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Old February 26th, 2014 (6:23 PM). Edited February 26th, 2014 by Legend.
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Legend Legend is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: New Jersey
Age: 27
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Nature: Lonely
Posts: 1,308

Atlantean Royal Mansion, Boston, England

November 12th, 2012

“Oof!’ Nathaniel groaned as a pillow struck his face. He slowly grasped the pillow before tossing it aside and shuffled around in his bed. “Five more minutes,” he moaned as he hid under the covers. He just had a good night’s sleep and was very certain that he could sleep for another day or two easily. It seemed good sleep was hard to come by nowadays and all he wanted was a little more. In his dreams, the harsh realities of the world were forgotten. If he could delay the inevitable a little longer and live a peaceful life in his head just for more moment, he would take it. It wasn’t an escape. It would be a reminder.

“I think you’ve slept enough already,” Antonia said, gearing up for another pillow strike. Nathaniel turned to his side and draped the covers his head with another louder groan. Antonia almost seemed to sigh as she slammed the pillow down on Nathaniel. She did two more times for good measure, before the man finally threw his covers off.

“Fine, fine. I’m up,” he rose from his bed, rubbing his eyes with one hand before looking up at Antonia, his eyes finishing their adjustment to the light. Nathaniel scratched his head and yawned. “What time is it?”

“It’s about lunchtime,” Antonia said flatly. “You don’t want to sleep the day away do you?”

“I wouldn’t mind, actually,” Nathaniel admitted as he picked himself up and slid over to the bathroom, yawning again as he did it.

“Hold up,” he stopped him grabbing his one arm. “Let me look at your face.” Nathaniel couldn’t help but blush lightly as she spun him around and stared intently at him. He could feel himself pleading “What?” but never mustered the words. Perhaps he was too tired. It always took him a while to get the brain turned on. “Your face looks a lot better. You are healing up pretty fast.”

“Isn’t that a perk of being an Atlantean?” Nathaniel asked rather plainly. He had just assumed that was how having superpowers worked.

“Well, yeah. More or less,” she replied release Nathaniel from her grasp. “Go take a shower. You smell. I’ll wait outside,” she said, somewhat teasing though if Nathaniel was actually awake he would probably agree. Nathaniel only nodded and walked into the bathroom. The whole exchange felt odd, but in a good way. In fact, he would admit that he rather enjoyed the feeling. For once since his ability manifested, everything felt normal. As he turned the water on and leapt into the shower (trying to make it as cold as he could to wake up), he tried to generate some thought. Not a conspiracy theory. Not some grand explanation for anything. He wanted to drum up a plan. Nathaniel was in a place of opportunity. At least that is what he felt and he needed to figure out what he was going to do. With all the different factions flying around and lacking any real information, Nathaniel was admittedly lost. He had little to no idea what the AUP had planned. Sure, he could take a few guesses, but really that wouldn’t amount to much. The Librarian was just an enigmatic and Nathaniel lacked any means of contacting him either. The other groups were complete mysteries. And all he knew about the ARF was what they told him. If Nathaniel was going to act, he needed information. He was on the right track on planting himself in the ARF and earning some brownie points with Leo was a good start. But that was one member of many.

As he ran his fingers through his hair, his eyes glanced up the ring the Librarian gave him. Nathaniel had almost forgotten about it. “Why did he give me this? What the hell is he planning?” Nathaniel gritted his teeth and in a frustrated twist of the knob forced the shower short. All these groups and confusing motives made Nathaniel increasingly mad and even a calming shower to put his ideas into action only reminded him how useless most of it was. No matter what Nathaniel wanted to do, he lacked the power, influence and means of doing so. For every step he could make someone somewhere would be bound to mess everything up placing him back at square one.

Nathaniel stepped out of the shower and in a daze searched his room for clothes. A clearer head would realize that he didn’t exactly pack or anything when he joined the ARF or the Librarian for that matter, yet his clouded mind did not care. He opened a drawer only to raise his eyebrow. “Clothes? Here? These are mine too…” Consequently, Nathaniel rationalized that the ARF had intervened and nabbed most of his belongings. When they did it was anyone’s guess. He had just finally noticed. All the other days he must have not bothered to actually act upon it. And who could blame him really? Between kidnappings, training and missions, Nathaniel hardly had much time to think…other than a brief stint in the library. Even then, Nathaniel was more reading philosophy which wraps up the mind anyway.

Nathaniel chose to ignore racking his brain for how the ARF, simply accepting that they had using their resources and probably an extensive database on every Atlantean. After all, he had registered with them. All the paperwork he filled out was bound to have his temporary address in London. At this point, they probably pulled him out of university and told his parents what was going on too. At least it saved him the trouble of calling them and checking up on them. Not that Nathaniel was exceptionally close to his parents anyway. Well, maybe he would like to talk to his dad. He only sighed as he quickly put on a rather plain outfit and stepped out of the room.

Antonia saw Nathaniel close the door and smiled. “Took you long enough. In fact, I think you take longer than me,” she chuckled. “Are you hungry? It’s just about lunchtime.” She finally asked, titling her head forward.

“Sorry about that. I…I had a lot on my mind,” he said, shaking his head. “But yeah, food sounds good.” The two walked down the halls, with few words exchanged between the two. Antonia led the way to the cafeteria, with the tall Atlantean following behind as he looked around the halls, trying to take in the sights of what seemed to be his new home. Fly back a few weeks, Nathaniel would never imagine he would live in a mansion of this scope, for these reasons, with these people. It seemed all too unreal, but he had to remind himself that this was the new normal. This was the new reality had to come to accept and face.

The cafeteria seemed grim. Despite the (usually) good food and wholesome variety, there was a strange tension in the area. There was little conservation in air and even fewer smiles. They were just students minding their own business, being left to their own devices. Antonia quickly nabbed a plate of food and sat down at a nearby table. Nathaniel took longer, starving, and practically stacked sandwiches on top of each other. He followed suit, sitting across from Antonia and began to slowly and politely devour his food. The awkward silence of the two sitting soon got to him however, and Nathaniel cracked under the thick air of the room. “Everyone seems a bit…out of it,” he observed. “Something happen?”

“They’re scared,” Antonia said after a few moments. “And you can’t blame them, really. We were attacked. This place isn’t as safe as it used to be.”

“But Leo and the others claim it is still sa-“

“Don’t tell me you believe all that?” Antonia interrupted.

Nathaniel looked down and took a breath. “No, but I want to.”

“We all want to,” Antonia sighed. “But…the way things are going I don’t think we are going to be safe. At least not for a while.” Nathaniel only nodded, solemnly listening to Antonia. He silently agreed with her. “I feel like we are at war, Nate. But Leo and the others seem… they seem to be pretending that everything…that everything is okay or something. This place is supposed to be a sanctuary…” Antonia was becoming visibly frustrated at the whole thing, almost growling at the end.

“Leo is doing the best he can,” Nathaniel tried to assure to her. “He’s a good man.”

“Just because you are good person doesn’t mean you are a good leader,” Antonia said flatly. “It’s not a secret that Leo hasn’t been all there as of late. He’s been dealing with a lot of things, sure, but…but.” Antonia stopped and looked around the room, appearing to collect her thoughts. “Being a leader means making tough decisions. Leo can’t make those. I don’t think he ever will be ready to do that. We need a leader, Nate. A true one.”

Nathaniel’s mind flashbacked to the last words he heard from Nix. You are true leader. Did he have what he took? Could he handle the burden of leading anyone? Considering his past failures, he wasn’t so sure. “Maybe you are right,” Nathaniel finally admitted. The two exchanged glances and went back to eating.

This time, Antonia broke the silence. “Are the rumors true? About James?”

“What are the rumors?”

“Some say he ran away. Others that he got kicked out. You hung around him a lot. I just figured you would know.”

“We got…separated on the mission,” Nathaniel struggled to say, wanting to keep the truth from everyone. Otherwise he would involve Nix in all of it and the man seemed to go through enough every day keep his secret from the others. “He just never came back with us. I have no idea what he’s doing. Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t that close.”

“Are you sure?” Antonia smirked. “It sure didn’t seem that way. The way you talk about him, you seem awfully worried.”

Nathaniel stared at his food, fiddling with it. “That’s cause I am,” he said before pausing. “In a more normal world, we would never talk. Maybe we would be acquaintances but even that may be stretch. I know you never thought much of him. After all, he isn’t the best person. He’s belligerent. He’s reckless. Quite frankly, he’s an assh*le. But he’s a friend. He’s got all the potential in the world, but he’s lost in this crazy world. All he needs to find is the right path. And right now, I am worried that he’s on the wrong one.”

Antonia nodded, appearing to understand where Nathaniel was coming from. “Well, what do you say about doing some training now? Wherever your friend is, he’s probably not skipping…what do you boys call it…leg day? If you know what I mean.”

Nathaniel laughed lightly. “Yeah about that. What do you say about doing it later? I don’t really know a lot of people around here. Really I only talked to you and James…oh and Austin, but I haven’t seen him around lately. Mind you if you introduce me to some of your friends? You know, so I don’t feel like such an outsider?”

“Sure. Follow me,” she said with smile. “I’m sure you will fit in just fine.”


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Old February 26th, 2014 (10:05 PM).
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Swolligator Swolligator is offline
Butcher of the Sands
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Location: Syndicate HQ
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Syndicate Headquarters, Birmingham, England

November 12th, 2012

Beacon Bank was just one of the several independent retail banks operating within the British Isles with partner companies within the European Union. The Directive had told Wyatt and the others that while in the midst of negotiating a merger with the company, one of the major CEOs decided against the merger. With the possibility of the merger now falling through, they were tasked with making look as inconspicuous as possible. Then again, Wyatt was currently sitting on the rooftop the Syndicate building with a long ranged sniper rifle on his lap. Pyrrha sat next to him with her own sniper rifle, hers possessing a scope.

From this position he had a bird’s eye view of the surrounding city scape including a direct view of the main commercial street. If everything went okay, then Wyatt wouldn’t have to fire a shot off today. Then again, when he looked back at how much practice he had with such a firearm over the last twenty-four hours, he was almost looking forward to using it.

From his prime position he watched the humans on the streets below crawl like scurrying ants, using his enhanced vision to pick out the subtle figures of his colleagues. Adrian and October stood at a newsstand to the left of Beacon Bank’s central office with Fletcher holding their hands as if he were their son. On the right side Seamus leaned against a coffee cart, his coffee rapidly cooling in his hands as he chatted up the cart attendant. Daemon meanwhile stood across the street, watching them all from afar, ready to jump in when they were given the signal.

“’All the world’s a stage’, do you know the quote, Pyrrha?” Wyatt asked as he ran his finger up and down the barrel of the gun sitting safely in his lap. He was relaxing, sitting cross-legged as he gazed out over the ledge.

“I do not. It is famous, no?” she asked Wyatt, her back to him. Since she didn’t have his visual prowess, she was resigned to tracking the progress of everyone through the scope on her rifle; paying close attention to Daemon.

“It goes, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts;’ What do you think it meant?” Quoting Shakespeare wasn’t exactly his idea of small talk, but it was something to while away the time. It had been a while since Wyatt and really enjoyed the outside air, but then again Winter wasn’t exactly his favourite time of year.

“It mean one man spent too much time alone,” she shrugged off his attempt to talk to her and continued to peer through her scope.

“It’s good enough,” he muttered under his breath. Yesterday this girl seemed like all she wanted to do was be with him and now she was giving him the cold shoulder as if he had done something wrong.

“Wyatt, stop flirting and get your head in it,” October’s voice scolded him over their connected network.

“Made my knees weak,” Seamus muttered into his mic making Wyatt feel slightly uncomfortable. The guy was usually alright unless he was purposefully trying to turn any comment into a one of a sexual nature; to the amusement of everyone but the speaker.

From his vantage point, Wyatt could easily see October roll her eyes at Seamus’ comment. Stepping aside from her boyfriend and their ‘child’, October made herself look as if she fumbled; dropping something from her handbag only to crouch down to the ground to retrieve it. With both hands on the ground, Wyatt watched as the veins down her arms began to show before the whole building began to shake and sway from beneath him. Once the shaking stopped Wyatt readied the rifle, tucking it into his shoulder and propping the barrel on the ledge of the building. The two of them needed to keep vigilant in case the others failed and they became the final option.

Once the shaking stopped, Adrian helped October to her feet. Wyatt was sure the girl could walk on her own feet but the way in which Adrian supported her suggested that October couldn’t stand by herself. Wyatt wondered if it was just overuse of her ability on such a large scale or something more ominous. For now he continued to watch as business men in suits streamed out of their offices to mill about on the side path. Pyrrha and Wyatt began searching the crowd, looking through the multitude of faces for their target.

“Seamus, to your left, dark grey coat,” Wyatt spoke into his mic after locking his vision onto the man; Walter Pryce.

“I see him, marking now.” Seamus said goodbye to the shocked attendant and made his way through the crowd of people. When he was close enough, he pulled off the cap to his mochaccino before staging what looked like a stumble as he cast the contents of the cup on Walter’s suit. They seemed to have a brief altercation before Seamus moved off and back within the folds of the crowd.

When Seamus moved off to meet Daemon across the road, Adrian called to the truck driver to start moving down the street. From across the road Daemon shot a small, bone projectile from his palm which struck the wheel of the truck before skittering off into the drain. The truck swerved, now barrelling off of the road wildly and into the group of men the Walter Pryce was a part of. The men scattered in all directions with Walter heading towards the building meaning that the truck would miss him. Adrian, October and Fletcher moved into position, just off to the side of the truck as it would hit them. As it closed in on them, the immediate area around them including a couple of suited men began shimmering the bright blue as Fletcher shielded them all from danger.

From their vantage point, Wyatt and Pyrrha both took in deep breaths as they watched the scene unfold before their eyes. The truck struck the side of its bonnet on Fletcher’s shield, causing it not to grind to a halt against the shield but rather to change direction and slide into the entrance of Beacon bank. Keeping his eyes on the marked Walter Pryce at all times, Wyatt watched the man as he held up his hands like it would stop the truck from hitting him. He could see the terror in the man’s face and even the sweat beading down his forehead. It was the last image of the man being crushed by the massive truck that seemed to burn into his mind.

“K-k-kill c-c-confirmed,” Wyatt stammered into his mic as he turned away to vomit beside him. Though he hadn’t physically killed the guy, Wyatt was still responsible for being an agent in the man’s demise. That last look he got of Walter now haunted him. He felt short of breath, like he was having an asthma attack, dropping the gun to his feet as he stumbled from the precipice.

Falling to his hands and knees, he began to focus on his breathing, trying to calm himself on what he had just seen. Worried, Pyrrha ran over to him, rubbing a soothing hand on his back as she consoled him over it. Without his vision, she had only seen the truck hit the glass doors of the building, but she had her fair share of blood on her hands. “Don’t worry, Wyatt, it passes.” She remembered the first time she had killed someone with her own hands; it wasn’t something to take lightly.

“It’s not that, Pyrrha,” he managed to cough out between breaths, “seeing him die like that made me sick.” She rolled over onto his side, looking up at her, “Knowing I killed him, it... it felt good.” His first thought that maybe he was a psychopath since he had never had the tendency to kill before.

“Wyatt, that is not good.” She now looked at him like he was a monster.

“But it felt, so good.” He remarked before collapsing on his back to stare up at the cloudy sky above him.

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Old March 2nd, 2014 (3:28 PM).
Retro Bug Retro Bug is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Nature: Timid
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New Atlantis, Lindholm, Sweden

November 12th, 2012

To turn down food was simply just not in the nature of Simon, there had never been a situation where he would willingly part his presence from it. Food was his ultimate weakness and one of the reasons he pushed himself on keeping in shape day in and day out. Unfortunately he was fresh out of protein powder, which the AUP had graciously ordered just for him. So, Simon made the decision, if there was any day to skip working out it was today besides it was leg day. This also meant that day and the day he decided to binge eat were one and the same. Regret would've filled him if the food hadn't already done it. Laughter caused food to fly from his mouth, the good vibes caused him to smile more than he had in quite a long time. The whole event felt very warming, like a family. Not that Aoife wasn't enough, his sister was awesome, she was always looking out for him even though he was the elder (by three minutes!) sibling. Plus, the Martells were consistently that second family if he ever needed them. It was a different family type of family, one could never have too many friends.

To attend the Self Defense training session taught by Atticus felt necessary especially if he was going to be an official member of the Atlantean Unification Project and so he did. As night became dawn Simon drifted to sleep in the guest bed provided for him, though his house wasn't far from here he suspected it'd already be occupied. The day had been much more eventful than any other day. That morning he awoke early, it was a habit he was meaning to break due to the fact there was almost no one up at this time. However, Simon heard the front door close and he leapt from his bed to greet whoever he would find there. With Simon's hair almost resembling a bird's nest and pajamas that were covered in stains he probably wasn't in the best state to be anyone's first sight of the day. The face he saw was... his own, well, only slightly.

"Aoife!" Simon said taken back, his sister was never, and he meant never, up this early.

Aoife itched the back of her head then proceeded to respond, "I... got worried about Bunches."

Bunches! The name itself brought a wide grin to Simon's face, "How's the little guy? We have to bring him with us!"

"Or we can have Rosa babysit him for us," his sister said as if it was the most obvious idea in the entire universe.

There wasn't a point in arguing with Aoife she always got her way and today would be no different, at least not yet. Simon decided to approach another topic that he sensed would be over in less than five second, but, hey, a guy could try? Right?

"Tell me something, sis, what are you doing?" Despite the question sounding general, it was anything but. Aoife knew it, Simon knew it, that was how they started dangerous conversations.

"Well, currently my header brother decided to play twenty questions with his slightly irritated and worn out sister," she snapped back. Aoife's entire body postured had conformed to her not so appreciative attitude, her arms were crossed, her voice was drenched with indignation, and her head was cocked to the side just the right amount.

To push this conversation any further was signing his death warrant. Simon was ready to pay the price if it kept his sister from making another mistake, "I don't want another Jennifer Blake."

"Simon!" Aoife threw her hands down in anger, yeah, he had pushed the wrong button and this time he may have slammed it. A livid Aoife stalked off toward her bedroom before she said something at the very last moment, "I've only known her for less than a day... don't make something out of nothing."

Immediately he retreated into his bedroom to seek out solace and the appropriate separation from Aoife. He sat on the edge of his unmade bed with his head in his hands. He ran his fingers through his messy hair a multitude of times before he let himself fall back onto the bed. As if he was making a snow angel his arms went up and down slowly. A cold item caused Simon to retract his hand back to his body, turning his head every so slightly to the right he saw a roughly torn piece of paper and something that laid on top of it. There was scribbles on the paper: a casual misspelled word and words that were crossed out all together, it read (without the mistakes):

Consider this your first mission. This key is meant to be important, find out why. Also, don't let anyone see that you have it.

Del? What? As far as he knew she had no authority in the Atlantean Unification Project there wasn't any missions she could assign to him. Regardless it felt nice that had thought he was worthy enough to do a task for them. It was a great necessity to first examine the key without touching it. Even if his Atlantean ability had so far only kicked in when the item was placed on his person. It was a light gray, he was sure there was some special name for this particular shade. Three jewels were placed on the handle, all green in color and all perfectly symmetrical. When it came to keys it appeared to be like any other key except for the gems in the handle, the key was cut which meant it had to unlock something, but what? Why did Del think it was important? All of this in combination of being frightened from the last time he had used his ability made Simon wary.

To screw up on his very first mission (official or unofficial) wasn't going to set a good precedent. What if they needed him in the future, would he freeze up and become utterly useless? No, he had fears to conquer and teammates to please. In a hurry he shut the door to his bedroom and picked up one of his shoes on the way back to his bed and unlaced the shoelace from it. From there he strung the lace into the loop on the top of the key, and prior to placing it around his neck he put himself in the center of the bed. If someone asked Simon to specifically detail how it worked he wouldn't be able to, it was hard describing his ability. Normally he'd shut his eyes and fiddled with the object(s) and then the visions overwhelmed him. Everything had to plucked through, it was like a thousand TVs were all on at once and he had to turn off all the ones he didn't care about. By the time he had turned off one "TV" a thousand had turned into ten thousand, then twenty thousand. The older the items were and/or the more owners of the items the more "TVs."

Not this time, something was different. There wasn't a thousand TVs, hell there wasn't even a hundred. He could add or subtract as many TVs as needed. It was if something or someone was slowing down his ability. To make things gentler on himself he focused on specific events, for now it was the exchanges of the key. He saw the most recent exchange between a man about his height and Del on a boat. The man, who's history Simon had briefly touched upon only to see a flash of fangs and back away from it, had come in contact with the key not through person-to-person exchange but simple luck. Simon was starting to garner that this key was very old. A woman had lost the key while she was on the run, from what or whom Simon hadn't a clue. A man had simply dropped the key after having one too many drinks. It was lost and found many times. He could not tell the exact thoughts or the exact feelings (he could read body posture and other physical signs) at the time any of the owners had it, that was Aoife's ability.

Simon could hardly believe how much easier it was to use his ability, of course he kept slipping up and other non-exchanges would constantly pop up, but he didn't feel suffocated for once. Unsure of what exactly was looking for, as Del hadn't specify, Simon perused until he found himself at or near the beginning of it all; the creation of the key. Whoever had crafted the key had never actually touched the key (long enough) or they somehow managed to avoid leaving behind a print of their existence. A woman with tan features was the first to touch the key, her olive skin was complimented by her long, brown locks. Visually stunning were her irises that were of a brown variant, both of them locked onto a box, it was technically like a crate with its size and purpose, located in front of her. Unsure if it was happening because of how untrained his ability was or if it was because how old this residue was, but the finer details and most of the scene itself was blurry and fuzzy at parts. The intricate design of the box was hard to make out, a swirl, actually, it could've very well been a zigzag for all Simon knew, ran around the sides. With one hand on top of the box and the other inserting the key the lady looked determined. The lid to the box raised up and... and... something was pushing Simon away. What seemed like furrowed brows and clenched teeth signaled to Simon for some reason this lady was angry, really angry and it must of had something to do with the box. He tried again and again to get a glance inside, but there was a block in place each time. Whatever was in that box was intentionally not letting him peer inside its content. A quick search resulted that the box had only been opened this once.

A scene like no other unfolded and forced itself onto Simon, a mass panic of people running every which way while the key laid on the ground next to the opened box near the ocean. Individuals fell over and never got back up again. Hysteria had made its home among these people for reasons unknown to Simon. Some took to the sky like birds (some actually transformed into birds) and others used an array of unusual talents to try and escape this place. At one point it might have been stunning Simon imagined, but it was hard to accomplish that feat with bodies strewed across the landscape. Horrendous was the only word to describe the incident. He had tried to cancel his ability, to back away, he didn't want to see the deaths, he couldn't, he was stuck in a cycle. Box open, death, destruction, box open, death, destruction, over and over and over again. A shrill voice and a slammed door awoken Simon, he sat up in his bed drenched with sweat and breathing heavily. He was free of that nightmare and the first thing he did was throw the key to the far corner of his room. Voices outside his door beckoned him to investigate only to see some girl and Atticus having words. Summoned like pets, they weren't even introduced to this new person and by the way she spoke with authority Simon assumed she was a higher ranking member. Henri, Mel, Aoife, and himself were all automatically excluded from the mission due to lack of experience. The mission's objective: retrieve Pandora's Box. No. It couldn't be. That key, the key that had showed him the death of hundreds, if not thousands of people, unlocked Pandora's Box.

By the time Simon's thoughts had settled there was a gun on Henri who was next to Aoife and the lady had rage-filled eyes similar to the girl he had seen. Was the lady he saw Pandora? Protective instinct flooded him, he managed to find himself between Aoife, Henri, and the gun. Why didn't he have the ability to blast lasers from his eyes like Cyclops? He would've blasted this girl. A movement on the ground caught his eye, a slug. Damnit Henri, if he kept doing this to the people in the organization they wanted to join they wouldn't even make it in the front door. Moments passed before Simon parted ways with his close friends as he noticed Del exiting the house. Should she know? Wouldn't it be better if he kept the key that way no such destruction would ever take place again? All these questions and more popped into Simon's head as he retrieved the key. For a small amount of time he just stared at the key once it found its way back into his hand he wondered what was the right choice. No, Simon had done his part, he found out why the key was important. Now, the hard decisions, the one that might be irreversible were best left to someone else.

"Del!" Simon called out once he stepped out into the chilly weather with only his pajamas and tennis shoes.

She whipped her head around causing the beads in her hair to fly, Del was pretty unique. Her leather jacket blew in the wind and the two keys (more keys? really?) around her neck danced in their places. The emotion on her face was unreadable, he was sure if she wanted to kill him or was just confused by his presence. He held out the key yet her face stayed the same emotionless state.

Shivering he wrapped his arms around himself and without knowing where to start Simon picked words and jumped into it, "This key, whoever gave it to you... Well, I know who gave it to you actually. I mean, I don't know his name or anything about him because when I trie-"

"Simon!" Del stated loudly and took the key from him when she got closer. She examined it and untied the shoelace and threw it back at Simon giving him side eye.

"Okay, okay, that's Pandora's key," Simon grinned as he watched Del's eyes grow and emotion creep onto her face, score one for him. "Yeah, that unlocks the box, but just remember the story, yeah? Death, destruction, I would just throw it in the nearest ocean immediately. You don't want to know what I saw."

"You're right, I don't." Ouch. Score one for Del. She was cold, but at the same time warmer. She took off toward the jet then stopped and turned around. "Good job, Simon." Simon responded the best way he knew how to, a toothy smile.

It was out of his hands now. Whatever was fated was bound to take place. All he could do now was sit back and hope that tomorrow would come minus the surplus amount of evils that could be released and kill them all.

"I'm ready for a nap..."

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Old March 2nd, 2014 (3:48 PM).
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Quest Quest is offline
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New Atlantis (Lindholm), Sweden

November 12th, 2012

Imogen's heels were first on the plane, her heels clicking angrily against the floor. She waited for the rest of her 'team' - Del, Devon, Oakley, Dom, Thayne and this Klepto guy - and waited until they were all seated before she spoke. Her arms were crossed, her brow was creased and the look on her face said that this was not going to be a 'fun' or 'easy' mission.

"We're going to a museum in Cairo to fetch this box. In case any of you are unintelligent monkeys who don't read the news, which I think some of you might be," she shot some violent looking glances around the plane, "Cairo is where some dumb archeologists found some artefacts from Old Atlantis and managed to piece together that the original Atlantis exists. It also was victim to a terrorist attack almost a week after that idiot River Beleren thought it would be a good idea for the world to know," she put her hands up, using her fingers as quotation marks, "the truth."

"The Egyptian Museum. In Cairo." Otto added in, in case anyone needed to know.

"Yes, I know which museum it is. I wasn't finished yet. Don't interrupt me," Imogen said, hissing and glaring at Adeline. "Now, I would have waited until night to steal from a museum but I'm just about done with patience for today. We're going now. It's a five hour flight. And if any of you dare pull any kind of sh*t like that again, I will throw you all off this plane and make sure you hit your parents' houses. Unless they are dead, of course." She sneered at Delta and quickly exchanged rather dirty looks at the rest of her team before disappearing behind the curtain to the cockpit.

Had Delta not fully embraced her parent's death long ago that comment would've stung a bit more, both her parents were dead and nothing she could or say would change that. The amount that it had been brought up in the past week was more than it had been in years. It did dampen her mood having to think such morbid thoughts. Those thoughts led her to other more productive thoughts, like, how they were going to steal from a museum during the day.

"Is anyone else going to say it?" Delta toyed with the key that hung around her neck, her finger constantly going over the small gems embedded in the handle. An adjustment to her body position allowed her to see mostly everyone, "We're going into a highly famous museum in the daylight to steal something from it. We're not getting out of there without our faces plastered on every newspaper worldwide." Were they really going to go through with this? On one hand infamy sounded fantastic, there would be tons, in the millions, of people who know who she was. That would really put her on top. On the other hand it would not help the events that were happening all over the world, Anti-Atlantean protestors would rallying around this event and use it as another reason why they should pass stricter laws.

"Get ready to be the world's first well known supervillians, because the world will know us after this."

"Maybe we can throw her off the plane and make sure she hits the museum. Then she can get the artifact herself," Dom growled, visibly enraged. He'd already been furious when Imogen threatened Henri not moments before, but now his emotions rose to new, fiery levels. Imogen's comment had not been directed at him, but her brazen insensitivity lit him up. Her comment hit wounds that were much too fresh. Dom had a history of getting angry, but not this much. It got to the point where one could faintly see his breath or the steam coming out of his ears. That and his whole body hurt, but that only fueled his fire. Dom quickly found a seat on the plane, not interested in standing. "If we fail I hope that means we won't be going on any more of these damn missions."

"If we fail, who knows what would happen to us," Thayne replied as he sat across from Dom. He could definitely understand why they needed to get the Box, but not with the methods that Imogen seemed to be implying. "How are we supposed to get out of there without being labeled as criminals? The place is more than likely filled with security people who would try and stop us, and if we do anything to fight against them..." His voice trailed off as he thought of what could happen to them. He was sure that if they were forced to, they would fight, but that only seemed like it would put them into an even worse situation.

"How exactly are we going to go about this?" He asked as he turned his attentions to Adeline. If anything, she would hopefully be able to answer. There was no way they'd get a straight answer from Imogen.

She answered Thayne almost immediately. "Mr. Baumann will guide me to the box's exact location. Everything else is up to Ms. Green." Emery had been silently sitting, looking rather nauseated, even before the plane had taken off. Oakley swore that was the most she had heard Adeline say in one go ever.

"Maybe the museum is closed today." Oakley checked her watch; it was Monday, just around 8 o'clock in the morning. Museums wouldn't usually be closed unless for maintenance, which she couldn't check without the internet. Or ringing them. "Or maybe they're just going to give it to us, because they support Atlanteans. Or maybe Imogen's ability is she can do the Jedi mind wipe thing."

Devon screwed up his face, shaking his head with his arms crossed. "Her ability is she can change her face and body. If anyone is not going to jail for this, it's her."

"She seems to be the kind of person who would steal the thing as one of us just for the laughs," Thayne said. "From the sounds of it, this heist only needs you three. Where do we come in? As distractions? The fall guys?" The were more and more holes as Thayne thought over what they were about to do. Sure, this Box could probably help the AUP somehow, but was it really worth all the trouble that they were going through.

The more discussion that went on around her the more irriated Delta had become. She was in a perfectly fine mood this morning, hell, she had tolerated people more than usual. Then came Imogen and the gun incident, next Imogen bringing up her parents, and finally Oakley and her ridiculous comments. "Tell me something Oakley, do you think the cameras just magically stop working if the museum's closed? Do the security guards just evaporate into thin air?" The annoyance was clear in her tone of voice, and how she rolled her eyes after ever one of Oakley's sentences. If anything Oakley's constant optimism was her most exasperating trait. "Naivety isn't cute."

"I'm just trying to think positively." Oakley frowned and slid down her chair a little.

"Or as everyone else likes to call it, stupidly," Delta said this crystal clear so that everyone in the vicinity could hear. Oakley grumbled and slid further down her chair.

"What we need is Annie." Yeah, the senior member of the AUP was really good at computers and things. "Maybe she could hack the camera system, better yet perhaps she could just erase our identities as a whole." It was a good idea in theory, but who knew what Annie was doing right now or if she even knew of this mission. Thayne was right; they were the fall guys, they were only here to help get Imogen to the end point. She voiced her agreement, though she doubted this would ever happen again. What was this mission teaching her? How to knockout a security guard in four seconds flat? Delta had said this once, but once she gotta the proper training she would leave the Atlantean Unification Project and not look back.

"Except Annie isn't here, is she?" Dom snapped, irritated by this conversation as a whole. "I sat through an entire dinner and didn't meet anyone named Annie so unless you have a way to contact her right now I don't see her as very relevant." Honestly, Dom didn't know who Annie was in the first place. If he met her he didn't remember her and if she wasn't here he could take a good guess that she was in France. AKA somewhere too far away to matter right now. "If Annie were going to hack anything, don't you think they would have planned that already? That wouldn't exactly be something we'd have to worry about. When did you even expect her to hack the camera system? After we've already been seen, attacked, and arrested? Thanks, that'll really help out with out media coverage." This whole conversation had been one bad suggestion after another and something told him that nothing said today would top that one. Then again they did have five more hours. They were probably just getting started.

"Well, even without Annie, Imogen wou--" Devon started, albeit a little quietly before Delta piped up.

Delta was a bit taken back that the person to speak out against her was Dom. She had felt the heat, but she was not expecting the heat to be directed at her. Why was he going after what she said? They had only known each other for a mere four days, but Delta thought that they were usually on the same side of things. Potentially on the route of being friends... Instead he had angered her further. There was so much she wanted to say, so many words to get out, and so, so much anger. "Congratulations Dom, I'm glad you sat through dinner and that automatically means you know every single member of the AUP by heart and were able to meet each and every one of them," she mocked with intense sarcasm and a few loud claps. Immensely uncomfortability plagued her to be sitting next to him was only furthering her upsetting her mood. More words were spilling out and Delta just didn't care, "You'd know Dom I'd like to introduce you to the 21st century where a lot of people have phones, and the internet, and our heads aren't in our as*es like yours. Therefore we don't need Annie to physically be here, Imogen can call her, so yes, she and hacking is still a very realistic option." All his comments were so short-sided and rushed like he hadn't actually took the time to think about them and had dismissed for no reason at all. "There you go with your supreme and vast knowledge, I didn't know you had anything other than the inability to control yourself and lots and lots hot air."

If there was two things Delta wanted to do right now it was: scream and to punch the living crap out of something or someone. Her fists were already clenched and crystallized, ready for a fight. Nothing but rage pumped through her veins and it felt like nothing was going to soothe this fury inside of her. Leaving was the only option, so that was what she had planned on doing. Yet there was one more thing that had to be said and it was because she wanted him to hurt, she wanted to see him in pain, and most importantly she wanted to win. Delta stood up and shouted (she wanted everyone to hear), "You know what I'm glad your parents are dead and I bet they are too so they don't have to see what their son has become. A killer, a pathetic son of a b*tch at that. I bet you passed out before you even had a chance to go to their house. I bet you didn't even get to say goodbye because you just had to fight James Hazen and you lost worse of all." Delta had leaned onto the table for some support and then started to stalk off toward the back of the jet at the end of her sentence.

