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Freedom's Finest #4: Diamond in the Rough

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July 12, 2015

"Bequeath all of thy paltry trinkets unto my satchel or face the wrath my master!" the armored figure shouted at the terrified sales clerk from behind a gold and sapphire hued helmet styled to be reminiscent of a baboon. The plasma cannons built into his gauntlets, used moments before to blast sizable holes in the lavish skylights of the jewelry store, said that the armor was cutting edge while the style and decoration were obviously nods to a much older aesthetic. Behind him another five brigands in similarly ancient Egyptian themed power armor were busying themselves smashing into glass displays and cowing patrons and employees alike into silence. One stood at the doorway, wielding a massive spear that on a second glance was tipped with an intimidating barrel rather than a pointed blade and making it clear to mall security and good samaritans alike that they would do better to simply wait for the robbery to be over. Already the normally busy walkway of the shopping center's second floor had been deserted by civilians.

Licking his lips, the shop's manager, a well dressed man with a shaved head and impeccable goatee, looked at the sack being held in front of him and nodded jerkily. "O-of course. Let me just--"

Left hand inches from the silent alarm trigger below the display he abruptly found his field of view dominated by that same wrist mounted blaster, the heat from its first discharge still radiating from it like the hot breath of a predator. "Test not the patience of a servant to the gods, mortal!" the thief snarled, towering almost a full head over his victim. "The jewels! Now!"

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"And these are soooo cute!" Zephyr added in her text along with an image link of the shoes she was admiring. Sure, she could afford them, but just barely. Maybe she should have gotten Eileen or some of the other girls from class to come along with her. The young girl was simply having a good time as she did mostly window-shopping - especially with the cost of the shoes still weighing down on her. But as she strode towards the mall's food court, her predictions of Cajun chicken, rice and a soda were rapidly clouding over with a sense of foreboding that rivaled the gloom caused by PE class.

And then it happened. She stopped just short of the food court as the skylight directly behind her shattered, and thugs dressed like extras from "Stargate" began to land and converge on the mall's jewelery store. Much waving of weapons and noise later, and she got a crude count of six thugs with heavy weapons and armor. BUT the way they had entered had her curious, and she expanded her mind to scan the area around the Mall as well. In scanning for villains, she picked up on one rather irate person who was more offended by the actions of the armored men even than she was. A formidable presence was already heading towards the jewelry store from the far side of the Mall, and while Oracle couldn't follow the language of the person's thoughts, she could recognize righteous anger. Whomever was coming, it was a possible ally.

Taking a deep breath, the girl gave up on her lunch, sacrificing her place in line to teleport close to that oncoming storm of righteous fury. In a flash of yellow and black light, she appears in front of none other than the mighty Sekmet!

It says something about the young girl that she isn't fazed in the least. "Sekmet. Right where I expected to find you. I am called Oracle." She turned and looked towards the jeweler's door, where the thug with the bizarre spear-gun had just taken his position.

Oracle was surrounded by a faint but ever-growing saffron-hued ward, but wisely stepped to the side since she didn't want to be seen as part of the problem. "I foresee that your directness will let me teleport behind them. Just a suggestion of course."

Edited by shojikitsune
To tense, and two tenses! Forward! Past! Leaving a Present!

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Even with literally cat-like reflexes Sekhmet was moving with a purpose such that she came dangerously close to bowling over the abruptly appearing teenager before Oracle could move aside. She still reared up with a suspicious snarl, a solid six feet of muscle rippling as she tensed, the one smouldering golden eye not hidden behind a curtain of black hair studying the glowing girl. It only took the goddess the span of a heartbeat to decide that she wasn't an immediate threat and refocus on the original targets of her formidable ire.

