ARC Dawn

Discussion in 'NEVER NORMAL' started by CloudyBlueDay, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. Hedieh Redding and Willow // This Calls For Pepto Bismol
    Collab with @CloudyBlueDay

    Hedieh quickly let her shoulders and arms phase back in as Willow collapsed in order to catch her, leaving her torso and legs unfortunately still free for Aaron to pass through. She shuddered at the idea of the boy moving through her, but had far more pressing issues to deal with.

    Quickly checking that there weren't sand drifts sharing the same space as her, Hedieh let the rest of herself become tangible and gently set Willow down on the sand. She could feel her hands growing clammy as her heart rate skyrocketed; she couldn't let someone die in her arms. Not someone that had just been counting on her to save her.

    "Willow, Willow I need you to focus on me, okay? I have an idea, but I'll need you to follow my instructions. Can you do that?"

    Eyes wide with shock, the taste of blood filling her tongue, Willow let herself be gently laid against the sand. She despised feeling this powerless, more helpless than ever, but the pain that had so quickly become numb in her stomach terrified her.

    “W-whatever you say,” Willow whispered.

    Nodding, Hedieh took hold of Willow's hands and laid them on either side of the wound. Her heart was beating ever faster, loud enough to reduce her surroundings to a foggy hum, but she made sure to keep her face still. To keep her breathing even, no matter how much it wanted to hitch or choke. She couldn't let her panic leak out to Willow.

    The important thing was the stop the bleeding, both externally and internally. Anything else could wait until later. Pressing Willow's hands down, Hedieh continued. "When I say to, I need you to press the wound shut, okay?" Then, taking a deep breath, Hedieh turned her hands intangible and sank them into Willow's stomach. The solidness of the glass felt different than the flesh around it as Hedieh moved her hands, and she focused on that difference, reaching out with her power to enveloped the glass with her power. "Now," she said, and turned the glass intangible. But as soon as Willow pressed the wound shut, she'd bring the glass back, merging it with the surrounding flesh to stop the bleeding.

    Pressing her lips together as tightly as she possibly could, Willow nodded quickly, urging her to get on with it. As Hedieh rested her own hands against the hole in her body, Willow took in a shaky breath.

    If Willow ever wondered what ghostly possession felt like, she had to imagine this was it. With Hedieh shuffling around within her gut Willow gasped, trying to ignore the unearthly feeling. On her cue Willow pushed the wound together, teeth grinding. And then it was over, leaving her feeling sewn together like a doll.

    “A new technique, Doctor Hedieh,” Willow croaked.

    Hedieh gave a weak smile but remained silent as she moved to hook her arms under Willows shoulders and knees. The sight of the shard of glass stick protruding from the girl's stomach was unsettling, but Hedieh wasn't confident she could break off the excess without causing more damage. Digging her feet into the sand to better plant herself, Hedieh straightened her back and lifted Willow up, doing her best to support Willow's midsection to avoid folding her in on the glass. She wasn't sure how strong or fragile the current mixture of glass and flesh was, but considered it best not to test it.

    Hedieh didn't consider herself particularly strong, but she wasn't unduly weak, either. She didn't expect to have too much difficulty carrying Willow like this, as long as she didn't need to do any running. In truth, she expected it would be best to get one of the stronger members of the group to carry her, but she couldn't bring herself to hoist that burden onto anyone. At least not actively; if someone offered to help, she wouldn't say no.

    A strained noise of pain fell from Willow as Hedieh lifted her, grabbing onto her shoulder and squeezing tight to try and steady herself, perhaps digging her nails in a little bit harshly. The world was fuzzy, the fear that made her chest tighten being all she could really feel. The rest of the people around her were blurred figures, moving too fast to comprehend.

    “If there’s a chance for you to escape,” Willow whispered. “Leave me behind. Find the Protectors.”

    Hedieh winced as Willow expressed her pain, guilt filling her from head to toe. "I'm sure it won't come to that," she lied. "we'll both be fine."
     
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  2. Joan Ardent || Protector's Base, Darius' Office

    Even before Darius responded, Joan's fears were confirmed by the frantic note-taking everybody seemed to be doing. Ayla in particular seemed focused, and when Darius said she had had a vision, Joan could feel her body tensing. That power...While knowing what was going to happen could be nice, she didn't envy the burden the younger girl had to bear, especially if the kind of things she saw were burning malls and the bases of evil organizations.

    As she was thinking this, Silas and the people he had been pinning down entered, and she immediately noticed Archer leaning on him. She cast a worried look his way, but before she could say anything, he was gone, as was Basil, and Darius was talking again. Everything was happening too quickly again...but then again, this was her life now, wasn't it? She'd have to adapt to survive.

    She focused on Darius' words, taking in as much as she could. Arizona desert, can't get exact but got a jet, should be time, can't be mishandled...all hands on deck? That means us, doesn't it?

    Austin spoke before she could, expressing fears and concerns that, at face value, seemed completely reasonable. However, as she listened to both his concerns and Hang's reply, she felt her nails digging into her palm. She could see something flicker across Hang's face before she replied--some kind of uncertainty, certainly nothing she'd seen before on the other girl. If she's uncertain...what chance do I have?

    And yet...

    "Wait. Guys." Her voice was soft, trembling. She stopped, took a shaky breath, and continued, voice steadier this time. "Are we really going to just...let them go by themselves? Are we really not going to help those other people? Not going to help the people who took us in?" She glanced around, biting the corner of her lip. "That could have been us. Any of us. Hell, it was the kid who was brave enough to speak up. Or am I the only one who remembers seeing a kid get tranqued on television?"

    She paused again, staring at Austin. "I have family too. They were worried about me before all this, and this probably hasn't helped matters any. But...I can actually do something for once. I'm not going to sit back and watch others do the work in hopes that they succeed, not when I can help.

    "I may not have abilities like you do, Hang." She turned to face the woman in question with a shrug. "Hell, I may not even be able to use my abilities there without Silas' help. I doubt a lab has that many plants, really. But I can do something, at least, and I damn well mean to, even if it's just using my brain or being additional manpower."

    She turned to face Darius, shoving her fists firmly into her pockets. "You mentioned a jet. Do I head there first, or is there some kind of prep I need to do first? Getting equipment, stuff like that?"
     
