2018.12.18 Hypnagogia: Flight

From City of Hope MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Hypnagogia: Flight
After spending some time decorating for a Christmas party at Roasters, Mike and Amethyst accompany Bieta and Kasia to the local mall in Prospect so Kasia can see Santa and Bieta can do some Christmas shopping. Bieta meets up with Catherine and Fenix just as the technocracy arrange for the evacuation of the mall. When the group tries to slip out of the back of the mall, the technocracy gives pursuit.
IC Date Dec. 18, 2018
IC Time 17:00 p.m.- 19:00 p.m.
Players Aerie ST, Amethyst, Bieta, Catherine, Corban, Fenix, Merek, Mike, Serenity, Yukiko, Valentina, Sumter, Vertigo, Richard
Location Roaster's Basement/Local Prospect Mall
Spheres Mage and Shen

Newly replaced wooden stairs descend down into a clean, welcoming basement. One of those lift chairs have been built along the railing to make the steep slope handicap accessible. The basement is a little on the cool side and the walls are left to the bare brick. The lighting is pleasantly soft with warm circles of light instead of harsh fluorescents. A large, round table has been set up in the middle of the room with 13 chairs around the perimeter, but room enough for more. There is also a couch and a TV, a small washer and dryer in a closet off on one end, a little kitchen area with a small stove, and of course the smell of coffee wafts down constantly. There is a dumb-waiter built in against one of the kitchen walls to transport food - or whatever - up and down from above. Against one wall is a bright red phone booth. There is one entire room dedicated to a communal library.

Serenity parades the small electronic device taken from Val - but pockets it in her jacket to listen to later; the walkman and tape. Her eyes on Vertigo, "Is Predestination always a trap? Or are we -really- trapped already? How far can we escape our own choices?", Serenity says with a shrug. "Or are we just repeating the same mistakes - time after time? Time is weird and I wish I could make an observational clock. Can we make a space-tower?", she asked not knowing what might be possible.

Yukiko is sitting on the couch, sitting crosslegged and sipping some wonderful tea given to her by Serenity. She takes out her own phone from her satchel, peering at the message given to her by Vertigo. She turns it off for now, and returns it. Then she takes out the black notebook with a cute little fox sticker on the front of it, and flips though it until she reaches near the back. It's full of stuff, writing, symbols, drawings she made, and lots of math with different branches and other nonsense, and she starts to work in it idly. They are talking about stuff she has no part of, and it's best if she does not chime in on it.

"Well that is the issue, probabilities are only that. All possible outcomes happen." Val grunts a little, taking a deep drag of her joint. "Take for instance, that one of me has banged every person in this room absolutely silly. Wich for the record makes public speaking a lot easier." A wave of her hand in the air, blowing smoke through her nose like some sort of weird ass pink dragon. "Because it can happen, it has happened. Thus, the only one you answer for is yourself." Her eyes slowly move to Serenity. "You tried to help people. You mostly failed. This is life. The longer you live, the more you fail. Failure is the mark of a life well lived. In turn, the only way to live without failure is to be of no use to anyone. Trust me, I’ve practiced."

Sumter can be found sitting in the smoker's corner, brooding quietly as he pulls at one of his stout cigars. He looks over to Serenity with a shrug of the shoulders. "Ever'thing we do, we pay for. One way or t' other. At the end of the day, we're alone with the things we've done," he says grimly. He peers a bit at Val through a gust of cigar smoke. "I'd like t' think we're more than jest our failures," he says simply. "There's still plenty o' good out there in the world. Jest gotta look for it is all."

"It's all just probability and statistical data, really. If you really looked foward in time, you'd already have altered the events in some way. So the time you're seeing has already changed in reality. But it doesn't mean it's not a useful thing to be able to do." Vertigo explains to Serenity. "As far as repeating the same mistakes. Well, yeah a lot of people do. But we all have choices. Most people just choose to be dumb asses."

Dashing through the nonexistent snoooow, in a one horse open---Heeeey, it's Amethyst. Strutting down the stairs, with a big box of ornaments, talking with someone behind her. "...whoa.. okay, I suppose a lesbian me exists somewhere, but -not- here, yo," is the sunset-haired girl's greeting as she comes into sight, having overheard some of the things. She sports black skin-tight trouser jeggings that look classy, and a simple fitted black v-neck tshirt over it all, and is in black wedges with a splash of rhinestones over the top strap. Her toes are asparkle with glitter polish, as are her fingertips, and OH WTF, for once, she's actually wearing pretty neutral makeup with bright red lips to match the ends of her hair, and her sunset-hued hair is pinned up in a neat chopstick bun. The world is ending, the potsmoking millenial is dressed up. DOOOOM.

Bieta stops at the dumbwaiter to pick up her peppermint hot chocolate. She looks at Amethyst for a spell before moving to one of the tables. She takes a few sips of her drink, winces and sets the cup down. "How did this subject get started, Amethyst?" Peeking up from her notebook as Bieta and Amethyst arrive, Yukiko offers a wave to them, saying "Hello there! Welcome to this crazy not-a-party we are having. People come and go!" Her english is heavily accented, as is typical. "Do you need some help?" She asks, pointed to Amethyst with the decorations she brought down with her.

Serenity nods - listening to them all and trying to absorb what she could. "I should probably head out. My thoughts are bursting out my ears and I think most of them are stupid.", as she looks to Amethyst. "Can I crash at your place tonight?", she asks with a shrug and waving off the other methods of enlightenment that Val and Vertigo offered. "I think I want to stay sober tonight. Maybe hit the two day mark.", as she then cleaned the kitchen of any mess she made during tea creation.

"Something something spaghetti until it gets wet." Val responds to Amethyst with a small wave of her hand. Her eyebrows raise for a moment, tilting her face at Serenity. "Remember, find the most important words a man can say."

Sumter looks over to the stairs, seeing Amethyst arrive. "Oh. Howdy, li'l miss Amethyst," he says. He looks like he's about to add to that, when he spies Bieta. His eyes get wide. "Dr. Dynma?" He boggles a little bit. At least he's not brooding anymore. More boggled, perhaps even baffled. "Well ho-lee shit. I had no idea you was Wakened too."

Bieta says, "Good evening!" She begins staring at the other people in the room and her blinks when Sumter addresses her. "It is good to see everyone again." Her gaze shifts to Yukiko and she extends a hand to the young woman saying, "Dr. Elżbieta Dymna is a name by which I am called."

Mike comes down the steps, pausing at realizing exactly how many people are down there. He'd shudder, turn, hesitate and grit his teeth, then slowly turn back around. Quietly making his way the rest of the way down the steps, he'd kind of keep to the edge of the room, scooting over to the growing space of random holiday specific items that's being spread out for the party. "You can do this.. you can do this.." He'd mutter, mostly to himself.

