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ARCHIE


"What kind of disaster are we talking about here?"

“The likes of which that may put the Promise, and every living soul on it, at risk of demise.”

Some conscious force was behind the breakout last month, and it would be safe to assume that they are planning worse for the future.”

“We don’t know when, or how, or why.”

“But we believe it best to be prepared.”


NATALIE


"I came here to get treatment! Because there was nothing Earth could do for me anymore! How am I going to be of any help to anyone else?! That's supposed to be your job!"

“Miss Ellis, we understand that you are experiencing a degree of mental anguish, and for our apparent disregard of it at the present moment, we apologize.”

“But we are not directly recruiting you into any specific plan of action. We are informing you of what may likely descend upon you in the future, and advising that a shared network of information could aid in lessening the damages.”

“We stated before that we occasionally serve as counselors. If you wish, we can discuss your personal issues at length another time, and potentially aid you in that regard.”

“For that, however, you would have to trust us enough to speak with us at all. And that’s something you will ultimately have to decide for yourself once we’re all done here.”

“But if you are willing, we are always available.”


ELI


"I want to ask the person that you answer to."

“A party concerned for the future of both the Promise and beyond.”

“As well, wishing to remain unidentified, and we intend to respect said wish.”

“We understand this answer is unsatisfactory.”

“But even we have rules we must abide by.”


KEATON


“Letting us know who we’ll ultimately be helping is important, but so is winning our trust. Why should we trust you? Why do you see us as ‘core components’? Trust is a two-way street, so if you could explain in a way that helps us come to the same conclusion, that would be great.”

“As we explained to Miss Wessex, we cannot elaborate on the nature of our supervising party.”

“We understand trust is an issue, and of course, we don’t expect all of you to trust us right away. Miss Wessex and Agent Radvi have their own opinions by now.”

“That is why we are laying most of our cards out on the table at this moment. So you can unpack it all at your own pace, and when we speak again, you’ll have a better forming of your own opinion.”

“We are individuals concerned with the safety of this station’s inhabitants, and we feel - given the events you’ve all been involved in - that you will ultimately end up in better positions than most to aid said inhabitants.”

“It’s not a choice we’ve made on our own accord.”

“But it’s how things have all fallen into place.”


“A few more things. To confirm, were you in the room during Lynn’s interview? If you don’t mind me asking, could you explain why you were able to do that, able to watch us in this mall and know precisely when and where we’d all be gathered together if you can’t even locate a suspect for a staff murder?”

“Yes, we were there.”

“For all of your interviews, not just Miss Holmes’.”

“We can hide our presence without affecting our own perception of our surroundings.”

“Invisibility, in short. It’s all the cloak-”

“-without the dagger. We apologize, but it was at our superior’s request. And Chief Gennedy… disapproves of our presence, during matters of police business.”

“As for the suspect, locating them is what we are attempting to accomplish.”

“We can go anywhere, but we don’t always know what the right place and the right time are.”


“And why was Salamandra aboard the ship? She was arrested years ago, and there was absolutely no reason she shouldn’t have been sentenced to death. Why was she aboard this ship? Why were any of those criminals who escaped last month aboard this ship?”

“At first, it was for the purpose of rehabilitation.”

“When that failed, it turned to incarceration.”

“Criminals who can accrue such high body counts in such short amounts of time were deemed best put far away from Earth’s populace as feasibly possible.”

“And this station was considered the best available option, in that regard.”

“Having an educational facility within arm’s reach of a prison is an awful situation, most assuredly.”

“But they are both governed by one party. A party who, ultimately, take the safety and considerations of humans over parahumans.”


“Give us access to Cara—not the censored, tame program you have installed all over the ship. The real deal. The one that has access to the cameras, the files, and everything else we might need. Give us what we need to help you."

“We cannot fulfil this request. Not by our will, but because we don’t have such control over Ms. Fuller like you believe we do.”

“However, if you wish for Caroline to assist you in your endeavors, perhaps you might exercise treating her more as a person than a mere tool.”

“Try addressing her by her real name. That should help.”

“Caroline Fuller. A woman. A soul.”


RADVI


“What about you, Agent Radvi?”

“Is there anything you’d like to share?”

Radvi stood there for a moment, as it dawned on him that he had something that may improve his chances of getting these other ‘core components’ on his side. Or rather, both he and Freaky-D had it.

He took out his phone, but then briefly thought of an alternative, better method that was available. He looked at D and snapped his fingers at him, and as if in some form of perfect synchronization, D knew exactly what to do - he balled his hand into a fist, gave his own helmet a knock, and his jolly toothy grin was suddenly replaced with a playback of all the POV footage he’d sent to his friend the cop.

First, the few seconds of footage from day one, showing the woman - Arianna - standing by a not-dead-yet Dr. Arthur Coleman in mid-torture.

Then, the footage from the day of the breakout.

“Well, can't have you running around anymore and ruining my fun. Or food.”

“Pay the court a fine or serve your-”

“Y’know a lot of people die quieter than you.”

“Dead or alive, you’re comin’ with me!”


And then D getting his ass beat, a full display of his enemy’s abilities, and finally the weaponization of incredibly loud noises (the playback having cordially lowered volume so as to not blow anyone’s ears out), and him scooping up a lump of her in a mason jar.

And the last shot was him handing that jar to Radvi.

@JunkMail @He Who Walks Behind @Silver Carrot @Typical @Skai



In the span of just a couple of minutes, three more people had gathered around the table. The remainders of Anderson’s female friends he’d been sticking with since day one. Natalie and Keaton, Radvi had met before - during their rounds of questioning a month back. The other one, Cordelia Holmes, he’d never met directly. All he knew about her was from the various security reports that he’d read. And from what he understood, she wasn’t the sort who appreciated the presence of any figure of authority - which led to the question of why she would approach the table while he was there. But he wasn’t about to go and instigate anything, though he sort of thought Holmes was thinking of doing the opposite. So he tensed up a bit, at least. In fact, there seemed to be some feeling in the air that he was not wanted there. And yet, all he’d done was say ‘hey’.

Oh, well. He should just get back to patrolling and let the kids be.

“Uh…” He began, during a moment when all was silent, “Yeah, Eli, I’ll talk to you later when you’re free, I should just get back to my patrol.”

And as he turned…

“Leaving so soon, Agent Radvi?”

“JESUS-” Radvi blurted out, jolting a bit as the elusive, monochromatic, faceless duo - Black and White - manifested out of thin air, right by his sides.

“We would actually like you to stay for a moment longer, if it’s no trouble.”

Radvi took a moment to collect himself before responding to them. “Don’t you fucking do that! Christ…” He said, regaining his composure. That idling sense of paranoia was starting to get to him.

“We apologize for our sudden appearance.”

“Didn’t mean to startle you.”

“But we wanted to address all of you while you were still in one place.”

“Given everything that’s happened of late, it’s a rare occurrence.”

