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angrydurf

Downtown Train

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Monday November 9th, Midmorning

partially cloudy

Centennial Station, Monorail

 

By midmorning the usual crush of commuters on the Freedom City Monorail had thinned to mostly tourists and a grab bag of students, shoppers, and others less bound to the rigors of a timeclock.  The doors slid open and a handful of people departed onto the platform at Centennial Station while several more slipped into seats in the sleek passenger car.  Just before the doors slid closed a young woman dark haired and well dressed in a style that read wealth without ostentation slipped on board.  The astute would note a frustrated pounding by a man in a non-descript dark suit as the door slid shut in front of him before the train launched into motion once more.  The women quickly made her way to an empty seat away form other passengers and seemed focused on her cell phone as many commuters were.  As the monorail came up to speed a conductor made his way down the car checking passes as he went with an easy smile and polite nod to the passengers.

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Mike looked up and down the car for a moment as he stepped onto the train offering a friendly smile to the young family of tourists pointing out the sights from the elevated position the monorail enjoyed.  Picking a seat toward the back of hte car he settled in pulling the backpack on his shoulder into his lap and tried with marginal success to compress his broad shoulders to take up only one seats space.  He looked out the window at the sights himself even after all these years in the city the skyline still comforting and impressive at once.  His brow quirked slightly as the woman rushed on board his face flickering with concern as he noted the pursuit and her own nervously pounding heart beat loud in his ears.  He sat for a moment and flashed his pass to the conductor with a smile before turning back to the woman in question, "Everything alright ma'am?" he asked quietly once the official was out of earshot.

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Brian Brubaker had been silently meditating on the far end of one of the rows of side-facing seats in the middle of the train car, using the techniques he'd learned from the Shambala monks to soften the cacophony of the city around him.  The scent of adrenaline glided up into his nostrils as soon as the woman stepped aboard the train, jolting him from his reverie.  To him, her hair wasn't any darker or lighter than anyone else's, and hers was just another blank face in a sea of hundreds he drifted through on a daily basis.  But the thumping of her heart echoed in his ears like a jackhammer, and her labored breaths howled like a tornado.  She's not late for work.  She's running from something.

 

Brian unconsciously shifted his white cane to his left hand while using his right to dig his wallet out of his pants, holding it up so the conductor could glance at his metro pass.  He consciously forced himself to keep facing forward, instead of letting his neck drift back and forth to follow the conductor.  But even with his empty eyesockets pointed toward the wall, the ultrasound pulsing from the vibrating lobe of his brain painted him a mental picture of the conductor exchanging a subtle nod with the harried woman as he passed her by.  She didn't show him her pass...and he didn't ask.

 

Brian quietly stood up and moved over to a more crowded section of the train car.  If this car has cameras, then I want some plausible deniability when the blind man vanishes into a cloud of smoke and Kingsnake jumps out.  After sitting down, he folded up his cane and tucked it against the seat behind him.  That's quite a bruiser headed directly for her...could just be a horny jock chatting her up.  Could be whatever she's running from just caught up to her.  Or he might be in on whatever her and the conductor could be planning.  Too many variables.  Too many ingredients for me to tell what's cooking...

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Gunter Raddick was quietly reading a newspaper when the disturbance happened. He lowered the newspaper to quietly observe a nervous-looking woman get on-board the train, and then the conductor not even bothering to check for a pass. He sighed, folded the newspaper up, and got ready for the worst. Maybe if he was anywhere else in the world the act could be innocent and unlikely to be dangerous, but barely a month in Freedom City had taught him that the place attracted weirdness and idiots trying crime on a more than daily basis. He could always try the direct route, if needed. At the very least get close enough to throw any troublemakers off the train if necessary.

 

He got up and started walking towards where the woman was sitting. As much as he preferred his old uniform, subtlety demanded something else, hence a suit. As he walked toward the woman, he noticed another person getting up, a tall man who was at least a head taller than Guter get up and walk towards her as well. He started reaching for his powers, starting to build kinetic energy in his hands, which were still in his pocket.

