Birds of a Feather

Prophet

White King
Hellfire Club
Real Name
Cameron King
Residence
New York City
Missions
2,294
Ability
Telepathy, Psionic, Telekinetic, Empathy, Flash Premonition
So she had been playing coy. She was willing to get more aggressive now, which meant she was pissed, which also meant she just might have been afraid. She didn't have a body to go back to. He and Delilah destroyed her. And there had never been a more ejaculatory moment in his life than watching her fracture into pieces and spray the halls of a burning Hellfire. But the problem with Diana was that she was strong enough to psychically shunt somebody's very soul out of their body (not that Diana had a soul). The Six had just burned her headquarters to the ground, and her queens left her with her dick in her hands. There was so scenario in which Malice wouldn't destroy the Earth in revenge.

<< VOOM! >>

He felt the scenery shift, his body being pulled back into his own mind. Invading his sanctuary like this would not be tolerated. But this halo around his head seemed eerily strong. He grimaced as he walked with her, watching her desecrate every area. Everyone held a place within their psyche - connected to the astral plane, and it is designed from many subconscious memories, of both past and present lifetimes. Everyone's was different and nobody was more surprised than Cameron that his was a cathedral, but looking back it made sense. Before he had found the kindness of The Lennox family, there was a priest who would frequently let Cameron sleep one of the church pews and made sure he had at least one hot meal a night. He had been reeling from taking his first (of many) human lives, his powers had activated and he had no control. The priest's kindness had never been forgotten, but the cathedral had. Until it showed up as his psychic sanctuary. The few times Cameron had felt safe while living in the streets had been under the roof of that place. And the roof was beautiful.

Cameron was not a religious man, but watching her treat his place of power so vagrantly, it incited him. He needed a few more moments to work on disrupting the halo, so he was glad when they stopped at his statue.

Diana: "So enamored with your own legend, and what is she, your hero's PRIZE?"

Prophet eyed the statue up and down, and was admittedly impressed by himself. Perhaps he was a bit enamored with himself.

Diana: "It's comically fitting that you'd maintain this mental temple to yourself, given your belief that you should be worshipped like a GOD."

"I mean you gotta admit, Diana. I am kind of charming. And I look good in statue form. You looked in statue form too, until Delilah blew your ass to pieces."

Diana: "You'll never achieve that status, Cameron. You're took weak to earn it. This very place is filled with all the reasons you'll FAIL to succeed. Interestingly, you keep the biggest weakness the closest to you."

"You're the weak one, Diana."

He hissed as she continued.

Diana: "While we're exploring curiosities, how LONG do you think it took her to ABANDON you to your coma and find some other hot body to fulfill all her NEEDS?"

"Historically not very long, but I don't know, Diana. It might be getting serious this time.."

He gave a sarcastic and goofy grin to counteract her cold and lifeless smile.

"I know YOU never really treated her as more than just a body, but I could give a shit who Haleigh has inside of her at any given point. I mean she's your daughter, you know how impulsive she can be. Not so good with the emotions. I'd blame the parents, but they're both dead so what good is that going to do..."

He was feeling stronger. They were in his mind, he had the home advantage. Cameron was getting tired of these games, but he was going to let Diana know a few things with certainty before he sent her ass into the cosmos.

"You realize that right? That you're dead? I just want to make sure because I remember watching you explode into a million little pieces and I have to admit, you seemed a bit shocked.

[he smirked as his irises became enshrouded and black as a shark.]

"But here you are acting like you are ever getting out of here. So you can see how I'm a bit confused."

[his tone became more biting and gritty]

"I'm not weak. And you know that."

<< ZARK! >>

The halo shattered around him as he immediately put up a forcefield, gesturing his hand in front of him to envelop Diana in a choke hold as she hovered several feet above the ground.

"But enough about me. What about you, Diana? You know, I can access your memories here..."

In a sweeping moment the fire and destruction done to his sanctuary was gone, as if it had never happened. A rippling crimson red energy pulsated through the corners of the room as if it were some kind of protection spell rather than his power keeping them here.

"Maybe we can take a stroll down memory lane..."

Cameron flexed his power as Diana could feel Cameron almost whisper through the halls of her mind. He knew this would incite her.

"Something for me to take back to the physical world after I kill you...To give you any fucking kind of depth outside this one note you've been playing for a millenia."

He released his grip as she fell to the ground. Cameron slowly walked closer, his hands encased in his electric red energy.

"Because you aren't getting out of here, bitch. And when I kill you, i'm going to stuff you like a fuckin' turkey, hunch you over, put your hands in prayer form and have you worshipping me like the God I am for the rest of eternity...."

Cameron SPIT on Diana.

"I just need you to get angry enough to do something stupid. To hesitate. For just a second. And I can WIPE you from this timeline for good."
 

Malice

The White Queen
The Sisterhood
Real Name
Diana Carver
Missions
304
Ability
Telepathy, Psi Lightning, Psychic reflection, Psionic Siphoning, Transiamorphic diamond form
The Astral Plane

She took him to his little sanctuary, to get to the very center of his being and rattle him there, to prove she could penetrate him through and through. She wanted him to know there would be nowhere for him to run and hide when the going got tough, which it was about to, in very short order. She ribbed him about how infatuated with himself he was. He acknowledged it, and even paid her a compliment, although it was merely a set up for what he considered an insult. WEAK. On the subject of weakness, she told him he’d never reach the status he thought he deserved, but he was too weak to earn it. She smiled when she saw she struck a nerve.

He tried to tell her she was the weak one, but it was merely a feeble attempt at a comeback. She continued on, prodding another subject for sensitivity, asking how quickly he thought Haleigh had abandoned him for someone who could actually keep her warm at the moment. He was surprisingly enlightened about the topic though, and NOT easily provoked. He blamed Haleigh’s parents, which he deemed as ‘both’ being dead. Diana’s cold smiled sharpened.

“Well all her DADDIES are dead and gone. But her MOMMIES are a different story. Oh I KNOW she tries very hard not to think about her OTHER mother. She’s afraid to confirm that Lara is one of US, but she’s not stupid, the woman was married to Stavros, for starters. It may be unprovable that she launders money for us through her racehorses, but it’s not POSSIBLY a coincidence that Scion came into her care. So she stays away, in order to avoid having to KNOW the truth, without a doubt. And then of course, there’s ME. She was so DEVASTATED to discover her genetic connection to me, I thought she was going to have a mental breakdown. It really shook her to her core, but she kept her wits about her. The moment was a testament to her mental strength. She gets that from ME, you KNOW.”

She told him, another reminder of just how much her daughter took after her. He wanted to focus on something else, though, and brought up her ‘death’ again. She scoffed at his suggestion that their pathetic attempt to defeat her would be anywhere near permanent.

“It must be difficult for a simple little FOOL like you to comprehend, but the loss of my corporeal form is not the limitation you believe it is. Perhaps YOU would be stymied by such a turn of events, but I have MANY ways out of here.”

She told him, as he found some inner grit and insisted he wasn’t weak. He broke her hold on him finally, and snatched her up in a choke. Her initial instinct was to cough and sputter, but she reminded herself that she didn’t need AIR on the astral plane, and this allowed her to regain her composure, while he changed the background and threatened to visit her memories.

“A WASTE of your effort,”

She rasped.

“I’ve already exercised VENGEANCE for the wrongs that were visited upon me. All MY trauma has been laid to REST.”

She assured him, and he dropped her to the floor. He was so worked up, fuming his red energy signature. He hurled wildly imaginative threats at her, even SPIT on her. She reached up to slowly wipe the astral ‘spit’ off and fling it away, then touched her forehead in a ‘salute’, before striking him down with a psi javelin so strong that it would have been FATAL if they were in the physical realm. She got to her feet and stalked over to where he lay, watching him as he tried to shake off the stupor.

“So you ADMIT it, then. You’re too weak to defeat me outright. You NEED me to make some mistake in order for YOU to triumph. But I’M not the fuckup here, Cameron. You CAN’T lead your team to success, you CAN’T help but LOSE your woman to any other STUD she comes across, and you CAN’T keep me HERE.”

She hit him with another psi javelin to rattle his proverbial teeth as she stood over him.

“I don’t HESITATE or do something STUPID. I think things THROUGH, like my way out of here. Who SHALL I evict from their own body? My daughter is a good candidate. She has all those SPARES that I made for her, I could just live FOREVER. Yet, she’s not a telepath, which is really my area of expertise…”

She watched him with a chilling stare.

“I suppose it’s time to become a MAN after all. YOU would be the easiest to displace, naturally. But then I’d have to deal with HER messiness, and certainly even if I tried to play along I might not fool her for long. The prospect is STRANGE, even for me. But I needn’t bother, because there’s ANOTHER telepath, isn’t there?”
 
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Recall

Belle Epoque
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Vivica Lennox
Missions
242
Ability
Total Memory Recall, Photographic Reflexes, Super Senses
Welcome to Miami...

:: Vivica was doing what did best; running. This time physically along a picturesque shore in South Beach, where she had been for two months. ::

"Fuck being good i'm a bad bitch. I'm sick of mothafuckas tryna tell me how to live."

:: Thee Stallion blared through her air pods as she picked up the pace a bit, taking a few moments to reflect before her showing tonight. Part of her reason for coming to Miami had been the opportunity for her career. She had just designed a new main lobby for a boutique downtown that showcased art from her latest exhibit, and the grand opening was tonight. It was a big moment professionally and it was causing her to maybe overanalyze herself a bit. Which was par for the course for Vivica Lennox. ::

"Any rumor bout me, let me dead it. I'm a open book, and your man probably read it."