Black and White faced the table, and everyone around it. Expressions of shock were abound. A little bit of suspicion and paranoia were creeping in as well, as they had expected. But they were being truthful - everyone was together, and that was deemed something rare, so they took this moment as a prime opportunity to introduce themselves to the group whom many events seemed to be revolving around. As their master had wished of them.

“I am Mister White.”

“And I am Mister Black.”

“We are ‘attendants’ to the Promise at large. We generally serve as advisors, counselors, observants, so on and so forth.”

“We have taken a special interest in the lot of you due to the events that took place a month ago - and shortly further back, on your first day aboard this station. We‘ve read all of the reports, you see.”

“There is that helmeted fellow too, though we don’t know where he resides at th-”
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-”

Crash.

Black and White turned their heads as, seemingly out of the sky, Freaky-D had dropped onto the nearest table behind them at the mention of his being. If anyone had looked upward, they might have surmised that he’d leapt from a single floor up. He hit the corner of a table, causing it to quickly flip over onto its side. D fell onto the ground just as fast, sprawling out with his gaze fixed upward. After a brief moment of silence from all surrounding parties, he slowly picked himself up, grabbed the table and placed it back upright, took one of the chairs, carried it to a spot near Radvi, turned it around, and sat with his arms crossed and resting on it. He briefly waved hello as everyone stared at him.

“...Right, then. Moving on...”

Black and White returned to facing the group.

“We consider matters that affect the Promise as a whole as matters that we must see to personally.”

“We apologize that this may come to you as an abrupt invasion of privacy, but we decided it best to be upfront in our conduct.”

“We see all of you, Mister Anderson…”

“Miss Holmes…”

“Miss Plasse…”

“Miss Ellis…”

“Miss Wessex…”

“Agent Radvi…”

“And… you...”

D simply nodded as White addressed him, a soft and synthesized chuckle sounding from his helmet.

“...as ‘core components’ in these events.”

“Things are happening aboard this station that have resulted in great harm, and even death, befalling its inhabitants.”

“It is in our best interests to assist in bringing this matter at large to a close, though we cannot act directly against it due to certain… physical, non-physical, limitations.”

“To be brief, we are incorporeal.”

They both waved their hands through each other’s in perfect symmetry, displaying how their bodies phased right through.

“We cannot harm, and we cannot be harmed.”

“We can do nothing substantial to prevent further disaster from striking the Promise. The security force is also lacking in this capability, from what we’ve seen.”

“Not you Jacob, we know you’re trying your best.”

“Uh…” Radvi replied quietly, not entirely sure how to respond.

“Thus, we both would like to formally extend our aid - in the admittedly limited fashion we are capable of - as we view all of you as being more and more likely to witness the brunt of whatever force acts against this station and its inhabitants.”

“And hopefully, moreso, finding opportunities to stop them in their tracks.”

“We will answer whatever questions you may have towards this rather broad topic, and share any information we feel may aid you. If it falls under our jurisdiction to provide, of course.”

“And if you in turn would share your findings with us, however apprehensive towards the notion you may be…”

“We would be very grateful.”

“So… who would like to go first?”

@JunkMail @He Who Walks Behind @Silver Carrot @Typical @Skai



Nothing.

One whole goddamn month and Radvi had nothing on the woman he was after.

With the PSI chip slotted into his glasses, he would have been able to identify her wherever she had left any vestige of herself. The day after the breakout, in between cleanup shifts, Radvi had walked rings around the Promise in search of her, but never spotted anything. He’d gone back to Norton in R&D several times, asking him if he’d made a mistake in the scans or chip printing - and often met with rude retorts and affirmations that his work was immaculate. Even then, no sign of this super-organism, as Norton had put it, ever turned up. It came to the point where Radvi was developing a sense of paranoia, thinking she could be hiding in the deeper sections of the station, or had figured out a way to fool the detection system or, anything. But with every day that passed with no disasters taking place and more people getting senselessly killed, his thoughts retreated to the idea that she could just be in hiding. Plotting her next move.

With little in the way of proof save some POV footage from a grinning delinquent and a frozen lump of what others were thinking was just jello or, fuck’s sake, toothpaste, many other guards were beginning to peg Radvi for a fool. Someone who was ready to side with a known vandal - although, Freaky-D had once again subsided into doing little more than skating around and tagging random places, greatly lessening his priority level in the wake of everything else that was happening on this mess of a station. And even then, many claimed the footage was doctored, for no good reason other than D simply wanted to fuck with Radvi and put him on a false trail.

But, for all the beating down his door, he never faltered in his determination. Everyone else could spend their time lazing about or abusing their power against the students, but Radvi had been on this station for almost five goddamn years and he’d had enough. He was going to do something.

And at present, that something was patrolling the ring.

He had his glasses hanging from his suit collar. The proximity alert system was active in the frankly unlikely event that the woman he was after would suddenly approach him. Besides that, everything else was business as usual. Save, of course, for the occasional heckling from another passing guard.

“You find your long lost toothpaste wife yet, Rad?”

“No luck catching them killers, then?”

“Yo Jakey, they found the Jello Bitch! She’s being sold in packs of four at your local grocer!”


So on and so forth. He never entertained them with any responses. He never lost heart and he never looked back. He marched in one direction, and that direction was dead ahead.

Still, he wasn’t looking great. He’d started finding it difficult to get any good sleep, and it showed in his eyes. He ran his fingers along the scar on his left cheek that he’d received from that freakish tailed prisoner during the outbreak. Ran from a little past his nostril to a little past his eye. It had, for the most part, fully formed, thanks to available medicines to help with the process. But it was still somewhat tender to the touch. Regardless, it mattered little to him.

His patrol was taking him through the mall in Sector B. Any sign of what had taken place there a month ago had already been wiped away. But the memories were still very much lingering. People were grieving. And most of the station’s staff gave not the tiniest modicum of a shit. Radvi did his best to be respectful, but often he was just automatically thrown into the metaphorical pigpen with the rest of the guards. His will carried him forth, but Lord knew it still weighed on him some. Around three-hundred casualties. A colossal failure, just swept under the rug.

He passed by the food court, a Panda Express on his right. Seated outside were two figures he recognized. Eli Wessex was one. They hadn’t talked on more than a couple occasions since the breakout, as Radvi was far too focused on finding his targeted suspect to do anything in the way of socializing. The other was Archie Anderson, whom he had not spoken to since the rounds of questioning during the morning of the breakout. Never gotten formally acquainted. Did he want to, was the question. But at the moment, he figured Eli at least deserved a hello. He could spare a few minutes to talk during his patrol.

Radvi approached them where they were seated, his attention centered on Eli. He’d managed to catch them in between words about… dating advice, it seemed.

“Hey,” he said to Eli, in earnest fashion.

