Nothing Of Value Was Lost


adel_icon.gif joshua_icon.gif

Scene Title Nothing Of Value Was Lost
Synopsis Only gained, when two individuals attack a government convoy.
Date February 12, 2011

New Jersey

It isn't snowing, today in New Jersey. The sun has burnt off the worst of the snow that had fallen in previous days, and so upon the sharp grassy incline, Joshua Springsteen is happy to lie against the hill that dips sharp from where the long road runs through cattle country. It's a decent 45 degree angle, boots braced against a jutting rock in the soft grassy ground, protected from where the wind whips cold from the north-west. His jacket is leather, fat with woolen lining, its collar turned up and warm against his throat, and his hands occupied with checking over the automatic rifle with careful admiration for his new toy.

Except they've been waiting for about two hours now. But such is the nature of the beast.

"You know what," Joshua abruptly announces to his companion of the day, "if Ingrid got the day wrong, I'm going to fucking smack her in the mouth. I don't care, I'll hit a girl, shit." He twists around a little to peer up at what he cannot actually see of the long highway that veins off from New York into Delaware, listening to the sounds of fuck all in the early afternoon. Idly scratching his roughly shaven jaw, Joshua goes to place a hand, then, against the grassy incline.

Rather than her usual bright colors, the man's companion is dressed darkly, a long black coat of wool hanging over most of her clothes. Adel Starkey's dark hair is gathered in a tight ponytail, to keep it out of the way, and a black knit hood is rolled up against her forehead.

"Aw, don't hit Ingrid. You'll ruin her cute little nose— and Lene'll punch you if you do, you totally know that. It'd be a fair fight, she'd have the same ammunition you got, cause she's a big show off."

There's an impatient rock where she stands, rising up on her toes and then falling back onto the heel of her boots. Back and forth. It's hard to tell if she's excited or anxious. Or both. "It's a shame you missed the concert, but there'll be others, I bet."

"Oh, didn't I tell you?"

Suddenly smug in defense of the notion that Joshua in some way missed out, he glances over a shoulder to cut a grin her way. "Robyn Quinn ran into this hotness when she was going to Studio K. I was wailing on the six string and rocking that shit out and she was totally impressed. We jammed like right then right there, and then? She gave me her number." He takes the time to lift his hips up from his lean against the hill in uhn uhn uhn, a laugh barking from his throat.

Which dims quickly as he tips a shrug. "Can't believe I didn't make the concert. But gimme more of a heads up, fuck. Hey— " He pauses, then, hand going back to digging fingers into the ground, snapping seriousness like steel setting in. He rolls onto his stomach, swinging his rifle to rest against his back in the same motion.

"Ohmygodyoutotallydidn'ttellme," Adel says in a quick slew of words as the excitment bubbles up. At first she doesn't seem to have noticed the change in the mood, or the sudden seriousness. From the way she's clapping her hands she could very well be about ready to hop up and down and make girlish sounds. She doesn't.

Cause she suddenly stops rocking and looks down at the swung rifle, and starts to kneel down a little herself finally, peering off into the distance.

"Go time?" she reaches up to pull the knitted hood down over her face, holes for her dark eyes, and showing the pale skin beneath. The same hand is lowered to her belt, to check that everything is still there, before rolling up her sleeve.

Two fingers rest on either side of a watch, setting a timer to zero, and waiting to click.

"Two trucks. Or vans. I think a cycle escort. Piece o' cake. Gotta be about a minute out. Ingrid, you're the best."

Pushing himself up, Joshua still keeps his back bent to remain obscured from view of the road, moving aside to allow Adel to take her position. In contrast, he keeps his face uncovered — save for where green and black marks paint across his cheeks, vaguely ritualistic. He manipulates his jacket off from beneath the strap of his rifle, discarding the garment, and arm hair standing up against the chill in the air. Body armor in the form of kevlar snugs tight against his torso, and twin pistols strapped in criss-cross at the small of his back.

He grips either hand behind his back, stretching the limbs, before giving her a chin up. "Get ready."

The only gun that Adel carries is strapped on her ankle, over dark jeans and hidden by the coat, right next to a long knife. Neither of which she's likely to use— it's what's at her belt that she's more concerned about, as she nods. "I got about fifteen minutes at full strength," she says, as she closes her eyes.

