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2046-11-23 Doppleganger Effect

From X-Factor

2046-11-23 Doppleganger Effect
Date Posted 2016/11/23
Location Necro-Manhattan
Participants Richard, Kade, Diego, Micaela, Alistair, Christian
NPCs Vega, Alexandra, Jeremy
Summary The team heads into the tunnels in search of the missing kids. They find people they didn't expect.
Plot Necrogenesis
Scene GM Sao
Related Logs 2046-11-21 All Sterling's Men
 
Ririchard.JPG KdKade1.jpg DiDiego.jpg MiMicaela.jpg AliAlistair.jpg ChristianDark.jpg VeVega.jpg Lexlexie.JPG Jerjeremy.jpg
It's hard to shake the general idea that the deep gloom of the tunnels surrounding them will suddenly blossom with the light, heat and roar of a train, even though the quiet is almost complete. The dampness of the air leaves a hint of mildew to the gloom, along with an ancient lingering stink of garbage and waste that even years of disuse have not been able to scour from the subway tunnels. Though their Eyes don't link correctly to the network here, it's easy enough to study a subway map saved from the cache to figure out the best path. They're very nearly to the familiar station when the rattling clank of a noise in the silence suggests that they are no longer alone down here.

"That is not a train," Diego whispers lowly into his comms. It's a hopeful sort of thought. That gloom of the tunnels has had him speeding down the trails a few times to check ahead of them - just to make sure. The sensation of a beast in the cavern of the tunnels impossible to shake.

Kade makes his way with the group exploring the tunnels in the same tense, edgy quiet that's been largely his mode of operation during this mission. The closest he's come to anything emotive is snorting when they passed a stop on the route to Brooklyn. He edges toward the wall at the sound, gun drawn. His gun is pretty much in a constant state of 'ready' right now.

  • <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Christian=alertness Vs Vega=stealth+3
  • < Christian: Good Success (5 2 4 4 7 5 7 3) Vega: Success (4 5 5 2 8 3 5 4 2 2)
  • < Net Result: Christian wins - Marginal Victory
  • <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Micaela=alertness Vs Vega=stealth+3
  • < Micaela: Good Success (1 1 2 5 5 4 4 8 8) Vega: Success (6 5 4 2 2 8 5 2 1 4)
  • < Net Result: Micaela wins - Marginal Victory
  • <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Diego=alertness Vs Vega=stealth+3
  • < Diego: Good Success (6 3 3 3 5 1 3 8 5 7) Vega: Good Success (3 4 5 7 7 7 4 4 3 2)
  • < Net Result: Vega wins - Marginal Victory
  • <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Kade=alertness Vs Vega=stealth+3
  • < Kade: Good Success (4 2 5 6 5 4 7 4 7 3) Vega: Good Success (7 7 6 5 5 6 3 8 2 5)
  • < Net Result: Vega wins - Marginal Victory
  • <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Alistair=alertness Vs Vega=stealth+3
  • < Alistair: Good Success (7 1 1 2 8 4 4 3 2) Vega: Success (2 2 5 1 4 1 3 2 1 7)
  • < Net Result: Alistair wins - Marginal Victory
  • <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Richard=alertness Vs Vega=stealth+3
  • < Richard: Good Success (1 8 3 3 7 6 3 4 1) Vega: Good Success (2 3 7 4 1 7 5 4 5 2)
  • < Net Result: DRAW

Tucked in amidst the cinderblocks at the base of the wall before the next access to the subway station, there are small, visual camera eyes, barely visible as a faint metallic glitter of circuitry otherwise almost perfectly disguised amidst the faded gray of the granite. They're easy to miss, but not impossible to spot.

"There are all sorts of stories about the London Underground being haunted," Alistair says, quiet, dry. "I imagine there are similar ones here." That's really reassuring, Alistair. He slips through the dark silently, gun in hand, and edges toward the sound--before stopping, and taking a long squint at the wall. "Cameras,' he breathes, with a jerk of his head toward

"Not really," Richard says in a low voice, humor barely managing its way past the tension. "Just infested with alligators." While he doesn't notice the cameras, he does notice that rattling clank with a thinning expression and a sharp sweep of his gaze. It's not until Alistair points out the cameras that he looks closer at the wall.