Amethyst grins at Bieta. "Sorry, nonsequitor.. my bad. I was totally responding to Val's theoretical multiple reality realization butterfly effect thing there. Being a lesbian has nothin' to do with ornaments. This should be the last that Mike wanted brought over." Ame looks to Val, with a sad smile. "Sorry. I'm hard-Coded otherwise. There is no do, only do not." Wiggle, waggle, the box clinks and jangles. "I think I got this -- WHOA. Kawaaaaaaiiiii. Hi!" Could only be at Yukiko. "Serenity, my sister-from-another-mister, you are -always- welcome to crash at my place. You're set up with the AI, you're good." Sumter gets a smile from the girl. "Hey dude. Harley purring again like a good dragon?" The box is set down gently, and, Amethyst turns back because oh god, poor Mike was behind her... "Dude. Need a boost?" She holds up her hands and wriggles her fingers in question.

Vertigo upnods to the newcomers, then watches Mike skitter to the corner. Her head tilts a bit. Hmm. He seems shy. There's really only one proper thing to do in this situation. "MIKEY BOY!" She calls out with a bright grin, making her way over to the hidey-corner. "How they hell are ya, buddy?!" She asks, slapping him on the shoulder.

Sumter reaches over to snuff his cigar out in the ashtray, rising to his feet. "Yes'm it is. I 'preciate the use of the truck. I gassed 'er up afore I dropped it back off at yer place," he says. "Wish't I could stick around an' talk at y'all, but I should oughter be gittin' back." He flips everyone a two-fingered salute. "Y'all take care now, y'hear?" Bieta is given a nod. "We should talk some time, doctor," he says, before he turns and lumbers for the stairs.

Mike hesitates, then winces with a visible flinch at Vert's calling out. He'd look over at her and sighs softly, reaching up to rub at his face. "Not.. well.. I'm.. trying. This is rough.." he'd sigh a little then motions to the christmas tree. "It looks weak."

Val in turn, rises, she gives a slow nod. "Take care of all yourselves." Then her hands grab her things, stuffing them along with said hands into her pockets. And up the stairs she goes.

Looking a bit tired; Serenity gets sleepy and waves or hugs everyone goodbye as desired. "Well, have a good night all.", grabbing her stuff to head out. "See you tomorrow!", as she double checks she has everything. Yuki blinks at Amethyst as she yells out that word, it sounds funny at first, but she offers a smile and a wave! "Hello!" A moment passes, she then speaks up "Nihongo hanasemasu ka?" To Amethyst, because she's using the words, maybe she can speak it! She closes her notebook and tucks it away, watching her for a few moments, turning to look at the man she was talking to. "Mike! Hello there!" She calls out to him, greeting him as a friend!

Mike glances to Amethyst with a weak smile, shaking his head a little. "I'll.. deal. Yeah? Thanks.." Looking over to Yuki, he waves a little, switching to that japanese for her. <<Greetings, Saito-san. I'm sorry for not being friendlier.. crowds.. are rough.. You are well?>>

Vertigo looks over at the tree, shrugging. "Needs more color. Maybe some skulls. Blinking skulls. Get those lights that blink to music and get some hook up some beats. Make it a party. Christmas is about getting together, having fun, and eating as much KFC as you can handle." She explains before she leaves poor Mike with a little space and walks over to Bieta. "Hey, you and K doing alright?"

Bieta looks at Vertigo and says, "So far. Mike and I will take her Christmas shopping and to see Santa later." Bieta looks over at Mike and says, "Are you going to be alright at the mall, Mike?"

Amethyst can understand it, thanks to SCIENCE! but shakes her head. "I don't have that app running, currently. But hey, I'm Amethyst. Annnnnnd if you're here, you're part of the cool kid's club. Welcome. Also, you're adorable." So not shy. She nods once to Mike, amber eyes serious for a moment. "If you're sure." She grins at Bieta. "Man, you got friends everywhere." To the box, batman! The dressed-up girl is on a mission, and totes the box over to the Christmas tree. "I could probably do that. Got a halloween tree at my place, year round.. then again.. spirits.. heh.. it's -always- Halloween at my place.." she hmms, framing the tree between two L-shaped fingers, as if taking a picture, with one eye shut.

Mike understands Japanese because.. well.. he talks it. But that's a different conversation. Mike nods a little to V in agreement, then glances over to Bieta with a weak smile. "I'll manage, Bieta.. You guys need that. So I'll be there. I'll do my best. ok?"

Vertigo nods to Bieta. "Cool. Oh, yeah, what's K's favorite color? I'm making something for her and I need to know." She asks with a grin, her gaze flitting over to watch Ame for a moment. "Goth trees are pretty pimp. I knew this chick who had one back in the day." she states before returning her attention to Bieta.

"Well, she has several favorite colors but I think she will like anything purple," says Bieta. Bieta picks up her cup of cocoa and sips. She then moves over towards Mike and the tree. Yuki smiles broadly at Amethyst, saying "Aww! Thank you! You are pretty!" She uncrosses her legs, and lets them down onto the floor. Unwittingly knocks over that long black case that she quickly props back up proper. If one would notice that the thing is locked by two padlocks and a combo with a thirteen number combo built into it. What ever's inside of that thing, she does not want it to fall into someone's hands easily... it'd seem. She turns her attention to mike, "If you want, you can sit next to me whenever you feel like it!" She taps the sofa to her left, there is a free seat. And if Vertigo is still sitting on the armrest, it'd be right next to her. "Oh! I'm Yukiko Saito, by the way." She offers her name to those who did not know it, she does not want to remain a complete mystery. Just somewhat!

Mike smiles a little to Bieta as she'd come over. He nods a little to Ame, then glances over to Yuki. "Oh.. Thank you, Saito-san. I appreciate it. I'm trying to host a holiday party down here.. But only tell people word of mouth. No posts.. Eloise said so. Hopefully we can have a good time. But I have to get it set up.. and.. try to not bug out at the crowd it may bring.."

Vertigo had moved from the couch to walk around and be more social. "Mike, I'll bring you some plum sake to calm your nerves. I gotta pop in this way anyway to pick up the chicken. Don't even think about getting KFC after like...October in Kyoto. You aren't getting it." She chuckles. "I don't really DO the whole Christmas thing, otherwise. Never was really a good time of year for me growing up. No sad stories coming out of me though."

Bieta looks at Mike and says, "I wonder if we could get some Christmas movies together, an old movie screen and a cinego and play classic Christmas movies like "A Wonderful Life" for those who would be interested. Make popcorn..." Bieta looks down at her hands and says, "I almost wish I was home preparing for Christmas there...so I could invite a few friends to Wigilia."

