Points West

Log Info

Title: Points West
Emitter: Liv
Characters: Cordelia, Miles, Valiant
NPCs: Nephrite, Rhodonite
Place: Carmichael's Jewelry — Cove City, MD
Time: May 2, 2010
Summary: Nephrite and Rhodonite drop in for another shot at a local jewelry store - this time taking a hostage for cover. Too bad Cordelia, Miles and Reg / Valiant have other ideas.

A sleepy Sunday afternoon with light drizzle wandering through - which means foot traffic is light in a commercial district a bit west of city center. At one corner of the block, one of the best pizza joints in town. At the other, the usual main draw for the area, a deluxe movie theatre - closed for repairs. In between, Carmichael's Jewelry, advertising new jewelry designs for some-invented-holiday.

So Miles has been staking out Jewelry stores off on on when he has free time. There's just been too many of them robbed and not always by the same folks, after all. Which is why he's lazily hanging around one of them here, hands in his pockets, looking bored. Not that, well, anyone can actually -see- that, mind you. But he totally is. Really.

Cordelia? Well, she might've been aware of Miles' quest, but today, she's being a pest and, well, shopping for reagents for various things. One such step involves precious metals, so she's arguing with the proprietor of Carmichael's. "I need it unalloyed," she says firmly. "Not 18-carat." She's got her hands on her hips. Nope, not diplomatic at /all/. And while she's dressed casually, she's still got her goggles pushed up on her forehead, and a leather satchel stamped with various symbols that, to the casual observer, mean nothing more than a teenager with artistic aspirations carries the rest of her gear, just in case.

A figure can be seen walking down the street. Reg has just come out of an alley, and is sliding a fountain pen into his pocket. He glances up and down the street, a slight frown on his features. "Where… ah, that's right. Need to head in that direction. That's where the bookstore is, I think." He is walking down the street, not looking where he's going. Not really. He's flipping through a small sheaf of papers he pulled from his pocket, "Need to pick up that for dad…" It doesn't really matter if he /was/ looking where he was going, but he's not: he bumps into the invisible Miles, and takes a step back in surprise. Wait. No one's there. He clears his throat, "Ah. Hello?" He lifts a finger and … well. Pokes. It may contact him if Miles doesn't dodge out of the way. "Anyone there?"

An unsettling rumble from the earth - quake? Here? - but it settles out without evidence of the cause.
Without evidence, that is, until a moment later, when a pair of figures step out of an adjacent alleyway, exchanging a glance and a quick handful of sentences in some unfamiliar language.
The one - a young man of obvious inhuman nature, his skin the mottled brown of stone - moves lightly along the street towards the entrance to Carmichael's. The other - female by the curves, but otherwise completely hidden beneath a jade green bodysuit - strides forward, purposeful steps taking her straight into the street and a dead stop.

The shrieking of brakes as the nearest car tries to halt and simply can't do so in time. The car impacts the subtle shimmer of force warping around her body and goes no further. She takes one step to the left, checks the bodysuit - looks unsurprised when there's not even a tear. If their arrival didn't have the attention of passerby, it does now.

The answer comes, slightly whitheringly, "_YES_." as Miles steps out of the way of the poking finger. "Do I poke at you without asking?" Beat. "Not that you could tell, I guess." A pause. "Huh. It actually paid off. Figures." He eyes the two folks heading for Carmichael's with a frown, and there's a sound as if, say, someone were cracking their knuckles to get ready for a fight.

It's the brake-shriek that tips Cordelia off. She glances over her shoulder, through the window, and then back at the attendant. "I'd say that's trouble incoming," she notes with almost smug cheer. Her hunch paid off, and her argumentative stalling no less! Conscious of the security cameras, she ducks past the attendant towards the back, pulling items from her satchel as she goes. "I'd hit the alarm, if I were you," she calls over her shoulder before she's out of the range of the security cameras and sheds her too-warm jacket. See, most teens wouldn't wear corsetry. Most teens who /would/ wear corsetry wouldn't wear corsetry with various symbols emblazoned in gold and silver thread upon the material. She slips on her holster and checks the dial on her ray-gun, then pulls a bandanna over her face. Disguise! Really. It's… oddly effective.

