THE FAERIE GLEN NIGHTCLUB
It was a performance night at the Faerie Glen, and the joint was jumping.
Spacious as it was after numerous renovations, there was still plenty of room to maneuver between the knots of people and across the dance floor. Oiled-up dancers and dapper waitstaff weaved expertly through the crowd, serving food and drink to the diverse clientele.
Nat flitted through the crowd, schmoozing and flirting. Ey was dressed to perform in an outfit made entirely of ribbons, though it didn’t seem that ey’d be taking center stage.
A faintly teal glowing neon skeleton covered in opaque black synthetic muscle sauntered into the club. He was still wearing his performance clothes, a headwrap covering the top of his skull and lower jaw, a long elegant coat of deep blue with golden designs and fur around the edges, as well as some pants that poofed out towards the bottom. The synth muscle gave him a very fit build that mimicked a certain Adam rather closely, and his bare chest and strange garb fit right in with the club. “And I heard there wasn’t much to be found in Colorado.” He mused, mingling with any staff that came his way as he explored the dance floor.
Dellen found the staff shockingly chill about his nonstandard appearance; those nearby made sure that he had a drink and food if he wants it, and a few even flirted with him in passing.
“Heyyy, it’s the skeleton guy!” Nat seemed genuinely delighted. “From the other night! Glad you made it; did you bring that friend of yours, the video game protagonist?”
The skull made a soft and deep chuckle at that. “Oh yes, “The Prestigious Callister.” He swirled about a drink he had just bought. “He informed me that it would take time for him to “Prepare for his destiny.”, Odd kid that one. And how are you on this fine evening…?” The inclination in his voice carried he was about to add some kind of pronoun, but then decided against it.
“Oh, I’m simply peachy. Have you been seen to– oh gosh, I never did actually ask your name. They call me the Damselfly, but my name’s Nat. I’m genderqueer; my pronouns are ey, em, and eirs.”
There’s a roar of a jetpack, heard even over the DJ and through the building. Someone was flying low, possibly not sure where the Glen was. ((Tag))
A girl, in her twenties or so, was ordering her first drink of the night. When she had her bourbon, she leaned back against the bar and watched the crowds. There was something… academic about the way she watched people. Detached. Not unfriendly, though.
Further down the bar, a young man grumbled into his appletini.
“Nat. It’s a pleasure.” He extended a neon glowing hand, the bone fingertips sticking out ever so slightly. “I go by Dellen. Or the Baron by some of my fans….but I really do prefer Dellen when i’m not on stage. Ey, em, eir. I will do my best to remember.” He gave an OK with his other hand. “It’s a lovely facility.” He commented as he examined the roof, looking for hooks, contemplating the idea of bringing his show here. He spotted Ash and tensed a bit, but then allowed it to flow out of him. He was new now. Different. No need to be afraid.
“Why, thanks!” Nat beamed. “It was pretty great when I first signed on, but since I Emerged my boss has done an amazing job sprucing up the place. You should see the lightboards; you practically need a degree to run ’em! Pleased to meetcha, Dellen; what pronouns should I be using for you, by the way?”
A few minutes after the jet pack scream, a man in a heavy suit of powered armor walks through the door, slowly. The color of the armor is dark green, and the suit machinery whines quietly as he moves. Despite his size, he moves quietly as a man in a thousand pound of metal can. Most people just get out of his way, looking up to the seven feet of cold metal. Yellow eyes of the helmet glow brightly in the slightly darkened club, and he heads over to the bar with slow, unhurried steps. To Nat, he gives a small wave.
“Wastey, heyyy” “Hi!”
“Wasteland,” Ash says by way of greeting. “Hi. I’ve followed your career, actually. You’re with the Freelancers, right? Nice to meet you.” She offers a hand, which is tiny in comparison to the heavy gauntlet.”
Behind the helmet, Wasteland blinks. He shakes her hand, demonstrating a massive amount of gentleness and dexterity that the suit was likely not designed for. “Oh, uh…. huh. Now I’m embarrassed.” He chuckles, the speakers in the helmet deepening his voice to a near Vader baritone. “Thanks. Pleasure to meet you, uh…?”
“Ashley Rose-Sinclair. I’m ah, interested in… pursuing a career in Paranormal service.”
“I identify as male, thank you for asking.” He says sincerely, pouring some more of his drink down his throat. You could see it swimming inside the muscle faintly, discoloring the dim neon of his spine. “It seems that fellow over there could use some entertainment…” He turned his head over to look at Solomon, checking closer. “Or perhaps he found himself in the wrong place. Yes…it seems more likely the latter.” He noted, observing him completely ignore the gorgeous dancers strutting with high energy around the man.
“Well, I’ll just have to make sure he gets enough drinks in him to loosen up?” Nat shrugged. “Speaking of which, do you have everything you need? If you like to party, I can hook you up with a hot new thing. Designed for para metabolisms, named after me.” Wink.
“A pleasure to meet you, Ashley. And I can say that the Freelancers are always looking for more who are interested in Paranormal service, though they might be…” Wasteland paused, trying to think of the right words… “uptight about… uh… recruiting.” He paused again, and signaled to the bartender. “A beer, please.” He turned back to Ashley. “Okay, to be fair, it can be like banging your head against the wall sometimes.” He sighed, and a straw like device came out of his left hand, and into the beer when it arrived.
“I’ve actually already received offers from both the Heroes for Hire and the Legion.” Ashley said with a small smile, sipping her drink. “I have an… impressive academic record. I attended Yale, took every extracurricular I could… Just trying to find a good home now, I guess. Somewhere I’ll fit in.”
“Well now, life WOULD be extremely dull if we didn’t try something new every now and again wouldn’t it?” There was a grin in Dellens voice as he pulled out a card from his pocket. “A paranormal drink seems very suiting of this place.” He mused as he looked around at the others here, at least one obvious man in a giant suit just a short distance away. “Damselfly….Dazzle. Ah. The new drink they were handing out at the club? And to think I was so disappointed I missed it.”
