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The Eagle has Landed (IC)

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The big engines of the double propeller plane roared and thrummed outside the steel shell that was all that protected Sam and his pet from a 2000 foot drop. He was lucky that would be all. This plane was flying under the radar to avoid detection as it flew into Feedom City's outskirts. Nearby, Snow, Sam's pet Stellar's Sea Eagle gave a soft squawk. The flight had been a long one, and it was starting to wear on the cooped up bird. A ten foot wing span, and a 4 foot hole behind a box in a cargo plane did not a happy bird make.

Quiet now, Snow. Not much longer. You'll soon have a chance to stretch your wings. And a soldier to take that frustration out on.

Sam sent the thoughts over his mental link with the bird. It turned it's head, and blinked at him twice. Though the two shared a special mental connection, Snow was still just a bird, and a bird's thoughts were simple.


Came her gleeful response.

Though the plane had stopped to refuel in California, Sam had not dared disembark even for a minute. Any chance that the plane would take off without him meant he might lose his quarry for good, and that made it a chance he was not willing to take. Despite the single stop, the dark corner of the cargo plane they were in, and the intense thrumming of the engines which were not muffled due to the plane lacking the intense cabin pressure of most commercial airlines, the hours began to bleed together for Sam and his pet. Hours. Days. Asleep. Awake. He was beginning to lose track.

Suddenly the plane lurched. They were descending. How long had it been? Had they arrived? Had the United States Air force found them? Were they being grounded? Would he be charged as an accomplice? He chanced being seen and pulled himself into a crouching position. Peering through one of the glass windows on the cargo plane he saw lights in the distance. Freedom City. Their final destination. They were headed south by southwest, ready to make a sharp bank and land facing northward on a small airstrip in the forests just past Freedom City correctional facility.

Sam pulled the rifle from his back. He ejected the clip, emptied the chambered round, and checked the capacity. He'd used a lot of bullets to even achieve this hiding place in the first place. He started feeding ammunition into the clip. He could barely hear the soft "snick" each bullet made as he slipped it along the metal into the clip. The repeated sound, and the motion relaxed him. Soon, he'd surprise the Russian mobsters in the plane, and those on the ground as well. It was the calm before the storm, and boy what a storm it would be.

Little did Sam know that he too was in for a surprise. Three of Freedom Cities heroes had been made aware of the arms deal in progress, they were on site at the airstrip as well, just waiting for the last plane to arrive, and the opportune moment to interfere...

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Wharton State Forest: Ten Miles West of Freedom City Correctional Facility

A small clearing in the forest had been made. There was a long thin section where all the trees had been cut down, the stumps removed, and the earth smoothed over. It was a makeshift runway for a plane to land on if ever there was one. The amount of corruption alone for a project like this to go unnoticed by park rangers was astonishing. Whoever was running this operation was sure to have very deep pockets.

Two planes had already landed. A third was just touching down. In moments it would be at the end of the runway where a group of men in gray coats unloading the cargo from the previous two planes. Nearby, stood two men in suits, wearing sunglasses at night. The looked to be of Eastern European descent, and had a very 'Secret Service' air about them, complete with small in-ear two way radios protruding from their collars.

Nearby, stood a man in a ratty old sport coat. The elbows were threadbare, and the style had gone out the window ten years ago. He was of average height, and had brown hair with a touch of gray. His eyes darted around nervously, and he seems to shake nervously. "Where is that kid? I told him to be here by now." he muttered nervously to himself.

One of the secret service men approached him. In a thick russian accent he demanded, "Sheepment here. Your buyer noht." The man folded his arms. "You vant cut or noht? Ve must get rest to Boris qweekly. He vill not vait." He poked the shaking man in the chest with a stout finger. "You make deceesion. Now."

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Wisp sat in her nest in a tell tree, double checking the email her mother had sent her, entirely in Russian. "Vicky, one of my old 'coworkers' in the Committee for State Security has recently resurfaced. My contacts believe he will be bringing in at minimum three shipments of weapons for leaders of the Russian Mob. If you can disable them and call in the police, please do. Love, Mom.

Vicky watched the planes come in and the criminal types begin to talk deal. She waited, biding her time for the right moment to strike as the mobsters talked.

