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November 1, 2014 


Frances Psion swore up and down she had nothing to do with the mysterious fire in Blackstone's psychiatric wing a couple of weeks ago - but given her powers and her penchant for scrapping with prison security personnel, the Blackstone authorities haven't been inclined to take any chances. She's gotten into trouble with inmates too, trouble enough that there have been some very nasty threats against her life (and other things) made inside the prison compound. The Psions have been scrapping with villains for years and Ember had always been the Professor's fist; a sadistic brute whose fiery punishments were great at striking fear across the villain community. In jail, in power restraints, she's just a short woman with a strange accent, reddish-blonde hair and skin tanned a faint, perpetual orange. 


She's being transported to lockup in upstate New York, where she'll be held for the next few weeks until the repairs to Blackstone are finished and her safety can be guaranteed. After that, she'll start what may be the first of many trials sometime in the beginning of 2015. Surrounded by two heavily armored female prison guards, she's in power-nullification shackles and a Blackstone orange uniform that she wears like a badge of honor. She's not talkative today; instead staring out the open window she can make out past the guard on her left, her eyes hooded as she looks out at the clouds overhead. 


Among the passengers on this particular flight is someone very special - the second Foreshadow, a special consultant who has experience dealing with Ember Psion and her ways - as well as an ability to foresee the future. For this prisoner, with the escape attempts that have already happened, that's a very good thing. 



Stronghold is in the air, soaring high above the clouds! It's cool and crisp this high, with only her ring's power saving her from an icy coating and hypoxia, but that's okay - it's a beautiful day and the clouds are the sort of light, fluffy things that in cartoons would be like big balls of cotton candy. Nearby she can see what looks like a Lear Jet zipping through the sky, but she's an experienced enough flyer by now to know how to handle herself around civilian traffic. It really is a beautiful day. 




Back in Freedom City, it's Richard and Paige's day off - as well it might be, given that it's Saturday! Holly has begged her way into another viewing of Maleficent, and Will has blessedly volunteered to save his parents from yet another showing of a movie they've seen no less than four times now between the two of them. Christie had pulled some strings and gotten a prison-band radio for them to monitor Frances' flight, and occasionally in between house-cleaning they listened to the check-ins and all-clears from the pilots - who were now safely in the air. 

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Foreshadow was used to flying first class with plush luxury seating.  Coupled with attendants hanging off every detail rather than risk bad press for their airline.  In some respects the ride on the prison transport wasn't a complete shift.  The crew was still interested in preventing bad publicity for themselves, the food choices lacking, and he could do without some of the antics of his fellow passengers.  All in all, it was of comfort for the part of him that fed on the adrenaline that came with heroics.


All the while noting that seeing the future was less of a comfort, when the danger that could occur would happen some thousand feet in the air.  Rather than an in flight movie, he had to settle for some other means to pass the time.  Despite knowing that the guards weren't likely to let the prisoner's converse all that freely, the blonde acrobat turned towards the nearest prisoner to address them with some inappropriate humor.  "So, come here often?"


Some of the prisoners probably recognized his voice from behind their hoods.  Foreshadow hardly kept his mouth shut while on the job unless he felt subterfuge was required.  So those he put away would no doubt have heard their share of taunts along the way.

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Stronghold soared.  


The first few times she'd used the ring to fly, her reaction had been 'ohgodthegroundtoofaraway', but she was over that, now.  Now... it was just calming.  She was starting to get used to the cold (when she wasn't using the Ring to cheat, like now)- which would be a good thing, now it was starting to get cold again.  And the day really was beautiful.  


Haukea kept an eye on the Lear as she flew, mostly making sure she didn't fly into it.  She was not the fastest thing in the sky by any measure, after all, and it was a good idea to make sure she didn't have to pull off any quick maneuvers.  So, keep clear of any planes if she could.  Still, she didn't see harm in at least shadowing the plane for a bit, flying in the same general direction.  Whose plane was that, anyway?

