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Teen Romance Superhero Drama

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Eclipse

Thursday, December 16th 2014

9:52 PM

After two weeks straight of her first round of college finals, Eliza could feel her brain curdling into the consistency of butterscotch pudding. Between her studies, her extracurriculars, and her nightly extracurriculars, there was only so much she could take until she lost herself in something stupid.

Then came Guardian. The show was another attempt to do a hero drama in primetime, this time focused mainly on a teen audience. The show had acquired an ensemble cast that had everyone on Tumblr fighting for one or another, but no one got more attention than Harry Langstrom, a.k.a. Jonathan Regent, a.k.a. the Guardian, the super-strong (though not budget-busting), super-tough street vigilante and lead of the show. Janet, her roommate, was a big fan of the show, and while Eliza couldn't quite get fully into it ("Why is that girl fighting crime in three-inch heels?"), it allowed for some time to unwind, bond, and eat some popcorn.

So, when news had come around that the show was going to be shooting in Freedom to set up a backdoor pilot for another teen hero series, Janet had jumped at the news. And Eliza, needing a good diversion, had decided to come along. That's how she and close to a hundred other fans found themselves gathered outside a security cordon at Eclipse, which was closed down for the night for fight scene filming. So far, none of the stars had shown up, which meant there was naught but gossip and fan theory to fill the air. And cold. It was December in New Jersey, after all, and most of the fans were bundled up to deal with the weather.

"Aren't you freezing?" Janet asked Eliza, who didn't even have her coat closed. Realizing she'd been distracted, she tightened up the jacket to make a show of things.

"Guess I just had my mind on other things."

"I can understand. Man, I hope I get some pics of Langstrom. This'll be great!"

Yeah. High priority individuals, hundreds of attendants... this will be just fine.

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The first sign really should have been when the fans gathered at the edge of the crowd started to tug on their scarves and shove shed gloved into the pockets of their coats. The wave of unseasonable warmth moved steadily forward toward the Eclipse as a leisurely walking pace, turning shivering into sweating in short order. While teenagers awkwardly removed their heavy jackets in the crowded confines and looked up at the abruptly searing sun in confusion, fine golden grains of sand blew by about their feet, easily mistakable for a fine dusting of snow if one wasn't looking closely.  With everything on her mind and her ability to more or less ignore the cold anyway it would have been easy for Eliza to miss all of that. The murmurings that followed the localized heat wave as necks were strained to see its source were harder to ignore.
 
"Woah, hey, that guy's not even wearing a shirt!"
 

* * * * *

 

"Now, you at least watched the first episode on the Netflix as I requested, did you not, oh Mistress of Dread?" Set asked as he sauntered along the sidewalk in his customary shendyt and sandals, exercising a mote of his divine power to force the weather surrounding him into something better suiting a god of the desert.

"Did I not give my word, liesmith?" the powerfully athletic woman beside him huffed, casting a sidelong glare his way. "As though an Eye of Ra had naught better with which to occupy her time. And now to be arriving late to join the herd of... worshipers already gathered..."

The godling nodded along absently to his minder's complaints, paying more attention to the size of the crowd. "Mmh, I find The Guardian a bit humourless myself, aye, but do you not think that such a gathering of cameras and social media accounts deserves the presence of a pair of genuine heroes rather than play-actors?"

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And so, Council of Leaders, as you can see Farside City has excellent reason to stand with Terra in this crisis, after all, the Lor Republic, our common - 

 

Distracted as he was by rehearsing his speech for the coming week, Sharl nearly walked right past Eliza in the crowd. He was in his familiar black trenchcoat, a fashion that was coming back at least a little among people his age on Terra. At the sight of his girlfriend, especially today, he tore himself out of the conversation inside his head.

