[font "Times" Think [i The Incredibles] type of atmosphere. A world where vigilante heroes are a nascent idea. New, soft, weak. Villains are everywhere. The world tries to continue turning with big names ravaging them constantly enough. Banks are robbed, countries are held hostage. Their borders still solid, but within the "territories" of different villains and groups. Smaller factions, sure, run around and fight amongst themselves. Like Gotham's small fries, scurrying underneath the Big Names, the Costumed Villains.
Until one hero steps up and starts winning. Everything. Surprisingly well. With huge consequences. But hasn't gone up against any of the Big Names. Until one. Nestro falls, the psionic, og supervillain. What's going on???
Our characters start investigating. They realize that this hero is surprisingly complex for being a "hero". They investigate. And soon realize that he's doing it on purpose. He's making and setting up these situations and putting people in danger and coming out on top as the hero deliberately.
Now it's up to us to figure out what the hell is going on and take him down before he does something big. Too big to handle.
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Very inspired by [i The Incredibles], but doesn't need to take place in that world, time period or have that flavor. Just inspired. It isn't complete, either. Discussion about finer details will happen.
We will be playing characters with a problem with this "hero" doing it all for the wrong reasons. Be it a concern for the preservation of life, survival instinct... What makes sense. I have a villain in mind for this I will be playing. You will have a villain, or a hero, or I can be convinced by a good civilian too.
One way or another one or both characters will start investigating together this new hero. Be it one starts and needs help, realizing they are in over their heads, near death experience... or both happen to come across one another while investigating simultaneously. Let's talk about it.
There will be introductory posts about characters/reputations/etc and some minor world-building to discuss before leaping into action.
Not sure where the story should begin yet. Where the point of action should start.
A main villain and henchmen, or a hero; a system, if not partners, skillful spouses or multiple villains is encouraged. Multiple characters in some way.
We will share the "hero" antagonist. Probably.
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1. Usually I'm cool with canon/copyrighted/licensed characters mixed with originals, this time I want originals. Can be inspired by, or reskinned with changes from original characters, but they have to be yours.
2. Do not OP. Your character isn't infallible. I don't care if they're Aesir, or Valar, etc inspired. You will bleed or be fallible somehow. Your character has about one and a half abilities or superpowers, if you even want one. Let's talk about it. I'm flexible within reason.
3. Do not god-mod my characters unless we are explicitly sharing that character, or we have previously discussed my character(s) responding to an action in a specific way and you need to add it to finish your post.
4. Complete sentences. I'm not expecting academic grade writing, or a whole bunch of Oscar Wilde description, but this is a literate work.
5. Mature themes will come up. Good and evil, power, struggles or potential discussions about faith, violence, mental illness, addictions, disabilities, sexualities, etc. Let's talk about it if you're worried. Some of this is negotiable.
6. What is [i not] negotiable; dunno who we are going to all be playing, but as a general disclaimer; I expect tolerance of queer characters from you. I expect tolerance of PoC characters from you. I expect tolerance of non Christian, or non theistic characters from you. I'm not expecting you to play one. But I might. Do not contact me if you have a "problem" with these. I'm not tolerating your lack of tolerance if you have any. I won't want you. I don't care.
7. Life comes before roleplays. I will not be on every day. I do not expect you to be. You post when you can, and so will I. So long as I know you're coming back, it's totally fine to take a little while. I might check in if you completely vanish, but it takes some doing to make me mad.
8. Real-time chat doesn't work on my computers. Sorry, it's going to be PMs or nothing on-site.
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[center Any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to contact me! Put your favorite dessert in your PM title, and we're in business~!
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With a small polite smile, Kade indicates the coffee still in front of The Lieutenant when she clears her throat. As the other woman speaks, she nods along with what she had to say. The Lieutenant was unaware of Nestro's goon squad, at least the specific members... Kade wouldn't exactly called herself a Nestro expert, although she did do her research before coming here to investigate, and with what she knew now, it begged the question—in regards to this new henchman—did Nestro really need the new blood? It seemed like they were thinking a lot about this new henchman, but other than the fireworks, he was their only lead...
They could always go ask the guy; he was locked up tightly in hospital, but had been unreceptive to the questions he's been asked... Either he was being paid to keep his mouth shut or perhaps no one was asking the right questions. Or the right person wasn't asking the right questions. She had a feeling—as cliche as it was—that The Lieutenant had ways of making someone talk. Probably limited in what she could do in a hospital room under guard, but she was sure she could come up with something... As Kade was coming up with ways to do it as well. A sonic disruptor, measuring the heart rhythm, voice inflection, and skin temperature... She had a few ways of getting answers from people herself, even if it might occasionally be in a roundabout way. Sometimes its what people [i didn't] say that gets you the answers you want.
[b “We could go ask the guy.”] And upon saying it, immediately wanted to retract the statement. For just a moment, Kade had forgotten that, although her and the Lieutenant were looking in to the same thing, they were not on the same side... And [i for some reason], Kade got the impression the German didn't really much care for her company. [b “... Separately, of course.”] She kind of mumbles. It had its advantages and disadvantages, like fighting over answers both figuratively and literally. But one going in at a time would be the easiest way to [i not] get caught, but if multiple people came in at different times, well, then one of them might not get any answers. A little bit of a dilemma, but one that Kade could probably find a solution to.
Her computer pings, and she looks down at the hard drive. Apparently she had been putting it back together while on auto-pilot, and now it was complete, and thus probably terminating this conversation for the next forever. With that in mind, she screws some needed pieces on to it, and then hands it over to The Lieutenant. [b “All the information is on there, uncorrupted for your viewing pleasure. Thanks for the chat, Lieutenant, its been informative.”]
