Disorder in the Court

Log Info

Title: Disorder in the Court
Emitter: Liv
Characters: Alia, Jonathan, Reg, Sandra, Stephanie
NPCs: Burke, Dell, Muire
Place: Abandoned courthouse - Los Angeles, CA
Time: 8/8/2010, early evening
Summary: Our heroes set out to rescue Sandra and locate her in an abandoned courthouse near Los Angeles. One polite captive, three determined Soul Shadows, darkness and light.

The breadcrumb trail to Sandra leads through Arturo Muire and his holdings - specifically an abandoned courthouse on the fringes of Los Angeles. From a distance, it looks disheveled, deserted … only up close can one see the darkness through boarded-up windows, shadows far deeper than mere lack of light. It's a balmy, pacific evening with just a hint of red on the horizon.

Jon's not exactly the best investigator. She's been relying on the others for that, but she does make for decent muscle, and is here to provide plenty of that. She crouches in a shadow, watching the courthouse with glittering eyes. "So this is the place?" she murmurs, only the very tip of her tail moving, the rest of her staying still as stone.

For the moment Chimera is Stephanie — her telepathy more likely to of use initially, even as Steven's teke is more likely to be useful in a fight. "Looks like the place — shall I see if I can find Sandra?" Her scans won't likely cause alarm, and Sandra might well have useful info. Crucial info even. "Thanks for coming, Jon…these guys are really tough."

"That's what my information says," Reg says. "I could be wrong, but I asked a few ghosts in the area, and they said there was some … oddness here, so I'm hopeful," he tells Jonathan. He has his spear out, and is dressed full on in his Valiant guise. Mom probably still gets a laugh out of that. Or not. After all, she probably thinks it looks dangerous. It does, in a weird, archaic sort of way.

The tigress nods to Stephanie. "Absolutely," she says. "Wouldn't miss this for the world." She's got on a black t-shirt and blue jean shorts. Not the most inspired costume, perhaps, but the t-shirt? Well it does feature, in red with gold outline, the word Marines. Someone's got her game face on, at least. "Okay, so let's do this." A pause. "How are we doing this?"

"My plan was to try and locate her, and then I might be able to cloak us from people, but not machines…sorry, I'm not the tactical genius of the lot of us." Stephanie seems game to try, and once it seems apparent that the others are at least willing to let her try to get a fix with Telepathy she reaches out, first to Reg and Jon. ~Hey guys.~ And then Steven's mind jspeaks up. ~~Welcome to Chateau Moore, I'll be your guide tonight, please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times, and remember, no refunds.~~ Steph mentally thwaps her brother, and then starts scanning for Sandra's mind, hoping to draw her into the rapport as well.

"We slip in. I'm not thinking we can really sneak very well. Well, you might. Don't think I and Stephanie are as good," he says. "So don't try. Just walk in and take her." He points. "There's the darkness, and the odd other stuff. Perhaps Alia can negate that so we aren't going in blind?" He asks this quietly, before glancing at Stephanie. A nod, "Find her, then we can go in in her direction."

For her part, once she is found, Sandra's end of the link ripples with curiousity. Though, she does take the time to converse in that odd double-talk sort of way as she tries to -think- in English again. ~Stephanie, Steven, how good to hear from both of you again. I do believe I am on the West Coast … in a jailhouse. I currently am being treated well, if in a phase-state and held in a cell, while wearing nullification manacles,~ notes the young woman. ~If you can enter in a phase-state, then I suggest entering from the front, there are not too many here watching over me. I have been an ideal guest and the detail assigned to me is minimal.~.

The inside of the courthouse is cool and stale, an aura of disuse though the fixtures seem frozen, unblemished by dust or time. Skylights dapple the ceiling, but fail to admit any light. The marble is swirled white and black, the latter seeming to vanish into the shadow and making each step seem like a walk across a spider's web.
And even for those who can see perfectly in the dark, the artificial night is impenetrable. Voices, however, float out:
Male, taut, angry: "What if they call our bluff?"
"What bluff?" The woman is cool, soft-spoken.
"We cannot afford to -"
Blazing light, courtesy of Alia. The pair are framed in a courtroom doorway - neither one is costumed or masked. The man is tall, athletic, with too-polished black hair; she is dark-skinned, elegant, austerely dressed in navy.
He whirls, shaking his head. "What the - tell me these children are figments," he says. "No one could just waltz in here like that and … turn down the fucking light!"
She is quiet, apart from a slight narrowing of eyes and tightening in the face. Her hand comes up to one cheek, what looks to be a brief recognition that she has been seen … then her expression smooths out.
One word, if it's the appropriate one, is really all someone needs.
Meanwhile, just up the hall, a petite woman with a swarthy, Mediterreanean complexion pausesshy of the doorway to one of the courtroom's temporary holding cells - for prisoners during trial recess. She opens it with one hand. "I want to talk to you," she says briskly, "about my da -"
Light roils out. The darkness seems alive now, fighting back … but with Alia's concentration, it stays at distance.