 

"Eliza! Hey, beautiful!" Not one to be physically demonstrative most of the time (at least not in public), he took her hand and smiled. "You must be Janet," he added with a smile. He'd seen pictures of Janet, and mostly seen her sleeping when he and Eliza were coming in late. "I'm Sharl Tulink. I work at Archetech." He looked around at the crowd and said, "What are we doing here?" he asked curiously, trying to peer over everyone's head. "Is there a rock band playing?" 

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"Hey, Sharl!" said Janet, extending her hand. "Eliza's been talking all about you. Must be fun, working at the heart of the future." She looked to the shut down nightclub. "They're doing some location shooting for Guardian. I'm on the Freedom Call - campus newspaper - and I'm trying to get some pics for the online edition. That and, well, check out the cast."

"And maybe steal some of those cupcakes from craft services?" asked Eliza, checking out a table at the near end of the cordoned off area. "Seriously, they're as big as bocce balls."

"They always try to keep this stuff locked down. Lots of fans try to pass themselves off as crew. Besides, I don't know why they even have carbs. It looks like everyone on this show eats whey powder three meals a --"

Janet was cut off by the rise in shrieking. Walking up the cordoned off area, Harry Langstrom - blond, cut, and dressed in the finest designer street tough clothes - was waving to the fans, smiling and welcoming the attention. "Holy crap, it's him!" said Janet, raising her smartphone. "God, I can't get the lighting good on this, the filter's gonna suck, but I don't care!"

---

Meanwhile, towards Set's end of the crowd, someone - a woman in a windbreaker, clutching her clipboard, back to everyone - sighed at the god's comment. "Look, I've spent three days wrangling extras, dealing with Teamsters, and negotiating shooting permits, so if you're going to come here and --"

She cut off when she turned and noticed who was talking. "Oh! Set, right? My daughter keeps talking about you." She looked back to the rest of the production, then to him. "Listen. I need to run this by the producers, but... if you're so big on the presence of heroes, how'd you like to offer a bit of local color?"

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Set offered the organizer a broad smile full of perfect teeth and spread his arms with a flourish. "Dear lady, you shall find we invented local colour!" he promised with a musical chuckle before making a marginally more contained bow. "And I assure you, I would never belittle the great labours required to successfully organize such a spectacle. Truly, your daughter's exceptional taste must be the result of the most excellent and inspirational example set for her! What say you, Sekhmet?"

The warrior goddess folded her arms and looked away briefly, puffing out one cheek. "Hrmph. Very well, as we are already here. Should we be able to assist, would be unseemly to refuse."

The shorter godling blinked once and confided to the woman in the windbreaker, "In truth, I was expecting more pushback. Regardless! We are at your disposal."

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"Hmm." Sharl eyed Harry Langstrom and had to admit, that was a pretty handsome Terran. "Looks like some people I went to high school with," he commented, shooting a look over at Eliza to see if she was as impressed as Janet was by this guy. He kept an eye on the star, too, but really he was much more interested in the crowd, and their reaction to the celebrity, than he was to yet another pretty Terran. After all, I spend enough time around Miss Americana that I get all of that I'll ever need. It wasn't that he was unfamiliar with acting or even Earth television, but somehow he suspected Harry was not being appreciated for his theatrical talents. "I don't watch a lot of fictional television," he confessed. "So does anybody on the show actually have superpowers?" 

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"Well, on the show, they do," said Janet. "In real life? Kinda doubt it. While it'd cut down on special effects, I've got a feeling there'd be better uses of such things than a TV show. But then again --"

One of the security guards, who was more brick wall than man, walked up, speaking into his walkie-talkies. "Food poisoning?" he yelled. "Goddamnit, I'm going to find the caterers who worked on their last shoot and pound them until --" He scanned the crowd, looking towards the audience members right on the front line. His eyes landed on Janet, Eliza, and Sharl. "You three! You look like you'd fit in with the crowd. If you sign some releases and promise not to be complete assholes, you feel like making some money as extras?"

Janet clapped her hands together and made a sound that could mainly be perceived by dogs. Eliza, meanwhile, smiled and looked to Sharl. "What do you think? Wanna see how it's done up close?"

