2020-06-08: A Ghost In Central Park


RobinF_icon.jpg JulyF_icon.jpgBetsyF_icon.jpgConnorF_icon.jpgCalebF_icon.jpgSabinaF_icon.jpg

Summary: Caleb tries to trick July into lowering her guard. Blank and Betsy see through the ruse while Connor tries to take Caleb out.

Date: May 8, 2020.

Log Title A Ghost In Central Park

Rating: PG-13.

The Future - NYC - Central Park

Once regarded as an oasis of tranquility inside "the city that never sleeps," Central Park has become an effigy to its former greatness. Upturned earth, scorched trees, and broken jogging paths offer a grim reminder of the present while the occasional Sentinel patrol offers a jarring reminder of the future. But even in all of this destruction Nature ekes out her existence, offering a variety of places to conceal oneself from detection by Hunter and Redeemer alike. From burned barren fields to dense forest, you can still find many sites to visit, rest, and battle at.

July frowns a bit more as she looks at the direction Caleb points, "Run." she says, "You can't fight them. We have to run." she says, shaking her head, keeping her eyes on the general direction the robots supposedly are.

The rain and the weather no longer bothered her. She was officially used to it having been in New York for years, through peace [whatever of that there ever is in NY] and now war. Tanker boots squished over the sodden ground beneath, belted in that wrap to the base of her claf where camo pants were tucked in, hanging loosely off her legs and only holding firmly in place where a harness seemed to pick up, the dark leather disappearing beneath the baggy fall of a nondecript black hoody.

From the maw of the black hoody pale features were shadowed but the long thick hair hung from it, draping past her shoulders and down her front in a tangled mass of rain soaked carelessness. Her hands were thrust deep into the pockets and her overall posture walking through the park seemed uncaring, scaling the debris with just as much non-chalant care, a board snapping beneath her boot, having taken all the weight of its short-lived moment. This alone caused her to freeze and listen, cowl covered head turning slightly, listening for any noise aside from her own.

Caleb nods at Jult, "O..ok, i think theres shelter this way", he points towards the other side of the park, he's dressed in dark grey cargos, a black t-shirt, a grey jacket (Kaden is lucky he had a spare), black airwalk trainers, he has bandeges round his chest, back and right hand, the stone in the silver wristband on his right wrist is clear and his light brown hair is already damp, "Please god, help us", he mutters to himself just loud enough for July to notice.

July frowns. In her mind she knows this is a perfect setup for a trap, but she figures she can avoid being trapped or captured. So, for now, she decides to play along. "Very well, where is that shelter?" she asks, frowning softly and looking at Caleb.

While Robin almost always stays in the relative security of the base, Blank is almost always on patrol. It gets to the point that Robin loses track of herself and stays awake controlling the puppet until something in the harsh world kills it, which knocks the puppeteer unconscious and an emotional wreck. Right now, though, the puppet is flying low through the air on its own kind of patrol: identify the location of food, shelter, blankets, anything that might help the few mutant survivors. But the floating blue person, Blank, stops upon this scene and lands near July, in its characteristic silence, giving her a brief nod of greeting and then looks towards Caleb.

Prayers to heaven more often than not go unheard in the great American wasteland… worse so in places like this where the battle has taken away the land and the buildings surrounding it. Most of the Rebellion are told not to go out alone, and most don't listen. Then there are Mercs like Volk, who make their daily bread by being out here, sometimes killing for one side or the other. Today however finds this angel of death up in the remains of one of the husks of a business center just outside the park, the barrel of a sniper rifle poking out, rain dripping off of it. With scope and self under the cover of a rainproof poncho and his cloaking field, the former Xavier student has been taking a bead on the situation for the last couple of minutes. Target of opportunity. But with the wind and weather, accuracy becomes negigible… and Caleb feels some of his long hair suddenly brushed and pulled back, followed a second later by the crack of the rifle's report like an errant thunderbolt.

