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Midnight Run


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The Eclipse Night Club


September the 9th, 23:30


The Eclipse night club was booming to industrial Gothic Beats, an effective repetitive sound of limited musicality and excessive passion. Aortic Valve where playing and had been expressively forbidden from any self-harming blood throwing antics. On another night, this might not be the case, but the Eclipse did, from time to time, open its doors to the 16-18 age bracket with clear parameters for acceptable behaviour. 


Gotta Gotta Gotta,

Gotta Gotta Gotta,

Gotta Gotta Gotta

Slash the Pash....ion! sang the leader Singer of Aortic Valve, Verity Vein, dressed in slashed up leathers and black make up. A bit too little of the former, a bit too much of the latter. She sang in a voice that alternated from drone to scream and was really rather effective. 


And 'twas on this night that Bird of Arms was out partying. And the place was packed. Not just with the 16 and 17 year olds, but older adults too. Alcohol was not served, but a frenzied spirit was, and in copious quantities. 


Rob the Troll was enjoying the show. He was six foot six and hideously ugly, not helped by a broken nose and scar that ran down his face bisected by an eye patch. His arms were as thick as most peoples legs, if not thicker, and he had tattoo's on (it seemed) every square foot of his skin. Rob the Troll kept the peace in the Eclipse, and such was his reputation that he could do it by reputation alone. 


However, with Bird of Arms here, his reputation and indeed his skill might not suffice. He sidled up to Bird of Arms as Slash the Passion finished (to much applause and screaming). 


"No trouble from you tonight, you hear?"



Edited by Supercape
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Jann enjoyed partying. He hardly ever did it, he felt like he could spend his time better doing other things, but whenever he got an invitation, he was there. And today was one of those days. He wasn’t quite a regular at Eclipse, but he was there occasionally, when nothing else was happening, or during holidays when Claremont was essentially empty. And during that time, he’d met a few people. And tonight was the first time he saw them again since he’d left before Summer.


Jack, a regular to the club, who spent most of his time here. He was the oldest in the group, already in his thirties. But he knew when an act was worth inviting people to. And he was popular with everybody.

Miche, who was quiet. She was about Jann’s age, and she barely every talked. He’d seen her arms only once, and they resembled his in terms of scars. She stuck around, she liked the music, but she was passive.

Derek, who stood out in any crowd but this one. He fit in perfectly, dancing and enjoying his time.

And of course, Rob the Troll. A man of reputation. Jann had heard the reputation, and ever since tried to get him to agree to a fight. So far, without any success. And Jann would not risk being banned just to see if Rob could live up to his reputation.


He’d just danced for a while, so he was properly warmed up when Rob approached him. “You agree to the challenge, then?”

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"I'm not going to tangle with your sort" answered Rob the Troll, bluntly. "I'll tangle with any human. As long as he ain't high on Zoom, or boosted up somehow" he answered. That was his deal. If it wasn't human, it simply didn't count. Not many men were stronger than Rob the Troll, and he knew it. But he wasn't dealing with a man here, at least, not in his eyes. 


"Least, not unless you cause trouble" he explained. He didn't wait for an answer. He strode off, eyes peeled for trouble. Rob didn't like the fact that anyone was stronger than him. And he had earned his strength through years of brutal exercise. He had plain contempt fort he "superheroes" who just had strength drop in their lap. He would gladly bust one up, badly, just to teach them a lesson, if he could. 


But for all that, Rob was a law-abiding man, and hard working. And effective at his job. Nobody really disliked Rob the Troll, and a few even liked him, even if he was angry most the time. It was not an explosive anger; he rarely if ever "lost it". it was just a bubbling sourness to his personality. A frustration at the dice of the universe. 


"Don't sweat him. Not too bad" said Derek, all eye make up and piercings. Miche and Jack seemed hardly to notice. 


The crowd seemed to press together tighter. More people were coming into the Eclipse as the music got louder. Odd; this was the end of the set. Rob could be heard shouting to "Stop them coming in!" to the other staff...



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He didn’t reply to Rob’s claims. He didn’t have a reason to. He just stood there, and once Rob had gone, turned his attention towards his friends, who had by now gathered up again, after having spent the past few minutes enjoying the concert their own way.