The Lieutenant nodded solemnly. It was a familiar feeling that she had been taught to follow as often as possible. It was one of the reasons she was alive to this day, other than chemically enhanced resilience.
This Kade woman summarized most of her feelings on the situation, it seemed. She didn't know if she would believe Gweniviere had concern about the innocent death toll and threat as well, but that at this moment didn't matter. She simply nodded in agreement.
"[B I don't live in America,]" Gweniviere said, locking the phone and setting it back in her pocket. "[B You do. I'm not familiar with Nestro's company or associates, generally.]"
The German shifted in her seat a bit, clearing her throat. Her voice was getting a bit raspy. She didn't often talk this much, and with the amount of scar tissue in her throat sometimes that made it a bit trying. "[B There is a possibility that he was so new that he hadn't broken out. But I won't know that unless I get more information.]"
Wight and the rest of the team was still working on finding more information on this man. The police databases weren't coming up with anything, since the man hadn't answered anything they asked while in the hospital and nothing they had was in the system previously. No fingerprints, prior charges, nothing. He too, it seemed, was a ghost. So that would take more digging.
Or perhaps a visit, since she was in the country.
[i The Lieutenant]. No negotiations, or room for any. Clearly she wasn't interested in her old identity or doffed it long ago in place of this infinitely more powerful one. Kind of a shame, really; Gweniviere was a nice name. [b “Alright, if that is your preference, I will respect that.”] She tell The Lieutenant. Her bad for ruffling son feathers, but some times that was the nature of this gig... She probably wasn't happy either since Kade sort of had her at her mercy here with the disks.
Despite the calm environment, Kade felt a little tense. It wasn't everyday she had coffee with a super-villain, and she felt guarded, like she had to defend her every opinion and action to the German. Blame it on their first interaction, or the fact that Kade took human contact in small doses... But she couldn't help but feel judged, like The Lieutenant somehow knew better because she was [i The Lieutenant]... Well, she's been around longer, so Kade would give her that, but Kade also wasn't a super villain/war criminal/basically terrorist, so swings and roundabouts she guessed.
When asked about what lead Kade to the conclusion that Shadow Phantom was a bad egg. [b “Well, its a little early to start pointing fingers, but plenty doesn't sit right. His supposed heroic actions that put innocent people at risk, taking down [i Nestro] like he was at the bottom of the B-list... Have you ever just had a feeling, Lieutenant? Like a raw angry nerve that won't heal over? I'm sure you have, and I'm almost positive you feel almost the same way about this case. If you didn't, then I don't think you would be here.”] And that is when The Lieutenant put her phone in front of Kade to show a still of one of Shadow Phantom's collars. She squints for a second, her lenses taking in the information as she did.
She did not recognize this man... Nor did what files she could pull up on Nestro and his associates, which was... odd. [b “I can't say that I do... Odd considering most of Nestro's goons are house names these days. Could have been a new hire, but just for then?”] And this new henchman was willing to kamikaze Shadow Phantom [i after] Nestro's demise? Keep dreaming. She sits back and looks at The Lieutenant. [b “Are you asking because you don't know or because you do know and want to know if I know?”]
"[B You will refer to me as lieutenant, or not at all, if you wish.]" she responded, arching a brow a bit. In all honesty, she wasn't expecting this correspondence to outlast the night. But to placate the American, she would resign herself to conversation until they could split company.
Considering that, her eyes moved to the device that was supposedly saving the hard drive.
The Lieutenant's face remained unmoved, outwardly. A thought, an occurrence, moved behind her eyes, in the twitch of a brow.
This Kade woman made it sound rather mean, like she was going out of her way to simply put down a budding hero just because, out of pure nastiness. That wasn't, generally, her MO. At least, not anymore, that is. If she were honest, the Lieutenant could attest to a great many specific, spiteful killings. Hell, she had been a paid mercenary for a time while she was transitioning between agent and supervillain officially. Favors owed, and cashed in.
There was a reason, in the end, that one of her monikers was [i die Nachrpirscher], after all. And with it, her objective there in that warehouse could be anything from beginning to gauge a threat, to revenge for Nestro, though she figured that Kade with her knack for technology could easily search up her rather lack of attachment to the man up until recently known as Nestro.
The Lieutenant's lips turned in a bit of a wry smile, sitting back in her seat and crossing her arms. 'Greater good' was something she had heard in so many guises, so many people telling her about what they were doing or why. It would be nice to actually believe in someone for once when they said that. Generally, 'good' meant a great many different things to different people. All that told her was this woman had rules.
"[B What leads you to this conclusion?]" she prompted, nodding to the technician in front of her. This woman was an American, and likely knew more than she did about the current events in this country. The Lieutenant had only heard of the death of Nestro because that had made world news. Perhaps there was something she had missed here.
Nestro had emigrated from his native England and settled in North America in the 1940's. Considering the state of the country at the time after the war, few could blame him, and after his robberies they were glad to be rid of him. The US was where most of his exploits had occurred. And as he had aged, he had been relegated to a wheelchair. He was an elderly man, by the time this fight with the Shadow Phantom had occurred. Where his body had deteriorated, his mind remained as sharp as ever, and had in fact continued to evolve and change, and he was using more and more technology to support himself, and more henchmen to do physically what he could no longer.
That was what was so odd, to Gweniviere, was the sheer [i physicality] of this fight. Somehow this Shadow Phantom had punched through that membrane that Nestro had built about himself, past even his psionic powers. Something was strange. She wanted to see the body. Her fingers tapped on her arm in thought, realizing she was slipping into thought exactly and pulled back into reality.
The Lieutenant moved, then, bringing out her cellphone and displaying a frozen frame of the henchman that Shadow Phantom had put down on live television. "[B Do you recognize this man?]"
