Please Refrain From Smoking


chess_icon.gif eve3_icon.gif luther_icon.gif monica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Please Refrain From Smoking
Synopsis After weeks of surveillance, the Agents of B.O.O.M. start their first mission…
Date November 11, 2018

The Targets:

  • Hàn, Chāo-Lì (漢超力), aka Byron Han: Male, 27. Evolved, Ability assumed to be Telepathy. A sub-boss within the Ghost Shadows triad and a Chinese national, Byron is the main operations manager of the warehouse, responsible for overseeing the production, quality, and regular in-out shipping and receiving. He is a strict, no-tolerance taskmaster who takes his job extremely seriously (hence how he’s managed to achieve his status within the triad hierarchy at such a young age). The workers obey him without question. He also has an obvious prosthetic right arm, one not quite as fancy as Monica’s, that he tries to keep concealed with a long sleeve coat.
  • Shēn, Wǔ Mǎ, aka Jackson Shen: Male, 47. Overseer of the warehouse, Jackson is Byron’s supervisor. Assumed Non-Evolved. Is almost constantly in a suit of RayTech AEGIS armor that’s been smuggled into in to the point that his face has not been seen for the whole time of the surveillance. Despite Byron’s obvious power advantages, this man is in charge and gives the orders from on high.

The Objectives:

  • Disrupt the chain of drugs supplied through the warehouse
  • Deal with any resistance met by opposing parties
  • Free the warehouse workers

1:38 AM

Abandoned Factory, Arthur Kill, Northwest Staten Island

The night is pitch dark, lit only by the moon and stars hanging in the velvet black above. On the northwestern side of Staten Island, the warehouse in this region appears abandoned and uninhabited, nary a soul to bother the group that watches broken or blacked out windows set in the slowly crumbling brickfront of a three-story high abandoned factory building. But, their weeks long surveillance tells them the place is otherwise occupied. Tonight is Special Delivery night. A lone white box truck with decayed logo for a meat delivery service trundles along the rough, debris strewn street that leads to the rear loading dock entrance of the building.

The U-Haul sized truck is the only traffic the agents of BOOM have witnessed coming and going on the surface once every two weeks. The process of the operation is simple. Boxes are unloaded, then a pallet of other boxes is loaded on. One box delivers to the address of Ricky Daselles amongst other dealers of the drug Refrain on Staten Island, and then the truck leaves the island via the Outerbridge Crossing into Jersey, takes a long detour north to avoid Manhattan and returns to the Safe Zone via the Jackson Heights checkpoint. Around 3 AM, the driver slips through the MPs stationed there. Their bribes must be pretty good.

A Bay Ridge storage facility is where the truck exchanges its remaining goods with a group of Chinese men in construction uniforms, and they in turn load other trucks bearing the logo of the Kajima Corporation. Kajima Corp, a subsidiary Japanese construction company owned by Yamagato that does the majority of the Safe Zone's reconstruction, lends the outward facade of credibility, and the trucks bring the Refrain into Yamagato Park. The Refrain is dropped in a warehouse where it is then broken up into four-vial packages and moved with other hard narcotics through the Safe Zone by drug mules who interface with local dealers.

The operation is simple. It pushes Refrain, cocaine, and heroin through the Safe Zone. And it is worth a lot of money.

Further surveillance also reveals that the warehouse holds not only drugs, but also a munitions stockpile for the triad. Guns and grenades gathered from the 2nd Civil War are kept here, as are the slaves that are bought through the human trafficking rings to be used as a warehouse workforce. None of this traffic is visible from the surface streets, but workers brought in through a retrofitted sewer entrance allows for sea-level access. This waterway is where the majority of the clandestine operations appears to be going through.

The pair of Ghost Shadows triad sub-bosses are here tonight for sure, as they have been practically every night. Byron Han, the warehouse operations manager, has kept a tight round-the-clock security detail of six armed guards around the central slave cages - chainlink dog run kennels hooked together and sparsely furnished with mattresses in the sleeping areas and work lights.

The work area is kept centralized, away from prying eyes from the exterior of the warehouse. But what they haven’t really accounted for are the skylights that allow light and eyes from above that gives the layout of the warehouse. The top two “floors” of the warehouse are second floor offices and a third floor catwalk, situated around the interior walls and overlooking the first floor. Besides the front main entry, there are two truck loading dock entries beside the boat loading dock at the rear of the building, and a side personnel door that the guards commonly would take smoke breaks in because it’s opposite of the munitions stockpile.

Monica reached the top of the warehouse before the others after having scouted them a path up that kept them out of the sight of the guards and did not require parkour. She is crouched near a crumbling wall, which is near one of the skylights. She's picked one that over looks the catwalks below. It's just a matter of waiting for an opening as the factory security sweeps the area.

"We'll have to move quick," she says, once the others have joined her, "their patrols are tight, so we drop in and split two by two and take out the security here at the top. Quietly." Eve. She did promise Eve some PARIAH-style moments, but those are later in the plan. Assuming everything goes to plan. "Avoid the top dogs, take out security, then priority one is getting the captives out. Okay?"

She looks over at Luther, nodding him toward the skylight. "Help me lift this? When it's clear."

