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 "Been a long time" (Complete)

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PostSubject: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:18 pm

==Librium Performing Arts, 7:55 P.M.==

A healer/assassin buys a ticket for an off-Broadway show.

Now that's an opening for a joke. But it was true. Lance Stone put away his poisons for the night after a long series of coin flips. {Do I go....do I not go?} When the coin flips couldn't settle it, the addonexus pulled out his trusty Tarot deck. His interpretation of the cards suggested he'd be avoiding his Fate if he didn't go. So he got his ticket at the box office...and froze in the lobby.

It wasn't that Lance didn't think he'd like the summer performance of Carousel. He had seen the show several times during the last four decades. It was one of the few scripts from 1945 that managed to survive the Conflagration. It was the lead actress that made the freelancer uncertain if he should enter the auditorium at all.

"Hello, Dad." The voice behind him made him jump as the house lights flickered to announce the show would start soon. "Been a long time."

The perpetual youth turned to see a woman in her forties stare at him through streaks of dirty blonde hair. She could have been Lance's mother, but the truth was the opposite. He had eloped with the woman's mother before getting called back by Umbra.

"Hello, Eva." Lance was a little bashful. His last encounter with his daughter hadn't been that warm and fuzzy. "You look great."

"And you still haven't changed. I'm glad you didn't Glamour to come in here. Surprised, but glad." Eva's tone turned serious. "Why are you here, Dad?

Lance thumbed through the Playbill, even though they both knew why he was at this showing. He stopped on the cast page. A younger Eva, but with darker hair in the black and white picture, smiled at them. Lance smiled back.

"Sophia got the part of Julie. I wanted to see her on stage."

Eva grinned for only a moment. "That's her favorite story, you know. But she's not Mom, and you're always telling me not to live in the past."

Lance had gone undercover as an up and coming actor. Umbra had secured him the role of Billy Bigelow, Julie's love interest in Carousel. He had actually fallen for the co-lead named Katherine. They had orbed off to a chapel after the show's run and Lance had completed his assignment. Unfortunately, Umbra had found out about the nuptials and made them separate. Feeling guilty, Lance had his pay checks go to Katherine. He snuck out whenever he could to see her and the new baby.

Neither Eva nor Sophia had inherited his longevity, so Lance was originally introduced to Sophia as an uncle on her mother's side. They revealed his true nature to her when she mentally mature enough to understand. But Lance had been away for far too long this time.

"I know, but I thought I should support my granddaughter on her opening night." Lance hooked a thumb over his shoulder. "Unless you want me to go."

There was an awkward pause for a few seconds. Lance was just about to orb out when Eva placed a hand on his wrist. "You already bought your ticket. C'mon." Lance smiled warmly as he was lead in to the sound of the orchaestra.


Last edited by Lance Stone on Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:27 pm

Vince was waiting patiently for the sign that his team was in place. They had been scrambled together at the last minute, the higher ups just taking all the enforcers they had in the area and telling them to meet as soon as possible; which meant that none of them had the equipment to keep in communication with each other. Most nights, that would have put an end to the operation. Tonight, though, they had been lucky enough to have a telepath in the area when the call came in.

Now Vince was coordinating using her telepathy, which was much more involved than what burning Bronze gave him. Vince could talk to someone telepathically with Bronze, but that was it. They couldn’t respond, and Vince had to see them. Bridgett Moss, however, could talk telepathically with anyone she formed a link with, as she put it, over large distances and they could talk back. It was very nifty. Moss was on the street below Vince as he waited on the roof of the building across from the theater.

<Everyone is in position, Claymore.>

<Good. Tell them to hold tight for a few. The show should be starting any moment now, so we still have a little time. I want all the exits barred in ten minutes.>

Tonight, Umbra wanted a message sent to a particular individual. He’d been seen entering the theater a little while earlier, which accounted for the mad scramble to get a team over here. Mister Dark had been looking for this guy for months now, and wasn’t going to let him disappear again without having a chat.

The plan itself was rather ruthless. It involved setting fire to this theater during the show, putting countless lives in danger for the sake of one man. A power surge would blow through the building, causing every light bulb to burst and spark…including the massive amounts of light bulbs that would be on stage during a particular scene of tonight’s performance. The amount of flammable objects around, especially on stage, should take care of the rest of the job. It would look like an accident. Surges happened all the time in the city as mana fluctuated and affected everything around it.

Umbra’s hand in it wouldn’t be known even to those who knew what to look for, as Lance Stone did. That was why Vince was there, standing prominently on the three story roof across from the theater’s main entrance with his massive greatsword drawn and its tip grounded, catching the light from the late summer sunset and flaring like a bar of molten metal. Lance knew Vince, they had worked together right before Lance disappeared last time, and when Lance saw Vince here he would know that Umbra was behind the incident and would get the message that Mister Dark wanted him to receive: “We own you, always.”

“Em, is the tech on your end set?” Umbra had one of their analysts playing with the power grid of this part of Librium for the occasion tonight. Vince’s handler was his link to the man, though it was Emily who knew when the time was right for the surge.

“Yes, Claymore. He’s ready when I give him the signal.”

“Ok, just let me know when it’s going to start.”

Vince passed word through Moss that everything was set and gave the order to bar all the exits from the theater. No one was getting out until Vincent saw Lance. The moments passed slowly, until finally Vince heard Emily’s voice in his ear once again.

“It’s starting.”
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:12 pm

There were too many minds around him for Lance to pick up on the Umbra telepath. His ability to Sense would notice if someone nearby was thinking about him specifically, but this Emily was being careful not to trigger his mental defenses. Lance settled into his chair and gingerly took Eva's hand under his own. He normally wasn't this sentimental. In fact, Lance was known more for having a 'nothing matters' point of view on life. Perhaps he did have paternal instincts located deep inside.

