The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #331
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Ice Devil Dimension

    "Very well." Tethrik beckons towards the ice devil. Hopefully they can get out before the big one realizes he was tricked, then dispose of his messenger.

    Pontius' Custom Constructs - Closing Time

    Sekhmet walks away as well. She needs to get ready. Her own worries are similar but not quite the same. Did she wash that dress? If not, what could she wear? What if that's not fancy enough for the restaurant? What if she accidentally does something wrong? What if he doesn't show up? What if the food is too expensive? What if she can't find anything to talk about? What if he's actually a creep? What if she makes a mistake and he never speaks to her again? Stars, help get this right!
    Last edited by bc56; 2019-06-03 at 09:12 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #332
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [An Alleyway After Dark]

    Something's wrong here - Alice can feel it in her gut. but the question is... does she keep going, and risk being found out?

    Can't risk it. You barely have a handle on yourself, the inner voice drawls, Focus on what you followed this prick for in the first place.

    She steels herself, and the blue-haired shapeshifter may hear her hand separate into its component parts. This was one of the things she'd practiced - after her brush with death, one of the things at the forefront of her mind was figuring out how to defend herself. That led to the discovery of a splorching awful transformation of her arm as the meat pulled away, and the bone resettled itself in a long curved blade similar to a falchion coming out of her elbow.

    It's a quiet thing. He knows she's there. She knows he knows. But it's doubtful that he'll do anything to truly stop her when she tries to shove the blade into his neck.
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  3. - Top - End - #333
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [An Alleyway After Dark]

    The man does stop further into the alley, as Alice begins to make her move, quirking his head.
    But it's not because of the sound of her arm pulling itself apart and weaponizing.

    He's sniffing the air.
    He smells...something that shouldn't be here.
    Feeling.

    But then Alice's blade-arm sinks through his neck, before he can actually turn around, casually tearing through flesh, artery, scraping against the bone of his spine.

    Feeling.

    Alice gets a whiff of something weirdly spicy in that static in the back of her head, which some part of her will identify as abject hatred. Maybe she isn't paying attention to that part of her, maybe its been vomited into the gutter with the rest of her goo.
    But it's there.

    The bones of his spine crack and splinter, breaking apart into a jagged arrangement of claws aimed to lock her blade-arm into place while the man's arms do their job. Their job, namely, is breaking backwards in their sockets, and flying back towards Alice's head in a fashion more akin to spindly insect legs than a human's limbs. They even have little gripping spikes protruding from the ends and joints, that he's going to being smashing into her head.

    Assuming she doesn't move, of course.
    He would rather she didn't, so he can hold her in place and eat her.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  4. - Top - End - #334
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Industrial Strength Investigation]

    Michalson's group travels for the better part of an hour, following the trail, which slowly grows larger as they get deeper into the forest. The ominous feeling that the miasma creates grows steadily stronger, but the SWAT officers seem to be pretty good at keeping their emotions under control and doing their duty, with an extra helping of caution, perhaps, though. Finally, the trail emerges into a clearing, and Michalson finally finds his prize. The warehouse that was taken entirely has been planted here, foundations and all, as though it was built here. There's an industrial hum coming from inside it. Clearly, someone's in there. Or perhaps something, perhaps whatever was powerful enough to move the warehouse, steal everything, and kidnap all those people. Something this size is going to need more reinforcements to clear, but the SWAT officers are looking at their radio equipment oddly. So is Misty, for that matter....
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  5. - Top - End - #335
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [An Alleyway After Dark]

    Instinct takes over in this particular instance - Alice has no formal combat training. The last time she fought someone was when she punched a kid on the jaw in grade five. She's doomed.

    But Cletus isn't.

    Alice wasn't the first victim for the skinwalker she became - a number of others died before her, but something ephemeral always kept them tamped down, destroyed their sense of self. The memories are still there however, and for the first time in a long time, they've got a sense of self. Alice's.

    Cletus Ransom was a murderer. He fought and killed and fought some more, and often enjoyed pulling people apart slowly. Of course, that was until he attacked the wrong man, and became so much biomass. now, though, he has a chance to show himself off, to get back into the fight, and a grin spreads across Alice's lips as the memories of battle flood in. She sees the attack coming, even as esoteric as it is, and bends out of the way. Part of the neat thing about shapeshifting is that you can twist yourself at downright unnatural angles, and her spine simply bends in half backwards to get herself out of the spread of projectiles, one arm dislocatedly hanging from her shoulder as the other reaches between her legs to grab the other skinwalker's ankle, and start devouring his biomass from the leg up.
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  6. - Top - End - #336
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [An Alleyway After Dark]

    The dodging isn't really the issue here. That happens sometimes.
    Or the counter attack. Those are expected.

    And usually, casually taken.