The youngest of the foursome makes her way up and crouches across from Monica to peer down into the skylight. Chess is a dark hooded figure, looking like she might be auditioning for a gender-swapped version of Arrow, given the compound bow she wears in a bowhook sling at her side, resting atop the courier bag of goodies she always carries with her — recently restocked, there’s a few hubcaps, handfuls of ball bearings, a couple of baseballs, and other items that can be turned into bombs with a few seconds of her concentration.

Chess’ expression is somber and focused, but there’s slight smirk at the emphasis on ‘quietly,’ and she glances at Eve, eyes crinkling a little in silent mirth. Her dark-eyed gaze returns to Monica and she gives a nod of understanding.

The loudest of the bunch scurries upwards after Chess and she crouches next to her younger friend, pale hands twitch then she grins slowly.. and manically at her former PARIAH buddy. Brown eyes flick down to her messenger bag which she digs through for a second before coming out with a blowdart.. and darts. “Oh these are quiet. You wouldn't believe the things you can pick up underneath a bridge near the Mississippi Moni.” That particular scary woman that was encountered under the bridge, Eve doesn't speak of usually. To further distance herself from this memory the pale woman runs a long finger across the dark wood of the blowdart, tapping the end with a black painted fingernail.

Her pants and top dark and skintight, a dark trench coat covers the rest of the crazy woman.

“Thank you.. for supporting me on this adventure of justice. The first of many. My family. Nobody gets left behind. And remember please…” Eve flicks a loose strand of dark hair out of her eyes the rest of it braided into two pigtails that fall to the middle of her back, “I love you guys more than a fat kid loves pound cake.” An air kiss to her three friends before she's placing that contraption between her teeth and gently pulling out a long, dark rope.

Comparably, Luther is also dressed in a simple and dark set of clothing. In contrast to the firepower brought along by Eve and Chess, Luther is more in line with Monica where he possesses only an XLRAD Banshee pistol holstered at his side. Yes, he's aware the other side has actual lethal firepower. But to be fair, the man has an ability that also lets him shoot fire and lightning if he needs it.

"Not including the bosses, I count six," Luther rumbles in confirmation of the number of armed guards they can see below them. Eve gets an arched brow for her blowdart gun, but the man has long since indulged the seer in her choices, believing she has her methods and reasons. Just as he had his own. "You and Chess slip through first, Eve and I'll back you up," he says with a nod to Monica, moving into position on the other side of the skylight window's frame.

Commotion starts below as a guard near the central truck loading bay closer to the boat dock looks through the opening and calls out the arrival of the anticipated delivery truck right on schedule. Another guard near the side door having a smoke quickly drops the end of his cigarette, grinding it into the concrete flooring with a boot and starting back towards the central cage and work area. All six guards and Byron are on the main 1st floor level, but Overseer Jackson Shen remains in the second floor office near the set of metal flight of stairs leading down. The worker-slaves hop to as well, seven in total and mostly women ranging from late teens to early twenties. The one young man, who couldn't be more than 18-20 years although he looks more like he still belongs in high school, has suffered at the hands of the guards moreso than even the women, receiving harsh rebukes and physical strikes. He's especially wary when a guard unlocks the padlock on his cage and yells sharply at the young man to get to work in Mandarin. The guards call him 'Little Shit Ghost' and 'Dogshit' often.

With the guards occupied in watching the workers move and prep for delivery, the time is ripe for the four to slip in. Using the noise of the buzzing work below, Monica and Luther break the lock on the skylight and pull the square window space open. While Monica and Chess might be able to finesse their way onto the catwalk, it's less so for the recently injured Eve and lumbering Luther. The rope comes in quite handy, though. Once they're all in, they're as exposed as ever. Only the upper floor shadows conceal them from immediate view, and that none of the work going on below gives anybody else a reason to look up. The guards keep their eyes on the workers, and Byron is busy barking directions to keep the operation moving.

As the group lands on the catwalk and Eve takes back her rope with a yank to slip the knot off, her vision swims with a familiar feeling of her power. It tingles like bubbles in a warm bath, just as fleeting and effervescent. A flash of a stark image of Byron’s face on a poster in the style of “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” artist Shepard Fairey imprints itself with a sudden stamp into her present consciousness. Black and white, Byron’s face looks stark and his mouth is open as if he’s barking those directions at the seer. Instead of the white block lettering on red background, instead it’s bright, warning red block letters on dark black telling Eve to OBEY.

Monica slips through the opening first, slinking down to the catwalk and landing in a crouch. When no one immediately starts shooting at her, she signals the others to come down. She hasn't brought any firepower with her, lethal or otherwise, because it's loud. Fiber wire and a pair of knives are her choice for the evening, tucked away about her person. She glances for the guards Luther spotted, gesturing for Chess to come along with her when she sees the lone guard by the side door.

"I'm going to clear us some space. See if you can move deeper in against the wall. Maybe we can thin their numbers some," she whispers to the young woman. She waits long enough to make sure Chess heard, then she makes her way down from the catwalk— via the most direct route, which includes using window ledges and walls to slide her way down under the cover of a shadowed corner. From there, it's just a matter of sneaking up behind the isolated guard with knife in hand.

