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2046-02-16 Rocks Fall

From X-Factor

Rocks Fall
Date Posted 2016/02/18
Location Colorado
Participants Richard, Jeremy, Rosalie, Tiffany, Maxim, Sumit
NPCs Sheila Novotny, Miasma, Grasshopper, T-Rex, Tempete
Summary But not everyone dies!
Plot Road Trip
Scene GM Tat
 
Ririchard.JPG Tiftiffany.jpg Maxmaxim.jpg
It's late, nearing the end of a second long day on the road, but the end seems finally (finally!) in sight. About twenty miles outside of Glen Haven, the tiny convoy approaches a stretch of road the map identifies appropriately as 'The Narrows'. The trail has been sliced out of a mountain, carved to follow a small stream that winds between two towering cliff faces. They hug so close to the road that there's no room for a shoulder, and it's difficult to make out much of the sky. It's a little claustrophobic in the best of circumstances.

These are not the best of circumstances. Traffic is thin in these parts, but nevertheless, as the SUV rounds a tight curve (let's hope you're driving slow), traffic comes to a sudden halt. That is to say, there are two cars stopped ahead of them, waiting to be waved through by a cop who is directing traffic around an avalanche that's blocked one side of the road. A small black sedan works its way through the thin lane that's been left open, then picks up speed as it whooshes by the paired X-Factor vehicles, and traffic in their lane begins to move again, though at a crawl.

Richard doesn't like missing the sky. He's in the backseat of the SUV, which leaves Tiffany and Jeremy up front to do -- that. Probably sing more. He napped for a while, but now he's awake and restless at the cliffed mountains hugging the road. "What the--" he says, face pressing to the window as he tries to get a better look at what's going on with this avalanche. When he can't get a good angle, he leans towards the middle and tries to look out the windshield instead.

Jeremy has got one foot up on the dash as he slouches backward in the front seat, his hair a rumpled mess. His hand is twisted firmly through the hang-on-for-dear-life handle and has been for several miles before the sudden stoppage for no reason at all, probably. "Basically, whenever you go anywhere, assume that twenty minutes before you get where you're going, somebody's rolled a semi and you're gonna spend the next hour waiting to move," he says.

Rosalie has managed to fall asleep in the back of the van. This is probably for the best. It means the weather has been completely natural for the last hour or so.

After a lull in conversation, likely in part due to Richard's dozing off, Tiffany brings up a tube of mango-flavored chap stick to her lips. She tilts her head to look at her own reflection in the side-view mirror, smacking her lips to spread the chapstick around. Oh, right: she's driving. She hits the breaks with abrupt force as traffic halts. Keeping her foot on the brake pedal, she replaces the cap on her chapstick, "Can't *one* of you move it with your mind?" Tiffany lowers her head, looking at both of her passengers each in time.

Maxim is lightly skimming his datapad as the convoy drives, but he looks up when the van slows down. He glances at Sumit and then looks around more carefully, reaching into his jacket to put away his datapad and make sure his gun is loose in the holster he's wearing. He doesn't draw it, at least not immediately, but bends down a bit to look up at the ridges on either side of the road. Just in case.

The cars in front of them creep past the pile of rocks, one, and then the other, which leaves the SUV free to pull across into the other lane. Or it would, if the officer wasn't standing there, holding up a hand to stop them. He approaches the SUV's driver-side window, his strides long and swaggering and his expression just a little gleeful. "Ma'am," he says as he draws near, and makes an over-exaggerated 'roll down your window' gesture. Yeah, they still do that in the future.

The change in speed wakes Rosalie; she stirs, and unfolds herself slowly, blinking around her. "Are we there?" she asks, voice thick with sleep. She rubs her face, her hair rumpled.

Richard frowns faintly. He's caught sight of the police officer's gleeful expression and his gaze goes careful. He glances quick and sharp to Tiffany in the driver's seat, instantly regretful.

"Probably, but large scale demolitions draw attention pretty fast," Jeremy says without shifting position in his seat. He says this before the window has been rolled down just for the record. As soon as the officer approaches, he drops his foot from the dash, flips it open and pulls out the registration and insurance information like a good citizen who doesn't want any trouble.

