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Twinkling of An Eye (IC)

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January 31, 2016 

Goodman Building 

Floor 16 


It's Sunday in the Goodman Building. The Atoms are out of town, some at school, some visiting family on the Moon, some in other dimensions. Most of the building's staff have the day off, but given the sheer size of the scientific operations in the facility, as well as the necessary work that went on here, several hundred people were still in the building. 


"So yeah, here's where I stayed for two weeks," Riley Smith-Quinn was telling Robin, the two of them walking together through the now-empty isolation quarters under the eye of Dr. Matt Drummond, Riley's original physician upon his arrival on Earth-Prime. The silver-haired old physician watched as one teen showed his girlfriend the cot, the small bookshelf "Hey, they've still got all those weird Andi comics!", and the tablet computer that had been all he owned upon his arrival. "Well, all I owned that ya let me have, anyway," he said with a smile the doctor's way. He hadn't talked much about his time here, but oddly enough he was more relaxed than Robin had seen him in a while. Maybe because this place wasn't home - but then it had never tried to be, either. 


"I think you remember why we kept your hatchet and quiver, Mr. Smith," said the doctor with a paternal twinkle in his eye. "Still, you were an easier patient than the young person who tried to punch her way through the security door," he said, making a gesture towards the transparent steel that made up the outside door of the small suite, now open since no extradimensional visitors were staying here. 


"Yeah, well.,,." Riley shrugged and scratched the back of his head. "Thanks for lettin' me show Robin 'round. You the only one on the floor today?" 

"No," said Drummond, shaking his head. "There's the skeleton staff in the dimensional sciences office, two colleagues of mine in the reconstructive surgery bay, and one dealing with a magical crisis. You know how it is here - we never really shut down." 

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Naomi (in costume as Waverider) was in the Goodman Building for a examination, but it wasn’t purely medical. The functionality of her powers, if replicable by science, could revolutionize both the audio and demolitions industries. At the same time, it was time she had a world class checkup to make sure there were no further unhealthy side effects of her powers waiting to surprise her. Nobody wanted to her to suddenly vibrate apart. Or freeze, incapable of movement due to her vibration absorption sudden ramping into overdrive.


The health check was over. Naomi’s powers were stable and not causing her any harm. It was the other thing that was proving…difficult. Dr. Hawkins was hard at work, but his tech simply couldn’t hold even a small fraction of what Naomi could. Output wasn’t a problem. He could easily match her maximum output, but that was a one shot deal. He could scale it down to her minimum and save energy for repeated uses, but that level of power was easily replicated by conventional technology. The midpoint between the two suffered from both problems, but on a smaller scale. The good doctor was a little frustrated. Naomi could only shrug. It wasn't her fault it didn't work. She was just helping out.

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Robin had been a quiet companion for the most part, unsurprisingly. The Fens native wasn't generally given to chatter, although she had asked a few perhaps surprisingly perceptive questions at various points in the tour. Mostly, though, Robin had been content to enjoy her boyfriend's unusual ease. The times that Riley wasn't wound tighter than his bowstring were few and far between.


"Thank you for the tour, Doctor Drummond. I've only ever seen the Goodman building at a distance," Robin added her polite thanks to Riley's before slanting the wiry archer a sidelong smile, "It's made for an interesting afternoon."

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Dr Gerhard Eismann had three doctorates from distinguished European universities: Clinical Psychology from Vienna, Anthroplogy from Cambridge, and Theology from Trinity College Dublin. His office was small and cozy, and felt like it it had been transorted intact from one of his alma maters. Eismann was in his 60s but still vital, and full of curiosuity about all things under then sun, but his specialty was the mystical and arcane.


It felt weird being in what was essentially a shrink's office as the Shrike; Gretchen wasn't a huge fan of them in general, but being in this public place in broad daylight in her mask, cloak and leathers was decidely odd. Still, it was probably the right thing to do. She hunched forward in her chair slightly, sitting on her gloved hands as Dr. Eismann studied her through some sort of optical apparatus made of crystal and brass.


