Is That Your Blood?


calvin_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif dax_icon.gif dong-tian_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif griffin_icon.gif harmony_icon.gif ingrid_icon.gif jason_icon.gif joshua_icon.gif lene_icon.gif logan_icon.gif lola_icon.gif luke_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Is That Your Blood?
Synopsis Another fight night at the Center Stage leads to more than just violence and money changing hands.
Date November 4, 2010

The Center Stage

When empty, the Center Stage is stark, unappealing, and smells unpleasantly of blood and sweat. On fight nights, it's generally packed, with several hundred people packed in which helps to hide the more unpleasant visual aspects of the rooms, but the smell of BO and the metallic scent of blood are stronger than ever. Largely because both are being shed plenty.

As each person enters, they're divested of the seventy-five dollar cover charge, and those who choose to fight are screened. No lying about your ability, not here. It just doesn't work. But while there are a few people every night hoping to win a cut of the profits by winning a fight, most are here to watch or place bets. More money exchanges hands because of betting than anything else that happens here.

The 'ring' such as it is, has already been bloodied tonight, and the smell of scorched hair is added to the other smells of the room, after a fight between a pyrokinetic and and hydrokinetic. The person organizing tonight's fights must have a sense of humor to pit those two against each other. And there's no telling what other match ups might occur.

Melissa is there, standing back from the ring, arms folded over her chest. She's not looking around, but rather, watching the ring with a distracted look on her face. And while she's dressed in her fight clothes, there's no telling if she intends to actually fight or not.

Luke has been here quite a few times already, and has had some pretty challenging fights. And due to the fact that he's been in need of an outlet for a while now, he's more or less been looking forward to the fights held here. Paying his fee with just a hint of disgruntlement, he heads in to case the joint.

Lola Mayeux has been set up for awhile here. At least, tonight. She rotates. She didn't come here planning to take bets. But for a girl who used to work in a casino and who is used to the rotten armpit of life? It just sort of falls on her. She's standing right up at the edge of the ring, people shoving money at her before fights. "Alright, Alright, Ah'll keep track, doncha worry," she assures these people as they come at her, laughing all the while. She only takes a handful of bets per fight, so she can remember everything. Plus, in a busy room, those are the ones that can get to her for each fight. And as a bookie, there's plenty of people who lose these sorts of things. She's up….so far. And she has her hair down, wearing a tight tank top and some jeans, a jacket thrown over it all.

Griffin was one of the first people here, paying his fee and signing up to fight early, with his ability marked as telekinesis. The outer layers of his suit have been tugged off, leaving the man in a fresh white wifebeater and a pair of track pants, complete with tennis shoes. The man is doing a rather nice job of showing off the extra muscle he got while he was in jail for two weeks with nothing to do but work out. His things have been stashed elsewhere.

Currently, he's leaned against a wall, as far removed from the crowds as he can be. His eyes are trailing the room, however, the man enjoying his height advantage over most in the room. Green eyes alight upon various familiar faces, keeping tabs on who he knows and what their abilities are, if any.

Luke is noted with a faint smile. Who knows…perhaps the kid might get his chance. Griffin surely isn't intending to lose, though.

Who knows where she heard it from, who she heard it from, but Harmony had decided to take herself to the fights. At first, there was just the general curiosity to see what it was about, maybe watch. However, the more she thought about it, the more she wanted to test her ability against others. Ever since her talk of experimentation with Cardinal the other day, and her daily studying on the various types of radiation there are and continued efforts to control them. She has been learning what they can do, how they effect the human body, what they can destroy, and what can stop them.

She doesn't lie about her ability at all when she talks of fighting. Harmony rarely lies at all. But in any case, there is a blonde girl with curly hair, black tight leather pants, a black leather jacket, and steel-toe boots on the side with her small entourage of random grunger friends. She is certainly trying to get herself psyched up, given how emotionally driven her powers are. The higher the rush, the more intense the sensation, the more complex and potent things she can do with them. Color excitement among one of her many emotions currently. This would be her first time doing something like this… or rather participating in it.

There has not yet been an evening where Logan has. You know. Hated himself to actually step foot into the arena. That he keeps coming back here and not even necessarily to earn money probably says something for a fascination, maybe for a girl he met here once, or the general art of combat, or morbid intrigue and voyeuristic contemplation. As it happens, he has no bets on anyone this evening. He stands on a raised dais where those at the back can get a better view above the heads of the rest of the crowd, his effort to dress up sedated to grey and black combinations in pinstripe, cotton, a wool greatcoat hanging open.

A used cigarette tumbles from his fingers over the small bar that cuts between this audience section and the rest of it, seemingly designed strictly for this purpose of slouching. If he wants a chance at rigging a given fight, he'll have to get closer. For now, Logan stays where he is, a searching stare pricking through the crowd rather than watching the current fight come to a close.

Although the dais provides a better vantage point than the seats closest to the cage, many of the spectators prefer the smothering heat of the crowd and the stench of sweat and cheep bear, which becomes more potent the closer one gets to the arena. The blood is more vibrant down there. Everything is more dangerous, too, which is why a woman of petite build appears at Logan's side rather than another head in the throng he's picking apart with his eyes.

Fingers clad in leather curl around the same bar he leans against, slender and feminine in appearance, but apart from a solitary curl of dark hair at the stranger's jaw, her physical features are for the most part hidden by the hood attached to her coat, which she wears up for the very purpose of casting her face in shadow.

How he heard about it really isn't necessary. Perhaps from one of his customers while picking up a computer or in passing. A rumor of an underground fight club. So, considering it's not the most bright thing he's done in his life, Dax, without telling anyone, decided on his own to go watch some people beat the snot out of each other.

Why, exactly, Richard Cardinal scribbled his name down on the list of combatants and signed a waiver or two is likely a matter of masochism at the very least, some twisted sort of penitence for the sins he's committed perhaps. It's certain that he has no real //combative/ ability, and while the past years have given him plenty of experience in fighting, he's far from the usual sort of brute that steps into the ring.

As he waits for his turn, he's lounging against a wall, one foot lifted up to rest flat against it. He's dressed in a pair of jeans and a simple black t-shirt, a cigarette cradled in his hand between puffs upon it. He's not sure if it's kosher to smoke in here, what with the city's laws, but nobody's yelled at him yet anyway.

For Melissa, the few familiar faces go unnoticed. She's really focused on the ring, even when it's empty, though it won't be for long. She's not really here to fight, but to be around the pain. Someone's apparently turned into a mega-sadist. But even as she watches, a weasley looking man enters the cage with a microphone.

"Our next fight for the night is gonna be Luke versus Harmony! Remember fighters, this is not to the death. If you're unable to continue or tap out, the fight is over. And if the fight is over and you keep going after your opponent, you will be removed from the ring and won't get your prize. So keep that in mind!" Then out he goes, making room for the two combatants, while some of the club bouncers hang near the entrance, prepared to step in if need be.

Luke notices Griffin and death glares at him. Oh yeah, he's going to catch you in the alley afterwards, punk. But then he hears that he's up first, and against… Harmony. "Heh, this should be fun." he smirks at her, swaggering towards the ring. Microwaves against radiation, huh. "No giving me cancer though."

"Alright, odds are 3:2 on the fellah!" Lola calls from her little perch. Hands wave at her, waving money, calling out what they want to buy. Lola laughs, and starts taking up the bets. She doesn't notice anyone yet, but it doesn't really matter to her. There's no sadness in her, no melancholy like some of the fighters. She likes the thrill and she likes the money. Come on, momma needs a new set of lockpicks. "Ya better kick 'er ass, sugar!" That one was for you, Luke.

Griffin offers a faint smile toward Luke as he recieves that glare, pushing off the wall. He's interested in seeing this fight, definitely. Cardinal, however, is the one drawing Griffin's attention, and as a result, the lanky man is slowly weaving through the crowds, making his way toward the man. He's been meaning to talk to the guy, in any case, so it's best to knock out two birds with one stone.

As he nears the man, he tilts his head toward him in a slow nod. "Richard. Good to see you're alive." His eyes are on the fight…he'll root for that girl, definitely.

It isn't that her name is called, it is who her name is called against that makes Harmony look around to her small group. "What? Are you serious?" the blonde girl blinks as she slides off of her stool and makes her way to the ring. Luke she knows, and he is aware of her. It's been a while but, yeah.. she still remembers. Harmony has come with a strategy tonight, that she isn't sure is gonna work, but she has to give it a shot. As she steps in, the girl is muttering. The pages of her book appear in her head, circled and lined in places with pink highlighter. "Okay.. Microwaves.. They're just electromagnetic wavelengths.. Um.. long as one meter, short as one millimeter.. Between 300 megahertz and 300 Gigahertz.." she reaches and rubs the bridge of her nose with a finger. "Risks associated with very high intensity exposure, which can cause heating and burns like any heat source.. Okay.." See? She's been studying. "I can handle this."

The girl takes off her jacket, tossing it aside, wearing but a tanktop underneath. "Alright Luke.. I'm really sorry about this, but.." Bringing about certain emotions, Harmony begins it off by shedding light. Intense light that pours from her skin, she becomes a big, bright, beacon of white light. Emmiting a sound as she does. (

Too small to be 'Casey', is what a quick glance towards the figure beside him informs Logan. It wasn't exactly hope that sparked that glance, either, but expectation of how the world is small after all and how he thinks this narrative should be going. But Hana Gitelman would forego the hood and stand taller than this one, and even fingers covered in gloves look too brittle and feminine. A searching glance for what angle of face he can see before deciding to go back to crowdwatching, even if natural paranoid tension sets his shoulders.

He is, at least, in good health. Whether or not he's had a good sleep, lines beneath Logan's eyes turn up shadows, and their depth tonight probably alludes to restless dreaming. But there is the least of his worries. Besides, that's around the time that the stage floods with preternatural light, and even from his vantage point, he finds himself squinting to see what's going on, mouth twitching in a brief grimace.

Sure, Luke can't see, but he has a power too. And he does know the general vicinity of Harmony, so he aims a blast of microwave energy her way. As for the audience, well…. he's been here quite a few times, people should know by now that he doesn't really care if he hits those in the audience. And since the two of them are in a cage, Luke moves towards where the sound is, reaching his hands out. If he feels anything soft he's gonna squish it.

Some say the smell of a ring stinks of blood. But that's nothing. Anyone that's ever stepped inside a boxing hall knows the stench of human pride being crushed into kernels smaller than displaced teeth. It's a foul thing, the smell of a man that's lost everything - the scent of someone struggling against nature, himself, his fate and all in an attempt to grab hold of hope - eve at the expense of his or he mental faculties. It was almost overwhelming, the stink. But it reminded Jason, none the less, of his home in west Texas. He's spent his young adult life in the ring, and now he was back again.

Stepping from the dimly lit locker room in the back of the basement, he walks casually up to a wall at the edge of the center light. Thin slits look through the basement, widening as a familiar body type, clad in a tank top, trots its way into the ring - and then begins to glow. "Holy shit," Jason says under his breath. His hands had once been busily wrapping tape between his fingers and around his knuckles, but now they float to his sides, suspended in the gravity of the moment. His tiny, blond roommate is an underground fighter.

"Uh Ugh" He looks around more eagerly than before, searching for a bookie. "I need to make a bet!" He knows Harmony's insanity and better than most of the people here. In fact he knows no one here, but he knows her! And he knows she can flash fry a chicken in under ten seconds. And that's a solid bet if he knew one.

His relaxed hands raise high for a minute as he passes through the crowds. "Is there a bookie in the house? I got five hundred on the blonde victoria's secret model. Any takers!?" Jason had come here tonight for a bit of free advertising - kick some ass and take some names. But why not stir the pot a little more and make some cash while you're at it, he thinks. Oh, you beautiful blonde munchkin. You're gonna make me a very RICH man. "I got five hundred here!"

Dax has found a spot with a view of the ring, within about twenty feet or so, sandwiched between a pimp and a large black man with a shaved head who's screaming at Jason to 'stick that white bitch good.' The call for a bookie gets his attention, though. He doesn't have $500 to bet…only about $100, but if all goes well, that'll turn into a lot more before the evening is out.

The question is, how resistant to microwave energy is Harmony. She has proven to not feel the effects of outside sources of radiation. Heat radiation itself? Possibly no problem, it is the convenction or conduction of heat that can cause her problems. Still, she isn't going to let it full on hit her. She is at a sight disadvantage as well. Not as much as people looking at her, but she can't clearly see what Luke is doing. She moves to one side, getting slammed in the arm by whatever it is he sends at her, knocking her to the side and making her stumble in her step. Her boots stomping clumsily upon the ground. She catches herself however, or rather Luke does, by her landing against him, his hands catching her arms.

For a second she freaks out, but she doesn't scream at least. Light suddenly becomes something else. Heat. Pretty intense heat that radiates off of her skin. If she wasn't a hottie before, she is now. Hot to the touch. Hey look, she is giving off microwaves! Luke should be familiar with those. "Luke! Get off of me!" she demands while the girl squirms, seeking to flail her arms and land a blow wherever she can.

There's familiar faces in the crowd - several of them - but Cardinal doesn't make a move to approach them from his casual lean, just taking another slow drag off his cigarette and exhaling a plume of smoke upwards. Then they call Harmony's name for the fights, and he just about chokes to death on a lungful of carcinogens. "The hell is she doing do," he mutters under his breath, moving to push through the crowd…

… but fortunately not swiftly enough to get to the cage's edge before the fight starts, the bodies between him and the metal mesh protecting him from direct viewing of the sudden eruption of light from the fighter, a phenomenon that immediately banishes all uncertainty of who it is that's in there. Even so, he pulls back with a grimace— looking away, one hand coming up to shield his eyes even further, drawing a pained hiss between clenched teeth. "Motherfucker."

