The End is the Beginning - I & II

Log Info

Title: The End is the Beginning - 1 & 2
Emitter: Rhombus
Characters: I Euiko, Liv, Reg & Sasha; II Adrian, Cordelia, Linus & Sunday
NPCs: The evil Doctor Gatling and his Robot Hordes
Place: I Expressway outside of Dulles International; II Cove City, Financial District
Time: Evening of 17 July
Summary: Doctor Gatling in his first public appearance makes two nearly simultaneous heists. Robotic destruction is countered by teen heroes intervening.

Diamonds are a Bot’s Best Friend

IC Date: Saturday, 17 July, Anno Domini 2010

The End is the Beginning - Part I

_( Eastbound Route 267 - Dulles Toll Road) )_
The toll road from Dulles International is generally quite busy, and this is no exception. Tonight the traffic is heavier than usual due to construction and road improvement so prevalent to the season.
—-

Saturday night, and the weather is partly cloudy, nearly ninety degrees and feeling warmer. Construction of a new high speed train from Dulles International vies with road improvements on the tollway to see which can cause the most delays. Ironically the flights in and out have been on time tonight, even a couple were early! At the moment traffic is stopped both East and West bound due to a massive crane lifting some gigantic blocks of prefab cement into place to build the base of the new train platform.

Sasha sits in the passenger seat of Reg's car, slouched a bit with one foot up on the dash. She stares lazily out the window, at the baking heat that still sits outside the window. Thank goodness for air conditioning. The teens headed out for an evening at Wolf Trap listening to the retro-pop of the B-52s. Good times, except that Sasha couldn't track down Jerry. Such is life, and the cyborg girl's crankiness over that seems to have passed. She's dressed in a flirty red top and a denim skirt. Sasha looks over her shoulder at the two in the back seat. "First American concert, Euiko?" she asks.

Liv leans out the back window of the car, craning her neck in an attempt to see further up the traffic jam. She drops back with a flumf, trying to brush her hair out of her eyes. "Is it about time to try an experiment?" she wonders. "I bet if I concentrated hard enough, I could dematerialize all of us. We could drive right through - literally." There's a movie on in the back seat, currently on pause as she surveys the scene.

Comparitively mellow compared to the sense-shattering melodic choices Amy introduced her to not long after meeting Sasha, the collection of locational, lyrical and visual stimuli is still giving Euiko a lot to sort through, enough that it takes a minute to register the question being directed her way in the back seat. Her attire of choice is a sleeveless black t-shirt and loose denim jeans to better blend, though no one's managed to convince her to swap out her odd little tabi, boots yet. She blinks once and shifts to make a modicum of eye contact with Sasha, "Yes. I have not heard much American-!" she says a bit on the loud side, breaking off suddenly as the other girl's musings draw her attention.

In the front seat — and currently driving — Reg says to Liv, "Don't know. We'll wait a bit more, we should have time. Worse comes to worse, you can put the sound up on that thing so we can at least hear it up here," he says to her. At her next suggestion, he says, "Ah, let's put that on the back burner. It would make too much of a show. Imagine the news, hmm? 'Ghost Car At Dulles' or something."

Up ahead the traffic starts moving a little, three cars and a semi ahead of Reg's Lexus an Armored Car from Brinks pulls around the flaggers and strts to trundle forward and that's when all hell breaks loose. At five points around the armored car sudden lightning forms, expanding out from a central point, bolts lashing together to a point over the armored car. When that brilliant actinic discharge fades, suddenly there are what looks to be five gigantic robots and a sixth smaller one where the lightning arcs met.

The large robots are each over twenty feet fall, their design reminiscent of something from the industrial revolution…perfected. Their bodies are masses of bronze, it would seem, clockwork mechanisms apparently driven by steam! The semi slams on its breaks, and plows into one of the five bots, the sinister thing going to one knee even as an enormous arm crushes the trailer as it keeps from falling over entirely. The armored car skids to a stop, slewing sideways but managing not to hit any of the other robots.

The smaller robot is only as large as a large man, and as the Brinks truck slides, it drives a hand INTO the roof to hold, the left arm apparently…schnikes, something akin to a Gatling gun!

"Damn, what did I say?" Sasha says testily. "Close the window! Precious airconditioning is escaping. It's still like, ninety outside." Sasha momentarially tries to reach across Reg to get to the window control. "She comments to Euirko, "Cool," with a smile, "See, didn't I promise fun times?" She gives up on the window, flopping back to her seat. "Sounds like a good movie. Or a really bad movie," she says to Reg. Sasha slouches back in her seet, her feet actually down this time, instead of smughing Reg's dash. "We just gotta wait," she says. "It's just a traffic…."

"…jam?" Sasha finishes, as the robots appear. Holy crap, robots! Her eyes go wide and she pauses a moment, glancing over her fellow students. Adrenaline's already coursing through her and there's little doubt - she's ready to throw down.

Liv gasps and - as far as it looks to the other passengers in the car - disappears. The only sign of what has happened is that the dark interior of the car seems that much blacker, a well of shadow. Startled, she spontaneously turned incorporeal … and literally dropped through the floor of the vehicle. Recovering before she can descend further, she rolls out from under the car, the shadows rising around her to cloak her form and cover her face. She pivots back to the car, her face almost invisible. "There's another way to bust through the traffic," she quips, her voice taut.

As the screeching and lightning starts, and Liv vanishes in shadows Euiko's words trail off in, "Nani…?", the her eyes are seeking a view of the disturbance through the glass. She isn't long in percieving the massive armoured things starting their evening by checking the semifor ripeness, the level of techno-wierd crosses the Asian girl's critical threshold and she utters a stunned, "Maasaakaaa…!" before the regimented areas of her brain rein in and her expression becomes ice. Survive now, be amazed later! A tattooed hand reaches for the door handle to effect her egress from the vehicle, with an advisory, "Out! Hewly!".

"Oh, heck no," Reg says, subconsciously quoting Will Smith. And mangling the quote to boot. He shakes his head, and says, "Looks like the after-concert ice cream is a no go, ladies," he says as he slips out of the vehicle. He pulls a pen from his pocket, and it shimmers with a gold-silver light, as armor forms over him, replacing the clothing. He is now wearing a bronze suit of hoplite armor complete with helm and a long spear. The pen's gone, or better phrased, transformed. Hefting the spear, he — now Valiant — moves forward at a quick pace, covering ground as he nears the robots. He calls in a powerful voice, "Whatever you're doing — stop!" He'll have to work on his entrances, but there's been worse.

Once the Brinks truck stops, the far more advanced — but still mechanical construct, straightens, his hand unclenching as he levels the gun at the center of the cargo area of the vehicle. "Foolish organics, Doctor Gatling will do as he must, those that stand in his way will perish." The massive gatling weapon arm is aimed at the truck, and then it whirs into motion, spitting out what looks to be 20MM shells, by the holes they tear through the top of the truck they are probably titanium tipped rounds, or depleted uranium! When the smoke clears the barrel tips are all glowing cherry red, smoke rising from them as he surveys the damage done clinically. "Excellent. This will be easier than I thought."

"That's what I thought," Sasha says. She flings open the door to Reg's car, diving out and rolling behind the adjacent stopped car. A few heavy beats of her heart as plating forms over her body and her arms shift into two of her more powerful weapons. The platting, that's mostly for show, a way to give herself a mask and look to hide her identity. Because the school keeps yammering on about that. As for weapons, she's not betting arc guns or sleep grenades will slow these guys down. As Sasha lands behind the adjacent car, she pauses, barely peeking out from behind it. The guy in the middle, with that nasty gattling arm and the tendency to pontificate? Makes him a big juicy target. Neurons flash in Sasha's brain, feeding electrical impulses into wires and then zooming them into coprocessors. Distance, conditions, routing, it all gets fed into her right arm. Which is very useful. Sasha keeps her arm out past the side of the car, bracing on her knee. There's a huge woosh and a rocket goes flying towards the guy.

It explodes right on target. Sasha herself leaps as best she can, rolling, finding cover behind an adjacent car. She hopes the people in the cars have the presence of mind to flee. This is *not* going to be pretty.

