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#1 Edited by Quietus (774 posts) - - Show Bio

The Helipad, 4:35am

No Caption Provided

"You'll be pleased to know it look's like I'm gonna need your help after all..."

The Secretary of Defense walked around towards the front of the Quinjet, giving it a little thud with the back of his fist. His other palm pressing a phone to his ear.

"Yeah yeah, I know. Now get your ass down here. We're leaving in five."

Julius violently blinked as a white portal suddenly spawned in front of him, his secret daughter, Juliet Jones, suddenly stepped out with a smirk.

"See this?" He looked up at the Quinjet, "I know it's a big ask. But I'll need you to move it. And them,"

He pointed back with a thumb towards Lichter and Damien, "to outer space. I have the coordinates here."

Julius took out out an encrypted devise that showed both written coordinates and where those coordinates correlated visually in space. "Once we've arrived at our destination close the portal immediately and wait for me to get back in touch. I don't know how long it'll be, so no asking. Secondly, if we aren't back within twenty-four hours, I want you to contact my bodyguard, Cole. His contact details can be found on the Equalizer intranet." He smiled at Juliet, allowing the girl time to form her portal before excusing her. "Give us all a moment."

The Shadow of D.C walked towards the men and folded his arms, taking in a nice breath of early morning air. As he done so, a third, apparently unknown individual walked onto the helipad. Immediately Julius looked at Lichter and Damien, addressing the unknown entity. "I'd like to introduce the Black Bat. Lichter, as you very well now know, Alexander Donn will not be partaking in this mission himself due to physical constraints, and this is his stand-in. I can account personally for his abilities."

The Wall then gestured for the three to enter the Quinjet.

"I'll brief you once we're all inside."

And with that, Julius simply entered the Quinjet and awaited his fellow agents to do the same.

Now, he was excited. He hadn't actually used his combat attire in many years.

No Caption Provided

Quickly, Julius removed his coat and revealed a sleek, blue outfit.

"Gentlemen, please take a seat."

Sometimes intelligence gathering and espionage had to be done away from the office, and Julius was evidently not afraid to engage in combat himself, despite being forty-four years old and counting.

To compensate for this lack of youthful vigor like Damien or Lichter, he had used technology only accessible to the very select few able to persuade the US Government to depart with so much money. It allowed him to move and act as though he was on some type of super solider serum, although it was purely a synthetic muscle.

He sat down.

"Strap yourselves in."

Julius looked back, almost smirking.

"It might get bumpy."

To say the least.

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#2 Posted by Juliet_Jones (13 posts) - - Show Bio

Her vibrant green eyes glimmered in the changing light of the television screen, her lids narrowing around them as she squinted in concentration. Her fingers were a-flurry upon her controller, whisking this way in that reflected by the sharp movements and attacks of her avatar. Her father had told her to stay awake until at least five should he need her help with his super secret mission. Wasn’t so hard after two RedBulls and an XP farm frenzy. Her foot tapped with caffeinated excitement, her time-manipulating reflexes aiding her console mission.

Juliet’s head turned with a start as she heard her phone erupt into a melody by Janis Joplin. Within that second, her game was quit, the controller tossed, and the phone in her hand, pressed to her ear. “Yeah, dad? AHHHHH! I’m excited!” She listened intently for her instructions. “Ohhhhh, okay! I’ll be right there.”

The white-haired girl threw on her characteristic armour and fastened her sword to her back. Her hair was hastily thrown into a messy bun, dark makeup hiding the subtle rings around her eyes from too much sleep-deprived gameplay. Juliet extended her pale palm outward, a swirling circle of white light appearing before it. The portal grew larger until she was able to leap through it and emerge on the other side of the rabbit hole…

The time portal closed behind her as she emerged at her father’s locations. Her peridot gaze moved over her father’s associates. She beamed broadly. Mission in the middle of the night with some mysterious men? This was just too awesome. “Hi, guys. I’ll be your flight attendant for the day.” She looked at the coordinates Julius handed to her, determining the closest location to place the exit portal.

Just to show off, Jules drew her sword, drawing it back and slicing the air before her, using the momentum to throw herself into an impossibly fast spin. The flourish ended with her boots planted firmly on the ground, sword outstretched before her as she channeled time energy through it until a shimmer of light appeared a few feet away. It grew quickly until the blinding radius was wide enough to allow passage for the Quinjet and its inhabitants. “There might be a few minutes of disorientation when you come out the other side. Bodies aren’t used to temporal distortion. It gets easier the more you do it. Good luck!” She stepped back, allowing her father to converse with his associates in relative privacy, but her curious green eyes never stopped moving from each one of the company. Juliet really wished she could join them. Maybe some day.

No Caption Provided
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#3 Posted by Damien_Bonaparte (2251 posts) - - Show Bio

@juliet_jones: @quietus:

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The Bastille stood in the center of the trio with heavy cargo by his feet, wearing the tricolor of his H.A.D.O. system proudly. Through pure chance it appeared as if they had lined up by size, the ridiculous Black Bat towering over them both with his 6'5'' of muscle. <Whoever this is, he's clearly won at the gym.>, he remarked in his thoughts. His grotesque physique earned Damien's side-eye as Jones approached with a short briefing.

Without a word Damien hoisted the mysterious 200 lb carbon container over his shoulder, took a smaller duffel-bag in his free hand and nonchalantly went towards the Quinjet. "Don't hurt yourself.", a voice of nigh-demonic bass teased from his voice synthesizer. The Contemporary Techno-Shinobi calmly passed by their teenage teleporter who was flailing the a sword one foot too large for her around, slyly smirking.

Embarking into the aircraft he couldn't help but to pity the alleged peak of American engineering, having the condescending eyes of a fringe scientist. He found a powersocket in the aircraft's humble cargo-hold and connected the large cargo container to the powergrid before finding a seat himself.

Damien hated being a passenger almost as much as he hated spending extended amounts of time with people, naturally that meant that this mission took the ratatouille.

L'efner.

His fingers coiled tightly around the straps, the Secretary's anti-telepathy ring glittering.

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#4 Posted by Hound_of_War (3944 posts) - - Show Bio

No Caption Provided

Julian drove his car two miles west, entering into one of the nicer neighborhoods inthe city area. Hiding a secret warehouse in a less favored neighborhood was asinine, considering he had a particular taste in cars and he would stick out like a one legged amputee should he stroll through them. An automatic garage door opened up and he carefully backed inside. The moment it closed down and he became covered in darkness, he pressed a button in a secret pad next to the stick activating an elevator.

The most concerning issue right now was selecting a suit, over the years. he had created entire stores of suits with different designs and capabilities. Some had light fabric to maximize movement but lacked real protection, others were heavily guarded but made it difficult to perform attacks that required acrobatics. Not that he was too keen on those moves in his old age.

Ultimately he picked the Onyx and Grey 2015 design, with smart armor crafted to mostly tank blunt force trauma from metas, but leaving him with little to no protection towards bullets. The President was probably a terrible shot anyways. Mobility was mid-high; his type was quick so he needed to be able to be able to react without restraints. Beneath the neck piece, he placed an extra layer of protection which made moving his neck more difficult.

Boots were lined with carbonation to maximize damage instead of stealth and so were his gloves’ knuckles.

There was the matter of the utility belt, he chose to carry a medium size 2012 sand colored belt. He needed to carefully pick his gadgets. As a backup, he carried his ear buds in case Julius’s contingencies against telepathy failed or was neutralized. He packed flash freeze grenades. if Quentin’s healing factor was as accelerated as described then he the cold could contract it. Julian placed a high-frequency sonar hidden inside his glove. Instead of using standard bullets he switched them with Maverick issued armor piercing rounds and explosive bullets.

Now that he was ready, the Black Bat left his warehouse through the chimney exit. Not before long he was their meeting place as Julius introduced him when he had met Bonaparte when Licther broke into the CIA building a few months back. He didn’t say a word to him or to her, he just walked inside and the plane and sat down, waiting for the Wall to fill him in on the mission.

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#5 Edited by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@quietus: @juliet_jones: @damien_bonaparte: @hound_of_war:

Stepping into the jet, Klaus silently admired the interior, inspecting the design of the cabin and imagining the functions of the various buttons, switches, and toggles that lined the cockpit. The black combat vest with the magenta hood covered his entire body, and as they were beginning the operation, he was obligated by protocol to don his cowl. Reaching back behind his neck, he pulled the purple facemask over his head and down his face, hearing it quietly latch to his collar as the small static-velcro straps engaged. Blinking, he felt the lenses of the mask move, white contacts contouring to his eyes. Breathing, he tested the filter.

The Bat, enigmatic as ever, he thought, watching the towering black-cloaked man pass by both himself and Bonaparte without speaking. Classic.

Taking a seat, he did as the Secretary of Defense advised, reaching up and pulling the safety harness down over his vest. Satisfied that it was tightened enough, he clicked the two segments together, and waited. Remembering that their ally would be moving them via extranormal means, he tapped the side of his gloved wrist, deactivating the Octarine Oscillator and ensuring that he too would be affected by whatever force would drop them into the mission area. It'd be unfortunate to be left behind as the plane and its contents vanished around him, seated comically in mid-air before crashing to the ground.

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#6 Edited by Quietus (774 posts) - - Show Bio

"Don't hurt yourself."

Julius' eyebrow raised as he caught the nigh-demonic voice of Damien, attesting to it's somewhat transfixing tone.

It was truly terrifying; if you were caught on the wrong side.

Fleetingly, Julius wondered if that voice was the last noise on earth many had heard before their demise. But the Original Operative could not judge, not at all.

It was not unlike Julius to use assassins himself... Over the years, he had employed more than he was willing to admit. More than his moral compass could admit. Killing did not come naturally to Julius despite his military lifestyle.

Generally, a death meant that one had failed to intelligently deal with a threat before it had arisen. But in the same light, Julius understood sometimes it was an absolute necessity. Slowly, the Secretary of Defense turned in his seat, resting his chin on the headrest as he addressed his associates.