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  3. Cassia awoke to the sounds of shadows pounding furiously against the walls, metal straining beneath their ephemeral weight.

    When had she fallen?

    She remembered the feeling of so many particles running along her fingers like ants in the dirt. Remembered the singular feeling of ecstasy as she remembered the glass shattering, and she herself the center of a storm. Remembered…

    Why had she done that again? For the ecstasy’s sake? Some part of her was drained, but sated in turn, muscles that were all at once spent and nourished.

    She rose, casting her glance over the boy of shadows, over Patrick, and Hedieh overlooking the girl with the spot of red. Glass.

    I did that, didn’t I?

    Too tired for guilt, she looked away.
     
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  4. Alex Summers - Protector's Base

    Alex was still sulking a little, returning the middle finger as soon as he saw it and trying not to scoff too loudly at Archer complaining about having a door shot into him. "All for the sake of victory," he thought to himself as he rolled his neck a little. "…and payback."

    After he listened to Darius talk, Alex was split on leaving or staying. On one hand, it was incredibly dangerous. He'd probably get left behind by the other Protector's, given how well their relationship had been so far, and likely not end well for himself. Archer would probably do something silly like solve the problem while also spiting him at the same time with little risk. The chance of being captured or killed was probably a veritable reality, given that Darius even said he'd let them sit this one out.

    …on the other hand, Alex really couldn't stand another hour in this underground base, even if he wasn't claustrophobic. Not seeing sunlight for so long was incredibly taxing in its own way. "Going along will probably let me spite the other Protector's more," he thought, giving a small grin privy to himself and anyone else who was paying attention.

    It'd also be a great opportunity to see this 'SPME', and make his own judgement on how much a threat they actually were. If they weren't dangerous, he'd be out of this entire secret-training summer-power camp the next chance he got.

    Waiting patiently through the bitching and moaning of the others, he rolled his neck again before raising his arm slightly. "I'll go," he said without glancing up much from his sulking-stance, so matter-of-fact that it was like he hadn't at all listened to the others talk about staying or leaving or success for the last three minutes.
     
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  5. Patrick O’Malley

    Drowning. For all the precautions they’d taken, for all the effort they’d made, they were drowning. Sand. Water. A horrific mixture. Like glue. Like unbearable weight that gripped him with irrefutable suction, the negative space he tried to create beneath his form refusing to let him loose. The boy ... Leo’s body seemed to have drifted off; he couldn’t feel it anymore.

    He couldn’t open his eyes; instinct prevented it, prevented the sand from intruding. He couldn’t breathe; the water prevented it, effectively strangling him. The force of the rushing wave had knocked him off his feet, plunging him beneath the torrent, and it looked like it was determined to keep him there. His diaphragm seized for air that wouldn’t come, sucking in its absence his consciousness from him.

    Suddenly his eyes burst into brilliant gold behind his eyelids, illuminating the floor even through the skin. A memory leapt to his mind suddenly, involuntarily, of the room’s ceiling, and Patrick fell. A short column of water fell with him, the Gate on the floor and ceiling disappearing as soon as the boy was through, and Patrick hit the large pond in the room with a thwack. Gasping, he stood up, seeing Leo as he did and yanking his arm upwards to lift him from drowning. He blinked, his burden now recovered, looking for the others.

    “Evan? Yah alrigh’, mate?” He scanned the water, trying to make sure his friend wasn’t submerged. The action led his eyes to land on Cassia, and he smiled. “The shite was tha’?”

    But she was not smiling. Frowning, Paddy hoisted Leo a little better and shuffled in her direction.

    “Wha’s wrong?”

    @Shizuochan @Eru
     
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  6. Kindness was in that boy’s nature. That was the first realization Cassia had made about him, about Patrick, Lord of ‘Shites-and-Mates’ - a moniker that, though she kept it to herself, was not meant as mockery. The second realization, altogether more startling, was how readily she decided that she understood him. Perhaps not fully (and perhaps it was not her place to decode the deep intricacies of the kind boy in the poor house with the shouting father and the mother that made sandwiches), but enough.

    She found herself speaking, expounding needlessly; as if “The shite was tha’?” was some philosophical quandary of universal import. Or, at the very least, a responsibility she owed to him. “For a moment - that moment - I believe I was overjoyed to be here. That they were watching, Patrick, and that I should perform. That I needed to perform.”

    Her fingers motioned towards the various fragments of shattered-somethings, towards the wounded girl.

    “So I did.”

    and it bothers me as much as it makes me feel at ease.

    Realizing her strategically placed weapon of ‘stoic retreat’ had been thoroughly disarmed by now, Cassia made to assist in the hoisting of Leo.

    “I’m happy you’re alright.”
     
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  7. spoopy buds
    a collab with @CloudyBlueDay

    "Took you long enough," Crow mumbled under her breath as she took a fighting stance beside the shadow bender. "Tech boy is right, you know, none of us are enemies unless we choose to be."

    Crow closed her eyes and inhaled sharply, extending her 'suit to cover more than just her fist. When she opened them again they glowed amethyst and shone with rage.

    She had escaped once. And she'd do it again, with a little help from her... friends.

    "Are you going to kill them?" Crow asked softly so only Aaron could hear. "Are you going to kill the scientists?"

    Rage filling his blackened eyes, Aaron breathed through gritted teeth, sparing hardly a glance to Crow. “I’ll kill them all if I have too.” He said firmly, without a shadow of doubt. “And I’d do it gladly, too.”

    "I want to help," Crow replied between punches, concrete dusting her eyelashes. "They all deserve to--"

    From the corner of her eye she saw Mason and the rage in her eyes wavered as she took in the sight of him; afraid, probably injured due to her and Cassia... And looking around at the group as a whole, she witnessed nearly the same thing on everyone's faces.

    Emotion fueled her powers and the wall itself shook as her fist collided with it once again. "They all deserve to die."

    Aaron paused as Crow delivered a powerful blow against the wall, watching it cave under her touch. His eyes narrowed, lips pulled into a tight frown. Slowly, he extended his hand, uncurling dirty and gnarled fingertips. “Take my hand, then.” He said, voice low and husky. “They’ll get what they deserve.”

    Crow stared at his open hand for a moment before grabbing hold of it, her only shred of hesitancy washed away by the intoxicating anger surging through her veins. His attack on Cassia flashed before her mind's eye but she ignored it, nodded once, twice, and then glanced into Aaron's blackened eyes. "And we'll be the ones to do it."