One last thing to be said and this one wasn't as loud as her previous comments, but audible enough for Dom to hear, "If Paris hadn't have happened to them, you would've." Done. She was done and she raced down the aisle in order to sit as far away from anyone and everyone. Had she gone too far? The looks on their faces or the comments they were going to say would tell her in time. Where was all this anger coming from? Right now she couldn't care less, she wanted to hurt everyone in sight, no, kill.

Devon leaned back in his chair as Delta fired up, him and Oakley silent while she seemingly became more and more angry. His meetings with Julian seemed to flash in front of him as he saw the obvious indicators of rage and felt himself going through the steps, one by one, of how to stop yourself. When Delta was done, she stormed off to the back of the jet and Devon found himself empathetic towards her. It wasn't exactly a wanted feeling - Delta had given him more crap than any of the other juniors - but he could see himself; the first time he found out about his ability, in his room late at night after a particularly awful day of 'sympathy' from the other members. Rage. It was bittersweet.

After a few moments of silence, he got up, stretched his back out and started to follow Delta down the back of the plane before an arm grabbed his. He looked back, a nervous Oakley frowning at him. He frowned back and pulled out of his grip, ignoring her concern. As much as he liked that she cared, he didn't want her turning into another stupid, sympathetic AUP member. But he remembered what she said, about these people around him and how they were meant to be 'his friends'. He didn't agree with her at all about that, but he took what he could from it; they were sharing this experience with him, so the least he could do was see their side of it.

He took a seat near (definitely not next to) Delta, leaving some silence in between them (by fiddling with his phone) for a few moments as he let her catch her thoughts. When he thought enough time had passed, he spoke. Not with sympathy, or condescendence, but as exactly he'd like to be treated.

"Y'know, it helps me sometimes when I count backwards from one hundred." He said. It wasn't the first step he'd take, but Delta had already done those steps; stop the situation and walk away from it.

To look up and see the presence of another person was strange. When Delta realized it was Devon that made it even stranger because she didn't particularly like the kid and wasn't afraid to show it. Had he come to bring up her mother again? If there was anything for him to gain in this situation Delta couldn't see it. There was no conversation, only silence. The heavily breathing in and out through nose was getting softer as she had time to mull over the thoughts in her head. A nod was all she gave to Devon's suggestion as Delta still wasn't sure if she was okay with him here. Anger had seeped into every corner of her person, would counting do anything? If she thought it he would never know that she had done it... sto... dziewięćdziesiąt dziewięć... dziewięćdziesiąt osiem... dziewięćdziesiąt siedem... dziewięćdziesiąt sześć... The continuation of count carried onto until Delta reached ninety. It was boring, but it kept her mind off the the situation.

"I went too far, didn't I?" Delta wanted someone to tell her she didn't, but she knew she had. That was the whole point, to go as far as she could and dig the knife as deep as it could go. Devon hadn't even made her this angry, maybe its because she didn't like him from the start. However, he did have information that was classified, perhaps she could use this moment to get it out of him. She looked at Devon on his phone and then back at the ground before asking, "What's exactly in my file?"

"Lil' bit." He raised an eyebrow at the change in subject. She hadn't even tried to ease into it at all. "Uh, things. And stuff. Why? Was there something you wanted to know?"

Gee, Devon really knew how to be specific and Delta wasn't looking forward to pulling teeth, "I want to know what's known about me. I don't want people like Imogen using such information to catch me at a disadvantage." Skeletons lurked in her closet and she wasn't ready for them all to come tumbling out or to used as blackmail.

"Oh. Well, Imogen's a b*tch, but I'd just assume she knows everything about you. That's what she does with people she... likes." Devon fiddled with his phone a little longer before handing it to Delta, her file on view. Only hers. "Here."

Delta reached out for the phone and peered down on the text that was present on the screen once it was in her grasp. Basic information was first, name, age, birthday, and stuff like that. After that it expanded onto more personals things, her family (the location of her sister was listed as unknown), her close acquaintances, her whereabouts the days after the reveal. How did they know this information? How in the world did anyone get this information? Annie was the most likely the culprit to obtain the information, though Delta wasn't sure what the reason for it was. The ability to track her after the reveal... How? It was all so much. Perhaps Devon would know, "Why is this necessary?"

Devon gave a small shrug. "Background checks, I guess. Sometimes people find the AUP, sometimes people get specifically chosen, some people are just found by chance. Maybe they want to see if investing in someone is worth it. Nobody has really told me since these files aren't on display to everyone. I just know everyone has a file." He gave a scowl. "Some of them have tighter security than others, though."

By the looks of this Delta had been either found by chance or chosen. She leaned back in her seat as she scrolled further down. It seemed more like the latter of the two, when Misha had kidnapped her he had already knew her name, which meant they hadn't found her by chance. How did they even know she was Atlantean? The first two weeks after the reveal she hadn't gone outside much, if at all. When Delta had she definitely didn't activate her ability, nor had she told anyone. Genuine curiosity propelled Delta to ask, "It doesn't say here... was I chosen?" Despite the question not being answered or acknowledged the wheel's in her mind started turning at warp speed, "For this? To be a fall guy!"

If not for a quick moment of rational thinking Delta would've thrown Devon's phone as far as she could (perhaps even hitting Dom with it) instead of simply handing it back. The anger was starting to rise up in Delta again and there was little temptation to stop it. "What Unification have we achieved? None, if any. How are we even making progress? Nothing is shared with us, we're just expecting to go out on this missions with minimal details. I think I would very much like to know what exactly is the specific goal we're reaching for. Through what means are we achieving unification? Don't feed me bullsh*t either." She expected Devon had an answer, he had all the files on his phone right here, certainly his snooping didn't stop to what was written in each file.

"I don't know, it doesn't always say." Devon took his phone, going back to whatever wikipedia page he was reading before. His eyes flicked back up as he felt the hostility rise again, making a face at her last statement, feeling more offended than he would be at one of her stupid names. He had not once told her a lie or tried to deceive her intentionally in any way (except for his ability, but it's not like anyone asked). Why would he start now? What would be the point? "The AUP is all about 'peace'," he used his fingers as quotation marks, "and 'safety from the evils of mortals'. Whoever recruited you would have given you some dumb pitch about protecting Atlanteans against whoever wants to hurt us. I know different members would give you different stories on what 'unification' truly is, but dad's always told me he just wants us to not be afraid of... existing." His voice trailed off a little, his mother's face popping into his head before he continued. "I guess that's the point of New Atlantis. But since the AUP is meant to protect Atlanteans against whatever, I'd say that Imogen or dad or whoever made this mission thinks there's some kind of anti-Atlantean weapon in this box. Or something that would make life easier for us. Or a pro-Atlantean weapon that the ARF want. Probably something along those lines. Then again, 'Hope' isn't all that specific."

A... weapon to ensure peace...? Her hand had wrapped around the key she had been given back not too long ago. What kind of weapon would get rid of the horrors happening to their kind that no one, not even the ARF, was doing anything about? In the center of it all was were Delta wanted to be, she wanted to subject those who had tortured those kids on the boat to the exact same treatment. Their abilities weren't science experiments, they were people too and deserved to be treated like any other human despite the fact that they were more than that. People like those on the boat were still out there. Who knew who was their next target? It was then Delta shut her eyes and hoped that somehow this Atlantean gene had skipped her sister. Her sister should have a normal life, one without this kind of stress. However, there was still a chance, however slim, that she was Atlantean and she was out there in a world full of people that potentially hated her, wanted to use her like a guinea pig, and worst of all, wanted her dead. It was a lot to take in, along with the information Simon had given her before she boarded the jet.

"I..." Delta swore in Polish, it always felt natural to talk in Polish even if it wasn't her first language. There was so much to say and there also wasn't. "Perhaps that'll change our role in the game," she muttered and shifted in her seat. The AUP were lax players thus far and Delta was already itching for more excitement, maybe this time the ARF would come to them. "Hope..." Who cared about hope? Surely not Delta.
// Bae'd to Kikpanther //
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Old March 6th, 2014 (1:10 AM).
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Swolligator Swolligator is offline
Butcher of the Sands
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Syndicate Headquarters, Birmingham, England

November 12th, 2012

After a rather eventful morning, Wyatt and the rest of the crew retired to the Syndicate Headquarters where they were quickly debriefed on their successful mission. Throughout most of the debriefing, Wyatt remained solemn and closed off from the others. The entire meeting was essentially the Directive going over the details and how everyone had reacted accordingly. Another couple of minutes and they were out of the board room in no time. Once out, they all returned to their living quarters only a short ride up the elevator. While they kept silent for the duration of the elevator ride, once the doors opened up into their spacious living area, they started talking.

“Now that we have some free time, we should go out.” October was the first to raise her voice, then again she always seemed to have an opinion about everything.

Everyone looked at her like she had suggested the worst idea ever, “I think all the shops would be closed after that earthquake, love.” Seamus chimed in, although wasn’t entirely against the plan.

“Give it an hour, enough time for people to get changed, and all the major shops will have their stores safety checked and will be open in no time.” October obviously had been thinking the whole thing through on their ride up.

“We have nothing better to do,” Adrian wrapped an arm around October, “plus it’ll be good to get some fresh air without being on a mission.” He leaned his head against October’s as a sideward hug.

Fletcher simply shrugged at the idea, after losing his brother and now Jeremy, he had become even more shut off from the rest of them and also began spending more time down in the training facility. Pyrrha and Daemon on the other hand were excited to get out and see what England looked like; after being kept on the boat for so long, they were sick of being indoors. With everyone on board, October lead Pyrrha to her room where she outfitted the Russian girl into one of the many clothing items she had at her disposal. Seeing as all of Adrian’s clothes were outfitted for his peculiar figure, it was up to Seamus and Wyatt whom both had the Syndicate retrieve their clothing from their flats to outfit Daemon.

An hour later and everyone was waiting on Pyrrha and October; the latter of which having taking Pyrrha into her room almost twenty minutes ago. No doubt October was giving Pyrrha the beauty treatment of her life. Wyatt had lived with Anastasia long enough to understand how certain girls could take so long to get ready. After what seemed like forever the two girls entered into the living room causing all of the boys to take in a deep breath at their beauty. Wyatt was surprised that October was not only able to make herself look beautiful, but even Pyrrha was stunningly beautiful. A bit embarrassed at not only showing so much skin with October’s rather revealing clothes, but also with how much attention she was getting, Pyrrha tried hiding herself shyly. October however had other plans and kept Pyrrha from hiding behind her.

“So, let’s go guys.” October said rather nonchalantly as she paraded herself and Pyrrha in front of the boys and over to the elevator.

“Dude,” Seamus slapped Adrian’s chest with the back of his hand, “your girlfriend is hot!” he whispered before following the girls like a love sick puppy.

The elevator ride down was taken in silence. The girls’ perfume seemed to deafen the air around them and the boys were too tongue tied at the moment to speak out. Once on the ground floor they headed for the garage, exiting out via the employee entrance around the back of the building. Excited to have left the confines of the building, they began talking amongst themselves, even Fletcher piped up now and again as he held October’s hand. From the CBD, they headed to Bullring; one of the major shopping centres within the central Birmingham city.

Almost immediately upon walking into shopping mall, October twisted her hand out of Adrian’s and instead grabbed Pyrrha’s, “Pyrrha and I will go buy her some of her own clothes,” October flashed the Business Card emblazoned with the Syndicate Banking logo and her name etched into it.

All of them had their own bank cards excluding Pyrrha and Daemon who were recently new and had theirs own the way. Despite doing mostly training and having the occasional mission in the outside world, they had an almost bottomless pit of income for the lack of actual work they did. Although they rarely got time to get out and enjoy the world for what it is.

“Sure, I’ll txt you babe,” Adrian bent down and kissed October before she scooted off with Pyrrha in tow, leaving Fletcher with the guys. Adrian then turned to the guys, “So I might as well help Daemon buy some clothes, you guys can either come with us or have a look around.”

Looking at one another, Seamus and Wyatt shrugged while Fletcher latched onto one of Adrian’s hands; obviously wanting to go with him. “We’ll head off in this direction,” Wyatt pointed in the opposing direction to the row of clothing shops Adrian and Daemon were to head to.

“Alright, well meet us in the food court in an hour, we’ll have lunch.” And with that Adrian took the two younger guys with him in the direction of the clothes shop, leaving Wyatt and Seamus in the middle of the mall.

“Soo, how’d you end up taking out wannabe superheroes?” Wyatt began talking after several steps of continued silence. Wyatt had sparred with Seamus on occasions, the man was a good fighter, but mostly their trainings were different and by the end they were too exhausted to even form coherent speech.

“Hah, it’s kind of a funny story,” Seamus stuck his hands in his pocket as they strolled through the store. “Me parents weren’t the wealthiest, but me dad was a complete nutcase. Heavily Catholic, alcoholic and abusive, tried to take his rage out on me mum one day. I stepped in and took the hiding for her; he put me in hospital for ‘being a hero’.” Seamus kicked at a discarded bottle cap and shook his head, “after that he continued to do so up until the day I became Atlantean. By then I was out of home, yet still visited me mum to comfort her. He tried to punch me and my face turned into, well this.” Seamus motioned to the blueish metal that had formed over his closed, right fist.

“I’m… sorry, didn’t mean to hit a nerve,” Wyatt felt a pang of regret for asking, but Seamus had been so upfront about it like it didn’t quite worry him.

“Nah, don’t phase me no more. After that I kind of moved around. Then me bro gives me a call and says some masked superhero killed me father in ‘self-defence’.” Seamus air quoted and scoffed, “he wasn’t a decent man, but he was me father. So I tracked down the guy, took an eye for an eye. He never donned the cape again.”

“♥♥♥♥ man,” Wyatt was taken aback from the turn of events. He barely knew his own father and couldn’t imagine the scenario Seamus had been in, but would he really kill someone for killing his father? His stomach seemed full of butterflies as he remembered how he had felt after their mission; the giddiness almost taking over.

“What about you?” he looked over at Wyatt, smiling weakly.

“Pretty boring, actually. The Directive approached me after Archery Nationals, gave me his bank card and said that the company wanted to hire me. Next minute Jeremy teleports into my room, offers me his hand and we arrive at the headquarters.” Now that Wyatt really thought about the events that had lead up to this moment, he was actually glad that he had taken Jeremy’s hand that day.

“And your family? They’re okay with you joining this ‘Banking Firm’?” Seamus nudged Wyatt with his elbow.

“I haven’t talked to them in over five years.”

“Oh, I’m sorry man, didn’t mean to.”

The two continued to walk in silence until Wyatt again decided to break it, “So that comment you made to Adrian about October, aren’t you gay?” he asked hesitantly.

“Oh,” Seamus let out a nervous laugh, scratching his head, “I’m bisexual. I like both genders, think of it like a seesaw.”

“Everyone wants to ride you?” the two guys cracked up laughing.

“I swing both ways. I just can’t make up me mind is all.”

Wyatt and Seamus continued to talk, laugh and joke as they wandered aimlessly around the mall. On occasion they would enter a store and look at everything on sale or even trying on clothes. They didn’t buy anything though, simply looking was enough. They soon came across a store that would fit them suits, and being the boys they were, decided to try on differing suits and pretend to be sophisticated. In the end the time came for them to leave and the pair soon left the store dressed in their own suits they purchased with their Syndicate Bank cards. While Wyatt was decked out in a simple black suit with a grey waist coat, black tie and baby-blue shirt, Seamus decided to purchase a while suit with matching white shoes, rainbow suspenders for what he called “♥♥♥♥s and gigs”, a red tie and rather nice white shirt.

Intoxicated with the amount of money they had just spent, the two made their way to the food court where they soon sound the rest of their group sitting at a large table eating McDonalds. “Good afternoon, my fine chaps, how might we be on this most marvellous day?” Wyatt badly imitated an Oxford accent while Seamus tried not to giggle.

“I’m sorry, was that a happy meal you two children wanted?” October snapped at the two. Looking down, Wyatt could see multiple bags sitting either side of Pyrrha’s and her’s chairs.

Sad that the others didn’t appreciate the humour, Seamus and Wyatt set off, returning to the table once they had procured food from Burger King. Everyone seemed to sit in silence as they ate, far from the usual chatter they had over the table back at the Syndicate Headquarters. “So a question that’s been bothering me, what was that stuff you injected into yourself back on the boat, Adrian?” Wyatt asked once he had finished his meal.

Fletcher and October looked at him like he had said the dumbest thing ever, “Its adrenaline. Did Doctor Meier or the Directive never tell you? Adrenaline is like a drug for Atlanteans; it’s one of the main forces behind our superhuman feats. For almost all Atlanteans adrenaline is the thing that keeps your eye sight in Infra-Red or allows October to shake the windows out of buildings. By introducing more adrenaline into the body, it shocks the system into bolstering your ability to a level you wouldn’t reach under normal circumstances.”

“So it’s like Atlantean steroids?” Seamus asked raising an eyebrow.

“More like an energy drink, the bigger the energy boost, the harder you’ll crash when it wears off.” October spoke through her forkfuls of salad.

“It’s an ‘in case of emergency’ sort of thing. When you got hit, Wyatt, was justifiably an emergency.” Adrian pinched a leaf of October’s salad resulting in a death stare from her as he munched on it smiling at her.

“How did you all become a part of Syndicate?” Pyrrha asked shyly from beside October as her brother nodded in agreement. The two new recruits hadn’t been there when Seamus had asked a similar question.

“My father brought me in when I was about twelve,” October started off with her story since she had been the first of this latest batch of recruits to arrive at Headquarters, “He knew well in advance about Atlanteans and all that, so when I started developing powers he brought here. At the time there were others who did what we do now… but I was kept separate from those people.”

“I lived in Rio until about a year ago,” Adrian was the next to talk, “October was sent to recruit me and so eventually I joined. Fletcher here was at the Syndicate when I arrived, him and his brother Kieran were in a similar position as October.”

“But they came well after I had.” October added in.

Then all eyes turned to Wyatt, “I was just a university student until the Directive approached me after archery nationals. Then Jeremy appeared in my room and teleported me to the headquarters.”

“Who is zis ‘Jeremy’?” Daemon piped up for what seemed like the first time since meeting him on the boat.

“Jeremy joined a couple of years after I did, but before Kieran and Fletcher. He teleported us from place to place; it was his ability. We lost him rescuing you two from the ship.” October almost spat out the last words like she blamed Daemon and Pyrrha for Jeremy’s capture.

They spent another couple of minutes chatting around the table before deciding to head home. October managed to convince Adrian to carry the bulk of her bags back to the Syndicate headquarters while her and Pyrrha walked on ahead chatting like they had been friends for a long time. Wyatt hung back from the rest of the group, Seamus walking only slightly ahead of him, deep in thought and smiling at the rest of their group. Despite having known these people for as little time as he had, he felt closer to these people than his family or Anastasia.

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Old March 9th, 2014 (8:12 PM).
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New Atlantis (Lindholm), Sweden

November 12th, 2012

Thayne watched as Devon got up and followed Delta to her seat. I didn't expect that, he thought as he remembered back to their last flight. They looked like they were on good terms... It wasn't everyday you saw something like that happen, particularly between friends. "What the hell just happened?" He asked as he turned back to Dom and Oakley, although it was obvious that the question was directed more towards him. He knew it was pretty early in the morning and having somebody like Imogen around doesn't help, but was it really necesary for teammates to retaliate against each other like that?

"What do you think just f*cking happened?" The temperature in the plane had risen rapidly since Dom's encounter with Delta. It was safe to say that he had never been this angry in his life and Thayne's stupid questions weren't helping either. Dom drummed his fingers on the arm of his chair; it took a lot to stay put in his seat right now. By the way he looked it would be a real effort to get Dom to have a conversation now, let alone calm him down. Maybe the smell of burning fabric would do the job for him.

Oakley kept her mouth shut, her eyes flicking between Dom and Thayne, doing her best not to look back at Delta and Devon. She was worried and a little scared, but not of Dom or Delta specifically, but of the plane dropping out of the sky due to overheating or a crystal arm shaped hole. Developing a fear of flying while on a plane wasn't exactly the best of timing. She gripped the arms of the chair, the top of her hands flicked with specs of armour. She gave Thayne a strained smile when he looked her way, really having no idea how to react to the situation except avoid it.

"I think two people aren't friends anymore." Thayne said, his face screwing up as he responded to Dom. "You guys are teammates, aren't you? Why the hell would you start fighting? That Imogen chick pissed you off?" If there was one thing Thayne hated, it was friends fighting. "Why don't you go take it out on her instead?"

"Shut up, Thayne!" Dom snapped, a puff of fire escaping him as ghe spoke. Steam escaped his body with every breath. It was like seeing your breath in winter, only it was really hot. "I've been with this group for four days. I'm not anybody's friend and I don't need that teammate ♥♥♥♥ either." If he really cared about teammates he would have picked his team, not forced on a plane with this group.

"Please stop fighting," Oakley squeaked, barely loud enough for anyone to hear. There had been too many arguments between them within the last few days. Weren't these people meant to be friends with one another? Why had they given up on each other so easily?

Part of Thayne knew that it wasn't a good idea to keep the conversation going, but of course, he also knew some things needed to be said (or possibly yelled in this case). "Why should I?" he asked as his tone rised to match Dom's. "How does me stopping help the situation? Why don't you open your eyes for a minute? The two of you are part of a team. You're here, aren't you? You could've left whenever you wanted to, and yet, you're still here. Cool down for a second and put some actual thought into what you're saying and doing!"

"Please," she whined, a lttle louder, but still went unnoticed. "Please stop."

Open his eyes? Open his eyes!? Dom considered his eyes wide open! There wasn't any mistaking the last few moments or the last few days. He didn't pick this team and he certainly didn't pick this mission! He never once asked to go to Lindholm and he didn't volunteer to get on the boat that saved Thayne's worthless little *ss. Dom got up from his seat and went down the isle, fists clenched and fire in his eyes. If he was going on this mission he wasn't going to spend it getting lectured by that waste of space. He raised his fist and threw the first punch.

"Stop fighting!" Oakley wailed, and suddenly found herself inbetween Thayne and Dom, her face directly in the punch's path. She yelped as it collided with her cheek, not sure whether the force or the heat hurt her more. She stumbled, falling back into Thayne, her armour on her right hand and cheek instinctively growing suddenly to protect her from another attack.

Thayne barely caught her before raising his hand to immediately force the black matter to encase the attacker, moving it further up his arm until it eventually covered all but Dom's head. "Are you ok?" He asked the girl quickly, noticing her armor spread. He had expected the man to do something, but Oakley was a different story. She was definitely a tough girl.

"Y-yes." She said, rubbing her armoured cheek with her unarmoured hand. Her eyes had glazed over slightly, and noticed Devon standing up from his seat from the corner of her eye. "I just want everyone to stop fighting." Rubbing it really wasn't making it any better. She was rubbing metal after all.

"I said to cool down and think, didn't I?" He yelled at him, trying to insert some sort of confidence with a nod to Oakley. "Look, we're trying to get this Pandora's Box, aren't we? You know what's in it. It's hope. Now, I don't know anything about your parents except for that you're looking for them, but don't you think that hope might just help you? We're trying to get it as a team. No matter how much you think we all just happen to be here or how none of us are friends, we're still a team. You need us in order to get what you want. Rely on us just this once and let's do this!"

Time seemed to slow down after his punch hit Oakley rather than Thayne. Where had she even come from? Dom couldn't say. She had been silent since the Annie issue and now she finally decided to show up and at the worst possible time. His anger which had long ago boiled over was quickly rushing away. Now he only felt sick. Sick for what he had done and sick for what he would very well do in the future. This wasn't the first time he'd gone too far since joining the AUP or after Paris as a whole. Paris was when everything spiraled out of control and that out of control feeling made him remember not Thayne's words, but Lucien's, Julian's, and worst of all Delta's. His eyes found Delta and darted away as soon as they landed. His sickness turned to shame.

Thayne watched as the emotions seemed to flash across Dom's face and let the barrier holding him release. If anything, Thayne could tell he didn't need it anymore. Giving Oakley a quick look, he turned back to the shameful looking man. "I know I probably didn't use the right words, but are we cool?"

Dom nodded, his mind very obviously on something else. "Yeah." He turned away without another word, making his way towards the head of the plane and taking a seat at the front, very far away from the others.

// Bae'd to Kikpanther //
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Old March 16th, 2014 (2:21 PM).
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Legend Legend is offline
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Atlantean Royal Mansion, Boston, England

November 12th, 2012

Antonia walked down the halls of the mansion with a small spring in her step. Being the social butterfly that she was, she fully intended to introduce Nate to every member of the Royal Family including those Antonia barely talked to. At first she thought of introducing Nate to the main band of students that dominated the mansion; Garrett, Nix, Marilyn, Jessie, Oliver and Rebecca. However she remembered overhearing Garrett talking about some sort of intensive training schedule and wasn't too fond of interrupting it. So instead she took him down to the library where several other students sat playing a game of Atlantean Poker around a small, circular table; the gaming having just started.

Clearing her throat, the students turned around in their cheers to give her their attention, "Good Morning guys, mind if we join you?" She asked, grinning widely, before pulling Nate to take a seat on a stool next to her. "This is my friend, Nate, say 'Hi' Nate." She elbowed him playfully in the ribs.

Nathaniel mouthed an "ow" at Antonia, innocently reminding her that his ribs were still a nagging injury. "Hey guys," he said with a wave. "Nice to meet you all." Normally, Nathaniel would insist on shaking hands but with such a game going on, he didn't want to disrupt more than Antonia had already done. "Looks like poker," he observed. "I'm not bad, but I'm probably really rusty to be completely honest."

"That doesn't matter," Antonia smiled at him, "Jake, send us each a hand." She called out across the table at a dark haired brooding youth.

Hovering his hand over the pile of cards, the brooding youth named 'Jake' closed his eyes before five cards each began flying from the top of the pile alternating between the seven players including Antonia and Nate. "I'm Jake," he spoke in a deep, sullen voice like he had lost all hope for everything, "this isn't quite normal poker, think of it more like strip poker with Atlantean powers instead of stripping." He motioned to the three girls and guy sitting on either side of him to introduce themselves.

Sitting between Jake and Nate were two girls; the closest to him had dark skin, green eyes and long dyed-blonde hair that hid half her face, "I'm Amara," she introduced herself with a slight giggle, "Stephanie," the other girl with fair skin, brown eyes and pixie cut ginger hair said.

Between Jake and Antonia, was a tall, dark-skinned boy with black, curly hair and brown eyes, "I am Apollo, nice to meet you," and next to him a latina looking girl with blue eyes and shoulder-length auburn hair, "Elisa, it's a pleasure."

Nathaniel nodded at all of them with a geninue smile, finally expanding his circle of friends to more than just a select few. Well, this was all permitting they would actually like him. And he would remember all their names, but he tended to be relatively good at that. The thought of him not breaking out of the slightly self imposed shell was slightly bothersome but he threw in the back of his mind and simply slid the cards he was dealt closer to himself. "So, what exactly am I doing with my powers? Showing them off or something?" Nathaniel asked with a raised eyebrow as he cocked his head back a bit. He never actually played strip poker but knew enough of the rules to know how it worked. You lost a hand you had to strip...or something like that. But you couldn't exactly strip yourself of powers. Hopefully one of them would be nice enough to explain the rules a bit so he didn't look like a hulking idiot throughout most of this little game.

Jake rolled his eyes like Nate was meant to know the rules of play prior to joining them, and so Elisa took it upon herself to explain the rules to Nate. "So the deal is, that we play poker as normal, but when ya lose, ya gotta lose a body part. Like so." Elise put her hand of cards back on the table before her right arm became an green, insectoid raptorial leg like that of a Mantis. Reverting her body back to it's natural form, she continued explaining, "obviously it's all dependant on ya ability, so arms are the last things to go. Once ya entire body is gone, you're out of the game."

Antonia sat rigidly throughout the exchange, with her ability, she wasn't quite sure how she was going to play it, but she would wait till it came around to that point to do anything. "So Nate, you ready to play?" She asked him, a little excited at the prospect of playing.

Nathaniel's face twisted in thinking how he would do it, before reasoning that it wasn't going to be too hard considering his ability. "Yeah, I think I got this," he said aloud to everyone in attendence. "Let's get this game started then!"

It took two rounds to get into the full swing of things, Antonia finally deciding on crossing off each body part she lost with a pen while the others utilised more creative methods. Elisa already had an insectile leg while both of Apollo's legs were like that of a monkeys. Across the table, Jake had one leg covered in what looked like a varying array of coloured post-its. Meanwhile, two bad hands had Nate's legs turning into pillars of ice and next to him, Stephanie's legs fused with the couch as they were mere shadows from her waist down with Amara next to her had two skinny legs with smalls tufts of fur near the bottom of her waist.

By the end of the game, Antonia's head, body, legs and arms were covered in thin red crossed while beside her, Nate was practically a human iceblock. With Apollo regressed to a Chimpanzee, Elisa to a rather large Praying Mantis and Stephanie now simply a shiloutte of her body against the couch, the final round belonged to Jake who was all but covered in post-its from neck to toe and Amara looking like a failed science experiment as a three-legged sheep sporting a single human arm. After a small bleet from Amara, she pushed in her remaining chips and revealed her hand; a Flush.

"I win," Jake said looking even more sullen than ever and sounding like it was such a nuisance for having won as he placed down a Royal Flush. With a rather angry sounding bleet, Amara turned her arm into a hoof and leg in accordance with the rules before they all turned back to their human forms. Jake sighed heavily, "do you want to play another game?" he asked in a rather flat monotone.

"Yeah, sure," Nathaniel quickly responded. "I mean as long as she is okay with it," he turned to Antonia, who simply smiled and nodded.

The next game went much smoother for Nathaniel and the others, with everyone appearing to be more open with each other. Well, except Jake. From Nathaniel to gather, he was like one of those kids who stayed in the corner of the lunchroom in highschool, refusing to only talk to his other brooding friends. He tended to avoid those guys. Apollo frequently talked about food, but when Antonia mentioned she liked bananas, he flipped out, firmly stating he hated them. It wasn't that he disliked the taste, but after a while the whole joke about his animal morphology and bananas became verily tedious. Elisa was being overly friendly with Nathaniel, bordering on flirting with the man. That made him all too uncomfortable as he could feel Antonia's cold stare pierce through him, despite changing his torso and most of his arms into ice halfway through the game.

"Did you guys know that female praying mantis' decapitate males after sex? It's true. I read it on Wikipedia," Antonia said with a frightening smile.

" that a fact?" Nathaniel said with uncharisteristic shiver as he felt Elisa stare into his eyes as he hid behind his cards.

"I didn't know that!" Elisa said sounding suspiciously like she knew it all along.

"Oh, it's true. What do you think Nate?"

"I-I-I fold...and look at that, I'm basically out!" Nathaniel said, freezing up the rest of his body into a legitimate iceman. He felt strange though. As if his body wasn't simply coated with ice. He'd done that before in a few training sessions with James and even the few fights he had been in. He felt easier. More natural. As if he was almost becoming ice. It was a strange sensation. One that both frightened him, but excited him. He played the next few games trying to simply enjoy the experience with a few new friends, but his mind kept escaping back to the strange feeling that his ability had planted in him.

"I'm out. thanks for the games, guys." Antonia threw her cards into the middle of the table, drawing over the same crosses on her arm that she had made before leaving the others to their final rounds. By the looks of it Elisa was winning this round, but Amara wasn't too far behind her.

Leaving the others to their card game, Antonia got up, walking over to the stairwell before asking Nate, "Well, do you want to meet some more people? Or train a bit, Snowman?" She smiled at the nickname she had thought up on the spot for him.

"How original," Nathaniel said sarcastically before slowly converting his icy limbs back to their original state. He wasn't exactly sure what he wanted to do, if he was to be honest. Either one sounded fine to him. "I'm not sure, really. Anything you want to do in particular?" Nathaniel posed the question back to her. "I guess we could train, but only because I don't know what else there is to do here," he finally admitted, feeling almost stupid by continuing to ramble on.

"I..." Antonia paused for a second, collating her thoughts before proceeding, "I know someone who might be good to train against. Lemme go get them." She darted up the stairs, but halfway up she stopped and turned back to Nate, "Meet me outside by the swimming pool!" She said before sprinting off to some end of the Mansion.

"Do....I need a swimsuit? Damn it, she's gone," Nathaniel said under his breath. Sighing and scratching his head, Nathaniel neglected going to his room, figuring that worst case scenario he'll just get changed later. He wandered around the halls, trying his best to greet people with a gentle "Hello" as he passed by. Getting himself outside was easy, but Nathaniel could of sworn he did a lap before finally reaching the swimming pool. Though why was the pool outdoors? Maybe he was just used to indoor pools. He felt those were cleaner and probably much easier to take care of. To be fair, he wouldn't exactly know since working as a lifeguard or anything like that seemed boring and waste of time.

It didn't take Antonia long to find and convince Ruby to join her in training Nate. She knew that the dark-red haired girl fancied Nate to a degree, but stepped back when Antonia made it clear the two of them were together. Grabbing Ruby by the hand and effectively dragging her like she did with most people, Antonia led her outside to Nate waiting patiently by the pool.

"Nate, this is Ruby. Ruby, Nate." Antonia huffed as she quickly introduced the two.

"We've met, briefly." Ruby stated matter of factly, "On the pier in Portsmouth." She offered Nate her hand remembering how he had accidentally bumped into her.

"I remember. Good to see you again," Nathaniel said. She looked vaguely familiar, but he wanted to at least appear confident in his statement. He returned her gesture with a gentle, yet firm handshake.

"Cool, now that you've met, Ruby here will help you train." Antonia said smiling at the both of them. "You're both Manipulators, so it should be a fairer fight."

"Sounds like you just don't want to beat me up again," Nathaniel said with a chuckle.

"Well, maybe," Antonia said, streching out the last syallables for effect. "I'll head back inside while you two go at it." Antonia intended to watch from a distance, mostly because she knew how widespread Nathaniel's ability alone could be. That and she also knew he could handle himself at this point. He was learning fast, though he always seem to get himself hurt. That was a bit worrisome.

"Right," Nathaniel said as Antonia walked away from the pool, and making her way back to the mansion. "So I guess we better spar then?"