"No bullshit here, I'll say it how it is. I don't know what we're running into."

The Wall looked each man, knowing it would not shake any. You didn't do this job without knowing once in a thousand times, you would have to complete a mission with pure improvisation. It was nice to be prepared but life didn't always give you that luxury.

"The last coordinates of President Quentin suggested he was in outer space. Approximately fifty miles above the Kármán line, beyond our planet's atmosphere. Visual imagery is blank. It's like President Quentin just... Went invisible. Radar and the best technology the US Goverment has to offer shows nothing. This suggests we're either chasing something that has moved... A likely option," he rolled his eye, "or something that is beyond our technical capabilities."

Julius' eyes drift to Lichter, and then Damien subtly before looking at all three again in turn.

"As all of you are more than aware of there are plenty of organisations that possess this technology. Sadly the US government has a problem funding large expensive and comprehensive military upgrades."

Julius hated politicians. He had worked with them his entire life and hated nearly every single one he had worked with, bar a few. One of them was sitting in this very vessel.

"If this pans out to be a space craft of some kind I'm fitting to bump right into it. This Quinjet has a tactile sensor, as soon as we bump into something it'll lock onto it's physical properties and then we can enter, deal with any situations, and finally extract Jean Quentin. But who knows what alien-esque shit we'll find."

"Ready to make history?"

Surely, this would be a historic moment. Julius had a long career but knew this point could even be a movie. Travelling to outer space to capture a vampiric President?

Near insanity.

.....

-One portal-enabled teleportation later-

No Caption Provided

There had not been a single bump, surprisingly.

The Earth was gorgeous from up above, Julius looked outside in obligation. It felt too beautiful not to stare at, but it gave him no real pleasure. Too many worries for a man of his age.

He stood up.

And sat back down.

Juliet's teleportation had always made him feel dizzy. Something about temporal displacement.

Funnily he had always refused to believe he would not adapt to it, but thus far it had always caused him annoyance.

Slowly the Secretary regained momentum and stood, two arms folded across his suited chest.

"One moment."

Julius looked down at his watch and clicked a few buttons, the Quinjet slowly edging forwards before...

...Thump.

They hit something.

"AI," he said, not having given it a name. It wasn't alive, it didn't need one, "visualize the thing we just bumped into, project it onto the windows as though we were actually seeing it with our eyes."

Suddenly, Julius' eye widened at the sight of the space-iceberg.

He looked at his colleagues.

"I think we've found our destination..."

"Black Bat, Damien; I'll leave you to your own devices. I'm no assassin nor super enhanced spy, I won't tell you how to do your job. Enter the ship through your own means, locate Jean, extract him. As soon as you see even the slightest signal or anything which worries you, contact us." He kissed the ring on his finger. "They also couple up as transponders, if you press the ring hard enough it'll tell us where you are."

Julius looked at Lichter.

"You're with me. Transport us inside with that dagger of yours, we'll go wake the king of this ship, let Black and Damien have some stealth advantage."

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#7 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@juliet_jones: @damien_bonaparte: @hound_of_war: @quietus:

Outer Space

Klaus had instinctively tightened his grip on the armrests as the ship vanished, and after five seconds of being in space, he'd pried his own gloved fingers from where they'd practically left marks on the sides. Breathing out, he undid his straps, standing carefully. Blinking, he closed his eyes, waiting for the momentary dizziness to subside; the girl's teleportation hadn't seemed as smooth as his own, and there was indeed a moment of great disorientation. Coming to his senses, he looked down, and frowned.

No zero gravity, he thought, disappointed. The ship spun, the motion keeping their feet firmly on the floor. Impressed and ecstatic to experience Kubrick-like space travel, Klaus was nonetheless displeased to learn that he'd be unable to swim around the cabin by pumping his arms.

Another time. He turned, looking out over the world. It seemed so small, yet so large at the same time. Raising one hand slightly to waist level, he blinked, grinning as he watched Earth spin in his grip. Dropping his arm back to his side, he turned his head to listen to Jones.

"You're with me. Transport us inside with that dagger of yours, we'll go wake the king of this ship, let Black and Damien have some stealth advantage."

"Ready?" he asked, weapon in hand. Standing behind Jones, he placed his empty left hand on the Secretary of Defense's shoulder, before clicking the handle once.

Within the Anomaly

Breathing in through his filtered mask, Klaus was pleased to discover that there was indeed an artificial atmosphere within the large ship. Not confident about his chances of surviving in a vacuum, he was glad to not have to rely on his spare oxygen supply, which likely wouldn't have lasted long enough for them to complete their mission. Removing his hand from Jones' shoulder, he switched up his stance, dropping his dagger into his now-empty offhand and drawing the Death Ray from its holster. The tip glowed red.

They were within a massive maze-like hallway, directly on the other side of where the ship had approached the vessel.

"I could take us in closer to the center, if need be," he said over the communicator line, careful not to make any audible noise within the ship.

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#8 Posted by Hound_of_War (3944 posts) - - Show Bio

‘It takes the average human being fifteen seconds to pass out in space without any sort of protection. Even with my training, powers, armor, and re-breather I have about eight minutes.’

The Modern Day Abraham looked at the Frenchman’s reaction; they were both professional stoics who would not express displeasure in a mission even if they had three bullets in their backs. They simply studied the situation and survived.

“I already have a plan. Julius took away our opportunity to go in silently the moment he forgot to mention we were going into space. I need you to open the airlock for me so I can go outside and infiltrate the station. I will send you a shuttle once I’m inside.”

‘Damien is a human being trained in the “Arts of Keijijo” and his armor has two opening in the top part of his head and eyesight, even if he does manage to seal them I have a higher probability of success because time is such a huge essence here.’

“This is going to warn them that we are inside. Once you get there, they will more than likely have security waiting for you, but I am confident you should be able to handle them. Contact me if you find Jean before I do.”

No Caption Provided

Julian entered the airlock, positioning himself towards the door. First the gravity went and he begun floating before the exit opened. He moved forward and took a second to calculate how much pressure he would need to apply in his legs to push himself in the station’s direction.

‘One of the few good qualities that space has is that there is no up and down, left or right. It just is.’

‘Hollywood does not usually accurately portray what happens when someone is in space. Heads do not pop and people do not get instantly frozen. As a matter of fact, you can survive for up to two minutes without any long term effect if you are unprotected. Your skin and tissue start swelling and the water in your body begins to vaporize, but once you get back inside a normal atmosphere you should be stabilized.’

‘Despite space’s cold temperatures you would not freeze before you suffocate, heat does not leave the body so rapidly. The worst thing someone could do in this situation is trying to hold their breath, the gas inside your lungs expands, causing your lungs to rupture and releases air into the circulatory system.’

As he was reaching the metal wall, he shot his grapple gun at the airlock, assisting in his approach. There was no real way to stop the momentum, the best thing he could do was attempt to land and do his best not to break any bones.

Julian rolled against the cold surface, forcing his back to hit against the wall. Had he attempted to land with his feet he would probably cracked his legs. Not for a second did he let his finger loosen from the wire; it was the only thing that kept him from rotating endlessly into space.

‘Making an entrance is kindergarten.’

With his left hand he took out a laser, cutting around the locks while avoiding the hinges that keep it from floating off. Instantly after entering through the enemy’s airlock, he closed it behind him, unable to seal it due to lacking the proper gear.

‘Hacking the door inside the station from the outside is too.’

With one hand he started accessing the computer controlling the door while with the other one he pointed the grapple.

‘Getting inside while the oxygen is getting sucked out and the pressure becomes unbearable is harder…but far from impossible.’

The Black Bat fired the gun at the wall, like a stretched out measuring tape he was being pushed towards the end. He held the butt of the gun with both hands, beneath his gloves he was sweating rivers yet burning and cuts were forming.

The claw shook, it was about to collapse. Out of sheer instinct he threw a knightorang at the panel, seeing that he had no alternative. Luckily for him, it forced it to shut down before all the oxygen could be sucked out.

He fell on the ground.

As promised, Julian went looking for a shuttle. Like he suspected, he could control it from inside the base. He sent it towards the Quinjet’s airlock in automatic pilot. The Frenchman could take it from there.

Now, it was finally time to find that blood sucking bastard.

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#9 Edited by Damien_Bonaparte (2251 posts) - - Show Bio

@quietus: @lichter: @hound_of_war:

Damien just stood firmly and nodded, listening to the words of the Black Bat with the expression of forged interest on his face. Hand in hand behind his back, he walked towards the Quinjet's airlock and waited for his colleague to assume comfortable position within the claustrophobic space before launching him into the infinite coldness behind the walls.

<Yes that has to be about the most idiotic thing I've seen anyone do... Well, close second after what happened in Chechnya.>

"Hmm...", watching the Bat fly towards the object with fanatic obsession, he took a dog-like tilt in his neck. "...I wonder when will his lungs collapse.", he added before moving to his mysterious cargo. "Let's not be a spoilsport.", using a combination of hidden buttons on the side the onyx box cracked in the middle, oozing vapor out as hermetic containment came undone. He grabbed the box by it's sides and erected it into a rectangular shape before opening it in the middle like a cabinet, it was a personal equipment cache with a computing add-on.

Gleefully smiling, he picked up an infonet responder and went towards the pilot's seat. While the Black Bat finished his orbital B&E, Damien was opening the paneling underneath the cockpit. As the Black Bat sent the shuttle towards the ship, Damien had already connected subjugated the air/space craft. "Quinjet: Queue Beethoven. Imperative: Für Elise."

The shuttle was already on it's way towards the Quinjet that now reverbated with classical music fed through the speakers from his cache. Damien as the pilot, he waited for the shuttle to approach docking distance before nonchalantly taking off towards the Earth-facing side of the anomaly. The shuttle continuing towards the void of infinity.

No Caption Provided

<Whatever this megastructure is, it is clearly 'man'-made. Lack of spin means it doesn't generate artifical gravity through centrifugal force. Not only does this mean it most likely has it's own generators, but it means that the hangar-bay will be facing the Earth to maximize fuel-efficiency of whichever vessels were used to craft this facility.>, he verified his train of thought as an enormous gate appeared in the corner of the Quinjets windshield. Voila!

