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Los Angeles Excaliburs engage Alien Machines

Posted by hyperspace on 2008.03.17 at 21:36
Scanning from a distance, it has been found that the alien spires are affecting the atmosphere. In close proximity to the landing sites the oxygen content has dropped by 5% and plant life has deteriorated significantly. The mobile objects deployed by the spires have begun approaching inhabited areas...

A shadow falls over the outlying residences North of Los Angeles. A vast construct, slate grey and haphazardly plated, hovers above the Earth. Its rumbling repulsors are not visible from the outside, yet its presence causes the ground beneath to vibrate. Most of the population have already fled and those that remain are locked in their homes. The 50 metre tall object trails a heavy cable behind it. The segmented, metallic tail snakes along the ground to a similarly alien spire several kilometres away, the top barely visible in the distance. The cable gouges the earth and scrapes along the hard road as it moves.

Several tanks and squads of men with rocket launchers and mortars are waiting out beyind the city's edge. They don't have the authorisation to fire, and wait with weapons aimed. A team of 'specialists' have been called in to deal with this situation, and so they stand ready, prepared in case hostility ensues.

Felix, codenamed Guardian, stood watching the ... invader? Visitor? Who knew what it was. Which was why he, and the other Excalibur members, were here. They had to find out if these things were hostile. And if they were hostile ... kill them. With extreme prejudice. He reached up to tug at the collar of his gray-and-black uniform, gold cat-eyes slitted. The lean, 5' 10" brown-haired lion-shifter was still in human form, for the moment, though he was sure he'd be lion soon enough. He glanced over at the army personnel, then glanced behind him at Tribulation and Mastermine. "This is going to get ugly." He says. Understatement of the century. All it'll take it one itchy trigger finger, on either side, to make it all go to hell in a handbasket.

Michelle Pavlos, known more commonly as the superheroine Mastermime, returns a look to Felix. Contrary to her the mime persona that she has adopted, judging by the white facepaint (with black around her eyes, of course), the black pants with suspenders, her black pigtails and the horizontally striped shirt, she seems quite willing to speak. The only colourful detail on her costume is a red tophat with the letters, 'MM' on it. "Don't say things like that, Guardian," she notes meekly, "if you say things like that, they're gonna come true." She crosses her arms and gives an exaggerated frown. Her beanpole build makes her gender rather ambiguous when she isn't speaking, though her voice is rather feminine. She glances around at the scene, ready for just about anything to happen.

With a clap on the ground as he walks, Tribulation, the masked teleporter, with a duster, down to his ankles and a gray and black uniform similar to Guardian's stands behind and to the right of the leader. "Well, this group is 'special' for sure." He says as his head turns left and right to see who's accompanying them. The katana on his hip is waiting to be unsheathed as one finger taps on the hilt in silent pause.

Specialists... Fia looks over the weaponry of the men assembled to fight in case something goes wrong. This is way beyond their scope and they should really... well, what SHOULD they do, really? Step out of the way and let someone like her step in, the teenage girl thinks. Clad in loose khaki pants, sandals, and a white tank top, the girl is obviously of Spanish heritage - brown skinned with long wavy hair. Black rubberized gloves cover her hands - for reasons of power control, most likely. She stands at the front of a store she just came out of, some CDs jammed in one of the cargo pockets of her jeans as a puzzled security guard in the back is wondering why his entire system just went dead.

The alien construct moves ponderously slowly through the air. Car alarms go off as they are bounced by the juddering ground. A few windows crack. From some angular cracks in the armour near the bottom of the hovering machine drop six man-sized objects. The things look like supersized toasters in the same angular slate-grey as their 'mothership', sprouting various thin spines and rectangular fins. They fall until about two metres above the ground, where they bob for a moment before stabilising their altitude. Two more drop from the large craft as the first six start moving toward wailing cars parked on the sides of the street. KA-CRACK! A Cherenkov blue arc flashes between one of the small devices and a car. The car doesn't shut up. In seconds, the rest of the first six surround the vehicle and arcs fire from them. Some of the soldiers twitch and several sergeants immediately give the hand signal for 'hold your fire'. This time, the hostile-looking, crackling arcs are sustained, linking the flying toasters with the car. It slowly raises into the air above them and they raise up with it. There is a thunderous, ear-popping crack several times louder than the first and a massive arc links the massive craft with the car. The small drones let go and the vehicle is hauled up into the crevices above with blinding speed. They start moving toward the next alarmed car. There is muttering amongst some of the soldiers, followed by harsh words from their superiors to cut the chatter.

