Point Central

Log Info

Title: Point Central
Emitter: Liv
Characters: Current, Doctor Steampunk, Miles, Valiant
NPCs: Nephrite, Onyx, Rhodonite
Place: Some Park or Another — Cove City, MD
Time: May 18, 2010
Summary: Nephrite and Rhodonite attempt to activate their portal home, and are interrupted by Current, Doctor Steampunk, Miles and Valiant.

It is twilight in a small park in eastern Cove City, known for its thick trees and many hidden paths. At the fringe of the park, the faint thrum was only enough to make ears prick and dogs whine … further in, it becomes a deep ululation of pitch, rolling up and down through a pentatonic melody. No question which direction to go: just face the music.

They are just outside the central area of the park. Valiant is standing with the others, wearing his rather odd gear — Hoplite and Thracian armor ensemble and all. He speaks quietly, "All right. If my calculations are right…and hers as well, as I believe she verified them," he states, gesturing at Cordelia, also known as Doctor Steampunk. "Anyway. Sounds like it's starting, so we should go interrupt them, hmm?" A pause, "How about I go straight in. While I'm distracting them, you hit them from the side and back. Sound good?" The young man hefts his spear.

Somehow, Cordelia got recruited into this merry band. It's likely the result someone pointing out that there is SCIENCE to be had somewhere along the line. As it is, the blonde's wrinkling her nose beneath her bandit-mask at the music. "Haven't heard anything this bad since that time when Mom and Dad ran up against the werewolves," she says, "And they had to use the Sonic Screamer to drive 'em off." Evidently she hasn't been paying much attention to Steranko's new(ish) arrivals. "Expecting me to be subtle is an impossibility, particularly when it comes to those who might manipulate the etheric frequencies to their whims." Aka, magic. "But /I/ might distract them from you coming in on the side, so that might work after all." Nothing on the calculations; perhaps she just assumes that /of course they're right/.

"If she's coming in from the side, I'll hit from the back. Subtle is what I do." A pause. "Kind of by -default-." This would be the disembodied voice of the "Baldwin Ghost", aka the Rumor. Or "Test Subject #1," if you ask Doctor Steampunk.

"Subtle is not what we need now," says Current as she steps forward, and to the right. "Their rituals are sonic based, which is what they needed the stones for, their particular sonic resonances and amplification abilities. Our best bet," notes Sandra as she narrows her eyes and looks towards the noise, "is to move in, in concert from all four compass points, and be noisy and disruptive. Sing a bawdy sailing song, if you like. But make SOUND to disrupt their efforts and energies," she says, before moving off.

Cordelia waves a hand vaguely in Current's direction before clicking her heels together — twice, not thrice! — and igniting her rocket boots. Unfortunately, they're not all that /loud/ as such — more like whining counterpoint to the pentatonic background. She snaps out a cartrige from the bandolier across her chest, then slaps it into her ray-gun with a cheerful cackle. Not exactly subtle given the flash of light from the point of contact, and the ominous ticking of the cogs and wheels in her goggles doesn't help much.
Her lack of subtlety really is emphasized by her charge forward, rocket-boots blazing and battle cry of "FOR SCIENCE!" as she angles towards the centre of the music.

No, Reg is not one to sing bawdy songs or other things. Instead, lifting his spear, he simply roars, "FOR THE GODS! FOR M—ATHENA!!!" Yes. 'For MOM!' just doesn't have the right ring to it, does it? He comes rushing into the clearing from one of the compass points, hefting his spear and ready to send it flying…

"Bawdy songs? Seriously? Eh, fuck it." And that's why, coming from the back, there's…singing. Or possibly the wail of some sort of horrible man-banshee, interrupting the ritual song with..well, POLKA. "Now deep in Pennsylvania near where Route 180 ends, there's a humble home of brick and wood and glass, The tiny home of Rich Wojinski, Big Dick to his friends, who despite his name is famous for what issues from his ass! EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE UNION HALL, bring a can of glade and you'll have a ball, everybody loves when Big Dick farts a polka!"