"Yes," Ruby said flatly. Nathaniel took a few steps back and cracked his knuckles and neck, streching out a bit. The last fight he had, he allowed himself to take a lot of hits. This time he was hoping to avoid such a mistake. Ruby appeared to just stand there. This left Nathaniel a bit confused. What is she doing? Aren't we going to fight?

"Um, are you ready?" Nathaniel asked as he wrapped up his last bit of streching.


Nathaniel at this point just felt odd. It was training, sure. But hitting a defenseless person seemed wrong. Especially a girl. Perhaps, she just needed a reminder that Nathaniel had intended to get something out of it. He took one step forward and fired a single ice bolt towards Ruby. It was meant to narrowly miss her and only prove a point. He aimed the bolt towards her arm and it barely grazed her side, leaving a cut on her skin. It bled a bit, which he felt a bit bad about. To be fair, his ability was not exactly suited for "safe" training sessions. Ruby hardly hesistated and simply acessed the injury as if she was used to minor cuts and bruises. She placed one hand on the cut and drew a wave of blood from the cut. The wave shaped itself into a bolt similar to Nathaniel's own attack and she fired it at Nathaniel. It flew past his face with great speed. She didn't have his accuracy but she had the element of surprise. I see. She can manipulate blood. She needed a way to draw her own first.

Ruby drew another portion of blood and launched a number of projectiles. As they were shaped, they resembled his own signature ice spears. Which meant one thing, he needed to dodge. Now. Ruby fired the attack, Nathaniel made a break for the pool. He seemingly dove into the water, but froze it as he was about to land. Rolling across the new ice surface he created a finely crafted ice castle to hide behind. It was solid and thick enough to withstand the barrage of blood spears that bombarded his defenses. Well those spears are clearly solid. I guess she can soldify her blood at least. Now I just need to figure out how to approach her without being slashed up to pieces. At this point, Nathaniel figured he could turtle up behind his ice fortress and wait until she passes out from blood loss. Undoubtedly, she would have a finite supply and eventually faint. What kind of training is that though? He literally would gain nothing from that. As he fiddled with every kind of approach, a spear of blood pierced through his ice wall, its end inches from his cheek. "What the-" he shouted as a couple more shattered his defenses.

Ruby forced her way onto the surface of the pool, stepping on the parts Nathaniel had already frozen. He took a few steps back, freezing any water beneath him. It seems she can soldify her blood into varying hardness. Enough to pierce my ice walls. I mean blood is thicker than water, but still. "I'll admit. You got a cool power, but I think you need to cool off a bit," Nathaniel said. Using the trick he just learned and a little innovation, Nathaniel changed his right arm into solid ice and slammed it down, cracking the more delicate ice Ruby was stepping on and sending her into the cold abyss of the pool. "Have a nice dip!" He said with a salute. Nathaniel placed himself at the other side of the pool, leaping off his little walkway onto dry land.

Ruby soon freed herself from a watery grave and picked herself off the ground slowly. She seemed visibly cold, shivering slightly as she stood up. Her breaths were shallow. A side effect of Nathaniel's cold reply to her thrashing of his frozen castle. Ruby fired another blood spear, this one faster than the rest and kept it connected to her body as if to prevent Nathaniel's further escape should she make contact. With little time to muster an effective dodge, Nathaniel covered his body in ice, hoping the increased defense would be enough. The blood spear pierced his left forearm, remaning engraved into his body. Nathaniel held his ground as she attempted to yank him back towards herself. He was clearly heavier, but with little leverage he was unable to pull her towards himself. Then a lightbulb flashed in his head. Grabbing the lance with his right hand, he began to freeze the blood lance. The ice crept closer to her and began to freeze Ruby's hands. The blood lance eventually snapped as Nathaniel broke free and slowly walked over to the shivering Ruby who's hands were clearly frostbitten. She tried to muster another attack but Nathaniel grabbed Ruby's hands and formed a pair of ice handcuffs.

"I think it's safe to say I win," he said with smirk.

"...yes. Yes you did," Ruby didn't want to admit it, but she had to.

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Old March 18th, 2014 (4:33 PM). Edited March 20th, 2014 by Skymin.
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Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt

November 12th, 2012

The plane landed in Cairo without any more issues, the sun now well into the sky, probably around 2 in the afternoon or so. Imogen had lightened up a fair bit as she shooed everyone off the plane, handing over a handful of something (assumably money) to the person who had guided her down at the airport. From there, was a large van waiting for them, large enough (hopefully) to bring back whatever they were searching for at the museum. There was not a lot of talk on the half hour drive, Imogen glaring at anybody as she spoke on the phone. As everyone had been stowed at the back (asides Adeline, who had shotgun), it was hard to get a clear word from what she was saying, only that it wasn't idle chit chat.

As expected as they found a park (in the employee area), the museum was not the quietest in the world. The carpark was not packed, but not empty either and people entering and exiting the museum were easily seen. The weather was a crude shock from snowy Sweden, being almost like a perfect Summer's Day, around the 25C/77F mark.

"I'd hate to be here in the Summer." Oakley said, peeling her winter coat off as the sun beat down on her. She peered over at Delta, envying her singlet top but not her mainly-black attire. Imogen stepped out after everyone else, silently counting the troupe. Delta, Dom, Thayne, Oakley, Devon, Emery, Adeline and Imogen. There was quite a few people on this mission, though she assumed Imogen had given everyone a part to play.

"Alright kiddies, here's the deal; we're here to take Pandora's Box. Or whatever is inside it. Whichever's easiest. So here's what we're going to do: split up into groups. Blondie, Klepto and Del, we're going in first and Klepto here will help us find this box. It's either gonna be on display or in archives, so we'll probably have to steal some uniforms.

Hot face and Dog breath, you'll be the distraction. You'll come in after us and find a good place to... distract. Goth girl and... you," she gestured to Thayne, "will come in after them and scope out where the cameras are.

So when I give the call, you'll," she nodded at Dom and Devon, "start a fire or something, whatever's easiest. Eat them for all I care, just get everyone out." Devon gave her an irritated look, but she ignored it. "While they're distracting, you two," she nodded at Thayne and Adeline, "will very casually start disabling cameras with your spider-web crap and... shadow stuff. Figure it out. Make sure you're subtle and out of sight.The guards will probably leave when the fire starts, but your job is to make sure their eyes aren't on us.

"There'll be a small window where we can do this before the fire department or animal control get here, so once you two are done making a mess, radio in and I'll direct you to us and we're all gonna get this out of here and leave. Should be cake."

She handed out radios to everyone, which almost looked exactly like mobile phones and added a groan as she remembered something.

"Oh. And we need code names juuuust in case someone is on our radio line. So pick one and for the love of Christ please don't be ridiculous about it. Just call me Queen. But you," she intercepted before Devon could open his mouth, "you are Mutt." He closed it and frowned, but didn't argue. "And you're Klepto." Emery looked a little stunned about being singled out, but like Devon, didn't argue. It looked like he wasn't going to do a lot of speaking anyway.

"Otto." Adeline said in her usual stiff and plain voice.

"Can I be... Knight? Because Knights wear armour?" Oakley piped up. Imogen rolled her eyes.

"I really don't care."

Project Stargate Facility, Norlisk, Russia - PART ONE


There was not a lot in my life that I could say that I was proud of.

When I was a boy, my mother, father, twin sister and I lived in a small house together. We never had a lot of money, which my sister and I were well aware of. To make up for this, we tried hard in school. We did what we could with what we had and we did well. Our parents were proud of us, and I was proud of us.

When it came for us to choose our own way in life, my sister and I went in very different directions. My sister became a teacher and I enrolled in the army. I could never explain why I chose to be a part of the army, not even to myself. All I knew was that I wanted to protect the ones I loved and I could have done that in any other profession, but I chose to fight.

When my basic training had been completed and I could call myself Sergeant of a platoon, I was tasked with an espionage mission to investigate Russia and their Cold War efforts with a few of my men. Our mission completely flopped, however and we were taken in as prisoners of war to a concentration camp of theirs. It wasn't long before we were told that the camp was something they called an "experimental project". We weren't given much of a choice and were forced to participate.

First, we were rounded up and 'tested' for any 'medical conditions'. Those whose needles formed lumps on skin were kept and any others, we were told were sent to other camps. I was part of the kept and from then, my life had completely changed. In the next few, short weeks I met the love of my life and the most awful and most evil people in the world.

We were paired up with the oddest people of assorted professions. It wasn't just soldiers who had been in on this experimental project, but nurses, teachers, butchers, chefs, tradesmen, bread-makers... all kinds of people. And they weren't all Russian or American either. It seemed like the Soviets had round up anyone who fit their conditions for this experiment and were surprisingly kind to their subjects.

At first it was more physical training than anything experimental. Compared to the bread-makers and teachers, I was a god of combat. Of course, these people had not been training in the army for a good part of their lives, though my partner, despite being a nurse, held her own up quite well. It turned out she originally enrolled into the army in Poland, but her asthma let her down.

Emilia, she introduced herself as. She was as beautiful as she was strong willed and constantly surprised and impressed me, despite her her hostility and sarcasm at times. All were things she enjoyed doing very often.

Of course, we were all so ignorant and naive to figure out what was coming next. After the Soviets were convinced we could fight, we were rounded up and told a variety of strange stories nobody would ever believe would be true. About a hidden 'master' race that we carried within our genes, and that we could harness wondrous abilities if we practised them. Many of us, including myself, didn't believe a word any of them said. That was, until they showed us this strange, blue crystal. After that, it was as if somebody had turned on a light bulb in myself. There was a searing pain down my back and suddenly, I could see... everything. Well, not everything, but that's what it felt like. Specifically, I could see flashes of my future, but only the next few seconds.

It seemed that it wasn't just me that received powers, but each one of us had been gifted with a unique ability. Some had slightly useful abilities, like being able to tell the time without looking at a watch, or being able to instantly fall asleep, but others could breathe underwater, lift impossible weights or even fly. The more stronger and radical the ability though, the more it came with a price. Many of us, including myself, had to spend weeks to get a grip on ourselves. To experience déjà vu and then some for every second of my life made it heavily confusing to sift reality from this 'dream'. Emilia visited me everyday, using her ability to heal mental injuries to help me get a grip on reality. Without her, I would have surely gone insane.

When we had finally come to terms with what we were, we were sent straight back into training with our partners, albeit with hostility. It seemed whatever we were training for had become more of an issue and the supervisors began to treat us like prisoners. Questions which were usually palmed off we were now getting punished for. Not meeting standards meant now we were to be beaten for. And some of us disappeared and were never to be saw again. We realised that these abilities made us a threat and a liability and the supervisors were using fear rather than respect to keep us here. Some of the supervisors had their own abilities (although the majority of them were normal, but toting heavy weaponry), which made trying to escape even more dangerous. What horrified me most was when Emilia showed compassion for some of the other prisoners, she was beaten for it. That didn't stop her though. When at times, I felt I was useless and now a prisoner for what I thought was to be protecting my country, Emilia was the one to show me hope. She never gave up. Not even once.

Emilia was the one who suggested we try to escape. Some had tried on their own and had been punished for it, but it was Emilia who was the one who suggested we band together. Many of the prisoners were supporting, but fearful. In the end, we had three of us who lead the fight: myself, Emilia and a strange man named Jonathan Cooper with the ability to persuade anyone with his words.

The plan was simple, but delicate and less than fool-proof; Jonathan was to persuade the more powerful (Atlantean) guards, one by one, to turn on their comrades, I was to stick by him and watch the future to make sure nobody would catch him and Emilia was to keep our mental state in top shape so that we could keep up our abilities as long as we could without breaking down or fizzling out. After that, the rest of the prisoners would join us to overwhelm the rest of the guards and escape. There were issues, however, which could be come an issue. Jonathan and I were not the greatest with our abilities (Jonathan could only persuade one person at a time and for only a few minutes and I could only see 20 seconds into the future at most) but with Emilia there leading and supporting us, it was the best plan of action.

The 12th of January, 1984. The day we chose had the least amount of guards on duty, which meant less enemies, but less deaths. We began in the early morning, where the groggy guard minds were at their weakest. The plan at the beginning went well, Jonathan managing to persuade three Atlantean guards to silently take out their comrades, but not killed. That was Emilia's only request. However, when the fourth guard began to be persuaded, I could see the future where the strain on Jonathan became too much and the mental strings were broken, all four guards snapping back to reality. It was too late when I warned Jonathan though and they all turned on us immediately. Luckily, the other prisoners made their move to attack and the facility turned into a battlefield.

The next few minutes felt like a life time, with the future ahead of me constantly changing as each punch was thrown. It was then I discovered my ability relied on the decisions of those around me, as well as my own. As soon as someone decided to take out someone else, the future changed and with so many people affecting my own future, it was a chaotic mess of violence, blood shed and death. I stuck to Emilia and Jonathan, keeping their futures close to mine, doing my best to keep them safe. Jonathan had enemy drones fighting for him, I was disarming and defending, and Emilia? She was leading the fight, right at the front of the line, constantly sacrificing herself for others. She was strong though, and was not easily overwhelmed by her attackers. She kept her head straight, morale strong and never backed down.

We began to overwhelm the enemy and soon, we were at the front gates, attempting to break through. As soon as the gates were cleared, they burst open, a flood of Atlanteans running for their lives. We thought the fight was over as we ran down the snowy mountainside, but bullets whistling past told us that snipers had been positioned on the roof and were intent on taking us down. So, I ran as fast as I could, losing sight of Jonathan and Emilia as I panicked and prayed to God that I escape with my life. Fellow Atlanteans around me were picked off one by one but I didn't stop for them. I kept running until I couldn't run anymore.

I collapsed after a few hours, my legs refusing to stand any longer. The snipers and guards were out of sight but not out of mind, other Atlanteans who had followed me down continuing down the mountain to the closest village they could find. It dawned on me, after 20 or so of my comrades had passed, that I had not seen Jonathan or Emilia for some time. So, I waited for them. Surely they had made it down, they were the strongest people I had ever met.

I was glad how many of my comrades had made it down with me, some bidding their goodbyes as they passed me, but I grew worried after the first hour when both Jonathan and Emilia were missing. Another hour passed, and Jonathan came into view, panting heavily with a gunshot in his arm. He was okay, taking the time with me to bandage it up with strips of our clothing (our bodies were too numb from adrenaline to care about the cold), but said he had not seen Emilia since the snipers had begun to pick us off. I thanked him for everything we had done together and he continued on, heading for the road further down the mountain.

I waited. I waited another hour, two hours, three hours, an entire six hours before Emilia came into view. At first, I thought it was my imagination but as the darkness pooling around her disappeared from the light poking through from the sun rising in the east. She had two bodies on her shoulder, those of our comrades who had been shot in the leg and could not run anymore. She had turned back and helped them both with getting down the mountain and using her ability keep them sane. She placed them at my feet, obviously more exhausted than I had been six hours prior but kept strong on her feet, using her nursing knowledge to remove the bullets then and there with what we had. When she had covered the wounds as best she could, we helped them both to the closest town, dropping them off at a hospital before we went on our way. We considered stopping, but knowing our enemies, they would search for us. So we went on our way and never looked back.
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Old March 21st, 2014 (12:06 AM). Edited March 21st, 2014 by Swolligator.
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Outside San Diego, California, United States of America

November 12th, 2012

Watching James learn to literally become his element reminded Enrique of his own experience going through the same motions. When he first met Raguel and the rest of the Renegades, he barely had any control over his ability. If anything his ability seemed to have the better of him as it often caused him a lot of trouble and his Mexican family a lot of damage. It wasn’t common for him to be at school and suddenly a large gust of wind to blow through the school in a strange occurrence. Even walking by himself he would be trailing a breeze or even a miniature twister. Since he was younger than he was, and in a point of time where Atlantis was still a mystery, he didn’t quite understand what was going on. At first people called him names like ‘el Diablo’ and ‘hijo del Satan’ as they understood about as much as he did. As the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, Enrique began to experiment with his ability.

It had been seven weeks since his ability had manifested. In the height of summer, class was dismissed and everyone headed down to the bay to cool down and play in the ocean. While Enrique enjoyed swimming in the ocean as much as the other kids he was also ousted and they refused to play with him. In the end, he was a teenager and after the weeks of gruelling abuse from everyone he decided he had had enough.

Ignoring the whispers and lies that drifted from the other students gossiping on the beach, he changed into his swimming togs and dove into the ocean. It felt amazing to have to cool ocean water touch his skin kissed skin, but when he came up for air he could tell something was wrong. Wading through the gentle waves were seven of the older boys heading straight for Enrique. At first he brushed it off as them trying to scare him but as they drew closer and he could see the angry looks on their faces, he began wading further out to sea. Despite his frantic paddling, the boys were on him in minutes in water that was up to his neck. At first they only pushed and shoved him between themselves as they had encircled him, but it soon grew more violent as they began yelling and screaming at him, pushing his head under the water and refusing him air.

Then everything happened in a blur. The turbulent water around him began to pick up, surging around like a washing machine and lifting him above the surface of the water. The older boys scattered as he was pushed higher and higher until he opened his eyes to find himself several feet up on the top of a hurricane. Peering down, everyone on the beach looked like ants as they scurried about; frightened at the scene that was rushing towards them. Giddy and pumped with adrenaline, Enrique willed the wall of rotating wind and water forward and began heading towards the beach.

One by one, his miniature hurricane picked up the older boys and tossed them to the side, growing the closer it got to shore. The power was maddening as it flooded his system, causing him to push further and further. From the shore he headed across land, making his way towards the high school near the centre of the town.

”Yo soy el Hurrican!” Enrique screamed over and over again as the people and buildings were paved beneath his massive onslaught.

Once the initial thrill and adrenaline finally petered out from his system, Enrique found himself weary and his ability begin to slip. With Enrique tired, the hurricane began to lose its ferocity and was rapidly losing height. When it couldn’t sustain his weight anymore, Enrique dropped a couple of feet to the ground, breathing heavily as his vision began to blacken. Before he blacked out, a mysterious, angelic woman appeared next to him and lifted his limp body off of the ground. When he came to he was lying on top of a bed in clothes that weren’t his in a place he didn’t know. And that was how Enrique met Raguel and the Renegades.

From that point on, Raguel and the others pushed him through weeks of training to control his ability. After the first two weeks he was so sore from all the training that he felt like passing out every night, but he had sufficient control over his own ability. Then they taught him to become his element. At first, it was a simple task of making his fingers into tiny tornados but then it soon grew and within another week, he was feeling the exhilaration of becoming entirely wind. It felt like a rush, the biggest rush you could ever have but it came at a price. Every time Enrique turned back, he felt and started to look older. It still didn’t stop him as he used it as even more incentive to not only train his ability, but also put it into practice. His test run had been a Hurricane Isaac.

Now watching James on centre stage, he couldn’t help but feel giddy with excitement to watch James go through the same procedure. At first James drew in the electricity from the plant around them, not enough to short-circuit, but enough to leave it on a low power level. He seemed to be positively glowing with energy by the end of it and Enrique began to twitch his leg nervously as he waited for the performance. At first James held his hand up in front of his face; the sparking electricity rolling around his hand until it too became a construct of pure electricity.

Suddenly there was a large bang, followed by James emitting a very large burst of light. Shielding his eyes, Enrique tried to see what was going wrong but it was just too intense for either him or Luciana. When it dimmed more, a weight seemed to drop in his stomach as James was nowhere to be seen. They tried searching for him, calling out for him, but there was no reply. Where he had been standing his clothes had fallen to the ground; burnt with scorch marks and holes where electricity had obviously escaped. He had become his element, but he hadn’t returned.

Enrique picked up a card that was showing through a hole in James’ pocket. Curiously he looked over it and turned it round, only to see a picture of what seemed like a tribal bird on the reverse side. “Hey Luciana, don’t you think this looks like Raguel’s…” he called out, only to be interrupted and he felt the presence of a woman behind him.

“Looks like my what?” She asked him before plucking the business card sized piece of cardboard from Enrique’s grasp. Looking at it, she laughed, tossing it back to the ground, “Don’t you worry, my children,” Raguel spoke calmly to both Enrique and Luciana, “it looks like my brother, Gabriel, is trying to play a game. I think he’ll be disappointed to find out Mr. Hazen here didn’t quite make it.”

Smirking, the strikingly beautiful, brown haired lady walked towards the door Scott had left open for them to return to the flat. “Come, my children, we have chaos, anarchy and vengeance to wreck upon these mortals.” She said before walking through the door, Enrique and Luciana following with the scant remains of James’ clothes. Curiously, Enrique kept his eyes focussed on the small tattoo present on the inside of her wrist. It was the same picture as what was on the card.
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Old March 23rd, 2014 (3:00 PM).
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    River Beleren and Austin Tseng - Atlantean Royal Mansion, Boston, England

    River took a quick look through the folder as she waited for Austin to arrive in what was considered her office. Unofficially, she was the so called guidance counsellor to the children of the Royal Family; her Telepathy allowing her to get to the roots of any psychological issues students were feeling. She didn't do it invasively however, it was always up to the students whether they wanted her help or not. But in this case, she couldn't help but interfere. Austin had been among one of the students taken aboard the ship and rescued by the mysterious group, but what was more worrying was the conditions he had been kept in. As far as she could tell, whatever they had done to him in the intervening hours had caused significant mental instability and a fracturing of his conscious self. She had asked Ruby, a sweet and gentle girl around the same age to send Austin to her office where she hoped she could help him with his problem.

    Austin had a good idea of why River wanted to see him. Of course it had something to do with his "friends" #8 and #17, and probably about his outburst with his real life friends at lunch today. He stopped by River's door and knocked, then entered when he heard a response.

    "Hi Austin, please come in and take a seat," she motioned to the two chairs opposing her, "how are you feeling today?"

    Austin sat down in the left chair, and messed with his hair sort of embarrased-like.

    "Uhm, you know, sorta shaken up from the boat incident and all. Otherwise, I'm fine." Austin swung his legs back and forth in his chair as he spoke.

    "That's... good to hear," River shifted herself, sitting upright, "Are... are the voices in your head causing you trouble? I overheard Kaido and Garrett talking about your...outburst. Is there something I can help with?" she asked him, her face contorted with worry.

    Austin hung his head and remained silent for a few seconds.

    "Well...sort of. One of the voices is a right ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥, and is always annoyingly right. He's always arguing with me and pushing my buttons. I know he isn't a real person, but that doesn't make him any easier to get along with, or ignore. The other voices aren't all that bad, if somewhat chatty and bothersome."

    River shifted her pose, now leaning on her knees with her elbows, "I can help, Austin, but in the end it is only you who can fix it. If you allow me to, I can clear away all that excess chatter; make things less noisy inside that head of yours. However, those dominant personas, the ones you call 8 and 17? I can put up a barrier inside your mind that will let you manage them; let you be the dominant voice, but in the end it's up to you whether they stay or go." She was looking him deep in the eyes, she really wanted to read his mind right now and find out just what it was like in that mind of his, but she promised the students that she would not enter their minds without their permission. "Are you okay with these premises?"

    Austin looked up at River.

    "Can you really do that?" River nodded her head. Austin looked down again. 17 appeared in the chair beside him.

    "Dude, what the f*ck. Don't listen to this chick, she's going to screw with your mind. Take control, you know." Austin glanced over at him.

    You're full of ♥♥♥♥, bro.

    "Yeah no ♥♥♥♥, I just don't want you to let her block me out." 8 appeared behind 17 and crossed his arms.

    "For once I agree with 17. This isn't going to be healthy for us."

    "For you, or for me?" Austin said outloud without realising, "Look, I don't care what you guys think because you're both ♥♥♥♥♥es. I'm getting rid of you and thats that."

    "Is that your final decision, Austin?" River held out her right hand for him to take; contact would make it easier for her to do a better job. Even though Austin spoke outloud during his last conversation, she could still hear the vocal projections from the other Austins within his head.

    "♥♥♥♥ no."

    "Yeah hell no this isnt happening."

    "Yes," said the real Austin, "Please." The other Austins started bickering behind him again.

    Moving her hands up to his head, she placed an index finger on the temple eitherside of Austin's head. "Alright Austin, this may hurt a bit."

    Focusing all her power, River shut out every single mind from around the Mansion and focussed slowly on Austin. Unlike other members of the Royal Mansion, Austin hadn't had the specialised training to block River out. Then again, there were still two facets of his mind that were making her job harder. Entering his head was like entering a Labyrinth with so many twists and turns it seemed like she was running in circles. On more than one occasion she found herself coming into dead ends sometimes twice in a row. It was a hell of a journey to navigate someone's brain, but River's ability made it ten, even a hundred times simpler.

    When she finally left the labyrinth, she came across what her brain could only process as a wide open meadow. Filling the meadow, various versions of Austin each with a large red number emblazoned on their shirts milled about like dazed sheep. As she walked up to one, he look back at her with a sheepish grin until one touch with her hand and he simply vanished. This was the first time River had actually done something like this, and was learning as she went. Moving closer to the centre of the field, she continued to tap each Austin lightly on the shoulder, feeling the ground start to angle up hill. Near the crest she could see three Austin's angrily glaring down at her while a fourth sat on a throne just behind them. Concentrating, River then threw her arms out wide, causing all the secondary Austin clones to vanish from view leaving only the four remaining Austins on the crest of the hill.

    "Austin, listen to me." She pleaded to the figure sitting on the throne, "I can't get rid of these three; it's something you need to do for yourself. Austin, I'm begging you, restrain these ones and take control!"

    "Get out of our head, B*tch." The nearest Austin said before shoving River down the hill.

    Snapping out of it, River felt her body being pushed backwards, falling over the back of her chair. When she got back up, Austin was just sitting there with his eyes closed. Softly, she pleaded to the Universe, wishing that Austin regain control. She had relieved the pressure of the many so he could have the power to restrain the remaining three.

    Austin watched as River vanished from the meadow.The other three stood around, complimenting each other on their "clever" victory. Austin just watched. And watched.

    "Austin." A voice came from behind his throne. Austin twisted his back to see who was calling his name this time.

    "Austin, its me, your father." Austin just stared at him. His father walked toward the front of the throne, and Austin followed him with his eyes.

    "What are you doing here, Dad?" Austin 17 asked. Dad just ignored him. The other Austin's asked similar questions but their Father just ignored them. Finally when all was quiet, Dad spoke to Austin.

    "Austin, you need to take back control of your life. You can't rely on others to do things for you, or make your descisions."

    The Son finally responded, "I'm not fit to make any descisions, and I'm not able to do anything myself. I'm not smart, I'm not strong, I'm not even mentally stable." He lowered his head, "I'm nothing."

    "You're right, you are nothing." Austin looked up, confused at his father's reply.

    "You are weak, you are helpless, and you are a failure. But only because you choose to be." The other Austins started to close in on Austin's father.

    "Until you decide to take control, you never will be. The choice is yours, Austin. Not mine, not River's, and certainly not these clowns." Austin 8, 17, and 31 grabbed Dad and started to haul him off.

    Austin stepped off of his throne.

    "Don't," he said to the three clones. They stopped momentarily, but then kept going.

    "I said no." This time they all stopped and let go of Dad, only to start walking toward Austin menacingly. Austin held up his pointer finger.

    "Not so fast, you almost forgot your entire existance relies on my choice to allow you to exist, and I've about had enough of you three doing things out of my favor. So from now on, you do what I say."

    Mr. Aladdin sir! Have a wish or two or three!
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    Old March 27th, 2014 (6:45 PM). Edited March 27th, 2014 by Swolligator.
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    Swolligator Swolligator is offline
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    Syndicate Headquarters, Birmingham, England

    November 12th, 2012

    After their shopping trip, Wyatt decided to head down to the Research Lab and practice with his new sniper rifle. While they had been away in town, Dr. Meier has been working on what he called ‘modifying to better suit the wielder’. As far as Wyatt was concerned the rifle felt fine when he had it set up on the roof, but if the doctor thought it needed modifications then who was he to argue with a professional.

    “Ah, Mr. Cale, just the man I wanted to see!” The doctor seemed ecstatic at Wyatt arriving causing him to raise an eyebrow at the welcome. He moved away from his central computer terminal and up to the table in front of the large, glass window.

    “Sure. Was that meant to be a pun?” Wyatt made his way down the tiers of computer terminals to stand next to the doctor as the two stood over top his specialised rifle.

    It took a while for the doctor to realise the pun he had made before breaking into a short, caffeine filled bout of laughter. “Heavens no, I’ve just finished modifying your rifle and thought you might want to test it.” Doctor Meier waved his hand at the pre-set scenario that covered the entire floor in the training room below.

    At the far end, a tall, two storied structure jutted out from the wall complete with patrolling guard robots and high walls. Leading up to it was a bit of cover; a small hillock, some trees, even a rock. It was a scenario Wyatt had run through once with the others but all they had used him for was backup and his ability to see through walls. This time though, Wyatt was determined to go through the simulation alone, just him and his gun filled with rubber bullets. From his scanning of the robots, he knew how they move, their weak spots and how to power them down.

    When the doctor gave him the thumbs up, Wyatt descended to the field below, making sure his rifle was all tightened and to his fitting. It felt slightly lighter than before the doctor had modified it as he had switched out some of the parts for lighter material parts and it also had the added feature of a silencer. The doors rolled open at the bottom and Wyatt immediately darted behind a tree to his left. Carefully, he made his way over to the shaded hillock where he set up the stand for his rifle and lay down on the grass. Zooming his vision in, he counted two robots standing next to the entrance while four robots patrolled the second floor and two on the roof above them.

    Wyatt calmed his breathing and focussed, the top two robots would rotate around every minute, while the four below were on a forty-five second time lapse while the two guarding the door stood still. Aiming the sniper rifle up, he focussed on the two at top; taking them out at the right time would not disrupt the robots below. Taking a moment to get into rhythm with the change, he cocked the bolt as he loaded a bullet into the chamber, letting out his breath to fire before cocking the bolt again and firing quickly after.

    The two robots dropped still as one was hit square in the head target and the other one slightly to the left. Wyatt was short of celebrating when rubber bullets began pelting the hillock he was lying on. Retreating, Wyatt rolled to behind the tree as the four sentinel robots continued to fire while the two guard robots began progressing towards him.

    Watching the battle from the safety of the control room, Joshua Meier couldn’t help but smiled at Wyatt’s tactic. Pressing a button on his connected tablet, he called the Directive, “Evening, I have Mr. Cale down here with me; I think you might want to watch this.”

    In his office, Daniel stopped leaning on his chair to watch the live feed Doctor Meier was sending him. In it he watched Wyatt fight the robots in a simulation by himself. He was surprised by the way Wyatt was now acting; more confident and even cockier, the kid was pushing himself to shoot for more deadly targets than he had on the boat. It was an interesting improvement and no doubt the performance this morning has something to do with it. At any rate, his superiors would be more than happy to know that Wyatt was finally on the same page as them.

    Cursing under his breath, Wyatt slipped out from behind the tree and fired off at one of the sentinel robots, taking it out in a heart shot. Throwing his entire plan out of the water, he sprinted forwards towards the door and encroaching robots. Rubber bullets started leaving welts on his skin but he forged forward, cocking the bolt and rolling to duck behind a boulder before firing at another robot; disarming it. Moving on from this position, he cocked the bolt again, sprinting towards a guard robot and swinging the butt of his rifle into its head target, causing the robot to crumple to the ground. Continuing on with the momentum, he used it to propel his body three-sixty degrees before firing a bullet off, taking out another sentinel robot.

    With two left he cocked the bolt a final time, sprinting at the final guard robot and jumping at the last second, planting his boot right into the robot’s body target. Pushing himself off of the robot he arced his back, flipping his body backwards before aiming and firing at the final robot. When he saw the robot fall to the ground, he smacked the butt of his rifle into the last downed guard robot, causing the simulation to finish. Battered and bruised, he smiled as he made his way back to the elevator on the other side of the training room.

    “What did you think, Daniel?” Joshua asked, happy at the results that were now displaying on his screen.

    “I think...” the Directive lowered his chin and rested it on his closed fits as he sat up on his elbows. “I think it’s time we put him into the field. Nice work Joshua, send Mr. Cale up to the board room, I have the perfect mission for them.”

    The screen went blank just as the doors to the elevator flung open and Wyatt strode through. “So doc, what’s up?” He asked with a smirk on his face. He knew that he had technically failed the mission, getting riddled with bullets would have left him dead but it was only a simulation.

    “You’ve made excellent progress; it seems that the sniper rifle was the perfect upgrade from that archaic instrument.” Doctor Meier gestured to the bow and arrow that sat on the wall with other random assortments of weapons the doctor had cooked up. One even looked like a lightning rod. Switching out the rubber bullets for a cartridge of 7.62x51mm bullets, Doctor Meier clicked in the cartridge before laying it back down on the table in front of him. “Oh, the Directive wants you in the board room. Best hurry up there.” The Doctor winked at Wyatt before returning to his work space.

    Curious at the doctor’s gesture, Wyatt moved to the elevator and rode it up several levels to the board rooms. He ran his hand over the welts that had appeared on his arms from the rubber bullets but they were quickly settling down. Obviously the doctor seemed pleased at his results aside from the fact he was effectively shot multiple times, but after seeing the competition on the boat and in Paris, Wyatt really needed to step up his game.

    He was the last one to arrive at the board room as everyone turned around to watch him enter and sit down at the back. “As I was saying, we’ve tracked down the facility where they are holding Jeremy and another Atlantean in Morocco. We assume this is just a temporary port call while they wait to sail onwards, so we’ll be moving out right away. Seeing as we don’t have Jeremy to teleport us near, we’ll be doing an aerial drop over the dockyard.”

    “When you say ‘aerial drop’, you don’t mean parachuting, do you?” Adrian’s knuckles went white and Wyatt could help but wonder if the big tough guy was somewhat afraid of heights.

    “Exactly, Mr. Santoro, it will be a night mission so you’ll be covered by the darkness. Seamus and Wyatt, you two will be landing north of the compound, make sure you can get visuals to the rest of the crew before they land. October and Pyrrha, you’ll be dropped to the left of the compound, you’re to make your way to the middle as quick as possible, retrieve Jeremy and the other Atlantean then get out of there. Adrian and Daemon, you two will be dropped off south-west. Your task is to create a diversion that will bring the guards to you. Seamus and Wyatt, you two will be on standby. Any questions?”

    Everyone looked at one another; it was another team assignment but they were more reliant on each other now. There wasn’t any time to coordinate or practice, it was an all or nothing rescue mission. They Syndicate had been rather quiet without Jeremy around and it would be good to have him back again.