Felix flinches at the racket from the cars, and growls when the man-size things drop out. "Steady." It's as much for him as for the other two. He flinches again when the toasters start fricasseeing one of the cars. "What the ... was that an attack or did they decide the car wanted to join the collective?" He asks rhetorically. He eyes the army types. Talk about twitchy trigger fingers. Not that he blames them.

Mastermime glances between Guardian and Tribulation a few times to check their reactions to what's going on. She tries to sound confident, and notes, "They don't seem that tough." Internally, she's not quite as confident, but with her mime persona comes the ability to act calm. "I was kinda hoping they were going to be friendly, though..."

Continuing with the quips. "Where's the short bus we're supposed to ride int- WHOA!" Shouts Tribulation as the arcs start to fly and eventually they lift up an entire car. That's not too impressive any more, but if you don't have super strength, it is. "I think they did Guardian." He says before his hand starts to relocate itself on the sheath in order to ceremoniously unsheathe his blade. "When are they ever friendly Mimey, when?"

Color Fia impressed - she can feel the electricity buzzing throughout her body. With that much... it makes her hungry. Still she waits though, looking for all the world like an innocent bystander - only suspiciously out of place. The store behind her has by this point emptied out of people, yet she continues to gaze as if in a trance. "I don't think that sword's gonna do much," she comments idly, "Unless you got something else up your sleeve."

Another car flies up and disappears into the craft. There are some screams and worried shouts from down the street as an elderly man dashes out of a house and tries to get into his car. His wife is yelling at him to come back inside as he tries to call her to get in. She tugs at his arm, the old man gripping the steering wheel resolutely. It looks like he's trying to save the vehicle from being abducted. Four of the drones are headed toward the car, while the other four lift up another nearby. It, too, is hauled up into the hovering devourer. The troops look anxious. It can be read in their faces that they want to take this thing down right now. Still, they wait for the order.

"Steady." It's clearer this time. "Though *that* could be a problem." Felix indicates the loony old man who's more worried about his car than his life. "Mastermime, see what you can do, will you?" She's better with people than he is. His answer to that sort of thing would be to thump the old man into unconsciousness and toss him back into his house.

"Right-o, boss," says Michelle, gesturing herself up a bike. Basically, she just gets onto the invisible bicycle just like a mime would. She even gestures strapping on a helmet. This is done very quickly, though, so that it doesn't take any kind of extra time. Unlike a regular mime, she actually manages to ride quickly off towards the old man in the car. She tries to keep all the drones on one side of herself, sliding her hand along an invisible wall as she rides, so that the drones can't come after her directly. "C'mon, old man," she shouts when she gets close enough for him to hear, "your car isn't worth your life!"

Tribulation takes a step forward, and pauses as he watches Mastermime get called into action and not himself. He waits for the order. "Waiting for your call boss." Even though at the drop of a dime he can be gone.

"What're you morons waitin' for? 'course they're hostile!" Fia finally shouts at the group of superheros and the army 'specialists' simply watching and waiting. She can't take it anymore, but then she never was one for a while lot of patience. She focuses on the large craft floating above them, eyes travelling down the trailing cable until it disappears off into the distance. "Ain't you guys ever seen Independence Day? This is the part where the giant laser comes and fries us," the girl intones as she begins to take off her gloves with obvious importance being placed on the action. They're folded up neatly and shoved into one of her pockets, as she flexes her fingers a little.