"… rockets," Liv - Vesper - says from underneath the hood. You can't see her expression, but it might be fairly stunned. She stays low, sliding around and sometimes through cars, as soft and subtle as shadow. She shakes her head at Reg's dramatic advance. At least between the two, her movements might go unnoticed as she spins into the shadows of a semi. The darkness takes on definition in her hands, sculpted into a concentrated bolt … then another and a third in quick succession. One flicker-flares off into obscurity; the others impact to no effect.
"… oh, come on, it can't be *that hard*," she growls under her breath. "If a pop diva can do it …" Again she manipulates the flickering darkness, this time thrusting forth coruscating shadow with even greater speed - a square-to-the-heart impact that sends the not-so-good Doctor further reeling.

Off-hand pulling the dark, blue-grey hood frop her pucket and over her head in a practiced motion, Euiko emerges from the car and barely does her boot have time to sound scufflingly against the concrete than it propels her across the road toward a building in an inhumanely powerful leap. As she traverses her parabolic arc, eldritch power, bequeathed by an ancient darkness surges through the alchemical witchery traced along her skin, the lines of one each serpent on her arms flaring in ember orage as a fanlife wave of flame surges from the 'maws' at the back of her hands to engulf both Doctor gatling, and the machine wringing out the trailer. The former is left with nary a blemish in his gleam, though his partner, only mildly scuffed by the attack, nontheless turns it's eye in her direction.

The giant robot struck by the truck pushes down, severing the trailer in half as it stands, the action kicking the cab into the mass of cars stopped by the super fight. A passing traffic helicopter angles in for a better view as the thing issues a mechanical roar and the other four giants answer. Stunned, the leader, the terrible Doctor Gatling chuckles. "Devastators…fan out, do as much harm as you can, spare no organics!" And they do as commanded! Turning, they fan out, and then each one raises a fist skyward…driving it into the ground with the force of a bomb. The ground ripples as five shockwaves rip out, sending cars flipping and spinning like feathers in a tempest. Oh man…dozens of people's lives are at stake, injuries and death are likely. Sorry to say, Reg's car is one of those flipped. Liv is unaffected, her shadowy form out of phase with the shockwave. Euiko manages by sheer acrobatic talent and grace to avoid falling, but both Reg and Sasha are knocked off their feet.

Valiant is about to attack, when the robots go haywire. He opens his eyes wide, and lashes out with his blade, the blade flickernig silver-white as it cuts through their metal frames. The frames buckle and actually shatter as the blade passes through, sending one robot crackling with feedback as its systems go haywire and cutting through one of the other robots' joints, though it doesn't slow it down too much. He can't stop all of them in time that way. He has to find a way! He has to! He can't let the people get hurt!
He makes a decision. Lifting the blade, he murmurs something quietly. If anyone spoke ancient Greek, they would hear: « Life for Life, Blood for Blood. Sacrifice brings Power. » Holding the spear in one hand, he closes his hand upon the blade hard enough to cut deeply into his hand. The tip of the spear flares with a bright light as its native ability is supercharged by the godling's blood. There's a cataclysmic ripping sound, as if the very world were tearing asunder. And before the robots, space itself rips in twain. It's hard to attack civilians when you can't /reach/ them. Streams of blood-streaked silver continue to flow from Valiant into the blade, and from the blade out, towards the walls of shattered space.

Shaking off the damage he's been taking, Doctor Gatling's mechanical eyes whir half shut, and then he raises his gatling arm once more. The barrels rotate together, and then a missile launcher extends from that arm. "Prime…10 second delay." He intones, and then fires the missile at the shimmering wall that Valiant raised. "DEZ…lock onto my signal." And then he gets into the back of the armored car through the hole he blasted into the roof, vanishing from everyone's line of sight. The missile? It zooms to a point directly opposite the largest clump of cars…if the weapon detonates and the wall doesn't hold…

Damn it, this guy has lots of tricks. Sasha's almost jealous. The blue-glad warrior get tipped to the launch. Between sensors and the sheer noise of the thing, it was inevitable. Sasha pops out from behind the car and draws a bead on the missile. So…little…time…a baseball-sized glob of grey paste shoots from Sasha's arm, smacking into the front of the missile. Sasha's nanites aren't that bright. Downright stupid. They're good at taking things apart, though, and they go to work on the missile with gusto. It falls of of the sky, swerving into the pavement and sliding to a stop. Undetonated. "Anybody here fly?" she asks the others.

Vesper gasps at the reverberations, briefly engulfed within the truck she is using for cover as it rocks. She swears under her breath, an acid hiss rising from underneath the hood. Her hand comes up to the hood at Valiant's actions, the girl staring - but no time to comment as the missile launches … and crashes down. She narrows her eyes in the faint shadows and sweeps out with one hand. Shadows dart along the highway, weaving towards the missile. They roil up around the still missile, obscuring the mechanisms so recently revealed by the industrious nanites. As the darkness subsides, the missile seems to leach away with them, melting into the shadows … and then fading away with the next shift of the sun.
Vesper mumbles something under her breath, possibly about being relieved that she didn't accidentally melt the roadway. She directs her attention to the truck, another gesture sending a wave of blackness against the truck. When it subsides, the front end looks patchy and thin, with a small hole drilled straight through, revealing glimpses of the truck's interior. "Hard enough for me on the ground," she says to Sasha's question. "Sorry."

Deciding that the mastermind ducking into the armored car should be the primary objective, with a educated guess that the occupants are already dead, Euiko thrusts her arms at Gatling's current dwelling, those selfsame serpents glowing a smouldering orange, she unleashes a surging, blue-hot flame at it. The air ripples around the jet as it begins to turn the metal around the new opening a molten yellow that begins to run like butter and expand the aperature, allowing whatever transpires within the vehicle to be more readily visible. Except… there's nothing readily apparant going on in there. "I do not see him!" she warns.

As one the five gigantic robots move, fanned out to the edges of that shield of force, that blood magic barrier invoked by the Son of Athena. Each mechanical soldier draws back for a pile driver blow, hitting with sufficient force to destroy a house. Blow, after blow -after blow- falls and STILL the barrier holds though the price to Valiant is anything but trivial.

The scarlet-tinged silver light continues to flow in spreading pulses, powering the dimensional rip that protects the civillians. Valiant lifts his voice, calling, "Get away from here, everyone outside here! Take care of any injured parties. I will hold the shield." His voice, a light tenor, is firm. As attacks rain down upon the shielding, the rip, he bites his lip, each impact drawing more energy from him as if the blows were targeting him: in a weird way, they are. The shield is drawing on his very life force to be maintained. His hand closes even more tightly upon the blade, ignoring the pain this brings. Yet more scarlet-silver light flows, reinforcing the shield as the attacks land. He calls to the others, "Go in there. Stop him from doing whatever he's doing!"

From the back of the armored car there comes a flash of light, and the sound of mechanical laughter. And then the passenger door to the armored car opens, and the driver's partner half falls out. Holding to the door, he gets his feet under him and pulls his partner, a young lady quite unconscious with a nasty looking cut over one eye out. "I…he took a box, I think it was the diamonds from Xantheon Labs. Industrial grade diamonds…" This to whomever is present.

Liv's got the missile handled. "Nice!" Sasha calls. She leans past the car, getting a look at the armored car. Sasha lower half morphs, going from legs to the chassis of a sleek, blue plated cycle. A loud squeal and her rear end spins around, as the hybrid girl goes racing towards the armored truck. She leans to the side, low, a wide turn and scooping up the both of them, holding on tight. It'd be tough to go far with them. Thankfully, she only has to get them as far as the far barrier, where Sasha comes to a skidding halt and puts them down. "She going to be okay?" she asks the man.

"Aren't diamonds a *girl's* best friend?" Vesper's voice floats up from under the hood, taut, sharp. The headbob might be directed towards Sasha; it's hard to tell. "R - Valiant! How are you holding up?" The question hits a distinct pitch of urgency, not that she's waiting for an answer. A deep breath and a gentle swaying from the shadow manipulator as she focuses, her hands dropping deep … and there's a disconcerting twist as the shade projected by the truck she still hides underneath detaches itself and rushes towards the robots - leaving Vesper standing in a patch of impossible-by-physics sunlight.
The darkness spreads out wide, coating the roadway, the vehicles, and swarming up over the massive robots. Night falls under that shroud, subtle stirrings, faint motion as metal and gears … and glass and concrete … blur into the shadows. When the darkness lifts, the robot previously damaged is nothing more than a few bits of framework, another is stripped down to vital parts on one side, and a third missing enough bits and pieces to impair its functioning.
… large chunks of the roadway are missing as well.
Worn by the effort, Vesper leans heavily against the truck and hauls in breath. Falls through the truck. Curses vociferously in a wavery voice.