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Glowstar was almost enjoying his little walk through the woods outside of the city. He'd been contacted by a fairly shady looking character a few days ago, someone his mother had apparently known back in her prime. The little weasel had wanted to sell Brian some guns; the young man's first inclination had been to turn the guy into the police, but after a moment he had changed his mind and let the arms dealer think that Brian was actually in the market for something substantial. The result had been the location of this meeting, just a short hike from the prison where his father was resting.

Of course, he hadn't wanted to alert the authorities about what was happening -- not just yet, anyway. So he'd overflown the sight and landed a few miles on the other side, trusting in his old Scout skills to lead him there. Now he could see the cleared area through the trees and glimpse the scoundrel, surrounded by big men in suits who positively radiated either Federal Agency or Organized Crime. The young hero hoped it was the former, but had a feeling it was the latter.

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"There! He's there, see?" The shaky man pointed to Glowstar as he emerged from the tree-line. The third plane was just pulling to a stop. The other man in the suit began walking toward Glowstar. He held a finger to his ear briefly before saying, "Good evenink. Please. Come. I can be showing you mechendize."

He led Glowstar back to the gathering. "You're late," his contact growled. "You-" he didn't get the chance to finish the sentence.

"Stopa!" Came a female voice from the first plane. A woman in a red jacket, black leather pants, and a white wool cap stood in the doorway of the cargo plane. "There ees no time for dis talk. Either you make purchase or you leave. Ve are on tight schedule, yes?" She looked at her two agents, "Und you. Qweekly now. Do noht maak me cume out heere again."

"Yes, Ma'am, Natasha!"

"Yes, Ma'am, Natasha!"

She turned, and disappeared within the plane.

The first spoke, looking at Glowstar, "You heard woman. Vhat vill eet be? Automatic? Exploseeve? Artillery? Vee cerry no small arms toonite, gentelmen. You name vepon. Ve have in stok? Ve bring out. You examene sample. You like? You pay. Ve seel units. Feefty vepons or more."

His partner continued, "Ja. Un pricing teers. Two uneets, that van handred. You take at deescount, no?"

At this point, some of the workers had finished their assignments. There were more than a few standing around the stockpile of weapons with their hands on their sidearms. A small group opened one of the crates, drew out a few rifles and began loading them. Another team was already busy unloading the cargo from the third plane. As the conversation continued, it was eerily quiet in the forest.

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Brian tried to keep any reaction off his face but wasn't very successful. The teen had come out here expecting to see some SMGs and machine pistols, maybe some pipe bombs or a couple military rifles from the naval base, with the serial numbers filed off. This was enough to arm a small paramilitary force, and as enticing as the idea of ruling his own country was, Brian was smart enough to learn from his parents' example. That sort of life only ended badly.

The hero coughed into his hand and tried to play it cool, backing towards the cover of the trees. "Hey, man, this is all a little bit much. I just need some bang-bang to keep my boys ahead of the cops and the capes, you know? I don't want to start World War III or anything!"

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Wisp's jaw dropped in shock as she saw Brian walk onto the improvised air-strip and started talking about buying weapons as if he were some gang enrolled punk. Well, at least I know I'll have a hand I know I can count on when things get going, she thought to herself, holding her breath and remaining as still as she could, hidden in her perch.

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This might have been a serious mistake.

At the edge of the airstrip a bit back in the trees, Gossamer was crocuhed behind a fallen treetrunk, peering at the action through binoculars. Since she'd started dating Gregory 'Mad Dog' Matthews, she'd taken a great interest in the criminal underworld of Freedom City, in the hopes of becoming a better crimefighter to work at her boyfriend's side. She'd hit the books and Internet pretty fiercely since the beginning of the year, trying to cram as much knowledge about crime into her head as possible.

And tonight she'd gotten her first real lead! Unfortunatly in her quest to prove to herself she could handle the gritty street stuff, she'd neglected to tell Greg exactly what her plans were for the evening. This is how she ended up alone in the forest on a cold night, wearing the darkest ski clothing she could find, with her five foot long shiny golden braid tucked down inside her jacket and coiled around her torso a few times.

What the hell is that young man doing out there? Oh, I wish I had a parabolic mic, or could at least read lips. At least my Russian's good.

For the moment, she decided to stay put and bide her time, but the minute the lad looked to be in danger, she would move into swift action; she just wasn't sure what said action would be yet.