The archer moves silently along the catwalk — she’s not a parkour artist like Monica, but she has natural grace and balance, it seems, and maybe some long-forgotten gymnastics balance beam lessons from her youth stowed in the back of her brain.

She listens to the men below, her expression growing darker, angrier, when she hears the one speaking to the young man in the dog cage. “Can I call dibs on that one?” she whispers, though in warehouse warfare, as in love, there is no such thing as dibbing.

Monica’s words are again met with a nod, and the younger woman makes her way as Monica goes hers, Chess looking for a strategic spot where she’ll be able to take out another guard or two without others seeing.

“Ugh you obey.” Rolling her eyes that have flickered black as she whispers hotly to the sign barking at her. She’d bark back if they weren't on a super discreet mission, super. The seer however blinks as the black fades back to doe brown and she turns her head to Luther as Monica and Chess descend, “He wants us to obey, resist hot hands. Resist.” A fist held up as she dabs her friend’s shoulder. The faint throbbing in her head from the vision settles in but by now she's getting use to the after effects, almost. A flash of white, Eve’s wicked grin in the shadows on the roof as she slides to the the skylight and follows after.

While Monica and Chess are variations of grace and poise, Eve while a parkour trainee is a monkey at heart and she scurries over the catwalk making her way to the edge away from Monica and Chess, a wide eyed stare peers over at the guards and the Hyena-Monkey known as Eve readies her blowgun to fire a dart in the neck of the first guard she sees that she can take out, discreetly of course.

The seer’s messenger bag sits on the catwalk with the pale woman’s shoulder still carrying the load of the strap, one..two ..three.. Eve looks focused and the training that has kept her alive all this time seeps into her movements and face, that demented grin is no less wicked.

The least graceful of the group would be the large man that follows the ladies down through the skylight. It's a good thing that there's activities going on below that mask the sounds of his footfalls against the metal catwalk, but Luther is doing his best to be as quiet with the rest, casting a puzzled look at Eve for the seer's words. As he's done many times before though, he places trust in the precog and nods acknowledgment.

The guard by the side door doesn't notice the stealthy approach of Monica from above, but he's preoccupied with hurriedly smoking the last bit of his cigarette before Boss Byron notices his absence in the central area. Byron's bound to notice eventually, when the guard doesn't return to work. Or to life, for that matter, once Monica's knife makes short work of him. From her new same floor vantage, she sees the others post themselves in the usual positions surrounding the center work area. There's no cover from her spot to the center save for supporting beams and poles that hold up the warehouse, and even those are slim in number and too slim to really hide behind.

Looking down from Chess' position, she has plenty of shots she could take at any of the targets, but Byron isn't one of them. The guard she calls dibs on moves in and out of range as he walks up and down the line, taking every bit of pleasure in bullying and harrassing the workers into moving faster. "«Move it you little dogshit!»" he snaps at the young boy, shoving the end of his rifle roughly into the boy's back, laughing, "«Keep your posture straight, don't want to get an ugly hunch or else the ladies aren't going to want to fuck you. Oh who are we kidding, they aren't going to want to screw you anyway since your dick's so fucking short.»"

One of the other guards, one wearing another set of AEGIS armor, notices the interaction and through his helmet scoffs. "«Stop fucking around with the boy, Cheung. Like you aren't you sick of the rumors about you?»" That gets a snap back from Cheung to his fellow guard, a short and soured "Fuck you" in a muddled Brit-accented English. But, Cheung moves back to a further position close to the weapons crates and briefly looks down from the activities to check his gun.

The truck loading sequence continues as scheduled, with workers loading boxes onto the truck and taking crates out to put by the munitions stockpile, all under the watchful eyes of the armed guards. While they have an area rich with targets, it's clear that taking them out where they are right now would result in an immediate alert.

Then again, maybe that's what they want.

Down on the bottom floor, Monica listens to the bullying with a frown on her face. She looks up, trying to catch Luther's eye. To give him a warning look— she's about to do something and they should be ready to move. But a look is all he gets.

Monica steps out of the shadows, letting out a heavy, dramatic sigh. "Wow," she states, loud enough to make sure she's heard, "this is just super duper unseemly, isn't it?" She props herself up with a hand on the wall, a foot crossing the other as if she were just stopping by to say hi instead of infiltrating a drug ring.

The archer’s eyes narrow at the words from Cheung to the worker, and she pulls an arrow from her quiver, holding it in her fingers for a few moments and concentrating, before slipping it into place in her bow. Once it’s nocked, she glances back at the others, to check their locations. She doesn’t turn to look when Monica suddenly speaks, but instead takes the opportunity to aim her now charged arrow at Cheung’s throat.

The aimed point moves as Cheung does for a few seconds, before her calloused fingers tug the arrow backward on the taut string. She lets it fly, its whistle almost imperceptible as it speeds through the air with the help of Chess’ ability, faster, harder than it would by the merit of Chess’ strength alone. The thrum of the arrow strings sounds in her ear.

