In Case of Emergency, Break Glass

Log Info

Title: In Case of Emergency, Break Glass
Emitter: Liv
Characters: Reg, Sandra, Stephanie then Alia, Amber
NPCs: Kerry, Singe, then Hunter
Place: Prieto Residence, New York City
Time: 6/13/2010, morning
Summary: Five captive teens in New York City set to bust themselves out, but not unopposed.

Surrounded by a high stone wall, the Prieto residence is an island to itself. Willows shroud much of the view, while a hedge-maze dominates the west side. Amongst the white marble and the massive windows - some span the length of a room, others multiple stories - the architecture evokes an old-world castle through Hollywood's eyes: balconies, turrets and baroque arches. Inside, that old-world style translates into furniture and filigree, pale, bright and ornate. Everything is hard and polished, every surface showing a faint reflection. And everywhere, there is glasswork, from the immense art-sculpture chandelier to tiny paperweight orbs.

Over the past few days, the teens have investigated their surroundings, searching for a way out, causing petty (and not so petty) property damage. During this time, certain facts have emerged:
Evelyn Prieto has not one but two workshops - the second concealed behind the "mirror" which Stephanie spotted during her encounter with the lady of the house.
Notes left when Evelyn fled the scene indicate that, beyond intending to take shadow imprints of the parents, she has already completed this process with her guests. These mystic traces - which allow the creation of a Soul Shadow, a clone, from the original - are contained within the second workshop.
As may have already been suspected, Evelyn ties up her enchantments in glassworks. Reg questioned a ghost - the original Evelyn Prieto, twenty-four years deceased - who indicated a strong possibility that the mechanism controlling the shift in and out of this insubstantial realm is concealed within the hedge-maze.
Armed with this information, the young heroes split into two groups: Alia and Amber to smash whatever containment vessel the group's imprints have been placed in, and Sandra, Reg and Stephanie to bring the mansion out of shadow.
Liv's last conversation with the group was Saturday, right after dinner. She offered to see if she could sway Kerry or at least distract her - a long-shot at best, but worth a try. She's not been seen since.
It's Sunday morning, early. The sleepwalking cook still prepared breakfast, as if nothing had changed. The time to act is now, before the resident Shadows realize how much their "guests" have put together.

The twins are more than a little eager to do this, they've had more than enough of Evil Lyn's hospitality…and yes, that's exactly how they refer to her. "I'm very sensitive to psychic emanations…" She starts. "…and I have seen other items that Evil Lyn places high value on that were scattered about her home, I'd wager that the stuff outside might well look much the same." A pause, then she looks between Reg and Sandra. "Thanks for helping me, guys, I…-we- owe you a lot. Also, are you okay with a mind link?"

Blue eyes flick towards Reg as Sandra studies him for a moment, before looking back to Stephanie. "That will be fine," she offers with a hint of a sigh. Then she looks around, just to look around with a hint of a frown. Then she shakes her head and glances back to Reg, "I should suggest my Uncle visits your mother if we do not take care of Evelyn today. I"m sure they will work together well, Casius is ever more wise than I, and a more efficient and apt general."

"I'm fine with it," murmurs Reg. He tilts his head to the side, his clothing disappearing to be replaced by armor. No, there's no point where he's nekkid. Lifting his spear, he clears his throat, "I can't sneak. So I suggest we go in hard and fast and take care of what we need taking care of," he tells the others. "Shall we?" As he says this, he pulls something he had in his bag out of a pocket, and slowly puts it on his hand. It looks like a glove woven of golden threads and fabric. It starts to glow faintly. His lips quirk at Sandra, "I'm afraid my mom can't interfere, but we'll be fine. Will prevail, for they lack one thing that all warriors must have: a heart that will not flag no matter the cost." His deep voice is firm, "Let us be off." It's odd how he can shift from the quiet guy to all 'forward for glory!'