“Well it’s a powder, but it dissolves in liquid or you can take it as a caplet. I’ve got the caplets on me.” Ey surreptitiously passed a small powder-filled caplet to the skellington man. “It only takes about 15 to kick in, and you’d have to be halfway to Oathkeeper not to feel it. I’m gonna mingle, but come hit me up! We’ll schmooze.”
Wasteland blinked, then laughed. “Well, you’re ahead of the game on me, then. I wish you the best of luck, then, Ashley. Freelancers or Legion, you seem like you could fit in either.” The big armored man spun to lean against the bar, his drink finished. “Yeah, fit in quite easily. Why my career, if you don’t mind me asking? There’s plenty of more famous people than I am.”
Ash produces a golden ornate lighter and flicks it open, igniting a spark. “I’m a pyrokinetic. Not much of a tank, or a fighter. But I can destroy things. It, ah, I hope you don’t take offense, it just – there are parallels -”
Dellen takes the capsule in his jutting bone fingers, looking at it closely like a jeweler might a diamond. “Fascinating. I will be there shortly.” He lowered his scarf and pushed the capsule between the creases of his synthetic muscle, letting it drop down into the liquid you could see still swirling in his chest. “Now comes the waiting.”
“That’s incredibly weird,” comes a soft voice. “Not as weird as a talking horse. But weird.”
“Oh hey, Fi!” Nat grins. “Dellen, this is my primary partner, Fiona. Fiona, Dellen.”
“Hi.” She seems to have already gotten distracted by something mildly sparkly, somewhere. Her attire is typical – halloween orange-and-black striped hoodie, black slacks, and perhaps unusually: A ballcap. It reads, “I’d rather be sailing.”
“A pleasure.” He says softly, ignoring the weird remark and extending a hand. “Orange suits you famously. I apologize if my appearance caused any fright.” His voice echoed gently but sounded sincere.
“Haha oh, no. Definitely not. I’ve seen some shit, friend.” Fi shakes his hand.
“Sweetie, Dellen and I just took some para drugs, but I brought some regular ones if you want to trip with us.”
“I’m kinda a teetotaler. In fact. Except wait no that just means you don’t drink, doesn’t it? … I do not know the word. But thanks for offering!”
“Okay!” Nat doesn’t seem at all thrown by this. “Well, the staff knows that your drinks are free. I wanna go say hi to Wasteland, do the two of you wanna come with?”
“I’m gonna say hi to wasteland yes.”
Dellen gives them a polite wave, leaning against the counter. When this hit he didn’t feel comfortable being mid conversation. Instead he enjoyed the experience, feeling the Dazzlefly evaporate inside him slowly but surely.
Fi waves back. “Bye, mister skelet- Dellen! Yes. Sorry.”
“Have a nice night you two.” The skeleton called congenially.
Wasteland shakes his helmet, the yellow eyepieces focusing on Ash. “No offense taken. And I can understand. Actually kind of jealous. Have to ask, what’s the hottest you’ve gotten a fire going?” Ah, much better. Shop talk. He can do shop talk.
“About as hot as a propane torch. I think I could do better if I had training… Which is why I’m leaning towards the Legion. They do have a lot of knowledge on various powers, you know? But the Freelancers pay better, and they’re not exactly slouches.”
The dark skinned man shifts closer, clearly interested in the conversation between Wasteland and Ashley.
“Freelancers have damned good scientists too. They just tend to have less of what normal folks would call a ‘bedside manner’. Or a manner to begin with. Don’t get me started on one our power’s techs. Very nice, on the heat, by the way. I’ve not met many pyrokinetics that can go that hot.” Wasteland’s helmet shifts towards Solomon, and his tone changes slightly to chill politeness. “Solomon.”
“Thomas. I’m Solomon, by the way – Ashley, was it? I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.” He offers a hand, which Ash shakes. “Always nice to meet another ambitious individual.”
“That isn’t my name, Solomon. You know this. I’ve asked you to not refer to me by that. It isn’t who I am anymore.” Wasteland stiffens, and the yellow eyepieces glow a bit brighter. In his mind, there are screams. His name, his old name, over and over. And the flames. Screaming for help. Screaming why. And when he reaches them, nothing but bleached bones that burn slowly to ashes in his hands. There’s a slight shaking of his helmet, as he brings himself back to reality.
“We have talked about this. We’re distancing ourselves from humans, alienating ourselves, creating this unnecessary gap between human and paranormal. I suppose I can call you Wasteland if it makes you more comfortable. This is a social outing, after all.”
“Oh dang, I must be interrupting something,” a redheaded pixie hovered over the arguing freelancers. “Should I come back? Or buy y’all a round?”
“Hi, Wasteland!” Chirps the other redhead, who is not a pixie, just someone who distorts reality on a regular basis. “And. People who aren’t Wasteland. I don’t know your names.”
“Ashley Rose-Sinclair. Ash for short. Hi.”
“Solomon Swift.” He smiles, leaning back, and sipping his appletini. “Nat, right? The famous Damselfly?”
Nat beamed. “Alive and in person. But most importantly, alive! I’ve been laid up for the past week and now it’s party time. If there’s anything y’all need, please do not hesitate to ask for it. I’ll make sure you don’t lack for drinks, and if you want something more interesting I can hook you up. Oh! And this is Fiona, my primary partner, she’s great. Summons things with cards.”
“Pleasure to meet both of you.” Solomon says, all smiles. “I’ve been meaning to come out and check this place out. It’s all the talk in Archaven, which is quite an achievement. I hear Cheney’s spitting mad that the Freelancers can’t put on an equal show.”
“The Faerie Glen is neutral ground,” Nat tapped eir nose. “Everybody’s welcome, so long as they behave.”
“I can behave!” Solomon promised. “Don’t worry, I’m just interested in watching and learning what all the excitement’s about. But I’m not much of a drinker or a dancer.”
