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An Evening With the Mercury Theater [IC]


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Saturday, October 27th

7:05 PM

"I was a teenage werewolf... braces on my fangs..."

Nick Cimitiere both loved and loathed this time of year. On the one hand, it was Halloween, which brought out the morbid and mordant in everyone. Dia de los Muertos and Fete Ghede would follow soon after, and the offerings to the dead would bring a carnival atmosphere to the graveyards and haunts of Freedom. Already there was delightful tension in the air at Lantern Hill Cemetery, excited whispers much like in a child's bedroom the night before Christmas. On the other hand, if weird stuff was likely to happen in the city - weird stuff that fell into his purview - it was going to happen now. Two years ago had been the throwdown between Hades and Baron Samedi. Last year had been the aftermath of that, when Baron Kriminel had cut his way through a number of the city's voudoisants in order to get at his brother in the Ghede.

But for now, things were rather peaceful as he patrolled the streets of Freedom in the Pale Horse, listening to Lux Interior sing about the pains of lycanthropic puberty. People in costume were walking the streets of Riverside, on their way from one costume party to another. He thought about maybe popping into one, pulling a few party tricks, when the song cut off suddenly.

"Sorry for the interruption, folks," said the DJ, "but we've got breaking news here. A, uh... meteorite of some kind has landed with a gigantic crash right in the middle of Liberty Park. Reports from the scene say the object may not be entirely natural. We'll bring you more news as it breaks but for now, keep clear of the park."

Nick sighed, pulled a U-turn at the next intersection, and sped off towards Liberty Park. Visions of past invasions - the full force of the Grue, the few scavengers who'd come to loot the planet while the Gorgon threatened destruction - danced in his head. He just hoped that this was some sort of scouting party, fallen satellite, or - hope against hope - someone who wasn't about to wreak havoc.

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Such insolence from these hussies! My gown is no mere COSTUME! Do they not recognize proper clothing when they see it?!

Danni Umbridge, aka Nocturne the Twilight Sorceress, was not going to let Sombra-La's grumpiness get in the way of her having a good time. True, the party at the Omega Chi Sorority at Freedom City University wasn't exactly her scene, but there was free food and candy, and she wasn't about to pass that up. Some of the other girls had complemented her on her 'costume,' which had set Sombra-La off on another rant.

However, in-between grabbing a few packets of M&M's and politely turning down a guy dressed up like Edward Cullen, Danni noticed the radio broadcast.

"Sorry for the interruption, folks," said the DJ, "but we've got breaking news here. A, uh... meteorite of some kind has landed with a gigantic crash right in the middle of Liberty Park. Reports from the scene say the object may not be entirely natural. We'll bring you more news as it breaks but for now, keep clear of the park."

That was her cue. Taking a quick swallow of her can of Coke, Danni excused herself and stepped outside. Once out the front door, she quickly walked down the sidewalk and around the curve of the road.

At last, we are free of that noxious group of imbeciles, the Dark Lord trapped within her book growled telepathically. Were they of my court I would have stripped them of their names and tossed off of the edge to the endless seas below...

"They're nice enough people," Danni replied cheerfully, ripping open the package of M&Ms with her teeth. "Not their fault they don't measure up to your standards. Now come on. Let's go see what's happening in the park.'

Feh. Fine. If we must fulfill your fetishistic need for heroics...

"Yes, we must. Shadowed paths, spread wide your gates," she intoned, sketching a circle in the air in front of her as she walked. "Take me to my destination with your mercurial movements, in the name of Sombra-La!"

There was a bright flash of red lightning and a whooshing noise as Nocturne vanished into the ether towards her destination.

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Siobhan put the finishing touches to her costume as she hummed along to the radio, finishing by putting a large pointed hat covered in silver stars atop her head. She was wearing a big blue robe covered in similar stars, and a large bushy grey false beard.

On the floor beside her, in front of a small make-up mirror propped up against the wall, Hayley the raccoon was adjusting a headband on her head, with pointed cat ears on it. <Meow,> she said experimentally.

"You don't need to meow," said Siobhan, sipping from her glass of red wine.

<I'm staying "in character", explained the raccoon with wide eyes.

"Sorry for the interruption, folks," said the DJ, "but we've got breaking news here. A, uh... meteorite of some kind has landed with a gigantic crash right in the middle of Liberty Park. Reports from the scene say the object may not be entirely natural. We'll bring you more news as it breaks but for now, keep clear of the park."

