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Escape From York Hill(IC)


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 Elysian Forest, York Hill, Emerald Enclave Retreat Cabin , Emerald City, Oregon


"...I am so glad to see so many unfamiliar faces here today!" Max Mars grinned out at the crowd from the stage, artistically set into a rock slab cloven by a trickling stream.


The meeting room was walled in glass and metal, the ceiling admitting light falling golden and green through the boughs of pines swaying high above. The hundreds of guests were scattered at low Japanese-style tables laden with delicacies from dozens of countries.


They'd been through four other speakers, starting in the morning and interspersed with music and other entertainments. Mars was the fundraiser's host and had gone to extravagant lengths to impress on the visitors what a great idea it would be to help fund the preservation of the Pacific Coast rainforests. Or, more precisely, to help fund technology that would help protect them.


"We don't all live here, but all of us need this and other natural resources to stay in business. We need these just to live, folks, without paying Mother Nature a tax Uncle Sam can only dream of. In particular I'd like to thank-"


His bright green eyes flashed across the holoprompter embedded in his contact lenses, an inhman mind whirring over the unusual names literally faster than thought.


"-Amir ibn Jafar ibn Abd al-Aziz al-Misri, of al-Misri Holdings and Antoinette Baudin of Danger International! Come on up, you two!"


In the deep woods, the polite applause and brief swell of congratulatory music stood out even more than would in the city below. And the ringing seemed to last even longer than usual as the two were collected by ushers and brought on stage.


Max Mars was a full foot shorter than Amir and even Tona towered over his leonine-haired head, which do nothing to shake the irrepressible glee in his cat-green eyes.


Extending a vigorous handshake to both of them and an ostentatious air-kiss next to Tona's ear (his beard scratching her cheek), Mars nodded to the crowd "Why don't you say a few words, let us all know a little about the good people we'll be working with?"


His grin and expectant looks from the other guests brooked no refusal.



Edited by Ari
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Tona Baudin froze in her tracks as the attention of the crowd was suddenly focused on her. The young woman could barely have stood out more if she tried; she was the only woman wearing a tuxedo, she was easily the youngest person in the crowd, and she had as many piercings as any four other women put together. Her boss had promised that this event was about being seen at Max Mars's side and shaking a few hands; no one had even hinted at the possibility of speaking. Or possibly they had, and the subtlety had just gone over her head, but here she was. On stage, Mars and al-Misri smiling confidently while she felt like she wanted to bolt through the doors and disappear into the woods.


There was only one thing for it. She stepped up to the mic, standing back and extending her neck like it smelled poorly. "Um, hello." She cringed as, impossibly, the tuned and corrected audio system screeched with feedback. "Danger International. Hopes you understand how, um. How important the trees are. To the city." Despite her stance she was too close to the mic, her every exhale and jaw pop clearly audible as she stumbled over her words. "Because if something happened. There would still be trees. And we could go to the trees. Um."

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Amir winced a little as Max messed up the introduction.  Did the guy read notes?  He said nothing, even as he fought back a response as the young Tona was shoved out into the front like that.  But if he interceded it would be worse for the poor girl in the court of public opinion, not that he felt she would really truly be upset with such.


Though after a few awkward words he did drop a gaze onto Max, almost wanting to punch his smug face.


But he screwed on his winning, 10,000 watt smile, as he stepped towards the podium, and he gently set a hand on Tona's shoulder, in the hopes she'd get what he was doing without him saying it, which might add salt to the wound.  But if Max wanted to be catty... well he was facing the Bronze Lion of Summit now.  Once Tona had stepped away, he moved in front of the microphones, looking as relaxed as anyone who lived before them like he did.


He leaned forward on one arm, having it across against the podium, an then he cleared his throat.  "Hi."  He let that word sit, and then he tapped to the mic. "I know most of you.  Some of you owe me money, but I am Amir al-Misri, of Summit Transnational.  Al-Misri Holdings is my family's company, which I would say I was proud of, except I am worth more than them.  But it gets confusing sometimes, and Max I must applaud you memorizing as much of my name as you did, because it is a lot longer and pompous than that."  He chuckled a little, as he attempted to control the situation and veer wildly away from the train wreck that had been happening a moment ago.

