Triple Threat

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  1. Devastation.

    It had been everywhere. There had been no escaping it, no pretending it didn't exist, no way to fix it - or so it had appeared in the depth of the situation at hand, when the extent of the damage had been revealed. It had been massive, had been worldwide, the worst earthquake in history. It had rocked the entire planet and all that was left had been the rubble, ruined homes and desperate souls searching for relief from lives that had been turn to shreds in the blink of an eye.

    And then a savior had risen up, proclaiming peace and the promise of order in the chaos, rebuilding and prosperity for all. The world had flocked to him, searching, gullible and Neal Blackthorn had become the most powerful Other alive seemingly overnight.

    The Others basked in his every word and even the humans in positions of power themselves had come to support him, so deceived were they by his charms. And for a while, the world HAD known some version of peace and people had started to breathe a bit more easily as they started to clean up the world. It hadn't lasted long, though.

    It had started out as rumors at first - about how the human government had submitted to the Others, something not done in hundreds of years. There had been stories that grew about how humans were starting to disappear, slowly at first, but soon everyone had started to hear about it and the world had been thrown into a new kind of chaos; one of whispers and unease, secrets and subterfuge. It came to light soon enough that something was happening to the humans and the Others were to blame.

    It was only a matter of time before all out war broke out. Or such would be the case if there had been any military power not under Neal's control.

    Frankly, Alex doubted there was anything the new dictator didn't have some kind of hold over and as the world slowly started to crumble around her again, she found herself observing it in a detached sort of way for the longest time. She'd lost everything in the earthquake. Her flat had been decimated along with everything in it under a mountain of rubble and the blond had been living in the shelters provided after the quake, working where she could, scraping by and trying to get back on her feet in a society that was still teetering under the aftershocks.

    It was a literal aftershock - something that had been going on for months now and keeping everyone on edge - that seemed to wake her from the stupor she'd fallen into for she literally fell into a body on her way to meet the ground in an alleyway on her way back to the shelter from work. The sight of the man sent a scream tearing up her throat, but it didn't find more than a strangled voice as she swallowed the sound down, scrambling away from the prone form even as the ground continued to vibrate.

    She stood shakily, feeling the wet feeling of blood on her hands, staining her clothes like an old, familiar touch and Alex resisted the urge to shudder, resolving herself to walking away...and then the figure on the ground groaned.

    The blond stilled and slowly her black eyes trailed to the man, taking in what she'd been too startled to see before: he'd been shot. She could see where the blood had soaked around his shoulder, too near his lung to be safe, but if he'd been bleeding into them then he'd be dead by now or bubbling blood and neither appeared to be evident. Still, he needed medical assistance...but to be seen with a human was to be listed as suspicious and many of those Others went missing just as the humans themselves did.

    But could she really leave this man to bleed out?
  2. Helaina sat back in her chair, stretching the muscles that ached from hours of immobility. She yawned as her gaze slowly swept the room, taking in the multitude of computer screens that provided a comprehensive view of every square foot of her property. Seeing nothing amiss, Helaina stood and made preparations to go out. Every night since the worldwide earthquake had thrown the world into chaos and Neal Blackthorn had risen to power, she made her way through the city streets to search out Humans in need of her assistance. Gathering a well-worn leather knapsack filled with medical supplies, military rations (known as Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs) & bottles of water, Helaina tucked a .357 revolver and extra ammunition into the holster on her hip, flipped a myriad of switches in her foyer to activate the extensive alarm system throughout her fortified home, then exited the building through the six-inch thick, bulletproof front door and made her way to the armored SUV parked in the circular driveway.

    A creature of routine, Helaina whispered her nightly prayer of thanks to the grandparents who had bequeathed her the 100 acre farm and 3,000 square foot home nestled within a thick forest of trees. She offered up thanksgiving for the modeling career that had provided the financial means to transform the house into an impenetrable fortress that remained unpretentious in appearance, yet was designed to withstand any assault and provided an unsurpassed degree of protection for those contained within its walls. Very few people realized what Helaina had created for herself; fewer still suspected the young woman was anything more than a simple farmer, which is exactly the way Helaina wanted it. When the earthquake had hit, her home was one of the few that remained intact, and now, more than ever, her plans to aid the Resistance were of utmost value to those who were quietly but resolutely opposed to the genocidal plans of Neal Blackthorn.