    What should have happened here is that Alice grabbed his ankle and then his ankle ate her hand. Which seems to be the opposite of what is actually happening here.

    She can feel it, on some cellular, instinctual level: as her form and his mingle, there's a sense of confused resistance. His body trying to consume her body trying to consume his body. It's a twisted oroboros of consumption that is decided by a very simple thing:

    Her will.
    While she doesn't strictly say it, Alice's biology screams a rolling cascade of "YOU ARE ME", converting everything it touches into just that.
    More of her.

    The man-monster doesn't know how to respond, it's just confused. So it does what would naturally follow and howls, splitting down his torso into a bleeding, rainbow-leaking maw of ribs-made-fangs and jerks forward to just fall on Alice.

    He doesn't understand that this is only going to accelerate his problem.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  7. - Top - End - #337
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [An Alleyway After Dark]

    Tendrils burst forth from the exposed parts of her body, even sometimes tearing through clothes to hungrily pull apart the biomass of the skinwalker that had been pretending to be a blue-haired man. Assuming nothing strange happens, she'll consume it utterly. This is immediately followed by falling over, as the human body's stability is not designed to fold completely in half like she'd done; she falls onto her chest, her legs splayed out past her head, until she painstakingly corrects her spine into a much more reasonable position.

    For a moment she lays there, breathing heavily, marveling at what she had just done. she'd beaten the... thing.

    No, a new voice in her head. It's not her own with the southern drawl this time, but rather a gruff voiced man. Cletus. You attacked sloppy, without a real plan. You knew what it could do and you nearly blew it because you didn't think your actions through.

    "Ugh. I won didn't I?"

    You got lucky. Step it up or the next one will gut you.

    "And you think you could do better?"

    Yeah, and I did, because I took over, you dumb bitch. You couldn't fight your way out of a paper bag.

    Alice just leaves her face in the dirt for a moment, and mutters to herself "I'm arguing with a voice in my head. Get it together, Alice," and she pulls herself back into a standing position. Her outfit had once been nice jeans and a tee-shirt, but are now covered in shimmering rainbow gunk. Despite everything, she felt... good. Heavy, like she'd eaten too much (which seemed appropriate, really?), but she felt amazing. No lasting injuries, and she'd won the fight.

    But that still left the thing below. The... whatever that had been calling to the other monster. She could go down there, scope it out, see what's what... and probably get herself killed. She'd gotten lucky here, and it wasn't worth it to try and go down only to get murdered for being too overconfident. But she couldn't sit by and do nothing. An inventory of what she had with her - a bobby pin, her credit card, wallet, cellphone, the remnants of her bag lunch for work today, and a lighter. That didn't leave a lot of options, but... well, it was better than nothing. It only takes her a moment of breathing in and out to decide to go through with it.

    So, rather than go down and try to be a hero with a deathwish, she instead moves out to the front of the building, and pulls out her phone to take a picture. She attaches the address to the picture with, in very large red letters, 'SHAPESHIFTING MONSTER WARNING, I'M BURNING THIS SUCKER DOWN.' She then proceeds to head up to the front porch, and uses the bag from her bag lunch as tinder for the old wood out on the porch. It's dry and old so it shouldn't have too much trouble catching fire... there.

    And after that, she sends the message to every authority around Inside that she can think of. Vigil, Intersection, Inside's fire department, GLoG, even MERC and AMEN, if she can find public email addresses for any of them.

    She then proceeds to run as fast as possible from the place where she just lit a building on fire. And given her new muscular control, that is quite fast indeed.
    Last edited by Halae; 2019-06-03 at 10:27 PM.
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  8. - Top - End - #338
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [An Alleyway After Dark]

    And so she flees, leaving flames in her wake.
    Was she afraid of fire, before? If not, some part of her sure is now. There's a primal sort of death approachs feeling from her body itself, as she gets the flames going and spreading. Some internal memory and knowledge that fire can and absolutely will kill her.
    Painfully.

    So it's an additional relief, perhaps, as she leaves it behind.

    Up until certain events happen elsewhere in the city, but not quite far enough.
    A great tower of flesh appears over a distant neighborhood, in a tangental direction to her hasty retreat. As instinctually as she knew that fire was her death, she knows that it is like her. A creature like her, like the blue-haired man.
    But more.

    And then whatever thoughts she had are greeted by a great storm, a psychic wave from that now-howling thing in the distance. A psychic wave from a god of her kind, an obedient but quiet part of the thing she's supposed to be knows.

    TO ME. CONSUME THEM. HARVEST THEM. TO ME.
    TO ME.


    This is supposed to be a psychic blender, destroying and overriding whatever thoughts and directives Alice is following. A commandment from an undeniably, almost divinely superior being.

    But then again, Alice isn't supposed to be Alice at all.
    She isn't the mindless little abomination this horror is subjugating.