"It is stop. Maybe ambush." Maxim says, like a bad citizen who always expects trouble from the police. "Be ready, and if there is shooting, try to stay low away from windows."

Tiffany rolls down her window before casually putting both of her hands on the wheel. She turns to the officer with wide, innocent eyes. When she speaks, it is in an octave or two higher than that of her customary droll speaking voice. Specifically, this is the voice she uses to ask her father for money. "Hi, officer. Is everything okay?"

The officer is tall and young, with sandy blonde hair, and he's just a tiny bit pudgy around the middle, like maybe he really loves beer. He's wearing a pair of aviator shades that he lifts as Tiffany rolls down the window, as if to get a better look at her. The grin he gives her is good-natured and more than a little appreciative, all eager, helpful puppydog as he says, "Doing a few checks while traffic's stopped. License and registration?"

Rosalie squints at the back of Maxim's head. "Shooting?" she echoes, with all the bewilderment of someone who, despite that little hurricane and that one incident in a bodega, has largely lived in a lawful world.

Sumit brings the van to a stop a short way behind the suv, but keeps his foot on the clutch incase he needs to get it moving again in a hurry. As the police officer seems to be focusing on the other vehicle he takes the take to let one hand find and prepare the gun in his pocket before he noods across to Maxim. "Want to comm one of the boys, see what's going on?"

"I want to keep my hands free. Rosalie, can you ask them what is happening?" Maxim doesn't wear Eyes and only uses the large datapad he just had in his lap, so, it would occupy a fair amount of space to whip the thing out again. Also, he's keeping his hand near but not on his gun. Just in case. "It is maybe nothing. But. Good spot for ambush. No easy way in or out except road, good lines of sight from up above, no cover to speak of."

Richard offers the officer a tight smile from the backseat, in case he glances his way. "Big rock slide or something?" he guesses, friendly and conversational. He's not as pretty as Tiffany. tho.

"Oh! Sure," Tiffany holds out a hand to retrieve the registration from Jeremy. Her license however is in her purse, "Can you hand me my purse? Or just -- it's in the front zipper. The smaller one, not the bigger one-" Imposter-Tiffany projects her sugary voice to the back seat before turning back to the officer with the registration, "I like your glasses, Officer...?" She takes full advantage of the wet sheen that the chapstick has left on her mouth, pouting her lips into a distracting little 'o' while she checks for a name.

Rosalie makes a sleepy little noise--still sleepy enough no apprehensive weather has sprung up, apparently--but obligingly comms Richard and Jeremy: What's going on?

"It's the kind of spot I'd pick," Sumits notes in agreement to Maxim, as he takes a few moments to check his mirrors carefully, then peer upwards through the windscrene and side windows. "Our aircover is in the car alas," he continues, "I'd give a fair bit for some eyes in the sky right now." Withput a handy drone, or flyer he is stuck with keeping an eye on his various lines of sight, just in case there is something dodgy going on.

Richard digs for Tiffany's purse, although he's loathe to take his eyes off of the officer. He hands her the whole bag rather than try to dig in the pockets for her. Hey Jeremy how about you answer that comm.

"Taflin," the officer replies, sliding his sunglasses back down with a pause full of dramatic effect. "Kurt Taflin." His gaze lingers on Tiffany and her chapstick while one of the boys digs for her purse, clearly captivated. "Big rock slide, yeah." The officer smirks just a little as he says it, which is probably completely unrelated to the fact that the rocks in front of them-- start to slide. It begins with a few pebbles slipping out of place and bouncing their way down the pile-up. Then a few larger rocks. And then there's a rumble that sends dust flying up into the air as one side of the cliff face just sort of /collapses/ into the middle of the road. For several long seconds, no one in the vehicles can see anything at all. Those in the SUV suddenly find it a little hard to breathe. And officer Kurt Taflin remains leaning against Tiffany's window, grinning and unconcerned. When the rumbling stops and the dust clears, they're blocked in with a giant pile of rubble to the front - and to the back.

Jeremy does so like somebody who frequently answers texts without seeming to, the vague gesture of his fingers at the invisible keyboard of his Eyes interface potentially interprable as idle motion. Cop's checking our cutie pie driver's ID.

"At least we have satisfaction of being right," Maxim says drily, popping open the passenger door and stepping out of the van. He closes it carefully behind him and starts to walk toward the SUV.

