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  • ......and it erupted again!

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    January 17, 2018 7:15pm
    15 minutes after THIS blast.

    It had been in the distance, a thunderous blast that could be mistaken for an earthquake near Times Square. Most people in the casino were oblivious, the thrum of the active casino floor hid most anything from the outside world.

    The eruption shuddered the building to the core, the parkinglot cracking in multiple directions as the doors of the casino front were blown off, bouncing along the concrete, spinning and crushing swanky vehicles in its path. The artistic sculpture over the valet parking crumpled against the heat that billowed out the front.

    The second eruption blows out the side wall, brick and mortar blistering out to pelt the BMWs and Porches like machine gun fire as bodies are flung out with the wreckage. The casino was holding a high stakes rollers VIP invitational only weekend, "altered" friendly. Bloody patrons stumble around among the burning tables in their tuxes and tails, glittering gowns frayed and dulled in the smoke.

    There is the whisper of "Vanguard" in the choking fumes, several moments going by before the world is aware of the second blast, precious moments ticking by before there are finally sirens in the distance...fire roaring through the main floor of the casino.

    NOTE: Can be chaotic posting order
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    Hands were folded calmly in front of her as the opaque shades hid the sightless orbs. Waistlength mahogany swayed behind her, slicked back in a tight ponytail at the back of her head, the color warm against the sleek gray suit, the faint gray pinstriping only accentuating her height.


    She was on duty. The event was meant to draw an elite and large crowd of moneybags, not really her thing. But it also hid deals that were happening in back rooms. She was on point to ensure the cheats were quietly walked off the floor and none of the Bakkhos secrets left the back rooms.


    Finger lifted to adjust the earpiece. Unlike the others, whose piece tucked inside the ear canal unseen, hers had been custom made, an ear cuff that wrapped along the outside edge of her lobe all the way to the top, a beautiful silver vine with a diamond at the base. Inside her ear it interfered with her inner equilibrium as well as her abilities.


    [derrick]Manny… pipsqueak at the second craps table tossing, he just switched the dice.[/derrick]


    Quiet words were picked up from the hidden mic that adorned her ear. She listened as he came back that he "got it". She was dangerous on the casino floor, the subtle change of a weighted die made an almost imperceptible difference in sound as it impacted the felt, a sound no one else could hear but her dangerous senses tuned right to it. Neck moved left and then right. It was going to be a long night and she wasn’t in the greatest mood, she had a gig in a small side club she had taken "off radar" that she had to cancel when Gaspari told her she was on point.


    She would rather be playing.


    Sigh was silent in her chest, resigned as she stepped off the red carpeted stairs that led up to the restaurant and a multitude of secrets. She was just starting to make her way around the poker tables when there was the slightest pull of air before the world erupted with the fury of hell itself. Arms flung in front of her face as the blast hit her, the telekinetic shield coming up barely in time to protect her from being blown apart but not from being flung up off the ground, sailing clean over the roulette table to slam against the marble wall by the offices. Groan was thick as she was "blinded". The unexpected noise flooding her ears with ringing that hid the rest of the world from her.


    Heat… she was very aware of heat as she tried to maintain the shield and not pass out from the knock to her head. Head shook trying to clear her auditory senses, stumbling up onto her feet, fractured shades falling in pieces to the ground as her shoulder pressed to the marble for support.


    [derrick]…Gaspari!...where is Gaspari?[/derrick]


    Cough was violent as smoke burned through her lungs. There was only dead static over her com.




    Hiss spit through her teeth with the blood from a split lip. The world was slowly coming to life again as she could now finally hear the stampede of panicked people, the crackle of flames and chips falling to the floor.


    Shield was dropped before she exhausted her abilities, flames close as her suit grew incredibly warm. Feet finally found traction as she stumbled again towards the staircase. Gaspari was her first priority. She was only halfway up to the second floor when the next blast tossed her back once more. This time it was a bit further away, the seconds before impact allowing her to better catch herself, hand snatching off the rail that was steaming, blistering in the heat. Feet made it up the stairs now two at a time before static began to crackle over the com. Fingers lifted to the silver vine.




    [npc]…dead Gray, he didn’t make it.[/npc]




    [derrick]…got it Frank. I am going after Gaspari, you get the people out and get the fucking fire department out here… what the fuck we paying them for![/derrick]


    Feet were finally moving with her normal grace and speed as she leapt the last steps and bolted down a long hallway. Someone was going to pay.

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    Michael Bay would be proud. The explosion's aftermath was almost cinematic, from what the images his eyes in the sky had shown.


    Alec opened his eyes, processing the images. He'd been on his way to join Ali and Nailah at the blast site when the report of this one had come in. So as not to obstruct the sidewalks for those evacuating victims, he had ducked into a nearby lobby and closed his eyes in search of a better form of recon.


    Information now in mind, a quick phone call to HQ. He'd likely arrive to the new bomb site in about 20 minutes, given present distance, though he wasn't sure how long HQ and relief effort vehicles would take to get there. [walker] This is Walker. Gonna need a group on this one. Any chance of Knights and Tower coming through? I'll do crowd control as best I can.[/walker]


    [npc] We'll send who we can. Any chance of a third means we should keep a team on reserve.[/npc]


    Alec snapped his phone shut and headed out. There were people to see and places to save. Plus, bombers wouldn't stick around ALL that long to admire their handiwork.


    Time was of the essence.


    ((Sorry it's short. I didn't want to get too far into it without knowing more about the area/plot.))

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    Everything was erupting in flames; ground shaking and panic ensuing as buildings, and people, suffered damage. Cassandra hadn't believed the sound of sirens and chaos could get any louder until that second explosion. She'd been investigating a suspected artifact incident when the first explosion occurred; the ringing of her phone alerting her to what happened as she'd been too far away to feel the effects or hear anything. When it came to that second explosion, that was not the case. Already on her way to the first, just four — maybe less given the speed at which she moved using energy channeled to increase her speed — blocks away, the overload of senses as the world seemed to become a version of Hell. Fire, screams, shaking earth. . . shattering glass; sight, sound, smell all hit unexpectedly as Cassandra rounded a corner. Cars were tossed haphazardly up ahead, some completely crushed by other vehicles, but that didn't stop their screeching car alarms. Worse was the screaming of people trapped in cars. . . or under them.

    When that second explosion occurred, people were trying to help others evacuate. The building shook again as this time stone exploded outward. . . and bodies came with it. Without thinking, she moved forward quickly and swept her arm in a half arc while turning her back toward the flying debris, and her shield shimmered into view to surround herself along with a small group of injured people. It was extended enough that anything slamming it arced over their heads, but the sensation of vehicles and brick and bodies slamming into her shield made her cringe each time — especially the bodies.

    When nothing more was felt she let the shield drop.

    [cassg]Someone get them away from here![/cassg]

    There were some that weren't as injured, and some just shaken, nearby that could help. She reached for the phone that went off inside the pocket of her green military coat. A call alerting her to Alec's call for aid. Hanging up, letting them know to notify Alistair she'd not be making it to the other location, Cassandra dialed Alec's cell quick.

    [cassg]What's your location?[/cassg] No time for a hello or the usual joking commentary when answered. Just a question followed by, [cassg]I'm near the casino's side wall. Well. . . what's left.[/cassg]

    All around her was terrifying sounds of chaos that left her visibly shaken and it'd come through in her voice.

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    As the elite of New York scramble in the debris and slip on blood, the second floor explodes. Dirty bombs embed shards in walls and fire off the wrought iron stairwell like bullets into the crowd below. The upstairs that had managed to go relatively unscathed now is marred with cries and screams from those caught unaware. The eruptions are significant enough that several walls collapse, plaster ceiling breaking off in chunks to add to the damage below.

    The luxury event has gone from a swanky affair...... to Armageddon.
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    The white lined map was absolute chaos in her mind. Lungs were still burning as she hit a shoulder against the upstairs wall, panicked sheep stampeding to get downstairs and out of the building were flowing against her as she fought to get to the back rooms and Gaspari. Growl lit her chest as she decked a panicked ho that had clung to her and demanded she help her get out.