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Unlike most of the other people on the train, Asli Saddik actually was at work. The big woman had ridden the car since morning rush hour, first crammed up against businesspeople in crisp suits and college students in smelly jeans, and then once the crowd thinned out she had actually managed to get a seat for herself. She hadn't left it for the last hour or so, instead keeping her head down and jotting down lyrics in her notebook. She was working on a complicated theme for one song and trying to iron out the scansion in two others, and she knew that inspiration would come to her faster if she was out in the city.

 

The artist was in her own world, earbuds plugged into her smartphone and pulling down the beats she needed out of the thin air. Until Pandora's algorithm steered her off jazz and percussive tunes and into something that sounded like Miley Cyrus after a crate of cigarettes. She made a face and pulled the buds out, rolling her neck around and only then realizing how much of a crick she had developed. Massaging her abused muscles she looked around the train car, taking in the sights. The woman in the nice dress who made it on at the last minute, then man in the suit who missed it.

 

She fished out her metro pass as the conductor made his was down the aisle, watching him carefully, and realized that he hadn't glanced at the woman's pass. Instead there was a moment where their eyes met, a flicker of recognition that set Asli's senses on edge. She closed her notebook and stuffed it into an inside pocket with one hand, then began to wind up her earbuds. She had the feeling that she would need to take action pretty soon.

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GM 

 

The womans eyes darted to Mike almost startled at the question and she nodded as she eyed the tall young man a slow smile creeping to her features, "Oh yes of course."  she replied in hushed tones, "Thought I was going to miss the train is all." she explained the lie quick and easy on her tongue.  She carefully scanned the car to gauge how much attention she'd garnered and looked down as her phone chimed an incoming text.  Waving the phone in one hand she demurred, "I should answer that."

 

Meanwhile the train sped onwards the sights of the city passing at a blur as the high speed monorail shot past the next scheduled stop.  A few passengers intending to exit there cursing quietly at the poor luck and craning their necks to see if the conductor was still there, frustrated calls to the errant staff member ringing out for an explanation as the man hustled to the next car obviously dodging the questions.  Something odd was going on here and the unlucky passengers seemed caught in the middle of whatever it was.  From each end of the car a trio of men entered well dressed in the kind of oversized suits common to the higher class of mob muscle.  The firearms under their coats passably concealed to those not looking for them though those more accustomed to such individuals would have little trouble recognizing the tell tale bulge or acrid scent of gun oil.

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Mike leaned back as the woman demurred nodding affably.  He knew there was more than met the eye here but was at his core a trusting person.  She may be in trouble but didn't seem to want to call attention so he'd let it lie.  He stood as she indicated her phone and began to make his way toward the front of the car offering a polite nod, "Of course ma'am."  He replied easily as he took his leave of the young woman.  The entire situation however had him on edge, there was more to this than met the eye.  The muscle entering the car from each end clicked like a final puzzle piece and a glance through their coats with x-ray vision revealed their illicit armament.  Too many bystanders to confront them here though, too much risk.  He leaned in toward the young family as he passed and suggested quietly, "You know the view from the lead car is even better."  he suggested trying to herd at least some of the passengers out of harms way.

Edited by angrydurf

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Guter cursed inside his head as he saw the three men entered he back and front of the car. He recognized the firearms under their coats, he had fought in a war, it wasn't going to be as easy to hide firearms from him as it would be for others. Them, plus the sped-by stop, smelled of a hijacking. There were to many of him to take down in a close-quarters brawl, so he started reapplying the built-up kinetic forces, focusing them into an explosive force that he project instead. Hopefully if he aimed right he could catch one entire group by himself. How he would handle the second he didn't know yet. He noted the man who seemed to be subtly urging the family to leave. Possible ally? He'd find out soon enough.

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Brian relaxed a bit as the man with the bodybuilder physique walked away from the harried woman.  Fratboy got shot down.  He's not with her.  That makes things a little less complicated.  Then the scent of gun oil rushed up into his nose as the doors to both adjacent train cars opened.  Two three-man teams, all barely making an effort to hide the guns under their coats.  Either they're here with her, or they're here for her.  Reminds me of Dad's "bodyguards."  How was I so blind back then?  Brian glared at the floor, his nose and lips bent into a sneer as he thought about his father.  He was already pulling a smoke pellet out of his pocket when he heard the rush of air past the grinding and scraping of metal on metal through the engines of the plane descending to intercept the train.  Here's hoping when the wiseguys can't see, they'll decide to shoot nothing instead of everything.