    She drove along the dirt road that meandered for several miles through the forest, following the path of a river that guided the road to a bridge that gave safe passage through solid steel gates to the country road just beyond her property's border. Turning left, Helaina headed toward the city, not knowing what she'd find, but certain that if the rumors of increased attacks against Humans were true, it would be a busy night. She drove to a feed store where she was well-known as a regular customer, knowing the sight of her car parked in the lot for hours would not raise suspicion, then headed out on foot to canvass the 10 blocks she had marked on her grid at home. Her goal was simple: locate and provide basic aid to any Human who had been unfortunate enough to draw the attention of Others who were hell-bent on destroying anyone of Human descent while not getting caught doing so.

    An hour into her mission, Helaina turned down an alley lined with garbage dumpsters, discarded broken furniture and debris. A sudden movement caught her eye and she strode quickly to where a young woman stood beside a man who appeared closer in age to Helaina than the other girl. The woman stared and Helaina immediately noticed the flash of a star on her left cheek ~ the mark of an Other that was apparent only to those who also were not Human. Helaina turned her attention to the man lying on the ground. He had been shot in the upper right side of his chest. It was not a fatal wound, though the amount of blood he'd lost could easily persuade an unknowing person otherwise. Letting her gaze move upward, Helaina was suddenly shocked to realize that she recognized the Human lying before her. The man was a member of the Resistance; like herself, he, too, was fighting against Neal Blackthorn and the Others who sought to destroy Humankind.

    "Matthew!" she quietly exclaimed. "Oh no! What happened?"

    "Blitz attack. Three Others," the man managed to rasp out between agonized breaths. Before responding, Helaina turned slightly to her right and quickly assessed the woman kneeling beside her: mid-shoulder-length blond hair, dark eyes, a dancer's build. An Other, but apparently sympathetic to Humans judging from the fact that she was here in this alley trying to help one. Another heartbeat passed and Helaina discerned the woman was no threat to either Matthew or herself; as such, she held out a hand to introduce herself. "I'm Helaina. This is a friend of mine, Matthew. I want to know about you, but not until he's been taken care of." Then, without waiting for a response, Helaina bent close to Matthew's ear and whispered, "I'm going to take care of you. Don't worry."

    Upon inspection, Helaina could see both entrance and exit wounds, which told her the bullet had gone through her friend. Doubly painful, perhaps, but definitely a better scenario for a Human who could not risk going to a hospital for medical attention. Helaina opened her bag and removed a package of Gel Foam, a bottle of Betadine and isopropyl alcohol. She warned Matthew, "This is going to hurt," before pouring alcohol over his wounds, followed by the Betadine. He grit his teeth and stifled several exclamations of pain. After a few minutes to allow for disinfection of the bullet sites, Helaina packed Gel Foam into the wounds, then watched as the material slowly expanded to seal the holes and staunch the flow of blood. Next came a bottle of water, which she offered along with an antibiotic pill. Matthew swallowed the medication, then pocketed the small, unmarked envelope of pills that Helaina handed him and listened without comment as she instructed him to take 1 pill twice each day for the next 10 days in order to avoid infection. After completing her ministrations, Helaina stood, brushed off her pants, flung her knapsack over her shoulder and began walking away.

    "Wait!" Matthew beckoned. "You're just going to leave?"

    Helaina paused, choosing her words carefully before replying, "You're going to be okay. Stay out of sight. Let the Others think they succeeded in killing you." Then, staring hard at the woman beside her friend before turning her attention back to him, Helaina added meaningfully to Matthew, "This is only the beginning," before walking away.
    #2 Saja, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2014
  3. Veronica growled in frustration when she was shoved to the ground for the fourth time. "I'm warning you one last time, leave them alone." She ground out as she pushed herself to her feet again, brushing the dirt off of her coat and glaring at the man that had been harassing a small group of Humans. Said man snorted in derision and swung his large, meaty fist at her. Veronica rolled her eyes and muttered, "I warned you." before bringing her own hand up -focusing some energy on the appendage- just in time to catch the hand. An audible crunching sound echoed as his fingers broke and a howl of pain came soon after. Veronica wasted no time and shoved the man with enough force to knock him our and send him flying at least four feet.
    The young woman nodded to herself and then turned around to face the four children and woman huddled together, slightly shrouded by rubble. She noticed that one of the children had a rather large cut on his forearm and she quickly strode over to them and crouched down so that she was face to face with the boy. "That looks pretty bad. Here, let me help you." She held her hand out and after a moment's hesitation the little boy stretched his arm out to her.