“Hi Fi, Nat. Good to see you too.” His tone is a bit wooden, after clearing his little episode. “Uh, I’ll… what the hell. What’s the highest proof you’ve got here? I don’t have any dance moves, but I do have one fun party trick.” His tone is much friendlier as he continues speaking, and his body language changes to one of a much more relaxed kind.
“You-” She stares for a second. “..you can do party tricks? I need this in my life, man.”
“‘Highest proof’ is kind of a misnomer, wastey. Like, we’ve got 151, and we even have some everclear stashed away that Tommy used to make perfume a few times. But the strongest stuff available is drugs. If there’s anything that, like, you could aspirate through your burny stuff, I’ll totally cough it up. I have a new para drug that can be inhaled but that’s not helpful if it literally turns into nothing by the time you breathe it.”
“I think the trick in question is contingent on alcohol, darling,” Fi says, peering over at Nat, then back to Wasteland, possibly for confirmation. Helmet nod!
“Cool! I’ll go get the everclear.” Nat zips away.
“The only neat thing I can do is probably not suitable for this place. Or time. … well I can do origami? I’m really good at origami?”
Literally seconds later, Nat returns with a jug containing a clear liquid. “195 proof liquid, anyone?”
“Is that actually like, safe to drink?” “Only diluted by, like, a lot.”
“I’ll take that!” Wasteland raises his hand, chuckling. Once given the bottle, the straw in his gauntlet would extend to the bottom, and start draining the everclear out. “Don’t mind if I use all of it, right?” Per confirmation, Wasteland drains the Everclear, and then looks at everyone. “Ya’all might want to stand back, just a tad. It’s a cool party trick, but not safe for hugging distance.”
“Even if I’m fireproof?” Ash teases, but steps back.
Solomon stays where he is, stubbornly close.
Fi hops back a couple times. Nat zips in behind Fi, circling eir arms around her waist and snuggling her.
“Right, here we go.” At that, all the ports in Wasteland’s armor open up, and a bright blue flame jet about a foot long leaps out of them. Two ports on his head, a couple around his gloves, two on his knees, and one on each elbow.
“Burnin’ out his fuse out there alooooone~”
The flames stay for a bit, hissing and burning, like a firework, as he walks around, showing off. The flames ARE hot, however, and he makes sure to steer clear from getting to close to anyone.
“Oh em eff gee, Wastey, you are fucking adorable.” Nat claps, hands still around Fi’s waist.
Nearby, one of the staff members complains to another about there being sand in the building. Sand? Yes, blue sand. Did we do a beach theme? No, there’s just blue sand. Weird.
There is a spooky scary yelp of surprise whose origin is hard to discern.
Ash laughs. “This is incredible!” She snags a bit of the blue flame out of the air and rolls it between her hands, all smiles. “Oh my God, that’s the best party trick I’ve ever seen.”
Even Solomon has to applaud.
Fi seems transfixed by the flames, nodding after a moment. “That’s. Not what I was expecting, exactly!”
Wasteland laughs as the fire dies down, thank you, thank you.” The vents close. “My best party trick, really.” He laughs, a little embarrassed by all the overwhelming support. “Gotta have some good party uses for powers.”
After the fires die down, Dellen finally gets around to clapping. It was very impressive.
A swirl of blue sand kicks up into the air, then, near the entrance to the club, a pink glow at the center. The sand coalesces fairly quickly into the shape of a woman, complete with fabricated clothes. Some heroes may find the figure familiar… (it’s… it’s Pariah btw)
“I don’t get it,” Fi finally says, gesturing at Pariah. “I can’t think of any situation that would call for um. Being sand.”
Pariah turns to Fi and says something, but as she’s a few yards away her voice isn’t loud enough to be audible.
“She’s the wonderful, mysterious vigilante cleaning up the mean streets of Detroit,” crows a short redhead, stepping out from behind the figure of Sand. “Paaaaaariiiiiaaaah!”
Pariah grins and says something that’s probably coy, but that no one but the (new) redhead can hear.
“C’mon, lady, let’s see what you can even drink as a sandperson.” The redhead saunters up to the bar. “Hi, hi, Gwen Smith, so nice to meet you -” Her eyes fall on Solomon and her expression becomes slightly strained – “all.”
Pariah approaches the bar, and is close enough now that people can actually hear her whisper, “I can sort of eat…”
“I know who she is I mean- ..I was more wondering why she was sand. Last I saw her he was glass. This seems like an improbable backstep in the process.”
“Hey, Pariah. Powers still giving the wonky adaptations, hmm?” He nods at her, and at Gwen. “Hi, Gwen, nice t’meet you. Wasteland.” Wasteland walks back towards the bar, and orders another drink for himself.
“I blame Travis, mostly,” Pariah whispers, “but it’s actually pretty handy, Fiona. I can slide around in sand form and wrap around stuff and teleport it. For now. And the dark blue means I’m harder to see than when I was glass.”
Dellen appears at the bar, his neon teal now tinted with green, you can see a forest haze filling up his skull and wafting out the holes of his eyes. His skeletal grin seemed…wider. “Heh….heh…..heh….now this is what I am talking about. I need some more of this.”
“You’ll be fine with that amount for now,” Nat says. “Hey Pariah, Gwen, d’you wanna party? Or drinks, or food? I can hook you up.”
“Chicken fingers and fries, thanks. I shouldn’t drink tonight. I’m the DD.”
Wasteland blinks at the skeletal paranormal, but then shrugs slightly. Once again, it isn’t the strangest thing he’s ever seen. “Teleportation, hmm? That’s pretty cool.” He looks from Gwen to Solomon, then around the little group again. Oh goodness, he’s towering over everyone. Awkward. Well, Pariah is 5’8″, at least…
“It’s very useful. Dellen. A pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He spoke a bit quicker than his usual slow and deep tone. “Will need to buy some for home later is all. Good stuff.” His eyes continued smoking.
“I’ll hook you up,” Nat giggles. “And yeah, I’ll get you some food, Gwen! How bout it, Pariah? You wanna party?”
“Darlin, should I try the Damselfly’s weird para drugs or no?” Pariah asks.