    [derrick]…bitch find your own way out before I show you the short way to the bottom floor.[/derrick]


    As if on cue, the world erupted near her position, the cocktail dressed woman was tossed down the hallway and over the railing to crash onto a roulette table below. Ability overwhelmed her as the noise blossomed a white inferno through her inner map that stunned the headliner, playing havoc with her equilibrium. Her left side was moist as she shook her head trying to clear the aftershocks of the explosion, unaware of the shrapnel she was now sporting on her left side.


    The door on the other side of the hall slammed open, smoke billowing from behind it a mere moment before the scent of heavily applied Drakkar nearly made her hurl. God, did he marinate in the damn stuff?


    [derrick]…Lucky….LUCKY…where is Gaspari?[/derrick]


    The Boss of the Casino and its territory stumbled into the hallway and took a moment to clear his own vision before figuring out who was daring to demand anything of him. Frown puckered a bit identifying the Bakkhos "pet". They were not exactly "friends" but the Boss respected her and that was enough.


    [npc]…back office…with the Italian Boss.[/npc]


    She was already starting to move but paused long enough to warn the casino owner, he might not be her favorite, but he was family.


    [derrick]..Lucky…take the stairs to the kitchen, no blasts have come from there and the stairs to the main floor are compromised.[/derrick]


    [npc]..got it.....…. hey Gray…. you know you bleedin'?[/npc]


    Her "huh" brushed it off with a shrug as she was already pushing to the back office. She didn’t have time to be bleeding, she had to get to Gaspari.

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    Leather soles pounded pavement, steady rhythm propelling the mage down concrete slabs.


    The snaps that begin the Addams Family theme rung in his noise canceling headphones. He normally wore them to focus on sights rather than sounds.


    [Walker] Yees, Morticia? [/walker]


    Cass was in business mode.


    [Walker] Six minutes away. Nasty piece of work, whoever did this. [/walker] All humor dropped from Alec's voice, southern drawl punctuated by an almost sadistic glee at the prospect of decimating this already twisted mindd.


    [Walker]Perhaps they'll enjoy life as a cockroach. Or maybe an existence of fear in the mind of a minnow. [/walker]


    He snapped the phone shut and continued down the sidewalk. Nailah may have been more initially terrifying, but Alec was sure he had the more effective way of getting information.


    A second explosion rocked the ground. More smoke from the Casino. [Walker] He's still here. Good. [/walker]


    Alec rounded a corner and found Cass rather quickly. [Walker]I'm gonna find him. Maybe kill him. Save who you can. [/walker]


    .44 was unholstered, chambers checked for ammunition, and re - holstered, disappearing under the black of his coat.

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    [Kelly]So, any idea who started it?[/Kelly] Kelly asked, appearing next to Cassie. She was chewing some gum before the fireball in front of her and blowing a bubble or two, only to let them pop halfway through and recollecting the remnants. Her sword was neatly tucked into her belt, concealed from view by her special pink coat, enchanted with the ability to not get her innards chucked out by magic lightning bolts. She had orange goggles on and pink and orange sherbet-mixed hair billowed softly behind her in the wind that had picked up into the flames. She looked like some kind of strange punk rock-pyromancer, but without all the cool pyromancer trinkets. It didn’t help that her aura boots were glowing behind her from the run that led her there.


    Thankfully, her new pair of red beats weren’t on so she could listen to Cassie for details on what to do now. She had spent the trip there blasting Sia and Katy Perry, and had been doing a little rendition of “E.T” as she ran her ass off to get to the crime scene.


    Kelly Collins, fastest woman alive, and person who really enjoyed listen to classic years-old pop when she had the chance. [Kelly]And any sign of survivors? I’m feeling a good run.[/Kelly] She flicked her beats and grinned. Over the months, her sense had retained, but her cockiness only seemed to grow.

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    [cassg]MOVE! GET DOWN![/cassg]


    Falling debris, collapsing walls, zooming shards made Cassandra have to keep up her shield just long enough to keep from getting hit by the mess shot out by the dirty bomb and catching anyone in range inside it as well. There were screams and cries; pleas for help that were drowned out by collapsing walls. Realizing that everything was out of control here, and most of the help had already been on its way to the first site, Cassandra knew she'd have to take charge of the situation.


    Hearing the sound of Alec's voice in her ear, the nickname making her laugh for a moment before able to speak, [cassg]Listen, Cousin Itt, we don't even know it's one person. Not with the detonations at the other place.[/cassg]


    The phone went dead and then suddenly Alec was near here. His intention to go find the culprit made her reach out a hand to grip his arm.


    [cassg]We need to take control of the situation and get HQ on the phone, tell them to send more personnel this way along with some emergency medical. Looks like someone is already shepherding people to safer spots. We can make those field clinics. You can go after whoever did it, but it won't help. We got to focus, save who we can and keep an eye out for any evidence that could be useful in finding out who did this. . . and if they have a bigger plot in motion. There could be other bombs, Alec.[/cassg]


    Cassandra wasn't necessarily in-charge of Alec, given that he was part of Cloak instead of Knight and that he outranked her, but given that nobody was here to do it just yet — she was going to do what she could. Hopefully Alec would help her do so given that he outranked her position. This was a whole new experience and it was terrifying. That she wasn't a trembling mess was impressive enough.


    That familiar breeze that came with speed, and the sound of a hyper, energetic voice in her ear, brought some relief. Kelly should be with Alistair, but they could really use her speed here. Hopefully Alec wouldn't take off.


    Glancing to Kelly, she nodded then pointed toward the blown out side wall, [cassg]That place was packed tonight. I don't want to send you in there alone, but there's not a lot of us here yet.[/cassg]


    Cassandra wanted to run into that building, shield around her, and save people too. First though, she needed to try to get some stuff organized before people trampled each other to death in panic.

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    Her lungs were filling with noxious gases. The place was on fire somewhere, burning materials that were releasing their manmade chemicals.




    Map was pushed outward with an aggressive snarl in her chest. The tremor of walls blurred the picture beyond but she easily picked out the large form of Gaspari, the Italian boss was clearly the one in complete panic trying to claw his way out the door ahead of her, its frame having shifted in the explosion to trap the portal closed.


    The Bakkhos pitbull had little sympathy.


    Foot planted on the door with enough force to not only break it free from the warping casing, but flung it inward with enough power to send the lanky Italian head over heels, upending a leather side chair in the luxury office. The scent of burning sheetrock and expensive carpet could not mask the scent of the Bakkhos "king", unlike Lucky who slathered on his Drakkar, Gaspari had a natural heady musk that seemed to cling to him no matter how filthy the world got around him.


    [derrick]..Gaspari… we gotta go.. structure isn't sound..[/derrick]


    As if on cue, the entire ceiling broke free. Her body spun even as feet erupted towards the Bakkhos head, her hands coming up to blossom the telekinetic shield with a shiver through the dust filled air above their heads. A firm hand snaked around her waist and pulled her in closer so the barrier that only expanded far enough for two actually protected them both. Normally the headliner was not one to be touched. When she first had come into the "family" she had a bad habit of breaking noses with an elbow the moment she was brushed up against. But now was not a time to be difficult, though a faint growl murmured in the hoarse throat, erupting a rumble of laughter from the head of the biggest syndicate in the world as he forced the world around him to faze.


    Oh god!


    It had only been done once with her, and there had been time to prepare herself. This time, she fought to hold up the shield in face of the impending "doom" that was coming. Her map was on steroids, flicking bright spots everywhere as the man began to faze them both out of sync with the world. A split second later they fell through the solid floor as the office above crushed itself, the Italian with it.


    The floor of the kitchen raced up to meet them as they escaped the confines of the solid floor above, his exhaled breath the warning he was fazing them back into solid form just a second before they hit the floor. For once she was thankful for another's touch. She was fighting the need to hurl. No matter how "safe" it might be, the ripping apart of her molecules, which in turn shredded her own shield to nothing, left her feeling like her insides had fazed back together scrambled.