:: Recall continued to pick up the pace, a bit lost in her own thoughts as she ran. ::

:: She had gone through so much in the past year. Returning to New York had been a much needed first step forward when it came to figuring out her life. Her service in Clandestine was something she would never take back - she was loyal. But for as good as it was for her, it allowed to forget, for quite some time just how unresolved she felt about things before her accident. If she was ever going to be the person she wanted to be, she was going to have to face those demons hell on, and Vivica was actually really proud of herself and was letting herself feel proud. She had said just about every single thing she had ever wanted to say to every last one of them, and it felt good. She got to acknowledge her own part in things. She was coerced into a romance with Morgan Victoria's sister and she punched Cameron King across the face. She also, finally, got to do battle with that treacherous bitch, Ava Cassadine. And she hadn't even gotten to her birds yet. Her friendship with Zizi, Ashley, Andrew, John and Zach blossomed after she joined the cause, finding a sense of home and loyalty she really hadn't ever had in her life. These people chose her, she didn't have to prove anything to them or convince others of her battles like she had with The Six. She really cared for each of them. She felt like she was on the right path, but things were confusing lately. ::

"They tried to knock me off, but a bitch still grindin'"

:: Over the last few months, things in the city had gotten really bad. And somebody like Vivica had the painful skill to meticulously relive these memorys in perfect detail whenever she lost focus for one second. There was The Purifier Event, something that would stay with all who were involved forever. And then there was the events leading up to The Battle of Hellfire. Haleigh & Ava defecting to Hellfire. Haleigh being Diana's daughter. Haleigh's intelligence agency housing the server dedicated to her chip. Rose's psychotic episode. Lives were lost. Gabe was murdered. Cassandra was murdered. Alexis had returned. Cameron was in a coma. The Hellfire Mansion dissappeared was deeply burrowed beneath the city. Now she was hearing that Haleigh and Ava had taken over Hellfire America for themselves. She was happy she made the decision three months ago to get the hell out of dodge for awhile. After Gabe's funeral, she made it to the aiport, just not headed back to New York City. ::

"Cuz the girls in the hood is always hard, ever since sixteen, I been having a job."

:: She'd started her trip with Xavier, who insisted on whisking her away to Europe where he got distracted by some juicy artifact he couldn't help but try to recover. So she left him behind and decided to take Maverick up on his offer, meeting him in Moscow and staying with him for two weeks. It had been a healing trip, one full of passion and closure. She figured after dipping her foot in the ladypond for a minute, she needed to make up for lost time. It was very picturesque. Good wine. Delicious steaks. Sexy scenery against beautiful white snow. They mended all fights and Vivica left Moscow feeling good that she had reconnected with him, but knowing it was likely they would never truly be together. She made sure to leave with enough sexual tension that she would at least have the opportunity to test that theory later on at some point. ::

:: Moscow was beautiful, but she was a bit tired of the cold. Her next and final destination had been Miami. Her gallery was doing well in New York and the art scene in Miami was positively thriving. It behooved her to get herself involved in the industry mix. And moving to Miami allowed her to escape into whoever Vivica Lennox wanted to be in Miami. Her favorite part of field work had always been character study. She loved to play a part. It had always made her feel like a true spy, and it was that kind of quality that drew her immediately to Jack, who she was trying to forget. In Miami, she was not Vivica Lennox, she was Vivi, gorgeous iconoclast with impeccable taste in art and champagne. Darling of the social scene, and she was about to show her work at Art Basel. She was living out a dream. ::

:: She hadn't fucked all responsibility off. Vivica had been in constant contact with the team, who were each taking some time to themselves these days. There was a part of her that wanted to be back in New York with Zizi, but if there was anything worse than seeing Zizi get hurt like she was, it was being there and not being able to do a goddamn thing about it because sometimes you just gotta live in it for awhile. And Zizi hated being treated with kid gloves. Vivica knew that if she needed to talk, she would. She also wanted to be there for Zach and Ashley, but she made sure to text Ashley some of her favorite wedding Pinterest boards everyday, just to kind of fuck with her, while giving Zach some of her real reccommendations via FaceTime and things of that nature. ::

"You can check the throwback pics, girl I been that bitch."

:: Vivica rounded the corner, up the stairs that led to her street and jogged down Ocean Drive until she came to the beach house she had purchased in all cash a few weeks ago because it was huge, expensive, a short jog from Gianni Versace's old house and because she had never splurged like this in her life. She had always been a saver. Vivi was a spender, and she had yet to make a wrong choice. Taking out her air pods, Vivica headed upstairs to her master bedroom to see the ivory white skin of her current lover laying on his stomach asleep in her bed. The sheets delicately covering his naughty bits. Vivica had decided to succumb to her toxic trait of being only attracted to cute little white boys.

"Rise and shine, Cash. It's 3pm by the way."

:: She took off her sports bra and threw it at him playfully. He was a model, and a good decade younger than her. But he was gorgeous, looked very good in his Calvin's and could fuck her like he was a nuclear powered jackhammer. It was everything she wanted at this moment in her life. They looked good in photos and on each other's arm, and he was the perfect level of dumb for her in this moment.

Cash: "I know what time it is. I just don't care..."

:: He smirked at her mischeviously. ::

Cash: "I'm kidding. I know your show is tonight. Come here, I want your body on mine. Right now."

:: Recall happily obliged. ::

"Sounding pretty cocky for a guy I could punch through a wall, ya know..."

:: She kissed him. ::

"Good thing I like cocky."

:: Cash kissed her breasts and snarled at her playfully. ::

Cash: "Fuck babe, you're so hot."

:: So he was no poet. But she didn't need that right now. Right now, she just wanted to give into this fantasy life that she created for herself. She knew she was avoiding going back to New York, but she couldn't help herself. Everything here was so shiny and playful. She felt alive and free, and she wasn't sure what going back would look like.::

"Ugh, forget it Viv."

:: Zizi was really playing nice with Alexis Quartermaine and that was something that Vivica was very undecided about. She comes back from Limbo and every just cowered to her. Lauded her with apologies, and while Vivica knew that it was probably the right thing to do, she couldn't help but think it was a bit ridiculous. The Alexis she knew had no real loyalty to anyone but herself. She had always been willing to throw King Enterprises under the bus. She was like Morgan in the sense that the often promised big support of events that promoted all three of their businesses and left Vivica in the lurch to make up for it. She always did what was best for herself. Vivica always thought that about her. This whole story of Alexis being this beaten down and manipulated person just didn't sit right with Vivica. You can't bring out what isn't there. She may have been a member of The Six, but nobody trusted her implicitly. It was the reason she ended up a statue. So while she understood Alexis' anger about things, she didn't understand all of these people apologizing to her. Everyone just so willingly letting her back into the fold like she couldn't just be warped by Helena Quartermaine easily again. She buried these thoughts by straddling Cash and leaning in to kiss him. ::

"Show me how hot you think I am."

:: She knew her time in Miami was likely coming to an end - there had been no news for quite some time. It was only a matter of time before something pulled her back into orbit. For now, she made love to Cash and got ready for her show. Because it was easier than going back to face the big black storm cloud in New York City. And because it was easier than facing her feelings. And because she could do high quality laundry on Cash's abs. ::
 

Prophet

White King
Hellfire Club
Real Name
Cameron King
Residence
New York City
Missions
2,294
Ability
Telepathy, Psionic, Telekinetic, Empathy, Flash Premonition
The Astral Plane

She was always so good at getting to him. Granted, she had to try a hell of a lot harder these days, but she always found a way, and it used to drive him crazy. Now, he just accepted it. Everyone had an achilles heel. He just took comfort in the fact that he was going to kill his.

Malice said:
“Well all her DADDIES are dead and gone. But her MOMMIES are a different story. Oh I KNOW she tries very hard not to think about her OTHER mother. She’s afraid to confirm that Lara is one of US, but she’s not stupid, the woman was married to Stavros, for starters. It may be unprovable that she launders money for us through her racehorses, but it’s not POSSIBLY a coincidence that Scion came into her care. So she stays away, in order to avoid having to KNOW the truth, without a doubt. And then of course, there’s ME. She was so DEVASTATED to discover her genetic connection to me, I thought she was going to have a mental breakdown. It really shook her to her core, but she kept her wits about her. The moment was a testament to her mental strength. She gets that from ME, you KNOW.”
He thought of his own parents for a moment. Cameron had no clue what qualities he had gotten from his parents because he didn't know them. And while he couldn't deny that he had an insatiable curiosity about Kelly Shaw, history had taught him not to give credence to genetic relationships. For as much as Diana liked to believe she gifted to Haleigh, she was not the same woman. She could never hope to be like Haleigh. And it was offensive how wildly Diana like to speculate he didn't know about Haleigh. Yeah, the mother thing was a surprise, but it ended up actually making a lot of sense to Prophet. So he pushed her a bit more and dug in his heels, expressing a great deal of grit, threatening to take her out right here and now - a task that would not be easy. But Cameron was done. Even if he died in vain, it would be worth it - to see her squirm. To see her sweat/. It would be telepathic euphoria. He hissed and spit at The White Queen.