Siobhan sighed and pulled off her costume hat, leaving it on the table besides the door. "Well, I didn't think the works party was going to be that good..."

She knelt down, and Hayley jumped up onto her arm. With a long sigh, she flicked her wand at the two of them, and they vanished in a flash of light, reappearing in the park with a sudden flash and crack of ozone, leaves being scattered around their arrival.

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Nick parked the Pale Horse at the edge of Liberty Park and forded his way towards the center of the park. There had been a Halloween festival going on, a small celebration designed to help children and parents gin up the holiday spirit. Tiny mazes, stands selling candy apples and pumpkin pie, and half-wrecked skeletal pinatas were spread throughout the forest - though they lay rather abandoned, as the families had turned their attention towards the smoking crater lying beyond the copse of trees. Sticking out of it, looking like a round from God's shotgun, was a metallic cylinder.

Nick studied it intently. He hadn't gotten the best view of the Grue ships during the invasion, but this hadn't been their make. It was much more smooth, with nearly nothing aside from burnished steel and steam. In fact, there was a glint to it that didn't entirely seem to be there when Nick looked twice. The second he tried to get a closer look, however, the air was split by the sound of splitting metal. The capsule was slowly opening.

If it's not too much to ask, let's hope they come in peace...

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Nick would probably hear a distinctive whooshing noise, soon followed by a crackle and a flash of arcing red lightning as Nocturne emerged from her teleport.

"Sheesh...I swear, that teleporting spell makes my head hurt." Nocturne rubbed one of her temples as she walked, her black gown swishing along with her long black hair. The scarlet light from her eyes faded as she glanced around, then down into the crater across from Nick's position. "I don't think that's a meteorite."

As always, your powers of observation are astounding, Sombra-La muttered sarcastically.

"I know," Nocturne replied out loud. "Now, if you're done making snarky comments, maybe we should try to fig-"

Nocturne stopped mid-sentence at the sound of grinding metal. The stretch-limo-sized cylinder was opening up. She took a step back, a hand raised pre-emptively in preparation to cast.

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Siobhan eyed the crater warily, even as Hayley dropped off her shoulder and took a few cautious steps back. She whipped her wand about her, transmuting her costume into her... costume. Her hair unfurled from its pulled-up state to ripple downwards even as it turned from brunette to black.

"Well, you don't see that every day..." she mumbled. The witch scanned around the crash site. If they came peacefully, well, they'd just crashed and she'd help if she could. If they came to fight... well, they were in a crater, and she reckoned she could close the earth around them if she tried hard enough.

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The capsule cracked entirely, and a bright light flashed out from the depths of its casing. Nick's hopes of a peaceful arrival were dashed when he got hit with a wave of heat like Hell's oven door opening. One of the nearby trees burst into flames, and branches splintered off and fell to the ground from the sheer trauma. Adults and children alike ran screaming as the light flashed out again, catching another tree alight. For now, the bursts were avoiding the crowd, thank God - the thing was firing blind.

Nick's forte wasn't aliens, but he had some sort of idea of what to expect. So when the thing finally rose out of its vessel, he was a bit surprised. There it was, a tripod that must have been twice as tall as the thing it had arrived in. Its three legs slunk to the earth like cables, and its main chamber was like an old-style army helmet framed with an angry green photolens. It stared out on the crowd with cold dispassion, as if taking aim.

That aim was broken by a flaming branch, hurled not at an angle to hit the tripod but to draw its attention. "You know," Nick cried out, drawing the ectoplasmic arms back for a second go, "you really could've chosen a better planet to play around on."

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"You've got to be kidding me," Nocturne mumbled under her breath, bringing her arm up to shield herself from the massive wave of heat from the thing's blast.

What abomination is this?! Sombra-La hissed in Danni's mind. A twisted thing of metal and glass? Surely this is nothing from the Netherworlds.

"I don't think it's from the Netherworld, Sombra," Danni replied, her flight spell activating as she took to the air. "But we can't let this thing leave the park! I'm not going to let some giant robot that fell from the sky ruin Halloween for everybody!"