"Goth trees don't have enough glitter or LEDs," Amethyst chuckles. "I like 'em well enough, tho. Just wish the gafflings would stop fucking with the tree. Worse than cats, some days." She begins the process of untangling the lights. "I love purple," she mumbles more to herself than anyone else. Amber eyes glance sidelong at Yukiko, as she puts lights on the tree slowly, with a grin. "Will do. Yukiko? Totally nice to meet you. I guess Amethyst Wickward is better to say.. I've got the shop across the street, Raven's Treasure Box." She flashes a tattoo on her inner wrist, of Costal Salish artwork, Raven stealing the Sun. "What is Wigilia...?" she asks of Bieta.

Mike hesitates, then shakes his head a little. "Probably better not to. Too many potential options people would ask for.. I mean.. I undersand the desire. But not for this party." He smiles a little to her, then nods. He sighs softly and reaches out to touch Bieta's shoulder. "Stella is working on the wards now. I get the blockers, I get people staged and we're going to raid them to end this. Then it should be able to turn back to normal.." Mike glances over at V and then Yuki, chuckling a little before he'd look over at the candleabra. "I got that for the Hana.. err.. Hanu? Uhm.. that other holiday. I don't want to mis-say it."

Bieta turns and looks at Amethyst, saying, "Wigilia is the Polish tradition of holding a vigil on Christmas Eve. It is usually held by families with maybe a few close friends. Twelve special dishes are made for each month of the year. As long as you eat a little of each dish, you will have luck for all twelve months of the year. We wait until we can see the first star in the sky before we sit down to eat." Yukiko nods slowly as she listens to them, "This Wigilia sounds really interesting! Do you guys eat KFC here for Christmas? I always wondered that. It's what we do back home. My mother coming home with buckets of chicken and stuff was the best night of the year! Well, that and the gifts." She sticks out her tongue, "Vertigo, you might just be one of my favorite people in this room. So colorful, and you got great taste in traditions." She nods sagely at this, "And... Raven's Treasure Box. Wait... Amethyst! I was told to find you! Cody said you could help me out with setting up a sort of base of operations!" She beams, really excited all of the sudden!!

"Be careful, I prey on impressionable asian girls." Vertigo winks at Yukiko. "But nah, for real, I live part time in Kyoto. I was staying in Tokyo for a while but I needed a little more privacy than that offered. As much as I love living in a matchstick box." She explains as she finishes her energy drink, walking over to drop it in the trash can. "KFC there is the bomb and I guess the custom just stuck on me." She look to Amethyst. "Am I the only one that gets a creepy chill down my spine whenever anyone suddenly says they were told to find you?"

Amethyst just siiiiighs with a grin. "I, like, get hunted down all the time. I'm kinda used to it, it's what you get being the unofficial noob greeter and resident technoshaman. Yeah, Cody's like my adorable but annoying little brother, he grows on you. What kinda base of operations you needing, Yukiko?" By now, lights are starting to adorn the tree in a neat, methodical pattern.

"Hanukkah has already passed, Mike," Bieta murmurs to Mike. Bieta drinks more of her cocoa and starts to look around at the contents of the boxes of decorations. She pulls out a plastic sprig of mistletoe with a red ribbon tied in a bow around it.

"I need a place away from the city, somewhere far enough that the light of the city does not drown out the celestial bodies in the sky at night!" Yukiko starts off, really excited about this turn of events, but she collects herself, and ahems softly, "I already got the stuff, I just need a location to set up. Possibly a place that I can expand to make a place to live in. Somewhere with a clear view of the sky... My work also tends to get a bit... flashy, at best, and down right "Gondor calls for aid" at worst."

Mike pauses, frowns, eyes the candles then Bieta. "Really? Blast it.." He'd grumble and go gather up that stuff. "Ok.. then I'm going to go return this. Thanks guys for helping with the tree. I'll be back." He'd wave to the others, then head out, muttering something about stupid candles.

"Wigilia," Amethyst murmurs to herself, as a note for later. "Sounds delicious." Processing, please wait... "You need something outside the city! We can find a place. Gotta make sure the neighbors don't suck. Or, at least won't call the cops thinking you're a meth lab. Sounds like you wanna be up, and not in the forest, yeah? Probably can..." The woman sounds thoughtful, still weaving lights. One light, two light, purple light, blue light..

"Fuckton of desert if you go east enough." Vertigo comments, sitting back down and rummaging through her bag. She frowns a bit as she pulls out empty candy bags. But she does find a Ramune soda. This gets popped open with the little marble ritual.

Bieta drops the fake mistletoe back into the box and she finishes off her hot chocolate. Looking at her watch, Bieta says, "Mike and I need to get Kasia to the mall before Santa goes home for the evening. I will have to see all of you later." Bieta takes her cup over to the dumbwaiter and sends it up to the kitchen above. "I have to go find Mike first."

"Well, I can be anywhere, really, but the light of the city will drown out the light of the everything else. Trust me, there is a night and day difference between doing stuff like this in the proper settings." She gives a streeeetch, and a look over to Vertigo. "You prey on impressionable asian girls, hmm?" She gives a smile, and a cross of the arms. "What makes you think I'm impressionable? Maybe this is all an act~!" She pauses, and shivers, "Stryfe said there were some mean guys out there. At least I can reason with werecritters, most of the time, and beat up any wildlife that won't leave me alone! ....Most of the time."

Amethyst goes serious for a moment, and flicks out a business card from somewhere on her person, offering it to Yukiko between two fingers. "Watch the noob 101 videos," she says gently, and flicks the projector on. Movie time! "We'll discuss werecritters later, yeah? I just want to be sure you'll be safe. And Stryfe is right, there -are- mean humans out there. We'll figure it out. And, if you haven't met Hotsuin Hideaki, you should, he's a good guy and one of us." The girl hmms thoughtfully. "Meh -- I gotta go to the mall, too. No getting around it. V, keep your eyes to the sky." The girl plugs the tree in, at least, and heads for the exit, smartphone in hand.

Fifteen minutes later...

The local Prospect mall has been decked out for Christmas! There is fake greenery and holly everywhere, large ornaments hang from the ceiling, cheep metalic garland is draped along storefront windows. In the center of the mall is set aside a special place for Santa, right next to the gigantic decorated mall's tree. There is a red carpet leading up to the big man's chair and the aisle is lined with big plastic candy canes. Already, there is a long line of children with a mother or father beside them, waiting to see St. Nicholas. Off to the side stand a small retinue of Santa's elves and a photographer willing to take pictures of your child with Santa for a small fee.