"Hey, sorry. I can't exactly see you. Whoever you are." Reg glances over towards the collision, "Paid off?" A pause, and he shakes his head, "Oh. I recognize her. Some sort of sorceress. Another jewelry store?" He considers, "Makes sense, I guess, if they're channeling the power of the stones like I thought." He pulls his fountain pen out of his pocket, taking a step to the side, out of sight of security cameras. The fountain pen shimmers, becoming a long polearm with a black haft shot with silver and gold runes and a large, leaf-like blade. His clothing shimmers and is replaced with what highly resembles Hoplite armor, including a bronze kilt and Thracian helmet that covers most of his face. He mutters, "I could so do without the kilt." With this statement, he moves forward towards the sorceress and man, "Hey you. Remember me?" He calls, pointing the spear at Nephrite.

Carmichael (Junior) happens to be the clerk on duty, and he's no idiot: he dives for the alarm.
The male costumed figure pushes into the jewelry store, moving briskly towards the cases. His eyes snap and narrow after Cordelia's departure, but it can be presumed he didn't see her face before she vanished behind the shelves. To the other customer in the store, he comments mildly, "You have about two seconds to get down." Well, that was English, though the trace of an accent is unmistakeable. "Nephrite," he calls out, his tone one of warning - and the rest of the sentence raps past in that other tongue.
The driver of the car angrily shoves out of his seat, shouting and gesticulating. His wife climbs out from the passenger side, trying to calm him down.
The woman in green - Nephrite, apparently - glances from one to the other. She offers no words to clue in what might be going on behind that opaque mask. Reg might notice the mask is shaped differently than before, now with a dark hematite lacquer that wraps around her right ear. Abruptly, she twists and grabs the wife, spinning the woman back against her body and laying a hand hard against the side of her head. A high-pitched whine warbles faintly across the street, seeming to emanate from those pressed fingers.
"Anyone feels like meddling, I'll blast her head in," Nephrite says. She turns her head towards the advancing figure. "Oh. You." No expression, but the words could be addressed to a cockroach. Her head keeps turning, lingering a bit too long in Miles' direction.

So there's a very confusing sequence of events here, for folks who -can't- see invisible things. What actually happens is that Miles zips in, with speed born from training by the grandmother from hell, and shoves the civilian out of harm's way, spinning with her in a fast pirouette that makes the blast of energy miss both him -and- the intended target. All anyone who can't see invisible things sees is the mother apparently busting out some freaky puppet style kung fu to evade Nephrite's grip and the blast. Miles mutters, "Sorry about this, ma'am. Please run along to safety now."

Back in the jewelry shop, Rhodonite lends a shoulder to knocking over one of the display cases, causing rings and necklaces to crash to the glass front and scatter. He scoops up a handful of the emeralds there, but seems little interested in them, moving towards the diamonds opposite.
His eyes never completely leave the commotion outside, which means he is quickly alerted to Nephrite's problems. With a faint sigh, he extends a hand, focusing on the street outside the shop. The ground buckles and twists, the pavement shredding like so much paper. Earth and concrete braid together in a rope which wrap around Reg, squeezing him in a vise but apparently doing no damage.
"Neph," he adds, "careful."
Nephrite? Not listening. Rather, she's bristling in ire, whirling after her former hostage too late to do anything about it.

Sliding her goggles over her eyes, Cordelia frees her gun from its holster and slams in a cartridge, setting the dial and stepping out of the hallway. "I can't fault your /taste/, but your method leaves something to be desired. Halt, thief, or you get to be the test subject for SCIENCE!" … sadly, this is probably more a threat to those who /know/ her than anything. She brings the raygun to bear upon Rhodonite with a gleeful smirk beneath the bandit mask.
There's a crackle of etheric lightning and a brilliant discharge of blue-white energy from the brass-and-steel raygun. Something gives her pause, and it's /not/ the fact that a chunk of concrete's interposed itself to take the shot. "Aha! Dimensional travelers! … theft of dimensional reagents is /not/ going to get you home. Asking /might/! It'd be a CHALLENGE!"

"Of course." Reg, now Valiant, says this in a tone of disgust. "Grab some innocent and hold them hostage." He shakes his head, "Surrender. Let the woman go." His voice is as soothing as it can be, the man holding the spear in front of him. He doesn't think it'll work, but he has to /try/. Then Inviso-Miles acts and Valiant's jaw drops as it looks like the hostage goes ninja. He says, "Wow." It's at this moment that he's grappled by Rhodonite. Luckily, he's not totally helpless as yet. He lifts his spear and with a single movement, throws it straight at the man. As it flies there's a loud *whump* as its becomes a blur of motion, and for a brief instance it looks like multiple versions of his spear-polearm are flying in mid-air. They land with a *THUNK* *THUNK* *THUNK* and then there's only one spear lodged in the crystalline man's shoulder. Then it shimmers, and reappears in Valiant's hand as the earth around him loosens. He repeats, "I say again. Surrender. We do not have to fight."