Danni swung her hand outwards, then forwards, her finger quickly sketching an eight-pointed geometric finger in the air before her, a ring of blood-red runes springing into existence before her hand. "Powers of twilight, heed my words. Snare this fool in chains of shadow. Let steely shackles steal from him freedom, in the name of Sombra-La!"

Nick and Equinox would see a flash of red light as crimson and black chains with octagon-shaped loops spring up and around the tripod, swirling about its legs and up towards its body like angry, vengeful serpents.

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The chains caught the tripod by two of its back legs, trammeling them up but not necessarily knocking the metal monstrosity to the ground. They did, however, provide a wide open target for Nick and Equinox.

Sombra-La? Nick thought. Where did I hear that one...?

The tripod began to quake, as if struggling to break its bonds. Oh, well. That's one to think on. He drew within, calling up a tide of ectoplasm; the substance washed out onto his hands and quickly hardened into cruel talons. He dove forward, taking a swipe at the machine's legs --

-- and broke back, as the claws failed to make a dent. Damnit. Gotta try something --

The thought was cut off as the thing opened its eye, and then was nothing but pain. Heat like someone had thrown open Hell's furnace washed over him, and he wrenched his eyes close out of fear that they might boil away. When the light stopped burning through his eyelids, he opened them to find his skin blistered, the asphalt under him soft, and a group of trees behind him had caught fire. Yeah. This thing had to go down now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Equinox took a step towards the giant machine even as Nick and the badly dressed woman failed to do much beyond slowing it. The flash of heat hit her, and singed her a little, but most of the blast failed to circumvent the raw will of of her magic surrounding her in a corona of force. "Alright, let's rock and roll."

As Hayley scarpered backwards into the bushes, the witch raised her wand and pointed it at the craft. "KINESI!" A blast of white force erupted forth from her wand to grab and snatch at the main bulk of the thing, above the legs. As soon as she landed a hit, she braced her legs and slowly forced her wand up, trying to hurl the machine skywards.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Nocturne shielded her face as a powerful wave of heat washed over her. Her forcefield took the brunt of the blast, but not ALL of it. She felt her skin grow hot and burn, like a cooking sunbather on a equatorial beach during summer. Her dress smoked slightly, the fabric discolored.

They DARE to strike us?! To ruin my dress?! Sombra-La shrieked in Danni's head, the Dark Lord's voice reverberating with rage. Unacceptable! We must DESTROY this disgusting machine for its impudence!

"For once, I think we're in agreement," Danni growled. We've got to take this machine down before it gets any further...

Her flight spell left crimson contrails in the air as she swerved around the tripod, angling herself so that she wasn't in the way of the thing's eye. A ring of crimson light and black runes sprang up in front of one hand as she extended it before her, hand in a 'gun' shape with index and middle fingers extended. "Magic dark and dread, heed these words," she intoned as black and crimson lightning began to crackle and surge around the center of the ring. "Come now as lightning to strike down my foes! Baleful blast, surge forth!"

There was a thunderclap as the blast flashed out, a packet of black and red lightning about as big as a man's head launching like a rocket at the thing's main body. The blast connected, spraying sparks dramatically as it did so.

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The balefire managed to hit home, surging up through what was presumably the cockpit of the tripod and striking at its strange pilots. The tripod began to reel, staggering around like a drunk on three tentacular legs like telephone poles. Fortunately, most of the crowd had cleared out at this point, meaning that while the machine's stumbling was wreaking damage, there wasn't a human cost attached to it.

Nick shook his head, fighting off the blast from the tripod. "All right," he said. "So much for delicate work." Talons wrought from a substance like clear amber slowly congealed on his hands. "Time to cut you down to size." He surged forward, aiming for the creature's leg, and swiped to cut deep... only to feel the points of his talons bounce off the thing's appendages.

"Then again, maybe delicate is called for..."

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Equinox tracked the giant machine with her wand, thinking of how to dent it. The sorceress she'd never seen before was failing to bind it, Nick's talons couldn't dent it, and she hadn't seen that often. It seemed impervious to harm.

But the ground beneath it wasn't.

She whipped her wand down, and expelled power forth through her wand and gathered it at the tip until it glowed incandescent with pure white energy, those with arcane senses feeling it on their nerves like an impending storm.

Then she cast it at the ground in a flash of heat and force, obliterating the soil from beneath the tripod, hurling dirt and dust in every direction as she carved a great and terrible rent in the earth.

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