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Raveled

Green Thumb (IC)

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August 10th, 2011

Near the intersection of 24th and K Street

5:35 PM

On televisions across Freedom City, commercials for Fun Time Toys wrapped up and the familiar jingle for WXAD news sounded. The station logo faded to a shot of a bright-faced woman with dark hair and sharp features. "Hello viewers. This is Marie Soto, coming to you from Lincoln, near the edge of the city. Behind me you can see an empty lot, just one of many disused spaces that fill Freedom's less fortunate areas. But today a little bit of this urban blight is being cleaned up, courtesy of students and volunteer helpers." As the reporter spoke, the camera panned from the headshot to an empty lot, making sure to linger on the cracked pavement and rusty chainlink fence. Before long, though, additional figures walked into frame. Most were teenagers or elderly citizens, but there were a few adults in their prime. Everyone was dressed for hard work: jeans, work boots, hats or headscarfs, and green and black tee-shirts with the logo "Green Freedom" on the back. Several were assembling wooden or plastic planters, while others were wielding heavy hammers to finish breaking up the pavement.

The camera soon came to focus on a young woman with reddish-brown hair, pale green eyes, and tanned skin. "Like this young woman here," the reporter continued, placing a hand on the young woman's shoulder. "Gwendolyn Barr, from the Claremont Academy. Gwendolyn, could you tell us a little more about what you're doing here today?"

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Gwen was dressed in a long sleeve dark green under-armor shirt with her 'Green Freedom' t-shirt over that. The neck came up high and her pants were long jeans and her green sport sneakers. Her hair was loosely braided and a green and black bandanna held it out of her face. She looked at the camera and smiled. "Thanks Marie, We're here today to turn this unused lot into a bustling community garden where local families can come and plant their own fruits and vegetables. We have had a great turn out and we have several teams here. The goal is to replace these fences, get the planters in and have this place ready to get started by days end."

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GM

The camera panned off of the student and back onto the reporter. "That's great to hear, Gwendolyn, and we wish you the best of luck with this project. Of course, it's not just Freedom's citizens that are helping with this project. The city's industries are also contributing. The planters and tools you see here have been donated by the Home Depot, the soil and seeds are from Lincoln's own Southside Botanica, and Franklin & Wessler are providing the pesticides and fertilizers to help these plants grow strong." As she talked Marie walked across the lot, until the camera was fixed on a van with the F&W logo printed on it. "Jasmine Benoit, from Franklin & Wessler, is here on site. Ms. Benoit, do you have any words to say on this project?" The camera panned over to fix on a young woman with wire-frame glasses, a dark complexion, and a button nose.

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Jasmine had to turn for a second before she quickly closed the valve on the device she was using to pump pesticides on some newly planted tomatoes. She had a scarf covering her face and was wearing yellow rubber gloves one of which she removed to pull down the scarf so she could speak unmuffled.

"I think it's a pretty good project, goodness knows these streets could use a touch more green here or there."

She held up the bucket for a second,

"These pesticides are part of a new formula designed only to keep out harmful insects, in fact this actually attracts local dragonflies to help increase the workforce for taking down the gardens pests."

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GM

"That's amazing," Marie Soto enthused. Turning back to the camera, she smiled for the folks watching at home. "Everyone at WXAD wishes these volunteers the best of luck in bringing a little bit of green into the heart of the city. This is Marie Soto, reporting li-- AUGH!" As the reporter signed off, she was interrupted by a car smashing down into the middle of the planned garden. Volunteers scattered and the camera swung around to find the source of the flying automobile. It wasn't hard: a large female figure crafted from shining steel and dressed in ribbons of black material was stomping down the street, the pavement cracking under her tread. Walking next to her was a smaller woman dressed in a more contemporary costume of urban camo-pants and a green vest. The second woman cradled a high-tech looking rifle, which she sighted down on the camera. A quick burst of gunfire smashed the camera, and the fight was off the air.

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There was screaming in the crowds as the fires were shot, Jasmine hit the deck instinctively as the camera was hit. She glanced around catching the metal woman and the woman in creen with the rifle. She glanced down the street as she reached into the pocket of her overalls and pulled out what she knew to be one of her smoke pellets and crushed it between her thumb and fore finger. The smoke filled an area of twenty five feet so quickly the source could not be traced however a voice in the crowd called for everyone to scramble and people were running out of the fog by the dozen. Jasmine however had already made it back to her van as she closed behind the doors in the fog she reappeared in her hazmat suit two paintball guns in hand.

Also as she walked forward the speakers that had been playing some radio music while the people work suddenly switched, Jasmine had been the one who set it up and now the system was switched to her ipod for her favorite piece by Wagner.

