Jul 25, 2021 7:14 PM
Eliza in Sentinels of the Multiverse
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She's headed towards an architecturally improbable F-shaped tower at the south end of the city. En route, Wraith debriefs her. 

"Eliza, I'm unfamiliar with your organization. What can you tell me about them? Should we be expecting more arrivals from...Meadous?" 

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Honestly, Eliza is not really sure what exactly counts as "architecturally impossible" anymore. At least it's a pretty visible landmark.

"Oh, it's not really an organization, more like...a world? It's ruled by the god Zephyr, God of the Lost. They have a talent for finding people lost between worlds and picking them up, and now that they've come into their full power they can also easily create portals to send people to different worlds. And they also have a talent for hearing cries for help from other worlds, but it's still kind of unsafe for them to actually travel to other worlds and leave theirs behind.

"Even now that people can come and go as they please, a lot of us still consider the Meadous a home of sorts, so a lot of us are happy to help out when they tell us about a cry they heard. We don't really have an organization name or anything? We're just a bunch of residents who want to help. The portal was actually supposed to stay stable until we all went through and back, but somehow only I ended up coming through. And my communicator's not even working, so I can't tell everyone else what's going on or know what progress on their side is like. But once they figure out what happened to the portal and manage to get a new one up, there should be quite a few people coming through. We're usually never sure what exactly the problem is, so there's probably going to be all sorts of talents, especially with this new added portal problem. Wizards, doctors, fighters, detectives, just to name a few."

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"Worldhopping heroes sponsored by a benevolent deity? Sounds almost too good to be true. And yet, here you are.

"We know other worlds exist, but we have yet to contact any except in some rare cases involving magic. Some are extremely dangerous. Our own world has many problems, of which the current crisis is only one, but the largest threats are handled by hero groups such as this one. How do Meadous heroes prioritize? Is there a leadership to your current team, besides Zephyr?" 

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"Um...we don't really have one person who leads everything? Most of the time when there's a decision to be made those of us who want to have input gather for a meeting and to vote on things. Or for some things once we know what kind of problem it is we just defer to whoever knows the most about that, since people come from all sorts of worlds and have all sorts of experiences. As for prioritizing...most of the time if people have problems on their own home worlds they tend to prioritize those, with maybe some help from their friends. For the calls Zephyr hears...most of the time they don't get multiple at once, and when they do we generally discuss how to split people up, or whether we can call away some of our friends from home.

"Oh! For the biggest case of splitting up, there was an issue with multiple older gods vanishing and leaving their worlds behind, but Zephyr eventually figured out they were becoming Lost in a similar way to us, and figured out how to fix it. We had to split up quite a bit between the different worlds, but because Zephyr was familiar with most of them it was easier to set up ways to make portals between those worlds. In other cases, they have to sort of use the Meadous as an intermediary point."

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"Our world has a great variety of skills and powers as well, but we won't turn down friendly aid. Based on your initial assessment, what would your team likely do if they got here? Both for the immediate crisis, and after?" 

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"Well...Stephen can make portals, so he'd probably set up one to get past that shield so some people could go handle that. I think Ienzo'd help him with that too so that the portal would move along with that shielded fortress, or set up a second one to help people get away. Most everyone else would probably help with the fighting part...maybe not Uncles Bertie and Monty, they might just have come along with me to deliver and explain stuff. And Dr. Watson might help with medical stuff instead, even though I know he has a gun.

"After...well, Stephen's also a doctor, so he'd probably help Dr. Watson if people still needed to be treated. Ienzo'd probably help investigate this thing we found, or if it's not the cause of everything going wrong try to analyze what was causing it. Bertie and Monty might just go talk to people, they're pretty good at that. And I guess Sherlock would also try and investigate on his own...unless John-Dr. Watson-stopped him. We'd probably also get some more people who are better at building stuff to come over and help with fixing everything up...it probably also depends on how exactly the fight ends." There's a pause. "There's a way to take down that fortress without crashing it into people, right?"

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Wraith has not heard of these people, but they sound helpful.

"If we can take out some but not all of its propulsion, Legacy can sort of guide it down to minimize damage. We've been hampered by the desire to not drop it on a skyscraper, but that may be unavoidable. It would be even better if I could get on board and sabotage its flight patterns from the inside, crashing it outside the city. But that requires getting up there and past the shield, or entering via the heavily-armored fortress underbelly. I can't hack it from here. 

"Then there's the matter of whatever's been interfering with our efforts. Counting the incident with Bunker's cannon, that's now five major setbacks in the last hour. Tachyon had a run-in with something, but I lost communication just before. I'm hoping the object she brought - that you're carrying - can provide some clues." 

Wraith directs Eliza to the top of the tower, where a horizontal door in the roof opens to let her through. 

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"Oh, yeah, I definitely hope the same thing!" Eliza glides down towards the door in the roof, passing through and landing smoothly with Blade following behind her, before looking around to see if she can find the person who was talking to her.

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There's an elevator, going down, and then she can. 