Micaela is a little extra slow and a lot extra careful during this venture, given that silence and stealth and not her forte. She's really getting a workout in them lately, though. She spends as much time looking at her feet and watching her steps as much as anything else. Like others, he gun is already in hand. The rattling sound makes her stop and take closer look around.

"Alligators?" Diego wonders with a furrow of his brow, one that deepens as he repeats, "Ghosts?" in a reverent and horrified tone. His dark eyes are wide as he glances towards his wife and then the cameras (which he doesn't seem to spot) and the sound in a quick motion. Then he looks back at Alistair like - Really? Ghosts?

Kade shifts his eyes around the shadows of the tunnels for the cameras. He can't quite make them out, but Alistair's assertion seems good enough for him. "Ghosts aren't what I'm worried about right now. Can you tell if they have blind spots, from how they're positioned?"

"The British Isles are ripe with haunts and things that go bump in the night," Alistair says, still dry. "Apparently Americans just have alligators. I prefer the ghosts. Imaginary beings are less likely to bite you." Banter concluded, he takes a long inspection of the cameras, looking for blind spots, studying their arc of coverage.

The cameras were clearly placed by someone who had some idea of how to place cameras. The best avenue for a blind spot avoids the ground on which they are placed altogether -- either by air, or into the depths of the train channel itself, over the old, disused tracks. Neither feels /safe/, exactly.

"Guys, don't scare Diego." It's mean. Micaela squints at the wall, hand on a hip, then shrugs. "Beats me," she says about the cameras. This is just not her forte, avoiding cameras.

"Alligators have weak jaws," Christian says in a helpful murmur, eyes darting around for the creatures, "Once you hold them closed, it's very hard for them to open their mouths back up."

"{Ghosts are /real/,}" Diego insists in reverent tone. Lifting a hand, he crosses himself quickly to hinder the spirits. The speedster stills as the cameras are inspected, waiting for the others to determine their angles before he moves on. In the meantime, he'll keep an ear out for that sound in the tunnel. The telltale clank.

Richard watches Alistair study the cameras, clearly looking for, you know, helpful type things. He waits for the man to give his assessment.

"My aunt still claims I saw the green lady that haunts her castle when I was three," murmurs Alistair. "I don't recall it. I think she's made it up entirely." He's still considering the camera. "Hrm. I think the only way we can slip around these is if we avoid this ground altogether. Either by air--or into the train channel, over the tracks."

The clank is, at a delay, followed by a couple of more clanks, echoing weirdly in the distance, like somebody is hitting something metal with something else metal. There's a distant crack of a voice that then fades back into indistinctness, too far to really distinguish. Because if you could distinguish their voices they could distinguish yours and that would be no good.

Richard exhales a slow breath. "I don't think we can manage air long-term," he says. He considers the tracks. "Everyone just steer clear of the third rail, okay?"

Kade nods to Richard, and makes his way into the train channel. Quietly as he can. He doesn't try to distinguish the voices so much as track their general direction and proximity. As well as the ominous metal-on-metal sound.

"Si." Diego says lowly, after a minute staring down the distance of the tunnel. "It sounds like a voice down there," he notes lowly, sliding off the platform and onto the tracks. He takes a moment to place /where/ that third rail sits before positioning himself to help others down.

"What's a third rail?" Christian asks, keeping his voice as low as he can manage as he very graciously lets Diego help him down. A glimmer of the old Christian comes out as he is well, far too excited about that question.

Micaela shakes her head, looking down at the tracks with a heavy sigh anyway. "The amount of times I've been warned not to do this," she murmurs before hopping off the platform.

Alistair makes his own way into the train channel, carefully making sure he knows the position of everything in the darkness. "I see no alligators yet," he murmurs, dryly. He tilts his head at the sound of the voice.

No train immediately bursts out of the darkness and the silence to run them down. The tracks seem still and quiet. It does seem a little colder near the old metal of the tracks, as though the darkness and the humidity have soaked into the metal over decades. The channel opens before them. In the distance, there is a spill of golden light across the tracks from what was once the active station with which they're all familiar. Dust motes float in the slant of light.

"Don't worry," Richard says to Micaela with a tense smile. "I've survived it before." He floats a few inches off the ground so as to not add to the admittedly quiet hush of their footsteps, his gaze on the spill of light ahead as they approach.