With the indications being that the mastermind has gotten away, Euiko turns her attention on one of the undamaged robots. Her tattoes glowing in their smouldering orange again, she launches herself in a lat arc toward it, another surginge jet of blue-hot flame streaming out from her hands to try and melt the offending automaton. The mecha distressingly unharmed by her intial assault, the dusky Asian flips and thrusts her legs out in a kick to carry her more directly toward it. As she sail's past it's arm toward it's body, her hand snaps out in a lightning move that seems more a caress of her fingertips than a strike, a straight line of light following the path of her index and pinky fingers. She lands past the monster and turns to face it…. apparantly undaunted that she's barely smudged his finish.

The robots that Vesper damaged spend a long few moments getting their wits — such as automaton wits are — back. Gears shift, new connections made as their difference engine brains calculate and evaluate. The two undamaged bots each launch attacks — one strikes the ground approximately where Vesper attacked from, the pavement buckles but the heroine is untouched. Euiko is also attacked, the robot literally stomping her, hard…she's pretty sure that she broke a couple ribs there, injured and stunned, she is NOT feeling well.

Even as the robots attack, Valiant makes a low growl as their bullets slam towards Euiko. He takes a breath and moves, the trailing wisps of energy continuing to slip from the spear he holds, droplets of blood dripping onto the ground. He stands near the girl, putting his body between her and the attacking robots. "Face me, if you dare!" He calls in his powerful tenor voice. He knows they aren't likely to listen, but hey…

Sasha finishes checking up on her two charges, making sure the woman's going to be okay. Just as she finishes, the robots rejoin the battle, breaking some of Euiko's ribs. Amazingly not cool. Sasha peels out and comes racing back towards the heart of the battle. She keeps her course straight and fast, slowing just slightly to get her aim on. Another glob of grey goo smacks into the chassis of the robot, starting to eat through and and shorting some of the systems. Sasha banks off, dodging through some of the other cars.

"Are they all right?" Vesper calls over to Sasha. The cloaked figure sways again, visibly taking a moment to collect herself. She murmurs something under her breath, maybe a curse - certainly not a prayer. Evening's fog pours over the highway again, engulfing two robots, one car, a shattered rail and an abandoned ancient motorcycle. When midnight gives way again, none of those metal markers remain.
Vesper lifts a gloved hand to her face. "Oh, crap. And I can't *pay* for any of that."

The freshman plays pawprint for a while in the aftermath of the robot's displeasure with her actions, reeling from the impact, with barely the wherewithall to form that basic estimate of her current condition. Euiko starts to come around after Reg steps between her and the machine, the fomer's proclamation registering in the renewing clarity of her mind. She groans and gathers her feet, albeit a bit unsteadily before she backpedals waveringly a number of paces to try and get herself together, "Hah….. dai…. daijobu, sempei…. I… nng… oh-key…!" she tries to assure her benefactor, her arms curled protectively about her midsection.

The damaged robot clawes at the grey goop trying to eat it, even as it reroutes things, steam venting from the pipes carrying it, and gears retracting and forming new connections. The other bot clenches a fist the size of a small car and brings it down on Valiant…incredibly the hero stands firm, he doesn't even go to one knee!

"It takes more than your ilk to put one such as I down," Valiant says harshly to the robot. He's in full 'Child of the Gods' fury, right now. He kneels beside Euiko, and says, "Wake up. Wake up." He pulls a small something from a pocket and dribbles it on her face. It stinks. It's an herbal remedy of some sort. "Wake up!"

Still shakey from her hasty recovery, the smell of Valiant's hollistic ministrations permeating her every breath, Euiko extends a hand, her tattoo's flickering falteringly to brilliance before with a snarled, "YARO!" another surge of flame erupts forth over Reg to the center of the mecha's breastplate. The machine's armor, much like it's structure to follow, blooms in a rapidly spreading orange glow before, the entire works begins to run like a candle under a blowtorch in a largely unsalvagable blob of yellow-hot girder batter.

Euiko flame blasts that machine good. "Hey!" Sasha calls. "Leave us something to investigate!" she calls. Too late, since the whole robot starts to melt and fall apart. It's good work, some quality blowtorching. Which leaves just one robot standing and in need of a severe smackdown. Sasha fires two quick shots from her disassembler, getting ready to switch over to something more explosive. As the first set of nanites die on the machine's hull, the second set picks up where it left off, eating through the armor, shorting it out and making pieces fall off until it's a hulk on the freeway.

As the battle ends, Valiant releases a breath. Slowly. So slowly, he unclenches his hand from the blade. His blood continues to slowly drip from the wound, as he takes a breath. The blood-streaked silver light fades. He says, almost absently, "I will need to bandage this."

As the last of the machines has been neutralized and the rusk of battle begins to fade, Euiko shuffles a couple of steps toward Valiant, still clutching her ribs and settles first to her knees. Then, with a pained, but clear, "Arigato-gozaimasu." she braves the burning in her sides to bow her head almost to the concrete.

Sasha shifts back to her legs, walking the short distance to Euiko and Reg. "HEy, hey," she tells the Japanese girl. "You want to puncture something?" she asks. Sasha nudges her slightly in the side to find the break. Not so hard to do, and in doing so she's treated to memories of broken ribs herself. "Medic!" she calls out at the top of her lungs, waving her arm. "We need a paramedic over here!"
"Yes," Vesper says, her voice a faint wisp from underneath the hood, "you will." She picks her way through the rubble - that is, literally, moving through a toppled car wheel - and joins the others. "How are you feeling?" she asks Euiko.

Outside where the barrier was it seems that a pair of police officers have arrived — most likely they were at Dulles and are simply the first to reach the scene. Overhead the circling news copter takes some excellent footage of the devastation caused by the bots, and their battle with the three teen heroes. Alas, Reg's car got trashed in the fight. Seeing as Reg is armored up and carrying a huge polearm, one of the cops draws his sidearm and levels it at the teen hero. "Okay…don't move!" The driver of the Armored car calls out. "Not them! They're the good guys, saved my partner and me these kids." Seeing the condition of the other driver, the other fellow places a hand on the arms of the first officer, Officer Merino. "Easy, Jake…stand down." The man then talks into the mic attached to hs collar. "Metro, this is Officer Watson, we are on site by Dulles, and need medical assistance…" He radios it in.

"Hopefully we stopped the robotic things before they did severe damage to the poor people…" He trails off, taking a deep breath, and casually rips off a piece of cloth and begins to bind his hand. He inclines his head at the police, saying, "We'll cooperate, officer. Someone attacked the armored car," he explains politely enough. Even as his hand continues to bleed.

Euiko bites back the instincual yelp as Sasha pokes at her ribs, the examination finding a couple of them are probably busted. Her head lifts as the cops show up with their weapons, a hand follows, but the intercession by the others checks any futher response on her part. She swallows, lowering her hand, then, "I em… oh-keh…"

FIN - The End is the Beginning - Part I
Cue intermission music and advertisements hawking popcorn, overpriced candy & snack items.

The End is the Beginning - Part II

GM NOTE: This occurs roughly 40 minutes after part I

_( Cove City - Baker Street and Holmes Avenue) )___
The corner of Baker and Holmes is a fairly upscale part of the business district. On the street are a great many financial institutions, fine dining and two clubs that have live music and open mic poetry nights. There's also an extremely respected bookstore, famous the world over for the quality of their product, Masterson & Sellers. Last of all there are two other businesses of note - Morgenstern Security - almost as well thought of as Lloyd's of London, and the Sommerville Auction House, host to a wide assortment of prestigious auctions over the years, including a recent sale of Action Comics #1 for 2.7 million dollars.
—-

Early evening, and the clubs and bistros at Holmes and Baker are hopping. Not literally of course, but there's definitely good amounts of people about, and very little in the way of parking to be had necessitating a walk of several blocks, a drop off, or public transit. The weather is a lovely 75 degrees, and the sky dotted with enough clouds to make the night seem a bit mysterious. A lone policeman walks his rounds, a cheerful smile on his face as he moves at a leisurely pace along the sidewalks. Clearly, he's expecting trouble. Alas for him — trouble is on the menu, and in a wide assortment of flavors!

Linus is spending a Saturday night out with his girlfriend, at one of the clubs. The boy is dressed in a manner that does nothing to make him stand out, really. Some jeans, sneakers, a wrist bracelet marking him has underage (18. Yes. Yes. He's… 18), and so on. Of course, there's not much he could wear that wouldn't make him receed into the background when one accounts for the sort of attire Sunday Knight is wearing. Her attire left as an exercise for the reader (for now!), everyone notices when she's gone to the ladies room because she's suddenly not -there-. Logical enough! Linus is waiting by the bar, sipping a coke.

