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November 2nd, 2015



For whatever else Freedom City is, it is the epicenter of meta-human activity in the world.  And that means that the world's largest collection of death rays, possessed talismans, magic rings and all other man of super weapons are collected in close proximity.  When the city's criminals are caught, these items are confiscated, logged as evidence, and stored in different locations throughout the city so as to not paint too large of a target on any one location.  One such facility is in Lonely Point, the closest geographically to Blackstone prison.  This facility however only houses items that are damaged or broken so this facility is theoretically the safest as anyone breaking into the area won't acquire any new firepower once inside. 


As FCPD learned today however, that did not mean that it wasn't a target.  The facility had been the target of a coordinated assault of meta-humans, who made a clean getaway, with the police unsure of what was stolen.  Police forces were being assembled, Blackstone was locked down in case this was a precursor to a jail break and the story was played on all the late night new channels and radio stations.  And now, the heroes began to arrive on the scene to lend a hand in apprehend these dangerous criminals. 

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Kingsnake meditated on the implications of the news as he ran, jumped, swam, and climbed his way to the naval base, doing his best to stay out of sight.  If all the munitions in lockdown at Lonely Point are non-functioning, then there's no point in stealing them...unless you're the type who knows how to fix them.  And teams of metahuman criminals don't take on a high-risk job like breaking into a military base without getting paid a lot of money up front, with even more waiting on the back end...unless they're taking orders from someone with enough weight to throw around.  But someone packing that kind of firepower already doesn't need more.  No, whoever masterminded this job is very smart and very rich.  And someone with teams of supervillains at their beck and call, someone who can get egos like that to work together in the first place...that's someone that cops, even Feds, can't handle on their own.  They always miss something.  Too distracted by their eyes.


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With Kingsnake's natural athleticism and enhanced senses he is quickly able to make it past the police perimeter.  Once inside the task gets more difficult as the building is designed to impede invasion and there are police and guards swarming the area.  However, the natural layout of the complex is no longer in play as the signs of a hasty retreat assisted by super-human abilities is evident.  Several reinforced walls have been smashed to pieces, scorch marks decorate the walls and floors while the faint smell of ozone permeates the air.  You do note that most of the damage leads away from the main evidence lock up, whoever the perpetrators were, they managed to gain entry without being noticed, but were noticed at some point during their heist. 


Inside the main lock up, the security lightens somewhat as a crime scene has been set up. Most of the personnel are securing the perimeter, while a small number of officers are canvasing the scene. There are dozens of shelving units in the room, stacked to bursting with numbered and lettered crates, or at least that's what it would look like had everything been left orderly rather than ransacked. If you had to guess, the thieves either didn't know which crate they were looking for, or they did and wanted to stall the police from discovering their intent.

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Grimalkin got on pretty well with the FCPD; she was friendly and flirty and didn't make many demands, and her powers allowed her to investigate a crime scene fairly thoroughly without disturbing it.


As always when she arrived at the scene, she checked in with the detectives on duty, making sure to bring them fresh coffee and baked goods from the store, then shrunk down to pixie size to fly inside and have a look, listen and smell around.

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As soon as Brandish had heard about the break-in on the news he had thrown on his costume and ran out the door straight to Lonely Point. Up until now he had only dealt with the occasional thief, drug dealer, and had brought an end to a small gang fight. He was hoping that this could, well, be his "big break", or at least a chance to actually deal with some real villains instead of the common crook. After all, how would he be able to gauge his level as a hero if he never tested himself against a real threat? 


He found himself grinning as he thought of the upcoming epic fight that he was going to have with these villains doing the break in, he was going to leap in for a surprise attack with his sword and then proceed to mop the floor with them! Well, maybe, in reality he was probably going to end up buying time for more heroes to arrive, but if that did happen that would super awesome!