Current actually pauses, and cringes at the cry for Athena. Then her blue eyes shift to a very stormy grey as she steps forward, hands outstretched as a wall of rushing water flows behind her, and she gives a wicked grin - one would almost think her teeth were pointed the way the light plays off of them.
Lifting her head, the woman chants - a heavy beat and martial song, in … a very strange language - it's related to Greek, or Latin, but it is definitely not either.
Hey, at least no one knows any Atlantean War Ballads to tell how badly Sandra's slaughtering the tune. Right?

Past a particularly thick cluster of brambles, an open glade with deeply scored lines cut into the earth. The outer framework is precise, faceted, studded at intervals with jade. The inner framework looks, at first, like squiggly lines, but a closer squint would identify precise waveforms.
Guards with faceted sapphire skin stand watch - four to the left, five to the right. Lurking amongst their number is the black-clad figure of Onyx.
In the center: poised with hands outstretched, opposed each other and half-singing, half-chanting, are Rhodonite and Nephrite.
None of the trio are masked. Rhodonite's mottled, marble-like brown skin is probably familiar to the heroes, but the other two …
Onyx is as dark as his namesake, his skin displaying a reflective, lacquered appearance. Close-cropped hair is obsidian in hue.
Nephrite's complexion has the smoothness and shifting tones of an opal, her eyes pale blue. Her hair appears pyrite, the "curls" shaped more like stone grain than human hair. She still has that black device that encircles one eye.
As the chanting continues, the ambient sound level vibrates upwards - then levels off at the commotion from the heroes.
Onyx snorts and cracks his knuckles. "Well, I guess I'm not going to be bored any more."
"You haven't had enough excitement?" Rhodonite wonders wryly, the words staying on the rhythm and pitch of the ritual.
Nephrite just … stares in Miles' general direction. She keeps trying to speak. And she keeps failing. Her voice cracks on the music, but she does manage to keep steady.

"Wow." Onyx peers in Miles' general direction for a second, smirking but obviously wary. "Speaking from experience, are we?" Apparently remembering his first experience, he utters a high-pitched whistle that reverberates at hair-raising intervals and remains as a faint, subliminal buzz … but his movements don't steer him towards the invisible boy. Instead, he bounds across to confront Current. "We're having dry weather today," he says. "I insist." He spins in for the attack, not too well-oriented - landing only one blow. The jolt of sonic force that follows the touch doesn't even sting.

"You messed up Menabrea's Multi-Dimensional Dictum; what're you trying to do, deafen the lot of us?" Doctor Steampunk hovers to one side, ray-gun trained upon the pattern rather than the people. "Oh, of /course/ you are. Amateurs." Now there's plain snotty magi-scientific snark in the blonde's voice, her goggles gleaming in the twilight. But this is when Rumor makes his debut and she blinks bemusedly, briefly ruining any snobbery. "You are going to have to teach me that one, Lab Assistant!" she declares, only to reorient on the group again.
"Sorry, going to do some rearranging here." Read: explosions! Even if her aim's not so great, hitting the ground isn't all that difficult. The side-effect: she hits a water-main, too, and water begins to gush out, mingling mud with brambles and ruining lines, and spraying both villain and hero alike with gobbets of mud and water. "I /offered/ to help. Guess that didn't quite work out so well."

"Get them!" Moving forward, Valiant lashes out with his spear. The polearm flickers, striking one, then a second, then a third. Each blow yields an explosion of force. For Onyx, who's a distance away, the edge of the spear seems to disappear, and reappears a few inches from the man, where it stabs straight towards him. Four of the crystal guardians fall, though Onyx appears unharmed. Valiant murmurs, "It's a start."