Similarily piloting the vehicle with emphasis on fuel efficiency, basically only using the propulsion in order to adjust his trajectory in the vastness of space. The Quinjet came to a halt before the enormous gate and Damien dressed himself in an E.V.A. suit of his own design before transporting himself to a sidepanel. The Enigmatic Techno-Bastard hacked through the gate's security and using installed remote control provided by his gadget set the Quinjet down inside the bay and came through before it automatically closed.

*While I respect the decision of the infamous trio of gauche gentlemen to take the liberty and leave our only means of transport unattended in a 0G enviroment littered with satellite debris, I'm afraid I've just gone ahead and parked.*

He retreated his suit back into his cache and went out of the jet through the back ramp, the same ramp that closed up behind him after he left it's proximity. A suicidal move one would think, but what could the captors do about it, really? Blow their vessel up and risk a hull breach or worse, damage their own space craft? Hopefully they weren't as suicidal as the Black Bat. Under dire circumstances, he could simply remotely order the jet to blow a hole in the wall and cripple the mysterious agency.

<Now let us see what we can do about Mr President.>, The Batille though, delving into the shadows of a narrow corridor.

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#10 Edited by Anthony_Stark (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

Unknown area of the "anomaly"

No Caption Provided

Jean grimaced, his brilliant blue eyes squinting in the light as bag was drawn from his head. Instinctually, the vampiric mutant struggled step from his position. Neck, wrists, and ankles were secured to a structure, humanoid in shape. Wires and all manner of medical devices were also strapped to his forehead and fingers. The restraints were rigid and cold, likely not made for constraining living creatures. His eyes quickly adjusted to the fluorescent glow above him until he could stare comfortably into the dim surrounding room. A familiar face stared back albeit shrouded in shadow.

Dr. Quentin's upper lip curled. "Anthony Stark. Of course it would be Stark tech that is the one thing capable of bringing down my kind."

The Technological Titan folded his arms over his chest. "Tell me. Would your 'kind' be mutant... or vampires?"

Seething with helpless hostility, Jean growled. "Both."

"Funny, I don't remember you running as a vampire-American. Guess we all have our dirty little secrets."

The surgeon lurched forward, choking as the metal about his throat inhibited his freedom. His brow furrowed as he tried to break his bonds with his telekinetic prowess. Anthony didn't budge. He had complete faith in his contraptions. "I took the liberty of using some of my anti-psionic designs on you. If you have something to say to me, you'll have to say it with words."

Jean scowled."How's this for starters, Stark. Let. Me. Go. You have no moral ground to hold me. I may not have access to my telepathy, but I don't need that to know you barely qualify as what ordinary people call human. That suit of yours. Are you even in there anymore or has it taken over you entirely?" He gave a wry laugh. "It'd almost give you an excuse for your heartless utilitarianism. That shit you pulled with Gothic. Your complete lack of empathy."

Stark shook his head, slowly. "I'm not on trial here, Jean. And I'm certainly not holding you here to listen to your misguided moralising." His hands fell to his side as he stepped toward the blonde man. "See, I understand your true nature now. But I also can see that you've been fighting it for decades. You're a killer by nature, not by practice. If I was sentimental, I might even find that admirable. No, I'm not here to try you for your crimes. A few dead humans. Nothing compared to the bigger picture. I want to know what can turn good men evil. Even then, it's obvious to me that you are only the lesser of two evils." His head tilted. "What is it, Jean? What caused this?"

The Psionic Saint breathed heavily, his head falling back as his gaze traveled to the side. "It's nothing you can handle. Only I can. I need the power to defeat it." His attention returned to Anthony. "You can understand that. I can't limit myself if I hope to face him. He could turn anyone if I don't stop him."Suddenly he became visibly shaken, his eyes shifting from side to side."You severed him from me. I don't know where he is. If his attention isn't on me..." He snarled and tried to lunge again."You have to set me free! You can't stop him!"

"Who is he?" Stark remained unfazed by the mutant's distress.

Jean's voice caught in his throat, his eyes lowering, lids shuttering the frenzied glimmer in his eyes. "I... I don't know. He comes. He speaks. I can't keep him out. I can't fight him. All my power, and it's not enough. If I fed, augmented my abilities, I could save myself. I could save everyone!"He gasped. "But he says I don't really want to. Is what he says true? I'm an omega potential telepath! If I wanted him out, I could destroy him. So, why... why haven't I?" He swallowed. "So... hungry..."

"So, he is a telepath." His dark brows arched, his genius intellect putting the pieces together.

"Telepath? He is a demon. He is beyond telepath. It is his very nature, elusive and evil. More a concept than a man, something that exists within and beyond the very consciousness of sentient beings."

>Alert: Temporal anomaly detected; foreign vessel starboard<

>Engaging countermeasures<

Horizon, cancel action. Change all passwords to 1234 and let whoever they are hack the ship; make them think they're achieving something. Countermeasures will only delay the inevitable breach.

Stark's entire conversation with his artificial intelligence Horizon happened within nanoseconds, almost an instant transmission of his thoughts. Slowly, Stark's brows knit pensively, fingers gently stroking his facial hair as he now addressed Jean at the matter at hand,

"I can figure this out." He turned to leave the room. "I need to think." The door closed behind him, leaving the PsyKnight in his makeshift technological prison as Anthony prepared to deal with the intruders.

Time to figure out who's in my ship.
Time to figure out who's in my ship.
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#12 Posted by Quietus (774 posts) - - Show Bio

"Thanks," Julius whispered over the secure channel, quietly unholstering his two black Smith & Wesson 4506 pistol's. "Let's hope we don't get to use these." Glancing down at Lichter's glowing Death Ray, it made him feel as assured as it did alarmed.

How did people even get those? He had to actually get a licence to conceal his two official firearms in public. Let alone a god damn Death Ray. "No, enough porting. The more we use that type of tech the quicker it'll trigger some sort of tech alarm."

Patting Lichter's left arm, Julius moved slowly through the silver corridor. His footsteps totally soundless as he moved due to the smart material which they were crafted from. Lichter and Julius moved from room to room and corridor to corridor, it was like an endless metal maze and all of the doors opened.

It was weird.

Not a single soul, not one.

"Klaus, maybe teleport us closer... We're going in circ--"

--Thud.

The two doors in front of Julius and Lichter suddenly slammed opened, pushed to the side by a monster in Red and Gold, it's eyes glowed blue as did it's chest.

"You gotta be kidding me."
"Julius."

The Tech Titan looked at Klaus, addressing him with his iconic robotic voice. "Purple man." He then looked back at Julius. "Why are you on my ship?" Stark muttered, knowingly exactly why.

The Secretary of Defense palms clenched around his pistols, growing angry.

"Are you god damn serious Stark?"

Subtly, Julius pressed the button on his ring. Alerting Damien and Julian.

"Where is the President?"

The Original Operative stepped closer, looking into Stark's glowing eyes.

"I won't ask again."

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#13 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@anthony_stark:

Hmm, he thought anxiously, watching the Merchant of Death step through the door. Bad. Very bad.

Thinking in beige prose had always been a warning sign for Klaus, but it was one he certainly had trouble heeding at this point. The intentional omission of descriptive phrases from his thought process indicated a marked rise in anxiety, adrenaline, and most often, danger. He took care not to point the Ray at the ex-President, lest he draw his attention to the weapon; instead, he angled it more towards the ground, his finger still on the trigger. His other fingers twitched.

"Purple man."

Your beard is...lame, he thought, before blinking. Focus.

Just as Julius engaged the Mechanical Maestro, Klaus noticed him activate the ring he'd gifted them all prior to the beginning of the mission. He felt his own unworn device buzz in his pocket, neglected in favor of the more familiar Octarine Oscillator. He reached into his pouch and hooked it between his black-gloved pinkie and thumb.

Stark tech, he remembered, removing it. Silently, while Julius approached the red-and-gold mastermind, Klaus dropped the ring onto the steel-colored floor, and crushed it under his boot.

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#14 Edited by Anthony_Stark (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

"I won't ask again."

The Secretary declared, Stark knowing the unspoken ultimatum was genuine. He had worked with Julius a few times and despite the lack of weapons; he was not a man to be taken lightly. Without making any verbal or non-verbal cues, Anthony thought at Horizon.

-- Horizon, scan Purple Man and scan the rest of the ship.

When you locate anyone else open some external doors and release the airlock, close any doors and gently force Julius' associates our direction --

>Commencing scans<

The Merchant of Death stepped closer, glancing over Julius's shoulder at Lichter as he stomped upon the anti-telepathy device. "You're welcome, by the way."

He then abruptly snapped his attention to back Julius. "Little minds Mr Secretary, little minds, I don't have time nor do I want to justify why I do what I do. You may have beaten me in chess once, but this isn't chess." He clenched his palm as it made the sound a repulsor makes before being used.

"You're doing a good job back on Earth, don't spoil it testing my patience."

Suddenly, the Techno Titan saw a visual 3D overlay of all Lichter's technology on his HUD. Horizon spoke as this happened. Although Stark could always see an overlay on his HUD, mid-combat it was not always easy to fight and read, so he habitually had Horizon read him the results directly to the processing areas of his brain, allowing him to both consciously and unconsciously know where threats lay.

>Scan complete.

Data as follows; an unknown device, possibly of magical and technological origin. Emitting unknown radiation -- Further scan required to ascertain properties and capabilities.

Subject is also carrying a canister with what appears to hold a substance with both super-adhesive or friction-reducing capabilities.

To be noted and cautioned; holographic technology also carried. Less notably, a gas mask and oxygen supply as well as communication device<

Stark listened as Julius looked at him, knowing he would not back down either.

Cautiously, Julius took a step back.

"I'm warning you, Stark. Stand down. Where is Jean?"

Anthony shook his mask, prodding Julius in the forehead.

"Safe."