    Gaspari had taken the brunt of the fall with his shoulder but both were rolling to their sides to try and get up off the floor in the midst of the metal cabinets of the massive chefs kitchen. As he got up and assessed their potential escape it became clear the exits into the casino were blocked leaving the back steel door. The monstrosity however was locked shut and their security pads were not working. They could faze again.


    [npc]…Gray… you able to..[/npc]


    Hand came up to halt his words as she was still pushing up to her feet, leaning a bit heavily on the butcher block top.


    [derrick]…don’t even touch me…[/derrick]


    Her equilibrium was all fucked up. Another time and she was painting his shoes in her late lunch. She could almost hear him smirk through her foggy senses. Head shook gently as the smoke offended her nostrils. Fire was still close.


    Fuck… she might have to let him.

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    Tie swung in his fingers, he’d taken it off some time ago and was now hangin’ with the average Joe’s and wannabe rich –eye roll- in the snake pit next to the track watching the ponies.  Bet slip flickered in his fingers, elbows on the railing and drinking a butter rum hot chocolate as the beasts thundered by, the snow and sleigh system that was normal up north in the winter a curiosity for him.  He needed to go riding more, and heaven forbid there be a decent polo game in this city?  He may have bucked the rich kid sensibilities, but there were few things as exhilarating as a good game of polo on a horse that was incredible.  Cat worked like that, he could really do some damage on a field.  The moment of melancholy was dashed as he looked up at the winners, quirk to his lips at his win. Instead of going to collect, he handed his ticket to the closest person.  A win was nice, but not what he was here for. 


    He’d been so much in need of the dealings this evening, constant talk in the last few months of the old world had him pining for it, his response to Mason that she was cancelling cordial and blasé… he was anything but.  It wasn’t until after the call that his polished cotton dark grey suit and black button down felt stifling, and he was rarely uncomfortable in a suit. 


    So.  Horses.  He didn’t know really why he came, nothing else to do.  Hoping maybe, to get a chance to ask why the cancel.  He understood work came first, but he didn’t exactly understand what work that was. Mob?  Mob musician?  It didn’t make any sense.  It also didn’t make any sense why he’d driven here in his Range Rover. Parking next to luxury cars of the new elite?  It was almost poetic, slow stroll to the side area to watch the horses post run get pulled from their gear and don their winter turnouts.  He was an odd duck, amused constantly by his intimate knowledge of the elite and complete lack of need to be among them. He’d played that game, and knew well enough to leave the table before the last hand.


    Edge of his eye twitched, odd.  He was in constant touch with communications, signals. The world had its own electromagnetic hum, a constant static per se.  As he moved through the world, things came and went like the turning of a dial through the radio stations.  When he was in one place, an ambiance was usually consistent with random variation as the planet’s magnetism ebbed and flowed like clouds.  Something melodic was tapping at the arbitrary hum.  Odd.  Hazel pulled themselves away from the beasts to scan the monstrosity of wealth behind him, fierce pulse pushing the air from his lungs, brain shocked like a hand slapped for reaching at a cookie.


    …and then his world exploded, hands slapping to his temples to quell the sheer of pain through his skull.


    Horses skittered in every direction, the billow of smoke and orange glow from the other side of the building screamed the reality had slid sideways into a rather awful mess.  Shouts, the shudder of the building, a string of variable slang curses from his lips.  Panic, people running, screaming… trying to hold on to horses that were out of control and kicking from restraints, watching a calm soul move through the invariable panic and away from the building.  It was odd, and didn’t register at the moment… he was made from different stock, compact frame turning and dodging through the fleeing mob to push toward the front of the building to see what was happening, hitting the street just as the second blast went off, the pulse stumbling him forward.


    Signals were chaotic, searing in his skull.  A hundred phones firing at once, all over the city. It was nauseating, disorienting.  The small gaggle also surveying the damage most likely ARMA… he didn’t have time for introductions.  So much for staying under the radar, pulling everything he could before hands slapped together in front of him and pushed outward to force the map into the building.  There were no words or trinkets for the Order trained magus, only a sharply controlled ability honed by the worst of the world. Rarely used, it snapped back into motion without effort, but the strain on his body with the incredible push was evident, muscles in his neck flicking as his sight opened the horror in the casino into his skull.  Every motion, heartbeat, last breath, raging fire, exploding electrical grids moving in his head as fingers brushed things aside to sort through layers and find what he was looking for.


    Mason was in there. Sure, he didn’t know her well, but he felt like it was his fault, being so cordial when she cancelled on him.  He should have been more insistent she come, looking for a familiar height and gate but getting nothing.  He simply couldn’t find a face when using his vision like this…


    [jojo]Upper floors are gone, no survivors, fire is too hot.  It’s gutting the main floor.  Cluster of people on the north end first floor, probably trapped. Fire is spreading...[/jojo] he paused as eyes flicked to watch beyond the levels of normal sight, hand brushing another invisible layer from his vision, the odd shift of heat something he’d never seen before as it fell through floors and seemed to solidify at the bottom.  Human forms.  Mason wasn’t a magus was she?  He didn’t think so.  [jojo]…jesus there are a lot of people in there,[/jojo] words were distracted, pained brows flickering from the rate the building was becoming a white glow in his skull, signs of life being engulfed within it.  He released the spell, moving forward to dodge through people fleeing the building, the only one going in when the rest of the world was desperate to get out.


    He was a fool, but a fool that had run the gauntlet of stupid before.  Heat.  Extreme.  Skin was dulled to pain from old injuries of his own doing, still unbearable, yanking his coat off to cover his mouth.  It was almost impossible to breathe, moving toward the oddity he’d seen, dice, chips, and debris crunching under his feet, steel doors preventing going any further. Keypads. Of course, it was a casino... and these locked doors were going to kill a lot of people, knowing instinctively what had to be done.  Palm banged on the door, moving to the next to do the same while cantrips built to become more than just a spell in passing.  Coat was pulled away for a brief moment to thunder a name into the crackle of flame and falling debris, normally gentle drawl a dark and powerful resonance.



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    A red Ferrari swung wildly around the corner with its engine revving and tires squealing. The vehicle violently over corrected as it came out of the turn. It swerved back and forth three more times before its driver slammed on the brakes and caused it to come to a dead stop facing the buildings instead of the open road. A loud clamor of curses in a variety of languages roared to life as the door slid open; a woman dressed in a white, form-fitting body suit stepped out and kicked the vehicle.


    Whoever designed these infernal machines hadn't a clue what they were doing. Why dragons were easier to fly then these 'automobiles.' With a huff, the Magess turned her golden eyes toward a different sort of inferno. The street certainly looked reminiscent of a battlefield. She had beheld worse in her time.


    After retrieving a glowing orb from the confines of the vehicle, Morrigan strode toward the scene of destruction. Soon the spherical object was hefted high into the air in defiance of gravity. In short order the glowing essence rapidly expanded outward to engulf the air. No immediate effects were evident. At least not until the next expulsion of fire and brimstone was ejected from the structure, when the nearly transparent field would keep the destruction from spreading like a wildfire among dry tinder. A small thing, but they didn't need a bad situation becoming worse. Now they could focus on deciding whether to let the current buildings on fire burn down, or if there was something worth saving. Far as Morrigan understood it that was how this world's 'Firefighters' dealt with such things.


    With ease, the obsidian stave that Morrigan carried with her twirled out from behind as she made haste to join Cassandra in the very heart of chaos. "My, tis not an absolutely riveting turn of events? Here I was thinking I could engage in real magical study when not one, but two large explosions tore through the city. But, really, how has your day been, Cassandra?" The alien Mage looked to the senior officer among the ARMA personnel present. Despite her roguish nature, there were some people whose authority she actually could stand. The Greenes were one of the few on that list.

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    Head shook again as she finally found her "sea legs". Fuck that faze thing of Gaspari's was a bitch and a half to experience. Her ability had been forced off in the fall and now she felt the itch of wounds along her entire left side, fingers absently pulling a piece of shrapnel with a wince as the removal caused a fresh stream of crimson to blend with the dark blazer. They needed out of here now. Lips parted about to recommend he pull them through the wall again when………




    Expression blanked to dumbfounded mortification. The power in the masculine tone could not hide from her the cajun taint. What the HELL was HE doing HERE??




