The Unclean Spirit Entered pt 2

Log Info

Title: The Unclean Spirit Entered pt 2
Emitter: Amy
Characters: Alia, Amy, Jerry, Samantha
NPCs: French speaking assassins, The Double Mint Receptionists, Mischa Belikov
Place: Moscow, Russian Federation
Time: 1050hrs
Summary: Things begin to heat up as our heroes begin to interrogate a key Dog Star employee.

(Russian and French dialogue mostly for fun and translated through Bablefish, Cyrillic script transliterated by - any relation to actual Russian or French is strictly accidental.)

Moscow, Russian Federation 1050hrs

Jerry then watches the car accelerate and screech down into the garage. "Sam, you haven't tripped any alarms, have you?" he says quietly, frowning at the image. He drinks down the rest of his coffee and shifts his chair, just in case he needs to bolt. "That didn't look good; anything look like it's following him?" he says to the rest while not taking his eyes off the area.

"Guys, something isn't right with that car…" That's Samantha talking. "Wait. Looking through the garage cams, trying to find the right one… /There/ it is… Three guys getting out, but they're going into the main building, the big one in the middle. Briefcases, one's kinda big… One's on his cell… /Encrypted/? This probably isn't good…

Alia blinks, and murmurs, "I think this is more than just a simple video game." She glances at the others, "So what should we do? I don't think we can abandon subtlety just yet… perhaps there's a way inside?"

Jerry nods as he stands and drinks down the rest of his coffee as a last-second jolt of energy. "Sounds like someone is as interested in these people as we are; we need to get up to that office before they do… Come on, lets run for the building. Sam, tell the elevators not to respond to those guys, OK?" He shrugs on his jacket and is ready to bolt.

"Yeah, let's _hope_ that's what it is." Amy adds, slugging back the last few drops of her coffee and gathering up her bag in preparation to haul ass. "Gonna need a second to change clothes." she adds. "No worries, I can shuck this pretty quick, been practicing."

As Samantha watches the men approach the elevator bank in the parking structure, the rest of the team prepare to make a break for it. This does get a little attention from the locals, but not much, as they've learned that foreign tourists often rush about like chickens with their heads cut off.

"Encryption on the phone's too good, but I've got the mic in the elevator now… He's not speaking Russian, it sounds like /French/ — and I don't like the sound of it, even if I don't speak the language. He said…" Sam pauses for just a moment, and then begins to recite back what the man was saying, doing her best to imitate his clipped, precise speech patterns and cool, controlled delivery: "Oui, monsieur, Re dans l'ascenseur en ce moment. Est-il la ? Bon. Moins de vingt minutes, monsieur. Oui, monsieur. Conseillera en route a Shermetevo. Tres bien. Dehors." The joys of eidetic memory. Now hopefully someone else in the group understands what's being said.

Alia blinks, then suddenly says, "Yes, sir, we're in the elevator right now. Is he there? Good. Less than twenty minutes, sir. Yes, sir. Will advise en route to Shermetevo. Very well. Out." She then looks around at the others, "Well, that's what he said…"

Jerry exits the coffee shop and trots across the street with the others, taking refuge in the lobby of the building housing the game company. "OK, then, it seems too much of a coincidence to me, at least. If they're not involved in this, so much the better." He consults a map as they enter the building. "I doubt we could get so lucky, though. Shermetevo is Shermetevo International Airport, here," he points. You think they're here to kidnap someone?"

"No idea." Amy replies, shrugging a little and looking around for an elevator. "Bingo." she says, stabbing the key when she finds it. "I don't get why the hell they're speaking French, though." she says, tapping her foot as she waits for the elevator. When it arrives, it is, luckily. empty. "This whole thing stinks on ice."

Meanwhile, in the other elevator, the three men ride in silence, faces set and determined. The man carrying the big case whistles tunelessly until the lead man, who was on the phone turns and curtly tells him to shut up.

Jerry |What's that? … … … 'Girl from ipanema'?

Jerry clicks the button for Dog Star

The Steranko Institute: Samantha spends a hero point.

Samantha's lagging a little behind the group, between having had to stuff her laptop back in her pack and still having half her mind focused on using her powers rather than, like, walking. "Oh, CRAP! The big briefcase the one guy has? /Sniper rifle/. Don't know who he's planning to shoot, but…" She closes her eyes and reaches out, her will forcing its way on the computerized elevator controls, her concentration obvious. "There. I just stopped their car between floors."