"Electric," Diego says quietly of the third rail, pointing it out once he has Christian settled on the tracks. "It powers the trains. I think."

Christian's mouth pricks up a bit and hesitated before spreading into a lopsided little grin as he eyeballs the track. He narrows his eyes at it. "Cool."

The light begins at the opening of the station. It is clear that numerous electric lights are running. As they get closer, music is clearly playing. There's a person kneeling with her back to the tracks, electric lights reflecting off the dark sheen of her hair as she applies vigorous elbow grease to a heavy metallic piece of equipment. Standing hipshot nearby and leaning against the frame of a door, another figure leans with her arms folded, a crackle of electricity around her lending her hair a little more prickle and volume than it might ordinarily have. The electric lights catch in a dull gleam off her leather jacket. Her stance bespeaks impatience. Both of these figures are eerily familiar, even from a distance.

  • <FS3> Alistair rolls Stealth: Good Success. (4 1 4 1 2 7 7 4 6)
  • <FS3> Christian rolls Stealth: Good Success. (3 3 7 6 7 2 3)
  • <FS3> Micaela rolls Stealth: Good Success. (7 5 7 5 5)
  • <FS3> Kade rolls Stealth: Success. (8 1 4 6 1 2 1 3)
  • <FS3> Richard rolls Stealth: Good Success. (8 7 4 5 2 3 3 6)
  • <FS3> Diego rolls Stealth: Failure. (5 6 6 3 3 1 4 5)
  • <FS3> Micaela rolls Stealth: Failure. (3 1 3 2 3)

Kade keeps in step near Christian and avoids the third rail. Particularly as they approach the lights and music. He's treading carefully anyhow, but sight of those figures makes him pay extra attention to where he's putting his feet. Eyes narrowing at those figures in the distance, a chill running up his spine at their familiarity.

Alistair recognizes those figures. The only key to his recognition is that, for the briefest of motions, he takes a shallower breath, the faintest motion of shock. Other than that, he continues, careful, silent.

Is Christian a church mouse? Silence and stealth are the name of the game. He moves forward on the balls of his feet with the prowling grace of a savannah cat. Did it actually get quieter in here? Could this be some sort of secondary mutation? There is no way anyone would ever hear him coming down these tracks.

"In another universe my mother is having a heart attack anyway," Micaela replies to Richard with a bit of a smirk. She shivers briefly at the damp and the cold before warming the air up around her a touch. She falls silent again as she concentrates on her steps, trying to stay quiet as she moves. It requires a lot of effort. She slows down some as they get close enough for figures to look familiar.

Richard's stealth doesn't actually require a whole lot of effort when it's just focused on keeping quiet while moving. He's kind of a cheater that way. (Give him something more complicated, though, and his advantage swiftly shifts.) He has that same moment, like the others, when the figures start to become eerily familiar. He inhales slowly.

Diego is not as... stealthy or practiced as the others. Without his gift of speed, the features of his stealth evaporate rather quickly leaving his footsteps more audible than his team. He does gravitate towards Micaela's heat as they walk, squinting at the two figures and lingering far longer on one of them.

Vega is pretty occupied with whatever it is she's doing -- it's hard to tell from this angle, although the machine she's working on looks pretty big, even in the open air space of the open station. But Alexandra is mostly just standing around waiting for her to get done at this point, so she catches the sound. Lips pursing, she hitches away from the frame she leans on and paces toward the edge of the tracks on long strides, boots clicking while she says, "You didn't pick anything up on your monitors, did you?"

Abstractedly, Vega says: "Have you ever connected a supercapacitor to a hover switch drive with an allen wrench?"

Richard considers the two very familiar women down the tunnel with a great deal of hesitation. Then, after a moment's thought, he turns his gaze slowly to Kade. He jerks his head down towards the women and offers him a questioning look. Think you can?

Kade gives Richard a chin-tilt in response. Guess we'll find out if he can! He gives his head a shake and takes a moment to get into 'character' with all the thespian skills he possesses. Or whatever 'character' he can draw for a murderer who melts 'BLAZE' into floors.

Christian's eyes bulge out of his head.

Micaela shoots Diego a glare for his heavier footsteps. Look, if she can try, you can try. She comes to a halt, watching the interplay between Richard and Kade. She gives the latter a thumbs up. But when his back in turned, she shares a worried look with Diego.

