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Hazard Lane

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Friday 2nd May, late afternoon...


The offices of the Ledger...


"Hey beautiful, can I buy you dinner?"


Marcus Lane was his name. He was a young man with chiselled looks, a mop of slightly unruly blonde hair and bright blue eyes the female staff often swam in. He wasn't the best dressed, the tallest or the broadest guy in the building, but he had a natural charm and cheekbones you could chop vegetables in. 


At the end of the week, the staff were winding down after five gruelling days of writing and reporting. Marcus was high on coffee, as always, and never stopped smiling or running low on gas. 


He thrust a takeaway cup of Dancia's favourite beverage into her hand. How did he know what to buy? A bit of observation, a bit of interest...


"I know this great Thai place, just 10 minutes walk. I'll buy!" he added, confident and bristling with energy. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So far Dancia day had been fairly straightforward. As a minor reporter her jobs were fairly small and for today she had spent most of her time in the offices transferring her reports on the papers web site. Between stories she had managed to stop two muggings, a robbery, a potential runaway truck and the traditional cat up a tree. In fact she was listening out to nearby police chatter for any potential trouble, and for a second missed Lane’s question.

She looked at him strangely for a few minutes, as if he had grown an extra head, and had to ask him to repeat the question. She had been around report for... well at least as long as she’d been here and she knew that it was unusual for anything like that to be just a simple date. Though she happily accepted the coffee.

“Sure okay I’ll accept your offer, let me get my coat.â€

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A few minutes later...


Said Thai Restaurant...


"You look beautiful, by the way" smiled Marcus as he half studied the Menu. He appeared to know what he was ordering, and appeared to make a snap decision - Phad Thai with Red Chicken Curry. He bounced a few ideas of Dancia, giving recommendations politely. 


"So, I seen you about the office. Made quite an impression, on me anyway!" he smiled. "Where do you come from? How long you been in Freedom City?" he asked, expressing genuine interest. 


He supped at a beer in a savoury way, neither gushing it down his throat or pecking at it with tiny sips. He had that kind of average build, neither fat nor skinny. He clearly enjoyed food and drink, that much was sure. Any fat on him had certainly not landed on his face, which was cut like a models. 


"You don't strike me as the shy type" he said, shrugging slightly. "Tell me about yourself!"

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Looking at the menu Dancia was sure she recognized some of the menu items maybe even one or two were her favorites. Every now and then she got these feelings of Deja Vu it was disconcerting to say the least. And then there was all the questions that people tended to ask, as friendly and conversational as it normally was, an reporters were the worst. Maybe she was in the wrong job if she needed to keep secrets.


“There isn’t much to tell I’ve not lived and particularly exciting life. I’ve lived in Freedom City for as long as I remember.â€

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"A city chick, huh?" said Marcus as the food arrived. He seemed to be enjoying himself, at least, trying to get to know Dancia with a a barage of questions left right and centre. Was it genuine interest or just a reporters natural drilling?


He did seem a little distracted, however, and half way through the meal his eyebrows sprang up and his eyes lit. 


"Heads up, see? over there? don't turn around....just take a look when you can. Tall thin guy, glasses, white hair, linen suit..." he said quietly, looking over her shoulder. 


There was indeed such a man, wearing dark glasses, entering the restaurant with what could only be described as a bodyguard - a taller, heavier man with a thick set neck. 


"Doctor Dharmesh Singh. He's a chemical engineer, one of the best. Rumour has it he and his boss are breaking all sorts of environmental and safety laws in the city at their plant. All sorts of stuff. I had to get a look at him...he's a secretive guy buy always comes here for his favourite cuisine..."


He stopped briefly, giving Dancia a wink. 


"You are a good cover, Dancia. And a good reporter. And aside from anything else, I get to drink your beauty whilst working!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

With a little sigh Dancia gave her companion a withering look, she should have expected that he had a story. Fishing out a compact from her purse she pretended to touch up her make-up as she got a look at their apparent target. She didn’t raise her voice but kept things normal as if they were just discussing the weather, though there was a touch of ice in her voice.


“You owe me more that a meal for this one, though it’s a lot more interesting that those human interest story I’ meant to be reporting on. So what else o we know about this guy?â€

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"Dancia, if we crack this case, you'll be the star of the town. And I'll take you to Vegas for a weekend" chuckled Marcus, taking a sip of wine. 


"Doctor Singh, he has a list of credentials as long as your arm. Some kind of genius. Works in biochemistry, and every organisation in the world, benign or otherwise, wants a piece of him" he said, studying their quarry carefully. 


"His current boss, well, that's the trick. Some small outfit called Biotech Unlimited. Small, but no doubt dirty. They had some major accident a month ago, and everything went quiet and hush hush. No doubt some major bribing and string pulling to keep it all quiet. Who knows what this company is, anyway? The Mob? Worse?" he shrugged. 