    Coastal Morocco, Casablanca, Morocco

    Wyatt and Seamus were the first to dive out of the place as it flew inland over the coast of Morocco. Below them they could see the brilliant lights of Casablanca shining brightly but their target wasn't the city itself rather the dark dockyard on it's coast. Above them no doubt the rest of the Syndicate were following but Wyatt had no time to focus on them, instead he focussed on the target below them, using his vision to get a better look at the rapidly ascending ground. From what he could see, there was a patrol of guards that walked around the perimeter of the dock armed with simple handguns but where he assumed Jeremy was being help captive, there were roughly ten guards. With Seamus only just off to his left, Wyatt shifted course before the two guys landed safely in their drop zone only meters from the front gate.

    "Eight perimeter guards, ten specialised guards. Proceeding to front gate." Once they cut the parachutes off, Seamus and Wyatt moved up to a small hill, lying down while Wyatt set up his sniper rifle. From his position he had a perfect shot at the guard standing in the tower over top the gate and was slowly timing the two pacing below. Focussing on his hand-eye coordination, Wyatt moved the gun to match up with his sight, firing a bullet that caught the top guard in the throat. The guard slumped to the floor without making a sound while the two continued to pace below him. Next Seamus crept up to the gate, and when he was ready, Wyatt took out one of the guards while Seamus jumped up and strangled the second.

    Moving up, Seamus opened the gate just as Wyatt arrived and the two scaled into the tower after hiding the bodies in a dark corner. To the south the saw the blazing of gun fire as Adrian and Daemon no doubt sprung some sort of distraction to keep the majority of the guards busy. With Seamus watching his back and keeping an eye on Adrian and Daemon, Wyatt turned his attention to the two girls slipping through the crates. October constantly updated their path to their destination, Wyatt making sure to take out any human obstacles that would hinder their path. While the majority of the guards were busy down at the south, there were still two hanging around the structure where Jeremy and another Atlantean heat signature were blazing. Just as the girls rounded the corner, Wyatt took out both guards standing at the entrance as October called it too close.

    With Jeremy and the African Atlantean rescued, October and Pyrrha each helped one and moved towards the front gate. Adrian and Daemon retreated from their distraction and began making their way from the docks. Wyatt took the liberty to shoot one of the guards that was chasing after the two boys, causing the rest to hide under cover and start moving towards them. With everyone successfully out, Wyatt and Seamus joined the girls below to help take some of the weight as they bolted into the darkness. At their rendezvous point from the compound, they all boarded a helicopter that took them from the outskirts of Casablanca to the nearest airport where they boarded a private plane (paid for by the Syndicate) and made their way back to England. It was early morning before they got back to the Syndicate HQ. After dropping Jeremy and the Nigerian girl off at the medical bay, they all retreated upstairs to their beds.
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    Old March 27th, 2014 (11:46 PM).
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    Outskirts of Doha, Qatar

    November 12th, 2012

    The golden sun beat down on the two figures standing atop the sand dune. Raguel squinted as she looked down upon the expansive cityscape that lay before her. With sand in her shoes and the sun seemingly burning every inch of her skin, she was about ready to leave this place only they had something to do before they left. Standing next to her was her shorter, Middle-Eastern protege whom she had spent the last couple of weeks training under the gruelling sun in some corner of Qatar. These past weeks of training had all culminated in this moment where Marwa would prove to herself and Raguel that she was ready.

    "So, are you ready to do this, my child?" Raguel asked Marwa with her silken voice, not taking her eyes off the city that unfolded before them.

    Sunlight felt… How did it feel exactly? It felt like she was back with her friends again laughing and catching up on the latest gossip. It felt like the last hugs she had given them before she stumbled upon their bloody corpses. It felt like the love and admiration she had for her father before he essentially ordered the execution of her kind nationwide and kept her prisoner. Warmth, comfort, and happiness were all things she hadn’t felt in the weeks following her escape. Anger bubbled its way to the surface only to be pushed down by sheer will. A numbness had settled in nicely, however long it was there to stay Marwa didn’t know or care.

    The training that took place up until this point hadn’t solely been used for Marwa to hone her ability as an Atlantean but to allow her to learn how to wade through the emotional turmoil. It was a lesson in how to reserve the rage, pain, and anguish for a more appropriate time. Emotions were a tricky thing; they could deceive and manipulate a person if they fell victim to them. She was far better off repressing them than allowing herself to experience that… vulnerability. Some of that training had managed to be devoted toward her ability. Learning how it worked, how to control it, and how to make it better. It was up to Marwa now that Raguel had prepped her for weeks for this and to back away simply wasn’t in the cards.

    Was the wreckage and disaster about to occur a good idea? Maybe it was, maybe it was not. It surely would be a fun one. An event that would shake up the state of how things were being handled and viewed. Marwa was going to show that Atlanteans were stronger, that they were faster, and how much smarter they were than their human counterparts. The execution of her kind was an unforgivable act. An eye for an eye, no, that was child’s play. This was much bigger, for every Atlantean killed a city habited by humans would be destroyed. Did those cities happen to have Atlanteans in them as well? Of course they did but sacrifices were to be made if they were to advance the pieces on their chessboard. Pawns were at the frontline for a reason, everyone had their part to play and their parts were shorter than hers.

    In this situation actions spoke louder than words so the meek girl's response to Raguel’s statement was done a bit differently. The removal of three scrolls from the purse that hung down from her shoulder was the start. Nothing had gone to waste on her during her intense training sessions she had stayed up for several nights perfecting these scrolls for this very moment. Each scroll signaled a phase of an attack, each more deadly than the next. The first was the direct attack; the most obvious move that a player could do in a game. As soon as the first scroll was unraveled beasts leapt off the page, some modern, some ancient, yet they all had one purpose: to be agents of chaos. Sweat beaded her brows, Marwa knew it was worth the pressure she was putting herself under. She reached for the next scroll after she had willed the first round of fiends away. Second was the move the player wasn’t aware of until it was too late, an attack that relied on keeping the opposing player occupied. The monsters from this scroll did not travel on land as these ones preferred to be underneath it. Their movements released tremors and quakes and when they emerged from the ground they swallowed things whole, people, cars, and some of the smaller buildings just to name a few.

    By the time Marwa utilized the third scroll to commence the final attack or if they were using chess terminology, approaching checkmate, helicopters circled in the sky like vultures. No doubt recording such an event for the news, and Marwa would let them. However else would she be able to see the impact she had and the look on her father’s face when he was dragged out of his palace by a being of her creation? They needed to capture the message she had left for the world. From where they stood it was perfectly visible, she had leveled just the right amount of buildings and caused enough destruction to spell out, “Free the Atlanteans.”

    Fatigue had claimed Marwa as its victim and she soon fell to her knees in a coughing spat. Looking at her now opened palm she saw the sight off blood. Knowingly she had breached the limits that kept her safe and she was gladly paying the price for it. Marwa had done this for herself, for Raguel, but most importantly for the world. She kept her eyes opened for as long as she could to see the city burn and to watch panic unfold brought greater pleasure than she had imagined. Would the world listen? That was a good question, a question that only time would give an answer to. Leisure time was not something they had in vasts quantities. Marwa grinned as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand removing the traces of blood. All that work she had poured herself into had paid off precisely like she expected it to.

    Raguel caught the girl as she fell, guiding her to kneel on the hot sand. She had done well, extremely well, and Raguel smiled at the destruction her new protege had caused on the city of Doha. The message was perfect, and with their anoniminity, the global press would be struggling to find out who was responsible. They would blame both the ARF and the AUP with both organisations fumbling to blame the other and seem innocent in their whole affair. Helping Marwa to her feet, Raguel slung the girls arm over her shoulders and, grasping Marwa around the waist, helped her back to the small, deserted factory they had been staying in.

    Laying the girl on a stretcher, Raguel fashioned a cup of green tea with an assortment of other herbs and gave it to Marwa. "Drink up, my child," she spoke calmly and softly to the girl, handing her the drink, "my mother used to make this for me when I was a child. Even Atlantean children sometimes succumb to the drain from their abilities."

    Thankful that Raguel had been there to assist her back to “base” (an abandoned factory) otherwise Marwa wasn’t sure what she would’ve done. It was dumb to have pushed herself that far, she only wanted to prove her worth. There had been chitchat about the other members of the Renegades, that’s what Raguel had called herself the organizer of, and Marwa worried she had a lot to live up to. Questioning wasn’t her strong suit, technically it was speaking, she worried her English wasn’t up to standard. She spoke French better than she spoke English and that was to impress her father.

    Cup in hand she began to wonder about the mysterious lady in front of her, Marwa had always avoided personal conversations because Raguel had treated her with the same respect. In a timid voice she brought up a question she had been wondering for weeks, “What brought you to Qatar?” Was it her ability? When she accidentally summoned a creature that massacred and maimed over thirty people in her school and drew in the national press? Raguel was the one to put a name to it, Artistic Animation. Destruction was its only purpose it seemed, at least it was something Marwa was good at that. Seeing as she destroyed her school, friends, family, and she could officially add the city she grew up in onto that list.

    "It was you, Marwa, you who drew me to Qatar. I saw a misunderstood girl who could achieve greatness being treated horribly by disgusting humans." Raguel almost spat the last word from her mouth. To her they were vermin; the lowest of the low.

    "Why don't you like us?" It took Marwa a second to realize that she had mistakenly called herself human. No, if she was a human she'd be at home right now and she would have been dealt a better hand. The word disgusting implied Raguel no longer considered herself one as if there was a clear separation between Atlanteans and humans. Marwa was one up until three weeks ago making it a harder change to adjust to. Correcting herself ever so softly, "I mean, humans." Humans had all the power, they were the majority, and they were in ones making the rulebook. Wouldn't it be beneficial to befriend humans? She had only thought on this subject for a few minutes so Raguel probably had a hundred times that under her belt...

    "A long time ago I had a sister, her name was Uriel. She was a kind-hearted Atlantean with powers that were greatly beneficial to us Atlanteans and the Humans. She would not hurt a soul and acted as the ambassador between us keeping peace for a long time. One day, when she was doing diplomacy in what was once Asia Minor, she was severely wounded and burnt at the stake. The humans said that she was a threat, but we all knew she would never hurt anyone. Ever since then I have wanted to erase humans from the earth, only to have been stopped by my brothers." Raguel furrowed her brow, remembering the flight of rage she had hurtled into as she decimated everyone within the city of Babylon. Raphael had been the one to finally grab her wrist and stop her carnage, but ever since then, they had ceased any act of genocide against the humans she had taken. Finally though, after centuries of planning, everything was finally beginning to culminate.

    Tragic. Any condolences Marwa gave wouldn't do any good, a loss like that cut deep and words from a person you barely knew would not heal or lessen the pain. She too was resenting the presence of humans, Atlanteans were being treated like any other minority and it was disgusting. A taste of their own medicine is what they deserved from time to time. The Renegades were just the group to give it to them in spoonfuls. Two words stood out to her, Asia Minor. Raguel didn't look a day over thirty and the Asia Minor hadn't been called the Asia Minor in quite some time. Her mother said to never ask a lady her age but certainly this was an exception to that rule. After taking a long sip of the herbal remedy Marwa decided to risk it, Raguel wouldn't train her just to kill her three weeks later... Would she? "How... how old are you?"

    Raguel smiled at Marwa's hesitancy to ask the question. It was certainly human custom for women to hide their true age, but for Atlanteans, with the prospect of immortality readily available to them they often took pride in their longevity. However for Raguel, her age meant that she had been around a long time; a long enough time to forget just how old she was. It had been over several hundred years since she had stopped counting her age. "I am about twenty-five." It was most likely more than that but she wasn't in the mood to fully calculate. "Twenty-five hundred years, that is."

    To be granted conversation with someone who was so open was lucky. Kindness always had a limit and to overstep such a limit was not a place Marwa wanted to find herself in. Living that long felt more like punishment than a pleasure. Death would be a friendly face to everyone but the immortal. At what point did they just stop making friends because they knew they would just die eventually. Years would mean nothing. Was this simply Raguel's power? Immortality or did all Atlanteans live forever? Marwa asked exactly that, "Is that your ability or can all Atlanteans live as long as you have?" As morbid as it sounded Marwa wanted to die sometime in the far future. Allah was waiting for her and to put him off for 2,500 years was a bit much.

    "All full Atlanteans can live forever. Some said it was a curse when we fell from grace. Others that it was our final form. We may be immortal, but we can still choose to die." Raguel felt saddened, it had been many years since she had last seen her brothers and sisters, and well over two thousand years since her people. At first her brothers had been the ones to keep her going, now it was this constant thirst for revenge that spurred her onwards. It felt like a shame really, she knew for certain that Marwa and they rest of her Renegade group would not live past 200 years. Their human DNA tainted the surperior Atlantean DNA causing it to be less effective.

    Relief sunk in briefly and Marwa hoped that it hadn't shown on her face. How not to show her every emotion had been a work in progress for years. In a final gulp Marwa finished the rest of the liquid in her cup. She nodded in response to Raguel's comment and was officially finished with that line of questioning. There was more she wanted to know for her writing and Raguel was such a great source. A source that went back about 2,500 years in fact. She was the luckiest writer in the world. Perhaps it was better to shelf those questions for a later date and not abuse or strain their relationship with a game of twenty questions. "What are we doing next?" Marwa hoped it was a simple enough question. Worrying was something she did better than anything else and to be worried that she was annoying was at the top of that list.

    Raguel looked across at the bare concrete wall, focusing on it as if something was out of the ordinary before looking down at the small, gold-plated watch that covered the bird-like tattoo on her wrist. "One of my other recruits should be joining us, soon. Once he gets here we'll go somewhere a little more... colder." As much as she didn't like the cold, Raguel found the constant heat even more unbearable. "You'll meet your new family and we'll start planning our next move." Looking back at the wall, Raguel was starting to get impatient, surely Scott had gotten her message and was in the process of creating a doorway to them.

    Weeks had passed since Raguel had taken Marwa under her wing yet she hadn't had the chance to meet a single member from this supposed band of misfits. A smile grew on her face as she heard the word family because that was something she craved now more than ever. Hesitation settled in after the happiness when she remembered how her actual family treated her. Was she about to jump back into something that had left her permanently damaged before? Moving too quickly could become quite problematic to her health and compromise her safety. Though, the perfect time to learn how a real family acted was presenting itself to her.

    Imagination and media always portrayed family as this unbreakable bond, but that wasn't true. Weren't family members the one that were supposed to keep you safe? Family didn't lock you up in a building and make that person starve. They were the ones that a person counted on during difficult times. Marwa longed for that feeling, not a family who locked her in an attic and wanted to forget her existence. She wanted to be wanted for something, for anything really. And if Raguel wanted her front and center solely for her ability that was fine. Willingness to forsake her health and safety for unwavering support and a comfortable home was seeming more and more allowable. What if she was dwelling too much on the past? Only two days had she been a prisoner, only two days without food... What if she was letting it affect her too much? For now she'd consider it a risky move but it wouldn't be long before she had her next twenty planned.

    The thoughts of her relocating somewhere else that was not in the Middle East rattled around in her head. A break from this wretched place and from the people that lived in here couldn't come sooner. How many had perished in the attack? How many of those hated and slaughtered her kind without mercy? Not enough was the only answer she could muster up. All of these decisions brought upon change, a change within her as a person and major changes to her life. Whether or not it was necessary was a discussion to be saved for a later date. Each movement Raguel made was closely monitored under a keen eye. How was this new member arriving, by plane? Wouldn't that be too grand? Waiting was the only option she had so that's exactly what Marwa did.

    As if out of nowhere, lines began forming on the opposing wall, arcs and circles, some were erased soon after being formed. It took a minute for the picture to finally come together as some sort of sliding door before it grew from simple lines of ink into the actual thing. Once it was complete, a short, blonde haired boy poke his head through, "My Queen," was all he spoke as he bowed his head at her before moving out of the way to allow the two ladies to enter.

    Giving her hand to Marwa, Raguel lead the small girl through the door portal and into the lounge of the Renegade flat. Once they had both stepped through, Scott shut the door behind them and it soon dematerialised into smudged ink on the walls. Clearing her throat, Raguel summoned all the Renegade members to where she stood, "Everyone, I would like to introduce you to Marwa, she is our newest recruit, so make her feel at home. Marwa, this is Scott," she gestured to the boy behind them who had opened the door, "Enrique and Luciana," next she indicated the Hispanic boy and Cajun girl standing next to each other, "Nora and Andre." this time she pointed out the punk girl whom waved back and the Portuguese man whose left side seemed to be covered in burns.

    From behind them, Scott had opened up another door and two more people stepped through, "This is Pietr, Pietr this is Marwa," the tall German man bent down to shake Marwa's hand, welcoming her to the group. "and Carla," the lady that stepped through after Pietr looked like she had serious bags under her eyes and held a baby in her arms. She simply nodded in acknowledgement at Marwa before returning to give her baby affection.

    "Marwa, I don't expect you to remember everyone right off the bat," she smiled at Marwa, rubbing her hand on the girls back, "Nora is dinner ready?"

    "Sure thing, Boss," the punk girl saluted and they all converged to the dining room where a large platter of food was laden on the table. They all sat around and begun eating, laughing and talking and catching up as everyone was finally under the same roof together.

    As the portal formed on the wall Marwa tilted her head memorized by the sight of it. Atlantean abilities were outstanding, the fact that someone could accomplish something that really made Marwa excited. The opportunity to take Raguel's hand into her hand was almost missed because of this. A boy that was near her age came forth from the portal and announced Raguel as his queen, an odd thing to do. Stepping through was easy enough and the feeling wasn't like she imagined.

    Introduced to the rest of the members felt intimidating with all of their eyes glued to her practically dissecting her. An onslaught of people were introduced to her all at once and to get she would remember their names if it killed her. If only she could sneak away and write all of this in the notepad she kept contained in her pursue. The baby had to be the cutest member of all. Marwa only nodded to Raguel's statements as she wasn't quite sure what to say. The same happened through dinner, nods here and there, very selectively did she chose to say something and that was only when she was called upon.

    Once dinner was finished, Nora and Enrique helped Luciana clear the plates and dishes from the table while the others started to discuss their next plan of action. With Raguel at the head of the table, all attention was drawn to her as their leader. "Seeing as all our latest targets have been statements; Marwa here in Doha about the incarcerated Atlanteans and the band in Paris against the Anti-Atlantean press, it's time to up our game. First we need a distraction, an attack simply for panic and fear."

    "We haven't hit Dublin yet," Nora tossed into the conversation as she leant on her chair eating the core of an apple and spitting the seeds out at Scott.

    "Ireland is pretty Atlantean friendly," Andre added, chewing on a chicken bone, "would be a perfect way to get the humans to target the ARF."

    A group setting was the type of place that Marwa liked to avoid. It required social skills that she hadn't quite managed to master or even like doing. Therefore she remained the quietest at the table while nodding her head at each suggestion as to not appear rude on her first encounter. She had read something or maybe she had seen it on television about a certain trivia fact, it was about the city that had the most Relief Centers in Europe. Bu... Bucharest? No, its location was more western... Marwa lowered a hand to retrieve a writing utensil and a slip of paper from her purse. The name of the city was written in neat, cursive handwriting. Carefully and intrically she folded the paper as if it were an art, and to her it was, before it was slipped to Andre.

    Feeling the paper make its way into his grip, Andre couldn't help but take a look at the Middle-Eastern girl Raguel had brought with her and had introduced as 'Marwa'. Without looking he unfolded the paper and brought it closer to him, glancing down at it before crumpling it up in his hand. "How about Budapest? It supposedly has the most Relief Centres in all the EU." Andre smiled at Marwa for her suggestion.

    "Perfect Andre," Raguel commended the man, "You and Pietr can take Marwa with you, I trust that you'll keep her safe. Nora and Enrique, you two will head to the Vatican, it's time we struck out against those who kill our kind." Raguel was of course mentioning the latest spate of attacks on Atlanteans rallied by known church goers. "As for timing, we'll hit a week from now. It will give plenty of time to think of a plan and get ready." With that Raguel got up from the table and walked into the hallway. There was a small shine of light and what sounded like a fluttering of wings and soon the tall lady was nowhere to be seen.

    When everyone began clearing from the table, Andre stayed behind to talk to Marwa whom seemed a little shocked. "Hey, are you alright?" he asked the girl, placing the crumpled piece of paper on the table.

    All of it was a little much to take in, at least she had a week to get used to it. Everyone was ready to play their part, Marwa couldn't afford not to do well at hers. She nodded at Andre, was this the part where she explained herself? He was expressing concern for her well being making her almost consider doing just that. To justify such acts would only say that there was something wrong with them so Marwa left it at the affirming nod. A common thought was that there was something wrong with her because she wasn't a fan of verbal communication.

    Only at this point was she able to get a closer inspection of his face. He must have quite the tale to tell, would he speak it to her? The right side of his face was more familiar to her and it should be considering the amount of time she studied the prestigious Atlantean Royal Family. Not to mention the "small" crush she had on him. The leaders of the Atlantean Royal Family were like celebrities, more Leo than anyone else. Hell, she couldn't even remember the other's names if she hadn't written them down. The researcher in Marwa couldn't help but wonder about him. There was plenty of research she had to catch up on, Andre's death, however, was not one of those things. A fair bit of publicity had been kicked up over his death that happened in Berlin. Speculation was the only source for the exact nature of his death. His brother must be absolutely clueless that Andre was alive and worse working against him.

    Her unsuppressed curiosity led her to ask a question instead of acknowledging the paper he had placed the table, "Does your brother know you're alive?"

    When she asked the question, Andre looked down at the table, grabbing the ball of paper and playing with it between his hands. Rolling it from one palm to the other, he thought about the same consequences that haunted him after he had made his decision. Letting Leo and the others think that he was dead was liberating, but it still felt cruel to do such a thing to someone who was family. "No, he doesn't." Andre said solemnly. "Does your family know you're alive?" he asked her.

    If Marwa had let herself she would've laughed and laughed until she had tears in her eyes at such a question. It was an odd feeling talking to him, on one hand she wanted to give nothing away that might come back to haunt her but on the other she wanted to be honest with the guy she fantasized about marrying and having a family with (a girl could dream, couldn't she?) It was decided since before her birth who she would marry being an Al Thani women and all. Some days she would like to picture her future differently, especially after knowledge she was an Atlantean. One day she had stumbled upon Andre's picture, he was handsome enough to fit the role of her husband momentarily. Daydreaming about him was less about him and more about what he represented, contentment. "They don't care," Marwa looked away as she spoke and stared at the walls that contained graffiti on them. She had been honest yet hadn't given up too much she hoped, "Yours does."

    "All Leo could care about was staying in power. The others were happy to follow him; it's the same reason Rose, Justin's sister, left." Andre had a lot of animosity towards the Royal Family. It had been the one thing that had ultimately torn his family apart. His brother became distant, replacing him with River and the others, and also blaming Andre for their father's death. Andre had followed Leo to England instead of staying in Braga because Leo had convinced him it was the right thing to do. "Where did our Queen pick you up from?" Andre tried turning the conversation away from himself.

    "Qatar," She muttered. If he even knew where that was she'd be impressed. It was an overlooked country in the Middle East and in the world in general except for that they were the richest country per capita.

    "Qatar..." the country didn't ring a bell in Andre's head, since he hadn't paid too much time to Geography in High School. Leo was the one who was good with country names and capitals and all that boring political stuff, all Andre had wanted to do was play football, tennis and any number of sports. "It's obviously Middle-Eastern, but I don't know of it, sorry."

    It was to be expected and a shrug of her shoulders was all she gave in return. The need to show him up was strong so she proceeded to do such, "Braga's the third largest city in Portugal, it was named the European Youth Capital this year, and has the oldest Christian Archdiocese in the world." After saying such facts Marwa realized that he hadn't told her or even implied any information about where he grew up. He was going to think she was some crazed, murderous, psycho stalker instead of the committed researcher/writer that she was.

    Andre was a bit more than surprised when she started listing off facts about Braga; facts even he himself did not know despite living there for most of his life. He laughed it all off anxiously, scratching the back of his head. Obviously this girl had done her research which, while being flattering was a little bit scary. Just how much did she know about him and why did she know that?

    Embarrassment came in full force and Marwa started to feel the anxiety creep up as well. It made her uncomfortable in her own clothing. An itch that wouldn't be soothed. To impress him was what she meant to do not scare him away for good. She left without a farewell to Andre, though knowing that she would seen him around only made the situation worse. Raguel had assigned them to the same mission. Luciana was her savior and showed her to a room where she was to stay that had the new clothes that Raguel had gotten her. Even a new easel and several canvas, scrolls, and other paper materials to create on. An appreciative Marwa got to work on the newest bunch of creations, praying it would keep her mind off the incident that had occurred. Already she had screwed up within a matter of hours. She only had a week to prepare works of art that would stun the citizens of Budapest and also the media.

    "I'm ready for a nap..."

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    Old April 5th, 2014 (7:49 PM).
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    Des Moines, Iowa, United States of America

    November 12th, 2012

    The wind whipped through his hair as Vic cast his arms out wide. From up here he could the entirety of Des Moines spread out below him like a blanket of glowing lights. Such a breath-taking sight to behold, after today he doubted he would ever be able to see something like this again. It was closing in on dusk and below him people were leaving their offices and moving onto their homes and families. Being so high up, they seemed like ants milling about on the ground which made him smile a bit. Existing above it all almost gave him a god complex; how easily it would be to forget the individual for the greater masses. Just like everyone else.

    From his vantage point he could see the school in the distance. Even just looking at it brought a sickening feeling to his stomach. Every day he had to sit through the abuse from his so called ‘peers’ while the teachers turned a blind eye to it all. If it wasn’t the constant ‘Vic loves d*ck’ marked on his desks and locker, it was the constant bullying about his apparent lack of ability. When Derek Kaile’s tattoo manifested on his leg, the massive jock suddenly had the ability to make all the girls want to be with him. On the other hand, when Vic’s tattoo spread up the inside of his arm, there was nothing. Not a single drop of ability to appear. Every day for the past three weeks they laughed at the tattoo he tried to cover up, calling him a ‘freak’ and ‘abomination’ for not having an ability like all the other Atlanteans. And right now, he had had enough. From the corner of his left eye he could see the dark curls and licks of his tattoo as it soon became fuzzy from the tears brimming in his eyes.

    Looking away, he felt the tears come on fully as they began rolling down his cheeks. He hated all the people at school, he hated his parents for ignoring his pleas of help, he hated the fact that he was gay and absolutely hated the fact that he was a failed Atlantean. It had taken him a week to think up the plan that would lead him to standing on the precipice of his father’s insurance building, and another week to get everything ready to do so. Finally he was here, stories of concrete below him just waiting for the embrace. So without a second thought, he jumped.

    They say half of all jumpers regret their decision on the way down. As Vic watched the ground close in on him at a rapid proximity, he couldn’t help but feel like this decision was a bad idea. With nothing to do but shield himself from the rapidly encroaching ground, Vic simply brought his arms up in front of his face and waited for the final impact. Screams echoed out from the footpath as everyone watched with abated breath. Vics body dropped like a rock as people gasped and waited for the inevitable impact to happen.

    The steady, rhythmic beat of the heart monitor was the first thing to assault his ears. Around the room he could hear the shallow breaths of other people surrounding his bed which puzzled him since he was an only child. Surely he should have been dead following the plummet; Vic had researched the height to know full well that there was no way for him to survive. At first he thought his arms were heavy after being asleep for a while, but when he moved his wrist Vic could tell there was something restraining him. Giving a strangled gurgle from his throat, Vic heard the bodies move around and wake up as he opened his eyes.

    The hospital room was private. There were no other patients in the room and his wrists were restrained not only by similar shackles that they would mental patients, but also handcuffs. At the foot of his bed and on either side were four men dressed up, not in standard issue police getup, but rather with bulletproof vests. Lolling his head to the side Vic could vaguely see an anagram emblazoned on the shoulder of the nearest person: A.T.L.A.S.

    “Wadhapen?” Vic lolled his head to the opposite side but the man there ignored him and simply spoke into his sleeve.

    Immediately all four men leapt up from their seats. Standing with backs straight at attention, the click of heels announced a lone woman entering the room. They all refused to make eye contact and stared straight ahead of their position as she walked into the centre of the room. “Victor Thomas?”

    Through his fuzzy vision he could see that she was tall, taller than all the other men in the room. By the way the men stood at attention, she was definitely in charge of them. Her hair seemed professionally short and from what he could tell, she had fairly sharp features. He was sure that she had just asked him his name and simply nodded instead of trying to mumble out some slurred vocabulary.

    “My name is Amanda Tell; I work for the Atlantean Threat Logistics and Assessment Section. We deal with any Atlantean who poses a threat to the safety and security of the American people. Two days ago, you Mister Thomas, achieved a threat level causing us to intervene.” Her voice was sharp, much like his teacher Miss Robinson who always told him off for things that weren’t even his fault, making Vic feel like he had done something wrong.

    “Wah- what do you mean?” He managed to croak out, “I don’t have an ability, I fail as an Atlantean like I fail at killing myself.” He moved his eyes from her face to the foot of his bed. He would have kicked himself if his whole body didn’t feel like it was being weighed down, much less the shackles on his wrists.

    “Don’t lie to me Mister Thomas, your destructive behaviour caused the lives of four innocent people as well as sending twenty others to hospital. The damage you caused in the CBD is nearing irreparable; all in all you’re costing the taxpayers a hefty amount of money.”

    Vic was astonished; the last he knew he had his arms in front of his face as he squeezed his eyes tight before he hit the ground. Now after waking up in the hospital and getting this barrage of… of blame, he wondered exactly what had happened. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, what happened!” He exclaimed, his throat feeling raw as he tried to yell.

    Pulling what looked like a tablet from under her arm, Amanda tapped the screen fervently before placing it on the tray at the feet of his hospital bed. The video grew to fit the screen showing CCTV footage from just across the road of where Vic had jumped. It skipped frame by frame showing the workers walking the street at first, but soon people began to stop and look up at something above the range of the camera. Frame by frame they all seemed to be pushed back by an invisible that rocketed to the ground ahead of Vic’s body. It easily flattened the roof of the taxi he soon fell into but also made the ground in a four foot radius concave inwards. People around him were flung to the side and the windows even four stories up shattered when he hit the ground. It was an unseen, an unmeasurable force that had occurred.

    “It’s called a Telepathically-Induced Force of Repulsion. It allows you to create a force the pushes nearby objects away; in this case you use the force to combat the downward pull of gravity effectively slowing your descent but pushing everything down around you.”

    Vic couldn’t help but watch the video play over and over again as he fell down and collide with the taxi. It was like having an out of body experience as he still didn’t quite understand how he survived that fall. An Atlantean? Sure, he had the tattoo present on the inside of his arm, but he didn’t have any ability at all.

    “Mister Thomas, there is no denying that this is you and that this is your ability. Do you understand what this means? You have been marked as a Level Three danger threat, pending Level Four which either makes you an enemy of the country, or a weapon.” Amanda retracted the tablet from the foot of his bed, tapping it a few times before hovering her finger over a different window. “Will you join us, or do I have to get these men to escort you out?”

    Everything was happening all too fast for Vic to fully comprehend. Firstly he was still unconvinced about his latent supernatural ability and he still didn’t know how exactly he survived; her explanation sounded wrong. Secondly somehow this all made him a threat to everyone? There were far bigger fish to fry like that guy with lightning or the girl with diamond skin. At first he simply shook his head, trying to ignore all the information that had suddenly been thrust upon him. When he noticed the men around him tighten up he realised what he had done and quickly nodded in approval. “I’ll help…I guess.” He spoke weakly, not quite all there.

    “Good, once the Doctor has checked you out, we’ll take you with us.” She tapped a response on her tablet before tucking it under her arm and heading for the door.

    “Wait!” He tried to push himself up but the nearest guy placed his hand on Vic’s shoulder, forcing him back onto the bed. “What about my parents?”

    She turned around to glare at him from over top of her glasses, “They think you’re dead. There will be a memorial at your school tomorrow. You are now no longer Victor Thomas; we own your life.” Without another word she turned on her heels and walked out the door. When she was gone the timid doctor moved into the room and hurriedly ran through his pre-dispatch assessment.

    A day later and the anaesthesia had long worn off. He had been secreted from the hospital under the cover of darkness and driven in the back of a van out of Iowa. Wherever they went, Vic had no idea, but five hours later the van was pulling to a stop. From the echo if the front doors they were somewhere bound by walls of concrete, but until the bag was lifted off his head and the back doors opened up did he realise where he was. Plastered on the walls of the car park in capital letters was the anagram A.T.L.A.S. written over top of what looked like a minimalistic eagle in mid-flight.

    “Welcome to ATLAS headquarters, Mister Thomas. This will be your new home. If you will follow me I will take you to your new living quarters.” Without waiting for him to get out of the vehicle, Amanda stalked off, leaving Victor to push himself out and follow behind her.

    “Where are we? I mean, I know it’s the ATLAS HQ, but where in the US are we?” He followed behind her soon realising that he was being followed by a detail of guards.

    “You’ll know that when your security clearance is upgraded. For now, you’ll stay here and train.” They entered an elevator and started heading up, the floors lighting up as they passed each one before stopping a few floors up.

    The doors opened up into a central plaza covered in grass with a single statue of a man holding up a globe on his shoulders. Strangely enough, the place wasn’t lit up with lights but rather bioluminescent plants and shrubs. The ceiling and wall behind him were solid concrete while the wall to his right was solid glass. Across from the elevator guards sat in a room lazing around a table with monitors switching between cameras behind them while to his left had several curtains, some with their blinds closed. Leaving the elevator, they walked across the grass to the living area behind the solid glass wall, opening a glass door and entering.

    The room was split in half with a bench separating the kitchen from what appeared to be a lounging area. Off to his left, a hallway seemed to lead down and around the solid concrete wall. Sitting at the table were three others looking older than him dressed in their pyjamas. The closest one to him was a dark skinned girl with shoulder length black hair and thinly rimmed glasses, next to her was a large American guy and behind them a small Asian girl with her eyes glued to a cell phone.

    “These will be your new teammates: Gamer, Tank and Harpy. If you have any questions they will be able to answer them otherwise this is your new home.” The three continued to ignore Amanda and Vic and carried on with what they were doing. “There is a landline in your room across the plaza, you can use it to call me but only if it is an emergency. Is this clear?”