The modern day effigy of the reaper stood atop a small pile of rubble and watched. Movement had been cought, that is of the living, the dead pushed against Sabina's barriers, wanting in, rattling at them like prisoners in their own personal hell. A slip of purposefulness and she let it open ever so slightly, picking one of the many to let the distress of the woman enter her psyche. Help me..I cannot find my husband, it all happened so fast! "We're all damned. I don't care." And like a wind to the burning wick of a candle the door was closed much to the wailing dismay of the spirit. All Sabina could do was grin, but now narrowed eyes that tilted up in that smile settled on the living.

One step followed by another, a loose and languid motion that brought her closer yet bordering on the outskirts of this rising gathering, her head tilting ever so slightly to crease the folds of the hooded sweater that was drawn up for concealment, though if anyone managed to at least catch the line of her jaw it was ripped across by an age old scar that disappeared into the darkness as well, tightening with the unseen smile. The smile was caused by the sudden crack of gunfire in the air, a thunderbolt known to the new gods that ruled this place for their worthless thrones - the gods of war.

It was hard not to recognize Caleb, he had not changed much in these years, but say anything to him she did not, still as a statue, there she stood.

Caleb moves to show July the way when Blank appears, "What the hell?!", the something goes past his head fast, he rubs his short brown hair, "Did you two see anything?"

July stops and frowns as she sees Blank. She remembers the puppet, so Robin must be nearby. "Blank…?" she mutters as she frowns at the floating puppet, and then she looks at Caleb. "Where exactly is this shelter of yours?"

The puppet gives July a little salute and then gestures at Caleb, giving a shrug. Blank clearly doesn't know who he is. The puppet glances between them and then stops at the sound of gunfire, looking around quickly. This puppet is disposable. That's what Robin is trying to convince herself of at the moment as she manipulates her extended self from afar, despite each death killing a little part of her.

Readjusting his target, Volk scowls to himself as the shot missing. So once more he lines up and tries to account for the light winds in the park. Another shot, and another miss, this time close to July's feet, causing the sniper to snort gently from under his shelter… the rain hitting around his form and giving it a faint visible outline.

Sabina seemed to go unnoticed, which was peachy for her. Another bullet shattered the ruined sod at one of the girls feet and she turned on her heel, making her way out of the park. She could supply some form of aid to the situation but she decided against it. As silently as she entered she left, one hand rising from her pocket to scratch at her covered head and swat at the air with a low muttering and gone. There would be other times.

Under the shadow of one of the few remaining trees in the Park a pair of glowing red eyes watch the ongoing skirmish with great interest. There's no move to interfere with one side or the other… yet.

July gasps and jumps away from where the shot hit the ground, making her get further away from Caleb, "Fuck, must be one of those Hounds!" she says, cursing at her luck. "Let's get out of here." she says, not knowing WHO is shooting her.

Caleb looks around in fear, "What?, whats a hound?, like a dog, have they got robot dogs now?", hes notices someone is shooting now, so stands infront of July and phases, now if a bullet would hit him, it'll hit her, "Quick, the shelter is this way", he points behind him.

The puppet looks down at the shot and then looks off in the general direction it might have come from by the damage on the ground. It cups its chin in its hand and then, to July again, points at Caleb, shrugs in an exaggerated way, then points in the general direction of the shooter before gesturing to a place to take cover. If there's one thing that's always frustrated Robin, it's Blank's inability to speak and most people's weak grasp of ASL (not that hers is that great, but it's enough to communicate ideas). But Robin's frustration is invisible here, only Blank's faceless expression to read.

A momentary pause from the shooter in the building as Volk ends up shaking his head and scrubbing at the scope when a water droplet seeps in and gets on the lens. Refocusing, and readjusting his target sight, he attempts to get the pair back into view… nothing. Pulling the third shot up short, he switches to his red-eye, using thermal optics to catch their body heat signatures… bare motes in the background but enough. Moving the rifle to be covered by some rubble, he then appears in view on the rooftop, still under some cover from general view. Checking the air for Sentinel patrols, Volk vanishes and reappears in a small pop-rush of air from his previous position, and a displacement where he stands, or rather crouches under the low wall of the edge of the park, looking up and over to catch their retreating forms, gripping and readying his assault rifle now.