A pretty black and white assessment in regards to being shot or not on Gwen's part, if Kade didn't say so herself. She'd argue that the bruising was evidence enough, but keeping her personal force field to herself was a good advantage to have. Plus, she didn't want to argue semantics with a super villain in the middle of a cafe; seemed only a bit distasteful and she liked coming here.
She was taken aback at Gwen's intensity at the use of her name, which caused Kade to do a mental double take of her company. Not exactly an equivalent response. [b “Well, what would you like me to call you then? Just curious.”] It wasn't a malicious or mocking question, clearly curiosity was the culprit behind the question. Did she prefer 'Gwen' over Gweniviere? Or did she perhaps just go by 'The Lieutenant' now? Seemed a little too telling if she started calling her that in public, especially around people who might know. That might be the case; it looked like she was pretty uninterested in hiding her identity, especially with her more... [i recognizable] features. In any event, the conversation turned back to business, and Kade settles in her chair a little more comfortably, happy that hadn't turned in to a super hero fight in the middle of the cafe.
Sipping at her coffee, Kade looks back down at the computer, watching as the information compiles in an orderly fashion on to the secondary drive. She was considering her answer to Gwen's question about her allegiance to the hero community. Gwen wouldn't know that Kade was Guardian, but in essence, Guardian and Kade would be on the same side; justice. And that side is also how Shadow Phantom liked to market his enterprise.
[b “You're quite a black and white thinker.”] Kade responds [b “But my allegiance is to the greater good, not to monikers or costumes. I'm interested in him because I don't believe he is who he says he is. Or believes what he says he believes.”] He wasn't an ally to the people, he was only interested in himself and looking good. From her experience, something like this also ran deeper; a more nefarious intention. The least she could do was prove herself wrong, and she had a feeling Gwen was on that exact same page. [b “I assume you're interested in him for a very similar reason to why you held up the UN. Villain status aside, you're no fan of superheroes.”]
The large woman simply traced her eyes over Kade. Slow, considering the shape of the hero before her- a lack of body armor, and no blood. For what she was aiming at she wouldn't be upright. They raised again. "[B You aren't bleeding,]" the ex-sniper responded, "[B so I did not shoot you.]"
Her voice was quiet, for between them only in the quiet cafe. They were some of the only customers, so she was taking care.
She watched the woman before her work, settling in to watch and crossed her arms.
"[+navy [B She's just going to open that in a place like this?? She needs a controlled environment, there's going to be a million layers of grease on that thing from this place!]]" Was Wight's complaint in her ear as the Lieutenant filtered the both of them as best she could and simply watched, still, silently willing the tech behind her to get to something useful instead of her commentary.
Soon, however, the sound of the keyboard overtook the grumbles of the inventor.
"[+navy [B Looks like your civilian meddler here is ex-SWAT... kind of a supers suppression and response team type deal, it says here.]]"
Gweniviere's eyes narrowed a bit as she considered that. Vigilante, it seemed. Interesting, but that didn't explain her technology. Was she wealthy? The Lieutenant's eyes followed the woman's hands as she worked, exhaling softly. But as Wight continued, she resumed her consideration of the woman's attire and affect.
Comfortable talking, it seemed, fit, average size, well-kept clothes. She wondered where those little drones of hers were now, and that little weapon of hers was hidden from her arm now.
"[+navy [B Looks like they had a raid go sour and they all thought she and some others died in this explosion. Kind of like the same thing that created a few people [i we] know. Wow, okay... Yeah, she vanished and then just came back from the dead and fucked off to be her own person.]]" Wight's chair creaked a bit as they leaned back. "[+navy [B Doesn't look like hero-work really stopped for her, and she got her hands on some really class new tech. How much you wanna bet she made it? She's a nerd-hero, our favorite.]]"
What surprised Gweniviere, the thing that took her attention away from Kade, was when one of the waiters came by and set down not only one set of coffee and tart, but two. Her brows arched a bit, looking to the other woman for an explanation. It was then that she actually made any more move than simply watching her work, to unfold her arms and cup the hot coffee in her hands, eyes considering the tart a bit, wondering what was inside.
They returned to Kade. "[B You will not call me by that name,]" she said. No argument. She was not that person, she hadn't been for a very long time. The only time it was used, really, was when she was face to face with someone across a table that more often than not the Lieutenant was restrained to, trying to humanize or to somehow disarm her, make themselves seem clever or superior. It came with being not taken seriously.
The Lieutenant did arch her brow a bit at the mention of 'her friends'. Did she think the UN team was still together? Interesting.
"[+navy [B I'm going to find where she's registered as living right now, to make sure she doesn't make off without giving you your piece of this.]]"
"[B I'm sure you're full of hypotheses,]" the Lieutenant said, sitting forwards. "[B But you, a 'hero'. Why do you have interest in this '[i Shadow Phantom]' One would say you are on the same side, I believe.]"
She evaded the authorities relatively easily. She blended in with a few civilians here and there, making her way towards the cafe she had indicated to the German. Kade figured she had some time before her new friend would appear, which meant she would have time to also do some digging. This little escapade was already more complicated than she imagined and she now had another person she needed to worry about on her list. Someone who was sneaking around in the dead of night, stealing data, and was very clearly not good at sharing. She'd assume it was just some nobody trying to horn in, but considering how the German moved and, you know, [i shot] her, Kade knew to assume otherwise...
Kade makes her way to her car; it was parked a block or so away from the cafe and she needed some extra equipment. If she was going to learn about this mysterious German, she needed access to databases and something with a little more kick than her lenses. Not to mention she needed something to store the data of the hard drive on. She planned on making good on her promise of both of them walking away with the information. She only needed five minutes after all.
