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Technical Difficulties (IC)

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Rachel sat in a dark room with a single lamp light shining on a workbench. The only other light sources in the room were a row of computer monitors displaying a few different scenes. It wasn't a TV or news feed. They were scenes from around Freedom, specifically Hanover. She'd hacked into a few of the security cameras on some of the more important buildings and was simply keeping watch.

"There. Should do." she told herself, as she clicked the last piece of metal into place and screwed it to the rest of the device she had been working on. The basement laboratories at FCU provided a great place for her to work when she was away from her home. She had access to all kinds of resources and technology here. The downside was that she easily lost track of time here. When had she gotten here? How long had she been working? What time was it?

Not too long ago, she had noticed the street lights displayed on some of her monitors come on. That meant it was probably just after dusk. She'd probably been up for about an entire day by this point. She blinked the exhaustion out of her eyes, and shook her head rapidly to rouse herself, "Late. Can test later. Go home. Get sleep. Come back." She began to stand, but her eyes caught some movement on one of the security cameras. A caped figure with white hair floated just beyond the walls of one of the more secure science buildings nearby. As she watched, the figure flew straight through the walls. "Trouble. Looks like." she guessed. Her hands strayed toward her backpack, and she began removing the devices that made up her crime fighting gear. She did so tentatively, hoping she would be able to go home after all.

When the front door to the science facility exploded from it's hinges, she lost all hope of getting a good night's sleep. She froze and watched. The figure emerged through the door, with a large metallic container of some sort floating in front of him. He slowly lifted off into the air, and took off to the west. "Thought so." her eyes narrowed. She pulled on the zipper of her jeans, while simultaneously pulling off her sweatshirt. She stripped rapidly, with the practiced ease of the near professional acrobat she was. When she held one of the devices up to her belly button, it lit up, shot steel bands around her waist, and secured itself as a belt. From the belt, the smooth, tough blue fabric of her costume extended to cover her. Even as she placed small metallic disks against her wrists (which expanded into her gauntlets), the belt itself was retrieving items from the table, placing disks on her feet, and allowing her boots to assemble themselves. Finally, she pulled a small object from her belt and ran it through her hair. In seconds her dark brown hair was bleached blond. The belt placed a disk against her back which formed the bandoleer that held her cloaking device in place. Placing her visor and headset on, she glanced again at the monitors.

"Camera angle. Height of building. Location. Trajectory. Got you." She nearly rushed out the door, but stopped. She turned, lifted the device she'd been working on, and split.


The mystical crook was flying over the buildings of Lantern Hill, when suddenly a large beam of energy exploded out of nowhere, and knocked him from the sky like a jet plane running into a bird. He crashed into a nearby building, and lost control of the metal storage box he'd been levitating.

*BWOooooop* The Device on blushift's back made an awful noise. Her cloaking device had just failed. Initigrating the plasma rifle into her systems must have drained too much power. "No. Oh no." She sputtered. She propped the rifle up on her shoulder, and started jamming at the buttons on her left wrist. It was no good. The cloaking field was shot. It would need to be repaired. "Crap." she looked up to see the mystic thief extracting himself from the building and taking to the air.

*Fzztkt* The rifle on her shoulder sparked, "No." She told it, brandishing the index finger of her free hand at it, "We do not!" but it seemed the rifle was intent on refusing to listen. *BaFAMPT* A small yet crucial part of the device exploded, and tumbled to the ground. She dumped the rifle at her feet and pointed at it. "Bad!" Then glanced up, and saw the the sorcerous thief floating above her.

"Something the matter, Child?" His voice was chilling and cold. He raised both hands, which glowed with strange energies. Two nearby demonic looking gargoyles suddenly shook violently. Not as if they were going to explode. It was not the shaking of an object. It was the shaking of a living creature that was shaking the stiffness from its limbs. The two stone creatures turned to look at the glowing blue heroine standing between them. Their slavering jaws snapped as the sneered hungrily at her. "Bitten off more than you can chew, perhaps?" He laughed. The laugh was even colder than his voice. Rather than filling the skies, his echoing cackle seemed to drain them, expand them, creating a bleak feeling that overcame Blueshift rapidly.

