Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Hydronine, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. [ame=""]YouTube- Leo and Satan - Algebra Aversion[/ame]

  2. MARCH 31, 2017

    The entire battle had been perhaps three hours long on a conservative estimate. However, those three hours had been devastating. More than half of Hushcobb suffered structural damage and the casualty and fatality reports were still leaking in. Multiple critical structures were also incapacitated or severely damaged. Sam crouched on the edge of the roof of Hushcobb headquarters, looking over the destruction with a stony countenannce. He had bseen this picture of carnage and death before. He had been in more war zones and battlefields than he would like to admit in the last seven years. But, suddenly, the war had come home.

    He heard soft footsteps behind him. He almost missed it. That narrowed down the suspects considerably. Without turning, he said in greeting, "Taka, Karin."

    "Out for some fresh air?" Crossfire asked, taking up a seat beside the crouched mercenary and letting his legs dangle over the edge. He unbuttoned his suit jacket for comfort.

    Karin slid in on the mercenary's other side, offering an open pack of cigarettes to the two men before sticking one in her own mouth. She lit on her own an was unsurprised when Sam drew forth a small, cheap lighter from his pocket. "See something familiar, Sam?" she asked him.

    "Yes," he answered softly, blowing out a cloud of grey. "First time I've seen it this close to home, though." His brows narrowed in quiet anger. "He did all this. I've seen it before. This kind of destruction. First time it was this close."

    "We'll get him back," Crossfire promised. "Bet your ass on it."

    "That'll be hard to do with Natalia leaving," Sam pointed out.

    Karin raised an eyebrow. "You're going to talk her out of that of course."

    "No. I intend to help her move out."

    That caused both of them to snap disbeleving looks his way. "Wait, what? You can't be serious," Crossfire exclaimed, souding markedly betrayed. "Sam, think this through."

    The mercenary stabbed the stub of his cigarette into the roof edge. "Her points are perfectly valid. Lorentz will target anything with a heartbeat -- but he's not the type to focus on a singular target unless someone is guiding him," Sam said. "That someone is Emily Sternit. And all mounting evidence points to Sternit holding interest in Natalia Elmore. As long as she is here, the Sanguinaar and Lorentz will keep pounding at you until you're dust."

    Karin frowned disapprovingly. "We've handled worse."

    "You haven't," Sam argued. "We're not tackling the Abominable Snowman, Dracula, or the Slenderman, Karin. Whatever Natalia is -- and I'm increasingly convinced she isn't a mage -- she is drawing incredibly powerful enemies, ones that we have no experience with. Natalia is strong. And wasn't it you who always said, 'strength invites challenge?' Hushcobb can't fight this one out."

    "And you think you can?" Crossfire snapped.

    Sam flicked his extinguished cigarette to the streets below. "No. But I think I can get her and her friends to a point where they can."


    MARCH 31, 2017

    Hushcobb's research center was one of the few buildings spared the fury of Lorentz's assault. Sam joined Ruth and Eliza in paying Crippling a visit. The werewolf was all too happy to provide a helping paw in Eliza's plight. Sam watch the subtle body language between the two women. The way they stood side by side, just a little too close. The brushes of hands or outright holding of them. The way Ruth kept stealing worried glances at her afflicted lover. Sam wistfully remembered when she looked at him that way. Somehow, they managed to make a relationship out of what had been Ruth's glorified rebound. He was happy for her finding peace with Eliza, though there was still a pang of bitter resignation that things ended they way they did.

    Man, it seemed, was never meant to be alone. If he thought about it, he could still remember how soft her bosom felt in his hands, hear melodious groan in her voice as he brought her to climax, or the warmth of her mouth on his lips and lower. However, it was easier for him to fantasize about another woman in those positions instead, at least more recently.

    Crippling slid a USB toward the two women across his desk. "This contains most of my research on the suppression formula," he told them. "I took the liberty to modify the base calculations for vampirism instead of lycanthropy, but I only had a few hours to work on it. It should jumpstart our own studies, however, Eliza."

    Eliza took the piece of plastic in hand with a fanged smile. Her pleased expression softened the smile from a predatory to merely optimisic. "Thanks, Nathaniel. You're probably a life-saver."