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Frances Psion, the only one of the half-dozen prisoners on the small plane to be traveling unbagged (thanks to her psychiatric conditions, evidently a long list) turned her head and glared at Foreshadow - but surprisingly, given her sharp tongue at their last encounter, said nothing. Instead she stared out the window with a look of longing on her face, at least until the guard closest to the window pulled the shade shut. After that Frances stared straight ahead for a moment before closing her eyes and sitting stock still, as if she was about to elevate her soul out of this place by sheer force of will. Not likely, though - everyone knew Ember was the dumb, crazy Psion! 




As Stronghold flew, suddenly there was a voice in her head! "Stronghold, this is Chase Atom. Stronghold, this is Chase Atom. Can you hear me?" the brain voice asked. 

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"Bwah?  What?"


Stronghold could still be caught off guard, somehow.  Getting contacted by one of the freaking Atom Family was most definitely one of those times.  


After all.  The Atom Family.  Come on!  Yes, the Freedom League was impressive, but the Atom Family's long legacy of being explorers had always... spoken to Stronghold, perhaps.  Learning new things about the world.  


Chase Atom probably got the gist of this in reply, along with an almost fangirl squeal, before it subsided.  Sorry, sorry, just... never thought I'd be contacted by a member of the Atom Family.  Okay, calm down, Hau-


whoops. Um.  Right.  Er, yes, I can hear you.  Ah, it's an honor.  So, uh, what did you need?

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"Do you see that plane on your right?" When Stronghold looked that way, Chase went on. "That plane is a prisoner transport from Blackstone to Ravenclaw, a federal facility in upstate New York. Aboard that flight is Ember Psion, a murderous metahuman terrorist who the Atom Family and our allies apprehended several months ago." He sounded in her head exactly like he did in all those science documentaries he'd narrated as a kid! "Ember is part of a brutal family of metahuman terrorists called the Psions - a group of criminal bigots and would-be members of the master race who have plagued my family, and the world, for decades." He sighed. "We suspect Ember's family may be planning to break her out of prison during this transfer, so myself and my sister Tessa are keeping an eye on the situation via invisible hoverjet. We're on the opposite side of the plane from you -  you may be able to see our displacement in the clouds. Can you assist us? We'd be pleased for any extra eyes in the air."

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Um.  Yeah, I can see the plane... I'd be honored to assist, Mr. Atom, but, ah.. I'm not going to be able to pace the plane for that long.  I'm not a very quick flier.  Still, I'll do what I can!


She thought for a moment, before deciding to ask the obvious question.  Sorry, but if we think there's going to be an attempted prison-break... transport-break... would it be a good idea to send a warning to the people on the plane?  Even if we interfere...


Concern rippled across the telepathic link.  It'd be a nightmare.  Non-powered passengers who couldn't fly themselves is just the start, and even the prisoners on that plane don't deserve a death like that.  If this does go bad, I'll probably do a lot of safety-net duty, okay?

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Foreshadow stared at Ember as she sat there silently.  He'd only had one prior encounter with the lunatic fringe of the psions.  It took a certain level of crazy to be considered the lunatic fringe in that group to begin with.  But from that sparse meeting where he had a vision of being burnt to a crisp, he had managed to gather one thing about Frances Psion.  She was anything but silent.  Anything but defeated.


And yet here she sat quiet as a church mouse.   Sure there was some fight left in her, as the glare told him.  But rather than exchange barbs, she sat there dreaming of the outside world as if it were a far away thought and no longer some sort of inevitability.  Not that he had any complaints, the first breakout attempt was problematic enough.  It was an odd sight, almost pitiable.  Up until you remember all the crimes she was locked up for in the first place.  

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They flew on; Stronghold escorting the plane by air (from a discreet distance) and Foreshadow aboard it, thousands of feet above what was now New York state below. The clouds were heavy; the world beneath disappeared beneath a fuzzy-white blanket. Stronghold was beginning to tire - the plane was going quite fast now that it was outside of the cloud cover and she'd had to push herself to keep up this far. In another few minutes, even with the best of intentions, she was going to have to break it off.


Fire flashed before Foreshadow's eyes - a gigantic explosion of white-hot, burning rage that erupted through the plane and scattered the fragments to pieces, sending all aboard tumbling in helpless agony towards the ground far, far below. 


And over in New Jersey, some hundred or so miles away, Paige Psion-Cline saw the same thing. 