The air around her starts to shimmer faintly, distorted as if curved glass were forming around her. The dark tail of hair peeking under the hood turns upright, and starts to float. With a click of her fingers on the watch, the numbers start ticking by, toward that fifteen minute mark, as her boots lift off of the ground.

Adel remains tucked in a kneeling position, but lifts up until she's in the center of the sphere, and the sphere itself hovers a few inches above the ground. With a mischevious smile, her eyes open, shining with excitment. "How long you been waiting to do this?"

Joshua's hazel eyes regard her small ascent, the corner of his mouth quirking as he backs up several paces, boots digging into the soft ground before he approaches once more, touching his hands against the intangible difference in the air around her. Like magnetic resistence or something, intangible, vaguely fluid in the give it allows the push without allowing him to break through. The rumble of vehicles is audible to both of them in its swift approach. "Like two hours. Unless you mean in general. In which case, forever. Hold onto your butt." And with this ceremonious blessing—

Palms coming to rest on the downward curve, Joshua sucks in a breath, expels it again, and all at once, muscles up his arms, his chest, his back all flex and strain. A rippling effect dapples through the sphere that surrounds Adel at the same time she's suddenly sent sailing up and up the incline with the propulsion of his arms and open hands, clearing the edge of the hill and sailing in front of the nose of the oncoming truck.

The first moment, Adel can feel the resistance, trying to push her back from the dead center of the sphere. It tosses her ponytail back— but it only lasts a second. In a blink the effect of inertia, the resistance to the sudden movement, is cancelled out. Straightening, her arms and legs spread, a near mock of the Vitruvian man, almost reaching the edge of the fluid, yet somehow solid bubble, but not quite. Even if she stretched to her furthest, she couldn't reach outside.

Not with how it anchors.

There's a slight spin to it, the orange color along the edge distorting the colors. The sphere moves, but the girl inside doesn't. The cyclist gets a view of her quite close, as she sails just over the helmet, and slamming into the pavement behind the wheels, letting him through. The van in front is not so lucky.

Despite the rippling edges that seem like they should absorb impact, she hits with the force of a large cannonball, ripping into the asphault and throwing blackness into the air, slowing her down— but not nearly enough to save the van.

The van in front didn't have much warming, and the attempt to swirve means she hits the passager side, crunching metal in a roar that would be deafening— if she weren't keeping sound out as well. The sphere spins again, and this time she twists with it, turning to face the side of the van as the sphere twists along it, still causing damage, as if it were a solid as a steel wrecking ball.

The lead van's tire flies off, spinning in one direction, while the van itself flips over on the other side. And she keeps on going, though considerably slowed by resistance, and the second van lacks the element of surprise, as they knew it would.

There's a scream of tires as the second van swerves out, inches from letting its back end drag it down the steep incline as it jars to a shuddering halt. Up ahead, the motorcycle is growling to a sudden halt, the man riding it swinging his leg to unstraddle and turning mirrored visor towards where Adel floats above the word with shimmering strangeness surrounded by a perfect circle. Which means he doesn't see Joshua's long legged charge up the incline until it's much too late.

"YAAAAAAAAH!" is more or less drowned out by the firing of automatic rifle, muzzle flare bright white in the hazy afternoon sun, sweeping bullets to cut through the driver's torso before the security guard can even contemplate the sidearm at his hip. Joshua doesn't stop running, moving at an exuberant lope towards the downed truck.

The one on its wheels, meanwhile, is reversing back from Adel and the violence going on ahead of it, as if to find a way to double back or maybe ram its way through the chaos.

"Woooohooo!!" cries Adel inside the sphere, her voice bouncing off the inner edge of the sphere like she's cheering inside a very small room. The momentum carries her forward at a float, but by now she's not even scrapping the road anymore, barely moving at the speed of a brisk walk.

Glancing behind her, her eyes search for her partner in crime, to see where he is, before she reaches for one of the objects on her belt. The safety lever is pressed down by her palm while her other hand tugs sharply on the pin. The lack of gravity inside her sphere of influence would make throwing difficult, but instead she holds it in front of her with a smile and releases it.

And the repulsion field of her sphere does the rest. The grenade flies toward the reversing van, like a seed being spat out.