Bullying is bad and Eve makes a special note for Cheung in her head as she looks over at the man and readies her darts before realizing that wouldn’t be the best option and then their handy ninja Moni is making herself as bait and the pale woman watches as from not far her Boomer is firing a arrow into the man’s throat and Eve’s grin grows wider, serves him right.

Going to make her own move, Eve ties the rope to the railing and before securing her hold on it she looks over at Luther witn the darts coated in LSD in her mouth, “Sez chu soon.” Muffled words slip out over the sounds of Monica calling the attention of the guards to herself and the seer begins to climb down the rope down to the ground floor. When her feet touch the ground the seer makes for the closet cover.

From his vantage point, Luther watches the activities down on the ground floor. Tracking Monica's progress is one of the man's concerns, followed by being the backup firepower. His eyes do catch Monica's when the woman turns her attention up to them. A frown turns down the corners of his mouth once he realizes what she's about to do. He pulls out the Banshee, switching on the battery pack attached to his belt. Eve's move to secure the rope and climbing down gets a significant look, worry creasing his features, and then the man starts to move along the catwalk towards the stairs leading down.

Monica's voice triggers, predictably, the guards to turn towards her with guns raised. Shouts echo in the warehouse interior, demands of her identity and swears in Mandarin and English both. Guns raise, point, advance on Monica. Byron turns as well, what tension he has in the moment dissipating once he sees that, at least at the moment, it's merely one intruder. An unarmed intruder. After a few moments of silence, the man barks out orders for the workers to close up the truck and return to the cage. The workers shift themselves, moving to obey the commands with their heads down.

Closer to the munitions crates, Cheung barely gets a gurgle out as the arrow from Chess' bow pierces directly into his throat. The shaft sticks out on either side of his neck, and then he collapses with a dull clatter of his gun against the warehouse floor. Cheung's guard colleague in the AEGIS armor turns at the sound, stepping backwards with his gun still trained on Monica's direction.

"Who are you?" Byron asks Monica, not looking ruffled in the least with her appearance, "Military Police?"

Guns come up, shouts happen and Monica lifts a hand to wiggle her fingers in a coy wave. When Byron asks his questions, she lifts herself up of the wall and brings her hands together. "Military Police? Me?" she says, in all innocence. "Nope, just a passerby," she says, swinging her hands behind her as she steps across the floor— not toward anyone in particular, though. "What're you guys doing? Looks like fun."

Sǐ guǐ,” mutters Chess as the man chokes on his own blood, and she turns her dark gaze on the next target. The armor poses a problem, but luckily she has kinetic energy on her side. She glances over at the others, taking inventory of where her colleagues are, where her enemies stand, as she pulls from her bag one of those hub caps, heavy but light enough for her to wield.

A few seconds in her hands charges it and then Chess lets it fly, flinging it like one would a frisbee. Normally she might aim for the target’s neck, but this time, she hurls that silver, spinnig disc at the center of the suit — the aim isn’t to explode this time, due to the special properties of the AEGIS armor. The objective is to disable. The next hit can kill. If it works.


Leaving the rope for later use, Eve throws it off of her and takes a look over at the bully that Chess has just killed, “Oooooo—” Then brown eyes land on the cage of workers before they flicks over in the direction of the guns not too far from the cages, “Oh hello dearies.” Wiggling her fingers as she hands one of the darts over to the slave in the cage, “Hold these, I’m gonna go get us some toys!” One look to the left, one to the right and Eve’s striding forward as she raises her blowdart and fires off an LSD dart into one of the guards necks, drawing her firearm Eve readies herself for retaliation as she aims to make her way towards the guns.


The closer Monica gets, the tenser the guards get with their fingers on the triggers. Byron angles his head to the side, studying the woman for a few seconds more. "What's going on here? Is nothing your superiors will need to know about." Then his eyes narrow and he tells the guards to simply, "«Kill her.»"

The guards lift their guns, but before the first bullets fire, the armored guard finds his killed colleague and starts to shout out, "«Cheung's de—»" He spots the hubcap spinning in but the reflex is to duck away. The disc clangs hard against the armor, bouncing off the instantly hardened plates and impacting the side of a gun crate, sticking out of the wooden siding. The guard staggers back out of surprise, tripping over the dead body of Cheung and hitting the floor with a hard thump.

Another one of the other guards suddenly clutches not at his neck, but a part of his shoulder where the dart sticks into his skin. He pulls out the dart, staring at the needle and looking puzzled by it. Handed the one dart, the young man standing within the cage looks perturbed at the seer even though he accepts the drug-laced ammunition.

The other guards finally open fire at Monica.

Emerging from the offices of the second floor, the supervisor of the warehouse dressed in full AEGIS armor steps out of the office. Preceded by a trio of cats slipping out as well, the armored man pulls out a heavy pistol that is aimed at Eve's back from the second floor. But before she takes a bullet to the back, the warehouse gets significantly louder when the Banshee screams its audio fire directly at the armored man. The sound levels of the warehouse just got way louder.

Luther charges towards Jackson, his nonlethal pistol raised first before he grabs for the gun.

As Eve makes her way closer to the stockpile of guns, spotting the fallen AEGIS armored guard stuck in his hardened armor, she gets her hands on the first crate before she's struck by another image flashing before her eyes.