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Foreshadow gasped in his seat. Startled by the sudden vision and subsequent death by either immolation or freefalling.  Foreshadow could actively feel the faint sensation of perspiration as if he were still enveloped in the flames from his vision.  Something is amiss.  The power nullification shackles guaranteed that Ember couldn't turn the transport plane into the Hindenburg.


He could count on one hand the number of people who knew of his gift of foresight.  As such, trying to convince the guards that he had a vision wouldn't fly.  It would be more trouble than it was ultimately worth.  No, he would first need to frame his concerns as the result of an investigation.  "I'm going to conduct a little safety inspection.  We can never be too safe."  Foreshadow calmly stated as he rose from his seat.  Intending to look around the aircraft.  All the while maintaining a wary eye on Frances Psion.


The shackles kept her inert as a threat.  But that didn't mean there weren't plenty of people with a grudge willing to leave her a charbroiled mess in a turn of karmic irony.  Granted, in any case any number of the criminals on board could have earned a victim's ire to such a degree.

Edited by HG Morrison
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Stronghold tried to keep up as long as she could... but eventually, she had to send a telepathic message to Chase Atom.  Or at least... think in his direction, perhaps?  Thoughtspeed always just kept the link up, after all.  


Uh... Mr. Atom?  I can't keep up with the plane for much longer, I've been pushing it so far.  I can probably give you about five minutes more of coverage, then I need to pull off, sorry.


She did feel kinda bad she couldn't help Chase any more... but it'd do no good if she managed to push herself enough so that she dropped out of the sky.  Or couldn't actually catch any falling passengers, or fight, or...


Well, the point was, she was smart enough to know when she couldn't do any more, and she was rapidly approaching that point.  

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In her sunny kitchen, Paige Cline gasped and dropped three eggs on the floor, staring at them as they fell to earth and exploded in wet white and yellow shards. Automatically she reached out for Frances' mind, but the plane had flown out of her communications range just after takeoff. The plane couldn't have exploded yet, not with the chatter on the radio still so normal, but there wasn't much time left. "Richard!" she called, her voice edged with fear but no panic. "We have to get to the plane, something's going to attack it. It's going to blow up!" 

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Everything aboard the plane, from the pilots in front to the restroom in the back, looked perfectly normal. The other passengers, a murderer from Hoboken, a bank robber from Jersey City, and some gang members from Hoboken, were unhooded now that the plane was in flight and looking around with some concern (when they weren't shooting murderous glances at Ember Psion), but Frances herself seemed to be the only one fully tuned in to Foreshadow's suspicions. "Hey, it's not me!" she exclaimed when he passed by her section of the plane, "I didn't even want to be on this stupid thing anyway..."


Her guard on the outside seat, who happened to be the senior Blackguard there, rose as Foreshadow went by and asked, "Is there anything we can do to help?" 


Suddenly, there was a great whomp and the whole plane shook as if caught in a giaht's fist, nearly knocking down Foreshadow and sending his would-be ally sprawling bonelessly to the ground as her head smashed against an overhead compartment! Looking out the windows, he could see black, metallic arms on either side reaching down to cover the plane! The plane was veering at a wild angle now, forcing Foreshadow to grab on for dear life. 



Outside, Stronghold watched in horror as a black triangular airplane rippled into visibility just above the Learjet and clamped _down_ with two giant claws on each side, veering across her field of vision (and no longer away from her) as it grabbed onto the prison transport. In her mind, Chase Atom cursed explosively. "Damn! Everything we feared might happen is happening. That's one of the new Crime League stealth planes - who knows how long they've been shadowing us? Listen, Stronghold, we're here on-scene in our stealth Atomcraft - but if we decloak, they'll violently disengage and they may tear the plane to pieces. Can you handle this as our 'face' until it's safe for the Atoms to go into action alongside you?" 




Richard Cline started the whole day sitting in the living room watching football in his sweats. He was up, and in costume, by the time the echoes of Paige's shout had stopped bouncing off the walls - and the two of them were together out the door in just another few heartbeats. A hundred miles took Fast-Forward, even with a companion, a little more than half a minute. The hardest part was figuring out exactly where was the plane - something Hologram was able to solve by scanning the sky until they were directly underneath the prison transport. Dodging around a time-stopped farmers' field in eastern New York, they managed to find their target - an instant before a big black plane with claws like a gigantic mechanical bird appeared above the prison craft and grabbed on! 