Bieta held onto Kasia's hand as they made it through the crowds of Christmas shoppers. Despite Kasis pulling on Bieta's hand, she is making sure they did not get too far ahead of Mike and the others. Inside a nearby store, the grownups have experienced a temporary maturity deficit of a couple of decades as they begin to fight over the last few toys on sale. Bieta looks away from the window just as Kasia jerks free from her grasp. "Kasia!"

Catherine is out shopping as well, looking for gifts for her partner and some friends. She spots Bieta and Kasia and waves to them. She notices Kasia pulling a way and starts heading that way to help head off the little girl from getting too far away and swallowed up by the crowd.

Mike is along with the others in part because he's trying to protect them. In part because, well christmas and this IS part of the whole season for it all and in part.. well.. Personal reasons, as always. Hands gripped onto that backpack's shoulder straps with just shy of white knuckle, Mike focuses mostly on Bieta and Kasia. If he pretends the people aren't there, then he doesn't have to deal with them.. right? Or.. something. Watching as Kasia gets free from Bieta, Mike shuffles along a bit faster, to catch up to her so she can go after her daughter without losing him.

Fenix is slumming on the American side of the border. He didn't spend /much/ time in Prospect proper aside from visiting with Bieta and Kasia, but the holiday season meant there was certain choice shopping to be had over here at the malls and thus, here he had come, looking to procure this or that gift for Kasia. And speak of the devil, there she is! "Kasia! Don't stray too far! Only cats can do that without consequences!"

Amethyst is here. She's drifting along behind Mike and Bieta. Dressed up for once, she wears a black shirt and trousers, offset by black rhinestone wedges made for walking. Her sunset-colored tresses are pinned up neatly and out of the way, bright and bold against the stark formal background of black. She shoulders a handbag instead of a backpack, today, and is ooooooing at all the decorations. "Wow.." she murmurs, as she just sort of drifts along, amber eyes flicking from sight to sight. Is she paying attention? Probably. She trails Mike through the crowd unwaveringly, not running into anyone.

There will be a *blipped* sound heard over the loudspeakers, followed by a murmuring of conversation and confusing, that seems to sweep from the edge of the crowd. There will be a couple mall cops walking by Catherine, from whose walkie talkies she can hear a crackle of static and muttered words by an exasperated superior.

It appears to be some confusion, as to whether the need to suddenly clear this particular section of the mall has to do with a genuine threat, or if it's one of those Homeland Security mandated test runs, in the event of there being an actual emergency. Regardless, in this day and age, such things happen often enough to where most people appear to be more inconvenienced than alarmed.

Here and there, around the perimeters of the immediate area, a few maintenance types can be seen setting out yellow warning signs, to prevent anyone from wandering back in this area.

Ordinarily, most Americans would just shrug and play along. However! There are at least a handful present, who have a very sincere justification for being paranoid. It feels as if one of two things might be happening - that they're either trying to herd everyone in a very specific direction, or else they're attempting to separate the wheat from the chaff.

At the same time. Those that possess Awareness, are going to feel a tiny itch on the back of their neck, as if they were being watched. Not specifically and directly - but most any sensitive Willworker is going to feel the attention, however brief, from a MANAR orbital satellite briefly hovering over them. It's the kind of attention that says that even if you are personally not seen or recognized yet, Something is observing the location.

During this initial period, there will be a few options that those nearby can resort to: They can attempt to go along with the herded crowd towards the exits, though that could be playing right into an obvious trap.

Another possibility is to stay in the same area, but to separate and try to hide.

Another possibility is to come together, in a more active defensive fashion. There could very well be others. But it's hard to shake the sensation that calling upon any obvious powers might have the potential for more harm than good. Even the most slickly pulled off teleportation trick can still be easily traced without much preparation ahead of time to conceal it.

While chasing after her daughter, Bieta gasps and her voice goes up a strained octave, "Kasia, come back!" When Kasia hears her name, she stops to look around at all the bodies still dressed in outer wear bustling around her but finds she can not see anyone. Kasia calls out, "Mr. Fenix!? Ma ma!?" Bieta stops short and picks up her daughter, saying, "Kasia, do not do that again. You scared me!"

Kasia starts to cry and says, "Ma ma, I want to go see Santa!" Bieta looks for Mike and Amethyst. Around this time, many of the patrons are starting to move towards disignated exits. The stores are starting to empty out of their customers and Bieta gets jostled by the moving crowd which seems to be made up of people perpetually in a hurry.

Catherine shows her badge to the mall cop who's trying to usher her away. "In a minute," she says. She then proceeds to step around the rent-a-cop and toward Kasia, or at least Kasia's last seen direction.She's looking around more intently, too, the rising magic making the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She relaxes, seeing Bieta snag the girl, but keeps going toward the pair. "We should get going..."

Fenix arches an eyebrow and accompanies Kasia back towards Bieta, "Maybe we can bring Santa to you, little one," he offers before looking up to Bieta. "Always so much commotion on this sie of the border," he grumbles.

Amethyst freezes, like she hears her favorite song somewhere, with a blank expression. "Wow, that's weird, closing off sections of the mall. I hope the terrorists aren't back again," she mumbles nonchalantly. "I don't hear fire alarms. Yeah.. we should get going.." she looks around for Mike. Where's a Mike?

It doesn't seem like any of the mall cops, or maintenance personnel, are deeply, spiritually invested in demanding compliance. All it really takes is the flash of her badge, for the rent-a-cops to let Catherine do whatever she wants. For all they know, she could be part of the test. It won't be hard to linger, if one's intent is to avoid getting herded towards the obviously narrowed exits, where the press of people would make escape or mobility impossible.

Mike pauses, then something flickers on his glasses, there.. and gone. A frown and he glances around, moving closer to Bieta and Kasia both as they'd get back together. Mike nods to Amethyst slighly as she'd spot him then look to the other two. "Bieta. We have to leave. Now." With that spotting of Catherine who seems to have an easy way to get past the rent-a-cops, Mike would motion her way. "Let's go.. before issues happen."

Now and then, the loudspeaker will make another *blipped* sound followed by a staticky voice announcing something to the effect of this section of the mall closing for the next fifteen minutes owing to some mandated federal readiness test. Also, thank you for shopping at the Prospect Mall, and to have a Happy Holidays.

Bieta listens to her friends and nods. She looks to Catherine and says, "with the crowd or do we need to go a different way?" Bieta adjusts Kasia's weight on her hip and waits for advice from her friends. Catherine looks around at the others, takes a quick poll of looks. "Another way.." she gestures toward one of the bigger stores. "There'll be a back exit or a fire exit that way." Cop that she is, she tends to keep track of those things. She has her badge in one hand, ready to flash at any mall security that get in her way.