    Alice has a will.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  9. - Top - End - #339
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Investigations]

    Half-Human Harley Zorzo Holly the Half-Elf has gone all the way up and down the streets of Arkham looking for any clues she could add to her notebook. Since Vigil, she hasn't made any more progress on the other shapeshifters. Likewise, she's learned a lot about nearby cultists, but not all that much about the fairies and the empowered-fire-things. The meme disease, she now knows pretty much as most other random citizens. Insect-robots? Flying gods? Still no progress. She's tired, and probably ought to go back to home base.

    Suddenly, however, she gets an alert on her phone.

    Apparently an e-mail to AMEN mentioned her, so of course it was set up to alert her. She brings up the e-mail on her snazzy phone, and...oh, wait.

    It has nothing to do with her.

    As she's about to put away the e-mail, she makes a connection in her head.
    Wenomir said something about fire.
    She looks at the e-mail and picture again, then flips through her quest log until she gets to the right page. After making sure nobody was watching, she grows a third hand so she can hold her notebook, phone, and a pen at the same time. Then, she writes down the address and what other info seems relevant, then downloads the e-mail.

    After only spending a few moments to find the nearest bus stop and the bus routes that would get her there, the shapeshifter heads towards the site mentioned on the picture.

    [Scene of an Arson]

    The "half-elf" finally gets off the bus near the address.

    She slides her license out through her palm in case she needs it, and holds her notebook-slash-questlog in her other hand. She taps the first person she finds on the shoulder and asks them, "Hey, this is related to something I'm investigating, do you know what happened around here?"
    Last edited by 5a Violista; 2019-06-03 at 11:17 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #340
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    [An Alleyway After Dark]

    It forces her to collapse to the ground, unable to maintain her balance in the face of the psychic pressure. She ends up curled in the fetal position holding her hands over her ears (fat lot of good that's doing against a psychic assault) and crying, rainbow goo replacing the water of normal tears.

    Don't give in, Cletus's voice is quiet, nearly being drowned out by the raw pressure being brought to bear on her. And yet, some part of him is solid, and helping to prop her up, we'll get through this. Focus on my voice. Focus on your memories. Birthday parties. Your parents.

    Images flash through Alice's mind. Her mother and father, both redheads, as they place a birthday cake before her. But in an instant, it's replaced by another scene, also of her parents, she's certain, but... not hers? It's a balding fat man, beating his son as she watches from his eyes. A third, an old oriental woman trying her best for her son without a father. Another, where a young woman was taken out to an open field to let her try her hand at driving a truck for the first time.

    And it spirals out further down. Memories. Memories form the core of a being, the personality that drives the will, the inner voice drawls, Hold onto them. You'll get through this.

    When the wave of energy passes, Alice remains shivering on the ground, sucking breath through sobs. She survived, her mind beaten and battered, but whole. She'll likely be there for a little while.
    Last edited by Halae; 2019-06-03 at 11:18 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #341
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Scene of an Arson]

    Not particularly near where an unfortunate woman cries away psychic assault, a small crowd gathers around a burning building. A couple brave souls have even been bringing to bear simple protective magics while they run inside to look for people needing rescue.

    Someone has to, while they wait for the proper authorities, right?

    It's presumably one of the less brave bystanders that "Holly" taps for attention. A middle-aged fellow with alabaster skin. Literally alabaster, he seems to be made of rock? Or maybe just convincingly body painted like the mineral.
    It's honestly hard to tell, given the seemingly random races populating the city.

    It takes but a moment for him to turn around though, an alarmed expression greeting Holly's curiosity.
    "I don't know what you're investigating, miss, but as best we can tell...it looks like what's going on here is the building is on fire."
    The slightly sarcastic comment is almost all she gets, until a puff of flame blows out a window and someone inside yells.
    "Could be a broken toaster again. Or maybe another house-burner delinquent, like what got that quaint Nevalston home."

    Which, if she had access to all the relevant records, was a decent home burned down in a neighborhood not far from here. Only a couple blocks away from where another house had also been burned down.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
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  12. - Top - End - #342
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    NERD Lab

    News travels fast. Jason Fisher, Recoil of NERD is working on some modifications to the next iteration of his suit when his computer pings. He glances over at it, remotely calling up the holographic display. Someone's burning down a building because of shapeshifting monsters. It's worth a look, at least. He knows other organizations are fighting these things elsewhere in the city. He slips into his armor and, after a second of thought, puts on the prototype left gauntlet and helmet instead of the old ones. He rushes out the door.