Steph has surely show that unflagging determination that Reg speaks of, and then some. Obdurate much? Why yes, I DO have an adamantine will, why do you ask? With permission granted, she establishes a mental link. ~~Hey guys.~~ Her mind voice greets, even as Steven's follows. ~Reg…thanks for what you did for us, seriously, owe you big time.~ And Steven's sincerity is beyond doubt. ~~Keep your eyes peeled…here's the items I've seen that were deemed important…~~ What follows are images of a number of glass objects. ~~Also, if we can, I'd like to try and rescue the staff, they've been mindwashed and badly abused by Evil Lyn.~~ She finishes. Sure, Dame Prieto will just get more lackeys, but that takes time AND is another annoyance heaped upon the rest.

Sandra stops short at the voice, and then the pictures, fingers drumming on her thigh. Even if her mental voice is silent, no doubt her mind is in a whirl - thankfully not a background drone in the link. ~~Of course,~~ finally comes the woman's voice, almost in double as she thinks something, then rethinks it again. Blue eyes glance around, then she turns to face Reg and Stephanie. ~~I have an idea,~~ she notes and begins the details. ~~We need to come in from 3 different directions, Stephanie, you can take the path, Reg and I can handle smash through the hedge maze. Though if you want to take a shortcut here and here, I will not deny you the opprotunity. We get to the center, and face whatever is there, holding us in this phase state. If Evelyn and her guppies are there, then we can catch them off-guard and throw a few more tricks at her. Reg, Intimidate - you are very good and sincere at it. I can cause the water in the air to give off reflections of ourselves. Stephanie, it will be a battle of wills, but you need to do something to throw off Evelyn. What is the most annoying song you know? Can you plant it in her mind as a distraction? Are there disagreements, or better ideas?~

«I'll keep an eye out,» transmits Reg. His mind is, like his voice, firm. He listens to Sandra's words, and nods his head slowly, «Okay. I can do that. I can't promise I'll be particularly frightening, but I can certainly do that.» With this, he leans back, hefting his spear, and adds, «Let's get moving.»

The hedge-maze is more artistic than confusing, though its flowering bushes stretch well over head-height. Whether the route is a direct plow-through or simply winding the bends, the central two curves, circles broken by archways, are overwhelmed with mounding roses of every color, shape and …
It takes a keen eye, but five of those roses, spaced equidistant around the inner circle, are made of glass, set precisely in an iron stem marked with relief symbols.

~~That sounds reasonable, Sandra.~~ Stephanie agrees. And then Steven adds. ~I like big butts and I can't deny…~ He starts mind singing that, oy. ~I bet that would work.~ Stephanie mind-giggles. ~~It would definitely annoy me, especially if the volume went to eleven.~~ And then as the others move around the hedge, she goes through the maze, sadly she's not at all appreciative of the beauty, more focused on looking for the anomalous. ~~Got it! See the five glass roses around the metal stem, that's got to be it. Don't you think? I'm no mystic, but it really seems to fit the bill.~~

Parting a hedge, Sandra steps through the space between and pauses, peering as she leans forward, looking at the glass roses. Then she blinks and stands upright, utterly distracted from the bud before her. ~~Wha…. that … what kind of music is THAT?! Big … butts?~~ asks the Atlantean even as she boggles. Blue eyes look left, then right, and suddenly Sandra's hands are on her own posterior, feeling it curiously, before trying to look over her shoulder at it. ~~I thought … that mean you were … I don't understand!~~

«Interesting.» Bending down, Reg examines the roses, lifting a hand, «Don't damage them. Doing so would release all the energy at once, which could have … a lot of bad effects. Locking us here permanently, turning us permanently into shadow stuff and thus insubstantial and unable to touch the world…or even just destroying us entirely, turning our bodies to shadow and nothingness.» He shakes his head, «I think I can rearrange the roses and disable the shadow, though it'll take me a few moments.» He bends down to start doing so, frowning… He looks at Sandra with some bemusement, adding, «It's a song, Sandra.»