Because of that, he doesn't see Griffin walking over, although he does hear when he speaks. "Griffin," he replies curtly, "I'm hard to kill. Good to know you're still walking."

Did someone call a bookie?

A small Chinese man rushes up to take the bets. He may not have been the bookie before, but he most certainly is now. His orders came from the taller man in the back. Dong-tian is dressed immaculately as usual. A stark black suit with a soft pink tie contrasting the rest of his suit. The Ghost Shadow is accompanied by a few other members of the triad. His black shoes clap neatly against the ground as he watches the contestants critically.

Something in Chinese is muttered as Dong-tian breaks stride from the rest of his compatriots. But when he starts to get near all the sweaty people in the crowd he pauses. Waving to one of the Ghost Shadows, Dong-tian has some whispered instructions and a dismissive hand.

Soon Cardinal has a member of the Ghost Shadows petitioning him to return to the back, where Dong-tian stands, hands clasped politely behind his back.

"Nuh uh, sweetcheeks." Luke keeps his grip on her. He's not immune to microwave energy himself, but having accidentally zapped himself quite a few times, he's built up a resistance to it, at least. In response to her struggling, he hugs her closer, then punches her in the head. He's not afraid to hit a girl. And just in case it works, he starts emitting his own microwaves right back at her in pointblank range. Let's see how much she can take!

"As loath as I am to thank you for anything," says the hooded woman beside Logan, "I'm told by some of my people that you're the one responsible for saving their lives on the eighth." Her voice is familiar, and not only because her accent isn't that far removed from the Englishman's own, and if there's any doubt about her identity, it's abolished by the smell of her perfume when it eventually reaches him, dampened though it is by the choking smell of cigarette smoke: what's in the air and what clings to her clothes and hair.

She doesn't have one lit, but it's probably a safe assumption to make that she's had at least one this evening since setting foot in the gym's basement. "You were volunteering at a triage center, or do I have the wrong John Logan?"

Melissa winces at the light and mutters softly, shaking her head. But then there's pain, and she stills again. For someone here to watch fights, it seems silly when she closes her eyes, rather than, you know, watching. And up nearer to the cage, security watches as carefully as they can with the LIGHT.

While Harmony doesn't start cooking, the heat is still very very uncomfortable. Even more so is the punch to the head that seems to disturb her emissions for a few seconds. It is enough to stun her concentration, but it also has her seeing red. It is plenty enough for her to close her eyes tightly and grit her teeth. She doesn't immediately open them, and the wrinkles of a frown don't leave her forehead. They get deeper. Her clothes are beginning to heat up quickly due to Luke's energy, and while they are currently a discomfort, they'll soon start to actually burn if she doesn't do something. "Goddamnit!" she snarls and opens her eyes. Behind them, there is a swirl of energy, used to charge hundreds of particles and then send a rocket of a bluish white beam straight from her face, streaking along the ground and burning a sizable trench in the floor. Luckily for Luke, he wasn't in the path of that, and it doesn't quite extend out of the ring.

A result of increased emotions, pain, rage, frustration.. Harmony holds onto those feelings and she swings her leg back, aiming for a rather tender part on Luke. A low blow if you will…

He punched her in the head!

She is about to go for another blast as well.

Lola feels a bit of the heat, so she glances back. But it's now Jason that has her attention, and his proclimation of five hundred dollars. "Right here sugar!" She waves her hands to Jason. "Get in now or don' get it an all, this is last call! Show yer money, put yer bet an go ahead and watch yer fight. Come on!" She shouts at the ring. "She ain' nothin' but hot air, sugar, kick her ass!" O-k. So Lola seems to be a liiiiitle bit too into this whole fighting thing. But blood sports for a cajun? Like cake to a fat cajun.

Luke knows better than to leave such a vulnerable spot open for attack in a fight, especially against women, who tend to aim for that a lot more often than other men do. So he twists away from her, allowing his thigh to take the hit instead, and tries getting his arm around her neck. Let's see her try to blast energy when he's got her in a chokehold. "No hard feelings." he mutters to her.

Dax gets to his feet and gets in on the betting, putting $50 on the girl. When he re-takes his seat, he's a good 20 feet from the stage - perfect distance to do a little…augmenting.

Three places her energy blast can come from. Eyes, left hand, and right hand. We've seen the eyes. So while Luke grabs her, and Harmony not quite staying still enough for him to actually choke her. She remembers her options. "I don't know you! Let go of my purse!" she screams out loud and goes for the instep, lifting her heavy boot up and going to bring it down on the top of Luke's foot. A blast takes a few seconds to charge, so she raises her hand and turns it back to point behind her. Perhaps she can pull back the power of it just a bit. Burning a hole in Luke is something she would like to avoid, but she can at least scare him into letting her go… if not? Well..


The light from the charging particles dances around her fingertips and and they start to swirl about the center of her palm. Zappy zap is about to happen.

Griffin arches a brow at Cardinal as he turns away, his head tilted to one side. "Mmf, I'm hard to kill, myself." He chuckles faintly over to the man, turning his eyes toward the fight ring with a frown. Poor girl! He has to resist the urge to reach in there with a vector and smack the kid upside the head. This is a paid fight, after all, and Harmony certainly knew what she was getting into after signing all of those waivers.

So instead, he slips back a little, glancing back to Cardinal. "Had a few things you might be able to clear up for me, actually. Do you know a fellow named Warren Ray? He's trying to date my sister, and most sane men would have run for the hills after my warnings." He leaves it a mystery, what he's talking about with a 'warning'.

The man then glances to one of the Ghost Shadows that is requesting Cardinal's presence in the back, Griffin arching a brow quietly. Then, he's back to watching the fight, frowning. That girl is rather frightening, really. Note to self, don't mess with the cute blonde.

Now there is something to recognise — the voice from the shadowed hood. Logan's attention from the fight deviates as he looks hard her way, silent and judging for the span of several seconds as a hateful kind of twinge pulls at his mouth in a frown. "Ruskin," he greets, his voice leveled into something neutral that only thinly veils dislike, and irrationally, he looks beyond her as if to detect any unwanted followers. A trap, maybe.

More silence, and Logan swallows, casting a look back towards the flashy spectacle going on in the ring. "I did it for myself, not for them," is partway true, anyway. People start getting murdered, people do stupid things, he gets in the way of stupid things— "And certainly not for you."

Lots of people here tonight. There is a young man— if not as young as some that come by here, mid-twenties at least— zigzagging his way through the crowd away from the signup sheet, energy only just contained within his burly frame, heavy hooded eyes, shaven skull. A beer cup in hand with its contents getting downed in a few swift gulps, the unknown fight club contender is only paying a sort of halfly amount of attention towards those in the ring as he moves through the crowd in pacey wait.

A tiny Chinese flunky, round as a crab in a coconut shell, scuttles up to Jason. He talks shop in broken English. Good enough to be understood - bad enough to be misinterpreted. The Triads, Syndicate and Dragons were all this way. If something goes bad on their end, just blame a breakdown in communication. If something goes good, they reap the rewards without much of a downside. Well, usually the messenger was shot, but the money's were never repaid in full.

"DO. YOU. KNOW. ODDS?" Jason spells it out clearly. "ME. TAKEY. BLONDE. GIRL. BIG. BET." At this he begins to way a stack of light bills, mostly twenties and fifties, in the Chinese-Coconut-Crab's face. He then counts the money - very, very slowly. "FIVE. HUUUUDRED. DORRAR. YES? - YOU. TAKE. BET?"

Jason waits for a response, but suddenly a BRIGHT light fills the darkened basement. The initial flash highlights he room and he can clearly see the dingy tint on the walls and make out faces for a split moment in the perfect light, but it grows more potent and soon disturbs his vision. The flash dies and the memory of the pure white glow reains, followed closely behind by green spots and purple blobs dancing around his periphery. "Mother fucker" he says to himself, before focusing his attention back to the Triad bookie.

"ME. WANT. 4 TO 1 ODDS. BLONDE. IS. TINY. GIRL." He motions with his the flat of his hand just how tall he thinks she should be - somewhere around four foot nothing. "WE. HAVE. DEAL?"

From out in left field another taker comes to the table. A woman. Jason looks up, blinking awkwardly to force the spots from his eyes, and over to Lola. "You odds you taking?" He flaps his money in the air just above the Chinamen's head. "If you think your boy has what it takes to beat a defense blonde to death, I'll take the underdog odds - If you don't mind." He smiles and waits. He has enough money to place both bets, and he intends to.

As an asian fellow steps up to whisper a request to him, Richard is just lowering his hand as that blinding beacon of light faded to something more tolerable. He regards the man for a moment with a brow arched over his shades — after all, someone did pay certain members of the Ghost Shadows to kill him. This is their operation, though, so it'd be impolite to say no.

"C'mon," he decrees with a cant of his head towards the back, apparently intending to beckon Griffin along with him. "Warren? Yeah, I know Warren. That'd be 'cause he's not sane at all. I mean, he's better than he was, but god knows when that facade'll give way. I work with him now'n again, but he's a time bomb waiting to happen."

As he catches sight of Dong-Tian, then, he relaxes a touch, gesturing with his cigarette to the man. "Fancy meeting you here."

"You have a lot of testicles showing up here." The lightly accented voice decrees to Cardinal. Dong-tian inspects the man that accompanies Cardinal. His eyes flick through the crowd among certain other individuals. "Are you really sure you should be here?" Dong=tian eyes the cigarette darkly before looking back up to Cardinal's gaze. "Just because I haven't killed you…" He gives a light shrug. "I am not all of the Ghost Shadows. No matter what you think."

Clasping his hands behind his back, he glances to the fighting up front. "I'm glad you are coming to partake of the finest our society has to offer." It's said flatly. "Why did you bring this nose over here?" Dong-tian glances back to Griffin.. and his nose.

Luke doesn't want zappy zap to happen, so he grabs at her hands and aims them towards her own face, or tries to, she might object to that. He knows how aiming with hands works, so go ahead, Harmony, fire away. He's still emitting the microwave energy, gradually increasing it. And, well… some leaks off into the crowd, so other people might start getting uncomfortable too. He also jumps back, dragging her and hopefully knocking her off-balance. "I don't have your damn purse."

"I didn't think that you did." Do it for me. Logan's searching yields nothing, or at least no familiar faces apart from the one Eileen hides from him. There's no sign of Ethan Holden, the Midtown Man or even Flint Deckard on the fringe of the crowd below the dais, and if he looks toward the entrance he will see only the club's security scrutinizing those who come and go with feigned ophidian disinterest.

"I wanted to make my appreciation known," she says, "regardless." As Eileen speaks, down below in the dense crush of bodies that she's made a careful effort to avoid, a younger woman with fair hair squeezes between two burly shoulders and squeaks out a muffled, "Excuse me, please," when she attempts to to push her way through, except with Ingrid Raines, pushing usually translates to nudging and that doesn't cut it here. "I really— really need to get up front. It's important, so if you could just— be a little more careful with your elbows—?"

When the radiation leaks into the crowd, that's when Melissa no longer looks almost serene. Her brow furrows, though eyes are still closed, and her head tilts. But still she remains silent, not addressing anyone. So anti-social! And she's not the only one uncomfortable. The men by the cage hesitate, a few taking a step or two back. They don't want to get fried, even if their job is to stay put and stop the fight if necessary. But no one's tapped out yet, and neither is unconscious, so they're in the clear. For now.

The tall man tilts his head toward Cardinal, smirking quietly as he follows along behind the man. "Really now. I appreciate that information. Perhaps I won't give him a chance." He grins over to Cardinal. "Should I kill him, or just remove an arm? I don't know if I can scare the insane little shit away otherwise." He rolls his eyes. "We'll have to have a chat after this whole thing, where it's not so populated."

Then, they've reached Dong-Tian. Green eyes are then cast toward him, the lanky fellow arching a brow down at the much shorter Chinese fellow. A charming smile is offered to the man, the wifebeater-wearing man touching his nose toward him as if in greeting. He doesn't say anything, just sort of assuming that creepy 'do not fuck with us' stance, calm and relaxed.

Lola backs away from the cage a little bit. "CAn' even watch nobody just swing some slugs anymore, yeah here sugar, Ah'll take it here." Lola says, nodding to Jason. "Ask around, name a Daisy, got a good 'rep round these parts." She says with a smile, a mischevious smile - Ash would have said scampish - that tries just a little hard to be honest. But then again, who really wants an honest smile in this place?

Can't grab her arms and hold her in a chokehold at the same time. So Harmony is able to twist herself a little, while the particles drop free from her hand, the highly charged bits falling helplessly into the floor and burning little circular droplets into it. As Luke drags at her, Harmony squirms and writhes until she is facing him, pulling her arms in a tug of war. At this vantage point, she can look at him. Which means, one of her three particle beam spots are primed. So what of her little wrestling match brings her a step closer to a wardrobe malfunction. Her tank top riding dangerously high. She doesn't notice. "Luke.." here comes the charge.


Her eyes glowing dangerously cobalt. "I'm gonna start pouring on the dangerous stuff in a minute." Harmony is sweating something fierce from Luke's energy. But that seems to be all it is doing to her. God! The heat is annoying!