Malice: "I've already exercised VENGEANCE for the wrongs that were visited upon me. All MY trauma has been laid to REST."

<< ZARK! >>

Her javelin hit him like a freight train, a surprising feat given where they were. Prophet grimaced in pain as he flew into the pews of his cathedral, the stone wall breaking his fall.

Malice: "So you ADMIT it, then. You're too weak to defeat me outright. You NEED me to make some mistake in order for YOU to triumph. but I'M not the fuckup here, Cameron. You CAN'T lead your team to success, you CAN'T help but LOSE your woman to any other STUD she comes across, and you CAN'T keep me HERE!"

<< ZARK! >>

She blasted him again for good measure.

"No. NO."

Diana was getting a little too big for her britches, which was normal for her - but her recent confidence had him unsettled, but he wasn't about to let her talk to him like her, least of all here.

"And if you could defeat me outright, I'd already be dead. You CAN'T. That's why we're doing [gesturing with hands] THIS!"

Prophet's feet hovered over the ground as he used his TK power to fly towards Malice slowly, his hands extended at his sides, though he spoke softly.

"I'm not the fuckup here. YOU are. And it's all because you couldn't keep your dick in your pants. Because you don't LEARN from your mistakes. Your blindspot for Ravena was the very thing that would be your undoing. Every single fucking time we've ever beaten you, it's because you trusted a man to get the job done when he couldn't. So you see, I don't have to wait for you to mistake, it's simply inevitable, and statistically the most successful time to take you out. It's logistics. I learned that from her.

"Haleigh."

"And you don't get to say STUD...bitch."

<< ZARK! >>

She blased him again as Cameron kneeled to the ground, embracing for impact as his teeth chattered through her blast. He cracked his neck back and forth. His feet now both firmly on the ground a few feet away from her.

Diana: "I don't HESITATE or do something STUPID. I think things THROUGH, like my way out of here. Who SHALL I evict from their own body? My daughter is a good candidate. She has all those SPARES that I made for her, I could just live FOREVER. Yet, she's not a telepath, which is really my area of expertise..."

Cameron rolled his eyes. They both knew how strong Haleigh's resolve was. Haleigh was doing what she had to do in Hellfire, but if given the chance, Prophet knew how hard it would be to ever truly possess Haleigh. Mostly because even the strongest telepaths in the world couldn't figure out how much of her was woman and how much was machine thanks to her powers and the virus that coursed through her body. Haleigh had contigency plans in spades. And if Diana was Haleigh, she couldn't try to control Haleigh wich is really the only value Cameron could discern was important to Malice.

"Please. We've both know how much she means to you."

Malice: "I suppose it's time to become a MAN after all. YOU would be the easiest to displace, naturally. But then I'd have to deal with HER messiness, and certainly even if I tried to play along I might not fool her for long. The prospect is STRANGE, even for me. But I needn't bother, because there's ANOTHER telepath, isn't there?"

"Nicholas."


Prophet exhaled deeply for a moment, irritatted. Try as he might, he had never had a close relationship with Nicholas King. Perhaps it was timing, perhaps it was circumstance, but coming back from the brink of death at the hands of Barbas to a full fledged super powered telepath who shared his last name and that Morgan loved? It pissed him off. He was a charicature of a person who seemed to exist only to cause The Six problems and to be Morgan's literal soapbox. But he was a member of The Six. He had been loyal to them, and for the most part, at least in regards to Cameron, he had been honest and friendly. He deserved Cameron's loyalty. And he also had a monster inside of him. Taking over Nicholas seemed a desperate move to Cameron. Surely she didn't think she could convince a God of Destruction to save her. His body belonged to Set, and Diana would have to have one hell of a Hail Mary setup if she thought she was going to survive something like that. Cameron needed her focus on him, or things were about to get bad.

"Why would you want to inhabit Nicholas King, Diana? He's beneath both of us. Look at how easy it was for you to try and scoop up his power? And what's wrong with me? I mean I'm usually your first draft pick? What is it? Have I aged? Have you forgotten that the reason you torture me is endlessly is because despite your best efforts, there is nobody on this Earth who has been to the depths of Haleigh's psyche and soul like I have? That from the moment we met, you felt a shift in her. I've always been able to shunt you out of your daughter's mind because she trusts me. She lets me see those parts of her not even you know. Parts SHE doesn't even know. You think she's this thing you own, but the parts of her you want to own, you never will. I got there first. And no matter how you try to warp her, force her to kill, for her to do your bidding? The SECOND I need her? She'll destroy her whole life to be there for me. And so will I. We've done it every fucking time. And I don't need to POSSESS her. Or FORCE her to do it...."

His hands became enshrouded in his energy again.

"You really think I haven't thought about this? That you would try and pull something so DESPARATE?"

With a thought, he engulfed Diana in flames composed of his empathic power. Sorrow. Pain. Remorse. Regret. Anger. Rage. All coursing through her body at absurd levels. It was like an emotional cardiac arrest. He gritted his teeth as he continued.

"I told you I was going to kill you and I meant it. You do what you think you need to do, I'm done trying to stop you. I'm done with these stupid fucking conversations. You really want to win this pissing contest? Show me what you got."

He FLEXED his hands as the flames grew in intensity around her. If she went for Nicholas, all Hell would break loose. Either way it would awaken Set, and it might have catastrophic results in the physical realm. Cameron couldn't wait. He had to kill her or die trying.

"Come on. For old time's sake."
 

Citadel

Urbanite
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Danny Donelly
Residence
NYC - Brooklyn
Missions
27
Ability
Urban Elemental
Heritage Bar - Brooklyn

< The last few months had been rough on Danny Donnelly, but he didn't have time to let it show. His bar manager Angel had welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world, and Citadel was left to either hire out the role or fold up his sleeves and get to work. And after The Battle at Hellfire and the pending doom in the air, he welcomed the distraction. He felt sick and he hated it. Citadel was an urban elemental and his connection was to the greatest city in the world. When she wept, so did he, and right now she had a tumor imbedded in her womb, in the form of The Hellfire Mansion which Danny had buried into the depths of New York himself just a few months ago. His stomach hadn't been right since. There was the ocassional overheating and nervous sweats, but it was nothing like what he had experienced during The Inferno which gave him hope that The Six and Birds of Prey were handling things better than they previously had. >

< Not to mention, it took a whole of five whole seconds before members of The Six had ressurected Hellfire in New York as a passion project, setting up on Blackwell's Island - as if that place hadn't seen it's fair share of pain and torture. >

< So he kept his head down and his ear close the pavement. Rae had been too nervous to leave him and while she was a handful, he was grateful to have her around as a bit of anchor. She also had one hell of a voice and her performances were bringing interesting and diverse crowds to Heritage. He liked when burrows mingled without being forced. And so did the city. Danny knew this battle was not yet over, and he could feel the city's anxiety at the prospect of another catastrophic event. It had been too much. All Danny could do was to try and ease the people's tension, give them a safe haven, and keep them happy and safe for as long as possible. >

"Alright, Lenny. You got one more after this one, so do me a favor and exercise a little restraint."

< Danny shot the whiskey glass over to the man like an air hockey puck and gave him a wink. Lenny was a good man but a miserable drunk. Danny found that if he could keep Lenny in the sweet spot, he could keep him out of trouble. So he did it. That man never met a donation box in the city he didn't at least try to offer something. He gave his seat to women on the subway. He just liked to drink a little. The city liked Lenny so Danny did, without question. >

Lenny: "Don't worry about it Donnelly. It's actually been a good week. I'm just here for that."

< Lenny gestured to an always scantily clad, cleavage forward Rae Reynolds, tuning her guitar, getting ready for her set. She had stayed in New York for him, and Danny was happy about that, in more than one way. Something was going on with Rae, and she wasn't talking about it. It had to be something heavy. She had always been so good to him, he had no choice but to be good to her. He batted his lashes at Lenny and smirked. >

"And here I thought my personal trainer was finally paying off. Glad to hear about your week, Len. Now quiet down, she's about to start.."
 
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Jezebel

Sixth Sense
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Rae Ann Reynolds
Residence
All Over
Missions
31
Ability
Psychic Medium, Mystic, Exorcist
Heritage Bar - Brooklyn

"I shouldn't have gotten so high...."

It wasn't her fault really. She had been plagued by signs and nightmares and dreams and demons and all the scary shit for the last three months. The Woman in White. The Man with The Crown. An unspeakable evil. Dreams of Pyramids and Apocalypse. The sensation of her existence being wiped from the physical plane. In other words, yeah, she was smoking a lot of pot to try to dampen the demons. It had actually been a wildly creative time for her as she holed up in her Brooklyn apartment, writing and singing and meditating and any other new age shit she could find on Social Media. Anything to ignore what she was going through.

She was grateful to Danny for letting her sing at his bar whenever she wanted. Rae loved that boy so much. He was about as close to a son as she had, and he was really fucking fascinating. The way his power worked. The way he seemed to like be the city. She had never seen anything like him, and that was the reason she was on his side. Rae knew what it felt like to have people not understand what you can do and the duty that comes with that. Danny had that. Rae had communicated with a number of entities in her work, from gods to spirits, apparition to ghost, and felt Danny to be the demigod of New York. And for as small town as she was, she really loved this city too. Dinner barely started by 9pm, and nobody so much as touched a club until midnight. She loved the golden hours of the partiers just getting home and the responsible business types making their way to the office. There was so much noise here it actually quieted her mind, and that was rare.