"And how long have you been hearing these voices, Miss Shrike?" His soft German accent gave his voice a musical quality.


"Uh, they started...a month or so ago, I guess? At first, it was sort of like mental static; I didn't recognize them as words for a while." 


"Mmm-hmm. And what did these voices say?"


"That I hadn't yet met my potential. That I could be so much more if I just opened myself to them."


"And who is 'them'?"


She held up her left hand to show her ring, and then indicated her face with a vauge wave. "The Gifts; the Ring, the Helm and Cloak." She grinned a humorless, lopsided grin as she fiddled with the aforementioned ring. "I thought I was going crazy."


"Well, I have some good news for you: I don't think you're going crazy." He smiled and  reached out to gently tap the ruby in the middle of her hawk-like mask. "These three items in your posession do indeed appear to contain spirts of some kind; they are, in a very real sense, alive."


"Greaaat," Gretchen murmured to herself.

Edited by Heritage
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Suddenly, across the sixteenth floor, the lights flickered and died. The moment of darkness was just fast enough to make everyone start, pulses racing and hearts pounding, before the emergency lights flickered on in their usual shade of warm red, casting an eerie glow across the various suites occupied by the superheroes. The snow outside was still piled high, but surely snow on the lines wouldn't take down the power in the Goodman Building of all places? 


"Hm. Dr. Atom, what's the situation?" asked Dr. Eismann, cocking his head and addressing the air. "Hello?" 


In the other suites, the Goodman regulars were equally helpless to contact the building's sentient supercomputer. More ominously, the doors were sealed - the heavy sound of security bolts clamping shut having sealed the steel doors tight. 


We'll be fine, signed Dr. Hawkins to Waverider, the look on his face suggesting he didn't entirely believe his own words. Something must have triggered the building's automatic security systems - probably the same malfunction that shut down Dr. Atom's systems. 


Riley remembered running through the corridors, powerless, as the Goodman pack chased down the Woodsmen, laughing as they tore apart flesh and bone of the all-too-human interlopers who had dared come to their territory. He closed his eyes, his lips moving slightly as he murmured, "It's okay, it's okay..." Meanwhile, Dr. Drummond had gotten on an old handset phone on the wall, where the hardwired emergency systems had let him reach the rest of the staff. Or had it? 


"There's someone in the reconstructive surgery bay next to us," he indicated, pointing to an interior connecting door, and Eismann's in his office, but I can't reach Kurt or anyone else in dimensional sciences. And the line to the guard's podium by the elevator is busy." 



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"Hey, its okay," Robin told Riley as she fished the worn t-shirt from her pocket, her voice reassuring even as she tied the bandana mask over the upper half of her features and slid it into place over the bridge of her nose. It might have been presumptive, but Robing was fairly certain that it was more likely a super villain attack than probably anything else, given the residents of the Goodman building. With the black fabric in place, she gave Riley's shoulder a gentle squeeze. 


"Best thing to do is get everyone together," Robin told the doctor, her voice calm and authoritative. Despite her reservation, some of the training and teamwork was filtering into her mannerisms. "Doc, why don't you stay here and try to see if you can raise anyone on your machines - Riley and I will go find the others and bring 'em back to a central location. Sound good?"


That last question was directed to her boyfriend.

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A quick check of the door revealed it was indeed sealed shut; they were good and trapped. Gretchen tilted her head to one side, her intense scrutiny turned open the stubborn portal as herdark blue eyes dart thus way and that.


At long last, she nodded and sighed. "Well, then." Stepping up to the door, she held up both hands, slighly cupped and facing the door; she focused her will on it, imaging a giant crowbar prying it open as her eyes narrowed with concentration. 


"This might take a minute..."