July clenches her fists at that, and then looks up to Blank, than to the general direction he is pointing. She frowns, "You go to the shelter. I'll go to the other side. He can't follow two of us at the same time." she says, before darting toward where Blank told her where the shooter will be, her fists clenching. No amount of shooting can kill her, so she's not worried.

The eyes narrow as they recognize a familiar glowing puppet, that of Robin's. «Do you see the shooter, luv?» comes a telepathic question to the woman. The voice is that of Psylocke's, one of the most active in the Rebellion front, but is also known to do supply runs and to help out with the Redeemers, and the mutants hiding in the tunnels.

Caleb sighs he can't let a target just run away, he turns invisable, superspeed to where July is running and aims a superstrong punch at the womans chest, if she is knocked back he'll superspeed back, become visible again and run over at a normal pace, "Oh my god!, what just happened?!"

Robin's weird way of double thought is communicated through either Blank or herself. «No, I don't. I don't know this guy here, though. And I do not want July going somewhere I don't scout first.» The puppet looks at Caleb and, detecting the shift in visibility, tries to put a hand on his reappeared shoulder.

Double-checking over the lip of the wall, Volk hops it and drops down to where the old jogging trails are, and ends up under one of the overwalk bridges for a moment, the poncho over his form obscuring most of his bulk in the light into something a bit larger. Bootsteps echo for a moment and then gone as he flash-steps himself with a teleport to the end of it, peering out the other side as he continues to get a bead on the group of three, spotting the strange energy-being. Looking around once more, seeking cover where he can, the mutant re-engages his cloak, relying on it obscuring him in the rain from most visual senses… working his way slowly clower to July and Caleb…

July's chest explodes outward with the invisible punch, and the girl staggers forward a bit from the impact, but soon recovers herself. She looks down at her chest, and blinks, but then she turns to look at Caleb, and frowns, her body repairing itself and returning to her now-usual green colored skin. "I remember you…" she says, frowning at the guy, and then she pulls two guns from…. somwhere behind her, and points them at Caleb. "Stop right there, Caleb. I remember you now. You just attacked me, didn't you?"

Caleb takes a stepback when the guns are pulled, "What do you mean i attacked you, i was right back here, how could i, and i've never met you before, no can we go before something come?!", when Blank goes to touch him, her hand will go though him.

Psylocke has seen enough. The shooter won't do much to July, but Caleb's abilities seem to be more the immediate threat. The eyes close and disappear into the shadow only to reappear moments later in a shadow near where Caleb and July happen to be. Then the rest of her steps out. It's hard to make out the details of the woman, as she's cloaked in pure blackness. The only color that's seen is the red glow of her eyes and a strange red crescent dagger tattoo that covers the left one. The shadows flow from her forearm to coalesce into the shape of a katana whereas her right hand clenches into a fist, and a brilliant purple spike, her psyblade, a blade made from the focused totality of her psychic powers, erupts from it. "Please leave," she instructs Caleb, her tone the epitome of polite Britishness. Her posture, however, shows that she's ready for just about anything.

Caleb takes a stepback when the guns are pulled, "What do you mean i attacked you, i was right back here, how could i, and i've never met you before, no can we go before something come?!", he jumps bsck when Psylocke appears, "W…who are you?" when Blank goes to touch him, her hand will go though him.

As Blank's hand passes through Caleb, the puppet tries to go a step further and occupy approximately the same space as the ghost boy to signal his intangibility, but also prevent him from solidifying in a safe way. The puppet is disposable. Robin reminds herself of this again. Psylocke may be able to pick up on this mantra, one that Robin reluctantly tells herself often when putting Blank into sacrificial positions.

From out of the bushes behind Caleb and the group, Volk steps out, only his outline visible under the rain, but enough to make out some of his form, and the weapon being levelled at the group. As usual, the man makes no sound, instead just racking the bolt release of the weapon in warning. To whom is not obvious, but then the weapon is levelled in the general direction of both Caleb and July.

July has no idea who the shooter is or where he or she is, she's not worried about getting shot. She /is/ worried about her attacker. She keeps her guns trained at Caleb, and then when Blank goes through him, she frowns, "Yes, you can get intangible." she says. She spares a quick glance at Betsy before keeping her attention on Caleb. "Who are you working for?"