A streak of flame burns the sky above the hedge-maze and descends like a comet. It resolves into two female figures: the slight, dark-haired Singe - a mercenary apparently hired as additional muscle - and just-as-tiny blonde Kerry.
Looking for a good angle - but there really isn't one, thanks to the way the trio entered - Singe lets her companion drop lightly to the ground and moves off to the right, a hiss and crackle of flame heralding the slow flicker and spread of rippling fire over her form. Underneath that aura, she wears a costume of ash grey with scarlet seams and a simple black mask.
Kerry wears a skimpy black dress, gold jewelry, and attire otherwise more suited to clubbing than a fight. "You really don't want to do that, do you? Give me a break." Her lip trembles in an exaggerated pout.

"Singe, Kerry…so nice of you to drop by, say…should I let Steven out of the bottle so he can trash this place too?" ~~Don't worry guys, that's a bluff, honest.~~ Steven grins. ~Aw! No fun, though I guess risking being stuck as shadows forever…yeah, I'll restrain the urge.~ Beat. ~If let out to play.~ Stephanie looks over Kerry's attire. "Seriously? Why do you fight in club gear?" She really doesn't grok. ~~Singe is a fire elemetarist, she's also SUPER nimble. I think the most Steven ever got on her was to knock her down with a psychokinetic burst.~~ Steven mind-nods. ~Rage storm, not just for breakfast anymore.~

~~Fire?~~ asks Sandra as she straightens, her hands flying from her backside, and her mental voice wavering only faintly. ~~Why did it have to be fire….~~ she mentally asks with a sigh. ~~Reg, I will deal with Kerry,~~ is noted, even as Sandra raises her arms above her. She says nothing verbally, after all, why bother. Kerry is beyond logic and diplomacy, and Singe … she's fire. Bad bad fire!
Both hands drop and there is a pause, then there is a tangible shattering, and light begins to reflect off of hundreds if not thousands of 'shards' of water. They gather together and shift, forming into reflections of each of the three Steranko Students - Reg, Stephanie, and Sandra.

«Got it.» Glancing up, Reg sighs. He shakes his head, glancing at the others, and lifts his spear. His voice is firm, soft tenor a harsh clarion call: "We do, yes. And you will stand down. This I command you in the name of the Gods." As he says this, his spear begins to glow with a lambent silver light, "By my name and the name of my mother the Athena Promachos, She Who Fights in Front, I command thee!" Since when does he start speaking like that? I guess, when he gets serious.

"Feel free." Singe's voice is flat, without humor. A flicking gaze regards the mirror images, but she adds nothing further.
"I wasn't planning to fight in this." Kerry whines, just a bit - but when it is evident that conflict is inevitable, she heaves a theatric sigh. "So be it."
Morning shadows, rose shadows, all blend together into a deep haze, into which Kerry's body blurs … but even as it does, her face loses its lustre and fades, shifting, gaining maybe a decade, four or five inches in height, her hair morphing into a short brown bob. Still pretty, but very much more in the wholesome soccer mom vein. Her clothes change as well, not so coincidentally more pragmatic.

"OMG…I have all your albums. Well, Steven liked your jazz music better…but I liked the pop." Okay, that's confusing. "Seriously Kerry…shapeshifting is a cool ability. I have to give you that." And then Steph turns her mismatched eyes towards Singe. "You however, are just a hot head and need to cool your jets, I know you have a burning desire to leave your brand on the day, but we'll fight fire with…water." And that horrible punning is followed up by a blast of pure mental force, cobalt lines forming over her body as she does this. Talk about a punch line! And then after the impact of that blast — or was i the banter? After that, she grimaces. ~~I've got her held…but not sure for how long…~~ A blue halo forms about her head…and that of Singe…crackling lines of cobalt energy pulsing between them.