    Veronica bit her lip when she saw the amount of blood leaking from the wound and quickly dug into the backpack that she had shrugged off and pulled out a bottle of water, alcohol, and a small box of steri-strips. "Okay sweetie, this my sting a little bit." She warned before gently taking the child's arm and pouring the water over it, followed quickly by the alcohol, causing the boy to cry in pain. "I know sweetie, I know." She murmured as she waited for the skin to dry. Once it did she took out three steri-strips and placed them over different parts of his cut, effectively pulling the skin together. "There you go, you big, brave boy." She kissed the child's hand and then looked at the woman holding the other children and nodded in greeting. "Make sure he keeps that clean." She advised before digging two more water bottles out of her pack as well as some dried fruit packages. "Here, take these."
    The woman accepted them gladly and Veronica smiled slight before standing back up and slinging her pack over her right shoulder. "There's a shelter a little ways down that street," she gestured to her left where a small, cracking building could be seen in the distance, "you should head over there. You'll be safe for the night." The woman smiled thinly and nodded. "Thank you." She whispered and Veronica shook her head. "No need to thank me, I was just doing what any sane person would do." She looked up at the slowly darkening sky and then back at the group. "You should really head for the shelter." She advised one more time before sprinting off.

    Veronica's days always seemed to be like this now. Ever since the earthquake that destroyed everything, Others seemed to target the Humans a lot more and Veronica refused to let that happen when she was around. She knew that things were only going to get worse from here -no thanks to Neal Blackthorn- and she spent every waking hour trying to find this "Resistance" and protecting Humans. Though while the latter was easy, the former was proving to be damn near impossible.

    Veronica looked around as she jogged through the streets and dodged debris and eventually came across a woman just exiting an ally. She had auburn hair, was tall, looked to be in her early thirties, and -if Veronica was going to be honest- was all around gorgeous. Veronica saw the flash of a star on her left cheek and was instantly on alert. Was this Other a friendly or not? It was hard to tell sometimes... but this time Veronica thought it would be safe to approach her. She didn't have that air of danger about her like some people did. Still, Veronica let her hand rest on top of her Desert Eagle handgun hanging off her hip.

    She took a few long steps and was finally close enough to speak to the woman without feeling awkward. She cleared her throat and let a small, friendly smile settle on her face. "Hey there."
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  4. The appearance of the Other startled Alex and she swiftly backed away from the taller, auburn-haired woman, fully prepared to say she'd only been passing by if asked why she was with a Human. It seemed selfish, cowardly, sure, but it would keep her alive and able to help the man when the Other left if that was what it took, but as she continued to watch, her black eyes narrowed. This woman was helping the Human - openly helping without any concern as to what Alex herself might do about it. For all this female knew, the blond had been making sure the Human was dead and would have been on her way. She had no way of knowing if Alex would report her or not and yet she acted as if she didn't care, was confident Alex wouldn't do any such thing.

    It was interesting and what was even more so was that she introduced herself...if that was her real name at all. Alex merely nodded slightly, avoiding the hand held out to her, remaining silent, observing what her eyes, ears and senses could tell her about what was going on. She watched as the Human, Matthew, was tended to and she felt some relief about hat. She could have helped him, but not nearly as effectively as this Other was doing and she certainly didn't know if she could have helped him get anywhere or if she might not have killed him from her inexperience alone. It would seem someone was looking out for both her and this Human.

    Good thing, too. You're too much of a coward to help him anyway. You froze! You hesitated! How many people hesitated in helping you? You should be better than that, better than them. Did you learn nothing at all? Useless.

    The inner voice was brutal, but Alex was used to it and ignored the words for now, acknowledging their truth, tolerating their sting as she listened to the two before her speak in what was obviously code of sorts. And if they knew each other, were friends in this kind of world where the laws were that they couldn't be, a coded kind of speaking around strangers seemed entirely plausible.

    Alex wasn't worried about it, didn't try to figure it out, but she did look after Helaina, debating if she was interested enough to follow after her. She didn't much seem like the kind to want to answer a multitude of questions, though, from what the blond could tell....and yet the Other had said she wanted to know more about Alex....and then she'd walked away, so perhaps she had just been being polite.

    Deciding that the Human male was probably the safer bet, she slowly crouched down where he was, watching as he attempted to stand, using the half-intact brick wall at his back for leverage. Alex didn't offer to help, nor reach out for reasons only she knew, but she did follow his progress, standing when he did and blue eyes met black as the man looked up, his head tilting a bit in a curious manner as he leaned against the wall, sweat on his brow with the effort it had taken to stand. "You're still here?" He seemed almost amused, looking after to where Helaina had gone and then back at the blond who was still watching him, silent as could be.

    When she finally spoke, it was in a even, precise way, without hesitation but something very reserved in even her speech, much less the way she held herself - as if she might bolt or strike at any moment, depending on what was presented to her.