Adrian is in this part of town because this is close to where the hotel the Young family is staying at is located. And rather than accept the ride in the rental car back to campus to listen to more discussion about how he should be more careful and blah, blah, blah… he has decided to take public transit back. So what if he got distracted by a pretty brunette in a mini-skirt along the way? The pair are now talking together in the outside seating area of one of the bistros, sharing an apetizer and a couple of soft drinks. "Cleveland's not bad, but I'm enjoying the east coast," he's telling his impromptu date who's name is Rebecca.

The bleached blonde girl wearing the jewel-toned purple Super Spy dress, black stockings and heels - aka Sunday Knight - makes her way back out of the ladies room as she adjusts her own I Cannot Drink wristband, trying to get some of the water out from under it that the hand-dryer couldn't reach. Returning to her boyfriend and popping a kiss on his cheek with those bright purplish pink lips, she plunks herself down on the stool beside him with a bright smile. "This was SUCH a good idea." Let's hope she continues to think that.

Cordelia is /not/ having a very good day. In fact… she's sort of falling from the upper atmosphere at the moment, having tested a certain teleportation device and wound up… very much not where she expected. "I KNEW I MISPLACED THAT DECIMAL POOIIIIINTTTTT!"

… though, seriously, Doctor Steampunk is hardly without resources even when falling painfully quickly. The issue is more that she's distracted by her mathematical error, and is punching the numbers through wrist-mounted calculator that's spitting out an endless tick-tick-tick of receipt paper, spooling out above her and whipping in the wind. Really. She'll realize her imminent danger soon enough. For now, though, she's a falling dot.

/Awkward/.

Rebecca is actually fairly pretty, and smiles to Adrian. "It has one of the 'Big Five' orchestras, I saw them perform at Severance Hall…amazing, simply amazing." Her straw is twirled around inside her glass as she sits and happily flirts with Adrian. The bistro in question is known for their creme brulee, the name 'Anton Smith's' named for the original owner and head chef.
Inside the MI:5 Lounge the music is definitely good, a live band playing and the dance floor packed. It is probably a good thing that neither Linus nor Sunday can drink — the drinks are /expensive/, especially with all the spy themed staff wearing tailored suits and gowns straight out of James Bond flicks.
From her vantage point, you know, as she's falling…Doctor Steampunk would get a lovely view of a flash of light in the service alley behind both the Lounge and Morgenstern Security. It is rather bright, but due to placement the light is not really visible from the street.
This might also make it plain to her that she's only a few stories from going splat.

Linus returns the kiss and has a long sip of his coke, "Wasn't it? This is way better than just staying on campus and… what? Watching TV or playing video games? It's not like it wasn't your idea, really." He hops off the barstool, "I'd never have come here if you hadn't dragged me to the first one." What goes unsaid is that coming out here is the only way he's going to make himself less on edge about leaving campus, what with that 'supervillains want to kidnap me and my twin brother to harvest our genetic code for nefarious and world destabalizing purposes' thing. But that's such a downer, so he says, "Coke?"

"So, you're a big fan of music then?" Adrian asks. It's a good thing he'd gotten paid before the Pharmacy got trashed, because this little bistro has the word 'expensive' written next to every menu item. Mental note to self: get another summer job while the Pharmacy gets repaired. Their apetizer is nearly finished though and Adrian flags down their waitress to pay. "I heard there's some good clubs around here with live music, we could go to? I mean, if you aren't in a hurry to get anywhere, that is. The night is young after all and so'm I." He winks. Young. Get it? Adrian Young? Okay, so that was a cheesy line, but sometimes girl's like that sort of thing! Clearly thoughts of last week's predicament (and the latest argument with his mother) are the farthest things from his mind.

Yes, yes it was her idea. Because not only is her boyfriend a geek, he's also riding that fine-line between homebody and shut-in. And a wise sage once told her that you cannot live your life afraid of what MIGHT happen! Nevermind that said wise sage happens to be a 14 year old ESPer gothling. Sunday hummms at the suggestion of beverage, then shakes her head, smiling brightly. He's on his feet, so she's gonna be on her feet too! "Nope, let's dance! Gotta make ourselves thirsty, make those three-dollar cokes worth it." She grins at him, one blue eye winking, then starts to drag Linus towards the dance floor. Idly she wonders aloud, "Wonder how Adrian is doing with the fam'." Ha.

It's not initially Cordelia who spots the flash; it's her goggles notifying her of an energy surge and zeroing in on the spot for her, yanking her attention back from the scroll of paper from her calculator. "Lovelace's Lost Algorithim, what'n the Innsmouth's /that/?" she demands, trying to get a better look at the blurry, over-magnified image. And then, up flashes a WARNING WARNING ALTITUDE WARNING on her goggles. "Oh. Right. Gravity works."

"… sometimes." And her boots suddenly ignite — yes, /jet boots/! — catching her a few feet above the roof. "/Robots!/"

… she really shouldn't sound so delighted by this.
(Meanwhile, the scroll of paper flutters into the wash of her boots and starts to burn.)

"LOVE music, and sure…tell you what, you get the snacks, I'll get us some drinks inside." Rebecca grins very (NOT)angelically as she holds up a fake ID, a rather nice one by the looks of it. "Daddy has friends at the DMV." Is all she says as she takes one of Adrian's hands, and starts into the club. Of course then there's that flash as Doc Steampunk's boots ignite — and her tickertape along with it. And she blinks. "Okay…flying girl, burning paper…" Nope. Not at all what Becky was expecting to see. At all.
Inside the club the dance floor proves to be if anything /more/ packed than it looked at first blush, but that doesn't seem to bother most of the dancers. Though there is a bit of a stir by the front of the club, a couple of people talking, and pointing outside at the flying girl. Hey! Even in Cove City neohumans are noticed!
Having stopped her descent, Cordelia would actually get a better view of the alley — there's a three meter wide depression — like the lower third of a sphere, the ground fused, and glowing a dull red-orange. Standing in the middle is a clump of close to a dozen VERY advanced -clockwork- automatons. One of them, in the center of the group motions with what looks to be a gatling gun arm towards the back door of Morgenstern Security, and several of the others move towards the door, clearly intent on entry. Several others fan out, taking up defensive postions while the one in charge stands, gun arm aimed skyward, his other hand resting on his metallic hip as gears whir, and steam hisses.

"You got it!" Linus is making his way for the dance floor when his new cellphone starts to ring. This would be the loaner. The one his mom gave him while she waits for the new one to arrive from the phone company. It's… old. Really old. It plays that one annoying ringtone that everyone knows. The one that's been so done to death that there are orchestral versions of it and someone even incorporated it into a damned british pop song. Linus sighs and answers it, "HELLO!?" You have to scream. It's a dance club. "REALLY?? OKAY!" He closes it. "Hey. You want to get out of here, maybe grab some ice cream and head back? You wouldn't believe who that was if I told you." grimmaces he. Not only is Linus oblivious to the presence of his twin brother, but he is oblivious to everything else.

Adrian's lips curve into a mischeivious grin at Rebecca's suggestion. He opens his mouth with every intention of agreeing with this plan, but is quickly distracted by the sight of… "I think I know her," Adrian says, mostly to himself. And he's pretty sure that he does know the flying girl, even if he doesn't know her well. They go to school together. She wanted to use him as an experiment. Which is somewhat ironic, since about a week or so after that someone actually did try to use him as an experiment. He gives Becky's hand a squeeze, joining her in looking at Doc Steampunk in all her glory with with her burning paper and all. "This could mean trouble. Uh… maybe we should raincheck." With his free hand he pats the back pocket of his cargos to b e sure something is there. There's a cheap felt mask that he bought at an arts and crafts store after the bank incident. He gives Becky a quick kiss on the cheek, then starts jogging in the direction of the fellow neohuman student, calling over his shoulder. "I'll call you!"

Riiiiight. Of course he will.

Well, dancing for two seconds was fun, but that damn noise could pierce through even the loudest club. Not to mention Sunday is rather certain Linus has to keep his leash on vibrate or else his mother might materialize and kick his butt. She looks a little mopey when he actually answers it, but, well.. what is to be done? Get out? "Yeah, right as well!" she shouts back, glancing towards the exit.. and subsequently spotting the people near the window who point and stare at something outside. Linus' sleeve gets tugged as she points to direct his attention. Maybe they'll have ice cream.. maybe they won't. "Your mom?" she asks, grabbing hold of his hand and tugging him towards the exit through the crowd.