The old man shouts at Mastermime, "I'm not giving her up! My baby's been with me for over thirty years!" It is an old car, a well-maintained silver Corvette at that. His wife is still screaming and pulling at him. The drones collide with the invisible wall and stop. Another car elsewhere in the street is launched up and vanishes into the depths of the machine. With most of the cars on the street removed and one walled off, the drones start gathering directly below the hovering craft. A hollow silence fills the air. For a moment, it seems as if the rumbling has ceased and the ground has stopped shaking. The silence is quickly broken by a staccato of loud, metallic screams as metre-long shards of metal fly out of the machine at incredible velocity. They strike several nearby houses, blasting the rooftops to fragments and throwing shrapnel all over the street. The drones aim their arcs upward and catch a fair quantity of the flying fragments, then gathering them in piles on the road surface. The troops and tanks open fire on the machine. The cannons boom and smoke trails from rockets. Impacts over the misshapen panels send ripples of Cherenkov blue over the surface. It appears unharmed. It is shielded. Slowly and purposefully, the behemoth machine turns in the air to bring one of its flat sides to face the army. Shards fly out, screaming as they launch. In a few seconds the tanks are punched into the ground. A few squads suffer casualties by the high-velocity metal aimed at the rocket launchers. The few still able to fire do so, and they too receive deadly chunks of metal. The remaining soldiers turn to run. The drones keep sorting shrapnel by material type. The old man and his wife look on in terror, petrified.

Felix split his attention between the bogies and the people, Fia quickly garnering a good share of his attention. He watched her for a moment with slit-pupiled eyes before motioning to Tribulation, then indicates Fia. "That one's yours. Watch her hands." Then. "Shit. Fuck that. She's right." And then he tilts his head back and roars, the deep-chested sound carrying over the higher-pitched racket. Calling Mastermime back. "Help them!" He bellows, indicating the seriously outgunned army types. "Trib ... see if there're any injured and get them the hell out of here, then get back!" And he 'shifts to lion, needing the access to the speed and strength that body possesses, then tears off towards the beleaguered army units.

Tribulation's hand falls off his sword. "Yeah-" He says and is gone almost before he can finish the word. "Send the weapons guy to clean up the stupid flat scans." He says to himself as he teleports around the sight, grabbing the injured and teleporting them to a 'safer' place. Eventually he comes back and is standing around looking for Gaurdian, "That jerk took off without me." He says as he reaches a hand into a pocket and pulls out a trio of kunai and teleports closer to Mastermime.

Mastermime looks towards the old couple, then shrugs, letting them decide to do what they want. It seems the droids are no longer interested in the car, but she does shout to them, "Get outta here!" before biking off again on her invisible bicycle. After a few moments, when she's closer to the army people, she blinks a few times and then holds out her hands to do a repeat of the 'invisible wall' trick, trying to protect the combatants from the fragments of metal being fired. Of course, even an invisible bike can only go so fast.

"Yeah, watch her hands!" Fia echoes. As soon as the shards of metal begin to reign down, a thick, heavy smell of ozone begins to permeate the air. Then all of a sudden, the air cracks in much the same way as it did for the alien invaders, only this time, the electric arc is coming from Fia - a constant humming and crackling that would make one's hair stand on end accompanying it, with sparks and tiny arcs of electricity dancing around her body. Several of the shards seem to be caught under her control, stopping suddenly and before they reach the ground. She screws up her face in effort, but stops once the shards are halted. The two extra that were headed in her general direction are dropped, falling to the ground with a harmless clank. She holds the electric 'rope' like a lasso, begins to spin her right hand - and with it, the arc begins to spin, accelerating the speed of the piece of metal. Then with a heavy swing of her arm, as if throwing something, the shard is released momentarily, sending it rocketing towards one of the drones fast enough to whistle like artillery. The air is cut again though as she creates another stream, flowing towards the drone; it jumps to the flying projectile first, and then arcs again towards the drone, creating a sort of track for the metal to travel down for better accuracy.

