Alter-Ego

/ By ImnIslandGirl [+Watch]

Replies: 528 / 4 years 80 days 10 hours 40 minutes 12 seconds



Dear Diary,
It used to be so simple. There were only a handful of super humans charged with protecting our planet from the evil forces that plagued us. The battle for Earth’s protection was black and white. The heroes were heroes and the villains were villains. Now… there’s far too much gray. Ten year ago, Earth’s greatest heroes went to war against an alien force that tried to destroy us. They were able to stop the invasion, but at a great cost. The only way to defeat the invading creatures was to detonate a huge explosion within their ship. The force of the blast killed every living creature on that ship… including our heroes. One last sacrifice to save us all. Except, there was a consequence of the blast that our heroes hadn’t predicted. The radiation from the explosions made its way to Earth, corrupting the genetic makeup of hundreds of humans all over the world, giving us supernatural abilities.
At first, the world rejoiced at the emergence of these new “heroes” to replace our fallen guardians. Unfortunately, not everyone who gained these super powers used them for good. It’s difficult not to be selfish when you’re strong enough to simply take what you want. The temptation… for most of us, it’s too hard to resist. As more and more of these super humans began using their abilities for selfish means, the world fell into turmoil. Those who were at first seen as heroes, were now despised as monsters. None of us could be trusted, so all of us were punished. Countries around the world created organizations to hunt, capture, and contain people with abilities, forcing the rest of us into hiding. Now, those of us who want to be heroes have an even greater challenge. We must protect a world that wants us dead.
Some of us still stalk the nights as heroes, while others have turned to a darker path. I must fight to protect my city from these new villains, and fight to protect myself from The Organization. If I’m lucky, I’ll find others with similar goals to join by my side. The world is in desperate need of heroes… even if they don’t know it yet.
~ White Tigress

Recap

The heroes of the past are dead. Now, hundreds of people all over the world have been exposed to a genetic-altering radiation that has given them special powers. Some are heroes, some are villains, most are somewhere in between. The heroes of this story will not only be fighting against other super-powered humans, but also trying to avoid being captured by The Organization –a government run team assigned to contain super human abilities by whatever means necessary.
to allow for maximum interaction in this roleplay, I would suggest everyone being on the same side. This doesn’t mean you have to be a good-as-gold hero type. It would make things far more interesting if we had some characters with questionable motives . Eventually, most characters will form a cooperative group and fight together .

Rules

  • Be Literate - This is a literate roleplay, so I will be expecting longer posts. A couple paragraphs MINIMUM! In order to keep the story active, each posts should be roughly 300-500 words .
  • Be Respectful – please respect other players within this role play. I will not tolerate racist or sexist remarks. This roleplay is supposed to be fun, let’s try to keep it that way. Also, please follow ES rules, they are there for a reason.
  • Be Reliable – everyone gets busy, but it takes two seconds to send me a PM to let me know if you aren’t going to be around for a few days. That way I can work your absence into the story so as not to hinder anyone else. I’ll do my best to keep you updated on what you’ve missed. If you want to quit the RP, all I ask is that you TELL ME first so that no one is waiting on your posts.
  • Be Realistic – No overpowered characters PLEASE! Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so keep this in mind when you’re creating your characters. Also, I’m really not a fan of “love at first sight.” I don’t mind romance, but I don’t want it to take over the entire rp, so please keep it low key.
  • Be Creative – a roleplay is no fun if it’s just me driving the plotline. This is a collaboration between all of us. Feel free to use the chat box or PMs to brainstorm plot ideas and twists, and don’t be afraid to take initiative with your posts.
  • Fighting – this is an action-oriented role play, so there will be fighting. For the purposes of this roleplay, the attacker CAN be forceful with their actions HOWEVER it is the victim that gets to decide how much damage is caused .
  • Questions? Comments? Concerns? Just send me a PM!

To Join…

Please read through the rules and create your character based on the skeleton below. My character is posted as an example. Try to make your characters interesting and unique.
If you are interested, you can create a picture like mine using THIS SITE
I want to keep this roleplay small, so I will be accepting 1-3 writers . This is NOT first come first serve. I will pick people based on who I believe will make the most interesting characters.
Fill out the profile and post it below OR PM me with your profile. Also, send me a url of your picture if you have one.

Character Skeleton

Username:
Name:
AKA:
Age:
Abilities:
Skills:
Weaknesses:
Personality:
Origin Story:
Bio:

Characters

White Tigress



Username: ImnIslandGirl
Name: Janessa Pierce
AKA: White Tigress
Age: 22
Abilities: As a feral, Janessa has heightened senses and sharp instincts like a tiger. She has cat-like agility and can communicate with animals.
Skills: Janessa is a skilled fighter, experienced in several martial arts including sword work. She is clever and resourceful, able to apply her skills to both head on confrontations, as well as stealth missions.
Weaknesses: Janessa's heightened senses can make her vulnerable to overpowering odours, noises, and bright lights. Although she has plenty of skill when fighting, Janessa is not physically very strong, which can get her into trouble if she is ever overpowered by her opponent.
Personality: Janessa is kind-hearted, with a strong sense of morals. Although she does have quite a temper, she's usually able to channel her emotions into something productive . Janessa herself is friendly and sociable. She is light-hearted, but unafraid to stand up for herself or others. As White Tigress, her carefree attitude is usually replaced with a more somber persona.
Origin Story: When she was young, Janessa stubbornly freed a young white tiger cub from a travelling circus that was notorious for abusing its animal performers. She was caring for the young cub when she was exposed to the radiation from the blast, causing her to absorb some of the cub's natural abilities, making her a feral.
Four years ago, Janessa and her little sister Keelyn were attacked and held hostage by a gang of criminals. The gang had planned to kill both girls after their ransom demands were met, but Janessa used her abilities to fight them off. Tragically, Keelyn didn't survive. Adamant that she would not let anyone else suffer like she and her family did, Janessa created the heroine White Tigress and did her best to cleanse the streets of these horrific crimes.
Bio: Janessa lives with her parents, the wealthy animal rights activists Teven and Mirya Pierce, on their estate at the Pierce Wildlife Refuge. She attends the local university, planning to graduate in the spring. Meanwhile, Janessa spends her time training in her martial arts, alongside her companion: a white tigress named Kyrah. So far no one, including her parents, know about her identity as the White Tigress.

Canine

Username: Awesomness
Name: Wolf Gardner
AKA: Canine
Age: 23
Abilities: A slow regenerative healing ability, a heightened sense of hearing and smell, and extra-human strength.
Skills: Wolf is great with people, and can work undercover amazingly. He is also a chemist, and is great when working with numbers and physics.
Weaknesses: Wolf's strength is hard to control, and he breaks things easily. He's also very scatter-brained, and easy to distract.
Personality: He is loyal to his friends, and trusts others easily. He's friendly but a bit shy, as opposed to his alter-ego, who is almost a polar opposite of Wolf. Wolf himself is kind but a little condescending to others, especially those who can't keep up with his scientific talk.
Origin Story: When he was young, Wolf always pretended he was his namesake, and attacked other kids, who excluded him from all activities. As a loner, he turned to science, and stuck with it for the rest of his life. He joined the police academy and became a forensic detective, but quit when the radiation changed him. On one tough assignment, he'd been shot, and developed a small case of PTSD. He'd always wondered if there could've been more that he could have done outside of police jurisdiction. So, he donned the wolfsmask, to help those who can't help themselves.
Bio: Wolf spends his days teaching as a substitute for Biology, and spends his nights at a bar, drinking himself into a haze.

Shadow



Username: Kastanstyrax
Name: Nico Atwood
AKA: Shadow
Age: 19
Abilities: Nico has the ability to control and manipulate darkness and shadows, being able to use them to hide himself, travel through it and even turn them tangible and use darkness itself as a weapon. On occasion Nico has been able to manipulate fear in others, but this rarely happens and only when he himself is extremely worked up. Nico himself does not know the true extent of his abilities as he doesn’t really understand them and in truth they frighten him.

Skills: Nico’s only real skills are those of stealth and deception. Nico has had much practice sneaking about and hiding, and the way he makes others uncomfortable often allows him to talk his way around people and trick them into believing him.

Weaknesses: Bright light can weaken his initial power and make it much harder to control effectively leaving him defenceless, although because bright light casts the darkest shadows if he does somehow manage to control his power it is often to devastating effect. Arguable Nico’s greatest weakness is himself as he is often reluctant to use his abilities as they frighten him and he doesn’t really understand how they work.

Personality: Nico is a shy boy who feels that he should try and do the right thing although more often than not this doesn’t always happen. He would prefer to be alone not only because he is uneasy around others and that others often find him unsettling but he also fears that he may hurt others. He is a guarded boy who is difficult to read and his motivations are never really clear, however, if you are able to get past this and get to know him he can be fiercely loyal to those he cares about. Fighting would never be Nico’s first choice of actions. Shadow is bolder and more confident and instills a certain amount of fear into others because of his reputation.

Origin Story: Nico was an only child and was lonely as a child. He found it hard to make friends and as a result learnt only to rely on himself. When he was 16 his parents died in a car crash leaving him an orphan. This did nothing to help his loneliness. After this Nico started to hang around the streets more as he truly didn’t care about what happened to him. He was sitting in a dark alley alone when he was exposed to the radiation from the blast. He fell into the shadows in the alley and reappeared on the other side of the city. While this frightened him it also made the young boy exhilarated and excited. Since Nico really didn’t have any other marketable skills he decided to try and use his new found powers to make something of himself. He ws able to master shadow travelling as a result able to at least use his abilities to survive on the rough streets.

Bio: Nico lives alone in an abandoned apartment building, often doing odd jobs for anyone who can pay, the nature of the work that Shadow does has led to him becoming somewhat of an urban legend. Nico spends his spare time trying to master his powers but has had little headway with this.