---

The woman in the back, meanwhile, nodded to the god and goddess, creating an opening in the fence. "Get on inside, and the AD will give you your spots. If you've got some tricks that resolve on film but don't wash out the lighting, then that might help the atmosphere."

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"I think we can make it look real," said Sharl with a wink to Eliza. Hand-in-hand, he followed her inside the compound, wondering what Gina or his friends from Claremont would think if they saw him on television. TV as me, and not as Citizen! That experience also helped him relax at the thought of appearing on cameras, even in a corner for a few moments. At least he knew his holoprojector would hold up well enough on Terran television, something that would not have been the case if they'd had access to Lor-level tri-v! Primitive technology saves the day again, whew. "Bet your mom and dad will be surprised," he commented to Eliza. To the guard, he added, "Hey, is that an Archetech Sprecher? Nice choice." 

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Set gave the crew member a scandalized look as he stepped through the gap in the stanchions, hands spread outward. "Madame. A god of Heliopolis does not perform tricks." His expression changed in the breadth of a blink to a broad smile as crimson lightning abruptly rocketed down from the heavens to play about the fingertips of one hand while a tornado of sand surged upward from the other hand like a geyser. Moving his arms as though hitting a power chord on a guitar, the godling worked his hips into the motion, playing to the gathered audience. "He performs miracles!" He let the lightning and sand run wild in spectacular fashion overhead, dissipating into harmless motes long before it reached the ground.

After a brief pause, he looked over his shoulder to Sekhmet. "Tis usually where you have an aloof one-liner to temper my natural exuberance, oh She Before Whom Evil Trembles."

The goddess stopped scanning the set long enough to give him an annoyed grunt. "Hnnh?"

"Aye, quite."

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The audience gave a massive round of applause to Set's show of power. The woman looked impressed as well, but it gave way to the hardbitten look of someone who'd spent quite some time around special effects. "That is fairly impressive," she said. "Still, you're probably gonna want to flag some of the flashier stuff with the AD. He's really ardent about setting the scene, and we've got enough going on compensating for the acoustics and shadows in there. But I don't think he'll throw too much of a fit."

---

Inside the building, a number of extras were running through their rounds before the scene shot. It was a bit like watching a remix of an actual night out clubbing - snippet of music with dancing, break, snippet of other music with different dancing, break, et cetera. Eliza took her place by one of the couches, waiting for some sign from the director. As she did, she looked across the club - to see Set and Sekhmet entering. Good to see them. I guess I should have seen them here. Has Sharl seen them? This might get weird. Then again, Sekhmet will probably hold Set's leash, and maybe they'll get along on grounds of not having any of it.

In any case, she turned to Sharl. "How do you think they're going to want us to dance when this starts?"

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"Any way we dance is good by me," said Sharl with a smile. He leaned close and whispered in her ear. "Long as your friend doesn't mind me monopolizing you for a while..." Having grown up in a monitored society, the idea of everyone seeing him with his girlfriend was no threat - after all, he wasn't going to be the star of the show. Well, maybe not this show... "And I'm all tuned up, by the way, so when we're out there dancing, you can put your hands wherever you want and I'll stay in one piece." He drew back, catching sight of Set with his famous companion, and Eliza felt him tense for a moment. But after another moment he shook it off, trying to stay in what promised to be a very interesting moment if he kept things up. He was with Eliza, he was having a great time, and nobody was getting in his business. 

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While Set made assurances of good behaviour to the crew member who'd let them inside, Sekhmet continued to scan the crowded night club, going so far as to perch on the tips of her toes to add to her already considerable height. At first the godling assumed his always wary companion was simply agitated by so many people in a setting that worked to thwart her acute hearing and vision with pounding music and flashing lights respectively, until she spoke up, "Might we encounter Alicia Gemmen, do thee suppose?"