"But my nose tells me Singh and his laboratory are up to no good. Maybe even dangerous...heads up...he is on the move!"


Singh had indeed sat up, paid the bill, and was on his way out. 


"So, you with me? I want to know what this guy is up to, and you, my beautiful lady, are my date for the night!"

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Dancia ave what she hoped was her sweetest smiles, she wasn’t that brilliant of an actress, and lent in as if she was whispering sweetly into his ear. Though she wasn’t exactly saying sweet nothings.


“I’m in. But next time, and from here on in, it’s full disclosure or I promise to do many unspeakable things. And on this full partners or I walk away right now I want my name on the byline. And to save you the worry it Devon’s and Lane, not the other way around.â€


The truth be told the whole story had caught her attention and she would be following along to keep him safe, as Triakosia she could keep him safe at a distance, but he didn't have to know that.

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Marcus squirmed at the order. For all his love for Dancia, his reporters nature made that hurt. 


"Ouch! Well, if you throw in another date, its a deal! A proper one this time, and no backing out!" he said, grabbing her arm and leading her out of the restaurant. He threw more than sufficient money at the waiter and gave him an easy going smile and a wink. Nodding at Dancia in a gentlemans conspiracy. "Gotta take this one home, cant keep my hands off her!" he said suggestively, giving a less seen wink to Dancia to play along. 


Outside they hailed a cab and started following Singh with the classic line "Follow that car!", accompanied but yet very immodest amounts of money. 


"Right you are son, sure can do!" he said, laughing at revving up the engine. 


It was not long before it was apparent that Singh was heading back to his lad, which seems to have been boarder up and shut down. Still, they left their cars and climbed through the wire fence saying "Do not enter, biohazard!" a claim they clearly thought was preposterous. 


"I wont lie. Darcy, this looks all kinds of wrong, but I think we have to follow them. This is going ot be dangerous..."

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Dancia was fairly quiet during the whole cab ride putting on a face of stoic determination. NOt because she was in anyway mad at Marcus, though it didn’t hurt for him to think so, but because she was trying to gather information on the Doctor in way’s he couldn’t possibly fathom. It wasn’t easy to do so, they were both in speeding vehicles surrounded by traffic, but she was trying to listen in on any conversation going on in his vehicle.


When they arrived at his apparently abandoned lab both her journalist and hero senses, as newly formed as they were, screamed that this was dangerous, if not an actual trap.


“I’m bound to agree with you on this one, let’s keep quiet and keep together we'll be safer that way.â€


It limited what she could do with Marcus around, but it also meant she could keep a better eye on him and hopefully away from danger. Before they set foot in the building however she scanned as much of it as she could with her X-ray vision to try and see what awaited them inside.


“Come on follow my lead.â€

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The building had a pretty low level of security outside - just wire fencing that it looked pretty easy (and was pretty easy) to climb under. 


Dr Singh had a laminate ID card that allowed him to get into the building via a swipe system. The laboratory building was average sized, two floors, glass and steel, large grounds. Using her X Ray Vision, Dancia could see a basement level, and plenty of security scanners everywhere. 


"Keep your eyes open. Our ex-employee may be back..." said Dr Singh to the two security guards in reception, and all three looked nervous at the prospect. The security men seemed on edge and extremely well equipped - with state of the art submachine guns, grenades, and gas masks. More akin to an army unit than your security officer. Despite the distance, Darcia's super hearing could pick up what he said. 


"Sweet Mother Lane, what are they doing in here? Building a nuclear bomb?" hissed Marcus, following her under the perimeter fence at Darcia, pointing at the two armed guards. "I knew the heat was on them, but it looks like they are preparing for a riot!"


"We are so going to get our asses busted if we get caught, you know? So...better not get them caught. Yours is far to pretty to get caught!" he winked at her. 


"Still, I don't know how we can follow the Doctor in there, not with those guards and all those cameras..."

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Dancia was about a set ahead of Lane as she was picking up a couple of small stones, they’d need a distraction and as they couldn’t be in two places at once she’d have to improvise.


“Wait look is that someone coming over there?†she pointed in the completely opposite direction from where the guards were.


In that second that he was distracted she moved so she was in a direction away from where they needed to go. Then without pause she launched a couple of pebbles at supersonic speeds towards the camera, hopefully the guards would go off to see where the attack had come from.


Before Marcus could even begin to suspect anything she was back behind him with only a slight gust of wind.

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Smack smack!


The two exterior cameras were out of commission, thanks to some super throwing by Dancia. The guards turned there heads to look up, and shouldered their weapons, on the look out for trouble. One kept by the entrance, the other moved outside. They stayed in radio contact, and with Dancia's super hearing, she could make out their conversation. 