Nephrite goes staggering backwards towards the wall of the jewelry store with no sign of a blow. "_That's_ for taking a hostage. You're lucky I'm not the Nightwraith, he'd probably have just had your hand off." It's not the voice's words that leave Nephrite trembling; it's something that started nearly as soon as the Rumor's heel kick made impact. "So why don't you just -stay down-, and not cause any more problems for these folks, huh?"

Nephrite hits the hall hard … and slides off it with surprising lightness, though the blow (or something about it) leaves her quivering. "Why don't you stay out of our way?" Her voice thrums in her throat, dropping octaves and dipping into a subsonic pitch that can be felt in the bones. Waves of sound rush out, playing havoc with the brain's equilibrium - is that up? Oh, the color centers get a jostle and one is smelling sounds - but the effects are a flash of an instant for everyone save Reg.
Rhodonite winces, leaning heavily against one of the glass cases as one hand probes at the point of injury, but he recovers quickly. He has lost his handful of stones - the next, gleaned from among the diamonds, goes rather more swiftly into the satchel at his side. He regards Cordelia with something like amusement. "I'm afraid our travel plans are not up for discussion."
"Hold your tongue," Nephrite snaps in his direction.
"Calm down, little sister," he says. "Someone was bound to work it out."

Rhodonite fixes his attention on Cordelia, again with a subtle gesture of one hand. The tasteful, gold-flecked marble of Carmichael's shatters as the poured concrete foundation oozes up and wraps around her legs, a few tendrils stretching high enough to cover her eyes. Unlike the last attack he made, once wrapped, the earthen grip settles and becomes static, no longer under his control.

"Well, sorry, /I/ like travel, so I can take a few guesses - either you're exiles for being complete /idiots/ -" This is when Rhodonite's snare creeps up around her, and she gives one or two futile struggles before she slams a different cartridge into the ray gun, twisting the dial - interestingly, it doesn't seem to bother her in the least to have her sight blocked. "- or you left for a reason. Crystal-magic's solidly ordered usually, the flows of energy rigid rather than flexible…" She orients on the person having snared her, a lurid green beam striking him, along with a rather stomach-lurching sound from the small ray-gun.
The effect is about as bad as the sound: coherent thought's rather difficult when your inner ear's scrambled and the world is wobbling around you. Thus does Rhodonite lose those cinnamon buns he had for breakfast. "Either /way/, you were warned: stealing? Stupid idea. And I really, really hate stupidity."

It takes a monumental effort of will. Valiant takes a deep breath, and the confusion eases from his eyes as he refuses, simply refuses, to be affected by the chaos. He lifts his spear, moving forward, and lashes out with it. "Why don't you say hello to your friend?" There's a loud *crack* as the haft of the spear impacts the woman's stomach, an explosion of force slamming into her from the spear itself, and she goes flying. Unfortunately, she misses her friend and slams into one of the walls, sending cracks and nearly bursting through it. She appears, unfortunately, to be unharmed, and Valiant blinks. "Wow. She's .. tough."

The prone form of Nephrite jerks, suddenly, Jade armor not-quite cracking under the strain. "Here's an idea, lady. Instead of demanding we not get in your way? You stop -robbing people-." There's another crunch as the armor gets -two dents- in it, as though he just jumped on top of her with his full weight. "Actually, why don't you just stay where you are and not try to get up."

"He's not my friend, he's my brother …" Nephrite's voice floats up in a vaguely petulant protest. Severely battered, though the opalescent shimmer remains a humming constant about her frame, she remains where is, though not so much because she's listening to Miles …
Rhodonite stumbles through the shop, jostling another shelf and sending the contents sliding. His skin has paled to a granite hue. He slowly starts to regain his normal color - but not swift enough to act, though he hisses a strangled curse in the general direction of Miles. "Not as … dumb as we look, actually," he manages faintly - perhaps pride stung a bit, this time? Or distracted by the condition of his counterpart, stony face locked in fury.

"Whose breakfast is on the ground?" the steampunk engineer asks with a chortle as she hears his recovery. "Not /mine/." Given her nonchalance about being stuck in a rock-pile, well, she's evidently not too worried about reprisal. Freeing a glass vial from her bandolier, she slams it into a port atop her ray gun, an eerie blue glow limning the brass as a gradual whine ramps upwards.
This beam is a diffuse cone, but sadly is resisted. Beneath the rock, Cordelia arches an eyebrow, impressed. "Seriously, though? You want help getting home, I'll take it on in the name of SCIENCE!"