Jolting, Tiffany leans away from the window into Jeremy's personal space. Shielding her face with one arm and coughing into it, she extends the other to probe for the driver's side window controls in an attempt to roll hers up. Bye, Officer Kirk or whoever.

Richard is outside of the car in an instant, but it doesn't really help when when he can't even see. His gun is tucked in the back of his pants, but he doesn't grab it for now; he coughs into the cloud of dust and dirt and squints into it towards where Taflin was standing -- is still standing? who knows -- with body poised and careful.

Jeremy doesn't seem to be particularly bothered by the invasion to his personal space, although he does have other things to worry about, like blocking off his nose and mouth with the crook of one arm in his attempt to fend off a fresh dust-based asthma attack. Did I mention your fearless leader, he's asthmatic? Yeah, that's a thing. Good thing Richard's in charge right.

Sumit glances quickly over his shoulder as Maxim gets out of the van. "Push up here and take the driver's seat," he says quickly to Rosalie, "as soon as we manage to punch a hole then get the cargo moving through it." Once the dust has settled a little he cracks open the driver's door and slips out, pulling his pistol out to cover the rear of the van and the newly formed barricade.

Rosalie stiffens at the sudden rush of sound and dust and movement. One hand clenches into a fist as Maxim leaves the car. She stays where she is for the moment, drawing a deep breath and then another, trying to calm herself. At Sumit's words, she only nods, drawing another breath, and slips forward to the driver's seat. The temperature plummets, frosty chill. On the other hand, it's the mountains.

The driver's side window controls are awful easy to find, and the window rolls its way up. I mean, it seems like it does, for sure. Which is why it's maybe a little weird when a hand grabs Tiffany's arm through it just as the dust settles, and abruptly, she's no longer in the SUV. She's behind both vehicles, and a skinny, gawky teenager with spiky brown hair and freckles is grinning down at her. "Better to stay here," he says, and then he disappears.

Meanwhile, Kurt Taflin is just where he's always been, watching the folks in the SUV. "Step outta the car, folks," he suggests, suddenly Serious. Oh, Richard did that already? For just a minute he looks a little baffled, then he says, "Or-- you. You, step outta the car," to Jeremy. And his asthma attack. He lifts his head, turning to squint toward the mountaintop as the temperature plummets. "Hey!" he calls, yelling over the sound of engines. "Cut it out, Tempete, I've got it handled!" And from the top of the cliff, a voice, lightly accented in French, returns, "Non, not me!" Hey guys? You've got company.

Jeremy is too busy coughing and wheezing to comply with totally lawful police orders based on an articulable suspicion. He is fumbling for his coat pocket in a way that could get him shot even by a real police officer.

Richard straightens up as the dust settles, his gaze focusing on Taflin now that he has a clear view of him again. "I think," he says, "that you should probably go home. I'll give you a head start." His gaze flits to the driver-side window, and it hardens seeing it empty.

Maxim waves his hand in front of his face -- stupid dust -- but tracks his gaze upward toward the sound of the French voice. Honestly, there's no way he has much chance of even spotting who said what, but -- well. He bends over, picks up a rock about the size of a loaf of bread, and flings it as hard as he can up at the cliff. Come out come out wherever you are?

Rosalie settles herself in the driver's seat of the van with determination. She focuses on adjusting the seat to match her short legs. If she focuses on something, perhaps her worry won't sweep them up in a tempest. Or blizzard. Or thunderstorm. She wraps her hands around the steering wheel and stares ahead.

Maxim /tries/ to pick up a rock. It's weird. That rock feels strangely heavy. Almost like it's grown into the ground.

Blinking the dust out of his eyes Sumit uses the side of the van for cover (from one hill top at aleast) and moves cautiously towards the back doors, figuring that's where any snatch attempt is most likely to hit. As he rounds the back of the vehicle he spots Tiffany and immediately stops, confused for a moment. "Get in the van!" he calls over, followed quickly by "what happened?" and "did you see anyone other than the cop?"

"Nah," Taflin says, turning his attention to Rich with a sudden grin. "This is /way/ too fun. But you guys should probably split. It's gonna be a lot easier if she doesn't come down here."