Luke hears her words, considers the situation. So what does he do? A classic Three Stooges move, and pokes her in the eyes. Nyuk nyuk nyuk. And since 90% of people who have things poked at their eyes tend to flinch, he'll take the time to just punch her hard in the stomach, barring some kind of ninja move.

"Then I'll extend your appreciation to Kozlow," Logan notes, curling fingers inwards as if craving to fish a cigarette out from within his suit and touch flame to tip, but his throat is already dry from the last one. Chin tucked in a little, he sets to fidgeting with the cufflinks at his wrists. "How's business, then? I didn't realise you had people." There's no real disdain for the company that Eileen seems to keep — dirty-faced refugees on the cusp of getting lined along a wall and shut.

Goodness knows Logan keeps worse friends than that. He eyes the cage before he notes, more for the general space than for Eileen specifically, "None of us are going to be fertile after this."

"Hey!" This, from deep within the crowd. Joshua Springsteen raises a hand to get Ingrid's attention, though he isn't making efforts to help her through the crush of people. "I got you a beer!" But he did get her a beer. He's dressed in jeans, a loose hoodie, and isn't waiting around before turning back to watch the fight unfold, shifting his weight from heels to toes in a restless rock.

Of course she flinches, but she isn't gonna stand still. Harmony pulls back, jerking herself free from Luke and is just out of range of his punch when he comes to swing it. Just because she winced her eyes closed and pulled away, doesn't mean she stopped charging that blast. She has learned some valuable things about her ability this night. Most of the higher functions take time to get effective. She'll have to remember that. In the meantime, she pulls a cyclops yet again, staggering back and then opening her eyes to unleash the toned down particle beam at Luke. She Care Bear states him with an actual stare of DOOM! A potent blast generating from the blond.

Jason taps his little Triad friend on the head with a wad of cash. "Sawrry, CHINA-SAN," he says as he turns to walk toward Lola. "You snooze, you lose." His money is held high and prominently. No doubt that in the underworld it isn't a sum to brag about, but it's not the size of the stack that counts - it's how you use it.

"Well hey there, little miss beautiful." Jason turns the charm on as he sizes Lola up, undressing her in a matter of nano-seconds upon approach. His smile is wide and syrupy, just too sweet to stand. But he matches her reception with his own - sans the mischief - he keeps that bottled up inside so as not to give himself away. "It looks like you want to make a few extra dollars tonight, and my expense no less." He laughs off the thought. "What are we gonna do about that? Oh - I got it. I'll take the girl 3 to 1. Your boy is a sure thing and I need an edge to make up for this money I'm sure to lose. I put down 500 and you put down just a little more to make this a fair trade." He could almost giggle, knowing that Harmony was a radioactive freak and a bitch monster on week out every four -here's hoping tonight is that week she'd kill everyone standing ringside. Teehehehee!

He shakes the bills under Lola's nose. "Three to One. You game, beautiful?"

"I've been to a lot've places that I shouldn't be," Cardinal replies without much of a care, one shoulder raising up in a slight shrug of motion, "I'm not about to let some petty vendetta keep me out've somewhere that I want to be." He takes a slow drag on the cigarette, pulling it away from his lips then and letting his words twist and carve through the smoke formed by tongue and lips, "That, and there's enough of my people here that if anyone made a move most of the room'd be dead before a clear winner showed himself."

He gives his head a slow shake, turning a bit to look back towards the cage to listen for any results. "Personally, I'm not in the mood to be showered in human salsa, so hopefully your little friends behave tonight. They can try to kill me in the street later, like reasonable hitmen."

The matter of Warren Ray is left tabled for the moment. They can talk in a less… crowded situation.

Luke gets hit by the blast, and well…. Luke has a bad reaction to pain. He gets hit, and his own power goes haywire for a brief burst, hitting everyone in the room with a nonfatal dose that would leave a sunburny feeling. He also tends to want to run away from pain like that, so he heads out of the ring. "Fuck that."

"I did you a favor Dick." Dong-tian says steelly "Maybe next time you could respect that. It's a less abrasive maneuver than trying to knock over the room with your imaginary giant penis." The Chinese man watches Cardinal for a long moment. "I'm doing my best so that you don't get fucked. And you're going to treat me with that kind of attitude?" Dong-tian glances around the room as if watching for anyone else to be offended by this as well. Looking back to Griffin dismissively.

"My cousin may need your help." The triad twin, folds his arms over his chest. "Talk to him later."

"I was hoping we might come together to discuss it," Eileen says, and she's talking about business, not their mutual fertility, because that would be a very awkward and uncomfortable conversation, even moreso than the one they're having right now, and her speech is already very stilted. "At your leisure. I have other appointments this evening that I have to keep, and I'd prefer a more intimate venue if we could."

Ingrid sees a hand, and at a distance she doesn't recognize it as Josh's, but she burrows toward his voice just the same, and eventually comes out the other side of a tight cluster of people, her blonde hair in a flyaway tangle and cheeks flushed pink with discomfort. This isn't her scene, and when her foot steps in something wet and squelching, she makes a panicky noise at the back of her throat and hurries the rest of the way over. "I don't— I don't drink," she informs Joshua mousishly, not for the first time, but she's polite enough not to point this out to him.

Something else she discovered when she blew down Cardinal's steel door. Eyeblasts are not the best in the world to pull off. They leave her blinking pretty hard a few times like she has had some eyedrops planted in her eyes from the optometrist. The blast given by Luke serves to push her back a little, Harmony's arms swinging to catch her balance, and her vision returns after she hears Luke giving up. "Huh?" the blond questions, "I got him? Did I hit him? Oh! I did!" she realizes, and peers after Luke, "Aww.. Luke.." she wrinkles her nose, "Don't be mad, you're still a decent kisser. At least." she uses her hand to fan herself. Too much heat… The temptation to remove more clothing is pretty high, but she knows she isn't in a place to do that right now.

Oooh, real pain. Wait, no, ouch! Ouch, ouch, ouch! Melissa winces and her eyes open. "Too much like the fucking sun," she mutters to herself, trying to stop feeling all the pain and focus on watching now. Especially since she recognizes the fighter stomping off, and her lips twitch a little. "Nice," she murmurs.

After Luke's out of the ring, the weasley announcer enters again. "And Harmony's the winner! Don't worry, you'll get your cash, just don't fry anyone else, 'kay?" he says, giving her a quick look before making shooing motions. "Next fight is between…Jason and Griffin! Get your asses in the cage boys. No killing, stop when your opponent taps out or passes out. Break the rules and we'll break you." He's a pleasant individual, isn't he?

Griffin's response to Cardinal's words to Dong-Tian is a simple yet dangerous grin. A simple, silent support to Richard Cardinal's words. Sometimes, he rather enjoys being the backup. His eyes are on the fight, however. The sunburny feeling is noted, and Griff offers a frown, but that frown is quickly replaced by an almost smug grin as the boy walks off, though he conceals this by turning his grin to Dong.

Ha ha, it's good to see that snot-nosed brat get his ass kicked by a tiny blonde girl. He'll have to buy Harmony a drink, later on. She deserves it, especially after that fight.

And then, his name is being called. Brows arching, Griffin turns, nudging Cardinal with a faint smirk. Bet on me. Then, he's turning toward the cage, weaving his way up to the cage. Once there, his eyes flare white, and he floats the rest of the way in, hovering within the cage with his arms crossed, eyes scanning the crowd for his opponent.

Lola smiles. It's a bitch smile, the kind that says I'm enjoying your pain as she looks down at the money that JAson is trying to get her to take for a fight that she heard was just called. "Mmm, maybe next time, sugar, if ya keep yer damn trap shut an just place yer bet, ya might make it in time afore the fight ends. She turns to someone who needs to collect their winnings, and pays out with a smile. She's got plenty left. "Now, if ya wanna place a bet fer this next one, now would be a good time."

After the battle in the ring, Dax collects his 4:1 winnings on the blonde and, face still smarting, re-takes his spot to watch the next bout. He's managed to claim a decent sized (and horribly overpriced) bottle of whiskey which he takes occasional sips from as the fights go on. Griffin's entrance gets his attention, and a quick $150 is bet on him before he re-takes his seat 20 feet from the ring.

An unexpectedly toasty smell wafts from over Jason's shoulders. That's odd, he thinks, sniffing the air around Lola and then under his arms. "Smells like… " he shrugs his shoulders feeling a bit of pain seeping in through his athletic hoody. "Smells like bacon. You smell that?"

Just as Jason turns over to his right, eager to check the room behind him, two things of interest strp his attention from the burning pig scent of the room: The first is sight of Luke stepping out of the ring. WTF!? "I'm in the middle of a be" - - - -!!

And the second thing that catches his attention is the hot quickly rising up of his back. His eyes snap open like lunchbox clasps as he reaches around his body trying to pat out the heat. He quickly scurries out of his hoody and tosses it to the ground. A shallow examination reveals a hot spot on the back, but the excitement rolling through the crowds means one of the two former-contestants must have gone a little nuts. Probably Harmony, that fowl tempered witch. Why couldn't see Luke busy a few more minutes?

Before he can say anything more on the matter, other than to warn Lola that she had "best behave" herself Jason hears his name and heads for the ring. He slips into the cage and does some light stretching, although he's already fairly warmed up from some idiot's idea of a joke - good one, burning everyone. That's coming out of your rent!

"Aaaaaawh!" He yawns a bit, not taking much of anything too seriously just yet. "Pleased to meet you," he extends his hand to his opponent. "The name's NORTH" he leans out to say this, facing the crowd a bit so they can remember it for generous to come. "I'm new around these parts. I just came here to get a bit of sport in nd get my NAME OUT THERE. You know, in case anyone is INTERESTED IN HIRING some local muscle." He flashes a toothy grin. "And you are, George was it?"

"No one cares how old you are in here," Joshua protests, not— entirely getting the point, nor remembering any prior conversation that might closely resemble this one. "But hey, more for me. If you're not into beer, I got us a bottle of Wild Turkey for when we get back — kind of like a late Thanksgiving." He grins at Ingrid, then, maybe— maybe— aware enough to know he's teasing her as opposed to not getting it to that degree, finishing off his own beer and crumpling up the cup to let fall.

Fortunately, he now has a second one all to himself, veering light brown stare back to the stage as one fight concludes in favour of something new.

Logan gets out of his slouch against the bar, rocking a step back from Eileen with cold cynicism reflected in pale green eyes. Said eyes masked by the time he's slipping some sunglasses on, despite the hour and the indoorsiness, silver rimmed and faintly purple tinted. This would be when he says no, which he looks to be on the verge of doing. Instead; "You know my regular venue, then. My turf or nothing."

"You did me a favor, and I appreciate it," says Cardinal with a slight shake of his head, "You don't need to push your influence any further. I'm a big boy, Dong-tian. I can take care've myself. I'm not going to— " Then there's a brief wash of heat over the crowd, and he turns his face away from the cage with a momentary grimace, "— hide."

He is destined to never go a month without sunburn.

He jerks his head to the cage as they call Griffin's name, exhaling a chuckle, "…go have some fun. Try not to hurt this 'Jason' guy too much." Once the other man's left, he turns a serious look on Dong-Tian, "He knows where to find me. The old place, not the new one, lately."

Luke is in a bad mood because he lost, but considering who he lost to, it's not so bad considering she's freaky dangerous. Also, he knows where she lives, and can probably get compensation for the damages. Heh. And now the next two are up, and he narrows his eyes at Griffin. Hmm. He can't get him during the match, but once he steps out of the ring he's fair game.

Once Griffin moves away, Dong-tian watches Luke for a long moment before glancing back to Cardinal. In hushed tones, Cardinal's look is matched. "You're doing alright." It's half statement half question. "And my cousin's friends that work with you? Are fine?" The Ghost Shadow shifts slightly, glancing over Cardinal's shoulder to Luke again. Under his breath, "Don't like his look. Or that he just gave me a hot flash. Who is he."

All his questions are offered as statements. "New friend." He flicks his chin in the direction of Griffin. "Do you have a thing for alpha males with penis complexes?" Finally a question-question. "The old place." Dong-tian eyes Cardinal for a long moment, for half a second the triad looks like he's actually concerned. "My cousin will come see you soon." A solid nod. "And do me a favor. Limit your dates out here, asshole."

The tall, lanky fellow peers down at the offered hand with glowing eyes, floating at a lofty height that sets him taller than the younger man. Griffin doesn't accept the handshake. Instead, he drifts back a few paces, and raises his hands, pressing them together and offering a short bow in Jason's direction. "Good luck, kid. You're going to need it." This is said with a small smile.

Then, Griffin is making his move. Four arms are sent toward Jason's chest in a sharp punch intended to knock him back. It's like being punched by four men at the same time. He's trying not to hurt the kid too badly.

"The Corinthian, then," Eileen says which, although not Burlesque, she at least classifies as Logan's turf, it being Linderman Group property. After what happened on the dance floor at the last gala and later in the wake of Wendy Hunter's death, she's not quite prepared to risk putting herself in a room alone with him, and that includes his office. "Chambery. I'll be in touch."

Ingrid follows Joshua's gaze, maybe expecting to see more inside the cage than what she does, though she isn't disappointed by what she does see. "A late Thanksgiving would be nice," she says softly, and she's aware that she's talking more to herself than to Joshua at this point. "I could make us a sweet potato casserole and a cornbread dressing for the bird, unless— unless you want to have ham, I mean. Some people have ham at Thanksgiving, unless they're vegetarian, and then they don't have any meat at all I don't think. Maybe we could ask Astor if he wants to come. He's so alone, you know, and I'm starting to worry. He looked sort of sick the last time I saw him, but I guess that's to be expected with the… you know."