Blinking, it took Set a few moments to place the name. "The playactor who performs as the potentially amorous reporter? Mayhaps? Why do you ask?"

"Concern thyself not with my motivations," the warrior goddess shot back huffily, crossing her arms under her chest. Before Set could probe further, Sekhmet sniffed the air distractedly, turning toward the extras preparing to dance for the scene. Inhaling through her nose again, she shot Set a predatory grin before setting off toward some of the mortals.

Feeling some colour drain from his face at that expression, Set looked past her in the direction she's begun walking, hurrying to keep up. "What do you-- oh. Sekhmet. Sekhmet, nay."

His pleas fell on deaf ears as his minder approached Eliza and her friends and gave them a broad smile and perfunctory bow. "Hail! 'What fortune brings a warrior as thyself to such a locality?'" Her tone suggested she was attempting and mangling a quotation while the gleam in the one golden eye not hidden by her raven black hair suggested she was looking forward to seeing Set be the socially awkward one for once.

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Janet's eyes widened as the goddess approached the group. "Is that - yeah, it is! It's Sekhmet! Wait, does that mean - oh my God, that's Set! Everyone's out here tonight! Eliza, you didn't tell me you knew them!"

 

"Well, a girl's gotta have her secrets," Eliza said, trying very desperately to tap dance across thin ice as fast as possible. "They came to my mom's stand a few months back. Part of this whole '#EchoesOfEgypt' promotion, meant to show iconography and symbolism of Egyptian culture in everyday life. The stand was part of clearing up the conceptions of Egyptian mythology as tied to the Tarot. After the visit, we got to talking about coffee shops in the area." A part of Eliza liked playing up her connection to Freedom's most daring divine celebrities like it was nothing. But that was somewhat dwarfed by the part that was afraid that too much familiarity might cast doubts on why she was out so late at night.

 

If there were any such doubts in Janet's mind, however, they seemed to be buried deep. "Man, that's one of the great things about Freedom! Everyone runs into anyone! Ms. Sekhmet - sorry, I don't know what sort of title's best here, should I go for 'divine majesty' or something? - if you don't mind, once shooting's done, I was wondering if I could get a few words with you for the school paper -- "

 

The sound of a whistle cut off the inquiry. "Quiet on the set!" called the assistant director. "Places, everybody." The extras stood stock still and moved into place, ready to dance on cue. "And... action!"

 

Music from some EDM act that wasn't quite in the Billboard 100 but might be soon played over the speakers. Harry Langstrom, photogenic and polished as ever, strode out onto the dance floor, closely accompanied by Alicia Gemmen, dressed in the kind of professional clothes you can dance in. The two were having some passionate, charged discussion that Eliza could barely hear over the music. Right. They've got to be wired. No wonder we can't hear a thing. With little chance to lean in and eavesdrop on spoilers to come, Eliza threw herself into the music, dancing as best she could to stand out in the background. 

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"Divine majesty!?" declared Sharl just before the cameras started rolling. His moment of skepticism aside, he didn't want to ruin this for Eliza and so did his best to dance - a difficult task for the teenager from Tronik. The years he'd spent on the plankton barge hadn't given him a lot of moves, and with its sinous closeness Terran dancing had never been a strong suit. But he put his heart and soul into it, at least trying to blend in and not stick out in the crowd of so-graceful Terrans. 

 

What are they doing here, anyway - probably gonna put a pyramid on their heads and announce we're all property of Ra! 

 

He caught sight of where Eliza's eyes were and watched the conversation as best he could.

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"Both 'Lady' or 'Mistress' would be proper," Sekhmet clarified smoothly with a deep purr in the back of her throat that caused her Rs to roll hypnotically, pleased to be treated with deference for once. "I have come not to expect mortals to stand upon ceremony in this age, however. Consider thyself free to address me simply as Sekhmet, little scribe."