"All right. I think it best if you surrender. I am not liking this situation." Valiant lifts his spear. He dives forward, through the doorway and charges Rhodonite. He brings his spear down in a large *crack*, hitting the man in the head with the haft, swirling the polearm around to slam it into their head again. Crack! And again! Shockingly, the man is tough enough to resist much of this, though he still looked dazed from the force of the blows. "Stay down," Valiant demands, nodding at Cordelia as she's close. "Ma'am. Hope you don't mind if I step in." Yes. He just called Cordelia ma'am in the middle of a fight.

"Actually, just go to sleep. We'll deal with you later." There's a -wham-, and Nephrite's head jerks backwards into the pavement, leaving her out cold. More sounds of knuckle-cracking, and the voice speaks again. "Right, then. See if he'll surrender -now-."

"It's the fault of the bizarrely decadent local food," Rhodonite says. "Is there some particular reason you put frosting on everything?" This doesn't seem to be banter: it's a serious question. That, however, is when Valiant charges in, and he has other things to worry about. The anger intensifies in his gaze as Nephrite drops, even as he reels from the force of the blow.
"Enough." Softly spoken, as his hands stretch out and the floor lurches. The marble on the floor splits. The ceiling shudders, spraying detritus. Then the ground drops … and with the cracking of foundation and the squealing of walls, so does the rest of the jewelry store.
Valiant - throwing himself over the cowering clerk at the last instant - is buried under the rubble, as is Miles, struck by falling rubble. Cordelia manages to dive outside, but the jewelers' sign lands on top of her as it falls free.
To the two young men, everything is dark. For Cordelia, she can see that the whole building has oozed into a sinkhole. Its collapse also destroyed the walls of its neighbors on either side, leaving a good portion of the block heavily damaged. Carmichael's? Flattened.

"I don't mind at all! I figured you two were having too much fun out there on your own." Yes, she's aware Miles is there, even if she can't see him, but then, she knows her classmate. Cordelia considers the dial on her gun again, ejecting the glass vial with a *tink-tink-tink* of impact against the floor, then twists it to the default position. "The gems're in his satchel there. Either extensions of their armor or the catalysts for returning to their own dimension — it'd take a /huge/ bunch of magic to get 'em back there." Which, admittedly, she /has/, but just… not controlled so well. this, of course, is where she has to make her jump and… winds up getting sign-squashed. Corsetry, however, prevents rib-cracking, and she eels out from under it after a moment. "… oh. Now /this/ is an interesting problem." And, well, to deal with it, she pulls a piece of sidewalk chalk out of her bandolier and begins sketching out designs on the sidewalk, glancing around for raw materials to work with. Seconds later, she's disassembled her gun and snags a wayward gem, turning it this way and that to get it as a new focus.
Kicking her jet-boots into action, she hovers over the rubble and trains the gun upon it, a broad beam disintegrating much of the remaining rubble bit by bit until her classmates are revealed. Or, well. In Miles' case, that's… debatable.

Reg is … in an odd position. He's not super strong, and thus can't really /move/. If he weren't super tough, he'd be paste. He /is/ super tough, though, so the bones in his arms haven't shattered in the position he's in. He's basically wedged in place so that the force of the building are on him rather than the guy beneath him. He's quite literally using his bones as levers to keep the materials off the other man. But without great strength, he's unable to move from his current position. He calls out, "Someone want to get the rubble off me, so I can get this guy away?" Then Cordelia does her thing, and he feels the weight fade. He struggles to his feet, offering a hand to help the other man up, "Damn. That was heavy."

"What just happened?" The clerk looks shell-shocked, pasty white - at least, if that's not just the thick coating of rubble dust. Then he turns away from Reg, staring at the remnants of the jewelry shop. Speechless for several seconds, he finally manages, "My father's going to KILL me."
People being people, those who fled the scene of the struggle are presently standing at good distance from the sinkhole, but edging closer by inches, shoving their neighbors forward. Police sirens can be heard nearby.

Miles, having not been inside the building, is covered in lighter rubble. His location is a matter of guesswork- listening for the sound of complaining. "Well if they keep exiting like -that- at least it'll narrow down the number of fucking jewelry shops I have to cover in town. _Really_ starting to hate those guys."

"Oh, quit your bitching," Cordelia says, turning to follow the sound of complaining. "Well, I amend that, don't until I get you out of there." She finally /does/ uncover the invisible teen. "I've got an idea though! I might be able to find their dimension if I can just tune in on the magical signature and crystalline resonance of some of the stuff affected, and see just /why/ they're being pursued. Maybe after that test in history. For SCIENCE!"