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Naomi was fully prepared to go through the big door. It did seem, after all, like it was a good time to go see what the problem was. She was a hero, after all. Supposedly no armored door could stand in her way. And honestly? She’d not yet had a chance to just cut loose, so she didn’t really have any idea how powerful she actually was. Sure, she’d brought down a parking garage, but she wasn’t conscious for that. So, she was going to level that door…until Dr. Hawkins helpfully pointed out that there was a smaller unlocked door over there. He’d been a little frantic in his signing such to her, which was what got her attention. <Oh. That also works.> The good doctor turned to lead the way, so he did not get to see Naomi’s disappointment. Her reaction was about her unsated curiosity, not any particular lust for destruction. She followed Dr. Hawkins into the next room and reflexively waved hello. She recognized Riley and had a flash of regret for functionally deafening him for a few seconds a while ago. She hadn’t had an opportunity to apologize since. Nighthawk she did not know, and of course she had no idea who the doctor was in this room.

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With the group from reconstructive surgery now joining the group in Isolation, Drummond got on the phone again to Eismann across the hall. "He has another metahuman there," he said, hand on the receiver as he spoke to Woodsman, Nighthawk, and Waverider, Dr. Hawkins doing quick signing for Waverider's benefit. "She's trying to override the lock...and she's through." On both ends, the doctors put the conversation on speaker - letting everyone hear everyone else. 


"Here, take this," said Eismann, giving Shrike a small magnetic circle from his pocket. "It has a lightning spirit inside that will connect with telephone, and let them hear you out there." Outside, something unsettling was going on. Steel security shutters had come down on all the windows, blocking what had previously been a lovely view of the snow and ice outside. The sterile corridor's red emergency lightning cast an ominous glow in the hallway, especially when heard against the strange sound of grunting and ripping and crashing coming from around the bend in the corridor, where the elevators and security guard's pavilion had been. As she stepped out into the corridor, the door sliding shut behind her, the sound changed and there came the sound of something loping towards her from down that way. 


What stepped into the corridor then was like...nothing Shrike had ever seen before. It was humanoid, with Caucasian skin cast in a deep pink from sun exposure, and nude except for a tattered labcoat. Coat, man, and man's gigantic beard and head hair, were matted and filthy, dirtier than any human being Shrike had seen save disaster victims in Japan, and stinking to high heaven of filth and blood and other things. This man didn't look like a victim, though - not with yellow, featureless eyes that scanned the corridor with predatory intent, fingers warped like sharp claws, and fresh, bright red blood around his mouth and caking his beard. 


The man sniffed the air and walked down the corridor, turning its head from left to right as if trying to spot whatever it was that had made the noise, growling and grumbling wordlessly to itself. When it reached the door that had actually opened, it suddenly smiled, exposing a mouth of filthy, bloodstained teeth, and laughed. It was an eerie laugh because it was fundamentally inhuman - a predatory chuckle like nothing any human heart had ever made, but the high, cracked sound was nonetheless coming from a real throat, and real lips. 




As the sound reached the people on the other side of the door, Robin caught a look of terror and grief flash across Riley's face. Woodsman tried to think tactically, tried to think responsibly, but for a moment was in his nightmares as he asked Robin in an agonized whisper, unsure of his very sanity- "Do you hear it? Do you hear it laughing?" 


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"I hear it," Robin confirmed, her expression grim behind her mask and her voice flat and even. She was all business in her tone but the young woman paused long enough let her fingers find Riley's bicep, giving him a very light squeeze of mute support. "It's in the hallway with that other metahuman. Riley - Woodsman - get behind some cover and get ready to take it down. Doc, get outta the line of fire. Please. And tell 'em they're gonna wanna go low when they hit the door."


Robin gave the order as she moved towards the door keeping them ostensibly safe. The noises were like nothing she'd ever dealt with in the Fens and if it frightened the young vigilante, she kept that under iron-firm control. She waved one hand at Waverider and pointed to Riley as if to indicate the young woman should join Riley in whatever limited cover he found. The young woman reached the door, digging her fingers into the seal as she put her back into fighting the mechanism that kept it locked. She knew full well that the Goodman Building was equipped to react to metahumans but Robin never wavered in her efforts to brute-force the door open. 