“I dunno, you deserve to treat yourself. As long as you can handle it.”
Wasteland doesn’t really say anything. He’s not one to tell what other people to do, anyway.
Fi has settled on a stool next to Wasteland, presuming one is open. She wishes she knew what was goin’ on but alas. They are speaking of The Drugs, and she is not privy to such experiences.
As if the party weren’t crowded enough.
Standing at the door is someone who is Clearly a Paranormal. The figure is one that would typically be read as female, wearing a fine fitted trenchcoat and cabbie cap. What made them stand out, though, was the color scheme: the coat was red on the right and black on the left, and the cap was the opposite. The figure’s face was also covered by a white mask covered in shifting red and black alphanumerics.
The figure looked… lost.
“What the hell, I’ll try your weird paranormal drugs.”
“This’ll be fun! Should I just empty the powder into your… mouth?”
“Yeah that may work.”
Dellen was making himself quite comfortable, leaning his elbow on a stranger standing next to him, blowing smoke rings (without lips, somehow) out and watching them rise to the ceiling, testing out all the shapes he could make.
“I’m glad to know that my head height is appropriate for leaning on, Mr. Dellen.” She doesn’t sound miffed or even bothered. She’s just kind of pointing it out.
Multi-talented, Fi. Multi-talented.” He chuckles.
Solomon Swift has distanced himself from the group, and is chatting with Ashley. The two of them seem to be getting along okay! Which is. Surprising.
Gwen gnaws on her chicken fingers, and then nudges Nat. “Hey, new kid on the block. You think they’re a villain or something?”
Nat blinks. “No idea. Never seen em before. Welp!” Ey zips over to say hello to the stranger, who takes a startled step back before returning to a merely wary state and talking back.
Dellen takes his free hand to readjust Fi’s hat back into the correct position on her head, but does not cease leaning. “It is a very comfortable head of hair. My thanks for lending it to me sailor.” He lets out a magnificent volcano of lime green smoke straight up into the air, his jaw almost unhinged. “Fascinating.”
Nat zips back, leaving the ostentatious stranger alone at the door, hesitating. “She says she goes by Ledger, and she’s the newest Freelancer recruit! I told her to come on over!”
Pariah stiffens, the expression on her sand-sculpture face transmogrifying from “oh no, that sounds familiar” to “oh no, I just took drugs and am about to be in a complicated social situation.”
There’s another sound of jets that pierce through the heavy bass of the crow. A white and blue armoured suit steps through the door soon after. Shorter and smaller than Wasteland, the Stormcore suit was suited more for air maneuverability and speed. Right now, he was cutting a swath through the crowd, dancers in their thin shoes suddenly mindful of their feet. He looked around, taking his helmet off, and found Fiona in the crowd. He waded towards her, his helmet tucked under his arm.
Fi visibly tenses. Her experiences with people looking right at her and coming right for her are not positive ones. It’s not too long before she relaxes because, c’mon, it’s Corey! They’re pals. She shoots him a big smile and waves, “Heya, Corey! How’s it goin’?”
“It’s been good. Who’s your friend?” Corey looked at the skeletal Dellen, nonplussed. “And is Nat around? I need to ask em if it’s fine to wear the suit inside. I didn’t want to leave it out on a night like this.”
“Dellen. And Nat is–” She is interrupted, but doesn’t seem to mind.
“Oh yeah, it’s totally fine! Hi Corey! I haven’t seen you since… the para hunter thing, Fi is suddenly fascinated by the floor beneath her. right? Yeah you can have the suit on in here. Want anything to drink or… drink? Or drugs? Can I get you anything at all?”
The woman in red and black slowly approached the party, gloved hands at her sides.
Dellen turned to Corey with his big grin, shutting his mouth so he wouldn’t breath green gas into his face. He spoke without opening it, the sound resonating from deep within the skeleton and synth mass. “Charmed to meet you. That’s quite the suit you’ve got there. Very impressive.” He let go of Fi’s head and offered a brisk handshake.
Corey shook Dellen’s hand, carefull taking the other man’s hand in his mechanised grip. “Thank you. I’ve worked long and hard on it.” He turned to Fi and Nat. “Thank you, no. Water is fine.” He looked around at the partying crowd, his expression dispassionate. “I see that people are being quite creative in their gyrations.”
“That’s what we do!” 🙂
“We’ll leave in like, a second,” Gwen whispers to Pariah. “Let me just finish these chicken fingers.” And then she mows through the plate with as much speed as she can muster.
“Hey.” The voice of the masked Ledger was shockingly ordinary, with a slight accent and a lot of anxious energy behind it. “Uh, I’m the Ledger. New Freelancer. Nice to meet you all.”
“‘mGwn-” muttered Gwen around a mouthful of breaded chicken.
“A new Freelancer?” Ash glances over from her conversation with Solomon. “Oh! So you must know a lot about what it’s like to join up?”
“Well I mean.” Dellen brings his arms up in a shrug. “Uncreative gyrations are really just sad. So very, very sad.” And then he turned his head to numbersface. “Ledger. Now THAT is an interesting name. Dellen, pleasured, pleasured to meet you.” He had said it so many times today it had begun to lose meaning. Or maybe that was the drugs.
“Fi. Fiona? I guess. Either one. I don’t do anything of note, and you are free to pay little attention to me.’
Ash sidles over. “What’s the benefits package like?”
Solomon follows her, still sipping at his Appletini. Wasteland has beer. It is good. He stays quiet, listening and enjoying the other people talking.
“Cool,” Ledger says. “The benefits package… well, I can tell you more but it seems to be pretty personally tailored. And um. Hey. You’re the Pariah, right?”
“It sounds like you’ve… seen some shit,” Ledger says. Then, after an awkward pause, “I’m sorry about that.”
Not far away, in a clear area in a dark corner of the club, a burning, roiling and bubbling pool of blood appears. A figure slowly rises from it, his eyes closed, his scarlet red hair styled with artistic carelessness. His torso appears next, his shirt is silk and unbottoned to the chest. Next, his lower half, leather pants and three belts, one in studded metal, and another with metal plates. His feet appear last, and he steps out of the pool, unmarked by it.