Needless to say, Brandish was quite disappointed when he finally arrived on the scene a good ten minutes later. Police cars were pulled up around the building and a perimeter already set up. He let out a groan, of course the villains would be gone already, fights don't usually last very long anyways... and thinking back he's sure the news announcement was that a break-in had occurred, not that one was in progress. Pretty sure that the police would refuse help from a kid hero like himself, Brandish leaped up to the top of the nearest roof to get a better look at the scene, sticking to the shadows since he wasn't quite sure what would happen if he was spotted.

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Kingsnake crouched, ducked, and weaved between the shelves to avoid the soldiers on the scene, occasionally clambering up onto them to let a guard pass below him.  They never look up.  During the gaps in their patrol, he took slow, deep breaths, trying to take in and sort through all the layers of scent buried under the carbon and ozone of fire and lightning.  He ran his fingertips along the surface of the crates, feeling the microscopic difference in texture between the wood and the labels.  The extra lobe on his brain pulsed with tiny vibrations, blanketing the area with waves of high-frequency sound that painted a landscape for him in shades of grey.


A familiar scent jumped out of the soup.  Tiny wings beat a drumline in his ears.  A familiar shape fluttered into his "view."  The fairy.  Good.  She can vouch for me if I get caught.  Didn't know she was so chummy with the cops.


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Kingsnake finds out quite a bit from his investigation of the area. Firstly, the state of the room was definitely a deliberate effort to conceal the true objective. By tracing the smells you're able to pin down the one object that left the room rather than merely being tossed around it. It smells of slagged metal, radiation, caustic chemicals and something you can only describe as “not of this world”. It was originally in a casket sized crate labeled 38B which is now scattered throughout the room.


Brandish meanwhile surveys the exterior of the complex. When the thieves left, they didn't take a straight path, instead darting and zig zagging through the courtyard and walls. You find plenty of evidence of a fighting retreat, with bullets from the guards' guns littering the ground, and you get the impression most were either deflected or bounced off something hard given how much damage they show. Outside of the complex there is a small crater with two foot prints in the center. Judging from the orientation this was how at least one of their thieves made their exit with a super powered leap. The closest destination would peg them in Port Regal, but you don't know how far they could have gone. He can also see a faint glowing light coming across the bay towards the facility.


Back at the entrance to the complex, Grim is greeted by more than a few smiles and kind words. A gruff looking detective with a graying handlebar mustache walks up offering his hand “Made pretty good time. Detective Burke. Hey rookie, help the lady with the gift basket. Appreciated by the way.” he adds as an aside. “Follow me and I'll show you what we're dealing with.” he said as he leads her past the police tape.


He remains mostly quiet as he makes his way to the main lock up. He doesn't bother trying to keep sight of the pixie as she flies about the room instead focusing on his note pad and reading aloud to the room. “At approximately 10:34pm the security personnel became aware of intruders in the lockup, and moved to detain. Fight broke out as the intruders fought their way out. We have conflicting reports on their numbers and the security systems were comprised due to electrical interference. It was at least 3 assailants, working as a coordinated unit, all confirmed to be meta-human. Electrical projection and super-strength are confirmed capabilities. By 10:40 the subjects had left the scene. We believe they stole something from inside this room. We're cataloging now to determine what it was, but the place got trashed in the meantime, so its slow going.”


While Burke gives them the run down, Grim and Kingsnake's senses are both keen enough for them to believe there are four assailants, two men, two women judging by those that didn't smell like they were carrying a gun. Kingsnake can make the jump to conclude that the female intruders are the ones whose powers are mentioned judging by how intermingled one of the perfume smells is with ozone and the size of one of the hand prints in a crumpled vault door.

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Kingsnake dropped down from the nearest shelf onto the ground next to the discarded vault door.  Crouching above it, he traced his fingertips along the impressions left by superhumanly strong hands, committing them to memory.  He spoke to Grimalkin and Burke without looking up at them.  "Not three.  Four.  Two men and two women, all with powers, including an electricity controller and a powerhouse.  Find out what was in crate number thirty-five B.  That was the original target.  Everything else was an afterthought or a distraction.  And whatever it is, it's at least slightly radioactive.  Get someone with a geiger-counter in here and make sure none of you have been poisoned."