From up above, as Paige reached out, came Frances' profane thought - Ohshtohshtosht they'd better be breaking me out or I'm gonna die! There was someone else in the sky too, an orange glow of a flier streaking around up there that Fast-Forward and Hologram recognized as the heroine Stronghold (they'd met during a consultancy months earlier) - but the black plane itself was ominously shielded against psychic probing. 

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Stronghold nodded for a moment, before flying up at her top speed (which... wasn't very fast).  On the way up, she tried to think of what to do... try putting a bind around the plane?  No.  Bad idea.  


She supposed she could try cutting into the plane, but there's that whole problem with it disengaging.  How did the Atoms know that'd happen, anyway?  Well, she supposed that they were more experienced- these guys must not be completely dedicated to breaking out Ember Psion.


Her mind ticked through a couple more ideas, before settling on 'well, I need to know more before I can really take a proper course of action here'.  She gingerly settled down on top of the prison transport, before taking a look at how, exactly the black plane had attached itself to the prison transport.  

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Crazy as it sounded he believed her.  But, that didn't change the fact they were in a heap of trouble.  His vision showing him the consequence of inaction as he struggled to hold on for dear life.  Reaching for his multi purpose escrima sticks, Erick readied himself.   Seeking to climb up the plane if he had to.  "Okay, the plane's going to make a quick detour.  You wanted to know if there was anything you can do to help.  If things go South, make sure everyone has a parachute lock arms if you have to as it'll be hard to pull the chutes with their shackles.  That's right, you might have to jump"  


He wasn't sure how much the guard actually heard.  Having had her head smashed into the compartment above.  But there was more than one aboard the transport.  Me, I'm going to do something crazy.  Foreshadow thought back to the long metallic claws attached to the plane.  Climbing it wasn't impossible.  It was borderline suicidal sure, especially at this altitude.  But, lives were at stake.  Even if they retracted the claws, there was no guarantee it'd be quicker than he could move in.  "I'm going out to pay our guests a visit."

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Flying close to the black craft as it hung aboard the prison transport, Stronghold was confronted by a sleek stealthy craft that looked military - or maybe more than military. The grasping triple arms that were now securing the Learjet certainly weren't military-issue - big, heavy bars that had wrapped themselves around the sides of the plane without actually crumpling the lightweight aluminum. It wasn't hard to read the message that one wrong move would see the flight crumple like tinfoil. Meanwhile, the sides were a solid matte black that reflected no light as she got close, with no sign of the craft's propulsion systems. The craft was featureless and nearly soundless, with only a faint hum as she flew close against its surface. The only feature on the otherwise unremarkable triangle was a transparent bubble on top that, when she flew especially close, turned out to have a man's face inside it! 


Flying the craft turned out to be, of all things, a man in what looked like a jester's hat. He waved at her cheerfully through the glass, his hand and a smile just visible, and seemed to be the most careless hijacker in the world!


Meanwhile, Foreshadow used all his force to pry open the airplane door, the rush from even the slowed plane's flight tearing it quickly out of his hands and off entirely as soon as the seal was cracked! Luckily they were low enough, as he had foreseen, that there was no movie-style rush of air or collapse - just a strong wind now rushing through the plane that the strapped-in prisoners and their carefully manuevering guards could easily enough deal with. "Hey, don't leave me in here!" yelled Ember as he fired his grapple gun, lodging the dart in what on closer inspection was an almost invisible baffle - perhaps one used in piloting the craft. "What are you doing, flying away to your Foreshadowmobile? You cowardly flat-" and then her voice was lost as he swung out into open air! 

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Stronghold blinked.  That made the second Crime League member she'd had close contact with, now, after Medea.  That time ended up with her getting knocked out by a flying axe, so hopefully this encounter would go better.  What could he do, again?


From what she remembered, though, he was... okay for a criminal?  Like, he didn't seem malicious, although appearances could DEFINITELY be decieving.  She didn't want to get a nasty surprise here.  After all, Wildcard... didn't normally do midair stuff.  