House lights faded and the curtain opened. Lance watched with wide eyes as the characters made their entrances. Little did he know the carnival scene was going to go way off script in just a moment. All those light bulbs....painted backdrops....everything an arsonist needed to trigger a blaze.

And Lance was sitting smack dab in the middle of it........
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:20 pm

This was all going according to plans, not that Adrien had any plans in the first place. He had a want - no, a need to play the violin again. His precious gift, his equivalent to a phylactory was nestled safely in in the catacombs beneath Librium's cemetery. He could just easily borrow one, and that was exactly what he did. He waited within the shadows of the alley, watching as the orchestral members assembled in the back entrance of the theater. They chattered, smoked, shared stories and spoke about the musical they were playing for. Lime green eyes with a hint of yellow sought out one violinist he could take out.

A long crimson tongue flicked against the sharp points of his teeth. The door opened as everyone started filing in, save for one violinist who was having his last smoke. "One sec," he said as he patted his suit pants for his light. The door closed and the light above the door flickered. Adrien watched with a shark like grin, before he stepped out. The first thing the violinist would notice would be the shoeless youth. Adrien's attractive visage was good at disarming usually guarded individuals. It was how he smiled - soft with a hint of bashfulness.

"Hello." Adrien said as he walked slowly toward the violinist.

"Hello..." The violinist replied with a hint of uncertainty and flicked an ash. He watched Adrien as he took another long drag. "Is there anything I can help you with, kid?" Adrien smirked widely, before revealing his teeth. Before the cigarette fell out of the violinist's mouth, Adrien's elongated teeth and unhinged jaw already descended on his throat. No screams were heard as Adrien feasted, and dragged his catch into the darkness. The violin case waited by the door like an obedient child.

* * *

Adrien appeared five minutes before showtime. The conductor was pitching a tantrum and taking it out on the other musicians, until the young man appeared in a neatly trimmed suit, and a case in hand appeared as the "replacement" since the appointed one didn't show up after his smoke. "You better give me a good reason to NOT kick you out!" The conductor hissed at Adrien's arrival. The boy only smiled, and when he played a two-minute warm-up, the conductor was reduced to tears. "Okay, okay... (sniffles) to location!" Below the stage, the orchestra assembled. Adrien looked at home as he held up the borrowed violin, curved end tucked beneath his chin and pressed along his collar bone.

It was time to play...
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:27 pm

(OOC: Skip Vince for this round. Not much he can do until everyone starts coming out of the building.)
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:25 pm

One by one, the bulbs blew out. There were a few gasps of surprise but then nothing. The audience just figured the surge protectors would kick in any moment.

But they didn't. It wasn't until the paper machete of the performance's showcased Carousel grew a few licks of orange flame that the people realized there was a problem. Fire spread a little too quickly along the set and onto the stage curtain. From there, it went along the trim of the stage.

Auditorium lights started showering the crowd below now. Nothing serious. More of just a noisemaker than anything else....at least that's how the assassin's brain processed the scene. Was all this deliberate, or was he just being paranoid? Either way, a fire in the theater would generate a lot of panic real quick. Patrons jumped out of their seats and ran for the exit doors, now being illuminated by arcane powered emergency lights. Rattles were heard as it became apparent the doors wouldn't budge.

Hey, why are these doors locked? someone asked a nearby usher. The boy shrugged and tried his keyset, which also didn't work. The mob started trying to shoulder it open before the courtesy curtain meant to block the lobby lights fell over the door in a fiery heap. Screams pushed them all back towards the center of the House. They were running out of room as the actors, musicians, and stage crew crew moved into the less-on-fire auditorium.

A voice kept yelling "Mom," and Lance was glad to see it was Sophia pushing her way through the crowd. The momentary fear left her voice when she saw her grandfather. "You came!" she said before hugging him.

"Of course I did. Did you really think I'd miss seeing your breakout performance?" Eva shot him a look. She knew without asking he had flipped a coin or did a Tarot reading before showing up. Lance didn't give her the opportunity to retort. "You look so much like your Grandmother when she had the role."

How about getting us out of here first, Dad? Eva finally got her word in. Do your ball thing and then you can reminisce.

Lance gave Sophia a quick squeeze but became distracted by a red head with a faced mixed between hope and fear. You can get us out of here? You're taking me first, right? she asked rather loudly. A couple others must have registered what she said, because they started looking over Lance's way. Others demanded that they be the first to be helped. Some parents tried to push their children closer, hoping Lance had some shred of decency in his body.

The addonexus quickly became overwhelmed. He wasn't the Boy Scout type, nor could he simply grab Eva and Sophia and orb them out of there. Red head had positioned herself between him and his family. She also kept drawing more and more attention to him. Sophia looked scared now, and Eva was giving him an odd sort of stare. The kind that said 'do the right thing, but don't forget us either.'

Hands grabbed at him. Decades of combat training allowed him to escape easily. Bodies were pushed towards him, either due to their own free will or being pushed by older members of the community. They were all around him now. No one knowing how he could help but just knowing that he could.

Pick me! No, take me! Please sir, take my baby. I'll pay you twenty credits. Fifty......one-thousand. Two hundred voices all calling out to him. He couldn't breathe, and it wasn't due to the smoke that started filling up the room. Actually, that smoke was pretty thick for this short of a time span. Little did he know that the Umbra team had gone with more smoke than fire.

Flames would take too long, draw too much attention. Smoke on the other hand would incite panic and hypoxia. People became much more unpredictable when they couldn't breathe. At least flames could be stamped out. But it was Lance who was having the panic attack.