Amethyst is more than willing to follow along behind Catherine. Goodness knows, crowds suck for the girl, but she keeps her cool. "Lead the way," she murmurs softly, just loud enough to be heard above the crowd. Not that she says it, but Amethyst is keeping note of rooms and doors they pass by. Restrooms, offices, etc. Things outside of the crowd's view. Habit, always note your exits. Her eyes flick here and there, but, nothing out of the ordinary for someone looking at the passing crowd.

Fenix blinks, brow furrowing. He draws close to Bieta and Kasia, keeping an eye on the child while Bieta navigates the crowd in seach of an exit. "This happen often over here?"

Bieta starts to follow Catherine and Kasia just starts bawling, saying, "I want to see Santa!" Bieta says, "Kasia, we will need to see him next time. We have to leave the mall now because there is an emergency. Santa has to leave the mall too and he will not be here." Bieta looks back at Fenix and says, "No, Mr. Fenix. This is not normal. I will explain once we have left the mall." Beita reaches out for Mike's hand.

Catherine takes the lead, ignoring Kasia's fit, no time for that now. She walks quickly, as quick as she can and hae Bieta keep up in fact, heels clicking hollowly on the tiles of the shop. "Roof, another section...parking lot," she gives the choices out. "I vote parking lot, grab a car. Maybe someone's not parked too far away."

It would appear that the back exit is going to open up onto an empty stairwell, such as ordrinarily reserved for custodial personnel only. It is ordinarily locked - and had probably been accounted as non-access in the plans. Perhaps Catherine remembers that as rarely being the case. Robots sometimes have a hard time imagining that protocols won't be correctly followed, whereas humans are happily aware of janitorial fallibility.

The most obvious direction from there is either the rooftop, or down towards where it lets off into the parking lot. Either way, they're likely to get substantially far before whoever was closing in on them makes it to the stairwell behind them.

Mike takes Bieta's hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze as they'd follow after Catherine. He glances to Amethyst and nods slightly. When they make it into the stairwell, Mike pauses. "Bieta.. I'm going to.. delay them. You guys go. You know I'll find you and catch up. They won't see me.. ok?" He'd look at her with a smile, more relaxed now that it's not the OMGCROWD of the mall and definitely focused. "Head down. Car. Out. They will have a hard time getting through here. I'll make my own way back." He taps his glasses. "I'll keep in touch." Making sure the others are good, Mike would do what he does, vanishing into the stairwell to be able to pause, pull that laptop out and get to typing.

Fenix frowns, not liking all the cloak and dagger bit given the child in their midst. He'll do his best to watch everyone's backs as they make their way to the parking lot.

"Parking lot. I do not want to get trapped on a roof." Kasia stops crying when she sees everyone taking an unusual route out of the mall. Kasia says, "Where are we going, ma ma?" Bieta sets her daughter's feet down on the stairs and urges Kasia to start making her way down the stairs.

There might be a few curious souls remaining inside the cleared section of the mall, that might notice Aerie standing there - a tall, sleek silhouette in her shadowskin bodyglove. She's accompanied by a trio of silvery seeker drones, each of them the size of a softball that seem to oscillate in orbit around her. Her artificially sculpted features are entirely unreadable, and there is nothing remotely human about the way she moves. She is incidentally accompanied by Corban, who seems to be experiencing a baptism via fire.

Having realized the direction that the fugitives had surprisingly chosen, Aerie will quickly move to catch up to them, her rapid stride having the precisely measured rhythm of a metronome. She'll notice with the section of her robotic mind devoted to monitoring the mall's security systems, when the fire door slams shut. She's unable to reverse it owing to the exceptional skill of the one involved - so she will simply go through it.

In the stairwell above, just as the others are on the verge of exiting out to the parking lot, they are going to hear the loud, cacophonous sound of a heavy metal fire escape door getting kicked right off its hinges - until it slams into the wall beyond it, amidst a spray of plaster and dust.

Catherine jumps at the bang of the door. "I think that's our cue to run...I'm parked about a quarter of the way around the mall...anyone closer?" She's practically dancing, the body giving way to nervous energy that somehow doesn't make it into her voice. Her hands are moving, calmly, pulling her phone out and tapping a quick dial.

Corban is in fact here! He's wearing a similar black bodysuit, though his is a bit less tight, for human comfort. Contrary to Aerie, he moves quite normally as he follows along after her, a pair of thick glasses on his face as he follows along after Aerie. After all, she's more experienced with field operations. Upon reaching the door, he reaches up to squeeze at the side of his glasses, but doesn't provide any feedback to Aerie at the moment. Better to keep channels clear if there's no new information to give. Damn planet-side inteferance! He'll try again in a moment.

Fenix gives Kasia a smile, then looks to Bieta, "Running seems in order, yes? Maybe I can add an obstacle to whatever is breaking down doors?"

At the loud sound of the door being kicked loose of its hinges, Bieta turns her head over one shoulder and screams, "Michael!" She lifts Kasia into her arms and prepares to make a run for it. Bieta looks at Fenix and says, "Yes, it does!" Catherine pushes open the door at the bottom of the stair. "Run. I'll bring up the rear." She changes the phone out for the pistol in her purse. The phone rings on...dialing Ivan while she pulls the Glock out into a low ready, as she faces up the stairs.

Amethyst puts a gentle hand on Bieta's elbow. "Let's go," she says, voice calm, but, nervous energy running through her. Her keys are already in her hand for her truck. "We'll be fine," she reassures her. One way or another.

Fenix wears red for a reason other than its his favorite color. Also? Its his favorite color because its attuned to his favorite element! he reaches into a pocket and pulls out a small folded up piece of paper and a lighter. Setting the paper prayer alight, he turns to face the Southern heavenly direction and mutters an invocation in Mandarin before tossing the lit paper over a shoulder and then walking away and towards the exit. Like some Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon wuxia flick, the burning paper slowly drifts towards the ground, burning. When it hits the floor? It explodes into a 10' cube of electric fire, draining the energy from all the surroundings to create a barrier of electric flame between whatever chases him and his friends. Hopefully? It buys them enough time t run and get to the car.

It is while Corban is messing around with his sensor shades, having a classic 'first day on the job' type difficulty with them, that Aerie will stride out into the stairwell proper. She remains perfectly still and motionless for a few moments - and then her raven-maned head will snap to the side at that sudden eruption of blue electrical flame. She then addresses Corban (and presumably other remote observers) in her modulated dulcet voice, inflected with just a hint of a somewhat scary electronic thrum, "Reality deviancy in the area, verified."

Then she begins to stride towards the wall of flame, even as an energy shield suddenly hums into existence around her, made evident by the faint spherical distortion effect. She's charging right through the flames.