As the filming began she straightened from leaning her smouldering golden eyes toward the less divinely proportioned college student and quickly made it clear that while music might have changed dramatically since the heyday of her worship, sinuous grace and rhythm were timeless qualities. Set proved to be no slouch himself although he was clearly hampered by striking a careful balance between coming across as nonchalant while also avoiding looking in the direction of Eliza or Sharl.

Before long, however, Sekhmet stopped dancing abruptly, those same eyes narrowing before she stalked toward the conversing actors with a very different sort of sureness of movement. Without warning she grabbed the shoulders of a pair of young women surreptitiously edging their way closer to the focus of the filming and hefted them both easily off of their feet and into the air. The motion lifted their tops a few inches over their stomachs and revealed the unmistakable grips of firearms tucked into their skirts. "Treachery!" the goddess snarled loudly enough to be heard over the club's thumping music.

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"CUT!" yelled the director, trying to match Sekhmet for force. The music cut out soon after as the extras and actors swiftly decelerated. Those who were used to the set went back into relaxed postures, while the extras seemed slightly more confused. The director leapt up from the chair, bolting out onto the floor. "Look, I understand you're good for local flavor, but --" He shut up once he got close enough to see the distinctive firearms. He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could, the music cut in with a droning beat.

 

"You just had to step on my beat, didn't you?"

 

A woman emerged from the back of the crowd, looking not much older than the rest of the crowd - and that was where her ability to blend in cut off. She was wearing what looked like a nun's robes slit up to the waist, a Kevlar vest, kabuki make-up, and a shocking pink fright wig, paired off with a crossbow clutched in her hands. When the crowd noticed, a round of screams went up - swiftly punctuated by one of the other dancers drawing a pistol and firing into the air. The dancers who were carrying quickly drew together around the outrageously dressed woman.

 

"So much for the surprise debut. Ladies and gentlemen, this is now an installation piece/hostage situation, courtesy of the light of your lives and demigod of the residual image, Madame Marvelous! The dear madame reminds you all to smash your televisions and kill your teachers. My demands are simple. One hundred thousand in pennies, donated to the PLO; all the Glenlivet this dump has in its stores; oh --" She pointed a finger at Langstrom. "And him. Non-negotiable." 

 

"What?" yelled the director. "You can't just --"

 

"Can't?" Madame Marvelous fired, shooting a bolt into the director's leg. He screamed as he hit the ground, but the screams soon gave way to deep breaths as he slowly lost consciousness. "Kant is for philosophy students! I make magic happen! Get the pretty boy, gentlemen. Let's make some art."

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Fortunately, the good thing about a long and pompous monologue was that it gave a girl time to reposition herself. The second she realized the dancers were flanking the actors, she'd pulled herself back just far enough to maintain visual range. She'd tapped Janet on the shoulder, swiftly mumbling, "Gonna see if the bathrooms are open," as way of an exit. By the time Sekhmet confirmed that they were indeed strapped, she'd managed to worm the water out of her skin and form it into a mask. Her coat would likely give her away to folks like Janet, so she ditched it, using a good chunk of the remainder of the water to create thin yet distinctive armor. Really good thing I don't mind December...

 

All those preparations aside, Temperance was able to step forward just as soon as Madame Marvelous was done with her speech. "They really will let anyone in here, won't they?" she said, whipping up the water in her hands. It flew out, freezing in mid-air, ready to splash over the villainess. But Madame Marvelous dodged out of the way with a backflip, leaving the water to splash and freeze harmlessly on the floor. 

 

"Watch the water! Do you know how long it takes to beat this face?"

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A tap of his foot kicked on Sharl's emitter and he left it there, quietly humming under the table, while he rose to his feet and walked smoothly to the primitive circuit panel and switches that controlled the artificial lighting in the room. He felt a glow of warm satisfaction as his chest symbol lit up, a brilliant electric blue that matched the wi-fi logo Terrans used. It felt good being Citizen. Citizen didn't need to worry about stupid Terran criminals who obviously needed a serious neural readjustment; or for that matter about the smoldering husks of dead worlds and cybernetic horrors from beyond the stars. Citizen was a superhero who could kick some bad guy butt and kiss a pretty girl when it was all done. 