A beat. "Wait. You were just looking at the sign-in sheet, right?"

So fighting was a bit of an experience for Harmony, and probably not one she is going to be quick to want to do again anytime soon. Unless she really had to. As she had gathered her jacket and made her way back over to her small group of friends who congratulate her on her victory, Harmony sighs and plops herself back down in her seat. That was a close one.. she wasn't sure if she could take Luke's power, but apparently she can. As long as it is directed at her, and not something else. The blond tucks a sweaty curl back behind her ear, her hand continuing by stroking down the side of her neck and rubbing into a stiff, sore spot. Luke just had to be rough with her, didn't he? He has no idea how to treat a delicate little flower such as she. She is going to need a long, slow bubble bath after this.

As Jason is called to the ring, Harmony looks up in a smidgen of disbelief, "Are you serious?" she blinks and then narrows her green eyes, "What a dick! He's been playing me this whole time? First he acts like he's gay, to get lewd looks at me in, and then this whole time he pretends he isn't Evolved? Okay.. fine.." she nods to one of her friends, "He wants to play that game?" Harmony pulls her cellphone out and fires off a text message to Cardinal.. wherever he may be. She doesn't know he is here.

Griffin, there's another face she recognizes, but Melissa gives a glance to the ring before glancing around for other familiar faces. Cardinal, check. Dong-Tian, check. Guy from Staten Island…what the hell? Logan gets stared at for a moment before Melissa shrugs and starts moving closer to the ring, bit by bit. And once again, security takes up position outside of the ring, ready, just in case.

Jason just sort of stands there for a moment watching the gaunt fellow just float away. For a moment Jason thinks he's with the triad or something - all that bowing and hand togetherness stuff, it just wreaks of something Asian. Or worse, pseudo-spiritualistic flim-flam stolen from Asia and bought wholesale by confused westerners. But rather than press the issue, he just shakes his head and slowly lowers his extended arm. "Well," he smiles and replies to Griff's version of a howdy-do. "We could all use a little more Lu- - - UUGGGGGGHMMNPH!"

Out of nowhere a force pushes him back against the cage. It rattles as his broad back meets the metal and pushes him forward. Immediately, Jason's hands pat his chest. It's thickly built, muscle laid on top of military-grade muscle, but it felt like four guys each landed a hit - but all at once.

The burning and stinging remains. But it also wakes him up and reminds him that he's in a fight. His life could potentially be on the line. But more importantly there's MONEY to be made if he wins, and free publicity if he does well - no matter what the outcome. Hehehe. Way to hedge your bets J. He could almost smile at his brilliant scheme.

But he doesn't smile! In fact he bites down, tensing the muscles running through his jaw. Masseter muscles clench tightly and bulge, the catalyst for a rippling that shakes his undershirt - a simple sleeveless tee - and swells his chest. A deep breath focuses his thoughts and he can feel the flow of the world all around him, bits and pieces, like droplets of water, slowing and chilling - almost imperceptibly - around his body.

Ching! Jingli-jingle-chang! He pats his jeans, listening to the sound of the change chiming through the denim. He's collect a nice wad of cash earlier this morning, and quite a few smaller bits too. "Luck?" He says, rotating his shoulders. "On second thought, I don't need luck."

"I'm not sure," admits Cardinal with a touch of reluctance as he catches sight of Luke moving out of the cage, his lips pursing slightly. He doesn't like admitting that there're things and people he doesn't know. It loses him a sliver of cred every time. His voice quiet as he adds, "I can find out. I'll let you know."

At that flicker of concern, a faint smile tugs to his lips. "I'm fine," he murmurs, turning to watch the fight, "And I don't come here all that often. Just got some shit to get out've my system." Surely nothing could go wrong with walking into a fighting ring here!

Then his phone is making noises, and he pulls it out of a pocket, snapping it open and checking on the message.

"Kick 'is ass, Griffin! Momma needs ta make some money!" Lola shouts at the cage, unabashed. The blood sport is like a lust for her blood - Kill! Kill! Or, you know. Something like that. If it actually got to killing, she might get a little upset. But for now she's still taking bets for the night, waving money at the cage and shouting for Griffin to whoop this little shit.

Dax sits on the edge of his seat as Griffin punches the other guy against the cage. His bet may have been better thought out, thanks to the flashy opening. Still, he concentrates on Griffin, giving him a little more ooomph in order to make his bet pay off.

"Fine." Logan hasn't had enough negative experiences doing deals in the Chambery to protest too hard, for all that Linderman property is built on shaky ground nowadays. Getting bitchslapped that one time aside, they do have an excellent range of wine. He moves away, now, with the intent to leave Eileen there and that offer to meet standing cold and a little unfinished between them, stepping down to mingle in with the crowd.

And get closer to the cage.

More beer thrown back, Joshua discards this cup in turn, claps once in enthusiasm for the— whatever it is that guy just got done to him. Griffin is watched closely, as he does seem to be the guy with the upper hand, and a lot of Ingrid's words go whoosh over the bristled cap of Joshua's skull. "Huh?" he barks out at her question, sending the girl a distracted glance. "Naw. I'm up soon. Gonna earn us all a little cash, it's gonna be fuckin' primal up there, so pay attention."

While Jason is chatting away, Griffin's invisible telekinetic hands are rewinding for yet another hit. A faint smile forms on his face as he remains aloft. "You certainly talk a lot, kiddo. Are you going to even try to fight back?" As Dax's ability takes its hold on Griffin, the telekinetic is striking out at Jason once more. Except this time, the four invisible punches are about twice as strong as his last ones, something unexpected even to Griffin. He blinks a few times as the fence begins to bend inward a little, before flexing back to its normal shape.

"Find out." Dong-tian says tonelessly to Cardinal before taking a few steps back. Folding his arms, the Ghost Shadow watches the fight quietly.

All at once, the colour drains from Ingrid's face. Blue eyes snap abruptly to Joshua's face, searching it in desperation for some sign that what he just said was a joke. "B-But," she starts, voice coming out halted and feeble, "we have enough money. Joshua. Josh. Wh-What if you get hurt and Calvin can't fix you?" She looks down at her hand, uncertain, then back up at her companion before placing it shakily on his arm.

"I don't really think this is a good idea. Not that you don't have good ideas because you do. A lot! It's just that… he's here, and we're not supposed to be attracting attention ssso." She takes her lower lip between her teeth, and mumbles her next words out around it. "Please? Can we just go?"

After a few moments on her cell phone, getting in a text battle. Harmony looks up with her bright green eyes, scanning the crowd until she finally sports Cardinal, a blond brow raising intently. "Really?" she sighs and hops off of her seat, "Hey, hold my seat." the girl tells her friends and she meanders through people, over to where Cardinal resides. "Did you seriously stalk me, or what?" the girl has accusing hands upon her hips as she smirks at him. "Look, it was an experiment." Harmony shrugs, "I got out of there without any major injuries.. Maybe a few bruises.. he hit me pretty hard." Harmony pulls a hand back, rubbing the back of one shoulder as she stretches out her neck. "Anyway.. I need to talk to you about the big guy? In the ring right now?…"

Melissa continues to make her way closer and closer, and if she happens to bump into a few people here and there…well, it's expected in a place like this. Sorry people. Once she's close enough to have a good view she digs out a battered pack of cigarettes, lighting one up before putting her empty hand in her pocket. "Hmm. I didn't know he was that strong," she murmurs, eyeing the fence.

The world around us is composed of particles. Particles comprise waves. And waves are the everything in the empty distances we call space. In the ancient times the Mesopotamian cultures called this space primordial water, not so much unlike the gaseous entities which comprise the universe, stars, and all matter. It is the sub-atmosphere. It is the jungle of molecules furiously rolling through invisible currents, filling our lungs, filling the voids of what human beings can only perceptibly see as emptiness - what people call air, or nothing. But this water, this wave, is more real and numerous than any physical substance in the universe - for it is everything therein.

And Jason can feel it. The initial blow given him by Griff lingers, trembling with energy that's slowly soaked into his body. The initial impact was simply a hit, but the meager frenetic leftovers are already dwindling away. And conscious of future invisible attacks, Jason steels his mind and body for the next kinetic wave.

Whoooooooosh!! He can feel the wind flowing from Griff's body like a gentle breeze rolling over him. Only he perceives what should be a swift gust of displaced air as a slow blow as long and sleepy as molasses. He has time to life his forearms in a standard boxer's guard. But there's no need, when the blows hit the damage from twice the human force merely sting his skin, rather than break his bones. The impact is enough to forcibly lift him off the ground and push him back once more against the cage wall, making a good how of what would appear to be total domination on Griff's part - but the attack is considerably slower than something lethal. And therein lies his opponent's mistake. Anything less is a game of flag football - too bad Jason's more of an NFL kind of guy.

After the unseen force of impact withdraws, Jason drops from the cage side and catches himself. A sly had slips into his front pocket to retrieve a hand full of small coins, about two dozen or so. But all he does is shake them in his fist, listening to them sing as they bang against each other. The energy in the coins begins to build.

"Wow!" he says, feigning like he's out of breath and hurt. "You're some powerful kind of guy. Wh- what was that? A mind missle? A Darth Vader?" The coins feel almost warm in his hands. "You gotta take it easy on me, this s just an exhibition match."

"If I was stalking you," Cardinal points out with a roll of his eyes as Harmony emerges from the crowd and walks over to him, snapping his phone closed and tucking it away into his jacket, "You'd never know it."

His gaze trails to the cages as she references the men that're battling within it, one hand coming up to bring the cigarette to his lips, murmuring between puffs, "Never seen him before. Who was the squirt you were tusslin' with earlier in there, by the way?"

"You can go." It's a sudden enough turn, Joshua's big grins and assumptive, jovial behaviour suddenly wheeling around into aggression and defense as he growls that down at Ingrid, aggravation carving lines into the slope of his forehead. "I've been wasting away for a fucking month now, I need something to do, and if you don't want a cut of the prize, then fuck it, I got better stuff to spend it on any how." And then a smile, even if it's a little less warm and youthful than before.

An elbow sticks out, nudges her playfully. "Besides, babe, I'm superman, remember? None of these people know my neck of the woods, I'll bet you. Come on, you can be like my. Good luck charm, or some shit."

When Jason doesn't immediately collapse from this double-strength attack, Griffin narrows his eyes. The fence flexes in once more, then outward, as if it is quite literally breathing along with the man, Then, he decides to take a different approach. Two of those four arms are aiming even harder punhes at Jason's face, this time aiming to break bone.

In the meanwhile, the other spare pair of arms reach for Jason's ankles, attempting to wrap around them to squeeze them tight. But that's not the only intent of his actions. Should he succeed in grabbing them, while the squeezing is quite tight, Griffin promptly attempts to yank Jason's feet out from under him, in an attempt to crack the man's head against the concrete floor beneath them.

Ingrid reacts to Joshua's sudden shift in demeanor the same way a small child might flinch away from the dog it had just been petting if that dog had flashed its teeth. Her hand retracts, and there's genuine fear in her expression that doesn't completely fade even when he's smiling again. The elbow to her side receives a soft, almost pained exhalation that sounds worse than it is.

She shifts her hand to her ribs. "Your good luck charm, huh?" she asks with a forced smile that does little more than twitch at the corners of her mouth. There's no talking him out of this, so she may as well, you know.

Show her support. "You promise not to be mad at me if you lose?"

"Mm." Harmony gives Cardinal a bemused purse of her lips, through her smile. "I guess I'd have to walk around like a light bulb all the time. Either that or put on a show… In the event of stalking, that is." She hitches her thumbs into her tight pants as she stands there, hands hanging at her side.

"You mean Luke? Well, he used to live down the hall from me when I lived at the Octagon. He's.." she turns to look through the crowd for Luke, "A friend.. We went on a date once, but it never really went anywhere. Why?" her green eyes turn questioningly towards Cardinal.

"The big guy is my roommate, Jason. I've had some.. questionable things happen from him as of late, and now, come to find out, he's been hiding the fact that he is Evolved. There is this chick, that he apparently works for or something. Keira or something.. They were talking about like.. blowing up some building or something, and being all 'hush hush' about it, like I totally wasn't in the apartment, and couldn't hear them or some shit." she turns her eyes to look back into the ring. "Jason says he is just a dealer, but I'm skeptical. I figure you could find out what the real deal is, if anyone could."

A single hand extends, palm facing Griffin in a physical show that matches his mental focus. The molecules before his immediate person, the wave of space, is inundated with his Evolved powers. It is a shield, a defensive cloak, his very reason for being - the only path he's come to know other than the lower roads that lead through the underground. And a his mind readies for the assault against him by Griff's force, he hyper focuses on opponent in front of him… rather than the invisible enemy beneath him.

"Wha-wha-whoooo!" Jason is hoisted into the air by what feels like steel-thread cables ensnaring his ankles. He was prepared to be struck, but not expecting to be pulled, or even lifted into the air. A moment of weightlessness overtakes him, and his heart beats - faster, and faster, and faster still. Adrenaline surges through his mind and all he can do is watch the pull away from him, while behind aware of it all.

