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Jul 23, 2019 4:33 PM
Quartet in WTFMagic!Alienville
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"Holy shit!" Robin squawks. Before any of the others can do anything, he rushes towards the struggling man, blurring again. The skin around Caine's eyes tightens slightly as he follows, swallowing irritation for the other's haste. 

When he reaches the man's side, Robin reaches towards him to free him, his hands coming into contact with the strange substance just as Caine and Jamie reach his side. Caine takes hold of his shoulder, ready to pull him away if the blob tries to switch targets, while Jamie grabs hold of one of the man's un-blobbed legs, ready to pull if Robin manages to detach it. 

 Behind him, Erin pulls out the odd scanner, fiddling with the icons on the screen. The fact that she can read this language when she couldn't yesterday is just another weird thing on top of all the others. She selects the one labelled 'scan substance' and points the scanner at the blob. 

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The scanner reads:

Warning: biometrics detect a class five shifting lifeform.

The blob touches Robin and appears to recoil from the contact. It releases the man, who falls to the ground unconscious, but breathing.

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'Class five shifting lifeform'?

Once the blob is far enough from the victim, Erin kneels down at his side and fiddles with the scanner again. First, the back button. Then the icon that translates roughly to 'scan health'. Jamie, who had lunged forward just in time to catch the man's head, peers over her shoulder and shakes his head when he still can't read it. 

Meanwhile, Robin and Caine follow the blob as it retreats, keeping a few feet between it and them. 

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The scanner reads:

High levels of stress and heart rate. Physical condition stabilizing. Mental condition showing signs of memory loss.

The man breathes heavily and starts to jerk and shake.

The blob retreats up to a wall... and then starts taking shape, coalescing into a humanoid shape.

The shape of the man that is on the ground a few feet behind them.

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Robin hesitates at the sight, and then glances back at the sounds coming from behind him. Caine stops at his shoulder and watches the shapeshifter, content to stay at a safer distance now that Robin isn't rushing into danger. 

Erin sets the scanner down, "I think he's having a seizure," she tells Jamie. He loosens his grip on the man's head as it jerks, not wanting to strain his neck. 

"What do we do?" He asks. 

She pauses, then tugs on his shirt, "take this off and bunch it up under his head. I'm going to see if I can make sense of this scanner."

As he does as instructed, she picks up the scanner and presses the button labeled 'recommend treatment', then tugs out the device that spit out the vial last time. Along with the two devices she also brought: the hypospray, a packaged set of six vials, the possible sonic screwdriver, and a small device labeled 'sanitizer'.

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The shapeshifter stares at Caine wide-eyed. It is moving its mouth, but he is apparently not very good at it, and no sound is coming out.

Erin starts a process that involves mixing the vials and applying the sonic screwdriver, causing the contents to change color, then she can apply the final result, which she knows is a "neuro-overload stabilizer".

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Caine watches it evenly in return. Or perhaps him, or them, or her. He has no way to conclude what the shapeshifter's preferred pronouns might be. 

Robin, seeing that Erin has the situation well in hand, turns back towards the shapeshifter. He frowns, watching it struggle to verbalize. Tentatively, he steps forward, saying (and, though he doesn't quite realize it yet, thinking very intently), "Are... are you alright? What were you doing to that guy?" And, to the air in general, "What the hell happened while we were asleep?"

 The treatment complete, she comes out of the fugue once more. Blinking hard, she looks down at the vial in her hands, and then picks up the hypospray and inserts the vial into the socket. She glances at Jamie for a second opinion, "I only sort of know what this does. But I think it should help?" 

He shrugs, "Better him than one of us," he says. 

Frowning lightly at his response, Erin nonetheless leans over the man, presses the pointed end of the hypospray to his neck, and pulls the trigger. The hypospray makes a small ksssk sound. She leans away from him and watches closely for any results. 

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The man appears to stabilize and eventually his eyes flutter open.

Both man and the shapeshifter let out a grunt. The man tries to get up, very slowly.

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Erin and Jamie each grab an arm to steady him, helping him into a seated position.

"How do you feel, sir?" Erin asks, shifting to hide her sci fi tech from view. 

 

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"Like I just woke up from the worst hang over after spending the night drinking and smoking we- I feel terrible." He is blinking at the sunlight like it is bothering his eyes.

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Robin takes another step closer and then stops, Caine's hand on his shoulder preventing him from continuing. He scowls at the younger boy, and then looks back at the shifter, squinting in concentration. 

He may not be as observant as Caine, but even a guy like him has got to get a clue eventually. All this weird stuff happening, Erin having a hologram disguise, mysterious futuristic medical equipment, Sam being telepathic... and then the things he's been seeing and... sensing all day. 

He focusses, reaches out and... listens. 

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Jaime grins, patting him on the back, "I've been there, man. You feeling good enough to walk home? We can help you out if you're in the area."

Erin shakes her head, then reaches up to shade his eyes, pushing up higher on her knees to get a look at his pupils. "Are you seeing any aura or black spots?" She asks. She pulls out her waterbottle and offers it to him, "Here, have some water, it might help the headache."

It's probably pretty weird for a teenager to be acting like a nurse, but at least he's not likely to find her too suspicious. Hopefully they can send him on his way without noticing the tech, or the guy who looks like him down the alley. If the general population doesn't know about aliens... she's going to assume there's a good reason for it until she knows enough to decide whether it's a good idea for herself. 

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He can listen to the shifter's thoughts... they mostly go around in circles screaming "I got caught! I got caught!". Robin feels a stab in his forehead. Brief, but acute.

