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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 8:37 pm 
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Argent simply nodded in answer to the question, saying no more.

Somewhere along the line Ghost got his jacket back, leaving Argent again only her ripped costume, with the faintest trace of wetness on her cheeks where the unacknowledged tears had stopped falling. Her emotions were locked down, leaving only a slight sad chill in the air around her.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 8:39 pm 
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"Hrm." Sculptor said simply, quietly, as he sat in the fully lit room. His eyes were having trouble adjusting, and thus he shut them. "It appears there is still some residual connection. I apologize for, ah, piggybacking." The Freak sat quietly.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 8:45 pm 
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"At the moment I don't have any reason to charge you . . . . I didn't get your name," Blackheart said to the Sculptor. "You were involved in a violent incident, you'll be interviewed about it. Unless there is reason to hold you after that, you'll be kicked loose. Just go with those two drones in the mirror shades and you'll get out of here and back to your life."

The addressed the rest of the team. "Go to medical, get checked out. If anyone wants to say anything before I start writing my report on this mess, now would be the time. I'll be in my office."

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 8:52 pm 
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"I am called Sculptor, for obvious reasons." The clay-like flesh continued to run for several seconds, then, with an obvious act of will, snapped into place. The ancient business suit was still crumbling around him, still stained, but the man underneath was, for now, immaculate and... Boring. Utterly, totally dull. Symmetrical features with no striking features of blemishes. "Before I was struck with this curse, I was Sean O'Doherty. A name you'll only find on some old legal documents now."

The Freak rose, bowed stiffly, and moved to follow the mirrorshade-drones. "And if the lady could refrain from more teleportation in the next twelve hours.. It would be reassuring."

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Tev: You're happy. You're Plotting. You're Evil.
Me: Evil is so inappropriate. I'm ruthless.
Tev: You're turning me on.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:00 pm 
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Blackheart sat down and unfastened the straps that attached the bludgeon to his wrist. He took off the protective cup and wiggled his vestigial fingers before booting up the computer. He considered how to phrase what he was going to write and then decided to just dive in. It wasn't like he was going to save his ass.

And he had one more thing to do. He picked up the phone. "Medical, this is Blackheart. I'm going to need another scan. I think its grown. Yeah, ahead of schedule." He put the phone down and looked at the calender. Not much longer now. He should tell Taskmaster. Better to go out doing something worthwhile rather than in a bed getting his brain eaten.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:12 pm 
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Hotfoot had been running down the tunnel the Freaks were fleeing down, hoping to get to the front of the group, hoping he could help calm everyone down when the backup from Ultima showed up. Just as he saw moonlight shining in from the end of the tunnel, the shadows melted around him. His eyes went wide and he ran faster, trying to outrun the shadows. "No! Wait! Not yet!"

It was too late. The darkness had him, the space between shadows screamed its whispers and beat its timelessness at his vain attempts to extend time. The frustration got the best of him and he screamed into the darkness in his futility.

When he was thrown back into the world of light, his own went out, and he fell to his knees in exhaustion. His hazmat suit was little more than some tatters around his ankles, his shirt was gone, and his eyes stared dimly at the floor just beyond his knees. He heard the voices sounding off around him, waves of sound bouncing from molecule to molecule, little more than patterns of disturbance. The only thing that broke through his own dissonance was when Blackheart mentioned "medical". Like a puppet, he rose to his feet and nodded, stumbling out the door. He wasn't sure where the hell he was going, but he was going somewhere.


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:14 pm 
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SirNitram wrote:
The Freak rose, bowed stiffly, and moved to follow the mirrorshade-drones. "And if the lady could refrain from more teleportation in the next twelve hours.. It would be reassuring."


Argent gave the Freak a long measuring look, but said nothing aloud. I went back for him was the thought in her head No matter. He will find a way to escape Ultima, or be caught as well. With that depressing thought, she faded into the shadows under her seat, melting away before teleporting.

This time, she ignored the tug in her midsection, the feeling that something was left behind. The Freak had healed her with his own substance -- the tug was nothing more than sympathy and contagion.

She emerged in Garth's apartment, wishing nothing more than to collapse on the couch.

...

But there was no couch.

No favorite chair. No coffeetable, no carpet.

With a growing shock, she cast about the room, shadows twisting as they writhed over bare floorboards, opening the bedroom door, opening the TrophyRoom door.

Empty.
Gone.

Garth's trophies, her clothing and knicknacks she'd slowly moved over, the very bed they'd slept in, even the beer in the fridge and the trash under the sink.