"Everybody SHUT.....UP." Lances many decades pretending to be other people taught him how to project his voice without actually shouting. His tone also surprised the group that the nice looking young man had a cranky geezer behind it. "I'm sorry, but I can't help you."

Oh but please sir, Red head said, just layering on the honey. You just have to.

{Why does she seem so phony? What's that in her hand?}

Lance squinted through the haze and saw what looked like a remote control. She pressed a button, and a thick cloud wafted over from the stage.

{You bitch.} Before he could say anything, the crowd rushed him. Lance was their best, and only bet now. It would be the people that cause casualties. Perhaps his family among the victims. So many people around him now. Pleading. Calling. Clawing.

No man is an island, entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own or of thine friend's were. Each man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.


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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:26 pm

Suffocated, Lance let himself dissolve in a swarm of white light. His panic orb put him into the only available empty space....the air above the auditorium seats. Unfortunately, that only made his messiah status even better as he Hovered above the crowd. But he was finally able to breathe despite the flames starting to encroach on the upholstery of the aisles. He looked down at Redhead, Eva and Sophia before drawing his commemorative coin. Eva looked pissed as he flipped it. But the toss wasn't for her. Redhead pushed more buttons, which escalated the event. Everything might have been staged but the danger was still real. And he had to do this if he was to get his family out.

"Alright everyone. Look, I may be able to get everyone out. But you have to remain....absolutely....calm.... Just stay still and let me concentrate."

One of the heavy drapes over the balcony box burnt off and made a hellish rustling sound as it fell. There were some desperate gasps and attempts to pluck the odd teleporter closer. Fortunately, Eva cussed them all back into a docile state.

{That's my girl,} Lance thought with a smirk. He closed his eyes and let his mind wash over the crowd. This was going to take a metric shit to-....no, two metric shit tons of mana to pull off. But it was the only way Lance could make his granddaughter think he was a good guy for once. He harbored no illusions as to how Eva felt about him. Sophia was a second chance though. He focused on that to help pull off the largest Orb he had ever done in about eighty years.

The intrinsic field holding all the matter in the crowd below him, and in his body itself, destabilized. Everyone in the theater, save one, joined this gestalt cloud, lifted up above the seats, and then floated through the building as though it didn't exist. Only Redhead remained.

There was no bell, but the coin flip was for her. Redhead landed on tails. That meant the firestarter could sleep in the bed she had made. Whether or not anyone came to save her was out of his hands. Lance could always cry a failed use of his abilities later. One out of several hundred wasn't that bad of a failure rate.

Lance's very being cried out during the Exodus Orb. He had rarely tried to move more than three people (himself included) at any one time. The amount of mana needed to fuel the transport beyond two was immense...and he just risked killing himself for people he wasn't being paid to protect. He supposed he could have remotely orbed a few at a time, but who first?

A voice told him that a major support beam had just collapsed inside. Where the voice came from, Lance could not tell. All he knew was that his flesh was on fire. Metaphorically. As quickly and as intense as the pain started, it vanished and the world returned.

Lanced blinked quickly. The entire gathering was in the middle of the intersection just outside the theater. Vehicles honked as the throng cheered, thankful to be out of that death trap. People hugged the addonexus, but he didn't feel it. Lance drifted through the crowd looking for two people in particular. What he didn't realize was that he really was gliding among them. Finding his family, Lance wrapped them in a big hug.

"Are you two ok?" he asked.

Yeah Dad, we're fine, Eva said.

Grandad? Why can't I feel your arm?[b] Sophia pulled away for a moment. [b]When did you get a tattoo there?

Honey, your grandfather would never get a -- Eva stood shell shocked.

"What?" Lance grinned. "You look like you just saw a ghost? Now where is this tattoo?" He looked down at his right arm and realized he could see through it. Sure enough, he had some sort of marking on the bicep too. "What?" he repeated, but more unsure of himself.

His brain got a ping. Someone Lance had taken in as a charge not too long ago was in close proximity. His eyes scanned the crowd as his Sensing tried to get a good fix. Lance snapped his head back and looked up at the third story roof of the building across from the theater. A bar the color of burnt orange flashed for just a moment.

"Son of a bitch," Lance growled. His body seemed to darken with his mood. Actually, it did. "Take Sophia home now, Ev. Don't answer the door even if they say they're police or Terran Guard. Tell them to contact Abernathy."

Mom, who's Abernathy?

Not now, dear. To her credit, Eva led her daughter away from the crowd. Abernathy was a code word to get them the hell out of dodge. It was also the name of an Imp that Lance had met and befriended a few years back. Abernathy would take care of them until he arrived.

"It's not checkmate, yet." With that, Lance sunk into the ground in a cloud of black orbs. Certainly Claymore would know by now that he had been made, but he wouldn't be able to follow Lance's progress through the surrounding buildings.

==Sorry for the two posts. It wouldn't let me do one big on.==


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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:53 pm

It had been awhile since Adrien played the violin for a show. He did that from time to time, when he was bored with what to do during the hours of sunlight. The day left him lethargic, but also restless. He couldn't wallow around and wonder, but he didn't want to draw too much attention onto himself. He had struck an alliance with Devan. He had his fealty to an older fiend, and to a witch he had yet to meet, one that was powerful.

That lingered in the icky darkness of his thoughts as he played, plucking the strings and drawing the bow accordingly. He flawlessly followed the notes, and with his eyes part of the way opened, lime green slits were lost in a trance of the music. His playing diverted attention from the fact that he wore no shoes.

As he peered up, a lovely voice garnered his attention. The one who played Julie appeared on the stage and from where he stood, he caught a view. Adrien could still appreciate beauty despite his lack of a sex drive. Lust was not a vice he carried, cared or had a feel for, neither was any kind of bond forged between two people who called themselves soulmates. People were nothing more than cattle, or trophies to decorate the shelves. This voice stirred something within the fiend, as he played along to her voice.