    "Remind me to get you a new dog house," Ruth added with a broad grin. The two women linked hands, to which the werewolf merely quietly smiled.

    "Anything I can do to help," the librarian said. Then he nodded toward Sam. "And I haven't forgotten you, either, Sam. You did me a favor back when I went feral." Crippling laid a long, heavy aluminum case on his desk. It was the same design, if bigger, than the one used to hold his Mauser, helmet, and gi. The werewolf opened the case.

    Within the padded interior was a bulletproof vest, a tactical duty belt with pouches, an M1911A in its holster, a H&P UMP45, and a Remington 700. Extra magazines were also tucked into the padding. Finally, there was a folded set of black fatigues. Sam instantly recognized the layout as his old field gear.

    Sam raised an eyebrow. The werewolf said, "We expect some loss of equipment after Lorentz's attack. I'm sure some gear won't be missed."

    The mercenary closed the case, accepting it silently. "No, I suppose it won't."

    "I heard you're agreeing with Natalia about leaving," Ruth said, still holding Eliza's hand.

    He nodded.

    "You're leaving with her. Again." There was no mistaking the hurt in Ruth's tone.

    "...I did say I wasn't back," Sam said softly.


    Landel laid a comforting hand over Ruth's. "Easy, Ruth. Sam knows what he's doing."

    "Does he?" Ruth countered. She snapped at the mercenary, "We need you here, Sam. You and I are done, but we're all still family. You don't abandon family -- especially not twice!"

    Sam replied with forced calm, "You're upset, angry, and emotional because of what happened to Eliza. She's right -- I do know what I'm doing. I don't mean to abandon everyone again, but I did say I never intended to come back. I know all too well where Natalia is coming from -- you don't think I felt the same? Lorentz killed my parents and our son. I, too, am a target. He'd have hunted me here, just like he did Natalia. Us leaving is for your safety, first and foremost."

    Ruth didn't look convinced. Eliza, however, was the calming presence of the two. She replied, "I figured as much. You'll watch over her and the others, right? They're reckless -- witness what they did in Hyde Park -- but they're good girls. They could use a good advisor when they face Lorentz, or Sternit, or whoever else comes their way."

    He nodded. "I intend to."

    "Take care of yourself, Sam."

    "I will, Eliza. And Ruth...." He gave Eliza a quick look before brushing his fingers against Ruth's cheek. To his relief, she leaned into his touch. "I promise to visit."

    She locked gazes with him. "You better."


    Ferrara irritably shoved aside some rubble that had fallen on top of his desk. His office was, like most of the town, a mess. Burn scars, refuse, and debris covered everything. Even an hour into clean-up and he still had plenty to do. In frustration, he overturned his ruined desk with a growl.

    "Keep that up and you'll end up on even more meds that blood pressure of yours." Matthew Phoenix stood from where he leaned on the doorframe and sauntered in. He had a large amber bottle and two tumblers in hand. He pulled the overturned desk back upright and poured the bottle into the tumblers.

    "That had better be hard and pricey," Ferrara grunted, accepting a glass.

    "One way to find out," the immortal said, raising his in salute. "Chin don."

    "Salud." Ferrara ended up coughing after the first swallow. "God, Matt, that tastes like dogshit!"

    "Guess now you know how much I paid for it. One out of two isn't bad, right?"

    The director grunted something untoward and downed the rest of his glass. Then, with a wince, he grabbed the bottle for another round. He neeeded another. They all did. "This last month has been nothing but a disaster," he hissed. The second round went down as fast as the first. In short order, Ferrara's words took on a slight slur. "Two attacks by the same man. Never has Hushcobb taken a beating like that. And for that Elmore girl to just walk out of here! And we can't do a damn thing about it!"

    "I should get you to drink more," Matthew said, still nursing his first. "You actually speak the honest truth when you're buzzed."

    "This wouldn't have happened when you or Aegil were director."

    The immortal shook his head. "Stop right there, Vincent. You and I don't always see eye to eye, but we've always seen the value in Hushcobb. We've stopped hundreds of threats under your leadership.

    "And you're going to see one of those threats take us out under my leadership."