Dellen bamf’d behind Callister immediately, gripping him by his biceps, and then teleporting right next to Nat and left Cal there. Then he poofed one more time to a dance platform hanging from the ceiling, where he sat with his legs hanging off the side, ready for his favorite show.
“I–” Pariah stammered.
“Wh!” Nat exclaimed as ey was suddenly face to face with a video game protagonist. “Oh!”
“Uh–” Pariah stammered.
“What–” Ledger gasped.
“Hello, Ledger. I’m Corey. We met over Twitter.” But the noise of the club ate his words and Corey shrugged.
“Okay, that is kinda new….” He eyes Callister warily, then looks at Dellen.
“Why are we so…” Fi gestures vaguely. “Those noises. Did we forget words?” She glances at Wasteland, “..are we the two sane people? Did that happen, now?”
Wasteland shrugs. “I’m sane, sounds like you’re sane. Maybe we’re just too hardcore to be stunned.” He chuckles at Fi, then looks at Ledger. “Oh, hey. Nice t’meet you. Wasteland, also met you over Twitter?”
Callister was about to give a reply that was full of his deep, dark, feelings for the spritful Nat when- One of the windows to the club creaks open – wait, is that supposed to open from the outside? Almost certainly not. And it’s definitely not supposed to have six and a half feet of furious Rooster tumbling out of it. She hits the floor with a meaty “THUMP” and immediately gets to her feet. “HEY NAT!” She yells, pitched to carry. Jaw open, Callister looked taken aback at his stolen entrance.
“Yo, Max! Over here!” Nat waves over Callister’s shoulder. “Shit is super weird right now!”
“Is it? It doesn’t feel weird…”
Rooster stomps over to the crowd around Nat. “Hey there. Y’look better in person. I’m having a fucking shit night so give me the goods NOW, please.” She holds out a hand. Wastey waves.
Without another word, Nat drops a capsule into Rooster’s hand. “Skol.” Ey then turns to Cal. “Uh. Do you… want some drugs too?”
Callister opened his mouth, preparing to explain to Nat the ills of drugs, and the virtues of keeping a pure body when –
Rooster dry-swallows the tab. “Where’s the bar?”
Nat just hands her eir drink, which is still nearly full, then points at the bar.
“God, you’re a lifesaver.” She downs it all and heads for the bar, where she immediately does two shots.
“I like her.”
“Hey, partner. Shit day. You want maybe I should shake them down and you clearly had nothing to do with it, but hey, I helped?” He offered as kindly as he could. He helmet nods to her as she does the shots, and shrugs a little.
,Dellen breaths three consecutive smoke rings that travel all the way from his perch, until they dissipate against Callisters face. “Talk. To. Her.”
“Em” poofs down from the perch gently flying between them. “Hey, thanks.”
Nat finally gets eir bearings a little bit, and turns attention to Callister. Ey smiles a bit. “You sought me out faster than I expected.”
Post-shots, Rooster nods back to Wastey. “Ah, thanks man, but it’s my girlfriend, she wouldn’t like it. Some fucker stole from her but she inexplicably doesn’t want me shaking down her neighbors.” She shakes her head and orders a tiki drink.
“Figure I’d offer. Sucks ass.” He waves for another beer. “One hell of a paranormal night.”
Mouth open to proclaim his undying devotion to Nat, Callister was suddenly interrupted again.“HEY I HEARD THERE WAS A PARTY?” came a voice from the door. And then the sound of a kazoo. When mother ruled the world, there will be no more kazoos!
Corey turned to Ledger, one of the few sane people in this place. Or time will tell. “Settling in well?” Yes, that was a correct question for someone new.
“I have no fucking idea,” Ledger replied.
“No? What are you having trouble with?”
“I just don’t know what constitutes ‘well’.”
Tiki drink drained, the massive woman sets her eyes on the dance floor. She’s not shy about elbowing people aside so she can get to the action. She’s also very willing to cuss out and physically remove men who try to dance with her. Depending on the crowd’s makeup and preferences, she either quickly becomes the center of a hub of queer women, or gets ample space to herself.
It’s sort of a combination of the two. Certain patrons and staff get close and cheer. Others veeeeeeer away.
“Oh dear. You’re going to have to get a new floor….” Wasteland chuckles as Rooster goes full tilt. He looks to Ledger and Corey. “Well, you haven’t lost your mind, and you haven’t blown anyone up. You’re doing quite well.”
Corey shrugged. “I don’t see why I should be upset at any of this. People seem to be legally enjoying themselves and no one is bothering me.” He gives Wasteland a small smile. “People are fine. I am not.”
Pariah shifts uncomfortably. “I didn’t expect you to get along with… an independent like me,” she says to Ledger.
Ledger shrugs. “I’m having to rethink a lot of things.”
“That’s one of the first things anyone does once they become paranormal, from what I get. I definitely did. And Corey, you’re fine, and doing fine. Speaking of which, forgot to ask, when’s a good time for testing out a few of those rail guns you’ve got?”
Corey laughed. “Call me when you’re next free and we’ll see. I need to test them. My only regret is that I can only carry one at time or else I lose speed and maneuverability.”
Nearby, Callister was once again trying to talk to Nat, his deep red eyes full of deep passion.
At this point, Nat’s equilibrium is back, and ey raises an eyebrow, waiting for Callister. Of course, someone probably interrupts.
Rooster’s amassed a small crowd by now, and she’s dancing with some of them, but none of them are the pretty little thing she came here to see. She glances around over the heads of her dance partners, looking for Nat, and spots em a short distance away. So, naturally, she makes her way over to em and plants a hand on eir shoulder. In eir ear she breathes, “Heyyy.”
Nat can’t help it. A looming, colorful muscle butch, breathing in eir ear? Eir face goes full ahegao for a moment, and ey has no attention to pay to anything for a bit, especially not Cal.