    Head snapped around to Gaspari. She could hear the amusement in the simple sound. She wasn’t exactly some polished, primped up "chick" the guys went after to begin with, so for one to go bellowing her name like a knight in shining armor was just… ludicrous… wasn’t it?


    [derrick]…he's got big bullets… I mean the bullets… I mean ammo….I mean sells the ammo….[/derrick]


    She huffed in frustration as she realized she was only making it sound worse. What the hell was she twelve?! It wasn’t like they were dating… or even liked eachother for that matter. Did they? Hell she got hit on more often by women then men, prissy little girls that thought she was cool and masculine.


    Frown puckered her expression before the lungs coughed in complaint at the fumes that had taken longer to enter the kitchen but were now beginning to close in around them.


    The cool expresion returned as she stood straight and pulled the hem of her skewed blazer down.


    [derrick]It's Boudreaux, the dealer that we get our high grade ammo from.[/derrick]


    [npc]…uh huh…[/npc]


    This time he got a look of death snapped his way, one most cringed from as sightless orbs fixated with haunting accuracy. His chuckle only made the expression colder as his pitbull had returned. Walking around the counter she made for the metal door she had heard echo her name moments before, hand going to her ear to tap on the custom earpiece.


    [derrick]..Frank… Frank still with me?.........shit…[/derrick]


    Cough wracked her chest, mirrored by one in Gaspari's. She needed to get him out of there, it didn’t give her pause that he could walk through the damn wall on his own before she could get him out. She made for the door, hand flattening on the wall to the right seeking the scan pad. Frown darkened her brow when it didn’t respond. Fucking electricity was fried.


    Fist balled up and struck the door three times.


    [derrick]Boudreaux!....door is out of power.[/derrick]

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    Cough tight, eye flinched at the tension on his temple.  He was bleeding power, keeping things as well-honed as he could to do whatever was necessary. Hand slammed again on another door to see if anyone was inside, ear to it, hearing nothing, moving to the next and keep repeating.  The place was locked down like a fortress, people could not get out, and with the amount of darkness descending over the place in favor of the orange glow of fire the electricity was most likely systematically going out as well.  This was not something he could potentially solve without power.  He knew what he had to do, and was probably going to damn near kill himself doing it.


    Ah well… at least he wasn’t blowing up shit for the Order.  He was however, going to potentially get fired from his new arms deal and make himself a fairly good target for the mob.  They probably wouldn’t like him unlocking every damn door in the place.  It wasn’t his fault though… really.  Such was life.


    Hand slammed again, ear listening against the door, a cough catching his attention.  Head jerked back when the banging responded.


    "Boudreaux!....door is out of power."


    There was a flood of relief, for a second.  Her voice, alive.  The power, shit.


    [jojo]Things are going to go haywire for a minute, sorry ‘bout that,[/jojo] the apology was a familiar one.  [jojo]Don’t touch the door, anything metal… until I tell you to.[/jojo]


    Good god, was he going to have to pop the entire place?  If he was going to do something that stupid, it was definitely the time and place without having to worry about being caught by someone looking specifically for him.  Blaze of glory and all that shit.  He held his breath and dropped the coat.  Palms placed on the door, they slid back and forth as he felt around the smooth barrier between them.  Power was there, just not behaving.  Battery to a remote. Remote to a signal, signal to a release.  The build-up was immense, planning to blow the whole place… probably the vaults too.


    [jojo]Laisser les bons temps rouler,[/jojo] voice quipped, without a lick of stress or panic as his eyes moved over the door and touchpad.  [jojo]Got your order filled.  In the back near the test range.  In case I ain’t there when you swing by.[/jojo]


    Cough corrupted saying anything else.  It was an oddly placed thing to say, yet calm.  It was clear he didn’t intend on opening just one door to save one person, or the other he was unaware was in there with her.  Concentration and focus to the likes of which he’d never attempted had consequences he knew a lot about.  He could end up killing them all, himself, or giving them a helluva suntan.  He had to keep it focused.  Ah well.  No time like the present.


    Breath oozed out, a rush of needled waves moving  down his arms, into his palms and blossoming outward into the door, click almost instant through the conduits, magnetic as they struck each trigger to rifle through signals and keep moving, locks snapped open in a ripple outward from his position- including the one on the north side of the building where people were clustered.  Inhale was sharp as his brain slammed a wall, like an aluminum bat to the back of his skull, both palms to his eyes bringing a lick of staggered coughing and a prolific dribble of something dark from his nose.  Dark, eyes blinking to regain normal vision that wasn’t quite accurate.  Coat was snatched from the floor, missing the first time.  Perception was off, the world… was off, ebbed, warped.  Feet didn’t feel like they were touching the ground, but the door handle turned, and he pulled it open- still holding the coat to his nose to block out the soot.  Nod was quick to her companion.


    [jojo]Ya’ll throw one helluva party,[/jojo] he quipped quietly, flinching slightly from falling debris, knowing exactly which way to return outside. He felt like his head was going to explode, maybe it was…

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    • 2 weeks later...

    What the fuck….


    Even as she banged on the door, she had begun to flush her power active once more, the map in her head flooding to life only to wince at the surge behind the steel door. The very air was fractured with life on the other side. She knew Josef had abilities of power but had not seen them engaged before. Beyond the steel, his form was surrounded by air that crackled with vibrant lines of substance that she recognized as engaged power. That he was altered was something she had not bothered to share with Gaspari, nor any of the rest of the family for that matter.




    [jojo] Things are going to go haywire for a minute, sorry ‘bout that. Don’t touch the door, anything metal… until I tell you to.[/jojo]




    The whole fucking kitchen was metal cabinets and floors to allow for industrial cooking and cleaning! She didn’t have time to stop him as the power had already begun to move. Form spun and bolted over a metal counter, hand grabbing Gaspari on the head and yanking him over to the sink where the rubber mat sat on the floor, ensuring they were both standing on it as she shoved the mack-truck of a man down into a crouch, her own form over top


    [jojo] Laisser les bons temps rouler, Got your order filled. In the back near the test range. In case I ain’t there when you swing by.[/jojo]


    Sensitive ears heard the words clearly, a snarl from her own lips in response.


    [derrick]…blow us up and I promise I will come back from hell to get you.[/derrick]


    What the fuck was he doing talking like he was going to die for them. Long fingers slapped the top of Gaspari's head as the massive chest had begun to rumble with a fairly loud chuckle, her boss had her pegged already as having a bit of a fling going on with the ammo guy.


    Great. Now she had a reputation. Well… she always had had one. It just usually involved terms like "cold"…"bitch"… "work-a-holic" and "obsessive".


    There was a scream on the air that likely only she heard. His power was racing through the building not just through their door.




    Arms tightened over Gaspari's head to protect from the immense static that began to jump through the air, she could damn well feel the current hum through the giant metal box they were crouching in. They were going to die…. that’s all there was to it.


    And then…. it was over. Almost anticlimactic as there was no explosion or fireball blaze. But as she stood, hand grazed the metal counter and the shock was enough to throw her back, thick tail of mahogany fraying out into electrified frizz down her back.


    [derrick]Son'uva bitch![/derrick]


    The rich laughter drew a nasty scowl from sightless orbs at her boss as the door was pushed open and an unsteady arms dealer made his way inside, head turning to push her sight past the man, analyzing the casino beyond to help distract her a moment.


    [jojo]Ya'll throw one helluva party.[/jojo]


    [npc]…I like to think so.[/npc]


    Frown snapped back to the head of Bakkhos with a disapproving look before stalking over to Josef, bloody fingers grabbing the front of his shirt, something unsteady in her stance, she had been worried about him, more than she had realized until it was all over. When had she started worrying about him?


    [derrick]…what do you think you were doing!...[/derrick]


    The headliner was oblivious that she was "naked" before him, her secret no longer her own. The glasses had been destroyed long ago and she had not put in her contacts leaving him face to face with haunting white orbs, gray pupils refusing to dilate in the burn of firelight behind him and yet they held an unnerving accuracy as they "glared" into his own eyes, brow furled over.