With that, Kingsnake backflipped up and over the nearest shelving unit, and faded into the shadows.  He crept outside and scaled the wall opposite the side of the roof where Brandish stood.  Once he cleared the edge of the roof, he pulled the whip off his belt and let the coil fall open.  Standing half in and half out of shadow, he growled at the longcoat-clad stranger.


"Pretty sure that sword isn't standard issue for G.I.s or A.E.G.I.S.  Friends leave you behind when they made their getaway?  Or are you just a scavenger hoping to pick at the bones?"

Edited by ShaenTheBrain
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Brandish pulls his greatsword off of his back, holding it in one hand with his other raised to tentatively block, as he growls back at Kingsnake, "You could say the same for yourself, sneaking around in an outfit like that." He flourishes his sword as it lights up in vibrant red flames, "I heard about the break-in on the news and just got here in time to see you sneaking in, I was about to go in after you, but then you ended up coming to me instead." He glances over his shoulder at the incoming light, he was pretty sure that neither of them wanted to be fighting eachother when that third possible combatant got here, so he decided to try and stall for time. Chances were that he would probably be more likely to win in a 3-man free for all, so he continued with the banter, "Going to hand over anything you managed to pick out anything good from in there? Or do I have to take it from you by force?"

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Grim had recognized Kingsnake's smell from Sapporo, but chose to ignore him out of respect; he was a solo act who didn't mind teaming up from time to time, a stealthy detective with senses even sharper than her's, and you don't just blow a guy like that's cover. Sneaker's code and all that.


But on the plus side, it meant she didn't jump when he spoke up, which made her feel kinda badass; however, that confidence wilted a bit at the harrowing thought of radiation exposure, and the blood drained from her tiny cheeks. "Kingsnake's right about the headcount, detective; two men, two women. But if he says there's radiation, I say we get the f*** out of here and call for a hazmat team, stat."


And with that, she zipped outside as fast as she could, where she came upon some sort of confrontation between Kingsnake and a kid with a burning pigsticker. The kid looked nervous, but she didn't get a villainous vibe off of him; then again, she'd been wrong before...


Returning to full size, she dropped between them, holding up both her hands. "Hey, lookie here! We've got ourselves a good ol'-fashioned standoff, just like in the pictures!" Turning to the newcomer, she flashed him a cheerful grin. "What's your name, kid, and where'd you get the lightsaber? I'm Grimalkin, by the way; pleased to meetcha!"


She extended a gloved hand in greeting and hoped she was right.

Edited by Heritage
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"Hey, get back to your posts morons!"  shouted Burke as the cops began to split.  "Anything with dangerous radiation is impounded on the sublevels.  See?" he says as he pulls the Geiger-counter out of the crime scene bag (hey this is Freedom - you never know), which proceeded to spark to life, but barely.  "H-He's right. Whew." confirmed one of the CSI officers to those left in the room.  "Great, now that we got that settled someone get me the damn chart so we can call it in to dispatch so we know what they're looking for." barked Burke trying to get a handle on the situation again.  Just because there were capes on the case didn't mean he got the night off.  "Ok, 35B... 35B... here it is, it's... damn - this is going to get complicated."


Meanwhile, on the strangely well populated roof as the heroes were trying to determine where each other's loyalties lied, the blue light that had been traveling across the had made its way close enough to the complex that its source could be determined.  It was a battle suit approaching at a rather high velocity.  Specifically a red, white and blue, tank-like power suit.  Bastion set down on the roof with a mechanical *thunk* as the engines shut off a few feet off the ground.  He surveyed the heroes for a moment, looking from one to the other.  "Who took my suit?" 

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When another hero arrives on the scene, Brandish takes a step back and starts alternating between facing Kingsnake and Grimalkin, his breathing intensifies as he starts stressing out about the thought of having to fight three, no four people at once! He's not ready for this kind of thing! He starts thinking about just running away, losing their trail and going home for a few moments before Grim starting speaking to him.