    "Who shot you? I understand it was Others, that is obvious and I know why, but you have a holster on your hip, so you know your way around weapons. You have scars on your knuckles from boxing so you know your way around a fist fight and you have experience with Others if your friend Helaina is anything to go by. You know what kind of power they can wield so you were hardly vulnerable and I doubt you draw attention to yourself purposefully. So you were most likely singled out and you evaded your pursers seeing as you're alone here in this alleyway and the place is undisturbed and you're not dead. The Others would have made sure of that if they'd been with you here." A pale brow rose, dark eyes sharp.

    "So, who shot you?"

    Matthew merely stared at her for a moment and then shook his head slowly with a huff of a chuckle. "Damn, I think you really need to meet Helaina a bit more properly."
    #4 Kaisaan, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
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  5. Helaina fought off waves of frustration and irritation as she walked away from Matthew and the Other. She hadn't seen her friend in months and now, because they hadn't been alone in the alley, she had no idea what circumstances had led up to Matthew being shot and she could not offer him more than rudimentary first aid in the presence of a stranger. She wondered how his mission had been progressing and whether the Others' attempted assassination indicated a knowledge of the plan she had meticulously outlined for her friend to follow. If so, it would be a blow to the Resistance, for sure. She made a mental note to revamp the existing missions and disseminate the information through alternate channels to those leading the cause in case the Others who had shot Matthew had gained any insight into what he was up to. She doubted that had happened, but with circumstances being as tenuous as they currently were and the stakes being so high, one could never be too cautious.

    As she exited the alley to continue searching for Humans in need, Helaina stopped for a few minutes to readjust the supplies in her bag. As she completed her task and began walking south, she noticed a teenager staring at her. At first glance, Helaina was unsure whether the kid was a girl or boy, as their short, almost-white, shaggy hair and nondescript, baggy cargo jeans, steel-toed boots and trench coat did not immediately provide obvious clues to a specific gender; however, a closer look revealed small breasts and the subtle outline of hips that bespoke "female". The kid looked determined as she approached, and the hand resting on the butt of a gun at her hip and the star on her left cheekbone did not go unnoticed by Helaina. Thankful once again for the gift of discernment that told her the girl did not have threatening intentions, Helaina stopped walking when she heard the youngster clearing her throat and turned to see the tiny waif smile before she spoke, tossing a casual, "Hey there," in Helaina's direction.

    "Hi," Helaina responded, allowing a smile to cross her lips as she looked into the violet-blue eyes of the Other standing before her. "Is there something I can help you with?"
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  6. Veronica's hand lingered on her gun but she relaxed her stance so that she didn't seem threatening. She looked down the alleyway, her night-vision allowing her to see the two people in there. One of them -the male form- was leaning against the brick wall and had slightly labored breathing. What happened? Who exactly was this woman? She decided she'd start with a question that seemed less suspicious. After all, with the world being the way it was now, you couldn't just go up to people and ask what their names were without raising alarm.
    She looked back up at the woman and raised an eyebrow in concern. "Hey, my name's Veronica... I heard some commotion back there, does anyone need help?"
  7. "What is so special about Helaina?"

    Matthew snorted and then weaved a bit on his feet, not quite stable due to the amount of blood he'd lost. He was definitely light-headed, but he'd experienced far worse in the past. Too recent past if he was honest with himself. "What isn't special about Helaina? Woman's a genius." Eh, true enough, but vague enough, too, though, he didn't quite expect the next question that came from the blond's lips in response to his answer.

    "You two an item?"

    Alex watched in some silent amusement as the blue-eyed human nearly choked on air, shaking his head rapidly, something that was sure to make him more unstable than he already was. Sure enough, he wobbled, knees nearly buckling and even as Alex reached forward on instinct alone to catch him, he was still denying her comment. Vehemently. "No! No, no, we are not a couple! I mean, Helaina is great, I'm engaged." He held up his ring as proof and Alex nodded even as she released him now that he was standing again, not comfortable prolonging the contact. She thought back to what she'd seen of the Other and nodded to herself. Right, there hadn't been a ring. Should have caught that detail.

    She eyed the Human again carefully, debating whether she actually wanted to know more, but some spark of curiosity won out for the moment and she dared another question as one might cautiously dip their toe into black waters, not knowing what might come up from the deep. "I hardly think being a genius makes someone exceptionally special." she pointed out in an even, logical manner and Matthew merely shook his head. "You've not met Helaina. She's...something else. It's hard to explain."

    "And who shot you? Is that hard to explain?" Alex had not forgotten her original question and she watched as Matthew gave a nervous kind of smile, probably very much hoping she'd forgotten as his partly pain-clouded eyes darted to the front of the alley and then back to the slender blond. Alex knew in that moment that she wasn't going to get a straight answer, though, she did wonder if it would be a complete lie. Surprisingly, it was neither lie nor truth.