“Will get him to sweat one day. Some way. “


He’d danced a fair chunk, so he was feeling the first sweat coming on himself. It was nothing bad yet, just a warm-up, but now that nothing was happening anymore, it was as good a time as any to sit down for a bit, and to talk. But moving through the crowd was difficult, as it got more cramped.


He caught a glance of what the new arrivals looked like. Jann had seen this in movies. He’d heard about it in training. And he’d heard Rob. He turned towards his friends, only saying a few words. Not that he ever was a man of many words. “Get to the edge. Hunker down. “ And before any of them had a chance to respond, he was off, taking to the air, and floating above everybody’s head, getting a better vantage-point for what was about to happen.

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The flapping bird man raised a few cheers. Verity Vein did not look particularly pleased with someone stealing their audience, but she just screamed her next song, Your Love Cuts Deep even louder. She gave a little nod to the sound man who turned the sound up even higher, thus competing for attention. And with some success. 


The newcomers were young, but not kids. In their twenties, by the looks of it. Dressed up like Goths, with leathers and studs and make up. But no piercings, and somehow the hair and makeup did not blend. Jann could count a good half dozen of them. Maybe more. 


They danced a little, so as not to draw attention. They were all lithe and agile, that was obvious, but unfamiliar with the music and how to dance to it. Their movements were thus both fluid and odd. But in the frenzy of sweat and music little attention was garnered. 


Only Rob the Troll seemed concerned, frowning. Perhaps it was because the club was dangerously overcrowded. Perhaps because security wasn't coping. Perhaps because security was unconscious, fast asleep outside the building...


Perhaps because the newcomers were putting on gas masks...





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Jann stayed in the air, observing every person’s every move. He did not need the additional attention, but this was the only place he could properly see what was happening from. They fit in, but they did not belong. So far, they had not done anything, and even if he had an idea what was happening, he could not act just yet, he had been taught as much in his courses.


And then, gas masks. He had seen them before, they were part of some people’s costumes. But these were fuctional, and Rob’s reaction was enough to tell him what was about to happen. He would struggle against the sound. He had heard whispers of the band’s valuables. That was their intention, likely. He grabbed a piece of decoration from the wall, throwing it directly at the stage, the floor before the band. That would get their attention.




And then, he turned his attention to the men in gasmasks. Once more, he cried something out, this time in his native tongue, and moments later, he was next to them, executing his first strike.

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The man was a tall, in shape guy. Spiked black hair, badly done. He put his hands up, and whilst no master martial artist, he was quick and fast, and in shape. But fast didn't mean much when he was hemmed in a crowd like a sardine in a tin. 


One punch, half blocked, another, smack in the face, and the gas mask slipped off. Perhaps he would have been standing, dazed and confused, with a magnificent bleeding nose. 


But other events overtook that determination. An audible hisssss erupted from several locations. 


Smoke bombs? There was certainly some smoke, but faint, transparent, barely impeding vision. A pleasant shade of purple, one could note. 


And all around him, the crowd breathed in the fumes from mouth and nose, and started dropping like flies, fast asleep. Even those that fought to stay on their feet swayed like drunkards, as if they had got up mid REM sleep, not quite awake yet. Aortic Valve were no exception. The drummer executed and impressive bang on the snare drum with his head. 


Rob the Troll was one of the few left on his feet, holding his hand to his mouth. This spared the small conscious audience what must have been an almighty cussing. 


The man Jann had punched succumbed too, practically falling asleep in Jann's arms. But around him, spaced around the slumbering or drugged crowd, where the five intruders in gas masked. One could well imagine they were smiling as the gas started to dissipate....

Edited by Supercape
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It was Jann had expected. Everybody fainted, at a pace that suggested these people knew what they were doing. He’d managed to get in the first hit, and the gas mask was off, but Jann could feel the gas attacking him too. He’d gone through worse, this gas did not hurt. But he could feel his body get sluggish, his focus drifting. He had to do the one thing he knew best.


He grabbed the man fast asleep in his arms under his shoulders, in order to gain an idea what he was dealing with. Immediately afterwards, he threw him to the side, in such a way he would likely collide with one of the other attackers. And then, he walked forward, spending every part of his energy to move across the field of unconscious bodies, his wings feeling to sluggish to use properly right now. He struck the first gas mask he saw, following up with a flurry of attacks, hitting whatever was in range, with his arms, legs, head and torso.