    Arson Site

    Like news, superheroes also travel fast. Jason's been working on an advanced vehicle, but it's not nearly ready yet, so he takes a car as close as he can, then runs across rooftops the rest of the way. The superhero is clad in a suit of turquoise blue armor with a distinct Greco-Roman style. The fabric underlayer is a darker, less obtrusive color; it's quietly bulletproof. The left gauntlet is heavier and bulkier than the right, but the right has a cylindrical device protruding from it. He arrives by dropping from a rooftop, small jets of flame erupting from his boots to slow his fall, and immediately heads into the burning structure to search for survivors.
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  13. - Top - End - #343
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Scene of an Arson]

    "Just trying to catch a serial arsonist," she lies. "Thanks for your time." In her notebook on the section for the skinwalkers, she makes a show of writing down a bunch of info, as if she were a serious detective. "Once the firefighters are done, I'll be able to investigate." She says that, as if speaking to herself but really more for the people around. She'll be able to better observe their reactions so long as some of them think she's a detective on the case.

    She backs up and observes the scene. The people going in, the people around, ...Hm. Well, she learned from Vigil what effect fire has on them, and so she doubts any of the people running in have anything to do with them. Potentially some of the people around watching might be them; after all, if one of them was destroyed here, they'd be curious to find out what happened and who caused it; then again, unless ALL of them were these shapeshifters, it's doubtful they'll reveal themselves in public. Would be a neat masquerade, though, she has to admit. Not to mention, with authorities and superheroes and everyone else showing up, it's doubtful much will happen here.
    What Harley really wants is to find out what the so-called Skinwalkers are in person.
    Maybe if she checks out those Nevalstons, there might be something. If not, she could always come back here after the fire's died down, because then the random spectacle-seekers would be gone and only those investigating what happened would remain. And these Skinwalkers will presumably be investigating.

    You don't really need access to a bunch of records so long as you've got internet access and know how to search the right key terms. Using her phone for the second time in over a day, Holly searches recent arsons and random fires, especially ones in the area and, finally, the Nevalstons and the nearby fires. Well, either there's a serial arsonist who isn't spacing the fires like most arsonists (possible, it happens) or they've got a hive nearby.

    Slinking off, Holly heads towards the bus stop again, this time heading towards the Nevalstons'.

    [Nevalstons']

    Holly, who is totally a normal half-elf with a license and a phone and a notebook and a several scars on the left side of her face, arrives at the site of the long-burnt-out house once the bus takes her to that neighborhood.

    First rule of questlogs: write down the info first, before you get too distracted. So, that's what she does, writing her observations and thoughts as she approaches the burned house.
    Last edited by 5a Violista; 2019-06-04 at 12:17 AM.
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  14. - Top - End - #344
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Industrial Complex]

    Morning glory will set her fellow hoofed person down on the ground, staring off into the distance at the meat-mountain.

    Granted, she had seen it already. Just from a sort of weird vantage point. It is WAY more intimidating when you're down on the ground scrunched into and organic speck.

    BUT!

    That doesn't mean she isn't hopeful.

    "Thanks, Muun," she says, though raises a wing to press the weapon back into his hands. "But you keep it, okay? I'm pretty well armed already."

    In spite of the lack of arms.

    Morning Glory carefully considers Down's initial reaction, nodding along with her, and then asks in a wholly serious tone. "What if it's a really tacky hat? Do you think it might die of shame?"

    She's hoping a bit of levity will help with the apparent hopelessness of the situation. Sometime's it is worth a try.

    "I can burn it, but that's just a little bit at a time. Today has been a long day and I'm pretty tapped out already. I don't think our friend Meaty McMountain would politely wait for me to nip off for a snack and take a nap to recharge my energy reserves," Morning says. "We could still help, though. What do you want to be there will be swarms of smaller pod-people hanging around that abomination waiting to pounce on anyone who tries to get close enough to do something about it? We can do damage control, at the very least. And I can identify the gross bugs even when they're disguised. Then we torch them. Maybe lob pot-shots at the big one?"

    She's reaching a bit, here. Technically she does have a solution. Unfold herself fully into physical reality and go toe to tumor with the meat-mountain in a throw-down kaiju battle. But that would without question cause at least as many problems as it would solve. So that's... that's last resort. Like, everyone within perception range of the battle is already dead or mutated sort of last resort.

    "I don't know anyone named Sunder," Morning Glory admits. "I've been away from town for a while... WAIT! That was the princess with the defaced pictures back at the inn."

    Said pictures were pretty lurid.


    [Docks]

    Once Geneva and everyone else has gotten the survivors out of immediate danger?

    She'll...

    Gawk.

    ~Arceus above...~ comes a muted, mumbled telepathic whisper.

    Disbelief.

    A bit of fear.

    How are they supposed to fight something like that!?

    They would need...

    Hmmm...

    Geneva sends a few commands to her wrist computer, searching... searching...

