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#151 Posted by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

@gale_xanders:

Once the payment was received a chat window opened, the origin of which was run through dozens of proxies, with other countermeasures taken as extra precaution. It said simply: Processing... A few empty minutes passed, and in six minutes a final message appeared on the screen: Congrats! Your attempts to appear mutant friendly are bound to be RADICALLY SUCCESSFUL ;) Thank you for supporting your local militia!

With that a small charge went off in the cafe, setting a fire in the kitchen. Over the cafe's sound system desperate pleas for help were heard, the voice of an elderly man pleading for his life. The kitchen door was open, unlocked. In the back, a freezer, airtight seal engaged, the heavy metal door closed. Snaking underneath the door were cables for what appeared to be an audio system, and voice playing over the loudspeakers was distorted, almost unnaturally so.

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#152 Posted by Gale_Xanders (3189 posts) - - Show Bio

@thecatalyst:

"of course..." Gale muttered when the fire and yells for help started. She snapped her fingers and her armor activated, it wasn't as if they didn't already have that information. She walked into the kitchen, tore the fire extinguisher from its case and used it to try and put out the fire. Successful or not once it was empty she walked to the freezer door and examined the wires for a moment. Assuming they didn't scream trap she activated her claws and sliced the seal open on the door before wrenching it open. She knew they might still be filming her but it would be easy enough for them to assume that all of her strength came from the suit. In truth the suit only mildly enhanced her strength. She wasn't going to bend steal any time soon but these sorts of doors were not built to survive any sort of significant torque, once it was unsealed it was a fairly simple matter of appropriately applying strength.

She scanned through the freezer with her enhanced sensors, looking for the source of the sound. She half suspected there was no one there and they were attempting to trap her in the burning building, or set off some sort of explosive.

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#153 Edited by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

@gale_xanders:

Inside the freezer there were no traps, no method of restraining her or collapsing the building around her. She was a renowned hero, famous for taking on Satar and living. They were unlikely to kill her without some manner of powerful, illegal, and expensive explosive. They'd already seen how she managed against their improvised explosives, a similar tactic was bound to fail again. Rather than explosives or ambushes something far more grisly awaited her.

The first thing she noticed was the smell, fresh blood struck her nostrils before anything else, before her eyes even met the several corpses lay strewn about inside, torn to shred with what appeared to be claw marks, incisions too clean for an animal, precisely spaced. What she saw inside that freezer was the body of Senator Keates, along with a few targets of opportunity: those few in the Maryland area with ties to Jurassic World, a few key investors, those who opposed allowing mutants into the park. The gore was still relatively fresh, though the distressed voices were a ruse, a recording broadcast over the cafe's audio system.

Across the street a camera continued to click away, pictures taken behind panes of glass, the sound shut out from the outside world. Shortly after the laptop in the cafe revived, a bar began to update on the machine, and a series of pictures flashed across the screen. Those taken from earlier, along with a new set of Gale Xanders entering the cafe, pushing aside the bloated corpse and accessing the laptop. The pictures of her using it, of her transforming into Xae once more and entering the kitchen, though her misadventure in the freezer went undocumented. The sound of vehicles fast approaching, the sight of flashing red and blue lights trailing down the walls of nearby structures, their sirens silent for the moment.

Gordon Hart sat across the way, digital camera tucked into his side, the laptop on his thighs finishing the upload to the next major news site. He grinned, the tip off to the police had worked flawlessly. He'd advised them to approach quietly, for fear that she might act rashly if she knew they were coming for her, and now they were only a block or two away. The hero Xae, the prominent business woman Gale Xanders, she would be implicated in these killings, and the world would know to what lengths she would go to silence opposition. They would tie her to this fight, damn her with it.

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#154 Posted by Gale_Xanders (3189 posts) - - Show Bio

@thecatalyst:

Xae narrowed her eyes and a low snarl emitted from her throat. They didn't know it yet but the HFF and its militant branch had just exposed themselves to a severely pissed off predator. She reached down to her holster and coiled her fingers around the holster of her pistol...the plasma weapon could reduce the bodies to unusable goo. After a moment though, she cocked her head as her sensors painted the picture of the arriving police cars and medical vehicles. Xae smiled slowly...