Bieta takes off running and follows Amethyst as fast as she can move with Kasia in her arms across the parking lot. When a sudden conflagaration is summoned onto the stairwell, Bieta looks back and sees a portion of the stairwell engulfed in fire. Turning back towards Amethyst, she renews her efforts to gain more speed without falling and dropping Kasia.

Catherine has her pistol up in a full ready position aimed up the stairwell when she hears the electrical discharge. She's still a cop ... "Freeze!" But any movement forward, any thing that looks remotely like an attack and she'll fire.

Catherine shoots, and blinks when the bullet doesn't seem to do anthing. "Bloody druggies" she mutters to herself having seen addicts high on drugs more or less ignore being shot.

Catherine is shaking her hand, choking back a shriek of pain as the gun is kicked from her hand. She tries to note where the pistol goes, but her eyes are watering from pain and it's hard....she backs away, her uninjured hand digging in her purse for the Mace(tm) spray there.

Amethyst passes the keys to Bieta. "Keep running." It's dead serious. Amethyst seems to be focused on something as she slows down to a walk. Her eyes flick, as if she's reading something, and her LED bracelets look like she's ready for a rave... could be all the jostling, they respond to movement, after all. It's pretty uneventful to watch, but -something- has shifted in the Matrix.

There will be a coronal flicker of Aerie's energy shield as Catherine's round passes through it - and then ricochets off her shoulder. Her response to that, is to give the officer a querying look - and then to disarm her with a blurring whir of her metal leg - which sends the pistol clattering off into the distance.

She then turns towards Fenix - and where her sleekly gloved hand had seemed empty only a few moments before - now it will be wielding an X-6 Sentinel. She levels it at the reality deviant, who will have to pull a very good trick out of his hat to not get shot with /soooo/ many taser bullets...!

The Chinese sorcerer mutters another incantation in Mandarin before reaching out to touch the wall and reach for the electrical wiring that lies beyond. In a flicker-flash, his form gets sucked into the wiring as the sorcerer rides the currents of electricity to somewhere - anywhere- far, far, far away from this place. And THIS is wy he hates coming to America. In Mexico, he only has to deal with Sabbat! And with them? The fire from his six demon bag works wonders!

Bieta takes the keys from Amethyst and continues to run. Bieta slows her pace up for a moment, trying to remember what the vehicle looked like in which Amethyst had driven to Vertigo's apartment in the past.

Corban is in fact having some day zero difficulties, and as such, he curses under his breath and responds 'Affirmative' to Aerie's words over the channel. It's not like the sudden wall of near-plasma is hard to miss, after all! With a deep sigh at his luck on this occasion, and remembering that he was enhanced for a reason, he'll turn and take a running start to simply charge through the wall of flames, coming out on the other side about the same as Aerie did - Completely unharmed. "How unpleasant." he mutters, as he starts for the door, as Aerie has everything in hand here.

Aerie has been standing perfectly still and motionless, with an unreadable expression upon her artificially perfect features, for the entire duration of being caught behind the invisible barrier. She doesn't even seem to notice when Corban deploys his plasma arm cannon in a (sadly ineffectual) attempt to blast it down.

It won't be until Richard, working remotely through their linked ADEIs, managed to undermine and then collapse the reality barrier, that Aerie will abruptly dash forward, her long arms and legs pumping with a relentless, machine-like rhythm.

It is at the same time that the reality barrier goes down, that both Bieta and Amethyst will notice that Mike has somehow made it down from the roof, likely through finding some other stairs, and is attempting to rejoin them in the parking lot. They'll have to make a choice whether to risk waiting a few extra seconds for him to reach them.

Somewhere, a trio of re-deployed silvery, soft-ball sized seeker drones or closing in on the parking lot, afer being forced to find another way around owing to Fenix's wall of flames. It's quite likely that they'll reach the area around the same time that Merek shows up.

Merek was called up by Mike, and as such he has put some of his gear into his car, while moving to the mall as fast as he can manage without actually causing any issues. He places one of his firearms to his holster, although he doesn't think he will need to use it.

Reality bends. It's very subtle, but, sometimes the human body can accomplish great feats of speed under stress. Amethyst, Bieta, and munchkin manage to make it to the Dodge in record time, and the girl is hell-bent on getting the heck out of dodge. Amethyst piles into the truck with Bieta, praying silently to Raven that Bieta is a good driver.

Corban waits 'patiently' for the barrier to go down after he attempts to blow a hole in the wall and failing. Like Aerie, he simply waits, though he moves around a bit while he does so. It doesn't actually look like he's doing anything, however a small blue light appears on the side of one of his shades as he begins to bring one of the drones around for them. Three should be plenty for what he has planned as he speaks over the radio to the woman next to him.

Mike would get down via an alternate fire escape. The good part of slipping away? letting you re-group. Mike would fire off a text to phone message to Merek as he'd head for where he figured they were at. Getting down into the parking lot, he looks around and starts for the others and their vehicle. "I need.. yes.. there.." Doing his best to rush over, he'd go to hop in the back of the truck, ducking low so he can flip open that laptop. Time to start messing with the tech part of the technocracy.

There's going to be a blur as Aerie abruptly propels herself forward, arms and legs pumping with an implacable, hydraulic drive as she closes the distance between the collapsed barrier and the Dodge truck - which for some unknown reason, appears to have decided to wait a few extra seconds!

At the very last second before collision, she leaves the ground as if she were sliding into homeplate - plowing into the side of the truck near the very center, towards the under carriage (as she has no desire to go /through/ it!). This results in a shattering sound, as if they'd been plowed into by a motorcycle...though no mere motorbike could generate the pneumatic force necessary to flip the trick up into the air, and then send it back down onto its roof with a screech of metal and crunch of gravel. Inside, everyone is going to be banged around a little - poor Kasia - but surprisingly, no serious injuries.

Merek is driving the car to the scene, though he still has to keep on task while he does. He picks up his flask of whiskey to take a drink from it while he does, then he texts to Mike that he will be there in a moment, meanwhile Mike probably is not reading his texts.

When the truck flips into the air, Bieta has the sensation of being turned upside down on a rollercoaster before being slammed back into the ground. Being seated near the back door behind Bieta, Kasia hit her head on the door frame and let out a wail. Once the truck comes to rest, Bieta can feel her seat belt digging into her. She turns and looks at Amethyst and says, "Amethyst, are you alright? I can not see Kasia...what happened to her? Is she hurt?!"