Somewhere in the back of Cordelia's brain, there is a little part trying to analyze exactly what's going on and /what the hell that noise was/. To the more socially aware, however, it was a fangirlish squeal of absolute /glee/ that echoes around the alleyways. "I want one!" she declares breathlessly, clapping her gloved hands together. "Maybe I can borrow one and put it back together before anyone notices! Oh LOOK, steam!!" It is evidently possible to bounce in joy with jet boots. "And look at the smoothness of the three advancing on the—" Pause. The gleeful fangirlish babbling stops. Cordelia eyes the situation again.

And then absolutely /beams/. "I GET TO TAKE ONE APART AND NOT RETURN IT!" She skids around over the alleyway, drawing her raygun with a gleeful cackle. If this continues, it might be difficult to tell the difference between hero and villain. And no. She's not all that subtle.

The squeal of glee seems to get the attention of the lead robot, and it looks up at the flying teen, and stops. Mechanical plates shift, the metallic face forming a very definite scowl of shiny brass-like ire as the gattling gun arm is raised, and the barrels start to rotate with a mechanical whir. "DIE ORGANIC!" The harsh and surprisingly human sounding voice rings out. From the barrel of the gun a hail of bullets erupt, missing Doc Steampunk, and blasting the wall across the street of the book sellers. Oh dear, glass shatters, bricks crack, and alarms sound. "So much for a subtle smash and grab." The robot murmurs, though…it seems undismayed at the prospect.
The gun fire — looks like a 20MM canon or a high velocity machine gun of somesort, cannot be missed. Glass shards fall, power lines snap, creating arcing chasos on the street. For the moment nobody is hurt — but how long can that last?

"Yeah. My mom. She wants me to go home and make sure Adrian is alright." Linus grumbles to himself while he takes Sunday's arm and steps outside with her. "It's like our roles are reversed, but I'm STILL getting dumped on. How is that even possible?" He takes it in stride, with as much good humor as he can.. and then he opens the door and sees bullets spray everywhere. "Holy shit." EYes widen. He touches Sunday on the neck in a meaningful, 'copy your powers' sort of way, and then peers outside, "What the hell do we do? What the hell is going on?! I hate this town!"

Mom can't find out about this. Mom can't find out about this. Mom can't find out about this. This is the mantra that keeps repeating in Adrian's head. That and I've lost my mind. Linus is contagious. This is stupid. What are you doing? Go back to the girl! interspersed between each new round of Mom can't find out about this. Even while he's running away from the cute girl and idiotically towards the source of the hail of gunfire, the teen is pulling the mask out of his back pocket and putting it on his face. "…robots?" he says when he's close enough to see them. A quick look up at Doc Steampunk and a muttered prayer that she can handle this, Adrian sets himself up as a distraction and, well, a target. "HEY! Grease monkeys! You'll put someone's eye out with that thing!"

WHO WAS THAT MASKED MAN?! .. Well, considering its just a flimsey felt thing over an otherwise extremely familiar face, Sunday has no problem identifying the boy running towards that OMG GUNFIRE they've just heard as non-other than Adrian Young, the latest in their group to fall victim to the Hero Bug. "Linus!" She points to draw his attention, eyes wide even as her shielding sizzles around her. Linus hopefully has what he needs, so when he asks his rhetorical questions and proclaims how much he hates this town, his girlfriend - who HE TOTALLY DID THIS TO - glances back at him with a light in her eyes. "Really? I'm kinda starting to like it here! Meet you over there!" And with a wink, off she goes, far less concerned about how stupid this all is than she would have been a few weeks ago. "Hey, a Mask," she says to the Mysterious Masked Stranger, "Good idea!" And then its all business as Sunday moves herself to a position that she can see what the heck is going on, and who is making it go on.. Put somebody's eye out? "Uh.. CEASE and DESIST!" … Sorry, she's not good at this.

"Destroyers…eliminate the organic scum." The leader commands. "You three, proceed to target." And then he strides towards the street, gun arm pointed unerringly at Cordelia — even if his aim was off before. At his command the seven clockwork menaces stride in perfect synch, moving in the sort of wedge formation, not unlike that used by migrating birds. As they clank and clatter forwards, steam hisses from various points, vents sending white plumes into the night air as they raise their left arms.
Their hands shift, and slide and twist out of sight even as gun barrels roll out of their 'arm bones', forming gatling style weapon arms much like their leader's. High velocity gun fire rips out from the guns, the lead bot in the wedge narrowly missing Doc Steampunk, shots taking out more of the book seller's windows. The right flank fires en masse at Adrian, one of the bullets grazing his shoulder, but miraculously leaving little more than a welt, not even a flesh wound. The Lexus behind him however, yeah, that's a bullet riddled mess, though thankfully it hasn't exploded. Yet. Then the robots on the right flank raise their own suddenly weaponized arms, gunfire spraying at Sunday — and one bullet punching through her shields, and her thigh, the impact enough to leave her in agony, and reeling, though there's still fight left in her.
The last three bots move towards the back door, one driving his fists into the metal, even as the other two blast the hinges in one case, and the lock in the other. There's a shriek of bending metal as the door is heaved aside, and the three bots move inside in lock step synch.

"/Ooh/, AI," Cordelia notes, undeterred by being, well, shot at. "Or is there a brain in a jar in there somewhere?" She zips down to closer range and flicks a different lens into place with a *tick* and a whirr of cogs and gears. "… nope, no brain in a jar. Maybe a soul shoved into an aetheric containment unit that's steam-powered, but I'm sure I can salvage that!" She pulls a vial that glows an eerie cold blue from her bandolier and slots it into place atop her raygun with a hiss of compressed gases and a slight *whuff* of steam. This is, of course, when Adrian speaks up. He abandoned a cute, sane girl for a cute, /in/sane girl. Not a good tradeoff, particularly when you look at the gleeful grin across her face. "Help me take these apart for SCIENCE!!" she calls to the newly-arriving folks

Pause.

"And no, I didn't make them it's /not my fault/." She pulls the trigger on her ray-gun, a lance of blue-white light leaching all the moisture out of the air it travels through, leaving snowflakes in its wake. It strikes, coruscating over the lead robot… but something about the metal denies the freezing effect. "… awwww."

The robot man strides forward, even as his gun barrels unravel, much like an iris valve…if it were a series of tubes. The plates all interlock in a fasciantingly complex and precise fashion, forming a single larger barrel. "Doctor Gatling would know the name of the foolish organics who challenge him, speak before your IMMINENT ANNIHILATION." Yes, the capital letters are quite audible. And then he fits a tube into a slot over the new larger barrel, and from it can be seen a blue flame. Ut oh.
A gout of gelid fire erupts from the barrel of the weapon, streamers of what can only be napalm, or the equivalent. And for a moment Doctor Steampunk is entirely lost from view as the cone of fire lights up the night sky, and sets fire to the street and several passenger cars. FORTUNATELY — the gun fire was enough to clear most of the civilians from the line of fire, though one young man, no..not one of the Young brothers…is a little slow diving for cover, and his pants catch fire. The napalm continues to burn, and when the torrent of flaming chemical death stops — it reveals that Doc Steampunk is unscathed.
The robot leader, self-identified as Doctor Gatling, blinks, mechanical eyelids shuttering, and then he shakes his head. "You are most resilient, girl. It will not save you, but you are most resilient."

Linus steps out from the club, eyes wide at the chaos unfolding. ANd for what? "Are you -kidding- me? Are those wind-up death machines?" He chuckles harshly, incredulous. "They are, aren't they! You have wind-up death machines!" The tone of Linus' voice is all accusation and surprise. "I've seen some crazy shit, but you've just lost the plot!" He takes a step forward, uncaring of his own survival instincts… especially when he sees Sunday get winged by a bullet. "No." Arms extend and Sunday's own powers come from his hands, causing the metallic joints and servos of the clockwork soldiers to ice up. Most of them literally walk it off. Two of them march no more, suddenly locked in place as the devices malfunction and splinter. They fall to the ground in a worthless heap. Linus steps towards Sunday and stands in front of her, knees bent and at the ready. "Sunny, can you get up?" His tone is even and steady. The human psyche is machine which can easily adapt to the surreal if one will simply go out and let it stretch, you know. What is he going to do if someone attacks the girl behind him? "I have no idea." Thoughts spoken out loud, man. Thoughts spoken out loud.