**OUTRAGE!***

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:22 pm 
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Blackheart felt a twinge of irritation and brushed it off. He was more than irritated and he was in the process of doing the career version of falling on his sword. It was probably Argent acting up again and one way or another it was likely he wouldn't have to deal with her again.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:34 pm 
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Hotfoot was strong. Not necessarily strong enough to lift a car, but stronger than he should be given that he had the body of a gymnast. As the wave of outrage washed over him, pulling him out of the numbed state he had settled into, the feelings of outrage he had felt from earlier this night and just a few moments ago flooded back with Argent's empathic expression. He shouted in rage and drew back his fist, not even sure what it was he was going to hit, just that it would be the target of his outrage, in lieu of anything appropriate. He swung, and the noise of the impact echoed down the hallway.

Pain shot up through his hand and arm as it connected with the reinforced support beam. Fortunately the punch hadn't been knuckle-first, but the shock of impact pulled him out of his emotional daze somewhat. He sucked air in through clenched teeth and asked a nearby Ultima staff member in a pained voice, "So...which way to medical?"


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:56 pm 
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Shadows writhed in Blackheart's office, giving him plenty of warning as they seemed to sound out the tiny office before sliding up one wall into a large black puddle.

Silver eyes glared from within, far larger than they'd been before, her emotions slamming outwards like storm-surging tides. "Blackheart." There was no mistaking it was Argent, outraged and looking for a target to vent her anger on. Her voice was not raised but was filled with a cold, deadly fury. "Was it not enough to simply jail him, but you had to take everything he owned as well?"

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:03 pm 
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"What the fuck are you talking about?" asked Blackheart. "Your boyfriend? He's down getting his brain being put back together. I haven't even written the fucking report yet, let alone gotten information back from the mind healers on whether or not he was responsible for his actions."

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:08 pm 
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The silver eyes tilted, studying Blackheart for a long moment, judging, weighing.
She didn't want to believe him. She wanted to blame him, Ultima, someone...

... "You aren't lying. But you did not know of the nanites either." Argent said in that quietly cold voice. "Someone emptied the apartment, Blackheart. Removed everything, furniture, carpet, clothing, food in the fridge, trash in the bin."

"And they have his Guardian trophies. As well as the Box for the Ring."

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:11 pm 
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Hotfoot made it to medical using the directions the Ultima agent had given him. The outburst had cleared his head somewhat, but things were still fuzzy, and what was worse, he felt exhausted. All the running, fighting, vomiting, teleporting, and other insanity of the night was wearing on him. He looked at one of the medical staff, not sure and not caring if it was a doctor. "Blackheart told me to check in. Please tell me this is where you say you have a bed and I should lay down in it."

The staff member nodded and pointed Hotfoot to a nearby bed. He crawled into it carefully and then relaxed, letting his mind drift off into sleep as the medical staff attached various diagnostic sensors to his body. "Just gunna rest my eyes a few minutes while you do your thing, don't mind me..." he mumbled.


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:13 pm 
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Sculptor was passed and shuffled through paperwork. His life's story, not a particularly thrilling one, joined hundreds, perhaps thousands, on Ultima's computers. The nature's of his powers and defects were considered, examined, and catalogued. He was poked and prodded. His statements were taken. The gears of bueracracy turned slowly, with forms on every layer.

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Tev: You're happy. You're Plotting. You're Evil.
Me: Evil is so inappropriate. I'm ruthless.
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:17 pm 
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"Fuck," said Blackheart. "Wasn't us. Wouldn't do it like that. Not the people I worked with when I was black, but that means it could be another member of the alphabet soup club. Or the shady organization that Saibot was trying to steal the chip for. Oh right, he didn't quite cop to that. But we both know he was up to something quasilegal at best." He picked up the phone and punched in a number.

"Forensics, I need you to go over Saibot's apartment. Everything's been taken. Yeah, I know, the odds of finding anything useful suck. Do it anyway."

He turned back to Argent. "They'll do a better job of finding clues than I can. Especially the clairovoyants."

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:28 pm 
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And it was solved that quickly?

The silver eyes blink as confusion replaced outrage. Blackheart was so sure of himself, of what Ultima would and wouldn't do.

It made her think past the outrage of having her belongings stolen, the thought of SOMEONE not just fondling her lingerie, but carting it off in a box.

" ... You're not lying ..." It was all she could think to say.