There's a -brief- pause in the horrible song to note to Onyx, "I forgive you for not knowing Coulton, but only because you're from some other universe that's so benight as not to have him." Then well, Nephrite's getting a surprise. Someone's briefly spinning her about to dance with her at a polka tempo, and keeping time with -headbutts-. "Now, Big Dick started dinner with some cabbage and some greens, some broccoli, a pair of turkey legs! Some jalapeno poppers and a tub of kidney beans, several liters of creme soda and a dozen deviled eggs! EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT…" This is probably like something out of a horrible nightmare as the phantom dance partner lets go, leaving her with faint bruises on her forehead.

Nephrite hisses, eyes narrowing towards Cordelia. "It is a necessary side effect," she says stiffly. And really - without a lot more time and a lot more resources - she might be right. "What happens to your plane and your people is no concern of mi -" This is when Miles closes with her, and she ends up whirled about in the dance. She squawks, gyrating free after the attack and staring (right at him, for the record). She more or less loses the thread of the chant-song for a good three seconds, and the ambient noise level lowers again before she picks it back up.
However, her voice immediately dips low again … and keeps going, creating a deep, subsonic thrum that can felt in the bones. It causes the busted pipe to knock-tap-shudder against the earth - and it slithers into the ear, vibrations trying to upset the physical balance between body and brain, though to no initial effect.

At the explosion and subsequint rain of mud and debris, Current just shrugs at Onyx. She even goes so for as to brush at where he struck her, as if shooing away an annoying biteme. Then she offers a smile to the extra-dimensional being, "I didn't make it rain," she notes with a wink, before her expression turns somber and she gives Valiant what seems to be a reluctant nod.
Then the young woman is darting across the ruined surface of the ground, ducking past Nephrite and her invisible dance partner with an arched eyebrow, right up to Rhodonite. "I am sometimes called Current," she offers by way of introduction before spinning and slipping her arms around the mottled 'male?' from behind. "And I am stronger than I appear," she intones, as her muscles contract, a leg hooks one of Rhodonite's, and Sandra pulls the man back into a possition that makes it difficult to move as she grimaces and twists to stretch and arm into covering his mouth. "Take a moment of silence to reflect upon this."

When Rhodonite is momentarily silenced, the rippling song of the ritual fades to a whisper - still there, still maintaining the same pattern over five sustained notes, but almost possible to ignore now.
Of the remaining guards, three lunge to Rhodonite's defense, swinging out at Current. Most of their blows, she shrugs off with ease - but the last drives into her ribcage with a sickening crack. The other two close in on Valiant, blows raining down to no effect.
The battered heroine might cling to consciousness, but she can't cling to the pinned ritualist, and Rhodonite hastily edges free. He clears his throat. "Normally, I am a fan of peaceful silence. However …" His attention turns to the individual who rather forcefully disrupted the earthen part of the ritual. He gestures, and a dark, granite-grey light settles over Doctor Steampunk, dragging her down into a paralytic malaise.
"Hey, asshole, keep your hands off my girl," Onyx shouts over at Miles. "I ought to -"
"Onyx, focus," Rhodonite observes in a dry voice - even as he lifts into the chant anew, and the ambient noise level follows.
Onyx rolls his eyes, but obeys the intrinsic command, spinning away to confront the frozen figure now. Child's play to unleash a series of blows that send sonic force rocking into and through Cordelia, making her ears ring - but remarkably, she withstands each impact. "Oh for the love of … what is it you locals say?"

"Oh, I'm aware that you're kind of asshats, but I was being professionally critical. Really, you're terrible at this." Doctor Steampunk remains airborne, at least until Rhodonite's web brings her down to earth, rocket-boots sputtering into a smoky death as her boots hit sopping soil. The sonic attacks ring off of armored corsetry — the stuff's good for something after all — and an assortment of magically-enhanced talismans against damage; judging by the look in her golden eyes, she's snickering at the lack of impact and snarling at the paralysis. Her dislike of being out of control of her own body stems from a number of things.
What's best to disrupt ordered magic? Chaos, of course. And while 'delia's control of what she taps is haphazard at best, that's all to the good in this case. There's a flare of magic, a briefly-visible mask of black and gold over her face and a miror-bright patch against the dark corset she wears, and she's freed from the spell in that burst of uncontrolled magic. Panting, she lifts her raygun to aim at Onyx, a feral smile upon her lips that's only mildly uncharacteristic. "You don't do so well with improvising. Science FAILURE!" Failure's also her aim: the crackle-ZAP of the freeze ray freezes over a chunk of the muddy soil.