The skinny kid appears abruptly next to Sumit's door and leans in, then looks startled to find Rosalie there. "Hey," he says. "Hey, hey, you should get out."

Rosalie blinks at said skinny kid. She sets her delicate jaw and considers him. "Why?" she asks.

Maxim frowns at the rock. That doesn't seem very fair. There's an unacceptable lack of people in his immediate vicinity to punch, after all. He pivots and sees the kid next to Rosalie, barking, "Hey -- get away from her." He takes a stride back to the van, sliding open the back side door where the cargo is.

In the car, Tiffany let's out a shrill scream as she's grabbed -- before she's gone. With her knees buckling inward, she finds the wherewithal to stand after being suddenly relocated. Tiffany regards the smiling teen with a nose-wrinkled sneer, stumbling back away from him to the relative safety of the rock wall.

"Don't want to hurt you," the skinny kid answers Rosalie, blinking rapidly at her and then grinning. "You look nice. Easier if you just let us take it." At Maxim's bark, he startles, jerking his head upward and, at the same moment, touching a hand to Rosalie's arm. They disappear, and then reappear next to Tiffany and Sumit. Blink. And then he's gone again.

Jeremy pulls his inhaler out of his pocket and puffs on it. It's super heroic-looking when he does this. It's immediately followed by some swearing as he staggers his way out of the SUV. He spits some grit onto the ground. This is also super heroic-looking.

"No," Richard says simply. He's not as grinny as Taflin is. He just watches him with that careful gaze, steady gaze. "Who's 'she?'"

Sumit hearing the unfamiliar voice behind him Sumit starts to spin on his heal to bring the gun up a aim at the skinny kid. Of course, that's the point where the lad vanishes and he's spinning round again trying to find his target. "Fuck this," he mutters, then calls over to the girls, "back in the van! We can't let them just have it." Moving back up towards teh driver's door he hears Maxim entering and calls, "they've a teleporter. Young kid, looks like he's never been fed."

Rosalie blinks for about the umpteenth time this scene as she finds herself rapidly teleported. She staggers, and stumbles backward--helpfully right into Tiffany. The wind whistles about her, whipping up the dust.

"Famine," Taflin supplies helpfully. He's a helpful guy, is Kurt. "She /really/ wants what you've got." He moves toward Rich, careless and curious, to ask, "What is it, anyway?"

The skinny kid appears abruptly in front of Sumit, though he only lingers a moment. The woman he brings with him, though, stays longer. She's tall and slender, with brown skin and a riot of dark, curly hair that she hasn't bothered to tame. As Sumit moves for the driver's door, she leans forward and /spits/. A cloud forms between Sumit and the door, a gas that hovers steady in the air for a moment before it finds itself caught in the current of Rosalie's wind. The woman scowls, then looks toward the hills and calls, annoyed, "/Tempete/!"

Which is apparently the cue for a fair-skinned man with pale blond hair to appear on the horizon. He says something rapid and annoyed in French, too distance to make out clearly, and just like that, Rosalie's wind dies down. Tempete's gaze, blue-eyed and clear, fixes on her from a distance.

Tiffany makes to try and grab hold of Rosalie's arm to steady her. Her hair tosses this way and that as she looks around frantically in all directions, settling to make firm eye contact with the other woman, "Don't worry about me. I'm fine." Eyes rolling into the back of her head, she goes slack as her mind attempts to disassociate with her body.

As her body falls to the pavement, Tiffany rises up as an invisible and unseen entity. She rushes forward at full speed, gleaning off of the senses of her comrades as she searches for the teleporting boy.

Maxim stays in the van door, then snaps out a fist and punches the corner of the crate in back -- popping the lid, or at least trying to. He's working quickly, glancing back through the window to just check if the girls are still a ways back from the prospect of trouble.

"Famine I presume," Sumit states, once he's raised his gun and taken a pace backwards to be slightly further away from that spit. "I'd've thought that'd be your lackie given the look of him. Tell me though, did you leave War, Pestalince, and Death with the horses?" Quip delievered he keeps the pistol aimed squarly at her, finger on the trigger and ready to pull the moment it looks like she might spit again. Or make any other form of hostile action. "This doesn't have to get messy," he notes, his accent coming through perhaps just a fraction stronger than ususal, "just turn round and walk away."