@Skai@JunkMail



FROM: THE FREAKIEST-DEAKIEST
TO: Radvi, Jacob
SUBJECT: CHECK IT, HOMIE


SNAGGED YOUR P. O. BOX WHILE NO ONE WAS LOOKING

HERE BE SOME POV FOOTAGE FROM THE BATTLE OF YOUR NEW BEST BUCKAROO VERSUS THE EVIL BLUE JELLO LADY

PLUS THAT OTHER TIME A WEEK AGO

USE FOR GOOD, NOT DICKISHNESS

CONTINUE TO LIVE UP TO YOUR NAME AND BE RADICAL

CATCH YA LATER

Attached: (2) video files;
DAYONEFUN.vf, 0:09 duration
THATSHEROFFICER.vf, 2:17 duration (loud volume warning)

...

The day after the breakout

Surprise performance assessment.

Radvi and Gennedy sat within the latter’s office at the security station. A screen was pulled up on a nearby wall, displaying some footage captured by a stray shop cam during the breakout. There on full display was Radvi almost getting forced to take a dancing leap off of a ledge, Freaky-D saving him with a dropkick to his assailant, and their resulting handshake leading into a temporary teamup. As Gennedy’s gaze shifted from the screen to Radvi, the latter simply sat in his chair and worked up an excuse for his actions.

“Sir, in all fairness,” Radvi said, “he saved my life. I know it sounds cliché but-”

Gennedy raised his hand to stop Radvi from continuing. “Just… tell me why you didn’t space him. Like I ordered you to.”

“We did! You can ask James and Carlton, you can check the fucking airlock footage, we did what you told us to!”

“Then how the FUCK is he still on this station!?”

Silence fell across the room for a moment after Gennedy raised his voice. Some moments passed, the both of them regaining their collective calm.

“I will accept the fact that he helped you,” Gennedy began, “but I still want to know how in the hell he’s still here. And beyond that, these… pieces of evidence you claim he gave you. What all was it?”

“A sample of… something, from a parahuman. In a jar. It was alive, like it wanted to get out.”

“Oh Jesus Christ, Jacob-”

“And video footage that he sent me! Not just his encounter with that woman during the breakout, but his encounter with the same woman when she was torturing Coleman last week! It is all on your computer Chief, I sent it to you!”

“And what the hell does that prove that she was behind the breakout?”

“You have any better ideas?!”

“Quiet! Just… what did you do with the jar?”



Several hours following the breakout

The Promise’s R&D labs.

Radvi had made his way there once the breakout situation was well and handled by the rest of the force. That jar holding the animate blue material was still in his hands. It was still thrashing about, forcing itself against the glass. It wanted out.

Radvi approached an occupied workstation. At the desk, surrounded by various forms of equipment and staring at a cluster of screens with data running along them that the officer could never hope to understand, was a short, stout, strange man. Caucasian, bald, black and bushy beard reaching down to his midriff. Pair of glasses with large lenses, over two pale green eyes. Unreasonably muscular for someone who spent all their time in a laboratory.

The ID tag on his chest identified him as one T. Norton.

“Trevor,” Radvi called out as he approached.

“Is it still fucked out there,” Trevor asked, not taking his eyes off the screen. It was only when Radvi placed the jar on his desk did he turn his head to look down at it. “The fuck is…” He said, trailing off as he leaned in closer.

“I need you to run this through the machine,” Radvi instructed, “Get me a PSI chip and some backups. More backups for yourself too. Freeze the sample afterwards.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, fuck off,” Trevor replied, still intensively staring at the contents of the jar as they moved about. Radvi shook his head, unamused by the man’s attitude but still confident he’d get done what was asked of him. Trevor had been working aboard the Promise since its beginning. He was rude, reserved, but still very much a smart man when it came to anything involving high-tech equipment. Especially anything that worked against parahumans. Radvi knew he was leaving the jar in good hands as he made his way out of the R&D labs.

“I fucking hate you already,” Trevor whispered to the jar.



“Radvi, this picture looks like a fucking… frozen lump of toothpaste or something.”

“Sir, it's a parahuman. She was active before the breakout, she was the one who killed Coleman, so yes, she’s the one I think who caused the breakout!”

“Alright,” Gennedy replied, “alright, for fuck’s sake. I’ll admit, this at least puts her behind Coleman’s death, so that we have to get her for at the very least. We still have to assess the prison systems for damages and tampering, but we’ll keep her in mind for possible links. I just don’t see how one woman, made of blue jello or not, could pull this off.”

“When Norton sent me the test results and gave me the PSI chips, he said she’s some kind of… super-organism. Every cell of her body acts independently. So she can split herself into multiple separate entities, like this one.” Radvi pointed at the picture of the frozen sample on the screen. “We have her power signature on record, so we can search for her.”

“Before we do anything major, we need to get the station under control.” Gennedy stood up as he spoke, approaching Radvi. “This incident is not going to blow over so easily. I expect you to help with the cleanup before going about this woman any further. After that’s all done, I assure you Jacob, then we’ll get to work on finding her.”

Jacob sighed, half-relieved and half-defeated. “And what if she pulls some other stunt that gets even more people killed in the meantime,” he asked, “What then?”

“From now on, we’re keeping our guard up,” Gennedy replied, “Whether it’s her or whoever else.”



This did not turn out to be the fight that Freaky-D was envisioning it to be. More of a… beatdown.

And he was not looking like the victor.

Arianna grabbed D, and like a rubber band she pulled herself and him together. Using her momentum to drive her knee into his gut.

For a moment she was shocked by how inhumanly solid he was. He didn’t yield or crumple like normal people, and it felt like he only bent over because she forcefully pulled him over. She briefly considered eating through him, but fought that thought back. She needed him alive to find out what he had seen before she killed him. Any loose ends could compromise her end goal, and if he knew that she was here, then The Promise could stop her before she finished her mission.

She couldn’t let that happen. She looped her arm around his neck, and ran her feet along an adjacent wall, using Freaky-D’s body as a springboard to launch herself backwards and down, effectively RKOing Freaky-D and driving his helmeted head into the ground. She flowed around his body as he fell, her form shifting and using where her arm had been as an anchor point. As Freaky-D hit the ground, he was effectively stomped by the neck into the floor. Feeling confident that she pinned him down, her hands came down to the base of his helmet, and she began prying it off. Or at least, trying to. If she could expose the base of his skull, she could paralyze him.

She could keep him alive until he talked after that.

And it was in that moment, where D seemed most vulnerable, in a spur of what could have been brilliant cunning, sheer stupidity, or just plain dumb luck…

“REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-”

Maximum volume output. Bass-boosted to hell and back. An instrument of the devil himself, made real.

Arianna’s grip immediately slackened, and her whole body shimmered, her colors and shapes warping rapidly and without control. In a brief moment of clarity she stepped away, her arms flying around her torso in some misplaced attempt to regain control of herself. “What the hell are you doing to me!”

