Needs Must


lynette2_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif

Scene Title Needs Must
Synopsis …when the Devil drives.
Date June 4, 2013

Enemy Territory

The Olympians have been criss-crossing North America throughout this war. They go where they’re needed. They’ve seen what happened to the US first hand. Done some of it themselves. Usually, they run as distraction and support for other groups on whatever maneuvers they’re trying to pull off. Tonight is different. Tonight, it’s just them.

Up ahead, the compound is surrounded by a makeshift wall. Concrete barricades and chainlink fencing. But it’s a ruse, that much they’ve learned. Inside the fence, the building it protects holds soldiers, weapons, ridiculously high tech security systems, and— most importantly— intel. Their side was only able to probe the building’s security so far, leaving the team with a lot of unknowns. High risk, high reward. And this teams was always up for high risk.

They stand in a parking structure down the road from the building, their own tiny command center. This used to be a bustling city, but now it’s all but abandoned, taken over by military forces and turned from industrial center to a hub of intelligence. Plans come in and out of this building. Maps. Rosters. Troop Movements.

Any of it would be worth the risk, worth dying for. But with word of a major offensive in the works on the other side, they’re here to find out the location of a cache of ordnance and explosives.

“Okay, Nemesis and I will take out the security system and the power for the building. Cut their lights, give us access to the deeper levels. Hermes— “ their scout, “will run communications.” Since the pair of electrokinetics tend to fry any devices they come in contact with. “Everyone else, blow the front doors off. Draw them out of the building. Make a mess.” It’s what they do best, after all. Lynette turns to look at the others, her hands going to her hips. “When you get overrun, scatter and fall back to camp. Everyone find a way to report in before sunrise.”

This is incredibly dangerous. It isn’t often they pull missions solo like this. Not when the stakes are so high. Blow shit up and get the fuck out? Sure. That part’s easy. This is far more delicate. But they’ve come this far, and they always come out on top. Nicole is actually excited. She recognizes the gravity of their mission, of course, but seriousness doesn’t have to mean no fun.

There’s a pump station outside of the boundaries of their target. Unassuming, and not what they’re there for. The transformer on the side of that brick structure, however… Once Zeus has busted the locks that are meant to keep people from doing something stupid, Nemesis throws open the casing and does just that. “Might wanna stand back,” she says with a grin.

Ignoring every red and yellow warning and caution sticker, Nicole sticks her hands in and grabs the cables and tugs. The electricity floods into her, causing the air to hum with the power of it. The excess crackles off of her skin. “Okay, hit me!” With Lynette pouring her power into her, Nicole can kick all she’s gathered and more back into the transformer and fry it.

Lynette sticks with Nicole as the squad fans out, taking places very much like they’re about to go on stage. The excitement isn’t just Nicole, the Olympians enjoy their work and missions come with laughter and shouts like kids on a playground. Even Zeus herself, once orders are given can’t help a smile coming to her face. Or than smile turning into a grin. If she worries at all, it’s buried deep. But more likely, she isn’t worried.

Mostly because working with Nicole is the sort of high only power can give you. And with the compound about to find out why their nickname around camp is Sturm and Drang, she feels more than a little giddy. Locks are broken, warnings ignored and Lynette puts a hand on Nicole’s arm to pump electricity into her.

And with their feedback loop plus the power from the compound itself being pulled out and shoved back in, the transformer sparks and smokes as their only warning to get back before it blows. And with it, the lights around the building ahead. Shouts of alarm raise up beyond the fence, answered by a gush of flame that comes through the night without warning. Ares. For a moment, he’s the only light there, but as the rest of the team joins in, their side of the compound lights up in flashes and gunfire.

Standing, Lynette holds a hand out to Nicole. “Ready?”

Nicole whoops in excited triumph when she jumps back from the generator before it goes up in a small explosion of sparks and smoke. Her hand connects with Lynette’s first in a slap of five before coming back around to actually grasp it, ready to receive another overcharge. When she has it, her whole face is lit up as the current pulses through her. Then, it just her eyes like a beacon in the dark. “Let’s go fuck some shit up.” Still holding Lynette’s hand for the first few feet, Nicole races toward the entrance with her team leader and friend.

Nemesis flies past her teammates and toward a cluster of guards still stunned by the sudden darkness. For a brief moment, it isn’t dark anymore when Nicole’s hands snap out to her sides and she discharges. Lightning leaps from her body and into the knot of four soldiers. Bodies convulse and flesh cooks, voices cry out. And then nothing.

“Zeus!” Without looking back for where Lynette is - she can feel her electrical presence in the air - she calls for another dose of lightning. If only she could be self-sustaining like her friend. But this way is incredibly fun.