"I have not the time for thee, mortal child," she warned in a low rumble that was more growl and enunciation. "Blasphemy most vile demands the holy retribution of an Eye of Ra!" stomping past Oracle toward the jewelry stop with a finger pointing at the end of an outstretched arm. "Hark! Cowardly marauders and false heralds! Thou hast drawn the rage of She Before Whom Evil Trembles down upon thyselves!" The guard at the front of the store swung his staff weapon around to point at her but she continued toward him without any change in pace. "Release these innocents, throw down thy weapons and I shall visit pain down upon thee of which this realm knows only the palest of shadows!"

"Uh, don't you, er, thee mean 'or'?" one of the other robbers questioned uncertainly from behind his armored mask, glancing between his fellows and trying to decide whether he needed to keep his wrist-mounted cannon pointed at a hostage or turn it directly on the rapidly nearing goddess. The smile full of slightly too-sharp teeth Sekhmet gave him made him wish she'd go back to scowling.

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Oracle wasn't really surprised when Sekmet passed her by, and decides to take advantage of the resulting diversion. Sparks of cracking yellow and black arced off of her, as she picked her first target

She didn't even seem to be looking at the thugs, even as her eyes flashed yellow. One of the thugs tasked with herding hostages into a corner suddenly turned, eyes glowing the same saffron-yellow. Wordlessly, he raised his weapons and aimed at the other bandit guarding the hostages. Hopefully, in the confusion, one of the employees can trip the alarm and people can get out of the jewelry store. With all the other eyes on Sekmet, Oracle was going to start with the villains furthest from the door and prevent them from causing any more harm.

Well, at least to heroes and civilians. Other villains, on the other hand - that was a different story. The mind-controlled thug repeats a mantra...

"*defend the hostages and help them escape*"

And Oracle predicted this would help take at least 2 of the men out of the fight right away, as there is another thug threatening the hostages...

But somehow, the thug shakes off the influence. This could be bad...

Edited by shojikitsune
Clarification of action.

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The armored robber under Oracle's sway shuddered oddly, his movements awkward and lurching as he lifted his staff weapon away from the terrified shoppers and turned it toward his partner, muttering all the while. Confused and in growing alarm the other criminal took a step back, bumping into the store's glass cases. "Sam? What're-- The master, uh, decreed we stay in character throughout the, y'know, the job. Are thee good?"

The first robber quavered in his place for a moment before grunting, "Nnnh... W... Ugh... Well, Arnie. Am I 'well'. We've been over-- Grah, my head!" Planting the butt of his staff against the ground as  a crutch and gripping the side of his helmet with his free hand, he cast about until he spotted Oracle outside the store's front door. "Her! The kid with the eyes, she's some kinda mind freak!"

Looking between Oracle and Sekhmet, the head of the armored gang growled and raised his wrist-mounted weapons. "Slay them both!"

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Oracle easily predicted their movements as they acted, because they were still having to think - to decide. Changing targets, she stared at the one that called her a 'mind freak', and her eyes flared with power. A split-second later, and the entire shop is filled with a crackling yellow sphere of raw emotion. Sensing the men's fragile emotional state and their very legitimate fear of the approaching Eye of Ra, she broadcasted utter, mind-numbing hopelessness funneled into six tiny minds. Every gut-wrenching emo she'd ever passed, every clinically depressed person she'd met, people who's worlds had ended and who felt nothing but an aching hollow void where their souls should have been. Soul-crushing guilt made an excellent seasoning, as they felt the pain of victims past, present and future as if it were their own. As if they had been both violator and the one violated. No one else felt anything odd as the pulse of light expanded swiftly through the room, but the reaction of the thugs was priceless.

"No, you won't. You can't. It's not worth it. Just give in. Defeat is inevitable.", she deadpanned in a clipped monotone.

The young psychic had taken another gamble. She hoped to affect all of the men with enough emotional trauma that Sekmet could get in close to them without injury - and to prevent them from taking out the hostages or firing at her or the crowd outside.. Although she didn't have any problems with them all curling up in a fetal position bawling, either.