    ~I think I have an idea~ she sends to the others gathered nearby. ~We'll need some airships from VIGIL. And then we'll need to go here.~

    A quick update to everyone's communicator will flag a new location as a waypoint.

    And that location?

    The Id Incorporated Exploding Barrel Factory.

    ~We could load the airships with explosives, fly over the monster, and begin bombarding it. What does everyone else think?~
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  15. - Top - End - #345
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Industrial Complex]

    Jaahlyn lets out a big sigh of relief once they're out. That had been way too close.
    Eyeing her companions and then the mountain of flesh in the distance, she slumps down into a sitting position. After surviving all that, they had to deal with this thing now? She rubs her forehead tiredly and pulls her hood over her head again as it had been pushed down while they were escaping. "Thank you, Morning, Down, I am in your debt." Nodding politely, she looks up at the mountain of flesh once again. "Please inform this princess then, miss. I will talk to my own boss to see if he- she can arrange something to deal with this."

    Speaking of contact, Muun's phone will suddenly start ringing, and if he doesn't have one, Jaahlyn's will.

    [Docks]

    Anika can't take the blame, she had no idea that would happen!
    Which, to be fair, was a defense she could use a lot. Ignorance was quite useful sometimes.

    "Well... ****. This is turning into the twilight highlands all over again." She remarks as she stares at the old god-y being raising up above the tallest buildings of the city, scratching her head as she tries to comprehend the sheer size of that thing.
    Turning to Geneva, she nods. "Yeah, I've dealt with something like this before and that's exactly how we did it. We flew above and dropped bombs on it until it stopped moving and then we burned it for good measure. We just gotta find some proper bombs. So if we go to VIGIL and get a ship, we can go to that factory and if that fails, the goblins might have some more bombs laying about we can use." They had survived, it was just that their ship blew up, accidentally.

    [The Understreets]

    Invisible eyes flies above the district, observing scenes of drow and other citizens getting turned and killed. Things were turning ugly quickly but it seemed like this sudden appearance hadn't been planned by the creature which had acted just as confused as the people it crushed when it appeared. Something had transported it there, but why? Transporting a being of this size must require a massive amount of energy.
    Well, either someone would deal with it or they would have to pay the master to, but right now they had no orders but to observe and don't get too close to the creature...

  16. - Top - End - #346
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    [Industrial Strength Investigation]

    Michalson didn't think anything about this business could surprise him anymore, but here he is. He holsters his gun and checks his own radio to see if anything's wrong. Maybe they need to just blow this up from afar and explain it to the owners somehow...
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  17. - Top - End - #347
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Arson Site]

    For better or worse, this was the middle of the day and most of the three-story apartment building's occupants were out for various reasons. Work, shopping, socializing, etc.
    So this really isn't the worst possible case scenario, as far as rescues go.

    One of the two fellows who had run into the building previously comes out leading an older tenant and their dog.
    Someone asks where the other fellow ended up. He says he isn't sure, he went up to the top floor and hadn't come back yet?

    This presents a problem, as the fire has gotten bad enough at the lower floor that he can't go back in to check for his partner...
    But it looks like Jason has arrived to handle this.
    The missing fellow is quickly relayed to the hero as he runs past and into the building, hopefully he listens!

    Running through the front door pretty much immediately involves going through a blaze of fire, so hopefully he's prepared for that. It has set in pretty deeply to most of the walls, the ceiling, and patches of the wooden floor. There are four apartments on this floor, two on each side of the hall the front door opens into. At the far end is a staircase working its way up to the other levels. This staircase is probably also the one part of the building that isn't on fire, as it appears to be made out of concrete or something similar.

    So here's a little decision for Jason:
    Does he want to investigate all of these rooms, or move on?
    The upper two floors are in the exact same arrangement, simple hallways with two rooms to a side. All closed, most unlocked.
    No one walks the halls, no sounds but the flames can be heard.

    [Nevalston Home Ruin]

    Holly has the novel privilege of having access to the true events from reports given to the authorities.
    Specifically, in this case, that a house nearby to the Nevalston home was burned down sometime after, ostensibly due to "ugly body-horror monster attack". The obvious dots were connected to the Nevalstons', having been burned only very slightly before.

    Which brings us to what's left of the place.

    There's no crowd here, this happened quite some time ago after all.
    Very little has been done to actually clean the place up, as other things have been going on. (Like that shrieking tower of grossness in the distance)
    So, what's left is the skeleton of a good-sized two level building, easily explored on the lower levels, but pretty much impossible to explore on the upper level. The floor is more or less gone, from the flames.

    The husks of furniture abound, unlike bodies, of which there don't appear to be any.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  18. - Top - End - #348
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Nevalston Home Ruin]

    Holly, who successfully manages to read off of her phone, write, and walk at the same time, has now entered the burned building and has caught up on the background info.