Oh humans... She removed her hand from her pistol, turned and walked out the front door, still in her armor. She glanced at the police officers pointing useless weapons at her and then at the news van that had followed them. She snapped her fingers, deactivating her armor, reached into her pocket and removed her cellphone. She brought up her phone and spoke into it. The words were completely impossible to understand, no amount of translation effort would suffice without any form of rosetta stone equivalent. A machine in Jurassic World activated, a highly advanced security system built not to defend the park, but to defend Xae in the event that things should become...problematic.

The computer was responding to a vocal command and the text she had sent earlier. It immediately accessed the internet and began to scan for anything linked to the HFF. Its first measure was to launch a denial of service attack, essentially spamming their websites and social media pages with so much information that they crashed. Even while it did this it began to scan for deeper links, connections that she would be able to trace...it was looking for people, people that could be held accountable and it was doing so with the computing power of an entire nation packed away inside of its small frame. The predator was no longer the hunted.

"Hello." She told the police officers as she put her phone away again. She was speaking for them and also for the news van and its crew recording the scene. "Someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to reveal to the world who Xae is and that we are one and the same. I had kept that secret because I wanted my public ventures and my heroic ventures to be separate and I still want that. Cats are very hard to put back into bags though...so let's talk." She stepped aside from the door. "Inside you'll find the bodies of several prominent people, including some Jurassic World investors that had intended to keep so called Mutants from going into the park. As you know, I was vocally opposed to this and I fought with the board until I was able to keep the park open for EVERYONE not just a certain race of people. The reason for this is obvious, I'm not a racist prick. The way this was set up will look like I killed them and the fact that each of the deceased is an opponent of my decisions for Jurassic World will certainly aid in that image."

Gale considered her words for a moment before continuing. "I can prove to you that I didn't kill those people. SO come inside and I'll show you what I didn't do and how I can prove it. Also, have a look in the passenger seat of that Prius over there. There should be an envelope with a series of black mail images in it." She looked into the news camera, a predatory glint in her eyes. "I have a message for you too." She said, this time speaking to the HFF. "Those of you who are responsible for trying to destroy me...I will unmake you, everything you have, every last piece of respect you have, I will dismantle it. Today you crossed the wrong person. Go check your webpages. I've already started."

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#155 Posted by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

@gale_xanders:

The HFF websites went down in an instant, social media sites crashed and for the next few hours at the very least. Users and commentators were denied access, and the HFF was unable to issue any official statements online. That was fine, their representatives were already issuing statements through ABC and Fox News, urging others to hold off on judgement until a full police investigation was undertaken. They neither condemned nor supported the Gothic City hero, but more evidence continued to stream in to news stations, including the transfer made to the Militia's unmarked, unnamed dummy account, a transfer which went through a slew of other decoy accounts before a total of 300 million Euros ended in Venezuela's coffers.

Evidence of the entire chain of transfers was submitted to the news, and the laptop's messages urging the initial transfer was deleted remotely by the agent in the next building. The rest was left alone, the links to the information of all those in the freezer behind her was left on screen, and the keyboard sported her fingerprints, courtesy of the touchscreen function. Police went over and searched the vehicle, as per her request. Still others moved between her and vehicle, their weapons still trained on her.

The Militia didn't need to control the entire police force, they needed only one or two agents among the group. She could smell it as a breeze drifted over, the smell of gunpowder, but in that instant the Militia's agent leaned forward in the car, retrieving the envelope, simultaneously calling out a single word: "BOMB!!"

The explosion was near instantaneous, not as destructive as it could have been, the amount of gunpowder in the bomb was limited, but the ducking officers were still caught in the shrapnel. Lacerations and punctures were plentiful, but the core of the explosive device was different. Incendiary. The car's upholstery, the officers uniforms, all was caught in the magnesium/phosphorus blast. The envelope and all its contents in particular were intentionally caught in the blast, the blaze catching quickly. The officers around the area all continued to point their weapons, some on the verge of firing. "Hold your fire!" The captain stepped forth between his men and Gale, one arm held before the officers, the other on his pistol. He turned to her then, a shaky pistol pointed at her. "Freeze, now! I swear to God we will open fire if you make one more move!" They had all watched as she had spoken in some unknown language, raising her phone to do so. For some the detonation's cause was clear, they had watched her fiddle with her phone, speaking an unknown language only moments before the explosion. Already some stared at her with a mix of fear and hatred, wary eyes scanning her. They held their fire courtesy of their captain's orders, a favor afforded to her only because of her work in Gothic.