"Current!" calls Valiant. He points his spear at the group near her, and charges them. His spear whirls in a … well, whirlwind of destruction. Each attack slams into one of the crystal guardians, and one manages to land on Rhodonite. All but one of the guardians falls. Rhodonite is again unharmed. Meanwhile, the young man kneels before Sandra, and says, "Current, get up." Pause. "This will hurt me more than you." He plucks something from a pocket, and waves it in front of her nose. She'll either wake up or throw up. One of the two. If she does the latter, he's moving out of the way.

The voice stops singing finally, -mercifully-, but this, apparently, means that it's time for the Rumor to get a little bit serious. Nephrite is driven back by a series of repeating blows, followed up by what's either a backhand or a kick to the face. It's kind of hard to tell, really, but it leaves her swaying on her feet- swaying just enough to roll with the impact of the next blow. She's not looking very sturder right now, however.

Pale, shaken, thoroughly in dishevel - and Nephrite doesn't know when to quit. She comes up snarling, snapping out a bolt of pure, shrieking sound so loud it momentarily drowns out everything else in the vicinity. It tears into him, battering him but leaving him still steady on his feet.

As the vial is waved beneath her noise, it seems like Sandra isn't going to respond, then she starts coughing, and the young woman takes on a faint green skin-tone beneath her tan and freckles. "Gods," she hisses as she turns her head away from the vile vial. "What is that? Stinkfish liver?" she groans, rolling to her side as she pushes herself up with the arm opposite her injury.
Eyes dart to Valiant, then Current looks away, she'll have to thank him later … somehow managing the mumbling words under her breath. "I have … an idea," groans the young woman as she struggles to stand up. "Can't … protect myself, so … take them out," she tells Valiant as she drapes her right arm over to her left ide, gently holding a rib.
"You said no rain, right Onyx?" calls out Current then, as water starts bubbling up from the broken main, dripping down from the sky, pulled from everywhere, the air turning dry. The water itself, which Sandra settles in front of her, near the middle of the ritual circle, seems to roil, boil and taoil, crashing in on itself over and over and over … wave after wave after wave … rhythmicly. Loudly enough that it seems to soften, then deaden the undercurrent of sound and beating which was the ritual in progress.

The lone guard charges Valiant, striking out at him - but though the blow lands true, it still blasts. Cue the figure stopping and staring at his hard-as-stone hands as if there's something wrong with them.
Rhodonite sucks in a sharp breath … and lets it out in silence. "Blast," he says. "All this work, and to begin again …" He could focus on Current, but why lash out when the damage is done? Instead, he rounds on the hero who just struck him with another wave of that grey, debilitating energy - also to no effect.
Onyx may have had some sort of flip response for either of the heroines. That reaction is aborted at the sight of the conflict in the center of the circle. He charges in with a snarl and a singleminded series of attacks on Miles, blows that sometimes glance off or miss, but more frequently land with a burst of ear-wrenching sound in the touch.

Cordelia's holding a grudge, of sorts, or Onyx just winds up making an ass out of himself. Convenient target acquird, she's also finding it difficult to maintain any decent accuracy. The weirdly-modulated sound leaves a bramble wilting and sagging in disgust. Whoops. "Hunh."

"Glad to see you up," Valiant says to Current, rocking back under the onslaught and emerging unscathed. He charges forward, heading straight for Nephrite. His attack with the polearm sweeps past her, missing as she moves out of the way. His response? "Fudge." Yes. He just swore with 'Fudge'.