THUD! He falls to his back as he's dropped heavily on the concrete block beneath him. The back of his head rolls against the cold slab of floor, but only after the brunt of the fall was soaked up his shoulders and back muscles. But it's enough to make him drop his hyper focused guard. But I's not enough to cool his growing rage or burning pride.

Even from his back he can do as much as throw a pocket full of change. Even with a sight bump on his noggin - he's a big boy. And that's just what he does. The hand holding the warming coins shoots forward and tosses a pocketful of change Griff's way. Only as soon as the fingers unwrap there isn't a site or sound to be seen or heard?

Where's the change? It's already a blur. Rocketing toward Giff like two dozen speeding projectiles, the tiny pieces of metal flash hot and orange for a brief moment and seem to tear away from this world. Before eve a second can be counted, they would be upon their target, prepared to dig into his opponent like darts from a nailgun.

"Sum-uva-Beotch!" Jason swears as his fingers release the volley of high speed pocket change. His free hand rubs the back of his head and he looks on toward the other guy in the cage with a bit of stunned look, before he blinks and struggles to regain his powers. He'll have to start focusing again. - Deep breaths. - Deep breaths.

"Just curious." Cardinal didn't exactly move that far from where Dong-Tian had settled himself, so the other man probably overheard the explaination of who Luke was. Another drag on the cigarette trails off into coughing, then, as she continues. He brings his hand up, finger tugging the shades down to regard Harmony over them. "Keira? About… yea high… lotta tattoos, lotta red hair dye?" Please let it be a different Keira.

"Hey, if you're defective, that'll be your problem," Joshua promises Ingrid, now with a broad smile, looping an arm as companionably as he pleases around her shoulders as he watches the remainder of the fight, though whether this token of attention actually means attention is ambiguous as opposed to, say, leaning on a wall or wearing a cool accessory. Arm around a hot chick.

He smells like Axe and beer.

A shout fills the cage as red splotches appear over Griff's skin, little pieces of change sticking out of him. Well then, that's going to need some stitching. But Griffin's mind isn't on the pain of these new additions to his wardrobe, which are starting to stain his white wifebeater with red blotches. Right now, he's dropping to his feet, and all six of his arms are coming down on various parts of Jason's body, from his face to his gut to his groin. And on top of coming down hard in a strike, they grab hold, the telekinetic fingers attempting to dig in to the man's flesh. You want to give me scars? I'll give you a few, too.

And the telekinetic hand that was going to the groin is not about to be nice out of sympathy. The telekinetic is angry now. Even as the fingers are attempting to dig in, two more of the telekinetic hands are making an attempt to grab hold of Jason's right middle finger, and pull.

Money exchanges hands at the door, a slip of bills from a too-empty wallet belonging to a heavily dressed young woman. Over the noise and commotion of the rattling cage, shouts, screams and cheers of the Center Stage, the subtle arrival of one Jolene Marley comes largely unnoticed. Unzipping the front of her puffy, black winter jacket, Lene reveals a buttoned knit sweater as she walks down the stairs, partly obscuring an "I <3 NY" tshirt beneath. Curly locks of faux-red hair hang out from beneath a colorful knit cap with dangling tassels on either side of cheeks made rosy from the cold.

She's checking her cell phone, the old pay-as-you-go flip-phone open like some sort of Star Trek tricorder scanning the crowd for tribbles or something like that. Green eyes are a much more effective way to notice people in a sea of sweaty fighters in the mix of blood, sweat and cigarettes. Cracking a smile, Lene carches sight of a familiar cueball-bald head and— an arm— around Ingrid.

Smile changes to grimace, flashes back to smile distractedly as Jolene shuts her phone with a click of plastic-on-plastic, sneakered feet making soundless progress across the concrete stairs by sheer merit of the noise being drowned out by the fighters. Descending down to the floor, Lene briefly loses sight of her friends, pushing and weaving through the crowd and growing more jittery with every moment she's in the morass of shouting and jumping spectators.

Weaseling her way through the crowd becomes remarkably — and unexplainably — more effecient as she disappears out of sight behind one large, shirtless man covered in tattoos howling at the fight in progress, then re-emerges from further away in the crowd with an impish smile and wide eyes like someone on a caffeine high.

"Jo-shua!" Is trilled out as Jolene throws both arms around Joshua (and by proximity and subtle intent Ingrid), beaming a smile over Joshua's shoulder at the both of them. "I came down as soon as I heard you were here! This place is Primal, oh my God it's like— can you feel that in the air!?"

Taking a step forward, Dong-tian goes to rejoin Cardinal's side. A condescending look is granted Harmony. He dips his head down at this talk about Keira. He swings his gaze over to Cardinal for a moment before glancing back down at Harmony to hear her side of it. The Ghost Shadow, tucks his thumbs into his belt. A glance has him smirking at the fight. "Your boyfriend is angry." The Chinese man takes a slight step away to examine the fight. "To be clear I was speaking to Dick." Dong-tian explains, gesturing to Cardinal for Harmony's benefit.

There are worse smells. Like piss and vomit and whatever it was Ingrid stepped in back there. She tenses when Joshua's arm goes around her and lets out a shrill titter of nervous laughter that's more or less lost to the roar of the crowd.

Tucking in her chin and eyes lowered to the floor, she counts the number of crumpled cigarette butts scattered around her feet, and even Jolene's unexpected arrival can't compel her to raise them again, lest she glimpse something terrible on the other side of the chain-link. It's like being trapped in the dark of a movie theater in the middle of a horror flick — she even has a boy's arm around her shoulders! — with both hands covering her face, only she has just enough dignity not to go quite that far.

"I feel it in my stomach," she confides in Lene. "I think I'm going to throw up."

"Yeah." Harmony nods, giving Cardinal and peer from her eyes, "That's her. Don't tell me you know her too.." She is starting to realize that Cardinal seems to know everyone, so it shouldn't surprise her that Cardinal would know the girl in question. "Had this little problem the other night.. Seamus.. a pretty close friend of mine.. came in bleeding from bullet wounds and almost near death. Well, I brought him up to the apartment to keep him from bleeding out and give him a place to crash and recover a little, and Jason threw a big fit about him as if he were somebody trash or something. Well he wasn't, he's my friend and he needed help." the blond narrows her eyes, "Anyway.. Jason proceeded to let this Keira chick waltz up in the apartment and talk about blowing up this building or something. I dunno the details? Because.. yeah.. the less I know and everything.." Harmony holds up her hands defensively. "What pisses me off is that he threw a big fit about Seamus, but he turns around and makes plans to do a bit of demolition? Yeah.. that's fairness." She rolls her eyes.

Dong brings her attention back to the ring, and Harmony tilts her head to one side, "Hm.. I'm not sure what Jason's ability is.. This is the first I've heard of him being evolved. But that.. what he did was pretty rough." Suddenly, she remembers, "Oh! Hey!" she turns and lightly raps the back of her hand against Cardinal's arm, "Luke.. he's got microwave powers right? Well.. I think I'm kinda immune to those.. if that helps our little experiment any. The energy didn't hurt me, but the heat they were causing on other things seemed to cause a bit of trouble."

Melissa has gotten close enough to the ring that she's content to remain there and smoke, not caring if she's around non-smokers. People who get too close to her personal space are promply delivered an elbow to the side or stomach, adn those deliveries get a bit sharper once she starts to again feel the pain those in the ring are feeling. Some abilities really need to have an off switch.

Jason's focus is there, but it's thin, weaker than it once was. The kinetic energy around his body begins to still, putting to sleep the tumultuous waves of troubled frenetic particles. And then it hits. Wave after wave of strikes against his body. Some, near his core where his emanations are at their strongest feel like heavy handed slaps with the back of the hand. Others hit like aluminum bats - with a resounding sting, a flurry of pain, but nothing quite as bad as a thick wood Louisville Slugger or a crowbar. A gristle ex-soldier could deal with aluminum bats. He's had worse.

"Gaw! Fuuughk!" He snarls for a moment, biting back the searing discomfort in his nuts. To be nut-flicked with the back of the hand, Jesus-Mary-And-Joseph that hurts like a beast-mother. But that's probably the worst of it. The invisible tentacles groping all over his body like a horny Japanese porn monster try to overcome him and even grab hold of his hands and fingers. But the kinetic impact of it all has so much leftover force that it's easily syphoned into Jason's body. His finger isn't torn off - it's yanked, and feels as if someone is forcibly trying to pull off his finger, but it's stuck at the knuckle. If only they had some butter to slip that bad boy right off of that finger. But they don't! So it hurts and aches, but it doesn't bleed or break, at least not yet anyway.

"Fwhuuu- Fwhuuu - Fhwuuu!!" Jason focuses on his breathing like a soon to be mother at Lamaze class. Each breath takes him a little deer into the molecular flow of energy. And ironically, each blow against him is making it a little easier to get there.

But Jason isn't some mad lunatic. Fighting someone that wants to cut off his finger and break his bones is just not his style. So in between breaths he decides it's best to call it quits.

"Fwhuuuuu!! I GIVE - Fwhuuuuuu - I give UP!!" It's either this or throw a penny so fast it shoots through someone's skull - now who really wants that to happen on the night of his big brawling debut. He'd never be inviting back after that. "Fwhuuuu - you win. I give. I give."

He focuses on his defense, building it up now rather than entertaining any notion of retaliation. Just long enough for him to walk out the ring with his bones intact - that's all he wants for the moment. A good showing of his skills and a god night sleep. A certain little lady would KILL him if he got injured before he completed a job. "Fwuu- Fwuu - Let up. You win. You got me."

"I'll look into it," Cardinal says in the long-suffering tones of someone who's been saying that phrase a lot lately and has a very large stack of 'look intos' piling on his desk. A man just can't take a vacation these days. Maybe he'll get lucky and they're all the same exploding building, that'd be convenient. The cigarette in his hand is dropped down to the floor careless of littering, the heel of a steel-toed boot grinding it into ash and torn paper.

Oh, right, there's a fight going on. He turns his attention towards the cage and the fight between the pair, muttering absently, "He's not mine. He belongs to Peter. 'Sides. Looks like he's doing just fine."

Griffin's assault continues, right up until Jason shouts that he gives up. The moment those words leave his lips, after letting him whine a little, Griffin pulls his vectors back, leaving Jason upon the ground, a frown on the man's face. He doesn't say a single word, instead lifting up into the air once more. The fence of the fighting cage crumples inward a little with the last of the amplified strength that Dax has offered, as he drifts upwards, bleeding rather nicely from the bits of coin stuck in his chest and leg.

He folds his hands before him once more, and bows to Jason again. Then, when a faintly triumphant look on his face, Griffin is making his way toward the cage exit, the door opening before him as he leaves it. He still keeps a critical eye on Jason, however…

"Woah, okay. Hey." Joshua glances back distractedly towards Lene. Kind of like a gorilla checking out the spider monkey for all that she's of the tall variety of female, as opposed to Ingrid huddling beneath the weight of his arm. "Who invited you, four-eyes?" This remark is made lightly — it's pretty much hi, when it comes to Joshua Springsteen's method of communication, and then—

Most chances of conversation are scattered by the time it's clear the fight has drawn to a close. "Woo!" Woo is belted out through cupped hands, nearly choking Ingrid to him out in an effort to configure his hands accordingly. Woo!

With a groan Jason sits up. A casual sigh blows through his lips like a whisper as he stands to his feet. His arms and legs sting, but he'll be alright. His finger throbs a bit though . And Jason chirps at this new insight with a "Tsk!" He pops the knuckle of the aching finger into his mouth and keeps it there for a bit. In the meantime, before leaves the cage, he makes sure to scan the concrete floor for any loose change - Waste not want not as they say.

Fifteen, Twenty, Forty Five, he goes around pocketing coins that have either missed their mark or have fallen out of his pockets during the brawl. And satisfied with his collection, he looks on at Griff, hoping he can get the change back that he put into his torso. "There must be a good three dollars in there." Jason frowns at the thought of losing that much money. But soon he's out of the cage and on to other things, like heading for the door and then heading home. He's got some serious trouble to get into later on. This show as just a warm up.

Nose wrinkling in frustration, Lene slides around Joshua like the spider-monkey he called her, looking up to the stage when the crowd begins to cheer, belatedly cupping her hands around her mouth and letting out an uproarious cheer of her own, rising up onto her toes, bouncing up and down with a bright smile spread across her face. She's practically glowing with excitement and energy, turning around with hands clasping together in front of herself to face Joshua and Ingrid.

One, two— wait a minute.

"Where the hell is Astor!?" Lene's brows drop and her cheeks puff out as she settles back down onto her heels. "Did you actually leave him alone for the night? Come on you know he's going to be miserable why didn't you guys make him come out!?" The last bit sounds like a whine, Lene reaching out to grab Joshua by the sleeve pleadingly tug-tugging her point across.

"You know he would've liked it here once he got out, you konw he's that way!" Green eyes flit around the faces in the crowd, and Lene seems wholly ignorant of Joshua's actual intention for being here. Them, of course, her attention settles on Ingrid, taking a step forward and ducking her head down to level a stare at her avoidant eyes. "C'mon, it isn't that bad here, is it? You gotta' admit this is pretty fun, right? Makes me want t'play myself." Lene cracks a smile, jokingly. Or, maybe jokingly.