Rae put the finishing touches on her guitar and adjusted her amp enough to get the crowd's attention.

"Sorry about that. How are ya'll doing tonight?

The crowd clapped for her and whistled, her favorite part of the night - the sheer adoration of some of her fans. At her core, Rae was a vain creature, obsessed with beauty and sex appeal, and youth. She lived for their applause and their objectification. It got her off.

Lenny: "We're doing fine now, baby!"

Rae smirked and laughed in a sultry manner.

"Calm your tits, Len. Before I call your wife!"

The crowd and Lenny laughed as Rae finished a shot of whiskey that had been carefully left there for her by Danny. He was the demigod of New York City, she was the demigod of cheap whiskey. There had yet to be a person she encountered that she couldn't drink under the table. She was a rockstar in every sense of the word.

"But you didn't come here to hear about Lenny's wife. You came here for some music...Hit it."

She said to herself because she was not playing an arena, but a bar in Brooklyn and began to play.

"He sees life as it is man, and he ain't no dreamer. Everything is black and white...."

Rae sang words she had written over thirty years ago like she was still so young. She had written this song about her first husband. She had been so naive. He was a small town guy who didn't get what a girl like Rae could do. Didn't respect it. This was what she loved about making music. Everytime she same one of her old songs to a new audience, she got to be that girl again for a moment. Rae's line of work had taught her the importance of legacy, and she'd always been a storyteller. All of her old material was a time in Rae's life, that she either revisited or ignored.

"He ain't sentimental, I know he don't love me, just someone to hold through the night. I guess somebody, somewhere, must have hurt my baby, cause now he's thrown up his hands."

She smirked.

"To Love and other games of chance...."

Rae continued through her sixty minute set on grit and three more shots of whiskey as she grabbed the white cloth on the stool next to her, dabbing beads of sweat from her face. No soon as she stopped singing did she see a cathedral in her mind. The boy with the crown. The woman in white. The threat of unspeakable evil. She didn't know the names of all the players, but she knew it was something called The Six. She had heard of the team during her short stint helping the BoP help Rose. She was beginning to realize that the only way these visions and images would stop, would be if she actually did something.

Stepping off the stage, she threw her towel into the towel bin behind the bar and cracked open a bottle of water, chugging it down almost immediately.

"Well I am positively parched."

The bar began to fill with chatter and jukebox music as she took a moment to compose herself, Danny placing another bottle of water next to on the bar counter.

Danny: "You packed the house tonight, Rae. The people are begging for more."

She downed the second water in about fifteen seconds flat before slamming it down on the table and crushing it under her palm.

"Are you suprised? It's what I do, baby..."

Her brown eyes settled on his for a moment.

"Danny."

The feeling of doom widened in her chest. She was still torn. Another bad thing happening in New York would kill him. But not telling him would kill her. She didn't have the answers she was looking for but she couldn't get them without him. She placed a serious hand over his.

"You think we could talk for a minute? Can someone cover the bar?"
 

Citadel

Urbanite
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Danny Donelly
Residence
NYC - Brooklyn
Missions
27
Ability
Urban Elemental
Heritage Bar - Brooklyn

< He watched Rae perform with curious glee. She was always so rough around the edges and obnoxious that it was almost scary to see her be so delicate with her voice and instruments. But that was kind of her schtick. She swore like a sailor, chain smoked and engaged in more promiscuous sex than any gay man could ever dream, but she had a soft center. Whatever it was that she was going through, she was trying to work it out on that stage. >


< Her set went off without a hitch as she made her way over to the bar, where Danny had a bottle of water ready for her and one in the chamber, knowing she'd be ready for another shortly. >

Rae: "I'm positively parched."

"You packed the house tonight, Rae. People are begging for more."

Rae: "Are you surprised? It's what I do baby..."

< Danny started to smile until she placed her hand over his and got a bit more serious. He swallowed hard under his breath. She seemed like she was ready to talk, but he wasn't sure he wanted to hear what she had to say. Whatever it was, it didn't seem good. >

Rae: "You think we could talk for a minute? Can someone cover the bar?"

< He nodded as he followed Rae to his office in the corner of the bar and closed the door behind them, the slight echo of voices were all that could be heard as he took a seat behind his oak desk and she plopped down in a sultry manner in one of the vacant seats in front of it. >

"You finally gonna tell me what's been going on with you, lately?"

Rae: "Trust me, Danny. I really don't fucking want to, but I have to. I haven't slept in weeks. I'm getting flashes left and right...It's big. It's real big and messy, and I know how these things take a toll on you, so say the word and I'll stop. You got enough shit on your plate."

< He smirked as he leaned forward in his chair. >

"Thankfully I got a real big plate, Rae. If this affects the city, then I have to know about it. And I can handle it. Tell me what's going on..."
 

Jezebel

Sixth Sense
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Rae Ann Reynolds
Residence
All Over
Missions
31
Ability
Psychic Medium, Mystic, Exorcist
Heritage Bar - Brooklyn

Well. He asked.

"Ever since you buried Hellfire, I haven't slept right..."

Rae had been on her way to Vegas to indulge in a light spiral when she felt the energies of the city shift. So much trauma centered around such a small group of people she didn't necessarily trust. They had wanted to murder Rose. Their loyalties were so unclear. And Danny was doing his best to clean up the mess. She found herself unable to leave in spite of her wanton narcissism. So she stayed. Every dream, and every flash, she tried to piece together what was being told to her. She always went where her work guided her, and right now, it was keeping her in Brooklyn. She pulled a flask from underneath her skirt and took a long swig of whiskey.

"I get a lot of mixed messages. So I don't even know if what I am about to say makes any sense. I don't know if I have the people right, the places right, whatever. But I know this. The White Queen is not dead. And worse, she's desperate to return. The man with the crown. The KING as I see him is chasing her. They've been going round and round on the Astral Plane like you wouldn't believe. Every psychic is suffering. We're all unclear because their fucking up our connection. The White Queen needs a host. Needs a body to come back to...And the one she wants to come back to...could end the world. Not in the dramatic sense. In the very real, we are getting obliterated from REALITY sense. Whoever this host is tied to, he has a WELL of darkness. One that can't be unmatched. It feels primal and all I can see are pyramids..."

It was worse than what she could have ever explained. The entity that surrounded this host was unlike anything she ever experienced. And she had held counsel with Angels and Gods. It was worse than Pandora's Box. It was something that should never, under any circumstances be allowed to have agency.

"It's GOD like energy. It's someone with the power to re-shape reality as we know it. Every flash I get...the Boy with the Crown calls out to me. Like I'm supposed to help him. But I don't know how. All I know is that if I don't...it's just black. There's nothing left. It's the end, Danny..."

That was the most confusing part. When he first called to her, she sought him out. He was the man in The Parthenon in the coma. The one that the girl with the lights wouldn't leave. The one that the Scion loved. He wasn't dead. He wasn't in pain. In fact, he seemed...eerily calm and poised. It wasn't his psyche calling out to her. It was his spirit. It was a message he wasn't even aware he was sending. But he was so insulated, with so much power protecting him, and she had no context. This wasn't like one of her house calls. This was another level altogether.

"I tend to leave fear for the weak and naive, but I feel it. I can't ignore it. Whoever the host is, they're here in New York. It's one of your citizens. And I don't know who to go to..."

If this entity's epicenter was New York, Danny would die. He would be dead before the worst happened. And that didn't sit right with Rae. He was a good fucking man, one of the best, and she wouldn't let him die on her watch. She was getting these messages for a reason. She could count on one hand the visions she had seen that hadn't prevented, and she hoped her record would continue, but for the first time in a long time, she wasn't sure.

"The Birds of Prey are just BARELY moving on after grieving a loss...and these members of The Six...I just see them bathing in the blood of Hellfire. I'm not sure they'd LET me help. I see two guardians around The Boy With The Crown. The Light and The Dark. Their gauntlets firmly holding either of his hands. But I can't do NOTHING anymore, Danny. I'm not sure I have much time..."

She felt a charge of energy ripple through The Astral Plane causing her to shudder. Whatever battle they were embroiled in, the stakes were being raised. A small tear began to form in her eyes as she continued, her voice a bit more raspy than before.

"I'm so sorry to put this in your lap, darlin...but we gotta do something. And FAST."
 
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Clara Oswald
Clara Oswald
These posts are fucking great

Black Widow

Twisted Metal
Hellfire Club
Real Name
Haleigh Davidoff
Residence
Hellfire New York
Missions
2,527
Ability
Earth Elemental; Technokinesis; Strength, Resilience, and Immunity due to the TO virus
Manhattan Skyline - Helicopter

They were headed to lunch in the helo, and almost as soon as they lifted off, Haleigh asked a question that had been simmering in her mind for quite some time. She wanted to know if Ava had heard from Delilah.

Ava: No, why?

“I… was just wondering how she was doing.”

Ava seemed confused, and asked Haleigh if she tried talking to Delilah whenever she checked in on Cameron. Haleigh shook her head and tried to ignore the feeling of the cold creeping in. She stared out the wide tinted window panel of the helicopter so she didn’t have to see if her mother was sitting across from her in the aircraft. The Parthenon was a few miles off, jutting up into the skyline with a resplendent reflection of the day’s sunshine, and she was watching the tower warily, as if it might catch fire.