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It was hero time now. Waverider didn’t quite understand what was going on. She’d felt what everyone else heard. That meant she had to figure out what the sound was. Her brain did not do all the work, thus the terribleness of the sound did not go directly to her lizard brain and trigger the same sense of wrongness that it did in the others. With half a thought, her vibrational field activated. It emitted an ultrasonic hum inaudible to anyone in the room. Something was wrong out there. That man was naked and probably filthy. Didn’t he need help? Why wasn’t the other person doing anything? Questions that could only be answered by opening the door. This was when Nighthawk was waving her hand to get Waverider’s attention. At least she had a plan. Naomi was a little out of her element here. She didn’t really know how to take cover. But sure, why not?


She watched Nighthawk struggle and strain to pull the door open with no success. After several seconds of this, she stood up and walked over to her. Waverider tapped Nighthawk on the shoulder and whipped out the notepad. This was one of her time saving pre-written comments pages. She pointed to one, and then another. [I can do it. Please stand back.] She could feel the door from here. She didn’t tell people, but everything solid had a vibrational frequency where it would break. Living things were part water and thus too hard to make vibrate like that. But steel? She smiled, knowing she could do it. She stretched out a hand. From the perspectives of everyone else, she wasn’t doing anything but causing the air to ripple in front of her. Until the door shook like it was in its own personal earthquake. It bent, twisted, and fractured in equal measure until it was hanging off the securing bolts and thoroughly out of the way. This was the part where she would have squealed if she still could. As it was, she didn’t make any sound, but the involuntary trying hurt. Something was wrong with that man.

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It took a while, but Gretchen had finally managed to force the door open; she'd tried to do it as quietlyas she could and not just yank it off its hinges, but there had still been a sharp, audible 'crack' when it gave. She then turned to Eismann, took the lightning thing and murmured, "Stay in here until I know what's going on." Then she pulled up the hood of her cloak and faded from view.


Stepping out into the hallway gave her a peculiar feeling of deja vu, but not from her own life; no, she was having flashbacks to Half-Life, System Shock 2 and about a dozen other PC games that began with a similar sense of wrongness. But of course, this was no game;  this was happening right now.


She closed the door as quietly as she could, and craned her neck to try to get a better look down the hallway, then froze; the sounds of savage feasting reached her ears, and her heart skipped a beat. Then he... it...came down the hallway. Shrike held her breath, suddenly very aware of the smell of shampoo, body wash and antiperspirant. The look it gave her when it knew she was near...


Hello, poppet.


Almost without thinking, her left hand shot up and the Ring of Power fired at point blank range, with a blinding red flash and distinctive 'bra-Kow!'

Edited by Heritage
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And she missed! Shaken by the unspeakable, almost blasphemous mockery of a man before her, Shrike's blast zipped past the Feral's ear, singing flesh and burning a hole in the floor past his head, but doing no more damage than that. An instant later, the door by her side shrieked to pieces, flying to fragments that left it like torn paper hanging on its hinges. 


Woodsman saw the Feral and fired a single shot from the hip, a steel-tipped bolt that struck the creature in the throat. It fell, gagging and pulling at the bolt, but unable to call out. His dark face expressionless but for a burning intensity in his eyes, Woodsman followed up by stepping into the corridor with his hatchet in his hand. With a single blow to the weak bones between the eyes, the creature was dead. Pulling the blade free, he turned on his heel and pointed at the civilian scientists. "Y'need t'getta 'solation right nah," he said, pointing to the heavy door to what had ironically been his only shelter the first time he'd come here. "Lil' ones can't get through da door and we're gonna stop da big ones." 


With his accent, his costume, and the dripping corpse at his feet, Woodsman looked far away from the Claremont student he usually was. When his ears caught the sound of the unholy feast down the hall,  a sound now shifting to satisfied grunts and cackling, like men playacting at hyenas, he knelt, his eyes wide but his pulse regular, and pulled the bolt he'd fired free to load it again. 



