The Homage Paid to Virtue (IC)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Drifter, Mar 30, 2016.

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    "Let's be vigilantes, bitches."

    It wasn't until now that he even thought of questioning the wisdom of those decidedly flippant words from his own mouth. The group of them had been talking for awhile, perhaps not entirely seriously, about doing something of this nature when they had all discovered their unique gifts. They had all agreed that Escoria needed serious help, and even assistance in the form of six teenagers with mildly crappy powers had to be better than nothing. Then he had to go ahead and say it.

    Honestly, Noah couldn't even remember what exactly happened in the days leading up to them huddled together atop the roof of their shared school. He thought Ardo had said something about wanting to make costumes for them all because he had access to the drama department's props and then someone had the brilliant idea that they could take on the small-time dealers that perpetually lurked in the back streets alongside the school. They hadn't been entirely reckless. Research was conducted to assure that they weren't tied to any big-time crime syndicates that would trap kids in a meatlocker, but other lesser forms of punishment weren't entirely ruled out. Besides, it was somewhat of an idiot move to peddle crap outside of a fine institute such as this one. Didn't they worry about cops at all? Or that the kids who actually attended the school would rat them out? Noah ruffled his hair. Candy had been the one who was most upset about it. She really wanted these guys brought to justice, or whatever it was that they could do about it.

    His legs were starting to fall asleep from all of the crouching they were doing on this stakeout.

    "Is there strategy behind this, or are we all just dicking around because we're fucking scared of getting back down off this thing?" he scoffed, under his breath but loud enough for the others to hear.

    Candace nudged him, "Watch your mouth, Siphon." She wasn't sure whom she was worried about him insulting. Maybe it was herself. She was still not incredibly used to the loose cursing of the kids in grades above her.

    "Watch it, indeed. We don't want your biting remarks to leave us without a leg to stand on." Ardo thought he was hilarious. He was undoubtedly the most chicken of them all, but he still thought he could provide a little levity to the situation. Noah's powers were probably the strangest of them all, in his eyes. Sure, turning into a jinx doorknob might not seem all that normal, either, but at least his power didn't encourage cannibalism.

    Noah flashed a row of gleaming teeth and growled from the back of his throat. It was a practiced act, but it still raised hairs on the back of his own neck.

    The youngest among them shifted uncomfortably, hoisting a pair of binoculars to her eyes as she wriggled forward to the edge of the building to get a better look at their targets. She barely registered that Ardo had placed a steadying hand upon her shoulder as she maneuvered. Candace turned and made a series of convoluted hand gestures. Fingers suggesting walking. Fingers suggesting kicking. Hands flapping in a bird formation. Finger guns. Wrists crossed and flicking.

    Ardo interrupted, "Sorry, what?"

    She sighed, "Stranger, Skirmish, Sneak, I want you guys to form a strike team. You're gonna rough 'em up and send them running to me, Siphon, and Squander. We're going to be the scare team. Rattle their cages before we string 'em up all Raptor-style." Her eyes burned with the determination of a girl who could not be deterred by the simple laws of physics or laws of, well, laws.

    Noah sort of appreciated it. "Alright, Candy-girl. You want us to lurk in the shadows?" He was fine with that. Even if this was technically his idea, he was feeling more and more like it was a bad one. Given the minimal effort job, he would do it to the best of his abilities. Taking that as his cue, he moved back to the fire escape they'd used to get up there in the first place and began his descent.

    "That's Swiss, thank you very much," she huffed, cheeks tinting a little with an indignant blush. She wasn't sure why nobody was stepping in to tell her that a thirteen year old shouldn't be making the plans, but she was grateful for it, at least for the moment. She was embarrassed enough as it was.

    The metal rattled under Noah's careless footfalls, attracted a few agitated grunts and double-takes from the dealers, and the eldest smirked back at the team, "Isn't that your cue for one ass-kicking frontal assault?" Sure, he was being a jackass, but they'd brought it on themselves. Nobody was ever supposed to take a suggestion ending in the word "bitches" seriously.
  2. Hannah was eager. She didn't care about plans or even long term results out of this vigilante group thing, all she felt was the excitement of the idea. It played out in her head like a gritty fight scene sequence out of an action movie. She wanted to punch someone in the face and laugh. No. Not just anybody, but adults, bad adults needing to be schooled by a fifteen year old girl. Hell, she was so hyped up for this ass-kicking party that she thoughtlessly threw a punch at Wakana's shoulder but landed it on Cavan's chest after Wakana dodged.

