2010-07-28 - The Terrors of Time 1 - The Impending Storm

Log Info

Title: The Terrors of Time, Part 1 - The Impending Storm
Emitter: Summer Sinclair, Adrian Young
Characters: Sapphire, Sunday, Miles Glendower
NPCs: Tempus Fugitive, Ursine, Rose Red, Summer Sinclair
Place: Simonson Park, Cove City
Time: July 28th, 2010, Evening
Summary: It all starts with a mysterious portal and a visitor — and it quickly goes downhill from there. The beginning of the Terrors of Time plotline. Betrayal! Horror! Death!

Simonson Park is part of the city's attempt to preserve green spaces within the boundaries as well as provide a recreational facility. Nestled along the shores of an estuary that feeds out into the ocean, it has a public pool open during the warmer months and a number of walking trails through the twenty-acre space. It's sunset, and the last people have left the pool, and only a few people linger on the paths, and even those are hurrying towards their cars as a storm sweeps in from the ocean, distant rumbles of thunder growing ever closer, flashes of lightning briefly illuminating the black clouds.

A lady with two golden retrievers is having trouble getting the dogs to stop quivering against her legs rather than continuing to walk towards her car. "C'mon, puppies, stop being ridiculous. The sooner we get home— hey!" One of the dogs wraps his lead around her legs and pulls tight just as the other does the Golden Retriever Lean against the back of her knees. Down the lady goes. "What's /wrong/?" she demands, unhurt but evidently startled by the nervous dogs. Another dog-walker is also having similar troubles with his bundle of fluff, trying to coax it out from beneath his car. It might be the sudden hush over the area, the calm before the storm.

Sapphire was trying to track the scent of a hired hand from one of the warehouses. The leash of greyhounds has split up, but even so, the presence of that many of the bus-mascot dogs in one place is eye-catching. Now the whole group has stuttered to a halt, fur bristling, the occasional low puppy whine emitted as they congregrate under a tree.

"Come on, guys," Sapphire's voice says, "what's going on?"

"Ask the real dogs," sniffs another member of the pack.

"Well, you are a *bi*-"
"Shhh sshh!" Sapphire cuts them off.

There's a voice coming fron under a nearby tree- a voice with no body attached, apparently speaking into a phone. "Yeah, I'm on may back the dorm, was just cutting through the park and figured I'd call and ask if everything's okay there." A pause. "Why?" Thunder and lightning off in the distance. "No reason."

Sunday needed to get off campus. Everywhere she went today she saw things that needed to be done, and despite her growing nervousness and desire to Be Prepared before she leaves the sanctuary of Steranko, she decided to wander out and go for a jog. So that's just what she's doing! In athletic shorts and a double layer of tank tops, the girl has been jogging for the better part of an hour, and has noticed several odd things popping up. Like the greyhounds! Though she does get a sense that she probably knows them.. Then there's the normal dogs freaking out. And finally, thunder. The girl stops, sneakers squeeking on pavement. .. "Just a storm, Sunday," whispers the blonde to herself, "Stop being so paranoid."

"Aside from there being a storm brewing that I can't even /touch/, everything's fine here," is the response over the phone. "Get back here soon. It's… going to be bad."

The reason for the dogs' nervousness becomes clear once the storm breaks overhead, the sun blotted out by dark clouds and the scene illuminated by flashes of lightning and the efforts of streetlights suddenly turned on. To Sapphire's collective nose, there's a sharp tang of ozone and stressed metal. A high-pitched whine quickly travels out of human hearing range, and then out of Sapphire's range, and a white-edged portal appears on the edge of a path. Two figures are silhouetted there, looking back over their shoulders. "/Go/!" the taller of the two — a man, and an oddly familiar voice to some — calls, pushing the slimmer figure through the portal. "They'll know when you are!" The portal snaps shut in a hiss and crackle of power, but not before the man disappears from sight.

The second figure stumbles, then catches herself by stabbing a cane into the ground and leaning heavily on it as she looks up at the burgeoning storm, then over her shoulder, and leans all the more heavily on her support. The lightning strikes down in front of her, and she reaches a hand out to it, drawing it into a ball above one hand for both light and defense. The blue-white light illuminates her; the cane is not a cane, but an umbrella, and the woman wears a blue and black costume, her feet bare, as if she were more familiar with flying than walking. "When—"

She doesn't get the chance to say more. Gold-limned portals open up behind her and three figures step out. "We have our orders, Maelstrom. With luck, you won't remember this after."