 

He shoved his hand through the light panel and fried it with a thought, a slight jolt of conducted photonic energy shooting through the primitive Terran metallic circuitry and frying it like one of Koshiro's pastries. As the lights went out and his chest glowed a bright blue in the dark, making him the most obvious target in the room, he knew they were already winning. "Show's over!"

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Following a painful sounding crack in the darkness, the glow of Citizen's emblem was joined by two balls of golden flame wreathing Sekhmet's fists, their flickering light casting menacing shadows across her features as she tossed the unconscious forms of the two would-be hostage takers she'd already accosted to the dance floor. "Thy words be nonsense and they garb be nauseating, madwoman," the goddess growled in Marvelous' direction, stalking forward with her shoulders squared in unconcealed irritation.

One of the criminal's henchmen made a move toward Sekhmet and she exploded into movement, arm shooting out to grab his face and toss him across the room into a pool table. The momentum of the overhand throw sent her flipping into a spinning kick that caught another gunman in the solar plexus and his unfortunate partner a little bit lower. The next actually managed to raise her pistol and point it in the direction of the Lady of Slaughter and her fires but before she could squeeze off a shot Sekhmet had dislocated her shoulder from its socket with an audible pop. Pained shouts covered up the sound of a fist connecting with the cartilage of a nose but the thump of a skull being shoved into the hardwood bar rang out clearly. In the span of seconds all of Marvelous' minions had been left unconscious or wishing they were, leaving only the mastermind standing as Sekhmet let loose a lioness' roar of challenge, the golden eye not covered by her sweeping bangs reflecting fire light and fury.

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At some point between the moment Citizen shut off the lights and the moment Sekhmet began cracking skulls, Set was no longer standing where he had been when Madame Marvelous made her entrance. He was instead stepping out of the shadows behind Harry Langstrom and Alicia Gemmen, throwing a bare arm over each of the actors' shoulders. "This sort of thing almost never happens to new media stars, you know," he observed, leaning forward between the pair with a grin and positioning the smart phone in one of his outstretched hand until the camera could take in all three of them. "Food for thought! Now, say 'timely rescue'!" The phone's LED flash provided brief illumination in the darkness before the godling instructed, "Hey Meri, upload photo to Twitter, hashtag selfie, hashtag The Guardian, hashtag heroism!"

The phone chimed happily before replying in the slightly tinny simulated voice of its manufacturer's patriotic CEO, "Okay! I've uploaded the photo to your Twitter account!"

"Sensational. Ta!" Just barely visible in the glow of the display, Set waved cheerily at the avant-garde terrorist before grabbing Langstrom and Gemmen and pulling them backward into the shadows from which he'd arrived, vanishing from view.

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The glow from Sekhmet's fists managed to cut through the darkness, revealing Madame Marvelous's face. She was laughing. "Pretty kitty!" she said. "Nice bite, but your bark is --" Before she could finished, she noticed the photo-friendly god vanishing into the shadows with the two lead actors. "You can't do that! That is just cheap imitation! True art has character and sacrifice!" The villainess reached through the slits in her dress, pulling a flare gun from a thigh holster. "Let's see who's willing to lay down on the cathode ray altar! Who wants to die for art?"

 

She fired the gun high into the air, cutting through the darkness of the night club with a red burst. And as it soared through the air, its arc terminated right under one of the sprinklers. The club's fire alarm had gone off with the circuit breakers, but the sprinklers operated under different mechanisms. They clicked open, sending water cascading down into the club - and towards all the electrical equipment below. As the water fell, Madame Marvelous vanished into the crowd, a blur of black cloth and runproof makeup. 