"Let's blow this joint," Jon says after the brief planning period. She's hardly a tactician herself, at least when it's anything more complicated than 'Scream and Leap.' At least for now. The darkness is creepy as hell for her, used to being able to see even at night, but the alien princess takes care of that problem for them. "Hell no, I'm notta figment. I'm a virgo!" she calls out cheerfully.

~You guys have the physical covered…I'm going to stick with the mental, but—might need protection, I'm not much of a fighter.~ Once Steph gets a good lock, she points the others in the right direction. "Figments to some…TO OTHERS — NIGHTMARES!" Stephanie says with a booming voice. "So…you guys can just run if you like, leave our friend behind, otherwise we'll have to kick your butts. Again." ~~Great, rile 'em up, sister-mine.~~ Steven comments, and Steph replies. ~Okay! I'll see what I can do.~

And one word in return, from Valiant: "No." He looks at the woman, his hand resting casually upon the curved silver-and-bronze spear he holds in that one hand. He steps forward, moving to place himself between the others and the neohuman villains. It's now that he speaks: "You will release Sandra this instant. Or there will be consequences." No insults. It's not even a threat, particularly. He says it as a promise, his gaze unwavering.

~I am with Muire, she is not … violent yet. Was that Dell and Burke I heard? Dell is … logical, Burke is bloodthirsty,~ notes Sandra over the mental link. ~Beat Burke soundly, then talk with Dell. She is protecting her kind, that is why she set this up. Unfortunately I couldn't talk her into just killing Prieta,~ then follows with a mental sigh.
Sandra turns towards the open door and to Muire there. She rises slowly, before her eyes flick towards the flare of light. "Ask, while there is still time. I will not attempt to escape before your question is asked. There is no reason -not- to remain civil while we can."

Burke steps backwards, his body fading into the remnant shadow - enhancing it where he stands, drawing it to himself. His right arm lengthens into a diaphanous black whip. "Yeah, notice I *didn't* ask what sign you are? I prefer older and less furry."
Dell remains where she is; her fade is more subtle, but distinct. "We can't do that." There's a trace of regret in her voice, but no give - and no sign that she is bothered by the show of force. "Drive them back. Muire?" She raises her voice just enough to be heard.
Muire arches a brow at Sandra. "You're very strange," she says in a gravelly alto. "It will have to wait. You can, of course, not attempt to escape until I've asked. If you like." With that, she whirls on her heel towards the main room.

"Older, less furry, probably a lot less discerning, also," Jon says to Burke. "Five dollah. Ruve you rong time," she singsongs. As two of them go shadowy, Jon is left really with just one choice of an opponent, and she acts quickly on it, leaping into the fray to slug Muire in the gut, driving the breath from her, leaving her momentarily stunned. And -this- time, Jon doesn't grapple with a villainess whose powers she doesn't know.

Eyes of mismatched hues of blue narrow when she sees the villains. "You guys are getting to be really annoying." A halo of cobalt energy flares around Stephanie, and her Blaschko's lines glow, her skin covered with lines of power as she nods. "So…it looks like we're going to have to do this hard way. Again." A smile, tight lipped as twin bolts of mind fire leap to strike the Burke and Muire, dazzling Muire on a mental level, but barely inconveniencing Burke.

"First thing's first." Reg considers, and then hefts his spear. He's looking at the wall. Gauging where Sandra is. He suddenly throws it! As it flies through the air, silver-bronze duplicates flicker into place. And again. And again. And with a series of loud thunks, the spears embed themselves in the wall, before disappearing. With a groaning sound, the wall collapses, revealing a room. Where Sandra is. He begins to approach it, and cuts through the cuffs with a casual flick of his spear, saying, "Good evening, Sandra. It's nice to see you." He turns, moving out, and considers. Then calls to Jonathan, "Hop in!" Hop in where? Where is shown, as he whirls his spear and rips a hole in space. Shadowy nothingness peeks from the edge. "It'll let you hit the others." He looks tired, though. That took something out of him.