    Out of the corner of his eye Mason could see the evil smile that formed on Aaron’s lips as Crow reached out. He opened his mouth in protest, but it was too late.

    Darkness would surge through Crow like never before, invigorating and exciting the power that coursed through her veins. A newfound strength would fill her, strength that came with an evil unbound. Strength enough to do whatever it took to escape.

    The surge of power nearly sent Crow to her knees, but anger fueled her desire... A darkened desire that she'd kept locked away for many years. Still standing, Crow smiled, reveling in the strength of her powers, in the darkness that Aaron had brought to life within her.

    Curling her fist, she struck at the concrete wall again, surprised to find the energy around her outstretched hand turning amethyst in color. Her eyes widened, in elation and fear.

    "You should step back, and tell the others to do the same."

    His grin widened, toothy and broad. Taking a small step back, gazing upon his creation, Aaron's smirk never ceased. He hardly flinched as she struck the wall once more, and there was a sense of victory within him.

    "Crow!" Mason cried, bursting forth, watching her aura explode, a feeling of dread settling on his chest. Aaron stepped in front of him, pushing him back with a snarl. "Stay away." He hissed.

    There was a hesitation in her swing, and as small chunks of concrete fell away from the wall, Crow glanced over her shoulder to Mason and the others. Like Aaron, Crow’s amethyst glow overtook the entirely of her sclera. Her hesitation only lasted for so long, however, and with a growl she turned back to her task. Her arm cocked back slowly, the amethyst clinging to the energy around her palm almost burned with rage alongside her. When her fist made contact there was a small explosion, one that propelled most of the debris out of the hallway and Crow herself, backwards into the wall. If it weren’t for Aaron’s surge of energy, Crow had no doubt the blast would have knocked her unconscious. But she was awake, dazed... but awake, and struggled to find her bearings.

    One thing stood out to her, though: the gaping hole she and Aaron managed to scrape out of the wall.

    Tags: @errybody @allofyall @herewegob
     
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  8. .
    Panic rose in him like never before. Parker couldn’t stand the water rise in on the girls, the walls pull close on the other two. Sand poured down on him, and he tried to keep it out, shaking his head and rubbing his eyes, banging on the glass partition and watching as Crow and Dakota shared terrified words, muffled beyond the glass that separated them.

    And then Crow shoved her through.

    Diving to the floor, Parker skidded on the sand filled ground to catch Dakota in his arms, pulling her close to his chest. “Are you okay?!” He shouted over the pouring of sand.

    One moment, there had been water, the next, granules of sand, pounding down like tiny flakes of hail against Dakota's frozen skin. Panicked and disoriented, she scrambled like a frightened cat as Parker’s arms snagged around her, and clinging, shivering, she grasped him with a bruisingly tight grip.

    “Hey, hey,” He cooed, pulling up one of his arms to try and shield them from the oncoming attack. Parker didn’t know how to even begin comforting her.. They were preparing for incoming doom and her stared straight ahead, trying to wonder why the hell Crow had pushed Kota through.

    “C-calm down.. Gotta pull it together, okay?” He brushed his hand against her cheek. “Deep breaths. Without inhaling any sand.”

    Quaking, Dakota burrowed closer… as close as her tiny frame would allow, tears streaming, sand sticking to her skin as she shook her head, “I p...promised. I p...p...promised I'd g...get her out…”

    Hastily rubbing his hands against her arms in attempt to warm her, Parker shook his head. “You did all you could.. Crow’s strong, they’re all strong. Focus a little on yourself, alright?” He squeezed her shoulders and nudged her upwards. “C’mon, Kota.. you’re strong too.”

    Looking up at him, Dakota frowned, but at his gentle prodding, she rose to her feet, as she looked back at the partition she had come through, “She… she w...wants to break the glass. C...cassia.”

    Stroking her hair and keeping himself angled above her to try and block some sand, he nodded, brows furrowed. “We should get out of the way.” He whispered, nudging her towards the back of the partition. “

    Dakota did not hesitate as Parker eased her away from the wall, moving, despite the protestation of her half frozen form. Curling into herself, she watched the other partition… watched as the water began almost to bubble… like it was boiling, “C...come on, Cass…. C...c’mon.”

    It occurred to Dakota in the few seconds before the explosion that glass wasn't something one generally wanted to explode… It also occurred to her that she had not fully recharged from the power transfer. As the pane splintered, she turned fully to Parker and a second later, beads and splinters showered on them, the glass shattering inward.

    Instinctively pulling Dakota into his chest as he watched the glass spiderweb, Parkota brought his arms around her face and took a few bumbling steps back over the sand. He could barely remember in this moment that Dakota wasn’t fully charged, or that she’d given everything to him. He only cared to keep her safe in his arms, squeezing his eyes shut until he thought he could finally open them.

    “Are you okay?” He whispered.

    Shielded by his form, Dakota seemed to escape relatively unscathed. A scratch here, a scrape there, but nothing deep or life threatening, no cause for immediate concern. As the sand and water dissipated into a sludge-like mud at their ankles, she looked up and nodded, “P...peachy. You?”

    He nodded with a weak smile, electricity crackling along his wild tufts of hair. He cupped her cheek for a moment, trying to hold that smile until he glanced around the room, watching Aaron charge past him and Willow crumple to the floor. His hand fell from her cheek to her wrist, gripping it tightly. “Everything stopped.” He murmured. “Do you think… it’s… on purpose?”

    Her own eyes followed his, everything happening so rapidly, focusing on one thing seemed nearly impossible, even to someone with a mind not given to wander the way Dakota’s was. Someone was hurt… The girl, Willow. If she had been able to share out her power… if she had tried harder…

    Parker’s words seemed to ground her, and looking up at him again, she shook her head, “I don’t. Not at all. I think… I think this was a way to test us, but I don’t think we played by their rules…” Looking at the room, she frowned, “...Parker, I think we can get out…”

    There was a glimmer in Parker’s already electric glowing eyes. He stared at Dakota in shock, disbelief. “It has to be another trick.” He had been here for what felt like years… he had taught himself not to hope. To feel as little as he could. It was easier that way, and he almost hated to admit it.. but Dakota made him feel something.