“No, I haven’t checked on Cameron in quite a while,”

She admitted. She didn’t say she hadn’t checked on him since they lost Alek, but it had been that long.

“I became concerned that my close proximity visits to him might be too great a risk that my mother might be able to reach me. Or that if he somehow knew I was there it would be a distraction that could give my mother an edge. Without a thorough understanding of astral magic I decided it was better to be safe than sorry. I assume Delilah will contact us if anything changes with his status.”

She explained, in a very detached, matter-of-fact way. It was a tone she’d have used to describe any operational decision she’d made. Her demeanor seemed completely devoid of the deeply agonizing feelings she had with regards to Cameron and any thought that he might be lost already. Her presentation was calm and professional, but in her head her mother was laughing.

“Anyway I was hoping maybe you and Delilah had smoothed things over. She must feel like she’s lost everyone.

She said, and then she sighed.

“I can relate, I wish I could talk to her.”

Their conversation was interrupted by the helo landing on top of a Hell’s Kitchen hospital, where a car was waiting curbside to take them down Ninth Avenue. They went to lunch at a boutique Mexican restaurant decorated with the Dia de los Muertos theme. It was a very colorful, very vibrant setting, and boisterous enough that they could talk freely without being eavesdropped on.
 

Orion

Ambassador
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Zachary Armani
Missions
653
Ability
Empath
The Upper East Side — Zash’s Townhouse

Ashley brought up clairvoyants, which reminded Zach that he knew one, though Cameron’s sister wasn’t really hanging around anymore.

Ashley: "That guy's sister is a seer? What a fucked up family."

“Oh Babe, you don’t know the half of it. I mean his sister can be a little intense, but she’s mostly cool. But their mother? Full on evil. And Cameron himself is an asshole of the highest order. I could never figure out why Haleigh couldn’t get over him, or what ever even attracted her to him to begin with. But that’s not my problem anymore.”

He replied, and then shrugged. Ash became a bit panicked that Zach might be dreading the wedding, but he assured her it was quite the opposite. He asked her how the planning was going, and offered to participate in any vendor meetings she had. Ash told him that Zizi was handling it, which was a relief because Zach had no idea what had to be done. He only vaguely remembered the planning phase when he and Haleigh were engaged.

Haleigh had hired someone else to take care of it and just occasionally updated him on the decisions that had been made, like she was briefing him on some mission development. The only thing he really remembered was when he had to go with Haleigh to the cathedral to meet the priest, and the Silver Swan had massacred the whole place. He shook off the memory. Ash was talking cake and that was a much more pleasant subject. He smiled at her excitement to meet with the baker. Then she thoughtfully asked if he wanted anything for the wedding.

“I just want you to be my bride, the rest of the details can be whatever makes you happy, and I’ll like it.”

He replied warmly, and then as an afterthought:

“Also, could we have like Italian food for dinner at the reception?”

He asked, and then remembered there would be floral arrangements to pick out.

“Ooh, could we have tiger lilies in the floral mix? They remind me of home…”

He added wistfully, before realizing the colors might clash. Did they have a color scheme picked out yet? He tried to remember if she’d told him that already, but was drawing a blank.

“We don’t have to do the orange ones, I guess, if it’s not going to look good. White Lilies would suffice, really. It’s not a big deal.”

He said, to give her a way out. His phone alarm went off and he fished it out of his pocket to shut it off.

“Well. I guess it’s time to head out to the meeting. The traffic report is not pretty, it’ll take a while to get across town. You wanna drive, or should I?”

He asked, as he set his tools down and extracted himself from the project of assembling the gym. He could’ve delayed their departure and just used the watch, but he didn’t like to rely heavily on the transporter machine for routine movement. An urgent need to be somewhere was one thing, but otherwise he tried to leave the system available for operational needs.
 

Valkyrie

War
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Ashley Oldenburg
Missions
604
Ability
Ability to instill self-doubt, turmoil and intimidation
The Upper East Side — Zash’s Townhouse

Ashley was beginning to understand why the Six were so messed up - their lives were Fucked. Up. She said as much to Zach as they were discussing Cameron King.

Zach: “Oh Babe, you don’t know the half of it. I mean his sister can be a little intense, but she’s mostly cool. But their mother? Full on evil. And Cameron himself is an asshole of the highest order. I could never figure out why Haleigh couldn’t get over him, or what ever even attracted her to him to begin with. But that’s not my problem anymore.”

Ashley waived her hand languidly in the air.

"Oh, you know. Some chicks have a thing for assholes. It's like a psychological problem or something."

And Haleigh definitely had psychological problems. She let out a laugh.

"Probably gets it from her mother."

Ashley got just a little bit giddy thinking about how Malice was dead. If only Helena would join her, she thought. Ashley would thrown a damn party to celebrate. And invite Haleigh.

She started to get nervous when he changed the subject to their wedding, thinking maybe he was having second thoughts. Of course, this was something she worried about constantly. Honestly she was just waiting for the day he told her it was off. But thankfully, today was not that day. She silently vowed for the thousandth time to make him proud of her and give him exactly the wedding he wanted.

Zach: “I just want you to be my bride, the rest of the details can be whatever makes you happy, and I’ll like it.”

She beamed at him, her self-consciousness melting away with his support, as it always did. It wasn't something she was used to, having someone else who praised her and bolstered her, like Zach did.

Zach: “Also, could we have like Italian food for dinner at the reception?”

"Uh, yeah-a."

She elongated the last word into two syllables.

"There is so much good Italian food...mmm...the cookies alone...and so many kinds of pasta...ooh let's get Italian for dinner!"

Zach: “Ooh, could we have tiger lilies in the floral mix? They remind me of home…”

Her brow wrinkled slightly in confusion. She raised an index finger.

"Um, I don't know what that is but I'm sure Zizi does and can make that happen."

Zach: “We don’t have to do the orange ones, I guess, if it’s not going to look good. White Lilies would suffice, really. It’s not a big deal.”

She slipped her arms loosely around his neck.

"It is a big deal. If it's something you want, we're doing it. Pfft - who cares if it looks good? Besides-"

She smiled mischievously.

"I look excellent in orange."

His phone made a noise, and she pouted a little as he got it out of his pocket.

Zach: “Well. I guess it’s time to head out to the meeting. The traffic report is not pretty, it’ll take a while to get across town. You wanna drive, or should I?”

The mischievous grin went downright criminal.

"Can I choose the car?"
 

Orion

Ambassador
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Zachary Armani
Missions
653
Ability
Empath
NYC - Columbus Circle

Ash wanted to choose the car they took to the meeting, and Zach could hardly deny her anything. The drive was uneventful by his standards, which only meant they didn’t get ambushed or shot at, although Zach was again assured that if they did get attacked, Ashley had the driving skills to escape it. She could test a sports car’s design limits.

Zach leaned in for a retina scan to gain special access to the underground garage, and his blood sample in the elevator got them in deeper to the hidden levels under Liquid Crystal Images, which housed Clandestine. Security guards took notice as they passed, but no one was going to stop or question Zach. He greeted most with just a nod of acknowledgment, as he led Ashley along the labyrinth corridors to the Director’s office.

Zach let himself in to find Griffin sitting, not behind his desk, but over at the head of his large conference table. To his surprise, Haleigh was seated at Griffin’s right. To her right was a rugged looking man of intimidating size that Zach didn’t recognize. He assumed the man was a company operative, likely the one with the direct knowledge of the Hellfire resurgence. The man was staring intently at Zach, assessing him carefully.

Zach looked over at Haleigh, who was sharing a knowing smile with Griffin. This struck Zach as very odd, given that he didn’t sense actual amusement from her. He didn’t sense anything from her, in fact. She was as devoid of emotion as the table she sat at. It was eerie, and sent a chill down his spine. When Zach pulled out a chair for Ash, he caught the stranger eyeballing her. He cleared his throat as he took a seat across from the man, and then looked over at Griffin.

“I didn’t expect there to be anyone else at this meeting. I hope you don’t mind I brought my fiancèe, Director. I vouch for her.”

Griffin: “It’s fine, Zach. She was vetted already, at Haleigh’s insistence.”

Zach wasn’t surprised, but he did glance at Haleigh, wondering if he’d detect a hint of any kind of emotion. Haleigh just continued to smirk knowingly, though now she was looking at Ash. Griffin seemed to think there was tension, and launched immediately into another subject.

Griffin: “Welcome, Valkyrie. It’s probably best you’re here anyway. Zach, we need to talk about Jake O’Reilly.”

Zach was blindsided and confused. He immediately started to ask why. Haleigh interjected in a cold tone.

Haleigh: “You mean the Amazons haven’t told you? Big fucking surprise there.”

That feeling of dread Zach had been getting began to intensify. He asked what was going on, trying his best to be calm. Griffin’s tone was more considerate.

Griffin: “Jake’s going to be adopted soon. The paperwork has been filed and the approval process is underway.”

Zach felt like the wind had been knocked out of him. He felt a torrent of emotions. Words were a struggle. He rubbed his beard with one hand, as his other hand reached for Ashley’s instinctively.

Zach: “That’s.... good... for him.”

He managed, but Haleigh was not so optimistic.

Haleigh: “Except in all the ways it’s NOT.”

Zach looked at her, flush with a sudden flash of ire, but she held his glare without so much as blinking. She sat calmly across the table, as if they were not talking about a boy she almost killed just months ago. Zach inhaled slowly through his nostrils and unclenched his jaw.