Now reunited with some of her equipment, Kade makes her way to the cafe she had mentioned. It was a nice quiet place run by a Portuguese couple who made very excellent egg tarts. Once she's in, she orders, and sits down at a booth with a view of the door, and sets up her computer. Once its on, she immediately gets to work, linking her lenses to the laptop, downloading the feed to its files and pulling up more from her day, specifically the shots she got of the German's face. After that, she had to access some databases, and she figured she'd go big at the start: Interpol. If that didn't work, she could always look in to the FBI or CIA, but that would take a little bit more time since their security systems were a little more impressive and intricate than Interpol's. More local, but Interpol did have a surprising amount of mercenaries on their lists.
The bell on the door rung just as Kade got a hit on her search, and she pays more attention to what came up in her search, and... [i Oh shit...] Then she looks up to see her new acquaintance. Gweniviere Nitzche AKA The Lieutenant. She blinks once Gwen pulls out the hard drive and tells her its wet. It gave her something to ground herself with, stay in the moment and sort out that she just threatened and screwed with a super villain of international renown, and one that has been around longer than Kade has even been alive. This made things a little more complicated, but at the same time, it made sense as to why Gwen would get involved with Shadow Phantom... Notes, known associates, and news articles about the 'UN Event' began scrolling down the feed in her lenses. Terrorism at its finest, and funnily enough, directly opposed to Kade's old job and how she even wound up doing all of this super-heroing. They definitely didn't see eye to eye, but Kade would still make good on her word. She didn't have to like someone to work with them.
She lets out a breath and holds out her hand to take the hard drive, regaining her composure enough where her hands weren't shaking. [b “And you shot me, so I guess we're even.”] She tells her as she peels the hard drive out of the bag. She looks at it for a moment before looking back up at Gwen. [b “Have a seat. This is an easy fix, but I lied to you earlier...”] She turns to open her laptop bag. [b “I'm going to need more than five minutes of your time.”]
Out of her bag comes a small kit consisting of tiny screw drivers, some small electronic equipment, an empty hard drive that looks like its been modified, cables, and something that looked almost like a reading light that Kade plugs in to the USB port of her computer. She then starts undoing all the screws on the hard drive to reveal the platters.
[b “To put it mildly; this hard drive is screwed, but that doesn't mean much in the world of computer science. These platters are coated in a thin layer of metal that can be magnetized, storing data in microscopic sectors we use to pull up the information on the screen.”] She touches her mini screwdriver to the actuator arm of the hard drive, using some of her bio-electricity to demagnetize it from the platters so she can access them. [b “They're all ones and zeroes, and when it comes down to it-unless its completely destroyed-they can be read with the right equipment.”] She begins removing the platters and puts them in to the modified empty hard drive, sliding it under the reading light. The light turns blue, and begins scanning the platters as she puts each of them on individually, compiling the information in to her computer in an organized fashion. It would take a moment to copy, rewrite, compile, sort, and organize. So in the mean time, she begins doing some other things on her computer... Things that Gwen might not like if she knew...
One of the hostesses brings both of them a coffee and egg tart, and quickly excuses herself. Kade didn't blame her considering the company. [b “I didn't know what you liked so I ordered you black.”] She takes a sip of her own coffee before levelling her gaze back at Gwen, ceasing her typing for a moment. [b “A little bit of a different story from the UN event, eh, Gweniviere? I'm surprised you're back in America... Well, not actually considering recent events, I can see why this would ruffle you and your friend's feathers.”] It ruffled her feathers too, but considering the history she just learned, it seems that Gwen's issue with the matter went a little deeper. And off to one side.
** [i Wight's info on Kade:
Kade Jensen was a police officer in her early twenties, spending years on the force before she was promoted to a specialized Division of SWAT. Normally SWAT is a group of individual officers that were specially trained and would assemble when needed, but this division was/is its own division/entity in the police force. This version of SWAT are the ones that were trained to deal with super powered individuals as we discussed, whether it was a bank robbery or investigating a ring of super-human growth hormone drugs.
Anyway, Kade was on this team until her disappearance. A group of wanna-be super villains got a hold of advanced tech and SWAT went in for a raid. There was a huge explosion that killed members on both sides, but also caused some people to disappear . But a year after the event, Kade shows up, quits the force, and refuses to talk about the incident.
All of this would have happened a few years ago now, Kade being in her late thirties to early forties now, giving her a few years of being Guardian under her belt and getting to know her new powers. But obviously we don't know that part yet ;P]
The Lieutenant stood there a moment, eyeing the individual before her and considering the rammifications of what they were offering. The water was steadily flowing off of the side of her cap and off the side of her head, dripping in tickling rivulets down the side of her face.
"[i You're going to have to get a better look at them, not in partial darkness for me to get an impression of who she is, leftenant,]" said the voice through her earpiece. The cameras in these lenses were advanced, but didn't have multiple functions like that. This cafe would be a perfect place to make that happen, however.
The woman had left. And without offering her name, the German noticed, after asking for the Lieutenant's. That showed she was used to demanding information, and not 'playing nice' as it were or offering any back. Typical of the hero type, but more the rogueish ones, or perhaps she was para military. There was a lot to suppose about this woman's appearance both here and at the site, if she had seen Gweniviere. All this "Let's talk" and "work with me here" stuff suggested an authoritative stance.
Exhaling, she shifted out from underneath the stream and pressed a hand over her breast pocket. The hard drive was wet by now, surely.
Gweniviere was wearing a textile uniform, nothing oiled, so it was soaking thoroughly through to the hardware, she was certain. It would need some time in a bucket of rice, which was about as far as her ability with hardware stretched. She slunk out of the warehouse, doing all she could to make sure she wasn't seen again.