Adrian lifts a hand to his mask and winks at Sunday from behind it. "Shirt and khakis from American Eagle, thirty dollars. Sneakers from Footlocker, fifty dollars. Mask from Michael's Arts and Crafts, two dollars," the younger of the Young twins says as bullets come flying towards him. He winces and jerks to one side as his shirt is ripped, that bullet wings him, and the car behind him is riddled with holes. "Doing things that I never want my mother to know about?" Even as Sunday is going down and Linus is stepping in heroically to her rescue, Adrian is taking off running after the robots that went into the rear of Morgenstern Security. In this process he of course misses seeing Sunday get shot and the napalm only draws widened eyes for a moment, but the boy is committed now. No turning back.

"Priceless." And then he's out of sight from the rest of his peers.

Should the silver lining of being shot really be that it missed your brand new Super Spy dress, and instead ruined an inevitably trash-bound pair of tights? Sunday braces herself as she watches the splatter across her shields, the super-heated air making short work of all but that one bullet. The girl lets out a high-pitched scream before she hits her knees, both hands rushing down to grip her thigh and put pressure over the searing wound even as it begins to bleed through her fingers. And for a moment, her blue eyes squinting and jaw set even as her face goes pale, there isn't much she can do. Linus' question is met with a tight nod, though she does not immediately stand, instead working her way up to it and trying not to lean on him. But the request for her name prior to imminent annihilation? Well, THAT gets a spirited response. "Fuck.. /You/!"

These things are machines…soulless, heartless, utterly uncaring machines. They're worse than the IRS! When two of their number fall, they simply adjust formation, spreading out so that no further cones can get more than two of them and two each attack the targets remaining in front, the lead bot continues forward - firing at Doctor Steampunk, kicking the bullet ridden Lexus out of its way as it presses the assault.
A veritable hail of fifty-calibre slugs blasts at the teens, ricochets damaging cars, street lights, and the buildings in the area in an orgy of wanton disregard for the damage done. It would be a display of revelry had these things anything resembling emotions.
Linus gets shot twice — though the bullets barely graze him, it is when he moves to intercept a bullet meant for Sunday that blood is drawn, and the teen can now add 'shot by wind up death machine' to his resume of things he never wanted or expected to experience. Ow. That's VERY painful, but he manages to grit his teeth and soldier on.
And for the first time this fight Cordelia Savage, aka Doctor Steampunk takes actual physical harm. A shot from the gatling gun on the lead bot, though not Doctor Gatling himself, just the lead bot of the Destroyers manages to get by her defenses, and she takes a shot to the meaty part of her left arm. The attack is painful, and there's definite shock — but it is not immediately life threatening.

Cordelia sniffs disdainfully at Doctor Gatling as a shimmer of power limns her costume, extending up over her skin in a sheath that makes her look all the more golden; her eyes are visible beneath the goggles, actually glowing with the same power, but that light fades as the torrent of fire fades from around her. "Fine thing to ask my name and /then/ try to kill me before I can even /answer/," she says snidely. "I'm the Doctor of All Things Steampunk, the Designer of Pure Awesome! Who /else/ would I be?" She sweeps around to the opposite side of Doctor Gatling from where Sunday and Linus are, snapping another cartridge into her ray-gun. "Advantage of clockwork: no circuitboards to fry and ruin. I can pound out dents," she says to no-one in particular. "So—" She touches down briefly on the ground, bracing her ray-gun with her other hand as she turns towards the group of robots still outside. There's an eerie green beam that extends from her gun, impaling one of the robots — a second dodges out of the way — and hitting a fuel source. Kaboom. "Mine!"

"I see." The robot Doctor Gatling is nothing if not quick on the uptake. In fact one can /see/ the bits and pieces of his difference engine brain as it calculates things, plates rotating around the more delicate inner workings of a completely mechanical brain. Really, a remarkable achievement. "Doctor Steampunk. An interesting appelation. But it seems that your technology is not impervious, your defenses are flawed." And then he raises his arm once more after she destroys one more of his minion bots. "Good bye, Doctor." Napalm sprays outwards once again, only this time it is met by a stream of super cold air from Linus Young using a facsimile of his girlfriend's own powers even as his injuries bleed, albeit sluggishly. That streamer of white and chill snuffs the flames scant yards from the barrel of Doc Gatling's weapon arm. "So." The robotic genius states. "So." Just that.

Fallen on one knee from his injury, Linus doesn't stop once Doc Gatling's flamethrower has been silenced. He keeps up with the cold, sending serious chills against one of his mechanical minions as well as the main man himself. Nothing comes of it but the sound of crackling, shattering ice as joints flex and move. That trick won't work twice, it seems. He glares at the guy, wordless, but still trying.

Adrian doesn't have any trouble finding the machines that went into the security building. They left a trail of destruction behind them. He's quick to move through and along the path of busted down doors until he reaches the same destination that the robots did. Adrian stops in the remains of a shot-to-bits doorway and stares at the bots inside. One of them is going after a fancy metal case, like the ones you see handcuffed to people's wrists. "What is this? Some kind of B-rated robot spy-movie? What's in the case? You know what, don't answer that… just… turn off, power-down or something." Linus said he had the potential for using his powers at a distance and with his eyes narrowing behind his mask, that's what Adrian actually tries. He's thinking about the robots shutting down. Not that it does much good. One, he hasn't figured out how to use his power that way quite yet and two, well they're robots and he is quick to realize that he's pretty helpless against them. "This… was probably a bad idea."

"But this one is even worse," Adrian says charging at the nearest robot, and attempting to put his fist through it. "I'll just have to shut you down the hard way!"

As Linus falls, the girl behind him pulls herself up to her feet, Sunday gritting her teeth as fushcia lips curl back in a look of determination that fuschia lips should not be able to convey. A cloud of cold, condensed air circles around her, sizzling against the whirl of her heat shield in an odd juxtaposition that only a temperature controller could create. With her thermal vision the girl glares at one of the automata that stands them down, trying to gun her down, to gun her friends down, and she watches the heated liquid circulate through its system. And that simply will NOT do. So, Sunday gets creative. The cold energy she sends out towards the two machines nearest her aims not for their bodies in general, but the lines of fluid powering them, sinking in deep and freezing some of the liquid. The hulking giants lurch, and this is encouraging enough to make Sunday muster up her draining energy to send out another wave, freezing still more of what makes the machines go. Though they attempt movement, there is simply not enough 'juice'. The two fall to their knees, though bits of what passes for life still rumble within. They are not totally stopped, but Sunday has a mind to fix that soon! For the moment, however, she just leans a bit on Linus nearby, a mantra repeated in her mind to focus on helping her friends, helping these people, and not the pain of her leg or the creeping fatigue in her bones.

The robot phalanx outside is crippled, but three robots can still fire, and fire they do. This time they each manage to shoot poor Sunday, and her injuries are /severe/. Four bullets hit, two center mass, one in her already injured leg, one in her already injured shoulder. Staggered and sent reeling, the fatigued girl is barely conscious, her body not responding well to the abuse heaped on it by the killer robots.

The two robots watch dispassionately as Adrin charges — and fells one of their number. And then one raises a gatling gun arm, blasting away at point blank range. No less than three bullets riddle the lad's midsection, driving him back into a wall, a crimson spatter getting all over several boxes and crates. There is perhaps a moment of stunned incomprehension…and then Adrian slides to the ground, and darkness claims him. One robot looks to the other, and they both turn to leave, certain that the organic has been dealt with. In their hands is the box they came here for.
Out from the doorway in the alley comes two of the robots that entered, one of them holds a fancy metallic case, the other has his weapon arm smoking still, and wait…that better be red paint staining his bronze 'hide'. Doctor Gatling looks pleased. "Ah, excellent. DEZ, prep for transit. Three to return. The rest of you, kill any organics present, then initiate the Omega Protocol." Oh man, that sounds REALLY bad.

"Oh no, we are /not/ eliminating the organics!" Cordelia cries, just about to fire another barrage when she wakes to the situation around her: that's not paint on those things coming out, and that's a lot of blood around Sunday, and they're supposed to be her teammates in this. Somewhere in the back of her mind, a memory replays of the Thunderdome supervisor and teacher lecturing her. /"AND ABOVE ALL ELSE YOUR TEAMMATES' HEALTH COMES FIRST."/

… cringing at the reminder, Cordelia changes course and reaches into a pouch at her waist and fumbles about in there for a few moments before producing something that would never, /could/ never fit into the pouch she produces it from. The words 'AUTOMATIC SAWBONES' are emblazoned upon the main manipulative arm (it has multiple, most ending in wicked-looking medical equipment, including a bone saw in one case).