Rosalie steadies, just in time to catch Tiffany's words as she falls. She looks around, frantic, with a swish of her hair--and her wind dies. She raises her chin, fixing her gaze on the man staring at her from afar. Her hands clench into fists, the lines of her body taut.

"Jesus Christ," hisses Jeremy. "Jesus-- get away from those cliffs," he mutters, his voice very low, but crackling alive across their Ears. Then he turns the focus of his eye and of his energy entirely on the mountainous rockslide that has fallen in their path. He hunts for the best place to center a really big explosion by eye.

Richard smiles, hard and humorless. "I don't even know," he admits. "You know, it's been a long time since I last saw Sheila." He's almost mild in his carefulness, despite Jeremy hissing in his Ear.

The skinny teen is standing on the clifftops, staring down at the general situation with a very close study that suggests he's watching for places he may be needed again. He's far enough from Tempete that they can't easily touch, but given the way the other man is sort of-- floating. It doesn't seem like they'd need to.

Indeed, Tempete is descending from the clifftops on a gust of his own wind, his interest bright on Rosalie. "Bonjour, mon cherie," he says, giving her a little bow with a flourish of his hand "It is better if you do not interfere." His gaze skips to Tiffany, then back to Rosalie. "What is she doing?"

The woman next to Sumit /laughs/ a sharp bark of a sound that's almost a little skittish. "/Me/?" she says, and clears her throat as the wind settles. "Shit no. I'm Miasma. She jerks her chin back to the rockfall behind them and says, "/She's/ Famine." Despite her words, there's no one visible just yet. Maybe she means the rockfall itself. Either way, she turns her head to spit again, and this time the cloud stays, blocking the entrance to the driver's seat.

As Maxim starts to bang, Kurt startles, and his eyes go wide as he says, "No, dude, no no no!" Was he having a conversation with Richard? Sorry. Just like that, he disappears, Yaflin no more. Thirty seconds later, in the back of the van, Maxim goes blind.

As for those rocks? Well. How well does Jeremy know rock slides? It's a big pile. It'd take a big explosion. Wanna roll those dice?

    <FS3> Jeremy rolls Telekinetic Explosions: Great Success. (7 2 7 2 8 7 2 4 6 3 2 2 2)

"@#*$*##." Maxim grunts as he /goes blind/. Color starts to inch up his neck as he begins to lose his temper, and he growls as he reaches out suddenly flailing hands to try and grip hold of the crate. He's got a pretty big wingspan. Maybe he can make it work. And if he can, he's going to rip that motherfucker out and chuck it as hard as he can into the river. Suck it, assholes.

Rosalie's eyes go wide, watching the /other/ weather manipulator float toward her. Her stance remains stiff, radiating the sort of tension that'd normally call up the vengeance of the elements. She lifts her chin, considers Tempete, and says, "Wouldn't you like to know?" Cleverly concealing, of course, the fact she doesn't really know what Tiffany's doing.

That's super rude. As soon as Taflin is suddenly gone, Richard's smile disappears, and he's whipping around quickly to try and spot him. He hesitates a moment, and then he lifts off the ground and heads straight up to figure out where people /are/. Or, perhaps most importantly, where /Famine/ is.

Sumit doesn't take his eyes off Miasma to look behind, but frowns as the spit cloud forms again. "Now that's just rude," he retorts, only not firing becuase the spit wasn't aimed at him, "we get as far as introductions and then you're spitting on my van. I mean what is that? Poison? Knockout gas?" THe former he'll steer clear of, but the later he has less issues with braving if he can get an answer. After that though he shuts up for a good few moments, almost as if the cogs are working in his brain and he isn't terribly happy with the results, "so, anyway, we seem to be at an impass. I can't let you just take the cargo I'm afraid, although you've probably worked that much out by now I suspect. So how about we work together to find a new plan." Or work on keeping her talking and give the others time to get a grip on things. One of those two things.

The boy is too far from the action, and Tiffany isn't willing to put that much distance between herself and her teammates. Instead, she veers back around towards the van and the package. Although by large still encumbered by traditional ideas of movement, physical obstacles mean a lot less when you... aren't one even, yourself. She moves through it and around it, not yet making herself known.