    "It is, yeah. Um...if you want to know more about....what's going on around here, come to the rally at the Capital Square tomorrow. You might learn something that will interest you."

    Alex raised a brow. An invitation? How did that fit into this conversation? She tilted her head a bit, black eyes narrowing and decided, looking at the Human, that he was probably having a hard time focusing, was maybe a bit delirious. She probably couldn't expect a straight answer out of him anyway and so she nodded slowly and offered a ghost of a smile. "All right. I might." Not likely. "You should probably get home, though. Rest."
    #7 Kaisaan, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
  8. Helaina did not immediately answer the question posed by Veronica; instead, she thoughtfully assessed the young woman, contemplating just how much information was safe to dispense. Ultimately, she said very simply, "A Human was shot. I wasn't there when it happened, but offering assistance would be a violation of Blackthorn Law." After a momentary pause, she took a calculated risk by adding, "Unless, of course, that doesn't matter to you."
  9. Veronica snorted and shifted her weight to her left, almost non-existent hip. "Blackthorn and his law can go suck a hot one for all I care."
    She knew she could get in serious trouble for saying that if this woman turned her in, but right now she honestly wasn't worried. She thought of what to ask the woman next, noting that she never gave her her name. "So... the human's okay then, yeah?"
  10. Matthew nodded to her words with a slight smile, understanding that the blond wished to leave, probably to wash his blood from her skin and clothes. He didn't begrudge her that wish. He wanted to be back home as well, safely wrapped up in Hillary's arms and clean, ready to fall into bed and sleep for...well, a long, long time. He felt like he could. In fact, it wasn't until he felt arms come around him again that he realized he'd blacked out for a moment and found himself blinking rapidly, looking up into a pair of black eyes that showed worry, genuine, and yet wary fear, too, lurking in the very depths of her gaze.


    The words slurred slightly and Alex cursed inwardly. She'd been watching the male carefully, noting when his eyes started to droop, his body go lax and against her better judgement, she'd caught him again when he'd started to fall, watching as he 'woke' again with his face uncomfortably close to her own. She thought of calling out in that moment seeing as Helaina was still before the alleyway, speaking to some figure Alex had just taken note of, but something stilled her voice, a small niggling sensation that made her flex her shoulder blades as if they itched.


    No, she was not doing that.

    You haven't helped in any other way. You've only kept him here, talking when he should be getting home, answering your stupid questions because you can't bear the thought of going back to that empty cot, that empty space again. Oh, but let's not forget you can't bear the thought of being near people either. Nutcase.

    If Alex had been a cat her tail might have been lashing, ears back, fur raised and claws out as she came to a decision within herself. The air seemed to bristle about her in its own way and a frown flickered across Matthew's face as he caught sight of the red kind of flecks rimming her iris. They started to grow, to become thicker patches in her eyes and the Human didn't understand what was happening, but he did know that he started to breathe a little easier, the lightheaded feeling departing, some strength seeming to flood his limbs and when the blond released him, he stood on his own, far more stable.

    He felt strangely warmer, like life had come back into his body. Yes, he definitely felt more stable, looked it.

    She, however, was not, did not as she backed away, body visibly shaking despite the distance between them - distance rapidly growing. She was pale. Far too pale and the red in her eyes had gone, leaving the black a lighter shade than it had been before. It seemed some kind of residual sparks ignited in the air when he took a step forward and it was his turn to feel concern for her.

    "Miss?" Damn, he didn't even know her name.

    And it seemed he wouldn't find out as the sound of his voice was all it took for her to take off, leaving the way she'd come; the opposite end of the alley from where Helaina and the stranger stood.
  11. A gurgle of laughter erupted; Helaina couldn't help herself. "Suck a hot one? Oh wow, that's hilarious," she managed to choke out in between peals of mirth. After a few minutes, she cleared her throat and composed herself once again in order to answer Veronica's question. "Yes, the Human is all right. I take it you're not a fan of Blackthorn's Others then?"
  12. Veronica smiled when the woman laughed. She loved making people laugh, so that was like a mini victory for her. She quickly sobered up though and pursed her lips. "Yeah, you could say that." She flexed her fingers, resulting in that cracking sound that she loved so much. "What about you? Not into Blackthorn either?"
  13. "Not so much, no." Helaina confirmed. "Genocide isn't something I can get behind. It's not a matter of Others versus Humans; for me, it's a matter of ethics and I can't, in good conscience, support a regime whose goal is to eradicate an entire species simply because they are different." Then, before Veronica could respond, Helaina issued an invitation to the girl. "There's a rally tomorrow afternoon at the Capital Square. Technically, it's to be a peaceful protest, but some who will be there have a deeper agenda. Come listen to the speeches and then, if you're interested, find me after it's over and we can talk more. For now, I need to go and it's best if you get moving, too." She turned around abruptly and began walking away. To a casual observer, the short conversation between the two women would have appeared to be nothing more than idle chitchat, which is exactly the impression Helaina wanted to portray.