    "Ow! Strike team against the criminals you brute. Have you even been listening?" Complained the blonde boy without fully committing to a severe tone. After all, Hannah had no voice of reason in his opinion, and she didn't exactly think highly of him which made him one of her many targets.

    "Swiss how's this dainty lady going to scare anybody? I say she goes home, puts on an apron, and cooks us a victory meal!" Hannah threw another punch, this time aimed at Cavan, but Wakana redirected it down without so much as a nod towards Noah who was already walking to the ledge, and stood up to determine the best position for attack. She'd been quietly observing the surroundings, following Candy's line of sight and silently agreeing with the intended place but thinking about her exact position in the strike team.

    "Whatever," Hannah shrugged it off and settled for roughly messing Cavan's hair before running towards Ardo, "Sneak's being boring," she announced, "alright! Let's do this!"
  3. Every dealer in front of them was now talking among themselves. Perhaps it would actually work in their favor if they capitalized on the apparent confusion and paranoia down below. Swiss scrambled after Siphon, knowing full well that she couldn't exactly be caught alone between the two groups. She wasn't yet a skilled fighter and the only thing she had going for her was a pair of big doe eyes that a civilized soul might think twice before punching.

    "You coming, Cav?" Noah asked before vanishing out of sight. He personally thought the blonde fit the bill of "thing that goes bump in the night" well enough on his own, if only based on his get-up. Cavan was harmless, otherwise. If he were to speak candidly, the kid did the "nonchalantly getting through life" shtick better than he'd ever be able to.

    That left Ardo with Wakana and Ha- Sneak and Skirmish. Admittedly, he was always mildly on edge with these two. He generally felt like he was stuck between an iceberg and a compact heater when with them. At least he felt at ease with Cavan, if only because they were both easygoing enough, compared to the others. While Noah was something of an apathetic nutcase and Candy exemplified a sheltered puppy, they were generally easy to work with as well. But then again, they weren't the muscle.

    He sucked in a sharp breath and looked to his compatriots. "You both okay finding your own way down? I'm going express," he gestured over the side of the edge with one hand, the one that had already begun the deliberate transformation to brass. Ardo thought this was a calculated risk. He'd never tried anything like this before, but luckily, he was sure the dealers had never seen anything like it, either.

    With that, he took a leap once he was sure he was all dense and shiny. His heart leapt right into his throat as gravity seized his body like a cannonball, pulling him closer and closer to the ground below. When he heard something cracking beneath him, he was relieved to see that it was the pavement, and not the bloody mess of bone shrapnel that might've become of his legs. Ardo glanced up at the three guys he'd dropped in front of and realized that the fall had actually kinda hurt. It was hard enough to hustle in his current form, and he really didn't want to test whether or not he could sprint after that impact. Luckily, at least one of the stooges looked more or less scared shitless. It was worth a shot.

    He drove a fist into his palm and emulated all of the action heroes he'd ever seen in his short life, grunting, "Looks like your luck's just run out."

    Halfway to the alley where he was supposed to get into position, Noah heard that one-liner and couldn't suppress a groan. Candy "shh'd" him and quickly reminded him of the plan. Stay quiet, be as terrifying as possible, and catch as many of them as possible once the strike team drives them into their corner.
  4. "Right behind you!" Cavan was retying his shoelaces as Noah disappeared from the rooftop. The boy was nervous, but he was also terribly grateful to be on Noah's team. That guy was the coolest! Had anybody else suggested the idea of becoming vigilantes, apart from Ardo, Cavan might have thought about it twice before signing up. And so, not wanting to disappoint and aiming to impress, Cavan, or rather Squander, ran after Swiss and climbed down the side of the building. By the time his feet hit the floor Squander was interlocking his fingers nervously and perhaps a little too uncharacteristically girly for the creepy get-up he'd chosen as his costume. "Hey Swiss, Siphon" he whispered, "if I die..." he swallowed hard at the thought, "don't leave my body behind ok? He was being a little too pessimistic, but considering he had no idea of how to fight the dealers if it came down to that, perhaps he was just being a little too realistic.