 He replies with an unsteady "U-Uh...." as he takes in the sight of Heroine (who's dressed much more like a hero than Kingsnake). He takes a deep breath, lowering his sword-though still keeping it wrapped in flame-, "The name's Brandish, and I got this sword from..." he shakes his head, "Actually that's none of your business, but it's very special okay?"  He extends his left hand (since the right's holding the sword) and gives her hand a solid shake before pulling it back, he points at Kingsnake and starts to say something before hearing the thunk of the power suit hitting the roof, "So uh do you know-"


His head snaps to the power suit for, then he starts looking to the other two heroes, waiting for one of them to give a response.

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Kingsnake couldn't see the flames erupting from Brandish's demonic blade, but he did catch the subtle aroma of sulfur, and he flinched almost imperceptibly backward from the blast of heat spashing against his skin.  Not the runt of the pack after all.  But young and cocky.  Thinks his toy makes him invincible.  He methodically tensed and relaxed the muscles in his arms and legs to prepare them for executing the maneuvers already playing out in his head.  He scowled under his mask when Grimalkin fluttered into view and started introducing herself.  Too trusting.  Going to get herself killed.  No, she's tough.  Going to get someone else killed.  His wrist was moments away from snapping his whip up over her shoulder when the rush of air in Bastion's wake wiped his mental state clean.  The clanking and grinding of metal on metal matched the metaphorical wheels in Kingsnake's head, sent spinning by the armored man's words.


"'My suit.'  They wouldn't be keeping 'your' suit here unless they had to take it from you first."  This just went from bad to worse.  That armor must have a weak point, but it won't matter if I can't find it before he turns this entire building into a crater.

Edited by ShaenTheBrain
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Grim shook the teen's hand firmly and shrugged. "Okay, fine; don't tell me where you got your brimstone blade from. See if I care." Then the big guy in red, white and blue showed up, and the game reset itself and started over again.


"Ah, okay! You must be Bastion, the ex-bad guy trying to go straight; how's that working out for you?" She indicated the man in black and white behind her. "As far as your suit goes, that's what me and Kingsnake are trying to figure out. Not sure what Brandy's deal is, we just met."

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Can't smell the kid's heartbeat over the burning, but his heartbeat didn't change a microdecibel.  He's telling the truth.  And the fairy's a known quantity.  But "Bastion"...Bastion...I know that name...oh, right.  The rebranded Malice, the right-wing redneck revenge fantasy given flesh.  Bigoted gun-nut painted up like the American Flag (or so I've heard...wouldn't know), made noise about "power to the people" and "keeping society pure" and all the other usual talking points.  Probably has a rant about why we should've stayed on the gold standard.  One less headache if the mad dog's finally on a leash.  But if some other stray ran off with his kind of firepower...


"Michaels."  Kingsnake spun his arm in a narrow arc, coiling his whip back into a ring, and hooked it back onto his belt in one fluid motion.  "Your hardware doesn't have a tracking device.  Otherwise, you'd have gone straight to the thieves.  Everything here is supposed to be non-functioning.  So whoever stole your hardware knows they can't use it.  And if they have enough money to hire a whole crew of metahumans, then they don't need to sell it.  If this was personal, there are easier and cheaper ways to get to you.  The only other rational reason to steal your weapons is to reverse-engineer them.  Not many people in town have that kind of skill, which narrows down the suspect list.  Any old contacts in the world of illicit munitions we should know about?"

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"You're correct.  My old suit had an alarm on it that would notify me if it was being tampered with.  Designed it to be nigh-indestructible, still dumb luck it was still operational, but it likely used up the very last drops of reserve power in the suit otherwise I would still be getting pings on its current location.  As for contacts, I made most of the components in house custom built.  I only contacted other individuals when I needed something especially illicit that I could not obtain through the means of my otherwise legitimate business at that point in time.  However as part of the build up to my release I testified in detail about these sources and to my knowledge all of them were rounded up.  Likely made more enemies in doing so.  But those enemies were smugglers, not scientists, not our target demographic." relayed Bastion truthfully, the mechanical voice reverberating in the night air. 