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Trouble The vines said in Gwen's head just before she could hear the screams of the city trees and then the car was smashed into the middle of the garden. Oh no! Gwen cried to the vines as she dove for cover behind a mostly assembled planter. We go help, big trouble! they added as Gwen took a look around, praying no one was near. She hoped that she could get away un-noticed while everyone panicked. Her prayers were answered when the lot filled with smoke. She stripped down to her green bathing suit and dark green shorts, her green mask in the bottom of her pocket. She removed the bandanna from her hair and let it flow down her back, One of the vines grabbed it up and bound it together with itself until it was a crown of brown,red and green. Its not punks in the forest, but we can do this!

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Gwen stashed her clothing up in the branches of a tree that was kind enough to promise to hold them. She looked out onto the street and spotted the larger woman first. Oh my goodness. she breathed out as she sized the woman up. This bad the vines mused and Gwen had to agree. Very bad. Gwen got scared even more when she noticed a second woman seeming to be traveling with her. HolyMoles... Gwen decided to take out the opponent more closely matched to her. She swung herself down from the trees and began to rush at the smaller woman in green.

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As the music started up in the background she observed the area through her goggles. One girl was already rushing to the fight, she had several vines on her limbs and was attacking the others so she could only assume that the girl was in fact on her side. Still, it was complicated that she would run into the line of fire. Taking her gun she shot a little high but the round hit in the center of the silver woman and the woman with the rifle exploding in a yellowish mist, that was what she did with one hand, the other shot another round, a counter round to the first at the girl with the vines to protect her against the effects of the mist but it would not last for long.

Reaching into her belt, she pulled out a small gas mask and a pair of flash goggles,

"Hey red!"

She really didn't know what else to call the girl,

"Catch,"

She threw the two things in the red headed girls general direction hoping she'd have the sense to catch them as she backed into her artificial fog for cover.

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GM

The woman in military garb quickly ducked out of the way of the yellow gas, rolling to the edges of it; it had the secondary effect of letting her dodge Flora's attack. Clear of the blast, she sprayed fire into the fog Catalyst was hiding in but none of her shots even came close. She gave a yell of frustration and glanced over her shoulder. Behind her, the metallic woman was trying to close and grapple with the green-clad heroine, but she wasn't having any luck. "Steelshanks!" The woman toting the rifle had to call out to her ally several times to get the huge woman's attention. "I could use some help here!"

Steelshanks, for her part, was taking lumbering strides and sweeping her arms around, but couldn't seem to tag the more nimble heroine. "Hold onto your pants, Targeter! Just let me crush this little weed, first!"

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With ease, grace and some help from the vines Gwen tumbled out of the fire AND caught the mask and goggles. She quickly put both on and looked over at a person in a hazmat suit. Well that's a new one. Gwen noted and turned to eye the large steel woman who tried to grab at her. Iron Giant! the vines mused and Gwen snorted. That was a childrens movie, and not trying to kill us! As she spoke to them Gwen bounded over to the steel lady. Several of the vines lashed out at her legs but her form seemed too smooth for them to find any purchase there. Slipping! they cried as they pulled back towards Gwen.

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Sticking to the fog, she scanned the area. The metal woman seemed pretty much immune to her gas attack, not even trying to avoid it. The woman in green however was way more offensive towards her side. She smiled as she held out her gun, and in rhythem with the pounding trumpets shoot off several rounds of her fire pellets at the woman in green. That person wouldn't be that hard to take down, and take down soon. The other one needed some consideration. Catalyst glanced at her van, but tossed the idea aside, it was too valuable and the situation wasn't nearly dire enough.

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GM

Targeter hunkered down and took the shots on her arms and shoulders. The chemicals crackled and popped on her skin, but they did more to blister her vest then hurt the rifle-wielder. "Steelshanks! Now!" The metal woman turned away from her personal match with Flora and inhaled deeply, then blew out a prodigious wind over the proposed area of the garden. It easily blew away the concealing fog, leaving Catalyst out in the open.

Targeter smiled nastily and reached into her vest, pulling out an oversized bullet. She fitted it into the weapon's chamber and fired it at Catalyst. Mere breaths before impact it broke apart, revealing a sticky mass at its heart that quickly expanded. The hazmat-suited heroine was quick on her feet, though, and managed to leap and avoid the glue round.

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Gwen watched the metal woman take in a great breath like bellows and blow away the cover fog as if it were the steam over the coals of a great fire. Holey smokes! the girl thought, and then caught her own pun. No more smoke. The vines made a simple observation and weren't wrong. We need to get in there and hit her again, you ready? but the vines answered for Gwen by leaping forward and smacking themselves into the steel woman's face. The sound of xylem and floam against metal was sickening but it was the metal woman who gave and her face snapped back with the blow.

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Every step Catalyst took she took a bit farther away from the group, distance was her advantage as was the smoke, but now the smoke was gone via the giant metal woman.