The greyhounds notice Sunday's scent and turn away from their cringing in all intentions of bounding greetings … when the sky explodes. Sapphire swears - well, what Sapphire actually *says* is, "Oh, fooey," but she makes it sound like a curse. The hounds dive under bushes, behind trees, disappearing in a rout of tails and limbs that would be comical in other circumstances.

They observe the flaring portals with utter confusion, trying t ofigure out identities and sides. Grey fur darkens, as if under the aegis of the storm, fading silently to black, feathering out. An entire storytelling of crows flutters up to high branches to watch.

Miles frowns at the phone, and nods. "Be back soo…" A pause. "Nevermind, something's going on. Big. I'll be back when I can. Be careful." He hangs up then, and, breaks into a run towards the opening portals.

One of the men pursuing the figure with the umbrella steps forward from the gold-limned portal, his dark hair being ruffled in the wind. "Don't make this more painful than it has to be, Maelstrom," the man says, "You're already tired. I can make it quick if you surrender." It's another familiar voice, though a little deeper, a little rougher around the edges somehow. The face, when illuminated should also be familiar. He's older, by about ten or fifteen years. Adrian Young's carefree smile is gone, replaced with more serious lines, his eyes darker, his face left unshaven so there's a shadow of stubble there. There's no flashy costume to be spoken of, just a simple blue workshirt and a pair of jeans. He holds up a hand to the two other figures that came from the gold-limned portals and steps towards the woman leaning on her umbrella, Maelstrom. The rest of the surroundings and figures in the park are ignored. There's a flicker of an unnatural energy field that starts to shimmer around the man, like a heat mirage without the actual heat. He holds a hand out towards the exhausted woman. "C'mon…" Adrian even smiles, but there's no real wamrth in it.

The redheaded woman heaves a bored sigh. "Can we get this done?" she asks, inspecting her perfectly-manicured nails and then buffing them upon her dress. Her eyes light upon the crows, a razor-sharp smile spreading across her face. "Oh, a murder of crows. How /appropriate/, my lovelies." She catches her breath, straightens, and sings— and there is a tug upon Sapphire's consciousness, but she's too human, too self-aware, for it to come anywhere near working. Rose Red's expression darkens, and she stomps a foot. "We have problems. There're /others/ here, Adrian. Get it /over/ with, already."

Meanwhile, the big fellow just lurks around the woman, glancing between her and the crows, and then her and Maelstrom— but he doesn't move just yet. "Shall /I/ do it?" he asks, voice deep, almost a growl. None seem to have noticed Miles just yet, or Sunday.

Sunday's eyes go wide as the first portal opens and a figure is shoved out, but when the others follow out of their own gateways, she knows enough to ready herself, waves of convection heat shimering around her body. The young woman who calls herself Thermal begins to move forward, prepared to do what she's done so many times before.. until she hears that voice. He stops her, dead in her tracks. The face her blue eyes focus on, it makes her stare in disbelief. .. No. … No, not possible. Could this be Harold? .. No, she's heard that voice, this is not it. The girl, she said 'when', not 'where'. And that /voice/.. Sunday Knight's heart stops. "L… Linus?" Of course her mind would go there first, able to tell the two boys apart as they are now, but this man..? "W- What.. What's going on?!"

Maelstrom straightens, though it visibly costs her to do so. The winds pick up, the storm above beginning to lash down with rain, hissing upon the contained lightning that illuminates the blonde woman's face. She doesn't turn, though, instead focusing upon where Sunday stands, recognition flickering across her face. "/Go/. Get out of here!" she calls, "They're just after /me/. That's /not/ Linus." The winds sweep towards Sunday, though… weakly, ruffling both Sunday's hair and the crows' feathers. She turns to face her nemeses.

"You already know why I can't do that, Adrian. Leave."

"Isn't that -"

"It looks like him."

"But he's so … old."