"I...I..." She stuttered. She glanced from the sorcerer to the two nearby gargoyles to the skies above. She suddenly felt very, very lost. She shivered violently. She wasn't cold. Just incredibly terrified. And not of the monsters beside her or the threatening magician. It was the wide open sky that threatened to overcome her. Oh god. Oh god. Ohgod. Ogodogodogod.

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The Gargoyle to her right snapped it's jaws and lunged at her, propelled by the force of it's wings. I drove into her with a powerful upward slice of it's clawed stony fingers! Blueshift was still paralyzed by fear, and blindsided by the attack. Thankfully, though her cloaking device had failed, her force field was holding strong. It managed to deflect most of the blow's force, but the claws still managed to tear at her upper right arm! Blueshift yelped in pain, but held her ground.

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Fenris had been undertaking a fairly quiet patrol of Freedom City. More than anything, he wanted to stretch his legs, see what the armor could do, and start getting a good feel for the layout of the city.

It just so happened that he ran across a young woman being accosted by...a couple of things, and what looked like, perhaps-

'A magic user? Grah! Of course such a person's causing trouble, even here in America.'

Then again, "ran across" is kind of relative when you're about a city block away, on a rooftop. He couldn't hear what was going on, but he could see just fine. And what he saw was more than enough.

"Let's see how those critters like this!"

He raised one arm, and the cannon port on his forearm lit up, before spewing lighting over the whole distance, striking deep and true at the stony creature.

"Ha!"

With a flash, he disappeared from the rooftop. There was a flash at the bottom of the building, followed by another about halfway to the site of the brewing battle. Finally, he appeared about 50 feet away from the fracas, both arms raised, cannons glowing brightly (along with much of the rest of the rather intimidating armor). When the wolf-themed individual spoke, his voice was like a rumbling growl, something a bit less than human, but definitely more than any wolf could ever speak.

"Back away from the lady."

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The stone critters did not, in fact, appreciate his arrival at all. In fact, the one struck by his blast promptly departed (not by his own will)! The stone creature ended up sailing across the adjoining street, and sailed into the same building that Mystic had struck earlier. There were now two holes in the side of the building.

The Sorcerous thief frowned deeply. This new armored figure had hurt his creations. That simply would not stand. "Did you not once stop to consider the situation? Pitiful." The cold slow speech crept like ice underneath Fenris' skin. "The truth of the matter is that I was the one who suffered the first attack. This 'lady' is the aggressor. Hmmm. Strange is your armor. But it matters not." He alighted on the rooftop with the newcomer. Then raised a hand and outstretched it toward Fenris. It glowed, and quickly discharged a pulse of foul purplish energy, striking Fenris dead in the chest.

He then began to fade slightly from view. It would be difficult to pin this spell caster down.

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Unfortunately for Blueshift, things did not ease up. She still hadn't found her ground, or her voice. She was still getting rocked by the demonic looking living statues that hand been animated by the Mystic. The second of the statues leaped toward her. It tried to latch it's jaws onto her shoulder where it met the neck. Thankfully, her force field held strong, and the gargoyle got no purchase.

Finally, shaking her head free of the sudden bout of terror, Blueshift began to put the pieces of what was happening back together.

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Something not unlike a snarl emanates from the armored wolf-man.

"You're a bloody wizard with two demonic-looking sidekicks. You expect me to believe you're sweetness, light, and innocence? You have another thing coming."

He mentally curses as the man fades from sight. At least his armor shrugged off that weird energy.

"I'll keep the one in the wall over there busy, ma'am. Other one's all yours until I'm done."

With that, his left arm rose up and fired another lightning bolt, hopefully hitting the creature's side and further eroding its endurance.

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The blast produced by Fenris' weapons struck home, but the gargoyle managed to shrug it off by bracing itself against the building, which was now showing even more damage.

"Sweetness, light, and innocence?" The Sorcerous thief questioned, "No. I prefer peaches and cream." He faded back into this plane, and took to the air once more. He flew above and behind Fenris. Reaching out with his power, he grabbed hold of the Gargoyle that was still clutching the wall at the other side of the street. He pulled at the gargoyle with all of his arcane might. He pulled it along a path that would lead it straight through where Fenris was standing. The clumsy attack nearly missed, but at the last second, the gargoyle stretched itself out to ensure that Fenris couldn't dodge it. The creature struck his chest plate with a dull "whunk" sound. The gargoyle shook it's head, but seemed little worse for wear after the experience.