“Dance with me, sweet thing.” And before Nat responds, she grips eir waist and starts rocking her hips against eir back.
Dellen opens his mouth aghast in despair as Callisters chance is taken from him! Oh if only he had some popcorn to fill the void. He probably looked somewhat like skeletor from this angle. A ghostly trail of smoke pouring from the void of his throat.
“ANYway,” Pariah elbows Gwen, which would be less conspicuous if she could speak louder than a whisper, “we had probably better get going, even, um.” She visibly loses her train of thought as the drugs start to take effect.
“Dooon’t worry, I’m the DD. C’mon, girl, I’ll getcha home.”
“Yeah, me too, maybe,” Ledger shrugs. “I dunno. Maybe I’ll have a drink or something.”
“Ohh, fuck,” Nat murmurs, grinding eir hips back in a way that makes Cal feel really funny, probably.
“Byeeeeee,” Pariah whispers as she gets led out, then, looking at Rooster and Nat, “Oooo. Can we do that when we get home.” Wastey waves. “Night!”
Fi, apparently, is just content to watch all of this strange happen, although she’s gotten a bit bored of doing entirely nothing, and ordered a drink. She sips it. Kind of waits for the Next Act of Strange to unfold.
Wasteland watches all the goings on with Fi, drinking his beer through his gauntlet straw. “People are.. crazy.”
“M’ partner’s pretty weird. Erryone’s pretty weird. – .. Not you though. You have party tricks, and that’s worthy of respect. Wasteland laughed quietly. “Thanks.”
Callister watched helplessly from the sidelines as Nat…danced (for lack of a better word in his vocabulary). He felt his anger rise, and he pushed it down, though his eyes blazed. He was a fool. He was not welcome here. He spun on his heel to an unoccupied corner where a bubbling pool of flaming blood erupted.
“Hey, spookums. You alright?” Yes. Fi just called Callister “spookums.” He may not realize.
Spookums did not! Instead he stepped into the pool and sank away. The pool splurped once, then disappeared when it had fully consumed Callister.
“Holy fuck that was metal.”
Dellen makes a sad.
Corey turned to Dellen. “So. What’s your story? There are not many other blue skeletons around here.”
Still up on his perch, Dellen looked down at Corey. “Oh you know. I’m paranormal. All my skin fell off and left an animated skeleton. It can be quite a hassle I assure you, but being a professional, you learn to make the best of it.” It was a speech he had practiced and used many times since joining the acrobatics team…..a day and a half ago. But hey. It worked.
Rooster watches her rival fade into the floor with a shit-eating grin. This whole time she’s been continuing to grind up against Nat, murmuring into eir ear: “God, you smell so good. Whatever you have, kid, that’s what I want. You and me, we’re gonna tear this place APART! Fuck.”
“Fiiiii,” Nat calls, “I need to go fuckdance with Rooster, ok?”
“Um. Okay?” It sounds exactly like she is the one asking a question, not answering it.
“Okaytalksoon,” Nat is spirited away.
“Isn’t that your boyfriend?” Ledger asks.
Fi stares intently at her drink. Oh fuck. Did- Did they cover the proper form of address there? Oh no. She can’t remember. Uh. Her other immediate response (“Isn’t that your boyfriend”) doesn’t seem to fit, so she keeps that one to herself, and finally says “Um. Yes? That’s my partner.”
Wasteland looks to Ledger. “From what I understand, Nat doesn’t identify as girl or boy. Ah, gender neutral, or some such.” He shrugs.
“Yeah okay that’s… weird, but,” Ledger gestures vaguely at the dance floor, “if you’re, uh… if you’re dating…?”
“Poly- poly– .. whatsit.” Fi actually digs out her phone and starts googling before she announces, “Polyamorous. Yes. Um. It’s. .. that thing.” Why yes, Ledger, she does sound completely unsure and a lot confused.
There’s a long, incredibly awkward pause. “Oh,” Ledger finally says.
“Yes.” … That – that answers nothing, Fiona.
Corey almost casually reached down to pick Fi up and placed her on the other side of him. “Sorry,” he said to Ledger. “She is a little breakable.” He picked up his glass of water and took another sip. “ So, how are you at sparring and hand to hand? I need a partner who won’t think it fun to break me.”
“I can’t go up against anybody who has enhanced strength or whatever,” Ledger says, “but I used to do amateur MMA when I was in– at– before I Emerged. I also need to check out the range; I requisitioned some handguns for my mission kit.”
“That’s good. I’m not enhanced. My only paranormal ability is a superhuman immune system. The last time I went against a null, I spent two days in bed, blind and leaking. Out of this suit, I’m 5’9” and 150lbs. I can show you the range and the gym. Both are well equipped.”
“Wish I could do some too. Unfortunately, only can do anything with anyone in the suit.” He nods towards the dance floor. “My sparring partner is one of few folks that can really take as much as I can dish out.”
“…sometimes I have riddle contests with my demons?”
“Try sparring with Apex….wait. If you do, ask him not to pierce through your suit.” Corey made a little huff.”
“I’d lose riddle contests. And Apex would be an… interesting fight. Though if he did pierce my suit, it’d likely be the last thing he ever did.” He chuckles, and looks to Ledger. “MMA, really? Damn. Not many folks still into that, far as I know. I could just be out of the loop, though.”
“I’m kind of an old fashioned gal, I guess,” Ledger shrugs. “In a bunch of ways. Trying to adapt, though. And like. I can… stand up to stronger paras, but I end up paying for it later.”
Dellen appeared next to Fiona. “So…demon summoning. That’s one I haven’t heard before. Messy business?” ((tag))
Fi got picked up and tucked into a nice lap. No worries keep talkin.
“Hiiiii~” And she shakes her head at Dellen. “No. Pretty clean. Pretty simple.” There’s a faint shrug. “Don’t really need blood sacrifices like everyone always says. i t probably helps though.”
“Well I mean, not having a mess to clean up after sounds pretty nice as well.” Dellen chuckled slightly, ordering himself another drink. Something fruity. “Did it take a lot of practice?”