Edited by TheAbsurdist
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The polite applause that greeted Tona's fumbling words was almost worse than open derision. Among the sea of strained, glassy smiles, one low table housing noted local medical tech legends Hisao and Rebecca Saito at least had occupants willing to give her supportive looks and burn holes into Max with their eyes.


Emerald's favourite son, despite his cocksure attitude and grinning unconcern, was very clearly wishing he was somewhere else by the time Amir took the mic. As the al-Misri's favourite wastrel spun the conversation back onto himself, he could almost hear Mars gritting his teeth behind him. 


Which made it almost a relief when the faint droning that had coalesced in Tona's ears into the humming of rotors became the shriek of super-sonics and the splintering of glass as the roof dissolved above them!


As it fell, Amir launched himself into action. Summoning his absorptive aura the Lion hurtled around the hall, catching every deadly silicon blade as it sliced towards an innocent head or shoulder. Some of them got through, helped by his own rush to rescue and burying deep into his body. That was just the start.


Dozens of boxy drones darted through the hall, glowing lines snapping into being between emitters on their corners and the arms and legs of the guests!


"~Look lively, maggots!~" A figure in gaudy, cumbersome, blocky armor dropped in a three-point land into the hall, the floor crumbling and smashing under their weight, a cloud of dust rising to silhouette the imposing figure and their glowing eyes, a synthesized voice barking "~You're comin' with me on a little trip! And if you're smart all you're saying to the Air-Martial is 'sir, yes sir!'~"


Edited by Ari
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Tona willingly ceded the microphone to Amir, glad to be out of the spotlight and be able to fade into the background. She turned to the glass wall, staring at the cool green darkness of the trees just outside the building. It was a calm, peaceful scene and she concentrated on it, breathing deep to calm herself down.


And then someone shattered the glass ceiling and invaded the dinner. The young refugee turned, took a step forward, and froze. A figure in heavy armor was in front of her, evil-looking machines were taking people into the sky, and the diners were screaming all around her. It was a scene from her childhood nightmares and she felt her heart skip a beat; in a moment she was back under the great spreading trees of her home world, watching Omegadrones abduct her people and lift them into the sky.


Then the figure spoke and broke the illusion. Annhilists and Omegadrones didn't speak like that, only supervillains did. Supervillains she knew how to deal with. The young woman yelled as she charged forward, leaping from the elevated stage to a table and bouncing into the air. She grabbed a drone in each hand and pulled them together, smashing the robots together with a scream.

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Like living things, the drones tugged and struggled in Tona's powerful grip. She could see the blank, staring lenses on their blocky bodies swivel to look at her in the fraction of a second before they slammed against each other.


One drone crumbled and cracked, fizzing and crackling as its rotors spasmed in one final frantic whirr, sparks bursting from the smashed chassis. But the other was at just the right angle to deflect most of the impact onto its twin and in a moment had twisted free to lash out at the screamingly rich crowd.


Air-Martial started as he caught sight of Asad's glass-torn body shimmering with power, then again at Tona's brutal display. "~Well s***, nobody mentioned anything about you, Pintsize! Guess I better withdraw, but first-!~"


With remarkable speed for someone wearing something so bulky and awkward, the armored man darted over to the table Amir had been awkwardly sitting at mere minutes ago. His PA, who'd instantly taken cover under the table and started trying to call Archetech's public line, was dragged out with a startled yelp to briefly dangle by an ankle clenched in one massive metal fist.


"~Hey Asad, think fast!~" Air-Martial yelled as he flung the woman towards the gaping roof hole, then followed suit himself with a roar of boot-jets "~Fall in, Air Cavalry! Get these piggies home!~"


By now the drones had latched their glowing lines of force around dozens of the patrons. Rebecca and Hisao, among the many the drones ignored, were blasted away with sonic bolts even as they tried to break others free. In a stream of screaming people in absurd finery, ungainly robots and neon beams, the cavalcade began to whisk out through the roof and into the sky.