"I like them old," purrs a dulcet voice - which is a distinctly bizarre sound coming from a cluster of crows.

"… eww."

Sapphire ignores the bypass, wings fluttering in distress at the attempted control. Glinting avian eyes flick wildly over the assembled faces. It's Adrian … but it's three to one … but …

The storytelling explodes into the air in a flurry of feathers. "All right," Sapphire snaps. "You all are going to stop and explain to us who, how, why, when and where before this flashy nonsense goes any further." Her beak(s) clack decisively. "… in alphabetical order!"

A voice comes out of thin air. "I don't know what's going on, but I recognize more'n half of you, and frankly, I'm a little ashamed. Three on one isn't a fair fight. So let's make the odds a little more even." There's a sound of knuckles cracking.

Rose Red rolls her eyes at the crows, the bravado, and the situation; she's not the most patient of people, it'd seem. But it's the voice from thin air that makes her smile sweetly — one might be convinced of her innocence in this case, with that smile. "It's not intended to be a fair fight," she says in reply, then sighs gustily at Adrian and snaps her fingers. A roiling mass of black energy strikes Maelstrom from behind just as the woman's about to speak, leaving her bleeding from a number of cuts across her back. "Besides, you being here? Rather expected, given the givens." She looks up at the crows. "Still planning on making a mess of things, darlings?"

"We always make a mess of things," Sapphire says. "It's a universal constant." It's part joke, part some sort of backwards, genuine pride. "I thought I said - stop!" The crows rise en masse at her command, diving down at Rose Red in a frantic black flurry of feathers and beating wings … but she manages to evade the effect, possibly even coming out without much rumple. The crows start to backwing …

A harsh, strangled squawk emits from several of the crows. "All right what the hell-ass is that?" snarls a male voice. The storytelling beats a swift and coordinated retreat to the treeline.

"Be careful of getting too close! There is a negative force in play," a drippy female voice warns.

"No shit, Shirley."

"I meant in the sense of a distinct energy," she protests.

"I'm not leaving, Summer," he tells the weather controller, "You know I can't do that. Not now. But, you really should've just left well enough alone. I guess that's the nature of reporters, though, isn't it?" As Rose attack Summer the man scowls. Adrian looks at the crows, his dark eyes narrowing as the storytelling sweeps in towards the redhead, and then he looks briefly towards Sunday. There's recognition for both the birds and for the blonde girl, but no other change in the man's expression. The disembodied voice and cracking of knuckles is heard, but ignored for the time being. He glances back at his cohorts and takes another step towards Maelstrom. "No, Ursine. She's my responsibility. I'll handle Maelstrom… you take care of the kids. I know them, they aren't going to let this go." There's a pause as he turns to look back at the bear of a man, his expression hardening, "Just don't do anything permanant to them, or you might wind up changing something I don't want changed.

This caution doesn't appear to hold true for the Summer from this Adrian's time, however, because the man moves forward. He's faster than his younger self, because the distance between him and the weather controller is taken swiftly and a series of strikes are made on the already stunned woman. A knife-hand comes down upon her collar bone. For just a flicker of a moment there is remorse in Adrian's eyes as he attacks the woman that used to be his friend. "It'll all be over soon."

Ursine doesn't move, still staying within range of the redheaded woman. He looks away as Adrian strikes his former friend, a flicker of some emotion across his face, but he glances back at the crows warily, then sidelong at Rose, tucking the redhead behind him ("Oh, very well."). Oddly, he seems less likely to strike out, and more likely to simply… defend the woman behind him. "It seems he has this well in hand."

Adrian…? Sunday stares, first at the woman who looks like a girl she has seen around campus who tells her to run, and then at the face of the man who is (was?) the boy she is rapidly coming to consider one of her inner circle of trusted friends. The crows demand explaination, and for that Sunday is grateful. Her gaze fixes on Adrian, searching, trying to find hints on that face of the boy she knows.. awaiting explanation. But then the voice without a visible body picks a side. "What? No! Stop!" Her fists ball as she looks in the direction of the voice. "We don't know what's going on! Maybe there are three of them because she's that dangerous!" How many times has Sunday and her friends out-numbered the villains? .. Nevermind they usually had dozens of minion chattle. Of course then all hell breaks loose. People are attacking, defending, and nobody REALLY knows what is going on! Then Adrian, who she has watched most intently all this time, rushes out to attack the woman. Was that…? The look on his face.. "ADRIAN!! No!" Her body frosts over and, in the same moment, so does Adrian's. She's trying to slow him, not hurt him, but the young man seems to just shrug it off. Those blue eyes are almost swimming, /imploring/ as she looks over the group, and then back at Adrian. "Stop! Please!! What's going on?! Adrian!"