    “I don't know, Parker. I don't think so… Look..” She pointed into the room, where Aaron had begun to advance with the eerie motion of shadow like tendrils around him, “He's been here a long time. Refused to come out with us… You think he'd make a move if it was a trap?”

    Parker shifted on his feet uneasily, gazing at Aaron as his flowing tendrils pounded against the walls. Parker had never seen Aaron actually.. Determined. He didn’t dare say hopeful, because the kid had no other expression except angry. “Maybe you’re right.” Parker murmured. “What… what can we do?”

    It was apparent, whatever his motives, what Aaron was trying to do, and whether or not he was a trustworthy sort, Dakota had to count on the idea that someone who had been held captive for so long wouldn’t so easily play into the hands on his captors. Turning to Parker, Dakota nodded, “We need to get through the wall, right?”

    “R-right.” Parker murmured, taking a ginger step towards the wall as Aaron continued his assault on the wall. “I.. I don’t know how I can help him.” Parker held up his hand, letting electricity crackle through his palms. “What you did.. Transfering your power.. Is it gonna wear off soon? Does it work with my powers too?”

    Blinking, she looked at him, “I don’t… I don’t actually know. I’ve… never used it on anyone else, before. Um… here.” Reaching her hand up, she pinched the soft skin of her forearm with her fingernail and with a small hiss, nodded, “Ouch. Yeah. I think it’s still working.”

    Sighing deeply, Parker bit his lip. “I don’t know what to do, Kota.” He murmured. “I don’t know how to help. At least not without electrocuting anybody.”

    Turning to Parker again, Dakota’s wide eyes met his and a small smile formed, “...That’s okay, Parker. We don’t know what’s on the other side. I don’t think it’s gonna be as easy as busting down a wall…”

    A brow lifted then, as Crow approached and Dakota opened her mouth to speak, but before the words could come, she heard the girl's comments to the dark-haired boy and her jaw dropped. The whole exchange happened so swiftly that before she could contemplate what was happening, Crow had already taken ahold of Aaron’s hand.

    “No!” She gasped, but it was too late. The look that came over Crow’s features was terrifying and stepping back, shielding herself as the girl punched through the wall, her eyes welling, she cried out a little louder.

    “Crow… don't…”

    The dust from the devastated wall settled and turned towards it, Dakota stared, transfixed. Beyond was another room, and in theory, that room would lead them out… out to their freedom. But they were not alone in the facility and she had heard Aaron and Crow’s words. There was no misinterpretation. People were going to get hurt, and she didn't know how to stop it from happening.

    “Oh no…”
    TAGS: Collab with Cloudy || @rissa, @CloudyBlueDay, @Shizuochan, @Red Thunder, @Everyone
     
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  9. The guttural retch of the explosion sounded, and Cassia turned away, thoughts of Patrick and the wounded boy displaced. Another wall, another break - and another phase in the test, she imagined. They would, again, be scrutinized down to the last violated speck, by men who deified themselves with a clipboard and a lab-coat. They would be found sufficient, or wanting, again and again, until they were dead or wrung for their last trickling vestige of worth. In some twisted way, in its absoluteness of will and control, it was almost as good as God - or so she thought.

    “Patrick.” Stay back.

    She stepped through the maw, and all that lay within was human. Scrambling scientists with their failed countermeasures. Bespectacled scholars who needed spears and hammers, not theories and jotted notes. Simple men who were eminently fallible. Disappointments; unworthy - in the end - to judge her, to judge any of them.

    With languid indifference, she willed a thin sheen of water around her hands, just barely above the skin. As she had in the first trial, she agitated the particles, compelled them to anger, even as if she herself remained morose and disaffected. She conceded, inwardly, that they had taught her something after all, a blessing from a false set of gods. The thin layers of water boiled precariously, causing wisps of steam to emanate from Cassia’s hands.

    “We are not going to kill them, are we? I’m quite certain that’s a no-no, Pearly-gate-wise.” Her eyes lingered across Aaron and Crow, dodging the former with wary dispassion, and lingering on the latter. “And we need at least one conscious. Obviously.”

    And so she threw herself upon the nearest Unworthy, setting upon them with burning hands. They just needed the one. In all fairness, the rest could wear their sins upon their burnt skin.
     
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  10. Patrick O’Malley
    Patrick had smiled at Cassia’s ... relief? It wasn’t really clear what emotion she was showing at his approach after the glass wall had exploded, but she did at least seem happy to see him. And despite all the chaos, it made him smile, especially that she still found it in herself to help him with Leo’s still unconscious form.

    Then Aaron returned.

    “Listen here, yah muthafukkin’ sonnovabitch-“

    But the Shadow freak was focused wholly on the girl that had been trapped with Cass and had exploded the wall. And it looked like they might do it again, only this time in a decidedly more scientist-oriented direction. There were complaints; Mason (was that the boy’s name?) looked particularly concerned, but Patrick nodded grimly, the ends of his mouth leveling in a hard edge. They needed out, and he certainly didn’t have the capability to get them out.

    But suddenly he could help a great deal more than he could have before. The wall fell easily to Crow’d fist, and she and Aaron advanced. And so did Cassia, with an aside Patrick whose tone seemed distressingly final. Releasing Leo, she followed the other two against the scrambling and woefully unprepared scientists, and Paddy nearly dropped his burden in an effort to grab her arm. Fingers grabbed air, but he still managed to hiss through clenched teeth.

    “Yah stay tha hell alive, yah unnerstand me?”

    He couldn’t follow, not weighed down as he was, though the idea of returning the violence back to these bastards that they’d lavished on him and his friends was remarkably enticing. But he could help in other ways. Eyeing a good space past the karma Crow, Aaron, and Cassia were bringing, Patrick opened a Gate both there and beside him. Any who stepped through would find themselves suddenly on the other side of the fight, facing whatever unknown lay ahead.

    “Go!” Paddy shouted, frustrated and anxious. “One at a time, but hurry!”
     
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  11. Alex Summers - Protector's Base

    Darius grumbled under his breath. "Fine, then. You'll stay here." He held his gaze over the two a moment longer, as if he planned to say something else, but closed his mouth and continued debriefing those that were going on them mission.

    After they were debriefed (there was more stuff about 'follow what the others tell you' and 'don't get caught' etc. etc.), Alex stretched his arms, walking out behind a few of the others. Needing no guidance to the armory (one because he remembered the tour well enough. Also because he now remembered it fondly as 'that place where he got the means to kick ass'). Entering a second time, he paused as he glanced around.