    She also successfully ignores the tower's shrieks. That's probably a weekly occurrence here in Inside, she figures, and so is probably not very relevant. Plus, somebody's going to take care of it soon enough.

    She sighs. This actually reminds her of when her own house was burned down in an attempt to kill her. Not everyone managed to escape...but luckily she doesn't have the weakness to fire these things seem to have.

    She figures there's three possibilities. No, wait, only two possibilities, given how little has been cleaned up here. Either the things here survived and escaped, or fire is literally that effective against them. The former...is possible. The latter, based on the things she's seen before, seems more likely. Harley wasn't entirely sure whether the fire would completely destroy them, or if it was just an easy way to detect them and cause them to overreact.

    She eliminated one of those possibilities now, however. Fire...well, good thing she can create fire, if necessary. Plus, she won that fireball necklace from that auction way back when. She doubts she'll have to fall back on using fire, but it's good to have a back-up plan. Not to mention, she knows that if she's meeting one, to NOT start with fire because that could far too quickly end her opportunity to observe and ask questions.

    Holly concentrates a little, to create all sorts of different chemical detectors and passageways on the palm of her right hand. She then sifts through the ash and charcoal to see if there's any evidence of things burned alive - confirming what she thinks she knows - all while visually examining the burnt furniture in order to better visualize what had happened here.
    Last edited by 5a Violista; 2019-06-04 at 11:58 PM.
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  19. - Top - End - #349
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Arson Site

    Jason fearlessly steps into the flames. With a twist of his hand, a shield of energy springs into existence around him, barely visible in the light of the flames. He peers into each door briefly, spending a few moments to check that each room is clear. His helmet is already sealed and safely filtering the smoke from the air. He's fairly confident in the shield; he's ironed out most of the bugs so far, and this isn't straining the glove's capabilities yet.
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  20. - Top - End - #350
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Nevalston Home Ruin]

    For the most part, everything here is the usual sort of thing you'd expect from a burnt out husk of a building: a lot of wood ash, mixed with assorted other bits of carbonized/melted/shattered materials.
    All is as one would expect.

    Mostly.

    Her various little sensors will pick it up before enough ash is sifted aside to see it herself, but there's definitely some other sort of substance that seems to have been covered up by all the refuse. A substance which doesn't seem to have an immediate classification of anything, and seems to become less defined as time goes on.
    But that's perhaps because the trace amounts of glimmering, iridescent rainbow fluid on the ground are actively assaulting the very makeup of her hand as it comes in contact.

    Not...obviously. There's not enough of it for that. Nor especially swiftly. But it does seem to be subtly trying to rearrange the structures of her hand, in ways that really have no definable logic to them.
    Maybe she notices that, maybe she doesn't. After swiping away enough ash on the floor, she'll at least start to see the substance hidden under all the ash, like someone spilled droplets of glitter all over the floor before everything burned.

    [Arson Site[

    The first floor is entirely clear. Well, other than all the fire.
    Presumably his shield is okay with any backdrafts of flames bursting through doors as they're opened up, otherwise that will be pretty unpleasant.

    Room 2-C on the second floor is locked, which is something worth considering. Something is scraping around in there, but it's hard to tell what.
    Upstairs on the third floor, there is a crashing noise.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  21. - Top - End - #351
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Nevalston Home Ruin]

    If only Harley had payed attention in Detective School when they taught that you're supposed to wear gloves.

    It doesn't take long for her to notice here hand is changing - something feels slightly different what she had intended her hand to be like. Maybe she was distracted? This tends to happen when she's distracted, so maybe she just has to concentrate more. The shapeshifter focuses on her hand briefly, to ensure her hand auto-corrects itself. Just fixing it like this shouldn't be a problem for her, unless...it keeps on happening.

    ...and it does.
    As she continues swiping and looking at the glitter, she notices that it keeps on happening. Her hand kept on trying to change. While she easily kept on fixing it back to how she wanted, her ability to subconsciously control her changes is a limited resource. Which means there'll be an extra finger here or a chitin spike there or a venom pit or...
    Harley frowns at her hand.
    This has only happened five times since she was old enough to control her own changes. She mentally checks herself to see if she can find the cause: she's not pregnant. She's not emotionally exhausted or stressed out. Maybe those diseases from that walking cesspool of sickness came back? No, she had that treated at GLoG, so there's no way that happened. Maybe she caught the meme virus? That could plausibly be it.

    ...
    But that's impossible. Because she's disguised as half an elf, that ought to make her immune to any new diseases.
    Wait.
    Maybe it's this glittery stuff. Presumably it's ashes from these skinwalkers. They're shape-shifters, too. Admittedly, with more similarities to her than she wants to acknowledge. She just wants all of this to end soon so that everyone's minds will go off of worrying about shapeshifters being everywhere: having so many people worried about skinwalkers has made it harder for her to act in public.