It was rare for Adrien to be caught up in any emotion. He was the definition of self-serving, manipulative and cold. He had no heart, quite literally and figuratively. Yet, classical music like those played by an orchestra, a symphony somehow moved in, as did a beautiful voice. The human semblance was extremely minimal when it came to feeling anything, His brows furled as he felt a tremble beneath his chest, and the inability to breathe. He was dead for pity's sake. He had no soul. He had no heart. He was a walking beast. He was the monster in your closest, or the one hiding beneath your bed, waiting to drag you into the shadows by your hair if you dared to look.

Adrien was distracted from his episode when he heard it, the sizzle of power before it snapped and the bulbs broke. The music was still playing, but the anxious murmuring of the audience caused the singers to stop in their cue. He lowered the violin, being the first to stop, which pissed off the conductor until he realized the audience was panicking. He smelled the burning, and his eyes went toward the stage.

The fire spread quickly, and people started panicking even more. Adrien watched with mild fascination as the flames licked the stage, and rose up the curtains. He thought about the young woman who played Julie and her beautiful voice, and felt the urge to prevent anything from happening to someone with such soul. Anyone could die in this world, but those with talent were worth keeping around, or else it'd be one boring world. Adrien thrived on talent, as he did on taking a life to feed his corrupted body.

He wasn't doing anyone a favor, really, even as he moved with the other musicians who were heading toward the back door, only to find out that it was locked. The smoke was thickening, but he pointed to the staircase heading up to the audience's level. The main floor was where everyone was gathered, and he led the musicians on the way, with the violin and bow still in each hand, for they indeed made a formidable weapon. His eyes were on the actors and actresses that fled toward the back exit, the doors were locked and he found the woman, Sophia now, throwing herself at a male blond and an older woman.

He was silent and calm, the one who stood out as the only one not panicking as he stared at the redheaded woman. The color red provoked the fiend, and he could even smell the wicked energy pouring from a fellow manipulator. She was now on Adrien's list for ruining a good show, specifically one that involved the use of his virtuosity. His lime green eyes turned into that fiendish yellow, but no one would care to notice. Finally they were silenced, and the male blond did the trick of transporting eveyone out, save for the redhead.

He was outside after feeling a little disoriented - the transportation threw off his sense of equilibrium, but it didn't take him long to recover, and he patted his stomach. He had room for one more.

Outside and away from the smoke, Adrien glanced about the no longer panicking crowd and found Sophia among her favored pair. The boy made his way slowly through the crowd, and watched as the older woman who appeared to be Sophia's mother lead her away from the man. He paused, as they walked his way before approaching them. "Excuse me." the fiend said, looking from the older woman to Sophia. She blinked as she looked at him oddly, "I just wanted to tell you... that you have a wonderful voice, please... keep singing." With that he stepped away, intent on going back into the burning building for that particular redhead.

As Lance reached the conclusion as to who may be behind the theater's fire, Adrien dove back in. The doors had been unlocked, removed of their chains as the firemen stormed in to deal with the fire. He disappeared into the throng storming in, and moved swiftly. He honed in for a feminine scent, beneath the noxious fumes from the smoke and the fire, and found her caught beneath a broken off piece of the balcony. The others were far too preoccupied as Adrien towered over her, and knelt down with an angelic expression. His bright yellow eyes looked almost sympathetic as he held her face, his skin notably cold to the touch that it startled her. "Be calm, Red." he said, "I will get you out of here." Quite easily, he removed the obstruction that kept her down. She had twisted her ankle, so Adrien easily hoisted her up, so that she could limp beside him.

He led her out gingerly, as she clung onto him, still out of it from the smoke. She held onto her savior, unaware of what was in store for her as the cannibal cradled her out of the theater. She fainted in Adrien's arms, lightheaded and dehydrated.

*

When Red came to, she would find herself sitting with her back against the cold, brick wall. Kneeling before her would be Adrien, with his bright yellow eyes and a warm smile on his face. His handsome features were extemely disarming that Red couldn't assume worse, save feel a chill stirring up her spine at the sight of those yellow eyes. They were a block away from the burning theater, and he had her seated across from the dumpster, away from the broken glass. The sirens could still be heard, but she was worried about her team. Emily would certainly keep in contact and know for certain that Red was still alive. She did her job, pressed the button on the remote and forced Lance into a situation that involved saving everyone, or no one.

She didn't expect to be left behind when he took the entire auditorium with him to safety!

"Emily?" Red spoke tentatively, wondering if she was still connected to everyone in Umbra by telepathy. Adrien quirked a brow, but didn't say anything as he lifted, once more towering over her submissive form. The bow was tucked in his belt loop like a sword, but the violin was held in one hand in a relaxed position.

"I think your friends will be fine." Adrien said, once more flashing that disarming smile. Then it dropped, and he was suddenly kneeling and in her face again. Sharp teeth poked out from beneath his lips as he left no room for Red to breathe. "I'm actually low on patience. I usually play with my food, but you ruined a rather fantastic performance. It's not often that I get to hear someone sing, nor do I get an opportunity to play for a show." He snatched her by her throat, and dragging her up along the wall as he stood, nose to nose with Red as she struggled and squirmed, gasping for breath by the tenacity behind his grip.

She had her weapon, she just needed to get it, and shoot this... what the hell was he? She didn't even get the time to think when his sharp teeth were on her neck, piercing the jugular and flesh. They weren't two fangs like vampires, no, they were two rows of long jagged incisors that brought Red down into a world of pain and fear. She screamed, but the blood in her throat caused her to choke and he tore out her vitality.