D raised his head in somehow-detectable mixture of both shock and excitement. The thoughts of that mediocre third Raimi Spider-Man movie came rushing back to him, as it all suddenly clicked. His trump card against this enemy was his most powerful weapon of all.

LOUD NOISES.

He raised his legs and jumped back up onto his feet, and without any hesitation, bombarded Arianna with even more sound.

“GET IT ON THE FLOOR, GET IT GET IT ON THE FLOOR
GET IT ON THE FLOOR, GET IT GET IT ON THE FLOOR-”


At this point, Arianna was beginning to find it difficult to simply stand or maintain her form. It felt like her whole body’s funny bone had been struck- she felt like what TV static felt like. D approached her in between swinging his arms around, dancing in his familiar, ridiculous manner. And his dancing quickly turned to a direct offense.

“YOU DON’T WANNA PARTY THEN YOUR ASS GOTTA GO,
YOU DON’T WANNA PARTY THEN YOUR ASS GOTTA GO-”


He was spinning, windmilling as the ancient scriptures put it, his fists colliding with the gelatinous material now poorly comprising Arianna’s form, sending bits and pieces of her flying away. He began mixing in his feet with the attacks as well.

“NOW YOU CAN RIDE TO THIS, MUTHAFUCKA,
BOUNCE TO THIS, MUTHAFUCKA,
FREAK TO THIS, MUTHAFUCKA,
LET’S GET IT OOOOOOON-”


Fist sized clumps of her body flew off as he struck her, hitting the floor like gelatin that was not quite solid. Her form rapidly strunk, eventually losing support entirely, her crippled body hitting the floor with a wet splat. She fought against the noise, pulling herself back together almost as quickly as she was falling apart. She wasn’t hurt, and she wasn’t dying. That was perhaps the strangest part of all of this. She felt fine, but she couldn’t hold herself together.

It was then that, once again, brilliance struck D. He took the second mason jar he’d been holding onto for handgun magazines, and popped it open. As he did, he played a record scratch, and in a matter of seconds, switched songs.

“I WAS GOOD, SHE WAS HOT,
STEALING EVERYTHING SHE GOT,
I WAS BOLD, SHE WAS OVER THE WORST OF IT”


He scooped up a lump of the blue-tinted goo into the jar and sealed it up.

“GAVE ME GEAR, THANK YA DEAR,
BRING YOUR SISTER OVER HERE,
LET ‘ER DANCE WITH ME JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT”


And with that, he was off. He bolted away from the discombobulated Arianna, out of the Panera Bread, with the smallest piece of his foe in hand to do… God knows what with.

Arianna pulled herself together again, cursing as she did so. She knew a part of her had been taken, and was well on the way to trying to escape. She considered chasing him, but her eyes flashed to the clock. It had been a while now, and the guards would be returning soon. She growled, a deep scowl on her face, and flowed into the adjacent wall. She would take care of him later, assuming she didn’t compromise her immediately as soon as he could.

He would get his. She swore it.







Radvi wiped a bit of the blood from the scratch on his cheek as he approached Eli. “We stay here and hold a defensive.” He said in reply, “We have someone out getting us weapons.”

And hopefully, he would be back with them soon.

“Who’s this?” Noelle asked, motioning towards Eli but keeping her attention on Radvi.

“This is Eli.” Radvi replied, “She’s a mentalist, and she’s good people. Didn’t really cross my mind to introduce you two before now. But, regardless, good to have you out here.” That last part, he said to Eli.

Noelle turned her attention towards the unconscious metal-covered prisoner. She took a moment to grab him by his side and, with a bit of struggling and taking care not to scratch her legs or torso, turn him over onto his back. She paused for a moment, and then grabbed a metal spike protruding from his shoulder and snapped it off with a few tugs. His eyes weren’t covered - straight paths to the brain. She raised the spike and…

Eli looked away. Radvi only winced a bit as the spike went in through the eye.

No prisoners. Gennedy’s orders.

That being said, Noelle wasn’t a guard. But she certainly carried herself like one at present. A side of her that Radvi had not seen in years.

At that moment, the comms came up.

“Radvi, this is Gennedy.”

“Yes, sir?” Radvi replied, touching his earpiece.

“Cara’s gotten through the lockdown. Rest of the force is en route to Sector B. How’s the shelter looking?”

Radvi looked at the scrapes and puncture marks the prisoner had left on the bunker door.

“Door’s a bit damaged, but everyone’s still safe inside.”

“Hold position, you’ll have backup soon.”

“Understood, sir.”

Comms dropped. Gennedy was telling Radvi to do what he’d already been doing, but he wasn’t about to start pointing out the obvious when the Chief was, more than likely, very pissed off. So he, Noelle, and Eli would stay right where they were. Hopefully soon with some guns delivered to them-

“YEAH-”

And as if by the order of some unseen script, D came racing around the corner on his skates. “Now he gets back!” Noelle called out. He had a rifle on his back, a handgun at his side, and two mason jars in hand. One full of handgun ammunition and the other…

Not?

D rode right up to Noelle and handed her the rifle, the handgun, and the ammo. And while he was standing near Eli, he turned and grabbed her hand, shaking it vigorously while she was still confused as to what the hell was going on. Afterwards, he turned again and rode up to Radvi, handing him the other mason jar. It was full of this… violent, blue organic material. Writhing about, as if attempting to break free. Radvi took the jar in his hands, while D tapped its lid with his finger. ‘HERE’S YOUR CULPRIT’ flashed across his helmet in bright yellow letters on a black screen. And with that, he began riding away once more, around a corner, and further down the street, away from the scene and off to wherever.

Radvi stared at the D as he made his exit, as did Eli, while Noelle had already taken to prepping the munitions. He stared down at the jar in his hands, examining the active contents within.

Culprit…

Radvi didn’t know what the hell D had done out there besides gather weapons, but he wasn’t about to cast aside any possible explanations as to who the hell was behind this mess.

So he kept the jar.



Eli Wessex.

There were very few parahumans that Radvi had come to hold in some positive regard. Eli was one of those few. She was far from a model student, with a history of using her powers of illusionary conjuration for the light sort of mischief, but she wasn’t so brazen as to land herself within the confines of the Promise’s penal facility. Likewise, Radvi had the feeling that he - being one of the few officers who wasn’t a complete hardass towards her - was held in, at the very least, a similar regard. Whatever the case may be, he was relieved that she’d shown up, not hesitating to put her abilities to work.

The two encroaching prisoners stumbled and spun, their sense of balance being racked into high hell. The third who had been clinging to the upper level promptly lost his grip and fell a short distance onto the floor below, onto his back. Noelle watched them all without lowering her guard, but Radvi wasn’t hesitating. He turned his head back towards the column his gun had been pinned to, by that prisoner’s tail-spike. He made a dash for it, grabbing it firmly and ripping it from the wall, with a few twists of his hand. Its general size and shape meant it could be used almost as effectively as your average knife. And the situation at hand left no room to be picky. Radvi turned back around and headed for the prisoner the spike had originated from, while Noelle had turned her focus towards the one with the bladed whip-arms.

