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  1. Mike throws a card down in the street! (open the spoiler to see which one)
  2. The young clergyman had been prepared for things to escalate. He was just thankful the assailant wasn’t much for attacking, at least not in his docile state. When things began, he was focused and calm, but when Palmer evaporated into his atmospheric base, the crystal on his neck vibrated a sonographic image of his energy signature into Michael’s mind. Even as Imogen’s earth spread around his dissipating form, Dan would find himself— however large or small— within a prism of light that expanded away from him as he became less-than-solid. Its walls, he would find if he could crack the diocese enclosure, were composed of a fine layer of photons charged and sped up to create a solid barrier. A stream of white light still connected his hands to the prism, the estuary near the prism brightening as the photons sped up and became solid. Holding still on the order not to attack the ol’ baddy’s minions, Commager also withheld the temptation to course fire down his limbs. He resisted the urge to swallow air with fire, issue a maybe just demise. Instead he settled for running collateral damage if Palmer was able to escape the marble of earth, walking toward the group and continuously feeding light into the light cell he had made around Imogen’s encasement. The streaming particles dimmed and died around one of his hands as he drew near. “Just like that, huh?”
  3. As the two undercovers slowed in their offshoot from the nightlife, Sevens propped his back against a brick wall across from Ogden in the alleyway. He was within the pale blue of the sun reflecting off the moon, Ogden within the stark black shade that slanted across Seven’s shins. Seven’s intentions had been to loosen Ogden up and perhaps understand the Jericho beneath, and for an honestly good purpose; but one of them betrayed the propensity to toss back maybe a couple too many reflected as conversation deepened into the subject of life and death. “One less fucking snake stalking the garden, right?" Although he couldn’t help but relish the thought of living a life like Jericho in his younger days— Michael was in present days consciously fighting to favor peace over death. He was looking for things to let somebody live for, not waiting for any reason to kill them. What he had seen in Jericho, whether true or born of suspicious impetus, was a preference to dispose of annoyances before dealing with them. At least, something on the other side of a certain line from where he stood. When Jericho opened his eyes, it wasn’t in the beam of the drunken compadre’s eyes; it wasn’t the mysterious follower that Matte had been either; for an instant, Jericho might see in his gaze’s venture to the stars a peripheral journey to hell. A peripheral journey into the boundless eyes of Terran Peacekeeper No. 5. But in the same instant, Michael blinked to Matte and then Matte blinked to Sevens. "How about you?" There was a pause as, for maybe that nstant the guise recomposed. Opportune or not, right there in that moderately secluded nighttime alleyway, a discrete but major exposure had just wrought itself upon the agents. Luckily, Tori could confirm for the moment that they had no intruders. Beneath Ogden and Sevens, and abruptly for Jericho beneath even himself and Matte, there might manifest a layer in Matte’s eyes that needed peeling way. Perhaps a bold claim that need be made. Jericho, Matte thought, was suitable enough to know of his broader mission; but just exactly as much as he must for now. “I wish to save those who are willing to be saved,” he responded. There was only the briefest of pauses afterward to indicate that this meant anything different than Jericho had meant before Matte cut to the chase. “I know about the gauntlets. I’ve been looking for one of the owners for some time.” Even in his slight inebriation, Michael anticipated the friction this revelation might carry. It came with spread hands and a quick follow-up. “I knew right away that it wasn’t you,” he said, “but the owner of the other one killed my fiance in Casper.” He said this last part with real-seeming zeal, summoning some of his own real, historic pain for a visual picture of sadness that materialized the imaginary death of Matte’s family. Matte’s pain shone in his eyes as a reflection of some genuine discontent Michael carried, always ready like a catch-all actors uses when they needed to cry on cue. “I need to find the other one,” he said, clenching his fist and looking up with the stone face of a widowed lover.
  4. "I've heard of rolling dice, but usually on a craps table or in an alley. And I'm asking you about dancing because you wanted to go to a club and all we've done is sit in the corner and get drunk. Coulda done that at home. So yeah, sure, I'm asking." Sevens grinned at Ogden’s obliviousness. His idea of a dice roll in this context had nothing to do with actual dice. Furthermore, Jericho didn’t know how aware— how painfully aware— Matte was of the gauntlets and their potential. Getting out of their unit’s claustrophobic space, dancing or not, did wonders for Matte’s paranoia. He watched Ogden move for the dancefloor and assimilate himself in, finishing his current drink and ordering another before taking its full container to the floor with him, where he proceeded to show Ogden what he’d meant by ‘rolling the dice.’ At first, his dancing only consisted of a sway of the shoulders. As the alcohol set in, the crowd and lights closed in, Ogden and Sevens lolled this way and lulled that with the beat. Light burst in bright pinks and greens against their faces, yellow microcosms dancing in the air between them. Matte closed his eyes and tilted his head back, willing his brains to slosh back in inebriation. More than peacocking, here he swallowed the despair that came with being adrift away from home. Later that night, when boys and girls left arm in arm and lechers smoked alone, Ogden and Sevens walked down the alleyway home with the peculiarity of fresh air permeating their nostrils. Theirs was one of the solitary rivulets of people splitting off from the club. When they were well alone on a stretch of road with no houses nearby, no prying ears to hear an inside voice, Sevens cocked his head to the side. “Hey, I’ve been wondering something.. Like something real, about the estate where this all began… How does it make you feel when you, you know—” Sevens made a slicing motion at his own neck with the pointer finger, “somebody.”