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#156 Posted by Gale_Xanders (3189 posts) - - Show Bio

@thecatalyst:

Gale sighed. Of course, idiot. "Really?" Gale asked, clearly frustrated but there was a seething anger beneath the frustration, a building rage that would take a thousand years to die. "You're smart enough to know something else is going on here." She told the Captain. "Why in the world would I plant a bomb in my own car and then ask you to go get it, while I'm standing right here in front of you? That would be beyond idiotic. Ask yourself Captain...how stupid would I have to be to do everything this way? Doesn't this all just seem a little *too* perfect to you? Go inside...in fact, I'll go in with you with out my armor on to make a point that it's safe. I have medical supplies on my person that can help your wounded officers, if you don't want me to retrieve them that's fine, but you should help your men."

Gale shook her head. "The people in there were killed inconsistently with my weapons, I even have video evidence of everything that happened from the moment I found the bodies...just in case there are any more plants and explosives laying around to try and destroy evidence. So Captain...can I help your men and will you and your officers come inside, with me and bring a news camera if you want if you're really that paranoid. You and I both know this doesn't make any sense for me to have done. That criminal organization just wrote its death warrant. "I can also tell you where I've been for every minute of the day with multiple witnesses in each moment. The choice is yours Captain, but I seriously suggest you take time to think it through before you make up your mind. A lot of people stand to gain a great deal by taking down a hero this way...I stand to gain nothing by killing those who opposed my decisions, especially since they lost the debate over them to begin with."

Gale's computer was hard at work, the websites were just an initial response, now it was scouring the money trail, bouncing from server to server. No matter how many routes you used, no matter how many dummy accounts, there was always a source somewhere and a smart enough super computer could eventually track it down. This was not it's only task though, it was looking for known members of the HFF, researching their histories to be accessed at a later time. In addition it was searching for deeper connections, people who would not be on the grid as being a member of the group.

One other entity was beginning to move now as well, a group that operated in the darkest recesses of the world...The Organization. It was enemies of Xae, people who had managed to mostly avoid her investigations to this point...but it didn't want her dead or arrested...actually it needed her free and alive and still in charge of public operations. Counter evidence began to filter into the internet, it would be too obvious going straight to news sites, instead it went to blogs and someone put out there the suggestion of the very same type of conspiracy theory Xae was talking about on national television. It even dug up old video of Gale saving children and innocents at the Jurassic World attacks, even going so far as to stand between possible victims and a T-Rex armed with nothing at all. In the shadows of the world a growing foe of Xae's stirred to agitation by the attempt to take its greatest chess piece from the board.

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#157 Posted by The_Catalyst (433 posts) - - Show Bio

"Lady, the only reason people haven't started shooting is because I have faith in you, so why don't you do us both a favor and calm down." Slowly the group lowered their weapons, a few officers still looking quite antsy as they did so, others blatantly angry that a suspect who may have just tried to kill an officer. The captain just nodded, wordlessly following her in. The remaining officers, not counting the near death militia member, set up outside, cordoning off the area. They made use of her medical supplies to help him and patch themselves up, watching as she walked off with their captain.

He entered the building with her, waiting to see what she would show him exactly. When she showed him the bodies, each cut open with blades in the pattern of a claw, her claws. The militia apparently smart enough to model the wounds on the pictures they had taken. He looked back at her, shaking his head as he looked at the carnage. "Now, I don't know about the exact qualities of your equipment, but those look like claw wounds to me, and from what I know you have claws on your armor. You're probably going to have to do better than that if you really want to prove you didn't do it. But Jesus, Gale Xanders, who'd a thunk it..."

He listened as she talked to him about her whereabouts, how she could prove where she was and even had witnesses and photographic evidence. "Now that could help. You prove that and I'm sure you'll gain more traction."

