Musical Mayhem at the Mall
GM: Reg
Players: Chimera, Felis, Jackhammer, Vesper
Location: Westcourt Mall, Cove City
Time: Evening, May 3, 2010

It's a quiet day at the Westcourt Mall, one of the largest malls in Cove City. In the food court, everything's … well, not quiet. Food courts are never quiet. But calm enough. Some kids are playing over there, a baby's crying in her stroller, and so on. There's music off in the distance, but that's often the case in malls. It's not near enough to be heard as yet. A pair of teenage boys are pointing at Liv and Stephanie and acting macho. Sigh. Boys.

Stephanie had to get off of school grounds, after a week in the infirmary, ANY food would be better. So, as ambiguously dressed as possible, the rather androgynous young lady heads off to the mall for some horribly fattening and greasy food that is absolutely horrid for her. So…doing the normal teen thing, for once. Moving at a somewhat ginger pace, she eyes the boys pointing and acting macho, and snorts in amusement. Up to the counter at Johnny Rockets she goes. "I'll take a double, with bacon and cheese and all the trimings. Also, a large vanilla coke, and cheese fries please." Yeah. Health nut? Not so much.

It's not Opry Mills, but as malls go, Jon would have to admit Westcourt's not a bad one. Not that she's terribly happy about being in any mall here, really. She sits at a table by herself, finishing off a slice of pizza, two more left on her plate and a large cola close at hand. She's trying, and mostly failing, to lose herself in a large hardback book open on the table in front of her. She stifles a grumble of frustration and leans back in her chair to stretch her back.

Liv is here on her own, taking a break from the school routine to grab some art supplies and an (im)proper meal. Anything that includes a fried apple turnover has to be bad news. She's reading, rarely taking a glance up at the boys and then turning her attention pointedly back to the book. Sorry, boys, brother Cadfael is way sexier than you are. On one of those upward looks, she spots Stephanie, and her pierced brow spikes. "Hey!" she calls, unspooling from the chair and starting in her general direction.

A little walking, a little wandering, and maybe a Jazz CD or two later on to pick up. This would explain what Jack is doing out at the mall this afternoon, having taken the bus once he got off campus, and high-tailed it to the shopping center. But, first, something to eat! The food at school is okay, Jack thinks. But sometimes a guy wants more. And Johnny Rockets…slightly off his usual decade, is still good enough for him. When he does enter, he sees a couple of people, and one young lady at the counter. He jogs, and plants his hands on the counter seat next to Stephanie's to vault himself onto the stool. "Hey, doll," he says, tipping his fedora with a flick of a finger. "What's cookin?"

It's an odd song. It's now audible. The person — or persons singing it are closer. As they near, the song hits you like a hammerblow. It's an old one, o/~ This is the Age of Aquarius, the Aaage of Aquarius … o/~ It's an entire chorus, as literally the entire mall arrives, singing and dancing along. In the backis a man wearing sapphires on a rather overly glitzly outfit. He's singing too! Ooookay. As the sound nears the food court, everything … stops.

Over in the corner, the two boys start to dance. The baby in the carriage? His /cries/ start to harmonize with the song. We won't even get to the people behind the counter. Did you know you could beep a cash register in tune to a song? Apparently so. Each of the the registers is opened and their contents dumped into a bag carried by one of the singers. It looks like whoever this is, is making a clean sweep of the mall. In his own rather weird fashion. Jonathan finds herself dancing along as she moves to a counter at the edge of the food court. It's a local Zale's…

"Hello Jack, hopefully my burger and fries!" The girl answers with a shy smile. "I know, I shouldn't be off campus, but I couldn't stomach any more cafe or infirmary food." She brushes some hair back behind an ear, and then Liv starts over. "Hey Liv. Good book?" She asks — and that's when the chaos breaks out. Oy. Of course the cat-girl would be hard to miss, but harder still is the dawning of the age of…err…yeah, the music number. "The heck?" She asks, her dual minds letting her shrug off the worst of the control, though a rebellious foot taps in tune. "Okay…this is not normal, some sort of potent mental coercion…" This to Jack and Liv.

Jon tips her head, frowning a bit at the distant song. And then she sits up more straightly as the song hammers in. She bobs her head back and forth, then wiggles her shoulders in time to the rhythm, wiggling up out of her chair. She flips her book close, big hefty hardback that it is and twirls away from her table towards the nearby jewelry store. She hefts her book, and timed to the downbeat, smashes it down on a countertop.