Radvi slid into a kneeling position and raised the spike a bit above his head, attempting to bring it down onto the prisoner’s chest. He had, however, held onto just enough awareness to swipe at Radvi, giving him a nasty scratch across his cheek. As he reeled from that, the prisoner turned his body and whipped his tail around, wrapping it around Radvi’s neck. He attempted to drag him away, but stumbled once again, keeling over.

Radvi fell forward and threw the weight of his body onto the prisoner, pinning him down on his front-side, yet still being strangled by the tail. The newly-grown spike waved around a bit, barely scratching his cheek once again. Radvi persisted, bringing the severed spike down on the back of the prisoner’s head. A shrill cry sounded from his mouth, but after two more stabs, he fell silent and still. The tail’s grip around Radvi’s neck loosened, and he then pried it off, freeing himself.

Noelle, meanwhile, was fighting her own fight. The prisoner with the whip-arms stumbled about, swinging her own personal killing instruments around rather haphazardly, her senses still quite lost to her. Noelle kept her mechanical arms up in vertical fashion, forming a defensive around her upper body and head. She searched for an opportunity to go in and… there.

She lunged forward and grabbed the prisoner’s left arm while her back was turned. One hand on the wrist, and the other where the elbow… should have been. Noelle pulled her away from her previous position, leading her towards a column and slamming her into it, and audible thud sounding from the impact of the prisoner’s jaw against the concrete.

Just then, the meaty red of the prisoner’s arms began to creep upwards, the pale skin on her torso quickly adopting the same crimson hue. More and more blade-like protrusions erupted from along her form, and she shrieked at the manifestation of each one. Noelle backed away, holding her arms up again as the prisoner swung madly at her. Sparks flew off of Noelle’s metal arms as the blades scraped against them, her continuing to back away as the prisoner approached, seemingly having regained her senses, yet her footsteps still looking somewhat erratic.

Noelle opted for decisive action and opened the palms of her hands, waiting for the whips to come again. When the blades connected with her palms, she closed them and held on as best she could, yanking the prisoner forward and raising her foot to deliver a stern kick to her gut. The prisoner fell onto her back, thrashing about madly. Noelle kept a grip on her arms, stepping forward and turning them around so that the blades were aimed right at the prisoner’s head - more specifically, her mouth.

Noelle brought the blades down, shoving them into the prisoner’s gullet, straight through to the back of her neck. She only flailed for a few seconds more before falling limp.

Noelle backed up, panting, looking down at her handiwork. It’d been a while since she had done anything close to guard work - and even longer since doing something quite so brutal. But she wasn’t the sort to dwell on it so much anymore, and for that matter, neither was Radvi. They were both finished with the prisoners they’d each elected to tackle, two out of three overall.

All that was left was the walking heap of shrapnel - and at the moment, Eli was seeing to him.

@Skai




Written with @JunkMail



Hit that jive, Jack
Put it in your pocket, till I get back
Goin’ downtown to see your man
And I ain’t got time to shake your hand


He was skating again.

Hit that jive, Jack
Put it in your pocket, till I get back
Time and time waits for no man
And I ain’t got time to shake your hand


Within the span of a few minutes, D had managed to land himself a rifle and a handgun off of a couple dead fellows. The one with the rifle wasn’t even a guard, just seemed to have the same idea and appropriated a weapon for herself. D had picked up both the weapons and whatever ammunition he could hold for each. He rolled by a convenience store to see if anyone had happened to hole up there, but no such thing was discovered. Instead, he pilfered a couple glass mason jars with the flippale clipping lids, using one of them to hold a bundle of all the handgun magazines he’d collected so far. He kept the other for a spare.

He continued skating through all the scenes of mayhem, destruction, rampant murder, and the aftermaths of all three. He passed by folks running in whichever direction seemed like it led to safety. He passed by escaped prisoners (and even some regular citizens) doing nothing but robbing shops and food joints for a bite to eat. He passed by two folks hugging, too scared to do anything else. And all the while, no one seemed to pay him any mind. Given that he was on something of a mission, he decided not to go making any unnecessary scenes. Right now, he was just focused on finding another rifle. He wanted one to give to his new best buddy Radvi, and one to give to the woman with the mechanical arms, Noelle. She seemed nice.

He wasn’t too far away. But he began to figure he needed to venture out a bit further, since he was having a hard time finding that second rifle. The first one came so easily! But, it made sense that luck would falter after such an immediate boon. Oh, well.

He rounded another corner, skating in front of a few storefronts. He peered into them as he went and-

STOP.

He skidded to a halt. Inside a Panera Bread, there was a woman. She was the only one there, in the back, making full use of the available resources to fashion herself something to eat - the pick two version of the bacon turkey bravo sandwich and tomato soup (located at your local Panera’s™).

And she looked just like the woman he saw torturing that guy last week.

D just stood there, still, staring at her as she remained unaware of his presence.

YooOOoooooOOOOOO-

He, quietly as he could, continued skating forward, past the Panera Bread, attempting to raise no attention to himself (a rare practice for his like). He needed to be…

Subtle.

...

Arianna had taken the time out of her day of espionage and villainy to get lunch. Planning was time and energy consuming, and she would need to be in tip top shape if she was to proceed further. The ploy had worked almost perfectly, and all things considered she figured that she deserved a celebratory meal. Panera’s was close by, easy, and most importantly it was entirely vacant at the moment. Even the lunatics and inmates seemed to have mostly dispersed out of the area. Distracted by her food, the destruction outside in the distance, and her own musings, she didn’t hear the chaotic stowaway approach from behind.

“Rock me to Russia!”

She barely had time to turn halfway around.

“WHIP THE LLAMA’S AAAAA-”

D’s feet collided with the left side of her face. She could feel an unyielding, unbending force behind the plastic and rubber of the soles of his feet. She stumbled to the side, more shocked than anything else.

She looked over at him, half of her face written with surprise, the other half missing entirely. It quickly reformed, the splattered content of her person making its way back to her entity and reconstituting her damaged face almost as soon as she had lost it. “What the fu-“

D was situated a few feet away from her after picking himself up from the dropkick, flipping back into an upright position. He was whipping his arms and legs around like some child who’d watched far too many kung fu movies. With the accompanying sound effects. He held out his hand towards Arianna, making that ‘come and get some’ gesture. Arianna pinched the bridge of her nose, sighed, and shot her arm forward. It stretched and impossibly long distance, flattening as it flew through the air, and shoved Freaky-D back towards the entrance of the Panera’s. When she retracted her arm, it occurred to her that this Pac-Man looking village idiot seemed oddly familiar.

He had jumped out of the window of the school. She had read about him being captured.

