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The Ben Hur Invitational: Self Preservation Society (IC)

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09/11/2016

12:35 PM

Downtown

Freedom City

 

When a professional group of vault hunters shows up in your city, the local law enforcement take notice. Granted, it's usually fairly hard to actually track them down, once they go to ground - but you can generally assume a spectacular heist is in the offing. AEGIS was well familiar with this procedure; having long set up protocols in the event of notable criminals popping up on the radar at the Freedom City airport - and they'd released the names and faces to the FCPD and (surreptitiously) to more than a few of their known heroic contacts. That or 'conviniently' left the information on unsecured servers where any (hero-type) person might find them. It was an old game, and one the Midnights and Ravens of old had played very well.

 

The group in particular this month was called the Self-Preservation Society; a band of British movie buffs who'd taken up the mask and black bag years ago. They'd started their careers with blag jobs working armored convoys in the UK, graduating to larger-scale heists across France and Germany once their rep had grown. Four men, each world-class drivers, who'd made their bones on some of the scariest (and fastest) roads on Earth. They'd never pulled a job in the good old U.S. of A., but records were made to be broken - and given piles of these world-class drivers had kept popping up arriving one way or another in Freedom over the last few weeks, then dropping off the radar - something was in the works.

 

That something finally came up when every alarm system Midnight had started screaming red. 

 

Three heroes in question were on patrol in the City Centre when the alarms hit - and a quartet of Mini Coopers souped up to frightening levels tore out of the front lobby of the First National. They moved as one in eerie synchronicity through the streets, moving towards an unknown destination - leaving wreckage of hot dog stands, newspaper stalls, and leaping bystanders in their wake!

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Midnight stopped the silent alarm projected above the Night Cycle's handlebars with a gesture, giving way to a map of the nearby streets showing the growing trail of destruction picked out in red. Concealed in the shadows of the alleyway he calmly activated his comlink. "Phalanx. West on Lexington. Go loud." With his speed and strength there was a good chance Mike would be able to tie things up before any of his other preparations needed to come into play but one of the airborne champion's most useful characteristics was being exactly what 'visitors' to Freedom City were expecting: a broad, brightly coloured target swooping in from on high. Being presented with that sort of obvious, immediate threat could make even a careful planner oblivious to other avenues of attack.

 

"Ah, it has been too long since we've had a good race!" Redbird spoke up as the motorcycle peeled silently from its hiding place, quickly becoming a blur of black as it wove through traffic. Her voice carried a note of boisterous excitement and her rider could feel the bike's engine running just a little smoother, putting out just a little more power than usual.

 

"Not a race unless something goes wrong," Midnight reminded the machine intelligence. His businesslike attitude would have been more convincing if he hadn't been in the process of taking them up over a ledge and into a forty-five degree lean to shave a few fractions of a second off of their time around a corner.

 

The scoffing sound in his earpiece made Redbird's position clear. "Everything is a race, shadowwalker."

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The alarms had signaled law enforcement quickly enough, and all things considered it shouldn't be a surprise that well-informed crime fighters were out to stop these thieves almost before they started. Midnight was the first on the scene, but he wasn't the last. A radio transmission came through, on a frequency that indicated it was definitely not the police. If Midnight took the "call", he'd hear another gruff voice on the other side.

 

"Moving up behind and to the right a bit. Pushing my bike near to max; do we want to try and herd them, or just stalk them?"

 

It was Nevermore, roaring up the road on that bike of his, all elegant, brutal functionality. The young hero's cape flared in the wind generated by his movement, somehow never snagging on anything along the way. He was clearly pushing said bike hard, but keeping pace. At least for now. 

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The wind whistled across his comlink as Phalanx responded, "Copy, intercepting at Lexington and 19th"  looking ahead for a safe intersection to slow the vehicles without endangering civilians.  As he came screaming out of the sky he planted himself firmly in front of the oncoming cars holding up a hand as he boomed warning, "Stop this now before someone gets hurt."  he demanded in what he considered fair warning.  When the cars showed no sign of slowing of course he was forced into action letting forth a blast of air from his lungs freezing the ground before them and hoping to bind them in drifts of ice and frost and end this madcap scheme before it truly begins.  As far as loud and ostentatious there were few who could match that display, how effective it would be remained to be seen of course.

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The benefit to being a flying brick, for the most part, was you could be fairly confident you could tank any impact that hit you. Bullets, bombs, missiles, whatever. You also had a fairly reliable, straightforward suite of powers, that tended to be fairly easy to understand, and even easier to put into practice. Reliability, ladies and gentlemen, would outdo awesomeness any day of the week.

 

That being said, however - the downside to being a flying brick was quite simple. Everyone knew what tricks you had up your sleeve. Moreso if you went around advertising that fact by flying the blue and gold.

 

Phalanx had a brief moment of eye contact with the man in the lead vehicle - a swarthy gentleman, with a neatly trimmed moustache, a blue blazer, and a pair of fingerless driving gloves gripping the steering wheel. To his credit, his first instinct seemed to not be to go for a gun - but to immediately swerve; the vehicles behind him instantly following. Each of them expertly rolled over the ice - only the last vehicle fishtailing slightly and clipping a taxi on the side of the curb; roaring right past him. A rather pretty young woman in the tail car even shot Phalanx a wink, and blew a kiss as they blew by; the tell-tale hiss and roar of N0S causing their exhausts to flare as they tore off.

 

Oh, this lot was going to be fun.

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Nevermore didn't curse when the cars punched in their N0S systems. That would be unprofessional, un-Raven-like, and probably get him in trouble with both Midnight and Raven, a state of being he preferred to avoid. That didn't mean his lips didn't purse behind the windscreen over his lower face (bugs in your mouth were just terrible for brooding heroes of the night), narrow his eyes a bit, and think some unkind words to himself when it happened, though. He activated his communications link to the other two heroes.

 

"I am maintaining my tailing position, but it's going to push the Talon beyond its limits, and to a breaking point, very rapidly. I am directing another asset this way but it will take some time. I will do my best to maintain my rearward position in the meantime."

 

As he was speaking, one hand was maintaining the full-open state of the throttle, while the other was flipping a handful of switches and dials on the small control panel of the bike. At one point he reached down, a bit awkwardly, and pulled on a couple of levers that were flush with the body. The bike's engine roared, but he could feel it starting to tremble a bit.  

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