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The gang member staggered back, one step, two, then sliding across the floor from the blow. 


The other four did not stop, leaping on to stage and tearing the ruby necklace from Verity's sleeping form. The rubies were torn apart, and each member grabbed a couple. 


"Say hello to the Leapfrog gang!" waved one to both Rob the Troll and Jann, as the remaining audience members passed out. 


And then, they did just that. Leaped. 


They dove, they tumbled, they clambered up the wall with impressive speed and agility. And out through the upper window of the Eclipse bar, vaulting, swinging, and diving through it like frogs. 


Only the man Jann had punched stayed behind, shaking his head from the force of the blow...

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They moved quickly, Jann was unable to keep up with them in this state. They were organized, and could get around his movements, and soon, managed to get to their goal. And there was not much he could do just yet, he was stuck dealing with just one of them. One who would not be getting away, at least. He had to act quickly now, he knew as much.


“Rob! Take this one, I will pursue!”


He didn’t wait for Rob’s response, instead jumping upwards, and flapping his wings. They were heavier than usual, and he could feel the gas’ effect, but he could not lose any time. He shot upwards, towards and through the upper window, and from there, analysed the situation. Now they were just prey. And he’d hunted much more dangerous things.  

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Rob staggered towards the Leapfrogger and sort of slumped into him, clumsily pinning him to the floor. It was hard to say who would pass out first.


Jann flew outside. The gang were running up New Jersey, straight north. It was a dark night but for now street illumination was good enough to see them. They had chosen their escape plan well; whatever else, they had planned this carefully. 


On the street in front of Jann was an old building, perhaps used for administration or business. Brick, and rather nice. And full of scaffolding and boards. It was being renovated, and was quite abandoned. The first three gang members twirled up the scaffolding and dived in, like trained free runners. The last spun round and threw something at Jann. 


It was a good throw but Jann was a moving target. Behind Jann he heard a Crack! of loud sound and a brief magnesium flare as the projectile hit the outside of the Eclipse. 

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They were skilled, and they had planned their attack. It meant they knew what they’d be getting into, and it meant that Jann would have to give it all of his attention. Smart prey was the most dangerous, because it knew how to hide and defend.



And clearly, this applied to them. They knew how to hide, and where to. A place he would not easily get into, one he was barred from entering purely because of his body. And they knew how to defend themselves, with explosives. Jann had seen what they could do first-hand, even if these did not appear to be nearly as dangerous.



He urged to fight the one who had attacked him. But he could not lose track of the others, and that would almost certainly happen. He shot past him, tucked in his wings, and landed on the scaffolding. From here, he had to rely on his feet, somehow maneuvering through the tight quarters, using each part of his body to gain as much speed as possible, with each limb getting heavier as the gas continued to attack him, as he brushed past one of the supports with a bit too much force. There was some wobbling, and he could feel his skin roughen up, but he was focused on something else.


The beams connected, and if he were to strike the right one, he could block their exit. They would be stuck, with their hunter. He could see the right spot, he only had to hit it. He tore off a piece of a nearby beam, just the right size to throw. But as soon as he held it in his hand, he realized what he’d just done…


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There was a groaning, a clanking. A metal bar leaned, and fell just by Jann's feet. 


And then the whole darn scaffolding came down like a house of cards. Dust flew up everywhere, and wooden planks added to the jumble. The gang seemed pretty confident, but when it was raining metal poles, nerves got jangled. Screams sounded around the abandoned floor. 


There was a tinkling sound as multiple highly polished, expensive, panes of glass shattered, impaled by falling metal. 


It was rather hard to see what was happening now. The lights were off and it was dim. And dusty. 


A scream of "idiot!" came from one Leapfrogger, lithely moving through the web of metal poles towards the far wall. His nose was bleeding. He spared a moment to throw another firecracker...


Fzzz...CRACK! it went, smacking into a leaning pole a few feet from Bird of Arms. It was loud and bright, and could easily deafen and blind (at least transiently) whomever it hit. 


The other two froggers just groaned. They were not trapped, but battered. 