“And here I thought you were gone.” She mused. “Well, can't have you running around anymore and ruining my fun.” She looked behind her at the ruined meal. “Or food.”

D picked himself up from the blow, with seemingly no sign of injury, and certainly no sign of stopping the sound clips.

“Pay the court a fine or serve your-”

“Y’know a lot of people die quieter than you.”

“Dead or alive, you’re comin’ with me!”

She huffed, and her arms shot towards him again, intent on doing far more than pushing him away. He had already assumed a defensive stance, holding his fists up, for whatever good it would do him.

S u b t l e .







For the moment, all was calm.

Radvi and Noelle were maintaining close proximity to the public shelter’s entrance. Inside, the hundreds of students and residents that had come together were watching a series of screens connected to cameras above the gate. They could see their two protectors standing their ground, watching for aggressors. Many of them thought to themselves how foolish it seemed for just two human guards to fancy themselves a bulwark against a potential horde of insane and dangerous parahumans. Not to mention the vast majority of them were parahumans themselves, and some few quite handy in a fight. But they’d come here to stay safe, to protect each other, for any multitude of reasons. Keen on letting the rest of the security force - wherever they may be - handle this mess.

Radvi was still the only one with a gun. It had been a fair few minutes since Freaky-D had left to go procure more arms for the both of them, but such a short amount of time could potentially spell doom in a situation like this.

They stood vigilant. But as they did, they heard it. A clicking noise.

“You hear that?” Noelle spoke up.

“Yeah.” Radvi replied calmly, “Stay close.”

They inched closer together, both scanning their heads around the immediate area. The flat open space, the second floor balconies and walkways above them, they looked everywhere. The clicking sound came again, from further away than where it seemed to originate. Whatever was making it was attempting to toy with them. Radvi, maintaining his composure, raised his handgun - and promptly lost it.

A spike flew through the air. Something sharp, something... organic. It hit the handgun dead on, carrying it away from Radvi’s hands and pinning it to a nearby column. It had pierced right through the metal, rendering the weapon virtually useless. Radvi and Noelle both glanced at it in shock, before turning their heads back in the other direction.

Clinging to the edge of the second floor railing was yet another prisoner - lithe, nigh-skeletal, pale complexion. Curved, blood-stained claws clinging to the vertical surface. His eyes were practically gone, the lids closed shut by stretched flaps of skin. His teeth were bared, long and sharp, making that awful clicking sound still. Emerging from his backside was a long, narrow tail, ending in a faded, blood-red stump, dripping with some pale-yellow, translucent fluid. From the quivering stump quickly grew a new, fresh spike, just like the one that had deprived Radvi of his firearm.

“Jacob?” Noelle asked. No response came from Radvi.

Another noise. They turned their heads once again - two more prisoners emerged from around a corner. One, a tall and greatly muscled figure with jagged, metal protrusions erupting from all over his form, obscuring his features. The other, a shorter woman - no hair to speak of, eyes wide open and bloodshot, limbs distending into thin, meaty whips with long, bladed protrusions on their ends. She hurried along a short distance away from her large, sharp compatriot, covering the empty space between him and their third friend, the wall-crawling one.

“Stay… calm…” Radvi said under his breath. They both assumed defensive stances, waiting for the enemy trio to make their move. The shelter stayed closed - it wouldn’t be quick to open from either side, with that heavy, sealed bunker door.

They could really use those guns right about now.





“You still haven’t told me how the hell you got back on the station after being spaced.”

“Cause Little Willy, Willy won’t, go home!
But you can’t push Willy ‘round, Willy won’t go!”


“That doesn’t answer my question!”

The newfound duo had commandeered a hovercraft to reach the public shelter in short order. ‘Commandeered’, that is, meaning they found a hovercraft that had been previously occupied by a single guard, only to have met his fate at the hands of - what would most likely have been - a parahuman who could blow up peoples’ heads with their own. No such aggressor was present however, so they gently removed the body and set it against a wall, then took off with the hovercraft. Radvi drove, of course.

“Fine, then.” Radvi said as he kept his eyes focused on the path ahead, “Wouldn’t suppose you know who’s behind all this madness?”

“There’s a traitor, there’s a mole, it’s a peacetime overthrow-“

“Stop, stop with the songs! Just use words!”

“NO.”

Well, technically, he did as asked. Radvi just groaned in reply, letting silence befall the two for a moment. “I…” He began, D turning his head slightly to face him as he continued. “Sorry. Thank you, for helping me back there. I… wouldn’t have made it, if you hadn’t stepped in.”

Radvi shifted his head to the right. He wasn’t met with a song or sound clip, just a friendly thumbs up from D. He nodded, returning his attention to the road. “I still don’t know what you’re doing up here in the first place.” He said, “But if you’re ready and willing to help with this, this goddamn mess, then... I’ll look past your, ‘prior transgressions’.”

D, in response, played a sound clip of several children cheering, leading Radvi to smile and snicker a bit - something that was, admittedly, very rare for him. But just as it appeared, so quickly did it leave when he raised his finger and said sternly, “No more kicking any students in the face though, that’s over the line.” D’s response was to play a clip of a dog whimpering, sinking his head.

After several more minutes of driving, the public shelter finally came into view up ahead - as did the scene playing out in front of it. The woman from the High Rise, Noelle, was standing in front of the closed-up entrance to the shelter, with a guard-issued shotgun in her mechanical hands - she must have taken it off of another dead one. She had situated herself between the shelter, and a single escaped prisoner who looked like she wanted to get inside - but not for the purpose of safety. Three others lied around her, dead on the floor, shot and killed. The fourth prisoner was a spindly thing, lithe and tall but frail- as if a breeze would knock her over. She appeared emaciated, as if her build was not natural to her. She had long silver hair thatrand down the length of her back. Why she had been trying so hard to get in couldn’t be known, but it wouldn’t be difficult for one to ascertain that she desired to have control over others. She was obviously far from one of the top dogs in the rehabilitation facilities.

“I’ll scream!” she threatened, less weight to her words than she probably intended. There was a crazed look in her eyes, though. As if she refused to go quietly even if Noelle had her at gunpoint. “I’ll blow the doors down. I swear to God.”

“I said, get back!” Noelle yelled, keeping her shotgun trained on the woman, attempting to maintain a threatening stance. The thin girl’s jaw dropped to an unnaturally wide degree and she inhaled.

“MOVE BITCH, GET OUT THE WAY-”

She was interrupted in her action by the approaching sound of-

“GET OUT THE WAY BITCH, GET OUT THE-

The hovercraft collided with her, sending her flying forward with thin trails of blood spreading out. D had raised his head out of the window, playing yet another song, watching with masked yet eager intent at the moment of impact. The hovercraft came to a halt just a bit past the location of impact, but the prisoner was further away, looking much worse for wear - as in, quite dead. Noelle simply watched in bewilderment as the glass pod doors opened up, and out jumped Radvi and D.