Kerry preens like a peacock, beaming. "Well, confidentially, I didn't do all my albums, exactly, but - thanks! Just wanted to get back to my roots, you know?" But then her lips turn into a tight smile. "I'd say I'm sorry about this, but it's just business." She flings out her hand, a sharp, fierce movement powered more by force than finesse. Lines of shadow surge from each finger, roiling, coruscating. Even though only one strikes, it's enough to sting.
Kerry narrows her eyes and tries again, taking advantage of Stephanie's stillness to pack a wallow - and this time, every bolt of shadow finds its way home, ripping into the young woman and battering every part of her body. Singe stumbles back with a gasp.

There is an audible sigh that comes from Sandra as she watches Singe wake up from whatever hold Stephanie had on her. She frowns … deeply. A hand lifts up, and Sandra extends it to the recently freed Signe. Water wraps and flows over the arm, then shoots out at the fire-elementalist, striking her and sliding upwards and ripples and wraps around the woman's head, trying to force it's way down Singe's throat.
This will only work for a bit, so Sandra inhales, and draws herself upright, her mental voice echoing her physical one, trying to reach Stephanie on both levels. "Stephanie … Steven! Steven, push Stephanie! Don't let her slip, not now. Be her strength. Come on, Stephanie, you are strong! Show Kerry just how strong you are!"

"Stephanie!" With this, Reg, now in full-on Valiant mode, turns towards Kerry. "That was not the right thing to do." This is said so prosaically, before he charges. His spear lashes out, striking her in the ribs with the haft, before the blade comes down to slice through the fabric of her clothing, leaving a shallow cut. Then, he jerks the haftback to slam it right into her stomach. She reels back, stunned by the blows, and he says in a clarion voice, "You will not touch them. Do you understand? You. Will. Not. Touch. Them. Fight me, if you /dare/."

Singe chokes softly, but there is no flailing or twitching from her - she takes it in stride, forging on without air and orienting on Sandra with eyes narrowed from under the mask. Gouts of flame rush towards the woman and … strike one of the watery images instead.

Reeling under Kerry's attacks, Stephanie shakes it off with a little help from her friends…she'll get by with a little help from her friends. And Steven, his mental exhortations coupled with Sandra's get the twins back in the action. A sad look at Kerry. "Well, see if I ask for your autograph now." She sniffs disdainfully. And then a look to Singe. "However, YOU missie…you need to chill." The Blaschko's lines on Stephanie's body glow brilliantly, and then all that radiance flows up her form into her mismatched blue eyes — leaping out once, and dizzying Singe a moment, but when the girl shakes it off a SECOND blast flows forth like a hammerblow, smiting Singe to the ground and leaving here there, breathing but immobile.

Kerry lofts a brow at Sandra's remark. "You know, I can think of far more interesting ways to display strength," she purrs, splitting her attention between the Atlantean and the twins. Which is a mistake, as Reg charges in and … actually manages to make contact. "What the fuck?" she gasps, genuinely shocked. She stares at the spear for a moment as she pants for breath … and as she recovers, rolls her eyes. "Oh, that's just lovely."
Her eyes widen as Singe falls. "Damnit! I -" Clearly dithering about something, and it's a mental debate that places a lot of tension on the woman's frame, she appeals to Reg. "Look, I don't want to do this, and you don't want to make me do this …"
Snivel. Smack. She moves so fast even the two not under attack might miss the outward slam of her hand, the snarling darkness that tears into him from all angles and leaves deep scores - but the wounds, while wracking, are more painful than debilitating.
Kerry curses under her breath again. "Evelyn, if she fucking *eats* me, I am going to kill you," she mutters, then lifts her hand and says, "Merriweather -" then a brief phrase in labored and obviously rote Latin. "Heal her."
The play of pale light over the hedge-maze shifts, subtly, a deep sense of watchfulness intensifying until its touch is almost physical, cold fingers up the spine. A wind like human breath sweeps through, gusting past each - and then mist swirls over Singe, pouring into her mouth. The fire controller splurts and starts to jerk awake …

A string of near-Greek falls from Sandra's lips as the wrote Latin incantation is said and Singe wakes up. Then she looks at Kerry with a frown. "You'd think someone your age would have long-ago learned to be less of an adolescent with juvenile humor, than the actual adolescents in the area," is offered.
Then a blast of water is shot at Singe again, but the pyrokinetic resists, sending steam rising upwards, rather than letting the water infiltrate her personal space. Eyeing the steam, Sandra then looks over towards Kerry and purses her lips thoughtfully.
A hand is swept towards the woman, and long think tendrils of water wobble and move forward, only to explode into tendrils of mist, drifting forward on an unseen wind. Before Kerry can react, the mist wraps around the woman, legs, arms, mouth and eyes, holding her immovable - for the moment.