Max Mars, for his part, was frozen stiff on the stage. Staring at nothing, mouth and eyes working like malfunctioning machinery.

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Amir stood there, bleeding, and glaring.


Perhaps, if people were animals there might be an associated rattle to his behavior, then that... jerk grabbed the Aid, Emily, and yanked her away and threw her as a distraction.  He leaped into the air, getting to her quickly, and catching her before she started to fall back to earth.  And then let out the force of the blows they had tried to rain on him.  There was a flash as waves of force crashed out from him, and he turned to angle the aid away from them.  It helped that they were trying to get away through a hole in the roof, so he had the ability to readily decide where that pulse of kinetic force was aimed, to avoid hitting the people.  Though... things were a bit fuzzier.


"I am sorry, I will add hazard pay."  Before he moved to set her back down on the the table, before he turned to level his sights back at the Air-Martial, and he started to give chase.  Intending on arranging an introduction between that man and his fists.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tona's feet never touched the ground. She kept up the momentum from her first strike and swung up onto the remaining drone. She kept in constant, graceful motion, jumping from drone to drone like a monkey moving from branch to branch. She was confident, powerful, and never looked back or down, just inexorably moved forward and closer to the armor-clad criminal who had quite literally crashed the party. Her blood was up like it hadn't been in quite some time and right now she was seeing red.


She landed on his back in a crouch, keeping low to make sure she wasn't blown off by the wind. "Time to take this to the ground," she grunted as she looked over the suit. Tona wasn't an engineer, but she was a fighter and she knew a few things about how the human body was put together. She raised her hand and imagined it as an ax; then she brought it down with force on the Air Martial's shoulder.

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Amir ducked down, and set her down, "Get to cover I am going to have a chat with them and explain that I don't appreciate them doing that.  A strongly worded complaint."  With her scurrying to cover, he turned back to them and pushed up into the air, before bringing his hands towards as hard as he could, the force of the blow significant enough to blast outward at the drones, it was hard enough for the wave of force to roil out towards them, crashing through them.


Admittedly his vision was descending towards a tunnel as he moved in, intending on destroying all of these drones, and then move on to the Air-Martial.  His holdings.  His public image.  All of it.  Enough to not see Tona as she was racing up after him as well.


Stop the robots, save the people.

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"Gah! Sonuva-!" With an inarticulate snarl, the man in the suit swerved off course, spinning and rolling as he went smashing through trunks and branches, evergreens splintering and crashing in the two combatants' wake as they arced through the dripping boughs and soaked birds' nests. In moments hundreds of years of life was torn to pieces and splattered across the hillside. In the struggle Tona was flung off the would-be kidnapper's back, hurtling at incredible speed through the forest as the man unleashed a hail of rockets that collided with and burst harmlessly among the treetops.


At the Retreat, a significant number of the Martials' drones fumbled and fell back to Earth, letting their wailing human cargo collapse onto the floor, blessedly free of waiting glass shards. Emily followed her boss's directions without hesitation, the room milling with confusion and anger and fear as Mars stood stock still on the stage, staring out at nothing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Asad moved, he didn't know the girl, but she was useful, and could.  Amir raced to her and caught Tona as she was plummeting to the ground.  "Here, I don't think you were done talking to him.  Brace yourself!"  And then her launched her back, dead on target, unconcerned about taking hits so much as making sure she hit him.  She was launched like a headhunter fastball, right at the Air Martial's face   "Tell him I said hello!"