    [derrick]"In case I ain’t there when you swing by.."… just what the fuck kinda talk is that….[/derrick]


    [npc]Gray!... lovers spat later… I need eyes on the casino[/npc]


    His large form brushed past her as he spoke. Instantly the cheeks flushed deep crimson. She hadn't so much as had a one night stand in the six years that she had been taken into the family, and now, under doom of potential death and destruction, she was being teased for having a…a…a damn boyfriend!


    Hmph was soft as she turned, fingers remaining tangled a second longer than they should to tug Josef along after her as she began to stride after Gaspari, releasing and letting a gentle slide of fingertips move down his chest in a tenderness she would deny ever happened if asked.


    She drew up beside Gaspari at the opening to the main casino floor.


    Good god. Debris was raining down and parts of the second story were collapsing even as they stood there. Expression grew cold and professional as the brow creased, her map pushed outward as she began to call off information.


    [derrick]….got bodies in the restaurant, crowded at northwest corner. Rear exit has collapsed near the bowling alley, none alive back there. Rooftop pool is leaking into the offices and looks like it will break through any moment.[/derrick]


    Growl was tight in her chest as she yanked him to the left as she caught the movement above that betrayed one of the plaster medallions crashing to the floor where they had been standing before. She was pushing out hard, her shield had been used twice and now the map was taking its toll, crimson moisture seeping over her upper lip.


    [derrick]…place is coming down Gaspari. We need to go…. now.[/derrick]


    She turned a shoulder, realigning her map to be sure she knew precisely where Josef was.


    Fuck. The whole damn casino was coming down.

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    If he wasn’t concerned about frying his brain, he would have chuckled.  He was trained, not just some fizz fuzz rogue that spent their days dreaming of bigger things and were a general menace to themselves and others.  He knew the exact limits, which ones to push, which ones to not… maybe she was right to be a bit concerned. Nah, they’d be okay.  It wasn’t like he was going to electrify them or anything, just a little shock, a crackle... a hum.  Metal tended to spark, he was after all a human microwave.

    "…blow us up and I promise I will come back from hell to get you."

    That did bring a chuckle.


    [jojo]Don’t worry darlin’ not you I’m worried about,[/jojo] it was under his breath.  He wished he could describe what it was like for the coiled energy to leave his body and move through something else… the sensation had been unnerving at first to master simply for that reason.  He’d meant to do more, unable, out of practice maybe- the reaction to him pushing the door open brought the jacket down from his mouth and nose to quirk a smile and steal some of the better air in the place.  The smell of plastic was intense, if this was better air… they were all screwed. 


    Back of his hand came up to wipe away the trickle from his nose.  His ears itched, he’d done some damage, blinking upward at the slight overtake in his height.

    "…what do you think you were doing!..."

    Blink was profound.


    [jojo]I –was- betting on the ponies.[/jojo]


    He blinked at them both again, first her companion, then her anger- the odd color of her eyes not lost on him.  Well, ain’t that a daisy. 


    ""In case I ain’t there when you swing by.."… just what the fuck kinda talk is that…."

    •npc• "Gray!... lovers spat later… I need eyes on the casino"

    He’d been accused of much worse while travelling the world.  Long lashes blinked down at the tug to follow toward the man he could only assume was the one in need of his wares.  Brow quirked at her lingering fingers, putting his jacket back up to his mouth to stifle a cough.  They needed to go, now.  The place was unstable before he decided to waltz in and join the party.

    "….got bodies in the restaurant, crowded at northwest corner.”


    [jojo]I just unlocked it, they can get out…[/jojo]


    “Rear exit has collapsed near the bowling alley, none alive back there. Rooftop pool is leaking into the offices and looks like it will break through any moment."

    He knew all these things.. eyes snapping upward to step back from the same piece that she had shoved her friend out of the way of.  He looked up, unsure why, residual magnetics perhaps bouncing through the metal of the place catching his attention.  Senses bounced upward, the crush of mass rebounding his signal back down on him with frightening speed.


    [jojo]It’s coming down now…[/jojo] words were slightly breathless a split second before the groan erupted.  [jojo]Go NOW![/jojo] it was instinct, grabbing both of their arms to push them toward the door he had come through.  They weren’t going to make it, aw hell…  He could buy a few extra seconds, at least, fingers letting go long enough to focus the forbidden into his palms with intent to push it toward the roof.  He was probably going to die anyway, what was a little explosion upward between friends?  The world was coming down, he could vaporize it completely… problem solved… at least he thought he could, he’d done it once, sort of…  that was the plan.  Vaporize the water, keep the weight from hitting below... buy them seconds to get out.  He could also accidentally irradiate the whole city block- which was not the plan.  Either way, they were pretty fucked.

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    [walker] Cousin Itt? [/walker] Alec feigned offense at Cassandra's reply to his bit of teasing. [walker] I'm nowhere near that hairy... am I?[/walker]


    The mage couldn't help but smile at the camaraderie between his fellow magi. 


    Cass was asking him to stay and help with evacuation. Noble, but he had some objections.


    [walker]You do realize the smoke would kill me, right?[/walker] Creased brow was pinched between thumb and forefinger. [walker] Not like I've got any of them fancy physical spells. [/walker] 



    A pause before he spoke again. [walker] OK. Battle plan: Kelly. Grab a gas mask and a radio. start gathering survivors inside and helping them get towards the exit. Don't put yourself at risk unnecessarily. [/walker] The cogs in Alec's brain were spinning as fast as they could. Kelly, at top speed, could make sure everyone in the building was easily evacuable. She was impulsive, though, and if someone was trapped, she might try and free them without checking to see if the entrapment was actually supporting the building. [walker]If someone's trapped, radio in. [/walker]


    The southerner gave a pause for a moment. [walker] Cass, You'll be secondary extraction here. If Kelly finds someone trapped, you go in with the team, make sure freeing them doesn't bring down the roof, and get out. [/walker] The fewer ARMA personnel were put at risk, the better he felt. Kelly and Cassandra could handle themselves.


    [walker] Morrigan, they'll need help with Triage. I know you'll probably just do whatever feels best, but that's where I think the rescue effort is weakest. [/walker] 


    Alec looked over the little team. [walker]I'll be finding whoever did this shit, and making sure their bosses regret ever meddling with this city.[/walker] That came across a little more badass and self-assured than he'd intended, but whatever. The explosions were the work of nothing less than a sick, twisted little fuck, too cowardly to fight his enemies head-on. Alec didn't like cowards and snakes.

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    [cassg]If you don't shave soon you might be.[/cassg] Ah, lightheartedness was a good way to keep from getting overwhelemed. She could feel a bit of trembling setting in with her hands as her nerves became frazzled, but she tamped that down as quickly as possible and hoped that Alec didn't read it in her eyes.


    The approach of Morrigan was a good distraction and one that didn't go unnoticed. Not just by her, but also by those standing around them. It was hard not to notice a woman who arrived in the manner that she did.


    [cassg]Could've been better. Wasn't counting on a case investigation being interrupted by bombings.[/cassg]


    Clearly, none of them had been expecting something of this nature. There hadn't been any pre-warning nor was anyone jumping to lay claim to the destruction yet. The latter part was the most unusual part. While she didn't have much experience in this area, only what she'd learned since joining ARMA, certain books had taught her that things like taking claim for attacks was a big deal. As she was about to mention to Morrigan what had been decided as far as handling the situation, Alec put on his big boy pants and took charge; pulling rank on those around him. Cassandra raised a brow in amusement, but didn't argue or dispute the wisdom of him leading. He did have more experience.


    Nodding, she gave a mock salute, [cassg]Aye, aye![/cassg]


    Not wanting to interrupt, she waited until he was done speaking to approach Alec. Hand reaching up to squeeze at one of his bulky arms.