Byron's face flashes again in her face, strobe-like in a series of animated motions as he lifts his right arm up, his hand clutching an offering of a sunflower-sized flower bud. The bud opens, and out of it shoots a fireball that's hurtling towards her. The sound of a Super Mario fire flower, turned up to 11.

The warning is enough to get Monica to duck behind some crates nearby, bullets only missing flesh because she puts her cybernetic arm up to guard her. Once she's behind cover, she leans back out to get eyes on the guards and take stock of where they are before she takes cover again. The sudden ratchet upward in volume is enough to tell her that the others are at work. And in trouble.

She pulls her gun from the back of her waistband and leans out again, taking aim at one guard's forehead. She fires once and shifts to fire at a second. And then ducks behind her crate again.

Once Chess has locked up the armor of the AEGIS-wearing guard, she pulls another arrow from its quiver, nocking it into place on her bow, and holding it for a moment — it feels slow as she watches the fight unfold before her, but it’s merely a few seconds — to charge it to its full power. She releases the bow string to let the arrow fly, faster and harder than should be possible. A small, personal-sized bomb aimed right at the guard’s chest.

There’s a reason Eve calls her Boomer, after all.

A quick scan of the area has her dark-eyed gaze following on Jackson as Luther strides toward him. She uses her vantage point and bird’s eye view to hurl another of the hubcaps toward the supervisor, aiming for the man’s back as he’s distracted by Luther coming from the other direction. “I never get tired of this. Get it?” she says, to no one in particular.

“Oh oh! Fire!” Eve shouts at the incoming fireball and ducks with ink black eyes she she hears the wail of the Banshee and explosions from Chess’ ability, aw yea. Her moments of distress end as she pats her hair down to make sure that it's still all there and she's shaking her head looking over her shoulder at the fireball that nobody else can see. “Okay okay Mas, get your brain in the game. Fly little birdy…” gripping the edges of the crate as she pulls two of the guns out and charges back to the cages.

“Hey don't look at my eyes, don’t, okay you looked but no I'm not a demon! No no no, I'm umm I'm here to help!” Whispering loudly to the prisoner that she previously handed the LSD laced darts too, “I'm gonna hand you these and you just let loose, you just point at the ones that have hurt you the most and you pull that trigger bangbang you shot them down, BANGBANG. They hit the ground! Yes? Yes!” Eve leans back and aims her one of her Desert Eagles, “HERE WE GO, LIBERATION!!” Firing a round dead center in the cages lock, the seer aims to shove the firearms in the first two willing from the cage. “Get the other heavy artillery for your brethren! Smite your enemies!” A wild cackle escapes the woman.

Meanwhile up on the second floor offices, Luther and Jackson are locked in a wrestling match as Luther's lost grip on the Banshee in favor of keeping Jackson's much more lethal pistol from pointing at him. The supervisor in AEGIS armor manages to get a hard kick in to Luther's midsection, but Luther counters with a grab and swing of the armored man into the railing of the second floor walkway, which causes the thrown hubcap to clang off the railing and into the dark. As the two men struggle, the pistol in Jackson's hand goes off twice, the bullets striking up against the flooring near Chess' position but ricochet harmlessly off angle.

The main focus of gunfire remains in Monica's direction as guards attempt to converge on her. The front-most guard of the pack - the one Eve had managed to strike with her dart - starts to shout some obscenities and alarms as he waves his gun and fires wildly at Monica, but his shots are obviously wide and high. The man's shouts in Mandarin are about a monster with glowing eyes, a terrifying dark demon creature. He's put out of his misery by the headshot from Monica and goes down in a heap, prompting the remaining two guards to take cover around the work tables as the sudden attack from the BOOM agents comes from above and behind.

The guard in AEGIS armor remains frozen, struggling to reach the battery pack that powers the suit in an attempt to disconnect the electrical charge that keeps the armored plates hardened. His fingers never reach the switch, as a kinetically charged arrow finds its mark in the center of the man's torso. Not even the Kevlar fiber weave guards the piercing arrowhead, and the man has barely a moment to realize he's been struck before the miniature explosive power bursts him wide open in a messy, gorey splatter.

Some of the man winds up on the weapons crates. The rest of him winds up on Eve and the workers in the nearby cage. The young man holding the LSD dart shrinks from the black-eyed seer, clutching the needle pointed projectile and looking fully confused by the woman's hasty words, fearful of his fate being the next to get blown by an arrow from above. Once Eve blows the lock wide open, the workers remain cowering from the initial blasts and gunfire. One of the women in the cage pushes past the young man, grabbing Eve's offered gun. She understands, at least, and relays to the others what to do. Those less emboldened hesitate at first, but are moved to action when the Desert Eagle wielding working shouts, "«Do you want to die here? Then run!»"

The explosion near the weapons crates and shouting from Eve gets Byron's attention, and the man's face seems to go beet red with anger. While the guards have Monica covered, the boss turns to make his way back to the slave cage. He's got an angle on Eve as the seer's freeing the workers, but rather than fire upon Eve, the man straightens from cover and barks out a command at Eve. "You there, STOP!" Whatever the seer had planned to do in that moment, she finds the command to be too compelling not to follow. It's a heady feeling, her mind that is normally so full of visions and crazed ideas suddenly clear as if she had just taken a long puff of a joint. The chaos of her mental thoughts slows to a stop, and she finds herself waiting for the next command.