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Wait. Wait. Waitwaitwaitwait. Did Woodsman just…kill a guy? Was that okay? Spectacle said heroes don’t kill and no way did Naomi want to be a killer, so Waverider had always kept her attacks nonlethal. Too much was happening at once. She didn’t know what to think or do. Heroing was about fighting bad guys and saving the day, not…this. Nighthawk appeared to still be sane and both know something of what was going on. So Waverider tapped her on the shoulder again and whipped out the notebook. This too was on the page of time saving prewritten comments. [What’s going on here?]

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Nighthawk didn't answer Naomi right away, although her grey gaze flicked up from the corpse to at least read the page. She turned her head the side first to look at Riley, her voice low, "These are from your world." Robin said and it wasn't a question. With the rumors, there were plenty of their fellow students that would have assumed Riley's reaction was related to post traumatic stress - or an itchy trigger finger - but Robin believed in the wiry archer. 


"Is he from your world, or is just the contamination passing through somehow?" She asked as she crouched down to examine the body. Under her mask, Nighthawk was a little pale but she'd seen death before up close. Balanced on her haunches, she finally tipped her head up to answer Waverider, "This thing is from the place Woodsman comes from. They're... kinda like zombies. Ish. It's... bad. It's really, really bad."


She rose then, snagging the dead feral by the shirt as she went to move it out of the doorway. Her tone was tight, "Woodsman's right. You doctors should get somewhere safe and if you've got quarantine sorts of protocols above whats already gone off, you should do that. Whatever's causing this can't get outta the building. No matter what. Woodsman, what's the play?"

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Gretchen loved killing zombies; whether it was playing Left4Dead, Dying Light or Black Ops, watching Rick and Daryl do their thing on The Walking Dead, or having intense chat room debates over the relative merits of fast vs slow zombie films (Gretchen liked 'em slow; she was a purist), she'd always found the subject of zombies endlessly fascinating. Sometimes she entertained the thought of how well she'd do in a zombie apocalypse, with her basic martial arts training and technical skills.


Gretchen no longer found zombies entertaining.


For several seconds after she missed, she was frozen in place; even at this range, her shot went wild, no doubt due to her green status, and for a moment she thought the thing was going to leap on her and rip her to shreds. Then a crossbow shot worthy of Norman Reedus tore through its neck, followed up almost instantly by a hatchet to the face; the blood narrowly missed splashing on her. The kid who shot it couldn't have been more than fifteen, sixteen maybe; he sounded like he might have been Cajun, weird accent. Loaded for bear, as the saying went.


Two other kids followed him out into the hall; from the masks and powers, probably Claremonters. Good to know she wasn't alone, though of course they were completely ignoring her for some reason; okay, sure she missed, but at least she was trying! Why didn't they-


Because you're invisible, dumbass.


She almost laughed out loud at her own stupidity, but instead she threw back her hood and was suddenly right there among them, all of five foot four in her heels, black leather, silver mask and cloak.


"Mind if I join you? I'm the Shrike." Her usual deadpan voice was edged with fear,

Edited by Heritage
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"No...no." Riley had tensed at Robin's words, staring down at the bloody corpse with a brief look of real horror, but he shook his head, reassuring her as much as himself as he spoke. "Look 't him, he's got full beard, tanned skin - he mus'ta been Feral since '99. And you gotta say something before you pop out like that!" he hissed at Shrike, his eyes like a startled cat's as he flickered to her, then back at Robin, pain in his eyes. "Oh God, I did it. I let them here. They musta opened the door back to my homeworld and the Goodman pack was waiting for 'em, they-" 


"That can't be right, Mr. Smith," came Dr. Drummond's voice, all business, just audible over the loudspeaker from inside the Isolation suite where the three civilians had removed themselves. "Dimensional sciences isn't running any field tests today - they would never open a gateway without a full crew." 


"I don't-" Woodsman shook his head, pulling his hood up as he rose to his feet, reloading his steel-tipped bolt with one smooth motion into his crossbow's magazine. As the sounds from around the bend turned from celebrating hoots and grunts into low growls and predatory sniffs, Woodsman whispered, turning his head so the others could see his face. "They're gonna kill and eatcha if you don' do it to them first. They may look like people but they're _not_ - they're Ferals." Only Robin caught his "I'm sorry." 