Edited by shojikitsune

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The grammatically challenged brigand immediately collapsed to his knees under Oracle's assault, elbow buckling as he attempted to support his own weight against the crushing ennui of a life wasted. Three more of the armored criminals lurched about as they failed to completely fight through the tide of weaponized depression. The unbalanced blasts of red-gold energy they launched at the petite telepath went wide, one of the attacks splashing against the oversized celebrity endorsement for a luxury watch brand plastered against the far wall of the mall and reducing it to a blackened scorch mark.

The obvious leader of the group and the member of the group guarding the door, however, demonstrated why they had been entrusted with the most important roles for the heist. Sloughing off the mental attack, the latter snapped off a shot from his staff which Sekhmet nimbly ducked under as she charged forward-- only to be caught squarely in the chest by twin gouts of angry plasma launched by the head criminal. The warrior goddess was sent flying backward with a pained yowl, cracking loudly into the guardrail that separated the second floor of the mall from the open air overlooking the ground level. Groaning, she struggled to rise back to her feet, angrily shaking her head in an effort to force her swimming vision to refocus.

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Oracle was rather nonplussed that so many of the thugs remained standing. These weren't their fated opponents. Taking advantage of the group incapacitation, she focused her gaze on the one guarding the door. Those two were serious trouble, and she needed to even the odds.

"No more of that. I tried to be nice, but now, I can see that was a mistake."

Even as the sphere of ennui collapsed, the young teen gathered power again. A brilliant beam of of saffron-yellow cracking with a black border, as bright as the plasma discharges of the armored men, seared between the gaze of Oracle and the guard at the door with an audible sizzling sound. His mask was no more a barrier to this attack than the open air between them.

Oracle's diffused power could cripple a mob. Subjecting a single mind to to a blast of raw, focused power usually induced something akin to a grand mal epileptic seizure. Were anyone observing inside the guard thug's brain, they'd see all the neurons that deal with emotion suddenly all fire at once, repeatedly. The effect is right up there with being hit by a giant anime style mallet. He could handle depression alone. Can he resist the full weight of a lifetime of emotions loaded into one heartbeat's time?

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With a surprised grunt, the armored man at the door toppled over, his helmet clanging loudly against the tile of the mall floor. To Sekhmet it sounded like nothing so much as the starting bell on a boxing ring and with acrid smoke still rising from her shendyt the goddess surged forward. Literally using the guard at the door as a stepping stone she launched herself at the closest of the criminals still standing, still reeling from Oracle's widespread assault and tackled him at the waist. The embattled pair were flung backward into one of the store's display cases, the glass shattering noisily but the metal frame providing more than enough impact against the startled thief. A merciless punch under the chin left him in an unconscious pile while Sekhmet wheeled upon the leader of the group with her unusually prominent canines bared for a feline roar.

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Oracle calmly walked forward, as Sekmeht floored the goon in spite of his heavy armor. "These are merely servants, Sekmet. I predict their master is the one we will really need to prepare for. Whomever it is deserves an *especially* enthusiastic welcome." 

She casually continued into the jewelry store, giving the remaining two guards a measured glance. The one barking orders was facing Sekmet and would be a fool to waste his attacks on hostages. He *might* fire at Oracle, but as the less immediate threat, she didn't sense that as likely. The one that had called her a mind freak was still on his hands and knees, the depression pinning him in place better than steel bars could. Two disoriented mmn remained that might pose a threat, although she was certain she could withstand their attack if needed, and was counting on the disrupted emotions to keep two of the men out of the fight. Once between the soldiers and the hostages, she evaluates the scene again.

She locked eyes with one of the still-shaken guards, and again the searing golden beam of her gaze went right through his helmet. He now experienced  the same overwhelming overload of neural activity that had left his companion drooling on the ground. 

"Flee now," she says over her shoulder to the handful of patrons still present. "Before you are caught up further in a battle not fated to you."

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