Smirking at the high five, Lynette grips Nicole’s hand and sends a charge through her. The notion of fucking shit up turns her smirk into a grin and she runs for the entrance, too. It might seem like two women frolicking across the asphalt, but the sparks mar that image just a little. Two women ready to enact some violence, more like. When they separate, Lynette runs past the others, too, closer to the building, taking advantage of the confusion and panic to cover ground. When she’s stopped by a guard with a gun, she steps into him, grabbing his gun arm with one hand and his face with the other.

If he lives, the handprint on his jaw will make sure he remembers he was on the wrong side of this conflict. Or, at least, the overpowered side.

Others are treated in much the same manner, shot with bolts or taken down with a touch. The more she gets through, the wilder she looks. Her hair, especially, but her expression doesn’t help much, either.

Hearing her callsign, Lynette turns and throws lightning at Nicole. Which might be her leaning into her name a little. It is definitely her enjoying herself.

A bullet strikes her in the arm, but even that doesn’t diminish the excitement. Her grin might even get wider as she turns to hit the nearest soldier with a bolt, a bolt she chains to the next. And the next. It may not even have been any of them who shot her. It hardly matters.

“Nemesis,” she calls across the fighting, “the door.” Which is to say, it’s time for them to take on the forces inside. And to find what they came here for.

Nicole’s laughter can be heard among the chaos of the battlefield. There are very few people that would ever have guessed that this would be the stage she would thrive upon, but here she is, drunk on the power her ability gives her. The horror of what she can do doesn’t register - hasn’t for a long time now. Perhaps her previous employment makes more sense now.

She can’t be entirely reliant on her ability - on Lynette’s ability to provide for her - so Nicole is popping off shots from a semi-automatic rifle at soldiers. The muzzle flash is nothing like the brilliance of her power, but it stops her from catching gunfire to the chest. Her latest victim’s shots go wide as he drops, though her ear is bleeding where it was grazed. It should concern her.

It doesn’t.

Orders help keep her focused. “I’m on it!” Pressing her hand to the electronic lock - dark now from the lack of power supplied by the transformer - she dumps enough into it to cause it to spark and smoke. A loud click! signifies the lock is overridden and with a kick, the way is opened.

When Nicole heads for the door, Lynette isn’t far behind her. She has a gun on her, too, but hasn’t had to go for it yet. It’s a backup plan. Nicole can feel her coming, as her bolts reach for body after body, heating up the air on the battlefield around them. And a single gunshot that comes on the heels of the click as one soldier gets too close to her. That’s not from Lynette, but their sharpshooter flying in overhead and off again once their shot is off. Pegasus.

Lynette gives them a salute, then reaches the door in time to follow Nicole in. She slides the door back closed behind them, to make the building look as normal as she can. Even though it can’t lock again. “Offices are up the next three floors. The top is the most secured. It’s blocking all transmissions. Our technopaths can’t see it.” So that’s where they’re starting, obviously. And without power, she rushes for the stairs and starts running up. Her gun is pulled out, since this is a good time for her to rebuild her reserves. For the fight back out later.

Doors aren’t hard for them to get through; when electricity doesn’t work, a gunshot does. They’re going for speed now, and the fight outside seems to have drawn the forces out of the building. They haven’t seen one warm body since entering.

Through the windows, flashes of fire light up the rooms, but it’s not the most steady light source. Of course, the pair of them can make their own, when it’s needed.

When they reach the shielded section of the top floor, it seems limited to the north side of the building, where a stretch of offices have been converted into one long room. And it seems to have its own power source, because they both can feel it buzzing on the other side of the walls.

“I have a good feeling about this.” Nicole grins. The power source, whatever it is, will be a good place for her to recharge without draining Lynette’s reserves for it. Her fingers drag along the walls and she sighs quietly. The thrum is like a familiar embrace, but distinctly different from Lynette’s own signature.

An electromagnetic shield, perhaps? That might scramble the senses of a technopath.

A flash of light outside catches Nicole’s attention and she moves to one of the windows to look outside. There are so many more soldiers than she expected there to be at this quiet installation. Which means that this information must be just as valuable as their source claimed it to be.

“I think Ares has been tagged.” Nemesis has seen those flames burn that bright and that wild one other time when her teammate had taken a slug to the shoulder. “Appears to be holding together, though.” If the flailing and flaming bodies of enemy soldiers below is anything to go by, at any rate.

“How are you coming on that last door?”

Lynette puts her hands on the door, eyes closing as she feels out which threads of power lead to the door lock and which to the computers with the intel they need. One of these should not be shut down yet.

Her eyes open when Nicole mentions Ares and they flick to the window. She can't see from her spot, but Nicole can spot soldiers moving in from outside the perimeter. And from inside the building itself, below them. It's hard to get a headcount in the strobing lights, but too many becomes quickly apparent. Members of their team further away from the building start to get picked off with ruthless efficiency. People Nicole has come to know better than she knows herself. People she's trusted her life with and been trusted in the same way.