    The rest of Helaina's evening was uneventful. She was able to hand out water and food to four more Humans, then pointed them in the direction of a safe shelter where they could sleep for the night without fear of harm. She headed back to her SUV and drove home, her thoughts replaying the meetings with Veronica, Matthew and the Other woman who was with him. As she drove across the bridge to enter her property and used a remote-access keypad to open the steel gate that barred anyone who didn't have the code from getting in, she sighed deeply. If her gut feeling was correct, tomorrow's rally could prove to be extremely useful to the Resistance.
    #13 Saja, Mar 1, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2014
  14. Veronica wanted to have asked what the woman's name was, but she never got the chance. After the tall woman was out of sight Veronica took a deep breath and started back in the direction she had come from. She saw the small group of people she had helped earlier had gotten to the shelter she had told them about and smiled lightly. The young woman continued walking for another ten minutes before she stumbled upon a small, rickety house that looked like it was ready to fall apart at any second.

    Veronica sighed and shook her head. It's as good a place as any, I guess. She thought as she stepped through the broken doorway and into the dark room. Once again she was thankful for her night-vision as she navigated her way through the rubble of broken furniture, torn up ground, beams that had fallen through the ceiling, and various other things. She found a spot that was clear enough to lay down and had pushed the stuff surrounding it aside. The Other dropped her backpack to the floor and took out a black and blue striped blanket that had at one time, been fluffy and wrapped herself up in it before laying down.

    sleep didn't come to her very quickly though, as her thoughts wouldn't let her close her eyes. She still didn't know who that woman was, but she was fascinated by her to no end. And a rally? Hmmm... she'd never been to one of those things before... but if there was a chance to have some of her questions answered and to meet that woman again, then she would go. There, that was decided. With that though in mind she fell into a blissful oblivion.
  15. ----

    She'd spent the night unable to get warm, plagued by nightmares and feeling weaker than a newborn filly. But such was what happened when she used Life Energy. It had been stupid - so incredibly stupid! She'd not even known the Human - but there hadn't been any truly available options to draw energy from other than Helaina and that stranger the Other had been speaking to and she could not have done that. So the only conduct and source of the energy she'd given to Matthew had been herself and Alex had done it without hesitation. Now, THAT she should have hesitated over, but she'd let guilt decide her actions for her.

    First mistake.

    Running had been her second. Oh, the act of leaving had been fine, but running to leave had not been her wisest choice. She'd been drained - damn, she was out of practice - and disoriented, and she'd spent the next hour trying to find her way back to the shelter she was staying at, looking almost drunk as she stumbled about. This city was relatively new to her, though, and she hadn't quite known her way around. Eventually she'd come back to her place of residence for the night, though.

    Night hadn't really brought any relief, however, and she'd woken to the nagging thoughts of the Human and the Other, and this rally she'd been invited to. Why they lingered, why they were the first things she thought of upon waking...the blond wasn't sure. Her brother had always teased that she seemed to have a knack for sensing trouble or sensing salvation to which her sister had always mocked, claiming that Alex never knew which one it was until she opened the door. A modern day Pandora. It was unfortunate that Alex knew Susanna had been the far more correct one on this matter even if Michael had tried to be supportive.

    She missed her brother at times like this.

    Alex pushed her hand back through her hair and stared at the far wall, expression blank, but her mind turning. Should she go to this rally? Did she have any reason to want to go? Why did she feel she almost...had to? The questions buzzed about in her head like persistent bees and the blond put her head in her fingers, applying pressure to her skull as if that might stop the building confusing and indecision in her mind. Why did she want to go?

    Why DON'T you want to go?

    Why did she not- Because....because she'd get into trouble! She ALWAYS got into trouble! If she went to a place where people were protesting Neal Blackthorn, she could be recognized - not so much by everyone there, but by her family. Something could - no, would - go wrong. That was why she shouldn't go. Pure and simple. Alex crossed her arms, glaring down at the floor under her feet, filthy and nearly a grey color where it had previously been brown. Disgusting, but it was better than being on the streets. And she wasn't going to be on the streets today. She'd be nowhere near Capital Square. She wouldn't and that was that.'re going, right?