    "World's changing, Vincent. Getting more dangerous. This isn't the 1940s anymore. What your Hushcobb has to fight aren't the same as what mine did. Even the Sanguinaar are different than when the Tomorrow Men fought them." Matthew poured Ferrara a third round. "Look, if it makes you feel any better, we can always ask Aegil to provide funding or resources to rebuild. At the very least, Natalia leaving for the Ivory Tower means that she'll be under his watchful eye. She can't be any safer than with him, right?"

    Hushcobb's director grudgingly had to agree. "I suppose you're right. At the very least, someone like Thomas Aegil can handle Natalia Elmore...."


    APRIL 1, 2017

    It had taken some doing and quite a bit of time stretched over the last few weeks -- catastrophic attacks on secret organizations notwithstanding -- but Natalia Elmore and Cherie Shepherd were finally fully moved into their new flat. Located in a Victorian building, renovated for the modern era, and with a view of the Thames, it was certainly a stretch more posh than either woman was expecting. Sam had evidently been furnishing it slowly over the last few weeks, but it took Natalia and Cherie only a few hours to move their belongings into their new home.

    "I can't believe this is all ours," Cherie said, settling the latest load of clothing into a drawer.

    "Definitely roomier than the dorms," Natalia agreed. She looked over to Raven, who was assisting in the unpacking. "No offense, Raven."

    The brunette simply smiled. "Hey, if a handsome gentleman got me a nice flat, I'd move out, too." She tossed Sam a faux-betrayed look. "I might also be a little jealous."

    The mercenary, who was kneeling by the pieces of a coffee table he was putting together, countered, "Your family is rich. They can get you your own flat."

    "Which reminds me, Sam," Cherie started, "how did you manage to get this place? Or afford it, for that matter?" While grateful for his help, the pudgy woman's tone made it very clear that there was still a healthy element of distrust in the mercenary's actions.

    "I helped the landlord a few years ago," he replied honestly. "I got rid of a few gremlins."

    Natalia raised an eyebrow. "What, did you fix a broken boiler room?"

    Sam looked up from his work. "No. I got rid of gremlins. Actual ones. The landlord's a part-time mage. He knows about our world. Not a very good or strong mage, though. He mainly uses his magic to do repair work. Makes him seem like he's just that good with a wrench. Very clever set-up, actually. Brings in good business on the side."

    "No way he could be as good with his hands as you," Raven salaciously said, causing Natalia to turn red. To the brunette's delight, even Sam was caught off-guard by the comment. She pointedly ignored Cherie's aghast expression.

    Sam recovered enough to clear his throat and say, "The flat's close enough to the Tower than you and Jill and visit Natalia frequently. It is also close enough to be within Thomas Aegil's sphere of influence. That'll be a big part of deterring any follow-up attacks from Lorentz and the Sanguinaar. Aegil's too powerful and influential to risk a direct assault. It's also close enough to my place, as well."

    Natalia perked up at the last part. "You live nearby?" Even though she had enough power to level a city block, she found comfort in the knowledge that Sam Ebayan was nearby. He had a calming presence and sound advice. Overall, she liked having her friends near.

    "I started a repair job out of a warehouse I bought near the Thames," he explained. "Turned it into a workshop, flat, and gym all in one."

    By this point, he had finished the coffee table and was helping Raven move an amoire. The brunette gave him a sly wink. "A big warehouse with just you, all alone?" They set the armoire down and she leaned on it with her elbows, then rested a chin across one hand. "I think I can fix that."

    He smiled quielty at her. "I think you can, too. But first, let's fix up Natalia and Cherie's new home."


    APRIL 1, 2017

    "I swear, you're going to give me even more grey hairs with your driving," Sam griped, stepping out of the passenger side, walking around, and opening the driver door. He even offered a hand to guide Raven out of the red Aston Martin.

    The brunette smirked like a contented cat. "And that's a problem why? Grey looks good on you; its very distinguished."

    "Can you two lighten up on the flirting for two minutes?" Jill Baker whined, exiting one of the rear doors.

    Natalia Elmore and Erika Hennessey joined her, the latter quipping, "Yeah, flirting's fun and all, but when are you guys gonna get to the interesting part? I need me some spank material."