Ingrid meets Lene's gaze long enough to guiltily flick it away again, a small hand prying at the arm around her throat. "I think Astor likes being alone," she says, but this isn't an argument as much as much as it is a hastily contructed explanation for the other man's absence, even if it happens to be true. "If you want to spend time with him, we could go visit him at his place, but I don't think he'd like that either—"

Weasel announcer guy moves in once Jason verbally taps out, waiting for Griffin to slip out of the ring before slipping in. He waits for Jason to leave before addressing the crowd. "And Griffin is the winner due to tap out! Collect your bets and Griffin, someone'll find you with your prize. And now for our next fight. Richard and Joshua! Make it a good one. We like blood, just avoid the killing blow, 'kay? Let's see more punches and kicks!" Then out he goes, while security waits, ever patient. Their job tonight has been easy enough. No one to carry out, no one to drag off of a competitor.

Melissa drops her cigarette, absently stepping on it as she looks around with a bored expression. Hmm. Most of the familiar faces have disappeared, aside from the one about to head into the ring, so instead she goes to find a bookie. May as well blow a few bucks while she's here.

Calvin is late. He is late often on account've having a job that he has to go to and all of that. Also on account've having an attention span that is only partially functional part of the time. This is probably why he pads in from behind the gaggle of pretty faces he recognizes barefoot with an open bottle of cold milk.

"I think Astor likes guys," supplied helpfully-as-ever from over Ingrid's wee shoulder, Calvin provides the grip Joshua has on her with a distinctly siiiideways and hooded regard before he smothers something else he was going to say into a swallow of that white stuff that comes out of cow teets.

Then the announcer announces and he opens his mouth, closes it, and opens it again. "Ahm…"

"That's me, then…" Richard reaches down to peel the shirt up and over his head in one smooth motion, revealing his lean, toned build and the tattoos marking his skin. The serpent along his arm, the chinese numbers above his heart, others. The garment's handed carelessly to Harmony, along with his shades, and with both hands still wrapped in biker's gloves he moves to push down through the crowd and to the cage. The door's wide open and waiting, and it's straight into it he walks.

Joshua. Not a name he knows. He steps to one side of the cage to stretch, shoulders rolling back, head tilted left and right with a faint pop of vertebrae, hazel eyes searching the crowds for the approach of his opponent.

The cheers prompt a faint smile. It's always nice to be the winner, even if he DOES hurt like hell, with the little bits of change still sticking out of his body. Griffin's path leads him right in the direction of the whooping Joshua. He doesn't even really notice as he bumps past the man with his shoulder; the glow in his eyes has faded, and he looks quite intent on getting a drink while he watches Cardinal duke it out with…the fellow he just bumped into.

On his way to the bar, Griffin pauses, placing a $50 bet with a bookie on Cardinal. Then, it's to the bar, for some well-needed scotch…and perhaps the first aid kit. Hopefully, Abby will swing by the tenement again soon. He's not so sure how wise it would be to remove the coins from his wounds here, so he'll just douse himself with rubbing alcohol. Or if they don't have that, everclear will work just as well, he's certain.

Being of solid make, Joshua barely is jostled as he gets shouldered by, glancing towards the winner and his journey to the bar before the arrival of a friend steals his attention. "Sup Calv," is about as far as Joshua gets, by the time he hears his name, swinging his attention around on high alert.

Punches and kicks? Joshua knows punches and kicks~.

Or that is what is assumed to be if one were to gauge this from his evident enthusiasm, as he readily abandons both friends without any word about Astor— after a briefly guilty glance and forehead crinkle Lene's way. This vanished by the time he's struggling out of his sweat shirt, flinging it into Lene's face— "hold this!"— and bounding over towards the cage, all denim and black wifebeater and a couple of inexplicable scars visible here and there, a shiny burn mark long the back of an arm and cutting through hair, a starburst pull of scar tissue dangerously close to his spine and half-mooned by cotton.

There's apparently no such thing as a conservation of energy by the time he's winging his way into the cage in a few bounding steps not so long after Cardinal has made his entrance. He scopes the other man up and down with a sort of predatorial criticism, before giving the older man a chin up of greeting. For a loud mouth, he seems quiet, pre-batturu.

"Wh— " the shirt hits Lene and shrouds her like a tarp, covering her face and shoulders until she paws at it and yanks it off. "J— Joshua!?" All discussion of Astor is completely lost as Lene wheels around, not yet even noticing Calvin slithered in yet, tracking the bald-headed thug's movement across the floor and up towards the cage. Eyes widening, the redhead draws in a sharp breath, then drops the sweatshirt and starts hustling after Joshua.

"No!" Lene protests, and methinks the lady protest too much. "Joshua you dipshit get out of there right this instant!" He only hears part of what she said, the roar of the crowd and Lene's struggle through it giving neither good acoustics or proper positioning from which to chastise her friend. "Joshua!" Lene pries her way between two men, wiggling her way through the crowd to try and get to the entrance to the cages.

"Joshua stop!" Lene bellows, fear evident in her eyes at his fool self going in to the cage where he could get seriously hurt, or worse yet—

is that Cardinal?

Lene's heart sinks down to the pit of her stomach, eyes wide and gaping. On a scale of One to Magnes Varlane — this is a bad idea.

Dong-tian's face screws up momentarily. Eyes landing on Cardinal's back, "Are you serious? You're going to come here and make a spectacle of yourself." The triad member looks momentarily disgusted. Clasping his hands in front of him, the man looks through the crowd for this Joshua character. "I hope he kicks your ass." Dong-tian murmurs irritatedly. The Ghost Shaodw rolls his eyes, waving his hand dismissively at Richard.

"Or maybe you can get killed. That would be a win-win." Glancing down to Harmony, Dong-tian purses his lips. "Good fight." He says in a monotone. Bringing one arm up, the hitman scrubs at his chin lightly. Turning on his heel, the man eyes Griffin's back before looking back to the ring. "Come on Joshua…"His eyes flick to the bellowing young woman at the entrance of the cages. Glancing around, Dong-tian waves a man over with one hand. Something whispered and some dismissive hand gestures and Lene will soon be strongly yet politely advised to get the fuck away from the cage.

"Nooooo," says Ingrid, but she says it so softly that it sounds more like a quiet moan than actual speech, and while she still won't cover her eyes with her hands, she's now prepared to do the next best thing, which involves taking the slightly more adult approach and burying her face in Calvin's shoulder. "I'm sorry," she breathes into his jacket. "I never should have let him out of my sight and this is all my fault and Cardinal's gonna break all the bones in his body and we won't have enough money to pay his medical bills and we're all going to end up on the street and sleeping out in the rain because we can't afford the leases on our apartments anymore and we're going to have to push him around everywhere in a wheelchair from now on and if I'd only told him no—"

She sucks in a deep breath, muffled by the material of his jacket, rickety and thin. "WhatamIgoingtodo."

Ah. So now it's Cardinal's turn to get in on the action. Harmony is actually a little relieved she didn't get matched up with him. Why? Well she has her reasons.. She is handed Cardinal's effects, and little does he know, he isn't getting his shirt back. The glasses she'll return, but the shirt is just the right size for her usual attire for relaxation. She has a collection of huge shirts at home that she lounges around in, and this one will just be added to that growing wardrobe. "Good luck, Richard. If you get too hurt, I'll consider playing nursemaid for a while. I tend to have a thing for guys needing medical attention as of late." her eyes roll back and forth in remembrance of her incident earlier this week.

"Hm? Oh.. thanks." Harmony smiles to Dong, "It was.. kinda my first one. I got lucky, ending up matched to Luke." And she did, honestly. Thankfully she has cooled down enough from her battle to put her leather jacket over her shoulders.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Richard Cardinal. And that is him in the cage with Joshua at the moment, to both Lene and Dong-Tian's horror.

It is entirely possible that he's suicidal.

He finishes stretching his arms back over his head, fingers laced together, just as the other man walks into the cage. His arms drop loose to his sides, shaking a bit to limber up, and he looks Joshua over with a casual look of appraisal. A quick, cocky smile flickers briefly to his lips as he returns a nod to his opponent, dropping into a ready and mostly defensive stance, bouncing barely-noticably on the balls of his feet, letting him make the first move.

The search for a bookie is halted when Melissa notices the two women freaking out about the fight to come. Brows lift and she glances from Lene to Ingrid and back again, and she makes her way towards them. There's more elbowing to be had, she's not shy about dishing out pain. She's felt enough tonight that she's inclined to share. "Why're you flipping out? It's just a fight, not a fight to the death," she says once close enough, her gaze sliding towards the ring.

"Jesus fuckin' christ," muttered dismally to no one in particular seeing as Ingrid's busy talking to his coat and Lene's busy milking the giant cow over closer to the cage, Calvin is kind enough to stay put and be desperately gripped to while he uses his free hand to extract his cell phone. A trip of his thumb over the history button is enough to pull up some brilliantly glowing screen or another and he lifts it — roofwards, and then his voice nasaly and a bit sing-song after it:

"Lene-y, s'your phone off? Astor's on the line — says he can't get ahold've you."

Griffin happily grabs hold of that lovely scotch on the rocks. Then, as an afterthought, he promptly orders a bottle of water. Then, he's slowly meandering his way…right over to Harmony. The cold bottle of water is gently pressed against the girl's shoulder, the man offering her a smile as he sips at his alcohol. Still has those coins, just hanging out in his skin. It looks painful. "I was going to buy you a drink, but I think that you need some water first, before I go liquoring you up. Good job back there.

A somber nod is offered toward Dong, but the man doesn't really speak to him. He's far too busy being charming. "Gotta say, that kid has been a thorn in my side for two years, now." All the way back in Moab. "It was good to see him get his ass kicked. Consider the bottle of water an IOU on a drink of your chice."

Fight style wise… Joshua proves to be as subtle as the swing of a mallet.

In that, he wastes no time as soon as Cardinal seems to be all about letting him make the first move. A fist lands in open palm as, with a sudden surge of energy, the younger man closes up the distance with long strides that can be felt as vibration through Cardinal's own soles. It's all very different to the flash light and heat of Luke and Harmony, the fence and even the ground still cooling off from the heat run off of that brawl, and also different to the previous fight just gone with invisible forces at work.

There is nothing particularly flashy or invisible about Joshua curling his hand into a fist, muscles bunching, and letting knuckles fly straight for Cardinal's face.

Melissa's question to Lene draws a sudden look, a startled look, and Lene backpedals warily away from the cage. Maybe it was something she said, something she thought, or something else alltogether. Looking through the chaink link into the arena where Joshua and Cardinal are squaring off, Lene covers her mouth with one hand and draws in a slow breath through her fingers. "No, no, n— " Calvin's voice makes her squeak when she hears it, out of both surprise and confusion, whipping around with a lash of wavy red hair until her eyes affix on the telephone.

Now Astor calls, now.

Looking back into the cage, Lene swallows down her anxiety and offers an apologetic smile to Melissa, but as it looks as though Cardinal and Joshia are about to clash, Lene swallows down her pride and furrows her brows, searching for something, anything. Her brows knit together, awkward uncertainty crossing her face as she glances into the crowd, then back up to Joshua—

— and he trips.

One foot right over the other, like he'd just snagged his pant leg on something. It isn't enough to trip him up, but it is enough to make him falter, make him lose that precious momentum, and give Cardinal an opening. Furrowing her brows together, Lene looks away from Joshua, and starts making her way back to Calvin and Ingrid.

There's no blaze of energy from Richard Cardinal either, no matrix-esque leaping or unseen limbs to slash at his opponent with - none of the flashiness of the earlier fights, the overt demonstration of abilities that most of the crowd thought they were here to see.

The shadowman's muscles tense up as the other brawler strides with purpose across the sands, his knees bent slightly and ready to move, gloved hands lifted high in defense. It's almost a boxing stance, something developed from time spent on the street and behind bars without a whisper of formal training to it.

The first fist flies, then, and he starts to duck to one side — and then Joshua's momentum is fouled as his footwork falters for some reason that he can't see. Instead of continuing to one side, he lunges forward to try and get inside the other man's guard, one arm coming up to block and his other hand slamming forward at gut-level in a fist.

This is what the audience really came to see. Fist to fist, bone to bone. Sweat and blood and tears. The same bread and circuses that entertained Rome.

Ingrid's fingers curl deeper into Calvin's jacket. She isn't crying, but the more she talks, the more oxygen she expends, the faster the words come spilling out, gradually picking up speed and intensity. "If that's really Astor on the phone please tell him he needs to come down here right now because we're going to need four people to carry Joshua out of here, two at the front, two at the back, and there are only three of us and he's really heavy and I hope you brought a car because it's a really, really long way to the subway and I don't even know if he has his Registration card with him and oh god that sounds terrible what's happening?"

There is a perk from Harmony, the girl tearing her attention away from the fight to look at Griffin and his offer of water, "Huh? Luke? Yeah.. he can be a bit.. Well I'm sure you know." the girl smiles as she takes the offered drink, "Thanks, even if I won by the luck of the match up." Come to think of it.. she doens't see Luke anywhere as she looks around, "I think he was pretty raw about the match, actually. I didn't mean to like.. emasculate him or whatever. And I didn't wanna give him cancer, so I was pretty careful.. but honestly? I think he needed it a little." a shrug from the girl, who looks a little tired. After that match, it is no wonder really.

Cardinal getting the first hit in was not in Joshua's plans. But it's what happens, his own blow deflected and an enemy fist arcing around out of nowhere, impacting common human flesh and muscle. There's a huff of a breath out, pained, but more pissed off, to use the common trope, teeth showing in a grimace and anger flaring beneath his expression that shapes itself to show it. If he suspects cheating, Jolene, he isn't risking any meaningful glances. He also isn't calling for a referee. Fuck that noise.