    Guns and explosions weren't really his style. Guns because he never learned how to fire one (same with explosives; it would be way too easy to accidentally kill people). Alex didn't want to kill anyone, accidentally or not. Even if everyone had powers, just one stray bullet or shrapnel, or even a medium-sized glass shard could spell grave injury or death for an 'ally'.

    Ergo, as he glanced around the room, Alex once again found himself standing in front of a medium sized red tank with a nozzle at the end. Hefting the fire extinguisher with one hand, he glanced about before also grabbing a few flashbangs. Those were bound to come in handy. As he walked out, Alex also grabbed a vest as well before waiting for Archer to lead them to the jet.

    Clicking his tongue as he stood by, he sighed once before clearing his throat. "I'm sorry about blasting a door at you guys," he said in a deadpan voice without facing the other guy, leaving out the second half that would've been 'but you were asking for it'. That was enough for an apology.
     
    #171 Sairento, Apr 7, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
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  12. Austin

    "Fine, then. You'll stay here."

    Darius's concession seemed to pacify Austin a little; his rigid posture deflated, and his hands came to a rest inside the front pockets of his hoodie. It was hard not to show how relieved he was to stay behind, but he tried for composure's sake not to revel in it. Instead, he gave Darius a curt nod, and backed up towards the door. A part of him wished he was as confident as Joan and Alex. Both had been willing to risk their lives for strangers, regardless of whatever their personal motives were. It was noble perhaps, but also ineffably idiotic.

    Noble or not, I don't owe these people my life. They made their choice.

    As Darius began his briefing, Austin gave the other newcomers a last look before stepping out the door and into the hallway. He was happy with his choice for certain, and relished the idea of being able to practice in peace and quiet for once. Still, even as he reached the end of the passage, and stood before his room, Austin couldn't keep his mind off of the rescue mission. Absentmindedly, he turned the brass handle and entered the cozy, single room. The walls were bare, and there was little more to the place than his bed, wardrobe and counter top.

    They made their choice.

    Austin closed and latched the door behind him, before sitting on the side of his bed. For a couple minutes he sat in silence, trying to process the world, yet unwilling and unable to confront the maddening truth: Darius had asked inexperienced children less than a week into their powers to fight an unknown enemy on their own turf, and--worst of all--they wanted to. In the dim lantern light, he scoffed. What did a bunch of teenagers hope to achieve by attacking the government? To try and save a handful of total strangers?

    They made their choice.

    Almost reluctantly, his eyes came to focus on his tarnished watch; its copper plating was dull, and screen cracked, yet--in that moment--it was unusually heavy. On the surface of the clock-face, he locked eyes with his own reflection. For a moment he held his own gaze, before his features slowly twisted in disgust. With a start, he pulled free the wristwatch from its clasp, and plunged the piece under his mattress.

    He couldn't see it, but try as he might, he still felt it.
     
    #172 Radio Jelly, Apr 10, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
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  13. h a n g \\ d a o


    F---. Color me surprised, Hang thought to herself as the room sorted out between those on the away team and those who were staying. For some reason Poison Ivy - who was no good unless she had a shrubbery, and she was going to the desert - had decided to lend her services, and the biggest shocker was Alex. Ghost Boy was actually about to throw himself into the ring as well. There was something about that drew Hang's eyebrows up towards her hairline.

    She was fairly sure that his participation was less than altruistic, but it still seemed a bit strange, though perhaps he'd just gained a liking towards blasting people with fire extinguishers and wanted more action. Whatever. His choice, not hers.

    If she was honest, she was feeling a little tired, now. Then again, she'd been carrying a whole team of five. Not exactly easy work. Never mind how much Silas helped - he didn't count. He was 'prepared'.

    With a stank eye from Darius and a dismissal, Hang left the room while the rest went to suit up. She saluted them mockingly before heading to her room, sitting on the pitiful bed to take off her shoes. As she unlaced them, second thoughts seemed to shoot through her mind. They might not come back. What did she care? She'd known them four days. That could have been her. And it wasn't. Tough tits. At least tell Alex goodbye. You like him. Like was a very strong word. She could tolerate him, that was about it.

    That said, the thought still stung the back of her mind. Family. Family. Screw that with a nail-studded bat.

    And, in a fit that even surprised her, she chucked one of her shoes at the wall in rage. It bounced off and lay on the floor as she sat there. Her stomach growled, and she stood up, cracking her neck. After all that 'exercise', she was starving. Then again - she was always starving. It was extremely annoying, that she was constantly having to shovel something down her gullet. It seemed like the hunger was only ever abated, rather than her ever getting full. Oh, but some people would kill for that, Hang. Some people have fat asses and can't be bothered to get off them. They'd love to have your problem, just having to shove food through the hole in their face like a f---ing pig.

    She batted the thought away as she walked down the hallway, slowing to a stop by a door. She debated momentarily as she stared at it. A hand seemed to go to knock before she really had a chance to think. Something about being alone with her thoughts at the moment brought up feelings of irritation, and she'd rather not have to sit there with it. At least Spineless would serve as a good verbal dummy.

    "Hey. I'm getting food," Hang said shortly, standing at the door staring at her bare foot. "Help me raid the fridge. You went to cook in there right? Or something? Where's the good stuff?"

    @radiojelly




    @radiojelly
     
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  14. Joan Ardent || Protector's Base, The Armory

    Joan glanced back at Austin and Hang as they left, a slight frown on her face. Her attention was quickly drawn back to Darius as he began debriefing them. Once that was done, she followed Alex to the armory. The amount of gear in there surprised her for a moment. They're a team, it makes sense they would have all this stuff. What in here can I use, though?

    After a few moments looking around the armory, she picked up a vest and boots and took a moment to swap her shoes for the latter. With that done, she picked up a rod not unlike what Sapphire carried and tested its weight. Heh, last time I did this it was during the exercise...now it's really happening, isn't it? She held onto it and looked around one last time, trying to figure out if there was anything else she was even capable of using.

    Maybe a gun...? No, I don't know how to use one, I'd just be a risk. Not a knife either, I don't know how to use that...though, it can be handy for more than just fighting. She picked up a knife with a sheath and shoved it into her pocket. Right, I think that's everything... With a last nervous look over the armory, she joined Alex in waiting, knuckles white as she gripped the staff.