Mike is racing towards the truck that has the others in it when that cyborg.. thing that had been engaging him before in code suddenly shows itself to be all too physical! Skidding to a stop and diving to the side so as to not be seen, Mike grimances as he hears the car crash! "crap.. crapcrapcrap.." Muttering, Mike glances around for any other surprises, gets a text from Merek that flashes on his glasses a moment. There's only a single word response given. <<HURRY>>

Mike shuffles back a bit further, pulling his laptop out again as he'd try to stay hidden in the shadow of that car he dove next to. What next.. what.. Mike starts typing on the laptop, focusing on it as he'd reach out with that power. Android.. systems. subsystems. This is a machine. Software.. aha! Maybe? Mike would try to use that visor system that had been turned on before to flip it into maintenance reboot mode!

Corban is approaching the vehicle Aerie charged at, though he's not within any sort of grabbing range just yet. He's jogging, not running, and as he jogs he reaches into the body suit he wears to pull out his own X-6 Sentinel, which he raises in front of him as more flashes start across his sensor shades to try to make the thing easier to use. Again! "Nice shot." he praises over the comms, deciding to compliment Aerie, for whatever reason.

Mike frowns, staring at the screen as his code turns.. purple?? "What..?" He shakes his head and focuses on typing, gritting his teeth as he'd concentrate on pushing for that shut off. None of it makes any sense.. and that's saying something for him. And then there's that lock down. He'd get shunted out of the system with a grunt. "Well.. that didn't work.." Mike taps his watch briefly as his hack fails.

As the truck rolls over, Amethyst braces for impact, taking the worst of the bruising away from Kasia. Thank goodness child safety seats actually -work-. "... ow.. yeah.. I'm okay. Bieta.. /Mike/. That thing has machinery on board. We need to get out, /now/." She works at the seatbelts, to get Kasia out. "Piggyback ride time, munchkin." Barely visible are little flickering lights in the contact lenses of Amethyst. Could just be the lights off her bracelets playing in them. "Fu--....n," the girl corrects herself, she's got a kid in her arms, whups, her will forcing another shift in the Matrix.

Kasia continues to cry and screams, "Ma ma!" Bieta undoes her own belt and catches herself before she conks her head against the ceiling turned floor. Fumbling with the driver's side door, she attempts to get it open.

Aerie slowly turns her head towards Mike - whenever what had been keeping her from noticing him suddenly fades away, as she notices and then counterhacks the intrusion. She moves as if to take a very dangerous step towards him...but then she can't! Oh no! She makes an electronic thrumming sound of robotic dissatisfaction!

Bieta removes her coat and wraps it around her arm before she starts knocking out the remainder of the smashed window. Once the glass is gone, Bieta attempts to climb out of the driver's side of the truck.

In the dust-settling aftermath of the flipped truck, Aerie will slowly track her digitally shimmering, ice blue eyes in Mike's general direction, when she feels the first pings of his attempted interference with her subsystems. She steps towards him as if to do something utterly terrible - when she'll *THUNK* into an invisible barrier! This results in an electronically thrumming sound of robotic distress as she is briefly frozen motionless, before Richard manages to overcome the reality blasphemy restraining her.

As soon as she is freed - Aerie's sleekly gloved hand will suddenly have an X-6 Sentinel in it, where it had seemed empty before. She whirls, and with two quick shots, she will aim one at Amethyst just inside of the flipped over Dodge truck - aimed towards the woman's head to avoid hitting Kasia - and then she'll straighten up and snap a shot off Mike, clipping him in the arm as he hurls himself to safety, rolling across the ground behind a line of parked cars.

It is inevitable that with Mike's flight, that Aerie will return her attention to Amethyst, who is doubly hampered by having to protect Kasia. She tracks the woman on the other side of the vehicle, raising her X-6 Sentinel while informing her in a modulated voice thrumming with electronic implacability, "You must desist all resistance." Then she's firing at Amethyst - and catching her with a taser round to the temple, just as the suspected reality terrorist is distracted by saving a small child. Both of them will go down in a tumble, but fortunately, Kasia lands on the soft parts of a gently twitching Amethyst, and not the hard pavement. The android pauses briefly - when she feels something else attempting to draw power from her - but soon, the remotely linked Richard is there to fend off that attempted sabotage. At least for now.

Corban, after exiting the building, approaches as he draws his own X-6 from a holster attached to his suit. Weapon raised, he jogs over to the site of the crash, and upon arriving attempts to search out the source of the electrical interferances. With the drone he called set to start recordings, he turns towards the source and attempts a hack into the system, only to have his subroutines for the process fail! Not that it's unusual on Earth, apparently. He'll have to get used to all of this planet-side interferance. Thus, he starts off in that direction to hunt down the source, weapon still raised.

Amethyst, when it comes down to hard choices, will -always- choose to save a child. The taser to her body provokes a yelp of pain, but doesn't break her determination to keep Kasia safe. There's one last flicker across her contacts, before a jolt from Aerie knocks the girl unconscious.

Catherine concentrates, flashlight shining at the ground, a brief flash to form the sympathetic linkage of power going from the light to the ground as from Aerie to the ground, and down that link Catherine pours her own power to siphon off power from the impossible android, a mystical motive flow pump.

Merek is driving and he comes up to the scene now, while his radio is on some music he put in as a tape. He's a classic kind of man, as is that nice 2015 Ford Mustang. It shifts while he places that between the others within the action, as best that he can. He shifts open the door then pushes so he can walk from it as he shifts his gaze towards the scene. He is wearing his black attire, with a scarf he has on as well. He looks to the friends he knows, then he looks to Aerie in thought.

The Medjai begins to speak, "Officer Black, Medjai of the Order, PPD." He introduces, while he shifts his badge so it can be seen, then he crosses his arms, while he walks to where he can interpose as best he can between the vehicles as well as the android which is there, "Bieta, get everyone into my car," he then turns his attention as he speaks, "Is this what the people of your own Order do? Can't you see that no matter how you do the math, you are putting a child in not only in hurt's way, but also did you even think about how this would affect her mental state? To be worried all the time where you all are? Whatever you want, you can present it to me, or else you will need to move me from the path to touch them, and I promise you I will not stand down no matter what." He sighs thoughtfully, "I hope you all have a sense of sanctuary and respect, if you would all be so kind as to talk this out diplomatically?" He then stands up, and with no actual magic being used, it seems like he has a presence, as if something that is greater than him has backed up his words, though the robot might feel it less, if she feels that at all. He looks at them all with his gaze calm and filled with kindness.

He then looks to Aerie, "Even you, with what you are... Must have something within your creation that speaks to protect others, look then to the woman and her kid, do you see them crying? That means you have hurt them, did you think to talk this out? We are all as perplexed as you are, trying to understand... Although no one seems to have thought to talk about it. I don't expect you to withdraw, but see reason, for the sake of the kid, for the sake of humanity both sides wish to protect if within their own ways. I haven't come to combat with you, but to offer with me diplomacy." There is kindness with passion within the words, he also looks to Corban, those seem to be also to him, to all that are about. Those that can look, see an aura... This is not a mage's aura, instead he has a halo about him, one which is a black and bronze with ancient runes upon it, perhaps a semblance of wings of the same tones, an aura that is made with faith more than magic it looks like.