Spark


Username: Tigereyes
Name: Ashni Kyne
AKA: Spark
Age: 18
Abilities: Electrokinetics
Skills: Ashni has skills in using a bo staff. In order to capitalize on her ability, she wields a metal staff that conducts electricity. Ash is also fast on her feet and quick witted. Although she seems rash and impulsive, she is actually quite calculating, and has proved to be a skilled strategist and a tactful thief. Ashni is also an excellent liar, which helps to hide her true intentions from those around her.
Weaknesses: Electrokinetic abilities are vulnerable to water and metal . These weaknesses have developed into a severe fear of water. Her abilities are also strongly tied to her emotions, so if she is upset or angry, she may lose control.
Personality: Ash is playful and spirited, often coming across as a bit childish. She seems impulsive and careless, although she’s far wiser than she lets on. Ashni’s spirited nature hides a darker side. Ashni is selfish and spiteful. She is not a villain, but she’s definitely not a hero either. The biggest mystery about Ashni is trying to determine who’s side she’s really on.
Origin Story: The night before the radiation wave, Ashni had been out on the streets in the middle of a fierce storm. Lightning struck her metal bo staff, conducting through her soaked clothing and shocking the young girl. She was rushed to the hospital by kind bystanders, although the doctors had little hope of her surviving. When the radiation struck, her body welcomed the electricity and adapted to it, giving her the ability to control electric currents and survive her wounds form the night before.
Now armed with superhuman abilities, Ashni uses her powers to survive on the streets. Her motives depend largely on her mood. Sometimes she’s the hero fighting crime, other times she’s the criminal.
Bio: Ashni was orphaned at a young age, and after running away from a foster home when she was 8, she’s been living on the streets ever since, developing her skills as a thief and a liar, but she was still vulnerable. Eventually she learned how to use a bo staff to defend herself, fending off anyone who tried to do her harm.
Ashni spends her time on the streets, having no home to go to. She has had several confrontations with other superhuman, villains and heroes alike, but can usually play her ambiguous moralities in such a way as to avoid getting on anyone’s bad side.

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[b "I wouldn't have let myself get caught in a snare in the first place. That's the difference between us."] Nico could feel the tension in the room building with every word spoken by either Dylan or himself, if something didn't diffuse the situation soon then the whole room would erupt in a super powered fistfight but Nico couldn't back down, not while he didn't know if Janessa was safe. Dylan's accusation that he would have let Raven hurt him even if the drone hadn't been present washed over him. The Dark Elemental stayed silent but Nico knew that would be more than enough of an answer for Dylan and perhaps the other Tanners as well. Deep down Nico knew that he was in the wrong and taking things too far but Nico couldn't help but think back to when Kate died, she was everything to him and after she had been ripped away. During that time all he knew was rage and pain, if Janessa died as well he knew that he would go back to feeling that again and he didn't think that he would ever recover from it. Janessa had pulled him out of that pit the first time, it would destroy Nico to go back there.

[b "Impressive."] Nico couldn't help but be impressed with how the youngest Tanner sibling's abilities were progressing. He had some a long way since the two had first met. Nico might not be acting like it now but he had always seen Dylan as a little brother much like how the Technopath saw Janessa as a surrogate sister. Nico was growing curious about the Catalyst, every time that name came up trouble followed, it seemed that whoever the Catalyst was it was the Organisation's greatest weapon. A part of the elemental couldn't help but wonder what he could achieve if he had the Catalyst to amplify his own abilities.

[#1473b7 "Yes, I am the expert so shut up and listen. Bennett has been obsessed with eradicating supers for as long as I can remember and she's finally realised that it will take a super to kill a super so she might as well have the strongest ones around. That is what the Catalyst is for. His ultimate purpose is to make supers completely loyal to the Organisation and destroy supers. Michael obviously doesn't want that so he has done what he can to halt Bennett's progress without blowing his cover. So far Michael has only picked supers for the Catalyst project that he knows that he can control, which is a separate worry. If Bennett had her way she would pick the most violent, vindictive supers that she could unleash upon the world in order to achieve her goal. We can't let that happen. I don't like Michael but we agree on this. I don't want to see our kind be destroyed and if we don't stop the Catalyst then that is exactly what is going to happen."] Jason knew that he had to explain calmly what was going on and why the Catalyst was so dangerous. He could read the room and knew the place was practically a powder keg and all it would take was a spark to ignite. Hopefully he could be the one to diffuse the situation. Keelyn's frantic question about Janessa gave him the chance to do exactly that.

[#1473b7 "Relax, she's safe and she will be ok. Right now she is resting and recovering back at the Organisation. She is under both my protection and the Director's personal supervision. No one would dare try anything, I made it perfectly clear that if any harm came to her whatsoever whoever did it would face much worse. The only reason I'm here at all is to let you know that she is alright, well as ok as anyone can be after being shot. She practically had to beg me to get her to leave her side. I'm heading back there as soon as I leave here. I guess this pack bond thing has stuck around, and we're in this together now. She also recognised the shooter. It was one of Boyd's men. Apparently that scumbag didn't like what Janessa did to Bennett, they had some sort of deal between the two of them and wasn't happy that it came to an end so abruptly."] At hearing that Janessa was safe Nico let out a breath he didn't even know he was holding in and the tension left his body. He was so relieved that Janessa was going to be alright he didn't even care that she was in the Organisation surrounded by enemies. He believed Jason and he trusted him that Janessa would be safe. Knowing that it was Boyd and not Dylan that hurt Janessa was its own kind of relieving, he hadn't wanted to believe that the sweet little kid he used to know could have done something so terrible to someone that they both counted as family. Nico wanted to apologise for how he had acted but he didn't know how so he just stayed silent, every now and then glancing at Dylan but with none of the cold fury that had been in his gaze earlier. They might have figured out what had happened but what was going to happen next was an entirely different issue.
  Nico Atwood / Kastanstyrax / 6d 18h 24m 48s
The tension was clear in the room, seeming to radiate from the three Tanners as each of them reacted to Nico’s accusations in their own ways. Cody’s entire body tensed but his stern eyes never left his little brother’s bloody arm. Cody had known Nico almost as long as Dylan had and he knew that the Elemental was struggling with the fact that Janessa was injured and missing. It was obviously a challenge for the hot-headed Density Shifter to keep his emotions locked in, but shouting back at Nico when he was this distraught about Janessa would not make matters any easier. It was best to keep this as civil as possible until they could get to the truth. Even Sarah seemed to realize this as she conceded to Nico’s retorts and turned her attention back to her wounded brother. Unfortunately, Dylan was in no state to follow his siblings’ leads.

[#ff6622 “It’s called self-preservation Nico. Let’s trap you in a snare and feed you to the wolves and see if you’d try to protect yourself!”] Dylan muttered bitterly, tearing his injured arm away from his brother and squaring off against the Elemental. There was a dark look in the boy’s eyes, one he never thought he’d be directing towards Nico. Shadow was right about one thing, Dylan wasn’t just some innocent little kid, not anymore. He’d changed ever since his time with the Organization and not for the better. The fear and pain from his captivity had mutated into rage and spite, and though he may have noble intentions at his core, Dylan was done playing the innocent kid. He wasn’t going to let anyone, especially not Nico, stand in his way.

[#ff6622 “Quite the bullshit Nico, you would have let Raven hurt me either way! You think I shot Janessa so whether I attacked you with that drone or not, you would have been happy to see me bleed! This is exactly why I didn’t trust you to protect me in the first place! This is why I ran away! You pretend to care about the rest of us, but the truth is, if Janessa’s in trouble the rest of us can go to hell!”] Dylan snapped, needing to be shoved back towards the couch by his older brother. Sarah and Cody sat on either side of Dylan, keeping him in place and trying their best to prevent Dylan and Nico from any further fighting. Both of the older siblings were visibly tense, stuck between taking the side of their little brother and the side of one of their closest friends. It made for an awkward stretch of silence before Nico asked his question. Several sets of eyes settled on Dylan who, for a long, agonizing pause held his tongue, debating whether or not it was worth his while to cooperate. Eventually, Dylan came to the conclusion that hiding his sources now would only make him look more guilty.

[#ff6622 “You didn’t believe me when I told you Bennet would come after me, so I went looking for proof. I hacked into the Organization’s mainframe an sifted through incoming and outgoing calls, emails, and texts from the Organization’s head office.”] Dylan answered bluntly, provoking a confused and concerned look from his siblings.

[#112200 “Wait, Kid, I thought you couldn’t access that much info at once… at least not without being on site at the Organization. How’d you manage to hack into it from outside?”] Cody voiced his concerns, silently begging his brother not to announce that he tried to break into the Organization. Fortunately, even Dylan wasn’t reckless enough to try to infiltrate the Organization on his own.

[#ff6622 “I can’t…couldn’t. The Catalyst showed me what my powers could do. I wanted to see if I could get that strong on my own, so I’ve been pushing my limits a little. I’m nowhere close to where I was with the Catalyst, but I have gotten stronger. It hurts, but I can extend the range on my abilities if I really concentrate. I was looking for updates on Bennett when I stumbled across correspondence between the Director and the local new stations, setting up the press conference. I should have hacked the broadcast before she even went on the air, but I didn’t want to piss off the Director and get her killed!”] Dylan admitted, glaring back at Nico with cold eyes, as if daring him to call him a liar. The fact that Nico believed he was capable of hurting his own surrogate sister hurt a lot worse than the cut in his arm. Dylan wasn’t sure whether to feel bitter or relieved when Andrew cut in, supporting his statements after reading the young teen’s thoughts. On the one hand, Nico was far more likely to believe the Telepath, on the other hand, the fact that it took a mind reader for Nico to have any faith in what Dylan was saying was am insult to everything they’d been through. Dylan didn’t have much time to ponder his own feelings, however, as another guest entered the scene.

[#ff6622 “Well, you’d be the expert on following orders , wouldn’t you Hyperion?”] Dylan spat venomously. Dylan’s scorn was promptly ignored by most of the room as Keelyn spoke up to voice the fears she and Nico both shared.

[#aa0000 “Where’s my sister? Is she ok? Is she alive? We saw you take her on that news cast; where is she?”]
  ImnIslandGirl / 15d 1h 22m 45s
Jason nodded as Janessa focused and seemed to remember what had happened, and she gave him some good information, something that he could work on. The shooter was a part of Vincent Boyd's operation, that was good to know and not entirely surprising. It wasn't exactly a secret that Boyd and Pierce had an ocean of bad blood between them and while Jason knew that Boyd and Bennett had some sort of agreement he also knew that the Director had never liked the crimelord. He felt Boyd was too emotional, small minded and vindictive, not traits that the Director considered to be desirable traits in a business partner. He had allowed Bennett to work with Boyd secretly as an experiment to see how the man acted, and he had not been impressed.

[#1473b7 "You're right about that, as long as you're alive Boyd won't consider the score settled. You've been a thorn in his side for too long and every second that you're breathing is an insult to him."] Jason was beginning to realise just how far Boyd would go in order to take Janessa out, the man hated her more than anything else in the world. Jason couldn't quite believe what the next thought through his head was; maybe Janessa being part of the Organisation wasn't such a bad idea. He knew Janessa was capable and could take care of herself but eventually she would slip up or luck would go against her and she would end up dead. If she was part of teh Organisation properly Jason could watch over her and she would have the personal protection of the Director. Boyd might well make a move against Janessa while she was an outsider but had a few tenuous links to the Director but would he be bold enough to strike against one of the Director's personal favourite and a key part of his inner circle?