>Weaponry; a dagger containing teleportation technologies. The blade is coated in unknown nano-particles and runic symbols. Additionally and most notably, an advanced blaster of some kind<

-- Thank you --

The Utilitarian Ultra took a step back too, his other repulsor now making a sound as though it was activated. Both palms at his sides.

"Now leave...

...Final warning
...Final warning"
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#15 Edited by Hound_of_War (3944 posts) - - Show Bio

The ring sent out a beacon telling him where Jones and Lichter were, he decided to follow it and with each step he took he became more and more certain of his theory. There seemed to be no crew members inside the station, no rooms for a large amount of people were ever designed. It was empty. How? It did not just appear there out of nowhere.

When he found them all his suspicions were confirmed, he was glad he fed his paranoia by packing the armor piercing rounds. Even with that, the chances of beating Stark were slim, especially in these conditions.

He chose not to reveal himself, not yet.

‘Of course Stark is behind this. YOUgenics doesn’t have the resources to build a spaceship or the creative intelligence for that matter. I thought he might be involved somehow, he went away again around the same time that Jean did. Reporters did not pay much attention since it is a normal pattern for him to do this every few months. When we went into space it started to become more evident…I just never expected Stark to be working against YOUgenics instead of with them. There is something I’m not seeing.”

No Caption Provided

Julian was sucked back into the vacuum of space by Stark’s antics, it didn’t matter to him that much. Being adaptable was part of his job description, when the landscape evolved he made it a point to change his strategies with it. No plan ever went along perfectly after all.

He pushed himself upward, or what seemed as up to him at the time and reached the window where they were currently standing.

Braun, get close to Jones. When I say three you are going to teleport into a bathroom. It’s the only place in this station that most likely doesn’t have an airlock. You two need to find the President. When you find him we will meet you inside the ship and we are getting the hell out of here. I’ll handle Stark.”

“Frenchman, you’re with me. I need you to find a way to seal the airlocks. ”

Julian placed some thermite on the glass; he knew this wasn’t just any glass. It was custom made to stand space and meteorites, so he knew he needed to hit the weak spots, and use his own special explosives brand if he wanted to break It since fire could not burn in the oxygen free fabric of space.

“Three.”

The glass exploded into pieces, what would have made noise for blocks made no sound. Pushing himself upwards, he waited for Stark to come out either unwillingly from the pressure like Julian had been or with his propellers moving him. In any scenario, Julian would fire an ultra-hard fullerene round composed of nanofullerenes and crafted from a type of C-60 compressed to be harder than diamonds. This shot would be tactically placed in the upper bicep, right in the nerve to maximize the damage he would feel while also partially immobilizing that entire section.

‘Stark should have quit while he was ahead, he might be able to take on Jones but he doesn’t know me. Stark never seems to learn that flocking with Knightfalls is a stupid idea. I’m going to have to kill him for him to realize it apparently.’

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#16 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@juliet_jones: @damien_bonaparte: @hound_of_war: @quietus:

Braun, get close to Jones. When I say three you are going to teleport into a bathroom. It’s the only place in this station that most likely doesn’t have an airlock. You two need to find the President. When you find him we will meet you inside the ship and we are getting the hell out of here. I’ll handle Stark.”

A bathroom? he thought, eyes widening. I don't know where those are, he thought, looking side to side. Of course, he took it to be adrenaline boggling the Black Bat's words, his suggestion mired in on-the-fly thinking in adrenaline. He might not be able to manage a bathroom, but he could certainly take them further inside the station.

Leaving his dagger in its sheath, he twitched his fingers intently, an intricate pattern that most would mistake for an anxious tic. Index finger, curled in two millimeters; pinkie, stretched; middle and ring fingers, curled in then out. It was a code picked up by his gloves, sending a radio pulse directly to his dagger and commanding it to rewrite its next blink destination into the palm of his hand. He curled his pinkie inwards, prepping the activation of the signal.

"...Three."

The moment the words escaped the Black Bat's thin lips, Klaus stretched his pinkie outwards again, feeling the dagger manifest in his grip as fluidly as it always had. Gripping it tightly, he stepped forwards behind the Secretary of Defense, wrapping his arm around his neck; his other hand was unavailable, still clutching the Death Ray. The moment he made steady contact, he squeezed the handle once more, disassembling both himself and Jones and recreating them far behind Stark, away from the perimeter of the ship. The dagger's guidance system would prevent them from appearing within any solid matter, or in a location typically considered hazardous to human health.

Such as inside an engine.

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#17 Edited by Anthony_Stark (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

As Julius and Stark stubbornly locked horns, the Black Bat had began enacting a seamless strategy. A strategy however, which had not gone unseen by Anthony's nigh-omniscient artificial intelligence unit, Horizon.

>Thermite detected! 90° to your left!<

It all happened within one tenth of a second.

Near simultaneously, the Secretary of Defense and Lichter vanished and the reinforced window beside the Merchant of Death powerfully exploded, shattering the ultra-durable glass and sending high velocity shrapnel in all directions. The fragments slammed into the Titan's suit before falling to the ground pathetically.

Stark turned, gazing at the transgressor in annoyance.

"Why."

Anthony said to himself, not having intended his day to turn into a repetitive mosquito-squashing session.

Stark's flight repulsors roared into action as he rose into the air, suspending himself like a wasp as Julian fired an ultra-hard fullerene round, the round was instantly technologically dissected by Horizon mid-flight, ascertaining that it was composed of nanofullerenes and crafted from a type of compressed C-60.

--Impressive, Stark thought--

The properties were instantly further analysed and found to be made of a substance which Stark believe was clearly harder than diamonds.

--But how impressive?--

The Utilitarian Ultra stood still as the rounds tore through space into the now thinly oxygenated corridor before finally pounding onto his suit. Surprisingly, Anthony was budged back by the blow; having to even adjust his flight to re-position himself face to face with Julian's masked visage.

--Horizon, damage report--

>The fullerene round completely shattered external particle shielding; denting the virillium exoskeleton. No concerning bodily damage, shock absorption facilities bore 99.2% of the force delivered<

--Alright, time to teach this guy a lesson--

Explosively the Annihilator Suit roared into action, blitzing towards Julian and within a second closing the distance, moment's before arrival, Stark had already cocked back a fist and shot it forward -- Using a repulsion unit hidden within his elbow to amplify the strike, the Technological Titan sought to deliver a single mighty punch to his foes chest, the punch strong enough to damage one as mighty as the Brahma Bull. For it had.

Independent of the outcome, Anthony would immediately seek to grasp his opponent's neck in a vice-like grip and throw him through the now windowless segment of the space station.

If this succeeded, Stark had already instructed Horizon to close the blast doors on both sides of the corridor and seal the window with a metal shutter, effectively imprisoning the Black Bat instead of opting to kill.

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#18 Edited by Damien_Bonaparte (2251 posts) - - Show Bio

@hound_of_war:

Stark?, Damien's mind immediately jumped to attention as radio-chatter continued. He was surprised that he is still alive and better yet relevant after the circus he made out of the US. This orbital megastructure must've been his new chapiteau then, only he had access to build something of this scale and so covertly.

*Negative.*, The Bastille replied as the airlocks started pulling him towards the direction of Stark and the others. Fortunately, the innate adhesivity and trained reflex allowed him to remain in one place despite the discomfort. *I can't usurp control of this anomaly unless I'm in his proximity, the segments of this compound are only on the recieving end of things.*

Damien added while shooting two lines of webbing from his wrists, each to the walls that ran along the corridor. Slowly walking backwards, he resisted the forces exterted by the vacuum ahead through the exoskeleton of his armor. The webbing stretched and stretched, it's incredible tensile strength would never fall to Damien's strength no matter how hard he could try. But he didn't want to, instead he used the primed webbing to catapult himself in the direction of the pull and accelerate it that much.

A human bullet, his trajectory was calculated by the CPU present within his HADO system. It enhanced his natural reflex through HUD annotations that allowed him to maneuver at these incredible velocities. Every corner he took sharply with another line of webbing and the resulting centrifugal force was not only enough to nullify the effects of gravity but actually added more to his already incredible momentum long after the airlocks shut on their own.

OBIE: Sudden shift in venting detected along the path. Adjusting. Sharp turn in 3.0034 seconds.

In his first field deployment of the technology, The Blood of Bonaparter already exhibited intuitive mastery none of the nobodys ever had. <No matter how infantile this may seem, I'm never going to forget this kind of adrenaline.>

*We need to regroup.*, proposed he in the colossal velocity of his movement towards Black Bat's radio signal. *Pick yourself up and continue along the corridor. I'll meet you shortly.*

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#19 Edited by Hound_of_War (3944 posts) - - Show Bio

Acknowledging that he could not move quickly enough to avoid Stark’s ferocious fist, the Black Bat attempted to roll with the punch. Instead of letting it hit him in the chest and destroy his solar plexus into a million pieces, Julian turned to the side. Even in space, where sound does not travel, he heard the crunching sound of bones shattering. The force of the fist tossed him against the station wall.

‘Three cracked ribs; I can’t feel my left side at all until I try to move. I’m having a hard time breathing too, my lungs feel like they are about to implode. They’re not punctured, I would be wheezing uncontrollably otherwise. It could have been worse.’

It wasn’t over, thinking that would be naïve.

As the titanic futurist placed his chilling metallic fingers around his neck, the Black Bat attempted to break off Stark’s grip by pushing his wrist with his hands. This was a common reaction that people had when they were being choked; seemingly pointless considering Stark’s overpowering strength over him. Well, not quite. This was just another calculated move for the Black Bat, with precise sleight of hand, he disguised attempting to place a Maverick issued mini thermite mine in Stark’ arm beneath natural human responses as he touched him on the wrist.

Even when he was tossed away he made sure to land in the uninjured side not to inflict himself with any more unnecessary pain. Julian has the computer Stark installed into his suit, calculating every variable and creating scenarios, it just happened to be his brain.

*We need to regroup.Pick yourself up and continue along the corridor. I'll meet you shortly.*

“Negative. I need to keep Stark busy. Jones, Lichter….status report on the President?” He whispered lowly without moving his lips, wanting to keep secret his real intentions for fighting Stark.