His partner was still going toe to toe with Blueshift. It seemed to be having a hard time pinning the heroine down now that she had found her feet once more. Winding up for a massive attack, it swung it's claws through where she had just been standing, only to discover that she'd vaulted him and was now standing behind it. It promptly put a very comically surprised and frustrated look on it's face.

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"I'll keep the one in the wall over there busy, ma'am. Other one's all yours until I'm done."

"You kidding?" She looked back over her shoulder at her new armored companion. She held up her right arm and displayed her gauntlet. An surge of electricity discharged from the tips of the Taser like device. "They're stone. Not conductive." She explained. In reality, she had no way of knowing whether or not creatures like these summoned through magical means were actually made of stone, and were actually resistant to her weapons. "Better plan: I Line them up. You knock them--" *WHUNK* She was cut off as the gargoyle Fenris was facing off against swatted him like a fly.

The armored hero flew a few feet, and skidded to a stop about 50 feet away near the edge of the roof. "Down." She finished her sentence.

Blueshift turned to look at the Mystic and his two companions. "Yea. Not happening. Not without help." She tumbled into a crouch facing her downed companion. Though he was still across the roof, she had a trick up her sleeve that would help. She drew a miniature gun from her belt, took aim, and fired it at Fenris. The gun shot two long wires, not unlike the leads from a normal Taser. This gun however, had been modified. The leads hit, but barely, attaching themselves to his breastplate. She placed the gun against the ground and raised a hand above her head. "Clear!" She brought that hand down, slapping a button on the gun. A quick electrical charge ran through the wires and jumped Fenris' system like a car battery. She turned to look at the creatures looming over her. "That'd better work. Otherwise, I'm screwed."

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Just as she was looking up at the creatures, one of them moved in to strike. It swung it's claws and batted her across the arm. She was lucky enough to have seen it coming, though. She managed to roll with the blow, and came to a standing position nearby feeling no worse for wear.

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"Peaches and cream? That's kind of la-"

Any further words are cut off by the impact of the gargoyle. There's a sharp exhalation of breath, and his body almost immediately goes limp. He's still breathing when he hits the ground, but he's out cold.

At least, he's out until he gets hit with a low-level electrical shock. His suit's systems reboot, and he arches his back while crying out in pain.

"GAH! That hurt, woman!"

He flops back down for a moment, taking several seconds to gather his thoughts and equilibrium as his vision cleared.

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Slow, cold, and calculating, the sorcerous thief moved on to his next target. "And now for you." He raised his hand once more, firing another arcane blast. Blueshift was too fast for him. She rolled the opposite direction she had when struck by the stone abomination. Unfortunately, this put her directly in the path of the Mystic's creature's attack. One of the Gargoyles opened it's mouth and lashed out with an arcing bolt of electricity. The bolt struck Blushift, but only on the thigh. It stung, but thankfully some of her devices absorbed the electrical shock and she remained unhurt.

"GAH! That hurt, woman!"

He's awake. Might win this. she thought as she stared down her aggressors. "Please." She told him, "You liked it."

Stepping to her feet, she used her jets to give her a speed boost. She tumbled around the gargoyle that had not tried to blast her. She didn't want anything to do with that electrical breath. She couldn't have any more of her devices malfunctioning.

Though they were made of stone, she made a feeble attempt at striking the creature after she'd distracted it. Surprisingly, the electricity did something to the creature. Jolted, it seemed to be distracted from the fight momentarily...

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"So now you're an expert on these things? Besides, that shock was too strong overall, yet too muted by the armor, to be "fun", were I into such things. Which I'm not. I'm a more traditional guy. Do like a good brawl, though."

Fenris nimbly got to his feat and took a moment to find the gargoyle creature that both of them had struck. Seeing it, he lifted his right arm and fired off another bolt.

"Eat superheated plasma!"

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The Gargoyle turned and looked up just in time to see the bolt heading straight for him. All he could do was smile devilishly as the charged bolt seemd to practically bounce from his stony flesh without even leaving a mark.

"Pest!" cried the Mystic, "Enough of your meddling!" He turned his attention on Blueshift. "I'll zap you like the bug that you are!" The fell energy shot from his hand passed closely over her head as she ducked into a crouch. "Catch me. That's first!" she returned.