 

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Asli watched the conductor pass through the car, her eyes flicking between him and the woman in the dress. There was definitely something there, but she hadn't seen them so much as touch hands. That meant that either there was psychic buggery happening, or their plan had been pre-determined, or she was just imagining things. In any case, she felt the need to talk more closely with the conductor.

 

She stood and approached the man from behind, picking up her pace as he started to speed-walk through the car. She had already tugged up her hood and was going over spells in her head when the high-pitched whine of a turbine penetrated her skull. Is Daedalus doing a fly-by, she thought to herself. The big woman paused at the door to the next car and bent over a free seat, searching the sky outside for a sign of aircraft she could hear.

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Mike affably led the young tourists out of their seats and up towards the next car.  The big man led the way eyes narrowing slightly as the apparent mobsters at the front of the car did not look as if they'd give way easily.  However one tilted his head slightly in a small tell that they were on coms and stepped aside to let the tall youth and young family past with only a few unsettling glares.  Once past the mobsters Mike leaned down to the young mother and whispered urgently, "Go to the lead car and keep your heads down those unsavory fellows were armed."  he encouraged and stood his broad frame filling the door back to the car with the gunmen and their quarry as the woman urged her children and husband quickly forwards.  Once they were clear of the car he stepped into the small corridor between cars prepared to suit up if things went south.  He glanced with some concern as they zipped past yet another full platform and peered through the wall into the car placing in his mind where the few remaining bystanders were.

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Brian heard the large young man's words to the scared family loud and clear.  So the femme fatale isn't the only one who's more than she appears.  Maybe a soldier or police officer...doesn't matter.  He cleared the innocent bystanders and bought me time...I'd best not waste it.  He squeezed the trigger on the smoke pellet and dropped it under his seat.  Opaque black smoke rushed up in the blink of an eye to fill the train car.  Were it not for the burning smell or the rush of air, Brian wouldn't have noticed.  The smoke had no effect on the line-drawing sketched in his brain by the waves of high-frequency sound and vibration bouncing off of the surrounding area into his altered brain tissue.  A couple of tugs on the hidden snaps and zippers built into his street clothes left them discarded in an instant alongside his sunglasses on the seat beside him.  By the time they landed, he'd already pulled his mask up and forward over his head while darting over to the opposite side of the train car from the young bodybuilder.  He used his momentum to power a lightning-fast barrage of vicious punches, kicks, head-butts and and elbow strikes against the trio of sinister armed men.

 

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The mobsters were caught completely unaware by the sudden cloud of smoke and doubly so by the rapid fire series of punches unleashed upon them.  The group towards the back of the train hadn't even time to reach for their guns before the Kingsnake disabled them with brutal efficiency.  The few remaining passengers on the train cowered in their seats uncertain what was happening within the thick cloud of smoke a afraid for what would come next.  At the front of the monorail car the remaining mobsters were little better off as they reached for weapons and called out in alarm, "We got capes!" as they tried to peer through the thick smoke to see what they were dealing with.  Overhead the whine of the approaching transports turbojets screamed as it maneuvered to pace the train the door on its side beginning to slide open.

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Miras spun around as thick, dark smoke bloomed in the car, obscuring the conductor and the next train car. Well in any case it gave her the cover she needed; with a shouted word and a few well-practiced movements, her hoodie blossomed and fell to the ground, turning green and rich purple. Transformed, she flew for the roof, passing through it and into the cleaner air of the city. She had to strain to keep up with the speeding train, but it gave her a good line of sight on the aircraft that was lining up with the train car.

 

Miras went through her options. It didn't take too long; she didn't have any from her position. She was pretty sure the plane wasn't just for show, though, and if so then the doors would have to open sooner rather than later. Once they did she could get in.