Zach: “I’m sure you intend to elaborate.”

Haleigh: “You know me so well.” She replied provocatively. “For starters, Jake is being separated from the Sanctuary, where there is a strong network of support and security for him. That would be a huge concern even if we didn’t have reason to suspect the adoptive couple is compromised.”
 

Valkyrie

War
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Ashley Oldenburg
Missions
604
Ability
Ability to instill self-doubt, turmoil and intimidation
NYC - Columbus Circle

Ashley thoroughly enjoyed throwing Zach's stomach into nervous knots with regards to his beloved automobiles. So when he agreed to let her drive AND pick the car they took, she carefully selected his new Aston Martin Valhalla, and proceeded to drive it through the crowded daytime streets of Manhattan as if they were on the Autobahn at midnight.

She only stopped so that Zach could let them into the garage at Clandestine, after which she floored it, racing around the lower level before sliding into the spot Zach indicated. When they came to a stop she turned to face him, and winked.

They got into the elevator and rode so far underground that she expected them to exit into the land of the dwarves. Ashley vaguely wondered if Clandestine was so good why they needed offices that were so difficult to get to, but the thought dissipated as she focused on following Zach through the maze of hallways. Zach opened a door and they were faced with three people watching them from behind a conference table. One was clearly the Director Zach had spoken of, Griff - Griffin - his friend. He was handsome, in a rough sort of way. Then there was a man who was clearly muscle. And then, there was Haleigh.

Ashley was now questioning this Griffin's intelligence at letting someone who so obviously could not be trusted back through the 75 checkpoints to get into the place. Might has well take out a lease at the Empire State Building if you're going to just let the enemy walk right through the door. They may have gotten Haleigh "out of Hellfire" but that didn't mean all was forgiven.

Zach pulled out a chair for her, and she made a show of smiling at him and then sitting down regally, arms on both armrests. Facing the others, her smile was replaced by a piercing stare. When the muscle gave her a once over, she raised one eyebrow at him.

Zach: “I didn’t expect there to be anyone else at this meeting. I hope you don’t mind I brought my fiancèe, Director. I vouch for her.”

Ashley did smile at Griffin then.

Griffin: “It’s fine, Zach. She was vetted already, at Haleigh’s insistence.”

Ashley's eyes slid to Haleigh, who was looking at her. Still smiling, Ash raised a hand and nonchalantly gave her the finger before settling back in her seat and returning her focus to Griffin.

Griffin: “Welcome, Valkyrie. It’s probably best you’re here anyway. Zach, we need to talk about Jake O’Reilly.”

That made Ashley sit up. This was supposed to be some briefing on Hellfire. What was going on here? She knew Zach was caught unawares by this - and she didn't have to be an empath to feel the worry come off of him in waves.

Haleigh: “You mean the Amazons haven’t told you? Big fucking surprise there.”

Those fucking bitches.

"Those fucking bitches."

Alycia and Sharon were only slightly less psychotic than Haleigh, and despite everything Zach had done for them, they treated him like absolute shit.

"What have they done this time?"

Zach asked what was going on, and finally they got some information.

Griffin: “Jake’s going to be adopted soon. The paperwork has been filed and the approval process is underway.”

Ashley reached over to put her hand on Zach's arm. She felt his hand slide into hers, and she squeezed it tightly. She turned her body to face him, studying his expression to see how he was taking this news.

Zach: “That’s.... good... for him.”

Haleigh: “Except in all the ways it’s NOT.”

Zach: “I’m sure you intend to elaborate.”

Haleigh: “You know me so well.”

Ashley rolled her eyes.

Haleigh: “For starters, Jake is being separated from the Sanctuary, where there is a strong network of support and security for him. That would be a huge concern even if we didn’t have reason to suspect the adoptive couple is compromised.”

"Why is Zach only hearing about this now?"

She suspected it was some sick game of Haleigh's to damage Zach even more than she already had, twisting the knife in the way that would hurt him the most.

"Surely they're not going to let the adoption go forward?"
 

Black Widow

Twisted Metal
Hellfire Club
Real Name
Haleigh Davidoff
Residence
Hellfire New York
Missions
2,527
Ability
Earth Elemental; Technokinesis; Strength, Resilience, and Immunity due to the TO virus
Clandestine Intelligence

Lunch had gone as well as could be expected. There was still a distance between the sisters, though not as far as before. It was only natural. Ava was still grieving, and Haleigh was quite adrift herself. Still, it was good to get a meal together, it was good to do normal things. They swore to do it again, though neither suggested a specific date.

Haleigh took Arthur to Clandestine for their next engagement. She and Griffin had discussed this issue at length, and made their various plans — none of which were likely to survive first contact with the enemy — to deal with the situation. When it all went to shit, at least they had agreed upon their intent.

Haleigh sat on the side of the conference table facing the door. Arthur joined her, close at hand, by design. This meeting had the potential to get very heated. Zach was not likely to keep a cool head about the subject, and Haleigh had her own distinct feelings on the matter. There was nothing she could do about Zach, but she was determined to keep herself in check. She detached herself from her emotion, shutting down entirely.

Maddeningly, her mother appeared in the corner of the room by the door. Nobody else seemed to notice, even when the door opened and drew their attention. It was Zach, who predictably brought Ashley. Haleigh shared a glance with Griffin, whose gaze conceded that he’d lost the bet. Haleigh was well prepared to endure whatever witty but ridiculous things Ashley wanted to say, so she just smirked at Ashley as greetings were exchanged. Ashley responded amusingly with a middle finger.

Malice: I HATE this girl.

I think I kind of like her in spite of myself…


Haleigh thought back. Her mother wasn’t having it, and called Ashley impudent. Haleigh countered with intrepid, and the sidebar was finished. Onto the main issue, Jake O’Reilly, who was getting adopted out. Of course this was news to Zach, because the Amazons hadn’t included him. Big fucking surprise, Haleigh commented, and Griffin delivered the intel as gently as possible. Haleigh would’ve let herself feel bad for Zach, but there was no time. She had to ensure he understood the gravity of the new development.

Ashley: “Why is Zach only hearing about this now?”

Griffin: “The Sanctuary nullified their Clandestine contract back when Hellfire attacked. They no longer wanted our services and stopped all contact and information sharing. You’re only hearing about it at ALL because Haleigh—“

“Completely ignored the withdrawal of their consent and blatantly violated their desire for privacy?”

Haleigh interjected casually. It was exactly what she expected Alycia and/or Sharon to hit her with when they found out.

Griffin: “LEGALLY obtained all the Sanctuary records that are in process with CPS through an anonymous FOIA request.”

Ashley: “Surely they’re not going to let the adoption go forward?”

Haleigh nodded, her expression mildly concerned.

“Yeah, unfortunately they’re pushing it through as fast as possible, even filed for an emergency hearing, which all parties have agreed to attend. You gotta give it to that bitch Barnett, she can pull strings like no other.”
 
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Orion

Ambassador
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Zachary Armani
Missions
653
Ability
Empath
Clandestine Intelligence

Zach barely had words, but at least he knew he could lean on Ashley, who helped shield him from the need to respond by asking questions that might’ve come to him eventually. He had a moment to process the shock, and to listen to what was being said. It still felt like a mile a minute, but he was catching up. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

”You said you suspect the adoptive couple is compromised?”

Griffin pushed a folder towards him that was about a half inch thick. He summarized the contents in a tone Zach had heard before. It was the dry and detached delivery of mission intel. Zach opened the file and vaguely recognized a woman. Griffin explained that one half of the couple happened to be one of the nurses on Jake’s team after ‘the incident’. Zach’s glare flashed to Haleigh.

“The incident. Is that what we’re calling the attempted kidnapping and subsequent gun shot wound Jake suffered?”

He asked, and she calmly nodded her head. It further infuriated him that she didn’t even have the grace to feign a bit of regret. He clenched his jaw as she spoke.

Haleigh: “Yes. That which precipitated your first direct contact with Nedry. Did you ever wonder how he knew what happened and which hospital to go almost immediately? I didn’t tell him. I was too busy trying to recover from getting my soul ripped out of my body by Rose.”

“Is that what’s wrong with you now, you feel no remorse for what you did because you have no soul?”

He responded hotly, his fury getting the better of him.

Haleigh: “Ouch.”

Haleigh replied with a smile that said she was more amused than hurt. The man next to her was not amused though. He shifted forward in his seat and made a noise that sounded to Zach like almost like a growl.

Haleigh: “It’s alright, Savage.”

Savage: “Is his disrespect of no consequence to you?”

The man asked, staring Zach down. Zach realized the stranger could not be a Clandestine operative, or else the man would’ve known Zach (and his high level position in the company). Zach stared back at him, determined not to be intimidated, though it sure felt like the man was prepared to launch himself across the table. Haleigh was as relaxed as a person discussing the weather.

Haleigh: “None whatsoever. Zach’s just being provocative. He’s all bark, no bite.”

The man relaxed a bit back into his chair, but remained alert, and continued to stare. It was such an odd exchange that Zach was at a loss for what to say next. Who was this man and why was he a part of this conversation? Those questions would have to wait until more pressing matters were settled. Zach was sure Haleigh had prepared herself for every verbal attack in the book. She was probably just waiting for a chance to justify it all. Zach huffed as he realized it was a debate he was likely to lose. Griffin cleared his throat and interjected that the other half of the adoptive couple was a woman with the city’s child protective services department.