Unless she had a way to magically get around wet tech, they would both have to wait.
She took shelter underneath the shadowed base of a part of the nearby bridge to take her hat off and run a hand through her hair.
The hard drive came out of her pocket and into her lens's view. "[B Hard drive's wet.]"
"[i I see that. Is it solid state or disc?]"
The Lieutenant flipped it over. "[B Disc.]"
"[i Fuck, that means no one's getting into that thing unless we can get that handled right fucking now.]"
Gweniviere frowned, "[B Can't I dry it off? I've got a microfiber cloth.]"
"[i No! No. Please tell me you didn't just say that, I had so much faith you were one of the few old people who knew how this stuff works.]"
The Lieutenant sighed softly, pursing her lips.
"[I And don't put it back in your pocket. Do you have a Ziploc?]"
"[B This perhaps would be a good chance to piggyback off of this woman's sources.]"
"[i Maybe, if we want to save the data on that drive. She's your closest resource, out there. So you're working with her?]"
"[B I don't trust Americans,]" she responded, setting the drive gingerly down on a stone nearby. She glanced around at the waterfront, watching the fire engines pull around and start unloading their men. She let a hand down on her hip and looked back up at the town-side of the waterfront. "[B Shame she didn't say [i which] direction, now did she?]"
"[i You're an awful date,]" the technician responded, the sound of their keyboard in the background.
Water poured onto the naked dirt from where it was squeezed out of her hat, the woman giving a gruff laugh with a rough, ruined voice. "[B I suppose so.]" Long, gloved fingers pushed back through her hair to tuck it back under the hat and replaced it on her head.
"[i You're soaking wet,]" came the voice of the technician again.
"[i There's a convenience store down the road a bit on the corner. Go bag that drive up, [b now].]"
The Lieutenant sighed softly, picking the thing up and holding it in hand and making it up the incline to the street. Glancing both directions, she noted a general store down the way a bit and headed in that direction. Inside, the bell dinged on the door and she glanced around.
The teller shrank a bit behind her magazine when spotted. Gweniviere turned her feet toward the back aisles and found sandwich bags, but not the kind that sealed, the ones that stayed open.
"[i Do you think they've got Tupperwares?]" came the tech's voice again.
Gwen's eyes turned toward the other options. Little short, also sanwich shaped ones were available in pink and lime green. She went for the green.
"[i And paper towels.]"
The Lieutenant took her items to the till, meeting the staring eyes of the individual behind it. She handed over a damp American fiver and shook her head at the change. Wordlessly, the Lieutenant stood there, the only individual in the store, and unwrapped her sandwich tupper from its packaging, and opened the paper towel roll. At the behest of the tech in her ear she carefully wrapped the item and then set the whole inside of the tupperware. If they were to get anything off of it, they had to be careful.
When that was over, she returned outside, bundle in hand and the rest of the towels abandoned, shrugging off a shiver with the cold air on her wet clothes. Glancing down the street again the Lieutenant's brow arched, taking in the bank of windows in a vintage-themed cafe on the waterfront. And look who was at a table inside the lit interior.
"[B I believe that's our little drone operator.]"
It wasn't the Lieutenant's favorite thing in this case, all of these old little businesses with their bells on the doors, but it announced her entrance nonetheless. She had to duck a little to get through the door.
One of the hostesses greeted her, the Lieutenant nodding to her and allowing for the shocked once over at her appearance. She looked over to the stranger over in her booth. Returning attention briefly to the hostess, she turned and walked herself over to the stranger and sat down.
The sandwich box was pulled out of her breast pocket and held up.
"[B It's wet, thanks to your little stunt.]"
Up close and in the light, the angular face of the German was visible to the Guardian now. Androgynous, with yellow irises. Angular jaw, fine, thin mouth and scars punctuating her features. A bisected eyebrow- mercifully missing her eye, slashes at an angle through her mouth, and one thick one pulling down at one corner of her mouth and along her cheek. Above the fitted collar to the uniform were the tendrils of more scarring evident. White hair.
The face, upon a full look by the HUD the Guardian had revealed it was the face of the Lieutenant/die Leutnent, Gweniviere Nitzsche, aka [i der Nachtpirscher], a German super soldier turned prisoner-agent, and then official supervillain once she and hers took over the organization, Hydrangea a branch of MI6 during WWII and the Cold War that had absorbed the remnants of Medusa*, that was using her as an asset and was subsequently infultrated and consumed by a new Medusa. She was now considered an old hand in the hero/villain world.
She was responsible for the destruction and absorption of an American paramilitary security and intelligence branch into Medusa after the organization had planned a calculated 'culling', the killings of a number of small time vigilantes, organized heroes and villains alike, multiple kidnappings, and is accredited with a slew of political assassinations throughout the decades in different branches of the world including the killing of 25 Nazi officials at a summit in 1945.
[size11 Known Nemeses:
[u Captain Glory:] American, old hand super soldier Stephen Sound.
[u Poltergeist:] American, masked extremist left wing 'technomancer', vigilante. Wanted for terrorism and connection to UN event.
[u Moth:] Swedish, sniper assassin. Wanted for murder.
[u Dr. Blood:] Russian, old hand chemist/geneticist villain, Renata Varikozny. Presumed Dead.
[u Shade:] Afghani, shadow-body vigilante. Wanted for connection to UN event.
[u Cyborg:] Japanese, bionic vigilante. Wanted in connection to UN event.
[u Wight:] unknown, hacker. Wanted for technological theft and liquidation of assets and connection to UN event.