    Raven palmed her face in embarrassment. She gave Sam an apologetic look. "I swear, they aren't actually my friends. They're like stray dogs that just keep following me around."

    "If you'd stop petting them, maybe they'd go away," Natalia offered lightly. The blonde looked up at their destination, a ramshackle warehouse that had obviously undergone some recent repairs. "So this is your new home?" She looked a little forlorn. "Sam, you could've taken the flat for yourself. You don't have to live in something like this."

    He chuckled. "Don't worry about me, Natalia. Places like this? Very cheap. And I can do most of the touching up myself. Besides, its multipurpose. I needed both a place to stay and a place to work and train. Give me a month and it'll look even nicer than yours."

    The young blonde looked uncertain, but then nodded. "If you say so."

    Sam led the girls into his new abode. The interior was spartan, but functional. It was mainly concrete floorspace, but he had already taken some long pieces of scrap steel piping, large concrete blocks, and cast-off wooden pallets, fencing, and crates and arranged them all into training stations for various exercises. Most of the steel pipes were connected into a complex arrangement, forming a cage system to practice Parkour flows. One of the circular iron support beams had layers of padding cinched around it with twine and duct tape to serve as a punching bag. A homemade salmon ladder was bolted to a wall and fashioned from short steel pipes and a series of T-connectors. Sam even rigged up what looked like a Wing Chun practice dummy made out of roughshoud pieces of driftwood; the condition of the wood made it obvious that he was still smoothing it out by hand before he could use it.

    "Wow," Raven muttered, looking around. "This is...actually kind of cool. Did you actually buy any of this stuff?"

    "No," Sam replied. "Its amazing what you can find in a junk yard."

    Jill immediately took her hand off the cage system and looked at it in disgust. "Oh, that's gross!"

    "...I did wash everything, Jill."

    "Still gross! Ugh!"

    He sighed and led the way up a flight of stairs to the built-in office. A much smaller venue, the office originally had some basic accoutrements like a desk, couch, and a few chairs. Sam rigged up a set of makeshift partitions from pallet board to make a bedroom, closet, and bathroom, which of course made the office itself even more cramped.

    "Tell me you didn't get the toilet and shower out of a junk yard, too," Jill said.

    "Those I actually did buy. Same with the cot," he answered. "Installed it all myself, though. That was a little messy. I don't do as much plumbing as construction and electrical work."

    Jill gagged. "I don't even want to know."

    Raven looked around. "So...we can come here whenever we want?"

    "You're going to need someplace discrete to train," Sam said, "especially if you four want to continue being vigilantes. Strength invites challenge and you four are very strong."

    "You make it sound like something bad's coming down the line," Jill said.

    Natalia interjected, "Something already has. We still don't know where Lorentz is, or Emily and the rest of the Sanguinaar. Or whoever the traitor in Hushcobb is." She looked straight at Sam. "That's why you want to work with us, isn't it?"

    He nodded. "The world knows you exist. They may not know who you are, but they know that the Magic Girls are out there, in the city, acting as a force for good. I've fought a lot of enemies in my time. Invariably, enemies both new and old will come to you, whether you like it or not."

    A new feminine voice commented, "He's right, you know."

    All five instantly whipped around, their attention drawn to the ground floor. There, out in the open, stood a tall, wiry woman with short brown hair clad in black. A sidearm was holstered in a thigh rig at her leg. Raven recognized her from the docks in Thailand, but couldn't place her name. All she remembered was that she was one of the good guys and knew Sam.

    "Jade," the mercenary greeted, walking down the steps to meet her. "I'm not even going to ask how you found out about this place. Good to see you."

    "Its a been a while since our last lunch date," she replied easily. Raven, following Sam down the stairs, raised an eyebrow. She kept her expression cool, but felt a pang of heated jealousy. Meanwhile, Jade said, "I heard about Hushcobb. I see you and the others are at least alive and well."

    "I assume Specter will be making the corporate push into the US, now that Hushcobb's taken a hit?" Sam asked.

    She shrugged. "Well, of course. We are rivals, after all. But seriously, if there's anything I can do to help out...."

    "I'll pass it along to Matt, Cross, and Karin," Sam promised. "You'll want to warn your superiors -- Lorentz is not messing around. He's got some serious help. I'll brief you later."