Maxim's flailing finds the edge of the crate, eventually, but it's a damn big crate - and a damn heavy one. He has to work to lift it. Which means that 'chucking' isn't as easy as all that.

Tempete gives Rosalie a charming smile, and answers her, "Oui, that is why I asked, cherie." Any potential weather-like explosions seem to stop before they start, as if a force is keeping things even-keeled when Rosalie may be inclined to send it reeling. This lasts for a moment before Kurt's voice calls - apparently from nowhere - "Tempete, stop flirting! A little help?" And the Frenchman gives Rosalie an apologetic smile as he murmurs, "Desole," and turns to fix on Maxim exiting the back of the truck.

"Or how about you go to sleep?" Miasma gives Sumit a sharp smile, and this time when she spits, he's enveloped in a sudden fog. It burns at little against his skin, but it's only a little uncomfortable. Miasma blinks at him, confused, when he does not immediately fall at his first breath. Shit.

As Richard takes to the sky, he finds the skinny boy standing on the clifftops with ease. Famine is a little harder to spot, but as Richard rises, so does she. A tower of earth rises suddenly from the opposite clifftop, shooting into the sky, with a slender dark-skinned woman balanced atop it. Her attention is on the flying man, which is perhaps why Jeremy's explosion not only works, but works /really well/. Rocks scatter, flying through the air as his explosion punches a hole through the rockslide ahead. /This/ catches Famine's attention, and her head snaps sideways. She lifts a hand, and several of the larger rocks halt in mid-air, but not before a smaller one falls onto nothing, which quickly turns into something. And there's Kurt Taflin, knocked out on the ground and not at all wearing a police uniform. Suddenly, Maxim can see again.

"Boom," Jeremy mutters with some quiet satisfaction. But it's only a fleeting second that he admires his handiwork. He breaks into a run, charging for the van with the precious cargo in it. After detonation that huge, it will take him a little while to build up the stuff to do it again.

The explosion is a little startling for Richard too, but likely less so than for Famine, and he takes advantage of her moment's distraction. He flies straight towards her at rocket speed to slam his fist directly towards her face. Hi.

Rosalie is left staring at Tempete's back, even what unconscious control she has over her powers gone, and thoroughly unarmed. She stands, lost for a moment before she flings herself forward, toward that back and the van. That'll help.

Maxim just holds onto the box, blind, with a sort of implicit threat that probably attacking him might damage the prize. Presumably.

Sumit looks uncomfortable for a few seconds, then just grins broadly at Miasma, "sorry, but I've got to drive, so I should really stay awake. Been lovely meeting you though." Now he's confident of the fog's intention he dives through it, hauling himself up into the driver's seat before he realises that Maxim has moved the cargo. "Get it the fuck back onboard," he yells, "we have a hole!" There's an implied 'and get the fuck back onboard too' as well, but he saves time and breath by not actually saying it. He still has the gun in hand though, so h can snap off a shot should it be required.

Maxim grunts as the blindness disappears and then shoves the box back into the damn van, slamming the door shut and diving into the front seat, "Go."

Coming around the front of the van, Tiffany interjects herself between Sumit and Miasma. She feints towards the other mutant woman, appearing suddenly where there was once nothing. Without a hair out of place, an effortless tan, and a slightly more generous bustline than is a reality, Tiffany's psionic avatar might be quite pleasant were it not for her current theatrically crazed expression. The feral sound that emits from her grows from a feminine grunt to a wild scream of aggression, emphasized by a sporadic flickering effect.

    <COMBAT> Richard attacks Famine with Unarmed but Famine DODGES!
    <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Tempete=10 Vs Maxim=reaction+reaction
    <       Tempete: Good Success (7 5 5 8 4 3 6 6 3 4)          Maxim: Good Success (7 4 5 7)
    <               Net Result: DRAW

The skinny boy flashes downward, laying his hand on Kurt's back and then blinking out with Kurt in tow a second later. Which means that Jeremy has an unimpeded run for the van - if you don't count Miasma and her cloud of gas and, you know, Sumit. Miasma turns to spit toward Jeremy, only to find herself faced with Tiffany instead, and she screams, clearly freaked out, as she stumbles backward a few steps. The cloud of gas is slowly drifting in the natural breeze, leaving Jeremy's way free.