Muire winces from where she leans against the remnants of the wall, hand clutching the side of her head. She sidesteps, flowing back into motion - quickness in evidence in the small frame. Her hands lash out, sending ripples of hazy black force towards Jonathan. The feline is knocked backwards a few paces to the corridor's other wall - and when one would expect impact, instead, the energy blurs around her and she goes through the wall, out of phase.
Then Jonathan is in phase again just as abruptly, as flesh manifests where stone should be - but Jonathan manages, through sheer grit, to avoid even a scratch, though she doesn't escape the wall entirely, mortar and brick dust encasing one limb and slowing her down.
"I thought they were supposed to be digging in the wrong sandbox," Muire calls over towards the other two.

Sandra considers a moment, "Mmm, I will not try to escape," she notes, "But I certainly will follow." Then Reg bursts in, and the woman bows her head and offers a smile as he slices the manacles on her wrist. "It is a pleasure to see you again, Reg. Do follow my lead here, will you?" she asks as she moves after Muire.
~Muire wanted to ask me a question, it seemed to be bothering her a great deal. Focus on Burke if you can, I will try to speak sense into Dell.~
Of course, as Sandra starts to open her mouth, Muire attack Jonathan which causes her to gasp. "No, not now! Jonathan!" she hisses, flashing angry eyes at Muire.
Then she straughtens her back and lifts her chin regally to face where Dell was. "This is foolishness," notes Sandra. "Dell, you are outnumbered at this point. Let us leave in peace. I have no qualms against you. And the only really qualm these people have is with Prieta. You must cut her loose, or she will bring down all of your people. You may protect your own, and that is the right thing to do. But will you protect one at the cost of all? Is that … wise?"

Burke stares at Jonathan, snorting. "Is that supposed to … oh, never mind." He waves it off - with the hand that still looks like one, that is - then snaps around to point at Sandra. "Is she always that talkative?"
Dell narrows her eyes at the rift Valiant has created. "Burke. On guard." She sighs faintly at Sandra's words. "We're always outnumbered," she says, droll. "Nothing new about that. This is not for debate." Her voice sharpens on the last.
Burke advances, not seeming to pay much heed to that warning. He moves lightly across the marble floor, the whip arm flicking - lashing out - and falling perhaps two feet shy of Stephanie. He makes a muttered sound of disgust.
Dell remains where she is, only the slightest movement - a hint of readiness if something does come her way. The assault is invisible. Stephanie can see the shadows swarming up around and inside of Valiant, but he is the only one to feel the grave-chill of their impact, forceful enough to send him reeling.

What? Jon looks at Sandra, confused for a moment. What, not attack them? Or just not yet? Well, too late for that now, whatever she meant. The tiger-girl's getting ready to move through the shadows that Reg summons, when she's the target of a mighty strange attack, causing her to snarl in outrage and confusion. Somehow, she just barely manages to avoid being materialized inside of a wall, mostly. She flashes fangs at Muire. "Oh you'll pay for that one," she murmurs, stepping through the shadows, her black stripes seeming to grow and thicken until they encompass her form.
You paged Alia with 'That is to say, I've been posing as if Alia's been de-shadowing the whole … one round there's been so far of actual fighting. ;)'

Flaring even brighter in the face of adversity, Stephanie grits her teeth, the swarm of shadow souls attacking Reg drawing her to his side. "If only I had some smelling salts…or an Epi Pen…" She tries, but fails to rouse the godling from his stupor. Turning eyes blazing with power and fury on the two soul shadows she's met before the telepath growls, her fists clenching at once more savages Muire and Burke with raw mental force. Almost as an after thought she remembers that she's an illusionist…and so Reg /is/ wakened, by the horrid stink of smelling salts. Phantom ones, but hey, anything in a pinch, right? Burke is left reeling, though Muire is scarcely harmed.

Staggering, Reeling, Reg is caught in mental pain. Until Stephanie helps smooth out the pain with a distraction. He ughs, then smiles at Stephanie, "Thanks." Yes, he thanked her. He whirls, looking at Dell, and hefts his weapon. He charges her, lashing out with the spear, sending a series of attacks that sends her reeling. She isn't stunned, but in serious, serious pain by the attacks.

"Why am I always defending you?" Muire wonders in Burke's direction, her tone acrid. "Yet here I am again." And there she is, circling away from Sandra, an inky blast knocking Stephanie off her feet and … down. The girl disappears through the floor. A few harrowing seconds and the earth wins that particular argument, disgorging the mentalist - out for the count.
"When you two get to be my age," Muire says, addressing her companions, "you'll realize … the worst is always behind you. It's the opposite of nostalgia."