First off... she floated downwards, looking over the plane, seeing if there was anything she could do.  As Foreshadow swung out, she waved an arm, trying to get his attention- he'd probably have some ideas on how to detach Wildcard's plane, without destroying the prison transport.  

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There were a lot of things that go through a person's head while dangling a few thousand feet in the air and ascending upwards to what could only be assumed was an invisible vehicle of sorts. For some it may have been Oh God, Oh God.  Don't look down!  Or something to that effect.  Dee, would have likely been on the other end of the spectrum maybe wooing in her mind.  In that moment Foreshadow sat in the neither frightened nor excited category.  He was simply confused, What was she going to say that started with flat?  What possible insult could she have that would have any bite, hmmm.


Pressing the same button that launched the grapnel Foreshadow began to retract the line.  Which had the effect of bringing him up towards the top of the line as long as he held on for dear life.  From aboard an airplane it was hard to tell just how quickly the vehicle was moving.  For comparison's sake clutching on to a fine piece of metal was quite revealing.


"Note to self.  Purchase a Foreshadowmobile.  Or hey, a Grav bike maybe I can ask King of Suits where he got his.  And look at that I just brought my mood down.  I guess I'll just take it out on whoever is on the other end of this thing."

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"Um, Foreshadow, sir?"


Haukea drifted down, settling near the other hero.  And then her voice was completely lost in the rushing wind.  Right.  Of course,  High up, all that.  Between the wind and the speed the plane was flying at, odds were she wouldn't get a word heard at all even if she tried yelling.  


After a few tries, Stronghold sighed, and her ring glowed, before orange letters appeared in the air.  Foreshadow, sir, it's an honor to meet you.  Um.  The pilot's Wildcard, I'm not sure where he got the plane from.  Do you have any ideas how to get him off without destroying the jet?  I mean, I'm strong enough- the Ring makes me strong enough that I could do it, but I don't think I could without destroying the plane.

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With the heroes gone, a glowing pattern of lights appeared at the rear of the plane - bringing the BOP officials to their feet with enhanced tasers drawn! As the pattern of lights consolidated themselves into Hologram and a rapidly-chanting Fast-Forward, though, Frances Psion called up from her seat. "Hey, don't shoot them, dumbasses, they're superheroes!" The Clines had arrived to find a grim scene; the door open and one guard down, the guards helping load emergency parachutes on all the prisoners (who were all now unhooded), with the copilot having come to the rear to help the guards.


"They're on the list," declared the most senior surviving guard, a stocky Latina with a scar along one side of her face. "and we could use all the help we can get. Foreshadow is engaging the hijackers from the roof, but so far they haven't issued demands. They just-"


Suddenly, there was a moment of displacement on the opposite end of the plane, down where the cockpit door was still shut where the copilot had closed it. It looked to Richard's eyes as if an invisible wave had briefly washed over the area, and where it touched, new people appears. And three new players entered the scene. He didn't recognize one; but he knew the white mask, body armor, and heavy weapons well-enough. Super-merc. The other was clearly Aura Psion, Argent's misplaced sister, who spun around and placed her hands against the cockpit door, concentrating hard.


The other, a black-clad, slender-built man dressed like a ninja, the teleporter who'd brought them in there, stared down the guards and heroes and suddenly waved his hand - producing a psionic wave that sent the guards, prisoners, and everyone but Frances, Richard, and Paige dropping to the floor like puppets with so many strings cut. Even Richard had heard the command SLEEP; a powerful voice he'd had to fight to keep out.


A moment later, the young man tore off his mask - and Paige found herself staring at Jump Psion; her nephew Josh.


"Well well well. What an interesting group we have here!" he exclaimed.

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Paige stared down her nephew coolly, keeping her emotions locked tightly behind her mental shields. "You don't want to do this, Josh," she told him in a voice so calm she could've been advising him on a poor choice of entree at lunch. "This flight is being heavily monitored. The League and Blackstone aren't just going to let you hijack it and go. Things are going to get ugly very quickly, and people could get hurt. Frances is safe and she's going to get a fair trial. You need to leave now before we have to stop you." Subtly, she probed at the minds of the sleepers around her, wondering if she could rouse them without too much of a distraction. The League might be coming, but it would be nice to have backup now! 