Edited by Raveled

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The door of the armored transport slides aside revealing a small squad of power armored mercenaries.  Thier matte black armor similar in styling to that of the well known Power Corps though altered from the chrome favored by that well known group.  In the door in matching unpowered body armor a gunner swings and advanced looking weapon into position to cover the disembarkation of the armored squad.  The mercenaries launch with coordinated military efficiency and fly in formation to the train car where two take up position to breach the roof while the remaining trio prepares to dive into the train once breached.  Their actions are clearly coordinated by a standing plan for such an encounter, this is a tight tactical operation much in contrast to the almost bumbling approach of the thugs on board the train.  Mercenaries like these do not come cheap, whoever is behind this has deep pockets.

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Miras surged forward as the doors to the VTOL opened, her form exploding into colored smoke as she 'impacted' the door gunner. She reformed in the bay of the craft, becoming solid once again with her feet spread. The door gunner was still turning when she cast out her magic, weaving a complicated illusion; with any luck, she wouldn't need to hurt any of the power-armored troops.

 

To the eyes of everyone but Miras, the smoke in the train cab cleared in moments. More black-clad soldiers were in there, holding boxy weapons over bound and gagged civilians. Her lips moved as her projected words into the ears of the flying troop. "We've secured the interior of the train. Return to the plane and get to the next stage of the plan."

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The illusion unfolded over the train like a rolling tide the discordant imagery easy enough for the unknown heroes still aboard the train to shake off but less so for the mercenaries preparing to breach the train.  Roughly half the Mercs seemed to resist the manipulations of the sorcerous hero but their tightly organized plan was thrown to shambles by the confusion sown in their ranks. While some requested confirmation the others tried to carry out their part or fill in for those stalled by the illusion.  They managed to open the top of the train but their clean entry was not realized as a gaping tear was ripped in the sleek skin of hte speeding train without the mercs being able to enter and seize control with an element of surprise they had hoped.  None the less the smoke was rapidly being sucked from the train car and soon would leave all exposed once more.

 

On board the armored transport the gunner turned whipping out an extendable baton sparking with arcs of electric danger and turned on the source of the illusion swinging the weapon with obvious skill, however the Pilots sudden turn at the abort order threw him off balance and it swing past the dodging magus with inches to spare.

Edited by angrydurf

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Gauss was too slow in this instance, as smoke started filling the the back fo the train car. Then the top of the train car started to get ripped off, and he spotted what were similiar to prototype designs for powered armor suits the Bunswehr had been devoloping during World War 1, except these were obviously of modern design. Acting out of instinct, Gauss outstretched a hand towards one of the armored men, and fired off a blast of kinetic force at him. The around sledgehammer sized bundle of kinetic energy failed to even damage or push back the armored man. He hurridly fired off a second blast while moving to take cover behind some train seats, but this time the kinetic force didn't even connect at all, the bundle missing his intended target completely.

Edited by Saithor

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As the roof of the monorail car is peeled back the smoke is rapidly pulled from the cabin the forward doors slide open revealing the Phalanx clad now in his classic blue and gold costume.  In a blur he crosses the short distance to the mobsters now taking aim at Kingsnake across the car heedless of the other passenger in their line of fire, "Excuse me gentlemen,"  He intoned over the roar of the wind as the train rushed on, "I'll have to ask you to surrender your weapons."  As the mobsters whirled to bring the guns to bear he shook his head and in a flash reached out to snatch the flanking thugs by the collar lifting them off their feet and crashing them together against the third before a stray shot might penetrate the other cars.  Depositing the thugs in a heap at his feet he peered up at the Mercenary attacking Miras with his stun batton.  The paragon narrowed his eyes and they flared red with power before a stream of deep red energy shot across the intervening distance cutting the arcing weapon cleanly in half.  "That goes for you as well."  He called out though his voice barely carried over the wind to the speeding transport.