Monica ducks behind her cover again, back pressed up against the crates. She waits, perhaps for the guards to make their move. But what ends up catching her attention is the lack of chaos on the other side of the warehouse. Eve isn’t Lara Croft style double pistol wielding her way through this place and that was definitely in the playbook for this mission.

Something is wrong.

Sliding out of cover, Monica comes at one of the guards low, lifting upward to punch him in the gut with her robo-arm. When he doubles over, she uses his back as a jumping off point to the top of the crates. She rolls onto one and up onto her feet, running to the edge and jumping to the next. And the next. It opens her up, but she’s hoping her speed and her odd trajectory will help her miss any bullets coming her way. Particularly when she lands on one crate and grabs a chain hanging from a support beam above her. She tugs on it to make sure it’s going to stay put, but doesn’t slow down as she approaches the next edge.

This time, she jumps off and her foot connects with the wall and she uses the chain to hold her up as she runs along it, gaining momentum. When she pushes off the wall, she arcs her swing toward Byron, feet first and aiming for center mass.

Not wanting to get shot, Chess moves away from where the bullets are pinging off of the catwalk, moving along as quickly as she can without losing her balance — she’s not a ninja, but she has good balance and small feet. As she moves, she tries to get an arrow trained on the man Eve’s staring at and not shooting at, but the cages are in the way.

She chews her lower lip in concentration, before shifting her focus and turning her sights on the guards shooting at Monica. The charged arrow flies toward the first, and before she sees if her aim is true, she’s already sliding a second shaft into place, aiming and charging before letting it fly, whistling through the air like a missile seeking its target.

Two guards left in cover are still focused by Byron's command to kill Monica - a fatal mistake for one as the arrow fired from Chess' shifted position on the third floor catwalk punctures through the man's exposed back and torso. The arrowhead sticks out from his gut, and he clutches at it before sinking to his knees, dropping his rifle beside him before toppling over and bleeding slowly.

The stepping stone guard fires at Monica again, and the bullets ping off of her shielding arm with an impacting rattle of the armored plates she can feel through the gel interior and nanocircuitry. It's a close call. But the rest of her is already caught up in the moment, her mind, body and ability all in sync as she's grabbing a loading chain and swinging as gracefully as Tarzan on a jungle vine.

Byron's advancing on Eve when he spots the gun-toting worker girl and dart-holding boy coming up from behind the seer in her defense as well. Before the gun-wielding girl can get a shot off, the sub-boss barks out a new command, "«Take her!»" He's barely gotten the command out, then Monica's feet slam into the man sending him tumbling backwards to the floor.

The dart-holding boy still looks confused, but the command from Byron turns him and he makes a stab at Eve with the end of the dart to the seer's arm. A chemical rush flows into her bloodstream, sending her heart pounding and spots of color sparkle in her visual corners.

But it's a trip that Eve's no doubt been on before. Pupils dilated into full black, she can see. She can see everything.

The multitudes of stray cats that line the shadows, around crates, tucked in dark corners of the warehouse, all watching and witnessing the commotion without any fear or flight instinct. They're connected with spider-webbing strings that shimmer as if covered in dew. From the warehouse floor to the catwalk above, there are cats everywhere.

Then, the world shifts again and she can see Byron and Monica in a tango-like dance. Every time he opens his mouth, as if to whisper something in Monica's ear, a heady bang of a drumbeat hits and she counters with a kick spin around him. Their prosthetic arms clasped together, they circle and tangle around and around. If Eve thought about it, the dance becomes more of a capoeira than a tango.

If there was more to see, the moment is dashed away when the gun-wielding worker roughly shoves Eve towards the cages. She yells a command for her to step back, much in the style of the guards that had been making the workers move along.

The second floor match turns as well when Jackson manages to throw off the larger man and swing the pistol in hand upside Luther's head. In a quick counter, Luther grabs for the other man and unleashes a sudden return burst of lightning in Jackson's helmeted face. The crack-boom fills the section of warehouse beneath Chess on the walkway as she lets the next arrow in her bow fly. It finds itself buried in shoulder of the remaining guard, whose cry of pain is drowned out by the unnatural thundering boom.

"Whoa.." mouth dropped open, "Whoa…" Eve grabs at her face and shrieks in laughter as she shoved into the cage, catching the side of the cage with her right hand to brace herself before she falls into the cage she grins a lopsided one towards the woman and dips her head. "No no, you mustn't, obey." A sharp kick upwards at her gun hand as she's diving for the woman whose now begun to sprout deep purple tree branches from her skin. "Nooooooo you're enchanted." A giggle and Eve flails her hands out as she grabs for the gun hand that she's kicking upwards to relieve the mind altered woman of her firearm.

"Hey kid! Shoot me in the butt next time its faster that way!" Stars dance in the corner of Eve's eyes as the feeling of euphoria and openness envelopes and she feels the ting of energy in throughout her whole body. "Oooh this is the stuff from.. oh no." It's the really strong stuff yes.