The ensuing, cracking boom of the grenade sends up road dust and concussive energy, the van's front jumping upwards as the explosion takes place nearly beneath it. A tire goes flying off to tumble down the incline, fire fanning out from beneath the hood as the vehicle is crippled, driver a slumped, unmoving shape in the windshield that is spidered over broken. From somewhere behind her, Adel can hear the thump as Joshua's boots hit the side of the tumbled van she initially took out, and then—

More gunfire aim through the passenger window and into the cab, glass splintering up and out and a stifled cry from inside as the injured inside are put out of their misery, rifle shaking in Joshua's hands.

He turns, then, to observe the damage dealt the other vehicle's way, leveling rifle up towards where the back doors are swung open with a whine of hinges. He lets loose a few bullets, pinging off the open wings of the van but hitting nothing moving. The two that emerge let the stalled truck remain between themselves and gunfire, and Adel can detect movement as they duck around the other side — two agents in suits, bearing sidearms.

The firearm and knife remain at her ankles, floating above the edge of the sphere, as the sphere continues to float forward, with her suspended in the middle. "Couple tools on the ground behind the van!" Adel calls out, letting the sound go out, though it may not be loud enough to hear over the sound of everything else. Explosions, gunfire, all very defining.

"I should have brought an iPod with a soundtrack," she tsks at herself, having just thought of it, as she glances down at her watch to check the time, feeling safe and at ease inside her very personal space.

After the impact and the grenade, the slow floating ball and the ease of her smile might seem more omnious than if she'd reached for said firearm.

The lead suit doesn't hesitate when he sees her. His firearm levels for some midpoint at her chest, eyes reflecting uncertainty at the display she is making of herself, before he snarls: "Drop your weapon and— " And his partner evidently has other ideas, gun rising up beside his friends shoulder and opening fire upon Adel and her sphere, the successive blams of his pistol making partner flinch. The DoEA agents seem to be the only antagonists left to contend with — the probability of the ones inside the first van unable to do much of anything more useful than bleed and groan being high.

Meanwhile, Joshua leaps.

He lands hard enough that the asphalt around his feet ripples up, and he rolls the shock of it off, rifle discarded in favour of the two pistols in his hands. Stomach down, arms out, he opens fire towards the polished shoes he sees on the other side of the van, and there's a sharp cry of pain as the man firing on Adel has his legs stolen out from under him, toppled, head jerking on his neck as soon as it comes into Joshua's view and he's able to put a bullet in it.

The other dances back, nearly trying to jump to get away from where bullets send sparks up from the ground and make his felled friend twitch and jerk like a puppet.

The man jumping away gets met by another shot of a gun, this time coming from Adel's direction. It slams into the pavement, missing completely, but still an attempt to help. The recoil forces her backwards a couple feet, before she corrects it and floats back into place, shaking her hand girlishly while the gun floats there in front of her.

Adel never did like guns. At all.

But that doesn't stop her from grabbing it and firing again— and missing again. Her goal isn't to hit the agent so much as not hit Josh while hoping to draw attention back to her.

There's a thud as Joshua's knees connect against the side of the van, and he monkeys up onto its roof with an athletic amount of energy. He doesn't need to get much farther up than his knees by the time he has his gun back in hand and he's squeezes off shots, going belly-flat against the sun-warm rooftop of the van — but there's no need, a bullet slicing clean through the suit's shoulder and neck, down into his torso. The agent staggers back, feet slipping over the hill's incline, and disappearing over the side.

Getting back up onto his feet, Joshua turns a tense circle, taking in their surroundings. A dead man up ahead by his bike. Two dead men just to the left. An unconscious truck driver. A second, flipped truck with broken bodies inside. All clear. Birds are singing. Joshua glances down at the truck he stands upon, and the prize inside of it. Itches his jaw, old burn scar on his forearm shiny and taut, and hazel eyes track back towards Adel.

"You don't want to have sex first or anything, do you?"

There's a hearty laugh from inside the sphere, as it slowly lowers to the ground. Adel's toes touch the asphalt and then her whole body settles as the sphere is released. With minutes to spare. "Tempting as that may be… I am seeing Jay now. And while he's in a sphere that's not mine at the moment, I'm gonna try to do this one right." There's a pause as she rolls the mask up until it's resting on her forehead again.

"I think the open relationship things only work if everyone in it is sleeping with everyone else. And I don't think you and Jay, no matter how hot it may be in my mind, would work."

Her voice is amused as she says that, hopping over and avoiding looking down at the bodies. Adel likes blood even less than she likes guns.

"Let's get what we came for."

To be continued.

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