"That's not good at all."

With a quick leap she took a step behind the cover of her van. The metal woman could blow away her smoke screens so she needed to take her out first, if they could pull it down to one on one the woman and green wouldn't have a chance. Grabbing the edge of the van she pulled herself up and steadied one hand with a gun as she shot it off another fire round at the metal woman before ducking back down.

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GM

With the fog bank down, Steelshanks returned to trying to squish Flora but didn't have any more luck; the florapathic mutant continued to bounce and evade her opponent nimbly, while the huge metal's woman's huge metal hands closed only on air. Targeter, for her part, did a little better. She ripped off several bursts at Catalyst which tore up the roof and side of her van. It also tore into the woman herself, and the criminal gave out a triumphant shout.

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Gwen gracefully avoided the attacks of the steel woman, using both her natural agility and the vines to easily duck and roll away. The vines lashed out at Steelshark again, planting a few more decent hits across the woman's metal body denting her. Bang Bang! Fun! Fun! the vines cried out as the hits laid upon the woman. At least someone was having a ball. Gwen took a moment to ponder what these woman could have against the Green Freedom project and if this was even their intended target.

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While the woman and green managed to get a hit on her, it was a glancing hit on her shoulder. It didn't slow her down any as she put away her pistols and went for the semi-automatic assault rifle from it's case in the front part of the cab. Balancing it on the edge of the roof she lined up the shot on the silver woman and took care to make sure that the red haired girl wouldn't be caught in the cross fire. Squeezing the trigger she let the rounds fly out of the barrel pumbiling the large metal woman in small controlled bursts which each hit.

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GM

It was hard to imagine the large metal woman actually being injured by the barrage of plastic pellets and green vines, but Steelshanks was certainly getting disoriented. She swung for Flora again as Catalyst sprayed her face with more acid pellets, she tripped over her own feet and fell heavily against a building. The wall crumbled around her, but she stayed on the ground, shaking her head to clear it.

Targeter's head snapped around at the sudden commotion, and her eyes went wide. "STEELSHANKS!" Her gun swung around and she sprayed a line of bullets at Flora that failed to connect. Nevertheless, the rifle-wielder moved to stand over the metal woman's body, still tracking the acrobatic florapath with her weapon.

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Yes! Gwen cried to the vines as the metal woman hit the floor. Lady go boom! The vines said excitedly as Steelshank went down. Tracker began to run towards them spraying Gwen's area with bullets. As she and the vines gracefully dodged the onslaught of attacks she pondered her next move. Smack her too! The vines cried as they lashed out at Targeter but their excitement combined with Gwen's mental directions confused the vines and they tangled in eachother, missing the woman totally. Damn!

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Taking a few seconds of cover she switched the semi to full automatic before she glanced over the truck and saw the red haired girl swinging the vines at the woman and green and missing.

"She's pretty agile, hope this will pin her down."

Holding the rile steady she aimed it just right when the red headed girl was just out of her sights and sent out a wide spray onto the green gunwoman and the silver woman landing square onto the two of them.

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GM

Steelshanks wobbled to her feet but didn't seem up to doing much else; in fact the metal woman seemed to be having enough trouble staying on her feet! Targeter, for her part, did her best to stay between her partner and the heroes. It might've been amusing, seeing the much shorter woman trying to shield the much larger one, if it hadn't been for Targeter's grim expression. The woman turned on her heel and ripped off her remaining clip at Catalyst's van; the bullets easily punched through the thin metal of the doors and into the heroine's suit.

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Everything was happening just too fast. Gwen was distracted by the shots flying by. She noted several that ripped through the car the other person was hiding behind. Gwen saw an opportunity and she swung out at Targeter. Out the corner of her eye she could see Steelshank trying to get back up but the short redhead couldn't do anything about it at that moment. "Murderer!" Gwen cried as she let the vines wale on the woman to no avail.They overshot their target and frustrated Gwen even more.

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The bullets ripped through the van, while a few were just stopped halfway, another good few tore into Catalyst. She could feel the blood dripping in her side and chest and slumped down in pain on the other side of the van with a breath,

"Note to self, more steel plating for van."

She looked down at holes in her suit,

"Also,"

She grimaced,

"Sewing machine."

Pulling her weapon she started to fiddle with it absently to try and distract herself from the pain but she could not pull herself up again to shoot off another round just yet.

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GM

Steelshanks, for all her unsteadiness, managed to put one heavy foot in front of the other. She oriented on Catalyst's van and stomped towards it, obviously intent on doing some harm to the paintball-wielding heroine. Targeter, for her part, switched to the plant-manipulating heroine once Catalyst sunk out of view. She switched magazines with practiced speed and ripped off a burst at Flora, clipping her vines and drawing pale green cytoplasm.

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