  5. Some of the greatest battles in history had been won in singular fell swoops. Michael had been there, so he knew. However, the gruesome truth was that most fights were not won in fell swoops; they were won by excising bloody chunks from the enemy one by one, hacking away scraps and limbs until there wasn’t enough left for the brain to pump function into anymore. Michael was fond of a scalpel between the third and fourth ribs, but he wasn’t altogether averse to the other method. Bathed in blood, dried, and dipped a second time, Michael was no foreigner to people like Dan. He had studied the quarry with hooded eyelids en route to Genesaris, betraying no more excitement to himself than he would any other mid-level threat, and with him from Terrenus had brought terrific calm and understanding of Palmer as well as the terrific experience that had excelled him in Terrenus. Genesaris was a different land but this was still Valucre, the Mother’s land, and the sun that shone upon them was still the eye of Gaia. Dan was fast, but Michael was smart— or rather, his crystals were smart. After Michael’s introduction to Shanti’s Crystal and the Oculus’ configuration into Tori one year ago, the Terran Peacekeeper had begun a conscious interface between all five of his possessed crystals. Although there was no indication to the mundane eye that they even existed, they spoke with one another and conferred with Michael actively. A black one in his right shoulder, two, one blue and one red, attached to the heavenly sword’s hilt on a leather belt at his white hip; one magenta on a band around his neck; and one crimson that floated behind him, acting as the brain between them all; these crystals formed a lattice of light that exchanged information at an unbelievable pace. Michael made full use of the 20 feet between him and Dan. His goal wasn’t to crush Palmer, just capture him; issue the gentle stab over the heavy gavel. As such, when the vagabond moved for the warrior, there was no volcanic utterance or abyssal void of decay from his fist; but Commager wasn’t duped by Palmer’s speed either. All it took was some elementary knowledge of footwork and trajectory to know that Dan’s haste would lead him to a rather precocious spot behind Michael’s back, so the young clergyman rolled to the side in Imogen’s dirt. He released his clenched fist, the bowling ball of light dispersing into a cloud that Palmer ran right through. Michael having maintained poised motion and rolled into the direction from which Palmer came, he had verily removed himself as a target by the time Palmer passed him by going ~70 mph. As such, Palmer would likely continue onward to molest the clergymen— but not before metaphorically signing the waiver for a bondage session between him and Commager to begin. The cloud of light through which Palmer ran stuck with him, filaments clinging to his flesh and clothing as he continued on to stick his hands in the clergy’s pants. Michael rolled on his right shoulder, left leg scraping through the dirt as his right boot stamped down. There was something coiled up the momentous white-haired man’s arm, around his shoulder, attached to his very soul. A beam of light that twisted down his arm and eked through the diamond enclosure of his fingers connected the boy with augmented strength to the man with augmented speed. Then Daniel Palmer was caught with some of Imogen’s earth, further compounding the unlikeliness of his escape. At first, the cloud of sparkling light would feel like nothing; but as Palmer grew farther from the posted Michael, he would find that like a chinese finger trap, the magically charged particles of light were constricting into heavy, warm bands that pulled his arms and legs in toward his center, pulling him harder and harder into the fetal position. If he looked back, he would see Michael with fire in his eyes pulling, pulling like a hungry cattle wrangler with some beef on the lasso. Dan made to fly away . . . and Michael issued one mighty jerk, like the downward thrust of a battle rope slam. When the earth’s magnetic forces, the strength of the Bull Ring, and the power of the rope’s momentum all acted on Palmer simultaneously, they would subsequently slam him down into the ground in a ball the moment he leaped, the sunlight hardening and progressively gathering around him in a shining cocoon that was fed by the band leading from Mike’s hand, leaving only the criminal’s face exposed. “Why would you run into a group of people who are trying to capture you?” Michael asked, deadpan. There was in his voice neither insult nor humor. The reality was that Michael caught himself associating Palmer’s arrogance with Genesarians and had to reel himself back, remember that Palmer was just one man in Genesaris.