Tempete rounds the edge of the van just as Maxim shoves the box back in, and in that moment, a lightning bolt zig-zags downward. Maxim manages to catch sight of it just before it makes contact, shifting just enough that the thing strikes next to him rather than straight on. The ground beneath him kicks up a shower of rocks, knocking him off his feet and throwing him backward a bit.

Famine dodges Richard's punch not with her body, but with a wall of earth thrown quickly upward, forcing him to shift his path before he can hit her. As he does, her eyes widen, and her smile slices sharp across her features. "/Rider/," she hisses. "You're looking /good/."

With the SUV avaliable for anyone who can't throw themselves into the van as he manouvers, Sumit edges the van round the back of the car so as not to collide, then puts his foot down and heads for the gap. Get the cargo to safety, that's his plan now, and he announces such to everyone eith Ears, "heading for the gap, keep 'em occupied!"

Richard twists and spins in the air, evading the wall of rock and earth that shifts to protect Famine. "You're looking old," he tells her. He hears Sumit in his ear and does what's requested: he keeps her occupied. He darts forward again, speed sharp and fierce. At least any rocks she throws at him ought to mangle him slightly less when he's going fast.

Rosalie skids to a stop as the van takes off. She looks lost for a moment, caught in the middle of a battle she's not especially well-equipped for, a tiny figure in the middle of chaos. She turns toward the SUV, and stops short again as the van blitzes past.

Her likeness disappearing from sight once again, Tiffany crosses the short expanse that the van once occupied. Her disembodied mind abandons Miasma in favor of pulling the same con elsewhere -- namely, on Tempete. This time however, she does so in silence with the widest eyes she can make. With her hands straight by her sides and her head loosely sagging on her neck, she musters up an unblinking stare. Her avatar might as well attempt to touch noses with him.

Maybe he can work this fast in the moment of distraction. Jeremy lunges at Miasma, hauling back to punch.

Maxim lets the van speed off and turns to Tempete, since the guy just threw a lightning bolt at him. He lunges, throwing fists.

    <COMBAT> Jeremy attacks Miasma with Unarmed but Miasma DODGES!
    <COMBAT> Maxim attacks Tempete with Maxim's Strength - Serious wound to Right Arm.
    <COMBAT> Richard attacks Famine with Unarmed - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Tempete has been **KO'd**!

Earth jerks sideways, carrying Famine higher and further as she attempts to see around Richard in an effort to close the gap Jeremy opened. He's fast, though, and distracting, and she has to work to keep him away from her. She barks, "Grasshopper!" into the air, but the teleporter is somewhere getting Kurt settled and safe, and there's a delay in his response.

It takes a moment for Miasma to get her feet back, and just when she does, Jeremy's coming at her. She dodges, and his tackle doesn't connect, but it does slow her down, making it a whole other turn before she can spit gas at him. Jeremy probably loves girls who spit poison, right?

Tempete's lifting his arms, clearly readying to call down /something/ else, but then there's Tiffany in front of him, and he's startled enough that he doesn't even attempt to dodge Maxim's punch, which collides hard and sends him sprawling to the grouch, his arm hanging uselessly at his side. Ow.

And in it all, Sumit makes it through the hole. Damnit.

Sumit has never driving through a gap in a rock face that's closing before, and in all honestly he's be happy enough if he never has to again. He makes it through, but it's a close call, and there's some scratches and missing paint fromt eh back by the time he's through. Still, through he is and he floors the accelerator again, shifting up through the gears and driving all together fast for what migh be considered advisable for the terrain to put distance between the cargo and the ambush site.

Jeremy totally married a girl who spat poison, which makes this whole situation doubly weird, particularly when he draws the pistol from its space inside his coat and levels it on Miasma. He's not shooting to kill, exactly, although it's fast and dirty and could get nasty. Kind of like his terrible marriage! ...Wait.

Gone in nearly the same instant that she appeared, Tiffany makes a beeline for her body.

Largely ignored for the moment, Rosalie makes a beeline for the SUV. Not that it helps that much if the rock closes, but...she run fast like bunny, to fling herself into the driver's seat.