Monica lets go of the chain and lands in a crouch. Standing to full height near the prone man, she takes a moment to push her sleeves up her arms. One is dotted with bullet holes and uncovers her prosthetic arm.

But then she rushes over to him to grab the front of his shirt and lift him up slightly. Just to make the angle better when she punches him. It isn’t often that she uses the cybernetic arm to hit people, with its boosted strength and hard surfaces; she reserves that for very special cases.

Like now.

Between the shudder of the building beneath her and the fact those who should be their allies are turning against Eve, Chess decides it’s time to get down. She moves to the rope that Eve tied — she’s much less subtle because speed, not stealth, is her priority.

Once she’s low enough, she drops the rest of the way to land in a less-than-silent crouch, one hand already pulling out a worn, dog-chewed baseball from her pocket, rolling it against palm as she takes a moment to determine just what’s happening and just who the enemy is. They didn’t rescue these people just to kill them, after all, but she also doesn’t want them to kill any of her people. Her narrowed eyes lock on Byron’s form as she charges what amounts to a grenade in her hands.

Boot meets arm and Eve kicks up the worker girl's hand, loosening the grip, skewing the angle. There's not really any fight to the young woman, as Byron's commanding voice doesn't provide any special skills, only rudimentary instruction. The struggle is brief, and Eve's gun is easily returned to her hand. While the hallucinations grow stronger, the seer finds herself draped with the two slaves who are still trying to pull Eve into the cages. The worker girl grabs one arm, the dart-holding boy has since dropped the spent projectile in favor of bear hugging Eve's waist and pulling her backwards, away from helping Monica.

The cybernetic armed assassin has ahold of Byron's shirt, pulling him up for a potentially devastating punch. The fist comes down, but it's blocked from impact with the man's face by Byron's own prosthetic arm. The impact jars them both. Something cracks, though it's not Monica's arm. Byron grabs Monica's organic wrist, and she can feel his leg hook around hers with a quick jiujutsu style takedown. The concrete floor of the warehouse is a hard surface to fall on one's shoulder. "Stay down," snarls Byron into Monica's ear, and for a few crucial seconds, it feels like the whole of her wants to comply with the command. Long enough that Byron roughly shoves her off of him and gets up to a crouch, levels his prosthetic arm at the other cybernetic woman as the arm blooms, splitting out and revealing a large gunbarrel inside. He points it at Monica and…

click click click

There's no boom except the one that came from the second floor with Luther's lightning unleashed. Luther grabs on to Jackson's pistol holding hand when the boss' armor seizes up from the sudden electric overload, and with a roar of effort swings the man around to throw him over the railing of the second floor walkway. Jackson lands with a heavy thud on the first floor level, crunching the top of the chainlink cages inward. Luther blinks as blood drips from the open cut over his eye, roughly wiping away as Chess comes down to the same floor. "Get that fucker," he calls to her with a nod to the bossman he's tossed down into the fray.

Monica is more surprised than anyone when his command actually keeps her still. Long enough that she’s staring up at a completely overdone cybernetic gun arm. When it doesn’t rip her to pieces, Monica lets out a strangled laugh. “Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to over accessorize?” Her tone is more manic than truly joking, but the worse things are, the more she quips.

Internally, she screams at herself to stand up. Trying to strain against the command. But, she can’t seem to get herself to move.

Not that way, anyway.

She rolls to the side, lateral rather than vertical, and her foot kicks out at his knee, slamming as hard as she can.

“Pushy asshole,” mutters Chess in regards to Byron, about to throw that baseball at him, her eyes widening a bit at the gun in his arm. But Monica’s got it, for the time being, and Chess turns to follow Luther’s request. The corner of her lip curves up just a touch as she looks at the man, no doubt struggling to catch his breath from the fall.

“Catch,” she says lightly, and lightly tosses the baseball at him, before turning away to pull a final arrow and nock it into place, eyes settling on Byron.

"I love a nice group fondling but there really isn't anytime— whoa you have ten arms." Eve's eyes are wide before she sees Monica and Chess over there and she blinks, "My friends need my help!"

Eve yanks and kicks and bites at the workers trying to hold her back, growling as she goes twisting her body in weird ways to loosen the grip of the workers, "Off!" She slams her back into the worker into the cage hopefully. She's gotta get free to help her friends. Her mind only on being released and sliding her gun into her hands.

Luther's not about to be jumping over the railings, so the man makes his way past Chess with a brief glance to check on her and a nod of approval before getting to the stairs leading down.

As he does, the AEGIS armored boss Jackson doesn't so much catch the baseball as he tries to knock it away. The explosion booms loudly, further destroying the worker cage and knocking off the woman and boy clinging on to Eve from the seer. Eve shakes her burdens off with that extra twist and backward slam, finally freed from their hold even though the world is full of thunderstorms and rainbows.

Where Jackson lies, the armor smokes and some ragged bits are on fire. The man inside it is still.