    She wasn't ready for this, she knew that. She also knew that she had to at least try, if nothing else. She would have to stick close to the people who actually knew what they were doing...maybe that would give her a better chance.
     
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  15. evan(escence): "bring me (back) to life" - Willow, maybe.
    Suddenly, things started moving very quickly. A girl fell from a golden circle down into their cell, and, turning, Evan found the same color shining through Patrick’s eyes. Before he could react, the cell wall imploded, letting in a rush of water which mingled grossly with the sand. Evan struggled to keep his head above the mess, while keeping his grip on Leo as best he could. But in the next moment, Evan felt himself falling through a sloshing combination of sand and water, tumbling out somewhere else with a splash. He released Leo, flailing wildly; there was nothing to hold onto, and he realized suddenly that he was in water. Straining, Evan kicked downwards, breaking the surface again with a gasp. He wiped the water from his eyes and looked around.

    The first thing he saw was the mess that was Willow’s abdomen. Another girl, who looked to have ghostly powers, had begun to handle her wound, and by the time Evan realized what was happening it was all too late. He turned away from the sight, squeamish in spite of himself. Closing his eyes in the torrent of non-newtonian mixture that still poured down and around, Evan muttered, “Idiots.”

    Patrick began to move toward Cassia, still holding Leo, and Evan made a motion to follow after, but was distracted by the commotion at the far wall. He now saw the others there, Aaron with his cohort of darkness, and Crow and Mason nearby. A sense of dread ran through Evan as he watched Aaron lend power to Crow; the volatility of this shadow boy was terrifying still, even if he was now helping them. There was something about his face that didn’t seem… didn’t seem human, for lack of a better term.

    Evan stepped forward and caught Mason, just as he was flung backward. Best not to approach that wall right now. “Hey dude -- there’s glass in your arm. At least that’s something I can fix.” Evan reached forward and ripped it out without further ceremony. “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you, literally.” Focusing on the remaining injury, Evan let out a small scream of pain as the wound appeared on his own arm, vanishing from Mason’s. “Eeuuughh… not bad,” he told the boy, wincing nonetheless. “Can you check my back for shards?”

    Mason had admittedly been a bit distracted, what with watching Crow turn to the dark side and all. He prayed it wasn’t permanent as Evan appeared behind him, startling Mason as he blinked furiously, ripping his gaze away from the newly opened hole in the wall to the boy and then, his arm. Before Mason could even voice his surprise Evan was ripping it out.

    “Ahg -- ow!! -- shit!” Mason cried, clutching his arm in pain until suddenly, the bleeding gash wasn’t there. Instead, Mason watched in horror as it appeared on Evan’s arm. “Holy.. th-... thanks?” He murmured. Evan hadn’t even hesitated. “Yes.. yeah, of course, l-lemme..” Mason awkwardly spun around Evan, and winced upon seeing a particularly nasty shard towards his shoulder. “Uh.. yeah.. I see one. I’m gonna pull it, okay?”

    “Go ahead.” Evan grit his teeth and clenched. He’d honestly expected it to be worse, especially after tumbling like that-- owwwwwwwww. The wounds would heal fairly quickly; the one on his arm already was hurting less. His clothing was definitely more tattered now, but that could be attended to after they gave these scientists hell. “Thanks. Anything else affecting you, or are you ready for some payback?” Evan didn’t notice himself, but he suddenly was acting as if they were a team. No question, just doing what he could for their goal.

    It occurred to Mason in that moment how, out in the real world, they probably never would have met. He desperately appreciated Evan’s willingness to help, and his calm-hearted bravery. It gave Mason a sense of relief. Because if Evan could do it, surely he could too.

    “I’m ready.” Mason said determinedly.

    Crrunkch. The wall suddenly succumbed to its attackers, leaving a hole large enough to scramble through. Evan eyed the group before it. Now was the time to fight. His hands shaking, Evan agreed somewhat quietly, “Then, so am I.” With a rush of speed that was uncanny, he flew past Patrick’s newly-created gate with intensity, charging into the room where now others were beginning to attack. Evan raised his knee, squarely into one of their captors’ crotches.

    What the hell am I doing?
    But the question didn’t register to Evan’s motor controls; now a kick, now a cross, and the scientist began to crumple beneath the blows. The only thing foremost in Evan’s mind was that he was in the presence of great evil, and perhaps it was this that instilled such an unusual impetus.
     
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  16. In The Sky

    “Alright!” Came a shrill teenage voice. Sapphire, no one less. With her staff poised in front of her, ready to command her battalion like a war captain. “Me and Victor are calling the shots. You can use the earpieces from the mission, we’ll be connected at all times. Rookies - pick a partner. We’re playing buddy system. Because you’re along for the ride..this is a recovery operation only. Don’t engage. We’re there to rescue.”

    Sapphire marched across the span of the jet. “It’s not hard to tell who’s who. Hospital gowns - imprisoned metas. Anything else, and especially lab coats: Bad news.

    Our hard hitters are Victor, Christina and Silas. They’ll be at the front. Makoa, you’re focusing on directly protecting the inmates. Jace and Casey will back her up. Basil and Ayla are manning the ship in our absence. Archer is covering the rest. Now, --”

    A loud crunching interrupted her. Archer froze with his hand in a bag of chips, which disappeared with a gust of wind after a death glare from Sapphire. “Metabolism,” He reminded feebly.

    Sapphire shook her head. “This isn’t a time for distractions. One of our own.. Her name is Willow. She was captured some time ago and Ayla believes she’s here. This mission cannot go awry. We have to rescue her and everyone else. Now.. would be the time for questions. We’ve got time anyway.”

    @Joan @Sairento

    ⌽​

    Almost There

    Pleased with his creation, Aaron’s grin stayed in place as he made his way through the newly opened hole. Darkness swarming at his fingertips, locking eyes on a scientist who had stood from his swivelling chair in horror. Before he could even consider running, Aaron had grabbed his neck, the man immediately gasping for air as his veins swelled and darkened, dark tears falling from his eyes.

    Mason had raised a fist towards another scientist, mustering as much courage as he could after Evan’s act of bravery. But Aaron’s eerie smile as he watched the scientist choke to death made him pause in fear, and the scientist took his chance with a swing that Mason luckily ducked in time to dodge.