    Vic simply nodded, he was going to ask her a multitude of questions that were plaguing his mind but the way her face stayed stern he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to push her buttons. When all was said and done she left him in the company of his new teammates and retreated to the elevator. He felt a little awkward just standing in the doorway, so he moved to the kitchen to find something to eat. Spying an apple on the counter, he moved around it until he was opposite the others before grabbing an apple and taking a bite. He didn’t realise it until he finished chewing, but the apple was the first thing he had had to eat in nearly two days. Not wanting to look bad in front of the others, he took occasional bites of the apple least he look greedy and starving.

    “What’s your power, noob?” the dark-skinned girl known as ‘Gamer’ asked him, prompting the other two to giggle under their breath.

    He stuttered and stalled, the question having taken him off guard, “something about repulsion, I guess?” He could barely remember the name Miss Tell had given his ability the day before nor what it even meant other than sparing his life.

    “What do you mean ‘you guess’? Are you a total scrub or what?” Vic didn’t even know what the hell a ‘scrub’ was, he guessed it was perhaps some offensive term for and Atlantean like himself who didn’t really know about their ability.

    “Bro, j-chill man,” somehow the words seemed awkward coming out of Tank’s mouth, like he was trying to be something he obviously wasn’t, “it’s all good ‘round here, don’t be tripping, aight?” If Vic were to guess where this guy was from, his first thought would be Detroit.

    “Don’t listen to the white-trash, nub, despite his name he can’t even tank for sh*t. Harpy and I always end up with the most aggro. Seeing as a scrub like you don’t have a tag like the rest of us, what’s your name?” The way she talked reminded Vic of the nerds back at high school, but this girl looked like anything but.

    “V-Vic, Victor Thomas,” He managed to stutter, “what about you guys?”

    The all cracked up laughing like he had said something wrong, “Victor Thomas? Are you serious? Man are you lucky to be here, two first names is just plain wrong.” This time the Asian girl, Harpy, spoke up but still refused to move her eyes from the screen in her hands.

    Ashamed, Vic bowed his head. Of all the places he could be and all the people to be with, he was with these older kids who were making fun of him. Now more than ever he wished he had died on that fall, or at least had been returned to his parents. He could only imagine how upset they would be thinking that he was dead. Just dwelling on the thought brought tears to his eyes; he never chose this lifestyle, never chose to be an Atlantean.

    Seeing a tear drop from his eyes to the sink the others stopped laughing, “We’re sorry dude,” Tank spoke, his deep voice now softer, “we were just having some fun hazing you, we didn’t mean to make you cry. Oh man, I feel so rachet right now.”

    “Scrub, how did you end up here?”

    “I-I-I killed four people trying to kill myself.” It took him a while to force the words out. Just saying the words validated it to himself what exactly he had done. Four innocent people had died and he hadn’t; his life was not worth those.

    “That’s harsh man,” this time Harpy took her eyes off of her screen and looked straight at him. “We’ll call you Victory,” she spoke confidently, nodding at the others.

    “How come?” Tank asked, turning himself to face her.

    “Cause Vic here, he beat Death. Those four were just Death being a sore loser, Vic won fair and square.”

    “Scrub, look at me,” Gamer seemed to command all of his attention, “Harpy may not know how to lane properly, but she has a point. The moment you jumped was the moment Victor Thomas died. When you landed; that was the moment Victory was born. Tank here will show you where your room and the showers are, so get ready because you’re one of us now.”

    “Thanks guys, it-it really means a lot,” Vic wiped the tears from his eyes. For the first time in forever he finally felt like a part of something; like he was somewhere he belonged. All these others had cast off the names that held them attached to their previous lives so he would too. The Victor Thomas of two days ago was no longer.

    Victory was exactly where he belonged.
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    Old April 19th, 2014 (5:48 PM).
    Lt. Col. Fantastic's Avatar
    Lt. Col. Fantastic Lt. Col. Fantastic is offline
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      Join Date: Apr 2012
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      Atlantean Royal Mansion, Boston, England

      November 12th, 2012

      After their training session, Garrett and the others had retreated to lunch before heading off to their rooms to shower and relax. Soon after though, they found themselves sitting in classes as the Royal Family resumed their usual schedule of classes following the invasion. It had been the first time in days that the Royal Family had seemingly gone back to it's normal routine, but it was a much welcome one. They only had two classes to attend to; Garrett, Kaido and Jessie headed off to Maths then English while the others had either History, English or one of the Sciences. While they were all happy to get back to classes, they all remained somewhat distracted, constantly looking between each other as they confirmed within themselves their little secret army.

      "Robert Frost is such a depressing writer!" Garrett exclaimed as they left the classroom, heading down with the rest of the students to the dining hall for dinner.

      "Yeah, well wait until you have to study post-World War One Germany," Oliver butted in with Rebecca on his arm.

      "Try Organic Chemisty, it is by most the worst." Marilyn piped up from behind them.

      They all continued to complain about their classes, trying to one up each other before taking seats at the table they had so infamously claimed weeks ago. Garrett and Kaido were the first to grab food, both coming back and starting to wolf their food down before the others had a chance to get theirs. Oliver brought Rebecca back hers while Marilyn used her Telekinesis to summon all her food onto a plate in front of her.

      Nathaniel had just finished cleaning himself off after training when Antonia pounded on his door to collect him for dinner. She hounded him with a few questions, mostly asking about how his sparring match with Ruby went, while chatting a bit about her own ventures without him around. He answered nonchalantly, mostly staring at the arm in which Ruby impaled with her blood spear. What was strange was the minimal injury he suffered. He remembered he attempted to change him limbs into ice (an experiment he was forced to do during Atlantean poker), so did that minimalize the injury? Sure, what was left was a large scar, but it hardly bled. However, asbent minded he was, entering the noiser hall stirred his mind awake. Antonia seemed to scan the room quickly and found some friends of hers, dragging the larger Nate along with relative ease.

      "Hey guys!" Antonia called out from across the room, waving furiously at them, as her and Nate arrived in the hall. After grabbing some food, she pulled Nate over to meet them as they found two spare seats. "Everyone, this is Nate. Nate, this is Garrett, Kaido, Jessie, Rebecca, Oliver, Marilyn and Nix." she pointed to each one in succession around the table as they all waived at Nate when Antonia called their name. He simply waved and greeted each one as Antonia pointed them, shaking hands with those closest to them.

      Austin battled with the voices in his head as he tried to play Pokemon in his room. River had given him an excuse to take the day off from his studies, so he decided it was a good chance to catch Rayquaza and attempt to find Latias. Austin 17 kept insisting the use of great balls over ultra balls, and #8 said that there was no need to even catch Rayquaza as he already had a high level Salamence. Austin warned his other selves that the timeout corner was waiting if they kept bickering.

      "Oh come on, are we not allowed to say anything anym-" Austin "tssk'd" #17 and shut him up. #8 got the message and remained mute.

      After a few hours of ♥♥♥♥ing around route 130 and 131 trying to find Latias, Austin gave up and went to the cafeteria for dinner. Again he reminded the other two to "stay inside" while he was in public. Austin entered the Dining Room and grabbed some food.

      Oliver noticed the Asian boy that had been rescued from the ship come into the dining room, 'Hey guys, what's that kids' name? The crazy Asian one from the ship." He was asking everyone at the table, but more directed at Kaido and Garett whom he had seen them hanging out with on occasion.

      "That's Austin, what about him?" Garrett asked, seeming offended that Oliver had asked him about Austin. Obviously there was something going down between them which made sense since Austin was neither at the meeting nor training.

      "We should invite him over, make him a Royal Guard." Oliver suggested, wincing as he felt a kick hit his shin from across the table.

      "Royal Guard?" Nathaniel asked, after taking a gulp of his food, looking around at each of the students at the table.

      Everyone looked between each other, unsure of what to respond, until Rebecca decided to talk, "It's a little.... side project we've decided to try." She looked at the others before continuing on and lowering her voice, "We become the vanguard that the Royal Family needs, a kind of, response team. We train, we work together, and next time there is an attack, we fight." The others just nodded in agreement, they couldn't have worded it better themselves.

      "So what we're trying to say is," Garrett took a pause to finish his glass of water, "will you and Antonia join us?"

      Nathaniel and Antonia looked at each other, not exchanging a word between them. Nathaniel knew that Antonia was going to say "yes." The first time they truly met, Antonia was beating down those soliders that attacked the mansion and refused to run away. Himself, there was a tinge of doubt, though perhaps doubt would be a poor way to say. The word "vanguard" echoed in his mind. The Oracle called me the Frozen Vanguard didn't she? Is this what she meant?. Still, it was a cause he would back. One he would be willing to join even without prophecies looming overhead. "Yeah, we're in," Nathaniel answered for the both of them.

      "Cool, now that you're onboard..." Oliver turned around in his seat, "Hey!" he called out, "Austin, come over here man! Sit with us!" He motioned with his hand to the empty seat next to him. On the other side of the table Garrett and Kaido glared at Oliver who smiled widely at them. It was those two who had the beef with Austin, not the rest of them. Plus it wasn't very nice to exclude someone like that.

      Austin heard Oliver yell, but didn't act like he did right away. Should I sit with Kaido and Garrett after what happened at lunch?


      I wasn't asking you two. Austin made up his mind and turned to the table. He walked over without smiling and sat down beside Oliver. What could possibly happen?

      "Hey Nate," Austin said awkwardly,"Antonia, Marilyn, Nix, Garret, Kaido."

      Antonia waved politely at Austin, replying with a simple 'hello' while Marilyn and Nix nodded their heads, acknowledging him joining their table. Garrett and Kaido on the other hand simply looked sour and returned to their food albeit eating a little quicker than usual.

      "Glad to see you are still around," Nathaniel said as Austin took a seat.

      "Hey Austin," Oliver began, "how old are you? What about you, Nate?" Oliver wasn't just asking out of curiosity, with one quick look at Rebecca, she knew exactly where he was going with this.

      "Twenty-one," Nathaniel said. "I can drink everywhere in the world now," he added, trying to make a light joke out of it.

      "17." Austin winced at the number of the voice in his head he hated most, "But I'll be 18 later this month."

      "That's no problem. There's a pub in Boston, only a short drive from here, which we like to visit from time to time. DId you two want to grab a pint tonight? Ruby will probably come with us." Oliver winked at Austin, Rebecca flicking him on the leg as she saw the suggestive gesture.

      "Erhm, sure," Austin started, "But I don't really drink that often..."

      "As long as they make a good rum and coke," Nathaniel said, cutting Austin off.

      "Nice." Oliver said with a smile on his face. Dinner was over shortly after and everyone seemed to disperse from the dining room to either head downstairs to study, play games or generally muck around.

      About an hour later, everyone met back in the garage; Rebecca had invited Ruby along to drinks with them as her an Oliver had discussed about trying to set Austin up with someone. With everyone in his truck, Oliver slid out of the garage and began driving towards Boston. It was about a ten minute drive through the curtains of blackness before they arrived at the city. The Royal Family liked to keep themselves separated from the city to avoid any casualties, but also so they weren't bothered by those who disliked them.

      The pub was fairly quaint, nothing too special about it. Like most it hard bar stools near the bars where sad and grumpy men drunk deeply and rows of booths along the windows where groups of people talked loudly. Four pool tables split the room between the bar and the booths while a jukebox sat near the end of the bar playing some sort of country-western song about 'timber'. While Rebecca and Ruby took seats at the table, Antonia bound up to the bar, flashing her ID and ordered wine for the three girls, next to her Oliver ordered two jugs of larger and brought it over with three glasses.

      Pouring a glass for himself, Austin and Nate, Oliver held his glass up in the air, "Cheers guys!" He toasted.

      "Cheers." Austin repeated the toast. A few drinks wouldn't hurt, but could take some of the sting off of the past few days.

      "Cheers!" Nathaniel said hearitly as he knocked back the drink. Shame it would take him a lot longer to feel anything, if he bothered to drink any more. The last time he was at a bar, he was discussing conspiracy theories with James. He wondered what he was doing. He was sure he was fine, and thinking about it wasn't going to change anything. Nathaniel had bigger things to focus on, but that would be for other day.

      "So Austin, how're those voices today?" Oliver asked rather obtrusively.

      Rebecca nudged Oliver in the side, "Austin, don't listen to my idiot boyfriend. I don't think I've seen your ability yet, what is it? If you don't mind me asking?" She glared at Oliver and his lack of privacy.

      Austin took a sip of his larger and grimaced a little, both at the unusual concoction and Oliver's question. Rebecca's was a little bit easier to answer, so he chose to ignore the fact that Oliver said anything.

      "I er, control light. Lumokinesis," he added, remembering the official name.

      "That's so cool!" Ruby exclaimed sitting across the table next to him, "Haemokinesis; I control blood." Moving the conversation on, "Where are you from in America? Your accent is a dead give away." she asked him.

      "Manhattan," said Austin, "New York City. Well, I grew up in Queens, but I've been in Manhattan for a while now. Where are you from?"

      "Oh cool, like Spiderman," she smiled at Austin, Spiderman was perhaps her most favoured hero of all time, "I'm from Cardiff in Wales, my mum's from Libya hence my dark complexion." Ruby referred back to her rather dark skin tone.

      Another couple of drinks later and Oliver suggested a game of pool. Thinking he was being funny, he split the balls and turns up into 'couples', Antonia and Nate would break and start, then Austin and Ruby and finally himself and Rebecca. What he didn't account for was Antonia to have used her ability beforehand.

      "Watch this," she whispered in Nate's ear, as she broke, the number two ball fell into the right middle pocket. Their numbers were now 1-5. One by one she sunk each of ther balls followed by the black ball leaving everyone gaping at her prowess.

      "I don't know if that's fair or considered cheating, using your abilities like that..." Oliver accused only to stop and have realised he had inadvertantly outed them in the bar. As he turned around he could hear the bar drop silent as all eyes turned on them.

      A large burly man got off his stool, making his way over to them and taking the pool cue from Oliver's hand. "I suggest you all leave. Promptly." He said in a rather deep, booming voice.

      Nathaniel made his way over to the man, slightly shoving Oliver out of the way. Perhaps it was the alcohol in his system, or the fact that for the first time in a while he felt as he was part of a group, but the man's behavior lit a spark in the man. He, for a time, frequented places like this and as a result, liked to think he had experience in dealing with people like him. Usually being civil worked, but Nathaniel for whatever reason wasn't feeling too civil. He looked at the man dead in the eye and snatched the pool cue from his hand. "I think we'll leave when we are good and ready. If that's okay with you."

      The tension was rising in the bar, and Oliver refused to listen to Rebecca whom started pleading him to walk away. Finally giving up, her and Ruby left to go sit in the car, Rebecca having stolen the keys to Olivers truck from her boyfriend's pocket. Antonia meanwhile stood next to Nate, if he was going to get in a bar fight, so was she. She had always wanted to get into a brawl in a bar, despite being the only girl present, she could easily take down any number of the men here.

      "Hey Austin," Oliver said, sounding rather cocky, "do you wanna get into a bar fight?" A wide, alcoholic induced grin stretching from ear to ear on his face.

      "Do it." said Austin 17 immediately.

      "No, dont listen to him, you're going to get your ♥♥♥♥ wrecked backwards."

      "Don't be a little whiney b*tch, 8, Austin can kick every human in this bar's ass with his eyes closed."

      "No I think you're overestimating his abilities on this one. Are you drunk? Can we get drunk?"

      "F*ck dude you're the drunk one if anyone. Look at Austin Prime he's barely even buzzed."

      "That doesn't mean that we shou-"

      Austin turned to his imaginary friends and expelled them with a loud, "YOU DON'T F*CKING TELL ME WHAT TO DO!" Unfortunately every able bodied patron in the bar was around to hear that, and a haymaker to the face sent him to the floor. Austin sat up, furious, and everybody stood still for a second. Then mayhem commenced.

      Oliver was stunned not only at Austin's rather strange outburst but also at the guy who flat out punched the kid in the face. It was as if the whole world stopped to watch Austin fall to the ground, but the moment he sat up, everything resumed and the place erupted into chaos. Oliver ducked as the man who had confronted them first swung a wide punch aimed at his head, dropping to his knees before springing back up. He shoved his shoulder into the man's stomach, propelling the both of them towards the bar. There was a sickening crunch, but the man seemed unfazed by it just as the two guys next to him sprung from their seats and each grabbed an arm of Oliver's. With a wicked smile on is face, the burly man pushed himself off the bar before laying punch after punch into Oliver's stomach.

      Before the man could land another one, Nathaniel plowed into the man, driving his shoulder into his gut, spearing him through a table into the ground. As he rose from the ground, he hurled two wide punches to each of the men grabbing Oliver. However, as Nathaniel gloated at his surprising intoxicated accomplishment, another smaller man grabbed a bar stool and struck Nathaniel's back, bringing the larger man down to his knees. The smaller man lifted the bar stool for another overhead strike, but Nathaniel rolled out of the way. Though the alcohol was slowing his movements, he could now feel it in his head becoming dizzy at the sudden shaking of his head that had just occurred. He was now clearly disoriented with his eyes being glazed over as he attempted to regather himself.

      Austin blocked another blow to his face as he tried to regain footing. He grabbed a barstool to try and lift himself up but someone pulled it out from under him and he fell to the ground again. The man then proceeded to use Austin's stool to attack Nate, who managed to roll out of the way of a follow-up blow. Angrily, he yanked the man's leg towards him, causing the barstool theif to fall on his ass. On all fours now, Austin bear crawled over him and laid an elbow into the man's nose, with a audible crunch as the only response. Austin stood up but someone grabbed him from behind and lifted him high in the air. Austin madly kicked out with his legs, striking another man in the gut. Now extremely pissed, the guy Austin kicked grabbed his legs and held them together.

      "F*ck you!" Austin yelled as he struggled to get free, just not strong enough to do so.

      Luckily Antonia was in the vicinity. It seemed that most of the guys in the bar were too focused on taking out the boys and not worrying about the small, agile girl that was slowly dropping bodies like flies. Seeing Austin being lifted high in the air, Antonia vaulted over the top of the pool table, launching her legs straight into the man's rotund gut. He let go of Austin to nurse his would, causing the poor boy to fall right into Antonia's out stretched hands. "Looks like I've saved your life twice now," She smiked at him before dropping Austin to his feet to pursue another fight.

      Running towards her next target, Antonia soon caught herself slipping on a puddle of beer, only to graps the leg of the pool table and swing herself enough to take the legs from under two burly men. Pumping her fists in success, she soon lost herself in the crowd of men, overjoyed at being able to participate in such a brawl.

      Having recovered from his attack after being freed by Nathaniel, Oliver grabbed two handles of beer from the bar much to the demise of the bartender and promptly smashed them around the heads of the two men who had been holding him. As they both slumped to the ground, blood now flowing from their heads, he aimed a kick into the kidneys of the unconscious guy who had started this all before jumping over his body and looking around for someone to hit.

      Nathaniel regained his composure and raised from his kneeling position, having somehow avoided most of the ensuing choas. As he stood tall, he knocked one guy in the teeth and another he delievered a solid kick to the gut. Another slugged Nathaniel in the face, but with everything dulling his senses, he barely felt it. He headbutted that one and plowed his way to the door, realizing the waves of angry patrons was virtually endless.

      Austin backhanded a shorter man in the face and followed with a left uppercut under the chin. Sending the man reeling, Austin turned and ducked below a punch. He swept the feet out from under his assailant and finished him off with a falling elbow to his neck. He then sprung himself onto his feet and blocked two hooks from the guy he backhanded earlier, and countered with a karate chop to the juggular. Before he could celebrate his victory by rejoining the fray, blue lights erupted outside and men began to scramble from the pub.

      Seeing the lights, Oliver tapped Nate, Austin and Antonia on the shoulder, motioning for them all to follow him out a side door. Oliver had come to this bar countless times before, and gotten into bar fights here too, so he knew the general layout of the place. Charging through the crowd, he ducked into a hallway that led to the bathroom. Passing by them he kept on going until he turned another corner only to bust through the emergency exit; sending the alarm wailing. Looking to his sides, Oliver was anxious to get away, least they be taken to the station, but his saving grace came in the form of Rebecca flooring his truck down the alleyway. Smiling at his girlfriend, he waited for her to stop.

      "Get in, quickly!" She ordered them all as Oliver took the opportunity to climb into the deck of his truck, holding his hand out to help the others jump in. Ignoring his open hand, Antonia leapt at the truck and vaulted into the deck truiumphantly. Nathaniel, not as elegantly, practically fell into the car, fidgeting into a comfortable position. He melted into his seat when he finally got in, feeling his head spin in the confined space of the car. Austin grabbed Oliver's hand and slid in beside his fellow brawler. When everyone was practically in, Rebecca planted boot and the truck zoomed off into the night, back to the mansion.

      Nathaniel, of all of them, wasted no time in trying to get to his room. Everything was pounding and he wanted sleep. For whatever reason, all the alchol he had consumed (which he lost count of) was gradually building up. This made every step painful. Antonia quickly noticed this and helped him lumber over to his room. Without bothering to take care of his nightime ritual, Antonia just threw him onto his bed and let him sleep, returning to her own room with a chuckle.

      Austin did likewise, making a beeline to his room. He fell onto his bed face up, head in hands. At the foot of the bed Austin 17 and 8 play fought each other.

      "Bam! Pow! Dude Austin was like SHOOSH!" 17 reenacted Austin's backhand on 8, who pretended to fly and crash through the window. He jumped back in with a flying kick like Antonia's, sending 17 reeling. Austin snapped his fingers and his ghosts disappeared, and he rolled over and turned the lights off with his power before falling asleep.

      Mr. Aladdin sir! Have a wish or two or three!
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      Old April 20th, 2014 (10:18 PM). Edited April 20th, 2014 by Skymin.
      Retro Bug Retro Bug is offline
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      The Museum of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

      November 12th, 2012

      Names, really? The entire situation felt idiotic like there was no way in hell she was going to call Imogen any sort of royal title or Oakley a knight. Knights were valiant and queens had class those two did not fit those description. Devon was a mutt however and klepto was a klepto so those names would stick. Thayne was bothersome and Dom no longer existed in her book.

      "Call me..." Delta pretended to take a moment to come up with a name, "Actually don't call me anything, I really don't want to hear from any of you."

      Rolling her eyes at their ridiculous names but not bothering to complain about them, Imogen held up her phone-looking-walky-talky and shook it in her hand.

      "Don't lose these. Otherwise you'll get left behind. On the other hand, one less mouth to feed." She shrugged, smirking at them before tucking the phone into her pocket. She then played with her face for a moment, and Oakley watched in awe as Imogen's face became mallable like clay. Soon, she looked much older, around Mr. Baumann's age, though the rest of her body was still of her twenty-five year old self (Oakley had to wonder if that was her real age, or her face that she showed everyone was even her own). "C'mon lovelies, let's go find us a box."

      She lead the way, heading towards the front doors with Emery, Delta and Oakley in tow. So, Emery and Imogen were meant to look like parents, and Delta and her sisters? She felt a lump in her throat at the thought of Delta realising this. Were they meant to act like sisters? Perhaps Delta's usual hostility was the way to go.

      When they reached the doors and were prompted to pay entry, Imogen handed over foreign looking money (Oakley had never seen Egyptian currency before) and they were allowed entrance into the museum. The infrastrucuture was a grand spectacule along with the amount of exhibits seemed endless to Delta. Each wall was designed to fit the each of the displays, the work that went into each room wasn't overlooked. She had never been in a museum before and wondered if they all looked this outstanding. However, they weren't here to look at the wallpaper or stare at rocks and artifacts that were a thousand years old.

      "Which way, magic man?" Imogen said to Mr. Baumann, her hands on her hips. Oakley's stomach churned as she stared at Imogen's face, the thought of having her own face mallable like that making her sick. She wanted to look away, but she couldn't. It was so eerie, how alike it was to Imogen's old face but... not? Imogen glanced at Oakley for a second, rolling her eyes. "Don't you dare throw up on my feet."

      Emery concentrated for a moment, making contact with Imogen's bare palm. He frowned at her almost immediately. "The thing you hold most dear to you right now, it's not a box. It's something I can't take from you. It's your ability."

      Imogen groaned. "Can't you see my top five?"


      "Ugh." Imogen turned to Oakley, smiling sweetly. "Honey, can you please lend our friend here your lovely necklace so we can get this ball rolling?" Oakley's eyes widened, looking down at the Librarian's locket and back up to Imogen, shaking her head.

      "N-no, um, how do you know what it is?"

      "Anything that shade of blue is unmistakable. Please, sweetie? It'll only be for a short while. Then you can have your safety blanket back."

      Delta's irritation was beginning to show as she looked at all the exhibits and displays like someone who would come to a crappy museum would. The fact that Oakley was now forcing her to do this longer than necessary made her speak up, "Oakley, if you don't give the man your necklace I will rip it off then crush it afterwards, got it?" She spoke in a hushed tone with her half smile on her face so someone who passed by wouldn't think twice about their conversation.

      Oakley whimpered a little, unclipping her necklace and slowly handing it over to Mr. Baumann. She felt her control loosen as soon as it left her fingers, regretting leaving her coat in the van. Her breathing became manual now, keeping her pace. Her hand started to tingle, and she knew that the armour would eventually grow in time. But at the moment, she would be ok, tucking her hands into her pant pockets.

      "How's that, can you see it now?" Imogen said, tapping her foot impatiently. Emery paused for a moment, furrowing his brow as if he was mentally shuffling through Imogen's things she held most dear to her, eventually opening his eyes and pointing further into the museum. "Can you see where it is?"

      "It's blurry. Since you don't actually know what it looks like. But I can feel it resonating downstairs."

      "So the archives. Nothing exact? Like a room number or anything? Not even what it looks like?"

      "No. But it doesn't feel too far away, I can guide you which way."

      She cursed, pushing her glasses up her nose. "I guess we better go get some uniforms then. That might be fun. Let's go find some."

      "You mean, we have to wear some disgusting person's clothing?" The thought of that sent shivers down Delta's spine. Sure it was a good plan to dress in the correct uniforms to gain access to the basement.

      "Better than being in some disgusting prison." Imogen shrugged.

      "Well might as watch how a pro does it," Delta said with a smirk. Before the rest of the group had a say Delta was off to find the nearest guards on duty. Her expression changed from smirk to a more worried look. A victim was in the doorway between two displays and was slouching against the wall once his eyes locked onto Delta he stood up.

      "Mister, these girls are fighting in the bathroom! There's-" She stopped purely for the dramatic effect, she imagined she was someone more like Oakley... pathetic. The guard nodded and proceeded to radio in backup as he followed Delta except she didn't know where the bathrooms actually were. "There's blood everywhere. I think they're Atlantean! You have to hurry!" The big bad wolf in sheep's clothing was a fitting description of Delta as she followed the signs that clearly pointed out the bathrooms a detail she had missed during their entrance. Two more guards had met them at the door Delta only hoped Imogen and co were close behind. Taking care of two guards was a piece of cake, three? That was a whole different ballgame.

      The guards yelled they were coming in and Delta followed suit. The look on their faces when they saw the lack of fighting or anyone for that matter was absolutely priceless. "Oh, did I say girls are fighting in the bathroom and blood is everywhere? I meant a girl would be fighting and there was going to be blood everywhere." Delta slammed her arm into the head of the nearest guard that she had crystallized prior to the swung, which catching the guard off his game left him unconscious. With the element of surprise now gone Delta would have to work harder to dispatch and relieve the remaining two of their garments. One guard fired his taser and it hit Delta square in the abdomen, also known as the section of Delta's body she always crystallized first.

      "That's cute," She grabbed the wires and yanked them toward her causing the guard to stumble forward. A twist of her body allowed her to kick the guy in the face with her heels and that was enough to leave him helpless on the floor. Why did the last guy always put up the biggest fight? He threw a punch right away only to have Delta grab his wrist with her hand and crush it with all her might causing the guard to fall to his knees. Kneeing him beneath the jaw probably sliced his tongue in half but since Delta was in a generous mood that's all she did. Well, not true, she knocked him in the head with the butt of her gun and then proceeded to do the same to the second guard who was still very much conscious. Stripping the clothes off these people would be left to Imogen or Oakley she had done pretty much most of the heavy lifting.

      "Nicely done." Imogen clapped her hands after watching the show. She had intentionally held out a hand for Oakley as the fight started to stop her from interrupting, knowing that one, Oakley would ruin it and two, her armour would have gotten the best of her. "It's too bad they were three men. Oh well, I work with what I've got." She leant down, finding the most feminine looking guard and and moulded her face. It took her a few minutes (Oakley felt herself feel sick in the process again), but she went from middle-aged woman to male guard with breasts. Out of one of her pockets, she pulled a long strip of fabric (like a bandage) and wrapped it around her bust. It didn't do the most specifc job of making her look like a man, but her face was all she needed to get past them.

      "So, three uniforms and four of us, who is not going to be playing dress up today?" Her eyes fell straight on Oakley, the shortest, and Imogen smirked at her. "Sorry sweetie, you're playing lookout today, so act like you just punched three guards in the face and walk with us. We'll head down to the archives and you make sure nobody goes down there after us. And I guess the rest of the entourage can head in now too." As she passed uniforms to Emery and Delta, she pulled her phone out of her pocket, holding the button on the side and spoke into it. "You can come in now. Not all at once, obviously."

      Imogen obviously knew her way around, walking down the halls with a professional look on her face. Oakley made a face, trying to look in trouble, but she couldn't help but feel like she had no idea what she was doing. She'd never really been in trouble before. Nor had she robbed a high profile museum during the day, but, y'know, priorities. As expected putting on the clothing was gross and the sooner it came off the quicker she could take a shower. Delta on the other hand felt at ease like this was her natural element. The adrenaline still coursing through her veins from the fight made it that much easier. If she was going to be the best she was going to have to do better at missions and make sure the higher ups noticed her for more than just... killing. Her drive kept her focused on how this mission would be completed even if Delta had to do it all herself.

      Using the key card on her, Imogen swiped through, snatching the keycard danging from Emery's pocket and handing it to Oakley, adding a "just in case" and she, Emery and Delta disappeared behind the door. Oakley poked the card into her pocket and took a seat at a nearby bench, pretending to be doing nothing or waiting for someone, she wasn't quite sure what.

      The archive halls were white and boring, the only thing decorating them were the doors which were equal lengths apart. Emery lead the way this time, his head up in the air as if he was looking at or smelling something. There was nobody else down here, which surprised Imogen. She expected to pass maybe a curator or fellow guard but nope, nobody. She had picked today rather than another day of the week as it had the least amount of people rostered on, but she didn't expect nobody. These were priceless artefacts for heaven's sake, she could make millions on just a stupid necklace. And maybe she would.

      "This one." Emery stopped, pointing at door G-A with the words 'Private Collection" underneath. Were you allowed to store private collections here? It just seemed... well, not unsafe, but unnecessary for an overpriced storage unit. Whatever. Imogen swiped the card through, but was denied access. What? She noticed the number lock on the side, but surely guards were allowed universal access? Well, actually, now that she had thought that aloud, that just sounded dumb.

      "Two, One, One, Two, Two, Zero, One, Two." Adeline's voice came through Emery's phone, which was on his jacket. Imogen punched it in, and was allowed access. She scowled, snatching the phone from Emery.

      "Your father better not have duped us."

      There was only silence from the other end and Imogen thrust the phone back to Emery's chest, opening the door. The room smelt... old. And musky. Like your grandmother's house, but worse. There were various paintings, scrolls, and bits of crap lining the entire room, but it was decorated like the room was expecting company. The floor was laid with a carpet, leading up to a crate-sized box, decorated with swirls and (what Imogen assumed was) Atlantean crap. She went straight for it, ignoring the other priceless artefacts, quickly inspecting it. It was locked, that was for sure. A few tugs at the lid confirmed that. She whipped out a knife and jabbed the box as hard as she could, the blade not even leaving a dent. She made a face and turned back to her group. "Looks like we'll be hauling the entire thing out." She flipped out her phone-radio. "Yo, Mutt and Brimstone. Time to start making a scene. Otto and Reaper, start taking out cameras. Preferably ones that will mask our exit. The door to the archive is just past the cloakroom, you'll see Knight there. When you're done, she'll let you through the door."

      "I'm ready for a nap..."

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      Old April 20th, 2014 (10:19 PM). Edited April 20th, 2014 by Skymin.
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      The Museum of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

      November 12th, 2012

      "I guess I'll be Reaper or something, " said Thayne as he looked at Otto, ignoring the attitude behind Imogen's words. He couldn't understand what her problem was with everyone. Was she always like that or just on missions? Part of Thayne didn't want to find out, staying away from her seemed to be the best option. Of course, he couldn't really do that now. "It looks like it's our turn, Otto," he said in Adeline's direction. Talking to her would probably be better than thinking about Imogen's personality or even the stupid alias he had chosen. Why was the Grim Reaper the first thing to come to mind? Sure, it was related to his powers, but really? How bad was a name like Reaper?

      "We're just taking out the cameras, right?" he asked.

      "Yes." Adeline nodded. That was all Imogen had mentioned. Taking out cameras so that they would be 'unseen' when leaving with the box.

      Thayne nodded back at the girl. Ok, talking to her may not be a fun thing either. "Let's head in then," he said, opening the door to the van. For once a museum seemed to catch his interest more than another person. Not even checking if Otto was behind him, he moved towards the building. He honestly didn't know what to expect when he walked in. Something different from the normal? In all honesty, it looked like any other big museum. It had the usual high arches, large exhibits, and even the occasional bench.

      "Two people please?" Asked Thayne once he reached the front desk. Hopefully, Otto was behind him.

      "No problem." The woman said with a heavy accent. She gave him a price, to which Thayne gave her the money that Imogen had given him previously. She replaced the money in his hand with two tickets and his change, gesturing him to the rest of the museum. "Thank-you. Welcome to the Cairo Egyptian Museum. The next tour will leave at 4:30pm at the sign just there, but feel free to view all the exhibits." She gave him a smile before returning her attention to the next customer, cueing Thayne and Adeline to move on. Adeline stuck close to Thayne as he walked past the barriers, but with enough space between them that he would not accidentally bump into her. Her eyes glazed past the exhibits, obviously uninterested. She had seen this all before, countless times.