Alia nods, "Should I go over there and ask them what they're doing?" She smiles faintly, "It wouldn't be too hard, honestly. But a sniper rifle… a hit, but on whom. One of the programmers, perhaps?"

Jerry clicks the button for Dog Star's floor, clickclickclickclick, and leans back on the elevator wall, frowning. "What are the other dudes up to?" he asks Sam as they ride up. He pushes away from the wall to shift, pace, lean again, impatient with the slow pace. Sam's news makes him whistle softly. "Hells yes, keep 'em there and phone the .. oh, damn, don't speak Russian. Wonder how we can get the cops over there before they get tired of waiting for maintenance and climb out the emergency hatch?" He hmmms at Alia. "Maybe, yeah. Could be Russian Mob, then?"

"I need to find a bathroom." Amy says, tapping her foot nervously as she waits for the car to reach the 46th floor. "Won't take me very long." she adds. "Matter of fact, I think we _all_ better get in character before we do _anything_ else." she says.

When their elevator car stops, the three men exchange puzzled glances and wait for a moment, apparently used to such occasional flubs, even in a new, ultramodern building such as this. When the car doesn't resume within a few moments, the lead man calmly presses the emergency key. "Sacr�s ascenseurs!" he grumbles.

"I'm keeping them there and overriding the emergency button, but so long as I'm busy with this, I'm not going to be much help with anything else," Sam says. "And I don't /have/ a costume or anything! I'll have to wipe the security cam recordings on the way out or something."

Alia nods, "He's just cursing at the elevator right now…" She frowns, "But why would Russian mobsters be speaking French? There is something odd about this. Of course, it could be an act."

Jerry nods to the others. "OK, then," he says to Sam. "Maybe cut the power to that shaft, so it'll stay that way once you stop thinking about it; we really need you for looking at the game computers, to see what's there. Otherwise, we need to go take care of them and then come back over here - I'm pretty sure setting them down by the cops and showing they have a huge-ass sniper rifle is enough to get them locked up. And maybe they're French assassins, brought in from the outside. I dunno. Maybe they work cheap."

To the others: "I'm sure there is a bathroom set by the elevator when we get to Dog Star's floor." Once they reach there, he splits off to the boy's room to change into costume and mask after first checking for any others in the facility. He smooths the form-fitting material over his chest, takes a deep breath, and steps out. "OK, showtime," he says,

"Don't know who they are, don't care who they are." Amy replies, ready to bolt for the restroom the instant the car stops. "They're bad guys and they've got a big damn gun. Let the cops or whoever deal with 'em." she says. "Unless Alia wants to go pay them a visit." she grins ferally. "We gotta stay focused on what we're here for." The news that Sam doesn't have a costume elicits a wince. "Hey, I went through the trouble." she says annoyed, "So can you."

As the men in the elevator begin to realize that they're not going to be leaving anytime soon, they begin to respond to the situation in a, gasp, reasonable manner. Namely, hoisting one of their own on another's' shoulders to start hauling open the emergency hatch.

Meanwhile, the elevator lets out in a typically blank-looking office corridor, and yes, there is a bathroom in it, with the International sign for Women's Lavatory marked clearly to allow Amy to rush in and do her best Super Girl imitation. Dog's Star's foyer is a few feet down, and, even at a distance, looks plush and ultra-modern.

"They were starting to climb out. I'm putting that whole building's elevator system into fire-emergency mode. All the cars are going to the lobby level and won't go anywhere without an operator's key." That's Sam, obviously enough. "They won't be stuck anymore, but it will take them a while to get to a useful floor using the stairs."

Alia laughs softly to herself, then takes off her hat and coat, handing them to Sam, "Costume. For now, anyway." She takes a mask out, putting it over her eyes as she glows faintly now, looking quite ready for anything as she glances over at Jerry, "Ready?"

Shatter adjusts his mask. "Good work, um… crap, I don't know your codename.." he smiles weakly at Sam. He nods to Alia. "Yep, let's see what's going on, here," he says, walking to the Dog Star Games offices - he strides pretty confidently for a teenager in a form-fitting bodysuit, but then he can pull it off. He pushes open the doors, looks around, pausing just that instant for impressive effect.