“So the couple who wants to adopt him consists of a nurse who’s helped him before and a social worker who’s dedicated her career to helping children.”

Zach summarized, trying to understand the implication Haleigh was making.

Haleigh: “A social worker with CPS, the very agency that attempted to transfer custody of Jake to Nedry.

“Do either of them have a direct connection to Nedry, or is this all circumstantial? Don’t you think Sharon and Alycia would be screening for exactly this kind of threat?”

He asked, his doubt evident.

Haleigh: “You still trust them?”

Zach was confused by this whole discussion. Sharon and Alycia had been protecting the Sanctuary this whole time while Rose was in recovery.

“Why wouldn’t we?”
 
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Savage

Frenzied Beast
Real Name
Arthur John Savage
Missions
124
Manhattan

Arthur was privileged to gorge himself on the most delicious food, in the company of two gorgeous women, so he was quite pleased with life and the way things were going. He had a role, ‘security’, but it seemed a farce considering they were the two strongest ladies he had ever come across. He suspected Haleigh had him there under the pretense of security but with wildly divergent intentions. At least he hoped so as he exercised his patience. She had impenetrable armor, it seemed to him, but he made sure he did not miss the softening glances or quiet sighs. Sometimes, she would talk, and he would listen. He would not rush her. He was not a total savage.

After lunch was more business, though this was business that he knew was personal for Haleigh. She had spoken of the boy before, of the accident she refused to forgive herself for. She seemed to care what happened to the child, even if she would not admit that to herself. Instead she proffered reasoning, logic, tactics, strategic concerns. He had never known a woman to speak of such things. He was utterly fascinated with her.

His thoughts were interrupted by the door opening, through which came a man accompanied by woman who commanded instant attention. She had a very peculiar scent, vaguely reminiscent of Persephone in a way, though quite unique as well. More remarkable than her scent was the strength of her presence, a confidence that rivaled Haleigh’s perhaps. She was attractive, of course. All the women these days seemed to be, yet Arthur did not get the impression she was a woman of these days. What was it that Haleigh had told him about this woman possibly showing up?

Griffin: “Welcome, Valkyrie.”

That was it, a Valkyrie. From one of the Germanic mythologies? It had been so long since he explored the other religions looking for answers. Several decades ago, he barely recalled the details. It hardly mattered. She was yet another one to keep an eye on, radiating serious alpha energy. It made Arthur wonder what she was doing with this beta male who had brought her in. The man with carefully coiffed hair and a hard starched suit didn’t give the impression of being prepared for a duel, and yet he called the Valkyrie his fiancèe. Wonders never ceased. Arthur remained suspicious.

Haleigh was not a woman of wasted time, and very quickly the formalities were dispensed with. There was a lot being said, but Arthur paid more attention to how it was being said, the body language, tone and temperament. He was aware of Haleigh’s demeanor, but he more closely watched the other three in the room. They were strangers to him and could well be threats as far as he was concerned. The little beta got brazen and insolent with Haleigh. Arthur would knock him clean out of his suit and was about to give him the undue courtesy of a warning when Haleigh intervened.

“Is his disrespect of no consequence to you?”

Arthur asked, without taking his eyes off this Zach. If it was up to him, he would already be dragging this fellow outside, but Haleigh dismissed the slight as if it were meaningless, comparing it to a dog that barked without the conviction to bite. Arthur accepted her decision but he kept his eye on the little weasel. He had put the beta on notice, at the least. Talk of the boy’s situation resumed apace.
 
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Valkyrie

War
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Ashley Oldenburg
Missions
604
Ability
Ability to instill self-doubt, turmoil and intimidation
Clandestine Intelligence

Ashley was not maternal. She might have been once, when she was human. She did her part then, taking care of her siblings. She even loved them. But it had been so long ago. Truthfully, Jake was the only child she could even remember knowing since then.

Zach, on the other hand. His main character attribute was taking care of other people. And he loved Jake. That Rose had even questioned that for a split second showed how batshit crazy she was. And somehow the fucking Amazons - who supposedly knew Zach so well and for so long - agreed with her. They hadn't said a word to Zach about any of this. No one had.

She put the question out there of why - though she was pretty sure it was because everyone involved were assholes.

Griffin: “The Sanctuary nullified their Clandestine contract back when Hellfire attacked. They no longer wanted our services and stopped all contact and information sharing. You’re only hearing about it at ALL because Haleigh—“

Haleigh: “Completely ignored the withdrawal of their consent and blatantly violated their desire for privacy?”

"Well you are supposed to be spies, aren't you?"

They should have known all this shit ages ago, if they were any good. The part Ashley didn't understand was why the fucking Amazons just didn't put a stop to the adoption - weren't they in charge of the Sanctuary now?

Haleigh: “Yeah, unfortunately they’re pushing it through as fast as possible, even filed for an emergency hearing, which all parties have agreed to attend. You gotta give it to that bitch Barnett, she can pull strings like no other.”

"Then she's crazier than I thought."

Zach: ”You said you suspect the adoptive couple is compromised?”

Griffin started to explain, and Ashley couldn't help but smirk a little when Zach got in a dig about Haleigh shooting the poor kid. It bothered her a little bit that Zach despite everything could sit at a table with Haleigh. She didn't think he would allow that for anyone else, and that stung. But he wasn't being friendly, so that was something.

The Muscle practically growled at Zach, and made some comment about Zach disrespecting Haleigh. This guy had a lot of shit to catch up on. But she wasn't about to sit here and let Haleigh's pet threaten her fiancé. Especially after Haleigh derided him as well.

Haleigh: “Zach’s just being provocative. He’s all bark, no bite.”

Ashley levelled her eyes at the group across the table from her.

"I bite enough for the both of us. You move out of that chair, big boy, and I'll rip your ribs out through your nose."

She gave the Muscle a hint of a smile. Zach, ever the diplomat, changed the subject back to Jake's adoption.

Zach: “So the couple who wants to adopt him consists of a nurse who’s helped him before and a social worker who’s dedicated her career to helping children.”

Haleigh: “A social worker with CPS, the very agency that attempted to transfer custody of Jake to Nedry.

Zach: “Do either of them have a direct connection to Nedry, or is this all circumstantial? Don’t you think Sharon and Alycia would be screening for exactly this kind of threat?”

Haleigh: “You still trust them?”

"No."

Ashley said it definitively, without having to think about it, at the same time Zach said: “Why wouldn’t we?”

She turned her head and gave him an exasperated look.

"Because they've lost their damn minds?"

Ashley had never met two more unhinged people - aside from Rose. And it didn't sit well with her that the target of much of their ire seemed to be Zach these days. Who knows what those two would do, and Ashley didn't like the idea of Zach being in danger from any more of his "friends". The last ones had almost killed him and she wasn't looking forward to having anyone else try anything similar.

"Sharon and Alycia have lost connection to reality. We can't trust anything that comes from them."
 

Black Widow

Twisted Metal
Hellfire Club
Real Name
Haleigh Davidoff
Residence
Hellfire New York
Missions
2,527
Ability
Earth Elemental; Technokinesis; Strength, Resilience, and Immunity due to the TO virus
Clandestine Intelligence

Ashley wanted to know why Zach was only finding out about this now, and the answer was only because Haleigh didn’t give a fuck about the Sanctuary canceling their contract. She was concerned about what was going to develop with the children there (now that they were targets), and she was going to keep an eye on things. Ashley commented that they were supposed to be spies, after all. She gets it. Griffin, on the other hand, had a code, and wanted everyone to know they came by this intel legally.

Zach couldn’t help but express his feelings about the incident, getting in a dig about Haleigh having no soul. Rather than being offended, she was just impressed he was actually trying to be hurtful. Arthur didn’t like it, though, so she intervened before that turned into a fistfight without cause. Then Ashley wanted to say something, and Haleigh was losing her patience.

Malice: The beast is RIGHT, you really SHOULD answer this disrespect with aggression.

All this posturing is IRRELEVANT.


Haleigh thought back with a heavy sigh. They were on the same side here, even if they were on different teams, they should be working together. Luckily Zach focused on their actual issue here, the kid getting adopted out from under them. Haleigh tried to get Zach to understand why this was a problem, but Zach still trusted the Amazons. He even asked why they wouldn’t.

“For fuck’s sake, where do I start?”

Haleigh asked rhetorically, and then Ashley added in that the Amazons had lost their damn minds. Haleigh’s gaze shifted to her, understanding Ashley’s exasperation. Zach’s kryptonite was women, and his habit of giving the benefit of the doubt. Ashley was going find that to be frustrating for a long time. Haleigh was grateful to have a momentary ally, and would take advantage. At least she wouldn’t have to convince Ashley that the Amazons were a problem.

“Zach, I know you only see the best in people and believe they are essentially good, but you need to listen up here, because Jake’s life is at stake.”

Haleigh started, and she paused to decide where to actually start. The reality was that Sharon had been a problem since she came back as Silver Swan. The cathedral massacre, the fight at Melrose, the argumentative attitude, the serial killer through domestic abusers in New York…. But Zach was there for all of that, and Haleigh herself had given Sharon a pass because they were allies and Sharon targeted scumbags. No, she would have to focus on more recent clues. Her eyes slid back to Ashley.

