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๐•Ž๐•–๐••: ๐•†๐•”๐•ฅ. ๐ŸŸ, ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜ / / ๐”น๐•’๐•๐•• โ„๐•–๐•’๐•• ๐•€๐•ค๐•๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•• / / ๐”พ๐•–๐•Ÿ๐•–๐•ฃ๐•’๐• ๐”ธ๐•ฃ๐•–๐•’ / / ~๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿž๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ

The storm had finally passed through the area and by then Zhangโ€™s private military forces had long been dispatched, a special squadron kept under direct communication with Kardos and entirely separate from both the government forces assigned to USARILN East and the bolstering additions of hired PMCs. Three tandem-rotor helicopters received supplies, weapons, and a ten-man team before lifting off from their base in Nassau and flying along the coastline over the waters of the Bermuda.

Their arrival was, as expected, too late after the storm and the escaped Amigos had long vanished from sight, skirting the abandoned Fort Caswell nearby and untraceable in the Intracoastal Waterway that easily expedited their path to a safe house. Too many rivers and exit points branched from the Waterway to check and the soldiers had no interest in hunting the Amigos at the moment regardless. They were more interested in securing the island and the estate, in particular the students still alive.

๐•Ž๐•–๐••: ๐•†๐•”๐•ฅ. ๐ŸŸ, ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜ / / ๐”น๐•’๐•๐•• โ„๐•–๐•’๐•• ๐•€๐•ค๐•๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•• / / โ„•๐• ๐•ฃ๐•ฅ๐•™ ๐”ผ๐•Ÿ๐•• ๐• ๐•— ๐•‹๐• ๐•จ๐•Ÿ / / ~๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿž๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ

In a half-destroyed house at the edge of the subnatural settlement, a flash of blue-streaked hair ended when the teenage boy collapsed into a chair, breaths coming in desperate and ragged. Of all people, he should have been able to escape first, but by now the other Amigos were either gone or dead, though the wall of water he had seen earlier was enough indication that Nathaniel at least was alive.

And he had seen Isabelle die with his own eyes. Few people liked herโ€”and they were justified. Half-crazy and doped up on drugs nearly all the time, Isabelle wasnโ€™t anyoneโ€™s first choice for company. But she hadnโ€™t minded when Chuck stayed in her hovel of a home, the tiny townhouse bare minimum lodgings provided by the Father when it became clear there was no point granting Isabelle luxuries. All she cared for was her drugs and the soothing high that accompanied them. At first it had been curiosityโ€”one of their better subnaturals living like a dogโ€”but it became clear enough when Isabelle spent nearly all her free time wreaking havoc in her home or dazed on the sofa, lost in chemical dreams.

But she had her lucid moments, rare though they were between the rage of her crashes and the insanity of her highs.

โ€œChuck, was it?โ€

He remembered bruised legs hanging off the bed while her arms drew nonsense in the air, the scatter of heroin injections like small patches of freckles on her pasty skin. He hadnโ€™t answered, sitting at the unbalanced dining table nearby because Isabelle had sliced away one of the tableโ€™s legs and Chuck had tried to duct tape it back together, only to have her kick at that same leg later.

โ€œWhyโ€™re you always around here, moleque? It smells here. โ€˜Cuz I donโ€™t wash anything. And itโ€™s gross. โ€˜Cuz I donโ€™t clean anything.โ€

He remembered telling her he didnโ€™t know and knowing it wasnโ€™t true.

โ€œMaybe I like the company, too,โ€ she had answered, guessing the reason. โ€œMaybe Iโ€™ll dye your boring hair sometime.โ€

He remembered thinking she was lucid when she told him to run.

The scent of blood still clung to him, lingering even though the splatters on his windbreaker had dried. He didnโ€™t know if the person behind the drugs and the psychosis was worth it, but he missed her all the same.

They knew what their ends had to inevitably be, but Isabelle had been unpredictable to the last. The group looked down on her. Hated her, even, for various reasons, but none of them would have told him to run. In a sudden burst of fear and anxiety that he had been holding back since their first encounter with the soldiers, the teenager finally felt the shudders of dry sobs wracking his body. Alone, without even Isabelle, he was almost defenseless. That should have been the worst part. But against all logic his heaviest emotions sprang from the grief of her death.