It's lucky Liv wasn't drinking anything - as it is, she seems in genuine danger of choking. "What the hell. Are you people with Improv Everywhere?" That's when she notices the cash dumps. She makes a long, searching look down towards the arts store. You can see the instant's thought on her face, and then the seconds it takes for the 'no, bad Liv' impulse to kick in. "What?" She blinks. Right, Stephanie is talking to her, even. She flicks an ironic smile to the girl. "No … y'think? Hey, Jack. Looks like you have perfect timing for dinner and the show." One of the lights over where the teens are standing flickers a bit as the shadows deepen around Liv, the dot of blackness under the nearest food court table almost inky. She fades in them, the lines of her form turning indistinct.

"And here I was hoping that the rest of the world has loosened up a bit," Jack says, turning away from the counter with a sigh. No bacon cheeseburger and Oreo shake for him. Dammit. Liv's comment gets a wide grin. "Never, /never/ say I don't know how to show someone a good time," he jests, and stands up from the stool. "Okay, we got civilians all over the place, and one o'ours trying to find some new best friends," he adds, indicating Jon with the diamonds. "Careful." Pause. Turns to Steph and tips his hat. "'Scuse me again," he says, before ambling off, working a bit of his swing dancing lessons into the movement, possibly giving the singing villain an impression that he's under control.

o/~ What can it be, if not the Age of Peace and Plenty, the Age of /Me/… o/~ Now the singer is punning on the song. And the chorus goes, o/ The Age of He! o/~ It's not very good, but blame the singer. At any rate, the dumping continues, and the song continues to swirl around the entire food court. He's ignoring the relative few not affected, as that sort of thing is rare. The costumed … what do you call him? He's not a villain, so much as a weirdo … continues to sing, and move through the area. He stops in the center of the food court, and is apparently ready to sing a number. Everyone singing around him. This is just freaking WEIRD!

"Rarely." Thinks, and then Stefanie peers at the singer, lines of blue glowing all over her skin, and hiding her mis-matched eyes as she lashes out with her will towards the guy. "Drat." She murmurs, and then grips a chair for stability — she's not completely recovered from her injuries yet. "Well, he's hardy." She observes. ~~Jack, Liv…my initial sally failed, next I'll be trying out a blast of raw mental force on him.~~ And Steven adds. ~And if that doesn't work, well…we'll swap and see how likes TekeCastrophe.~ ~~OW, horrible.~~ ~Yeah, terribad, right?~ Yes, Steven seems proud. Oy.

The tigress gives herself a quick shake as she comes out of the music induced trance. "The hell?" she asks, frowning down at her hand in the jewelry case. "I'll fix that," she says. "Just need some duct tape." She turns around, not thinking about fixing anything. Except in the fixing someone's clock—no, that's clean someone's clock. Well, someone's fixin' to get their clock cleaned. "Hey! The 70s called, they want their funk back!" she cries out as she dashes forward, ducking past a singer here, sidestepping another there, then hauling back o give him a hard slug alongside the jaw!…that stumbles him, but doesn't seem to have set him back.

The Maestro looks up sharply as he feels the attack from Stephanie, focusing on her. He's about to act when he suddenly has a rather human-tiger-girl in his face! He shifts the tempo, singing, o/~ I won't let you hide from this! Even with your best defense… You can't deny you feel about me! o/~ As he says this, the crowd surges. A horde of them is charging Stephanie. A second horde is charging Jonathan! Meanwhile, he gestures with a hand, o/~ I don't want to say another word to start a fight! o/~ With these words, Stephanie reels under a mental onslaught, psychic power slamming into her mind. However, Stephanie's will is adamantine, and she shakes off the psychic attack easily!

"Careful!" Liv calls across to Jonathan. "That's how it all starts …" At least she can joke about her spotty reputation. Grimacing, she digs into her pocket and stuffs her MP3 player earbuds into her ears. She jams up the volume on … that really sounds like Gregorian chant. Given the circumstances, it's better than the Cell Block Tango (even if she does a mean Zeta-Jones). ~You two should take that show on the road,~ she quips. ~Everyone keep your eyes open, it's about to get dark …~

And does it ever. As Liv focuses, the occasional subtle gesture as if pushing, pulling, nudging forces out of hiding, every subtle shadow becomes impenetrable, bleeding outwards into perpetual night. It fills the food court, but the teen heroes find they can see through it with ease. Not so much for the musical crowd, which seems bound to become a musical confusion.