Slowly the dark shadows melted back to their proper places, leaving her leaning against the wall, staring at Blackheart with those huge black-on-black eyes.

" ..... Ultima wouldn't have had time.... would they. Someone else ... had to know he was ... gone." She was calming down, thinking things through again.

"Why? Why empty it all? why take my things too?"

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:32 pm 
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"Don't know," said Blackheart. "The alphabet soup guys might do it for the power ring stuff, but they would leave the rest. Saibot didn't talk about his contacts or the guys he was in business with. Can't say what they would or wouldn't do. Hopefully forensics comes up with a clue," he shrugged. "If they can put his brain back together, he might be able to help us. The timing suggests he was under some kind of close observation. I just don't know."

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:37 pm 
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She looked away, forced to think clearly. "The suit...," she suggested softly. "It had several enhancements. Then there's the moonbase he mentioned."

Would those behind Guardian Force have done this? she asked herself. Even back then, they'd had gadgets far more advanced than normal. "Who gave Guardian Force their money...?"

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:41 pm 
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Ghost left medical and headed for the locker room. Twenty minutes later he emerged, showered and wearing a new set of SWAT utilities. He picked up the case with his rifle in and headed to the armory. He dropped off his rifle and headed back to his cubicle.

He sat down and turned on his computer, checking his mail and then he began writing up an After Action Report, noting what went wrong, what went right (what few things there were), his observations and opinions. He sent it to his boss, and copy went to Blackheart. He took a USB drive and placed it into a slot on his computer, making another copy on it, adding in a few other notes, mainly about the new kid. Ghost took the drive and put it in his pocket. He would take care of it on his way home. Right now, he needed to finish up some other paperwork and then he planned on heading home.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:44 pm 
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"Don't know," he said. He wasn't in a mood to mince words. "They were small time. I was a foot soldier for the heavy hitters." He leaned back in his chair. His computer pinged to announce the arrival of Ghost's report "But they weren't competition. Not military trained, not metas, no connection to the meta creation projects. No reason for me to know them."

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 10:53 pm 
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"Small time often tries to break into the big time," she said softly.

She needed to leave. The Tumor was tainting the air, as well as Blackheart's emotions. The shaodws gathered behind her again, slower this time, to give her a portal to escape. She should apologise, but didn't know what to say, or if it would do any good. Yet, she couldn't leave without a word ....

" ...... thank you........."

and she was gone between.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 11:28 pm 
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Blackheart scanned what he had written, glancing over the usual verbiage to check the meat of the matter.

"The operation can only be deemed a failure . . . . for which the final responsibility falls to me as team leader. I . . . . suggest in light of my team's failure that Ultima seriously reevaluate my position as team leader.

"The operation went wrong early in three areas. Gravitas, Saibot, and Argent all decided to defy orders and rework the plan in the field on their own initiative. How the operation would have gone down if properly executed we will never know as Saibot broke from the group and was attacked and Gravitas betrayed the element of surprise . . . .

"As for Gravitas, I recommend against pressing charges. He has knowledge that will prove embarrassing to Ultima (nanite incident, Tarot's escape, security breaches) and has a high public profile and the money to defend himself effectively in court. Furthermore, since he was cooperating voluntarily with Ultima, there are few avenues of prosecution available. It is my judgement that Ultima should not press charges and instead use the leverage to prevent Gravitas from making damaging statements against the organization . . . .

"Saibot's mental condition is unknown as of the time of the writing of this report and without such information it is impossible to determine what actions, if any, are to be taken against him . . . .

"Argent disobeyed orders and teleported personnel against their will and against orders in the middle of the operation. Furthermore, she stripped communications gear during transport, actions that are at best characterized as reckless endangerment. Given her status as serving Ultima in exchange for the waving of criminal charges and her willful disregard for orders and the safety of her team mates. It is recommended that she be severely disciplined at the least or charges should be reinstated."

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 11:53 pm 
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Ghost knocked on the door of Blackheart's office before stepping in. "Hey boss." He looked around. "So, anything else you need done today?"

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 12:00 am 
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"Nothing for now," said Blackheart. "Good chance that Ultima will want some people to walk the planck in the wake of this fuck up. You should know that you're covered in my report, however much that is worth."

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 12:04 am 
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Ghost chuckled. "Don't worry about me. Even if I get bounced out, I'm sure I could find work. Probably would pay better and be safer. Anyway, I tried to cover you as much as I could in my report. Hopefully, those who screwed up get the blame."

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