  6. Shikai had already attached himself to the undercover supposed First Officer. The ginger’s presence was a confusing one. Perhaps more unsettling than a clear disposition was somebody who wore a smile on their face, but let just enough slip through the eyes for the keen observer to know something was amiss; somebody who carried with them one of the Dead aurae. Cain’s was one of something hungry. Something suppressed. Why, if he had reached such lofty status that he do what he like in the shadows, did he still walk among men? “None of us are flying solo,” said Cain. While the rest of their exchange had been relatively lighthearted, his were hard words. His extended arm was not a request. The three walked in together, arms linked, and it wasn’t even a strange sight. There were crossdressers, dancing waitresses, peacock feathers and confetti. In glass cases and open enclosures were obnoxious art fixtures and sculptures. Crowds of people surrounded them all, some harnessing the attention of larger groups than others. One such display had acquired quite the entourage. Picture flashes splashed across the alabaster installment. Upon a slab of black granite, feet sinking in as if the neverending sink were impending, were planted two muscular legs. Instead of one figure extending from the naked male waistline, however, were two torsos. The arms were twisted together in struggle, hands pushing against one another as if trying to separate from one another violent. Their faces were twisted in pain, irisless eyes gazing off in despair infinitum. There was one man before this landmark who stood above the rest. He wore a pretentiously cocked stetson and round spectacles, a black turtleneck and pants, and flipfliips. His skin was as pale as the fluorescent light, the only visible hair on his body the painfully triangular soul patch perfectly centered beneath his lower lip. He did not speak to the paparazzi, he did not smile, he did not so much as alter his posture; the windows of Keli’s spectacles, pressed against his very eye sockets so as to expose nothing beneath, gazed unwaveringly through the crowd. It appeared as if he was looking at the operatives, but as they probed around the left side of the group, his neck did not shift. He simply stared ahead, arms folded as his work and him were photographically admired. “Who are you?” Suddenly, Black was standing beside the Dead Mistress. Even wearing a white shirt with a black tie and black slacks and shoes, all of strikingly good quality, his scruffy black hair and bagged eyes tagged the entrepreneur of the Hero’s Lounge a real bum. His blank eyes indicative of long staring and lights in the darkness looked incapable of great surprise; they simply reflected matter-of-factly on her. Then his eyes made their way past her, to the red-haired man in the center, and perhaps a glimpse of surprise could be seen. Then, deadpan disappointment. “Are you here to kill me again?” he said to Cain, who looked off and pretended the moderate buzz had drowned Black out. Black was no stranger to Cain’s tactics, and so directed them toward Keli. “So this is Keli’s display. The thing about his works is, people worry because they’re so realistic that he’s been abducting people and using quite real examples to create his sculptures. Looking at this sad beauty, it’s not a far cry from possible. He’s the one who knows where Mykur is though, so he’s the one we have to get close to. There is an auction for this piece at the end of the night. Can we use that to get close to him? Any ideas?” Black looked around, Cain having disengaged his arms from Shikai and the Mistress and pointledly making his way away from Black. The operatives had been made aware earlier that the Dead had no shortage of resources to work with here, including financial, so the possibilities were endless given some creativity.
  7. There was a part of Sevens that needed unwinding which in all likelihood did not exist in Ogden. The part that kept him awake at night, wondering what his flatmate was up to. What he dreamt about; if he was sleeping at all. A drink would let them blow off some steam, and if Sevens hadn't seen anything of Ogden's truer self in a while then maybe it would ease his mind to see a pseudo-slip of something real. "She'll show," said Sevens as he took another bite of his lightly seasoned bread. He had lost many a comrade in his day, and it resolved in his lackadaisical demeanor in the face of Harper's absence. He struck right to the core of the utility vs. attachment argument as they sat at their singular venue later. "How long have you known her?" Sevens swirled something dark in his liquid, whiskey or brandy. Music that was more subdued and tranquil than that of some of the hotter spots in Terrenus drifted in the background, some people swaying casually on a pleasantly lit area of tile. "I do!" he said, perking up over the glass. "Ever heard of the dice roll?" Then, a more serious expression appraised the potential for humor in this situation. "Why? Are you.. are you asking me to dance?"
  8. Michael had started life quite alone. Found swaddled on the banks of Day River, to present day he never found out the place from where he came; it took him time to learn how to live with the resulting sense of abandonment. One could lash out— and he did— or destroy themselves entirely, but he persevered to survive. Only ever having wanted to hold the loving trust of even one person in his heart, once the young Commager attained that he was off to even greater horizons. The man before Draug had donned many hats in recent years; peacekeeper, regent, lover, soon-to-be father. First and foremost, however, Michael's goal since being found by a world worth saving was to grow stronger every day and protect it with all his might. Thus it was that Aspyn had come to be and continued to grow, this was no secret. When Rhavon told the strapping, 6' white-haired young man of his potential contributions to Aspyn, Michael turned his cyans on him with something uncharacteristically less than excitement? "Ahh, we actually do have a higher education unit coming in from Tia. Have you received news of the city's fall yet?" Michael's tone and face were grim, but the prospect of a connection and the school in question's survival did help assuage his sorrows for Terrenus a little. Nearby, a woman with Draug's blueprints in her hands began showing the schematics to a crew of workers.
  9. My First Lieutenant in the Terran military, Barrett appears to be an imp. But in fact he is a hyper-reproductive sentient algae called barrettia chlorophyta. I am fine tuning the specifics through story, but he is the amalgam of all this algae that exists. Barrettia was created from bacteria which rapidly cooled when Shawnee Glacier overtook the Wastelands.
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