There's a growl as hands catch palms against Cardinal's shoulders in an aggressive effort to put room between them, the feel of the impact strangely bone deep and too painful for what is mostly just a shove. Joshua is automatically closing whatever distance he creates, bodychecking Cardinal into fencing, fist flying out in the hopes of seeking flesh into of diamond-link wire.

Brows lift at Lene's reaction and Melissa looks back towards the ring, just in time to see Joshua trip. "Sucky. Hope he doesn't get that pretty nose broken," she murmurs before frowning at Ingrid. "Seriously, what's the deal guys? They're not even using abilities. It's just a fight. He gets knocked out, I'll make sure you get him home, if you'll just chill. Okay? Please?" It's a mix of annoyance with a couple of women acting so girly and her natural instinct to help.

"It'll be alright love, if he loses we'll just chop him into pieces so he's easier to carry," assured at closer quarters once he's given Melissa a dirty look and is certain he has Lene's attention, Calvin slings his milk bottle sideways across the floor so that he can hook his arm all there, there around Ingrid at his side.

His right hand — the one with the phone — remains aloft, meanwhile, screen flipped inwards so that he can focus on turning the…video camera on. Just. One more button and — there. Perfect! "Aww," he says, distracted round abouts the moment of the shove, "that was nearly a hug." And then to Lene, phone up out've her reach: "Password please!"

It's like juggling. A bit.

"Oh, he did." Griffin chuckles. "Kid picked fights with me over me asking him to leave me alone." He tilts his head toward Harmony. He looks energized…but that could also be the biting pain of having quarters and dimes and nickels and pennies sticking in you. After a moment, he picks a bloody dime out of his arm, wrinkling his nose and tossing it to the ground. He starts bleeding from the wound, but that one isn't as bad as the rest of them. "Good job, in any case."

The sound of Cardinal's bare back impacting the chain-link of the fencing that makes up the cage carries even over the roar of the crowd, a rattling crash that echoes as the metal bounces off the poles that support it a few more times in the wake of the impact. The shadowmorph's teeth are bared briefly as he bites back a grunt of pain. Rather than push away from it, both hands curl into the chain-link to either side, using the cage itself as leverage as he kicks up and forward with one steel-toed boot for thigh, crotch, belly - just trying to drive Joshua back a bit and give him a moment to regain his position and breath.

As she closes the distance on Calvin, Lene furrows her brows and offers a theatrical roll of her eyes, holding out her hand and flexing fingers open and closed. "Please," is begrudgingly stated as Lene's green eyes go momentarily cross-eyed staring at the phone, lips pursed to one side more so than the other. Melissa's warning is much in the same was as Ingrid's worrying and Calvin's joking. It isn't Joshua she's worried about now, but Cardinal.

She knows what Joshua can do, and she's seen what things look like when he's done with them. She also is well aware of how lacking his self-restraint is. Grimacing, Lene looks back to the cell phone with brows furrowed. "Astor," she calls out, "Calvin's being a cunt," has a sing-song whining quality to it.

The possibility of Joshua leaving Center Stage in pieces had not occurred to Ingrid until Calvin brought it up, and produces a miserable little hiccup of breath in response. She's at least stopped talking, her words replaced with a low nnn sound vibrating against his chest.

Steel toe bounces off Joshua's hip as Cardinal levers that kick up, younger man twisting away before it can land somewhere worse, and he's bounding back a few steps, giving Cardinal his space with a tip of his shaven head like concession. "Come on, bitch, whatcha got?" is invitation, only just loud enough to be heard by maybe the first row of spectators, but certainly Cardinal, fairly bouncing where he comes to stand in an attempt to keep moving and on his toes. Hands in knotted fists that stand up tendons and veins, and the same tension is written over the rest of his body.

A push forward off the cage's side brings Cardinal back fully to his feet with a rattling of fencing, a few uneven bits of chain-link leaving shallow scratches across his back in the process. If he notices them, he doesn't give any sign of it, the man's invitation and challenge answered with a brief, wolfish grin.

Then he moves again, boot scraping on the hard floor of the cage as he charges for his opponent, momentum his ally - and enemy. No finesse or fancy tricks, just trying to barrel in past the man's guard to get a few more quick hits in, leaving himself at risk for the same in return.

Dirty looks? Being ignored? Melissa can take a hint. She shrugs. "Whatever," she says, pushing past the group, intentionally trying to 'bump' into Calvin, shoulder slamming into shoulder. Yeah, she can take a hint, but it seems she's grumpy, or maybe she just hasn't met her quota of pain just yet. "Not like I have a car or anything," she mutters as she walks off, hands shoving into her pockets once more.

Jackal grin is mirrored back at him, suddenly, in the split second opportunity Joshua has before Cardinal is bearing down on him. The fight is driven more towards the middle of the stage, Joshua's body bending over a blow delivered to his side, playing defense and duck and weave as both men turn in a circle of exchanged hits, breaths drawn in and hissed out between bared teeth. When the younger of the two manages to snap a punch across Cardinal's face, his other hand goes out instinctively and wraps his broad fingers around Cardinal's forearm.

There's no sound effect that goes with it, no flash of light, and Cardinal— and presumably Joshua— are the only ones who know about it when a hairline fracture zips sharp and sudden pain from wrist to elbow as it cracks along ulna. The fight invisibly side stepping from conventional fisticuffs to something more—


Joshua keeps that grip as he cocks his other arm to bring a punch down towards Cardinal's ear.

"Astor," Calvin echoes, near perfect in his whiny sing-song mirror of Lene's lighter voice, "Lene's not being very polite — I don't think she really wants to talk to you."

A squeeze at Ingrid's shoulder is meant to be comforting (or something), crest of gingery hair a bit wild in its tip sideways when he seeks to adjust the camera phone's view of the ongoing brawl and — an impact at his shoulder veers the shot wide. "Hey!" quickly escalates into, "Hey! Watch where the fuck you're going, Amy Lee!" And then, belatedly, and quite a lot louder: "Break it all the way off!!"

Cardinal isn't quite as fast, not quite as good as the younger man— that much is obvious, but he's certainly not going down without a fight, and one mistake can make all the difference in a conflict like this. As the other man's fist cracks into his jaw, he reels back, arm lifting to block— and it's grabbed. And then things get serious.

He's been hurt before. He knows what sort of motions are necessary to break bone, and that wasn't one of them. Just a sudden, blinding shot of pain that lances along his arm, a startled yell escaping his lips for a moment before he can stop it. The shadowman's knees give out, his weight dropping downward, which is probably all that keeps the downward punch from being lights out for Richard.

It hits anyway, just not at the best angle, another explosion of pain across the side of his head. Rather than fight against his half-fall, he rolls with it, dropping back with a grunt and driving one boot up towards the arm gripping his own, trying to break Joshua's deadly grasp before the radius is cracked along its length as well. Or worse.

"Calvin," Lene protests with a hop up for the phone, swatting at the air where it's lifted just out of her reach. She's oblivious to Melissa's conversation being directed to her and her friends, due to the cheers and roar of the crowd, but when Calvin begins calling after her, Lene looks doubly confused. The redhead turns around, eyeing Melissa confusedly, then looks back to Calvin, mouthing a what with a furrow of her brows.

Bringing Calvin anywhere is a lot like trouble. Though as Lene's attention flicks over to Ingrid, her teeth worry at her lower lip and eyes avert away, forgetting for a moment that sjhe's fighting over the phone as her attention turns to Joshua and Cardinal's fight.

Trouble usually begins with a capital T, and Dong-Tian recognizes it the moment he sees motion in the back hall. The Center Stage has been for close to a year now a Triad-run property, first the Flying Dragons, then the Ghost Shadows. When it so happens that the latter has taken a contract out on Richard Cardinal's life, the appearance of three Ghost Shadows enforcers from the back rooms is the exclamation point after the lower-case e.

Johnny Wong leads the way, wild blakc hair swept up in a pompadour style, leather jacket unzipped, wiping at his nose before adjusting the thick-framed sunglasses he frequently wears indoors. A curse in Cantonese slips off of his lips when he sees the fight going on in the stage, and as he looks back to the people behind him, they're mirroring his unfortunately sour reaction.

Zan Shou is a skinny, tiny thing. Possessed of whisper-thin brown hair and an attitude about as sharp as the cut of her bangs. Dark eyes scan up and down Cardinal in the cage, and when she holds out her open hand to the man standing at her side, he knows what she wants.

Wen Tseng, psychometer to the Triads drops a pistol in Zan's hand, one that she winds manicured fingers around, blowing a bubble of hot pink gum out of her mouth with a pop. Unfortunately, for all the pull and influence the Triad has here, they can't just go shooting into the cage willy-nilly, not without hurting turnout and that hurts business and that's bad.

Instead, Zan breaks apart into a swirling column of sand, then slowly flattens to the floor and slithers her way out the back. Wen crosses his arms over his chest, offering an askance look to Johnny, one brow raised. There's no response, as Johnny himself seems entirely focused on watching the fight.

He's wishing he'd put money on it.

"I was," is Melissa's response to Calvin in a flat tone. And she pauses, considering adding to that, not vocally, but something about Calvin has just managed to irritate her. He deserves a little random pain right? Right?! But then there's stuff happening. She glances over towards the group of Triad thugs and her brows lift. "Well what're they doing out and about?" she murmurs, before shrugging it off. Maybe if she knew how Ling had died, she'd care more. But she doesn't know, so she doesn't care.

Joshua wrenches his own grip away from Cardinal's arm with a snarl, tension roping down his spine, along his shoulders. He backs up a step, only to do something of a footballer's run up to deliver a kick towards Richard's gut, a vocalisation tearing from his throat. It will be quickly followed by another, and another, if he even gets that far, making use of the man being downed by not giving him the space to get back up again if he can help it.

Shifts of criminal political motion in the audience is something the young brawler is oblivious to.

The first downward kick drives the breath from Richard Cardinal's lungs; the second, as he twists to one side into an apparently shadowy area in the midst of the cage, hits unevenly into his side, missing his kidney by inches. That'll leave a deep bruise that he'll feel for at least a few days.

The third hits floor as he finishes melting away into a shadow, darkness suddenly free of mortal constraints such as pain and broken bones twisting over the cage's floor to try and dart behind Joshua before he realizes just where the shadowman went.

He, too, hasn't noticed the hit team yet. He's in another battle over here, thank you very much.

Dong-tian's lips clench tightly. Bowing his head for a moment, he glances to the cage then back to his entering compatriots. Composure flows over him easily, entering his role. The bu xiu strolls towards Johnny Wong fluidly, as if there wasn't a care in the world. His eyes flick to a few individuals behind Wong.


No he's not making a proposal that they suddenly warm up to each other. A flick of his chin towards Cardinal and then towards a few select in the crowd. Namely Griffin then Harmony. "«Evolved.»" The cantonese sliding out of his mouth almost carelessly. The man then switches easily into English. "We hit him outside. On my count." The man states authoritatively, giving a look to Wong that practically dares the other man to argue with his call. Dong-tian glances towards the other two. "Where is Xue?" He asks, impatiently. As if it is there responsibility to know where his twin brother is. His steel gaze then returns down to Johnny Wong where he watches icily.

Calvin, who is wearing at least as much eye makeup as Melissa (perhaps more), does a sort've avian, girly z-snap head bob thing at her with his nose rankled that is about as becoming as a bare ass. Especially given that he has to do it whilst holding onto one girl and trolling another's brains out.

"Lene," he says again, same as before, "don't act like you weren't just commenting on the Proboscidean nature of her ass."

Also: "Oh, fuck. Look out behind you, he's — I — I lost him, sorry!"

Momentum of a failed kicked has Joshua staggering forward, animal lines of anger defining his expression as breath gushes in and out of his lungs in deep, labourious draws. What marks Cardinal has landed are coming up red, and twinge for his attention in the pause in the battle, barely hearing crowd over the thrum of his own heart beat and adrenaline as he feverishly looks around. Where'd he go. However, Calvin's whiny voice manages to needle through the baritone roars of the spectators, enough to get Joshua's attention.

To. Not much avail? Mostly Joshua squints a stare towards where he sees ginger mane floating like a cloud in the gaggle of onlookers. What? Joshua mouths back to him, hands turning out.

Like an overstimulated puppy chasing a laser pointer, Lene isn't sure which way to look now, flashing a stare behind herself at Melissa, then back to Calvin. "I don't even know what that means," she asserts with her hands on her hips, goofy tassles of her knit winter cap waggling from left to right at chin level as she stares up at the phone, then squints.

When she finally realizes that Astor probably wasn't on the phone at all — and far too belatedly to recouperate from without looking a little gullible — Lene stamps one foot down on the ground and looks about to lay into Calvin verbally until she hears one of the heavy smacks from a punch being thrown in the stage. Lene flicks a look back, green eyes wide, scanning the cage and seeing only Joshua and no sign of Cardinal.

Very briefly, very air-headedly, Lene for just a moment gasps, "He disintegrated h— " No wait that's ridiculous.

Nestled against Calvin's chest, Ingrid finishes pulling herself together, braces both hands against his ribs, and — gently — separates herself from him. She pushes the hair away from her face with the heels of her hands and uses fingers to tuck the longest strands behind her ears. Her breathing resembles something regular again, its rhythm measured with the same amount of care she afforded Calvin upon detaching.