Mike curses and moves when he'd get clipped. The barb was yanked out and after a glance at it to make sure it wouldn't go off again without contact, pockets it. He'd move, keeping low to keep the cars between him and the others, frowning as red alerts come up on his HUD. "Really? No.. try again.." Mike's numb hand might have the watch on it, but it doesn't take much from his off hand to tap out the commands to lock up his access. 404, computer not found!

The scene is transfixing as the Magus speaks of souls and the perplexity of human emotion and reasoning. Like he's going to bring out the awakened nature of the machine before him. It's utterly engrossing, in fact, and a stirring speech that reaches out to the nature of man in grandiose fashion. Such things are powerful. Dangerous. Appealing to emotion and diplomacy. Adelphi is having none of it.

The supersonic whine of flying bullets won't even be heard until after the crack of a shot smacking right into Merek's cheek as he reaches out to Aerie, hard enough to bruise without causing real harm. It could have been a lethal shot, but clearly no one intends to kill. It's just a message: Diplomacy is over. Unbeknownst to those watching, the 'sniper' is meters away. As soon as she takes her shot she's already switching cover.

"SHot ineffective. Round was a dud." Subvocal speech ensures she won't be overheard but as the lieutenant moves she's sternly mentally dressing herself down over the situation.

The Speech Merek gives is fascinating and distracting, but Catherine doesn't stop her subvocal chant, or stop from pouring power down the magical siphone she's trying to form to stop or at least slow the robot.

Aerie hops up onto the overturned Dodge pickup truck, as if she were about to continue her relentless pursuit of Bieta! In fact, she's already beginning to raise her X-6 towards the woman fleeing with her child to the 'safety' of Merek's car. Then...she's confronted with Merek!

She definitely seems to be distracted by him - tilting her raven-maned head a tiny fraction in one direction, and then the other, slow blinking her digitally shimmering eyes, which seem to lock in on his badge. That's probably what keeps her from shooting him immediately, since she seems to have some avoidance loop towards civil servants.

There is no doubt that if Aerie had a soul, she would have been deeply moved by the man's clearly sincere effort to bridge the divide between them. However, that shot wings out - and perhaps owing to divine intervention - will only welt Merek on the cheek, and then Aerie is receiving new instructions.

She drops down onto the pavement, beginning to walk towards Bieta with one long, liquidly relentless stride after another. She'll walk right past Merek unless he tries to stop her.

Amethyst can't respond to any of this. But, is anyone really watching her? The sunset-haired girl is out cold, with a small, wailing child sitting on top of her. The first notice anyone has that something is -amiss- is the crying stops. There's no Amethyst, and there's no Kasia.

Bieta starts to heed Merek's order to get Kasia and Amethyst out in the car but She finds there is no Kasia or Amethyst there. Before she can call out her daughter's name, Bieta stops transfixed by Merek's words and listens to what he has to say. When Merek gets shot in the face, Bieta blinks and screams. Suddenly, Bieta is just trying to make it inside Merek's vehicle.

Mike is moving, gritting his teeth as he holds that laptop in front of him. A shot rings out, slamming into it and.. everything just went offline. Mike staggers, as if he was hit himself, a stumble that has him bounce off a car with a yelp of pain and tries to make that corner. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Not.. that he can do anything to them at the moment now anyways.

Corban steps away from the main scene of the altercation, his X-6 raised before him as he scans the parking lot for his mark. Interferance to Aerie is generally a bad thing, and we don't need someone trying to hack everything out here! That's OUR job! Upon spotting Mike running with his laptop, he raises his X-6 and takes a deep breath, a targeting program bringing up a tracking reticule on the right side of his glasses. "Stop it." he whispers out, and with a single nearly impossible shot, a single taser round flies from the end of his weapon and embeds itself into the laptop, ruining the thing and stopping it from interfering anymore in the mission. That done, he turns and begins to approach the area of the overturned vehicle again, actually happy with that outcome!

There is a moment's hesitation as Bieta considers getting Merek but both her awareness of the oncoming android and Merek's directions for Bieta to take the vehicle and leave come to mind, causing her to put the pedal to the metal. She peels out, leaving behind black marks on the tarmac and the stench of burnt rubber.

As soon as Bieta begins to pull away in what had once been Merek's Mustang - Aerie's will begin to pick up the pace. She entirely ignores both Merek, and the numerous taser rounds that he seems to be enduring for the sake of initiating a polite conversation. She begins to move her metal limbs with an implacable, hydraulic rhythm - soon taking off at an extraordinary, ground-eating rate of speed, to try and run down Bieta.

Another series of shots rings out, impacts all across Merek's chest and shoulders. Impressively, they don't really seem to do much at all. Maybe the Technocracy could only spring for tasers for one agent and this person is shooting rubber? Or perhaps Faith has deactivated the bullets.

Merek was struck upon the cheek, and it causes him to look to the side. Still he keeps with the words, then as he sees Aerie begin to turn to make for Bieta, he shifts all his magic that direction, while he calls upon all his magic. Even as he speaks he is hit two more times, the first doesn't even phase him, the next, much like the one that hit him before. "I call upon the one known as Geb, please grant me the power of Faith to protect the people. Shield all with the Earth!" Aerie will feel the forces seeming to shift about her to keep her from moving. No combat, just trying to make an escape for all the others also.

It's true, Aerie is going to suddenly start moving much slower, as if her robotic limbs were churning through marmalade. However! She'll continue - one invisibly sticky step at a time - in the direction that Bieta's 'borrowed' Mustang departed in!

Merek keeps up the magic as much as he can. Eventually though, the next shot takes him to the floor while he shifts his gaze to the direction where it's coming from, then he holds the magic just a bit more... Then he rolls and drifts off, while the magic begins to unravel as well.

Finally, a figure breaks cover. She was actually taking shelter in a doorway near where the confrontation took place. The last shot was delivered from only a handful of meters away. A shape like living shadow peels free of the wall and slowly tturns out to be a tall, slender figure- most likely female- in gray clothes- turtleneck, gloves, simple ants, a harness belt for equipment- and a balaclava. They move to kneel beside the fallen Merek and quickly check is pulse and vitals. There's a brief pause as this person surveys the sene and then holsters their firearm. Shoulder carry, left side. "Bringing in the hostile now. Bring in the evac team."

The woman restrains the man with zip ties behind his back and it's mere moments before a nondescript vehicle arrives and people hop out to scoop up the fallen Hermetic. With no one else to intervene Merek is soon to disappear into the night.