"Stop her!" As Sandra begins to pin the woman with tentacles of water, this leaves her wide open. Valiant lifts his spear and whirls forward. The impact as his spear slams into the woman butt-first sends her staggering back, entirely stunned. Hopefully that disrupts the spell. Hopefully! "Brace yourself, this could cause a backlash…" He calls to the others…

No backlash, thankfully - whatever the energy is, it seems to have no interest in Kerry's state of well-being.
Singe moans softly, the last of the vapor trailing down her throat. She sits up, a convulsive shudder moving through her frame. "What the hell?" Her voice is faint. Shaking it off, however, she kips to her feet, a wavery gesture causing ember glow, then fire, to sear along her body. Still wobbling from her recent date with the dirt, she is able to make no further move.
And whatever that is, whatever Kerry summoned? It lingers, no mistly apparition, but that sense of something staring - hard - at the fighters on a soul-deep level.

Seeing Singe awaken, Stephanie blinks…and then her gaze narrows to dangerous slits, once more that eye-lightning leaps forth, but the fiery villainess manages to shake off the effects with ease this time. And then Stephanie growls, and her form blurs….until the form of Steven snaps into focus in her place. "Fall back!" he cries, and then leaps into flight, tendrils of telekinetic force grabbing Sandra and Reg as he flies back to hover near the glass roses. Of course, Reg and Sandra only see Stephanie's stun attack fail spectacularly. ~~Illusion…they shouldn't be able to see you right now, do your darnedest guys!~~

"Let go of me!" Kerry yowls, flailing within the misty bonds. She makes such a show of it, in fact, that she has her assailant completely distracted … a situation which she takes advantage of again, focusing and sending shadowy flows pulsing into Sandra's … illusory body. Not surprisingly, there is absolutely no effect. The illusion vanishes, leaving her with eyes narrowed.

«Good idea,» Valiant sends to Stephanie. He charges forward, lifting his spear. There's no words for what happens next. The spear's butt slams into Kerry right in her temple, and the young woman crumples. Absolutely CRUMPLES to the ground, like a marionette with its strings cut. The sound as the haft strikes echos like a branch breaking. That. Had. To. Hurt. He turns towards Stephanie, and calls, "Good shot!"

Singe rejoins the fight, with only a single, dispassionate look for the fallen Kerry. She drops onto her heels slightly, abandoning some mobility for a clearer shot. A searing swipe of flame informs Reg harshly that he has effectively destroyed his illusory cover and she knows just where he is. The roiling flames run up his form, leaving him stunned. She does flick a wary glance towards Steven, but there are big fish to fry … pun intended.

Even as Kerry attacks the illusory Sandra, Stephanie makes it react to the attack as if hurt but not downed. She winces as Reg calls himself PAINFULLY back into focus by knocking the woman out. "Ow. Nice shot." She compliments, of course Singe would hear all that as Steven's voice. And then Steven's hand raises, a bolt of TK force battering her about the head and shoulders. At first the attack seems to have no real effect, and then Stephanie drops the illusion, and with a primal scream dredged up from all the pain she's suffered here she launches a stun blast that is unlike the others — it is a ravening pencil of coherent mental power, THRUST into the woman's head…and rending both her and the target unconscious. Mind link and illusion both drop along with the villains and the timeshare twins.

And as the villains drop, Valiant does two things. One, he moves over towards Stephanie and examines her carefully. No, he doesn't feel her up. Once that's done, he heads towards the rose crystals and begins to rearrange them. "This should go here…this should go here…this…" He trails off. "Yeah, there." He pauses and waits, to see a response.