"You misunderstand me," murmurs Sandra, ignoring Muire now as she stalks towards Dell - blue eyes cold as arctic ice. "-MY- comments were not up for debate," she drawls dangerously.
Without moving, Sandra reaches out, calls to the water, and suddenly there is plenty of water in the air, surrounding the room as it shimmers and glimmers, before flattening into a multitude of reflective surfaces. "We can stop," notes Sandra with a glare at Dell. "Or I can make this EXCEEDINGLY PAINFUL to continue! This /ENDS/ /NOW/, Dell! Do not persue this path any /MORE/!" she offers in her most regal of tons, just before shifting all of the surfaces, casting the area into an insanely brilliant light - light coming from all angles, all directions, bouncing and growing of of itself, banishing shadows and darkness to the nightmares of children, lost to the waking world.

And out of the light materializes Alia, as she hovers, glowing with a brilliant white glow as the last of the darkness is dispersed by her light. She glares at Dell, "You hurt my friend, hyoinkar. Now you shall pay that debt." With that, she concentrates, and suddenly white beams of light fly from her hands, hitting the mirrors and reflecting, redshifting as both beams converge and blast into Dell, knocking her back a step. The alien hovers in the air, the white glow starting to edge into red as she glances over at Sandra, giving the other girl a nod as the attitude conveyed is rather businesslike at the moment.

Muire retreats a few wavering paces down the hall, hand thrown up to shield her eyes. The theatrical display of light obviously has her shaken - it's her turn to be wordless.
Burke … well, for a moment it looks as if Burke is going to perform a baseball player's dive and slide. He tries to give an air of having meant to do that, but the manner is shaky at best. "Dell," he mutters, "I really think …"
Dell reels, stepping into - literally into - the doorframe behind her before she gathers herself. "Backing off now is not going to gain us anything. There is no other way -" Her voice lilts upwards; the words are fast, disordered. "I don't pay debts, not even my own." She may be as affected as the others, but she has a commendable mask.
To Alia's perceptions, the darkness fights back one more time, rushing across her inner eyes, flooding her head. It cuts, blisteringly cold - but a phantasm only she sees.

"I wouldn't be so sure about that." Valiant doesn't want to kill her, so he does the next best thing by terms of punishment. He rips a hole in space not far from Dell, cutting it in place. Through it, you can see…well, it's not clear. It's someplace stinky, horribly so from the smell. He lashes out with his weapon, saying to Dell, "Have a nice trip." A burst of force rips outwards from the weapon, blasting in all directions, curving around others. Dell is thrown through the portal. To land in a splash in what looks like sewage. Lots of sewage. The portal slowly closes. "A little catty, but all I can do at the moment," he says to the others.

"Children." Muire's voice is withering, but also withered - tired. "And not very original, either. I'd hate to see you in forty years, still pitching people into the muck." Ebon energy lashes out at Reg, striking him squarely and … like Stephanie before him, he drops into the floor as if it were more greedy than quicksand. Waist up is when that momentary phase state lapses, and the pain grinds him from the waist down. He rolls free, stunned, and Muire managing a grim hint of a smile.

Sandra arches an eyebrow as Dell is suddenly transported some place … unpleasant. "I suppose that works," she notes to herself, before looking at Reg. "Next time, try say the White Washed House in your capital. The Secrative Service would not take kindly to a Senator without a pass walking around, would they not?" she asks, before looking back to Muire.
Sandra takes stepstowards the currently female shadow. "You are the one that said Identity is fluid. That everything must be flexable. Ask yourself, what in Dell's current position is -HELPING- your brothers and sisters. What in it is flexable? Find the answer, come speak to me. I will answer your other question then, as well. But I suggest leaving now," she notes.
Movement catches her attenion and Sandra flicks her head around, spying Burke as he shakes off the last of Stephanie's mental blast. Eyes narrowing, water flows up and over Sandra's arm and she reaches out, thrusting her fist forward. The water flows in the direction of her 'punch', striking Burke, and flowing over him, to his face, down his throat and into his lungs. The Soul Shadow is definitely 'tough' and stubborn as he still stands, but he seems to be having more and more difficulty with each passing moment.