He chewed, watching as she frantically held her torn open neck and throat. He stepped away, and lifted the violin like a baseball bat. "I don't forgive quite easily." The fiend said with a twisted smile, before lifting the violin to swing at her head. The sickening crack knocked her into a dazed silence. She was bordering between that thin margin of life and death. Adrien was quite unaware of the telepathy that may have still connected Red to the others. Her screams could've shaken up the link, or attracted Emily. One wasn't certain, but Adrien left some pieces of the Umbra agent. Bloated, he tossed her remains in the dumpster, along with the violin and bow before walking off and down the alley.
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:31 pm

“It’s starting.”

Vince nodded to no one in particular in response to Emily’s message. He directed his telepathy toward Bridgett again so she could send what he said out to everyone else on the team.

<Alright everyone, it’s show time. Make sure those doors stay closed until I say otherwise. No one gets out of that building until I see the Wild Card.>

Vince began burning Nisil and Steel as he ‘spoke.’ The Nisil tripled his weight and put more weight behind his Steelpush as he began pushing on the front doors of the theater, keeping them shut whenever someone tried to push them open.

Vince wasn’t enjoying this mission. It had the feel of wanton slaughter to it, which Vince typically didn’t agree with. All he needed was to wait for Lance to come out. Vince knew it could be done; Lance had his little orby teleport ability. He could easily get out of a dangerous situation such as a fire. Where the hell was he, then?

Within a few minutes, Vince could hear the sounds of people really starting to panic as word got out that the doors wouldn’t open and the building began filling with more and more smoke. A minute or so after that, Vince caught sight of what he was looking for: a stream of milky white orbs coming through the walls of the theater and coalescing in the intersection right below him. There were many more of the spheres than he expected to see, and was quite surprised when hundreds of people began taking shape from the orbs. Lance had managed to bring everyone with him, somehow.

Vince finally caught sight of the man of the hour himself, moving through the crowd with a purpose until he came to two women whom he hugged and seemed to ask about their well-being. As Vince was about to move Lance’s head shot up in his direction, catching sight of Excelsior flashing in the setting sun. The man’s entire body seemed to darken. He had wasted no time connecting the ‘accident’ and Vince’s presence, which was entirely the point, after all. Vince flared Tin as he saw Lance’s mouth start moving again, enhancing his hearing in time to hear the two women speak, but missing what Lance had told them. The women immediately began moving away from the crowd as Lance kept his eyes on Vince.

As the women were leaving, Lance disappeared in a cloud of black orbs. Vince had been told a little more about Lance’s ability and knew that black orbs meant Lance was quite less than pleased. Vince lost sight of the orbs as they sunk into the ground. He shook his head slowly; disappearing when someone was looking for you was not very nice at all.

Vince raised his voice so people on the street could hear him and, more importantly, so Lance would hear him. “Disappearing isn’t a good idea when there are people you care about in the crowd, Wild Card!” As he spoke out loud, Vince also used his Bronze telepathy to send out the order to seize the two women Lance had been speaking to. “Come back out before I’m forced to do something I’ll regret.”

<Claymore, our operative inside the building hasn’t made it out.>

Vince placed a hand to his earbud. “Em, we had an operative inside the building?”

“Yes. She was sent in with a decoy remote to act as a scapegoat. She is not expected to live through the mission.”

<Don’t worry about her, Moss. She was expendable.> Every enforcer knew what it meant to be deemed expendable. It meant that they had really screwed up in some way. Umbra had too much sensitive information to simply let someone go. When it came to enforcers, they were sent on missions where they were expected to die, deemed expendable by the company.

The next move was Lance’s. Umbra enforcers on the ground had quickly gathered up Lance’s family, even if they didn’t know who they were grabbing or why. Vince only had to be patient, and aware of his surroundings. Lance wouldn’t stay hidden for long now, and he would definitely not be happy with Vincent Harper.
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:40 am

“Disappearing isn’t a good idea when there are people you care about in the crowd, Wild Card!”

{But it's a great tactic for a sneak attack.} Lance was nowhere in earshot, but his connection to Vince relayed the message. It didn't relay his own thoughts, though.

“Come back out before I’m forced to do something I’ll regret.”

"Little late for that, Claymore. You just aren't aware of it yet," Lance said as he re materialized in front of Vince. He pointed to the empty space in front of him. "Get over here!"

Whether Vince wanted to move or not was a moot point. The full Umbra agent would feel tingly as he disappeared in a swirl of white. Orbing people was positively aligned, so Vince would never zip along in a black cloud only to reappear just as Lance finished his swing to deck the man in the nose.

"The people who care about me know how to take care of themselves," he said as he fished out the commemorative coin. Lance had made sure Eva could take care of a few enforcers, although she never knew why. He shot his hand forward and caught Claymore by the jawbone. He was careful not to constrict the trachea or apply pressure on the carotid bodies. Both points would cause him pass out. That just wouldn't do for now. "Let's see how you fare. Call the flip."

The coin went end over end into the air. At the same time, necrotic energy from his deathtouch started to seep into Claymore's flesh. The extent of the damage would depend on two things: the flip, and if Claymore managed to break free of the grip.
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:16 pm

I will exit Adrien! Have fun guys, since you'll need to settle your differences. Maybe hug them out or something xD ))
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:21 pm

Vince had backed away from the edge of the rooftop as Lance disappeared. It wouldn’t do to have his opponent appear suddenly behind him and just have to give him a little push off of the building. Now he was keeping his Tin enhanced senses tuned to the rooftop around him. Still flaring the metal, he could practically feel the vibrations of the surface he was standing on as well as still hear people talking in the street as if they were right next to him.