[#1473b7 "No, he's not going to keep you here as a prisoner but he will keep you here until he feels you're strong enough to go home. That's not the worst thing in the world. He's an honourable man and he gave me his word that nothing bad would happen to you while you are here and for what it's worth I believe him."] Jason wasn't exactly wild about leaving Janessa alone despite what he had just said, he had spent a long time with her and right now his protective alpha instincts wanted to stay and make sure nothing could happen to her but Jason knew she was right. Nico would be going out of his mind with worry and he was likely to do something stupid if he didn't find out she was ok soon. He always had been too emotional.

[#1473b7 "Fine, I'll let him know what's going on. I'll be back as soon as I can."]

[hr]

Nico was prepared for the anger that he knew would inevitably greet him as he brought a bloodied Dylan back to his brother and sister. It was somewhat surprising that Sarah was the one to really take Nico to task for the way that he acted but the Dark Elemental had his answer ready.

[b "He's not a kid anymore. He's no younger than I was when I left to live on the streets. He's only a few years younger than Keelyn and no one is calling her a child. Being a kid isn't an excuse, not anymore. Not after what we've all faced. Everyone else has grown up so why hasn't he? By the way we wouldn't have had to hurt him if he hadn't set a bloody drone on us. He's not exactly innocent either Sarah."] Nico might act a lot older than he actually was but at the end of the day he was only 22 himself, hardly an elder statesman but he had grown up quickly and he expected the same of everyone that chose this life. They simply didn't have the luxury of naivety or to act like a child.

[b "Do I look like I'm joking Sarah?"] Nico wanted to know that Janessa was safe and until he got that he was willing to believe almost anything. Janessa was in danger, she had been shot which was bad enough but now she was likely in the Organisation and they knew all too well what that place was like. Nico paused for a moment, Dylan had said something suspicious and Nico wasn't sure if anyone else had caught it. He only did because he was already thinking of Janessa an what had just happened.

[b "Dylan, how did you know what Janessa was about to do...how did you know that Janessa was going to endorse the Director?"] Janessa had only told Nico that she had struck a bargain with the Director. Nico knew that Janessa had been summoned by the Director shortly before the press conference but Janessa hadn't told him what it was she was doing, she didn't even know and Nico doubted whether the Director would have publicised what was going on. As far as the world's media was concerned Janessa pierce was holding a press conference but no one was sure why. So how did Dylan know?

[#7d01f9 "He's telling the truth, or at least he believes that he is."] Andrew's voice added to the conversation as the telepath also entered the room, a look of concern on his face for the injured technopath. Andrew wasn't exactly used to seeing blood. Nico frowned at Andrew's revelation, it cleared up a few things. The telepath had said that Dylan was telling the truth, so he wasn't responsible for hurting Janessa and it seemed that he definitely believed that Michael was responsible for capturing both Andrew and himself. There was obviously more to this situation than either Dylan or Nico knew individually.

[#1473b7 "You're half right, it might have been Michael's men that picked you up and he might have told them to do it but that's not the whole story. Michael was just following orders himself. If you want someone to blame, look no further than Bennett."] Jason strode into the room to Nico's incredulity, what was he doing here and why wasn't Janessa with him? He was sure that the Empath wouldn't leave her side and what else did he know about everything that had happened.
  Jason Jackson / Kastanstyrax / 27d 17h 28m 3s
Janessa closed her eyes, willing the muddled mess of images in her broken memory to fall into place. With Jason’s prompting, she concentrated on the shooter, trying to recall how he looked, the sound of his voice, the familiar expression on his face. The more Janessa focused on those particular memories, the clearer her recollection became.

[b “The shooter… he’s one of Vincent Boyd’s right hands. He was one of the men Boyd assigned to assassinate my parents.”] Janessa explained, remembering the same sneer that had lit up the man’s face. She didn’t exactly remember what had happened to the man, but she knew he was dead. There was no chance a man would shoot one of Jason’s pack and life to tell about it. Janessa wasn’t a fan of killing needlessly, but in this case, she was glad that bastard was dead.

[b “He said something about Bennett… that Boyd didn’t approve of the Organization taking me in after I nearly killed her. He said, Boyd’s agreement was with Bennett, not the Director. I doubt shooting me was enough to even the score.”] The Feral warned, predicting that this wouldn’t be Boyd’s only attempt on her life. The power-hungry man had been wanting her blood spilt since she survived being his hostage years before and now that he knew the Director had chosen her as his endorsement, Every future press conference became a new opportunity to finish her off.

[b “The Director isn’t going to let me leave until I’m healed, is he?”] It was more of a statement than a question. Janessa knew that if there was any chance of her returning home, she’d be there by now. She wasn’t sure how conducive this was to her recovery: the Feral would hardly be able to sleep with the constant fear of what the Organization would do to her. Thankfully, she could trust her Alpha to watch over her. Dylan may have expressed doubts about trusting Jason, but Janessa had none. She was in good hands as long as he was close… which is why her next request was so difficult to ask.

[b “I wasn’t far from the press conference… there were probably still cameras rolling. If Nico and the others saw me get shot, they’ll be worried sick. Could you check on them for me? Just to let them know I’m ok? Normally, Tech would hack the Organization’s cameras to see my condition for himself, but he ran off not long before the Director called me in.”] Janessa explained. She really didn’t want him to leave – being along in the depths of the Organization with the Director overseeing her treatment was more than a little reason for concern – but she was more afraid of what Nico would do if he saw her shot!

[b “Please Jason? He needs to know I’m ok.”]
[hr ] Dylan glared up at Nico with untrusting eyes, acutely aware of the Feral pacing a few steps behind him. By the murderous glances and the occasional growl under her breath, it was obvious that the only thing stopping Raven from lashing out at the young teen was Nico. While the Elemental had done nothing to stop Raven’s violence so far, Dylan was reasonably sure he wouldn’t let the Feral kill him without at least confirming his story. That didn’t mean he was going to let Dylan off easy. Clearly, Nico had made up his mind about Dylan’s guilt and the Technopath wouldn’t rule out anything short of a death sentence at this point.

Nico’s fingers dug into the bleeding mess of Dylan’s forearm, roughly dragging him to his feet. Despite it being hopeless, the boy still struggled vainly to free himself, growing more and more desperate when Nico admitted his intention of bringing Dylan back home.
[#ff6622 “You won’t keep me there! Last time I was so desperate to get away, I stabbed someone! Bringing me back there is a stupid move, Nico! It’s dangerous!”] Tech argued back, well aware of the double meaning in his words. The truth of his statement was that Dylan still believed he was a target – that Bennett’s allies would be coming for him, willing to kill anyone that stood in their way. Of course, Nico wouldn’t believe him any more now than he did when the concern was first raised. So Dylan allowed his words to be mistaken as a threat, hoping that Nico would prioritize the safety of the group over vengeance.

[#005500 “You won’t be hurting anyone on my watch.”] Raven growled fiercely, looking as though she was barely containing her fury. This kid nearly killed her Pack and if she thought Nico would let her, she’d return the favour right here and now.

Despite Dylan’s reasoning, the three were soon pulled through the vast darkness towards the safe house. Raven was as disturbed by the experience as she always was but Dylan, who had become almost comfortable with the familiar disorienting feeling of Shadow Travel, was far more nervous than usual. Perhaps because this time, he couldn’t shake the fear that Nico might just leave him prisoner in that realm like he did to Jason! As much as he didn’t want to go back to the safe house, it was an immense relief to break through to the light of the familiar living room, even if he was deposited so roughly to the floor seconds later.

Hearing Nico’s call, the safe house’s residents soon arrived, aside from Delta who was still resting from his injuries. Cody arrived first, followed by Sarah with baby Jackson in her arms, and an exhausted looking Keelyn a few seconds after.

[#112200 “Dylan? What the hell happened out there?!”] Cody grabbed a clean towel and rushed to his little brother’s side, pressing the cloth against his rapidly bleeding arm to stanch the blood. Keelyn was too overtaxed from healing Delta to help the young Technopath, so instead she took her son, freeing Sarah’s hands so she could tend to her little brother. It only took one look at the shredded skin to know this was the work of a Feral. Normally Cody was the one with the short temper, but this time Sarah beat him to it.

[#ff00ff “You did this to him!”] Sarah accused, glaring at Raven with a look of disgust before turning that same look on Nico.

[#ff00ff “And you let her! He’s just a kid, Nico! He’s 15 years old and you let her rip his arm into a bloody mess!”] Sarah’s voice wavered with emotion. It had been a rough several hours. Sarah had been restlessly searching for Dylan since the moment he left the safe house, not able to find her little brother due to his powers. When she finally did get a lock on Dylan’s location, she informed Nico immediately, only to find her brother bleeding on the floor with an apathetic Elemental standing over him. Add to that, Sarah had just seen her friend get shot and dragged back to the Organization, needless to say, emotions were running high.

[#ff00ff “You think he tried to kill Janessa? Nico, you can’t be serious!”]
[ff6622 “I didn’t want to hurt her!”] Dylan finally piped up. His arm was trembling beneath the blood-stained towel, but he was doing his best to keep his voice as steady as possible.

[#ff6622 “I wanted to stop her from endorsing the Director. I was going to hack the network and take out the cameras at the press conference, but I knew that doing that might provoke the Director into hurting her! That’s why I wanted you to stop her yourselves, so you could protect her! I knew nothing about the shooter until it was too late!”] Dylan argued, providing an explanation for his threats.

[#ff6622 “I hurt Delta because he sold us out to Michael, but I did not hurt Janessa! If you don’t believe me, then get Andrew to read my mind! Or ask Laura how Michael knew where to find us!”]
  ImnIslandGirl / 35d 22h 1m 57s
[#1473b7 "Try not to move, your injury will still be painful for a good while yet."] Jason was relieved that Janessa had woken up and despite there being no danger of her succumbing to her wounds it was always reassuring to see your packmate recover from an injury. His advice proved worthwhile as he saw Janessa wince in pain as she propped herself up on the bed and took in her surroundings. It certainly wouldn't be what she was used to. It was a good job that Jason was here watching over her, who knows how Janessa would have reacted had she woken up in the Organisation without a friendly face...or what the Organisation would try to do to her if he wasn't here watching.

