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Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Before midnight (but not by much)

Winter had descended with a vengeance on Freedom City once again, but bitter cold and blowing snow couldn't keep young and restless music fans at home. After all, inside the Wall, the press of bodies on the dance floor provided plenty of heat, and the bustling bar provided a different kind for the club goers staying at their tables.

Asli Sadik sat backstage, listening to the dance music and to the people outside moving to it. She took deep breathes, calming the butterflies in her stomach. She'd been going on stage for a little more than a year, but somehow every single time she did it she got scared.

To distract herself, the woman leaned forward and examined her stage makeup once again. She had decided on a grey-and-black camouflage; she avoided makeup in her daily life, but on stage everything was fair game. A touch there, a careful smudge there, and she had to sit back. Anything more would ruin the effect. Now it was just time to wait.

Edited by Raveled
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"Double Vodka" shouted Carmen over the noise of people and music. 


She quite fancied the bartender, and made sure she met his eye. She didn't fancy the music. And she didn't fancy dancing. The cane in her fingers was testament to that. Oh she may have looked a bombshell, she may have slinked the slink, but the nerve damage had left her with a limp that wasn't going to mean she was ever going to be a dancer, unless you counted moshing up and down at the front of a gig. 


She was feeling restless that evening. And the pains were cranking up for a bad nights sleep. In a foul temper, she had stomped off, late at night, to the nearest bar, and ended up in this one. It was as good as any. 


Screw this autotuned wailing she cursed the music. If she hadn't been in such a bad mood, with pain down her leg, she probably would have thought it was ok. Being a music journalist kept her mind open to most forms of music, from country and western to opera. But, she was in a bad mood. And cursing the music felt good. She had an urge to drink too much vodka and take the bartender home with her. That's what happened when she was in a bad mood. 

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Even at the club, with a beer in his hand and a handful of women to mingle with, Marko could not quite escape the rest of his week. His pockets were filled completely with things he wished didn't have to be there; his Blur suit, of course. His notepad, full of ideas for things like improvements to the suit, or concepts for his upcoming HIT project. There was his wallet, too, constantly there to remind him that he was definitely the poorest schmuck in the room.


As the night grew older, all of that would sink away. But for now it was very much present, annoying him in his weekly attempt to enjoy himself. 


"Another beer," he muttered to the passing bartender, pushing his glass away and absently withdrawing his wallet again. Marko sighed as he saw the diminishing number of bills within before sliding it back into the denim pocket. With his hand in the pocket, he briefly considered withdrawing his notepad and pen. He needed to have another look at his notes on Microscopic Power Sources...but not right now. Now was supposed to be club night. A newly-full glass slid into the space in front of him and he picked it up, analysing the nearby dance floor as he did so.

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Dee Farrington was already out on the crowded dance floor of the Wall, enjoying her first trip to Freedom City.  The young Englishwoman had on a black leather skirt and a tight read top that was just short enough to regularly provide glimpses of the tattoo on her lower back as she danced.  Her shoulder length hair was loose, a couple of streaks of blue contrasting the other black locks. 


It was good to get out and just enjoy herself some, her life having become all the more complex since last summer when she had become part of the new Taskforce UK, or as the papers referred to them, the Vanguard.  While there were any number of clubs she could have gone to back in London, Angus, one of her teammates, had often mentioned places in Freedom City.  So Dee had taken advantage of the transport system between the Vanguard's headquarters in London and Freedom City to come over and see for herself.

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The dance music wound down. Backstage, Asli knew that was her cue. She walked out on stage just in time to hear the tail end of the house DJ introduce her. "... So I'm gonna hand things off to the lady, DJ Electric." She took a slap on the palm from him and stepped up the turntable, plugging her own headset in.

She fixed the microphone at a comfortable height and settled into her set. "Thank you, it's very nice to be here tonight, but I have to correct one thing at first. It is not DJ Electric. It is DJ Eclectic." She enunciated the word slowly, melding it into a smooth, bass beat as she started up the table.

"It's eclectic, and while my work is electric,
(finding those tunes that bounce around the room,
gettin' you pumped and makin' you jump)
that's not what I want you to hear, it's merely a side-effect,
of what I select
For you to sample off my table.

What you should take away,
how should I say, it.
Is how smooth I move
from the tunes
That get you movin'
get you groovin'
To gettin' you think.
Take you to the brink
Of my experience.

Edited by Raveled
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The bartender dropped Marko's beer off before pouring Carmen's double. He put it in front of her, holder the glass lightly and smiling. "You know, pretty lady," he said, "I know a guy who can get you something to help with that leg. Then maybe we could find some time to bust some moves out there tonight, you know? Folks get shaking once the guest DJ starts in, this bar'll be empty."


On the dancer floor, Dee had a few admirers, but as the music wound down one plucked up the courage to approach her. He was around her age, dressed in tight pants and a shirt that showed off his figure. "Hey there, cute chicka," he said. "You out here all alone tonight?"