"Sawbones, patient. /Now/."

With a dolorous hoot from the steam-whistle, it starts in on Sunday. It's not pleasant. In fact, it's pretty downright /un/pleasant, and while she's no longer bleeding out, Sunday /is/ feeling a little more… ill than she ought to. But it's efficient /and/ faster than any normal medical item ought to be; the fact that Cordelia's eyes are glowing beneath the goggles through the process is likely a clue as to just /why/. "Where'd your brother go?" she asks of Linus. "Or do I have to shove /you/ into this too?"

Still on his feet, Linus surprises himself by keeping his cool even while things go to hell in a handbasket. Perhaps, thinks the young mutant, he really does have a shot at this superhero stuff. He turns towards Sunday while ignoring his own bullet wounds. His jaw drops, then closes. In an aggressive stand and with vapors of cold air still rising from his fingertips, he stares at Doc Gatling and shakes his head, "All my best friends are organics!" and then mutters, "I can't believe I just said that." He turns to Cordelia, eyes up the unholy contraption she's put his girlfriend into, and then exhales, "I'm fine, but he tries to melt you again, I'm not sure I can stop it this time. Wait. My brother? I'll go."

Linus Young crosses the street, kicks open a door, and then finds his job fairly easy. He just has to follow the trail of bloody footprints. Bloody robot footprints. "This is just too weird." He comes around a corner, crouching and peering over. And there he finds Adrian Young in a pool of blood. "Adrian, if we get out of this alive…. I get to keep the x-box for saving your ass twice in a row." Yes. he already has second x-box. He crouches in front of the boy and then eyes the wreckage of one of the robots. "Oh shit." He slings Adrian across his shoulders and inhales. "This is going to suck."

Quite calmly, Doctor Gatling watches as Cordelia tends to the wounds of her fellow heroine, and shakes his head sadly, the motion whirring gently, as steam vents from his back. "Such heroic nonsense." He unratchets the flame attachment to his gun arm, attaching it to a spot on his belt, where plates fold over and cover it. "Let us see how much of such foolishness you will all display…" The arm is raised, the parts folding and twisting into a new configuration — and then from what looks very much like a LAW rocket launcher in miniature a missile is fired, not at any of the heroes — that would be too easy, instead it is fired into the club that Linus and Sunday were at. "You have five seconds before it detonates…" And then he turns, laughing as he strides back to the robots with the case.
When Doctor Gatling reaches them he looks over his shoulder. "Oh…fyi…the Omega Protocol is for the remaining robots to destroy themselves by internal power system overload. They're designed to fragment, making each of them ambulatory claymore mines. Enjoy your time, what little is left of it." And then a sphere of lightning surrounds him, and the two robots that went into the security building…actinic energy sparks, discharges overloading several transformers in a cascade of sparks, and when the sphere fades…all that remains is a second semicircular fused area on the ground.

Today is not a good day, as it turns out! And Sunday has learned a valuable lesson: Stop wearing her new, cute clothes out in public. Just stay on campus. At least until she's sick of them. Not that this is what she is thinking as she lays on the ground, bleeding and curled into a loose fetal position, feeling more pain than she can recall ever having felt in her life up to this point. Her whole body grows cold, as if on reflex in an effort to stop the bleeding. Not that it works this way, of course. Sunday looks up at Linus moments before some.. THING has her in its grip and is working on patching her up. Yes, most decidedly unpleasant. But less unpleasant than just continuing to get closer to feeling like she was dying! When the sawbones have finished their work she tries to pull herself up.. only to find a fresh new hell rumbling in her stomach. The stench of mustard gas invaids her nostils, turns the girl a new shade of green.. and without much ado Sunday bowls over and starts to wretch. This. Sucks. And is about to suck more. "The-" /urk/! "Club! P-peop-.." Nope, more heaving.

The two robots that Sunday froze the inner workings of crawl feebly a few inches, but when Gatling vanishes the two frozen bots shudder, and then slump — red light emanating from their guts, and a flip-plate counter counting down from 20. The three that are still up each vector off away from the scene, firing their guns at vehicles and shops along the way. FORTUNATELY the people have mostly gone to cover, but with the robots stomping out in different directions this could become a very serious problem very quickly.

"FYI? Who /says/ that?" Cordelia demands, rolling her eyes. But as he disappears, she's already moving, re-igniting her jet boots and flying after the rocket, leaving poor Sunday to retch and Linus to carry his twin out — but there's more dire stakes at hand! Once at the point where the rocket has embedded itself, Cordelia whips out an array of tools on a leather apron, going to work with a surgeon's precision to disassemble the rocket as the counter ticks down. Parts rain down on the ground below when she doesn't stash them for her own later use 3… 2… 1… 1… 1…

"I am /awesome/," she declares, then whirls mid-air to head back towards the other robots.

00:00:06.214… and it just keeps winding down. Linus looks around and then feels his brother's genetic code… or what he thinks is his genetic code. "Wow. Does that nullify -gravity-?" One way to find out. Linus dumps Sunday's powers in favor of Adrian's and yes… floats. It's not graceful, of course. The boy has to struggle to hold onto him, but it gets the job done. He flies the pair out of the building, winding through the corridors and then taking to the skies once he leaves the building. "What the hell is happening down there? Hey Adj. You with me?" Nervous, but cool-edged, he soars for the nearest rooftop… a six story building with exposed air conditioning ducts, a central AC unit, and the obligatory protrusion-with-door-leading-to-a-staircase. He takes to the air, but a loud *WABOOM* crashes down behind him. His first thought is, 'did I do that'. But then he turns his head to see the flames and debris behind him. Talk about the nick of time. Linus doesn't get 'sunburnt' because he's carrying Adrian. ADRIAN gets sunburnt. Linus lays him onto the air duct and then pulls out his cellphone.

There's absolutely no response from Adrian, whatsoever. He's pretty much just a ragdoll (albiet a heavy one) for Linus to tote around, bleeding. If he was conscious, he'd probably be wishing he'd bypassed the heroism to enjoy a "normal" date with a girl. Especially since the bad guy got what he was after. In spirit though he's cheering on his teammates and his brother! Because there are still a lot of innocent bystanders that could have been and still could be hurt if they don't do something about it!

Sunday seems to have finally gotten whatever it was out of her system, because she spits a bit of the gross taste out of her mouth and straightens up, wiping the back of her hand across her lips. A little less green, she's regaining confidence in her ability to continue.. until she spots Linus flying seemingly unaided through the air with Adrian. .. No fire, no purple aura.. no nothing. Maybe her mind is gone? Oh well, can't worry about that now! Something about bombs! Cordelia clearly has the situation in the club under control, and there is a moment where Sunday thinks about running after one of the robots shooting the place up.. But, she thinks, better to contain the closest threat first. How? Well.. once again, Sunday thinks creatively. Ice. The girl closes her eyes for a moment to focus, imagining what she wants to do.. and even as she does, her lips begin to turn blue and bits of frost spread over her fingertips, spreading up her arms. Her hands extend out as her eyes open, and cold swirls around the two felled robots as their counters tick down. A thin shield of ice begins to build up from the ground, doming over them, building up thicker and thicker until the image of them is heavily obscured through the thick ice shielding shes created around them. Sunday's hands drop, along with her shoulders, but the feeling of exhaustion is weirdly welcomed. Means she's still alive! For the moment.
Sunday blinks at the cel phone call and checks the caller ID, surprised for once to see it is NOT her mother at an inopportune time! "Linus? Yeah, okay," She glances up to where Linus is, then towards Cordelia to yell, "Um, Steampunk!! They need your stinky healing machine!" She points to where 'they' are.

The three Windup Destroyers fan out, gatling gun arms spitting burst fire at buildings, ravaging glass and stone facades, and they also blow up several parked cars. It is during times like this that people prove that there's heroic potential in all of us. One young woman knocks an older man down, saving his life even if she bruises his dignity. A postal worker makes a calm, and rational decision — and getting into his mail truck he floors it, diving out at the last moment as it crashes into one of the robots, slamming it into a street lamp and momentairly trapping it. Sure, he broke his arm rolling on the pavement…and he's scraped, but that was a price he opted to pay. Even so, the devastation is spreading, and those of you keeping score would definitely notice the torsos of the bots take on a distinctive red glow. Oh my.