"That kind of hurt, dude. Haven't tried this on a moving target before, so, well. Try my grandmother's new recipe!" Onyx is the recipient of a series of rapid but seemingly harmless blows, and starts to sneer as it seems to have no effect…then his face freezes that way, and he's left completely unable to move. "Huh. Awesome."

Nephrite's eyes swing with real rage towards first Doctor Steampunk and then - longer - towards Current, but even as she collects herself somewhat from the earlier assault, her attention turns right back towards the invisible lad. "You won't have the chance to do that twice," she rasps, finding her breath for another warping bolt of sound - and this time, even as it strikes him, it resounds in his ears. For Miles, the world goes very quiet.

With the silencing of the Ritual, Current lets out a deep sigh, wavering slightly on her feet - that rib HURTS after all, and no doubt has done some rather … unkind internal damage. Then the moment of brief respite is broken by that shrieking, piercing sonic cry of Nephrite's. Current lets out a groan, and waves her hand tiredly at the female creature, "Oh, would you /PLEASE/ just -SHUT UP- already?" asks the heroine like the cranky teenager she is.
Water rushes from the confluence in the center of the circle to strike Nephrite in the head, wrapping around her, and forcing it's way down that open maw. There are a few bubbles of air which rise out of Nephrite's throat, then the woman's eye rolls back in her head and she falls to the ground unconcious - the wate falling away from her with a splash.

The remaining crystal guard may not be totally brushed up on what just happened, but seeing their leader fall is cue enough. He rushes Current, his heavy blow glancing off.
Rhodonite's head snaps in that direction, quick, alarmed - he seems about to rush to Nephrite's side, but changes his mind. The earth of the now-ruined and useless pattern heaves, rising in great, muddy gouts to entangle Sandra, wrapping around her body and clenching tight. He says nothing - seems the time for speech is past.
Onyx - well, whatever reaction Onyx has is being built up like pressure behind a dam, but it's not bursting out now.

Onyx really has earned a grudge for hitting a girl while she's down. As a result, Cordelia straightens to her full height and smashes a cartridge into her gun. "Fool," she says disdainfully, training her aim upon the man. "Stay down." The blast is one she doesn't use often, this setting; it visibly drains her — magically, physically — to use, but it causes Onyx to slump… and out.

It's down to one main foe. And this is the foe that Valiant charges. This time, as he brings his polearm around in front of him, it strikes. Strikes again. And again. The blade whirls across the man's chest, cuts down towards his groin, and then back up towards his shoulder in an odd, inverted triangle. Rhodonite just… twitches and keels over, unconscious from the mystical energy grounding onto his system. Valiant blinks. Looks at the last crystal guardian, and orders, "Surrender. Now."

Miles saves the Guardian the trouble of surrendering- it stiffens, and collapses to the ground with a thud. "Whoops." A pause. "Did we actually get -all- of them this time? Without any of them running away? About damned time." He glances to Cordelia, sidelong. "Just don't tell her I'm hurt when she wakes up or she'll get her autodoc after me, and -noooo- one needs that."

Freed of the muddy, grabbing … tendrils, Current … shivvers in disgust as she looks at her now muddy hands and legs and … A wave of her hand causes a column of water to rise in front of her, and the woman steps into it, letting the inverted shower, of sorts, wash away the dirt. Then she spreads her arms wide, then upwards, and the water starts to paur up, drenching the atmosphere with liquid, and drying the ground to a certain degree, as with herself.
Running a hand through now dry hair, Current looks … irritable, but she holds herself from kicking each of the three while they are unconscious. "Valiant," she says, as if chewing on the name and not liking it, "I know Detective Henshaw's number, if you would please call her and inform her of the situation. I did try to invite her to the … party," she notes, hands shifting to her hips. "Rules and regulations … no doubt," she grumbles in exhausted annoyance. "And Nurse Chapel is going to be most annoyed that I am injured again," she states before devolving into a string of unintelligable curses in an unknown language.