Diego shrugs his shoulders at Micaela and shakes away her glare. Look, he was trying. Pausing at his wife's side, he nods as Kade gets into character. Meeting her look, he shrugs a little sheepishly and places a hand on his weapon.

Alistair glances over to Kade. He stills, quiet.

Meanwhile, Lexie rolls her eyes, says, "Fiine," and starts striding toward the end of the platform, drawing closer. Her arms are a loose cross over her stomach beneath the dull gleam of her black leather jacket. "You're not actually the only one who knows her way around a damned engine," she says over her shoulder as she goes.

While Vega continues to tinker, there is a slight increase in the volume of her tunes as she reaches what may be the crescendo of her project that is apparently her response to this sally.

Kade squares his shoulders and marches toward Alexandra when she approaches the end of the platform. Stride as easy and confident as he can muster. It's not particularly different than how he normally walks. Just turned up a bit. "How's it going down here?" he asks. "Blaze, reporting in." He tries not to sound too familiar. Do these people know Blaze?

Richard watches Kade stride towards the platform with a distinct hint of tension in his form. NOT THAT HE DOESN'T TRUST HIS ACTING ABILITIES. But, you know, it's not like he became a movie star.

Alistair watches Kade with a critical eye. He knows all about acting, really. It's genetic.

Diego watches Kade stride towards the platform with a tilt of his head. Look, that stride sets off his assets. Then, he remembers to focus. Ahem.

Christian slowly brings up his hands, fingers winding up and outward as if preparing to open a portal. "Do you think /we're/ here?" He asks Richard before letting out a hushed gasp. "Do you think we're friends?" -- shaking off those DREAMS, he grimly turns to watch Kade's back.

Lexie makes a noise in her throat. "Blaze, reporting in," she says. "The hell are you doing out there?" The casual ownership with which she claims space as she strides up to him suggests she knows him. This is put rapidly to its proof: "Actually, I'm kinda bored," she says carelessly, as she grabs hold of the front of his armor, nails digging beneath velcro as she hauls him in for the claim of a kiss with her other hand on his ass. Hi.

Vega ratchets up the volume on her music some more. It's critically necessary at this point. The bass seems to hum into the cement floor.

"I was..." is all Kade gets out before this version of Alexandra is getting all up in his personal space with kisses and ass-grabbing. There's a moment of 'What is going on?' surprise, but he kind of tries to go with it. He manages to kiss her back and pat her hip, at least, though it only just qualifies as groping. When they're done kissing, he looks over at Vega. "Quiet down here, then? I was just out scouting the tunnels. Haven't found anything. How's your little project going up in here, baby?" He manages a smile of the sort he generally deems charming.

Christian watches with an air of innocence, but that is gradually replaced by a deep, deep frown. The kiss. The hands. The 'baby.' Christian doesn't like this.

It's not often that Micaela is struck speechless--and this is not really one of those times--but she openly stares as someone who looks like Alexandra strolls up to Kade and grabs him for a kiss. And groping. She has to literally stifle her laughter with her hands, sucking in a breath and trying not to totally blow all this stealth work they've done. But /oh my god/.

Alistair's expression is largely impassive, as usual--but he bites his lower lip quickly to stifle something. A cough. It was going to be a cough. It's dusty in here.

Richard bites back whatever his vocal reaction might be in another situation, but he does go a bit briefly bug-eyed watching. He looks to the others, though, and jerks his head to indicate moving forward in as much shadow as they can manage. qUIETLY.

Diego may be the only one not particularly flustered by the site of Kade and Lexie. /ACTING./ He nods his head in appreciation, before catching Richard's look and following along. Maybe. Quietly. He will try.

Move forward quietly? What? You want me to blast 'em? Christian doesn't understand Richard's head jerking. 'BLAST EM?!' He mouths, confused but sortof still willing to do that--

Alistair slips silently into shadow. He's really not as amusing as Christian.

Micaela takes the time to make sure she isn't going to burst into laughter before moving again. It...genuinely takes a few moments. She needs to capture the moment. Then she takes a deep, careful breath and then begins dutifully picking her way after the boys.

A little annoyed that he is escaping her demand for attention (maybe), Lexie bites Kade's lower lip. "Super quiet," she says. "Much quieter out here than in there." Her fingers hitch into the loops of his utility belt, drawing him close in a way that insinuates her thigh between his legs. "Like I said. The bike's not done yet. I'm bored."