The group from down the hall finally turned the corner, giving the group of heroes assembled a look at a Feral pack. There were nine of them in all; parodies of humanity turned into savage cannibals - bloody jaws snapping, filthy bodies and tattered clothes stained red with what had once been the building's security guard, crowding the corridor to snap and snarl like rabid dogs. The worst of all was their leader. 


Morphic molecules had stood against the test of time. Green and blue were covered in filth and fresh gore, rents in her costume shown where things had torn away over the years and never been repaired, the filthy hair that hung halfway down her back, adorned with ornaments of bloody bone. At the sight of the heroes, she gave a monstrous growl that made her mouth fall open wide like a shark's, impossibly wide on a human face, exposing a mouth full of sharp, jagged, filthy teeth beneath eyes that burned bright yellow, raising hands whose fingers were twisted into long, jagged, lethal-looking claws. 


This was all that was left of Victoria Atom.




And with that, they charged. 

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Robin didn't have time to offer comfort - and she was uncertain what she could have said to make anything better, even if she'd had the time. "More the merrier - well, no, not really." Was her short but not unfriendly response to Shrike as the woman materialized, her body tense and tight in preparation for fight or flight. The latter, though, wasn't an option.


"Try to slow down what I can," she said, mostly to Riley before she burst into movement. If Robin was afraid, it didn't show on her grim features as she met the Ferals at a dead run into the melee. The Fens native didn't even slow as her momentum carried through, pivoting on the ball of her foot to send an elbow into the first Feral's throat as it reached for her. The wet crack of Robin hitting an ostensibly human throat at full strength was going to haunt her later but in the moment, all she could do was keep fighting. 


Thankfully, the one thing Robin had learned in two years of life or death scrabbling on the streets was how to turn off things like fear and doubt in the moment. The teenager spun, dropping another Feral with a knee to the solar plexus and then followed the body down with a sharp strike of her heel. She fought with the same economy of movement and brutal street techniques Riley had seen several times, but Riley, at least, had seen his girlfriend in battle enough times to know that she had clearly taken his warnings seriously as none of those punches were pulled. 


The third and fourth followed their companions down to the ground just as quickly, leaving Robin spattered from their wounds but thus far, unharmed. 

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On Woodsman's homeworld, mere men faced down gods turned rampaging killers. Robin, his lover, had just shredded half a pack with a beauty and grace that...well, that Riley would be thinking about for a long time. Could he do any less? 


Riley worked the slide of his crossbow with a click-clack, coming up with a bolt that he fired directly into the flank of the Victoria-thing. A moment passed - then the heroes heard a distinct, muffled bang from inside the warped, writhing parody of a superhero. The wound on its thigh bulged like a swollen tumor and blood leaked from Victoria's gaping wide maw, but the injury didn't seem to bother her more than a little as she advanced on the heroes along with what was left of her pack. 


"Not this time," Woodsman hissed from under his hood as he worked the slide again, falling backwards down the corridor to move out of the reach of snapping "not this time, $($%er!" 

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These kids were good, very good; seems their parents were getting what they paid for and then some. She envied their intense focus and efficiency, so unlike the more haphazard way Lynn trained her; not that she didn't appreciate the workouts and sparring, but these teenagers were f###ing machines.


No, think about this, Gretch. You're going about this all wrong. Focus on your own strengths and play to them. Think of this as a game, and you and these kids have just formed a squad. What do you best?


Once she put it into terms she could process, a little bit of her panic subsided; she could now imagine herself surviving this. So when the pack came around the corner, Shrike smoothly dropped to one knee, raised her left hand and grabbed her wrist with her right, and aimed her ring at pack leader's center of mass.


Here's a kiss for you, bitch.