    Skirmish would have called it destiny if she hadn't been so busy fangirling over Ardo's stunt. "Woah! Do yo-" she'd begun to exclaim only to find the roof empty. Sneak had, well, snuck away from her. With an embarrassed huff Skirmish stomped her foot and climbed over the ledge. She hated being last. She hated that Sneak couldn't be the girl friend she wanted to share this adventure with. Instead, Sneak might as well be one of the boys, and Swiss was too young to understand the complexities of teenage life.

    She made it in time to hear Stranger's line and her excitement peaked. This WAS just like the movies! Skirmish unbuckled the strap that held her weapon to her back and moved to stand behind Stranger in an attempt at a V-formation. She made sure to show off the big-ass blade for extra effect. Except, once again, Sneak had to make things boring! A V-formation didn't work with two people!

    Meanwhile, Sneak couldn't care less. Her focus was on Stranger. He was leading the attack and a brass-skinned boy was bound to get more attention than Skirmish's big weapon. The dealers would focus on him, that would send an offended 15 year old on a rampage, and that would give Sneak the opportunity to break their organization while backing-up her team. Her only worry was that Hannah would take things too personal and start attacking in the wrong direction, sending them away from the second team.
  5. Surely enough, a metal man falling from the sky attracted exactly the kind of attention they wanted. Violent attention. This was definitely not the time to mention that he'd never been in a fistfight before, unless the time when he and August "wrestled" to gain control of the television remote, but his parents won't let him live down the fact that it was mainly slapping. Two of the dealers were already within striking distance and they closed in quickly while the others began to appear for backup. Stranger sucked in a deep breath. His first move in this, the most important fight of his life, was to duck like a little girl when the first hook was thrown. He reared his head up after he was sure the strike passed, only to find his assailant much closer than expected, and he managed to ram the crown of his head into the man's already crooked nose. There was a snapping noise. It vaguely reminded him of the sound a hot dog's casing makes when it's split apart with some force. The guy pulled back, blood trickling between his tightly dammed fingers, howling terrible strings of curses about Ardo's mother and various types of cattle. It had felt good, in a way.

    That was when he realized he really couldn't move. He wanted to lunge ahead and push victim number one out of the way to start clearing a path, but his thighs were slow to move and nothing below the calf registered the brain's input. Ardo's brow furrowed. He began to consciously pull the metal back from his legs, allowing his jeans and scrawny legs to once more grace the outside, and that allowed him some mobility. However, he looked ridiculous. Not only that, he was top-heavy as hell. Brass was malleable and fairly light, sure, but to cover half of a skinny boy's frame in it was just asking for him to fall flat on his face. He shot Skirmish an imploring look, knowing he'd be unable to make eye contact with the shadow formerly known as Sneak, and he barreled into the second scumbag with a tightly balled fist. As it made contact, he felt his momentum taking him forward, causing him to tank to the concrete below. His eyes grew wide. He did not want to end up like a turtle on its back, so he pulled back his brass second skin and brought himself into a shoulder roll to break his fall. Ardo popped up behind his second victim, knowing he'd need a few moments to reapply the brass, and waited for one of the girls to finish him off.

    Meanwhile, Noah put a reassuring hand on Cavan's shoulder. He tried to make the contact brief by allowing the hand to casually roll off the slope of the younger boy's shoulder, but it just ended up feeling kinda gay. Siphon coughed and looked to the side. He was surprised by the depth of Cavan's request and quickly tried to lighten the mood.

    "Don't worry, kid. If you drop dead, I'll just eat you."

    A moment of silence passed. Swiss wasn't sure if it was a joke or not. She felt sick. Putting a hand against the brick wall, she tried her damnedest to just watch the fight unfold and not think about the weirdos she'd been stuck with. Stranger was acting like a human pinball out there, moreso than a wrecking ball, but he was getting the job done. Sneak and Skirmish seemed to exist only for garnish at this point, but she knew Ardo couldn't hold out forever. In more ways than one, he was the biggest softie among them.

    "Nobody's gonna die here. Not tonight, not so long as we're a team, okay?" Candace mustered a top-tier princess smile despite the dim lighting. She had turned so her back was towards the action. Judging by the dim flicker of alertness in Siphon's eyes, that was a mistake.