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That's some heavy artillery they're wearing...probably too heavy for a direct assault.  Kingsnake's mind briefly flashed back to the time he spent with the monks of Shambala Vale.  When your enemy is strong, turn their strength against them.  The howling air rushing through the hole in the roof of the train snapped his attention back to the present.  He dropped to a squat, then jumped up through the hole, out of the train, past the armor-clad mercenaries who cut the hole, and into the jet, right in the middle of the trio waiting in reserve.  Once inside, he began lashing out at the armored figures.  There was no power behind the strikes; they were meant merely to distract and antagonize.  He slid between them, attacking from side angles, gradually guiding them toward the jet's controls and the pilot operating them.

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Miras ducked the hasty blow, letting the enclosed confines of the VTOL work for her by retreating around an empty equipment rack. "Hey hey! Play nice with your toys, or someone will take them away!" A pencil-thin beam of red energy stabbed out from the train and cut the baton in two, leaving the goon blinking at his ruined weapon and Miras nodding in satisfaction. "Just like that. Now if you would just stop a moment." The mage reached out and spoke a rolling work of Latin, and the color seemed to fade from the merc.

 

She had just a moment to feel satisfied before the big man in the black-and-white costume jumped into the VTOL, gunfire chasing him around the space. "Whoa! Watch it, buddy, or we won't get the security deposit back!"

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The swarthy sorceress' spell had thrown the mercenaries into disarray but they were professionals and unfortunately her illusion did not match with the operations meticulous planning and after a moment they were able to throw off the enchantment.  She had however delayed the orderly breach and contain maneuver that had been planned giving Kingsnake all the opportunity the agile vigilante needed to vault through their midst and draw their fire back with him toward the speeding transport.  Most of the haphazard shots merely scattered harmlessly across the armored hull of the aircraft however with careful maneuvering and timing one burst of scintillating energy cut past his careful maneuvers to blow apart the command and control console in front of the pilot.

 

The Transport lurched under the passengers as the controls shorted out tossing all but the time locked gunner about the open cabin, the pilot struggled for a moment with the unresponsive controls before vaulting from the vehicle activating a gravity reducing harness as he did so to slow his fall towards earth, unfortunately for him the rudimentary grav-chute lacked fine controls and he drifted slowly towards the waiting arms of the FCPD.  Not that our heroes had time to study his descent with the pilot completely absent and the controls a smouldering ruin the craft tipped dangerously toward the earth as it began to tumble out of the air threatening to take the heroes on board with it.

 

The remaining mercs continued to adhere to their plan however and while several opened fire fire on the heroes in the train and the transport above one dove into the passenger compartment and roughly grabbed the woman who had earlier fled into the train car.  Any close enough might overhear him state that the target had been secured and that the team was preparing alternate egress.  Those that remained maneuvered on thrusters for a clear shot and took it with terrible accuracy as lines of lambent scarlet cut the air to strike at the heroes.

Edited by angrydurf

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Gunter grunted as the shot hit him, and combined with the overexertion he had tried just a few moments before, left him starry-eyed and unable to tell where anybody was. He bulled his way trhough it, forcing the blurry vision away long enough to take aim at one of the power-suited men again, but yet again the blast of kinetic force missed it's intended target, and Gunter cursed as he took cover yet again.

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When the disabled jet lurched and sent Kingsnake sliding toward the open door, he let himself fall, using the momentum to push him into a dive and then a somersault through the hole in the train's roof.  He rolled to his feet in a crouch next to the mystery woman and her supposed captor.  His gravelly voice seemed almost to carve grooves in the walls as he slowly rose to a standing position.  "You didn't just pick the wrong train for this..."  He cracked the knuckles on each meaty fist, visibly flexing mountains of muscle through his skintight jumpsuit, then turned his head back and forth, producing another pair of audible snaps.  "...You picked the wrong town."  All the while, his gaze seemed fixed on the armored miscreant.  "Now it's handcuffs or a toe-tag.  I don't care which.  And you..." he snarled as he turned his head slightly to face the woman, "...aren't fooling anyone."

 

Between eye blinks, Kingsnake's foot shot straight up, over his head, barely missing the mercenary's helmet.  It was a feint.  The mercenary's reflexive tilt of his head created just enough of an opening for Kingsnake's heel to come smashing down into the crevice between the mercenary's helmet and shoulder plate, at the base of his neck, directly on top of his collar bone.

 

Edited by ShaenTheBrain

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