The ongoing chaos around her makes Cordelia's eyes widen, boots clicking off and dropping her to the ground as she surveys the situation on foot; she's not quite back in time to get Sunday's message, not yet, but there are more dangerous things afoot. She dodges around one of the wildly-shooting robots and glares indignantly after it. "I'm BETTER THAN YOUR CREATOR!" she calls after it, lifting a fist to the sky to shake at the fleeing robot. "I'll PROVE it!"

She regards her ray gun sadly for a split second before pulling some of the materials salvaged from the rocket's disassembly out, thumbing a switch on the gun that makes it split open with a *chuff* and *hiss* of escaping steam and, should anyone note, magic. Heroic acts go on about her in those few seconds as she wastes no motion, nor time, in redesigning her precious gun.

At the last, she slits her hand on a scalpel and lets it drain into an empty vial, immediately going grey at exactly what she's doing — not fond of blood, or blood-magic, to judge by the trembling in her limbs, but necessary in this case — before capping off the vial and slamming it into the mount for it.

Staggering slightly, she pulls the trigger on the gun, then hurls it into the centre of the three Destroyers. "Enjoy your destruction!" she declares, then speaks one word in a language largely lost: for those who might recognize it, the original form of Nahuatl. "/Detonate./"

What happens next? A brilliant explosion from the little ray-gun, followed by a rippling sensation underfoot as vibrations expand outwards. Delicate instruments do not fare well here, cogs grinding against one another, springs unspringing, and watches grinding to a halt. But the trio of destroyers suffer the most, steam and smoke escaping as the cherry-red glow fades from them.

Linus isn't about to wait. He hefts Adrian into his arms again and flies towards the street, then pauses when the robots effectively grind themselves to death. He sets Adrian down on the ground in front of Cordelia. "My brother looks like a blood smoothie! Can you use that horrific machine on him?" He steps towards Sunday and looks her over. "I mean… it seems like it works. Are you okay?"

When the smoke clears and the robots are disarmed, the aftermath is left in a freakish near silence. Every machine in the area just /stopped/. Watches, AC compressors, water pumps…everything in a hundred yard radius. Sparks continue from some of the downed power lines, and there's several fires burning, including the last traces of the napalm. Morgenstern Security was essentially gutted, thick black smoke pouring out of the open doorway, the inside wrack and ruin.

Cordelia? Looks like hell, really. The cut upon her hand bleeds still, and she keeps casting glances over her shoulder at the destroyers and the havoc she's wrought. "Ugh… let me fix it," she says of the Sawbones, picking up her leather-wrapped tools once more and fixing shorn gears and splicing some burst steam pipes. "It'll work now."

Sunday rubs the bullet holes in her dress, a finger wiggling in to one to prod at the tender but not blood-gushing flesh underneath with a thoughtful frown. Scars? Maybe. But considering she's been shot five times and is now just achey, tired, and limping a little, she's not going to complain. In fact, she might kiss that Steampunk girl. But only after she fixes Adrian. Her eyes tear away from the huge domed ice structure she created and towards Linus, nodding once at his question, then looking to Adrian with a deepening frown. "… We can't take him to the hospital. There's no way your parents will let him stay after this." A pause.. and, as the dome behind her begins to melt, she says to Linus with a tone of dire seriousness, "We need to talk. Later."

One minute Adrian is bleeding all over the place, his life slowly slipping away… and the next minute Steampunk's contraption is mending him back together. It's a rude awakening to be certain, but much better than not awakening at all. "…Augh!" is the first thing out of his mouth. This is followed up by the boy making a horrible face at the rotten taste in his mouth, and a grimace for the pounding in his skull. But he's alive! And even in one piece… though his clothing is not. "Holy shit."

Linus, still floating (can one truly call it floating when you're standing so rock solid against the air? It's like he's the person gravity forgot!), gives Sunday a very curt, very serious nod. "You got it, Sunny." and then walks towards her, floating three feet in the air, and reaches for her hand. To Cordelia, he nods, "Thanks. I never even got your name. I think you're in my dorm, though." To Adrian, he just folds his arms over his chest, "Get up, dufus. We just kept you from getting deported to Ohio. DOes anyone have any idea what the hell is going on? Who was that guy? What was he trying to do?"

"It's fine, it'll work," Cordelia repeats, though her face is getting greyer and greyer. She pushes her goggles back and sits back on the floor of the alleyway, and indeed— her eyes glow again as the Sawbones stitches Adrian back together. "I can't… stay here for much longer," she says, tilting a little to the side as the world does the same, in her eyes. "But the robot… I want one to study but I don't think it'll fit in my lab." Pause. "I burnt my calculations, didn't I?" This last? It seems to be the worst bit, to judge by her sorrowful expression.
GAME: Miranda has connected.

It isn't long before the authorities arrive, and the cleanup process begins. The once prosperous area looks like a warzone. Injuries were relatively minor, and thanks to the intervention of the heroes there were no fatalities. All that is certain is that this Doctor Gatling achieved his objective — whatever was in the case was the key to the entire debacle. That beat cop, the one that was walking the area? He moves over to you all. "I've called for backup, you kids better get clear of this, I'll cover for you." His name tag reads 'Jenkins', and the man then gets to work helping put out fires until his colleagues arrive in force.

Sunday looks at Adrian as the boy groans and starts, and just the fact that he's talking makes her smile. Her hand takes Linus' and squeezes.. which is around the time she recalls something odd. "Um. Do you realize you're floating?" Yeah, how did THAT happen? For a moment she looks like she wants an explanation right then, but when Cordelia speaks about not being able to stay, her own eyes widen. "Yeah, we gotta get out of here! We can't be on the news or in a report! /All/ our parents will be /pissed/." Glancing back to the robots she offers, "Is there any way we can help you take one back?" And then they are approached by a beat cop. Sunday's stomach drops out, expecting to be told to stay where she is.. but no! And what he does say makes the girl so happy her eyes practically well up. "Thank you, sir. You guys heard the man.."

Adrian pushes up to his feet and sticks a finger through his hole-riddled and bloody shirt. "They were after some case that was in the security office," Adrian says, and then, completely serious, "I punched a hole through one with my bare hand, but then the other two decided to uh… shoot me." He lets go of his shirt, tensing as the cop arrives. And a hand is lifted to the mask over his eyes. Still there. Of course, there is the fact that his identical twin brother is there without a mask and next to each other there's enough resemblance to put two and two together. But it seems to be one shining spot of luck in this that the cop, Jenkins, who comes up to them gives them the green light to get out of there. "Thanks," Adrian says to the man, then looks at Cordy, "We should get out of here… like the nice officer said." Though, the how is the problem.

Linus remains standing with his arms crossed over his chest, "Yes. I'm floating. Adrian can nullify gravity." He peers at Sunday and opens his arms to offer to give her a lift, "Adj, I'm getting out of here. Thanks for the powers. Maybe you should figure them out." Ouch! If Sunday grabs onto him, then he'll take off into the sky.

"See you back, um, y'know." Sunday says to Cordelia and Adrian, smiling again at the cop before she wraps arms around Linus's shoulders.. only to give him a light whap on one. "Be nice. He almost /died/."

"I can do what?!" Adrian asks, looking up at Linus. When he and Sunday make with the flying off, Adrian just stares after them incredilously for a moment. "Nulify gravity… how does that…" Blink. Blink. HUGE grin. "HELL YEAH! I CAN FLY!!" The trick will be figuring out how to make it actually work. But for now, he looks at Doc Steampunk. "You gonna be okay Steampunk? I can grab one of those robot heads and meet you back… yeah…" He nods, jogging to get a piece of robots and every couple of steps trying to jump from the ground. There is some annoyance that Linus knew and used his power before he even knew of it, but it is overshadowed by the complete level of coolness in the fact that, "I can fly." Just maybe not yet. Looks like he's going to be hoofing it back to campus. He can't very well take public transportation with a couple pints of blood soaking his clothes.

Adrian turns back to see Cordelia wobbling and… well, he can't just up and leave her there like that… looks like he'll be helping her out of the area! Unless the lady doth protest.

Linus shoots off into the sky, holding on tightly to Sunday Knight. Remarks he to her, "What, was I too harsh? You know he'd have done it to me!"

FIN - The End is the Beginning - Part II
Stay tuned for the next exciting installments of The End is the Beginning!

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