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[Time Warp] A Moment in Time (Dragonfly)

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Dragonfly stood, disoriented, in the middle of a street in...where? She blinked, glancing around herself; she was pretty sure she'd just been in her warehouse. Certain in fact, as her mind wasn't in the habit of lying to her outright, which made the asphalt and disreputable-looking shops more than a touch curious. She shook her head, reaching up to pinch her nose...and hitting a faceplate.

right - yes - warehouse - fitting prototype suit She glanced down at herself, frowning at the clearly unfinished armor and exposed wiring of her work-in-progress. odd visual disturbance - spatial rift - feedback? - no - power source connected but insufficient on its own - could alter a rift at best - spontaneous spacetime tear? - very curious - dangerous - location - ?

She glanced around, eyes landing on a street sign. With a street name in.... "....French? France?" she wondered aloud, blinking. space - bearings - okay - did want to visit - priorities - time - night - fall - early fall by temperature - hard to tell - year - ? - always a nearby newspaper in the stories - stereotype never holds up when you need it to

She frowned, cutting off her distracting train of thought - knowing when she was was important, but even without much street smarts to speak of anyone fighting crime for long enough got a feel for the local mood. Something was...wrong. As near as she could tell she was standing in a run-down but still active piece of a large city (pavement - solid - worn - shops active but low-quality - small businesses - housing? - low-rent apartments - phrase - ‘hole in the wall' - high number of alcohol suppliers for a small area): even at this time of night there should have been faint talking, people cleaning, cars, thugs, gangs, people on late night walks, scavenging animals...something. But there wasn't. There was just a suspicious, omnipresent, muffling nothing that set her on edge. The kind of nothing that usually precedes-

Gunshots. A woman in a leather catsuit (catsuit - really?) came running around the corner, limping from a nonfatal but painful-looking leg wound. There was something very, very familiar about the wound, and something even more familiar about the woman, but she couldn't quite place it. Not that she had long to ponder: shortly after the woman came a pair of thugs. And shortly behind them an instantly familiar man, no pondering required.

"Father," she half-whispered, taking half a step back to match. Her mind spun, reeling through too many things at once. what - how - where - what - no - focus - too young - ten - fifteen years? - can't be - has to be - spacetime rift - odds are - what - wait - no - focus focus focus There was still something, eating at the edge of her mind. calm - focus - stay rational - arrange facts - father - France - wish I knew the exact date - woman - protect obvious victim - recognition - who?

As if on cue that woman turned her head to look back at the strange, armored figure in the streets. A pair of dark blue eyes under long blonde hair looked at her with confusion and suddenly Dragonfly knew why she seemed familiar, and what the date was. Those were her eyes. Mara's eyes.

Mara's mother's eyes.

The thugs, and Hallomen, had stopped. She knew why: her father was anything but a risk-taker, and an obviously-armed figure complicated things. He also wasn't one to give up, though, and her long association with the man gave her the insight to practically follow his train of thought word for word: A hero would be too dangerous to tangle with in person, her mother was too dangerous to let free to kill later, and whatever thugs he'd hired for the job were disposable. It was better to see an important assassination done in person, but best to let your temporary henchmen finish off wounded prey and, at worst, slow down your enemies while you made your escape by the fastest means available.

True to form, that's exactly what he did. A quick string of orders (Russian - always preferred Russians for some reason) to make clear that the wounded woman died first and he excused himself, citing having to ‘go get the girl' as he calmly but quickly turned back around the corner, reappearing only as a brief face behind a rolling-up tinted window as he was driven away.

The thugs raised their guns. The world slowed down. Her brain considered the situation from a thousand angles in a thousand fractions of a second, and she had two choices: the tear that brought her here would still be present, a weak point in the fabric of reality that would either heal itself or briefly reopen to reassert the way things should be. Her father was almost certainly on his way to a small flat elsewhere in the city to collect her, the young her, the her so very young as to be defenseless. Her suit - the prototype for her suit - was only just ready for testing fit, much less function: she was pretty sure it would fly faster than the car could drive, and while without most of its plating it wouldn't stand up to small arms fire she suspected she could breach the tear early and use it to escape with her mother.

She was very, very certain that she couldn't do both. So not a choice at all, really.

Usually the world sped back up after she was done analyzing; not today. Some detached part of her watched the goons pull their triggers, even as her mind was calculating, solving, sending information to her suit. The suit, in turn, flared to life - without the plating that would have allowed her to shield her mother from the gunfire, the whole thing came alive, flaring energy that twisted and escaped, rippling through the world as it passed, ghost-like, through the air.

Space tore open again, far more chaotic, tendrils of broken spacetime arcing out toward Dragonfly and her mother. The pair disappeared, and without Dragonfly's influence the tear simply pulled itself back together. No bullets were heard to hit pavement, only blood on the ground to mark anything having happened at all.

Well, blood and two awfully confused Russian guns-for-hire. "<...so we tell him killed her yes the woman and lost other one in alleyways. perhaps talk to jacob get a body doe americans. he can make sure no knows difference....>"

Dragonfly appeared back in her warehouse, alone, her suit overheating to the point of smoking as more than a few parts burnt out. In a little under three hours of feverish math and simulation her main computer monitor was dominated by a number and three very important letters: ETA.

She hit a key and the number started counting down.

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