Most recently, this was the same woman who had headed a group of non-American vigilantes and had taken the UN hostage and threatened hostilities with the US if its agendas for unregulated, for-hire hero organizations being used as para-military policing bodies continued. Especially with the rise of scientifically creation of superpowered individuals, which is highest in the United States, they pointed their hostilities at them specifically.
The lines in her face deepened at the German's responses to her questions. They couldn't come to an arrangement, he didn't seem willing to share—probably assuming Kade was going to get in the way—and they weren't willing to give her a name either. Not even a 'yeah, I'm Obvious-Alias'... Now she began to wonder if this person was some kind of rogue agent; they certainly didn't play well with others, after all. If anything though, Kade had their face, scarred and unscarred and might be able to dig something up on one database or another if this was going to go any further south.
The sudden emergence of sirens in the distance woke Kade from her introspection that looked more like she was grilling her new companion. The lines deepened even more. The sprinklers must have been hooked up to a waterflow alarm. They'd be here soon, especially considering she set off the goddamn alarm in a warehouse supposedly full of [i fireworks]... [i Jesus Christ, Kade...]
Rubbing her metal fingers together she thinks, and then points at the bay doors she psychically closed earlier, trotting forward some closer to the mysterious man. [b “I'm assuming we both don't want to get caught in here by the authorities, so.”] She pats the German on the shoulder and then points off in to a different direction. [b “There's a cafe a few blocks from here, and I have equipment nearby to crack in to the computer. All I need is a copy of it's contents to get going.”] She tells the German and takes a few steps away and glances at the bay door, and then they begin opening. [b “Five minutes is all I need.”] Kade tells him, glancing over her shoulder at the shadowy figure, her dark brown eyes growing slightly darker. [b “And then I don't have to hunt you down.”]
Kind of ominous, but hopefully she got her point across. The most advantageous way for the both of them to get out of here was to split up, and she didn't exactly trust tall, dark, and German to meet her at the cafe, but she's been surprised before... If not, she had other ways of getting a hold of that computer; ones her new friend probably wouldn't be thrilled about.
So, rather than waiting around for a response, Kade makes a break for it. She had to get her equipment like she said, but she wouldn't wait long for the German. If they didn't come, she would make good on her promise of finding them herself. This was the only lead she had on Shadow Phantom and she did not intend on losing it!
Gweniviere's eyes flickered again over the oddly unscathed individual before her. Beyond memorizing her features, the Lieutenant would have sworn she had heard a grunt. She had heard [i pain]. Her eyes snap back to the stranger, eyes wary and cold. She also had a good stance holding the gun. It meant she knew how to use one. She had training.
A sneer pulled, crooked at the working side of her face. With the slice of light from one of the high windows, the woman shifted and it fell over her face for a moment, clear, and showed the heavy scarring on the one side of her face, dragging down the corner of her mouth that twitches a bit, responding with a broken earnestness, but doesn't complete the expression.
"[B I don't think this face could resemble anyone else, Mädchen,]" she said. And sure enough, the face in the HUD recollection from the wreckage was smooth, unblemished. But so similar structurally. Her hair in the harsh, orange sodium light through the window showed how white her hair was. Bone white.
Light fell, too, over the shined leather of the boots she was wearing to the knee. Matched with the cap, the ghostly silhouette of a supervillain caricaturized from any piece of media. The German monster. Pale faice, hair, eyes, and black on black coat, pants, boots.
The grin widened a little, amusement flickering across that face at how wide the shot in the dark at who Gweniviere was went. This woman had no idea who was in front of her, no idea at all. That explained not being shot on sight. It was good to know her story was disappearing from history books. Beyond that, it would bring a lot of attention exactly where she didn't want it if this woman knew what was going on.
"[B I highly doubt it,]" Gweniviere responded. There was nothing this woman could offer that Gweniviere would want, and she was mostly sure of that. Though, with guns out, she wasn't at all considering anything other than the slim nose of the firearm in front of her at present.
"[B What is the saying you're all so fond of-? 'This isn't in your juridiction.']" Her face hardened, voice going low, scraping the bottom of her register. "[B But you can trust that I will put an end to this.]"
But it was pleasing to her that someone had the gumption to make this leap of logic. Perhaps she would humor her with an anonymous 'gift' after they had combed through everything. Give the little police dog a bone.
The Lieutenant, the Hunter Ghost's brows arched, amusement flickering over her face. "[B It just so happens I don't,]" The Lieutenant responded, arching a brow bisected by a scar in the center. Not for this one, she didn't have a name.
And with that, the distant wail of a fire engine's siren, and the blaring croak at the end tugged at the edge of her attention.
Count Kade surprised when her mystery assailant didn't start shooting her again or make a break for it. Instead, they were at an impasse, the shooter aiming their gun for her, and Kade aiming her wrist cannons at them. They both had a clear shot of the other, and she wasn't about to underestimate her foe, but she [i did] feel a little more confident in her plasma cannons. And drones. And force-field. And considering how soaked the floor was as well, her tactile electric charge. In Kade's mind, this was 'check'.
The person opposite of Kade seemed to contrast her. Being tall, pale, and platinum blonde with dangerous yellow gold eyes, Kade herself was standing at 5'7”, dark brown skin and eyes to match, with her long black hair tied in to braids. They were even more so dressed for stealth than Kade who wore civilian clothes and a simple grey peacoat over top to house all of her gadgets and doodads... Maybe she should've came in her armour; it looked like this might be shaping up to be more than she was prepared for.
When they spoke, Kade's eye narrowed. She recognized that it was German that was just spat at her, but she hadn't learned German yet, so she wasn't sure if she should be insulted or not. That aside, what he said to her was interesting, more so the question than anything.