Footsteps beat down the cement stairs from the station beyond and above and a voice calls: "Zhang!" and then the tallish, suprisingly trim figure of a bearded Jeremy Wallace, his long hair bound in a knot behind his neck, hits the floor as he shouts over the music: "Vega! I need you, my hotplate died and we have like twenty kids to feed!"

The music pauses. There's a momentary hush. Vega may or may not have been going to answer Blaze, but now sighs at the interruption and rubs her face with a slightly grease-smudged hand. (Now she has grease on her face. This is not the first time this has happened to Vega of any universe.) "You probably shouldn't explode them."

Kade keeps his comm on to monitor his team, but tries to keep his outward focus on this alternate group he's fallen in with. "I'm sure you'll get it knocked into shape in no time. Me? I needed some air." His head turns toward Jeremy. //This// he was somewhat prepared for. His expression manages to stay impassive, even if his shoulders tense. YES YOU SHOULDN'T EXPLODE CHILDREN. "How is the brood we've acquired?" He tries to play the question as light.

Oh my God oh my God oh my God. Richard tries not to pay too close attention to the AU happenings going on -- well, he pays attention because he's trying to avoid notice, but you know what I mean -- and instead continues creeping down the tunnel trying to aim to get past the group without notice.

Richard's gaze does flit to Jeremy and linger there for longer than is wise -- and it tears away from him with some effort. He swallows.

"Rattled," Jeremy answers readily. He folds his arms over his chest and looks tense and a little worried. "Scared. I mean, obviously. Not like any of us exactly remember how to be mom and dad at this point. We can keep them fed if Vega can get the hotplate back--"

Vega gets up, dusting her pants off at the knee as she moves with a slightly stiff and awkward shift toward the stairs. Kneeling too long. "I'm never going to finish anything if you all keep distracting me." Then, with a sudden gleam of interest: "Do you want the hotplate to do anything /interesting--/?"

Lexie, meanwhile, is not cool with how little attention that she is being paid, and the glide of her hand down Blaze's abdomen becomes a sudden jolt of static electricity in a place where nobody should have a jolt of static electricity. "Excuse you, hot pants," she says, and rolls her eyes as she disengages from him to start stalking back off across the platform floor.

"WHOAFUCK!" is Kade's response to being shocked...where Lexie shocks him. That was a little high-pitched. He offers Jeremy and Vega a shrug. Women, right? And puts an arm around Lexie's waist. It's still not proper groping, but maybe the //terrible pain/// hasn't yet worn off. "Uh. Right. Yeah. We're providing for them. So. They'll settle in soon, I'm sure." He might sound a touch relieved, as there seems //some// concern about the kid's being fed and cared for. "It's still a hell of a thing for me to get my head around, I must admit. Them being here. Will everything go according to plan, do you think?" Like he //totally// knows what the plan is.

Okay, she tried, guys. She really did. As AU-Lexie zaps Kade Actual, Micaela can't completely contain a sputter of laughter that follows. Look, did you see his face? Come on. No one is probably going to appreciate how good Micaela has been with the whole stealthiness thing after this.

Micaela's sputter of laughter jumps, infectiously, to Christian. He let's out a gentle choke in an attempt to subdue it but ...you know how these things are.

Diego doesn't quite sputter, because he covers his face to try to hold it in. There is no holding in his /visible/ cringe at the dicktricity. OW.

Richard shoots a /glare/ in Micaela's direction. Then he has to glare at EVERYONE. GUYS. WE ARE BEING STEALTHY.

Alistair breaks his impassivity long enough to give /Micaela/ a dirty look. Glare. Glower. He is a force of blue-eyed disapproval.

Jeremy laughs a little bitterly. "Even if it doesn't, we're still better off than we were before," he says -- and whatever he was about to say next, he's interrupted by the crack of laughter from the tunnel. He startles, hand reaching for a gun reflexively, even as Vega spins, lifting her arms and waking her gauntlets in a new hum of power as she turns her gaze likewise toward the tunnel.

Vega reports crisply, "I've got heat signatures ... two, three, four--"

"Fuck!" Alexandra steps away from Kade with electricity buzzing, rising from her skin as she bares her teeth. "Well, what the hell, I was getting into the mood for some action."