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Coming out of the crouch, she turned to see another one of the stony creatures rushing her. He cried out, gnashing his teeth and snarling. The strange sounds made her jump, and she let out an "Eep!". He quickly swung a claw at her, which she ducked, but all too late, she realized he hadn't meant to hit her with that.

Taking advantage of her momentary distraction, the Gargoyle kept spinning. He brought his large, stony tail around in a circle and whacked Blueshift in the face with it. Her crouched position left her no room to avoid the low strike. She stumbled back a few feet, momentarily dazed, but she rallied and found her feet.

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"So now you're an expert on these things? Besides, that shock was too strong overall, yet too muted by the armor, to be "fun", were I into such things. Which I'm not. I'm a more traditional guy. Do like a good brawl, though."

Damn. He's right. He's got brains. Inside the helmet. Maybe. Still shaking off the tail whip, she fired a retort at her ally, "Brawling requirements: Being IN the fight. Firing upon it? Not the same." She boosted away from the gargoyle that had slapped her with it's tail. Running circles around the one Fenris was firing on once more. "This one. Take him down. Got a plan. Need some time." She somersaulted away from him, and lifted her malfunctioning blaster cannon while she did so. She quickly hopped to a nearby roof and set it on the ground.

The injured gargoyle was having a great deal of difficulty following her motions. When she disengaged him, he shook his head and let her go. Huffing with exertion, he recklessly charged toward Fenris, spreading his arms wide, he brought both of his claws forward trying for a double handed rake. The attack connected, unluckily enough, but it would leave the Gargoyle with no defenses to speak of.

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Fenris let out a great belly laugh, which sounds rather threatening through his vocal filters.

"Ha! In the fight, you say! Watch this!"

While the Gargoyle's claws do indeed hit, they just skitter off of his thick armor. Meanwhile, the lights on his suit shift, his posture changes slightly, and glowing claws spring from his fingertips.

"Always wanted to see what these babies would do to mobile stone. Ha!"

With that, he brings one hand down in a vicious blow upon the creature, hoping to seriously impede its ability to fight.

"Hope your plan involves more than me taking all of them on myself, little lady!"

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Fenris' blow connected savagely. The Gargoyle was sent flying by the powerful mechanical muscles of his suit. It once again crashed head first into the same wall that had received the previous beating. But this time, the wall collapsed, and the gargoyle with it. When some of the dust finally cleared, the two heroes could see it lying unmoving amidst a pile of cubicle dividers and shattered computer monitors

"You dare harm my minions?" They mystics voice had a low, passive, threatening tone to it. "I have ignored you for too long. But no more. Begone with you, I have business that needs attending to." He touched down on the roof again, raised his arm, and fired another glowing bolt at Fenris. This one made impact on his left shoulder. Though he was now within reach, the Mystic once again half faded from view as he toed the line between this dimension and the next.

Snarling at her retreat, the Gargoyle that was still standing gave chase to Blueshift. It lifted off the roof with a great swooping of it's stony bat-like wings. It attempted a dive bomb at her, swinging it's claws at her head as it passed over her. Too far over her, however, as the attack proved an easy one for her to avoid.

Swiveling to face the closer threat, Blueshift kneeled next to her malfunctioning device. She pulled at components, twisted knobs, flipped switches, and ultimately went to town. Finally, she pulled something from her belt, shoved it roughly into an open compartment, slammed a hatch closed, and frowned. There was no response. "Piece of junk. Ashamed I invented this! Work!" She hammered it on one side in frustration. Instantly, several of the lights flickered to life. The device began glowing just like the rest of her suit.

"Hope your plan involves more than me taking all of them on myself, little lady!"

"Don't worry. Plan's solid." She responded as she stood, and hoisted the weapon to her shoulder, "It's a blast. In fact." She grinned at her own awful joke, and began sighting the weapon at the gargoyle near her.

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Fenris studied the mage as he faded from full corporeality. Then, he suddenly turned towards the second gargoyle. There was a flash of light, the sound of air rushing about...

And suddenly, he was next to the gargoyle, his right arm swinging down in a vicious blow intended to incapacitate the beast.

"We take this one out, we can concentrate on Mr. Wizard over there."

His voice was methodical, almost cold.

"Just don't make too big of a blast; I don't want to hurt bystanders."

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Fenris' armored fist connected squarely with the back of the gargoyle's left shoulder. It seemed the monster was made of sterner stuff, however. It barely even registered feeling the hit.