“That was…” Noelle said, shotgun lowered, “Well.”

“Sorry I wasn’t here sooner.” Radvi replied, “Got hung up before, but…”

They both turned their attention towards D, who had climbed up on top of the hovercraft.

“I thought you sent him back to Earth?” Noelle said in visible confusion.

“Yeah. Apparently he came back.”

“And now you two are working together.”

“I… yeah.” Radvi replied, “You were able to hold this location well enough?”

“Yeah, I picked this up on my way here.” Noelle said, motioning towards her shotgun, “But the thing only had a few shots left right up until that last prisoner. They all came around right after I did, but they weren’t that much trouble.” She proceeded to toss the shotgun aside, having no further use for it given her lack of ammunition. “How the hell did this all happen?” She proceeded to ask.

“I don’t know.” Radvi replied, “Right now, I’m just focused on holding this location until the rest of the force comes in. They got held up in the sector tubes. Someone forced a lockdown while they were headed for the spire.”

“Who the hell could’ve done that?”

“I think he has an idea.” Radvi said, shifting his attention towards D, who was still keeping a vigil atop the hovercraft, scanning his head left and right, playing a repeating sonar sound. He returned his attention to Noelle and asked her, “How many are in there?” He motioned towards the shelter.

“About a couple dozen short of fifteen-hundred.” She replied, “They closed up before I got here. And before you tell me to go join them, fuck that. I may not be a guard or a parahuman anymore, but I’m not gonna sit and do nothing. I’m staying out here and helping.”

“Fine by me. But you need a weapon.”

Noelle nodded, shifting her gaze towards D. “Hey!” She called out, getting his attention. “You wanna be useful? Go grab any guns and ammo you can find on any dead guards!”

With a salute and the beginning of the William Tell Overture’s Finale playing, D performed a backflip off of the hovercraft and raced down the nearest pathway he could find, on the hunt for some armaments.

“He’s… something.” Noelle said.

“Yeah.”



Sector B was coming up. Radvi and the other five guards hadn’t encountered any resistance on their way there so far, but they could see the destruction becoming more and more prevalent the closer they got. All the while, Cara was notifying them of more distress signals popping up around the shopping district, and slowly beginning to spread further out. Casualties had already been confirmed beyond the death of their fellow guard Mitchell just moments ago. The longer this breakout went on, the worse it was going to get. And still, they were six men with no nullifier and no immediate backup. They had to hope that the rest of the force would break out of the lockdown as soon as possible.

This, at its core, almost felt like a suicide mission.

“We’re closing in on Sector B now, Chief!” Radvi said into his earpiece as the group sped along, with the communication system reboot having since been completed. “Orders?”

“Get to the public shelter and secure it. When it’s full, lock it down and form a defensive. We’ll provide reinforcements as soon as we’re out of here. In the meantime, any other forces still outside of the sector tubes will be converging on your signal.”

“What about the prisoners?”

“Lethal force authorized. Do not attempt to capture.”

“Understood, sir.” Radvi replied. ‘Lethal force authorized’ were not words he enjoyed hearing, but the present situation left no room for security to hold back. There were so few of them, and so much of the opposition. They couldn’t take any chances.

The public shelter’s location was coming closer. As they drove along the concourse, up ahead came a figure from around a corner leading into a pavillion within the shopping district. A young woman, somewhere in her early twenties, thin and ragged brown-blond hair, eyes wide open with scars surrounding them. Dressed in a standard prisoner garb, several bloodstains adorning it. She stood in the middle of the oncoming guards’ path, silent, holding a soft smile across her face, never blinking.

“Got something up ahead!” One of the guards called out. As they approached, getting ready to draw their weapons, the woman shot out her arms. Radvi, all of them, immediately tensed up, straightening their backs, gritting their teeth. They were lifted off of their ATVs, which all proceed forward, either crashing into each other or veering off into a nearby wall. The woman stepped forward, keeping her arms raised, watching all six of the men intently, with her soft smile and wide eyes still very much persisting. She tilted her head to the side some, scanning over her captives. They floated up above her, arms outstretched. She could feel them resisting, but to no avail. She nodded her head, as if pleased, and then turned to carry them all away.

Radvi fought. God, he fought, but he could feel... fingers underneath the skin on his neck, his arms, his torso, his legs. Wrapped around, digging in, holding tight.

This is what happens when you have no nullifier.



They were situated a single floor up now. The woman, she had already carved out a little spot for herself within an open foot court, now void of any civilians after the chaos had driven them away. She stood by the railed edge with her back facing the open air, smiling as she looked at each of her captives once again. They were arranged side-by-side, Radvi being all the way on the left. The woman bowed her head to them all, and by the force of her will, they all did the same.

And then, they danced.

The woman must have been a ballerina or something similar before she was this… horrible monster, because despite her disheveled appearance, she moved with such grace and elegance that, were the circumstances much more different, she’d be receiving rounds of applause instead of pained and strained looks of terror. The guards under her spell all matched her movements, like uniformed puppets on invisible strings. They formed circles, criss-crossing lines, held and spun each other around. If not for the extremely prevalent feeling of muscles taut in wires, these men would almost certainly be feeling extremely emasculated. And yet, they had no choice in the matter.

The performance went on for several minutes. It seemed as though the woman had started to become bored of her playthings however, as she gazed out into the open air between spins on her heel. After a moment, she stopped, and so did the guards. She fashioned them into a line, Radvi in the very back. She stood by the railing and smiled at the guard in the front of the line. He, against every shred of his will, bowed to her, spun some, and proceeded to initiate a running start, leaping gracefully into the air as he approached the edge, soaring over the railing, and then plummeting into the brush below. She let her control over him go once he was out of sight, allowing him to let out a few seconds worth of screaming, before the silence returned.

She turned her head to the next in line. She bowed. He bowed. He spun around a few times before he took his leap.

And then the next.

And the next.

The second to last guard, the one who had already been grieving the loss of his friend Mitchell, was up. As he was forced to spin around a few times, Radvi could see the tears in his eyes. The redness. The fear. The universal look that told you ‘please don’t let me die like this’. But there was nothing Radvi could do, except watch as the young guard took his run, leapt forward, and fell screaming to his death.

And then there was just him. She watched, smiling, as Radvi did his spins, inching forward, getting into his run, seconds away from the edge…

But then...







INTERVAL 03 - TUNE UP, TURN AROUND, DROP KICK



“SUBALUWA-“

Out of the blessed unknowns of nowhere, D came running forth, charging at the woman. Once he was close enough, he took a leap off of the floor, raised both of his feet forward, and planted them both RIGHT into her unalerted spine. The both of them fell to the floor - Radvi too, released from the woman’s tormentous hold. D wasted no time getting into his own spin, atop his head, flinging himself back upright and standing before the woman, still keeled over. Radvi was free, but he was taking a minute of his own to breathe deep.