'Stark did exactly what I expected him to do. He's trying to control the enviorement around him. He thinks this is going to make a difference.'
'Stark did exactly what I expected him to do. He's trying to control the enviorement around him. He thinks this is going to make a difference.'

Julian stood up quickly; the camera in his lenses had started recording the moment his neurons exploded and the sodium ions permeated cell membranes. He needed a confession out of him.

His cape covered his body like a shadow; underneath it, he was switching one of his magazines to homing air burst rounds. He loaded it slowly, knowing that Stark would be able to detect the movement; he needed to keep him talking.

“Why, Stark? Why kidnap the President? Sure, he’s a monster. But you could have turned him over to the authorities.”

Cocking the gun back, he quickly drew it like a cowboy in an old westerner. Accuracy was not his concern; these rounds did not need to make contact with their targets. They exploded midair by themselves and were meant to tear through carbon nanotubes like paper.

“Don’t try to tell me that it was under some pretense of morality, Stark. I know your game. That’s some lie you tell yourself so you can justify all your sins. That you work for the greater good. You just want power. Quentin might be a vampire but so are you.”

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#20 Posted by Anthony_Stark (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

--Horizon, begin full anatomical and bodily scan--

Anthony burst forward as his metallic fist smashed into the Black Bat's chest, crushing Donn's bones like breadsticks, suddenly, the Mechanical Maestro heard Horizon -- But not for reasons he had asked.

>Thermite detected beneath right wrist; deploying countermeasures <

Too busy to personally respond, Anthony had already grasped and forcefully thrown Donn upon the metal ground, quickly looking down at the Black Bat as he internally narrowed his eyes in contempt. As this happened, the ever-so helpful artificial intelligence Horizon had already dispatched a swam of frenzied nanobots in the form of Peak Bots, which systemically ate away and deactivated the thermite mine before it had had the chance to dangerously explode.

Watching, Stark listened as Horizon projected a internal 3D overlay upon the Black Bat, allowing him to see what was beneath that mask and what weaponry he was equipt with.

As usual, Horizon also read the findings verbally.

>Sir, combatant appears to have sustained three cracked ribs and damage to his left side. Lungs are impaired but not catastrophically, caution advised; subject is notably of human fragility. Beneath the mask it appears to be one Julian Knightfall - Currently deceased. Facial recognition findings are 100% however; it appears you have brought a ghost back to life, Mr Stark<

The revelation that this was Julian Knightfall clearly startled Stark, briefly absorbed in thought before feeling an almighty explosion; the Maverick enabled rounds detonating a quarter of a meter from his iconic mask as his entire body was forcefully spun backwards, the blast having visibly scratched and eaten away at his chest plate.

Like an automated turret, Anthony explosively spun back around and threateningly aimed his repulsors at Julian.

"Stand down."

>Sir, recording equipment and other generic weaponry found on person. Nothing which would be deemed as an extensive threat. Advise caution, however, data does not suggest Julian, Julius, and the other two agents have been compromised like President Quentin<

Stark spoke, his two repulsion units trained upon Donn - Prior to Donn being thrown, two gigantic blast doors had sealed the corridor and the window tight, functionally imprisoning Julian with Stark for the time being.

"I didn't kidnap the President, you idiot. I rescued him."

>Sir, it appears that Julius and company are growing close to the President's location. No anti-teleportation technology installed within this base<

"And if you intend to play right into whoever took over the President's mind, go ahead and attack me."

Suddenly, Anthony dropped his primed palms as they powered down, the yellow glow vanishing. Without another word Stark vanished -- Appearing in front of Julius and Lichter, having been tracking them the entire time since the teleportation. Donn, ironically, was still stuck in the blast-door empowered prison. Stark assumed he would be able to let himself out. If not... Tough shit.

"Julius," Stark started, gazing at the Secretary of Defense. "I think I forgive you for punching me in the face that time." He shrugged. "Although, I understand why..." Stark's face-mask flipped open as a sign of equanimity, looking both at Julius and the other agent, Klaus.

"I'll say this once so take note. Something or someone took over your elected President's mind. Now all of us educated folk know that Quentin is an omega telepath," he bit his lip, raising his eyebrow in fake shock, "so who the hell was able to take over that type of mind? I, for one," a metal palm tapped a metal chest, clanging, "felt it necessary to take matters into my own hands..." Stark gazed at Julius who had yet remained quiet.

"Now this was no kidnapping, it was a rescue. I was saving someones neck... Literally," he arrogantly smirked, "now come with me and see your almighty President for yourself..."

Stark pointed at Lichter and Julius, gesturing for them to walk ahead of him. "I don't like having people with death rays walking behind me." He glanced at Lichter. "Nothing personal. I don't know you."

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#21 Edited by Quietus (774 posts) - - Show Bio

Julius was no teleporter, unlike Stark, Lichter and even his daughter Juliet, he had never grown accustomed to instantly being transported elsewhere. His brain always found it confusing. This time, it was no different.

"God dammit,"Julius whispered to himself, shaking his head as the environment instantaneously shift to something else entirely. The Secretary looked back at Lichter, patting his associates shoulder and nodding in respect and gratitude. "Good work son." He looked onward, two pistol's eagerly aimed ahead.

"Now let's go find us the President..."

The two tacticians steadily walked through the prodigiously large base, unknowingly been tracked by an even more secretive AI, luckily for them Alexander Donn was proving a nice little distraction for Stark. Damien was yet to be seen, but that was strangely good too -- An ace up their sleeve.

Shit!

Julius took a reactionary step back, aiming his sidearm at Anthony as the titan appeared without warning.

Despite Stark's best efforts to calm Julius, the Equalizer held onto his suspicion but did not allow it to cloud his mind, what if he was telling the truth? What possible ulterior motive did Stark have for taking Jean? There wasn't one that he was able to think of, at least at the present moment. Julius glanced at Klaus and nodded, non-verbally agreeing to follow Stark to the location of Jean...

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#22 Posted by PsyKnight (956 posts) - - Show Bio

Jean’s muscles strained against the metal, sensors upon his chest ticking at the vital changes. This device was not meant to hold a biological life form but one of Stark’s creations. But the solid framework did the job of keeping the mutant vampire in place even if terribly uncomfortable. With is psychic abilities turned off by the mechanism encircling his skull and his body slightly weakened from being without an adequate supply of blood, the bonds could have been less but equally effective. The Titan of Technology was not about to take any chances in his mission.

It was a cold pang of loneliness that quite possibly ached the most. His face contorted. Not being able to connect with his clone. His condition made him isolated from people even while being surrounded by them. It was this emptiness that had made him all the more vulnerable to manipulation. The desperation, even if it was normal or noble, was enough to drive anyone to questionable decisions. Factor in a malevolent mind of devious intent… this was the result. Even the most powerful men could break.

The door to his prison opened. His cold blue eyes raised, his jaw setting. The doctor couldn’t be sure if his rescuers were in good will. After all, one of them was Secretary Jones who had seen a gruesome fraction of what the White Knight was truly capable of. Unseen sweat beaded at his golden hairline, his body warming with anticipation. If Stark truly had a plan for him, he would likely not easily let Jean go. And there was no telling if Julius’ companions would have the grace to spare a vampire whatever his previous station and goodwill. The PsyKnight was uncertain what was going to happen.

His lips curled into an emotionally undeterminable smile. There was something vaguely threatening or anxious about it, like a caged animal feeling expressing discomfort at being cornered. Regardless, such an expression would be judged according to the agendas of those who beheld it. No one’s vision was truly clear of preconceived notions.

“Julius.” His voice was low and dry like a hoarse growl. Azure eyes shifted from the Original Operative to the purple masked man. “And his associate.” The former president had very little interest in disclosing more than needed until he had gauged the emotional variance in the room, something much harder without his abilities.

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#23 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@quietus: @psyknight: @anthony_stark:

Startled by Anthony's reappearance, Klaus instinctively raised his weapon, but his hand was stilled by sudden exposition. Narrowing the white lenses skeptically at the Merchant of Death, he did not replace his weapon, keeping it aimed upwards at him from his waist. Quietly, he followed Jones, one eye kept on Anthony the entire time. The Ray appeared to be held loosely, but this was an illusion; it'd been locked into his grip by the psycho-active magnets, keeping the weapon stuck to his palm until he himself considered dropping it.

"Julius...and his associate."

Possessed? he thought, angling his head to the side as he inspected the ex-President. Hm. Let's find out, he thought, shooting a glance at Jones.

Ignoring Stark, he reached into his vest, gloved fingers happening upon a small octagon pinned to his undersuit. His index finger and thumb pinched a tiny knob, the humming object's vibrations felt minutely through his skin. Raising his eyebrows, he twisted the tiny toggle, the Octarine Oscillator emitting wave after wave of anti-magic pulses. The device functioned like an EMP for magic and psionics alike, manipulating the quasi-normal spectrum and cancelling out energies that did not fall under the electromagnetic one. Amplifying the waves until they were almost visible to the naked eye, he stepped closer to the captive politician, eyes locked on their target.

He pressed one side of the small octagon, increasing the intensity of the waves in front of himself. They could be seen now, purple-greenish folds that resembled an aurora, cascading upon the President and attempting to completely wipe away any unwelcome presences within his mind, should any be found.

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#24 Posted by Inner_Demon (2335 posts) - - Show Bio

@psyknight:

Humility was never a quality that the Demon of Silence had much regard for, and it was certainly never one he even pretended to possess; he was quite convinced that he was the most powerful and subtle creature ever to stalk the astral plane. Even in his own malevolent arrogance, however, he had to admit that this gambit had been successful in excess of even his lofty expectations.

It had been so simple. Every mind, every psyche had an exploitable weakness: a secret doubt, a hidden fear, an incongruence between nature and façade, and the astral predator had become quite adroit at identifying and exploiting these oft-unacknowledged vulnerabilities. The powerful were no different; if anything, they were more susceptible to devious manipulation, as they were generally more accustomed to fighting battles of sheer will. Jean Quentin’s mind was so powerful that the Demon could have spent several centuries battering at his psychic shields to no effect, but the man’s own internal conflicts were like an exposed supporting beam on an otherwise impregnable fortress.