“Took some uh. Learning, mostly. Once I figured out how to do things, went okay.”
“Fuck,” Ledger mutters under her breath, clearly a little thrown by the environment.
The big muscled dude holding Fi looked over and his brows knit. “Gurl you good?” he asked. He didn’t know her. Did he? Nope. He’d remember somebody in a red-and-black trenchcoat-cap-mask combo.
Corey gave Ledger a look from the corner of his eye. He’d been where she was, when the situation threatened to overwhelm you. “You look a little tired. Why don’t you go back to HQ?”
“Yeah.” She nodded. “Yeah.”
“Exceptionalism comes from experimentation.” Dellen said with a finger pointed up in thought, before grabbing his new glass and throwing it down the hatch. They could see the orange drink intermingle with the blue glow and green gas inside his body…his chest looked something like a lava lamp. “At least that’s what my….” He seemed at a loss for words for a moment. “That’s what they say!”
“Who says that bro?” Chad asked with honest interest. His hand was rubbing Fi’s back. He was also maybe a little stoned.
A flying redheaded pixie looped over the dance floor in lazy spirals, hair mussed, visibly a little… not present. Ey gradually drifted toward the gathered paranormals.
“Oh…you know. Them.” The green haze coming out of the skeletons eyeholes indicated he was most likely also under the influence of some kind of drug or another. They sort of looked like the ends of a bong. He truly seemed not to know.
“Someday, we’ll know who they are. And that day will be a judgement.”
The big dude just stared at the Skeleton. It seemed like he was just about to realize something. It was coming. Slowly. Aaaaalmost there. “Dude…” he breathed. “Are you…?”
Corey gently patted Fi on the shoulder. Very gently and mindful of his mechanised metal gauntlet. “And my social algorithm program tells that when philosophy is brought out, it’s time for me to make my excuses and leave. Have a good night, everyone. Don’t let any of those dancers touch you. They look unhygienic.”
When the guy pats Fi, Chad looks annoyed and opens his mouth to say something, then catches himself. Shuts it again and just holds Fi a little tighter. “Take care dude.”
“Hey, uhm. Corey, I’m gonna just. Go with, if that’s all right,” Ledger says, slapping a tip on the bar and springing to her feet.
“I don’t mind. I was going to use the teleports. I can’t make it all the way to Archaven as is.”
“Make sure you scrape your shoes”
“Bye, Corey! I hope you have a nice night. You too uh. Ledger, I think you said.” “Yeh.”
“Hey sweetie,” Nat smiled, floating to Fi’s side. “How’re you holding up? Oh hi Chad.”
He looked up and gave a big dumb grin and made smoochy face. “Yoooooooo–” Nat cut him off with a kiss. His eyes flew wide but he hummed and went alll gooey. Natkisses yeaaaaahhh.
Max emerges from a private room, stretching as she does and looking absolutely smug. She looks around the room and ends up heading back up to the bar.
Dellen decided to teleport to the dance floor and bust a move for a bit. He did an intricate dance, like some strange mix between breakdancing and an arabian sword dance. The movements were slow when they needed to be, elegant, and then turned to swift grace and precision. He made sure to teleport if his limbs were ever about to smack anybody.((tag))
“I’m okay,” Fi responds, quietly. She’s resumed her position of quiet observer, and she seems okay with that.
“Okay! Love you.” Nat lifts Fi up enough to slip under her, settling on Chad’s lap and setting Fi on eirs.
She’s okay with this, too. “Love you too sugar.” She squirms and fidgets and finally faces Nat, hugging her, then hugging Chad too because hugs for everyone. Nat makes just the happiest noise. Just the happiest.
Chad is also down with this. It’s not like he’s running out of lap.
“Oh hey, it’s three outta the fearsome foursome!” Max scootches over toward Fi, Nat, and Chad. “I just … met … Nat. And you must be … Fiona, right? And CHAD! MY MAN!” She holds out a hand to him for …a chest bump? Aren’t there, like, two people between her and him? It’s unclear what her plan is.
“ROOSTER YOU HOOOO.” Chad gave a gleeful holler. He was already shooting out his hand to give her a rightous brofist when she moved and he kinda just ended up punching her in the boob. Oops. :/
“I’m Fiona, yeppers.” She stares at the hand. … stares some more. Slowly. Awkwardly. Fistbumps.
Max notes the fistbump and returns it with only slightly confused gusto.
Dellen continues his dance on stage with the performers.
At the titpunch, Max stops. Stock. Still. She gives Chad a look of exaggerated horror. “Oh you did NOT. Are you tryna move up our fight date, little man?” She’s trying to maintain the scary vibe but a snort-giggle escapes her at the end of the sentence.
LITTLE MAN?!?! Was she calling him out when he had a lap full of PRETTY? Aw hell no.
Girls were watching. Chad only just barely stopped himself from standing and spilling Nat and Fi. He stammered for a couple seconds then put his nose in the air. “Aw, don’t act like you ain’t shakin.”
Nat looks at Rooster, then at Chad. Then at Rooster, then back at Chad.
Huge hot people were going to fight, and ey and eir girlfriend were between the two of them. This wasn’t gonna work. Ey hoisted Fi’s weight and just… gently… floated… sideways, off of the danger lap.
Fi seems weirdly disappointed by this. She’s pouting now, Nat. Has she ever given you the Full Pout before? Oh no whyyyyyyyy what did ey even do Fi only knows. She’d probably explain herself if asked.
“Should I… not have gotten you out of the way of the fighting cuties? I don’t want you to get flattened, love.”
“Right but I don’t want either of them flattened either I mean what if chad gets hurt – I’d ask about maxine but but – uh..” Her response is quiet probably for the sake of the Bravado Duo™
“You kiddin’? This is like recess for them. They won’t break each other.”
Mid backflip, Dellen teleported to a good observation point, his interest peaked. \
“… y’know what? Why the hell not. I’m drunk and high, but that’s probably equal to you on your best day. Y’wanna go? The parking lot’s got plenty’a room.” She gestures expansively.