He had asked her once why she used so many drugs.

โ€œGod helps those who help themselves, Chuck. And amen.โ€

โ€โ€ฆAmen, Isabelle,โ€ he whispered, sitting up and pressing fingers to his eyes. He didnโ€™t know what she would say to him like thisโ€”ever impossible to guessโ€”but she wouldnโ€™t be resting any more than absolutely necessary.

He needed to find transportation. Or at least a place to hide until he could figure out a way off the island. The collapsed caves they had chased the generator mage into came to mind and he decided to let his fatigue recover first before making the jumps there.

The sound of helicopters caught his attention first and he didnโ€™t need to be Thi to put two and two together. He crouched low, watching the specks in the sky turn into his ticket off the island. His small pocket knife had been useless the entire time, but now he wondered if he could put it to good use. It was a reckless plan, but with the ferry gone he had no way of knowing when any future transportation would arrive, especially since the islandโ€™s inhabitants never seemed to travel.

His palm ached with the pressure of the knifeโ€™s handle.


๐•Ž๐•–๐••: ๐•†๐•”๐•ฅ. ๐ŸŸ, ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜ / / ๐”น๐•’๐•๐•• โ„๐•–๐•’๐•• ๐•€๐•ค๐•๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•• / / โ„ค๐•™๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•˜'๐•ค ๐”ผ๐•ค๐•ฅ๐•’๐•ฅ๐•– / / ~๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿž๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ

Aldrich had finished checking the bodies of the dead subnaturals by the time Zhangโ€™s reinforcements arrived proper, the helicopters touching down in the large clearing around the estate. A tall, brutish woman with short black hair swept back across her head stepped out in black body armor ahead of the other nine soldiers, pausing at the sight of Aldrich. She scowled, the piercing at the right corner of her lips accentuating her distaste. An angry scar marred the left side of her jaw, running ragged to her nose while an old, vicious burn across her left temple ruined the remaining skin on that half of her face.

โ€œMargot,โ€ the older man greeted, though his face remained carefully neutral.

โ€And here I thought Iโ€™d finally find you in pieces,โ€ she growled back, voice coarse from years of chain smoking.

โ€If youโ€™re looking for the students, theyโ€™re in town. Safe, I assume. We lost one.โ€

โ€Not my business. Iโ€™m just here to retrieve whatโ€™s left.โ€ She gestured to the other nine soldiers to remain at the estate, heading into town alone. A hand scratched at the mark on her neck, scraping the rough fabric of the uniformโ€™s collar against her skin. It was just an old habit now. That infernal itch had long ago vanished.

Repost for consistency.

@VarionusNW Putting mine and Red's CS here to slap you into working on the OOC and to bump the thread.

๐•Ž๐•–๐••: ๐•†๐•”๐•ฅ. ๐ŸŸ, ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜ / / ๐”น๐•’๐•๐•• โ„๐•–๐•’๐•• ๐•€๐•ค๐•๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•• / / โ„ค๐•™๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•˜'๐•ค ๐”ผ๐•ค๐•ฅ๐•’๐•ฅ๐•– / / ~๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ

She heard songs and screams in her ears, the high of her unholy cocktail of drugs coloring the world in blotches of technicolor. But Isabella dared say she could see clearer when the chemicals rushed through her veins, because without them she was lifeless. A husk of a human. Even breathing felt like it was too much effort. Every crash after the highs rendered her almost immobile in their severity and she often mustered only enough energy to inject herself with another home-brewed concoction, pushing the dosage of lethality every time. Thi had "repaired" her more times than she could count and by now the surgeon had modified her body to withstand the vicious abuse, because the high was all she lived for at times.

Her whips cut through wood and flesh alike as she swung her arms, letting Chuck quickstep her easily away from any guns leveled in their ever-changing direction. Martin had stood still for a second too long after the maid had blinded most of them, just a millisecond out of Chuck's grasp. His bullet-ridden body lay mixed in a pile of dismembered guards, but even with one of theirs lost the soldiers' numbers had dwindled now to a weary handful while the injured maid had retreated into the mansion, too out of the way to prioritize over the gunfire aimed at them.