    Holly considers tearing her arm off right then and there, and then burning it.
    She ultimately decides not to. She has two reasons not to.

    First, this will let her observe first-hand what's going on. She relaxes the control over her hand, so that she can better observe it and determine how it works. If it truly is completely undirected and random, or if it heads towards some sort of goal. She still doesn't know almost anything about the skinwalkers and, barring finding one and talking to it, this is probably her best chance to find out things about them. All she has to do is closely monitor her wrist to prevent it from spreading up, and occasionally analyze what it's doing. Still will take more subconscious control than she would like, but that's the price to pay.
    Second, if it's not totally random, she's moderately terrified what would happen if she cuts her arm off. Would it create something that could be traced back to her? Would it create a new breed of shapeshifters? Would it explode in a bio-hazardous mess? Would it make everyone around start mutating rapidly? She doesn't want to find out, especially not here in public like this.

    Okay, now that she's got that figured out enough - and having decided to mentally pat herself down every half-hour to revert any random spikes, horns, venom glands, and other unintended changes that her powers create - it's time to look at this glitter again. From her unaffected left hand, she creates a glass-like bottle.

    "You're almost more trouble than you're worth," she says to the glitter.
    Carefully - so she dosen't get anything else on the rest of her body - she scoops the ash-and-glitter mixture into the bottle, and then caps it off.

    ...Who would have the know-how and the lab to analyze this, she wonders? Vigil might, but if she breaks in there again, Wenomir might not let her escape next time. HALO? Maybe, but it's been so long since she was last there that she's not sure if they have the desire. AMEN is out due to current relations. GLoG might work, but there's too many children and ghosts around for it to be safe. Maybe Magtok knows how to deal with it? Or some of the groups in Riverside, they might be able to help. MERC, too: as someone with a license, she imagines they might allow her access their scientific equipment.

    ...
    She also should probably avoid touching anything with her right hand, to avoid spreading it around.
    Drat.
    Maybe this is more trouble than it's worth.
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  22. - Top - End - #352
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Industrial Strength Investigation]

    Michalson's own radio seems to be malfunctioning as well. And then, the laughter starts. A female voice, followed by a second. The SWAT officers immediately surround Michalson and Misty in a tight ring, looking around for the source. After a moment, one speaks, then the other.

    "Lost little policemen, what are you looking for? If you've come for the factory, then you should know...."

    "You're out of your jurisdiction, and your league. Turn back now, and be spared."

    They speak together for the last sentence.

    "Continue forward, and die."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  23. - Top - End - #353
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Arson Site

    Jason's shield holds comfortably against the flame for now. This version of it is intended against environmental hazards. The locked room is puzzling. He points his right hand at the lock, and the cylinder on his gauntlet discharges as bolt of searing, white-hot light at it, far hotter than the flames, hot enough to melt the metal of the lock and burn the wood around it away, assuming they're not protected by some abnormal force
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  24. - Top - End - #354
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Nevalston Home Ruin]

    As far as her hand is concerned, at the moment it doesn't appear to be doing anything especially special.
    Just...very minutely and subtly shifting. At the moment, it sure looks like it's just the occasional random cell deciding to be something else entirely.
    If she wasn't so in tune with her body's details, there'd really be no way for her to notice anything was amiss at all.

    She may want to consider washing that hand at some point.

    Beyond that, scooping some of the ash and iridescence into a bottle is very easily done. It doesn't really do anything exciting here.
    Just sits in the bottle. Mostly inert save for that faint, minor glow.

    [Arson Site]

    Nope, just a normal lock. It's popped without too much of a fuss at all.

    Opening this door reveals...a very distinctly not on fire room. Sure, it's still an ungodly sort of hot in here, especially with the door now being open and letting in more heat, but there's no actual flames.
    What there is, instead, is an open room devoid of all furniture save a wooden chair. That, and a pair of animate skeletons armed with carpentry tools, scraping what appear to be the last remaining series of arcane symbols off of the floor near the chair.
    Judging by the scratch marks all over the walls and floor, there were quite a large amount of them at some point.

    They do not immediately react to Jason opening the door.
    Last edited by Chaotic Bob; 2019-06-05 at 11:05 PM.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
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  25. - Top - End - #355
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Nevalston Home Ruin]

    Washing hands is, in fact, a good idea.
    The only question is whether she should avoid anything that drains to public water as she does it.

    Holly pockets the bottle.
    Giving the burnt house a quick look-around, she figures there isn't really much more to find. Anything that could be around is likely burned up. She quickly goes through her plan from now: find some place safe to rinse her hand. Get a non-biological glove to avoid accidentally touching anything. Continue monitoring it. Avoid other people as much as possible, to minimize the chance they notice her accidental shapeshifting. Decide what group would be best equipped to look at the glittery stuff. And then...wait, what's her end goal, anyway?