"I am not... I think... he looks up the street. Oh, I am close to my atelier, I can just walk there myself, thank you."

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He did get caught, yeah. Doing something apparently very painful, or possibly just terrifying, to some poor guy.

Despite the circumstances, Robin feels kind of bad for the guy... person... being. 

Jamie and Erin help the guy in question to his feet, steadying him and then backing off.

"Try to be a bit more careful about where you pass out next time. You never know what might happen in the back alleys in this city," Erin advises him, wry, and still a little concerned. 

Jamie, meanwhile, goes to join the other two, stopping a few more paces away than they are. He compares the copy to what he'd seen of the original. 

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It is an insanely good copy, the clothing is identical to the point of having the same colorful stains around the legs.

The original moves slowly and makes his way across the street.

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Oh yeah, there were stains, weren't there. Wonder what kind of art the guy does, Jamie muses. 

Robin glances his way as he reaches them, then turns back to the copy. He reaches up to rub under his nose, wiping away the trail of blood that has begun to trickle out again. Tugging his arm out of Caine's grasp, he takes one step closer, Jamie following.

"Hey, we're not going to hurt you," he soothes.

Caine sighs. The shifter seems to be having some kind of panic attack. Which honestly makes him more tense about Robin and Jamie getting closer to it. Even if it wasn't the kind of being that had literally just sent a man into unconsciousness, he wouldn't have advised getting too close to it while it was panicking. People can get violent when they're like this. He remains wary, ready to jump into action as soon as the shifter gives any sign of hurting his friends.

Erin watches the man until he's across the street, and then turns to watch the boys and the shifter. 

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The shifters thoughts start becoming more repetitive, but turn into dark questions about what they are going to do to him. He realized that the technology isn't from Earth.

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Robin backs off, putting his hands up placatingly, "Hey, I mean it, we-" 

He pauses. He reaches out with his mind, We're really not going to hurt you, he says. 

Caine catches sight of Robin's expression and staresRobin, he thinks, very deliberately, Are you mind-speaking at the probably hostile changeling?

Robin side-eyes him, He's just scared, he sends, maybe if I calm him down we can get some information. 

Jamie, unknowing of the telepathic conversations going on around him, edges a bit in front of Robin. His fsce scrunches a bit in confusion as he looks at the shifter, feeling... something. 

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Medani! Screams the shifter's mental voice.

And he presses himself against the wall, mentally pleading not to be mind-wiped.

Then he blinks and Jamie, a sliver of hope half-forming around the word "friend", then wordless fear.

The shifter tries to run.

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Robin is distracted by his conversation with Caine - he can only focus so much, he's new at this - but he catches Medani, whatever that means, and 'friend', though not what that thought is aimed at. He also catches the fear of mind wipes, though has no idea how he'd go about doing that, and then the fear almost overwhelms him. 

When the shifter runs, he's a bit too distracted by the blood pouring from his nose to pursue.

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Jamie turns to help Robin immediately, deeming his well-being more important than the escaping shifter. Erin joins them, pulling out the vial of liquid the synthesizer had made at the house earlier and brandishing it and the hypospray at Robin, who nods rapidly. 

Caine, however, attempts to pursue, but the shifter escapes the alley before he can get a grip on him. He dashes out into the street, racing after the fleeing man-shaped being with all the intent of a wolfhound. He's only a few meters behind him, and getting closer.

 

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The shifter is looking back at him.

Which is not the most tactically sound decision, since the shifter runs straight into a lamp post. It finally makes a proper sound with his mouth, which is a groan of pain.

When it turns around the head is slightly dented. Not inhumanly so, but noticeably so. And the being quickly recovers from the impact and runs until he finds another alley.

Caine will be just in time to spot the once again liquid shifter going through a manhole.

Once applied, the hypospray stops the bleeding.

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He stills with his hand on the brick corner turning into the alley, watching the last of the silvery substance fall through the holes. He frowns lightly, and then turns to make his way back to the others. 

When he reaches them, Erin is just packing away the last of the equipment in her backpack. Robin and Jamie both eye the states of their shirts - the former's covered in blood, and the latter's in some black gunk that it had picked up off the ground. Neither looks happy about them. After a moment, Jamie shrugs and slings the shirt over his shoulder, while Robin turns his attention to Caine. 

 "The - thing? Shapeshifter?" He asks. 

Caine shrugs, "Escaped," he sums up, "Down a manhole across the street." 

"Damn." 

Erin stands, pulling her backpack on, "Well, if it's gone, there's nothing we can do about it. We were heading to Caine's place, remember?" She reminds them.

 All in agreement, they head for the Attens' condo at double speed. 

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Meanwhile, Scout 15 makes his way around the piping under the street, luckily, he can follow his own slime trail back to base. Where he reconstitutes itself after exiting through a sink.

The are member members of the collective waiting for him.

No, way, he wasn't supposed to be thinking like that. There is no "him", just a part of the collective.

Also, he shouldn't let himself be distracted by thinking, not while people are watching. The five collective members looked already impatient.

"Report?" Says their leader, wearing the shape of a old woman in a gardener uniform, including the human device that Scout 15 now knew are called shears.

"There was a hostile encounter with non-native, sir!"

Everyone tensed. Their leader was quick to take action. "Worker 23, merge with Scout 15!"

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"But, Supervisor 17! Scout 15 is a deviant!" The one called Worker 23 responds. It wears the form of an absurdly muscular man, sweat stained tank top and grey shorts fitting tight to its body. It eyes the reporting Scout with unease, "Researchers 54 and 32 have yet to determine whether its abberation will transmit during merging!"

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