The dummy accounts, set up specifically to receive this payment, led to the original account that received the money, the owner utilizing the name and social security number of a deceased child who never applied for or received a death certificate, thus her investigation led to a corpse.

The Militia, for its part, relied on the major bank's ability to shut out cyber intruders just long enough to transfer the remaining 450 million Euros to various charities, distributing it to two thousand charities in the amount of 225,000 Euros each. Many were legitimate charities that desperately needed the funds, others fronts for the Militia. The benefit to the Militia itself might be minimal compared to the potential 750 million, but the ruse still banked a net profit.

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#158 Posted by Gale_Xanders (3189 posts) - - Show Bio

@thecatalyst:

Gale nodded a little. "The work is good, but it's not perfect, it can't be perfect because they can't replicate my blades. The blades on my armor are made from a unique metal alloy and sharpened to a nano-molecular edge, any cuts they leave behind are extremely clean, these cuts here look good, they're based off the pattern my weapons leave behind but the edges will be dirty, too jagged by far. On top of that, I carry a plasma pistol at all times with the energy output of an experimental plasma cannon, if I wanted to make political enemies disappear, I'd reduce them to goo and be done with it. They have one other problem, as you know people always leave behind a little bit of their DNA, skin cells and the like, especially if they've been in a fight with someone. There's no way they could have my DNA on any of these bodies and I know because my DNA is unique."

Gale shook her head. "I'll turn over all the security camera footage from Jurassic World that will show my whereabouts, I'll also provide you with video from my armor and information from the Los Angeles Red Dragons that shows when I've been at their facility in the last twenty four hours and finally, there is a member of Maverick that will swear to my presence at the mutant march earlier today."

The computer was relentless, it kept searching now for names, she needed specific people to go after. Eventually she would get free of the area and do her own research as well, targeting people that had been at the march and attacked mutants. Those were the people she'd be particularly interested in speaking to. "I'm glad someone is willing to listen to me Captain, this was a surprisingly good setup job, someone involved has a great deal of influence."

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#159 Posted by Maverick_6 (10434 posts) - - Show Bio

@solarius: @thecatalyst:

Jackal seemingly doesn't hear, look at or acknowledge Solaris at first, as Jeffery, stunned and seemingly helpless begins to lose consciousness. His arms continued to restrain him, until he began to fade. As his body falls limp within the cyborg's arm, gently, he let him down to plop on the grass.

Now, his gaze turns towards her.

"Oooo. Scary, forboding voice. So, that's it, then?" He steps over Jeffery's body, walking over the taller man. "I should just take your word for it, just like that, right? Sorry Sunshine, but it doesn't work like that. This mutant and that man are both being taken in for questioning. I ought to fucking take you in for suspected murder, but I know how you gods are. Your so above reproach. No one dare pursue you when you commit a crime. When you endanger lives. When you murder."

He smiled. "And you think I'm just going to do what you say, because your stronger than me? "Cause you saw everything?" I should believe you after you just destroyed any chance of any survivors coming out of that place and fire department saving anyone?"

Emergency personal began to leave, every person in the area ordered to evacuate immediately as people began leaving their homes in fear for what was simply the law of Washington, DC. The residents fled in fear and terror before her power, while Maverick moved forward towards her due to her display. Jackal, stood his ground against her.

When is the last time you saw the police use that much force to bring down one individual? When is the last time you saw them firing a fifty caliber weapon into a populated neighborhood from a helicopter? You know something is wrong. I've ready every police manual in production, the police in the United States do not use that kind of force in a neighborhood unless there is a much greater threat, certainly they don't do it because one man was killed. If anything they would only use the helicopter to maintain visual while they pursued in their cruisers. Think what you want of me, but that boy is innocent. You saw what he's capable of doing, yet he chose to run." She looked at Jackal for a moment..."Would you run if you knew you could kill them all?"

"Pffftahahahahaahahaha!!!!!"

He laughed at her, before abruptly looking towards her, his expression of momentary glee and amusement snapping abruptly to a caustic glare.

