comrade made some kind of comment to her, and she doubted it would be the last. Comments were fine, however, the last soldier that had tried to follow up his jibes with a little physical comedy had ended up in the infirmary for the better part of a month. Of course, with this team, that sort of example might be easier said than done.

"Am thinking will take a pass, are not invulnerable enough to handle it," she said in a deadpan voice to All Star.

As she was replying, Jack came staggering in pushing his wrecked bike before him. It was becoming an emergency room it seemed.

"Is not good that team is getting pummeled already," she said heading to Jack. "Letting me be seeing those if it is pleasing."

She had reached Jack and the wrecked bike when Colt spoke up. It was an interesting assessment and she wondered how many aces the cowboy had up his own sleeve. Certainly All Star had power in abundance, she would have to study him and look for weaknesses later. While it was information that would likely never be used, she tried to make sure she was prepared for anything. As she mussed over those thoughts, she began to inspect Jack for the worst of his cuts and wounds.

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Grim pokes her head into the garage, shaking her head in disbelief.

"How can the whole team be in here? You guys better hope Velo doesn't have class today, or else the West End is screwed if anything happens."

The young heroine enters the room, drops down by Colt’s side and rests her head against his shoulder; she’s wearing a gray sleeveless hooded pullover, olive drab cargo shorts and scuffed-up sneakers. Catching sight of Jack's disheveled state, her eyebrows go up.

"What happened to you, hon, get hit by a bus?"

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Colt leaned back out from the motorcycle into a crouch again. Though now he was more balanced over his center of gravity. When Grim entered the room, he smiled. His eyes followed her as she crossed the room and sat next to him.

"Hey," Was all the verbal greeting he gave her as she rested her head on his shoulder. He followed the greeting by craning his neck over to lay a kiss on the top of her head. Anyone not devoting their entire attention to the would-be scuffle about to break out may have been surprised at hearing, "Hey," instead of, "Howdy," but the difference was rather subtle.

Colt was never one for beating around the bush. He knew how to withhold information when he thought it was advantageous, but he also knew how to lay it down when the information was sure to provoke reactions and get things moving. Colt used a new rag to wipe some of the grease from his hands as he said, "Reckon it seems Jack here had the misfortune'a seein' the collateral damage'a All-Star's fight first hand," he paused and turned to look at Grim, "As it fell on his head, no less." If he was going to have to work with this group. If this team was going to hold together, he would need to know how each of its members reacted in certain situations. If he couldn't trust these two not to be at each other's throats, if provoked by nothing more than their own respective personalities, he would rather know about it now, than find out about it in a situation he couldn't control.

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All-Star chuckled when Blink declined. "Ha, ok. Your loss." He turned to Colt. "Yeah maybe, then again you can plan for a hurricane all you want but its still gonna tear your house apart." He stopped talking when he saw Jack bring his bike into the shop. "End TV Vince. Come on Colt, lets not jump to conclusions here. That could have been anyone fighting a giant Robot downtown," he said spreading his hands helplessly. Then he laughed at his own joke. "Alright, maybe that was me." He blew air out and rubbed the back of his head. "I guess I owe you a bike?"

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Kris flexed his bandaged hand and thanked Nadia. "That's a good field dressing."

Turning his attention to what may possibly break out into a fight between the "personalities" of the team, he spoke up. "Look, I'm sure I can fix your bike up for you, Jack. I just brought in some metal-working equipment," he jerked a thumb towards the converted workshop down the hall. "I can sand and weld that frame and get it back together in a day or so. Slap some new paint on it, and you should be back in business. Which reminds me, you guys wanna see the new addition?" He walked over to his motorcycle and turned off the jambox that sat on the ground next to it.

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Jack studiously avoided glancing over at the slight display of affection between Lynn and Colt as Nadia looked over what amounted to a few scrapes and bruises. He wasn't sure how obvious the pair wanted to be to the rest of the team, but the swordsman did live across the way from the more outgoing of the team's shapeshifters, and even with the shared bathroom in the way the walls weren't that thick. Considering that his nearest relevant experience was a perhaps overprotective attitude towards his sister concerning any potential suitors, Jack had been giving them as much space as he could without it being overtly awkward.