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The two suits frowned at Glowstar. Just now realizing that he wasn't here for the guns at all. The reached inside their jackets and quickly drew one large pistol with a silencer on it each. Before they could raise their firearms, however, their situation worsened.

"Hey boss!" One of the men near the third stockpile called. "Ve may have problem. Von rifle from box. Is missing."

It is time. Fly, Snow!
Sam directed his pet through their link.

"SCREEE!!!" The eagle's screech broke the silence like it was shattering glass. Nothing but a streak of white and blue, it exited the third plane and flew into the group of the Russians that were guarding the third stockpile of weapons, tearing at the face of one of the men holding rifles. But that wasn't all. Almost unseen due to the distraction, a large man in black, gray, and light red camoflage had rolled from the door of the plane. Crouching, he fired a few shots at the men near the eagle to further disrupt them. None of the bullets hit the men, though it was difficult to say if that was even the intended target, as he also let loose a grenade. It exploded near them, covering the entire group, including the eagle in a deep, obscuring smoke.

"Sheeeet!"The two agents raised their weapons. One fired at the group of guards and the eagle as the smoke began to encompass them. The bullets tore open the chest of another one of the soldiers, "Ah! Motherland!" He quickly fell face first into a cloud of smoke. "Natasha!"The other fired at the man next to the plane, but the shots plunked off the plane nearby.

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Glowstar took another step towards the forest, tensing to jump into the air. The gunfire that tore across the clearing surprised him though, and he instinctively ducked down to avoid it. He took a moment to reflect on how stupid that was and brought his force field up, the red energy bubble crackling in the cool air. He leapt into the air, quickly soaring higher than the treetops before turning to survey the ground. He tried to spot the woman the Russians had been deferring to, but with no luck. Without a better option, he decided to blast one of the suits.

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"Hurk!" was all that escaped the man as he departed the ground in favor of the hard steel of the nearest plane's tail end. A dull thud sounded as a massive man-shaped dent appeared in the metal just before he tumbled onto the ground in a wounded heap... He coughed something up onto the ground, murmuring, "Natasha..." The man was a wreck. There was a cinged hole in his suit at his chest where the blow had connected. His sunglasses were shattered, and barely clinging to his face. It was a wonder the man was even conscious. To his credit, he was a devoted member of their organization. Seemingly he'd never heard the adage about men who run away living to fight another day. He called for his superior once more before retching again.

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Wisp watched as the Russian gun run went to utter bedlam. Taking advantage of the chaos she put forth an effort of will and in a puff of sanguine and ivory smoke she was suddenly next to the second man who tried to shoot her friend. "Ðет, нет, Ñ‚Ñ‹ Ñтого не делают," she growled while throwing a punch directly at his face.

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The man turned just in time to see the teleporter appear behind him. He frowned as soon as he heard the Russian. He knew what it meant, and he knew he wasn't going to like it, "нет!" he exclaimed just before the blow struck his chest. "Huuf!" He too exhaled a lungful of air and went for a wild ride. He flew nearly the opposite direction his friend had. This one landed further north in a pile of crates near the cloud of smoke that had been causing such a great distraction in the area. The pile of crates exploded with a crash, sending bits of wood and metal from the guns they contained scattering everywhere. Two of the smuggler's best agents were nearly down for the count, but there was still no sign of Natasha. The lower ranked soldiers remained holding their rifles, but none of them looked to keen on opposing the heroes after what they'd just seen...

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Why are there so many children in the woods tonight?

Alarmed to see yet another young person enter the fray (even though they both clearly had powers of their own), Gossamer swung into action, quite literally. In a flash, her golden cloud of hair unfurled and formed two thick tentacles that shot up into the nearby trees; with an angry cry, she hoisted herself high into the air in a graceful arc, and at the apogee created a huge pair of shimmering wings. Both fists before her, she aimed herself like an arrow at first of the gun runners, hoping against hope that this would actually work.

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Gossamer's mighty hair assisted leap took her directly toward the main concentration of smugglers that weren't either already beaten up, or covered in smoke. As soon as she landed, they were yelping in fear, not sure what was attacking them. A few fired guns, but her tendrils of hair were able to knock them away harmlessly, and even throw a few punches of her own. By the time she'd downed one or two of the crew, she noticed the rest were too busy dropping their guns and turning their tails to offer much in the way of resistance.