    Alex grit her teeth with frustrated, growling sound even as she stood and grabbed her coat. Of course she was going!
  16. Okay, then. Yep, I think I've got everything I need. Time to go! Helaina gathered her car keys and knapsack, activated the house security system and headed out the door to attend the rally in Central Square. Located in the center of town, the Square was a large outdoor amphitheater specifically designed to host large groups of people for events like music concerts, political meetings and rallies such as the one planned for today's peaceful protest. This was not something Helaina had spearheaded, as the Resistance did not hold public meetings. Ever. Her reason for attending was simple: to suss out potential recruits for the Resistance and make first contact with them.

    As she drove to town in a blue, nondescript Honda Accord, Helaina occasionally caught a glimpse of herself in the rearview mirror, which brought a small grin to her lips each time. She had spent a pretty penny obtaining the most realistic-looking hairpiece she could find and the thick, wavy, dark brown hair cascading past her shoulders would never be identified for the wig it was. Colored contact lenses changed her green eyes to a chocolate brown and the eye makeup and blush she was wearing emphasized her perfect features. Tanning lotion had deepened her fair complexion to a warm, bronzed hue. Stylish tailored black jeans, black leather loafers, and a forest green, fine-knit sweater layered over a white silk tank top replaced her customary off-the-rack blue jeans and t-shirt. In short, Helaina looked like anyone except herself. Perfect, she thought to herself. No one will recognize me. For the activities she planned to engage in for the next four to six hours, anonymity was of the utmost importance.

    When she arrived at the rally, Helaina was pleased to see over 100 people already there, standing in groups and holding signs protesting the mistreatment of Humans by Neal Blackthorn and his supporters. "Don't abuse Humans!" "Equal rights for Humans and Others!" "Give us back our rights!" Helaina stifled a rueful smile and shook her head slightly as she read the slogans on some of the signs being marched around Central Square. Oh, if only it were as simple as "equal rights," Helaina thought to herself, though she did have sympathy for those Others who had married Humans and were now persecuted because of it. Do these people not wonder why Neal Blackthorn and his thugs leave them alone and let them protest without retaliation? Helaina always struggled to understand how people did not see logical connections between events since those connections were crystal clear to her. Get caught showing kindness to a Human on the street and the punishment was severe. Stand up for a Human against a Blackthorn Other and you would be beaten, at the very least, or possibly even killed. But assemble in the city Square and publicly announce that you think mistreating Humans is wrong and nothing happens to you? Really? Again, Helaina shook her head at her own thoughts. People believe that as long as their protest is peaceful, no one will take notice of their disapproval. People can be really dumb. Still, in a group as large as the one gathering before her, there would be some with an inkling ~ or more ~ of what the real issues were, and some who would want to do something about it. Those were the people Helaina wanted to find tonight. Come to the dark side... we have the means to topple Neal Blackthorn. And cookies. We always have cookies. Giggling a bit as she joked in her head to offset last-minute jitters, Helaina momentarily wished she could be that blunt with people. Knowing, as always, that such directness would be a path to disaster, she took a deep breath instead, then walked forward into the crowd and promptly blended in.
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  17. Veronica pushed the last of the longer strands of hair into the black beret on her head, adjusted the wrap around her bosom that was under her baggy graphic t-shirt, made sure she had the correct voice going on, and slung her pack over her shoulder. She headed out and took a moment to check her appearance in a broken window to be sure she really did look like a boy. She smirked in triumph when she was sure that nobody would recognize her unless they looked really hard and made her way for Central Square. For today, Veronica didn't exist, Vernon did.

    When she reached Central Square she couldn't help but whistle. There were a lot more people there than she thought there would be. Then again, she didn't realize people would think protesting was the way to gain freedom or equal rights. Seriously, why don't they wake up and smell the poisonous fumes? The only way people are going to be equal or free is if everyone stops talking and starts acting. And when I mean acting, I mean kicking some Other arse. Veronica shook her head and stuffed her hands into her pockets. "That's not why you're here." She muttered to herself in a boyish voice, "Keep that in mind and don't cause any trouble."
    She pushed through the throng of people towards the front where someone was speaking. She accidentally bumped into a woman with wavy brown hair and brown eyes. "Oh, I'm sorry." She apologized and looked at the woman. Veronica frowned and stared at the woman a moment longer. Did she look familiar or was it just her? She shook her head to rid herself of the thought and apologized again before going a little deeper into the crowd.
    #17 BadonKaDank, Mar 2, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
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  18. Alexandra Blackthorn was at a rally protesting Neal Blackthorn.

    Alexandra Blackthorn was trying to keep a low profile and avoid her uncle.