"Check it out...could just be a malfunction"


"Both at the same time? Some luck. I really hope its a malfunction"


"Do you think...she has come back?"


"How the hell do I know? Doc says she was so diseased it was a miracle she made it out of here at all. Lets just hope she dropped dead"


"I hope you are right. She is...she was...pissed. Let the whole menu of biological weapons free in the ground level. Just glad we didn't work down there..."


"...yeah, instead we get to stay for her encore..."


"...stop thinking that bad karma, man. You think it, it comes true. Stay focussed. Get those Cameras back up!"

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Dancia waited until the other guy went to check out the ruined camera before she went into action, taking in everything that they had to say.


“Maybe some hero is looking after us, now keep an eye out on them I’ve got get something from the car.â€


It wasn’t as elegant as she’d like but time was a factor here, she zipped over to the guard by the door and applied a sleeper hold to the guard. She made sure to put him between herself and Marcus in case he was more observant than she hoped.


“Look.†she pointed to the downed man “I don’t know what happened but we better move quick before the other one came back.â€


When Marcus began to move she quickly went to make sure that he wouldn't do exactly that.

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Marcus was no fool.


"What the hell happened?" he asked suspiciously. 


But on the other hand, he was eager as hell to get inside. 


"Lets go!" he added, enthusiastically. 


The inside of the building was pretty high-tech. Quiet at this time, of course. Probably only Dr Singh in there, plus the muscle he had with him. His bouncer was as broad as he was tall, but probably dull of wit. 


Marcus and Dancia crept past various interesting looking experiments and rooms, trying to keep silent. 


"Of course, I don't know what the hell we are looking for" whispered Marcus, full of anxiety and excitement. 


"What the hell are we doing here anyway? breaking and entering? this is terrible! But boy its exciting!" he grinned, taking Dancia by the hand. 


Even a cursory glance at the layout of the building seemed to indicate the more hazardous and interesting experiments were in the basement. And with no sign of Singh on the first floor, it looked like going down was the only option. 


"What do you think, Dancia? I brought you this far to see what Singh was up to...but we are taking an awfully big risk here..." said Marcus, excited but without wishing to push his companion. 


He pointed at the elevators, which had hazmat suits opposite them, and a big warning sign...


Danger! Lower floor contains hazardous biomaterials! Wear protective suits at all times!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Danica's reporter instincts were seriously competing with those of her heroes. She would have suggested that someone should go for help but she knew that Marcus, the romantic fool that he was, would have made her go for help. It didn’t take two long to form an idea to form, it was all there in front of there eyes.

“If we going in then I suggest we go in disguise.†she pointed to the Biohazard suits “They should do the job well enough.â€


And they would have the added advantage of allowing her to use her powers without being spotted.

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One costume change and an elevator ride later...


The Suits were big, the suits were bulky, and they cut down peripheral vision badly. It did not take long to feel hot, it did not take long to feel stuffy. That said, they certainly felt like they were doing their job. The masks had twin respirator filters, long and bulky, and as far as the reporters could tell, they were completely air tight. 


The elevator brought them to the lower floor. All sorts of high tech research tools were here, some under construction. No expense had been spared. Computers blinked, test tubes bubbled, UV lamps shone. The latter was only visible to the super vision of Darcia, but it looked rather pretty, and probably cool, to her eyes. 


Dr. Singh was in his own Biohazard suit, experimenting on some petri dishes and a huge machine that pointed at them. The machine looked like a laser beam or something from a seventies sci-fi show, although it was clearly much more up to date. It was pointed directly at the microbes in the petri-dish, and Cancia could see various non-visible radiations pulsing gently at the dish. 

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Dancia glanced around the lab trying to take in as much information as she could, something about the lab was strangely comforting as if she’d spent a lot of time around places like this before. For a few minutes she was a little distracted with vague indiscript images floating at the edge of her consciousness.


With a extreme force of will she focus herself back to the scene at hand to try and figure out what the scientist was trying to do.


“I suggest we take cover and see what he’s up to, though if things get too hairy we get out of her straight away.â€


If things came down to it she was sure that the suit would stand on it’s own, allowing both Dancia and Triakosia to act together. It would be easier if she had some kind of “super ventriloquismâ€.

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The Doctor seemed pretty interested in his laser gadget thing, and in all honesty it looked pretty exciting. At one point he aimed it at the petri dish, and for a brief moment, Dancia could swear that a bacteria cell swelled to the size of a golf ball before popping and hissing. 


"That zapatron looks pretty powerful. Hey...did you just see that?" whispered Marcus to Dancia, perhaps a bit too loudly. 


Red lights flashed overhead, a klaxon ringing. 


"Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!" spat the speakers. 