Amy emerges from the bathroom a few moments later and…oh my, it would appear that someone's told the young lady she's a superhero and she's chosen to dress the part. But as costumes go, it's a pretty humble one. A pair of loose fitting, but not baggy cargo pants with plenty of pouches, cinched tight around her ankles. Her top is a simple black sweater and judging from the way her usually decent chest seems flattened, she's likely wearing Kevlar beneath it. There is one interesting thing about her sweater, though, she seems to have liberally decorated it with silver spray paint, giving it the look of a dozen jagged lightning bolts crisscrossing on a moonless night. Her features are partially obscured by a Kato mask. On her feet are a pair of high, tightly laced, steel toed, high-traction hiking boots. Her usual gold hoops have been replaced with simpler, smaller studs. Simple military-style belt around her waist.

"The first one of you fuckers that laugh is gonna get _zapped_." Amy says sternly, throwing the others a glare that could peel paint.

Meanwhile, the assassins in the elevator are now becoming seriously annoyed with Sam's antics, piling on to the top of the car and out of sight of the video camera. During the bad old days, there's a good chance there would've been cameras here too, but thanks to liberalization, there's none now. The car continues to trundle down to the ground floor.

The arrival of four costumed teenagers first elicits an eye blink from the pair of very pretty blonde receptionists, then a titter of giggles until they realize that they're the only ones laughing. One of them stands, places her hands on her hips and defiantly lets fly a string of equally beautiful Russian. It doesn't take a stint at the Language School in Monterrey, California to decipher the meaning, being, "Who the hell are you supposed to be?"

"That would be because I don't have one…" Sam again, replying to Jerry, with a sigh and an embarrassed expression. "Thanks," she says to Alia, gratefully accepting the coat and hat and putting them on, before following the others to Dog Star's office entrance.

Alia smiles faintly, "We're here to see your boss, if you please." Then she repeats that in French, on the off chance that the receptionists know that instead of English. Considering the thugs in the elevator, it's a hunch…

Jerry looks to Sam. "In that case, I dub thee 'Mainframe', at least for this," he says as an aside. Once the doors close and the woman steps up, he puts on his best concerned expression and looks not threatening but also totally serious. He folds muscular arms over his chest and waits for the reply.

"Call me….eh…Volta…" Amy adds to the others as Alia begins breaking the ice. "Oh please, please, please, do not call the cops on us, people." she whispers to herself nervously. "I really don't want to go to Siberia."

You have to try and look at it from the two young ladies' point of view to appreciate what happens next. One moment, they're answering phone calls and serving vodka to visitors, all while showing off just the right amount of cleavage and thigh meat to set them at ease. The next, they're face to face with four foreigners who look for all they world like they just stepped out of a an independent comic book. Their first instinct is to press the panic button and summon security. But Alia's calm demeanor mollifies them, if only just. "What….what do you want here?" One of them replies in good, if accented English. "Where do you come from? We are not making a hero game…."

Sam's letting the others do the talking, especially since Alia seems to be doing particularly well with it. She might even seem a bit preoccupied to her friends, as she's resumed her search of Dog Star's systems that was interrupted by the arrival of the terribly rude French assassins.

Alia looks at the receptionist with a smile, "We are here to see your company heads. Vasily Andreyev, Mischa Belikov, Ion Ektsov, Gennady Asimov and Anna Venclova." She pauses, "We have some… concerns, and we would like to talk with them directly. There shouldn't be any need for drastic measures." Her lips quirk in a faint smile, at that.

Shatter's force field ramps up juuust into the visible range so that the foxfire glow of purple light dimly outlines his lithe form, just to convince the ladies that yes, they really do have powers and are not just kids in costumes. He pushes off with the toe of his black boot and stays about four inches off the floor, quiet and patient. He gives the woman a neutral smile, as Alia talks.

Amy just sort of….stands there, slightly behind everyone else, trying, and failing to look appropriately aloof and heroic. What she really looks like is a fifteen year old girl in a cheap costume who doesn't quite believe this is actually happening.

"Mister Andreyev and Mrs Venclova are not here at the moment." The receptionist says, her accent changing the I's into elongated e's. "The rest are here." she says, nodding to her partner. "If you will be kind enough to wait here, my associate will page them for you." she adds with a pleasant/nervous smile. Meanwhile, the other young lady picks up a phone and begins to rattle off a long string of complex Russian into it.

"Um, you might also want to suggest they stay away from windows facing the other building." That's Sam, quietly speaking to Alia from behind, as she continues rifling through the mountains of data populating the company's systems.