Locates marks, and begins organizing “The Betting”.
Chad sucks in a huge breath and POINTS his finger right at Rooster with righteous indignation and announces: “You talkin a lotta shit for a woman ‘bout to get her ass beat.” “Ooh he said that on twitter”
Max just grins, pounds a fist into her palm, and starts making her way for the exit.
Chad makes sure his lap is clear of cuties and then stands, doing a little stretching out thing that just happens to show off his muscles spectacularly. Like his biceps. And abs. Holy crap those abs. Is there a word for that color Fi just turned? “I bet I could get them both back to your apartment.” That wasn’t a dignified squeak.
He glanced over to Nat. “Hey didn’t you have something for me.” he mentions offhand.
“Sure, but it will not make you fight better.” Ey holds out a little capsule full of powder. “But it’s only fair, I guess, cuz Rooster’s on the same stuff.”
He didn’t really think about it just took it from Nat and offered his face for smooching – for good luck! Smooch.Then he headed out to meet Rooster in the lot. This was gonna be fun.
Out in the lot, Rooster’s doing her own stretches. There’s a significant amount of hooting involved.
It doesn’t really occur to Nat that maybe ey should put Fi down and let her walk her own damn self to the parking lot. Ey just kinda drifts in that direction, still holding her.
Chad gets out there and hands over a bunch of things to Fi: wallet, phone, keys, watch, stuff like that. He kicks off his shoes and almost forgets to hand over his NFL ring, but somebody reminds him. He turns to Rooster and grins, making a ‘come at me’ gesture.
Fi has things. They are Chad’s things. She doesn’t have all that much pocket space so she just kinda holds most of it.
Rooster dumps the contents of her pockets on the ground near some spectators. Maybe not the wisest plan, but who the fuck is going to try to rob her?
Chad is hopping around on the balls of his feet. He’s excited!
Aaaaand – FIGHT! Rooster charges for Chad, trying to grab him around the waist and knock him off his feet.
Which she absolutely does. He got distracted by some cutie in the crowd and was winking at her and making finger guns. So of course he flew right off his feet and crashed into the ground, giving a howl of surprise. His hands started shoving at Rooster as his feet kicked for purchase.
She slams him to the ground and puts him in a hold. “Give up already? You baby?” She shouts at him.
Nat idly chews Fi’s shoulder as ey watches.
“..what’re you doin’.”
“Cuz.” “oh. Okay.”
His face under her arm has an expression of quizzical indignation. “Nah gurl nah I just want you to feel like you doin ok you know?” he retorts as he wriggles his shoulders, slowly getting some leverage back.
“Heh. Nice of you, but – “ she grunts, putting him in a headlock “ – so very, very unnecessary.” [tag]
“Aw.” he grunts before giving a furious kick and getting his legs under him. He sends a fist into her side until she lets him loose and rubs at his smooshed nose for a second before trying to get her in a leg hold.
Nat is no longer really paying attention to the fight. Ey snuggles Fi earnestly.
Jupiter gently floated down, her arms were full of pizza and bags of fast food. “Whatcha guys all doing out here?” Then she spotted the brawlers and she grinned. “Go smash her, babe!”
Fi is watching it like it may be the cure to the common cold.
OK, maybe she was getting a little overconfident there. Before she knows it, she’s on her back with a leg in the air … But she jabs the other one into his ribs and rolls up. And then it’s time to take this to the big leagues.
She starts moving at superspeed, shoving her fists and elbows into his torso.
So Chad might be a bit stronger than Rooster, but he didn’t have her speed. He tried to keep up with blocking her strikes, but for every one he deflected she got another in. He let himself get pushed back and back, just concentrating on keeping her fists out of his face until he could find an opening. He grabbed for her legs, launching his huge body into a spin so that he could…well, just throw her, releasing her like a discus thrower with a whoop of elation.
Jupiter echoes that whoop, flinging her arms up, sending up a rain of pizza and burritos around her.
The dive Fi makes for a flying burrito would do any outfielder proud. …as would the sudden dive that Nat does to re-catch Fi so she doesn’t skid on the asphalt.
She goes flying. Spectators may have to run out of the way. She lands in the concrete and leaves a dent. But you can’t keep a good woman down: she’s got one arm up shoving herself upright almost immediately. She cracks her knuckles.
Then she runs at him, charging like a bull, head down. She’s telegraphing it, it’s obvious, he could get out of the way – if he’s got the speed. It’s a ways to go, so it’s not a given she’ll make it before he can blink, so the question is: how good are your reflexes, Chad?
Oh shit. She was fast. Chad saw her coming but did he have time to get all those muscles out of the way? He ended up just dropping down and catching her by the legs, and they tumbled down into a ball of furious dust with limbs randomly poking out. Or at least that’s definitely how it would have been animated. In the end they stopped paying attention and…were they heading toward a road? The crowd yelled to warn them, and in the end they just rolled down an embankment and into a chilly creek! The people who came to the lip got to see them both out of breath and laughing, Chad with a bloody nose and his lip quickly starting to swell. Rooster probably wasn’t gonna have a scratch. So unfair.
((how is that)) [it’s dope as hell is what it is]
Nat floats just a foot above the pavement, facing up and curled into a basket around Fi, who cheerfully munches on a burrito while her partner dozes quietly.
By the end of this Rooster was laughing like an idiot. “Hahaha. Man. Oh man. We learned our fuckin lesson, don’t fight while high on random shit Nat gives you.” She swipes a thumb over Chad’s upper lip where the blood’s starting to run into his mouth. “Sorry about that, man. Can I buy you a drink?”
“Hell yeah!” he impulsively grabs her into a big manly hug with thumps on her back. “I love you man!” he blurts out because drunk Chad just friggin loves you.
“Wow, dude, gay”
“You’re gay.” he retorts (obviously) without thinking.
((I feel like that’s a good ending hahaha)
[yeah that’s perf]