Whatever command Byron was about to issue is lost to a curse of pain as Monica's foot kicks out his knee. Byron starts to speak again, but then the boom of the baseball bomb echoes through the warehouse. The shuddering shockwave sends stray cats lurking in the corners fleeing in all sorts of directions across the open warehouse floor and out of the building. They aren't just an Eve-centric hallucination.

Byron recovers from the blow, but takes the shooting pain in his throbbing knee and the explosion as his cue to beat a retreat. The man turns and limp-runs for the back door that leads to the dock. No fist-shaking monologue, no threats of revenge. He passes by the injured guard with an arrow through the shoulder, pauses and yanks the gun from bleeding guard's possession before continuing on. The others might not see his expression at the moment, but there is a desperate panic in the man's face now.

Monica turns to cover her face when Chess’s basebomb goes off, not wanting to get hit somewhere soft with any shrapnel. When she uncurls, she sees Byron making a break for it. Or trying to.

She pulls out her gun, taking aim at his back. “Guns!” she shouts to the others just in case he manages to dodge her bullets. He’s less likely to be able to dodge fire from four different angles. But it isn’t even a beat later that she fires— center mass— multiple times. She’s determined not to let him walk out of here.

Chess doesn’t like to use guns, so she takes her final arrow from the quiver and nocks it into place, charging it so it will fly harder and faster, but not to the point of explosion — that might be overkill, with four people aiming weapons at one man. She lets it fly before she makes for the stairs to bring her the rest of the way to the bottom floor, moving to Jackson to give him a kick to the head to make sure he’s dead.

“We should take some of those,” she says, with a nod to the gun. “We may need them if they figure out this was us. Otherwise… I can start setting time bombs.”

Finally free the wild oracle presses forward at Chess and Monica unload their weapons on the man, twirling her gun in the air and catching the heavy weight with a grin she fires three shots at the man and tilts her head as the barrel smokes in front of her. "Resist, bitch." There's a look around the room with wide eyes and Eve shouts, "Did someone turn the disco ball on?!" Obviously in celebration of their first "operation" as a team.

Midnight mane of hair flies in the air as Eve dances around the room nodding her head to Chess' words, "More guns, more boom, how about those hulk armors? Less squishy then, less bloody."

"Do you think their souls are watching us in contempt?" A frown on the woman's face as her consciousness blossoms and ideas of the what ifs of the world bloom in her mind. There's also a butterfly, a blue one sitting on her fingers and the iridescent creature distracts Eve, wiggling her fingers to play with the hallucination. "That reminds me.." softly said to herself the pale woman tiptoes to the Refrain and starts to take a bunch. "You never know."

"Take some of the boomy thingies I brought in my bag!" Making explosions is her thin— "I didn't forget you're a walking time bomb." Eve swears.

Monica's call to arms dooms Byron's retreat. Without body armor of his own, the man has no protection against the hail of bullets and an arrow that pierces through his back and lodges out of his chest at a fatalistic looking angle. The man collapses to his knees then topples to a side, his own prosthetic fingers gripping at the bloody shaft but too much in shock to pull it. A pool of blood seeps behind him and spreads out the open dock door.

And all at once, what was a roar of a firefight and exploding items turns to utter silence. The kick to Jackson's head produces no reaction. Luther also takes a moment to unlatch the helmet from the dead man's suit and measures for a pulse. He shakes his head, indicating the man is gone. "This is RayTech's AEGIS," he confirms, frowning at the helmet and smoking, bloody suit. It's something to note for the security chief, certainly. Chess’ note about being pursued garners a low growl out of the man. "If they come for us? We'll be ready." He wipes his bloodied brow once more and moves after her as they rejoin Eve and Monica.

The young man and worker girl look confused but are conscious, huddled together and side-eyeing at Eve with fearful uncertainty. They had just attacked her. And given the seer is under the influence and holding a gun, they recognize it's not in their interests to piss off this newest group of fighters. Especially, not when looking around there are corpses of their former captors everywhere. Chess gets a few extra takes from the workers as she works. The pair of workers’ expressions bear a familiarity with the sight of her, but they keep quiet and keep working under Eve’s supervision.

With their help, a fairly large haul of weaponry in the form of long rifles, handguns and even a stash of grenades from the days of the Second Civil War is had and along with the find of another suit of the AEGIS armor. In the offices on the second floor, Monica and Luther pick up evidence of the Ghost Shadows triad hard at work holding this warehouse as their munitions stockpile. They also spot a very obvious piece of wall art, a banner bearing the Symbol in canvas and paint.

As the four collect their info and prizes, and set up the warehouse to destroy the evidence, stray cats watch from the shadows, eyes glimmering in reflection of the dim lights.

A Short Time Later

Luther holds a small towel to his brow, lightly pressing against the forming swell there. As the four sit and lean against the vehicle they’d arrived in, sharing some drinks in victory. He glances over to Monica, Eve, and Chess. Then, to the pair of freed workers sitting in the backseat. “Doin’ okay in there?” he asks.

The response is a couple of short nods.

He turns back to watching the warehouse, eyes narrowed as a thought occurs to him and he utters to the trio with him outside, “Suppose we’re far enough away?”

The answer is lost as the warehouse suddenly explodes, a massive fireball engulfing the building and sending a rolling shockwave that knocks them off their seats.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License