Kade's light eyes go wide for a beat, before he starts trying to play this off. "Hey. Hey now. Hold up." He turns toward the sound of laughter at the very painful thing that just happened to him. "Come out here. You all the crew I was supposed to meet?" He sounds very put out. "I waited at the rendezvous point for a damn half hour, and no show."

Richard looks /heartbeats/ away from springing into action when Kade tries to cover for them. He hesitates only a moment more before stepping forward with the general hope that, uh, nobody who looks like him is probably running around this AU (at his age). He is not as good an actor as movie star Kade, but, you know, he did his undercover work back in the day. "Yeah, well, we got held up. Cool your boots." People say that right???

Where Richard goes, Christian isn't far behind. He looks just off of the other man's shoulder with a furrowed brow and squared off shoulders that test the fabric of his shirt. "Cool. Your boots," he echoes. It doesn't come out as naturally.

Micaela, who has at least muffled the rest of her laughter, holds her hands out palm up at Richard and then gestures in the direction of Kade and everyone. Look, this is not her fault! (This is her fault). But then Kade is covering for them and Richard is stepping out of cover and WELP. She follows, flicking a lazy salute. She does not say 'cool your boots' because she is not a giant nerd.

Alistair doesn't say 'cool your boots' because it's undignified, and he doesn't know whether he is someone who says undignified things yet. He steps up behind the others, staying a little to the shadows just in case. A tall dark shadow behind Richard, hovering protectively.

Diego does not salute but he takes a step forward out of the shadow and nods at the group. His gaze skates over those collected, taking a better look at them now that they are standing together.

"Blaze, the hell did you do?" Jeremy doesn't sound /particularly/ surprised at the idea that Blaze might have gone half-cocked on his own to do something. His glance flickers over Richard, pauses, lingers, and then moves on. It's not with recognition. Look, don't judge him. You all already know he thinks Rich is hot.

Alexandra has not relaxed her guard immediately, but she definitely gives them each a measuring look as they come into the light. Her contribution to the potential diplomacy of this situation is: "Who even says that?"

Vega is counting off faces to heat signatures with a startling intensity in her face.

"It's cool, man." Kade manages to say that to this version of Jeremy in a way that's very patronizing. It might accidentally hit as close to 'Blaze' as anything he's done so far. "I got word of a crew coming over from Jersey and I figured I'd vet them. They're mutants. Like us. And they want to join the cause." The cause he totally knows things about. The look he gives Richard is hard. "Yes, and. You got held-up, and I wasted my damn time. You all better be worth the bother of all this. And I will not cool my boots. They don't call me Blaze for nothing." Because this is apparently what people call him.

"Yeah, well. /Somebody/ here--" Richard hooks a directions in Micaela, because this is all her fault anyways, she might as well get blamed for fake shit, too. "--got in her head she was on the trail of a stray pack of humans and had us going on a wild goose chase." His gaze flicks to Jeremy more often than it should.

Diego's eyebrows lift briefly as Richard points towards Micaela and shifts to lazily drape an arm around his wife's shoulders as he watches the alters. "We made it." That seems to be enough in his opinion.

So. This is weird. Micaela looks from one familiar face to the next, noting the lack of recognition and relative intensity. Thankfully, she is much better at holding it together in a tense situation than she is at stealthing around. Well, for a relative value of 'holding it together'. "Hey, fuck you!" She snaps at Richard. "I /was/."

"There were humans," murmurs Alistair lazily. "The tracks were real. You just didn't give us enough time to find them."

"What are you building," Christian asks, taking a few cautious steps forward. He distances himself from Micaela and tests the boundaries of their welcome. He flexes and unflexes his jaw as he approaches, scowling this version of Vega down and up.

Jeremy looks a little exasperatedly at Kade but, again, not like he finds anything remotely out of character about any of this. He makes a low growl in his throat -- a deep, abraded noise with a strange hitch in it, as though there's something subtly off about his breath -- and then says, "Well, I can't say that we aren't short-/handed/, but--" He pauses. His eye flicks back across Alistair in the shadows when he speaks. He turns slightly. "Vega?"

Vega answers him with a slight nod. Her gauntlets trained on Christian, she flicks her glance back to him and gives him a very slight smile. "Just a little something ... fast."