    [cassg]You might not be able to breathe smoke, but those well-muscled arms can lift the injured. I see a lot of them laying outside.[/cassg] One brow arching, she glanced around at their surroundings and then back at him before adding, [cassg]Plus, you might be able to get some useful information from their minds. Never know what they saw.[/cassg]


    Patting his arm, Cassandra motioned for Morrigan to follow her as she turned serious now. A glance thrown to Kelly quickly.


    [cassg]Do not do anything that seems risky. If you're not sure how sound a structure is let me know. I'm going to call HQ and see if they can divert some help this way.[/cassg] Attention was turned to Morrigan now, [cassg]You should try to get those field clinics under control. I'll ask HQ if they can see how long until emergency personnel starts showing up. City workers should be coming. If you need my help, let me know, but I'll mostly be helping to get people over there for medical attention.[/cassg]


    Contemplating that a minute, another thought came to her and she looked at them all before adding quickly, [cassg]With this happening that means everyone who comes to help isn't necessarily going to be ARMA. That means we might get some Vanguard or Order people assisting us. We will be civil and professional the entire time.[/cassg]


    Alec did outrank her, but that was an order she was going to give whether he agreed or not. There wasn't going to be any making ARMA look bad in a situation this horrific. All they needed was publicity that made them look bad and made one of those other organizations look good. Drawing a breath now, she drew close to Alec again, [cassg]Let me know if you find anything? Don't just wander off chasing clues. . . or the bad guy if you find one of them. We have to be cautious.[/cassg]


    There was a feeling in Cassandra's gut that made her uneasy. She couldn't put her finger on it though.


    Looking around at all of them, she gave them all a smile and stated, [cassg]Be careful. I don't want any of you taking unnecessary risks or getting hurt. Otherwise, I'll kick your ass.[/cassg]


    And then she moved off to start making calls while one hand directed people toward the safe areas. Hopefully ARMA HQ could get people this way as soon as possible. Help was definitely needed. In the distance she could hear sirens and see lights alerting everyone that emergency personnel were coming. That was an upside at least.

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    ….betting on the ponies. There was a huffed grumble under her breath as she exited the kitchen. Smart ass.


    [jojo]I just unlocked it, they can get out…[/jojo]


    There was only a faint nod that acknowledged his comment as she continued her report. White ants were blasting in random patterns through her map as smoke refracted the internal radar into shattered prisms of indecipherable information that only drove her to push harder on the gift, the flow of crimson increasing over her lip as she snarled softly. She couldn’t locate Lucky back, she wanted to say with certainty if he was safe but her reach was insufficient.


    [derrick]…hard to be sure but looks like bottom floor survivors are all out in the parkinglot and…[/derrick][jojo]It's coming down now….[/jojo][derrick]…ya… I know tha….[/derrick][jojo]Go NOW![/jojo]


    Lips were about to snap at him when the wind whooshed out of her lungs, forced out by a steely arm that snapped around her torso and hoisted her off her feet. Oh fuck!


    She was not aware of the fact that Gaspari's other arm had snatched Josef around his waist, interrupting his focus as he was all but lifted with her; she was too busy feeling the world fall away as the head of Bakkhos phased them all out of sync with the world to dodge around an interior wall and then through three feet of concrete exterior structure before emerging out of the casino through the wall of the east side of the building.


    The snap and eruption of fracturing beams was thundering through the casino as floors began to collapse on one another. The patrons trapped in their hotel rooms above were doomed to fall as the building began to black hole in on itself.


    But the one who heard all, this time heard nothing. Her world was torn in shredded bile and violent seizure. For one who only existed in the world of taste, sound, touch and sixth sense; who didn’t understand the snuff out of the world with the closing of one's eyes; existing through the phase was hell itself. To do it twice so close together while her body was battered and bleeding was death personified. Unbeknownst to herself, feet touched the ground and the moment the grip around her torso released knees buckled unable to feel her own presence in the world.


    Hands barely caught her from dropping a cheek on the asphalt, only to be rewarded by the curl of muscle in her gut constricting and violently thrusting to spew what little liquid was hiding in her stomach over the innocent leather shoes of her graveyard partner in crime.


    Gasps for air were pained as she sought to find up and down once more in the land of the living.


    [derrick]….I hate you….[/derrick]


    Features were green as she pushed to her knees on trembling arms, the chuckle of the Bakkhos head was tight in his chest, the dark wary eyes were watching the implosion of his casino with a vicious hostility.


    Heads would roll.

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    Morrigan looked over at Alec as he started handing out orders. Well, at least she remembered his face; who knows what sort of reception some no-name person giving orders would have received. The only thing that made taking orders from people younger than her was their complete familiarity with the world around them. While she spent some time learning more about their world, the Mage spent the majority of it researching matters of magic and not the mundane. She'd made progress -- like knowing how to 'drive,' so to say -- but there were always situations that still didn't make sense from the perspective of an outsider.


    But triage? The golden rings of her eyes slid to the side to regard the man as he suggested her role in current affairs.


    Even Cassandra seemed to support the idea, however, which stilled any sharp-tongued remarks. If they insisted, but Morrigan would need them to be aware of two facts before they went their own ways. "As you say, however if you encounter a difficult obstacle, know I am skilled in fashioning a shield against the elements." Not one they could just carry about like a Knight in Shining Armor, they'd need to take her with them. Still, pertinent information if someone found themselves surrounded by fire, or needed to pass through an obstructed hallway.


    She stepped off to the side and twirled her staff overhead briefly before it whipped down, nestled between her right arm and side. Morrigan's left hand extended toward a building nearby, "Come." The face of the building cracked in a Humanoid shape before a creature of concrete and metal stepped out onto the street. Usually her stoic companion was much larger, but in this case she had focused on a Human-sized version so it could fit through the doors and that its weight would not be grossly above and beyond that of the Humans treading fragile ground.


    The Mage turned to look back at Cassandra as the golem-like creature approached. "Tis fine for you to delve into the blaze, but take him with. Should the ceiling begin to collapse his strength may well prove useful." If they did keep her outside to help in establishing a refuge for the wounded, Morrigan would at least do what she could to enable Cassandra's survival.


    With a slight nod, Morrigan accepted Cassandra's threat of bodily harm. The woman had better remember the same would be true if she ended up injured from endeavoring to perform too great a feat without assistance. As they began to 'mobilize,' her hand patted the arm of her stony companion. "Do whatever she commands, but keep her safe."


    As she started off in the direction of the 'field clinics,' Morrigan twirled the staff until she slid it back into place behind her.


    When she arrived on the scene of the jumbled mess, Morrigan stopped to behold the disharmony of voices trying to piece supplies together. After a second she stepped forward and call out, "Tis no need to move further away. A shield contains the mayhem. Set up all the cots in a grid over there," Morrigan pointed to the opposite side of the street from the conflagration. "The supplies here," in the left lane of the street. "Keep the rear clear for your medical services personnel to arrive."


    "We won't have nearly enough cots for all the wounded," one of the volunteers shouted, flustered by the preceding confusion.


    "Then you will lay them on the street and prop their heads up with pillows or rolled up shirts, if need be, but twill be done in an orderly fashion. You will not be struggling to avoid stepping on those you seek to treat because you fail to plan accordingly," Morrigan replied sharply not just to him but all those present. It would be all too easy to just 'pile' people together because everyone was in a hurry. And if an attendant tripped on an unexpected body, fell, and broke supplies or their own frail selves? No, she would not have them juggling their own safety while trying so hard to ensure that of others.


    Speaking of the condition of their cots, however, "What do we have by way of bedding?" Laying people on the street might become necessary, but it would be better if they even had blankets or some sort of insulating material.

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    A lone figure jerked awake, their eyes darting open as they gasped for air.  They breathed in their fill, and coughed it back up immediately as it was laced with soot and smoke.  Dark irises jerked left and right to take in all the sights they could, to reaffirm the situation.  As things began to return to them, their heart began to race uncontrollably.  Once, twice, three attempts at standing up from their sprawled position on the rubble cluttered floor finally resulted in him giving up and simply laying back down.