Alia shakes her head, suddenly glowing with a fierce red light as she forces the mental shadows out of her head. Then she looks at Burke, "Your darkness is no match for the light! I AM THE VANGUARD OF YOUR DESTRUCTION!" The red light grows more intense around her, reflected in the watery mirrors like a disco ball from Hell as she then unleashes a blast at Burke. It connects solidly with the man, knocking him down and quite unconscious as she then casts her gaze towards Muire, her gaze narrowing.

Muire holds up her hands slowly. "Dell can be back here in less than a minute," she says, "but I think even she knows when a situation is lost. As long as another sewage bath isn't in your plans …" Her lip curls. "I'm done. Now get out of here." It seems that the storm has passed and calm beginning to settle in.

Sandra watches Muire for a moment, then she nods. "Talk sense into Dell, please? I find it unpleasant to be forced to violence with those who normally seem reasonable. And while I may be strange to you, remember, you know where I am from, imagine how strange you are to me," she intones. "Again, I will answer your question, you know how to find me for a pleasant conversation," is offered before Sandra turns her back on Muire and walks over to Reg, holding out a hand in offer to her fellow Steranko Student.

Alia flies down and her glow dims a bit, the red melting back to white as she glances over at Sandra, "Are you alright? I… we, were quite concerned." She smiles faintly, giving Muire a look like she wouldn't mind blasting her through a few buildings, but she keeps the peace for the moment.

"I am relatively fine. I am quite pleased to have those manacles off, however," notes Sandra with a warm smile and a nod to Alia. "I was treated decently, in all honesty." Then her eyes trail over towards Muire as she lowers her voice. "He has a daughter, who was curious about me. I think he was going to ask something about Paige. I hope to see Paige turn out like Liv, rather than the rest," she notes by way of explination.

"Finally getting free, Reg mutters something to himself. He glances at the others, and then focuses on Sandra, "Indeed. I would rather say anyone turn out like Liv than those people."


(New York Times)

A string of new developments has just arisen in the matter of movie star Evelyn Prieto and the hostage situation that occurred at her New York residence two months prior. The young visitors claimed that the actress held them for ransom, with the assistance of shadow-based shapeshifters similar in origin to Ms. Prieto's daughter Sullivan. She countered that she had been as much a victim as they, mimicked by the shapeshifters, and the case died … until now.

Sullivan Prieto has stepped forward to insist there is no distinction between her mother and the shapeshifters she blames - that Evelyn is a neohuman who shunted the actress aside and took her place. She claims it was her mother who trained her to replace Supreme Court Justice Grace Sullivan, a highly publicized prior incident where Evelyn also evaded suspicion. The daughter also explained there were attempts to quiet her and the other teens involved, ranging from bribery to violence to an attempted abduction. (The school the young people attend has confirmed a number of related injuries.) Sullivan credits her friends with helping her hold up on an emotional level.

The younger Prieto was also reputedly under a geis of silence, as reported by neohuman hero Valiant. In light of the amassed testimony, police allowed him to compare with a few pieces of Evelyn Prieto's glasswork, confiscated as evidence due to the damage her residence sustained. One glass piece held an enchantment from the same source as the geis, and authorities believe that mundanely, the glass can be matched directly to her personal forge. The test has a ninety percent accuracy rating.

Former Prieto servant Alice Penderly also came forward with stories of nebulous "strange doings" dating back months before the hostage situation. Penderly had quit directly after the incident.

Old evidence and new, and the extreme lengths someone went to suppress it, paints a compelling picture … one without Evelyn Prieto in it. Four policemen sent to take her into custody came back dazed and empty-handed, claiming they couldn't believe such a perfectly sweet woman could be guilty of anything. Once the fog lapsed, the authorities returned to the Prieto residence - only to find no trace of its owner.

Other members of the Prieto family - actors and movie folk all - have flooded the police with demands and disclaimers. Writer and director Samuel Prieto has vowed to sue for the entirety of the estate, claiming that everything the imposter made was based on his sister's skills and contacts.

Evelyn Prieto is not the only one of these alleged shapeshifters now at large: the individual known only as Hunter vanished in extradition transport. Those involved are unclear precisely what happened, but found a confused guard under an illusion had been substituted for the prisoner.

"So considering their ability to blend - we're back to the beginning," said New York detective Richard Brust. "The good news is, so are they. The advantages Evelyn Prieto has just lost are incalculable."

In a sidebar, the producer of The Last Straw, a romantic comedy in which Ms. Prieto had a minor role, has loudly indicated that her contribution remains. "The production is too far along to go back and re-cast, then re-shoot a set of otherwise quality scenes," he said. "And they are, regardless of who was wearing that face. Besides - any publicity is good publicity."

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