[#1473b7 "Relax Pierce. You're safe for now at least...and no, I've not made any more bargains with the Director. What happened? You went and got yourself shot is what happened and then I had to go and save you. I want you to think for a moment, did you recognise the shooter?"] Jason wasn't going to waste time asking Janessa if she could think of anyone that would want to hurt her, it would be easier to list the people who didn't want to hurt her. She certainly had no shortage of enemies, neither did Nico or Jason himself which could easily make her a target. The Director himself had made sure that her treatment was being followed, that could be either good or bad depending on what side you looked at it from. It was bad for Jason, the Director was clearly becoming more attached to having Janessa as a permanent fixture of the Organisation, it was clear that Janessa's plan was working.

[#1473b7 "It'll be a while before' you're healed up completely, so take it easy for now. On the bright side the Director was very pleased with the press conference. You did well and if anything the shooting has increased the news coverage of it tenfold. You are being seen as the sympathetic victim who was targeted for speaking out for what she believed was right. The director's approval ratings are skyrocketing. You did well just next time my boss gives you a job try doing it without getting yourself shot. Is there anything you want to know or need me to do for you while you rest and recover?"]

[hr]

[b "I don't know who you are anymore Dylan! You've been so distant with me lately that I don't know what to think. I don't believe you because your story doesn't add up. You say that Dylan sold you out to Michael but it was him that asked Michael to be allowed to help free you. We couldn't have done it without him. Why free you if he's the one that captured you in the first place?"] Dylan looked like a cornered animal, the panic was evident in his eyes and he clearly believed that Nico and Raven were genuinely going to hurt him badly. In this state he was a danger to himself and everyone else, maybe trapping him in the shadows for a while wouldn't be the worst idea...No. Nico couldn't believe that he had considered that. They would take the boy back to the safe house, maybe his family could talk some sense into him.

[b "I'm not going to do any of those. I'm taking you back with us."] Nico grabbed Dylan roughly by his injured arm and took Raven by the hand before pulling all of them into the eternal darkness. He knew Raven wouldn't like it, no feral did, but it was necessary. Despite the distorted sense of time in the endless darkness they were back at the safe house in no time, Nico throwing a bloodied Dylan to the floor before calling for the others to join them.

[b "Cody, Sarah can you please try and talk some sense into your little brother. He seems convinced that Cody sold him out to Michael and then attacked us with a drone. He claims that he had nothing to do with Janessa's attack but I think we all agree that the message we saw on the tv before she was shot is a little too coincidental. Hopefully you can get some answers out of him."]
  Nico Atwood / Kastanstyrax / 45d 20h 6m 44s
It was a couple hours before Janessa was able to shake off the lingering effects of the anesthetic and force her eyes open. Ehen she did, she found herself in a recovery room with thick, white bandages wrapped around her torso. Her hand immediately flew to her side, prodding the bandages and feeling the slight ridge of a line of stitches beneath the fabric. The fact that her wounds had been treated proved she wasn’t waking to completely hostile terms, but the unfamiliar setting of the recovery room did set the Feral on edge. She had become far too accustomed to waking up on the medical cot at the safe house with Nico and Keelyn hovering over her.

The thought of her loved ones stirred desperation in the Feral and despite the painful ache in her side, she tried to push herself into a sitting position so she could look about the room. Catching sight of Jason brought a flood of mixed feelings - on the one hand, she was pleasantly surprised and rather relieved to have her Alpha here to watch over her. The calming effect of having her Pack in close proximity helped to ease her mind, but it also brought an uncomfortable realization. If Jason was here and not Nico, then that meant she was never returned to the safe house. Jason must have brought her to the Organization!

A panicked movement, too quick, too soon, left Janessa with a surge or pain in her healing side, and Janessa felt slightly breathless as she called for her Alpha.

[b “J-Jason!”] The Feral sifted through the flashes of memory from the past several hours, trying to deduce what had happened. She remembered the press conference, the cameras, the reporters; she remembered saying goodbye to Jason and heading for home; she remembered the strange man stopping her at the exit, but the rest… the rest was too foggy to make out.

[b “No deals… tell me you d-didn’t make a deal!”] She stuttered, trying to fight the nausea that washed over her at the thought of Jason bargaining with the Director to save her life. She had worked so hard, sacrificed so much to get in a position where she could demand Jason’s freedom. But if he struck another deal to heal her, all of this would be for nothing!

[b “I don’t… what happened?”]

[hr ]

The pain that flared in Dylan’s arm was almost as disturbing as Nico’s look of indifference as he watched the young Technopath get ripped apart at the hands of the Feral. Dylan knew that the bonds of trust between himself and the Elemental were under far more strain than usual, but for Nico to stand there in silence, passively condoning Raven’s violent attack made Dylan question whether there was anything left to repair. Dylan’s expression shifted from one of fear and pain to one of disgust and betrayal as Nico chose to interrogate him instead of letting him free.

[#ff6622 “Proof? I heard the call! When the Catalyst triggered my powers, I had access to every device… No, forget it! You actually think that I would throw around accusations like that? That I would go so far as to stab somebody without proof? That I would try to kill Janessa, who had practically been raising me like a little brother for the past few years?! Is that who you think I am?”] Dylan shouted in anger. His arms were trembling, but Dylan couldn’t distinguish if it was from the pain of his torn flesh or from the rage that welled up inside of him. Dylan was young and impulsive, he was the first to admit that, but to be capable of the things Nico was accusing him of, he’d have to be as soulless as Bennett! How could Nico believe Dylan was that much of a monster?

[#ff6622 “You just let your Feral tear into my arm, so you must be pretty damn sure that I’m guilty. You obviously don’t trust me, Nico, so why waste my breath explaining something that you’ll never believe!”] Dylan challenged. The anger, pain, and betrayal building in Dylan’s mind was starting to overpower the fear. Nico was terrifyingly intimidating, but Dylan just didn’t care anymore.

Dylan hadn’t been the same since Bennett captured him. Whether it was the isolation, the torture, the Catalyst, the fear… something had shattered in the boy’s mind, twisting him into someone else – someone darker and far less predictable than the young teen Nico and Janessa had known all these years. Dylan’s eyes narrowed into a dark, unforgiving glare that he fixed solely on Nico. He was trapped – his ankle still in the vice of shadows, with Raven prowling nearby to stop him the instant he tried to escape. By now, the blood had thoroughly stained Dylan’s sleeve and was freely dripping around his clasped hand, but despite how much a wound like that must have hurt, any wince or cringe was steeled behind a mask of cynicism and defiance.

[#ff6622 “What are you going to do Shadow?”] Dylan spoke in an eerily calm, dark tone, purposely trading Nico’s name for the impersonal alter ego he had chosen for himself; all traces of comradery gone from his tone.

[#ff6622 “Sick your Feral on me? Lock me away in the Shadow Realm? Leave me trapped here for the Organization to find? Or maybe you’ll just kill me? If you think I’m capable of shooting Janessa, then why shouldn’t I believe you’d do the same to me?”]
  ImnIslandGirl / 55d 5h 24m 27s
Jason couldn't tear his eyes away from his injured pack mate as she ay there bleeding and unconscious. At the suggestion that he wait outside, the Empath only returned a murderous glance, there was absolutely no chance in hell that he was going to leave Janessa right now when she needed him to be there. Jason wasn't naive enough to believe that his involvement was enough to undo all of the bad will that Janessa and her friends had racked up in the past. Janessa was responsible for savaging Tara Bennett who was in another bed in this very infirmary and for causing the Organisation any number of problems. As vigilant as he was, his feral senses were clouded by his worry for his pack mate, and in reality the only person in the world that trusted him implicitly so he missed the medic slipping the tracker by Janessa's ribs. His worry was not the only thing that was distracting Janessa as the infirmiry doors opened to admit an unexpected figure; The Director.

[#ce0d27 "Mr Jackson, I assumed that you would be here, I watched the press conference. It was an admirable display, she did well. I couldn't have hoped for better."] It was clear by his tone of voice that the Director also included Janessa's shooting to be part of the success, as far as he was concerned it was a PR miracle. The heiress of a powerful family who were murdered is attacked and the person who she has just endorsed for political office heroically offers his resources to help her recover from the shooting. The papers would love it, and if anyone doubted the moral character of The Director he could now be firmly seen as someone who would help those in need. A true ally of the Pierce family and that would still carry some weight around the city.

[#1473b7 "How can you be so calm, she could die! I know you only think of her as a tool to be used but even that must mean something to you."] Jason had never been good at hiding his emotions, he wore his heart on his sleeve and likely always would. Jason was intelligent but he was never calculating, that was the real difference between the Director and Hyperion and it was a crucial one.

[#ce0d27 "We both know there is no real danger here, even if the injury was too bad for conventional medicine, which it wasn't, we have any number of healers that could have been deployed. You know that I would never let her die, she's too useful too me."] Jason had to admit if The Director was anything he was pragmatic and White Tigress was too good of an assett to simply throw away. The medics had done their job for now and it looked like Janessa would pull through this, all she would need for now would be rest and Jason would watch over her until she regained consciousness and got her strength back.

[hr]

As Raven and Dylan scrapped, a drone coming out of nowhere and attacking the feral before her heightened reactions allowed her to dispatch the distraction. What happened next would normally have caused Nico to intervened but the lingering question over whether Dylan had played any part in Janessa's attack caused the Dark Elemental to remain silent and unmoved when Raven ripped open Dylan's skin arm and took out the microchip. It was a smart move by Dylan, Nico had to give him credit for the idea but even if Raven had not found the piece of Technology, Nico had another way to deal with the kid. Nico still had the EMP that Tech himself had given Nico and using it would rend the kind useless, and Nico had been prepared to use it. [i "I didn’t hurt Janessa. I swear Nico…"] Unfortunately for Dylan the kid's word wasn't worth a lot right now.

[b "Do you have any proof that Delta sold you out? It doesn't look good for you Dylan. You claim that Delta sold you out but he then comes and helps rescue you? It doesn't exactly make sense. You claim that you would never hurt Janessa but a warning comes up on a screen from you moments before she is shot, it doesn't add up Dylan. You better explain what the hell is going on right now or i'm going to stop being so polite..."] The truth was that while he wanted to believe that he knew Dylan, right now the Dark Elemental didn't have the first idea what a scared young man like Dylan was capable of. Normally he would be right and he would never hurt Janessa, these were not normal times. People were capable of far worse things than those closest to them could ever expect and Nico would not be caught off guard. Not when Janessa's life might hang in the balance.
  Nico Atwood / Kastanstyrax / 69d 19h 21m 38s
The pain had spread. Once a precise tearing directly where the bullet had struck was now a radiating heat that spread across her ribs and eventually her entire torso. Every bump and jostle she felt in Hyperion’s arms sent another sharp stab through the Feral’s body, but she dedicated herself to keeping that pain from showing too strongly on her face. Jason was going through enough without having to worry any more about her. Janessa could sense his feat, which was about the only thing she could sense in the all-consuming darkness of the Shadow Realm. Janessa didn’t even realize that the darkness creeping into her vision was only partially due to the Empathy’s abilities. It wasn’t until she heard the voices of the Organization’s medical staff that she realized she was now free of the shadows and blinded by her own ebbing consciousness.