Jean Quentin’s Presidency could have been a daunting threat. Jean was a mutant, a healer, and a peacemaker, at least when he had control over his own vampiric tendencies. The Demon had invested far too much in exacerbating the tensions between mutants and humans to allow one man to unravel his elaborate work. More than simply removing a threat, however, driving the self-flagellating telepath into exile had thrown much of the world into chaos; the lack of such a major leader in a world besieged by metahuman extremists and extraterrestrial invaders had sent shockwaves of fear and paranoia resonating from one end of the planet to the next, and had given the malignant monster a feast like none other.

It appeared, however, that this magnum opus may have run its course. Stark had somehow managed to sever his connection to the telepathic vampire, and while quietly following the hunters had led him back to his would-be victim, the one known as Lichter was now poised to put the final proverbial nail in the metaphorical coffin, flushing Jean’s very aura of what remained of the Demon’s corruption. Still, the beast was not one to retreat when there was still fun to be had, and he had not spent his time during the battle, as enjoyable as it had been to observe, in idleness.

He had prepared thoughts for the hunters, ones crafted to mimic their own mental energies and thought patterns. These men may not be omega telepaths, but they were hardly fools; some introspection would quickly reveal the deceptive psychic messages for what they were, but he was counting on the fatigue of battle and injury, as well as the tension of trying to determine who was manipulating who, and where the true threat lay, to increase his chances of success. Gently, almost lovingly he pushed the thoughts forward, letting each seek their target.

@anthony_stark: …have you ever been able to trust anyone, Stark? These aren’t crusaders; they’re government assassins. At best, they’ll be looking for someone to take the fall for all this madness; at worst, they’ll want to ensure that there’s no witnesses…

@quietus: …of course Stark’s actions make no sense; he doesn’t understand them, himself! Vampires can control the wills of others, and Quentin is a telepathic vampire, at that! Stark is obviously nothing more than his puppet, and now you’re playing right into his hand…

@lichter: …what are you doing? This isn’t some innocent victim; this is a creature whose very nature is to prey upon humanity! There’s no redemption to be had, here; the only way to stop this spiral into utter chaos is to eliminate its source, here and now…

@damien_bonaparte: @hound_of_war: …it’s obvious now, isn’t it? Julius and Lichter didn’t need teammates; they needed fodder and bait. They’ll go back to play the heroes, and your own suffering will be forgotten, your roles here today buried under mountains of red tape. That’s assuming, of course, that they don’t now consider you to be dangerous witnesses to the corruption that plagues the very highest levels of the government…

Now let's see what happens...
Now let's see what happens...

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#25 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@quietus: @psyknight: @inner_demon:

The Delver of Secrets stood his ground, watching the waves of energy assault the captured Quentin. His fingers shook on the knob momentarily, the tool shaking violently for but a fraction of a second. Something was interfering with the scan, a sign that there was indeed something awry. The small pin stopped moving, resistance building up. Biting his lip, he cranked up the power even more.

…you doing?- innocent victim; this is a creature whose very nature-! -redemption to be had, here; the only way to stop- -inate its source-!

A garbled message pierced his brain, panic seizing him for a moment; acting out of instinct, he cranked the Oscillator up even further, the colored aurora surrounding him almost tangible. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, the Oscillator actually beginning to emit a noise. A soft rhythmic bass accompanied each pulse, the colors turning red for a fraction of a second, indicative of something attempting to punch through the shield. Psychic reverberations carried through Klaus' brain, rattling his teeth. It was not uncommon for there to be side effects.

The shield cracked slightly, and his nose began to bleed underneath his mask.

"Something's definitely here, Jones," he said, taking another step closer to Quentin. The increase in intensity would now cause the Oscillator to begin eating away at anything extranormal.

"It just...tried talking to me," he said, squinting as blood ran into his mouth.

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#26 Edited by Anthony_Stark (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

@lichter@hound_of_war

Stark rolled his eyes as Lichter brushed past, but was curious to see what would happen. Slowly, the man turned on his device and...

…have you ever been able to trust anyone, Stark? These aren’t crusaders; they’re government assassins. At best, they’ll be looking for someone to take the fall for all this madness; at worst, they’ll want to ensure that there’s no witnesses…

--Horizon, what the hell was that?--

>Paranormal energies detected, I am unable to repress the incursion<

Out of pure prehistoric instinct the Merchant of Death felt his hands shaky as for the first time in what seemed a millennium, his unused adrenaline glands pumped away like crazy. Uncharacteristically shaken by this telepathic attack, he glanced at Lichter, watching as Julius' associate glowed, an aura enveloped his being.

>Sir, it seems that whatever Julius' associate is trying to expel from Jean is fighting back. At least partially, the same foreign energy was detected upon Jones and his associates bodies too<

Anthony looked at Julius, whose finger was held tightly around both firearms triggers. Sweat had formed on the Secretary's forehead, Stark slowly, cautiously even, placed his hand upon the Original Operatives shoulder.

"Julius--"

Abruptly Jones snapped Stark's hand off, speaking to Lichter, his voice meaningful.

"Beat this paranormal son of a bitch and let's get out of here!" The Secretary could see his associate was growing wearied. "But if you can't, stop. I'm not losing you son, we have that body, we can figure out who this entity is once you analyse it."

Stark then grasped Julius' shoulder and brusquely brushed him out of the way, speaking to Lichter directly... Before he was suddenly interrupted by something...

>Sir, Julian Knightfall is approaching. He is armed. Caution advised<

Stark looked at Lichter and Julius.

"Your bat friend is approaching with weapons drawn. I'm going to deal with him."

Hurriedly, Anthony stepped outside and closed the door, looking at Julian. "Stay back."

The titan raised a palm.

"I won't say that again."

No Caption Provided

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#27 Edited by PsyKnight (956 posts) - - Show Bio

@inner_demon: @quietus: @lichter:

A trembling overcame Jean for a moment, his eyes widening as he heard the masked man speaking of a presence in the room. No, he was here. Did these men have any defense against this telepathic terror? He needed to be free. His muscles tightened, staining once more with a burst of adrenaline.

Dr. Quentin spoke. “He’s here. You have to let me go. I’m the only one who can hope to defend against him. Unless you have some telepathic tricks up your sleeve. The more you resist, the more he can gauge your weaknesses.” But he knew quite well the group couldn’t just let the demon take over their minds.

Then his blue eyes flickered red, darting over to the Oscillator’s wielder as a metallic scent meandered through the air. Stark’s hospitality had been understandably lacking, and it had taken its toll on the vampire’s strength. “Get Stark's… psionic inhibitor… off me…” The enigmatic entity could easily poison them against one another, his ingress allowing for the further unfurling of the vampire despite not having access to his psyche. Without Jean’s help, they might be more vulnerable to the demon’s attacks. With Jean free… he wasn’t sure he was in the state of mind to keep from killing his potential fleshy allies. Either way, this could end very badly.

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#28 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@quietus: @psyknight: @inner_demon:

Like van Helsing approaching Dracula, Klaus removed the Oscillator from his chest, the psycho-oriented mag-locks on his glove connecting his device to his palm. Holding it at arms length, he stepped closer to Quentin, the invisible reverberations pushing him backwards. He stepped closer and closer, the light from the Oscillator blinding. Squinting, he held his ground in front of the captive president, his pendant little more than an inch from Quentin's face. Like radiation that solely poisoned the supernatural, his device would continue to emit energies in order to expel whatever had gripped Quentin from his mind.

“Get Stark's… psionic inhibitor… off me…”

"Negative," he said, lifting his free hand to wipe at the front of his mask, smearing the blood over his face, but stemming the flow, for now.

If he's a telepath...there's no telling what this'll do to him long-term, Klaus thought, the energy fluctuations surrounding around him practically solid. But if it means killing whatever's got a grip on him...this would work better if I had a blood sample to put in the Oscillator, so it could specifically target his psyche. But would it even protect a telepath? Or would it just turn his mind inside out?

Reaching down, Klaus laboriously unsheathed his dagger, arm shaking. The feedback was getting intense...

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#29 Edited by Hound_of_War (3944 posts) - - Show Bio

Julian was locked inside a cage; he should have listened to the Frenchman and left while he had the chance. Not that it would have made a difference when the message peeled its way through the defenses Julius had brought.

It’s obvious now, isn’t it? Julius and Lichter didn’t need teammates; they needed fodder and bait. They’ll go back to play the heroes, and your own suffering will be forgotten, your roles here today buried under mountains of red tape. That’s assuming, of course, that they don’t now consider you to be dangerous witnesses to the corruption that plagues the very highest levels of the government…

The monster, whatever it was, had gone an extra step to control Julian. This demon wasn’t just holding the steering wheel with one hand like he was with the other ones. He had both hands at ten and two and was pressing the accelerator.

"You were right."

It was like he was aware that Julian was not close to the others and that Lichter could not fight the psychic energies away with his machines. Julian fell to one knee and placed his hand over his head, trying to resist by creating different mental puzzles and repeating world war trivia facts backwards in Spanish. It didn’t help.

He stood up again.

Watching the door, he knew he couldn’t get through. It was impossible. Stark had made it that way. Yet, people never made their inside walls as incredibly resistant as their doors. Julian placed the last mine he had in his belt and blew up the wall. For a man that prided himself in secrecy and stealth, he had used an awful amount of explosives since this mission had started.

He ran to find the others; their rings were still active so he was able to trace them. As he was reaching his destination, he loaded his guns and pointed them outward. Covering every corner in case they attempted to sneak up on him, eventually he got it right.

Stark had come out, pointing his repulsors out like he never lost a war. The door behind him was locked.

Julian lowered his guns and put them back in his pockets.

“You were right, Stark. We have to save the President from whatever is doing this. It tried to talk to me. We need to regroup to figure out what is happening.”