Lance’s orbs coalesced a few feet in front of Vince, reforming back into the strange man known as the Wild Card. Vince readied Excelsior, knowing that this situation could very easily turn into a fight to the death. He didn’t want to kill Lance; he had enjoyed working with the other man on their assignment months ago. He had, however, just threatened two people who could very well be Lance’s family and he would do what he had to do to survive this encounter regardless of what Mr. Dark wanted.

Before Vince could move he felt the familiar feeling of disorientation that came with being transported with Lance’s ability. He cursed as he blew up into a group of tiny orbs that quickly reformed him in front of Lance. Just as he became fully solid again his face exploded in pain amplified six fold by his Tin flare, the shock of which caused Vince to extinguish all of his metals being burned. The punch to his face quickly dulled down to the pain it would normally cause, which was still considerable. He could taste blood as it flowed freely from his probably broken nose down his face. He made sure to keep hold of Excelsior’s hilt throughout the ordeal. Dropping his weapon would certainly mean death in this case.

"The people who care about me know how to take care of themselves," Lance’s words brought Vince back to his present surroundings, as did Lance’s hand gripped around his jawbone. Vince laughed slightly, the sound coming out more as a grunt than anything else. Rather than speaking aloud, difficult with Lance’s hand below his chin, Vince burned Bronze and spoke telepathically with the man.

<The enforcers aren’t scrubs like they were when you joined the company, Wild Card. Each one of those enforcers out there is on par with you and me. Unless the girl can handle five of you or me at once, I think she’ll be in over her head. She’s safe unless I give the word, though. You know exactly why I’m here, after all.>

Vince could see murder brewing in Lance’s eyes. This wasn’t going to end well at all. That thought was reinforced by Lance’s next statement.

"Let's see how you fare. Call the flip."

Vince hadn’t even seen Lance pull out the coin, but he’d been told all about it; it was how Lance made decisions most of the time. The pain spreading across his neck from Lance’s hand told him that this flip could very well mean the difference between life and death for Vincent. Vince forced his lips into a smile. He didn’t have to play Lance’s games, after all.

<I make my own luck, Wild Card.> Vince flared Steel and Nisil, instantly increasing his weight to just over one thousand pounds. He heard the roof creak ever so slightly under the weight and knew he couldn’t stay this heavy for long if he wanted to stay up here. Vince Steelpushed on the coin as it flipped through the air, casting it out towards the burning theater behind them. In the moment of confusion when the coin didn’t come back down, Vince then Pushed on Lance’s belt buckle. With the added weight from Nisil, the flared Steelpush had the power to push Lance completely off of the building, breaking his grip from Vince’s neck in the process.

Vince extinguished Nisil, but kept the flare on Steel. He coughed as the pain receded on his neck, spraying blood across the roof in front of him. He hefted his sword again and looked towards the edge of the building to see what had become of Lance.
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:34 am

<The enforcers aren’t scrubs like they were when you joined the company, Wild Card. Each one of those enforcers out there is on par with you and me. Unless the girl can handle five of you or me at once, I think she’ll be in over her head. She’s safe unless I give the word, though. You know exactly why I’m here, after all.>

Well that was a new trick. Didn't matter. Verbal or mental, Lance had expected a response like that. He didn't quite know exactly why Claymore was here. Umbra had seemed to be alright in the past with the addonexus either taking or rejecting assignments in the recent past. Maybe they were tired of the uncertainty. But why all the theatrics? It didn't matter right now.

"Who do you think trained their instructors?" Lance said cockily. "Let's see how you fare. Call the flip."

<I make my own luck, Wild Card.> The roof suddenly shifted and Wild Card felt Claymore sink a bit. Lance didn't know his prey was doing this on purpose. His eyes opened like saucers as the commemorative coin shooting off far away from them. The satisfaction of chance....yet another thing Umbra had taken from him. His belt returned him to the present as it decided to be up against his bladder, and then by his body launched off the rooftop.

"Coin!" he yelled with exasperation. All in all, Claymore didn't really concern Lance. But he was certainly becoming a pain in the ass. The coin dissipated in a cloud of white and zoomed off after its master. Lance triggered his hover spell and righted himself. That didn't stop his horizontal movement. Nor did the building he found himself passing through. That was a new trick for him. He couldn't pass through solid matter unless he was orbing.

A memory from almost seventy-five years ago suddenly sprang forward. Lance had just finished a cardiac stress test for that era's Doctor Noon. In a previous routine blood draw, Noon had discovered a strange anomaly in the fluid. He could only describe it as an extra receptor on the white blood cells. It seemed that mana had helped the major histocompatibility complexes differentiate between his own cells and foreign bodies. Anything not saturated with mana was identified as not being a part of Lance and was quickly attacked. Noon had been pretty secretive after that, but Lance was pretty sure the doctor made reference to periods of something known as Transition. He was labeled as an Addonexus, but Lance was unsatisfied. He wanted to know what had made him so different and kept up with his own research. He even made a few correlations between the made up word to reports of a being known as a Shade, which Umbra had managed to 'detain' some time later.

Was that what Claymore meant? Umbra knew all along they had managed to adopt a pre-Ascended Shade? Had almost a century of conditioning gone by so that they would have one for God only knew what purposes? The Shade back then had been experimented on. Lance had seen it the 'interviews'. Trapped in a box to see how much electrical power it could generate, what it could tolerate, what it couldn't. Lance had thought of it as just an arcane jellyfish, a cloud without shape or substance. In reality it was a mortal that had evolved into something else. Something that summits and treaties would never have thought to classify as a sentient being with rights. The knowledge of the Fate that awaited soured his soul.

