The Monsters Within
@ProPro @Old Amsterdam @yoshua171 @BCTheEntity @Lugubrious
Lillian, Evelyn, and Messiah
As the Beast continued to make mincemeat of the many clones, Evelyn made her way into the warehouse proper and--noticing that Lillian was no longer in her changer form--immediately tried to locate her. Her efforts were to no avail as even with the Beast’s prodigious senses she couldn’t pick out the girl in the tide of clones and the chaos of combat.
A sharp crack ringing out causing her to cover her ears, Evelyn scanned the room, using her projection’s senses to locate the origin of the sound. As she did another boom--the firing of a gun she realized--echoed through the warehouse. Wincing, her ears ringing, Evelyn drew her modified bo-staff from its place and extended it. Dean’s clones were closing in and she needed a way to defend herself while she used the Beast to reduce the number of clones and hopefully find Lillian.
Springing into motion she struck a Dean across the face, and spun the staff, warding a number of them off before feinting a thrust, swinging as she retracted and then extended one side of the staff. It struck two Deans in succession, knocking them out. She used their prostrate bodies as platforms, jumping into the space to strike of the clones. She had to fend them off, but god was this terrifying….
Meanwhile, the Beast had made its way to the center of the throng of bodies and was carving a bloody path through everything in its way. There was blood, stone, wood, and metallic detritus all over the floor, and in some cases, protruding from clones--living or otherwise.
As she made her way in the direction she’d last heard Margrave and his gun--fighting through the throng of clones--something strange happened. The connection to her projection warped, then thinned, then faded as if into the distance. Spinning her staff she created distance around her, before stumbling slightly as her head throbbed. The nausea lasted less than a second, and she managed to ward off the Deans and climb onto a crate to continue towards Margrave and get a better view of the warehouse.
However, her thoughts were totally interrupted when a deafening roar echoed through the building, hurting her ears once more. Even worse however was the lurching feeling as the Beast turned all at once in the direction of the roar’s source, crouched--absorbing a sizable portion of the concrete floor and the bloody, mushy leavings of the clones into itself--before launching itself in a powerful, floor cratering, lunge.
Reaching out for the projection, she tried to force it to demanifest itself, only to encounter a crazed cacophony of psychic noise, scrabbling her thoughts and causing her to teeter in place and fall to one knee.
She reached again, but this time on top of the noise there was a resistance, a thick muddy mental mire that she had to get through. Like trying to wade through tar to hit a switch, but the tar enveloped her completely. Wrenching her mind from it, she almost threw up, but instead swallowed hard and screamed at the top of her lungs--desperation writ in her words.
The Beast struck Lillian’s form, likely head first, essentially bludgeoning its head directly into her side with the entire weight and strength of its body. Such was the force that it made an audible CRACK on impact. A hollow feeling descended on Evelyn, her mouth agape as the tears that had welled up in her eyes spilled over.
In complete shock, she didn’t even notice as a not inconsiderable number of Deans clambered atop the crates after her and attacked, punching and kicking her. She toppled to the crate, calling out in pain, before curling herself into a tight ball, covering her head with her arms.
As Lillian was moving away from her allies and the original group of Parahuman villains they had encountered, something very solid, and very hard, collided with her skull. Crashing to the ground, crushing a dozen clones beneath her mass, everything went dark.
The Dino quickly disappeared, leaving the unconscious form of Lillian on the ground in its place. Her leg, still cut, began bleeding steadily. If anything, it seemed worse than earlier.
Further worse than that was the large mess of colors that was the right side of her face and neck, as bruising quickly began to form from the impact of the Beast.
Several moments passed, the Dean army ignoring the limp body, before Lillian coughed, struggling to turn to a sitting position. She looked around in a rather detached way, a hand coming up to touch her face as a look of horror and pain stretched across it.
”Why…?” she murmured before something clicked in her head. ”... They just won't… Do it…” she grunted, fishing around her uniform. No, nothing she could use for this. Nothing that would end it.
With a groan, Lillian pulled herself to her feet after several attempts at standing failed, moving towards the clones that had noticed her again. They had powers. One of them would end this for her, she was sure of it.
Messiah was barely paying attention to most of what was happening. Relatively little was getting through to her outside of her reckless path of death through the horde of clones about her - a couple of crashes, signifying the arrival of Overlook and the hurling back of Thunderbolt’s train respectively, were most of her external perception, the rest of her being focused on not noticing how much gore was strewn about her, how many dead and dissolved versions of her deceased friend were giving her trouble gripping the floor, right up until the moment she spied the villain called Heartless picking up Lillian.
Making contact with her. Touching her. How dare he.
HOW DARE HE.
Go to him. Make sure he pays for his sins. Those about you are not of the choir; they matter not. They. Just. Kill them. They aren’t alive, but kill them.
More and more clones fell to her onslaught. She was a veritable whirlwind of burning light and heat and radiation, and she was draining herself rapidly in the process. Surely, she couldn’t keep up such an effort for much longer... but she had to, for the good of her Wards, and for the good of Denver itself, starting with this maniac’s end.