"There one caused nuclear bombs with her mind. Hell, you just fucking contradicted yourself. If this guy is powerful enough to kill them all. Overkill? The guy can easily down the chopper. This is a problem of idiocy. Not overkill. I don't know what happened. We do not know. So we're gonna investigate and we're gonna find out. The kid is innocent? He's innocent. Kid isn't? He isn't. Better to fucking detain him than let him free to potentially flatten a block because he's understandably pissed you snuffed any chance his neighbors had of surviving. Good job with that, by the way."

Maverick's cybernetic psychopath began, his knives ready to draw as his body squared towards Solaris, his feet ever ready to spring at the slightest sign of movement or attack. He was ready to fight a god. But at the same time, he was concerned with keeping the kid alive, during a fight like this, one blast and he wouldn't be surprised if she roasted him.

"I'm gonna see myself if this kid is innocent. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. Let's just see. You wanna testify for him? Go ahead. Wanna try and take him from me?"

"Come and get him, sunshine."

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#160 Edited by Solarius (610 posts) - - Show Bio

@maverick_6: @thecatalyst

Why do they never understand?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SPECIES?!

Solaris was exceedingly frustrated and for a moment, infuriated by his words and his lack of respect...until she saw it, people running away and the reflection of her expanding power in his eyes. She realized in that moment what she was doing, how angry she had become and how much she was letting it affect her. Her eyes shifted to the approaching Maverick forces and then to unconscious boy. "It wasn't meant to be an intimidating voice." She said, restraining her power a little, pulling her voice back to normal. "It's just my real voice...or close to it anyway. You have no idea how much effort it takes to do something as simple as talk or walk down the street." It was constant effort on her part to keep her humanoid form and to maintain her energies within it. It doesn't matter, he doesn't listen to my meaning, only my words.

"You...are a terrible, twisted individual, everything you are has been twisted with hatred and narrow minded bigotry." She told him and suddenly her glow faded and she settled back onto her feet, the aura of heat around her dissipating to normal levels. She shook her head. "I won't turn into the enemy you want me to become. In fifteen billion years of life I have never once intentionally killed anyone and I won't start today. Look at you, so eager for a fight just to try and prove a point. Look around..." She gestured with open arms. "You know what would happen, Maverick doesn't know much about me but I'm sure you can guess at what I'm capable of if I so desire. Is that what you want? Just so you can tell the world you fought another evil 'god'?" She sighed and looked down for a moment. She reached up, removing her glasses and looked up again, knowing his eyes would adjust better than most to the blinding golden orbs that were her eyes. "I'm just another form of sentient life. I live longer than you, I have more natural power than you...but I'm no god. I have seen the face of God and it's nothing I could ever live up to."

Solaris considered leaving for a moment but had more to say and paused. "I know you might not listen to me because you already have your opinion and nothing I can do can change that...but I've watched this all happen before. In my first life cycle there was a populated world that orbited around me...their lives gave me such joy but they acted much like Humans and eventually it destroyed them. War begat war and so on and so on until at long last there was no one left to do the fighting. It was the saddest moment of my life, to watch the race I considered my children fade away and die in violence. I came here...because I don't want to see that happen again. Your race...it's..it's absolutely beautiful. Stars like me...we're just orbs in the darkness, we give light and we can take or give life but you...you can reach out and touch someone, trace your fingers along their skin...you can show love or hatred, kindness or anger. Your lives are so short but in that time you do more than most of my kind do in considerably more time. Your kind...you inspire me to do something to not let another species die when I can help them. Maybe I'm not as trained as you are, maybe I don't understand your culture or your laws, but all I want to do is good. I don't aspire to be a comic book hero, I aspire to be Human."

Solaris shook her head a little. "But you? I just hope one day you see past the hatred. I'm angry, I'm furious but it took seeing past that, seeing these people running away, the gleam in your eyes...to know that I was going too far. I'm not angry at your or that helicopter pilot...I'm angry at myself. I watched Spain happen, I hovered in the air and just let people die because I believed I shouldn't involve myself in Human politics. I don't know if I'll ever forgive myself for that. You don't have to try to punish me, I'll spend the rest of my life doing it for you. That house? They were all dead, there were no more heat signatures. I've seen enough death to know it's face. Take the kid, I hope you will listen to his story when he tells it. I'll testify in his defense if it becomes necessary. You won't have to find me." Solaris put her sunglasses back on and started to turn..but stopped and looked over at him again. "I wanted you to believe me because I was telling the truth. Power...it has no meaning for me. If you want to make another mark in your belt and tell all your friends you chased off a 'god' go ahead...but I was never going to fight you. I just wanted someone to listen."