So, there's a part of Jack that almost wants to go back to New York and tell those palookas he went to high school with that those dance lessons /did/ pay off. Because apparently, the musical menace thinks that the fedora-wearing kid is just one of the crowd. Which is what Jack was hoping to do, getting by on dance and a bit of his old-school charm. He uses the opportunity to get closer as Stephanie links them up. ~You got it. Looks like the tigress is out of his control. I'll try and soften him up, babe.~ he gets closer, moving with the music before he cuts on, opening his mouth with a countertune of his own.

"Some bad guy tried to heist the whole Mall down Cove City Way
He had a music style put you under his sway
But he in for a surprise
For there were others out here ready to give him black eyes
He in big trouble now
he has to deal with me
He has to face the Jackhammer because that would be me. (*)"

((*) With apoligies to the Andrews Sisters.)

Still, on that last beat, the young man brings his right arm under and forwarfd in a vicious uppercut aimed right for the Maestro's Jaw! It connects, but Jack feels the telltale bounce of a force field when he does, and hears the music skip. ~His force field's makin' the music!~

As Jack attacks him, you can hear the man singing, o/~ I see you! I see you! Walking through a dream… I see you! o/~ Yes. From Avatar. The sound skips as the blow strikes, but it continues, and the poor civillians charge in the darkness. Cries of shock come as some run into each other, but they're under too tight a control to do more than act. One of them actually manages to land a blow on Jack. This, of course, is laughable. He can bounce tank shells. All they could do is slow him down. Not one manages to touch Jonathan.

~~I wonder if I try to use my illusions to make the crowd unable to hear him if they'd break fre…~~ Stephanie then gathers her will, ending up leaning with both hands on a chair as an intangible -something- leaves the girl and slams through the man's shield. The 'impact', all in his mind, is sufficient to do him some injury but not slow him down too much. ~~Darn it!~~ And then Steven grins. ~Jack, you SO need to go on American Idol!~ Stephanie actually sends the mental equivalent of a facepalm. ~~Keep it up, Liv…unless someone attacks the darkness…~~

Jonathan dances to the left, dances to the right, her tail flicking back and forth, it and her dodging movements unconsciously in time to the music of the Andrews Sisters. Her first punch didn't do much, Jack's didn't do much…okay, oblique approach! She lunges in at him with a snarl, arms wide and tangles with him. "Simon says you're outta here!" she growls as she gets him pinned, getting a hand up to cut off his singing, releasing a fresh surge of chaos as the mind control effect is cut off. "Uhoh."

Maestro is pinned, his body compressed so he has no breath to sing. He can't use much of his powers. The crowd is free. However, not /all/ of his abilities need him to be singing. Thus, he releases a psychic yell — more sonic feel even if it's mental in nature. o/~ Don't pick me up, just bring me down! o/~ Yes, he's raping the song. It's mental, not physical. But it strikes Jonathan, and a few civillians near her! It's hardly singing, but it suffices. Jonathan reels, but her grip does not loosen! The other people near him, however, slump to the ground, unconscious.

Liv jams the volume control on her MP3 player, but there's no relief from the panicking crowd. She hesitates, frowning, but with a wave of her hand, banishes the darkness. The shadows shrink back to their normal dimensions … except for those coruscating about her flickering form. ~Keep your head down!~ she advises Jonathan, her hands coming together. The blackness deepens between them, forming a bolt that she launches at the pinned Maestro's head. Fair shot? Well, it's *a* shot, and slams into the musician's spine, causing him to jerk hard.

And Jack pushes himself to end this now. But, he's just unable to break through whatever protection the Maestro has. That, and he's being slightly overconfident and missed an easy shot while trying to make sure to pull his punch so he doesn't clobber Jon at the same time. Still, he pushes himself to keep striking, but the struggle means Jack keeps missing. Which makes him embarassed. ~You're too kind, squire,~ he tepes to Steven. ~But that Brit guy's so nasty. I'd lose my temper.~

The crowd is running. They can see, now. They are no longer mind controlled. And they are NOT STUPID. This is a neohuman battle. They are running for the hills. Luckily there's not so many that they trample each other on the way to the exits.