By this time, Valiant is panting. Exhausted. He takes a deep breath, and says, "I think so. It took us a while, but I think so. Was tough at first. Though you and Current did a heck of a job." He glances at Current, saying, "I, uh…don't have a phone on me." He looks down at himself. Where would he hide it? In his bronze kilt? No, Current, you can't go looking. He looks over at Current, saying, "Let me look at you, make sure you're all right."

Current exhales, raising her arm to grip at her ribs again. "It's broken… there's nothing you can do about … " starts the young woman with an exhausted, but gentle, tone of voice. Then she blinks, and peers at Valiant again before staggering a step away from him, snapping her arm from her side, waving it defensively at him. "Leave me alone, Graecia!" she hisses, now with tired venom, and a mote of confusion, in her voice.
Turning away stiffly, so she isn't looking at Valiant, Current says loud enough to be heard by Miles, hopefully, "I will report in with the school, you two may clean up here if you wish, and deal with the authorities. As much as I would like to stay to converse with them, I am in no condition to do so."

A look of confusion flickers over Valiant's features, before he nods at the young woman. He glances over towards where he thinks Miles is. Unfortunately he's at least ten feet off. "Are you all right? Sounded like they landed some blows on you."

The voice offers, "Yeah, I'll be fine. My grandmother does worse during summer training. Anyway, I'm not sticking around for the cops, but I'll call them in. They're fine with anonymous tips but they get -really- shirty talking to the voice out of thin air, it goes over -great-. Anyway, I wasn't really here. It was just a dirty rumor." There's the sound of dialing.

NEWS REPORT

(Cove City Chronicle)

An anonymous tip brought the CCPD onto the site of an aborted ritual, with its participants subdued by neohuman intervention. The three known individuals brought into custody - Onyx, Rhodonite and Nephrite - were accompanied by nine more of their retainers … or "crystal guard," as the media has dubbed them. The group was apparently thwarted by neohumans Current, Doctor Steampunk and Valiant. The presence of a fourth party is an unconfirmed rumor.

Found embedded into the ritual pattern were gemstones recently stolen from a Kay Jewelers. Detective Kate Henshaw, on the theft case, admits she had been tipped off about the connection but hadn't yet been convinced of its validity. Though much of the pattern was gouged out, either by deliberate action or the heat of the fight, or blurred by a busted water-main nearby, a mystic expert was able to determine its purpose: a dimensional portal to a plane so distant from ours the amount of power required to "punch through" would be enormous.

The trio chose to power their portal in a manner that was - compared to other options - quick and cheap, but with a backlash effect that would deafen everyone within the area of the ritual, many permanently. The intervention of the neohuman heroes thankfully prevented them from carrying through with this.

The three visitors seem to have been using a translation ritual to communicate, which of course ended when they were cuffed. Neohuman assistance was recruited to translate. Reportedly, Rhodonite has been genial and mostly cooperative, citing that, "Time was of the essence - the slow options just weren't acceptable," but providing no further explanation as to why. The other two have refused to deal with their captors.

"What's intriguing about these three dimensional visitors," said the translator, "is the fact that despite the language barrier, their given names are - without translation - the same as terrestrial stones. That language is also far closer to Earth languages than I would have expected, with only about five percent of their syllabic foundation unpronounceable by human tongue."

In the meantime, scientists are studying skin samples, found to be composed of a material resembling but definitely not crystal silicon. No recognizable DNA-like structure has been found.

"And yet they look basically human," the translator points out. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Rhodonite also admitted that their attacks on local jewelers were intended to hide markers for the ritual. "We figured in the chaos, an extra gemstone would either go unnoticed - or a greedy store owner would claim it had been there all along," he said.

Translating this to the intended area of effect for the ritual carves out a portion of Cove City approximately five miles in diameter. "That's a lot of potential victims in the name of expediency," Henshaw said. "Our sincere thanks go out to Current, Doctor Steampunk, Valiant and - whoever else might not have put themselves forward."

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