Maelstrom is too focused on breathing and staying upright, for the moment; the weather controller reels once, twice, as she's struck, and winds up falling to her knees. "Just /go/," she grits out to Sunday. "Miles, /go/. Or they'll erase /your/ timeline." It's all she can manage to say, with a cracked collarbone and her back bleeding freely. The storm is raging overhead. "They're… trying to change history. The Fugitive is." She lifts her gaze to Adrian, "And you gave in."

"Oh -come off it-. Yeah, she's the bad guy here when -they're using lines like "We'll make this quick if you surrender," and "You should have left well enough alone, nosy reporter." If Miles' eyes were visible, they'd be rolling. "Get a fucking clue." He demonstrates whatever clue he's found by brutally pummeling Adrian with invisible fists, bloodying his nose and probably leaving the man uncertain where and when he is, even more than the time travel already did." He eyes Summer. "If you know me you know I'm not gonna listen to you when you say that, right?"

"Much as I like tricks and misdirection, darling-" Rose Red's diction is distinctly upper-class, her drawl amused as she regards Sunday from her spot behind her protector, "-the … woman on her knees there — so apt for her — is quite right. We /are/ trying to change history." Her expression is pleasant, her smile actually rather… sweet, but that's just Rose. She half-steps out from behind Ursine, patting him on the shoulder fondly. "And I've /my/ orders." She snaps her fingers again. "I did so hate Steranko. So dull." And, on that note— blackness impacts Sunday from behind, the energy having been drawn from the trees nearby, leaving them bleak and lifeless. It scrapes over her skin, leaving Sunday reeling in pain and bloodied where the energy struck.

"That's impossible," a clipped, precise male voice emanates from several crows. "Time travel creates an inherent paradox, and the 'theory' of alternate timelines is the stuff of sensationalist science fiction … not in the least bit supported by this chaotic assassination attempt, I might add."

"Oh, yah?" another set of crows crack. "Got any other theories, smarty-pants? Yo, Adrian! Knock it off!"

Sapphire's crows sway on their branch, visibly shaking with the confusion. "Will … you … two … just … stop!" she hisses, then fixes her attention outwards. "We're not kids!" In a world of mutuable alliances, time travel, impossibility, probability, this one thing is certain. Focus on the moment, deal with the rest later … a tactic learned from her animal friends.

The dark-winged shapes rush up and swoop upon Adrian, this time, a dizzying, battering swirl of wings, talons and beaks. He's already reeling - the blows just knock him further for a loop.

Adrian sways on his feet, unable to do much other than bring his hands up to his nose to try and stem the flow of blood from it. He's seeing stars as much from the invisble fists as from the attack by the birds. This at least gives Summer a momentary reprieve from her former friend and current attacker — both from further violence and further barbed comments, as all the man is left to do is groan.

Ursine takes Rose's actions as his own orders— or perhaps Adrian's situation has finally sunk into his head. He lopes — really, there's no other word for it — forwards towards the melee, making space for himself through sheer /bulk/. Once having set Adrian behind him, he tracks the birds, dark eyes narrowing as he brings his hands together in a resounding, meaty smack of flesh on flesh— and the impact is almost /visible/, sending the crows beak over tailfeathers, stunned and flung upwards in a weaving mass of black.