      Feeling Adeline close to him, Thayne began to look for the cameras Imogen had told them about. For the most part, the four in the main hall appeared to be the odd, domed kind that hung from the ceiling and odds were, the rest were the same as well. "So, what do you think is in the Box?" Thayne said to her as he continued to look above them, ignoring the many exhibits. "I mean, the myth says hope, but that's not really what's in it, is it?"

      "Hope could be many things." Adeline said, her eyes darting from camera to camera. "But nobody knows what is in the box but Pandora and those who came before." She turned back to Thayne, her face plain and static. She wasn't too used to being asked questions, but she wasn't annoyed or bothered with answering them either.

      Thayne nodded as he look towards her emotionless face. She did have a point. Hope could literally be anything. A weapon? A tool? They would just have to find out apparently. "Is there any reason you're helping us get the Box? Most of the people seemed like they never met you, so you're obviously not a part of the AUP." I guess that's a reasonable question, he thought as they turned the corner. For the most part, the exhibits seemed to go unnoticed to them as they looked for the cameras. There was easily three or four down this hall.

      "No, I am the Librarian's daughter. He was the one that told Mr. Bernot and Mr. Cooper about the box and sent me to Lindholm to assist with retrieving the box." She looked at exhibit in front of her, to Thayne, then back. "Don't look so obvious."

      He nodded before looking away from the ceiling. "The Librarian?" he asked curiously. He had heard Oakley mention him before and others didn't seem surprised to hear his name. "Sorry, if I'm asking so many questions. Everything is just so different from what it was before all of this."

      "Yes." Adeline gave a short nod. "The world has changed. But for better or for worse... I'm... unsure." The phone in her pocket made a noise and Adeline pulled it to her ear. It was Imogen.

      "You can come in now. Not all at once, obviously." Obviously she had expected them to stay outside the entire time, which hadn't happened with either groups, briefly spotting the other two boys entering shortly before themselves. A small buzz came from her phone. Somebody had left their radio on, albeit the sound from the other end was muffled. Adeline noted to pay attention to it, incase there was any yelling of sorts.

      "They are, aren't they?" He asked rhetorically, ignoring Imogen. They didn't need her to tell them to do their job. Adeline was right though. There were Atlanteans living just like them, but on the other hand, there were many who were using their abilities to wreak havoc. Only time would be able to tell how things would end up. "So, if this Box is so important, why is this place so quiet? A lot of Atlanteans haven't necessarily been discreet from what I've seen. It's like the majority of them wanted to be known."

      "There aren't many who know of the box's location, let alone its actual existence. It is better this way." They trod on to the next room, her eyes quickly scanning for cameras. There was one less in this one than the last one. Was it a less important room? "If the inside is as important as they say, it could be fatal in the wrong hands."

      "I guess you're right," he answered as he scanned the room. For the most part, things were going smoothly on their end and it didn't seem like any of the other groups were having problems. It was good to be able to ask questions with someone, even if Adeline wasn't really much of a talker. Her answers weren't always wordy, but they did make their point. "So are you and the Librarian apart of the AUP? No one really said, but most of them seemed to recognize his name. "

      "My father and I have no affiliation with anybody. He only seeks knowledge." Adeline heard some rambling on her phone and picked it up, reciting a set of numbers the Librarian had told her before. "Two, One, One, Two, Two, Zero, One, Two."

      "Your father better not have duped us." She ignored the comment, staring at the phone.

      "Is it almost time?" Thayne asked upon hearing the sequence of numbers. He could only guess it was a code or combination for something. Was it for the Box?

      "They must be close. Wait a moment." Adeline held it still for a moment, estimating how long it would take Imogen to find the box. There was a light buzz coming from her phone before Imogen's voice returned.

      "Yo, Mutt and Brimstone. Time to start making a scene. Otto and Reaper, start taking out cameras. Preferably ones that will mask our exit. The door to the archive is just past the cloakroom, you'll see Knight there. When you're done, she'll let you through the door."

      Adeline nodded at Thayne, leading the way to the cloakroom, spotting Oakley sitting at a seat just outside a security locked door. When they locked eyes, Oakley lifted her head then instantly turned away, remembering that they were separated and she wasn't meant to recognise them. Adeline went to a small exhibit and pretended to look interested as Thayne went to the one opposite of her's, waiting on Devon and Dom's call.

      They just needed the others to start the diversions and then they could begin.

      "Your turn guys. I guess it's pretty obvious from the alarms, though." Devon's voice came thorugh the radio. As soon as the pair heard the fire alarm over head, they began their part of the mission. One by one, the cameras began to lose sight of the area as they were covered by either spider webs or dark matter. Within only a minute or two, a path to the Emergency Exit was cleared. If all went as planned, that would be all they needed, but that definitely didn't mean it would be easy.

      "All cameras covered." Adeline spoke into her phone/radio. "Heading in now."

      "Klepto is waving like an idiot at you once Knight lets you in." Imogen's voice replied.

      Oakley was easily spotted, the only one not panicking and heading for the door amidst the chaos. She pulled out a card from her pocket and swiped it through the door to the archives. A green light and a high pitched beep told them they could enter.
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      Old April 20th, 2014 (10:26 PM).
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      The Museum of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

      November 12th, 2012

      Dom had never been to Cairo before or anywhere in Africa for that matter. The first thing he noticed was that it wasn't as hot as he expected it to be. It was still too warm for the jacket and scarf he was wearing earlier, but not the scorching temperatures it's been made out to be. Imogen, as she never seemed to fail to do, began talking in her irate manner. A way of talking that annoyed Dom personally. She had the nerve to call him something as stupid and childish as "hot face" (she could at least gone with Pyromaniac) and went on to expect him to call her Queen of all things. If she thought he was calling her Queen she was absolutely insane. In fact, with the way she acted, he had no interest to help out at all. But it had been a long day and all of their little missions had him desparate just to get this over with and go home. Dom opened up his radio phone and entered the codenames of everyone in their group (though for some he elected to express his creative differences and put down something completely different). When they finished he offered up his own codename: Brimstone.

      "Êtes-tu prêt à aller?" Dom asked, not very interested in sticking around and chatting.

      "Voulez-tu aller maintenant?" Devon raised an eyebrow, his arms already crossed. He seemed just as unimpressed with this mission as his new companion was.

      Dom nodded. "Let's go," he continued in French, feeling much more confortable than he did when speaking English. Their transactions finished, Dom left the group and entered the museum. The inside was air conditioned and felt like a welcome breeze, though it was a bit on the chilly side. The museum was beautifully made; high arches, large exhibits, and a display in every corner, even the ceiling! It didn't slack in showing the history and discoveries of Egypt, as well other things from around the world. At the counter Devon pulled out the money Imogen had given them previously to the lady at the counter asking for it. They were handed a pair of tickets, welcomed, and then ushered into the main hall. Devon usually would have wanted to stick around and look at the exhibits, but he realised now was definitely not the time, since they were going to rob this place.

      "Do you like museums?" Devon said, still in French. His eyes wandered around, looking for... something. They were meant to be looking for a place to start a distraction but there were cameras and people everywhere. Somewhere like underneath a camera might be ideal, but the people? Maybe if they just pulled a switch and made the fire alarms go off? Start something in the toilet? Take the power out entirely? Ugh.

      "I don't mind them," Dom answered, "but I'm much more excited about science museums." History and archeology were fine and all, but science was really where his interests lie. Still, Dom didn't pass up the chance to look at the exhibits as they passed by, smiling at the sight of a few excited school kids in a tour. Devon followed Dom's eyes, raising his eyebrows at the scene.

      "So uh, did you go to like university or college before, like," he gestured to them both, "this?"

      Dom nodded. "Yeah, I go to," Dom paused and corrected himself,"I went to UPS." The college wasn't too far away from the AUP Headquarters. If Devon was living there it was likely he knew where it was. It didn't occure to him until now that with the way things were going his college career-- for the time being--had been postponed if not completely ended. Though after the all-too-fresh memory of Paris and Toulouse's close proximity classes had most likely been postponed anyways. Even if they hadn't (which he couldn't imagine why they wouldn't) it was likely that anyone who knew him on campus thought he was dead. Something told him that Lucien didn't spread the news of his return. "Did you?"

      Devon shook his head, smiling. "Dad pulled me out of school when my tattoo appeared and 'homeschooled' me since then. And that was like... a year, a year and a half ago? Like the end of troisième." Maybe it was in the holidays, he couldn't remember that well. It had been a busy year. "I would have liked to go to High School but Dad said it wouldn't be a good idea, especially since uh, he didn't know. But I'd be in première this year, I think." His eyes glazed over the exhibits once more, trying to think of what exactly Imogen thought a distraction might entail. "What did you study?"

      "I was working to get a medical degree, but it looks like I'll be putting that off for a while." He hoped this would all end soon enough, though. The back-to-back missions were getting to him. "And you got your tattoo a year and a half ago?" Getting his tattoo a couple weeks ago wasn't an old memory and then as well as now he thought that there hadn't been any Atlanteans until that moment. "How long have Atlanteans been around?"

      "Uh," Devon looked up and to his left, trying to think. It had been such a long time, the whole Atlantean thing seemed more natural to him than it did to Dom. Like being in a new house or a new job for a year. It was new, but not that new. "Well, I didn't know about them before then. I thought my dad worked for a importing company and then when I got my tattoo, he kind of dropped it on me. So, as far as I know, they've been around for a while. The Royal Family have kind of been in secret for a long time and then there's people like the Librarian who are meant to be thousands of years old."

      Thousands of years old? Dom looked at Devon like he was insane. Even with the chaos of the last few days, it was hard to believe someone could live longer than ninety or one hundred. He could see the image of a decrepit old man slowly sorting and categorizing all of the books and ancient scrolls detailing the legacy of the Atlanteans. The name did sound familiar, but he didn't recall seeing anyone who looked a thousand years old. He searched his mind for the name. It had something to do with Oakley... A helicopter... Wait a minute. "Do you mean Franklyn!?" Now Dom was a little freaked out. Franklyn didn't look anywhere near thousands of years old. He remembered thinking Franklyn's mention of Bismarck a little strange, but now... "Is that his power? And there are more like that?"

      "Full Atlanteans are immortal, apparently," Devon shrugged and shook his head. "No, his is meant to be some ability absorbing one. He's meant to have like thousands of abilities that he can use whenever he wants. And yeah, I know of one others. There's a lady with the Royal Family called the Oracle and she's apparently a full Atlantean as well. There's not much about her on the database other than that she makes weird predictions that don't make any sense. I think my dad met her once. When he was with the Royal Family."

      Dom relfexively looked at his watch while Devon spoke about Franklyn. Obviously there was more to the man that met the eye and something was telling Dom he needed to find out more. Dom's wonder turned into displeasure at the mention of the Royal Family. "He was apart of that?" Just talking about the Royal Family left a bad taste in Dom's mouth. And the AUP having anything to do with them? It made him feel sick. "Let's talk about something else. Do you know a lot about Franklyn?"

      "Well, I know that he changes his name everyday. So it's probably not Franklyn anymore. That and he can pretty much do anything. He helps the AUP sometimes when he feels like it, though it kinda feels like he does it for fun rather than because Dad needs the help." Devon shrugged again. "I've met him once or twice. He made some weird jokes and said some weird things. I don't know. He's a weird guy. Nobody knows a lot about him."

      "His name isn't Franklyn?! What is his name then?" Just from what Devon said, learning about Franklyn--or maybe it was just best to call him Librarian--was going to be a ground up kind of situation. If he couldn't even get his name how easy was it going to be to get the rest of this information?

      Devon shrugged and went to open his mouth to continue, before a voice spoke from their phone-radios. "You can come in now. Not all at once, obviously." Obviously they were meant to hang back and wait for her call, but whatever. They were inside now. Who cared.

      "Are we meant to find some kind of distraction now?" Devon looked around the room bleakily. They could topple an exhibit? Maybe pin it on someone else while they made a getaway. It might work, though it didn't help that there were people around to see them.

      Dom looked around the museum to find anything that might give him inspiration for a nice distraction, but it wasn't inspiration he found. Instead Dom's eyes landed on a woman who had either given up on life or was suffering from a brain disease based off of what she was wearing. She was looking at one of the exhibits, but all Dom could see were the beige uggs, checkered pants, and a pink halter top. He didn't know what was worse, the black, white, and red checkers or the uggs. It was probably the uggs. Anyone who looked at Dom would see an expression that was half horrified, half disgusted. If anything needed to be burned it was that. "How about tha--" Dom didn't have time to finish his sentence before the woman's clothing went up in flames. Dom felt like he'd looked at the enflamed woman for hours before she (and the people around her) finally screamed. She ran from the exhibit, bringing all sorts of attention to herself as she flapped her arms around in a futile attempt at extinguishing the flames. Dom's face had gone one hundred percent horror. He couldn't think of a thing to say or a thing to do. Absolutely nothing. His mind had completely frozen.

      Devon's eyes followed Dom's own and physically yelped when the lady in front of him spontaneously combusted. He was about to run in and help put her out, but stopped himself, conflicted between trying to stop someone from burning and completing their part of the mission. His eyes went wider as her flames caught on the delicate exhibit next to her, immediately catching as if it was made of gasoline. The people around her began to scream and jump back from her, all the while the flames on the exhibit were catching to the next. The alarms began to go off as Devon watched in terror, people all around him heading for the doors while this poor woman was doing the worst attempt at stop drop and roll Devon had ever seen.

      "Why did you set a person on fire?!" he hissed, yanking Dom on the arm to snap him from his trance. He was glad one of the guards had run over to her with a fire extinguisher but the flames on the exhibit had spread much too far for him to attempt to put them out. "Let's go!"

      "But I..." Dom was out of his trance, but he couldn't take his eyes off of the scene, "I didn't mean to--" In the middle of his sentence, the flames rose powerfully. They burned faster, raged with more strength, and it was in that sudden boost that made Dom finally look away. "Let's go," he said, turning and leaving without looking at Devon.

      Devon followed, hoping he was heading in the direction of the cloak room. He pulled out his phone and switched to Thayne and Adeline's line. "Your turn guys. I guess it's pretty obvious from the alarms, though." He tucked it back into pocket, spotting Oakley standing and trying to look worried. She spotted them, quickly pulling something out of her pocket as they drew near. The room was almost empty as she swiped the door, the civilians too busy trying to escape rather than notice the three disappear behind the door.
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      Old April 23rd, 2014 (10:16 PM). Edited April 23rd, 2014 by Retro Bug.
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      The Museum of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

      November 12th, 2012

      Oakley, Devon and Dom were last to make their way inside, Oakley shutting the door behind her as instructed by Imogen. The commotions outside could be heard from the room, though they were a whisper compared to being in the actual museum. Imogen presented the box, waving her hands around it like she was one of those girls on The Price is Right before beckoning Delta and Oakley over.

      "Alright muscles, lets try and open this can of worms." She gestured to the box, letting Oakley step up to it and feel the box. It was smooth wood with all kinds of different markings indented into it. With a closer inspection, they kind of resembled the kind of style of the Atlantean tattoos she had seen, including her own. Imogen gestured to the box yet again and Oakley let the armour take her right arm to her elbow and with a mighty swing, punched down onto the box.

      "Urgh!" The box wood made a thud, but otherwise was unaffected. Oakley's hand however, throbbed for the first time ever in its armoured state. It felt like she was punching a cement wall. Impatient as always, Delta waited for Oakley step out of the way so that she could move into the proper position. She already had a feeling this wouldn't work, well, more than a feeling. The one item that would correctly do the job was hanging around her neck, but the warning Simon had gave made her hestiate. Surprisingly or perhaps unsurprisingly Delta wasn't ready for a burden like death and destruction. Hooking her fingers beneath the bottom of the lid was easy, the resistance she was met with was a force to be reckoned with.

      "You have the key to the box." Adeline pointed a finger directly at the green key around Delta's neck. Imogen shot a look at Delta, then glared at Adeline, as if she had done something wrong.

      "Why does she have the key?" she turned back to Delta. "Why do you have the key? Where did you get it?"

      Attitude was all Imogen responded with, however, this was not a new occurrence. All the jabs and jokes, Imogen didn't think highly of her and that was a fact Delta could live with. She supposed that had she been in Imogen's shoes she would've done the same had The Librarian given it to someone like Thayne. Ways in which Delta could play this were endless, but there was also little time to pick out one of those many possibilities. First and foremost, she backed out of Imogen's lunging range and clasped her right hand over the key almost instinctively. "Guess some people are more deserving," Delta shrugged. It was a good question and she was going to ask The Librarian that exact question the next time he graced them with his presence, which she expected would be soon. Though, there was a question that tugged at her, of all people to trust this with, why her? Not that she wasn't deserving, Delta was superior to all those in the AUP and the ARF wasn't even worth mentioning. The Librarian had called her intrusive even if that wasn't a lie the manner in which he said it had been negative. At this point she only had the knowledge Simon told her to work with to get what the answers she wanted, Delta spoke at both Imogen and Otto, "What's really in here?" The fact that she was still in the guard's uniform was also making this situation uncomfortable.

      Imogen made a face and ignored Delta's questions, turning back to Adeline. "Where did she get the key? Why didn't you tell me about this before? If this some more of your father's garbage destiny crap, I swear to God you won't be leaving here alive."

      "She was entrusted the key because Delta Mayor is the one who has to open the box." She turned to look at Delta. "You are the only one who can open the box."

      "This is some A-class bullsh*t right here, you better explain yourself now." Imogen looked furious, but Adeline continued to stare at Delta. When Adeline didn't reply, Imogen threw her arms up in frustration and disgust, growing more impatient by the second. "We don't have time for this."

      Raised eyebrows had become a permanent part of her facial expression throughout that entire exchange. The last time anymore had "entrusted" her with anything was when her grandmother expected her to take care of her plants while she was away and they died. Then there was the whole her being 'the one', whatever the hell that meant. This Otto girl must be on something, crack, heroin, ketamine... Another thing was little miss Imogen was a bit too eager to open this box and the consequences of the opening would be her reputation. Delta could hear it know, 'Oh, so you're the girl who opened the box and everything turned to absolute chaos, thanks for that!' The only thing Delta Mayor wanted was power, why wasn't that easy to obtain? Dealing with things like this only made being an Atlantean that much more difficult and political.

      On the flip side the only thing worse than opening the box was not opening the box and wondering what if she had. Who knew what was actually in the box? She hadn't given Simon the chance to explain what he saw. Taking a deep breath in Delta made her way to the box and stared at it. Its presence was alluring and only caused her to hesitate. How did she know she wasn't being tricked into something?

      "You're a person of great importance, Delta Mayor." Adeline said, still staring at Delta.

      "Shut up!" Just open it already!" Imogen snapped.

      The sharpness of Imogen's voice made Delta flinch. She removed her necklace, which contained two other keys that uses did not matter at this moment. With one last curse in Polish she placed in key into box and and turned it feeling the mechanisms of the box unlock. She put the keys into her pocket and placed her hands on the lid, gliding her fingers over the designs before slipping her thumbs under the steel latches that gave it an extra layer of protection. In one swift motion she opened them and then pulled up on the lid of the box.

      Everybody had moved behind her to get a look inside the box as she opened it and Oakley made a small gasp as what was inside came to view. Atlantean crystal, a whole lot of it, filled to the brim of the box, but what was more interesting was what the crystal was wrapped around. A small girl, perhaps 8 or 9, was encased in the crystal and though her face was hard to make out, it looked like she was sleeping. Her skin was olive and her hair long and frizzy. Imogen made a sound of physical frustration.

      "Are you KIDDING? A KID?! WHAT KIND OF WEAPON IS THIS?!" she kicked a nearby artefact, smashing it against the wall. Oakley frowned at her, exchanging looks between her and the box. She remembered what Imogen had said prior about the box: the only thing left inside was hope. Was... this girl meant to be hope? Was that her ability? Or was it a metaphor? It wasn't exactly something that she could figure out right now, especially since time was not on their side.

      It was as if another person had taken control of Delta's body, her arms moved down to touch the crystal. Was this girl alive? How could she be? How were they going to get her out of there? The fact that they didn't have time wasn't lost on her, she closed the lid and deeply sighed. "Thief, give Oakley back her necklace," Delta's voice was stern, she didn't know or care what lit this drive inside her, but with a furious Imogen in their midst and a young girl trapped inside a box she had to take charge. "Now, Oakley, you and I will carry this the best we can. Thayne and Otto can help. Devon, Dom, and Imogen can hold open doors, I guess." Once Delta had finished delegating she nodded to Oakley and together they lifted the box. It dawned on Delta that Oakley could most likely hold this entire relic in one arm, but she had seen Oakley under pressure before, not a pretty picture. If they were going to get out without being a hundred percent detected everyone would need to play a part. Imogen narrowed her eyes at Delta, furious that she had taken charge from her but didn't voice her objections, instead just hung back to watch. Her expression changed, and she sneered, shaking her head at Delta's orders for herself and letting the others do all the work.

      Seeing the young child surprised Thayne. To see a child who was locked in a box for who knows how long was enough to do that to a person. How could this girl possibly be a weapon? Who would do this to someone like her? were only some of the questions goinng through Thayne's mind. They had to do something.

      Thayne nodded at Del. After what had happened on the plane, he wasn't sure if he wanted to talk to either her or Dom, but there was just something about her sense of compassion that spoke to him. Raising his hands in a lifting manner, he watched as multiple appendages made of the dark matter elevated the box out of the girls' grasp. "I think I got this you guys." He said, surprising even himself, as they prepared for their escape. "You guys just make sure nobody stops us." Odds were, there would be someone waiting for them up top and there was no guarantee they'd be on their side.

      Dom had seen and learned about a lot of weird things after he joined the AUP, but this was definitely going at the top of his list. If anything could top it, he didn't want to see it. When he first saw the crystal-child the first thing that popped in his mind was an image of Lucien making a really bad joke about how Tyrion Lannister got stuck in a block of Atlantite. But that was beside the point and the mission. With Thayne doing all the heavy lifting both Devon and Emery were free to open doors while the others walked out of the private sector and then the archives. Minus the people, the museum looked the same way they left it. High arched ceilings, beautiful exhibits, and a room filled with blaring fire alarms and a lot of water on the ground from the sprinklers.

      "Did we just ruin an entire museum?" Devon said, wincing at all the artefacts that had been destroyed by water. Some were in glass cases and some hadn't been so lucky. Hopefully they were just replicas.

      "I honestly don't think it matters at this point," Thayne answered matter-of-factly. Sure, no one wanted to be there destroying priceless artifacts, but everyone knew they needed the Box and the girl within out of there.

      The sprinklers had turned off before they arrived so they only had to step in dirty water, not get drenched in it (though Dom would prefer neither). They made their way to back parking lot, the large glass windows and doors of the front entrance clearly showing the news crews, emergency responders, and leftover distressed patrons outside. With all of the excitement, they could easily leave the museum unnoticed. At least, that would have been true if it weren't for the two museum security guards that were still inside.

      "Hey! Who are you!? Stop!" One of the cops called in his heavy accent. Usually Delta was the last one to avoid obeying orders, but this time she would make an exception. Her crystallization spread down her arm faster than it ever had before, she hadn't even had time to blink. The willingness to do whatever she wanted to this guard was particularly strong, she smirked at the sight of the first guard bounding forward towards them. Unfortunately, a puddle of water took care of the guard before she had the chance. It was a sad spectacle indeed. Oakley found herself in front of Delta, the guard scrambling to his feet with an embarrassing patch of muddy water ruining his uniform. He went for the gun (or tazer or whatever was on his hip) and Oakley reacted, trying to concentrate to summon her ability. The armour seemed to obey her whim and suddenly, both of her arms had transformed into their armour-like states. She was surprised - she could never have two arms at once, let alone so quickly. She didn't think too long though, yanking the guard off the floor with one arm and gripping him with the other. He continued to yell and Oakley suddenly panicked; his shouts would probably alert anyone else in the building. So, feeling it was the only thing she was good at, lobbed him across the room, slamming him into another guard entering through the door and somehow pulling said door off its hinges. She winced at his and the other guard's pain, but moreso at the noise he was making. His scream alerted more officers who had been busy doing their own inspection in other rooms or down the hall. Recognized as Atlanteans by now, the remaining guards whipped out their guns.

      Instinctively, Thayne closed his eyes and willed several shadowy tendrils to appear from the ground, ripping the guns from out of the enemies hands. Why are things coming so naturally? Is it the girl? It wasn't important then. They just needed to focus on the task at hand. With the guns removed, Dom threw his arms out, large walls of fire igniting as if from the ground immediately. The unquestioned cooperation of his flames surprised Dom, but he knew from experience that losing his focus tended to end in disaster. He pushed the walls slowly to either side of the building, pushing the guards farther away from them and making a path to the back entrance. When they reached the outside Dom dropped the fire, leaving not a mark behind to prove their existence besides the dirty water on the ground now being dirty mist in the air.

      Imogen, casually following behind, pulled the keys to the van out from her pocket, pushing the button on the keys to unlock it. There were shouts from behind and a lot of noise coming from the front of the museum and it wouldn't be long until somebody else noticed that they weren't just evacuating the building for a fire. As the rest of the group helped to push the crate in the back of the van, Imogen jumped into the front seat, twisting the key in the ignition to start the car. She lazily leaned her elbow on the window as the others slammed the van's back door, loading themselves into the side door. There was much less room than what there had been on the way there, obviously; Emery and Otto had somehow drawn the short straw and were squeezed up next to the crate. Imogen turned around, grinning at the group.

      "Are we all here? Should we do a headcount? Did we want to stop for ice cream?"

      "Can you please just drive?!" Devon shouted, looking back out his window as the guards had finally followed them outside the back door. Imogen sighed and rolled her eyes, slowly pulling into gear and hitting the floor, skidding out of their park and back into traffic. Once the museum was out of sight, Imogen slowed right down, driving like a normal person and heading back towards the airport. The half hour passed so slowly, the team still with adrenaline still pumping through them after the chase. The airport was soon approaching and before they knew it, the crate had been loaded onto the plane and when they were climbing aboard, a surprise waiting for them on the plane.

      "Hello everyone! How lovely to see you all again!" The Librarian up from his chair, welcoming everyone onto the plane. Imogen scowled at him, completely ignoring him and heading into the cockpit. The Librarian ignored her back, directing his attention at Thayne and Baumann. "And how lovely it is to finally meet you two! My name is the Librarian, but today you can call me Marcus!"

      Marcus? Franklyn's or Marcus's or The Librarian's or whoever he is made an entrance that made Dom very uncomfortable from what he'd learned today. Hearing about someone's very clear identity disorder was one thing, but seeing it was just... Awkward. Dom didn't want to be rude and not say anything, but at the same time he didn't know what to say at all. He was standing between a baby trapped in a crystal and a man who seemed like he had a hard time keeping up with his marble. That or he had some kind of strange Atlantean Alzeihmer's that caused him to forget who he was an assume a completely new identity.

      "Did you teleport here?" The question slipped out of Dom's mouth, but after he asked he didn't regret asking. But maybe that was an obvious question, Devon did say he had more powers than a person could count.

      "I did!" The Librarian smiled, nodding his head, putting a hand on Adeline's shoulder as she took her place next to him. "Well spotted! I would have taken a plane of my own or gone out for a fly but I realised that I wouldn't have caught you all in time. It's a bit of a shame, it's such a nice day today an--"

      "Sir." Adeline interrupted him, as Oakley had grown used to from her week with him. She couldn't help pulling a smile; she hadn't seen the two of them together since she left.

      "I... Need to sit down." Dom said before getting into one of the plane's many seats.

      "It's... Nice to meet you? My name is Thayne," Thayne greeted, albeit halfheartedly, after hearing the answer. It was just a bit surprising to see the man so soon after learning about him. He didn't exactly know that much about him and he didn't know what he could ask without being rude. The only thing he was aware of was that the Librarian was someone who held the answers. "I assume you're Otto's father."

      "That's correct! My, you're all so bright. I'm so glad that we'll be sharing this plane together! I missed our chats from our last encounter." His eyes seem to twinkle, as if he was genuinely happy to see them. His smile was contagious and Oakley's own stayed as she found her own seat and buckled herself in. She noticed the crate sitting in the center of the plane, the lid closed but not locked. After he had shaken hands with Thayne and Baumann, he took his own seat, crossing his legs as he made himself comfortable. "How did our mission go? Did you all enjoy yourselves?"

      "I don't know if you exactly share the same idea of what enjoyment is." Thayne answered, politely moving past him. The way the other's reacted made it seem like the Librarian, or Marcus, wasn't really the best person to be around, at least not for extended periods of time. Sitting down in one of the chairs near the box for obvious reasons (such as not feeling comfortable about a man who knew where a box containing a child was locked up), he looked at the Librarian questioningly. "Why exactly did you want to be here so fast?" Was it really that important for the man to be here?

      The Librarian winked at Thayne's first statement, and clapped his hands together at the second. "Well, I had to come get Adeline to begin with, but I must say, I am going mad with curiosity with what exactly is inside that box. Plus, I very much wanted to meet you and Mr. Baumann here. I do love making new friends!"

      "We all know you have the going mad part down," Delta had finally joined in. She had heard bits and pieces of the conversation but most of her attention was focused on the box, which is what she sat close to. With The Librarian here, well, she had a lot of words to say to him. "Can you honestly say you don't have a clue what's in this box? Your pet project told me that I had to open the box and you gave me the key..." Her entire focus was on Marcus or Henry or her personal name, The Mad Hatter.

      "Oh, Ms. Mayor, I do enjoy your wit. But, please refrain from insulting Adeline. She has done nothing wrong here." The twinkle in his eyes and his smile disappeared and his face grew serious for a moment before he continued on. "And no. I've only heard stories of what was inside the box; a weapon, hope, wealth but over the course of over two millenia, those who have tried to open the box have only brought misery upon themselves. Those who put the key into the slot and are not a direct decendant of Pandora herself bring disaster." His eyes had not moved from Delta, and he continued. "Usually a natural disaster. The box is laden with an 'anti-Atlantanite' of sorts, and thus is impossible to understand its true nature. But, now the box has been opened, the fail-safe has been lifted. It is now just a box that protects the inside and outside from Atlantean ability."

      "So are you saying that she's related to Pandora?" Thayne asked as he looked at Del. "I don't exactly see any disasters going on at the moment." There was just something about The Librarian that made Thayne not like him. Was it his overeagerness? His urge to know exactly what was going on?

      "How would you know?" Dom asked after Thayne as he looked at the Librarian. By the way things sounded The Librarian was a walking database of family lineage. Or maybe just Del's. "You haven't been keeping tabs on them have you?"

      "Mr. Bisset, I have a plethora of abilities at my disposal, as some might have told you. As soon as she spoke to me, I knew." The Librarian's smile returned.

      "But how?" Dom asked again. "Does she look like her?" Or just another power?

      "Hm." The Librarian gazed at Delta for a moment before looking back to Dom. "No, Pandora looked much different to Delta. One of my abilities can use a person's voice and connect them to others in their family. It's a good thing I actually knew Pandora, otherwise trying to find her ancestor would have been much trickier."

      "So, what you're saying is, you got me to do your dirty work?" Delta chimed, more aggressively this time. It wasn't every day that one found out that they were related to some well-known ancient person. She didn't even know what to do with this revelation of being related to the Pandora. The Librarian knew so much and that always managed to bug her. "Or rather, I did both of you and the AUP's dirty work, I don't like that." The more she thought about it the angrier it made her, The Librarian had used her to get what he wanted and the AUP was willing to go along with it, she wasn't about to let this go. "If Pandora is my fairy grandmother, doesn't this make this my box? Not yours, not Imogen's, not Emil's. Whatever is in this box is... mine." Satisfied with herself she gave him a smug look... Wait, did he just say he knew Pandora...?

      The Librarian shrugged. "You are welcome to keep its contents. I'm not restricting you from anything."

      Oakley looked at the Librarian, then back to Delta. "We might need his help, though." She would think trying to break out a girl encased in impenetrable crystal safely would need something more fine tuned than a jack hammer or a pickaxe or something.

      "Which I am more than happy to lend. I come for knowledge, not for power. I already have enough of those." He chuckled. Delta wasn't happy about this arrangement, but it seemed like the sooner The Librarian got a peek the sooner he would be off. A nod was all she gave him and Oakley and turned away from the conversation.

      "Whatever the case, I think it's better that we wait until we've landed to do anything with the box." Thayne decided. "I'm not entirely sure if something that could be as dangerous as you say should be opened on a plane. It would be safer for everyone involved if we did it on solid ground." It was hard to imagine such a small girl being seen as dangerous, but she was an Atlantean. No one knew what she could do. No one knew why she was in there. Thayne looked towards the rest of the group, hoping for some sort of agreement to be made.

      "Well, not that anyone cares, but I'm going to start flying this plane now. You can sort out whose toys are whose when we get back." Imogen's voice, still furious, came over the PA as the plane began to run. She obviously wasn't going to waste any time because they had begun to move, and soon after, were in the sky heading home.

      * * *

      After exiting the plane, they were greeted by a few eager faces, particularly those of Emil and Cooper. The Librarian said his greetings and recieved a hostile hello from Cooper and a distant one from Emil. The Librarian gave a frown, finding his happy greetings hardly returned, but returned his attention to the box as Thayne carried it off the plane, the other juniors by his side. Emery had sunk into the background, Adeline had stuck to the Librarian like glue and Imogen, looking a little less sullen than before, greeted her two superiors, taking a place by their side.

      "So, what did we find?" Emil looked to Imogen, then to the juniors. His eyes swept over Devon, glazing over with some kind of disappointment or distance. Whatever it was, it only dampened Devon's mood.

      "A girl stuck in some Atlantanite." Imogen said, mirroring Emil's disappointment.

      "A girl?" he raised his eyebrows. "In Atlantanite?"

      "Did I stutter?" Imogen snapped back. Emil ignored her.

      The plane ride back the AUP headquarters only made Delta antsy, like everyone else she supposed. Delta had shed the guard's uniform and was tempted to throw it on Dom that way it would burn. Thayne had once again managed to carry crate inside the base with little to no incidents, though the few times it did happen she almost chewed his head off (much to his dislike). If he was going to be useful it needed to be a hundred percent of the time not ninety-nine point five. There was still one problem Delta hadn't thought of a situation to, how were they go to get the child out without any injuries?