 

Temperance realized what Madame Marvelous was likely planning as soon as the flare had hit the ceiling. She had given up focusing on the villain in order to turn her attention upwards. She had no idea how much water was in the average nightclub fire suppression system, but had a pretty good idea that trying to keep it in the pipes would only cause things to explode spectacularly. As soon as the water hit the sprinkler heads, it caught in mid-air, forming a shimmering curtain that began to take on the dimensions of an invisible swimming pool. She turned to Citizen. "I'll hold this up as long as I can! Try to get everyone out!"

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Citizen shoved his hand further into the electrical box, blue lightning crackling through every electrical appliance on set as they shorted out, one by one. "All I need is a few more seconds!" he called to Temperance, his holographic form flickering and dancing as he used the electromagnetic energy channeled through the system against it, shorting out line after line and leaving the system itself harmless and empty. If I can get it done fast enough... When the last line was dead and the place really was dark, the only light left was the glow produced by his projector - the only functioning electrical appliance left on this floor of the building. 

 

"Stop talking like that!" he added, yelling at Madame Marvelous. "You're not even the nice kind of genetically imbalanced, you're just crazy! Demigods aren't even real!" 

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With a low growl Sekhmet scanned the crowd for a moment, luminous eyes flicking back and forth in the murky dark, before dropping to all fours in the same, fluid movement that transformed her from statuesque woman to lithe lioness. Her nostrils flared and her ears twitched as she sought out a trail to distinguish Madame Marvelous from the throngs of confused and frightened dancers. "Rrrrowr, coward!"
 
Her words were almost lost in the abrupt gale wind which gathered up the shorted out equipment Citizen had disconnected from power and tossed unceremoniously to the far corner of the club, speakers and monitors making harsh thuds and brittle screeches as they tumbled into each other. Simultaneously the temperature inside the club rose, the chill of cold sprinkler water and damp clothes replaced with the dry heat of midsummer noon. The civilians were safe, there wasn't any reason they couldn't be made more comfortable as well. "Really now. Learn a new hymn, oh willfully ignorant ideologue!" Set voice called with an exasperated sigh from somewhere in the shadows to Sharl's left. "Surely we can dispose of this talentless purveyor of cheap shock value without resuming our dispute over the divine!"

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Sharl tensed. Stupid Set! Bet that so-called god is following me. He-he's such a jerk! "It worked, didn't it?" said Citizen, pulling his hand from the electrical panel with a satisfied smirk. "Nothing deflates a drama llama like turning off the lights and telling them to get off the stage." He grinned at Set as he walked over to Temperance's side. "I'd have liked to take her out too, fast and hard, but I'll take making her run away with her tail between her legs." He put his arm around Temperance and went on. "Catching all the water out of the sprinklers? That was great, babe. You people all right?" he called to the crowd. "If anybody needs an EMT, they're on their way." 

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The crowd looked up to see Sekhmet's burst of sunlight reflected through the shimmering curtain of frozen sprinkler water. Somewhere in the chaos, an intrepid camera assistant was no doubt keeping it rolling. Temperance breathed a sigh of relief as she saw the sprinklers up top run dry - even in a club this large, the tank on the sprinkler system had to run out eventually. Of course, that left another matter...

 

"I'm assuming nobody here wants to pay for water damage on top of everything else," she said, "so somebody please open the doors." 

 

Once the doors were open, Temperance flung the water outside. It took a lot of guidance and effort to make sure the ice didn't run out into the street, but with a little bit of cunning and some amateur ice sculpture, there was a large sheet that wouldn't cause too much trouble when it melted. The extras and clubgoers filtered out soon after, remaining as orderly as they could under the circumstances. As she saw the product of the works, she felt a tap on the shoulder. She turned to find Langstrom waiting right behind her, actually looked impressed. "That was... that was incredible. Listen, I know how this is going to sound, but... we've got a shooting schedule to stick to, and I don't think the usual security guards are going to cut it. I know it's gonna sound like an imposition, but... would you guys mind providing detail? I'm sure the producers can provide whatever compensation you need."

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