From behind her, at the door, Lynette pulls out her gun and fires at the lock. The shot is loud in their hallway, but nothing they haven't been living with since this war started.

"Pretty good," Lynette answers, and then she kicks the door open and lifts her gun to point at the people inside the room. "On the floor!" By her voice, by the way her electricity starts to pulse under her skin, it's almost like Zeus can tell something's going wrong. Instinct, not intel.

Inside, the techs do get down, because they're not soldiers. And getting shot isn't supposed to be part of their job.

Nicole neglects to tell Lynette that there’s a losing battle being fought outside. They can deal with that later. If there is a later. They have to get out of this building first. And before that, they have to get the intelligence they came here for. Her reflection in the window pane is distant. Like all of this is happening to someone else. Like she can leave that person behind to stand sentinel while she goes and finishes the job.

The soldier peels away from the window and marches after her commander, her own weapon held ready. For the briefest of moments, she has the urge to shoot somebody just to prove they aren’t fucking around. But these are civilians. They didn’t sign up for this action, even if they aren’t perhaps completely blameless.

Taking her rage out on them won’t bring anybody back. “I’ve got them,” Nemesis assures, sweeping the room to ensure no one is questioning that they mean business. Her stormy expression is terrifying in the flickering light of Zeus’ power. “Let’s get what we came for and blow this fucking pop stand.”

When Nemesis enters the room, Zeus waits for her to take over being terrifying, then breaks off and slides her gun into her holster. She doesn't need to tell Nicole to shoot if they try anything. She knows to.

She pulls out a small case, electricity-proof, and shakes off her own extra sparks before she opens it and pulls a flash drive out. And then she gets to work. She knows what to look for, thanks to the more technologically inclined parts of their army. And the spies. She stays leaning over the desk, even when she finds it, to watch the progress of the files moving over.

Luckily, the civilians just huddle together, rather than trying to be the hero. Nicole will have to wait to shoot anyone. Outside, an explosion rocks the building and Lynette looks up and toward the door.

Nicole might not have to wait long.

When the transfer completes, Lynette takes the drive and puts it back into its protective case. And then she takes her gun back out. "Stay here until the fighting dies down," she says to the techs, "You should be fine." With a nod to Nicole, she ducks out of the room, moving to the end of the hall to shoot out the windows. An long-used signal, to tell the Olympians to get clear. The glass cracks and shatters, letting in the shouting and gunfire from below.

And then Lynette starts back downstairs. Her pace is quick all the way to the lobby, where she stops cold.

Nicole sees it, too. Outside, a flood of soldiers— too many to fight through. Too many for the two of them. Too many for the team. Through the windows, they see the sickly fog of negation gas here and there. See familiar figures shoved to their knees. Lynette grabs Nicole and ducks them down between desks, hiding them from anyone who might look back to the building.

She checks her ammunition. It's low. The gas outside will be a problem.

Nicole rushes down the stairs behind Lynette, a thunder of boots on concrete steps that echoes up the well, mingling with the sounds of shouting and gunfire from outside. When they reach the bottom, she hesitates only a moment before dashing along with her commander to take cover.

“Ffffuuuuuck!” covers it quite succinctly, actually. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” The side of her fist comes down on her knee to punctuate each swear. The enemy wasn’t fucking around, and she’s beginning to wonder now if this was a trap designed to draw their team in and eliminate them. Or maybe their luck has just run out after all this time. It’s tough for Nicole to be sure.

“I can draw their fire,” Nicole says quietly, peeking out around the corner just briefly to reassess the situation. “Give you a chance to… I don’t know, go out the back or something?” There’s got to be another door out of here. If they don’t know they’re in here yet, it may not be covered. But they blew the windows out on the top floor. It’s hard to say if it would have been noticed in the chaos by soldiers not expecting the signal, but she’s not willing to bet on it. “The information is too valuable. You are too valuable.”

She’ll never make it if she runs out there. They both know it. Nicole rubs at her injured ear, as if finally noticing the blood running down to her neck and dampening her collar. It’s not much, fortunately. And it’s nothing compared to what’s going to happen to her when she goes out that door. She does her best not to think about her daughter. If she thinks about Pippa, she’ll lose her resolve to die for the cause.

She’s grown up without knowing her mother so far, she reasons, what’s the rest of her life? Colette will look after her.

It’s not a comfort.


Lynette slides her gun back into its holster as she listens to Nicole. Her head is shaking even before they're all the way out of her mouth. "I'm not. I'm a weapon." There's a look toward the flash drive in it's protective case, then a look over at Nicole. The commander isn't in that glance. Lynette looks at her friend. "Pippa needs you when this is all over." Which is a hit below the belt, really, and Lynette knows it. But she's going to need Nicole fighting to stay alive, not ready to die.