    "Wha... what's going... on...ow."  muttered Wesley as he placed an open palm over his throbbing temple.  His throbbing, blood soaked temple.  Immediately he withdrew the hand and winced while hissing like a sunlight bathed vampire.  "Ffffuuuudge.  Crap."  Wesley started retracing his steps mentally, which took an insane amount of effort considering the fire in his lungs and the aching in his cranium. 


    Before the boom


    Wesley was called to once again to give his older brother Kyle a ride home as his designated driver, this time at a casino rather than a close by bar or club.  Kyle was especially worthless after a few Crown and Cokes, which made him an even worse gambler than usual.  Rather than let his brother spend his half of the rent on booze Wes showed up earlier than they agreed upon, only for him to witness the explosion before he got to the door.  Shockwaves and searing heat caused the windshield of his car to splinter and explode even across the street where Wesley parked.


    Of course, frightened for his brother's life as well as the lives of those inside of the casino, the magus shook the glass from his clothes, threw caution to the wind and ran toward the storm of flame.  Next, as if it were little more than tissue paper in his way Wesley activated his ferrokinesis to grab hold of the rebar inside of one of the nearest walls.  A bit of extra effort allowed him to crumple the concrete around them and spread open a fireless entrance.  His forearm covered his face as he stepped through, moving it only to call out for those who need help.  It was an image he wasn't ready to see.  Anyone that was already covered in flames lay motionless while also missing limbs.  Lost causes in Wesley's eyes. 


    A quick scan of the building (though difficult due to the lack of focus he could apply in his state of duress) let Wesley know immediately which metallic constructs were nearing their breaking point.  He made sure to strengthen them as need be, but his spells were activated in rapid succession, over and over, and they were taking their toll.  By the time he could hear sirens in the distance he was nearly exhausted.  A few civilians escaped the building, though they were all from the lower floor, and the rubble from the rooftop caving in closed off exits that lead to the lower floors, so the few screaming for help up above were trapped.  Wesley wasn't an earth magus, so removing the boulders with ease wasn't possible.  Explosions went off around Wesley from other machines being engulfed by flames, and one particularly large explosion shook loose some of the overhead lighting and more concrete.  If it hit it would likely take out the entirety of the right-most side of the top floor, causing the huddled up civilians to tumble over into the blazing floor below.  It would probably be the last thing Wesley ever did, but he had to do something.


    Lacking any actual high rank spell specially designed for the situation, Wesley could only super charge one of his lower ranked spells and hope for the best.  With more effort than he had ever placed into a spell before, everything around Wesley of metal make pulled into a floating collective.  Light fixtures, coin currency from slot machines, overturned and burning metallic furniture, even an actual kitchen sink.  It was enough metal to make a dome as huge as a mini van.  The magus knew he didn't have the strength to simply hold the dome above collecting thousands of pounds of rubble, but it would've held off some of it.  And it did.  It sounded like a kitchen full of metal pots and pans falling in the street, but by aiming the dome in a certain way, most of the stone tumbled down the slope and off it's edge, causing a lot of it to fall onto the flames below, resulting in a big hill of broken wall and floor clutter.  It was like throwing sand onto a fireplace, smothering a lot of the tongues of flame in the process.  Climbing down from the edge of the upper floor balconies was a possibility now, but before anyone could attempt it Wesley's metallic dome imploded, lacking the strength to remain floating, or the mana to be strengthened due to Wesley over exerting himself.


    Chunks of boulders accompanied the crumpling metal dome, and Wesley as simply too tired to run.  He weakly held his hands above him to push away some of it to avoid a crushing death.  As he did so his muscles screamed and his nose began a steady bleed; evidence of him straining his mind beyond safe levels.  It was to no avail as he only managed to push away some of the falling debris before he felt a solid blow hit his head. 




    Now that Wesley remembered how he got on the floor in a burning building it was time to get back to work.  Looking above he could see that those up above managed to drop down unassisted.  That was good.  With strengthened resolve the magus attempted to sit up again, this time, resulting in a sharp pain in his lower abdomen.  He looked down to see a huge chunk of rebar protruding from his stomach.  "Oh... oh god..."  he stammered while gripping hold of the 6 or so inches of metal jutting from the leftmost side of his belly button.  He tried to sit up, only eliciting a scream and a gurgling sound from blood spurting out onto his shirt.  He tried hard to decompose the metal so that it's soft enough to simply snap loose.  And it wasn't working.  There was nothing left in the tank.  Nothing he could do to escape.  He was done.  Even if he could push further and run on mana fumes, Wesley's head was spinning from the glancing blow he took from the falling floor.  He lacked the focus necessary for even a cantrip.  And none of the people from the upper floor could reach him once they got down apparently.  None were there when Wesley woke up after all.


    Wesley called out to anyone nearby as loud as he could, which wasn't too loud at all.  He was weak and couldn't fill his lungs with enough air to scream.  He was also now surrounded by stone and metal, making the odds of spotting him through normal means unlikely.  Beyond the roar of flames one thing he could hear definitely was the creaking of more of the building falling from different areas, as well as someone calling out for anyone that could need help.  He kept calling out, hoping someone would wander close enough to hear him.

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    Blood boiled.  Burning, scorching, needles against the underside of his skin and firing through the muscles that were building a vicious sunburn of inner power to release against the unthinkable.  The world around him felt of fire, licking at flesh and bone- his last words to tell them to leave drowned out in his own ears by the thunder of the building collapsing around them.  Loss of grip on the world signaled the damage he’d suspected he’d done to himself.  He would give his life for several seconds more of people able to escape.   It was worth it, right?  That’s what he’d always vowed to do, give someone else a chance, once he’d learned what he would be used for if he’d stayed with the Order… the decision was an easy one to make.  A split second before he released the blistering power, it was gone…  Everything.  Gone.  Sound, light, sensation- the feeling of floating so all-encompassing it was welcomed like a lazy awakening on a Sunday morning.


    Was this death?  Without feeling or pain.  Quiet.  Oblivion?  A painless end to the world?


    It couldn’t be.


    Sunday mornings didn’t have the taste of blood lingering on his palette like a reverse echo, tickling thick in the back of his throat after being pulled away only to bounce back toward life with greater fury.  Sinuses heavy.  Eyes burning, a warp to soft sounds that were so very far away. The scent of blood, bile, ash… concrete that rushed up to meet his cheek and bounce his skull, unaware what had happened, his muscles had given out completely and he was prone on the ground.  Body throbbing like a heartbeat.  He didn’t move, couldn’t move.  So much power curdled, snatched away in an instant, had left him completely unresponsive and trapped in his own unconsciousness.  He wasn’t breathing, the burn in his lungs a nightmare where he was desperate to scream and couldn’t mutter a sound.

    "….I hate you…."

    The words didn’t register. The voice did, intelligent thought latching onto the sound at the end of the tunnel, trying to find his skin, attempting to refill the husk of a body with the being that was still struggling to find exist.  He was dead.  What the hell had happened?  Too exhausted to take a breath, too tired to move.  He could be dead if he was still thinking couldn't he?  Third time was the charm, the first two there was oblivion until he woke up in a hospital, soul had stayed with the body.  His was now conscious… beyond himself, a twinkle of movement from the charms at his wrist flicking attention back to his physical form.


    He wasn’t afraid of death.  He was more afraid of what would linger in purgatory with him- all the superstitions of the world, sudden inhale from a still form on the concrete bringing an immense amount of pain and disorientation.  Still, he didn’t move, finding a rhythm to the breath that his body was desperate for.  Sounds remained extremely far away, a slow movement to each finger confirming he was indeed in one piece.  Toes flexed gently in each shoe, laying there.  If he was alive… the others were too, the voice he’d heard was Mason, the laughter- her companion.  Either she hated him… she had been pretty pissed…. or her boss- which would explain why they were outside instead of standing in the middle of a casino with a vaporized roof of his doing.


    He’d seen them before in infrared falling through the floors.  He was a smart kid, he put two and two together.


    [jojo]…feel like the pavement of Bourbon and Canal after Mardi Gras… [/jojo] it was a voice, barely there.  A prickle in both ears, blood.  At least he could talk, not bothering to try and push himself up.  Lashes parted slightly, the light eyes seeing nothing.  Some light, but mostly a hazy fog wrapped his vision in an oppressive nothingness.  He wished he could say it hadn’t happened before, each time as equally terrifying.