The most troublesome of the lot was, surprisingly, the old butler whose every shot seemed perfectly timed to force Chuck's spatial powers and prevent Isabella from striking with her usual precision. It was as if the longer they fought the man, the more he could read in to their movements and the limitations of Chuck's power.

With Isabella on the ride, the spacewalker could no longer jump the large distances he would have alone and even with the lessened burden of Martin he was already getting caught on the timing of the jumps. The only thing saving them from a bullet through the heart was the fact that the old man could not yet guess which direction Chuck would jump in, though he had already figured out the rhythm of the teleports. It was imperative that he die first, and even in her feverish state the drugged Aberration could tell they would be the losers in the long run, especially now that Chuck was forced to jump before she could even lash out at the remaining batch of soldiers. Her whips went wide and sliced clean through the air, but already the short-range teleporter was jumping again, giving her no time to reposition or focus. Just as they shifted away from the position, the unmistakable sensation of cutting air whizzed by her ear. Closer. He was getting closer and Chuck was starting to tire from pushing himself to jump so frequently with another person on board.

The words that came out of her mouth surprised her as much as they did the boy she shoved away.

"Run!" A bullet caught her in the right shoulder but her other arm was already swinging, the whip faster than the soldiers could dodge. The smell of seared flesh flooded the field before the morning breeze carried it away. The last three soldiers of the 30-man team opened fire, the bullets puncturing flesh and shattering bone in equal payback to the last whip that cut across their torsos. In the backline stood the butler, already firing at the space around Isabella, preparing for the teleporter to dash in for the body.

There was a hoarse scream, but the boy was already gone, moving swiftly away from the scene of the carnage when he realized the steely eyed manservant seemed all too aware of what he had wanted to do. And that the man had deliberately allowed the soldiers to draw much of Isabella's ire, keeping himself at a safe distance until he had figured them out.

It was true what they said of monsters like the Director Zhang--she always gathered more of the same to her side.

๐•Ž๐•–๐••: ๐•†๐•”๐•ฅ. ๐ŸŸ, ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜ / / ๐”น๐•’๐•๐•• โ„๐•–๐•’๐•• ๐•€๐•ค๐•๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•• / / ๐•‹๐• ๐•จ๐•Ÿ / / ~๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿž๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

The small town had taken the flooding in stride, much of the water destroying nothing that hadn't already been left to decay. At the sight of the distant wall of water, many had crowded into the only sturdy building in town, an obvious effort on the Director's part to inject more modern conveniences into the subnaturals' lives. Construction had been stopped partway, however, and unkempt scaffolding snaked around a quarter of the large motel where an entire wing had been left unfinished. With the haphazard way the equipment had been abandoned, the removal of the workers seemed more forced than willing.

And yet it was that building that easily withstood the weak edge of the tidal wave, minimal flooding seeping into the main courtyard and forming a large, shallow pool outside the motel's main entrance.

Here Andrew had gathered much of the remaining residents who were willing to leave their borderline hovels of homes. Some had powers that would hold against a bit of flooding, but most were glad to make use of the Director's gesture of--dare they say--affection. No one was under any illusions that the surge of water was natural and their de facto leader seemed more than ready for it, her ponytail as cleanly tied back as ever and her makeup impeccable.

She was the first to notice, long before Chuck stepped in range of the town's borders, that an entirely different sort of stranger was approaching, one that didn't belong in a way different from the students who had recently arrived. Her head turned to the direction of the boy's approach, realizing that only the motel's bright lights shone so effectively in the ramshackle village. He was approaching at an impossible pace and before she knew it the presence was at the door.

And it knocked politely at that.

Her raised hand meant no one was allowed to approach the door. The knocking grew more insistent. Then turned into fists pounding against the reinforced door. It would hold.

Before long, the presence had moved away again, covering dozens of meters instantaneously until it was out of her range.

She allowed herself a moment to breathe before noticing, once more, a group approaching. But these individual signatures she could recognize from the weeks at the estate and her occasional visit to the area's outskirts to pick up the bare minimum of necessary supplies from Aldrich. The man always urged her to take more--the mansion had enough to feed an army--but she had always refused out of the pride that wanted to believe she could lead the shambling town to some glorious revolution. It was a child's dream, but in the end she always refused the surplus, bringing back only what could sustain and urging the townsfolk to remain wary. To learn sustainable living. To fight against their reliance on the fickle kindness of their esteemed Director.