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#30 Edited by Damien_Bonaparte (2251 posts) - - Show Bio

<Bullheaded bigorexic tactically inept...>, The Savant of Keijjo internally dismembered the Black Bat for his decision to face someone like Stark alone. Whatever thoughts guided the mysterious operative weren't any sound ones considering he rather chose to face the leading technological mogul and possible sociopath with two guns and sub-par circus shooting acts. It was just then in the thrill of web-propelled movement that the demon's implants entered his train of thought.

<...where did that--?>, Damien couldn't finish the thought. Hypnotic preprogramming that was the fruit of his professional paranoia had kicked in. His eyes rolled up in their sockets as if the beginning of an epileptic attack and soon after he was deprived control of his motor functions as conscious brain entered REM sleep. The Super-Spy had established these protocols in order to never be compromised by world's psychics and as little as this implant sprung the trap...

...but it couldn't be at a worse time.

As Damien's body fell asleep mid high-speed swinging his body faceplanted against the cold metal ground, his legs lifted by the momentum and seeking to tumble his body but ultimately hadn't garnered enough momentum. At the same time his Keijijo borne Third Eye ejected his astral self from the lifeless husk through his pineal gland. However, his bodycontinued to slide along the ground with seemingly no stopping on the horizon.

*TUNK!*

Finally, his body found a stop after dozens of yards in uncontrollable drift. It crashed head first into the glass at the end of the corridor. His neck almost snapped despite the intricate armoring of his HADO system. The point of impact created a small crack, a minor fault that slowly began to expand due to the vacuum beyond it.

No Caption Provided

L'efner!, his invisible apparition cursed at the sight of his visibly contorted body. <That hurt me more than it does you.>, The Dragon of the West added before turning around and using the advantage of his astral form to visualize the psychic trail that implanted the thought into his mind, it continued deeper into the ship.

It was an odd psychic signature, abyssaly dark purple arterial tethers that violently weaved both into and around one another like some vile lighting jumping between two conductors. <Hmm...That doesn't seem healthy. Something cancerous is at play here.>, though he while submerging his soul back into his body, mentally cataloging it for later.

"AaARGH!", in spasming and snapping motions the body jumped back to life. The pain was deafening. "OB---ob--OBIE PAINKILLERS!...Merde!", it wasn't often that the Frenchman resorted to actual profanity.

OBIE: Administering numbing cocktail. Basic Medical Repair in progress.

As the computer replied it was already injecting the analgetic remedy into his bloodstream through the carpal and tightening the armor around his broken ribs. The blood from his head poured down onto the ground, leaving a trail of crimson red dropplets as he merged into the shadows again and nonchalantly sealing the glass with his web. "Time to cut out the tumor.", he said ominously but didn't even bother to switch his comms back on again.

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#31 Posted by Inner_Demon (2335 posts) - - Show Bio

@anthony_stark: @psyknight: @lichter: @hound_of_war: @damien_bonaparte: @quietus:

Well, that was a decidedly mixed bag...

Still, the Demon of Silence was quite pleased with the results. Lichter's damnable technology had saved his mind, and his painful little device was ensuring that the incorporeal fiend was not going to be getting near Jean's consciousness any time in the immediate future, but between the fact that his own blood was now inciting the former first executive's own inner monster, and the would-be rescuers' erstwhile ally ally Julian was now approaching with guns drawn, there was yet the potential to at least wipe some of his enemies from the board. Even Damien's mind was projecting paroxysms of pain, suggesting that, despite being able to resist the psychic suggestion, he was facing complications of a purely physical manner.

Still, he had to begrudgingly admit that he was at a disadvantage, here. These were strong minds, and they were resourceful enough to have contrived defenses. It was also Stark's sanctum sanctorum, which meant that there were likely other safeguards that would be brought to bear, were his presence more accurately identified. It was time to retreat to his own seat of power on the astral plane, so that he could plot his next move and ensure that any who survived the next few moments would live to regret opposing him.

Before departing, however, he had one final message, sent in his own inhuman voice to all minds save Jean's and Julian's (there was no reason to put a halt to the delicious chaos that those two were likely to introduce, after all):

Well played, fleshlings. You have won this tilt, but in so doing, you have only sealed your own fates. Take whatever precautions and concoct whatever brilliant defenses you please; I am nothing if not patient, and I will always find your weaknesses, even if those weaknesses are friends and loved ones beyond your sphere of protection. Enjoy your victory, if you can mange to survive it...

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#32 Edited by Anthony_Stark (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

@damien_bonaparte@lichter@hound_of_war

>Sir, foreign energies still residing around Julian Knightfall. Advice extreme caution<

Not wanting to fight, but unwilling to let Julian have his way, the former President lowered his palm and simply stared at the Knightfall, cautiously alert. "I can't let you inside." the metallic voice of Stark stated. Stark felt an inch at the back of his skull, subtly turning his head as Horizon spoke.

>Abnormally detected, Mr Stark. I think you are being influenced by...."

--Stop talking, Horizon. I need to concentrate--

>Engaging telepathic countermeasures. Expelling foreign signatures; 0.03% complete<

Quietly, the Mechanical Maestro spoke once more to his Black Bat friend. "You might have been exposed or influenced by whatever had Jean, don't test me." His armored muscled disengaged their one ton percent potency, a limit that previously Stark had used to fight Donn; not wanting to cause any lasting damage... But due to Inner Demon's influence, those inhibitions were long gone.

Elsewhere, with Julius and Lichter

The Secretary of Defense watched Lichter valiantly attempt to drive away the presence consuming Jean, he watched, almost ready to snatch the knife away from Klaus' hand as a cautionary measure; not sure if he had been mentally tampered with by whatever had momentarily claimed the mutant telepath. Suddenly, he heard it again... The nigh-demonic voice...

Well played, fleshlings. You have won this tilt, but in so doing, you have only sealed your own fates. Take whatever precautions and concoct whatever brilliant defenses you please; I am nothing if not patient, and I will always find your weaknesses, even if those weaknesses are friends and loved ones beyond your sphere of protection. Enjoy your victory, if you can mange to survive it...

"Agent!" Julius said, abruptly grasping at his allies shoulder. "We need to leave, I don't want to stay a second more in this place, we have who we came for." Julius touched his ear, talking to the others.

"We have the President. We need to regroup. French, stay where you are, we'll get you."

Quickly, the Original Operative looked at Klaus again. "I'll get the Bat, once we have him I'll expect you to be ready to teleport us to Damien and then back to the Triskelion." He stared intensely for a moment, letting Lichter know there was no margin for error. He then left for Alexander...

Back with Stark and The Black Bat

......

"Stark! Looks like you were right," he squint, "for once." Without delay he glanced at the Donn. "Let's go, it's time to leave." Julius turned his back, expecting Donn to follow him without hindrance.

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#33 Posted by Hound_of_War (3944 posts) - - Show Bio

No Caption Provided

“I’m fine. You seem awfully aggressive, Stark. Maybe you are under his influence too and you don’t realize it. Maybe it got past your systems. I wouldn’t be surprised.” He undermined Stark’s technology.

“You should really start worrying about what happens when we get back. Pray that we don’t charge you with anything after this is over. Even if you were trying to help, kidnapping a President is still serious crime” Julian squint his red blood eyes and bit down.

‘Stark lowered his repulsors. I just need to find a way around him first. I’m out of mines; maybe I can get him to blow the door open for me with one of his blasts. It would have been easier forty years ago. I was much faster back then. ’

"Let's go, it's time to leave.”

“Yes, sir” He responded, wanting not to give Stark or Jones a warning about what he was going to do. If he played his cards correctly, then he just might make it out without being torn to pieces by Stark.

Julian followed behind him and past the metal clad futurist. Even with the mask on, he could tell Stark was frowning beneath it or at least plotting a way to kill him, like he was doing at the moment with Julius.

‘I know I’m a quicker draw than Stark, the problem is avoiding death the moment I put Julius down.’

Rapidly, he pulled out his two guns from his belt, pushed the safety off with his thumb, and coldly fired two armor piercing rounds at the Secretary of Defense’s back in what seemed like one movement.

Then, he threw himself towards the ground and slid to the side with his feet. Emptying two more bullets, this time they were aimed at Stark’s helmet and chest pieces, hoping to kill him like he would try with everyone else on this station.

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#34 Edited by Anthony_Stark (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

@hound_of_war: @lichter

"Alright, lets--"

Boom!

With absolutely no hesitation, the Black Bat opened fire upon the Secretary of Defense.

"No!"

Stark roared, having missed the shot by a millisecond, throwing out his hand in an attempt to catch the bullet's from the air, one of them slammed into a finger as the other slid through... Managing to continue on it's path to Julius' unsuspecting back...

....Thud.

Loudly, Julius' body thud as it hit the ground. A mere foot away from Lichter as the blast doors were open.

Without even paying mind to the secondary barrage of bullet's Stark spun around, engaged his repulsors to maximum damage and fired, aiming at Julian Knightfall's center of mass with a blast of pure concussive energy -- Enough to pulverize even a God's rib-cage to dust.

No Caption Provided

The Black Bat's two rounds slammed into Stark thereafter, both of them ultimately did not kill him but one did manage to superficially dent his face plate. The shot was precise and if he were a normal human, he'd be dead. The shot had dent the exact middle of his helmet and bulged it inward, breaking his nose.

"STAY DOWN."

Anthony said, keeping his repulsor on Julian as a shoulder-mounted minigun popped out, trained on him.

"Or you die."

--Horizon, how can I purge the foreign entities from Julian?--

>Request assistance from CIA agent behind, his technology is more efficient in this regard<

For now.

Stark thought, at the same time increasing his vocal output by 500% to let Lichter hear him easily.

"This Batman is still infected by the telepath, use your gizmo to help him."

He continued. "Or I'll do it myself." Stark's minigun made a noise as it switched on.