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Brandish meanwhile had been standing back and thinking. He decided that he probably wasn't in danger here and so let the flames on his sword go out, though still keeping it lowered at his side in case of sudden trouble. As the others were talking about where Bastion's equipment had gone, he remembered that while he was looking around he had seen something that might prove useful. He ahemed and raised a finger, "While I was standing up here I noticed that there was some deep footprints, probably from a super-powered jump of some kind as they made their exit. Maybe you could do could some science stuff with your suit and track the trajectory of that jump?" He then points over to the general area of the footprints with his left hand.

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"Unfortunately the suit's sensor package is rather bare bones at the moment - I'm integrating a prototype power core and armaments, and all of the systems aren't quite compatible yet. But I should be able to approximate a trajectory given the size of the depression in the soil.  I'll be able to determine the amount of force required to create that impression and therefore know how much energy was in the leap.  The landing zone won't be particularly precise however - too many variables." replied Bastion as he tried and failed to stroke his chin.  Recovering he turned his attention to Kingsnake"I assume you can help track them and narrow down our search area, or does that pinging serve no purpose other than to annoy dogs and cats?  Speaking of, we should know each others' abilities if we're going to be working together.  Most immediately is there anyone else here who can cover large distances quickly?"

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Grim held up her hand and nodded.


"Yeah, I can fly at about a hundred miles an hour; twice that if I push it."


She held her hand up with her thumb and forefinger indicating a small size, and squinted through the space. 


"I have to get tiny to do it, but I can carry passengers; I have a workaround. Other than that, I've got some bizzare pixie powers; shapeshifting, stealth, glamour, heightened senses. I'm decent in a fight, but there are better."


She shrugged.


"That's about it. Oh, I can teleport, but there some restrictions; flying's usually better if I don't know where I'm going first."

Edited by Heritage
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Kingsnake didn't respond to any further inquiries.  As soon as Brandish mentioned the footprints and Bastion responded in the negative regarding his underworld contacts, Kingsnake dropped to a crouch and then leapt up into the air in their direction.  He tucked his legs up under him and rolled head-over-feet several times on his descent, rolling one final time when he hit the ground.  The momentum from his fall carried him into a sprint along the ground.  For the observing heroes, it was difficult to tell whether his speed and jumping distance were truly "superhuman," or just matching (or slightly exceeding) the feats of all-time record-setting human athletes.  When he reached the footprints, he knelt down, sniffed at them, and ran his fingers along the impressions in the mud, gently enough to avoid disturbing them while just firmly enough for his hypersensitive touch to paint a picture in his mind.

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I forgot how quiet some of the heroes are.  mused Bastion to himself as Kingsnake wordlessly jumped off the roof.  In Blackstone, you've got all you can do to avoid setting one of them off on a rant about how some hero will rue the day they crossed them, or how their unparalleled genius was never given the respect it deserved.  Then again I doubt anyone would have called me subtle.  Probably still wouldn't actually. he continued before he followed Kingsnake off the roof, setting down a ways away from both the practically mute hero and the crater he was investigating.  It was obvious why when he left rather deep footprints in the ground where he landed; that suit was designed for many things, grace was not one of them.  The low hum that emanated from the suit dimmed as its inventor stepped out of the back of the suit, looking substantially less imposing in a white button down shirt and khakis. 


He knelt down next the crater opposite Kingsnake and proceeded to eyeball the trajectory, doing quite a bit of math in his head.  "They probably went about a mile and a quarter that way, so right about at the corner of 140th and 137th, give or take a quarter mile scatter."  What Kingsnake (and Grim) picked up however is that while all four of the thieves were indeed here at one point, only the super-strong woman and one of the males went north west.  The lightning woman (who could evidently fly) and the other male went north, and they were the ones to bring the suit with them. 