It was then that Lance realized he was hovering over the next street while naked. Naked wasn't the exact term, however. He currently didn't have legs or much in the way of a torso. A solitary hand was floating near a face and was holding onto the displaced coin. Apparently he had caught it in a semi-corporeal state. The rest of his body was a dull white fog.

Well this certainly put a new twist on reality.

Lance tested out his new driving skills and phased right back through the building. He caught sight of his clothes on the street below and knew he was going in the right direction. Knowing that his clothes and the coin would only give Claymore surfaces to push off of (for he had read Claymore's file as well after that mission), Lance apportated the coin to his secret space between reality. It disappeared in a puff of black smoke. He reoriented on Claymore and rushed the human as a graphite colored haze. Unlike Claymore, Lance now came standard with telepathy.

<Perhaps you are right about one thing. Fuck fate! The only Chance is the one we take.> The mass that is Lance had now fully enveloped Claymore, suffocating his senses. It would feel as though the old codger was trying to put him in a submission hold. Physical contact allowed for more pictographic representations of Lance's thoughts to be projected in the mortal's mind. Vince would see the image of Mistress Eve staring up seductively at Lance/Vince with her bed pillow under her head. <You tell that wretch I am not her mongrel pup to be summoned on a whim. I owe her, nor the Company, a thing.

Any enforcer who comes after me or my family will be the first ones to tell you if Santa Claus really has a workshop at the North Pole. And Evening will finally be able to retire in Vanuatu.> An image of the Ring of Fire volcano chain appeared in Claymore's head before zooming in to a caldera. <You feel me!>

How could Vince not? Lance was all around.

==Pause for response. The change to Dr. Evening is intentional, as he was Dr. Noon in 189 AC and took up the incarnation of Evening a bit later in his life. That would make him pretty old now, I reckon.==

++(Definitely Out of Context): Your argument is invalid, there is a Shade upon your head.++
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:34 pm

Vince looked in the direction he had thrown Lance, wiping blood from his lips. His intention had been to fling the man into the burning theatre, but Lance didn’t drop at all. He stayed level with the building, though all the force behind Vince’s Push was still in effect. Lance went straight over the theatre and into the building behind it, but instead of slamming into the stone wall he went right through it. Vince didn’t notice any orbs as it happened, and he knew that Lance could only go through solid matter when orbing.

Something very odd was going on.

Moments later Vince spotted a thin, dark colored mist heading towards him at an alarming rate. Before he could react to move away from it, the mist surrounded him. All of his senses became muted, as if he had burned a metal with the exact opposite of Tin. Things outside the mist became blurry, sounds were slow and distorted to his ears. He could still move, but whichever way he moved the mist followed him, keeping him in the center of the mass. Suddenly Lance’s voice exploded in Vincent’s mind.

<Perhaps you are right about one thing. Fuck fate! The only Chance is the one we take.> Vince’s mind was assaulted with images, presumably from Lance’s memories and thoughts. Whatever had happened to the man wasn’t going to make Vince’s job any easier. The influx of images stopped on one of Mistress Eve, and Vince almost couldn’t tell if it was his memory or Lance’s. He had been in that situation plenty of times while he was Eve’s toy. He was sure Lance could say the same thing. Based on the images before this one, Vince knew it wasn’t his memory. It wouldn’t make sense, even though the Eve in the memory looked identical to the one he knew. Her elven blood accounted for that, however. <You tell that wretch I am not her mongrel pup to be summoned on a whim. I owe her, nor the Company, a thing.>

Vince laughed out loud, though the sound didn’t seem to be anything even remotely close to a laugh to Vince’s ears. <You think Eve has anything to do with this? Are you still so hung up on her that she’s the first one you think of when Umbra comes to mind? Eve has never once mentioned you in all the time I’ve been with the company, even an hour before she knew I was going on a mission with you months ago.>

Lance kept going, giving the typical threat to those who harm his family before talking about Dr. Night. This puzzled Vince slightly. He didn’t know that Lance had history with the other side of Umbra; not many enforcers did. He filed that away in memory for another time, though. It wasn’t going to help him out here.

<You feel me?!>

<Yeah, I feel you. I’m not sure who you think is behind my being here, but I’ll inform you regardless. You were an enforcer. That means you still are an enforcer. We don’t get to retire like a normal person does. You go MIA for too long, and you get someone sent out to find you. That’s why I’m here. Dark decided that you’d been gone for too long and had to be found. You know the drill; I’m sure you’ve been in my shoes plenty of times before. We all know too much sensitive information to be allowed to just leave the fold. Whatever issue you have with Eve or Dr. Night is irrelevant. This is simply one enforcer finding another who’s been out of touch.>

Vince flared Nickel, decreasing his weight by two thirds, and used his already flared Steel to push off of nails inside the boards of the building while simultaneously burning Iron and pulling on a satellite dish on the other side of the rooftop, resulting in a diagonal jump out of the mist to where he could actually speak correctly.

“Now, how do we finish this, Wild Card? You’re incorporeal now, which kind of puts us at a stalemate.”



==I changed you're mention of Evening to Night, since there is no Evening besides Mistress Eve==
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:25 pm

Vince laughed out loud. <You think Eve has anything to do with this? Are you still so hung up on her that she’s the first one you think of when Umbra comes to mind? Eve has never once mentioned you in all the time I’ve been with the company, even an hour before she knew I was going on a mission with you months ago.>

The comment didn't click at first. <What? Hello no. We had our tryst. I have no delusions that we'll pick it up again. She has more power on the triumvirate than you realize.> He continued with the rant.