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#35 Edited by Damien_Bonaparte (2251 posts) - - Show Bio

"Oh mon Dieu!", Damien's synthesized voice bellowed from the veiling darkness behind the technological titan. "I take it that I am not the only one who had someone whisper in their ear?", added he sarcastically as he strolled into the light. Blood drops dripping at reducing intervals from the side of his left palm, The Blood of Bonaparte quickly pieced together the scene. It didn't take a terribly developed deduction to connect the smoke emanating from the Bat's gun and the Secretary in a grounded state of face plant.

<So this is where the trail ends.>, he noted the astral trail residue being anchored around the mysterious culprit. "Carry on.", he tapped Stark's armor on the shoulder as he passed by him in pain. On his way towards the possibly K.I.A.d Secretary Damien made sure to monitor and memorize the Bat's biomorphic responses.

At the man's side he didn't offer any aid. In actuality he tapped the Secretary of Defense on the head with his foot to see if he was responsive. Ultimately Damien wasn't obliged to help any of them, even the fate of such a prominent american had about as much weight to him as a gigantic pile of horse shit, but even that could be used to fertilize the soil.

He squatted down to measure the frequency of his heartbeat, there wasn't a breach in his suit as evidenced by the lack of blood. Or atleast not yet. Jones might've only slipped into unconsciousness from the impact. Anyhow he'd do his best to offer the man medical aid from his personal reserves.

The Bastille smoothly lifted his head towards The Magenta Menace, one eye bracing against the lighting above. "You should do as the polished Golem of Gothic City said, 'Braun'.", equally as smoothly he returned to the nursing. "I'll be with you shortly."

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#36 Posted by Hound_of_War (3944 posts) - - Show Bio

No Caption Provided

They shot each other at the same time like they were in a duel, with both of his hands tightly closed against the guns like a noose, he reacted by making an “x” with his wrists.

There was no way for him to escape that, the proximity that they were in from each other almost guaranteed that he would get hit.

Smoke oozed from his gauntlets, heat waves could be seen twisting across the air. His suit looked as if it had been put through the garbage disposal, his feeling was not too far off from his appearance.

Julian couldn’t feel anything from his neck downwards, he tried to move but he couldn’t.

Every fiber of his body wanted to annihilate them, he tried to make a fist with his hands to regain control over his body slowly, wanting to throw a punch at Stark even if it hurt his hands. He couldn’t even do that, so he tried again with his fingers.

Maybe he had gone into shock he told himself being optimistic, but he knew all too well that he was paralyzed.

When he regains composure of himself, he would begin planning a way to counter react to this so it did not affect his soon to be acquired presidency. The President being injured so severely would be a hard pill to swallow for the public, no one takes skiing vacations right after being hired.

That was tomorrow’s problems.

Today, he screamed against them.

“I’m going to flocking kill all of you personally, with my bare hands when I heal, I’m going to enjoy seeing your eyes turn red and your faces purple as I squeeze the life out of you. Then, when I’m done you. I’m not even going to bother killing your families, I’m going to hire some escapees from Bedlam Asylum and let their imaginations run wild.”

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#37 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@damien_bonaparte: @hound_of_war: @anthony_stark: @psyknight

No, no, no, he thought, feedback carrying through his arm and rattling his teeth. In his peripheral vision, he saw the Black Bat engage Stark, momentary panic seizing him as the operation went farther South than he possibly could've anticipated. At any moment, he could feel a repulsor blast through the back, if Stark truly had betrayed them...

To his left, he saw Director Jones hit the floor, entirely still. Wincing, he glared back at Quentin, inching closer and physically placing the Octarine Oscillator on the man's head just as the malevolent presence held within skulked away, invisible. The sudden loss of resistance shocked him, the Oscillator's waves no longer blocked by the Inner Demon's presence. They coursed through the room, no longer visible, indicating that the Demon's presence had vanished.

It's a trick! he thought, gritting his teeth. Whatever it is wants me to stop applying pressure. I'll drive it out, even if it means I fry away Quentin's telepathy, he thought, flicking the knife into the man's chest. Barely penetrating the skin, he'd draw only a minute amount of blood, his other hand's fingers already opening the back of the Oscillator. One minuscule vial contained a few droplets of Klaus' own viscera, linking the mystic energies with his DNA; now, with a sample from Quentin, the Oscillator's effect on his body would be immensely amplified. Sliding the edge of his knife along the vial, he replaced it, twiddling a few dials and setting the Octarine Emitter to high.

Easy now. Let's get whatever psionics are messing with your head out permanently,he thought, clipping the device to Quentin's lapel. Punching in a few new orders, the small device would pulsate every ten seconds, the unseen waves ripping through any residual telepathic influence within the ex-President's brain. He didn't know how it would affect his supposed telepathic powers in the long-term; now was as good a time as any to find out...

Turning, he heard Stark's metallic voice speak to him with a familiar authority he didn't like.

"This Batman is still infected by the telepath, use your gizmo to help him...or I'll do it myself."

"No," he murmured, rubbing his arm. "The Oscillator must be used to clean out Quentin's mind. Like a quarantine," he coughed, undoing his mask from the nose down. Pulling it up, he used his glove to wipe away the blood. Blinking, he knelt beside the prone Bat, who was muttering curses of all manner...

"Natural anesthetic," he said, landing a square punch on the Prime Mamba's face. With a reinforced glove, he trusted it would be enough to knock him out for the trip back. Klaus often wondered if many forgot his physical prowess, given his intellectual tendencies. He was no Andres Knightfall, but years of training had taught him how to land a solid strike with his fist. With the Bat hopefully unconscious, his attention would turn to Director Julius Jones.

"Stark, what's Jones' status?" he mumbled, massaging his gloved knuckle. "What's the extent of his injury?"

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#38 Edited by Anthony_Stark (1162 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

Anthony looked at the down Black Bat with a slightly raised ire level, having not wanted to brutally paralyze a Knightfall for at least two to three years.

His red eyes gazed down at the injured Julian... It would be so easy... To just... End the Knightfall Patriarch, right here, right now -- Nobody would know.

Smack.

Julian fell unconscious.

Lichter's blow was surprisingly powerful and precise, knocking out the injured Knightfall instantly. Without looking at Lichter, Stark walked past and replied, walking to Jean's side and looking down at the intriguing Oscillator device.

"Two lacerated vertebrae, I don't think the Director will use his legs in a long time. Internal bleeding, major concussion. Breathing and heart-rate is stable for... For now," he continued looking at Jean, feeling slightly sad that the day come turned into such calamity. "Hold his neck still until I get there."

--Horizon, scan Jean for external energies--

Swiftly the artificial intelligence replied.

>No trace, all residual energies have been removed by the unknown device<

Perfect. Without warning Stark snatched the Octarine Oscillator from Jean and looked down at it, and then back up at Lichter. "This is intriguing."

--Horizon. Clone the Oscillator's internal working and archive--

Anthony did not know if that were possible, but understanding how it worked somewhat would be the ultimate key into unlocking what it was completely. But Stark guessed he would have to consult Klaus directly, there was only so much technologically scanning a device could do. Not everything was capable of being reverse engineered this quickly.

Approaching Lichter, Stark got onto a single knee beside Julius, placing the Oscillator down beside it's owner and clenching a fist, a little needle protruded from his wrist as it was dug into the Secretary of Defense's exposed neck, embedding a small quantity of Peak Nano-bots into his bloodstream. "This will stop the internal bleeding and any brain damaging effects of the concussion." Stark was not willing to give up any more of his tech to save Julius' spine - Only his life.

Click.

Jean's restraints suddenly released, allowing the President to finally attempt to walk.

Once more, Stark spoke. Looking at Julius and then slowly the Black Bat.

"Take Jean, take your bat-friend, and leave."

Finally, he set his eyes on Klaus.

"I'll be contacting you."

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#39 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@anthony_stark:

He stood after Stark injected Julius with his medicine. Looking over to the Merchant of Death, he held out his hand with his palm facing up, looking at the Oscillator.

"If you please," he said, requesting the return of his invention. No doubt he'd already started brainstorming on a way to replicate it, or worse, counteract it. Still, Stark had saved their lives from the possessed Bat, and while at first it'd seemed he'd been the instigator of this conflict, he had been trying to help in the only way he could rationalize. His hubris had lead him to break the law and send the country into a panic, but it was hubris that had somewhat paid off, in the end.

Klaus paused.

"It was nice meeting you, Mister Stark," he said, extending his hand for a handshake.

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#40 Edited by Anthony_Stark (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

@lichter:

No Caption Provided

Slowly the metal of Stark's palm seeped away, retracting into his bones with an ice cold feeling until skin was visible, taking the man's own hand and shaking it firmly.

"Always is."

The Oscillator was then picked up with his other hand and returned to it's rightful owner... It felt like giving away one billion dollars, the Oscillator was truly a superb piece of technology that Stark craved to take apart, rebuild, and ultimately integrate into his own suit of armor.

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#41 Posted by Lichter (5808 posts) - - Show Bio

@damien_bonaparte: @hound_of_war: @anthony_stark:

Accepting the firm handshake, he returned the Oscillator to its place underneath his vest. Clicking it back on, he made sure it was following his own blood's DNA pattern, not Jean's; otherwise, it would be far less useful. He knelt next to the Bat and Jones, extending a grapple line from his belt. The small twine would be considered useless in light of his teleporting blade, but ever since he'd almost died from freefall in the Arctic, he kept one on his person. Bundling the two men together loosely by their forearms, he clicked his dagger, activating the countdown that would take them back to Langley in fifteen seconds.

Clipping the dagger to his belt, he used his empty hand to grab hold of Quentin.

"Until next time," he said with a hidden smile. The countdown concluded, and the four men vanished all at once, taken back to Earth and out of harm's way.

Langley, Virginia; sixty minutes later

Sitting at his desk, and satisfied with the completion of the mission, Klaus was treating himself to a cup of hot cocoa. His soreness had gone down, the reverberations from the Oscillator no longer wracking his body. Smiling, he took another drink. Suddenly, he knit his brow.

Bonaparte-!

He almost put the cocoa down, starting to get up. A second later, he shrugged, sitting back in the chair.

He'll find a way back eventually.