    "Hey, Can-Can? We've got company," Noah lifted a finger to indicate two thugs who had managed to spot them. Between the entire group, nobody had thought to count the exact number of young guys in hoodies they'd need to knock out, so this shouldn't have been a surprise. Nevertheless, Swiss groaned. It wasn't going according to the plan. Usually, when heroes made plans, they worked. Nothing changed. There was no need for improv. This sucked.

    Siphon sauntered to the lip of the alleyway, pressing himself against the wall to maintain the cover of shadow for as long as possible, "I know Cavan's a little nervous, but if you want to sit this out, too, Candyland, I can kick the shit out of these two for ya." He paused, seeming to reconsider his choice in language upon recognizing the unamused slit in his comrade's eyes. "Sorry, crap. Kick the crap out of them."
  6. Skirmish had been so eager to start kicking butt that at the sight of trouble she momentarily froze with indecision. Where to start? Who to go for? How to do it? Would that move be cool enough?
    Sneak, on the other hand, did what Sneak did best, she sidestepped into the shadows as her sharp eyes observed and gathered information on the type of fighters they were up against.

    And so it was, that Stranger had been left to his own devices, single-handedly leading the charge and doing the bulk of the work. It wasn't until Stranger fell that Skirmish finally gave up on thinking about battle and gave into her gut feelings. The thug's eyes were set on taking out Stranger while he was down, that he didn't see the massive metal pipe being swung across his legs. The force of impact made him somersault face first onto the ground. Skirmish let out a squeal of glee, thinking of a one-down victory, when the man kicked her left foot. She lost her balance and fell to her knees swinging the pipe with one hand just in case anybody else was thinking of taking advantage of her. Their lack of coordination had nearly nicked Ardo with the edge of the pipe.

    "Woah! Sorry!" By this point another thug was approaching, the previous one caught between attacking Stranger or the fallen Skirmish. The thing about Skirmish, despite her impulsive and reckless often troublesome nature, was that she fit her suit name and there was nothing dainty about the way she threw a punch.
    So it was that after she stopped her swinging, she grasped the pipe across her chest, one hand near each end, and rushed forward aiming to tackle. "You finish that! I'll take this one!" she said as she ran, clearly enjoying the game. Their bodies, hers and the thug's, tumbled and the thug's grunt was enough of a clue of her power, however, Skirmish was left scraped, bleeding, and bruised. Sneak scoffed at Skirmish's self-destructive battle as she carefully picked her target and with one smooth and swift kick began her seemingly choreographed dance to dominate her opponent. Her way of fighting was almost an art-form; It was rough, lacking, and often times its moves misplaced or even entirely unnecessary, but the potential was clearly visible. She wouldn't admit it, least of all to Hanna, but the reason Wakana was so selective in her fights was because she was keenly aware of her weaknesses. Unlike the others in the front-line, she knew she was beat the moment a thug caught a hold of her which is why she aimed to give Stranger and Skirmish support rather than lead the path.

    Cavan might have laughed under different circumstances but he still appreciated Noah's attempt to make light of things. It did help. Candace's words helped too. She was one year younger than him but just as reliable as any of them and certainly more than himself. Out of all of them perhaps he was the one having the most trouble with his powers. It wasn't just that he couldn't control them very well, it was also that they freaked him out a bit which made him very grateful when Noah offered to do the bulk of the work. It also upset him because he knew that gratefulness came from fear.

    "Thanks No-Siphon, but I'll help however I can. I want to do this," he really didn't but he was never going to become as cool as Noah if he always hid behind him. Cavan decided that he would use his power as a last resort, that might take some of the edge off, and do his best just dodging attacks. He wasn't going to look very manly doing that... but he supposed it was better than sitting this out.

    The two thugs closed in on them and Siphon moved to greet them. Squander took a deep breath and let out a whiny grumble before he rushed forward alongside the building's walls where shadows blocked most of him. His sudden movements, but mostly the getup, was enough to force a gasp out of one of the thugs. That distraction would cost him. However, the one nearest Squander wasn't too impressed and his reaction was ready to catch Squander in the face. Squander's body reacted the only way it knew how; It performed a graceful pirouette followed by a grand jeté pas de chat that placed him behind the thug and away from the attack.

    He would never live it down. Ballet was something his parents made him do. He was grateful for the physical training of it but... it's like his parents wanted a girl.
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