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Grim joined the two men at the point of departure, sniffing the air as she approached; she carefully stepped around the site on feet that barely disturbed the soil, extended one claw on her pinkie, crouched down and took a small scoop of dirt, which she waved under her sensitive nose. Though she wasn't quite up to Kingsnake's level, she did pretty good. 


"You're half right," she said as she rose to her feet, dusting off her hands. "Two of them did take off to the northwest." She pointed the same direction Bastion had indicated, but them pivoted on the balls of her feet to point across the bay. "But two went north as well; fliers, mostly likely, or at least one of them was. And the traces of machine oil in this print would suggest they were the ones who actually have your suit."


The changeling stepped to one side and drew a circle in the air with one finger; it opened a portal into Grim's own little corner of Faerie, which resembled a sort of dim bower under a tree. The space beyond smelled of pine needles and pristine air untainted by even a hint of polution. She gestured towards the portal and grinned.


"So, who's flying Giant Robo and who's flying Air Grimalkim?"

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"I assume you can help track them and narrow down our search area, or does that pinging serve no purpose other than to annoy dogs and cats?"


Malice's new armor can pick up ultrasonics.  I'll have to remember that.


"Speaking of, we should know each others' abilities if we're going to be working together."


Give my vital stats to Malice?  Is he joking?  Or are other costumes stupid enough to volunteer that kind of intel just because he asks nicely?


"Other than that, I've got some bizzare pixie powers; shapeshifting, stealth, glamour, heightened senses. I'm decent in a fight, but there are better."


Kingsnake shook his head as he sniffed at the ground.  Stupid...or overconfident...or just supremely naive.  He's a rabid dog.  Don't rub his nose in your scent just because they have him on a leash for now.


"She's right."  He stood up and faced Bastion.  The suit's what matters, not the hired guns.  The suit, and the person who hired them to take it.  I'll ride with you."  All the better to get a closer look at your new hardware, see if I can find a weakness.  And if someone's getting left alone with you, better me than someone stupid enough to trust you.


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Brandish just silently follows along, trying to think of an eloquent, not-awkward way to tell the others about his powers. Already he was beat in the speed department, just about one-hundred being the fastest he's ever clocked himself going. He was pretty mobile, but that wouldn't really beat out flying either. He jumped down and followed the others to the footprints as he sighed, reminding himself again that he was overthinking this. Besides the moment for answering that question had passed anyways...


Wait, did he say that the robbers had probably jumped around a mile and a quarter? So that's him beat in the jumping department too right now. Really all it boils down to is that he can swing a flaming greatsword around with a fair degree of skill, though it looks like the others have him beat in the skill department as well... So far this seems to be a very great first real night out? He starts listening to the conversation again just in time to respond to Grim's question, "I guess that leaves me flying Air Grimalkin...?" he then snapped his fingers as he thought of something, "Though. Shouldn't the people who can fly be going after the fliers? I mean, I can jump a small building and have scaled up the side of a skyscraper, but I really don't have anything much in the way of ranged attacks here."

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"Agreed.  The priority is getting my suit out of the hands of criminals and back under lock and key.  We can round up the rest of their team after." replied Bastion as he climbed back into his suit.  "For the record, my suit's new armaments are focused on energy based ordinance rather than traditional kinetic rounds as was true in the previous model, including the one we're tracking.  Standard procedure would be to remove all armaments and dispose of them so even in working order it shouldn't be able to shoot back.  New model has a new trick or two." he said proudly, though it was a little difficult to tell through the voice modulation.  The suit hummed to life as he pointed his palm to a nearby patch of grass and immediately a light blue wire frame of a hollowed out cube, minus the top, that was large enough to carry a full grown man comfortably sprang into existence, and a moment later it fully solidified, with a cord of energy running back to Bastion's palm.  "Bastion tech: a thousand a one uses.  Among them, carrying passengers.  Patent pending, coming soon to a store near you." he added only half joking. 

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