Alexandra, who had begun to relax a little during this interplay, starts to tense up again at whatever is going on between Vega and Jeremy. "What?" Then she looks back across the others and her gaze focuses, too, on Alistair. Then: "Whoa, we definitely didn't leave you in Jersey. What gives?"

Richard blinks. His gaze snaps to Alistair. Uhm.

"I don't know about some of these folks, but this guy I can vouch for," Kade says with a gesture to Richard. "He and me go way back. We've seen a lot of shit blow up together." And perhaps will see more shortly. His eyes widen a beat at Alistair, but he tries not to look //too// freaked that he's not the only recognizable one among them. He keeps really, really trying to make this work. "Didn't think I was vetting these guys alone, did you?"

If Alistair reacts, it is very slight, an almost imperceptible stiffening of his frame that vanishes in a blank of an eye. Instead he frowns, blinks, and a looks genuinely, honestly confused. "Huh?" he asks, and his accent's changed, for all this isn't the first time he's spoke. He sounds--well, American now. Maybe even a little Jersey. "What the hell do you mean?"

"I like ... fast," Christian tips his chin forward in an accommodating gesture. His own hands aren't trained on Vega, but he's certainly ready to tumble out of the way and draw them up at the slightest wrong flinch from the woman.

"What the fuck--" Lexie rounds on Kade with a snap of baffled outrage in her face. She moves, coming behind Vega with a slanted look at Christian as she sets herself like she's going to defend Vega's project from him. At close range, the project looks a hell of a lot like a motorcycle. But with modified hover boosters. P.S.

Vega has gone more abstracted, her eyes flickering and her lips moving in some silent, subvocalized sequence.

Jeremy walks up to Kade with a faint smile lifting his mouth at the corners. He drops his hand on Lexie's shoulder as he walks by, and says, "So, you got Essex to let him out? Why? Seems like it would've been a lot faster to snag somebody who wasn't ... you know, strapped down."

Diego keeps an eye on Christian as he moves closer to Vega, giving Micaela's shoulder a slight squeeze before shifting to join them. He also gives the project a look of interest.

Kade exchanges a look with Richard. This is going increasingly poorly. His posture tenses into something more 'ready', though he still tries to give Alexandra a charming smile. To Jeremy, "I thought more power would be worth it. And, as you can see, he's playing nice. We're all friends here."

Micaela shifts her shoulder under Diego's squeeze-hello-but she doesn't move from where she is. The borrowed time they've been running on feels increasingly like it's just run out.

"Or at least, you know, business acquaintances." Richard attempts a smile. Jeremy loves his smiles! Come on, Jeremy!

In other circumstances, it is true: Jeremy is very weak to Richard's smiles. But in these ... there are some situational modifiers.

"I get it. I know why you're here," Jeremy says quietly, with an eerie reflection of the earnestness that may seem familiar in other contexts, "and I'm sorry, but you can't take the kids back through the portal. We need them more than you do. We'll die to defend them. Every last one of us."

"Okay, no," Alexandra says, "because about who is going to die first." Lightning crackles alarmingly from her fingertips as she smiles. "It's so not me."

Vega smiles a little wider. Behind her, behind the stairs, there's a creaking groan of metal. It's not from the motorcycle. She has more than one toy.

Alistair hears the words 'strapped down,' and, this time, he cannot conceal his reaction fast enough. The set of his shoulders stiffen, his jaw tenses, and one hand tightens on his gun. He raises his head, looking straight at Jeremy. Jeremy-who-is-not-Jeremy. He says, entirely in his own voice, low and dark, his gaze intent on the other man, "You never strapped _me_ down."

There's only heartbeats in between Richard taking quick scope of the reality of their situation -- no more talking out of this -- and signaling the rest of the team by...well, leaping forward with inhuman speed. It's Jeremy's gun that he's trained on first, reaching to try and twist it expertly from his hand. And, uh, possibly whip it across his face if he gets it. sORRY.

Between Jeremy's quiet words and the crackle of electricity from Alexandra's fingers, Diego can see the situation visibly worsening. His dark gaze flickers towards Richard for instruction. The creaking groan of metal is enough of a suggestion for him as he slips forward in a burst of speed and moves to solidly knock out the petite technopath before things go from bad to worse.