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Jann had miscalculated. That was to say, he instincts had fooled him ever so slightly, when he’d reached for the beam. Still, it had, somehow worked out, and as it all came crumbling down, he managed to avoid most of the debris, sidestepping a few things, kicking one piece of wood away, and all in all getting through almost without a scratch, just a piece of metal scraping off some flesh on his arm.


Still, this was not an easy environment to move in. And while it was not quite as tight as before, he could still not take to the air as easily as he could in most situations. And then, there still were his enemies. One of them was getting away, but by allowing him to do that, Jann could take out the rest. And that seemed like a fair trade.


The one who was still able to attack, he posed the greatest immediate threat. The others were temporarily occupied with what had happened. As soon as the firecracker impacted, Jann leaped over the first pile of debris, pushing himself off, summersaulting over some pieces of wood, and landing in front of the attacker, launching a chop at his throat.

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The Leapfrogger slumped back. He was most flexible, as could be seen as he bent over almost double, hanging off a collapsed scaffolding. He was out cold. 


There were distant sounds of police sirens. 


The other two took a look at each other, doubt creeping in. "Just our luck" mumbled one, who started crawling and jumping through the debris, at an impressive pace, thanks to precision vaulting and tumbling. The other, spitting blood and a tooth, threw another firecracker at Jann. 


Crack! came the now familiar sound as the flash of magnesium and the sound of thunder hit Jann square in the chest. 


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One strike. One hit. One threat removed. Jann could feel his body regain some strength as finally, he was in his element. He struck, and before the thief’s body touched the ground, he was already moving again, directly towards the next one. One more explosive coming his way. It was a skilled throw, but even then, he would only have to move ever so slightly to avoid it. He attempted to do just that, but he could still feel the tiring effects of the gas.

He had just enough time to acknowledge what was about to happen, and to steel his body. He’d been closer to more dangerous explosions, so when it went off, he just pushed right through, not letting it slow him down any more than it already had. He ran directly towards the one who had thrown it. He’d been the one hit most by the collapse, the only one not attempting to get away. He was in the way, and Jann did not want to leave him around before continuing the chase.


Jann approached, adding the force of his wings to gain some extra speed. He readied his arm, and as he ran at the thief, held it outwards, making the arm’s side connect with his opponent’s throat, clotheslining him.

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The man leaned back, rolling with the blow. He gurgled a bit, but did not drop. 


"Yughl...yughl....yughly pha....wait..." he put his hand out for a pause, cleared his throat, and spoke more clearly. "You'll pay for that, pidgin-breath!" he spluttered, this time in an understandable voice. 


His other hand wandered behind him, and closed round a bent metal bar. Not much good for building with, any more. But rather handy to swing with! And swing it he did, fast and hard. Perhaps it would have left a nasty crack on Jann's skull. On another day. 


But this day with a mighty Clang! it collided with another one of the poles a few inches from Jann's face, leaving both poles humming with vibration. 

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The bar approached. The thief knew what he was doing. But Jann had dealt with worse. He ducked below the attacker’s arm, and as the bad connected with the  pole behind him, Jann shot upwards, one of his hands grabbing the man’s shoulder, the other one slipping under his other arm, and coming back around to rest behind the man’s neck, limiting his arm’s movement.



Jann’s right leg went between the thief’s legs, both giving him a more stable stance, and allowing him to further control the man’s movements. Once he’d managed to get a stable grip, he attempted to drag the man. The building’s edge was not too far away. But he was struggling too much, just keeping up the current grip was a task that required Jann’s full attention. Still, as he was struggling against the man, he had time to speak. It was hissing more than talking, for a variety of reasons.



“Where will they meet?”

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"You...got us....you scum..." muttered the Leapfrogger. "You weren't meant to be there....we had it all planned out..." he added, bitterness rising in his voice. 


"But I'll be damned if I spill my guys to you. If I'm going down, I'll cut a deal with the cops. Not you....If I go down at all!" he added at the end. 


A spark of defiance lit him, and it propelled him to action. More accurately, it propelled his elbow into action. Caught up together, it was hard to avoid. He slammed his elbow into a Jann's face. He was a fairly strong guy, thanks to training in Parkour, with plenty of hours put into the gym and Callisthetics. 


"Take that, bird-brain!" he said, satisfied with his mental and physical defiance. 