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By this time, the wind through the clearing in the forest swept most of the smoke from the grenade away. As it cleared, the enormous eagle took high into the skies, and it became clear that none of the men within the smoke were still standing. The one with the gunshot wounds lay face down in a pool of his own blood. The others were all writhing in agony with deep gashes on their face, shoulders, and hands from trying to defend themselves from a predator they could not see.

The man in the camouflage rose from his crouched position and began to walk toward the rest of the planes and the rest of the group. He aproached the spot where the first agent had been thrown and knocked silly. As he walked, he expelled the clip from his rifle, and drew another from an ammo pocket on his vest, loading it with practiced ease. He approached the fallen man, and pointed his gun at the man's back, careful not to step in the man's pile of sick. "It is not so wise, I think, that you continue fighting. Surrender, and you vill be treated fairly as prisoner of war." His english was very clear, but there was a definite Russian influence to it.

He turned and addressed the three heroes, "Your assistance is appreciated, comrades. I haff been following these men all the vay from Siberia. As he finished speaking, he lifted his right arm from his rifle, still keeping the muzzle pointed at the man's back. He held his arm outstretched, and the massive eagle descended rapidly, spreading it's wings and flapping at nearly the last second. It came to rest on his arm, and folded its wings.

No kills

"Good girl." He said both aloud and over his mental link with the bird. Lacking a free hand, he drew the eagle in with this right arm, and rubbed his nose in the feathers of her neck. He wore a look of pride on his face. He'd trained her, and she'd done well.

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Glowstar was surprised at the appearance of the other three heroes. He recognized Wisp from school, of course, but the guy with the gun (Very Eighties, man. Very passe.) and the gal with long hair were new ones to him. He hunted around for another target but it seemed like, together, they'd blitzrieged the baddies and not left one standing. Deciding that the fight was pretty much done, he rose even higher above the treeline, gathered his power into himself, and shone it out like a beacon. They were a good ten miles from the prison, but if anyone was watching they might see them and come investigate.

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At the same time that Glowstar's beacon lit the skies, the damaged tail end of the plane above Falconer and the Russian began to glow white. The glow seemed to eminate from a central point, in an "X" like pattern. From there, it extended outward until a square section four to five feet wide on a side was a shimmering white. Then, the tail end of the plane shattered like glass, exploding outward in a shower of frozen steel.

Natasha, the woman they'd seen earlier landed on the ground midway between Falconer and Wisp. Her outfit had changed. She now wore a pair of tall, blue steel boots that glowed white at the bottom. Her arms were covered in blue steel gauntlets. Gone were the leather top and leggings she'd been seen in earlier. Her new outfit sported a breastplate that covered her entire midsection. The red fur-lined, cape remained, however. It billowed out behind her as a freezing cryogenic energy poured from the extremities of the armor.

"I vas hoping to avoid zis eventuality. However, it seems you haff forced my hand," Her accent was just as thick as it had been earlier, "You vill now haff zee pleasure of see vhat it ees zat ve were really transportink. Zees mundane vepons vere mearly to fill ze cargo bays, und mak zee trip vorthwile. Ve only too sree planes because zee containment unti for zees suits is too heavy to load more dan van per plane. Zhats right. Ve haff two more. Und ven ze Russian Mafia has dem, zis ceety will vitness a hell, frozen over!"

"You in de sky!" She pointed toward Glowstar, "Let us zee if my ice can snuff dat ugly light of yours?" Her cape billowed out, and she placed both of her gauntletted hands together. Thrusting them upward toward the sky, she aim a beam of burning cold straight at the luminous hero! "Ð”Ð»Ñ Ð¼Ð°Ñ‚ÐµÑ€Ð¸ РоÑÑии!*"

*For Mother Russia!

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In a mass burst of her multicolored smoke, Wisp shot around the battlefield, delivering a series of painful strikes to Natasha's men while delivering a few more towards the woman in the battlesuit. "Ð’Ñ‹ знаете," Wisp growled in her mother's native Russian before planting a boot in the other woman's stomach, "Ты выбрал неправильный проклÑтый город, чтобы ваш трафик через дерьмо."

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"You in de sky!" She pointed toward Glowstar, "Let us zee if my ice can snuff dat ugly light of yours?"