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There were many things that went through one's arms while flapping in the air thousands of miles over land with furious winds raging.  For some a repetitive mantra to whatever higher power they believed in as they screamed in horror.  Others might have been caught in the excitement that came from the adrenaline.  For Foreshadow in that moment, only one thought came to mind.  Just what insult could she have possibly been planning that started with flat?


Always one to roll with the punches Foreshadow nodded as he read the letters in the air.  Glowing ring and all.  "Well I was playing it by ear.  Going to br break in through,  the hatch, cargo entrance, or landing gear space.  Assuming any of those things are around, it's really hard to see clearly.  Way I see it, they're more likely to open up than let me tamper for too long if there are any of those things, to avoid being flung around by a sudden realization of flying with a big gaping hole.  But if you have the strength.  I say, let's be a little forcible.  Especially if you can lock up after us."


Foreshadow said hopeful that the girl could create more than just letters.  If that was out of the question there was also the on the spot plan b.  "As long as the planes aren't attached I suppose there's also forcing them apart.  We're on a timeline, something explosive might happen on the plane."

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"Yeah, but they want me to put in jail, Aunt Paige," complained Frances with a look of frank disgust on her face. "Tried it, didn't like it, don't want to go back." She was already fishing around for keys in the pocket of the sleeping guard next to her. As she did, though, her eyes narrowed. "But you should tell them," she offered Paige almost guiltily, looking at her cousins at the front of the plane. "You guys need to listen to this!" she called to Jump and Aura. "Paige knows things about what happened in the Avalanche!" Richard could hear the capital letters on the word as she spoke it, what must have been a holy, terrifying totem to the Psion children raised with the story of their parents' murder at the hands of the Atoms.  


"Oh, I'm sure she does," sneered Josh Psion with a look of uncommon contempt"I'm sure she has quite a story to explain why she abandoned her siblings, why she abandoned us, to the tender mercies of the Atoms. Look at you," he added, looking Paige over as that contempt softened ever so slightly. "Fifty years old and you look like my older sister. What did you do, learn his tricks?" he added with a glare Richard's way. "All your power, and all you do is prostitute it for schiesse on television." He drew himself up and teleported again, this time reappearing in the back of the plane - boxing Richard and Paige in between the two Psions on their feet (though Aura seemed occupied with projecting something through the doors). 


"As for the League, they'll be a little busy dealing with my friends in the Crime League today. I took the liberty of arranging a little...distraction with Ember's old friend Atom-Smasher and a few others. Nobody's going to stop me from reuniting the Psion Family!"

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Foreshadow looked around, spotting a hatch that could serve as their entrance.  There was a turn wheel within reach.  Foreshadow simply pointed at the wheel.  As if to say turn here. His hands were notably occupied, and if Foreshadow could help it that's the way it would stay.  No plans for falling in the immediate future.


As such the airborne heroine seemed a better choice to do the honors.  At the very least flying made things a tad bit easier than becoming ambidextrous in midair.  Especially if Wildcard played true to his name.  Leaving their welcome an unpredictable mess.  "Ladies first."  He stated under the blanket of wind.

Edited by HG Morrison
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"Wait a minute," said Coda, the mercenary's voice sounding cold and mechanical through body armor nearly heavy enough to be a powersuit in its own right. "None of them is Foreshadow." He scanned the room, his hands hovering above his dual pistols. "What happened to your 'infallible psychic reconnaissance', boy?" he demanded of his erstwhile employer. 


"He was here, fool!" Josh fired back. "He was on the plane only seconds before I took us down! He must have gone out the door!" he declared, pointing to the nearby hatch. "Now don't take time away from my family-


"Out the door!" Coda laughed heartily. "Why would he just jump out the door?


"Frances," Richard tried as Ember triumphantly dug up a set of keys from her guard's belt. "C'mon, you know what happened. You're not gonna go with these people, are you?" 


"Eh...probably not back to the compound," said Frances with a little shrug. "Not now that I know what the old man did. But damn, I'm not going to jail! There's a whole world out there, flatscan or not, and I deserve to be in it just as much as anyone else C'mon, Aunt Paige, you're the one who said what happened wasn't my fault..." 

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