Just then, she spun her around, her smile gone, the unmistakable look of anger flaring up in her big ol’ eyes. She shot out her arm at D, attempting to bring him under her control.

Yet, D felt nothing.

She lied there, confused and still very much angry. D simply moved into a low chuckle, until shifting his attention to the right, towards Radvi. The woman did as well, just in time to watch him aim his handgun straight at her, and fire.

The bullet went right through her forehead. She fell limp. She was done.

Radvi let out a few strained pants. The shock of seeing D very much back on the station instead of drifting out into the darkness of space was momentarily lost on him, as he scrambled to stand back up and race for the edge of the floor. He peered over the railing, almost immediately reverting his gaze at the sight of the other five guards, all dead and spread out along the grass below. Radvi closed his eyes, pinched his nose, fought away the distress. D looked over the edge himself, not very pleased with the sight either. But when he turned back, Radvi had set his attention on him now. His gun was lowered, but still being held forward.

“How…” Radvi said, still with some stressed breath, “How did you... get back?”

D just shrugged. What could he say? He never left.

Radvi waited for a verbal answer, but no such thing came. He gave the matter all his thought. Out of the blue, D had come and saved him from flinging himself to his death, but not before his five fellow guards had done so. That… that was no act of malevolence. Even after he’d taken part in D’s, apparently failed, execution.

“Oh, when times get hard,
You can’t give in!”


A clip of a song sounded softly from his helmet. D eased forward as friendly as he could towards Radvi, extending a hand.

“If you need some help,
You’ve got me, my friend!”


Radvi dropped his pistol to his side, and pondered. Here was D, offering his assistance… supposedly. Even after everything that happened the day before. He would normally, of course, refuse. But in this present situation, he had no other guards in his company thanks to one downright crazed escapee, he didn’t know how much backup was on the way - if there was any in the first place - and he had no nullifiers around to mitigate the powers of the enemy forces. D, somehow, was unaffected by the woman’s attempt at controlling him. How? He couldn’t spare the time to wonder.

He decided he had no better options, and he shook D’s hand.



"Attention all units, full penitentiary breakout in sectors A and C. Requesting backup of all nullifier and available personnel."

The message looped a few times to make sure everyone was getting it. Patrols, breaks, everything anyone was doing was all immediately dropped, in a single, station-wide pulse of action. The guards all raced to their vehicles, and raced again to the nearest sector elevators - the immense pillars built into the Promise’s bridges, leading upwards in triangular fashion to the central spire running through the ring. That was where the ‘uglier’ aspects of the station were housed - including the prisoners. The parahumans who just couldn’t be helped, whom for it was decided to keep them on the Promise and out of the way of the Earth-side public.

Radvi was on his ATV. He hurried along the concourse towards the sector C elevator. Along the way, he’d grouped up with several other agents who’d split from their patrols.

“How the fuck did a breakout happen?” One of them shouted, as they rode.

“Either one of the prisoners must have broken free and started it, or someone hacked into the penitentiary systems from outside!” Another shouted back.

“Doesn’t matter!” Radvi chimed in, “No matter what, we need to keep them from breaking into the ring!”

They all knew their mission. Maybe some number of the guards were eager to swoop in and stamp out those prisoners like they were a rodent infestation. But Radvi and a fair few others were more focused on, frankly, what many would call a lie - keeping the Promise’s populace safe. Parahuman or otherwise, there were people around who absolutely didn’t deserve to get caught up in all of the problems that had so recently been plaguing this godforsaken station. Hell, Radvi knew a lot of them.

The Sector C elevator was coming up. Built into the center of one of the bridges connecting both sides of the station’s ring. As they made their final approach however, something uncalled for began to happen. A loud buzzer sounded, and a system of reinforced shutters began spiraling around the elevator’s entrance. Radvi and the other guards raced forward, but by the time they reached it, the elevator was completely locked down.

“What the hell!” One of the guards exclaimed, as they all dismounted their ATVs. “Who initiated the lockdown?!”

“Chief, this is Radvi!” Radvi said into his earpiece, putting in contact to Gennedy, “The Sector C elevator just went into lockdown! We’re stuck out here!”

“Ra-... what’s-... y-...”

His voice was being bombarded with static before cutting out completely. “Chief? Chief!” Radvi said aloud, “God damn it, someone’s tampering with the comms! Cara!”

“I have already begun a full reboot of the communications network, Agent Radvi, and I am also attempting to override the lockdown. I must inform you however that multiple distress signals have just arisen within Sector B’s shopping district, near the sector elevator.

What?!” Radvi called out in disbelief, “Fuck, they’re already out!”

“What the hell were we called to the other sectors for?” One of the other guards asked aloud.

“Doesn’t matter right now!” Radvi replied, “We need to get back to the shopping district and secure it! Make sure everyone is safe inside the public shelter!”

“We’re only seven men, how the fuck are we g-”

The guard’s sentence was interrupted, by the immediate yet unnoticed sound of loud, crazed screaming fast approaching the group. None of them had any chance to react as their fellow guard was swept off the bridge by a bald, frail man in pale blue scrubs, flying through the air, laughing like a madman.

It only then crossed Radvi’s mind, for a just brief second during that horrible scene, that there wasn’t a single nullifier amidst their unfortunate group.

“Mitchell!” One of the other guards loudly called out, turning along with everyone else to watch the airborne bedlamite hoist up his victim, swinging him around in circles by the straps on his shoulders. One of the other guards immediately drew his handgun and aimed it at the aggressor, attempting to line up a shot. “I’ve got him!” He said confidently.

“No, no!” Radvi called out, “You could hit Mitchell!”

“Well what the fuck do you want me to do then?!”

Radvi wasn’t given a chance to respond before the bedlamite rounded back, swinging Mitchel around in a few more circles before finally letting go. He came careening through the air, screaming, headed straight for the bridge. Several of the guards extended their arms in some effort to catch him, only to end up watching Mitchell’s face collide head on with the bridge’s railing with a loud, metallic thud. Blood shot from his face as he flipped backward, falling down into the brush below.

“MITCHELL, NO!” The same guard from before had called out, watching in vain as his friend’s body landed on the grass below, leaving him as nothing but a tiny, bloody mess far below the group. Several of the other guards refused to hesitate and immediately began firing at the flying psychopath, though no shots connected with him as he rocketed further and further away from the bridge, cackling all the while until he was completely out of view.

“What the FUCK was that?!”

“Jesus Christ, Mitchell…”

“There’s nothing we can do for him now!” Radvi called out after a brief moment of hesitation, “We have to get to Sector B now! C’mon!”

The rest followed his lead as they raced back to their ATVs, the one guard doing his best to put the death of his friend out of his mind for the task at hand. He couldn’t stop his own face from turning red and the tears welling up in his eyes, but he was still managing to push himself to keep up with his fellows.

Radvi was taking charge. All hell was breaking loose, and he had to do his best to help stop it.
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