Get a fucking clue? The clue Sunday has is that people are beating the crap out of her friend, who said not to hurt them. Who might have reason for this! And who is now being attacked like he was some kind of.. of.. supervillain! No, sorry, Sunday refuses to believe this. She refuses to believe Adrian is evil, that there isn't something she doesn't know. But, she will not turn a blind eye to what is happening to the obviously battered Summer. And just like that, the blonde girl knows what she must do, and she literally /bursts into flames/. Or at least, she seems to! Like a rocket off the ground Sunday hurls herself through the air, grabs Summer, and takes off with a roar of flames deeper into the forrest. She deposits Summer a little over 100 feet away, then turns and heads right back, sitting the ground with a slight skid as the grass around her dies a fiery death. "Damnit Miles," she yells at the boy even as she hurls a stream of fire at Rose, "He's my FRIEND! There has to be /more/ this if you people would just stop for TWO DAMN SECONDS!" Rose, engulfed briefly in flames, reels from the experience as the inferno surrounding Sunday dies away. "And I swear to god if you keep hitting him I'm going to hit /you/!"

Maelstrom straightens, finally able to catch a breath with the onslaught fading. "Sometimes you listen to me, but that may just be because you don't want to spend time dodging lightning," she replies to Miles with a wince as the motion jars her collarbone. "Or don't want to sleep on the couch." Her voice trails off in a hiss as Sunday hauls her off her feet, her expression twisting in pain. It's that that prevents her from answering Sunday for a moment, and by the time she can, the other blonde's out of range. "I'm sorry, Adrian," she says softly, raising one hand to the skies.

The storm above rumbles, her costume shifting to match it in blue-black-grey, and as she lets her hand drop, lightning strikes downwards over the little knot of melee— and while Sunday, Miles and Sapphire can smell the ozone, there's no damage done to them. To Adrian, however? It overloads his already-abused body, leaving him slumping to the ground, eyes rolled up in his head. Ursine, also taking the blast, shrugs it off.

A *CRACK* echoes like a gunshot around the park. Maelstrom has no time to speak a warning: her choked-off gasp is the only herald of things going very, very wrong. She collapses to her knees, bracing herself with both hands upon the ground as colour leaches from her costume, leaving her in shroud-like grey and white. The storm dies abruptly, letting the sunset peek through ragged clouds. She coughs. Then, there is colour, spreading across her back in a crimson patch, a few droplets falling from the figure standing over her to dye her sash with dying colour.

Tempus Fugitive flicks some of the blood from her hand in an utterly casual manner, ignoring the soak of blood into the red-and-black costume she wears — her choice of colour is not accidental — as she crouches next to Maelstrom. "Farewell," she croons as Maelstrom falls at her feet.

Tempus Fugitive brushes a hand over the weather controller's hair, streaking it with blood in an oddly gentle gesture. "When I'm done, you won't have suffered this." She looks up at the battlefield as she rises to her full height — she's tall, this white-haired woman, a touch over six feet — and looks at each of the combatant. There's no insanity in that gaze, but no /life/, either: her expression is as calm as though she hadn't just killed a woman. "I've done what you were supposed to do. Time to go."

"I'd be more inclined to listen to -anything- he had to fucking say if he weren't trying to kill my girlfriend and hanging out with the girl who tried to blackmail me, who is, by the way, -trying to kill you-, so -forgive me- if I don't care that you're all butthurt about me punching THE EVIL GUY FROM THE FUTURE."

And then? The Fugitive appears and kills Summer. And Miles goes suddenly, deathly quiet. There's a faint sound of footsteps and the Fugitive's jaw snaps back as if, say, just hit with an invisible fist- but it's not quite enough to leave more than a cut on her chin.

"And he's not stopping to talk!" Sapphire shouts raggedly, from where one bird has managed to affix talons into the side of a tree. "You can't negotiate your way around …" Her voice fades out as the Fugitive appears, and indeed … all the voices fall silent, an eerie silence from the storytelling. Even the rustling of flapping wings seem muted by shock.

"Oh, no," she whispers. "That's not … it didn't …"

Feral instinct roars in her brain - roars in all their brains, and there's never been a moment when the seven were more divided. Need to do something must act must lash out … and there's no say she's going after the murderess herself. The crows part ranks and loop around a tree, coming in right, coming in left, rushing past Rose Red in a black-feathered fury … and then cutting through again, leaving the woman wavering and barely on her feet.

"She's not going anywhere," Sapphire rasps, a crow's call.