Solaris turned again and started to walk out of the drain pipe and ditch and head for the road. She ignored the presence of Maverick and walked with the posture of someone who felt very low...very alone. The sky was filled with a million million stars, but there was only one on Earth...and she was very much alone. She ignored the news helicopter as well even though its camera followed her and tracked her every movement for a national audience.

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#161 Posted by Maverick_6 (10434 posts) - - Show Bio

@solarius: @thecatalyst:

His gaze was intense at first, his eyes locked towards her as remained ever prepared for attack. For her to blast her with nuclear plasma with a temperature in the millions, billions, maybe more. For her to speed blitz right off the bat and go at hypersonic or even perhaps reletavistic speeds. He was eager to prove preparation against these attacks, to amount to being as capable as the mortal man who'd yet seemingly outdone him in this aspect of surviveability. Of being able to keep his human body, all these years. He was ready to put much of that training he'd been through to the test.

But, it was an attack that never came. It seemed the test was yet to come.

Maverick personal watched, listen and spoke, mostly from a distance as no one would be foolish enough to get near the two, hardly anyone sporting the same durability and particularly, resistance to heat, Electromagnetic Radiation and nigh nuclear temperatures Jackal had. His arms remained up and on guard for quite sometime, before he had decided to lower them, her behavior matching that of her psychiatric evaluation and it's depiction of her. She wasn't going to fight him. Especially not here. He'd have loved to, but, she wasn't going to. His expression had remained, neutral. His poker face not particularly doing anything to betray him. He stood idly in his combat stance still held, not lowering his guard despite the fact that he expected no attack.

"I wanted you to believe me because I was telling the truth. Power...it has no meaning for me. If you want to make another mark in your belt and tell all your friends you chased off a 'god' go ahead...but I was never going to fight you. I just wanted someone to listen."

"You think this is some giant, cock measuring contest...? I guess that wouldn't be too far from the truth, but I don't do this for fame. Or glory. There is that. But I just want to show people what can be done. Show them to stand up for themselves. To overcome self limitation and adversity. Something you can never understand. You talk like us, walk like us. But you aren't us and you don't understand us. I started listened when you quite over-dramatic burn everything shit and stopped proving me right. That all gods and metahumans are just like humans, just as capable as being careless about their destruction of people's lives and what we've strive to create."

His hands lowered, but expression remaining ever defiant. No one in Maverick was stupid enough to be within more than 50 feet of what they already classified as a class four potential person of mass destruction. Potentially class five or even six.

"Doesn't matter. Because you're better than we are, might as well be a god. People worship stars. You don't bleed. You don't starve. You don't get sick. At least I knew what was like to be human. Sure, we can be dangerous. We can build power and make weapons of mass destruction, but we can stop one another, oppose each other even. Balance everything out. Mutants, metahumans and things like you are being born with more power then everyone else. In the end, all us humans are just that. Mortal humans. While you can be everything we can be, and so much more. Do more good, do more evil. And I'm seeing a whole lot more "evil" and "in between" then good. Humanity can be anything it fucking wants. And that's the fucking reason why we aren't worthy of having this kind of power being born among us."

With Solaris' back turned, Jackal's back turns, already the boy being put in some especially made aparatus to contain him courtesy as the advanced department of homeland security, a grounded superconducting full body cage, well capable of channeling gigajoules of energy at a time.

"Like I need you to tell me I'm fucked up. And that exactly how I am supposed to be." He leans down to Jeffery, inches away from his face. "To show them." Jackal stands upright. "To show everyone."

The men wrapped Jerry in a cloaking metamaterial blanket as they disappeared.

"I don't think you'll ever understand what it means to be human. You envy us? Then go ahead and prove me wrong, sunshine."

Other Maverick personal observed Solaris, as Jackal just leaped off into the distance leaving only a dent in the grass where he once was.