Fffffff. Richard might be more frustrated at not being able to get at Famine if what he really wanted to do was hit her; as it is, he doesn't entirely want to, so distracting her is enough for now. He zips around, darting in again, moving precise and rapid. Go Sumit go.

Maxim hustles back to help Tiffany up -- or carry her if she's not awake -- with the intent of making sure everyone makes it out in one relative piece.

    <COMBAT> Richard attacks Famine with Unarmed but Famine DODGES!
    <COMBAT> Jeremy attacks Miasma with Pistol - Moderate wound to Right Arm.

In the same moment, Miasma is spitting at Jeremy, and it's convenient that he's standing still to aim. I mean, not so much in that he's /shooting at her/, but in that he's really easy to spit at. A cloud of gas envelops him, and a second later, he crumples to the ground. Miasma staggers backward again, screaming with the pain as her hand comes up to clasp the wound, and her head whips around to mark Famine on her high tower of rock.

Above the others, Famine and Richard dance around each other, earth shifting with the groan and clash of rock. She's throwing up walls not where Richard /is/, but where she expects him to be. Stones and pebbles tumble downward, threatening Tiffany and Rosalie and Maxim. And Sumit races away. And then the skinny teen appears next to Famine, setting a hand on her shoulder, and the next moment she's gone. Sorry Rich.

Opening her eyes, Tiffany winces quietly to herself as she lifts herself up onto her knees. She's barely on her knees before she finds herself accepting Maxim's assistance to stand. As Famine begins using her power with more generosity and a large rock falls nearly where she'd just been lying, Tiffany instinctively pulls herself closer to the big Russian for protection.

Maxim puts his arms above Tiffany's head protectively, hustling them both toward the SUV.

Rosalie attempts to dodge stones and pebbles. Dodge, wave, dart. Small pebbles patter off her form, and she yelps as a rather large chunk of rock bounces off her shoulder, cold suddenly spiking into the air. She wrenches the door of the SUV open to take shelter.

Jeremy lies unconscious on the ground. This, like many things he has done today, looks awesome and heroic.

Tempete has pulled himself to one side of the road, and as Famine disappears, Miasma ducks and weaves toward him. She nearly dives into him, wrapping her arm around his middle just as Grasshopper reappears. He glances up toward the SUV, wide-eyed, and Miasma has time to say, "Yeah. /Shit/." And then the teen is resting his hands on them, and they're gone.

Richard doesn't quite curse when Famine disappears with her crew, but it's boiling under his skin. But. He has a team left. He exhales slowly, looking back down and trying to take stock of the team. His gaze fixes on Jeremy, and he quickly drops back down to the ground and sets down gently. "Jeremy--" he starts to say, crouching down next to him, but quickly assess his state and reaches to lift him from the ground into his arms. The powers help. "Let's get out of here," he says, voice rough. "Is everyone okay? Is anyone injured?"

The powers probably do help. Jeremy is not small, man. And he should eat less sugar.

"I am fine." Maxim gets the SUV's door open, holding it open for Tiffany.

Tiffany doesn't get in right away. "Lie him down in here!" She pants to Richard, wetting her lips nervously. Throwing whatever personal effects they may have had out, she tries to make a space for the unconscious man.

Rosalie is already in the SUV's driver's seat. Because she spent ages getting in there. "Hurry," she whispers, anxious. Her face is pale, a bloody scrape down one cheek.

Richard sets Jeremy carefully and gently in the backseat of the SUV, hand lingering on the curve of the other man's cheek. "I'm going to keep an eye out up top and catch up with Sumit," he says to the others, although his gaze lingers on Jeremy. Finally he looks up, glancing between them all, and then nods. "Get moving," he says, and then he's gone and in the sky.

Climbing into the backseat, Tiffany is petite enough to sit half on the floor behind the front seat. "We'll... I'll be here with him," she reassures Richard, wrapping her arms over the slumbering Jeremy. She gives Richard a firm nod, "Go."

Rosalie draws a deep breath. The sky is darkening above them, and winds gust in, throwing sprays of snowflakes, as brittle as ice, against the windows. She wrenches the wheel, aiming the SUV toward what's left of the gap in the rock, and drives on, trying to outchase the howling winds now lashed at the SUV. Except she can't--they're hers.

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