Paragon City Stories: The Carnival Without
Hosted by UNINVENTIVEHEART
Act I, Scene 2
Place: Steel Canyon
The four heroes set foot outside the PPD precinct, ready to solve the mystery. The first lead provided by Detective Martins, Mirelle McClune, is missing. If you want answers, you’ll have to search her apartment for clues in regards to her whereabouts.
After a short time, you arrive at her home. According to the file, she lives on the seventh floor. Looking up, you can spot a shattered window.
Concerned, you all rush to the room, anxious to find what has occurred. (Those with flying abilities can fly through the window instead of taking the elevator)
Tahquitz spots a open window and says to the other three, “I’m not too fond of building staff. I’ll check it out, gimme a sec,” then takes off to the 7th floor.
He signals to the group to come on up. Moving inside of the apartment and landing, he notices that he signaled prematurely and that someone was waiting for them after all. A loud crashing sound is heard from the ground level. An errant fireball falls from the window and lands on a Real Estate newsstand, melting the plastic.
Paige “reaches” to the apartment with her powers… she looks to Ironrealm and Devereaux, “He’s got a Carny up there with him. A strongman! Hurry!”
In that instant, the sprinklers pop and start spraying everything and everyone inside. Paige rushes up and slams open the front doors prematurely. The concierge steps in front of her inside, a thin, pimple-faced beanpole of a young man with now wet uniform clothes. He’s clearly annoyed. “Ma’am, we’re evacuating the building, please go back–”
Paige cuts him off, “No time! Heroes, out of the way!” As she rounds the corner, there’s a compliment of 3 security officers grabbing her writhing, squirming form and carrying her out of the door. “You loser rent-a-cops! LET ME GO!! I HAVE RIGHTS, DAMN YOU!”
At this point, Paige is wondering why her less damaging sonic abilities couldn’t be more tied to her voice. In order to create damaging sound waves, her hands need to be free first to make the vibrations.
So, bad news, Paige is useless at the moment. Good news? The guards are not keyed in to either of you, as they struggle to restrain her. The mezzanine is clear of staff except for a frail concierge with a radio in his hand.
Tahquitz opens his eyes as he’s lying on the floor in Mirelle’s apartment… the rug he’s laying on is so soft.
As he collects his wits, he rolls over to see a man in a business suit and enormous shoulders wearing a Pagan Mask reach up to punch his face.
And the soft rug is gone again… along with his consciousness.
“Damn,” Devereaux curses, stepping through the front door to see the flustered concierge. The sound of Paige’s struggle with security is clearly audible up ahead. “It’s no wonder this dimension is crawling with homicidal megalomaniacs. What passes for heroics here is just plain sad.”
The concierge begins to repeat his warning, “Sir, we’re evacuating the build…” Before the puberty ravaged young man can finish, he slumps over the desk and begins snoring in a manner most unbecoming of someone who works in hospitality.
“One down,” Devreaux says quietly to himself. Then, placing two fingertips to his temple, he reaches out with his telepathy. In his mind’s eye, there is no mezzanine, no building even. The world consists of little more than an endless expanse of empty space. But in that void, lights glow. Each one a different color and intensity, like stars against the blackness of space. Each one a different mind he can reach out and touch.
Close by is the intense shine of Paige. For a moment, Devereaux is surprised to learn that it isn’t just a flare up caused by her tussle with security. Her mind emits a wonderfully clear, bright light, the sure sign of intelligence and wit to his extra perception. His reverie at the discovery is broken when he notices the guard’s minds. All of them are muted and listless, hardly even worth calling illumination. With a quick thought, he sends out a psychic pulse that disrupts their lights like a moth fluttering in front of a lantern, disorienting them without doing any real harm and freeing Paige.
Turning his attention to Tahquitz, Devereaux detects the frantic flash of a mind under duress. It flares for a moment and then goes dim. Another presence is nearby but for some reason he has trouble identifying it. It feels faint, almost as if it isn’t there at all.
Quickly, he reaches out for Ironrealm psionically, “Looks like it’s your turn, big guy. Go give ‘em the ol’ Fist O’ Justice…or whatever it is you meaty types do.”
The security guards, grimacing in pain drop Paige like a wet roll of carpet. She grimaces from the fall, but gets up quickly and runs toward Devereaux in case the guards find their wits again and go after her.
“I’d ask for a softer fall next time, but even psychics can’t fine-tune idiots.” Paige mutters under her breath. A wincing pain comes from her right leg, as she palpitates her thigh, confirming a bruise under her tights. There’s probably more of them, but at least she’s not wounded.
She reaches Devereaux at the front steps… “New plan…” she gasps out while catching her breath. She moves to the right side of the lobby and hits the stairway door, but it’s locked shut. Paige then rubs her hands together in front of the door handle, creating a dull hum that raises higher in pitch the faster she moves them until the doorjamb starts to rattle. She then pulls her hands apart at a particular note of sound. A small sonic wave erupts from her palms that instantaneously pops a hole where the door knob and strike plate used to be. The door swings open with no resistance.
“Gentlemen first?” she smiles.
“Fools rush in,” Devereaux jokes, returning the smile. “Since our heavy hitter isn’t here yet, I think it might be time for something a little more punchy. Try not to freak out,” he tosses over his shoulder as he bounds up the stairs two at a time.
Letting his body continue on reflex alone, he allows his conscious mind to drift until it draws up a memory; a vision of a woman emerging from the shadows in a burst of smoke, long steel claws wielded with lethal precision. A silent assassin dressed in gray and black, faceless behind a sleek purple helmet. In the span of a few seconds, Devereaux has transformed himself into an Arachnos Night Widow.
As he continues to rush through the stairwell, he can feel Paige’s eyes locked onto his now armored back. Without breaking stride, he calls back casually, albeit in a voice far more feminine than before, “Like I said, try not to freak out.”
Devereaux and Paige continue their dash through the stairwell, eventually reaching Mirelle McClune’s apartment. Cautiously, they enter the room to find Tahquitz sprawled unconscious on the floor.
His medical teleporter is smashed to bits nearby. Alarming though the discovery is, a far more shocking scene waits for them in Mirelle’s bedroom. The woman is dead. Even more disturbing, her body is absolutely pristine.