<Yeah, I feel you. I’m not sure who you think is behind my being here, but I’ll inform you regardless. You were an enforcer. That means you still are an enforcer. We don’t get to retire like a normal person does. You go MIA for too long, and you get someone sent out to find you. That’s why I’m here. Dark decided that you’d been gone for too long and had to be found. You know the drill; I’m sure you’ve been in my shoes plenty of times before. We all know too much sensitive information to be allowed to just leave the fold. Whatever issue you have with Eve or Dr. Night is irrelevant. This is simply one enforcer finding another who’s been out of touch.>

{Wow, you really drank in the Kool-Aid, didn't you?}

<You're a credit to the enforcers....executing orders without all the information. In case you haven't realized, I'm not a normal person. Hell, I don't even know what I am anymore. And I never went off the reservation. Just cashed in my vacation days. I think I get some after a century with the Company. You say Dark didn't know where I was? Dawn's been offering me assignments since I went on holiday. And I'm insulted Dark thinks I'd sell him out, voluntarily or coerced. I thought he knew me better than that.>

“Now, how do we finish this, Wild Card? You’re incorporeal now, which kind of puts us at a stalemate.”

"Ain't that a kick in the teeth," Lance said after he figured out how to reform his. He pinched the bridge of his nose, fighting back a migraine after all this. "Look, there's no reason to continue this. There's technically been no harm no foul. Just give me the weekend to sort myself out."

{I can't find my feet. Do I have feet right now? I don't think I even have an ass to get whooped. Not that he could.}

"So leave my family alone, and I'll be in Monday after I figure out how not to be incorporeal. And you guys get to report that your sting was a success."

Sting right in the intangible ass.

"Deal?" Lance asked as he looked around the rooftop.
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:13 pm

Vince decided not to rise to the bait Lance threw out at him, figuring it wasn’t worth letting the other man get under his skin when they were already fighting to begin with. Surprise did flash across his face when Lance mentioned that Dawn had been in contact with him regularly in the past couple months.

“Dawn has been talking to you? Dark has been asking everyone about you for months, hoping he didn’t have to come to the point we’re at right now. He’s only doing it to follow the precedents he put into place, not because he thinks you’re a danger to the company. From what I’ve heard, Dawn is the one who pushed Dark to set the sting up. Dark would have waited even longer before coming after you if the decision were solely his.”

Vince cursed. It seemed Dawn was trying to start another one of his power struggles. He always had been bitter about being the youngest member of the enforcer triumvirate and was constantly trying to put Dark in situations that could pull him down. Dawn must’ve been very circumspect in his contacts with Lance for Dark not to have found out about them, which was a credit to the man even if only a small one; not many things got past Dark and his networks of information.

As Vince watched and wondered just what Dawn’s play was this time, Lance was able to reform most of his body and speak normally to answer Vince’s final question. Vince gave a small inward sigh of relief when the other enforcer said they didn’t need to keep going with their fight. Vince had no idea if Lance could physically do anything to him in his current state, which intrigued him immensely, and he wasn’t sure he could do anything in response.

“I don’t care if we can report this operation a success or not. I’m past the point where I’m looking for praise from the Three. Yes, we have a deal. I didn’t want to do this to begin with. I had nothing but respect for you after working with you on the informant job.” Vince walked to the edge of the roof to look down on the street. He quickly picked out the group of enforcers who had captured Lance’s family despite their best efforts. He burned Bronze once again and messaged to one of the group. <Let the women go and disperse. Authorities will be here momentarily. Pass the word.> The whole situation had only taken a few minutes and the police and fire departments were just starting to arrive on scene. He looked back to Lance.

“Take the weekend, take the week or month for all I care. Just get in contact with Dark soon. Dawn is up to something here and the other two need to know about it.” Vince strapped Excelsior to his back and gave Lance a formal salute, fist to breast. “Until next time, Wild Card. Hopefully under better circumstances.” Vince flared Steel and Pushed himself off of the building.


(Exit Vince)
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PostSubject: Re: "Been a long time" (Complete)   Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:27 pm

“Dawn has been talking to you? Dark has been asking everyone about you for months, hoping he didn’t have to come to the point we’re at right now. He’s only doing it to follow the precedents he put into place, not because he thinks you’re a danger to the company. From what I’ve heard, Dawn is the one who pushed Dark to set the sting up. Dark would have waited even longer before coming after you if the decision were solely his.”

Lance couldn't say he was exactly surprised to hear this. He always knew that one power in the tirumvirate was trying to expand his her own influence. It was something that had always gone on and probably always would. Dawn did always seem to be a bit overeager for certain things. It was part of the reason why Lance took a break. Internal power struggles always needed support. Not that the assassin/healer had any influence, but he was one of the oldest members still around.

"It was Dawn that called me about that fiasco with the guy...the one with the information who didn't like abilities." Vince would know who he was talking about. It was their first job together.

“I don’t care if we can report this operation a success or not. I’m past the point where I’m looking for praise from the Three. Yes, we have a deal. I didn’t want to do this to begin with. I had nothing but respect for you after working with you on the informant job.” Claymore went to the edge of the building and looked over.

“Take the weekend, take the week or month for all I care. Just get in contact with Dark soon. Dawn is up to something here and the other two need to know about it.” The swordsman strapped in and gave Lance a formal salute, fist to breast. “Until next time, Wild Card. Hopefully under better circumstances.”

And off went the Company Man. The others followed suit. Lance took a moment to Sense his daughter and granddaughter. The emotions that came seemed to indicate Vince made good on his word. Finally being able to calm down, Lance solidified.

Without clothes.

"I can't really go back down looking like this. Where did I lose everything? Oh right."

The new Shade orbed off to the corner where his clothes had dropped. In all the confusion down the street, no one had disturbed them. He suited up and ran back to his family.

Was it time to make new arrangements for them after all?

==Exit Lance. End Thread==
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