Janessa was vaguely aware of the sturdy service below her as she was rested on a stretcher. The buzz of voices and machines soon faded as the Feral found herself unable to fight the pain any longer. She silently slipped out of consciousness, leaving herself entirely vulnerable were it not for the protective supervision of her Alpha.

[i “We’ll need to keep her sedated until we can remove the bullet and repair the damage. Mr. Jackson, perhaps you should wait outside?”] One of the medic’s suggested nervously. He certainly didn’t want to cross this intimidating Empath, but he wasn’t sure Hyperion was prepared to watch as they cut into his Pack mate in order to remove the bullet.

A heavy anesthetic was administered, more for the protection of the medical staff than the consideration of the Feral. None of the medics were keen on falling victim to an angry, frightened, suffering Super if she happened to regain consciousness. Were it not for Hyperion’s commands, they wouldn’t be wasting their time with the Feral. She was, after all, the one responsible for putting their other patient, Tara Bennett, into her current fragile state.

Janessa’s procedure was going smoothly, so much so that one particular medic saw no reason why he couldn’t twist this situation to the Organization’s advantage. He ensured that Hyperion couldn’t see his hands – not wanting to face the wrath of the overprotective Alpha – as he took a small, sterile tracer and implanted the device in the tissue surrounding Janessa’s lower ribs. It was close enough to the impact of the bullet that any pain or discomfort would be blamed on her recent injury and so it would be some time before the device was detected. But this would be a chance for the Organization to keep tabs on the Feral and her team of fugitives. Whether White Tigress was an asset or a threat, they would know where she was at all times.


Dylan quickened his pace in hopes of fleeing the scene before his former team undoubtable showed up to rescue their injured Feral. Jason would take care of Janessa for now – Although Dylan didn’t trust the Empath, he at least knew that Jason wouldn’t let Janessa die on his watch. That didn’t mean the rest of the team wouldn’t be racing to find her. With his cell phone clutched tightly in his hand, Tech could see through the eyes of every camera in the area, watching as unnatural shadows gathered within their frames. Nico was here and Dylan didn’t want to be found.

As he took another hurried step, the boy’s foot sank deeper than expected, throwing him off balance and causing the Technopath to stumble to the ground. The sudden fall knocked his phone from his hand, and before he could grab it, he watched the device shatter beneath the foot of a familiar Feral. Dylan cast a frantic look behind him, seeing Nico closing in and he knew there would be no more running. Dylan had rarely seen this degree of fury from the elemental and never directed at him! He tried to hide his nerves behind an unconvincing expression of boldness, and forced as much strength into his voice as he could muster.

[#ff6622 “I didn’t hurt Janessa. I swear Nico…”]
[#005500 “Just like you didn’t hurt Delta? Don’t lie to us, Runt!”] Raven growled, grabbing a fist full of Dylan’s shirt and hoisting him back to his feet. With one ankle still submerged in shadows, Dylan couldn’t run, but that didn’t stop the white knuckled grip the Feral had on his shirt. Raven was just curing her other hand into a fist when she noticed the Technopath’s eyes suddenly shift to something behind her. It was only thanks to her quick Feral reflexes that Raven was able to dodge the new drone that soared towards her head. She was forced to drop the boy to the ground and swing her fists at the drone, swiping it out of the air and leaving nothing left but a heap of scrap.

[#005500 “What do you have?”] Raven demanded, knowing the boy couldn’t use his powers without a physical connection to something technical. She thought by crushing his phone she was leaving him defenseless, but obviously this Technopath still had a few tricks up his sleeve – literally. Raven caught the subtle, but telling shift in the boy’s posture. As soon as she questioned him, he brought his left arm behind him, as if hiding it from her keen, hawk-like eyes. Raven’s hand snapped out and captured his wrist, roughly dragging his arm out in front and tearing his sleeve, revealing a crocked line of messy, unpracticed stitched spanning 2-3 inches of his forearm.

Tech saw the understanding dawn in Raven’s eyes and the minisule curl of her lip that sent him into a panic.
[#ff6622 “No! No, don’t! NO!”] He shouted as the Feral used her claw-like nails to tear through the stitches and into the recently mended flesh. Dylan screamed, unable to contain his pain as Raven pulled away, revealing a tiny, dime-sized microchip in her bloody fingers. It was clever: hide the device under his own skin so Dylan never lost contact with his abilities. Unfortunately, now that it was removed, he was powerless, in pain, and afraid of what his former allies would do. Once released, Dylan stumbled to the floor yet again, clutching his bloody, shredded arm close to his chest. Painful tears welled in his eyes, but the young teen didn’t dare let them fall. Knowing anything he tried to say at this point would sound incriminating, Dylan simply waited for the others to speak.

[#005500 “First Delta, now Janessa. You messed with the wrong Pack, kid.”] Raven threatened, not even realizing she had started referring to Janessa as her Pack once again. It seemed the past few weeks working side by side had healed some of the wounds the Ferals had been harbouring for years.

Knowing he wouldn’t get any sympathy, nor mercy from Raven, Dylan fixed his eyes on the Elemental. He had Nico had been through so much together and yet, by the cold look in the man’s eyes, Dylan wasn’t sure any of that history mattered when Janessa’s life was in question.

[#ff6622 “I did hurt Delta, I’ll admit that. I hurt him because he hurt me and Andrew first! Delta’s the one who sold us out to Michael! He left us for dead, so I did the same to him. It was the only way to ensure none of you tried to follow me. But Nico, I swear, I did not hurt Janessa! You know she’s like a sister to me! I wouldn’t hurt her like that! You know I wouldn’t!”]
  ImnIslandGirl / 81d 4h 16m 10s
The cold, never ending darkness threatened to paralyse Jason as it dulled all of his senses, and since he was with Janessa his heightened feral senses being taken away felt particularly disorientating. It was like he was blind. If he was on his own then the Empath would have floundered, overcome by panic and fear but that wasn't an option. He needed to be strong so that Janessa could live. Somehow he stumbled through the dark abyss, obviously lacking the refined nature of Nico's own practiced Shadow Travel, and found the exit he was looking for. He tried to leave the Shadows but he felt weak and insubstantial, as if he was leaving most of himself in the shadows...he knew that he would die if he tried to leave like this and then Janessa would be lost. He thought back to Nico and all the time that he had spent talking about when he had first mastered Shadow Travel all those years ago, what had he always said was the most important part of Shadow Travel? Belief. If you believed with an iron clad certainty that it will work then it would. His fear of the Shadows and losing Janessa was casting doubt into his mind and in turn his doubt was making it impossible to leave.

[#1473b7 "Pull yourself together Jackson. You can do this."] He was Jason Jackson, he was Hyperion, he was a God. Mere mortals might be afraid of the dark but he wasn't, he was better than them. He tried to exit again, focusing on his mind, forcing himself and Janessa to leave the abyss and as he did the darkness and bitter cold was replaced by fluorescent light that seemed as blinding as the sun. Jason sprinted through the halls that he knew so well and in no time at all he was at the medical wing.

[#1473b7 "Stop what you are doing now. This is your top priority and if she dies I will personally make sure that you share her fate."] Jason was reasonably sure that his threat was not necessary, his position within the Organisation was enough, people knew that he was close to the Director but a little extra motivation never hurt anyone. [i “Jason… No deals… Promise me!... No more deals!” ] Jason heard her pleas but as much as he wanted to he simply could not make her that promise. She was his pack and there was nothing that he would not do to keep her safe. Nothing.

[hr]

With Sarah's exclamation that she had found Janesaa at the Organisation and that Dylan was also nearby presented him with a choice. As much as he wanted to go straight to Janessa, to be by her side he knew that wasn't an option. There was no chance in hell that Nico could just walk into the Organisation and come back out unscathed. The truth of the matter was that right now Janessa had someone looking out for her and while Jason wasn't always the most stable of people Nico knew that he had Janessa's best interests at heart and would fight for her.

[b "We go after Tech. We need to know if he had any part of this."] Nico gave Raven a location for them to meet at and he went after Dylan, Sarah constantly in his ear telling him where to go. It wasn't long before he caught a glimpse of the kid himself moving away from the scene of the shooting. Raven had arrived by his side by the time that the dark elemental had caught up with the technopath. His worry over Janessa and the possibility that Dylan was somehow involved in the shooting was clouding Nico's mind. Without making a sign, Nico flicked his wrist and a tiny opening into the Shadows appeared just in front of Tech so that when he took his next step his left foot sunk two or three inches into the ground and rooted him in place.

[b "What did you do? Answer me Dylan. What did you do to Janessa?"] Nico spoke the words almost in a whisper as he approached the technopath, cold fury emanating from the Elemental. Nico was at his most dangerous when he was like this, emotionless and quiet. He was the centre of the storm, he was darkness itself. While he was at the safe house he had every intention of hearing Dylan out, he had wanted Dylan to be innocent of stabbing Delta, part of him even believed it but all of that was in the past. All of that was changed when Janessa was put in danger. If Dylan had anything to do with hurting her then Nico would take action and in his current state there was nothing that he would not do, even if that meant ending the young boy's life. He would keep Janessa safe whatever the cost...
  Nico Atwood / Kastanstyrax / 88d 14h 22m 42s
This wasn’t the first time Janessa had taken a bullet - getting shot was somewhat of an occupational hazard for vigilantes - but this was the first time that bullet had struck skin without the impact being lessened by the protective padding she wore under her Tigress suit. While she knew the shot wasn’t fatal, the pain that resonated through her ribs as worse than she anticipated. Janessa clutched the wound as tightly as she could bear, taking sharp gasps as the pain made it difficult to breathe. She didn’t remember falling, but the cold, hard ground beneath her was evidence that she had. Her vision blurred tempting her into unconsciousness, but Janessa fought the urge. The gunman stood above her now, aiming his weapon for a far more lethal shot to the head. Janessa’s Feral reflexes were normally quick enough to dodge a bullet, but the pain in her ribs would slow her down. A gripping fear flooded Janessa’s mind as she realized that even blowing her cover might not be enough to save her life! Fortunately, her Alpha was there when she needed him.