"Somehow, I don't think your father can blame you for a pair of costumed villains attacking your store and dropping it into a sinkhole," Reg says. He glances over towards Cordelia, and says as she moves away to find Miles, "Thank you for getting me and this fellow out of that, ma'am. I appreciate it." He inclines his head politely, and then glances at where he's guessing Miles is from his voice (and is probably wrong by a few feet at least), "You've been staking them out? I can give you a list of ones that might be hit. I didn't narrow it down entirely, but it's a smaller list." He sent it to the police, but do you know how many such 'clues' they get? Too bad Valiant isn't incredibly famous. He adds, "And if I can do that, she might be able to narrow them down further…" He nods at Cordelia.
Valiant amends, "Though I only got one hit for the southernmost area, so…maybe we're safe, I had a few hits here."

"You'd be surprised," Carmichael (Junior) intones.

Miles waves a hand. "Yes, yes, for Science and all." He…well, presumably addresses Reg, it's hard to say, really. "That'd be great. A shorter list or…whatever she's doing combined would be a big hand, I think."

At least Cordelia isn't cackling gleefully. That usually bodes ill for even her allies. "Oh! Anybody hurt?" She flits over to her backpack. "I have the Sawbones with me." Oh, that's not ominous at /all/. "What criteria were you using to narrow your search field, uh… Valiant, isn't it?"

"They were using gem magic, channeling the energy into a matrix of sorts. I was looking for the method, and from examining the areas, it looked like a simple compass-point design. If you look at the distances, each of the jewelry stores are equidistant from a park in the center of the area. The issue was there's three jewelry stores this way, so …" He trails off. "There's no jewelry stores in the southern area. But there is some sort of gemstone exhibit, which may work as well." He pauses. "Well, in a nutshell. I can show you my figures, but you have to promise not to correct my numerology, ma'am." He looks embarassed. "I'm not very good at the higher-order processes, still learning that stuff."

Miles quickly replies, with the air of someone who's served as a test subject, "I'm fine, just bruises. I should…get going, though. Family tradition to mysteriously vanish before the cops get here. Most of the time. Drop the stuff by my room? I'm the Baldwin Ghost."

"Ooh!" Cordelia perks up. "Gem magic. /There's/ an idea for cancelling invisibility. I hadn't considered /that/." She pulls out a leather-bound notebook and jots the idea down. This is unnecessary, but she /does/ like to keep notes. "Oh, of course I'll correct it," she says dismissively. "I'll see you later. I have to find another way to get the reagents I need…" Mutter, mutter. She's still muttering to herself as she flies off.

Valiant just looks at the flying-off Cordelia dubiously, and murmurs, "She's strange." He shakes his head a moment, and says to Miles. Or rather the air perhaps five feet from him, "All right. I'll wait for the police and give them a report of the situation. Why don't you go outside and wait for them sir?" He says to the clerk.

"Ah … right," the clerk says, shaking himself off - to no great effect. "Thank you. Thank - all of you, though I suppose the odds of us getting any of our stock back for a while …" His expression is rueful as he picks his way over to wait for the police.

News Report

(Cove City Chronicle)

Two city blocks are shut down in the wake of a neohuman attack that culminated in a massive sinkhole, leveling Carmichael's Jewelry and doing severe damage to its neighbors. The pair responsible, identified as Nephrite and Rhodonite, disappeared underneath the rubble.

Spectators report that Rhodonite headed straight into Carmichael's with intent to rob its stock, while Nephrite stepped into traffic. The car that screeched to a halt - not quite in time to avoid hitting her, though it did no apparent damage - contained Linda Adamson and her husband, Peter, who leapt out of the car and started berating the villainness. Nephrite grabbed Linda Adamson and held her hostage, threatening to kill her if anyone intervened.

"I still don't know what happened," Mrs. Adamson said afterwards in a daze. "I was whirled like a leaf in a snowstorm by - something! - and I remember my ears ringing a little, but nothing else. Whoever or whatever it was, it saved my life."

That threat neutralized, two neohumans - Valiant and Dr. Steampunk, though there were rumors of a third party - jumped in to avert the theft in progress. After a pitched struggle, Nephrite dropped under repeated blows … and Rhodonite apparently created the sinkhole that devoured Carmichael's.

"I would have been crushed," said Gillivray Carmichael, son of the proprietor, "but this Valiant threw himself over me as the ceiling came down … and then the good doctor vaporized enough of the rubble that we weren't trapped down there."

He then added, "My father's going to kill me."

Though the damage seems to be localized, surveyors are refusing to let anyone within the two-block radius until all foundations are thoroughly inspected for soundness.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License