    Is she losing sight of why she's doing this? Originally, it was to determine whether or not these shapeshifters were the same thing as her and if she had to sabotage Vigil's investigations. Now, though, she's been continuing this almost entirely out of curiosity. Well, curiosity is a good enough reason to do something.

    Having decided why she's still going through with this, she makes for the door.
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  26. - Top - End - #356
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathkeeper View Post
    [Streets]

    Sam grins, shaking his head.
    ”Well, you should know that ogling is reserved for gals planning on taking me out, and we didn’t talk about adding dinner to this outing.” he chuckles.
    I’d only asked because I thought you might have some neat armor in your bag or something. If you don’t know anything about it I can do that part on my own time. By all means, do you want anything?”” he asks, even though he knows she doesn’t need to buy clothes.

    [Sneezy Yak and Jumpy Hippo]

    Melvin droops, defeated.
    ”Yeah, that was me. I was hoping you’d forgotten. And now we’ve both gone and gotten ourselves changed in the middle of-” he turns stiffly- and stops as he hears the distinct sound of a thread snapping.
    ”Okay so um, confession time. Usually when this happens at the office I just undo my shirt buttons. No one cares since I’m usually a desk jockey and no one stops by my cubicle anyway. And this one fits worse than usual. But I can’t do that with the people out here to see me! Um. I don’t suppose you have a spell for tailoring? The Sergeant will have my head if I shred my uniform on the first day.” He eyes Dibbles’ kilt.
    ”Does that kilt work for you when you change size? I don’t think I could pull off the look but I’d try anything.” Dobbers is sadly well acquainted with ripping all manner of clothes thanks to a random noise in the night.
    [Streets]

    "Ohhhh, izzat the price of staring at your butt?" Lucy asks with a grin? "Well then, I guess dinner is on me! C'mon!" Whatever else was on the list, whatever fancy armour Lucy may have in that satchel of hers, all is forgotten. She grabs hold of Sam's hand in a very determined effort to drag him off to some fancy restaurant or other.

    *****

    [It's Hip to be Yak]

    "Ohh, oh aye, I see what y'mean thar. Yer righ' a' th'limit of what those threads can handle! Well, hawd yersel' in for jes' a wee second and I reckon I can assist." The yak-officer readies his staff and-

    "Agh, darn it all, which way do ye- jes' a wee second, arrigh'?" He gets out his own spellbook and starts flicking through it, which is made much more awkward by his book not having sized-up with him. Even the staff looks a bit on the small-side in his hands now.

    All told, Dobbers will have to be patient for a good couple of minutes while Dibbles fiddles about with the book, then the staff, then putting the book back, before finally casting a spell to give his uniform a bit of a size-boost to help accommodate his hippo-y form.

    "Ah, wheesh, it's a nightmare tryin' ta find the right page in th'damn thing. But ah, aye, I tend to find that loose clawthing can be a righ' godsend fer transfermations."
    Last edited by Gnrlshrimp; 2019-06-06 at 12:18 PM.
    Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  27. - Top - End - #357
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Nevalston Home Ruin]

    There is nothing here to prevent Holly's departure.
    Just a burnt out building, as lifeless as any other burnt husk.

    Depending on where her curiosity leads, there is another one of these ruins down the road a bit, though it is similarly in a state of quiet ruin.
    There is also the Nevalston's themselves, who while having perished here with another family of guests, have left behind a son. This son was briefly taken in by the authorities, before being transferred to a "Golden Flock Orphanage".
    Or there's going back to the currently-burning site.

    Or just leaving this mess behind and going about her life more safely.
    There's only so long she can poke her nose into this before something notices.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  28. - Top - End - #358
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Arson Site

    Strange. This certainly isn't good, but Jason's first priority is to save the people in the building. Still, stopping these few monsters couldn't hurt. He changes the setting on his weapon and sweeps a beam of hardlight across the room. It should smash into the skeletons like a hammer, hard enough to break bone.
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  29. - Top - End - #359
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [It’s Hippo to be Square (or very round)]

    Dobbers nods approvingly, though he still pulls at the uniform.
    ”It’ll probably be too big when I change back, but that's a problem for tomorrow. And uh, well, if it works for you I’ll try it. I mean, do you think I could rock the kilt look?” He wonders if Dibbles’ Clothes Beam could just change it. That would be useful in tight situations.
    ”But um. Well. Thanks. It’s good to know my partner has my back.” he says, looking like he would blush if he could with his hands wringing like that.
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    [Industrial Strength Investigation]

    Michalson is silent for quite a while. That's about as clear a warning as it gets.

    "I think we might need a little more backup on this one. Some rorty firepower. Maybe even call Vigil for help."
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

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