    He managed to push himself up and roll over to a sitting position, the heavy nausea taking much too long to push through.  Knees came up, but he lay back down on the street, too exhausted for anything else….trying to give himself a moment to determine how bad the damage was.  For the moment, he could feel nothing.  No sensory, hearing compromised to a warped throb, and vision… was gone. Temporary?  He had no idea.


    [jojo]…ya’ll all right?[/jojo]  voice didn’t hold the usual lick of warm oblivion.  It was quiet, and concerned, buying himself sometime to figure out what to do with himself.


    What a party.

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    On Cassie’s request, Kelly stayed back. She didn’t want to act her rank, but she also wanted to make Cassie’s life easier. Having to worry about her probably wasn’t the world’s best business move.


    But, crap, she had to do something, so as Cassie and Alec gave the orders, Kelly bounced for the mask and rushed inside, using a whole mess of mana to turn herself into what amounted to a lightning quick wrecking ball, smashing into the burning building at high speed. Her strength would protect her for the moment, which was all that she needed.


    It was hot, and the smoke was tough. Luckily, she had on her lucky pair of goggles and enchanted jacket, allowing her to both be safe from burns and not screw her eyes up due to the fire.


    She didn’t hear anything for a moment, until the sounds of yelling hit his ears. It sounded like…


    [Kelly]WESLEY[/Kelly] She screamed out, running to where she heard the little idiot.


    She almost gagged on the scene. Holy fuck. [Kelly]Holy fuck. Don’t. Move.[/Kelly] She coughed out, going to where the rebar was. [Kelly]Dude. Don’t fucking move, we can’t take the rebar out since it’s keeping you alive right now. I have to break it off the ground.[/Kelly] Putting a good amount of strength into her foot, she stomped at the base of the metal, snapping it off the ground. [Kelly]Alright. I’m going to pick you up now. Is that okay. We don’t have much time, so I just need you to brace for it, because this is going to suck.[/Kelly]

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    Wesley squinted through the smoke, trying his hardest to actually care about what was going on around him despite the feeling of his life seeping from his person.  Whoever it was likely didn't have a saw to grind away the bar piercing through him.  They probably didn't have the physical strength to jerk him off of the peg left over and then hoist him above their shoulders to carry him out of the casino.  It was then that he heard a voice that sounded familiar and saw a vibrant blur streak through the miasma of soot and smoke to his position.  He had to close his eyes from the dust and debris kicked up by the pitter patter of light speed feet blowing things away, or rather pulling them along with her momentum.


    It was Kelly.


    Wesley forced a bit of a smile, thankful that he wasn't going to die alone.  Kelly would speak to him about how brave he was and how manly rushing into a burning building looked; throwing caution to the wind for the sake of others.  And she would smile and hold his hand as he faded off into the nether and became a cloud silhouette in the stars like Mufasa.  And  Alec would look on high and pour out a swig of cognac to Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard" once a year for his birthday while reminiscing on the good times with the only man he ever loved. 


    This was a good death. 


    Wesley maintained his smile and attempted to greet Kelly.  Except she wasn't smiling.  She was gagging.  Was it really that bad?  A quick glance downward shattered Wesley's original notion that it wasn't.  Kelly called out to him and he barely spoke up enough for her to hear him due to the weakness in his lungs.  He couldn't object to having the bar snapped off even though he expected the vibration from the movement to rock his bones painfully, so he grit his teeth tightly.  It was painful, but he didn't suffer any greater injuries.  He groaned as his eyes rolled behind clenched lids until the pain subsided to a more acceptable level.  From "dear god please kill me now" to "just let me die already".


    Wesley was sure that with the greater experience on the field Kelly had, she had seen more gory scenes than the one he was a part of right now.  Some of them she likely was responsible for.  Still, she reacted as if this was something new to her.  So Wesley did his best, even while gripped with pain, to joke away the direness of his plight.  "Hey... just what I need, a speedster!"  Wesley called out in between coughing fits.  "Look, you don't have much time: head back to HQ and delete my internet search history!  There are things I don't want my parents finding when I'm gone.  Though... you're gonna want to not look at the screen while doing so." 


    When the spritely speed demon told him the game plan he silently balked at the thought of being carried by a girl, but there were a select few times when being emasculated was preferable to death.  A very select few.  This was one of them.  He grit his teeth and stifled a heart wrenchingly terrifying moan from his organs shifting while being picked up, but after recovering what little bit of oxygen he could, he started back with the jokes, more for her sake than his own... though to both their benefit as neither wanted to accept what was happening, most likely.  And the jokes distanced them from the severity.  "Listen, this is extremely important Kelly I...I don't want to die... a virgin.  I feel like I've got a good five... six minutes in me before I give up the ghost, and I'd hate to see this thing go to waste." said Wesley in the most sincere, non-joking manner possible in order to sell the joke even more.  He glanced down at his pants at a make-believe hard on.  Perfect comedic timing even while near death.  THIS was how he wanted to be remembered.  I mean, she wouldn't beat up a guy on his death bed would she?  What was it about near-death experiences that made people think they had nothing to lose?  Perhaps the fact that they were about to lose everything in a short amount of time.  It was also especially funny how people became less shy and unlikely to share their opinions when they knew whatever words were coming out of their mouth at the time were going to be their last.


    Which in hindsight made Wesley regret deciding to go with inappropriate sexual charged jokes.  Oh well.  He'd do better next time. 


    Before the blood-soaked magus could make more snarky remarks to play down the gravity of the situation (like the hero in any story would do), his heart sank and he remembered immediately that now that he was likely not going to die, he would have to live with the thought that his brother may not be so lucky.  Wesley fell silent and his face paled from the realization.  How could he forget?  How could he be joking like this when his brother was somewhere un accounted for?


    "...put me down.  We have to find my brother!"  Wesley was in no position to walk, and there was no telling how much longer the casino would hold.  What he was saying was nonsense, but he couldn't help it. 

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    People were going about their assignments now. That was ideal given the situation at hand. However, Kelly had zoomed in so quick that it left Cassandra feeling a little worried. Having Morrigan on Triage duty instead of helping with the building might not seem perfect, but given the woman's skill with wards and shields it made a great deal of sense. Not to mention she had some know-how with healing, to an extent, if ingredients were on hand. She'd be able to boss some people into getting her some necessary items if the healer's didn't bring them. They didn't have many healers, and the ones they did were on hand at the first scene, but they had a couple lower level ones and people that had secondary healing abilities on the way that'd suffice when used in conjunction with the aid sent from nearby hospitals and other organizations. Cassandra had already gritted her teeth to talk with someone from the Order who was there helping to organize some things. It'd taken all her willpower, but she'd put the personal aside for now. Luckily it was a short conversation.


    It was around ten minutes after Kelly had zoomed her way into the building that Cassandra became worried. The speedy magus was supposed to radio if help was needed. Yet radio silence was happening and she should've come out by now. Looking around for Alec, she didn't spot him in the thick of it and figured he might be off investigating. Hopefully it wasn't fruitless like she suspected. Taking a breath, she motioned for someone else to help aid those being brought out the front. This building was not in great condition; it had suffered a good deal of damage and was precariously leaning, and they were trying to move people out as expediently as possible. It was not easy.


    Bringing her radio up to her mouth, she pressed the button and spoke in a firm tone, [cassg]Kelly.[/cassg] She knew that Alistair would chide her for not using the code names, but she wasn't that great at remembering them, [cassg]Kelly, what did you find?[/cassg]


    The young woman could be headstrong. She didn't want her just flying through the building without consideration for the condition of the structure or the state of the fire inside. Working as a team was important in any situation, but this one without a doubt. If they weren't cautious more lives could be lost including their own.

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    • RESONANCE - 18+ 3/3/3

      • A modern/fantasy, intermediate+ collaborative writer's rp. Caters to an experienced player base (25+) with a slower, more relaxed pace.

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