  • <FS3> Richard rolls Flight: Good Success. (2 4 3 5 2 8 6 3 6 4 8 1 2 4 8)
  • <FS3> Diego rolls Speedster: Amazing Success. (5 7 7 7 6 1 7 8 6 2 5 8 6 2)
  • <FS3> Christian rolls Portals: Good Success. (1 2 7 6 2 8 5 1 1 2)

Kade is closest to Alexandra, so it's her he levels a quick blast of flame at. "Well, I'll die to get my daughter back, so we'll just see who's left."

"Oh, fuck it," says Micaela when the jig is obviously up. Everyone is already hitting the hittable, so she pulls out her pistol and fires it at Alexandria. How pedestrian.

Draw!

At the pop of electricity between Lexie's knuckles, Christian flexes his own deft didgets. He pulls open a hole in the air in front of him and continues to pull.

It isn't a moment before a solid column of water comes catapulting out in the direction of the two women and their pet-project. Unfortunately for the speedster, as Diego sweeps into that very vicinity -- a great scaley tail surfaces up out of the rapids and, flailing its murky-green body against the undercurrent, a great 12-ft nile crocodile snaps her jawls as she too is thrown forward at the evil doppelgangers.

Diego darts across the brief distance between them to speedster punch Vega in a crack that sends her crumpling to the ground. However temporarily, she's down and out. Irene is probably going to pound him later. For now, though, what she guarded -- her tools, the hoverbike she was working on -- are before him.

Richard's easy whoosh through the air is not something Jeremy is expecting. Perhaps another Jeremy in another time would have known precisely what to fear from him. Here, though, Richard is on him before he can react, and despite his training and reflexes, the weapon is wrested from him and whammed across his face. Jeremy staggers, hits the ground on one knee, and spits blood. And. A tooth. Onto the floor. Ew.

Lexie lets out a shout that is more roar than scream, bringing up her armored jacket as she ducks down, protecting her head against the fire. The bullet might impact, or it might not -- it's hard to say, because what happens next is a jolting CRACK of lightning, hurtling from Lexie's fisted hands to blast into the third rail in a shrieking scream of sparks and power. Lightbulbs burst in a rain of glass. Flourescents fry. The churning crash of mighty water through the tunnel is suddenly electrified and there's a great scorched ozone scent that joins the humid stench of the New York underground.

The massive crocodile hurtles in the midst of her righteous outrage right for combatants.

The quake of Jeremy's first detonation roars a second later, and the roof and walls of the old, disused subway tunnel start rumbling, cracking, falling in a raining shower of concrete, dust, and rebar. A second detonation follows, bursting apart pipes in the ceiling a couple of feet above their heads. It's going to be time to go very soon. For everyone. Including the crocodile.

Kade throws himself away from Alexandra, back toward Richard and his actual teammates, once his fire's off. All he can do now is try to stick with them and be on their side of the evac path as the earth shakes and the train tracks electrify.

A satisfied smirk tugs at Diego's mouth as he takes a moment to watch Vega fall to the ground. To his side Lexie and Kade explode in fire and lightening and a great flood of water arcs overhead as Christian opens a portal. Time slows as he moves quickly, dodging under the oncoming wave to snatch Vega's tools and some other small and tiny thing he can carry. Even speed can't carry him quick enough to leave him unshaken by Jeremy's detonation, grabbing Christian's collar to pull him back into hopeful safety.

"Don't--" But of course Jeremy is already exploding things. Richard can't knock him out fast enough to avoid it, and he can't stay in close range when the roof looks about to cave in. What he can do is change course to grab Kade and pull him back with him to the rest of the team just before the roof comes down in front of them. WELL.

Alistair is caught flat-footed when the fight begins, too busy mouthing his defiance to be quick off the mark. That changes at the first denotation. All his instincts awake, and he glances, first, at his teammates to see them all accounted for before he flings himself to safety, dodging chunks of rock and dust.

The portal snaps closed, perhaps in slow-motion to some, as Christian is pulled away. In the water's wake, the over-sized female swamp monster that he has released hisses and takes ownership of the enemy platform.

"Shit!" And that's an understatement as electricity roars and the ceiling starts to cave in following an explosion. Micaela doesn't grab anyone, she just hops into the air and darts away from any of the oncoming damage with a burst of flame and speed. The platform is left behind, as is everything else they came for.

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