“We should have found it odd that Sharon was always against you. Alycia hated you too, right from the start. If I recall correctly, it had something to do with your history at Hellfire. WHICH…. was a weird position for them to take, given that Sharon herself has been tied to Hellfire since before the internet was invented.”

Zach interjected that Sharon had always been working against Hellfire. Haleigh gave a nod of acknowledgment.

“Yes, it seemed so. Yet she retained her membership status despite her mostly ineffective opposition, and let’s not overlook the fact that they gave her the powerset she has, lifting her from mere humanity to Super status. Clearly they had a vested interest in her upgrades.”

Haleigh continued, on a roll now. She recounted that Sharon had strolled into the Blackout party like she belonged there. Sharon gathered up a bunch of intel, not even discreetly, then had herself a grand old time in the Portrait Hall with Domino, a liaison of the White Court. Strangely, Sharon was allowed to come and go as she pleased, unharmed. In FACT, The former White Queen Malice not only let her walk that intel right back out the door and straight to Zach and his sidekicks, but she didn’t even order some retribution for the Silver Swan on the back end.

Haleigh told them, shaking her head as if she hardly believed it herself.

“FURTHERMORE, my mother was actually UPSET when I retaliated in Times Square. I thought she’d be PLEASED that I publicly humiliated and exposed the corruption of the vigilante folk hero known as the Silver Swan, but she punished me for it. There’s only one logical explanation. Sharon was an undercover asset, and Malice didn’t appreciate me blowing her spot like that. Unfortunately it follows that if Sharon’s a double agent, then so is Alycia, which honestly explains a lot.”

Haleigh paused for a moment. Zach looked like he didn’t want to accept the allegations, but hadn’t yet formulated a coherent alternate theory. She didn’t envy his struggle. She wished she could’ve given him more time with this, but there had been so much else going on.
 

Orion

Ambassador
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Zachary Armani
Missions
653
Ability
Empath
Clandestine Intelligence

Zach rocked back in his chair and sighed. He felt like he’d been reeling since he walked in here. It was too much. Too many conflicting emotions, too much stress, too much information to process at once.

“I don’t believe it.”

He said finally, and it was all he could think of to say. It wasn’t like he had a rebuttal that she was likely to accept without concrete evidence. Good thing he wasn’t the one making accusations.

“Clearly you’ve given this theory a lot of thought. Do you have any proof?”

Haleigh: “Would it matter if I did, or would you find some way to excuse her behavior?”

Haleigh countered, and her tone implied she already knew his reaction. Zach folded his arms across his chest. Of all people, Haleigh ought to be appreciative of Zach’s tendency to forgive his friends for their mistakes.

“You and Ava, Dominique and Nicolas, and Ashley, all of you were with Hellfire at some point. That doesn’t mean we can’t trust any of you now.”

Haleigh nodded patiently before replying.

Haleigh: “The difference between the Amazons and the rest of us is that we never hid our involvement with Hellfire. We all had our own reasons for joining and we’re up front about it. But the Amazons… The only thing they’re honest about is that they don’t believe they have to answer to anyone, for anything. They do whatever they WANT, and anyone who disagrees with them can get fucked.”

Zach wanted to refute what she was saying. Sharon and Alycia had been his friends for years… He just felt frustrated and overwhelmed.

“Look, just tell me what you’re expecting from me here. I mean, why are you telling me all this now, clearly you’ve been suspicious for months. I assume you want me to do something about it?”

He asked, fully intending to politely decline whatever her suggestion would be. He needed to know what it was Haleigh was planning, though. The more the Birds knew, the better off they’d be when the inevitable shit hit the fan. Haleigh looked almost considerate for a moment. She claimed that she understood this was a lot to process all at once, and difficult to accept. But, she said, even if Zach thought it was just some crazy conspiracy, if he really believed there was nothing wrong with the Amazons, or that the couple they chose to adopt Jake wasn’t remotely suspicious, he still had to acknowledge that the Amazons’ plan to place Jake with a couple of flatscans (instead of keeping him at the Sanctuary) put him at higher risk for being snatched up by Kelly and Helena. And then she just casually suggested that Zach should try to adopt Jake instead.

“Are you serious?!”

He turned to gape at Griffin.

“Is she serious?!”

Griffin: This is a very serious matter, Zach.
 

Valkyrie

War
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Ashley Oldenburg
Missions
604
Ability
Ability to instill self-doubt, turmoil and intimidation
Clandestine Intelligence

This was not at all the meeting she had expected. She thought she'd make a few double entendres, see how many times she could make this Director guy blush, then grab some take out with Zach on the way home and eat it in comfy clothes in front of the tv. A slice of fried gold. But it had started with Haleigh being there and gone downhill from there. The one bright spot was the dissing of Sharon and Alycia that was going on, because usually Ashley didn't get to witness that, with Zach usually making her hold her tongue about the two Bitchizons. But on the other side, there was Jake and how Zach was visibly in knots over the boy. That was something she wanted made better asap.

Haleigh was talking a lot. Ashley sighed.

Haleigh: “Zach, I know you only see the best in people and believe they are essentially good, but you need to listen up here, because Jake’s life is at stake.”

Ashley then felt Haleigh's cold, dead eyes on her. It was creepy.

Haleigh: “We should have found it odd that Sharon was always against you. Alycia hated you too, right from the start. If I recall correctly, it had something to do with your history at Hellfire. WHICH…. was a weird position for them to take, given that Sharon herself has been tied to Hellfire since before the internet was invented.”

The first time she had met Alycia, they'd gotten into a fight. A physical one, she remembered fondly. Zach, as per usual, stood up for Sharon, saying that she had been there undermining Hellfire. And Haleigh nodded like she agreed. Ashley scoffed and rolled her eyes hard.

"She certainly seemed to be genuinely enjoying the luxe accommodations, free flowing champagne and not-so-discreet females with which to explore her sexuality..."

Of course, Haleigh directed her response to Zach.

Haleigh: “Yes, it seemed so. Yet she retained her membership status despite her mostly ineffective opposition, and let’s not overlook the fact that they gave her the powerset she has, lifting her from mere humanity to Super status. Clearly they had a vested interest in her upgrades.”

It was an odd situation. Did anyone really think if she was even a little bit of a threat to them, the Inner Circle would have let her keep her membership? Let alone her life? Let alone those upgrades? Malice attacked their little friend Litebrite because her boyfriend basically sneezed on precious Haleigh, but she's going to just let Sharon off with not even a strongly worded note? Please.

It was here that Ashley realized it might seem like she was agreeing with Haleigh. But clearly she was not. She was just being truthful about how ridiculous being forced to play nice with Sharon was. The question on Ashley's mind was: would Zach finally listen now that it was Haleigh doing the talking?

Haleigh: “FURTHERMORE, my mother was actually UPSET when I retaliated in Times Square. I thought she’d be PLEASED that I publicly humiliated and exposed the corruption of the vigilante folk hero known as the Silver Swan, but she punished me for it. There’s only one logical explanation. Sharon was an undercover asset, and Malice didn’t appreciate me blowing her spot like that. Unfortunately it follows that if Sharon’s a double agent, then so is Alycia, which honestly explains a lot.”

Zach: “I don’t believe it.”

She had to admit, they certainly didn't act like people who had supposedly been friends with Zach forever. And Ashley had quite enjoyed that show in Times Square, herself. She was on Zach's side here, of course, but it was increasingly difficult to stay silent, when this was making a whole hell of a lot of sense. Plus, she hated Sharon and Alycia, so any opportunity to say how she really felt about them was like walking into Valhalla.

Zach: “Clearly you’ve given this theory a lot of thought. Do you have any proof?”

Haleigh: “Would it matter if I did, or would you find some way to excuse her behavior?”

Talking trash on Sharon she could get behind, but talking down to Zach was a non-starter.

"Oh stop being petty - you know it would matter. Though, he did make sure your former team came to rescue you rather than kill you when you became a double agent, so Sharon might not wind up dead, but you can believe he'll understand who he's dealing with."

Her mouth spread into a cold smile.

"But again - spies - shouldn't you have some sort of evidence? And is this something your mother would have been able to realistically hide from you during your time at Hellfire? Princess?"

Zach: “You and Ava, Dominique and Nicolas, and Ashley, all of you were with Hellfire at some point. That doesn’t mean we can’t trust any of you now.”

Well...

"I wouldn't trust Isis either. Just sayin'."

Surely he'd give her that one. Though she wasn't sure how she felt having him bring up her time at Hellfire like that, lumping her in with Haleigh and Ava, as if they were the same...

Haleigh: “The difference between the Amazons and the rest of us is that we never hid our involvement with Hellfire. We all had our own reasons for joining and we’re up front about it. But the Amazons… The only thing they’re honest about is that they don’t believe they have to answer to anyone, for anything. They do whatever they WANT, and anyone who disagrees with them can get fucked.”

Praise Odin. Finally I'm not the only one who sees this.

Zach: “Look, just tell me what you’re expecting from me here. I mean, why are you telling me all this now, clearly you’ve been suspicious for months. I assume you want me to do something about it?”

I'm sure neither of them were expecting her answer - which was, that Zach should adopt Jake instead.

Zach: “Are you serious?! Is she serious?!”

Griffin: "This is a very serious matter, Zach."

"That you just dropped in his lap with no warning. What kind of place is this?"

She turned towards Zach, trying to gauge his state of mind.

"You need some time to think."

And see what Zizi knows.

She looked at Griffin.

"When will the paperwork be finalized?"
 
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