[b “I don't work for Shadow Phantom, if that's what you're asking, and I suspect you don't either.”] If they worked for Shadow Phantom, she suspected that her new German friend would have now tried to destroy the computer... Or shoot her. Again. This was a different predicament she was in now, and she wasn't sure how exactly to proceed. If this person was going after Shadow Phantom like she was, then perhaps this could become some kind of 'enemy of my enemy' sort of deal... you know, if he was willing to share, of course, which just added another complicated layer to this.
[b “I'm an independent looking in to...”] She squints and then blinks at the German, her HUD shifting, another screen popping up at the corner of her vision. It plays back her investigation at Nestro's Last Stand, speeding through the footage before stopping at a specific moment. Up the resolution, zoom, and... [b “Your eyes are different, but its definitely you. You were investigating at the crime scene.”] She slowly lowers her arm, the plasma cannon retracting in to its compartment, and Kade takes a slow tentative step, and almost like it was placed there for dramatic effect, she steps in to some light coming in from one of the windows, illuminating herself in the otherwise dark warehouse. [b “So was I.”]
Despite exposing herself and, you know, effectively giving up her weapon advantage, she still had her trusty force-field and drones if this was what made her potential ally shoot her. At least then she'd be pretty clear on allegiances, but for the most part, she felt very confident she wasn't about to get shot. Fairly confident... Sort of confident... Fifty-fifty... Maybe this was a bad gamble. [b “I'm assuming you and whoever you're working for wants to know what's on the hard drive, and so do I, so perhaps we can come to some kind of arrangement or agreement.”] Despite Shadow Phantom appearing to be some kind of hero, it looked like he wasn't making any friends. [b “Do you have a name or are we going to start shooting at each other again?”]
Gweniviere heard the door scrape closed again, sighing through her nose. Seems this individual wasn't alone then, was she? If it had been a straight shot to it, she might have considered just making that her trajectory, but it took at least a few moments to wrestle with something like that which she didn't have pinned like a perfect target against a wall.
And with that thought the [i pop pop pop] like light bulbs blowing echoed from the high warehouse ceiling as water started to pour from the sprinkler system. The Lieutenant sighed, heated, through her nose as she felt it hit her skin. It wasn't that light, coverage focused spray either, the nozzles were completely blown apart by getting shot with whatever that bright sparking energy was, turning it into just a high pressure hose with a blown head. Which also meant while it wasn't a bullet situation, it was some sort of charge of energy or something. Brilliant. Slip resistant boots or not, the floor was getting soaked.
When the other woman slid out of her cover, Gweniviere looked right at her, at least able in what light from the sodium lights through the windows that was offered, see her outline. Her gun went up, pointing back. Perhaps she could bluff with her about infallibility.
"[B Americans and their concepts of friendship baffle me,]" the Lieutenant said, staring down the barrel of her gun. She stood all of 6'4" down the narrow alleyway between them, dressed all in black. Gloves, coat, white hair combed now getting wet with the water from the sprinklers, and yellow gold eyes staring at Kade. Gweniviere held eye contact with the stranger, willing herself to be steady. She used the moments she was trying to get with the conversation to think.
However the sneer on her face was reflex, at being called lackey. "[B I'm no henchman, Mädchen,]" the German responded.
It did pique her attention that this person immediately brought up the Phantom. Her eyes narrowed, having thought for a moment this was some poor police officer with some swanky gear. And, she had sworn she had shot her. She was a marksman way back when, and even with this little pincher she had a relatively steady aim. Odd she wasn't wounded. Odd she had such non-police gear. "[B If you make any move, I will shoot first.]" She didn't ask questions. It was a habit she was working on. As a soldier you weren't the type to ask questions. You just did. It was something in most situations she was trying to be mindful of. As she said it she pressed back the hammer. In a gun like this with the repeater, she didn't need to, but it helped with dramatic effect. The sound of a gun cocking was a clear expression of seriousness.
"[B Who do you work for?]"
Her eyes flickered away for a moment as she said this, taking in surroundings. Teetering, dangerous piles of boxes and wooden crates filled with who knew what sort of paraphernalia made for an interesting and dangerous maze. It would be easy to topple them for the super soldier. Even with her springiness, this woman would still need to clamor over or get around heaps of debris bigger than herself somehow.
Sparks flew from bullets hitting the corner she was half manoeuvred around, and Kade instinctively flinched back behind. Fantastic. They weren't up for negotiating [i and] they had a gun. Those two things didn't exactly make her rethink her strategy, but it [i did] make her realize the dynamic of the situation... Well, [i sort of].
However, there really wasn't much time to think as the little screen in her vision flashed, alerting that her assailant hopped over the railing back to the main floor. Kade turned around and was about to sprint back down the stairs, but stopped when she was shot at again. And they [i hit]. When they struck her, the areas in which were hit—the hip and abdomen—flashed with a blue glow as the bullets ricocheted. Luckily she had the foresight to turn on her the force field in her belt, but again, the force field wasn't nearly as strong as the one installed in her armour, nor was her skin as tough as the armour itself. It didn't break any skin, but she'd be feeling those shots in the morning and counted herself lucky this person wasn't carry anything heavier than a pistol.
[b “Son of a bitch.”] Kade curses, but grab hold of the railing and flings herself over. Using her powers, the bay doors draw to a close again, cutting off an easy escape, and all three of her drones jump in to the building, going in to a formation above her head, small plasma cannons primed and at the ready. She could see where this guy was, hiding under the stairs, but quickly went on the move again... That was a pretty impressive move earlier and tactically sound, she hadn't expected that, which told Kade that this person was trained for this stuff. So perhaps Kade [i did] have to change tactics a little bit, and perhaps look at this with her SWAT training rather than acting like she was wearing her armour.