    "Over lunch?"

    Raven crossed her arms under her breasts and narrowed her eyes. Behind her, Jill raised a hand to her mouth at the silent byplay. Erika was snickering. Natalia glanced between Raven, Sam, and Jade in mild confusion.

    "Sure," Sam said. He gave Jade a two-fingered salute. "See you around, Captain. Be safe."

    "You too, Sam." Jade gave the other women a perfunctoy nod, saying, "Take care of him. Its a bit of a full-time job." With that, she spun on a heel and walked off.

    "Lunch, huh?" Raven said in a tone that was far too mellow and serene.

    Sam looked at her in confusion. "Hm? Yes, is that a problem? Jade Wilson and I have been friends since we were in high school. We sometimes go out for lunch to catch up."

    The brunette hissed icily, "Oh, its not a problem. Not a problem at all. You have fun with your lunch date with another woman, you dense ass!" With that, she shouldered past him and stalked out of the warehouse. "Come on, let's go home!"

    Natalia blinked and hurried after the seething brunette. Erika was cackling to herself and said as she passed Sam, "Oh, this is too funny. Be seeing you, Short, Dark, and Handsome."

    Jill shook her head and patted Sam on the shoulder. "You just don't know how to deal with women, do you, Sam?"

    The mercenary palmed his face. "I really should have expected that."

    "Don't worry, she'll get over it. Thanks for letting us come here," Jill said. Then she whispered as an aside, "Tell you what, I'll calm her down. Get her primed up so you can take her out on a 'make up' dinner date or something."

    "...I don't think I need help in my dating life, Jill."

    "Mounting evidence currently states otherwise."

    From the Aston, Raven hollered, "Come on, Jill! Let's go."

    Jill patted Sam again. "See you around."


    APRIL 1, 2017

    The Archmage's office was unusually packed this evening, with three guests partaking of his finest wine. A small air elemental that he had awakened floated from one to the other, refilling glasses and placing light refreshments before them on porcelaid serving plates. While Aegil was not particularly enamored of his guests, he was ever a gracious host.

    At present, his guests were arguing. Loudly.

    "We should strike now, while the iron's hot!" Lucrezia Louis barked, gesturing fiercely with her wine glass and threatening to spill its contents.

    Emily Sternit silently looked at the other redhead, clearly disapproving of the emotional outburst. Lucrezia meekly cooled her ardor, but continued to clutch the stem of her glass in a tight fist.

    Lounging on the couch across from them was Lorentz, idly sipping at his wine -- his fourth partaking, yet seemingly unfazed by the alcohol. The mage waved a disinterested hand. "Haste maskes waste, poppet."

    "Keep calling me that, and I swear I'll -- "

    "Do absolutely nothing," Lorentz cut in tartly. "Child, I've crushed warlords in my time. Subjugated demons and elementals. Faced the best Huschobb had to offer. You may cower behind the Sanguinaar's long shadow, but make no mistake -- I am strong. I did not gain it by acting rashly, but by striking at the opportune moment."

    Emily Sternit finally interjected, "Bold words, coming from a man who died twice and would remain so were it not for my intervention."

    "A gesture much appreciated," Lorentz quickly added. "But surely you, in your four thousand years, have learned the importance of patience, Emily."

    "I certainly have. And you are testing mine prodding at my second in command, Lorentz," she said in warning. "We have waited weeks to sever Natalia from Hushcobb. Now, you beg us wait even longer, when I can pluck her from this place with only a thought."

    "...You may try."

    It was the first words Thomas Aegil spoke since the four assembled in his office. He stood at the window with his back to them and a glass of wine in a single, wrinkled hand. At last, he turned to face them, expression severe and intimidating. "Though I cannot guarantee personal victory, I can guarantee that kidnapping a magic-user in my domain will be met with the most severe of punishments. Even you, Ms. Sternit, will find an uphill battle in store."

    Emily narrowed her eyes. "Is that a threat, Aegil?"

    "I pity the man who would threatne you, my dear. No, this is merely a reminder of who rules the Ivory Tower."

    "I can crush your castle and your mages with a thought," Emily reminded him.