She risks a glance in Joshua's direction to make sure he isn't a wet smear on the arena floor — he isn't — before adjusting the front of her pea coat, then its cuffs. "Excuse me," she tells her friends, and she's a very bad liar because what she says next has a wavery quality to it, blatant dishonesty threaded through her little rabbit voice, "I'll be right back."

And without further explanation she veers off, past Melissa, into the crowd.

Okay, now Melissa has to pay attention to the fight, in a fashion. The beat down Cardinal's receiving is felt suddenly, and she doubles over a bit, making a small sound in her throat. Ow, that hurt. She closes her eyes, trying to shut it off, but much like last time she was really hurting by proxy, her ability isn't going to just cooperate. It is much milder though, so there is that. She straightens anyway, taking a few deep breaths. "Okay, fight night. Bad idea. Check." Now she can focus on the emo with a bad attitude. Or, well, worse than hers anyway.

She turns back towards the trio, just as it becomes a duo. She arches a brow, watching Ingrid disappear, then back to Calvin and Lene, then up to the ring. "I don't think you gotta worry about your friend." Queen of the Obvious, thy name is Melissa.

The lighting isn't that great at the best of times down here in the basement, making it all the harder to see the shadow that dances up along the chain-link of the cage's fence in a sweep up towards the ceiling, crawling across it and over Joshua as Cardinal tries to figure the absolute best time for the manuever known to gamers as 'Death from Above'.

Most people just call it 'Jumping on somebody's head feet first' but that really doesn't have a particularly intimidating ring to it.

As he focuses on the man below, he still doesn't notice the people planning his death. One thing at a time, people!

When Melissa doubles over, Calvin's quick and slick enough to look abruptly away to focus on something else. Wasn't him, wasn't him, lalala etcetera oh look there's his milk and — Ingrid's gone. Ingrid's gone? Cal looks under his arm as if to make doubly sure, gingery brows knit in tune with a jut of his scruffy jaw when he swings his head around the other way to scan the crowd over Lene's head.

Joshua is looking at him like ??? Calvin looks at him back, even more exaggerated in his own ??? "I — dunno!! Run around in — circles or something! …Defense!!!" Then, not panicky, he breaks off sideways to make sure his girl hasn't fallen down a well or something.

Yeah Joshua has no clue where Cardinal went, and seems to take the prolonged lack of attention as a tag out. Ignoring Calvin and co. in favour of looking towards the host of the event, he puts out his arms in universal gesture of check it out and shrugging expectation of wanting the fight to be called once and for all. Those who might have had money on the be-wifebeater'd contender call for much the same thing, which sounds a lot like cheering to Joshua's ears.

He flexes his shoulders at them, a grin splitting across his face. Aw yeah~.

Haha no seriously call it, he needs to get his Coors on.

As his opponent is good enough to stand still and pose in the midst of the cage, the amorphous silhouette above him settles easily into place.

Then Richard Cardinal erupts from the shadow and simply drops like a ton of bricks downward towards Joshua, those heavy boots leading the way as gravity does what gravity normally does.

At the last moment, he realizes that he has a broken arm and is about to hit the floor very hard. Oh well. Hopefully Josh will hit the floor harder.

"Jo— "Lene clamps her hands down over her mouth, eyes wrenching shut and brows knitting together. A tired groan slips out from the redhead as she turns to angle a look up to Calvin, blaming him by sheer merit of not having anyone else to blame for this (he's the responsible one!!). Then, of course, she notices Ingrid slipped away, only after Joshua just took a flying kick to the head and neck does she realize Ingrid is missing.

"Fuck," Lene curses, casting a look askance to the door, then fishes around in the pockets of her jackets, retrieving her clunky old cell phone. "You see if Josh needs a doctor, I'll figure out where Inny is. We're gettin' outta' here before one of us gets arrested or dead." Green eyes nervously flick backto the cage, and Lene's brows furrow together.

Is Richard Cardinal really this reckless?

Ingrid is not difficult to find. All Calvin has to do is look for the bright green wool-blend of her coat, and the herky-jerky hippity-hop of her movements as she navigates the crowd with her arms held out at her sides, hands angled slightly outward for additional balance (maybe she should not wear shoes that she doesn't know how to effectively get around in), and steers herself toward—

—the fire alarm. Neither he nor Lene can hear it, but her lips are clumsily moving around words spoken like a mantra for all that there's no real repetition to them. They're your friends! They've forgive you! They don't even have to know you did it!

Clop clop clop! go her heels against the cement underfoot.

Except Joshua's premature celebration doesn't seem to convince Mister Weasel. There's no Cardinal, no, but it wouldn't be the first time someone pulled some sort of evolved trick in order to fool their opponent. And let's face it, with weekly evolved fights, they've probably seen nearly everything in here. And then there's the amazing reappearing Cardinal. Who cannot fly. Nope, fight on. Sorry Joshua.

Then Mel's getting sucker punched metaphysically when Cardinal reforms and is in pain. Then aggravates that with his leap. ''Mother fucker!" she spits out, looking towards the ring, now pissed. It's illogical, she knows it. It's her own fault for coming. She knows that too. But since when did logic rule emotions?

Humans are dense, heavy things. One about matching Joshua's physique and weight slamming into the back of his head is going to hurt. Boot-shaped bruises on his shoulders due to form come morning are hardly felt by the time the brawler is driven hard into the ground, grin wiped away, and an ooooh of fascinated sympathy and startlement rolling off the crowd. He lands— hard, as promised, enough that the dust of the ground seems to suddenly leap up from it as if something heavier had been thrown down, in a kind of rippled pattern before settling again.

Nn. A snort of air through Joshua's nasal passages doesn't evacuate any blood, at least, but a warm trickle is developing where his head bounced off the ground, and he blinks his eyes hard to clear his vision.

"Awhh, nooo," says Calvin — quietly and to himself when he snaps around from an exasperated stare after Ingrid's bouncing away in the nick of time to catch Cardinal coming down on Joshua like the biggest vulture turd the world's seen since the cretaceous.

Stuck a bit between both points of interest, Cal opens his hands at Lene, not all that keen on rushing the arena with the potential for internal damage still seeming rather high.

Of course, Cardinal is not in fact a ninja, so he doesn't leap back from the impact with a double somersault and land on his feet with a flourish. No, he crashes down into Joshua and then veers awkwardly to one side, crashing into the ground and rolling away. Which rolls him over that fractured arm. Ow ow ow ow ow. Fuc-king-ow. "Ffff~"

A moment to catch his breath, and he stirs again. "I'll tell you what," he offers, actually grinning over at the other man as he tries to slowly and shakily push himself up to his knees with his other hand, "…call it a draw?" Maybe that's not a grin. Maybe he's just clenching his teeth. It's really hard to tell.

Looking up from her phone when Ingrid doesn't respond to the call — crooning tones of Joleene~ chirping out from whatever pocket her phone is stashed in, drowned out by the roar of the crowd — Lene has finally seen enough of the fight happening in front of her. "Joshua get out of there this instant!" Raised voice, brandishing phone waggling left and right in the air, Lene has completely deflated into flappy-handed panicked girl mode, which will be retroactively embarrassing tomorrow.

"Get out of that cage right now or I will drag you out!" Face flushed red from frustration, one hand clutching her phone in a vice grip, Lene perhaps does not realize that Joshua can't hear anything except the muffled ringing in his head right now or perhaps thw tweet of cartoon birds circling his head.

Ingrid bops to a halt in front of the alarm and confirms, with a surreptitious look to the left and an even more surreptitious to the right, that no one important is watching. This down, she squints down her nose at the words written across it in bold, capital letters, impossible to mistake for anything except instructions.


"In that order?" Ingrid asks the small red box mounted on the wall. She experimentally taps a nail against the glass plate barring her access from the lever on the other side, then gives the side of the alarm a little slap.

She has no idea what she's doing. "Oh, oh, oh. I don't wanna break you. You're sharp and pointy."

Ow, ow, ow OW. Those people need to stop fighting right now. Melissa starts to make her way towards the exit, doing more shoulder bumping and elbow shoving than she did earlier in the evening. But she wants oooooout.

Meanwhile, Mr. Weasel is moving a little closer to the cage, watching to see just what happens between the two fighters. So far they've definitely given a good show, but there's no way that they can both stay conscious and fight-able for much longer, right?

With Lene's yelling added to the mix, Calvin's exasperation steels into harder irritation. Crowd wrested through with a turn of his shoulders and a fork-ed snap after the tail of his longish black coat, he clamps his jaw and loops after Lene at a quicker clip. Hard to miss, all blue eyes and ginger mane and a flat look after Ingrid as he turns.

The fire alarm, not entirely politely, snags and levers itself down, coarse metal pull shattering the glass on its own to spare Ingrid the unpleasantness. Instantly, cold lights bleach white over the crowd at a klaxon spin and the alarm buzzes loud and shrill enough to fuzz brains and rattle teeth.

"That code for 'you win', motherfucker?" Joshua snits across at Cardinal, up on hands and knees by now with dark red tracking from a fast bleeding headwound to grease along his temple and clot in the corner of an eyebrow. He is in no shape to fight, although he kind of looks about ready to launch himself across the floor anyway, no laziness in his crouch for all that he is still sort of seeing double. The back of his hand smears across the red which streaks across his brow.

Sneers. Lene's voice batters at his attention span. "Yeah, fine. F'now." Chin up. "Good figh— "

And then the alarm is blaring.


He sends an exasperated and accusing look out through diamond wire caging, more expectant that one of his colleagues pulled the alarm as opposed to there being risk of an actual fucking fire, before he slugs to his feet with the kind of slowness that comes with a) head injury and b) no real concern about fire hazards. A hand flips to the exit of the cage, giving Cardinal look with a brow lift. Ladies~ first.

A breathless chuckle tumbles past Cardinal's lips at the other man's words, on his hands and knees on the cage's floor as he tries to recover from the landing — and even then, mostly on hand and knee since his other arm's still screaming with agony. He's bruised, battered, his opponent is a terrible sport…

…and he hasn't felt this alive in weeks.

Before he can reply to Joshua, then the alarm is blaring. So now he has a headache on top of everything else. A smirk's flickered back to Joshua. "See you 'round."

Flesh fades to darkness once more, an inky splotch across the floor that slithers across the floor and is soon lost amongst the feet of the crowd. He'd rather not walk home with a broken arm. This is easier.

It's only when the fire alarm triggers that Johnny finally looks back to Dong-Tian, taking his sunglasses off angrily and tapping them against his thigh. "«Fine»," he'd been deliberating over it all this time. "«As soon as he gets outside. Zan went out to cover the front exit, if he goes all smoke and mirrors we won't be able to find his punk ass anyway. John Logan is fucking around here somewhere still, go find his bitch ass and make sure he isn't jerking off upstairs when we need him.»"

The noise of the fire alarm ringing out in the confined, basement quarters has Johnny wincing, looking back to Wen who affords Dong-Tian a nervous look. "Xue's upstairs, I think. He was watching the g— »" Wen catches sight of Cardinal's body breaking apart into shadow, his expression shifting imperceptably as he nudges Johnny in the side.

"«What a cocksucker,» the aerokinetic insists with a click of his tongue. "«Fuck it, I'm tired of this shit. Let him run home, we know where he works. I'm sick of playing hide and go fucking seek with him.»"

"«Johnny, calm down…»" Wen offers too quietly to be heard, his concerned hand swatted away from Johnny's shoulder as the aerokinetic slips his sunglasses back on, turns around and starts storming off for the back exit to go find Zan. In the ensuing chaos of shifting bodies moving around in reaction to the cry of the fire alarm, Jolene Marley has disappeared.

One moment she was in the crowd near the front row, the next swallowed by their movement, either dragged out of sight or carried by the wave of people confusedly beginning to backpedal for the exit. She can meet her friends up on the street, if nothing else. It will give her time to contemplate a full chewing out for Joshua.

"Yay," says Ingrid, though she doesn't sound particularly enthused in spite of her apparent success. She claps her hands together twice in quick succession, punctuates this short round of applause with an awkwardly-delivered, "I'm a hero," that lilts up at the end like there should be a question mark tapped on at the end of it. She balls her right hand into a tiny fist. "Go team R—aines!"

The toe of her shoe kicks at the pieces of broken glass on the floor the same way she might check a dead rattlesnake for signs of life if she didn't have a stick. Likely, she does not realize that the actual act of pulling is Calvin's doing, or if she does it's a subconcious thing that won't come to her until several hours later when she's still congratulating herself for her quick thinking and calmness under pressure, which she spends most of her free time trying to convince herself are genetically inheritable traits.

Yay, a crowd, all rushing towards the door. Just what Melissa needs to get the fuck out of Dodge. Of course she continues pushing, trying to get out of there as soon as possible, especially once the alarm sounds. She's had enough of authority for one lifetime thankyouverymuch.

Just when it looks like there's going to be a winner to the fight, the alarm goes off. Not something that Weasel Boy was expecting, and definitely not something he'd ever want to happen. The last thing this place needs is the attention of people who show up to fire alarms. Especially with several hundred people milling about betting on fights that occasionally end up with people getting all dead. So he's joining the crush of people all trying to force their way to the exit in order to be the first one out.

Small spaces though, are not meant to house a lot of people, and those the Center Stage isn't really small, it's really not built for something of this scope. People get hurt trying to get out in a rush like this, though it's unlikely Joshua or Cardinal will have any sympathy for bumps and bruises and the occasionally smooshed toe. But one thing is for certain.

Tonight, people certainly got their money's worth.

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