    As he stood back up his eyes were glowing a bright cerulean blue, and he kicked the scientist square in the gut, watching him crumble back. “I know where we have to go!” He shouted. “Follow me!”

    Willow’s already pale skin seemed clammier. She gripped Hedieh. “You… can get this out of my gut… r-right..?”

    Past the control room that held the scientists was a staircase, winding and tall. The steps were metal, and cold upon their bare feet. Mason held a determination within him, eyes shining blue.

    At the top of these stairs lay another hallway, with one large door to the right that promised reprieve. Mason didn’t even have to glance down the other end of the hallway to know that was where he would have to go. Unfortunately, such a look might’ve helped him to realize that some armed guards were on their way, preparing to intercept them as they made their way up.

    Once the door was opened, the sun would pour in. Dust and sand filled the air, heat raining down on the captives. Though dry and humid, it would be the first fresh air they had tasted in days.

    @rissa @Elle Joyner @HerziQuerzi @Shizuochan @Red Thunder @Eru

    ⌽​

    Mirra Mirra On The Wall

    The base was quiet once the Protectors left. Darius had locked himself away in his office, heading the mission from behind his control desk, making it clear to Austin and Hang he was not to be disturbed. Some of the other Protectors who had filed out of the room seemed not so unanimous in Darius’s anger.

    The only member of the Protectors left behind was Mirra, and as she finally left her room it was clear why. She was covered in cuts, bruises. Her arm was wrapped and she used a single crutch. It wasn’t even the injuries that tipped the scale, but simply the malnourishment. When the Protectors had taken her from the SPME, she must have been on the brink of death. At least now, she was beginning to heal.

    Percy had seemed to take to her. With Darius focused on the mission, bustling with energy and no one else left to bother, he harassed her out of bed after the base went quiet. It was a good time to meet a few of the newbies anyway.

    “Good stuff is Archer’s stash.” Mirra piped up from behind, Percy at her feet, clutching a stuffed reindeer toy. “Fast metabolism.. Lots of snacks. He won’t mind. I can take you.” Her voice was quiet, and her sentences short. She seemed to value being to the point. Leaning against the crutch, she stuck out her hand. “I’m Mirra.”

    @Doctor Jax @Radio Jelly
     
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  17. Alex Summers - Protector's Base

    To say Alex was surprised was…well, a bald-faced lie. Choice seemed to be given to them at any and all times since they'd arrived (sans that one week rule), even when it probably would be better for them to just be given some instructions for better group coherency. After all, it would be incredibly dangerous if anyone were to become too irritated or frustrated because someone else didn't play well with others.

    That said.

    "I'll pair up with Casey and stay with the defense group," he called idly, glancing over to said girl. Just a return of a middle finger didn't suffice as payback in his book. He was going to make sure to get something that stuck. "I'm not raring to get shot or whatever else can happen."

    "Could you tell us more about this Willow? What she looks like, for example. Also, why are lab coats espescially bad news?" he asked. "Do they also have powers?"
     
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  18. Joan Ardent || The Jet

    Joan listened quietly to Sapphire, nodding along as she told them the plan. She reached up to touch her ear at the mention of the earpieces, and upon finding hers still there, let out a soft sigh of relief before turning her attention back to the briefing. She had completely forgotten to remove it, which turned out to actually be a good thing for once.

    Alex spoke first, unsurprisingly, and she waited until he was done before piping up. “I'm sticking with Archer.” She had worked with him before, and that hadn't gone too badly. She figured it would be best to stick with what she knew this time...She flashed Archer a shy smile before looking back at Sapphire, worry returning to her face.

    “How many inmates do we think there are? Any particular hazards to watch out for, apart from the lab coats?” Even if the answer to Alex's question about powers was a 'no', she still had no problem believing they would be a threat. The Protectors were powerful, and she had no doubt she'd only seen a small fraction of what they could do. If even they were scared of the labcoats, then she figured she should be scared too.
     
  19. Hedieh Redding // Easier To Carry The Ring

    Guiltily ignoring Willow's question, Hedieh stumbled towards the gate Patrick had created for them to bypass the fighting. Shifting sands made her steps unsteady. Shards of glass beneath her bare feet made them excruciating. Only a few feet to get the gate, and already Hedieh was regretting the stoicism that held her back from asking someone else to carry Willow. That feeling of responsibility, and not wanting to be a burden to the others.

    Regretted it, but held to it.

    She tried and failed to hide her winces, to choke back the sharp intakes of breath. What right did she have to express pain from some cuts on her feet, when in her arms another recovered from a crippling wound? It would be selfish. Entitled. So she tried, and failed, to hide it. Through the gate, past the fighting. Fighting she tried not to see. Not because she was squeamish,or found it horrifying, but because she was worried it would feel good to see those scientists broken and bloody.

    Or worse, the same nothing from when she crippled that first scientist who had come for her. That same sense of detachment. The fear of feeling that was stronger than any desire to witness revenge. So she climbed the stairs, feet leaving a trail of blood, muscles starting to strain as she ascended with legs weak from her time in the cells, weighed down by Willow's weight. She blindly followed Mason, too tired and too focused on hiding it to look up as she reached the top of the stairs, and staggered out into the sun.
     
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  20. .
    Leo came to, finally, as the wall imploded and Crow was thrown violently backwards. Eyes open, mouth raw from hacking up sand, he watched as Crow stood and merely shrugged off what should have incapacitated her. Stumbling out of Patrick's grasp, Leo collapsed to his knees in the muddy concoction, coughing up sand and phlegm. Eyes watering, throat grainy, he found his way to his feet, eyes still locked on Crow. She nodded at Aaron before making her way through the breach in the wall and glancing around wildly, wondering what the group's strategy was since he'd been out, found himself looking at utter chaos.

    In the midst of it all, Leo caught sight of Dakota standing near some of the others, looking utterly terrified. He took a few unsteady steps toward her before calling out. "C'mon, we gotta get out of here!"

    Tears had begun their course down her frigid cheeks again, as Dakota watched Crow storm in through the gaping hole. What was about to happen couldn't be stopped, and no one seemed concerned that what they were about to do would remain with them for the rest of their lives.