    "And while you do that, with your attention fixed on me, I will have one of my assassins merely shoot you in the back," Aegil replied seamlessly. "Or poison your food. Or I or any of the other master will fight you directly." Aegil poured himself a fresh glass. "In short, such violence will only end in defeat at worst or a pyrrhic victory at best."

    The woman seemed almost amused that the Archmage thought so highly of himself. Then he stunned her into silence when he said, "Or I could simply kill Natalia Elmore when she least expects it. It would be difficult to find your brethren again when she reincarnates yet again, wouldn't it?"

    Lucrezia spat out of her wine in shock. Lorentz looked up from his with furrowed brows of confusion.

    Emily set down her glass with a sharp clink. She seethed, "You know?"

    The old mage smiled thinly, then sipped his glass. "No. Not until just now. I suspected, but your reaction confirms it."

    "What are you getting at, old friend?" Lorentz asked.

    "My dear former apprentice," Aegil said, gesturing grandly toward Emily. "You sit in the presence of a goddess. Unless I miss my guess, Natalia Elmore and Emily Sternit are, in fact, sorceresses of Veiko Magi." The Archmage ignored Lorentz's stunned silence and Lucrezia's worried expression. Instead, he locked eyes on Emily and only Emily. "It would explain the kind of power you possess. The ancient runes Lorentz told me about. And, above all, the Magister you showed him. I assume the Magister is also a sorcerer?"

    Emily was silent, but even that was answer enough.

    Aegil continued, "A sorcerer so dangerous that he could only be contacted through a complex blood ritual. That suggests a prison, possibly planar in nature. Only one sorcerer ever fit that criteria. The first among equals. His true name was lost to millennia, but clearly he has taken on a new one." He gave Emily a searching look, but again, she remained stubbornly silent. In fact, she glared at him.

    Aegil's smile persisted. "I'm sure you've taken note of Lorentz's keen intellect and capacity for strategy and deduction."

    Emily grudgingly admitted, "He has, on occasion, proven quite clever in those regards. He even deduced the truth of my blood puppets."

    "I'm the reason he is so clever. I trained him. Which means, my dear, that I'm even better at it than he."

    "So I've gathered. What is the point to all this, Archmage?"

    "To demonstrate that Natalia Elmore is safe in my custody," the old mage replied. "Furthermore, if you wish to claim control over her, then you must trust me."

    "We trusted you to join the Sanguinaar."

    "Yet you did not trust me with its deepest secrets." The Archmage set down his wine glass. "When I joined all those years ago, it was for the opportunity to study sorcerers. Yet you hid the fact that sorcerers were among your ranks."

    "And now you would study Natalia?" Emily seethed.

    "Or you. Either is servicable." Aegil shrugged. "In exchange, I will ensure that Natalia Elmore returns to your embrace of her own free will."

    "You cannot possibly presume you can break her will when I have failed," the sorceress scoffed.

    "I presume nothing, my dear. I do, however, know people." The Archmage gestured toward Lorentz. "Do you think he was always mad? I made him that way."

    The renegade merely smirked and saluted at the Archmage with his glass.

    Aegil continued, "I took a man and twisted him into a monster. I can do the opposite. When I am done, Natalia Elmore will be yours -- wholly, willfully, and eternally."

    He extended hand.

    Emily stared at it.

    She thought about it.


    Then her hand reached out....

    To be continued....
  3. Oh come on! It's great!
  4. didnt say it wasn't
  5. What this man said, is what I say.
  6. *Cries with joy*

  7. I will grudgingly admit that I enjoyed this...
  8. I WIN! I WIN!
  9. * 1:37 till he goes back to normal*

    I think math has made me use that voice before.

    Btw, I smiled.
  10. I think it's safe to say that this is hilarious. ^_^
    A job well done, TK! ^_^
  11. I love this guy, his songs are always funny, like the assumption song!
  12. "My kids are weird." Astaroth sighed before walking over to Melissa.
  13. That was odd.
  14. Yes, yes it was.
  15. So, now I can't look at socks or read "socks" without hearing "GRAAWURRRRAAAAG-- socks are fo' yo' feet, silly!"

    ... Thanks TK.
  16. ....Watched the rest of his videos.


    My ribs hurt.
  17. I know, right!?! I LOVE HIS STUFF!