With that accomplished he started blasting at the remaining drones, or punching them into oblivion.  Both worked.  What mattered was they were going down.  Hard, and he was making sure they weren't just disabled, but destroyed.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tona was already tumbling when she hit the ground, absorbing the impact and coming to rest in a crouch. At some point she'd lost her suit jacket and the clip-one bow tie, and her starched shirt was coming loose and stained by the grass and dirt; but when Asad asked if she was ready she just nodded once, quick. He picked her up like she weighed nothing and then she was flying through the air again, straight back at Air Martial. The young woman wasn't exactly used to be thrown through the air like a volleyball but so much of her life hadn't gone like she had intended so she coped. When she got close enough she grabbed onto the flying villain, screaming in pain as she felt all the force and torque of her flight suddenly applied to her shoulder and screaming in triumph as she reached into a gap in his armor and pulled out a handful of wires. The jets on the armor suddenly went out and in a moment they were both falling, both landing on the ground and tumbling hard.

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The armor came apart in Blue Jay's hands as easily as the now-directionless robots milling above, their wailing cargo plummeting to safety(if not comfort) in the upraised arms of the forest boughs. As the last of the engines died and the last metal barrier between Tona and her quarry ripped free, the faint drone of an Emerald City Forest Ranger electric chopper was drifting through the gentle winter air. Just a few minutes and already the people inside the elegant blue-white Nolan wonder had plenty to gawk at as they came down.


One of those wonders being the extremely empty suit of armor. Tona had felt the weight, heard the grunts and gasps, but by the time she'd torn the faceplate off there was nobody, nothing inside. 


There was fresh blood and sweat on the padded interior, some dark, curly hair, otherwise not a sign of the Air-Martial.


A synthetic rope suddenly unspooled next to her, followed by a fit middle-aged man wearing a forest Ranger's uniform and a look of utter confusion. 


Taking in the wreckage he asked bluntly "What in the &@#^ just happened? Are...are you alright, miss? Was this the perpetrator?" That was accompanied with an anxious glance at the armor. He took off his hat and stared up at one of the shattered piles that had once been a towering Douglas fir "Real sorry, miss, this usually...this never happens."


"al-Misri!" Behind Asad, Max Mars flew into view atop a sleek black flying platform that he swooped expertly down next to the siphon scion. His own survey of the battlefield was so brief as to barely be called a glance, and he was significantly less impressed, his eyes narrowed and jaw clenched with anger that he didn't bother to disguise. Despite coming up only to Amir's chest he somehow managed to look much larger in his wrath. Taking a deep, slow breath the maestro of MarsTech rounded on Amir. "Did he say anything? Anything at all? Any hint who he works for?" As he spoke, Mars reached out towards the scattered armor shards with a hand guantleted in rust-red, the pieces flying through the air and halting for his inspection. "Not a trace, nothing..."


"Hey, uh, Mr. Mars!"  the ranger hollered over from the fallen Air-Martial suit "We got your call! Other units are heading to the retreat, is everything okay?"


Mars froze for the briefest of seconds. Then suddenly the composed and collected showman from earlier was back, smiling breezily as a bit of shoulder armor vanished into his deep blue suit. "Yes, thanks to Mr. al-Misri here!" he clapped heartily Asad on the back "We're all unhurt and safe. Though I think there's a little matter upstanding..." his bright green eyes lifted to the people hanging miserably in the branches.


"On it, Mr. Mars!" The ranger snapped something into his watch, and was soon joined by three other rangers who set about helping the moneyed guests down.


Mars glanced diagonally up at Asad "Want a hand, al-Misri?" The slim platform under his feet purred like a contented kitten.


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Amir moved towards Tona then, landing down, "Right, so... f***.  Are you okay?"  His anger dying out, as he realized she had landed hard, and he looked apologetic.  "I can get you to a hospital fast..."  His words dying off for a moment, and then he rose his head, "Anyone here hurt enough to need to get to a hospital now!"


Yes, he wanted to pound the Air-Martial and all of this things into the ground... but there was more important things right at the moment.  Frowning, he waited until Tona's response, before he would move to go help, his assistant for the day was next, then the rich people, they could wait, if they weren't really hurt.  He needed to take a first aid class...

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