Finally, she drew close, just as he began an assault against another, female, fake Dean. And with rather little coherency, she all but screamed at him: ‘LEAVE MY TEAM ALONE!’ In fact, she’d have done far more, but it was at that stage that Lillian transformed into... well, a much larger version of her transformed state than she normally would. And her roar was a rival to the gunshot that had.
The shot. Alessa very nearly threw up on the spot.
Before she could recover, a small horde of Deans descended upon her, planting multiple fists and feet into her frame before she emitted a pulse of heat enough to boil their flesh. By then, Lillian had rampaged a distance away, leaving a path of dead Deans in her wake.
And then the projection lunged. It smashed into Lillian, and toppled her, and knocked her unconscious.
The red mist that covered Alessa’s thoughts as a result made all those corpses seem briefly less horrifying. Tulpa was being attacked, and was unable to control it, which meant it was a threat.
It was hurting her team. It had to die.
With a scream of blood-soaked fury, Alessa aimed both hands, and fired an intense orb of white light and heat and UV radiation toward it from mere meters away. Wood and steel and concrete vaporized in its nigh-instantaneous wake, set alight by its passage, and at least one stack of boxes began to topple as it was destabilised; bodies melted as it passed through them, and even those not in its direct path felt but a fraction of the intense heat it emitted. It struck the Beast, and kept burrowing into it as it melted and disintegrated its form, and all but exploded within its frame as a result. In what amounted to mere milliseconds, the Beast went from whole to practically limbs and a head.
All but destroyed, the projection turned murderous, alien eyes on Messiah, took a step and then finally demanifested. But Tulpa. Evelyn. She was still. They were.
With a snarl of only somewhat lessened anger, Alessa’s attention turned to the remaining clones, and a swipe of her hand sent a wave of burning light across the warehouse, setting alight a great many more mindless clones, including most of those attacking Tulpa, and otherwise leaving a wake of rapidly-spreading fire wherever it passed. How dare they. She hadn’t hurt anyone else with it, thank God, but how DARE those clones hurt her friends. There was more death where that came from for them.
Except there wasn’t. The orb of death had taken most of Alessa’s remaining energy reserves, and that last beam had taken whatever was left, save the little being absorbed and near-instantly spewed out to maintain her disguise. In other words, Alessa was essentially powerless, in a burning warehouse full of corpses. And meat. And blood. And. Foes. And Dean.
‘Oops,’ she quietly murmured. She had but a fraction of a second to process her error before realising, hell on Earth, WHY was Lillian still trying to get herself killed?! Charging toward her younger ally, she grabbed one of the girl’s hands and began to run toward the back of the warehouse, as that direction seemed to have the least number of clones. Now was the time for her krav maga training to kick in, if ever...!
As it happened, events transpired to suit her plan. Lieutenant Reynolds, seeing an obvious issue with his charge falling to her knees in the middle of a fight, had practically dragged Epsilon back up to her feet, bringing her with him as he fired toward whichever Dean clones seemed appropriate to knock them out - first those few who were still assaulting Tulpa, and then some of those in the path of Messiah and Tiger Lily as they made their escape attempt.
‘Tulpa, are you okay?’ Reynolds asked, concerned for her well-being, but nonetheless quite stern. ‘I need you to get up, we’re getting you and the other Wards out of here. Johnson, Skeetz, status report!’ she yelled into the comms unit, demanding her fellow soldiers’ attention.
‘Sir, I haven’t heard a response from Skeetz for a while!’ came Johnson’s reply. ‘I… I fear he may-’
‘Bullshit! Find him, then get him and Margrave out of here alive!’ The Lieutenant was understandably short with his orders - a dead soldier on what was supposed to be a routine mission was an entirely unacceptable loss, and failure here would not be tolerated.
‘Understood,’ Johnson murmured into her comms, before turning to her transformative charge. ‘Come on, Margrave, we’re finding Skeetz and making a retreat. Please don’t make a big deal out of this order, too.‘ With that said, she pushed on, deliberately trying to press the Margrave forward ahead of her to try and make sure he didn’t fall behind - she lacked the patience, and with the warehouse starting to burn, they both lacked the time. She made her effort to head toward the back of the warehouse, where she suspected she’d find Skeetz in short order; if not… well, that would be a bridge to cross when she got to it.
Lillian nearly sighed with relief as she felt a hand close around her, before realizing she was being led away from death.
For a moment, she was angry.
And then her eyes caught who had her, and she let it happen. ”I'm sorry…” she whispered, feeling even lower, more conflicted. What would her death do to Alessa?
Her gaze caught a clone raising his hands at them, and Lillian simply reacted. As a shotgun of oddly shaped, undefinable matter ejected from nowhere at them, Lillian shoved Alessa whole bodily, tumbling with the older girl. She felt a stabbing pain in her back where a piece of... whatever that was had sliced through her side.
”Not you. You're not…. Allowed to hurt…” Lillian grumbled. ”Should've just… Let me…”
Lillian was upset. Saddening, but necessary. She couldn't die. Not like. Not-
Suddenly, she was pushed to the ground. Something lodged in her arm, through the kevlar, dripping blood, but the pain unnoticed for adrenaline. And in exchange...
And she was still insisting she
Nonononono not another one
She wouldn't let
She wanted to kill the clones. She couldn't, so she wouldn't let Lillian die instead. Next best thing. Messiah kept moving.