The transition is as subtle and slow as it was the first time: the light shifts, shadows standing out in stark relief and the leaves or branches hidden within them oozing into full reality; light stretches across the scene, glowing, glinting, reflecting off the roses as it did not before. And for the first time since this began, there's no chill or cold in the air, not even a hint.
The sense of watchfulness vanishes as well, with one last breathy sigh. Everything falls still.


Amber hmms and is there watching the cook pass, unawares of her situation. She looks over at Alia. After her last trip downstairs to the basement, she's known there was more there. More danger, more risk and the very thing they needed to break. She grins a little at Alia. "You ready to make a mess?"

Alia grins slightly, "Indeed, I am." She glances over at Amber, "Shall we do some premium smashing, then?" Her fists glow a bit, as she looks around for the quickest route to the basement in question. Getting there quickly is not an issue with her…

Quickest route to the basement? Down the stairs. No locks, no mazes … just a straight shot to a workshop with a distinctly dented and warped door. It's still servicable, but not made to withstand the kind of pressure young heroes can bring to bear. Inside, the glass workshop is in dishevel, what was a bellows completely destroyed. The right side wall holds a shimmering, rippling mirror. Now that the two know what to look for - and now that this side is so thoroughly disrupted - it's obvious the scene on the other side of the mirror isn't merely a reflection of this one. It's a doorway or portal, not a piece of glass.

"Meet you downstairs then?" Amber chuckles and says, "Whoever smashes the most stuff wins." With that she drifts down the basement entrance, and rockets through the hallway into the door, with a punch, hurtling it into the room. Alia she knows will be right there with her, and she hovers there, looking at the mirror, offering the mirror to Alia, "After you."

Alia glows brightly, not bothering to smash things as she just moves through them, then she nods over at Amber. "Indeed. Let's go." With that, she draws the light in around her fists, causing them to shine brightly with white light as she flies forward towards the mirror.

A sharp prickling sensation passes through the two as they walk through the mirror. On the other side, the room is much more extensive, but most of the contents are packed away in niches and cabinets. The floor is solid glass of unknown depth, hard as diamond.
Their target is obvious: a smoked-glass pillar slightly taller than either heroine, filled with faint, flitting shapes. The sense of dj vu when one looks at it approaches nausea, even though no one image is recognizable or even identifiable … but it's all deeply, completely familiar on an instinctive level.
Alia and Amber are alone, but the instant they pass through the mirror, a low, keening wail explodes through the chamber, obviously some kind of alarm.

When they enter the room, Amber is singing to herself, "Will you won't you won't you will you, won't you join the dance?" She almost bops to it, great version in her head. She looks at the pillar and says, "Wow. So I guess with just smash it? Seems too…" Then the alarm goes off and Amber sighs, "…easy."

Alia nods, "Yes, time to prepare for some company, it seems. Though we can try to destroy it after." She eyes the obelisk, "It is something that doesn't belong here."

The mirror on this side vibrates and crackles, disgorging the figure of Hunter - not even breathing heavy, though he have moved very fast to arrive within those seconds. Though dressed down, as it were, in mundane attire, he's physically imposing enough to make up for it. Mismatched eyes - one grey, one green - narrow. "You two lost?" he inquires, his voice raspy with irony. "Come back out front." No threat, no or, but his tone offers plenty of both.

Amber looks and stares at Hunter. She suddenly smiles, "Actually yes, we are lost, we seem to have been trapped in the shadow dimension by a horrible woman with her two lackey moron pets. And if we go out front, we won't be able to get any attention from them, so I think we'll stay here." She nods, assuredly, as if that was a good plan she came up with all on her own. Extremely patronizing.

Alia looks at Hunter, her body going from white to red as she smiles, "Oh, and we just figured we'd destroy as much of this vile place as we could and then liberate ourselves from the wicked stepmom's grasp, if that's quite alright with you." She pauses, "And if it's not alright with you, that works for me as well."