The sickening crunch was all Janessa needed to hear to know that the man who shot her would do no further harm. Jason eliminated the threat before arriving at her side to assess the damage. Janessa could sense his concern and urgency through the Pack bond just as clearly as he had sensed her own fear and pain when she was shot. Not wanting to worry her Alpha any more than strictly necessary, Janessa forced herself to concentrate on Jason, keeping herself awake and as alert as possible. With one hand still clasped over her injured ribs, the other tightly gripped Jason’s arm, proving she still had strength in her to fight and determination enough to survive.

As the Shadows collected around her, Janessa tightened her grip on her Alpha’s arm, now more out of fear than reassurance. The Shadow Realm was still the setting for Janessa’s nightmares after she had been trapped within for weeks, losing her Feral senses in the process. She had faced that terror before, but only with Nico at her side – someone she knew could navigate the darkness with ease and would not, under any circumstances, allow his element to hurt her. Facing that abyss without Nico at her side was terrifying for Janessa and she knew, if she felt this way after a mere few weeks in the darkness, then Jason’s fear would be so much worse having spent years imprisoned within.

As always, time was distorted in the Shadow Realm, causing those few mere minutes within the confines of the portal to stretch into an eternity. Janessa concentrated on her breathing, trying to control the sharp gasps and groans at every minor movement. She had lost a lot of blood, making the young woman feel increasingly lightheaded, dizzy, sluggish, and cold. Her hands were shaking, making it more and more difficult to apply pressure to the wound. Still, Janessa’s thoughts were on her Alpha. He had brought her back to the Organization with obvious hopes that their healers and medics could help, but all Janessa saw was a potential for even greater risk!

[b “Jason… No deals… Promise me!... No more deals!”] The Feral’s words broke around her gasps, but her eyes were steady and sure. Everything she had risked so far would be worth it so long as her plans to free Jason worked out. If those plans were compromised because Jason tried to save her with a deal, then all of this would be for nothing!

[hr ]
[i “…appears that a Super arrived on scene in time to stop the shooter. After leaving the armed man dead on scene, the Super then vanished in a swirl of black smoke, taking Miss Pierce with him. Still no word on whether this Super was intending to rescue Miss Pierce or kidnap her, but local police are scouring the area for the wounded heiress and asking anyone with information about Miss Pierce’s whereabouts to contact the tip line. This has been Lisa Borton, ABC News...”] Raven turned off the broadcast, letting the reporter’s voice fall to the tense silence of the safe house. Keelyn was pacing the room, far too exhausted and sore from treating Delta to be able to heal Janessa even if the Feral did make it home. Cody was trying and failing to get his little brother on the phone, while Sarah tried to pinpoint the wounded Feral’s location. Raven couldn’t help jumping to the conclusion that Tech was involved in the shooting, after seeing that incriminating broadcast. The kid had stabbed her Packmate and left him to die, it certainly wouldn’t be above his nature to hire a shooter to take out the Director’s greatest supporter! She was also a little upset that Nico had left them all behind. He disappeared into his shadows, no doubt rushing to Janessa’s aid, leaving the rest of them to pace impatiently around the living room in desperate need for news.

It was several tense minutes before Sarah interrupted the tense silence with some promising news.
[#ff00ff “I found them!”] Sarah took the communicator offered by her brother and quickly made a call to Nico, hardly waiting for him to answer before she jumped right in.
[#ff00ff “Shadow, I found Tigress. It looks like Hyperion took her back to the Organization. I also managed to get a lock on Tech! He’s just leaving the scene of the press conference, heading north! The shooting much have made him drop his guard enough for me to find him.”] Sarah reported, soon to have the communicator ripped from her hands by an impatient Feral.

[#005500 “Whether you hunt the Runt or track the Feral, you’re going to need back up. Tell me where to meet you.”] Raven insisted. Even she wasn’t aware of whether her motives to help were driven by concern for her former Pack or her thirst for vengeance against Tech, but either way it didn’t sound like Raven would take no for an answer.
  ImnIslandGirl / 94d 1h 8m 29s
[#1473b7 "Even though you gave them the answer if anything happened to you in my experience the one thing that you can always rely on is the unending stupidity of humans. The Director is smart, now that you've played your hand and have essentially forced him to keep you in the public eye he'll start working on contingencies to cover himself so your accusations don't stick. I hate to say it but you might just have forced his hand into renegotiating your deal and you know how I feel about that."] Jason simply could not understand why Janessa would continually keep putting herself in the crosshairs for him. Yes he was her alpha but there had to be more to it than that. If she traded places with Jason and became the Director's willing pawn then she would likely have to face off against her pack and the rest of her friends anyway, Hyperion did not know the ins and outs of what being in a pack meant but even he was sure that fighting your pack was a nonstarter.

[#1473b7 "Yeah I'm sure go back to where you are needed, If he's mad about anything it won't be that you didn't come back to say goodbye. I'm sure the others need you more than he does right now. You too Pierce."] As Janessa told her alpha to stay safe, Jason returned the sentiment and hugged the feral in a surprisingly tender moment. It appeared that despite Jason's wishes and against his better judgement he could not fight the strength of the pack bond and he cared for Janessa far more than what was safe. He didn't want to see her hurt and if she kept on going down the path that she was like she was planning she would end up dead or worse.

What happened next was difficult to describe, Jason had said his farewell and Janessa had left but he could still feel that she was close thanks to their pack bond and thanks to that he knew that it was wrong. He sensed the danger a fraction of a second before the first of the three gunshots sounded, Jason sprinted in the direction that he knew Janessa to be but not before a bullet hit her in the ribs and Jason felt the pain and fear from his injured pack member wash over him for an instant before it was replaced with blinding rage. Jason barrelled ahead towards the gunman, his feral abilities enhanced by the adrenaline coursing through his system as his packmate lay injured he lashed out with a super strong fist and struck the assailant in the chest, caving it in instantly and killing the man. Jason cradled the bleeding Janessa in his arms, mind racing for a way to make sure that she survived this. He had no way to get the bullet out and without that all was lost. Jason had no way of knowing if help was coming or even if it was if it would get there in time to stop her bleeding out. None of Jason's abilities would help in this situation, His options were narrowing with every drop of crimson blood that fell from the Feral and as much as Jason feared the idea that come into his head the alternative of losing a member of his pack was infinitely worse.

[#1473b7 "Hold on Pierce, I'll get you help."] Jason didn't care about whether Janessa's cover was blown or not, or whether she would have difficult questions to answer about the manner of her escape from the assailant...all that mattered was keeping her alive. Jason steeled himself and brought forth the shadows into an unsteady gateway in an attempt to Shadow Travel to the Organisation and to get the medical help necessary. It was a weak imitation of Nico's mastery of that ability. Jason still had not gotten over his deep fear of being trapped in that darkness for so long and even considering this course of action was a testament to how worried he was about Janessa.

[#1473b7 "Here goes nothing..."] Hyperion stepped through into the dark portal and sped towards the Organisation, hoping that he would make it out of the agonising, endless abyss and that he could save his pack.

[hr]

[i If she’s endorsing the Director, she must have a reason.”] Nico knew exactly what that reason was, this must be what the Director wanted from her but he couldn't say anything as the others did not know about that particular arrangement.

[b "Raven shut up! We'll find Dylan and believe me he will answer for what he did to Delta but for now there is no point in backhanded comments like that. I understand you're angry, believe me I do but set it to one side for now."] Nico actually sympathised far more with Raven than Cody right now, he understood her anger, when Kate had died he had slide into an angry stupor, Cody might be right about her having her reasons but voicing that opinion might not have been the smartest of ideas. Their little argument was silenced in an instant with the arrival of a sinister message on the screen and the far more concerning sight of a man raising a gun at Janessa.

[b "Sarah Find her now!"] As Nico didn't know exactly where Janessa was he couldn't just travel to her location and while it wouldn't take long for the Tanner sister to tell him where he needed to go it appeared that even that short time frame was enough for the unthinkable to happen. A bullet hit janessa's body and she crumpled to the floor, Nico's heart sank and fear flooded his body, he needed to be with her, to reassure her that everything was going to be ok, to help her, to save her. Keelyn was still worn out from her working on Delta so he wasn't actually sure that she would be able to help her older sister even if she wanted to but all that mattered to Nico was being by Janessa's side to help her through this injury. What he saw on the screen next, momentarily snapped him out of his panicked frenzy as Jason smashed the attacker and he flew back several feet from the force of Hyperion's blow. Jason crouched down by the bleeding body of the woman he loved and as soon as Sarah shouted a location he was already darting into the shadows and towards Janessa. As Nico emerged from the portal he was assaulted by camera flashes and television cameras as reporters tried to get pictures and video of what just happened, he could vaguely hear police sirens in the background as they sped towards the location but disturbingly what he could not see was either Jason nor Janessa. All Nico could think about was Janessa and hoping that she would be alright, if Dylan really had had anything to do with this attack then he had just made a very dangerous enemy. It was one thing to set yourself up against Nico, it was an altogether worse thing for Nico to set himself against you.
  Jason Jackson / Kastanstyrax / 97d 9h 52m 30s
As soon as she stepped behind stage, Janessa could breathe a little easier. She hated appearing in public, even when she was a little girl at her parents’ side, and to have to face those cameras to endorse the man she despised most was sickening. It was a comfort to have Jason there with her. The security that came with close proximity to her Pack was a comfort she had been deprived of thanks to Jason’s deal with the Director. Whatever time they had shared together in the past, it was always pre-empting a battle, or sneaking behind enemy lines. This was a pleasant change.

[b “I played it off as well as I could given the ambush of questions, but I’m well aware the director won’t be happy. They’ll expect to see me appear in public more often now and if I disappear again, they’ll start to wonder if what I said really was a joke.”] Janessa cautioned. The Director only had one favour left, and it wouldn’t be enough to keep her in the public’s eye for long. Janessa had set the need for another bargain to be made, she just had to wait now until the Director to realize her value and call her in to negotiate. That meant her time was running out to put the rest of her plan into action and the first step: a very difficult conversation with Nico.

[b “Are you sure it’s alright that I leave? The Director won’t be mad about you sending me home? I guess I’ll have to explain myself; the others will have seen me on the news. Tech’s going to be furious.”] Janessa said, shaking her head at the unpleasantness that awaited her back at the safe house. She didn’t like the idea of Jason heading straight back to the Director, especially when she wasn’t sure how the man would react to her press conference. If he was angry enough to punish her, she would rather take the consequences herself that subject Jason to that. But she doubted her Alpha would give her the option. He didn’t seem to like putting her in danger any more than she did putting him at risk.