A dark-haired young woman in red and purple, skin concealed by grey wrappings, sits at a large computer with many, many screens. "Let's have a look at that object," Wraith begins without preamble. 

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Eliza pads over, snake-tail twitching behind her, as she holds out the handkerchief-wrapped object, also glancing up at the various screens while she's at it. Blade hovers behind her, looking somewhat more awkward in the more confined area. "I don't know if wrapping it up has any effect, but I figured better safe than sorry."

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"Good thinking." Wraith unwraps and photographs it, avoiding direct contact as she does. Seconds later, close-ups of the markings appear on three of her screens. "I'm cross-referencing to see if this matches anything in my database." She sets a search running, then stops to take a call from the National Guard. She relays tactical information to them, updates the heroes in the field, then returns to her search.

A few minutes later - "I've got something. This appears to be an ancient Turkish talisman, purported to bring good luck to the bearer - but it was associated with a specific dynasty -" 

The lights go out. 

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Eliza lets out a yelp, and there's a flash of red light before another creature appears, glowing enough to illuminate the room to some degree. She's glancing around frantically, eyes flashing in the dimmer light-this form does have slightly better nightvision, but she'd rather they both have some form of light right now.

"Did-did all the electricity just go out?" she asks.

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There's a flicker. Wraith's many monitors, powered down when the lights died, begin to glow again. 

Wraith, out of her chair and with a knife in hand, whispers, "There are backup generators..."

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There's a bang and a crack, then the monitors wink out again. 

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"...or there were," finishes Wraith grimly. "We're under attack." Her voice fades out as Wraith disappears into the lingering shadows. There's a whisper from Eliza's earpiece. "I'll still be in touch. Let's greet our guests." 

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Eliza touches her own earpiece, even as she drops into more of a quadrupedal crouch. "Got it. Lantern, can you scout ahead?" The Gourgeist nods, saluting with one hair-tendril before dimming his light and floating upwards, through the ceiling. Eliza focuses and dips further into the nue's instincts, both snake head and tiger nose scenting the air for the smell of intruders, ears pricked as well. Blade sticks close to her side, ready to react at her signal. His nightvision is much poorer than both her and Lantern's, but they're in sync enough she knows he can react fast to her commands.

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The air is full of unfamiliar scents. At least six different people, by the smells, though only Wraith's is recent. 

Wraith whispers guidance to Eliza, helping her navigate the corridors of Freedom Tower. 

It takes about ten minutes of prowling before Eliza smells the seventh. 

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Eliza crouches low, stalking after the seventh scent. If there's a handy corner wall, she's going to use it to peer around at whoever it is without being spotted by them herself.

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There's a shadowed form just around the corner. Their back is to Eliza, and they're making a grasping motion at Lantern in the corridor beyond. 

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Eliza tilts her head to the side? Does it look like Lantern is being affected in any way?

But no matter. Eliza crouches even lower, gathering energy in her legs like springs before pouncing with a roar, using her wings to get extra air, aiming to pin the figure beneath her full weight. Lantern vanishes into the shadows as he hears her cry, attempting to reappear near the figure and strike to further disorient them.

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If Lantern is affected, it's not apparent at first. 

Except...

Just before Eliza leaps, Lantern's glow falls on another sneaking figure - Wraith. Eliza's target lets out a snarl of rage, seeing Wraith, and starts grasping in the hero's direction. 

She's interrupted, however, by Eliza, and her head whips about in the direction of the roar. Eliza lands before her pouncee can react, and gets a solid pin. 

Lantern is not so lucky. He reappears just in time to catch a spinning projectile, thrown by Wraith, in his side. 

Their mutual foe writhes beneath Eliza's grip. She's not particularly strong, but her touch fills Eliza with a sense of grave foreboding. 

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Lantern's hit, and although he can absorb most of the blow it still sends him bouncing along the ground a bit, looking very dizzy and confused. "Gour...?" he mutters, slowly floating back upright.

Meanwhile, Eliza tries to keep the girl pinned. Ominous feeling-probably not good. "I think she was doing something to mess with you!" she calls. "She was doing this weird grasping thing in your direction and it feels bad now she's doing it at me!"

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The concrete and metal floor has no business collapsing under the weight of one thin woman and Eliza. It does so anyway. Eliza and her pouncee drop amidst a pile of rubble. 

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Eliza immediately spreads her wings as they fall, digging her claws into the woman's shoulders. Blade, above them, lets out a frightened screech and dives down to try and meet them. Depending on the space available, Eliza starts trying to fly back upwards as well. "Are you making this happen?" she snarls. "Is your power to make everything go wrong?"

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As it happens, flight is a handy way to deal with the floor dropping out from under you. Eliza drags her captive upward, away from the collapsing floor. 

"Wrong is a matter of perspective," hisses her foe. 

Blade appears to have overcorrected. He slams into Eliza as she attempts to right herself. 

"Give back what you stole!" snarls her captive, drawing a long knife and slashing at Eliza's grip. 

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