As Marko sat by himself, feeling miserable for himself, a lady slid into the vacant bar stool next to him. She was punk chic, with hair color not found in nature and strategically ripped jeans. "Sitting alone, hot stuff," she asked. "You know, they say drinking alone's a danger signal."

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One of Marko's greatest powers was that he could do anything, even think, at amazing speeds. This meant that he was pretty great in a conversation, since he could always form an answer to a question before he'd even started to speak. For reasons he didn't quite understand, this power never seemed to function around reasonably attractive women.


"Uh, I'm basically always drinking," he said. The words were coming out of his mouth at the same time they arrived in his brain, and there was no time to proofread. "Except when I'm at work. Engineer. I'm an engineer, you know, I build lots of cool stuff."


He consumed a sizeable portion of the beer in front of him, feeling his charisma amplify itself even as it was crippled further. 


"So what's your name?" He weakly continued. "I'm The B--uh, Marko. Yeah, people call me The Marko. Silly in-joke, heheh." 


He returned to his drink again, making a tactical retreat as he realised how terribly he was performing.

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While the music had been playing, Dee had generally paid little mind to those she noticed looking her way.  The attractive Englishwoman was not unaccustomed to drawing some attention when she went out.  Tonight she had not really come with the intention of searching out any company (either at the club or for a hookup), but when there was a break in the music while the guest DJ came out and one of the guy's decided to approach her, she decided she might as well acknowledge him.


"Yes, all on my own tonight."  She replied, able to speak at a more normal tone for the moment, which meant her refined British accent was easily noticeable.  "Are you offering to keep me company a bit?"    

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"Uh yeah, fix my leg up, that's a good one, honey" said Carmen back at the bartender. "If it could be done, I would have done it, don't ya think? And I have enough mystical bull thrown at me too, from voodoo madams to preachers telling me to accept the word of the Lord and I will be healed..." she said, unable to keep a snarl from forming. 


Tired, in pain, fuse short. 


"This is my redemption, my friend" she finished, downing the double vodka in one, and crunching the glass back down. Not too hard, but harder than needed. 


"Give me another, and ill savour the next one. But you wont see me busting a move on the dance floor. A bust a few noses in my time, though" she said, recalling the more heaving and sweaty rock bars she had been too. She had more than a few fights in those. 

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  • 1 month later...


"The Marko, huhn? Well I am the Lindsey. I don't think I've ever seen you in here before. You listen to a lot of punk?" She looked across the bar, trying to vainly catch the attention of the bartender. He was consumed with hitting on a Hispanic woman closer to the door, though.

"Magic, huh? Awesome. My sister used to be into this massage therapy stuff, called it rain-leaky or something like that." He shifted his stance, leaning in closer. "If you're into the mosh scene, I heard there's a band playing down at the waterfront tomorrow. Kings of Hell or something like that, supposed to be some kind of thrash/death metal thing." He grinned and his eyes shone. "Bet I can get myself and plus one in the door, what do you say?"

"I'll keep you company, I'll keep you entertained, I'll keep you nice and warm, baby." Tight Shirt moved closer, his eyes moving down Dee's figure and back up. "That's a hell of an accent. You from London, baby?"

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"I'll keep you company, I'll keep you entertained, I'll keep you nice and warm, baby." Tight Shirt moved closer, his eyes moving down Dee's figure and back up. "That's a hell of an accent. You from London, baby?"



Dee regarded the guy in the tight shirt a brief moment, resisting the temptation to dive into his mind and see how hard he was willing to push his intentions.  For the moment he was not being too aggressive, so she figured it would not hurt to dance with him.  If nothing else, his presence could help discourage other guys from trying to come over. 


"How about we start with just keeping each other company and see how it goes from there."  She replied.  "And yes, I am from England and do currently live in London, just on a brief holiday here in the States."

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"Nah, I don't think I've been to this one before...Nice place, but a bit slow for me," Marko said, noticing with a slight frown that he was losing Lindsey's attention. "But I guess I can't complain, as long as the drinks are flying, it's all good." He slowly tapped his pocket, making sure that his wallet still felt fat. Well, at least, not-malnourished. The girl would probably like it if he bought her a drink, he realised, but that was a financial sacrifice that he wouldn't survive making.



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"Kings of Hell?" replied Carmen, her irritation at the Bartender mitigated somewhat. She had heard of them, of course. Well, she had heard of pretty much every rock group in the States. But she hadn't got around to see them. Perhaps she should. 


Although - preferably not with this guy?


"What are you, a backstage pass whizz kid? Do you know the band? Or just friendly with the stage crew?" she asked, plying him for information whilst she drank. Too much, too fast, she knew, but her leg was gripping her with electric shock, burning pains. Every now and again she tensed up as the pain flowed up and down her leg. 


"I can get myself into any Rock gig there is, handsome. I just wanna know how you do it?" she said, an enigmatic smile on her face. 

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