As soon as Tempus Fugitive enters the scene, Ursine freezes for a moment — much like a wild animal might on seeing a threat — before sighing. "I /am/ sorry," he says softly to thin air — Miles is already gone — and picks Adrian up in one meaty arm, tossing him over his shoulder easily, and lopes for Rose again, bearing down on Sapphire. There's a snarl upon his lips as the redhead is harmed, a hint of red in the formerly-quiet man's eyes. "Bad choice."

Sunday simply cannot believe. The crack makes her turn sharply before she has a chance to respond to Miles, to appeal to him that perhaps his judgement is clouded by his care for Summer just as he accuses her to being clouded by her care for Adrian. But then this new, white-haired figure appears.. and Summer is on the ground. The blonde haired blue-eyed girl goes cold - literally and figuratively. Miles attacks, Sapphire takes advantage to hit another target, and Sunday.. holds herself. Fear keeps her from rushing Tempus Fugitive, and a different kind of fear keeps her from the group behind. Instead she turns towards the man called Ursine. "/Stop/ this! What are you doing?! Rose attacked us, Summer is- .. is /hurt/," Not dead. Not dead. "Adrian wouldn't.. If you would just STOP! /Please/..!"

Tempus Fugitive moves with the blow, a hint of surprise in her gaze as she raises a gloved hand to her chin and pulls it back, rubbing it between her fingers. "It's too late to stop any of it." Her expression doesn't hold any regret whatsoever — it's more as though she's acting by rote. "When everything's rebuilt and remade, this won't have even happened," she says, still in that utterly neutral tone.

She gleams golden for a moment, and then she blurs from view, afterimages of her left in a trail towards her erstwhile comrades. "When I said, 'Time to go', I meant it," she tells them, cutting off Ursine's almost-reply to Sunday. The big man shakes his head, gaze sorrowful, and then…

… they all vanish, leaving blood and sorrow. The storm has passed, but what is the wreckage left behind?

Miles is on one knee, next to the downed form of Summer not that, well, anyone can tell. "No, no, no…"

The crows backwing sharply, whirling above where the trio stood seconds ago. Their disorientation is obvious from the way their wings become entangled in branches, the startled cawing, the tiny, futile half-circles made as their senses go haywire. And it's not just the devestating fight …

"Something's not right," the drippy voice whispers from one side of birds.

"Of course something isn't right!" a male snarls in reply. "In fact, right now I can't think of one thing that *is* right!"

And in that jumble comes one murmured thought, a voice of hope and irony at the same time, "Gravity still works."

The birds right themselves and zip over in Summer's direction. "Is she … is she … ?"

Sunday tries to call after, but they're gone in a blink as her eyes remain connected to that sorrowful gaze. No, no, no no no! There have to be ANSWERS!! There has to be something wrong! This has to be a big mistake! She turns, looking back towards where Summer has fallen and the voice of Miles is repeating what is going through Sunday's brain. She looks up at the birds, then around.. frowning at what is now a paved area. Her head shakes. "No, this isn't.." It was Summer, but older. It was Adrian, but.. .. Does that mean…? Sunday shakes her head again and backpeddles, then turns and takes off for the exit of the park, all the while fishing her cellphone out of her pocket.

Should anyone check, Maelstrom has neither pulse nor breath; Tempus Fugitive's strike was surgically precise, it would seem. There's nothing to conceal her identity now, and it's clear— she is indeed an older Summer Sinclair, perhaps a decade and a half or so. As the last of the storm dies away, her costume flickers, lighting crawling over it, and slowly reverts to civilian clothes — work clothes, judging by the neatly-tailored pantsuit and the press pass clipped to her waist.

"She's…she's gone." Miles checks her pulse, and picks up the press pass, then immediately drops it, as if stung. "I can't…" A pause as he tries to get his composure back and fails. "I've got to get away from people -right now-." And in fact, if anyone is within, say, 40 feet of him, there's a slowly increasing sensation of creeping dread.

"But it's not …" Sapphire trails off, deeply confused, and having increasing difficulty extricating her thoughts from the crash of emotions. "… you shouldn't … it doesn't mean … does it?"

Outwardly imposed dread is the last straw for the girl. She's already in form(s), so there's no sudden burst … unless you count the scattering of feathers as the crows flee, scattering to the winds.

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