Alia also says, "You might want to stay away from those windows by the tower. Please." She hrms, "We have received reports of possible trouble there in the central tower. Mechanical difficulties. Suspicious ones." She then nods slightly at the receptionist, giving her a genuinely friendly smile, "Thank you."

Shatter simply nods. "Thank you, yes," he says with a smile as he floats there.

"Serious technical issues." Amy offers, voice sounding appropriately serious, but not wanting to frighten anyone. "Thanks, we'll just…stay……then." she adds, shrugging a little and looking like she feels about half an inch high.

"Mechanical difficulties?" Receptionist One inquires. They are, after all, so close to looking like Double Mint twins that it's hard to tell them apart. Clearly an intentional choice on behalf of their employers because what red-blooded male hasn't had that fantasy a few hundred times in their lives? "What kind of difficulties? Are we in danger? Is that why you are here?" she asks, cocking her head and looking concerned. "One of them will be with you shortly." Receptionist Two adds, giving these strange foreigners a smile as if to placate them.

"Yeah, a guy with a Dragunov /is/ a 'technical issue', I suppose," Sam comments quietly, mostly to herself but easily heard by her friends, though probably not any further than that.

Alia hrms, "There is no need for alarm, really. The situation is under control." She glances towards the building, then at the other receptionists, judging their positions in the office with a clinical expression.

Jerry simply radiates quiet confidence, glancing past the desks to the rooms beyond, waiting and taking in the surrounding situation.

The teenaged electro-princess stands there, looking quietly semi-confident that she looks like an absolute idiot in this get up, which is now starting to get more than a little bit uncomfortable, as the building is heated sufficiently to allow the Double Mint Receptionists to wear near-ridiculously short skirts and blouses buttoned just so…

A few moments later, a young-ish man in Western blue jeans and a classic, 80's era Def Leppard T-shirt enters from the offices to the rear. He's about 35 years old, baby faced, with a shaved head. "Whoa….Vy poluchili, chto ojagnilis' ja! Jeto nereal'no! You' ve dazhe poluchil kostjumy dal'she! Mogu ja sfotografirovat' nekotorye? Moja podruzhka nikogda ne idet verit' jetomu!" he grins, fishing out a camera phone from his pocket and taking a few snaps. "Haha! Please, excuse me, it is not everyday one meets real superheroes." he grins. "You look _fabulous_!" he adds. "I am Mischa Belikov, please, come with me." he adds with a giggle.

If Amy's feeling a little warm, Sam's feeling a bit sympathetic for the insides of her big computer back in her room during a marathon gaming session, between Alia's coat and her own windbreaker under it. She's pulled out her smart phone and is… /typing/ on it, her mental links still occupied with the Dog Star systems. She shows it to the nearest person to her, probably Amy or Jerry, first, but will try to let each of her friends see it. The screen reads: 'Found thing cld xplain French shooters — Gov project. Nothing why game making zerkoids yet.'

Alia nods slightly, "Certainly." She doesn't get a chance to see Sam's screen as she seems to be the front-alien for the group, giving the man a faint smile, "We had some questions for you." Her eyes flicker back towards the others, as she moves towards the indicated offices.

Jerry drops to the ground so he can walk, but he keeps the flickering ripple of light moving over his lean form as he walks along; he looks over as Sam shows her screen and nods. "Thank you for seeing us, Mr Belikov; I don't want to alarm you, but we have strong reason to believe your life or probably the lives of your staff are in danger because of Hauser — there's the matter of the governmental code that went into the original seed programming, and some concerns about it, specifically." He goes to stands closer to the office window, keeping an eye on the middle building as much as he can.

Amy trails along, nodding here and there to the people in the bullpen who look up, mouths a perfect 'o' of surprise at the sight of this bunch of teenage superheroes. Already, there's animated talk in Russian, as well as lots and lots of camera phones coming out to capture the moment.

Sam blanks her phone's screen for worry of someone unintended seeing it, saving what she'd displayed as a text draft in case she gets a chance to show it to Alia at some point. Other than that, she trails along with the group while her mind continues to sift through the company's computers.

Alia's heels click loudly on the floor as she follows Mischa along, as she glances back and forth curiously at the cubicle farms, arching a brow as she murmurs something under her breath in a strange language.