The soldiers don't complain about teleported out. In fact, many of them are grateful. A few are severely wounded from the shrapnel and many have died from their wounds. Meanwhile, the elderly couple have finally agreed to get in the car and have zoomed off down the road. A metal rail hurled by Fia smashes into one drone, wrenching the front of it off. It sputters and falls to the ground. Blue sparks fly out of it. High above, the destroyer starts tilting to face downward. A front-mounted battery opens up, launching shards in Fia's direction. More shots go out the sides of the invader, into buildings and a few remaining soldiers. Mastermime's wall stands strong against much of the flying shrapnel, but the projectiles hurled by the mass drivers are not slowed noticeably.

Felix cussed a blue streak as the behemoth really started throwing the shrapnel around. He flung himself to one side as a bigger piece of shrapnel slammed through Mime's shied. Something slashed across one shoulder and his side, making him bellow in pain as he rolled. He got to his feet and roared, hoping the sound would carry over the mayhem ... signaling the Excaliburs to get the hell out of Dodge while they still could, then turned and limp-ran towards relative safety.

"Well shit," Fia has the chance to yell - she's already breathing heavily and has no time to gather more energy from the surrounding area with which to counter the attack. "Fine, bring it on," she pants, throwing up her hands. Electricity begins to surge TO her body from the surrounding area - out of lamp posts, signs, wherever, the light show shattering windows while small metal bits actually levitate in midair around her. The atmosphere becomes so heavy with ozone as to give someone a headache. Her clothes begin to catch fire due to the intense heat - eyes alight with electricity, she takes all this barely controlled, excess energy and focuses it on the incoming wall of projectiles - severe burns appear on her body as she continues sucking in more and more juice, apparently regardless of her own physical well being - apparently attempting to hold or slow the attack until others can get away. She screams towards Felix, "FASTER!" as the electrical stream extends to those projectiles coming for him - knowing that she's doomed anyway, even if she manages to save herself from this barrage, another one will be forthcoming. She finally bit off more than she could chew. And then things seem to get easier - the stream gets larger; but the girl's own body is burning itself to ash - already some of the flesh on her arms is burned down to the bone, her hands almost skeletal. The process is quickly accelerated, as she close her eyes - the light. Beautiful light. And then she's gone, and seconds later the streams holding back the attack disappear, the area where she stood almost immediately being bulldozed into a pile of rubble.

Hearing Felix's roar, Michelle grimaces and says, "Gotta get outta here... Gotta get outta here..." She notices that her wall isn't protecting against some of the projectiles, and so gives up making it completely in favor of something completely else. She would be turned into a fine red paste by now if it weren't for Fia's slowing down the projectiles, but that slowness gives her enough time to leap off of her invisible bike, mime putting on some aviator's goggles, and puts some kind of invisible object on her back. The object's use becomes clear only after Mastermime 'powers it up' and flies off with the use of an invisible jetpack. Unfortunately, she doesn't know how to pilot a jetpack, a thought that occurred too late for the young heroine. Her landing, a ways away, in the direction that Felix went off to, is rather unceremonious. While the impact doesn't kill her, since as soon as she impacts the 'jetpack' ceases to be, it definitely makes her limbs do stuff that limbs aren't supposed to ever do, and if she doesn't get treated within the next few hours, she's going to be as dead as Fia.

A shard passes through where Tribulation stood moments ago, the teleporter having evacuated the area. The fallen mime is ignored by the massive craft and its drones. One somewhat battered soldier picks Mastermime up and trudges off after Felix. The invader ignores the scattered remnants of the army and the fleeing heroes. It returns to its work, devastating the buildings with hailstorms of metal. More small drones deploy from the craft. They gather more shrapnel and sort it into piles. The powerful arcs from the craft haul the collections of metal, ceramic and even flesh and blood up into the crevices. Methodically, it clears the area in its immediate vicinity of everything man or man-made, sorting and drawing all the matter into itself. This machine is not here to wage war. It is here to strip the land bare.

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