These kids shackled to their overlord's whims and allowances offended her on a personal level, for they had more strength than most of the island's inhabitants combined, yet bowed their heads to a woman whose only positive attribute was her insane drive.

"Mary...?" a man nearby called her name, placing a rough, weathered hand on the shoulder of her pleated blouse.

She blinked and patted his hand in assurance.

"The Institute's undomesticated dogs are coming. I don't know who the previous one was, but it wasn't any of ours. Not even remotely."

"Should we let the kids in? Even though they ain't welcome?" he asked, blue-gray eyes wide.

"Only as long as they need to be here. And only if they wise up and come here first. Otherwise we leave them out there to fend for themselves."

To be fair, I do plan to have more time skips now that we're well past the point of figuring out daily routines and general habits for the characters.

Reasonable time skips, of course, like 500 years into the future.
Interested! I'd like to make a mermaid, who is always in mermaid form so requires a wheelchair for terrestrial motion. Does this sound acceptable?
90% of these statements are incredibly false.

๐•Ž๐•–๐••: ๐•†๐•”๐•ฅ. ๐ŸŸ, ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜ / / ๐”น๐•’๐•๐•• โ„๐•–๐•’๐•• ๐•€๐•ค๐•๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•• / / ๐•†๐•—๐•—๐•ค๐•™๐• ๐•ฃ๐•– / / ~๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ

Rainwater streamed off the wooden boards of the pier as Thi fiddled with the controls in the ferryโ€™s wheel house. It was an old thing, despite its solid functionality, and the dashboard offered only two throttles and two prop rotators, along with the standard speed gauges, warning lights, and ignition switch. For a moment, the simple lack of a key almost became a miracle on the studentsโ€™ behalf, but the woman was dauntless and by the time she had donned her strange, needling glove and mapped out the tumblers of the switch, the rest of the Amigos had reached the flooded deck of the ferry, the heater mage finally removing his hand from the wall. Steam still issued loudly from the surface of the packed sand and dirt, but already the temperature was cooling in the onslaught of rain and wind.

โ€œGet us going,โ€ Nathaniel ordered entering the room well ahead of the other two and already remotely lifting the remaining Aberrations onto the boat. He dropped Angelโ€™s cauterized, eviscerated torso in a corner of the wheel house, checking only briefly to ensure she was alive before returning outside to stand on the boatโ€™s deck. A moment later, their surgeon had fashioned a grisly key from โ€œextraโ€ bone, the vestiges of her humanity that she had long replaced with her mechanical augmentations. Losing a metatarsal hardly fazed her. The boatโ€™s engine sputtered to life, the lights flickering on inside the wheel house and along the front and back of the boat as the beams cast bright cones into the dawning light. A few moments of adjusting to the strange controls and they were off, the ferry veering clumsily away from the harbor until Thi seemed to catch on to the nuances of the levers.

As they reached an appreciable distance from the shoreline, Orla released her powerโ€™s effects, the structures crumbling swiftly back into mounds of sand and rock while the trees and sandstorm broke down as well when the other Aberrations followed suit, almost in perfect synchronization.

And the sun was rising.

Dawn came with the storm finally breaking. Rain still pattered along the island stubbornly and a milder wind insisted on accompanying the weakening bluster, but natureโ€™s boiling rage had died down to a simmer and the light illuminated slowly the wreckage of the lighthouse roof scattered across the beach as well as the battered faces of the students and surviving staff. Two broken bodies in black suits and one wearing the unmistakable frill of the maidsโ€™ aprons lay near the far edge of the studentsโ€™ impromptu frontlines where the marching trees had carelessly crushed anything underfoot, including hapless staff who had tried to help in whatever way they could. The distinct visage of something large and winged towards what remained of the lighthouseโ€™s head caught Nathanielโ€™s attention and already he was motioning towards it, calling the others to bear. Most of their powers were rendered useless at sea.

Not his.

And Teitelโ€™s orb had yet to be tested in real combat.

Nathaniel had never really believed in overkill; it was a sentiment the Father shared.