Belikov is, at first, solicitation personified, asking if any of them would like any refreshments, or perhaps, winking, something stronger. "We should get some proper photos of you." he adds as he leads them towards a medium-sized conference room, currently not in use. "Maybe some motion capture…." he muses, grinning as the wheels inside the young man's mind start to spin. "I can see it now, 'Podrostkovye geroi: Polet nachinaet!'" he says, holding up a fist in mock-defiance. "It could be a wonderful beginning for a series…" he says as he opens the door and shepherds them inside.

Then Jerry mentions the government angle and he slams the door shut behind them, eyes going wide. "Kak vy znaete o!" he begins, face turning chalk white. "How…How do you know about this?" he demands, looking half-angry and half scared out of his wits.

Jerry folds his arms again, and looks back to Belikov. "We have superpowers; that's as a good an explanation as any. You're aware of the outbreaks of violence among Hauser players, and I'm not talking throwing a soda can at someone. Guns, bombs, knives, etc?"

"Nagoya, Cove City and Manilla." Amy adds in a glacially cold voice. "Six dead in Nagoya. Cove City got stopped before it could start, but if they'd done it, there'd be a lot of bodies on the ground. Kids had semi-auto shotguns." she notes. "The teacher in Manilla who's gun jammed…..please don't try to tell us that you've never heard of this." she says flatly.

"So a few crazy people do crazy things…" Belikov scoffs. "And school violence is nothing new to your country, young lady." he adds with a withering look towards Amy. "Or have you forgotten Columbine? What I want to know is why you are….Wait…you don't think…" he says, taking a deep breath. "No! Out of the question! What would we stand to gain from such a thing?" he asks. "It is like ….aaahh….British band sued in eighties…aahh…Judas Priest they were called. Why would we want our customers to go to prison? Then they can't purchase more games."

Shatter shakes his head. "Honestly, we don't think you knowingly did anything. But the basis of your code comes from a think-tank experiment. Can you honestly tell me you know and documented every single line in those six discs? Or did you inherit something you didn't /quite/ understand, but was able to save you years of programming effort?" Yeah, he's reaching a bit here, but he's doing it more to see what the man says to that line of reasoning.

"Actually," Samantha pipes up, "There are reasons you might do such a thing. About a million of them, that your partners and your happy Russian tax collectors probably don't know a thing about." The big screen on the wall flares to life, displaying statements from an offshore account in the Cayman Islands. Balance: Approximately $1 million, U.S. Other windows pop up, tracing back deposit transactions to banks in the Middle East.

Alia arches a brow, "Well, now that's a lot of fingers in a lot of cakes." She looks over at Mischa, "And you might want to talk fast. Because you might have some people that are displeased with you, and they are a bit more… terminal thinking, than us." She smiles faintly.

The Steranko Institute: Alia spends a hero point.

Shatter's eyes widen behind the mask at the financial revelations, then looks back to the programmer. "Anyway, yes, there is a team of French-speaking assassins in the next building over which might also have designs on you, but anyway…"

"Holy _fuck_…." Amy says, studying the information on the screen and shaking her head slowly from left to right. "Okay, Mischa, it looks like you've been up to some _seriously_ naughty shit." she says. "I think we all believe you about the game." she adds, looking around at her comrades for acknowledgment. "But _this_? It's like the man said, 'Choo've got some esplaing to do." she coos in her best faux-Cubano accent.

What happens next is unexpected to say the least. "Malen'kie der'ma!" Mischa growls, punching the off button on the wide screen hard enough to snap it. "I ….Oh, pozhalujsta prostite mne, moim druz'jam? I didn' t imeet otbornoe?" he sighs, finally sagging into one of the chairs by the window, probably the one he'd occupied at every high-level meeting the Psychic War team ever had. "I didn't have a choice." he all but sobs. "We were out of money…..Project Orca gave us millions, but we spent them all…Game was so close…_so_ close….I sold Orca to them…" he says, pillowing his face in his hands and starting to cry in earnest. "Then, the Frenchman, Monsieur Blanc came…..he had records…he had…On znal ….He…he knew _everything….He threatened to turn me in to FSB if I didn't give him a copy of the…Gold Code? I think you call it? The final version of Psychic War, the one we sent to Sierra company for mass production….I thought he was a pirate….To make illegal copies….Oh God….Bog, chego ja delal?" he weeps.