"I find your nicknames to be paltry and amusing," The Mystic spoke in his ice cold voice. He once again entered their plane. Raising his hand, he fired a bolt of dark energy at the man in the lupine armor. The energy crashed against his back like a wave on a rocky shore.

Meanwhile, the gargoyle was continuing his rampage. He took another reckless swipe at Blueshift, but she rolled backward, avoiding the blow just after slapping one last modification onto the energy cannon, then used her momentum to pull it with her.

"Just don't make too big of a blast; I don't want to hurt bystanders."

"No problem. Controlled blast. Single target. Low threat to others." She piped up as she came out of the roll. She rose from the crouch and shouldered the cannon in one fluid motion. However, she didn't anticipate the extra weight of the gun. She was throw off balance, and her following shot, veered off into the night sky. "Clarification. Low threat to others. Only if I hit." her voice soured.

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Fenris's armor shrugged off the blast as the wolf-man turned to face the Mystic.

"I find you name to be dull and unimaginative, and your "magic" to be sub-par."

He actually made air-quotes, even as the lights on his armor shifted, indicating that he was about to-

"See, I can shoot energy bolts, too!"

A blast of supercharged plasma lashed out at the so-called mage.

"Adjust your aim a few degrees down. Pull the trigger after exhaling."

His advice was friendly, rather than condescending.

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The mystic was barely able to open his mouth thinking to offer a retort when the energy bolt struck him dead in the chest. A second later, he was nowhere to be seen, and not because he'd turned invisible. He was out of the park.

"Adjust your aim a few degrees down. Pull the trigger after exhaling."

"Shooting unfamiliar. Good advice." Blueshift leveled the gun once more. Distracted by scoping the gargoyle, she never saw him coming. She took another claw right across the ribs. The blow was strong enough to tear through her suit, knock the wind from her, and send her flying. She crashed into a building with a yelp over 100 yards away.

For a moment, they'd looked golden. Now it seemd it was just Fenris, the stone monster, and a large, powerful looking plasma cannon that had been left on the ground after Blueshift and the Mystic had taken the first flight out of the neighborhood.

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Fenris uttered a Russian curse as he saw the situation get worse. Light flashed as he dashed through the space between space and reappeared next to the gun, scooping it up and quickly aiming at the gargoyle.

"Hope you like it hot."

With that, and a moment of controlled breath, he pulled the trigger, hoping to strike true on this impromptu shot. After releasing the trigger, he called over his shoulder without looking.

"What's your status?"

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The white hot beam of plasma shot from the gun and cinged the very air as it traveled directly towards the last standing Gargoyle. When the blinding flash cleared, the Gargoyle was missing most of it's upper half. The legs that remained dropped to their knees before slumping to the ground.

"What's your status?"

From somewhere far behind him, there came a jostling of debris. "Ow!" Fenris saw Blushift push a large piece of concrete off a pile, revealing her head and shoulders. She was still quite buried, though. "Hurt. Pride mostly. I'll mend. You?"

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There was a flash and a rush of air, and Fenris was suddenly next to blueshift. The plasma gun was carefully placed on the ground nearby, and he was methodically working on digging her out.

"Head's just a touch fuzzy from earlier, but otherwise I'm fine. Looks like the high and mighty mage turned tail and ran. Careful, don't shift there. It'll move more rubble onto you."

He continued digging her out, occasionally using his claws to make the pieces of debris smaller.

"You encounter guys like that a lot in this city?"

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"Wouldn't know." Blueshift responded as she helped move some rubble away from her. "New to the game. Logic dictates such is an impossibility. Counter point: This is Freedom City."

Once all of the debris was off of her, she stood up. She smiled, and looked her impromptu companion up and down. "Thanks." she stated, simply. "Cool suit. Strength enhancers. Protective plating. Sharpened manual weaponry. Ceramic? Steel? Carbon fibrous? Energy projection. Power source: Battery? No. Too draining. Never last. Fusion? Anti-matter?" She paused for a second of speculation. Her left hand went to her mouth, and she unconsciously bit down on the end of her index finger. Her right arm supported her left elbow, and her hips cocked to this side. She looked Fenris up and down. Amazing piece of work. Probably has no idea how it works, she thought to herself. Removing her finger from her mouth, she added, "I like it. I'm Blue. Blueshift." She extended her right hand. "Who made your suit, um...? Name?"

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