~That brit guy is a douchebag! Why do you think I wanted to see you on the show - Jack?~ There's a definite sense of smirk to his mental voice across the link. "Okay…that's QUITE enough." Stephanie says with gritted teeth. ~~The doctors are not going to be happy…~~ But clearly she doesn't care. The glow around the girl intensifies, the Blaschko's lines on her body glowing fiercely as she sends a pulse of raw mental force into the Maestro…and then she sags when he clings to consciousness. ~Oh crud…~ Steven says as Steph's hair halos around her, and she fires another mental blast…which sends the Maestro into the realm of Morpheus. ~~There…~~ She is trembling, slumped half over the chair, and yes…there's a slight trickle of blood from her nose. ~~I can keep him out as long as I concentrate.~~

Jon tries to hold the fancily dressed lad still, tries to keep her hold on him, but it's easier said than done, between a mental assault that earns a snarled, "Try the sound of silence, jerk!" and Jack punching him, and you just try to hold someone still while they get punched by someone like that. She's about an inch from hauling the bad guy to the restrooms to stick a head in a toilet to shut him up, when someone finally gets through to him. She lets go, letting him fall to the floor with a thud. "Oops. My grip slipped," she says dry enough to mop up spilled soda.

"What the hell?" Liv demands out loud, skid-sliding across the too-shiny floor in Stephanie's direction. "Was that strictly necessary?" She lifts her hand as if she's going to shake a finger at the other girl, then realizes the sheer ridiculousness of the gesture. She drops the hand, ripping out the earbuds. Gregorian chant reverberates faintly across the food court. "Hey, I always liked that song," she objects to Jon's remark. She cants her head down and about to peer at Stephanie. ~Are you …?~ And then, ~Is everyone else okay? That was manic. I need to scrub my ears.~

~Then someone's liable to call the coppers,~ Jack sends back, trying to be gentle. "Nice job, babe," he says to Jon as the Maestro eats linoleum. Because Jack probably doesn't know. Awkward. When Liv asks, Jack backs away from the center of the disturbance. ~I'm fine, but watch the twins,~ Jack replies. ~After last week, they shouldn't be putting any strain on themselves.~ This is punctuated by a small wash of worry through the link. ~And we need to get scarce before people ask questions. Anyone got a towel? Gag this joker and get gone.~

Sirens can be heard. Finally. The police will be here momentarily. Just imagine explaining /this one/ to the police. 'Well, the entire mall was doing a musical number, and…'

"We'll be fine, we'll just stay right here for a bit, catch our breath." Stephanie's body is half draped over the back of a chair, one arm dangling listlessly, she's got her knees on the thing and her cheek at the top of the chair's back. She does look like she could use a nap though, and that small nosebleed, not the best thing. Upon hearing the Sirens, she rises…quite shakily, and moves over towards the other teens. "You guys go, I'll find a spot out of sight, and keep him out until the police arrive…" She literally doesn't have the strength right now to hold the link in place, adrenaline is about all that's keeping her up at all.

Jonathan starts to nod thanks to Jack as he speaks to her. Being told you did a nice job, always a good thing. But then…but then he adds 'babe.' She tenses up, fur bristling and tail lashing. "I'm. Not. A. Babe," she snarls. She kneels down and angrily starts tearing a length from the villain's coat. "Got a gag coming up right here," she says. "Yank his shoelaces or something to tie his hands and let's get out of here."

"I can give us cover of darkness if we need it," Liv offers all too quickly. She hesitates at Stephanie's response and shakes her head. "N…o. Not going to leave you here to end up sprawled on the floor." She flicks Jonathan an almost-sympathetic grin. "Next time he'll call you doll. Maybe even sweetcakes. You'll get used to it."

There's a stunned look from Jack as Jon turns on him. Like he wants to say 'what did I say?' But before he can say anything else and dig himself any deeper, Jon stalks off, and Jack uses the showlaces to tie the Maestro's hands together behind his back before heading off. He's a but more subdued, after that, and his fingers twitch.

(Cove City Chronicle)

Westcourt Mall was the site of a surreal attempt at a robbery Monday Evening, as a man calling himself the Maestro used his neohuman abilities to rob the mall through … singing. This singing controlled the minds of everyone in the area, and he soon led the mall on what can only be described as a musical number, his 'mall minions' robbing the stores as he passed and their workers joining him as well. Finally, a quartet of young neohuman adventurers stood up to the man and stopped him within the mall's food court. Witnesses describe the young neohumans as Chimera, a tiger-girl (possibly called Felis), Jackhammer, and the young neohuman criminal made good, Vesper. Maestro is being charged with multiple counts of neo-crime and felony robberies.

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