Edited by Heritage
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The blow hit, and did damage, tearing away a gob of writhing shapeshifter flesh that disintegrated into a red, pulpy mist as it struck the ground. The Victoria-thing (there was no better word for it) focused on Shrike, mad, blinking yellow eyes that had erupted spasmodically across its forehead like a spider's all stared into her very soul. The creature moved suddenly, limbs skittering along the metal ground, and lashed out with a sudden tentacle erupting from the center of its face, one that bit down with human-shaped teeth on Shrike's arm, leaving behind a bloody bite mark in its place. The mouth-tentacle snapped back into that writhing face and suddenly it reformed as the monstrous parody of Victoria Atom, her bloody mouth now wet with fresh blood, raising her head to the ceiling and exulting in an all-too-human voice.




The others took up the same cry, hooting as they charged past the corpses of their fellows and their alpha, swarming over Waverider with biting mouths and reaching, bloody hands. These had been human once, in the ancient, tattered rags of lab workers clothes over sunburnt nakedness and filth, but they weren't human anymore.



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Waverider’s question was not answered immediately, but instead after the fight had started in earnest. Okay, so it was bad. Now Nighthawk and Shrike were trying to kill these things too, including what used to be Victoria Atom. And no one was explaining anything. The Victoria-thing even hurt Shrike. The initial shock of the first one was being compounded again and again. A normal teenage girl would have folded at this point. Run away screaming. Well, Naomi wasn’t about to do either of those things. She was a hero, darn it. Heroes stood when everyone else ran away afraid. And then the rest of the pack swarmed her. If they’d been able to get through her vibrational field and actually hurt her, she would’ve turn and ran. That would’ve done it. However, seeing their clawing, biting, and scratching stopped cold by her vibrational field reminded her how powerful she was, next to an ordinary person. Hands off, jerks. One was pulling on her arm. She casually vibro-blasted him down the hallway. She did not inflict lethal damage. She was still a hero, darn it. Heroes didn’t kill people, no matter how far gone they were. Even if they didn’t seem anything like people anymore. Besides, if anyone could fix one of their own, it was the Atoms.

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Nighthawk couldn't help but pause to glance down at the bodies - the too human bodies - at her feet. She twisted then, turning back towards the people - the things - still standing. Although Shrike was older, Nighthawk didn't know her and didn't know her capabilities. She certainly wouldn't assume that the older heroine would be up for being chewed on. 


Whistling short and sharp through her teeth, Nighthawk set about to making herself a bigger, noisier target than the others. "Y'want meat?" Robin wanted to know, her voice low as she stepped in towards the back of the alpha Feral. Where the hell did you hit someone who could go all bendy anyways? Something-something surface tension? Her fist snapped forward, fingers hooked rather than curled into a fist as she drilled the top two knuckles hard and fast into the base of it's spine with an audible crack. "Come'n get it then. Come on! Come at me!"


It was relatively obvious that Robin's taunts were deliberately the opposite from Riley's sniper techniques as the Fens native tried to get all the Ferals to focus away from the others and to try to chew on her instead. 

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Woodsman yanked out his magazine and slapped an explosive bolt into place in the front of his bow, pulling the lever so hard he felt the muscles scream in protest in his right shoulder. With the cries of Ferals in his ears, the pain was far away indeed. He raised the crossbow in his hands and fired over Robin's shoulder, the bolt whizzing past her ear as it smashed into the head of the Victoria-thing, the sharp point cutting through the soft tissue of cheek and jaw as it cracked open those gnashing, bladed teeth. Just as he'd hoped, the thing bit down - triggering the charge inside. With a flattened bang, Victoria Atom's head exploded, the spray of gore splattering the walls and ceiling. The corpse didn't last long with its head gone, seeming to melt away into liquid, bloody ruin in puddles on the floor. 

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Gretchen saw exactly what was going to happen; she pulled the edge of her cloak up to cover her face, and seconds later bits of blood, flesh and bone spattered all over her. She'd never forget the sound of those wet slaps striking leather for the rest of her life. 


Dropping the cloak, she prepared to fire again, but the sight of all that the gore covering...well, everything made her stomach roil and eyes water, throwing off her shot just as she fired. She closed her eyes so tightly it hurt, and it took all her will to keep her lunch down, though her whole mouth burned with bile.


Oh Christ. Oh Jesus Christ. That smell!

Edited by Heritage
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