The mention of a possible backdoor has her sliding over to try to get eyes on the far side of the building. They can't see everything, but windows give them a view of soldiers already there, as well. Their weapons expert, Hephaestus, throws a grenade and takes out a group of the enemy, but they're replaced by more.

And then Hephaestus is shot by more rifles than they can count from here. He might end up more bullet than flesh, by the sound of it.

Lynette leans back into cover before she sees him hit the ground. Her hands shake. Her breathing is ragged. Options run through her head, possible endings to this scenario and none of them good. For a moment, she looks lost. She looks like they've lost. The trap worked. And she's the one who led them right into it.

But then Nicole says her name.

Her title.


The effect is all but instant. Her expression hardens, her hands still, her breaths become steady and even. Her eyes turn to Nicole.

Not Nicole.


"I can't get the intel out without you," she states simply. "You got a charge from the tech room. I'll boost you, then you boost me and together we're going to clear the area. We're going to have to push harder than we ever have. You're going to want to stop, but you can't stop. It's time to live up to your name." She holds her hand out toward Nicole, sparks already lighting up her skin. It isn't with a grin this time. It isn't fun this time. The fighting is still going on outside, which means some of their people are still out there. But they won't be for long. And then the enemy will turn their attention here.

And Lynette isn't asking. It isn't often that she pushes her authority, but she is now. It's a order and she expects Nicole to follow it.

The instant she hears her daughter’s name from her friend’s lips, tears starts to form in Nicole’s eyes. She sits perfectly still, willing herself to get control over her emotions again while Lynette scouts for a back way out. She knows from her expression that there is no other way.

Her chest is heaving and yet her throat is so tight she’s not sure how she’s getting any air at all. The intel has to make it back to base camp, or the loss of life will have been for nothing. Nicole watches the windows. No more pillars of fire. Just smoke.

Orders snap her back to attention. Nicole gives in to her fear, but Nemesis stands resolute.

“Our people are out there,” she says knowingly, echoing Lynette’s thoughts. Their power is indiscriminate. It can’t tell the difference between friend and foe. Everyone burns from within just the same. One more glance around the desk and Nemesis knows they’re all dead if they don’t do this. If they do, at least herself and Zeus may survive. The mission may be a success.

She takes the outstretched hand and feels the power radiate through her skin. Her eyes glow too bright, almost white. “I’m with you.”

"Yes, they are." What Lynette feels about that is buried. She looks sure, so that Nicole can feel sure. That's part of her job. The feelings will be drown in a bottle later and she'll be able to report on the situation clinically.

When Nicole takes her hand, she reaches over for her other, sitting herself in front of her friend. It isn't long before her eyes mirror Nicole's and she gives a nod as a warning before she starts to pull power from the other electrokinetic. With their hands together, Nicole gets fed from Lynette and Lynette gets a boost from Nicole— it's a loop they've used many times but today is different. Today, Lynette isn't taking care with her friend's power, she's putting it through its paces.

The electricity starts small. Long, jerking fingers reach out from them, racing outward in all directions with hungry, unsettling leaps forward.

It doesn't stay small.

A blast forms, blowing out windows and doming over the battlefield. The compound lights up as electricity jumps from body to body, from surface to surface. Nothing is spared and nothing is safe. Soldiers spasm through their last moments, fires spark and spread, the Olympians witness their last show of power before they're taken by it, too.

If the pair inside could see their faces, they would see pride. And awe.

A flash and it's over. And Zeus is put away so that Lynette can reach over and wrap her arms around her friend, ignoring the blood from her own nose and how her eyes have gone bloodshot and red. Instead, she holds Nicole tightly. I'm so sorry isn't spoken, but it's there.

There’s a terrible power that flows through them both. They’ve never pushed their limits like this. For a moment, Nemesis isn’t sure she’ll survive what they’re about to unleash. She doesn’t realize she’s been screaming until it’s over and the sound of it stops when she gasps for air.

Blood traces lines from both nostrils down to her chin. Nicole collapses into Lynette’s arms, half delirious with fever. Her skin feels like it’s on fire. “I have nothing left to give,” she whispers through her tears, her mind on the last time she was in terrible pain and thought she might die.

But she didn’t then. She didn’t this time.

Nicole’s slight body shivers like she’s cold, teeth chatter. For a few minutes, it’s all she can do just to hold on to consciousness. As she comes back to her senses, the horror of what they’ve just done washes over her. She looks up, one eye red where a blood vessel burst, tears flowing freely.

They’re alive.

But not another soul.

“Me and you have a long walk home,” Nicole rasps, wiping the tears from her eyes with shaking fingers and the blood from her nose and chin with her sleeve. She needs a drink and an ice bath. Maybe not in that order. Maybe at the same time.

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