"Wait. You sold ORCA to /who/ exactly?" That would be Samantha. She is sounding rather Not Amused. Also, funny thing about most display screens these days — The power button isn't really a power button. Pressing it just tells the software that actually controls the screen to turn off. /Oddly enough/, the man's attempt to turn this screen off does precisely zip. "I'm not sure if you're more an idiot or a victim here, but it's pretty damn clear you've made a mess that needs cleaning up. Be glad we got here before the French guys with the Really Big Gun did. So now you're going to explain it ALL to us so we can try to undo the damage. /Da?/"

Lumina nods, "Indeed." She gestures a bit towards Shatter, indicating the central tower, "You will tell us everything you know about this, so that it can then be corrected." She looks at Samantha, "Think you could write a 'patch' for the game?"

Shatter moves to stand between Mischa and the window looking over to the central tower, his field cycling slowly with a soap-bubble-like pattern to it. He nods to Lumina, then back to Mischa. "So, yeah, we'll save your bacon if we can," he says.

"Sooner's better than later, _tovarisch_." Volta comments acidly, giving the weeping man a withering glare. "You betrayed your friends, now it looks like you betrayed your….." her voice trails off as she searches for the right word. "Rodina……Start talking, asshole." she all but spits, her contempt and anger very much the real thing.

"It started with ORCA….Project Orca." Mischa says, still pillowing his face in his hands, weeping silently as his conscience catches up with him. "Was how we all met. Program for sonar analysis…like your….your SAPS.." he says, referring to the US Navy's hush-hush sonar analysis program. "We all worked on the project, all of us, before we became Dog Star. We succeeded!" he adds, raising his head and looking almost proud. "We create sonar program good enough to beat SAPS….Make millions in hard currency, then we decide to make games, Gennady had idea, we all signed on. Big money to start with, but money runs short half way….we need at least five hundred thousand US to continue." he adds, sighing and resigning himself to fate. "Then, at, as you say, eleventh hour? MISIRI….Iranian Secret Service, like our FSB or your CIA." he explains, "They contact me, I sold them ORCA…for one million, US…" he sighs, starting to tear up again. "We finish our development, get a deal with Sierra…Then Blanc calls me on cell phone, knows all about sale of ORCA program…Says, I sell Psychic War hard-code to him, he doesn't feed me to FSB….I didn't have a choice!" he cries desperately. "FSB is worse than KGB ever thought…My wife, our children….I thought he was only a pirate…" he sobs…

"Great. Just effing great. Okay, that's clear enough so far, but where does this Blanc guy fit in?" That would be Sam again, a little less angry-sounding than the last time, or at least less of it directed at Mischa. "What did he want with the game code, if he's /not/ pirating it? Does he have something to do with why some people are going all Fruity Oaty Bar after playing it?"

Alia hrms, "Seems likely, really. And you engaged in efforts to undermine global stability with your sale of this program, and opened yourself up to being blackmailed. I believe this is called karma." She sounds very disapproving, "But yes, what did Blanc want this code? There has to have been a reason." Her eyes glow a faint red as she seems to regard selling out one's country as a rather cardinal sin.

The Steranko Institute: Jerry spends a hero point.

Jerry frowns as he's listening to this, but the man's sobbing is making him uncomfortable. He glances to the tower outside the window, and that's when he sees it. "Shit, the French are about to send a message," he says, as he sees a gleam of light in the window. "Get your ass down!" He moves squarely between the man and the possible assassin, trusting his force field to hold.

Samantha tries to reach out and prevent the gun from firing, but the distance, combined with not having a real view of her target, keeps her from getting a solid enough 'contact' with her powers in time. "No… dammit…"

Alia suddenly flickers, glowing a brilliant emerald green as she shouts, "Sniper!" With that, she flies /through/ the window, arrowing towards the central building… but without seeing the glint of light, she's only got a general direction to go towards, which isn't quite enough to prevent the shot. Well, aside from being a glowing green figure launching from the building, that is!

Shatter nods as Alia phases through the wall, and once she's gone he sets up his own barrier: a curtain of purple energy over a section of the window. The hard-light barrier flickers into existance, as the masked teen moves to cover the programmer.

The Steranko Institute: Amy spends a hero point.

"DOWN!" Volta shouts, bolting to try and bring Mischa out of the line of fire.

In the other tower, the shooter is confronted with a challenge, first, Alia's incorporeal form shoots towards him in a flash of emerald light, throwing his aim off at a critical moment. His first shot goes wide, shattering both windows in a storm of noise and glass shards. He recovers quickly, the second shot stopped by Jerry's force-field, the bullet ~tinking~ to the floor, mushroomed.

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