[b “Stay safe Jason. I’m sure I’ll see you soon.”] She told him in farewell before taking her leave. Unfortunately, seeing Janessa Pierce enter the area and White Tigress leave it, didn’t bode well for her secret identity, so Janessa was forced to keep her heiress persona until she was back in safer territory. She had just stepped outside, still aware of the reporters and cameras lingering in scene, when a familiar man stepped out to block her way.

[+green “The boss has an arrangement with Bennett. He wasn’t too pleased to see the Director getting an endorsement from the bitch who took Bennett off the board. You know Mr. Boyd, he takes things like this personally. But he never imagined you’d be stupid enough to make a public appearance!”] The man chuckled, pulling out a gun and firing two shots into the sky. The sound drew the attention of every news camera and reporter on the scene, splashing the image of Janessa held at gunpoint for the whole city to see! It was a brilliant yet frustrating strategy. With the world watching, Janessa couldn’t risk revealing herself as the White Tigress, so despite her sharp reflexes and inhuman agility, she didn’t dare move a muscle when the gun was aimed at her! Janessa Pierce wouldn’t know how to dodge a bullet, so Tigress couldn’t risk more than a slight movement to lessen the impact. As the trigger was pulled, she twisted to the side, feeling the piercing pain in her lower ribs, instead of her chest.

The pain was overwhelming, but the wound wasn’t fatal. Revealing herself as Tigress would have had far more deadly consequences, so her act was still worth it, despite the bullet in her side. Playing the helpless victim, however, was likely to get her killed! Janessa clutched her wound, feeling the warm blood beneath her fingers and allowing the pain to read across her face instead of burying it like she normally did. She knew Jason would have felt that bullet through their Pack bond, and there was a chance that Maybe Nico or Starform had seen her on the news and could travel here in time, but that time was running short. The man raised his gun once again and Janessa knew that if her friends didn’t step in soon, she’d have to save herself and sacrifice the only protection she had in her secret identity!

[hr ]

Hearing Nico’s call, the Feral and the Tanners raced into the living room. Keelyn was still working on Delta in the other room, and eventually had to force Raven away from her Pack member’s side so she wouldn’t be in the way. Although she didn’t want to leave Delta, the urgency in Nico’s voice made the Feral follow the Tanners to see what else could possible go wrong!

[#005500 “Janessa’s family wasn’t just rich, they were powerful. They did a lot of good for this city and because of that, the people trusted them. They listened to them. If a man like the Director is good enough that a Pierce is willing to vouch for him, half the city will vote for him on Janessa’s word alone. What the hell is she doing?”] Raven explained, the stress of the recent situation taking all the typical bitterness from her voice. Still, she couldn’t help but glare as she listened to her former pack mate boasting about the man who had ordered the torture, capture, and death and death of countless Supers.

[#223399 “Take it easy guys, this is Janessa we’re talking about. If she’s endorsing the Director, she must have a reason.”] Cody interjected, watching the hurt and confusion dance across the faces of those watching the newscast. But his words only seemed to incite another flicker or fury in Raven.

[#005500 “Like your murderous little brother [i must have had a reason] for trying to kill Delta?! All this time you guys have been throwing accusations and mistrust at me, Delta, and Laura, bust so far it’s your own people that are stabbing you in the back!”] Raven hissed. Before Phaze could defend himself or his friends, the tv started rapidly switching channels on its own, finally settling on a different newscast of the same event, this one with a reporter just outside the venue talking about the immense support gained by Janessa's speech. The reporter stated that with an endorsement from Janessa Pierce, this election was a sure win for the Director.

The reporter's optimistic review was in stark comparison tot he words that suddenly flashed across the tv screen - a clear message from their wayward Technopath:
[i "Stop her or I will!"]

Whether the intent behind Tech's words was meant to be threatening or simply a call to action, it certainly didn't seem like a coincidence with what happened next!

As the reporter continued to speak and Tech's words faded from the screen, Janessa was seen in the background, leaving the conference when a man stepped out in front of her. Two loud shots were heard before the camera turned to focus on the stunned looking heiress and the smug gunman. A third shot was heard and Janessa stumbled back, her hands clutching at the growing red stain that spread across the fabric of her dress. Whether Tech had meant this to or not, it certainly looked like someone had arranged to "stop her", moments after his threat! And mere hours after he had inexplicable stabbed one of their team and disappeared, there was certainly reason to doubt the boy's innocence!
  ImnIslandGirl / 104d 1h 44m 33s
[#ce0d27 "Very well you can have Jason with you if it will make you more comfortable, I'm sure he will be more than capable. I will be watching with great interest, I'm sure that you'll do me proud."] The Director couldn't care less if Janessa wanted Hyperion with her while she did this press conference, the Director could easily see through her excuse of needing protection. She wanter her alpha close and he was more than happy to provide that after all Jason's oaths of allegiance bound him to the Director regardless of his pack bond with the feral. He was more interested to see how she reacted to the script that he had written her, she was a headstrong woman and he expected her to try and change as much as she could while still remaining inside of his instructions. That was part of the game, let's see how she reacted. Meanwhile Jason and Janessa were discussing the director's favour in his chambers.

[#1473b7 "I know what he could do but not what he will do and that makes all the difference in the world. I could guess but unfortunately the Director is smart enough that even I, who spends more time with him than most, can only really hazard a vague notion of what he's planning. It's infuriating."] Jason was glad that Janessa wasn't going to take any unnecessary risks, God knows that the feral was far less concerned with her own safety than she had any right to be...Jason blamed Nico for that, it was a bad habit that the Dark elemental shared.

[#1473b7 "Good, if you're afraid then you might actually be learning something. I still can't believe that you actually went to him in the first place. If I break my ties to Director, as unlikely as that is, I had intended to get as far away from this place as possible, flee the city, the country if I could and I suggest that you do the same. I suppose I could always try and convince him to join me if anything happened to you. You should get ready, we don't have much time left."] The pair made their way to the press conference, Janessa in her elegant formalwear and Jason in a simple black suit, the kind any personal security guard would wear, the pair would not raise any suspicion. Jason glared at the reporter angrily who asked about her two year absence from public life, her answer was good, as good as could be expected in the circumstances but her followup answer cut a little close to the bone and he both admired and cursed her spirit by flirting so closely with the line that the Director had imposed on her. It was admirable, foolish but admirable. As she finished speaking and announced that she would be making no further statement and the two retreated backstage.

[#1473b7 "That was clever, play it off as a joke when in fact the truth will be staring them in the face. You've held up your end of the bargain, I see no reason for you to have to return to the Director. You've done as asked so I won't keep you any longer. Go back to Nico, to your friends and be careful. For better or worse your plan is working, the Director is growing attached to you, your skills and what you could do for him. He only has one more favour to ask of you and he doesn't want to give it up easily. Watch your back and be careful, especially around him."]

[hr]

The Dark Elemental was still in shock at the events that appeared to have transpired, he simply could not believe that Dylan could be capable of such violence. He knew the boy hadn't liked Raven or Delta and didn't trust the Organisation but to stab Delta and leave him for dead seemed so out of character for the technopath. Keelyn was working on the feral's wound while Raven paced furiously, doing anything to occupy herself, to stop from going wild with panic at her packmate's dire condition. Nico had asked Sarah to find out exactly where her little brother was but to his dismay Sarah couldn't find Dylan reliably, he was obviously using his abilities to mask his presence. That didn't bode well, in Nico's mind that made the kid look guilty even though he wanted to believe the kid was innocent. Nico was itching to be out in the city, to find Dylan, to make sure that whatever Janessa was doing for the Director. He was nervous and that was a feeling he hated above almost all others. If only Sarah could find where Dylan was then Nico could be there in an instant and find out exactly what had happened, although that might be even more worrying...what if Dylan really had stabbed Delta. Nico was almost as tense as Raven and in an effort to take his mind off things he went to another room and switched on the tv, hoping for something, anything to distract him.

[b "Oh my God, Raven, Sarah, Cody get down here!"] Nico had been idly flicking through the channels, there was a football game on one, a talk show on another, some sort of crime drama on a third but it was what was on the next that he couldn't quite believe. She was dressed much differently than she was when she had left hours ago and she seemed like a totally different person but the eyes were a giveaway. Nico could never mistake those eyes...and Jason standing in the background was all the signs that anyone needed that the glamorous figure was in fact Janessa Pierce. She seemed to be giving some sort of speech, a political endorsement, it was certainly odd. Was this what the Director wanted, some sort of PR stunt, it seemed odd that all he wanted was a press conference. Nico was sure there was more to it than it seemed but without all the relevant information he could not guess as to what that was. Nico was, however, relieved that this task the Director had given was bloodless at least she was safe. Nico idly rubbed the Shadow-stone ring on his finger, the one that Janessa had given him on their date, it was the only other time that he had seen Janessa dressed up as she was at the press conference now.

[b "What's his plan? Why make her do this?"] Nico muttered under his breath, he wanted to ask the others their thoughts but Janessa hadn't told them about her deal with the Director and he certainly wasn't going to bring that to light, it wasn't his secret to tell. He wondered what the others thought of the sight on the television screen in front of them, the presence of Jason would be an obvious indicator that the Organisation was involved in some way. While Dylan was still in the wind this was what was occupying his thoughts.

[b "What is going on here?"]
  Nico Atwood / Kastanstyrax / 110d 12h 5m 40s
Janessa did nothing to hide that cold glare of contempt towards the man that was giving her orders. His arrogance alone put her on edge and were there not so much at risk she could have dived across that table and silenced him for good! Unfortunately, any violence against the Director would be stopped by Hyperion and Janessa didn’t want to out Jason in the position of harming his own pack. The Director’s demands were nearly as dangerous as the last favour she did for him, yet in Janessa’s mind they were far more concerning. A request like this made Janessa regret that she didn’t make the distinction when she made the deal: that White Tigress was in his debt, not Janessa Pierce. It was too late to fix that little oversight now and Janessa really didn’t have a choice by to obey his orders.

Janessa took the sheet that was offered to her and skimmed through the words on the page. He was wanting her endorsement for Mayor? A man like the Director wouldn’t put so much effort into a goal so small. No doubt he had far more to strive for once he entered the political field. It was sickening to think that her words and the reputation of her murdered parents would be the tool used to put this manipulative man into power, but as much as she wanted to spit in his face and tear the page to shreds, Janessa’s binding contract forced her to accept. The only small defiance she could possible get away with was asking for a condition to be met.