Hunter snorts. "Is everything that black and white to you? I guess I'll have to pound in some sense." A slight smirk accompanies these words. He shifts in the direction of the pillar, moving with a casual air - outwardly unconcerned by whatever threat the pair pose.

Amber shifts to one side and says nothing else, just claps her hands. The air is compressed as the sound itself rockets through the room. Hunter seems to be prepared and backs out of the wave, as the room is full and completely shaken the walls themselves affected, but not the pilar.

Hunter twitches slightly at the sound of crashing behind him, but he doesn't seem to need to look back at the pillar - he just smirks more broadly. "Were you trying to do something? Difficult to tell." A few quick, loping steps and he closes with Amber, a punch slammed at her shoulder … and straight through her shoulder, phasing out in that instant and re-forming inside flesh and bone. But she's made of sturdy stuff, and he wrenches free without apparent damage.
The eyes sharpen again. "Huh."

Alia flies into the air, "Enough out of you!" She fires a blast into Hunter's face, blinding him as she fires a laser at the pillar, which seems to just skitter off the edge without damaging it. "Amber… I think we need to smash it with something heavy. How much do you think he weighs?"

Amber grabs Hunter and says, "Ok, let's try something else," she grabs Hunter in a bear hug, holding his arms to his side, "Just to be clear, I only like you as a battering ram." With that she flies across the room and uses him to slam into the pillar, causing a crack to appear in the crystal. But Hunter seems to be able to take as much of beating as she can.

Hunter rolls free, landing in a crouch. A quick shake of his head to clear it and his eyes come up - staring sightlessly, and not able to clear the brightness. The Shadows haven't shown particular vulnerability to light, but he's still blinded for the moment. There is a subtle ripple across his body, the sense of something changing - but what is not immediately apparent. He twists back towards Amber, orienting on where she was, but not coming close enough to connect.
Even as he shifts back to center himself from that attack, an increased flurry of blinking betrays the return of his sight.

Alia looks at Hunter, then smiles with an almost feral expression, "Hey, up here!" As he looks, she hit him right in the face with a full-force light blast, causing him to stagger backwards. He isn't blinded anymore, but in retrospect he might wish that he were…

Amber grimaces and grits her teeth at the man in her way, and his constant endurance. Alia's got him busy with light so she turns quickly and throws a fist into the pillar, with the crack, growing oh so slightly. "Oh, no, I'm not getting beaten by the furniture in this hole!" One more fist back and she plows into the weak spot she created with Hunter's body. She shatters it, as crystal falls to the ground in a ringing tinkling to the ground.

As the pillar shatters, the shadowy forces contain within rush outwards, wailing with a banshee howl … the entire room vibrates like a struck bell, then falls abruptly silent as the darkness simply vanishes.
"Fucking hell!" Hunter groans. He drags himself upright, assessing the situation with narrowed eyes. He slams his hand … back against and through the frame of the mirror. It ripples, lightning-snaps of green running through the surface, then shudders, the milky surface starting to shatter.
"You've got about five seconds to get out of this room," he rasps. "Believe me, I'll be fine - this place and I have a kinship - but if that portal closes and you're on this side, it won't be pretty."

Alia hrms, "That's our queue to leave, Amber, come on!" She flies down, solidifying but still leaving a light trail as she grabs Amber and hustles to the portal, "Hang on, now!" She doesn't hesitate, pushing through the portal to the right side of things.

The pair of heroines plunge through the portal and … on the other side, all is subtly changed, the light warmer and brighter, what is in shadow now taking on definition … and the chill is gone. The mirror? The mirror stays after Hunter's proscribed five seconds, but not for long. It goes dark, the glass abruptly dissolving in the frame. That looked planned rather than damage-related, however … and seals off whatever else is in that second workshop from further attack. But the pillar is destroyed, the imprints useless, and no one else is rushing down to confront them.