The drones float around for a moment, before two of the three begin firing upwards, striking individual sprinklers on the ceiling, causing a light torrent of water to fall over the area both of them were situated in, and soaking the warehouse floor. It might not seem like much, but Kade had plenty of other things up her sleeve she could utilize in tight quarters. And if things got really bad, she could call the Aegis armour here, but she was hoping it didn't have to come to that, and if it did, she'd have enough time.
[b “Whoever you are, stand down!”] Kade calls from around her cover. [b “Whatever it is Shadow Phantom is paying you, it isn't worth it. So I suggest you drop what you stripped from the computer and walk away before this gets messy. I won't miss again.”] So with that, she whirls out of cover, keeping her attention on the feeds that were locked on to this person as they played cat and mouse. [b “Final warning, friend.”]
She could hear the clicking of metal in the near-silent warehouse. Something was happening, and it sounded unfamiliar, launching her adrenaline immediately. Pulling a breath, she followed the sound as best as she could in the semi-darkness, keeping her light down for now. It was either flashlight to fall into darkness, or gun to kill whatever was in preventing her from getting out. Or. She stopped the soldier part of her brain. Try not to. But don't hesitate. We'll just see how this plays out. She didn't need the publicity that the Lieutenant was involved in this.
Suddenly the stairs up to the catwalk exploded in the pounding of feet on metal. Rats. The Lieutenant's body stiffened, hearing that very distinct sound of running footsteps heading straight for where she was standing. Her head whipped around, thoughts moving to catch up. Gun in hand and computer she'd rather not drop and damage the undoubtedly not a solid-state hard drive.
The shot that ate through the wall, or whatever it did to it, hit it, made the woman's head whip around, noting that they didn't make it [i all] the way up the stairs. No full body target. Smart-ish. Shit, fine. In one motion she huffed out her breath, drew and cocked her gun, aiming for the individual's shape, and shot back. She would be fine if she hit something. Meant it was head or neck, thereabouts. Her next motion was advancing, launching herself to hop onto and push off of the railing beside herself and give herself even higher ground, brief hang-time, and landing, delivering her weight into a roll she dodged out of and aimed for the underside of the stairs, shooting again once, twice through the bottom of the stairs where she roughly remembered them standing.
They shot first, so it meant she would shoot back. Simple. Dropping back onto the stairs uncomfortably close to the individual, the Lieutenant
The computer in her grasp wasn't heavy, just a cumbersome shape and size, especially one-handed. She had pressed it against her body to suffer it making her roll clumsy, pressing into her, but it was better to create space than rush someone in a straight line with a gun on you. Luckily it sort of had a handle on the front of it so she could sort of drop it into one hand easier than pinning it to her side with her arm once she was back on her feet. It would throw off her balance and stride less that way.
With a brief, cursory knowledge of what a hard drive looked like, and relative shelter for a moment, the Lieutenant put the modem on the floor and using her now freed hand tore off the side of it to reveal its interior. Nice, neat package inside, right? Rectangular, has a needle and a disc inside... There. She bent the housing out of the way with her thumb and tugged the item free, putting it in her breast pocket of her uniform and looked back up, on the move again. Now it was cat and mouse.
Well, this was quite the situation that Kade had gotten herself in to, wasn't it? Dark and quiet warehouse? Check. Loads of hiding spaces? Check. Person hiding who may or may not want to kill her? Double-check. Without her armour, this was becoming a less than ideal situation, especially since she accidentally forfeited her element of surprise. Whoever was in here knew she was coming, but on the flip-side, they probably didn't know she knew they were in here with them... Or that she had ways of finding them.
With a thought, one of her drones comes from where it was standing-by and floats next to her. As she turns her head, it rotates, looking and searching around the area, its video HUD at the top right of her vision in infrared. Wherever this person was hiding, she'd eventually find them, and then... She blinked. And then what? That posed another problem in this sort of improvised plan of hers. Sure, she was ex-SWAT so she knew her way around a fight, but if this was Shadow Phantom or a super powered person she was mostly woefully unprepared... which is what she guessed is exactly what she prepared for.
From her pocket, she pulls a thick metal band and places it around her wrist. The thing mechanically morphs and slides up her arm to her elbow, and down to cover most of her hand, save for her fingers. Afterwards, she presses something on her belt and there's a tiny blue flash before disappearing. This stuff didn't exactly provide her with the protection or firepower her Aegis armour did, but it hopefully would be enough, and would hopefully be scary... Because at this point, she got a [i ping!] on the second floor. A heat signature, and considering the height and size, it looked to be an adult male trying to move covertly in the direction opposite of Kade. So that left her with some options: confront them or let them escape... Like hell she was going to let them get away. They could have the answers she was looking for!
So she makes for the stairs at a leisurely pace, and the second she gets there, she grips the railing and sprints up to the second floor, he drone following closely behind her and keeping her target locked. She didn't know if this person would make a break for one of the exits or not, but at this point it didn't matter; where Kade ran, she cut off one of the ways back down to the main floor, and thanks to her drone she knew exactly where this guy was and could anticipate where he'd go next. And that he was holding something.
The second this person was in her eye-line, she raises her right fist, the metal gauntlet opening up on the wrist, and a small mounted cannon pops up. She stops, takes aim, and fires, blowing a neat hot little hole in a wall near where the man could see. A warning shot, and one to make sure this person knew they meant business. This dinky little blaster might be a pea-shooter in comparison to her Aegis armour, but it certainly would do the trick in a pinch.
[b “Turn around slowly and drop the computer.”] Kade tells the person. Whoever they were, she was intent on getting answers about Shadow Phantom and what exactly has been going on in the super hero-ing community as a result.
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