      "Any bright ideas on how we do this?" The question was a free for all, but Delta's eyes had landed on The Librarian. She opened the lid of the crest to reveal the girl wrapped in Atlantanite. Thayne also looked at The Librarian. It was certain everyone had come to the conclusion that he was the only one who knew what to do.

      "If Franklyn had to be here then I'm thinking he has the only ideas that matter," Dom replied, looking from the box to The Librarian.

      "Well," The Librarian looked at all the juniors, "we can all do this together if you want it to take less time. It's going to help all of you a lot since there's so much Atlantanite here. Mr. Clarke, would you be able to pull her out of the box and place her on the floor right here?" The Librarian stood back, turning to Thayne.

      Thayne looked at Delta for a moment, waiting for some sort of approval. At this point, he felt she was more the boss than The Librarian. When she nodded he focused onto the Atlantanite itself, slowly lifting it with shadowy tendrils and then setting it carefully on the floor. It made a small thud on the ground, the girl inside lay motionless inside. The Librarian leant down, his arm changing to a blue-green colour, to a texture similar to that of Delta's own gem. They then became sharp, like claws on the ends. He looked up at Delta, giving her a smile.

      "I suppose you haven't learned how to do this yet?" He gestured to his hands, beginning to make small incisions on the rock, like a knife onto paper. "Atlantanite is the only thing that can cut Atlantanite. You can try it yourself, if you like Ms. Mayor."

      Intrigued by The Librarian's workmanship Delta stepped cautiously toward him to see that he was actually doing a pretty good job. His display of ability caught her interest as well, she couldn't do that, could she? The crystal she shifted into was Atlantanite? Or at least some mutated form of it. Perhaps she wasn't as familiar with her power as she thought she was... Delta shrugged off her jacket unwilling to risk anything getting in her way. Breathing in deeply she concentrated on her arm, regular crystallization was easy enough, she had done that a thousand times at least. Never once had she tried anything beyond that. Hell, she didn't know there was anything beyond that. A few seconds passed before she dared opening her eyes in fear of disappointment. Unlike The Librarian her fingers hadn't turned into claws, no, her fingers had crystallized together like a giant scalpel. Hopefully that was just as good as his.

      Sweat beaded her brow as she held onto her forearm with left hand to keep the "surgical instrument" steady. It took a few times for her to correctly do anything, unable to admit that she was a bit nervous cutting away at a crystal structure that was fused around a child. Some of the Atlantanite came off in small, delicate pieces, others in huge chunks. She would need to save some of that for Simon... Aoife. Knowing now was not the time to think of such thoughts she kept whittling away at the crystal until there was a decent amount of it gone. Then she took a break and let out the breath she had been holding, Delta had hardly noticed all the eyes staring on activity, it took concentration to keep her hand formed the way it was. Now, she caught their glances, curiosity lingered in almost everyone's expression.

      "Can you do the rest?" Delta spoke softly, she didn't want to hurt the girl, this after all was the most crucial part.

      "Of course. Fantastic work, Ms. Mayor." The Librarian smiled back at her. He beckoned Oakley, Devon, Thayne and Dom over. "Mr. Clarke, would you be able to start cleaning up the shards? I'm sure nobody wants to step on any of this, even with shoes on. Mr. Bisset, I know it's not much, but would you be able to heat this up for me?" He reached into his jacket and somehow pulled out a teapot and cups. "This girl has been away for a long time, I assume she would want something to drink." Dom nodded his head and took the tea and cups from the Librarian. "Devon, my boy, please give Mr. Clarke a hand. Oakley, I need you here a moment. See how Ms. Mayor has all her incisions leading to the top? I need you to give that a tap. I'm going to put a force field around this poor girl so none of the shards hurt her when they fall. Alright?"

      Thayne began picking up the pieces of Atlantanite with a small nod. Each crystal, either small or large, was picked up and placed where it originated with relative ease. Everyone around, himself included, was worried about the girl. She looked so fragile within the crystal and he definitely had a feeling she would be outside of it. He trusted Del with what she was doing, but at the same time he couldn't help but feel nervous.

      Devon moved from his spot, starting to gather pieces of the Atlantanite and placing it back in the box it came from. He turned to the adults standing by; Emil had been watching carefully, as if Delta and the Librarian had been trying to defuse a bomb. Cooper was standing a little further back, trying to seem less interested though his eyes flickering back to the girl said otherwise. Imogen had disappeared to the back of the hanger, sitting on a chair and was reading something on a laptop. Adeline and Emery had not moved from their places, Emery looking and feeling quite awkward while Adeline stood stiffly, staring at the rock but with less interest than Emil.

      The past hour had been a bit stressful for Dom, not just because they were stuck in a hangar and it seemed really inappropriate to leave, but the suspense of whether Del would hurt the child or not. There was the ever so frightening too-big-cuts, the terrifying cracks that spread a little too close to the girl, and the all intense moments of precision and silence. The tension made Dom want to go outside and get some fresh air, but he didn't want to risk whatever might come from walking past Del while she worked. They were done now anyway, all it took was that final tap and then who Dom presumed was one of Del's ancestor's would be free. He looked down at the teapot and cup in his hands, trying to avoid the extra stress of seeing what happened next. Dom already felt on edge and was sure his skin was already hot to the touch. As the thought came to him, he remembered the radiating affects of his head and realized he may have been making everyone unnecessarily uncomfortable. Rather than making it hotter, he tried using the excess heat to warm the tea rather than generating his own. That should help things, at least a little bit.

      "Alright," Oakley took her place next to the Librarian, her arms already armoured. It must have been the crystal that had helped her back at the museum. It felt so easy now to shift back and forth. She held a fist on top of the crack, waiting for the Librarian's call. He placed his hands forward, cupping them as if he was going to grab the girl when the crystal broke. He gave her a nod and she counted down. "Three, two, one... okay!" She pulled her fist up and thrust down (though not with full force). She felt the crystal shatter beneath her fingers, then broke away. The Librarian flicked his fingers out and the girl was encased in a yellow-tinged bubble, the crystal falling on it instead of her.

      Within the bubble, the girl gasped loudly, her eyes shooting open. They were a dark brown, a tad lighter than her hair, and she sat up, coughing viciously. With his other hand, the Librarian swept the crystal beneath her away and pulled off his coat, placing it beneath her. He then gently placed her down and the bubble popped, the girl still coughing. The Librarian beckoned Dom forward with the tea, filling a cup and handing it to the girl. Her eyes lit up and she looked at everyone warily, realising where she was, or perhaps where she wasn't. She began to speak quickly, her voice high but slightly hoarse but the language was unknown to Oakley. It wasn't anything she had ever heard before. The Librarian spoke back to her in this language, much slower and pronounced, his face relaxed and gentle. The girl relaxed a little, but still on guard, inspecting the faces which had appeared around her.

      As soon as her eyes locked on Delta's, she skittered to her feet and ran to her side, hugging at her arm, shouting in the language, pointing at the Librarian and looked up at Delta. Oakley gasped as the crystal around Delta's arm disappeared instantly on the girl's touch, returning her arms back to their human form.

      "She's from Atlantis, that's for sure. I haven't heard anyone speak the language for so long." The Librarian said, shaking his head. "Poor girl. She's been through some kind of trauma, but she's... not being entirely clear. She's mostly saying stay away or where her mother is." The Librarian spoke again at the girl, his voice now slower and calmer again. The girl looked at her feet, then looked at Delta again and let go of her arm. She spoke, this time less panicked, though Oakley noticed that Delta's power had not returned to her arms yet. "Her name is Elpis." The Librarian continued, and the girl shook her head, grabbing Delta's arm again, the green gem returning. "She won't speak of what happened, but she... senses Pandora in you, Ms. Mayor. Which is strange, because that doesn't appear to be her ability." The Librarian stood up, smiling at the girl. "I can't seem to sense much from her either. She's... different. She's not quite a proper Atlantean, yet she seems to have all the qualities of one."

      As The Librarian counted down Delta felt a sudden rush of worry, she wanted to put a stop to the entire thing. What if something went wrong? What if the shield didn't hold up? There were one too many variables that were in this equation and that was making Delta extremely uncomfortable. However, by the time she thought to rush forward Oakley had already shattered the crystal causing Delta to stop dead in her tracks. Suspense was indeed a killer until the olive skinned girl became animated, the sound of coughing had never been something Delta thought she'd be glad to hear. She watched the rest of the events unfold as if it was an outer body experience. From the girl conversing in some strange language with The Librarian to the fact that her ability had disappeared completely, along with her tattoo.

      Once time had slowed time or caught up, Delta wasn't sure which was correct. She couldn't help but smile at the girl when her arm turned back to its crystallized state, that was quite some power. Elpis was her name and when the girl looked up at her couldn't help but notice how the same alluring feeling she felt from the box she was feeling now but stronger.

      Noticing that the tea cup had remained full, Delta lowered herself to Elpis's level. "Elpis," Delta said then frowned, how did someone communicate with a person who didn't speak their language? She pushed the girl's hair back, which was frizzy and long, and lifted the cup up to her mouth, hoping that the gesture was obvious enough. Elpis took the cup without the hesitation she had given The Librarian and took a few sips. Delta stood up and faced The Librarian to ask, "If no one else but you speaks that language, does that mean you're sticking around?"

      "Not unless he has a power that'll make her speak something we can understand," Dom said, looking from Elpis to The Librarian. Now that she was out of that crystal he felt a lot better. "You don't usually stick around, right?"

      Thayne had remained quiet. With Elpis finally freed from the crystal, he was a lot less nervous. There was definitely less chance of her getting hurt physically, but what about mentally? Having a ton of oddly clothed people with a bizarre language wasn't really something that would help a kid after what she went through. "What do you mean by proper Atlantean?" He asked, shifting his attention to the Librarian. "And what about Del's crystal? It just disappeared along with her tattoo?"

      "I'll stay as long as I'm needed." The Librarian said. "My abilities don't affect another's learning capabilities of language, unfortunately. It might be an idea to try to teach her a modern language, but that would certainly be proven difficult." He then turned to Thayne and shook his head. "I am unsure. She's nothing that I've seen before and I don't know how to describe it. But her ability has something to do with touch, but I dare not ask her. In my time, asking another's ability was incredibly rude. She seems cautious around us all already. Except for you, Ms. Mayor."

      "I'll teach her then," Delta volunteered herself and put a her hand on the Elpis's shoulder, she had started learning Polish at around the same age. Though, when it came to English she knew she wouldn't be the best teacher in the world. All that grammar and punctuation crap was seriously annoying, boring, and hard to explain. Perhaps it was just better to teach her Polish.

      "Why don't we all help out?" Dom suggested. "It would be a lot easier and a lot faster than just one person. And we can teach her more than one language too!" He finished with a grin, a little excited on the idea of teaching the little girl new languages.

      "I'd love to help her learn, but I think she is the one who should decide who helps her." Thayne said, looking at the girl. "She doesn't really seem comfortable with any of us. I don't she'd learn simply for that reason. Can you ask her?" He said towards the Librarian. The Librarian nodded, bending down and speaking to her again in what Oakley now assumed was Atlantean. She didn't answer straight away, looking around at everyone, then asking the Librarian a question. He smiled and nodded and asked her another question, to which she replied quietly, clinging to Delta's arm. The Librarian stood up, nodding.

      "She says," he said, giving her a sad look, "to keep her safe."

      "I'm ready for a nap..."

      The Meta Journey
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      Old April 24th, 2014 (11:16 PM). Edited April 24th, 2014 by Skymin.
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      Skymin Skymin is offline
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      WARNING: This post includes parts with gore, heavy violence, offensive and coarse language. Discretion is advised.

      Project Stargate Facility, Norlisk, Russia - PART TWO

      November 12th, 2012

      My next almost fifteen years were spent either running or hiding or a little of both. We were constantly moving between her homeland and my own, staying with relatives or booking under false names. We were so paranoid that our past was catching up on us and despite Emilia's attempts to help those who were like us, I was reluctant. Jonathan had taken refuge with a group known as the Royal Family, and I declined all offers of support. Who could we really trust?

      Jonathan was the only one we kept consistent contact with, other than Emilia's family, but over the years our talks became less and less frequent. In our last one, Jonathan spoke of plans that would 'change the world' so to speak, and invited me to join him in his endeavors. I did trust Cooper, but time had warped his sense of judgement. I declined, and he never spoke to me again.

      My last few years with Emilia were that of happiness. We finally decided to settle with her parents for a little while, raising our children, our two girls with a normal life in mind. We managed to do so in peace for a while, but Emilia was not satisfied with it. She wanted to give all who had been victims alongside us to live peacefully as well. A request which I could not fufill for her.

      We set off for the next location with a new home in mind and we left our eldest girl behind with Emilia's mother, taking our youngest. Despite how much I wanted to leave her behind in safety, Emilia insisted we would be alright. We lived in Western Europe for less than a month, Emilia working to help those less fortunate while I did work here and there to blend in.

      We had received a distress call of sorts from one of our old comrades, to which he needed help leaving the United States. I refused, like I had done in the past countless times, but Emilia trusted this man and wanted him to have the same peace we had lived with the past few years. She went to go on her own, but I went with her in the end, leaving our youngest with someone at the hospital Emilia had grown to trust.

      I regret letting Emilia go everyday for what happened. We found the man, but it turned out that he was indeed within grasp of the enemy. They ambushed us and when it came to a fight, the one we were meant to be helping turned on us to save his own life. In this panicked state, my ability seem to fail me, and the future in front of me was blurred and hasty. We...we escaped into a house, but one of those who were chasing us blew it up from beneath us. Emilia was trapped beneath the debris.

      I watched my wife die in front of my eyes.

      She asked me to leave so that no one else would be hurt, but after watching the light leave her eyes, I waited for our attackers and killed them all. After that, I faked my death and vowed to never rest until we were all free from these monsters. By whatever means necessary.


      "This is the place?" A voice came from his right. Charles nodded, the crisp air biting at his skin. He had not been here for thirty years. In fact, he had purposely avoided this place for a good lot of his life. But now, he had returned with nothing in his mind but revenge. "It's... smaller than I imagined." Charles shot Alesina a look and she shook her head. "I meant no offence." Her Italian accent was well hidden behind her English.

      "So much death." Nyatichi shook thon head, closing thons eyes. Thon only knew so much English, and saved thons words when they really counted. Lev scoffed.

      "And there's about to be a whole lot more." Lev sneered, his eyes focused on a guard scouting the outside of the facility, his loud chewing growing more and more annoying. He spat a ball of tobacco onto the ground. Not only his Texan accent, but his Texan attitude was heavy and obnoxious. "Bunch of commie bastards. Prancing around in their skirts like they own the place."

      "How many would you say are here?" Alesina peered through the falling snow, trying to count the guards on the outside. "One hundred?"

      "Eileen has already confirmed one hundred and eighty-three on duty at the moment. That's including supervisors and non-trained... scientists. If you could call them that. She's already down there scouting."

      "Unfair. Why does she get a head start?" Lev spun his dual-blade axes around, transforming them from one weapon to the next. Axes, to swords, to guns, then back to axes. "Don't send the women in to do the man's job."

      "Watch your mouth." Alesina spat at Lev. He grinned back.

      "Or what, you're going to nag me to death?"

      "Or I'll cut your lips off and feed them to Branko." Branko made a noise at his own name, chuckling at the joke he half understood. He said something in Croatian and stood up.

      "Cut head off!" Branko wielded his own dual blades, brandishing them at Lev. Lev gripped his own, licking his lips.

      "How about another wager, eh? I'll up the ante, make it $10,000 this time. $5 grand seemed too weak last time. You were barely at 50 heads by the time I had cut off 80. I've seen Eileen cut more than that quicker and she's a girl." Lev grinned, watching Alesina's rage grow from the corner of his eye. "How about it, bucko?"


      "I don't care how you kill them." Charles grunted. "Just leave him for me." A flare popped from the otherside of the facility. "There's the signal. Let's go."

      "Nyatichi, fly me in. I'll cover the entrance. Eileen will meet us at the gate. The rest of you, do whatever the hell you want. This is your game, Taylor."

      Nyatichi nodded, thon body already forming into that of a large eagle. Thon gripped Alesina by the shoulders, lifting her into the air. Charles, Lev and Branko ran after them, Nyatichi dropping Alesina at the front gates. As she hit the ground, a burst of gasses erupted from around her, Eileen (with gas mask on) running to her with key card, removed eyeball and a severed hand in tow. She skittered at the number pad, swiping the card, pressing the thumb up to the pad, the eye to the scanner and pressed in a combination of numbers. A green light confirmed their entrance and the enormous gates jittered open. Alesina thrusted her hands forward, pushing the gasses through the gate to any close-by guard to be immediately knocked out.

      Charles, Lev and Branko had caught up by now, gas masks on and weapons wielded. Lev was the first to 'break the ice', throwing one of his axes at a oncoming guard. It pierced the forehead and shattered the skull, blood splattering everywhere. He gave a maniacal laugh, morphing his other axe into a hand gun and shooting at approaching guards as he retrieved his axe.

      "There's nothing I like better in the evening than a f*cking hot bowl of communist brains." He shouted, smearing the blood splatter on his face and ran at the panicked guards who had turned tail and ran.

      They found themselves running into the chest of Branko, who, with his wielded swords, cut three heads off at once. With their deaths empowering him instantly, he shouted in rage, smashing the last twos' heads together. Their skulls collided, blood splattering upwards and outwards.

      "Four!" Lev shouted at Branko, pointing his gun at an incoming guard. "Five!"

      "Seven!" Branko roared, punching his fist through another guard's head, and using his other hand and sword to slice off another head.

      Meanwhile, from above, Nyatichi had landed on top of the facility, hiding thonself behind an air-conditioning unit. Thon fired a round into the sky, attracting the attention of three nearby guards. Nyatichi ran in, skidding underneath one of the guard's feet and appearing behind him to jab him in the neck with one hand and pull in another guard with the other. With a few more twists and jabs, thon was surrounded by three guards, all unconscious and reluctant to wake up for the next few hours.

      "Clear." Thon said into the radio on her wrist, continuing on down roof stairs.

      "Roger that, Nyatichi. Taylor, Lev, Branko, push forward into the facility! Eileen, once they are through break the security system. We need those electric doors disengaged if we want to get past the main foyer." Charles nodded, dodging the bullets and attacks as if they were choreographed and he had practised this dance a thousand time. Lev and Branko however, continued to mow down the guards until there were none standing to oppose them. Eileen disappeared, cursing under her breath.

      "A task like that is so easily done, this will not prove satisfactory." She sighed, slipping past the main doors to find the control room. The security of the entire facility made her laugh. She was able to break through their digital guards without even blinking and now their physical force was being beaten by 5 (albeit heavily trained) assassins. Hilarious.

      The rest of the outside guards had fallen back inside, the bland cement walls now painted red with their blood, Lev and Branko using their weapons as the paintbrushes.Now inside, Charles ignored the attention of the guards, making his way through the facility to its deepest core. He only stopped to take out the annoying guard here and there or wait for Eileen to open the next door, having already found the security room and taken control.

      Alesina however, made her way lower, into the experimental wards. Once the guards dead and 'scientists' knocked out, she found dozens of prison cells with Atlanteans hooked up to machines. Though she didn't know the specifics of what machine did what, it wasn't hard to figure out; a scientist in an opposite, oblivious to Alesina, turned a dial on one of the machines, sending volts of electricity into a woman's body. Alesina felt a hot rage building up within her, horrified with the treatment of these innocent people.

      "Eileen! Open the prison cells!" She hissed into her radio, the doors opening instantly on command.

      "Per our agreement, after I open these doors, amalgamate my company with Lev and Branko, my compensation shall be the 10,000 dollars." Alesina would have objected if she hadn't smashed through the glass, wielding a shard of glass as a weapon and slicing through the man's neck like paper. She then put a foot through the equipment, the Atlantean's body relaxing as the electricity finally left her. Alesina was going to kill every one of these bastards and no machine was going to stop her. She placed a finger on her pulse, the woman still alive thankfully, and pulled the radio in her wrist up to her mouth.

      "Taylor! Status!"

      "About to destroy this mother f*cker." Charles slammed the door behind him, finally in the office of the man he had sought death upon for all these years. "I'm going to make you wish that you had never been born, you disgusting worm." The man stood up from his chair, wiping his hands on a towel on his desk. He was tall, his hair dark and his eyes cold and grey. He smiled as if he had won, but Charles knew much better than that. "Kozyrev."

      "Mr. Taylor!" Kozyrev's accent was thick and obviously Russian. "How have you been? How is your wife? Well, I assume?"

      "Smug son of a b*tch." Charles spat at Kozyrev's feet. "You better pick some better last words before I cut your head off."

      "Don't be so hasty, Mr. Taylor. Tell me, when was the last time you had a fist fight where you didn't know the ending?" Suddenly, the future around Charles had disappeared and his head was clear for the first time since he had come to this wretched place. He searched the room, his eyes closing on an open box on Kozyrev's desk. Inside it was a red stone, the size of a baseball, which felt like it was pulsing with energy. "Anti-Atlantite. This should make this a fair fight."

      The door behind Charles swung open, two larger guards stepping in the doorway. They were both taller than him, one armed with a set of daggers and the other with brass knuckles. Charles laughed, wielding his own weapon - a dagger.

      "I don't need to know the future to know you're going to die soon, Kozyrev." The guards were the first to react, the one with the knives charging forward with them brandished. He swung once, twice, both to which Charles dodged on a hair's breadth. The other guard threw a punch, landing hard on Charles' side, feeling his ribs crack under the force. He heaved, but with his right hand, sliced upwards as hard as he could, cutting the guard's arm and smashing his chin with his fist. The guard blacked out for a moment, stepping back and letting the dagger-wielding one forward. Charles dodged the first swing and cut at his left hand, the guard wailing and loosening his grip. A kick in the chin and then the wrist made the guard let go of one of his daggers, but with his other hand he managed to slice at Charles' chest. The cut wasn't deep enough to his bone or muscle, but blood began to dye his vest red.

      He mustered up his strength, dodging blows as the guard with the bronze knuckles swung at him. The first, second, and third punch all missed their intended target, but Charles felt the third collide with his chin. The guard sneered, hoping he had taken Charles off his guard but instead the blow had left the guard open, ducking under the next fist and thrusting one of his daggers into the guard's chest as hard as he could. When he still felt life underneath his skin, he stabbed with his other hand. The guard fell back and Charles fell with him, abandoning the daggers and rolling out of the way as they hit the ground together, the dagger-wielding guard stabbing the now-dead guard instead of Charles. With his foot, he swept the guard down to the ground, knocking the other dagger from his hand, yanking it off the ground and stabbing him directly in the heart. The guard was dead in an instant.

      "Well done." Kozyrev clapped. "You've done well for a washed up soldier. With a dead wife."

      "You shut your mouth. You shut your f*cking mouth." Charles panted, his own and the guards' blood splattered over his face. "It's your turn to die."

      "Not today, Mr. Taylor." Kozyrev pulled a gun from his jacket, pointing it directly at Charles' head. "I think I've let enough of your kind live for long enough. After I'm done with this place, I'll destroy it. Then, I'll hunt down every single one of your kind until the world returns to the way it was. Even my own kin. Nobody should be able to toy with the elements, or control time. Nobody but God. Your kind is an abomination and I won't rest until you're all wiped from this planet."

      "You're an abomination." Charles spat at him. "Destroying an entire race? Who's playing God now, you sick, twisted f*ck." Kozyrev smiled at him, cocking the gun.

      "I really don't care what you think. You're about to be dead anyway." Suddenly, the window behind him shattered and through it, an enormous eagle screeched loudly, its talons sharp and aimed directly at Kozyrev. In surprise, he pulled the trigger, missing Charles' head but the bullet lodging into his shoulder. He yelled in pain, falling to his knees as the giant avian collided with Kozyrev and forced him to the ground.

      "NO! HE'S MINE! LEAVE HIM!" Charles shouted at Nyatichi. Thon stopped screaming, blinking at Charles then stepping off of him. Thon had started reverting back to thons human form and with a nod, disappeared out the door. Charles panted, stepping off the floor and picked up the gun that Kozyrev had dropped. He stepped over the broken glass, and stood above Kozyrev, checking the bullets he had in the mag. Seven. "I've waited a long time for this."

      "Once you kill me, then what, Mr. Taylor? What will you do? Try to find peace? Your kind killed all of that the day that that Royal Family b*tch River Beleren put that crystal into the air. Its barely been a month and look how much of the world you have destroyed. Your family is probably dead and in ruins somewhere, along with dear Emilia." Charles shot a bullet into Kozyrev's kneecaps each, causing him to scream out in pain and groan in angony. His breathing had grown louder and he laughed. "Have you even been to Paris yet? London? The world is doomed. Why can't you see that?"

      "You've been destroying lives for thirty years, Kozyrev. What makes you any different?" Charles let off another round into his elbow and one into his hip, Kozyrev letting out another yelp.

      "I'm working for the greater good. Who are you and your little gang of merry men working for? You only seek to satisfy yourselves." He wheezed, coughing and tasting the blood in his mouth. Charles shot him another two times in his shoulders then pointed the gun at his forehead. Kozyrev grinned. "Give it six months, Mr. Taylor. You'll be eating your words and you'll have wished you have listened to me."

      "SHUT THE F*CK UP."

      "I'll see you soon." Was the last words Kozyrev uttered before the last round was shot, directly into his forehead. Charles took a moment to look at the damage that had been done, screwing up his face and punching Kozyrev's dead face until the pain would go away. But it didn't. Emilia was still gone and all of their pain and suffering had come from this man. Who had felt no remorse or guilt, even until the end.

      "You let it get personal." Alesina's voice came from the door. Charles got to his feet, kicking the man's head one more time before wiping the blood from his face. "That's not what the League is about, Taylor."

      "Shut up." He said, closing the box on Kozyrev's desk, pocketing it and passing by Alesina without even looking at her disappointed face. "Let's get out of here." Alesina narrowed her eyes and followed him down until they were back into the main foyer. The guards, every single one of them were all dead and in the middle of the scene was Lev, Eileen and Branko, piling up bodies into piles behind them.

      "Forty-two." Lev had finished counting his own pile. Branko chucked at him.

      "Fifty-one!" He laughed, holding his hand out for money. Eileen shook her head, gesturing to her own.

      "I have counted fifty-nine, I believe that makes me the victor this round."

      "Pay later, we take the prisoners and we go. This place is disgusting." Alesina scowled at them, like a mother scowling at children.

      "Leave them. They can find their own way home." Charles spat, walking past her and making his way for the door.

      "How can you say that, Taylor? These people were exactly like you! Don't you want to help them?"


      "Why not?!"

      "Because I don't CARE anymore." He shouted, looking angrily at the rest of the League. The foyer was silent for a few moments before he continued out the door and back out into the cold. Lev shrugged, shaking his head.

      "Whatever, I'm out. See you f*ggots later." He gave a wave, abandoned his pile and followed Charles out. Branko followed, not saying a word. Eileen huffed, kicking over a body as she too, left.

      "I'll just retrieve it from your bank accounts later, then."

      Alesina sighed, turning to the only one who had remained. "C'mon, Nyatichi, let's do what we came here for."
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      Old April 24th, 2014 (11:49 PM). Edited April 25th, 2014 by Swolligator.
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      Swolligator Swolligator is offline
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      Waite Pharmaceuticals British Branch, London, England

      6:30am GMT, November 21st, 2012

      Wyatt crept through the dark hallway, hugging close to the wall with his assault rifle hanging limply in his hands. October had dealt to the power in the surrounding area making it look as if it was simply a power cut while Seamus had infiltrated the maintenance area and dealt a blow to the backup generator. So far emergency lighting flashed red above each door leading to the exit as the only source of light. For Wyatt, his night vision made it easier to traverse the halls without detection and to dispatch enemies with ease. He moved through the darkness like a spectre; unseen and unheard. With the Directive speaking directions straight into his ear, it didn’t take Wyatt long to reach the central research centre where the data they were after was being held.

      “Alright, I’m here,” Wyatt whispered into his shoulder, “what’s next?”

      “To your right there should be a computer terminal hooked up to a row of servers. Find the USB port and hook in the USB stick. The computers have their own internal battery source which will keep them running until the power comes back on.”

      Plugging in the USB, Wyatt switched back into his normal vision just in time for the computer screen to light up and identify the storage device. Knowing little of computers, Wyatt stood back and watched the small stick boot up a program that began hacking into the server. Lines of code began running down the screen in command prompt while behind it files opened and closed as it copied only what it needed. Pulling his attention away from the screen, Wyatt scanned the computers and electronic equipment that lined the walls and desks. He had no idea what half this stuff did much less how to operate it.

      A noise caught his attention, taking Wyatt away from his day dream as he lifted up his rifle. Aiming it in the general area where he had heard the noise, he clicked the safety off and growled, “show yourself!”

      “P-please don’t shoot me!” From under a table crawled out a tall, slender woman with thin glasses and short hair.

      “What are you doing here? It’s meant to be empty!” He barked at her.

      “I was j-just doing some late n-night research.” She stammered, “I could ask y-you the same thing.”

      “Don’t get smart with me, turn around!” he ordered as he stalked closer to her until the muzzle of his gun was only inches from her body. Fearful, she did exactly what he said, placing her hands on the wall of computers behind her. “Move, and I shoot.” Wyatt warned as he moved back to the computer terminal.

      Impatiently he tapped his foot against the floor as the hard drive only displayed thirty percent downloaded files. He held the rifle in his right hand, still aimed at the chest of the scientist. Even from this distance any bullets would hit her whether or not he had both hands on it or simply one. Ever since the hostile takeover of Beacon Bank more than a week ago, Wyatt had no troubles with utilizing violence. Even his ability had grown to the point where it was less of a random occurrence and more of a tool he could switch on and off. He had been on multiple missions with the other recruits; some were to set up takeovers of other banking firms while others were more cloak and dagger. Wyatt had no idea the information the hard drive was taking from the computer terminal, only that Doctor Meier had rigged the device to download what they wanted.

      The lady whimpered from across the room, Wyatt didn’t notice that she had shifted the position of her hands, but he did snap. “Shut the hell up! Serious or I’ll riddle you with bullets, yeah?” He turned just in time to see her enter a four digit code into a pinpad next to the door.

      “What the?! What did you do?!” Wyatt lunged forward as she turned to face him, catching her by the throat and pinning her against the wall. His hand tightened around her throat as she clawed at his hand leaving trails of blood. Rage filled his eyes as the irises became drenched with deep-red colour. Around them sirens blared but all Wyatt could do was squeeze harder, watching as her body glowed a brighter red. Soon it peaked and she stopped struggling. With one final breath Wyatt let go as her body dropped limply to the floor.

      Stalking back to the terminal, he punched the wall above it in frustration. “Hard drive has nearly finished. I’ll need Jeremy to ‘port me out, security has been notified.” Wyatt again spoke into his shoulder, looking over at the rapidly cooling body slumped on the ground.

      “Hold out, Sentinel, he’ll be there soon.” The Directive’s voice came out clear in his ear as Wyatt waited as patiently as one could.

      At first he tried to pry the door open, but it was locked shut. No matter how much he slammed with his fists or kicked it with his boot, the door refused to open. With no windows the place felt like a death trap as he could feel himself start to panic. The flashing red siren, the emergency lighting, the black computer screens, it was all starting to get to him as his breath became shallower.

      Just when Wyatt thought he was about to lose it, Jeremy teleported in on the scene bringing with him a much needed breeze of fresh air and his breath calmed. His heart stopped beating against his ribcage and he was able to get a clear view of the computer screen just as it reached one hundred percent. Jeremy clutched Wyatt’s shoulder, partly to hold him up but also because he was glad to see Wyatt again.

      “Let’s get outta here, dude.” Jeremy smiled at Wyatt as he unplugged the hard drive. Wyatt simply nodded at Jeremy as he curled the USB cord around the storage device.

      Wyatt braced himself as Jeremy wrapped his arms around him in a hug, Wyatt feeling the air squeeze out of his lungs as Jeremy teleported them both out of there. Wyatt didn’t open his eyes until he felt his feet shift onto the carpet of the Syndicate’s board room. He gripped the hard drive tightly not wanting to drop it during the teleportation, but once in the room, he handed it to the Directive.

      “Aww, isn’t the cute, Jeremy and Wyatt had a moment.” October’s condescending voice came from the back of the room as she leaned back on her chair next to Adrian. On either side of them the rest of the crew sat waiting for them. Seamus was the only other one to respond with a slight snicker before mouthing something to October.

      “Joking aside, we have work to do.” The Directive plugged the hard drive into the computer terminal next to the projector at the front of the table. The projector lit up the screen with command prompt sitting over top the Syndicate Logo background. After entering a couple of phrases, command prompt disappeared to reveal folders of encrypted files. Launching just one file unencrypted the rest providing a plethora of data at their disposal.

      Before they could go any further, a tall, olive-skinned man in a suit and tie walked into the room. He seemed imposing, like he filled up the entire room with his presence and it made a shiver run up Wyatt’s spine. “Good Morning, Mister Aggelos,” the Directive spoke, obviously aware that this man would be joining them, “we’re just about to start.”

      Nodding his head, the man sat down nearer to the screen, several seats away from the recruits whom all sat at the back of the table. “C-E-O”, October mouthed to Wyatt, Seamus and the Kozyrev siblings while also spelling it out with her hands. Wyatt wondered just why a CEO would be down in a meeting with them, but then again the Syndicate wasn’t really a normal organisation.

      “Waite Pharmaceuticals, based in Boston, America has various labs around the world. Wyatt here broke into the English branch, downloading these files.” The Directive brought up a file labelled with two letters and then a series of numbers. Information began to cover every part of the screen causing some to overlap and cover others. “Each branch specialises in a differing area of expertise and it seems these this branch was looking into the genetic roots and similarities between Humans and Atlanteans. Of course, this data is useful to Syndicate Research and Development but without access to the data provided by the other branches we can’t know for certain what they’re up to.”

      Adrian raised his hand from the back of the room, “so you’re saying we’re going to infiltrate all the branches? There has to be too many.”

      “Yeah, but after today, they’re all going to be on alert.” Wyatt’s presence must have caused some sort of disturbance. If they weren’t on high alert now, then the rest of the branches would surely be so in a couple of hours.

      “If that’s what it’s going to take, Mister Santoro, then so be it.” The Directive soon moved onto another file, Wyatt tuning out as he lost interest in the more complex and scientific portion of the files.