Amber grins at Alia and says, "Race you outside?" With that she lifts off and flies through the ceiling to the main floor, knowing Alia can follow just without the trailing dust cloud and torn apart walls. "I really wish I could break this place more!" she shouts as they move.

Alia follows easily with Amber, "I agree! Well, let's leave a little something for Evelyn to remember us by." She grins sharply, flying through the walls and floors with ease, her light form turning a brilliant shade of green, "Seems the least we can do, for her distressing lack of mnhei'sahe."

Amber nods and smiles, as she inhales as deeply as she can. She lets out a stream of breath as she flies up up and up, blowing a giant hole in the roof. Literally. She floats above, and shouts back, "Your turn!"

Alia flies through the hole, then focuses her energy and lets loose a massive blast through the hole, devastating most of that top floor and rendering the furniture and other items there into so much tiny demolished pieces. She then grins, looking a bit weary from the effort, "Indeed!"


(New York Times)

Five teenagers on vacation in New York City found themselves the victims of a neohuman kidnapping plot. The young people - whose names have been withheld for reasons of privacy - were held against their will at the local residence of movie actress Evelyn Prieto … until rescued by a group of young heroes, who reputedly ripped through the mansion and defeated its guardians.

The ransom demands came in the form not of money, but artifacts or articles of unknown significance. Though these missives came anonymously, the teens claimed that they were held against their will by their hostess. Ms. Prieto countered with her own claim.

"I shouldn't have to remind anyone of the shapeshifters who have already tried to subvert my family," she said - referring to the highly-publicized incident involving her daughter. The girl, who possesses shapechanging abilities of her own, made a failed attempt on the life of Supreme Court Justice Grace Sullivan … apparently under the encouragement of others of her kind. "They have not given up. I was held in my home and impersonated by these … creatures. I'm as much a victim here as my guests."

When pressed for evidence, Ms. Prieto indicated that she had caught a glimpse of the true face of one of the antagonists, pointing authorities towards a startling figure: soft rock diva Annabelle Kerry. Skeptical authorities went to speak with Ms. Kerry, but she fled the scene, lending considerable credence to the story.

"If this is true," said local detective Richard Brust, "then the real Annabelle Kerry has been dead for years, replaced by this shifter."

Ms. Kerry's husband of eleven years, Kurt Batterton, was adamant there was a misunderstanding. "I refuse to believe," he said, "that either I married a murderess - or my beautiful wife was replaced by a complete stranger and I never noticed a change."

In view of this, Liv Prieto - the daughter - became a prime suspect as an accomplice, if nothing else, but after extensive questioning, the authorities released the girl. "It helps that the involved parties were unanimous that she was a prisoner as much as anyone else," Brust observed.

Hostages and hostess also agree on the appearances of two other individuals: one, the mercenary fire controller known as Singe, and the other, an unidentified man in his early forties. Sketch artists have matched the drawing with the late Damien Hunter, a brilliant Scottish chemist whose groundbreaking career halted abruptly in a plane crash twenty-five years ago.

Not all are content with the surface appearance of the case. "Evelyn Prieto has a story for everything," said Cove City detective Lance Elliot. "She wants us to believe she somehow didn't know her daughter was being trained as an assassin? Right - but there's no proof otherwise. Now she wants us to believe that these same shapeshifters pinned her and her guests down in her swanky home? The guests can't be certain they weren't dealing with a shapeshifter, especially when these are people who - allegedly! - fool spouses and close friends. Too much coincidence … but not enough for probable cause. We'd need some evidence of continuous behavior."

The Prieto mansion sustained massive damage, with estimated repairs running to the seven figure mark. Ms. Prieto has one of the most extensive neohuman insurance policies in the New York City area - "Which in itself raises a lot of questions," Elliot commented - but she will still be spending extensively out of pocket. She is reputedly making arrangements to stay with her brother, writer/director Samuel Prieto, for the duration.

Thanks to the efforts of young neohuman heroes, pitted against canny and ruthless foes, the hostages are now free and unharmed. Investigations continue.

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