    Alexandra Blackthorn was an idiot of epic proportions.

    Why was she here again? When one tells themselves that doing something would be a bad idea, one should actually learn to listen to themselves and make wiser decisions! The blond scowled at the thought and brushed her hand through her blond hair for the umpteenth time, nervous and feeling entirely out of place...which wasn't hard for her. She felt exposed out here, like she'd be recognized for who she was at any moment: the niece of the very man these people were protesting against and many hated.

    Oh, yeah, she was a complete moron. Why had she come here? To prove a point to herself? What? That she was not as chicken as she felt? That she could slip under her uncle's nose? Was she simply bored and looking for a thrill? She'd done some less than intelligent things in her life seeking that rush, seeking a distraction, anything to dull the memories and the isolation for even a little while. But really? A rally?, this wasn't about excitement. She didn't feel euphoric adrenaline. She felt fear adrenaline, much different, not good. Definitely not good as her black eyes glanced down to her hand, catching the faint sparks flying off her skin. Damn. Alex forced herself to breathe, eyes closing for a moment in the midst of the crowd. Okay. Just get a hold of yourself, Alex. You're fine. There's no threat. You're fine. Just...breathe and get the hell out of here.

    Dark eyes opened, steadier and the blond Other looked around again, debating which way might be best to make a retreat, but more and more people were filling in the space around her, packing tighter as a different kind of feeling seemed to come over the gathering and she felt a twinge of danger ping against her, raising the hairs on her arms and the back of her neck. Something was wrong. There were too many people and she thought that she caught a flash of a uniform.

    A Blackthorn uniform.
  19. As she moved through the crowd, Helaina felt a sudden jolt followed by a quickly offered apology. Looking down to see who had bumped into her, she quickly realized she was looking into the eyes of the girl she had met the previous night. Veronica! She did not utter the name that came to mind, however; it would blow her cover. Instead, she smiled and averted her gaze, pretending she did not notice the prolonged stare directed her way. When Veronica moved away, Helaina followed her. There was something about the girl's cocky attitude and open support of Humans that made Helaina believe she could be a good fit for the Resistance. As such, she was determined to explore the possibility of recruiting Veronica for the cause. Less than fifteen minutes later, she got the opportunity she'd prayed for when the first speaker ended their speech and the next speaker had not yet started. With a lull in the action, Helaina made her move.

    "Hello again," she offered by way of greeting as she tapped Veronica on the shoulder. "You and I bumped into each other just a bit ago, remember?" She saw the flash of recognition in the young girl's eyes and went on. "I'm glad there's such a good turnout tonight. It's really encouraging to see so many people standing in support of Humans. What Blackthorn is doing is awful. I'm curious, though: do you think there's more to his plan than to simply rule over Humans and make Others superior?" Helaina lowered her voice, then continued, "Call me a paranoid conspiracy theorist if you want, but I think the guy's got an agenda."

    It was a ballsy speech to make to a relative stranger, but Helaina's approach while in disguise at events like these where people were openly supporting Humans was more direct than usual. Time was of the essence and she'd found that those who shared her beliefs were typically relieved to learn they weren't alone in suspecting Neal Blackthorn's intentions. Once a basic trust founded on their shared secret was established, Helaina was always able to quickly move into discussion of the Resistance. She had a well-practiced script that she followed, starting out with talk of the Resistance in an abstract, "Have you heard about them?" way and then, if the person was open and interested, moving into more concrete facts. Her gift of discernment was invaluable during these conversations and thus far, Helaina had not misjudged anyone. She had already scoped out a quiet spot at the western end of the amphitheater where she could take potential recruits for a private talk without raising suspicion.

    Helaina looked expectantly at Veronica and awaited her response.
  20. Veronica looked at the woman and realized after hearing her voice, that is was the same Other she had talked to yesterday. Her eyes flashed with recognition instantly and she listened to the "brunette" and nodded when she finished speaking. "I was hoping I wasn't the only one." She muttered, keeping her voice male so nobody would think something was off. "I think something's up with him too. I mean, Humans go missing- they just disappear off the streets and from shelters and no questions are asked. Blackthorn is the only person with enough power right now to make that happen. That guy is a bag full of crazy and something's going on that everyone else is either blind to, or just refusing to see." Veronica adjusted her beret and looked around to see if there were lots of people close by. Since there were, she stepped closer to the woman and whispered just loud enough for her to hear. "That's why I've been looking for this group -you're smart, so I bet you've heard of them. They're called the Resistance, I think."

    The blond wasn't sure if she should have said that last part, but there was something about the woman in front of her that said, trustworthy.
    #20 BadonKaDank, Mar 2, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
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