[b “I’m the heir to one of the richest families in this city, there’s a reason I’ve been underground for two years and not just living the double life I used to live. I will be a very persuasive influence for a lot of powerful people, but I’ll be an incredibly tempting target for others. Seeing as how I can’t out myself as White Tigress across the local media, I’m going to need some security. You want a press conference? Not a problem, but I want Jason as my bodyguard, close to my side until this favour is over.”] Janessa had her reasons for wanting Jason close. First, with her recent misadventure at the Organization and her toxic run-in with the Catalyst, Janessa was still feeling a little insecure about controlling her Feral side and it would help to know her Alpha was close by, keeping her in check. Secondly, she wanted to show the Director she had no interest in blindly following his orders. She’d still exercise her own judgement and push back if necessary to keep herself and her friends safe. Finally – and perhaps most importantly – Janessa wanted to keep Jason close for his own safety. The Director was very firm on the matter of her keeping to the script and warned her there may be consequences. The Feral would hate to think one of those consequences might be Jason getting hurt on her behalf. If she could keep an eye on him, maybe there’s be some way to keep him out of harm?

The main downside of the deal Jason made with the Director, was that he was forced to act on anything he saw or heard from Janessa that could be a potential threat to the Director. She had to be incredibly careful about what she shared with her Alpha. Because of this, Janessa fell unnaturally quiet as Jason escorted her to his quarters. She arrived to find that a small selection from her wardrobe back home had been stolen and delivered to the Organization, no doubt all in preparation for this task. Janessa selected one of her dresses and heels – something that would emphasis her family’s wealth and high esteem, while still making her look professional and trustworthy. She had learned over the years, politics was all just a game of manipulation. As long as you knew how to play, the public would latch on to every word.

Shedding her White Tigress garb for something so formal seemed strange after so many years, but Janessa felt herself slip back into that role quite easily. Once she was dressed, her make-up applied, and her hair pinned elegantly, it was obvious why no one had ever made the connection between White Tigress and Janessa Pierce before. She looked like an entirely different person from an entirely different world. The only thing that remained the same between the two personas was the troubled crease of her brow and the downturn of her lips.

[b “This favour isn’t as harmless as you think Jason. Kidnapping, extortion, that’s one thing, but this? He wants my recommendation to put him in office! Do you have any idea what he could do in a position like that?”] Janessa replied, turning her eyes to Jason before a look of resignation fell upon her features.

[b “Of course you do… The Director probably told you all of his plans. You don’t have to worry Jason, I’m not going to sabotage him. I know what’s at stake here and I won’t risk your safety or others’ over a little speech. At least now I know what he’s planning.”] Janessa admitted, wishing she could talk this through with Jason openly. She couldn’t tell him anything without jeopardizing her plans or his safety, just like she couldn’t tell Nico the whole truth without him wanting to stop her for her own protection. She so desperately wanted to agree to Nico joining her in this so she wouldn’t have to face this burden alone, but she couldn’t risk what the Director would have done to him if Shadow appeared in his office. So for now, Janessa was on her own.

[b “Jason, the deeper I get into this, the more I’m afraid of what he Director is capable of. Can you do me a favour? To put my mind at ease? I know it’s unlikely, but if it ever does happen – if you ever do break your ties to the Director, please go back to Nico and the others. You and Nico were like brothers once… I know a lot has happened between you, but I need to believe the people I care about will be there to protect each other, whether I’m with you or not.”] Janessa asked him. Janessa knew the bond between Nico and Jason was severely damaged and that the only reason the two had cooperated much recently was because they were both loyal to her. If she was going to see this through to the end, she needed to know that Nico and Jason would be able to fight together if she wasn’t there to bind them.

By the time Janessa was dressed and ready, having read through the script the Director provided, the hours before the Press Conference melted away. Before she knew it, she was standing in front of a podium, addressing dozens of reporters and camera men with a smile on her face and a practiced composure that made her seem all too comfortable in the spotlight. She did was she was told, she stayed on script, but her appearance after two years and the murder of her parents sparked far too many questions. Janessa knew that giving no comment to where she’d been these past few years would arise suspicion and the Director would be equally as displeased with that. So she dared to go off script for a few short answers, hoping the Director would be appeased.

[i “Miss Pierce! Miss Pierce, it’s been two years since you’ve made a public appearance. Where have you been all this time?”]
[b “My parents were killed and I feared for my own life. No one can blame me for wanting to disappear for a while. But that alone should tell you how strongly I feel about this election. I want to see my city safe again. I want to see a Mayor that will protect our city, so no one else has to go through the tragedy that I went through. And I believe this man can make that happen.”] Janessa answered, deviating from the script but doing as she was told: build the Director up in the public’s eyes and make him seem like the right man for the job. She just wished there was a way to turn some of this public attention to her advantage – and her golden opportunity came with the next question asked.

[i “Forgive me Miss Pierce, I understand it’s been a difficult few years. But you disappeared the same night your parents were murdered. You haven’t been seen in two years and now you’re suddenly holding a Press Conference in support of a man who, previously, you nor your family have had anything to do with. There may be some conspiracy theorists out there that may think this is all just too coincidental? That maybe someone put you up to this?”]

Janessa needed to be careful. She knew this would be risky and the Director would no doubt find a way to punish her for it, but this one question could give her an edge. All this time, Janessa had been looking for a way to make herself valuable, indispensable, worth trading Hyperion for, and this was her chance to make that happen. It was worth the risk.

[b “What would they think? That this man has been keeping me hostage for the past two years? Or that he’s threatening me in some way? The people love their drama! Well, I guess if I suddenly disappear off the map, you’ll all know what happened!”] Janessa laughed, playing off the comment as if it was some absurd theory or a twisted joke. She could tell by the laughter or the reporters that they all took it that way. To most, the comment would simply debunk any conspiracies out there and add validity to Janessa’s endorsement, but there was one very important consequence: that nagging little plotline was now buried in the public’s minds. If anything were to happen to Janessa – if she disappeared or turned up dead – the people would remember her words and not help but to think they might be true! If Janessa disappeared from the public’s eye, the accusations would fly towards the Director and he’d never be elected. Which meant if he wanted his seat at the Mayor’s desk, he needed to keep Janessa in the public eye and in full support of his campaign. The Feral has just made herself much more valuable.
  ImnIslandGirl / 119d 47m 44s
Nico wanted to trust Laura, he really did but she was so tied down to Michael that there would always be a question over her loyalties. Cody trusted her implicitly and while that was good enough for Nico to give her the benefit of the doubt the dark elemental was not so sure that Laura was truly on their side. he would watch her closely but for Cody's sake he wanted her to be trustworthy, what made it all the more complicated was that Nico actually liked Laura. She was smart, determined, loyal and powerful it was an intimidating combination but she was so nice it was infuriating. Nico wanted to dislike her but she made it so difficult...if she really did betray them it would be all the more painful for everyone, especially Cody.

[b "You've got to be kidding. It's all a bit convenient isn't it? We break into the Organisation rescue Dylan and Andrew and now is when he chooses to call in another one one of your debts...It just doesn't sound right. I know you have to go but it doesn't mean that I have to like it...can't I come with you just this once?"] Nico knew that Janessa would never allow him to be so reckless, to put himself in the same danger that she was. He both loved and hated that about her, she was wonderful and infuriating all at the same time. He relished in the kiss, in the embrace of Janessa as she told him to be safe and he echoed the sentiment back to her. Nico watched as she left hoping that she returned in a far better state than the last time that she went off on a task for the director. Nico would have to preoccupy himself with anything else to keep him from worrying about the Feral.

[hr]

[#ce0d27 "Oh Ms Pierce you wound me with your words. Yes I do, I have the nerve to do what I wish when I wish and there is a reason for that...although technically I tortured no one, that would be Ms Bennett. Semantics aside I have a very simple task for you and completely risk free. You see I'm going to need Janessa Pierce for this and not White Tigress. You're going to call a press conference and say exactly what I've written down on this sheet of paper for you. Do not go off script, that would be very poor for you. The press conference is in 2 hours, I suggest you find clothes more appropriate to the situation."] This was next step in the Director's plan, Janessa had given him the Mayor's wife and with that all the ammunition he needed to remove the politician and eventually replace him. The Director had control of the Organisation but if he could add political office to his resume he could go for what he really wanted, the highest office in the country. Being Mayor would just be a stepping stone but if he could get into real political office with his ability to grant bargains there was no telling what he could achieve. If he could meet with foreign officials and diplomats the Director's influence would not be so limited to this city or even this country. He wanted more.

[#ce0d27 "The Pierce name still holds weight among some societies in this city that respect that and the first public appearance of Janessa Pierce since her parents death over two years ago is bound to drum up even more interest. As long as you make me look and sound like the perfect man for political office this should be a harmless task for you. Well worth one of my precious favours, wouldn't you say. Hyperion, why don't you help prepare Ms Pierce here."] Jason gave a nod and escorted Janessa along a few corridors to his own personal quarters, the room was near empty apart from a bed, a chair, and a reasonable sized desk. On it were a few books and a chessboard that looked like it was in the middle of a game, who Jason could possibly be playing was a mystery, it didn't look like Hyperion exactly had many friends in the Organisation.

[#1473b7 "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy to see you but I wish it was under different circumstances. Although I think we can all be thankful that this time your little deal doesn't involve kidnapping a woman or escaping from an exploding bomb. Just say a few nice things about he's the best man for the job, how he's trustworthy and whatnot. You don't have to actually mean it and no one gets hurt. This is an easy win for you. Just don't sabotage him, or embarrass him, that will end badly for you, me and everyone else. I know you hate him but don't be stupid and risk everything for a petty chance to score some points. Do this and you're almost out of his grasp."]

[hr]

[i “I smell blood… Delta!”] Nico couldn't believe Raven's outburst and rushed to follow the feral as she sprinted out of the safehouse and towards the body lying on the ground, blood seeping from the body. Delta was in a bad way, Cody and Nico leaped to obey Keelyn and help move Delta back inside, Nico would ideally have shadow travelled the injured Feral but it didn't look like the feral was strong enough to survive the short journey. Everyone worked quickly on the jobs that Keelyn had assigned them, doing all they could to help the injured Delta but it was his words that stopped Nico in his tracks.

[b "Dylan? It can't have been..."] Dylan might be angry but he wasn't violent, he was a good kid. Delta must be delirious with pain and blood loss. Dylan can't have had anything to do with this, Nico wouldn't believe it maybe one of the Organisation's illusionists...he was grasping at straws for something, anything that meant that Dylan hadn't just left someone for dead, especially someone who had helped them. Nico spoke, barely a whisper under his breath.

[b "What the hell is going on?"]
  Nico Atwood / Kastanstyrax / 122d 16h 44m 32s
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