The momentary reflection took the some of the wind out of his sails, but All-Star's flippant attitude put it right back in. Jack made an inarticulate sound of frustration. "Are you the last survivor of the Planet Stupid? Is that your secret origin? My head, man!" He pointed emphatically to the body part in question. "It's not even the bike. Seriously, it was ten bucks at a garage sale, and thanks to all this," he said gesturing to the underground base all around them, "I find myself in the wholly unfamiliar position of actually being able to afford to replace it. The point is that not everybody is a trained acrobat who can sense the residual plasma blast on a chunk of giant robot before it rearranges their face! Most people? The word of the day is 'squished'." As he spoke, Jack flipped his lighter out of his pocket and quickly formed a fiery sword. Using the blade's heat to dry off his clothes, he used his free hand to jab an accusatory finger at the slightly battered powerhouse. "You got so lucky today."

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All-Star's bright grin dimmed to a thin lipped smile. "Pfft," he shook his head. "Oh yeah?" He hovered closer. "I'm sorry about the bike, but you didn't get hurt. So what are you crying about?" What was this guy's problem again? And to think All-Star had started to feel sorry for him. "Wait aren't you that guy from the Carnival? As uptight as ever. You better watch how you talk to me."

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Nadia had been checking the scrapes and cuts on Jack. It was as he said, nothing too serious and what she would have expected from someone falling or leaping off their bike. Regardless, she had seen lesser wounds go septic and it didn't take much to clean and bandage them. As she did she listened to the interplay between her new team mates and considered how the tone had turned. Blowing off steam and butting heads was something that wasn't all together foreign to her. However, it also was good to know what people's limits were.

Quietly, yet with a firm voice that was used to command, she said, "or would be doing what?"

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The verbal exchange between Marcus and Jack was getting heated right as Kristian turned the music off. His eyes darted between the two, assessing the situation. When Jack pulled out his lighter and a blade of flame formed in his hand and Marcus boldly replied to the swashbucklers finger-jabbing he walked in between the two and stood, not looking at either of them. Just standing there, staring at a spot on the far wall, focusing himself. He wouldn't stop a fight, but he would offer a suitable reason not to start a fight.

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Jack glanced from All-Star to Kris as the younger man positioned himself between the arguing teammates. Deliberately taking another few passes over his wet clothes with his fiery sword, Jack casually opened his hand and let the flames dissipate into the air. "No worries, Kris," he said with a grateful nod to Nadia as she finished seeing to his scrapes."Some of us are familiar with the concept of self-control." He considered pressing the point, but trying to explain responsible behaviour to Marcus was like smashing one's head into a brick wall repeatedly; it just wasn't likely to get one anywhere. Jack consoled himself with the knowledge that it only took a pound of pressure for a rapier to piece a normal person's flesh, and though All-Star wasn't a normal person, Jack didn't use normal swords, either. "So, you set up a workshop, huh? I was wondering where you got all those wonderful toys," he changed the subject.

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All-Star settled himself on the ground in in between the group and their destination so that they would have to walk around him to pass. "Or, lady." he said as he crossed his arms. "If he threatens me again he is going to need more than whats in that kit." He looked them all in the eye. "Lets get something straight right now. I'm not some trained monkey you can kick around. I'm a part of this team. I've been ignoring the sniping since I first got here, I took it in good humor but don't think for one flipping minute you are going to be calling me stupid. And don't even think you're going to be sitting around judging me cause I don't act like you. I'm not going anywhere, so you better get used to me." He looked from each one then his vision settled on Jack. "So if you got a problem with me lets settle this right now. You can say what you gotta say. Or we can go a couple rounds in the trianing room. Either way works for me. But we are not having this discussion again".

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Jack stepped around All-Star without acknowledging the presence of the larger man in the slightest. "I've been thinking about getting some sort of grapple-type deal myself," he continued speaking to Kris. "Something to make street-to-rooftop commute a little easier. Don't really know where you go to get something like that, though." Hands in his pockets, Jack's posture was relaxed and his tone airy. Having let the previous matter drop, he wasn't going to let Marcus bait him into a confrontation so easily. Of course, if being ignored pushed the the big man's buttons even more... well, Jack was alright with that, too.

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All-Star watched JAck walk around him with amusement. "Thats right," he said. "You walk away." His voice rose enough so they would be heard as they fired at Jack's back. "I want you to remember this. This day. This moment. Remember I gave you a chance to square this. You walked away. Whatever happens after this, is in your hands. I just hope you have more courage when our lives are on the line." He was about to go change his ragged costume when he stopped and reveresed. He quickly caught up to Christian. "Yeah lets all go look at those additions. As a Team." If anyone thought they were gonna box him out of this team they were sorely mistaken.

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