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Jann took the elbow without reacting. He didn’t flinch, even if the thief could tell that yes, he had properly connected as he’d been taught. But Jann didn’t do anything, just stand there silently, his eyes staring directly at his prey.


He would not give up the information so easily, then. A minor issue. Jann had learned many ways to get information, even if his teachers disagreed with most of them. But one that he knew worked, and one he’d been meaning to use for a long time, was applicable in this situation. Jann grabbed on tighter, hooking one of the thief’s legs with his own one properly.


And then, he flapped his wings, and rose upwards. Out of the building, and into the empty sky. High enough that he, and the man he was carrying, got a good view at the surrounding areas. And there, Jann asked the question again.


“Where will they meet. Point me there. “

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At this height, it was a perilous fall. Even for a trained freerunner, it would be a pavement pizza. 


"Look...look...don't drop me!" the man screamed, clinging on to Jann with hands that, whilst already strong from his hobby, seemed possessed of twice their normal strength. Such was the effect of terror on muscles. 


"I don't know where we were meeting up! I just know we were meant to get on the pick up..."


Lo and behold, beneath them, turning east, was a pick up truck. It was a little beaten up. It was travelling too fast. And it was a rather unpleasant dull green colour that surely was designed to have the tone and shade of snot. 


Whilst Jann could not make out the driver, he could make out the last Leapfrogger, huddled on the open back. 

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He had found his prey. But it was fast. Jann would not be able to keep up with the truck, it could move faster than him. But he didn’t necessarily need to. He just had to follow. To track it, and to strike when it was vulnerable. He moved, going as fast as he could, not letting the pickup out of sight. The man he was carrying made it slightly more difficult. He remembered what his tutors had taught him. He was no longer useful, he could simply drop him. But at the same time, he remembered what his teachers had told him. And what the consequences for him could be. Jann stayed high enough that the thief would not attempt anything. That way he could also follow the truck without losing sight of it, and stay hidden against the dark of the night-sky.


“Struggle, and be released. “


It would be incredibly difficult to keep up with a moving vehicle this way, even if being in the air gave him some advantage. So while he was doing his best to do just that,  he also gave a few glances to the ground, trying to perhaps find a suitable vehicle.  

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The Leap Frogger was not keen on released, and gripped even tighter, a vice around Jann's arm. 


Below them, the Pick up truck picked up pace. The Leapfrogger on the back was scanning the skies above them, alert to the fact that Jann could fly. It was the wings. They were quite the giveaway. 


"There he is!" he yelled, pointing at the winged man above them. 


The Truck turned, sharply, skidding across the road, overshooting the turn. Its side crunched into Rocket Records, to the sound of tinkling glass and a burgular alarm. 


A few choice LPs fell into the pick up truck. It was bonus day! A Night at the Opera, Dark Side of the moon, Hot Rats....it was surely a splendid musical feast.  


The car stalled but quickly reignited, the crunched metal on its side not impairing the engine which started up with a dirty cough. And then it was off, doubling back south, towards Jefferson and Jordan Airport.

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So they had noticed him. It was one of the many things Jann disliked about the sky of Freedom. It was too bright. One could not see the stars (as he’d been told), and one was spotted easily. It was bad, but not something he could not adapt to. In fact, judging by what happened right after the thief obviously saw him, he could use it.



For now, there was not much he had to do. He simply had to keep up with them, and to spread his wings. If they saw him in the sky above, they would pay less attention to the road below. And at some point, they would make a mistake. He continued to flap his wings, feeling at home in the cold and windy night-sky. This was his element. He was content to just fly for now, but he knew that if it came down to it, there was more he could do.

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The Pick up truck raced down Milward Av at reckless speed. It must have been going at 60mph, hurtling through red lights. It was fortunate not to have another crash. Other cars screamed out of the way. Soon, a police car was behind it, sirens blazing, lights flashing. It was keeping up - but it was not so bold as to try and stop the pick up. 


As the Pick up gained distance on Jann, who was travelling more slowly but did not have to contend with traffics or road safety, it hit Jefferson, swerving left then right, burning rubber as it tried to avoid the cross town traffic. A little time for Jann to catch up, before the pick up surged forward again, this time plowing through a fence into Jefferson Airport...

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