    She wasn't stupid. Most people assumed because she was small and talked too much and occasionally her socks didn't match, and sometimes she forgot to exercise common sense, and she really liked anything that possessed more than a quarter inch of fluff she was dumb, but the truth was Dakota had both a semblance of intelligence and wisdom. Escape was important, sure, but at what cost? Murder was still murder, even when the dead people were bad guys. No one seemed to be thinking ahead, considering what came when they got out and reality resumed. They'd be killers... Accomplices, at the very least. And there wasn't a lot of freedom in that, either.

    And so she stood, frozen by indecision... No. Frozen by the decision not to act, and it was in that state she heard someone call out. Twisting, she spotted Leo stumbling forward.

    "Oh!" With a small squeak she moved to steady him, and whether or not she realized how ridiculous that idea was didn't particularly show, "They... You... I think they..." It wasn't a common show for Dakota to have nothing to say, but the chaos has left her as speechless as she was capable. Instead, stretching out a trembling hand, she let it hover over his arm, "H...here. This might..."

    Dropping her hand with a shake of her head, she released the small surge of power, similar to what she had given Parker. It wouldn't be enough to stop speeding cars or bullets or charging rhinos, or whatever else these people threw at them, but the boy would be steadier on his feet at least.

    "I d...don't wanna hurt anyone." She whispered, looking back to the gaping hole.

    "Th-thanks," Leo said genuinely, eyes a little less glossed over as his legs stood straighter and the ache in his back was no longer so pronounced. His eyes grew soft at her last remark and his mind, the part that wasn't melding with the technology outside of the room, formulated a plan.

    "My ma' used to say there were many kinds of heroes. Me and you," Leo motioned to himself and Dakota, "We're not heavy hitters, but we have to do the best we can to help get each other out of here..."

    He glanced over his shoulder, through the breach in the wall that Crow climbed through, anxiously wondering what had become of the girl.

    "We gotta stick together no matter what! Stay behind me, okay?" And with that he struck forward, feet sloshing through the mud with relative ease thanks to the surge Dakota had given him.

    "I'm a tank..." She mused, the tremor in her voice robbing the small joke of some glory. Swallowing, her eyes shifted. Beyond the gap was a new world. A world she wouldn't ever be able to come back from. It would change her... What came next. It would change her forever.

    Twisting to Leo again, she nodded, weakly. Stick together. She'd heard that a few times, now. But no one seemed keen on it once the motion started. Leo seemed sturdier now at least and despite her better judgement she believed he meant what he said.

    She wanted out. She wanted all of them to get out.

    Trailing after Leo, tugging her feet free of the muck, she followed him to the opening.

    He climbed through the hole in the wall hesitantly, scared to look beyond, terrified to stay behind. When he finally breached the threshold he did so while holding his breath. Chaos laid before him; the heavy hitters were already crafting it, chaos and death, and the violence of it all almost took his breath away. Almost. Because somewhere deep inside, he knew that sometimes violence was necessary. Once he was through he reached a hand through to help Dakota up and out of the hole in the wall.

    "If we hurry, we can make it through while Crow and the others are distracting the scientists!"

    She couldn't look. She wouldn't look. Whatever was happening... Whatever was going on, she didn't want to see it. To think about them that way... Maybe it was necessary, but it was heartbreaking.

    Taking Leo's hand, she averted her eyes, looking ahead... Only ahead, moving as quickly as her short legs could go.

    With one hand he clutched onto Dakota's and with the other, Leo grabbed the first thing his eyes made contact with. Weilding a keyboard one-handedly, he struck forward, hoping Dakota stayed right on his heels. They were only a few feet into the room when Leo heard Mason's voice and glancing around wildly, found his cerulean glow.

    "Did'ja hear that?" Leo said with a manic smile warping his features. Leo's eyes were glowing softly, though nothing tangible seemed to come from his expendage of power. "Looks like Mason found a wa--Dakota duck!!"

    With a small squeal of fear and surprise, Dakota both spun and ducked at the same time, not terribly coordinated in either gesture, her free hand rising over her head as she did so.

    Leo swung the keyboard with all his might, smashing -and breaking- the keyboard against the jaw of the nearest man wearing a white lab coat. Eyes wide, Leo swallowed back fear and guilt, promised himself that he was only protecting himself and Dakota, and started forward blindly, reaching behind him to grab hold of the wisp of a girl behind him.

    "We gotta hurry, we can't get left behind!"

    Straightening, Dakota reached for the outstretched hand again as her vision blurred once more with tears... Fear and anxiety and sadness, mingling with a mess of other feelings...

    "Just run!" She finally squeaked out, gripping his hand tighter, "I'll be fine!”

    Run… running was the only choice left. Not just now. No… running was all they'd ever have. It broke her to think on it. To know that no matter what they did, no matter how innocent they were, they would always be hunted. She might never be able to go home… To see her family…

    Yet that was the curve that life thrown them. And maybe it wasn't fair, and maybe it wasn't right… but the options were apparent and there was no use sulking about what lay ahead. No one thought would escape and they were managing that. Maybe there was a chance… There was always a chance…

    So she ran. She ran until her lungs burned and her chest tightened and her vision blurred. She clung to Leo's hand and she races up, up, up the stairs, bare feet slipping on metal and finally, like breaking through a cavern wall, streams of sunlight filtered down, hot and bright and beautiful and with one last push, they emerged into the arid warmth of freedom.

    Releasing her vice grip on Leo and doubling over to catch her breath, nearly collapsing into the sand with a strangled sob of relief, Dakota pooled her remaining energy into not throwing up or blacking out. When she could suck in a breath without agony, she straightened to take stock of their surroundings… of who had made it out.

    “Mason. Oh, thank God…” She breathed, seeing the boy not too far from where they stood, Evan with him. And just a little ways from him, the girl who had been injured by the glass… Willow. And the one helping her was… Hetti...Heidi? She'd need to ask when they weren't being hunted down by psychopathic lab techs with bad manners.

    But where was Crow? Where were Cass and Patrick and…

    Parker.

    Straightening rigid, Dakota turned to the door again. She had stopped to help Leo and hasn't gotten a chance to see who was where…

    And he was nowhere…

    “Parker! Parker!!”
    TAGS: collab with Rissa || @CloudyBlueDay, @rissa, @CloudyBlueDay, @Shizuochan, @Red Thunder, @Everyone
     
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