      He looked out of the corner of his eyes at Jeremy sitting next to him. For the first two days following the rescue, Jeremy stayed on the medical floor as the doctors attended to him and brought him back up to health. After that it was slow goings as he took it easy teleporting from across the room to across town. Within a week he was back up to speed and looking like he hadn’t missed a day at all. Although some seemed strange with Jeremy. Wyatt wasn’t the only one to notice it; even October had made a comment about how dull his eyes looked. That bubbly, happy-go-lucky Canadian guy Wyatt had taken the hand of only a month back was gone. In his place was this haunted shell of the guy he once was. Then again, he wasn’t the same person he was when this all started nearly a month ago.

      “…we’ll start in two hours. Head back to the accommodation level and get some breakfast. I’ll see you all down in the Science Lab when you’re ready.” The Directive nodded at the recruits that they could leave, closing all the windows on the screen and removing the hard drive. No doubt he would be taking the hard drive straight to Doctor Meier. As for Mister Aggelos, he waited in the room while Wyatt and the others slowly filtered out.

      As they all filed into the elevator, curiosity overcame Wyatt and he waved goodbye to the others and crept back to the room. Hanging just outside the door, he looked through the wall at the two men sitting opposite one another. He was close enough to hear what they were saying but they were both talking in hushed tones.

      “Do you really think your sister could be behind it?” That was the Directive, Wyatt was sure of it.

      “It wouldn’t surprise me, after all the destruction she’s cause already.” Mister Aggelos’ accent was very Mediterranean, if Wyatt had to guess it he would think it were Greek or Turkish. “According to my brother’s calendar, we’ve got a month.”

      “A month until what? Do the other CEOs know of this?”

      “Yes, they all do. Darren even confirmed it from that wretched Prophet. These kids better be ready if they want to even have a chance of stopping her.”

      “Alright. After we get what we need from this pharmaceutical company, we’ll be on our way to the South Pacific. Artefact or not, we’re going to get this kid.” Wyatt furrowed his brow, there was nothing he knew of in the South Pacific, just small islands and a lot of water.

      “Be careful, you’re playing her game now.” Wyatt heard the movement of chairs as the two men got up. Instinctively, he bolted into one of the dark, unused rooms as his heart pounded in his chest. The two walked by without exchanging a word or looking into the room. He breathed a sigh of relief as he heard the elevator doors close behind them and the cables lower it down the shaft.
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      Old April 27th, 2014 (1:17 AM).
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      SV SV is offline
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      Outskirts of San Diego, California, United States

      November 21st, 2012

      What was it like to die? They say that when someone dies, a multitude of emotions begins to swirl around in your head all at once. Fear is perhaps the biggest of those. Fear of the end, or fear of what happens next, if anything. Regret is another big one. Regret of the things you've never gotten to accomplish. Regret for what you might be leaving behind. Anger was one too. Anger at those who wronged you, or at yourself, or at anything you could target at your closing moments. Perhaps there's acceptance and understanding too, when one has lived their life as best as they could, and accepts death's embrace. As James looked down at his arm and saw as it slowly began to be dissipated into tiny particles, those emotions ran through his mind as well. Why him? It wasn't fair. He still had so much he wanted to accomplished. What happens now? Does anything happen now? It was the usual list of suspects.

      Until it wasn't. He suddenly felt something else, something that he hadn't expected to be there. It originated from within him, but was stimulated by the portions of his body which began to disappear before his very eyes. It was the slow tingling sensation he experienced every time he released a shock of lightning from his hand, or from between his fingetips, only amplified a thousands times. It went beyond his arms or his nervous system. His entire body felt this sensation, and the point of impact felt it at an even greater degree. It was pure power he felt. Absolute, unfiltered, untainted power. It was energy, morphing his body of everything he once was, all the abnormalities of nature, and altering it into its most powerful, perfect, flawless state.

      What was it like to die? James couldn't tell you. There was overlap in the plethora of emotions that he was experiencing and those that might be expected to come with death. He feared for the unknowing. He felt anger for not knowing what to expect or how to react. He felt helpless, helpless beyond measure as he felt control over his own body leave him. Yet he knew this wasn't death, because as the abundance of power raced through him, as the last of his body became pure energy and dissapeared from sight, as the last of what made him human began to leave him, there was another emotion he felt beyond any of the others. Anticipation. He was at the mercy of the power roaming across him, but strangely he wanted to see what happened next. Because at that moment, James had never been more helpless, but he had also never been more powerful.

      And then he was gone.


      Time was frozen, or perhaps it was moving so fast that it didn't matter anymore. Either way, both were irrelevant. In fact, nothing seemed to be relevant anymore. There was nothing but energy, and even that seemed so far away now, yet somehow he could tell it was close. It came from within, but from deep within, as if it were unreachable. He tried to make some sort of reaction, but his mind and his body, if he still had one anymore, seemed to be disconnected by a millions miles of emptiness. Or maybe it was a million years. Both time and space no longer seemed to matter anymore.

      There was just the energy, the infinite abundance of pure energy, which he was somehow apart of, yet unable to utilize in any way. He wanted to protect it, to cradle it in his arms, but he couldn't touch it. He wanted to harness it, to build it up from within himself, but he had no mind anymore to try and project it. He wanted to feel it, to sense the gathering pressure of the power from inside him, but no tingle came from it. He wanted at the very least to just see it, to confirm with his very eyes that it even existed, or to hear it to know its crackling nature, but even those were now impossible tasks. It was pitiful. He had conjoined with energy and power at its most pure and untarneshed state, yet he had no way of utilizing it. This wasn't power. It was nothing. This wasn't how it was supposed to be.

      The endless darkness encompassed all that the void which made up his space had a slight irregularity. For one, brief second, something happened that didn't make sense. A light. One, small, miniscule light flickered at the center of nothingness. The focus was on the light, but it disappeared as quickly as it showed its face. He wanted to see it again. He tried to call for it, but received no answer. Then he realized that was because he never sent a call, it was the one that contact him. He waited for it again. Soon, the blip happened again. Another light flickered. He focused on it this time. It was...warm, he could actually feel its presence. He urged himself onto the light, but felt a negative reaction in the process. The energy, that pure energy which he had become apart of, he could somehow feel it slipping from it.

      The light grew stronger, beckoning him toward it. He stepped to it, and saw how the energy slipped further and further away from him, nearly losing all grasp of it. He knew he couldn't keep both. It was either the light, or it was the energy. He had to make his choice, for one or the other. The energy promised him eternal purity, infinite abundance he would always be apart of, but would never truly understand. The light promised none of that, only possibilites. Yet among those possibilities, there was an opportuntiy. He would never be apart of that eternal circuit of power. was possible that one day, maybe a distant day in the future, maybe further than he desires, or perhaps much sooner than he anticipates, and maybe for the briefest of seconds...but all of that infinite abundance, that eternal purity, could be his to command.

      He discarded the energy, and embraced the light. The light instantly reacted, morphing from its position and bouncing forward, suddenly moving as if onto a path toward another, similar-looking light.This light bounced off and traveled until it hit another one of the same shape or form. It became apparent that there was a string of connected lights, bouncing off of one another and connecting together, bringing back from the void of existence that which was almost lost. The electrical energy continuously bounced off one another, working in unison and recreating a living being from its energy, slowly forming until the form of James Hazen returned once more.

      He opened his eyes slowly, taking in the immediate features of everything around him. Everything was blurry and bright. He took a moment to try and adjust to everything, but it wasn't long before he was greeted by a voice. An American one, belonging to a man covered by a hat and cloak to likely conceal himself. "Finally, I was beginning to wonder if you would come back." The man chucked some clothing at him, which James didn't anticipate and let fall onto his body, which was apparently naked as he looked down below. He began to slowly put them on emotionlessly, his mind still trying to grasp everything that had happened, particularly trying to get over having so much power within his grasp, and losing it all at once. It felt like being on a drug for so long, and then abandoning it all at once.

      Full dressed, but still detached and deep in his own thoughts, James looked beyond the cloaked man and toward the city below. Becoming pure electrical energy was unlike anything he had experienced before. Scary and desolate as it was, he missed it already.

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      Old April 27th, 2014 (8:48 PM). Edited April 27th, 2014 by Swolligator.
      Swolligator's Avatar
      Swolligator Swolligator is offline
      Butcher of the Sands
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      Atlantean Royal Mansion, Boston, England

      November 21st, 2012

      “F*ck!” Oliver exclaimed as he smashed his head on a slat of wood.

      He tried to bring his arm up to rub the pain away from his forehead and the sleep from his eyes but another wooden slat stopped this from happening. When he finally opened his eyes, Oliver groaned at the sight of the bottom of his bed. The last thing he could recall through the thumping in his head was challenging Rebecca to a sculling race on the back of his truck as they drank with a some of the other students. From the banging in his skull he felt like he had drunk well over a dozen beers. He wondered just how much beer Rebecca had drunk, but no doubt she had drunk him well under the table.

      Grasping the edge of the bed, Oliver pulled himself out from under the bed only to be blinded by the sunlight streaming in through the open window. Groaning as he stretched his tight joints, he managed to stumble towards the door, grabbing his towel from its position slung over his desk chair. From his dorm room he managed to stumble-walk down the hall to the men’s bathroom, clutching his head in his hand. Taking his time in the shower, Oliver spent most of it with his head under the stream and watching coalesce on the floor. With class in only a couple of minutes he savoured the relief the warm water gave him.

      With towel wrapped around his midriff and clothes slung over his shoulder, Oliver quickly darted from the showers to his bedroom almost halfway down the hall. The mornings were starting to get darker and colder, and in a place as old and as wooden as the Mansion, the walls did little to keep the heat in. Ducking into his room, Oliver slipped into a pair of jeans he had cleaned and left lying on the end of his bed, a dark, long sleeved V-neck shirt from his drawers and the grey high-school hoodie that covered his lamp. The neat and pristine roommate’s side of the room showed Oliver that the guy had left long before he had woken up. Unlike his roommate, Oliver enjoyed his messy space. With guitar sitting on his desk chair and clothes everywhere like a bomb had gone off in his drawers, he truly felt like he lived in this room and that it was similar to his one back home.

      Then again, what he called home no longer existed. If he were to go back now, would his parents even consider letting him in through the front door? The last time he had seen them it had been at the end of summer. He had been walking along the beach with his younger sister, their puppy running ahead of them and barking at anything that moved. Alicia clung to his hand, the six year old stretching his arm out as she ran at the receding waves but then squealing as the waves splashed on her feet when she ran back to him. It was a great family vacation on the southern tip of England and it was shortly coming to a close.

      “Look Oli!” Alicia called out in her juvenile voice, “It’sa pwetty blue stone!”

      He followed her outstretched finger to a small, edged stone glinting in the sun just beneath the waves. “Let’s go get it, yeah?” He asked before grasping her under the arms and lifting her up so she sat on his left arm and wrapped her arms around his neck. As Oliver waded over to the stone, a wave lapped up, licking the bottom of Alicia’s feet and causing her to wrap them around his waist.

      Through the crystal surface of the water, the stone looked mesmerizingly blue, but when he brought it out the stone was a lot greener in colour. Holding it up for Alicia to get a look at it, she gave him a tight squeeze of a hug before releasing one hand to take the stone from him and play with it while he waded back into shore. Calling their puppy over, Oliver headed back to where their parents lay and deposited Alicia next to them.

      “Look mummy! I has a pwetty stone!” She exclaimed almost shoving the stone in her mother’s face.

      “Oliver!” his mother scolded him. “Oliver!” she yelled at him again, he hadn’t meant to disturb them, Alicia just wanted to show them the stone….

      “Oliver!” Rebecca called from his door, already dressed and looking a lot less wet than he did. He could vaguely see the bags under her eyes, but no doubt she had covered them with makeup.

      It was a typical routine; she would come and collect him before class to make sure he actually went on time. When he had first arrived at the Mansion, he struggled to fit in with the others, preferring to sleep in and miss class or skip class to go train at the gym downstairs. On the days that he did go, he would sit behind Rebecca and pay more attention to her than the teacher at the front of the class. Then one day he bumped into her in the courtyard, catching her sitting under a tree reading a book and deciding to sit down next to her and talk. It didn’t take them long to become friendly, and now they were coupled together for the past five months.

      “Yeah, sorry. I was just daydreaming.” He shook his head before grabbing a pen and notebook from his desk.

      “Hurry up, Mister Trent is going to be starting Atlantean Studies soon.” She motioned for him, wrapping her arm around his once he had shut the door to his bedroom.

      The two slunk into class in time to take two of the few remaining seats. Around them, most of the older students sat patiently while Mister Trent wrote several things on the board. The desks were arranged into three rows, all curving around from the door to the windows and directed at the front of the room akin to a lecture theatre with a split in the middle of the rows. Spying two seats in the second row by the window, Rebecca and Oliver made their way to the opposite edge of the room.

      “Welcome to Atlantean Studies. For those new to the class, I’m Edward Trent and I’ll be teaching you the fundamentals of Atlantean abilities.” Edward’s Chicago accent caused Oliver to furrow his brow; with such a hangover it almost made the headache worse.

      “There are four classes or families that abilities belong to: Evolution, Manipulation, Morphology, Mimicry and Psychological.” He pointed to the board where all five were written, “However saying the whole thing is a bit pretentious, so often they are shortened to Evo, Kinetic, Morph, Mimic and Psycho; which isn’t to say that those with Psychological powers are a few cards short of a deck…” A couple of the students laughed at the joke, but for the others it was a bit too early for jokes.

      “So, what exactly does each class mean? The first and most common is Kinetic. Atlanteans like Justin fit into this category; their abilities revolve around the creation, control and manipulation of almost anything. Elements both modern and classical, states of matter and objects are all things that are commonly manipulated.” Edward paced across the front of the board, stopping to point to a student who had their hand up.

      “So how does your power work?”

      “Simple, I mediate the amount of luck myself or someone can experience. With such an obscure force, it’s hard to explain exactly how it works, but think of it like a seesaw. On one end you have good luck, on the other bad. Now each time the seesaw tips one way, it will eventually have to tip the other in order to maintain balance. For example, Mister Carrow, unfortunately your pencil is going to snap when you finally write down what is on the board.”

      As if on cue the student tried to write down the five categories, but his pencil broke halfway up the shaft once he had finished writing ‘Morphology’. He swore and the rest of the class laughed at his misfortune as someone handed him another pencil to write with.

      “But don’t despair, Mister Carrow, look under the desk in your room and you’ll find two dollars. Not now, after class.” Edward shook his head as the boy went to get up from his seat. “Next is Mimicry. Like the name suggest, it revolves around the mimicking of elements, animals, even mythical creatures sometimes….” Edward stopped talking and most of the class turned to see Roxanna open the door, late to class like always.

      “Ah, Miss Hererra, finally you join us. Now tell me, what is the difference between Morphological abilities and Mimicry abilities?” Edward folded his arms across his chest as he waited for Roxanna to answer him.
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      Old April 30th, 2014 (7:31 PM).
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      Skymin Skymin is offline
      part time demon hunter
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      Atlantean Unification Project Headquarters, Toulouse, France

      November 12th, 2012

      The elevator door pinged open and Imogen stepped inside, her arms crossed and her temper high. 'Elpis' was hardly what was expected when Delta had opened the box, and the ability she had shown was even more unexpected. Honestly, she had expected a weapon. A powerful weapon she could use to destroy her enemies and... peace as well, probably. That too.

      But, now that Imogen had calmed down, if Elpis could be controlled, she could be a valuable ally. And a valuable weapon. What was she doing inside that box anyway? Who had seen fit to lock her in there? Pandora herself, perhaps. It didn't makes sense that she would lock her own daughter in a box, unless it was to protect her. Unless, it was someone else. Someone who wanted to seal her away...

      The elevator door pinged again, the doors opening to reveal Cooper. He saw Imogen and nodded at her, Imogen replying with the same. He held his thumb over over one of the elevator buttons, the elevator doors pinging again and it travelled down, past the hanger and underneath.

      "How's Atticus going?" Imogen broke the silence.

      "Under control."

      "And Emil?" Cooper smiled back at Imogen, shaking his head.

      "You don't have to worry about him. He's been with me for too long to break out. Atticus, however..." Cooper narrowed his eyes at Imogen. "Be thankful he's back. Don't let him get so far away again. We can't risk it."

      The elevator doors opened and Cooper lead the way down a dark corridor, fluorescent lights making their faces seem pale, bleak and shallow. The hallway was grey, made from cement, but the ceiling broke the monotonous colour, splattered with red shards. Anti-Atlantanite it was. To keep eavesdroppers (and sightdroppers) to themselves.

      "I bet you're glad that's there now that the Librarian's meant to be sticking around." Imogen nodded towards the roof, smirking at Cooper. He snorted back.

      "Yes. It's hard to tell if he knows exactly what's going on or not. I assume he knows exactly what my ability knows is, yet says nothing. I don't know what he has to do with this all, but I don't like him around." Cooper scowled, pulling out a set of keys and unlocked a door on his left. "The sooner he is gone the better."

      "And the kid?"

      "She will prove useful. In due time." Cooper turned his head to Imogen, narrowing his eyes again. "Don't you dare try anything with her. She has to trust us. I know what you're like with children."

      "Oh shut up. You know Oscar was a mistake. Him and the others." Imogen rolled her eyes.

      "A mistake that no one will forget. Nobody will trust you again."

      "Well, not nobody." Imogen grinned. "I think I'm growing on Delta."


      He turned the knob, opening the door to another bleak, cemented room with the red sharded ceiling. This room was large, and reminded Imogen of a prison, with glass doors leading to other smaller rooms. There were a few men and women in white lab coats, huddled around desks and computers. Inside these glass cells were more men and women, unconscious and bound to chairs with monitors hooked to them. Bound to some of these chairs were Will, Brad and Agnes, among others. There were at least 30 of them.

      "So what do you suppose of Emil's boy?" Imogen raised her eyebrows. "He really had me going before he turned into a big dog. Who'd've thought he was hiding that thing under his skin?"

      "Just goes to show. Never trust anyone who says they have no ability. You should talk to him later."

      "Yeah, probably."

      Atlantean Unification Project Headquarters, Toulouse, France

      November 21st, 2012

      The week had felt long, longer than the one Oakley had spent with the Librarian. It didn't feel as homey as his place under the Vatican and she didn't have the pleasure of being able to see the Librarian's magic tricks or baking and cooking anything she felt like (she never asked for anything, but the Librarian seemed to know what each of them wanted) but to see and meet the people of the AUP was a whole different experience. She met and talked to Annie, the techwiz of the organisation, and had a proper conversation with Julian that wasn't during a boat heist. She even managed to get a quick hello to Emil as they passed each other every now and again. He was looking more and more tired, something that she had asked Devon about who merely waved it off. As she saw more and more of Devon and Emil's dystopian relationship, her thoughts turned to her own father. She hadn't seen him in a while now, and she missed him. Was he doing alright? She sincerely hoped so.

      Devon had been disappearing and reappearing quite often the past week, showing his face for training in the morning and disappearing until he returned the following evening. When Oakley asked him where he had been, he gave vague answers, ones which Oakley didn't press on.

      She had almost forgotten about James and Nathaniel as well. How had they been going? Had the Librarian been around them as much as he around her? Maybe she would ask to go see them, if they could. She had no idea where they were, and forgot to ask the Librarian about them. Perhaps next time.

      She was around the other juniors more and more now, though she had noticed the absence of Agnes. Maybe the AUP had been too much for her, had she gone home? Anytime she thought to ask someone, she was distracted by something else, mainly Elpis. Her personality had really come to shine, that of being a curious and cheeky little girl who did love to hug and play pranks. She was also an incredibly fast learner, already managing to learn a few English words here and there (and any other language the other juniors had managed to get in). The Librarian had been most intrigued, translating when he could, but his presence had been growing less and less over the weak, his purpose waning. He did like Elpis, but like some, avoided her touch.

      "I imagine that if she were to touch me, she would make me... mortal of sort. I'm not sure what that would do to me. I've lived for over two millennia, I don't think my body would appreciate suddenly being un-Atlantean." He let out a chuckle. "She's learning so quickly, though. It's so hard to pin exactly what she is. Neither mortal nor Atlantean. Perhaps she is... hmm. The ones who came before." And the Librarian was lost to Oakley, deep in thought.

      Freddie was another who had become wary of Elpis, delighted to have someone that reminded him of his niece but unsure what would happen if he took away his ability. It was something he had hated for a long time, but to think now, after being with it for over a month and how it had made him, well, unique. He could walk now, without too much wobbling, and he felt less useless and frustrated. But to take all that work away? All that learning to cope with himself, to have a second chance at being him again? In saying that, there wasn't anything special about the normal him to begin with. What would it be like to be normal?

      "Freddie, I think that this is you now. This is who you are." Julian put a hand on Freddie's shoulder, smiling. "If you took that away, would you feel like you did before? Were you happy? Are you happy now?"

      "I'm..." Freddie had to think for a second. He... his university professor life had been far from exciting, to be honest. He had no friends, no real relationships aside from his family, but even then, he had never seen them much. Here, he had made many friends, and many who had accepted him for him, instead of laughing at his stutter or pitying him. "I think I'd like to st-stay as g-goat man." He laughed.

      "Good choice. I would have liked to meet Professor Salusbury."

      "I'm st-still a professor!"

      Misha loved Elpis, tossing her into the air and catching her again, not caring whether he left with his ability or not. Atticus had met her, though didn't want to talk to her much. Natalia and Annie had been busy with other things to meet her, but knew of her presence. As far as Oakley knew, Cooper had not seen Elpis since she was broken from the crystal, but Emil was intrigued, watching the juniors communicate with her rather that join in.

      Training was another thing Oakley had taken part in, and as the days passed, Oakley felt more and more in control with her armour. Her necklace helped her immensely, and she hoped that if she took it off, she could keep the armour in check. In saying that, she felt when she let it get too far, it seemed to have a mind of its own. Her limit was the shoulders on both arms. After that, her heart would begin to race and it would travel down her torso. Elpis had sat in in some of the group training sessions, thoroughly enjoying watching them use their abilities. When the action did get too intense, she would run off and hide somewhere, mumbling something or other like danger or help.

      It had come to the morning of the 21st and Oakley found herself in the cafeteria, eating breakfast with a book on Altantean history that Devon had found for her. She so dearly missed the Librarian's library but these books were almost as interesting. Almost. She would have to remember to ask him to borrow one of his books when he came back to headquarters.

      "Learning anything?" Devon took a seat next to her, his plate filled with eggs and bacon. Overflowing almost, actually. Oakley glanced at her own bowl; half filled with oatmeal.

      "Yeah, a little bit." She placed a bookmark on her page and put the book down next to her, and turning to him. She frowned at him almost instantly; something about him seemed... different. Off, maybe. "Did you get a haircut?"

      "No. It's exactly the same. I mean, I shaved this morning I guess." He shrugged, ploughing into his food. He quickly, like he hadn't eaten for a few days. Oakley made a face, taking a small spoonful of her own breakfast. He would get sick if he ate so fast.

      "Are you wearing makeup?"

      He almost choked, laughing at Oakley. "No!" He swallowed, taking the napkin next to him and wiping his face. "Why? What's wrong?"

      "I don't know, you just... look different." She turned her head on the side, looking at the other side of his face. What was it? "Hmm. Oh, do you know what we're doing today?" Devon took another mouthful of food and swallowed, nodding as he did so.

      "Yeah. I heard that most of the juniors are going to Paris. Julian's taking us. To clean or help or something, I don't know. It's been pretty quiet this past week, I guess they're trying to find stuff for us to do. We might find some neat stuff under the rubble." Devon finished off his plate, using his napkin to wipe his face off again.

      "Or bodies." Oakley said sadly.
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      Old April 30th, 2014 (10:08 PM).
      Swolligator's Avatar
      Swolligator Swolligator is offline
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      Renegade Flat, London, England

      Morning of November 21st, 2012

      It was early morning in the Renegade house when Enrique stretched his arms up in the air, stretching to his fullest extent to wake his muscles up. On the bed next to him Scott was still asleep and snoring his head off. Grabbing a Sharpie from Scott’s bedside table, Enrique snickered as he lightly drew on a small moustache beneath Scott’s nose. Replacing the Sharpie, he leaned back on his bed to see the full extent of his handiwork and couldn’t help but laugh at how stupid Scott looked now. Scott began to wake, turning over onto his other size causing Enrique to quickly scattered from the room. Grabbing his towel on the way out, he sprinted for the bathroom knowing that soon Nora would be up.

      He was almost to the door when something electrical-like slammed into his back sending him flying forward. From behind him he could hear the soft footsteps as Nora drew near. Index finger pointed and thumb in the air like her hand was a gun, she lightly blew the tip as if she had fired a real shot.

      Turning over, Enrique made a gesture of punching in her direction and soon Nora was blasted backwards by an invisible force. “Suck on that!” He yelled before slamming and locking the door to the bathroom. Outside the door he could hear Nora running and soon she was banging on the door, cursing with no stop at him.

      “Get your ass out here you son of a-” her voice cut short as Enrique turned on the water, slipping into the shower.

      The hot water jettisoning from the shower head quickly warmed up his body. He could feel the folds of sleep loosing grasp on him as steam began rising around him. It was always a competition between him and Nora to whom got the first shower, not that it really mattered to him anyway. If anything he just enjoyed annoying the hell out of Nora for the sake of it rather than for any personal reasons. No doubt she had given up screaming now and resigned to heading downstairs for breakfast. As he enjoyed the shower, Enrique began twisting his hands around each other, forming a small tornado within his palm. A minute later and he had several miniature hurricanes circling the bottom of the shower.

      He began to hum a song he must have heard on the radio, a catchy but annoying song that had somehow gotten stuck in his head. Instead of singing the lyrics like any normal person would, Enrique decided to make up his own. “Don’t you ever say I just flew away, I will never come back,”

      Shaking his head from side to side, Enrique wasn’t quite good at thinking up lyrics on the spot, but he still wouldn’t quit. “I can’t stop myself, destroying all this life, I will never come back,”

      “I came in on a hurricane,” around his legs the miniature hurricanes spurred into greater life, growing in size and spinning slightly faster.

      “Didn’t know the city name,” he began singing louder.

      “All I wanted was to f*ck sh*t up,”

      A loud banging echoed from the door, “Shut the hell up and have your shower, idiot. Some of us need a shower too y’know!” Nora yelled from the other side of the door causing Enrique to lose his focus and the hurricanes to dissipate.

      “Now Nora’s telling me to, shut-ut-ut up…” Enrique sung at the top of his lungs just to annoy Nora even more before turning the water off and getting out of the shower.

      When the door finally opened Enrique stood with one arm against the door frame, the other holding the fold in the towel around his waist. “Eyyy Chica, you come here often?” He said in the thickest Hispanic accent he could dredge up.

      “Move it, dickhead,” Nora pushed past Enrique and, once he was out, slammed the door behind her.

      Grinning like a madman, Enrique made his way back down the hall and into the room he shared with Scott. Poking his head in first, he saw that the coast was clear and that Scott was most likely downstairs eating breakfast with the others. It didn’t take him long to get dressed and once he had, he made his way downstairs like a gust of wind. When he emerged on the ground floor, only Scott and a dismissive looking Andre were at the table eating breakfast. He joined them and quickly learnt that Andre wasn’t very impressed about Scott’s new facial feature; Andre giving him the “you gotta be kidding me” look. He smiled at Andre before digging into some bacon and eggs.

      “Morning guys,” Luciana started as she made her way into the dining room.

      “Morning Luciana, what’s up?” Scott asked, turning around to face her while grinning wildly.

      Luciana stopped, looking from Scott to Andre and back then Scott to Enrique and back. She dropped the comb she had been holding before turning around and storming back up the stairs yelling, “I’m so not dealing with this sh*t today.”

      Scott waited until he heard a door slam before turning around to Andre and Enrique, “Is it something I said?” he asked them both, a little puzzled. Andre simply shook his head and Enrique had to hold his nose to stop himself snorting in laughter.

      A few minutes later and Nora came down the stairs, hair hanging loosely around her shoulders. “What’s gotten into Luci-” Nora stopped just as Scott turned around to say ‘good morning’ to her, noticing the black vivid smeared across his upper lip in a toothbrush-moustache style. “Scott, have you been on those White Power sites again?” She asked condescendingly.

      “No, ma’am,” he saluted to Nora causing her to drop her face into her hands, “not since ya’ll told me it was a bad site.” He shoved a piece of toast in his mouth and continued on oblivious to the markings on his upper lip.

      Nora then turned to Enrique, “Really? After he used your shaver to shave his head, you go and do this?” Nora let out a sigh, the two of them were like little children sometimes and she was not in the mood to be running around after them like a mother. “Scott, have a shower before we leave, make sure to wash your face. Enrique, stop being a loser all your life.” Grabbing a piece of toast from the table, Nora headed back upstairs to style her hair.

      “Eyy, the Chica is even more hot when she’s angry,” Enrique muttered before shovelling in another mouthful of bacon and eggs.
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      Old May 3rd, 2014 (3:32 AM).
      Legend's Avatar
      Legend Legend is offline
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      Join Date: Apr 2008
      Location: New Jersey
      Age: 27
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      Posts: 1,308

      Atlantean Royal Mansion, Boston, England

      November 21st, 2012

      “That’s not right,” Nathaniel said with a groan, clenching his fist tight. The pile of ice crystals on the floor grew larger as a glove of ice fell to pieces and tumbled to the ground with a shatter. Half of the ice had melted creating a small of cold water on the hardwood floor, which already appeared to be warping ever so slightly. The pool reflected the light of the morning sun that peeked through the curtains. Yet despite the light’s best efforts, it did not snap the concentration of the young Atlantean. Again, Nathaniel focused on his arm, covering it with a sheet ice. It didn’t feel right as he tightened his fist. The ice cracked ever so slightly, revealing his pale flesh beneath it. “That’s not right, either.” The ice armor crumbled to the ground, making an even larger pile. His whole body grew tense as he shuffled in his seat.

      The bed creaked and Nathaniel turned to see why. “You didn’t sleep again.” Antonia’s frustrated expression was easy to see through the covers. “It’s been almost a week, Nate. You need to get some sleep,” she said, sitting up and weakly hugging him from behind.

      “I can’t…afford to sleep. Not right now,” he finally said, hardly budging an inch. He simply stared at his right hand, as specks of ice fell quietly to the ground.

      “And why would that be?” Antonia protested, watching his hand with far less fervor. She instead looked into his solemn expression. He had been like this for days now. Dark circles hung under his eyes, further exasperated by his progressively paler skin. Nathaniel barely left his room unless it was to train or to eat. Occasionally the Royal Guard succeeded in dragging him out, but that’s only with heavy persuasion on her part. Even then, there were moments where Nathaniel slammed the door on her, literally and metaphorically. It was a miracle she forced herself into his room last night, but then again, she didn’t exactly always wait for an invitation.

      “I just can’t. I-“ Nathaniel bit his tongue, turning away from her.

      Antonia let go of him and got up from the bed. She quickly changed her clothes without as much as whisper or hint of hesitation. Nathaniel could feel that she had hit her breaking point, holding no more patience for his behavior. “If you are going to be like this, I’m leaving. Nobody likes a guy who sits around and demands pity,” Antonia said making her way for the door.

      Nathaniel ground his teeth as the sting of the words pierced him. “I…I never told you what the Oracle said to me did I?” He rose from his seat on the bed, walking around his puddle towards Antonia. She was halfway out the door but turned back to face him, closing the door behind her. Without uttering a word, she made it clear she was listening. Part of her didn’t want to.

      “She told me that ‘from the ashes, the cold rise’ and that ‘a Frozen Vanguard shall pave the way. Havoc and pain shall follow but Paradise awaits.’ I am to ‘follow my heart.’ I don’t know what it means, but—“

      “Just because she said that doesn’t mean it is true. You know, I don’t believe what she says. It may not mean any-”

      “But what if I do Antonia?” Nathaniel said, raising his voice and throwing up his arms in frustration. “What then!? They aren’t a lot of ways to read what this…this prophecy. We aren’t safe and…and somehow all…all of this is going to fall to ruin. And then I am suddenly supposed to lead us!?” Nathaniel gestured around the room, the frustration in his body mounting. It as if of all the pent of emotion burst at the seems. “I-I’m not strong enough to lead anyone. Not yet. I have to push myself. I have to master this ability so when the time comes…if it comes, I am ready. That maybe I can step up and do whatever I need to do. I am not going to learn how to take that next step by sitting around pretending like everything is fine! Because it’s not. But I have no idea what I’m doing. I can’t even…I can’t even change my body into ice anymore. I did it before! But now? Nothing! If anything, I am getting weaker. How am I supposed to do anything if I don’t have the strength?”

      Antonia fell quiet, as Nathaniel’s strange behavior began to finally make sense. She knew he was the serious type, but this was a bit out of left field. He kept all of this in. All this anger. All this anxiety. Everything was bottled up. And now, it was out there. She could tell it was hard on him. But, she knew she wanted to help. “Well, maybe you shouldn’t think so much and do what she said. Follow your hea-“

      “Oh, that’s ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥,” Nathaniel quickly snapped, dismissing her outright. Antonia was not pleased and she simply stared at him. Emotions were tense; that much was obvious. Nathaniel sighed as he took a breath. “I’m sorry,” he said collapsing back into his bed, burying his face into hands. Antonia silently accepted the apology and sat beside him. “I never been one for ‘going with my gut.’ I always liked to learn everything I could about something and then make the logical choice. The smart choice. The only choice. But now, I haven’t been able to do that. Lately it just feels like I’m being thrown from situation to another like some hapless character in a children’s story. Half the time, I’m fending for my life. The other half, I sit around with no idea what’s going on.”

      “I’m sure a lot of us are going through the same thing. You aren’t alone, Nate. You don’t have to put the burden of the whole world on your shoulders. We can help you,” Antonia said, gently running her fingers through his hair. “But sometimes, we have to take things one step at a time and go with flow. Overthinking things is just going to get in the way.” Antonia got up and offered a hand to Nathaniel, urging him to get up. “Just trust me okay?”

      He accepted her hand and got up from his makeshift seat. “Alright. I’ll try.”

      Antonia quickly kissed him on the cheek. “Good. Now, get ready. We got class.”

      Nathaniel’s content expression turned to a frown. He hated class. “Um, aren’t we a bit late?” Nathaniel added, gesturing towards the clock in his room.

      “Aw, crap.”


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