Dr Singh turned. A little slowly, in shock, bringing up his walkie talkie. 


"Security? Security? Can you read me? Is it...her?" he said, panic rising in his voice. Thanks to Darcia, there was no answer anyway. Just a hiss of static. 


"Oh no..." cried Dr Singh, backing into his Zapatron. 


"What's going on? That wasn't me...honest!" blurted Marcus. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whilst she could have sprung into action as Triakosia for now she stayed in her normal identity as Dancia. It gave her an tactical advantage in that this newcomer didn’t know she was and what she could do. Instead she stepped out and called out to the similarly clothed woman, with a   handy hiding place just incase she decided to fired that weapon at here.


“I don’t suppose you have any idea of why he was so spooked he did whatever he’s done? I’m guessing neither of you are best of friends.â€


For now she just had to hope that the two of them were okay, even if the dope Marcus had a nose for danger he tended to get out if trouble unharmed.

Edited by TiffanyKorta
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"You got it, honey" smiled Marcus, enjoying the excitement. He may have been a talker, but he was light on his feet too, in pretty good shape. He creeped over to the Doctor, silent as a mouse. 


As Dancia turned the other way, she could see the lights on the elevator flicker. Something, or someone, was coming down. It seemed an age until she heard the lift land at the basement level. Her X-Ray Vision was unhelpful. The elevator shaft was lined with lead. Presumably it was not just biohazards that were dangerous here, but potentially radiation too. 


With a "ping", the doors slid open. 


Inside was a woman. Or at least, Dancia guessed it was a woman. The figure was dressed head to toe in what looked like an armoured hazmat suit, with gas mask and tinted glasses. Impervious, again, to her X-Ray vision. The figures breathing felt laboured, augmented by the gas mask. 


The figure brought up its gun. A large, hard revolver. It looked custom made. 


"Get out or die" said the figure. A woman's voice, she guessed, but hoarse, cracked, and gurgling. 


At that moment!


"What! What! Who are you! No! No!"


Doctor Singh had chosen the precisely wrong moment to turn around, seeing first Marcus, which scared him, and then the woman in the elevator, which terrified him. He staggered back, arms flailing...


...the impressive zap-ray-machine fired...


And Marcus and Doctor Singh where gone...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whilst she could have sprung into action as Triakosia for now she stayed in her normal identity as Dancia. It gave her an tactical advantage in that this newcomer didn’t know she was and what she could do. Instead she stepped out and called out to the similarly clothed woman, with a   handy hiding place just incase she fired that weapon again.


“Can I ask what you’ve done exactly to both of them? And maybe even why you’ve done such a thing?â€


For now she just had to hope that the two of them were okay, even if the dope Marcus had a nose for danger he tended to get out if trouble unharmed.

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The woman in the suit looked impassive. It was hard to read her under the tinted lenses and gas mask. 


"I didn't do anything" she said, voice slightly distorted. Dancia could almost persuade herself that it had a bubbling, croaky quality. 


"I came here for Singh. For vengeance. This facility is developing illegal bioweapons. Singh will pay...and I need him....."


She turned the gun on Dancia. 


"What did you do? Spirit him away? Where did he go!" she demanded, itching with menace. 


Behind them both, the strange zap device that Singh had been working on still hummed with power. It must have shot both Singh and Marcus in the scuffle they had. Although what remained of them, if anything, was a mystery. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not needing the disguise right now Dancia removed the hood and laid on the charm, at heart she was as much a reporter as a hero and there was a story here.


“Dancia Devons, Freedom Ledger. I’d show you my pass but these things don’t have pockets.†she gave a little shrug


“We were investigating Dr Singh when you timely arrival seemed to spur him into action. I’ve a good idea as to what happened...†she glanced back to the device hoping it had just sent them elsewhere.


“But first I suspect there is a story here, would you care to share what Dr Singh did to you to prompt such actions?† 

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"Freedom Ledger?" said the woman, for Dancia was now pretty sure it was a woman. 


"Then you can tell the press that Dr Singh develops illegal chemical weapons. You can tell him he experiments on humans, the homeless of Freedom City. And you can tell him about me!" she said angrily. 


The tint behind the gas mask made her eyes hard to see, but they were angry. Red, angry. Her face, the little that could be seen even by Dancia's super vision, was infected...warts, boils, pustules. 


"I used to work here. No more. Now, my name is Hazard! I wear this suit to stop the virus that infected me spread. But I will stop at nothing to extract my Revenge on Dr Singh! He shall feel, most acutely, the spoils of his labour!"


"Now you have you story. Sell it to the papers tomorrow. But now, you can say goodnight..." she intoned, firing her large revolver straight at Dancia's face. 


The round exploded in front of her. It was not a bullet, but a gas shell. And the green, sickly gas filled the lower level...

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