What a dreadful person! Happy for the aerial distraction (but much less happy that is was a teenager in the Russian criminal's sights), Gossamer sent a wave of her hair snapping in the woman's direction; just before her own blow landed, the young Russian girl worked her teleportation trick again, so that the whip of hair struck mere seconds after her punches fell and she was gone. Estelle sucked cold night air through her teeth; she just missed hitting the poor thing!

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Distracted at the last second by nearly hitting the girl, Gossamer's hair didn't have quite the impact she'd intended. Natasha was able to shrug off the blow with an arm with no problem.

Distraction! Go!
Sam yelled across his mental link with his pet. Immediately the bird took flight and launched itself at Natasha's face. Obscuring her vision, Snow provided him with the perfect distraction. The bird immediately took flight, gaining altitude quickly.

Sam was right behind. Before Natasha knew what was happening, he was crouched in front of her, "Скажите Ðико БеринÑкого Я поздоровалÑÑ.*" He thrust out a leg like he was going to sweep her feet, but pulled it back at the last second. Distracted by trying to avoid his first attack, she never saw his uppercut coming. It struck her straight in the gut, and sent her flying. She struck the tail of the same plane she'd come out of so hard, the remaining steel that was holding it up failed altogether. Natasha and the last fifteen feet of the cargo plane were sent sprawling 20 feet past the plane on the ground. "I have regret doing that. But you will not be hurting any more people tonight. I cannot allow it."

*"Tell Nico Berinsky I said hello."

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Wisp moved quickly up beside the Russian in cryokinetic armor. Focusing the effort of will it would take to carry someone else along on a teleport into her fist as she drove it into the woman's sternum. Natasha rippled for a moment and the red and white smoke billowed around the impact but it didn't seem to have much effect at all besides making a resounding clang and a look of pain on Wisp's face.

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Gossamer raced across the airstrip, her long golden hair billowing behind her like the tail of a comet.

She might not be down yet; who knows what protective properties that technology possesses?

Nimbly jumping over bits of the plane wreckage, she came upon Natasha, raising herself up on one arm.

Can't give her the chance!

Leaping into the air, Estelle brought the full mass of her locks down on the fallen woman with a resounding crash. "Hhhhhhh-yah!"

As she crouched panting on the ground, Gossamer slowly reeled the golden fibers back, revealing the unconscious form of Natasha; several strands checked her pulse at various locations as they passed, and her breathing was regular. Only after she was able to catch her breath did Estelle realize she'd struck a woman who was already down; true, she might have still posed a threat, but her actions were nonetheless telling. She wasn't just some researcher with a bizarre gift anymore; she'd finally become a warrior herself.

"Is everyone...is everyone alright?"

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Sam held his rifle against his chest with the muzzle pointed at the ground like any military professional would be trained to do when not in combat. "Da, I thank you. I have been tracking these criminals for quite some time. Regrettably, I could not stop them before they left our shores." Sam nodded as he turned to the woman with the golden hair. He looked to the skies quickly.

Areal Sit Rep.

Flying one alive. Others approach. Flashing lights.

Very good. Stay Airborne. Circle the area.

Then he turned his gaze toward Gossamer and Wisp once more. "The one in the skies. I assume he is your ally, as the enemy of my enemy is my friend." He gestured to the motionless Natasha with a hand, "Snow, my eagle, has spotted him. She says that he is alive, though it surprises her. She has not seen a man survive such an attack before. Nor have I. It was like blast from tank." A small amount of wonder crept into his voice. "Also, it seems there are others en route. Your police, it is likely, judging by the lights that Snow can see."

Sam stopped talking suddenly and stiffened, "Ah but you must forgive my rudeness." He approached Gossamer further, "It is my training to give a situation report before all other matters. My name is Sam Wolf. Is pleasure to meet you both, Miss...?" He let his question dangle in the air, while offering the hand from the rifle's trigger to shake in a gesture of friendship.

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Glowstar didn't even see the shot come his way. He felt the sudden pressure on his force field and cried out as it flared, filling his world with painfully bright light. There was a sensation of great, rapid movement and he felt a tremendous dizzy spell pass over him. When he came to he was floating -- well, a great deal higher than he had been a moment ago, that was for sure! He could see the city and the forest spreading out beneath him, and just about make out the prison and the clearing where the fight had taken place. He oriented himself on the clearing and started moving straight down, as fast as he could.

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