The dark blue orb pulsed in front of him, glistening like a jewel in the dim sunlight peeking over the horizon, like it knew what he planned to do, and this time he took it in hand, grim, because they had warned about the aftereffects of Teitelโ€™s unstable creations. The man promised deadly resultsโ€”guaranteed them, evenโ€”with equally deadly consequences if he were to be caught in the aftermath of the weaponโ€™s use.

He didnโ€™t trust anyone to have his back, nor did he trust them not to throw him overboard once they realized his weakened state. But to have a winged monster chasing them without any of their long-range offense was a problem he refused to have.

So the orb flashed bright blue in his hand and the ocean shuddered beneath him.

โ€For a brief moment, Natey, you might almost be a god!โ€

It was Teitelโ€™s grating voice, the manโ€™s throat seared from a lifetime of chain smoking and relentless drinking. To be granted godhood from vermin who couldnโ€™t cure his own lung cancer and would have surely died if they hadnโ€™t found Thi was bittersweet at best.

The memory fizzled away with the surge of power that raced through him, rippling like the ocean below. Above and below. Around. The water that roared. An infinite cascade of energy that Teitelโ€™s weapon unlocked and beyond that vastness a howling riptide that whirled like the darkest depths of the ocean come to bear witness. Something shook beneath his feet and he looked down to see the water rising, as far as the eye could see. Droplets drifting upwards, the rain falling back into the sky. Voices whispered something behind him and he turned to look at his allies, their faces slack with fear. It took the vague reflection in the windows of the wheel house for him to realize he was glowing the same blue as the orb, a beacon brighter than the lighthouse had been.

And still the suffocating ocean crashed onto him, unaware of the vesselโ€™s limits. The orb screamed with the pressure, the sound a keening note in the air. Always imperfectโ€”that was the unerring condition with everything Teitel created, though the man would be hard-pressed to admit it. Power beyond belief, but hampered here and broken there. It wouldnโ€™t lift that segment of the island. Wouldnโ€™t crush it. Too heavy, too dense. Unless Nathaniel wanted to drink even more of the dizzying ocean above. More and more until he burst. He fought not to give in.

Water spiked into a wave a few dozen meters from the shore, the sea jutting into the sky and clawing upwards, growing higher until it dwarfed even the lighthouse high on its cliff. A tidal wave, building and building. More than enough to flood the beach and into the forest far behind it. The sky bled rain in twisting funnels of water that fed the coming disaster and just when the the rising wall of water and unwitting fish seemed to threaten the very clouds above, it slowed.

Then fell forward.

Water slammed into the shore, sweeping all the students outside of the lighthouse into a flood of icy ocean and lifting them into the seaโ€™s grasp. It threw them back with the current, sending them tumbling towards the forest where the trees stood fast as a breakwater for the tidal wave. Inside the lighthouse, the windows shattered with the force of the impact, rain and sea pouring into the damaged building and filling a quarter of it before settling back out slowly as the wave passed. Everything above the tunnels, up to the third floor, was buoyed upward briefly and then dropped unceremoniously into a scattered pile of wet debris and damaged furniture. Water rushed through the edges of the trapdoor and into the tunnels below, filling it up almost waist-high before the deluge stopped and drained further down the tunnel. The sturdy lighthouse withstood the attack, though worse for the wear, its decades-old construction made with the oceanโ€™s anger in mind.

But not a dragon. Chris was slammed back against the lighthouse, cracks webbing out from the point of impact. His left wing had its comparatively thin bones snapped like twigs. Allison and Kusari were similarly thrown by the vicious wave, the Aberration obtaining a fractured rib as she was thrown back against the lighthouse while the immortalโ€™s ankles twisted as the water hurled her backwards and head over heels. A heavy mass knocked Zoe off her feet in time with the rush of ocean, forcing a poor landing that snapped her wrist and left her bruised. The body weighed on the girl as the tide returned, black-suited torso thoroughly mangled from an encounter with the walking trees earlier. The remaining corpses of the butler and maid washed up beside a breathless Callan.

By the time the attack had passed, the ferry had already made it to a safe distance away from the shore, a bright blue light shining on its deck where Nathaniel stood.

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