There's a brief lavender glow around the dark figure's eyes, an aura that only can really be seen out of the corner of the eye that's faintly butterfly shaped. This effect is only seen when she's pushing the use of her telepathy, like, for example, when she's trying to scan the mind of a person who's not quite in this dimension. "Caleb," she says, her eyes narrowing and the point of the black katana leveling in a warning. "Leave, now. I will not warn you again." Establishing a mental link between herself, July and Robin isn't as much of a strain for her, however. Routine, even. «This man is aligned with the Sentinels,» she informs them. «Do not trust him.»
The puppet remains in the same place as Caleb, intending on staying with him until he is far enough seperated from her comrades. Robin is still back in the comfort of her own quarters, so the puppet's capture has no kind of important effect, while the others it does.
Caleb gulps and falls backwards out of Blank, "W.., why?, and how did you know my n…,name?", there are tears in the teen's eyes, "I just want to go home, and wait for this all to end".

With the situation going tense like this, the muted form under the cloaking shroud stops aiming the relatively useless weapon at Caleb… instead he moves to a position above the group and begins to scan the sky. On overwatch for Sentinels or other threats to enter the area of operation, Volk drops his tactical cloak and appears in view, the only sign of anything resembling a face under the camo-colored poncho is the glowing red eyepiece that whirrs and clicks and he watches the skyline.

July nods to apparently no one after hearing Betsy's mental warning, "Yeah, I figured as much." she says, her guns still trained on Caleb. "Nice try, man. I was almost falling for your ploy." she smirks at the man, the rubber girl taking a couple steps back, "Let's leave here." then the girl thinks, hoping Betsy can read her. 'Psylocke, can you hear me? Can you take us out of here?'

As soon as Blank starts being fallen out of, the puppet moves to mimic the falling action and again occupy Caleb's space. Robin thinks through the link, «If he solidifies, I'll kill him. Blank will teleport back to base after you're all safe.»

«He won't solidify,» transmits Psylocke confidently. «Then he'll be vulnerable to us.» She takes a step or two back until she's standing there with July. "Let's go," she says aloud, letting herself and the other mutant sink into a nearby shadow.

Caleb sighs and stands up again wipeing away the tears, "Sorry but i really can't let you leave, Ahab will not be happy with me", complete personality switch, full of confidence now, theres a violet glow in his hands and then theres a blast fired at July, hoping to hit her before they escape and then superspeed punches while becoming tangeble Psylocke.

While Caleb is a Hound, those working in and with the rebels and resistance are wolves. And a sudden movement from Caleb is enough to snap Volk's focus back and the assault rifle comes to bear, not even pausing as Psylocke comes into the line of fire. Instead he just lances out a short burst towards Caleb's legs, hoping to either hit, distract or both.

July was actually expecting some sort of attack, and, after Caleb fires his attack, the rubber girl actually splits in half, from head down to her waist, both halves falling to the sides so the blast goes right through the middle, before they rejoin seamlessly again. "You can't affect me, Caleb. Give up, die, or run away." she says, staying close to Betsy now, the telepath able to take her through her portal if she wishes.

Blank still tries to occupy Caleb's space, but stumbles back when Caleb is shot at due to being hit in the leg. It doesn't seem to register any pain visibly, though Robin is definitely cringing right now back in her quarters. Again her mantra sounds, and Blank leaps back towards the ghost boy to take his space again. «Blank will take care of him if he solidifies! Transmit! Transmit!» she says in a panicked thought over the link.

It's like Psylocke knows what Caleb is going to as soon as Caleb ever considers doing it. While she isn't gifted with super speed, she is a master ninja with decades of combat experience under her belt, and so she reacts to minimize the impact that Caleb can do, deflecting his punches off her hardened shadow armor. Those who are connected to her mentally can tell that she's anything but panicking. «Can't take the chance that he'll follow us,» she says and strikes out lightning swift with her psyblade, aiming straight for Caleb's forehead.

Regardless of the outcome, once melee in engaged, Volk walks his shots to the left and away from the group, and as he appeared, he vanishes once more… unseen as he returns to his post in the buildings to retrieve his sniper rifle… the taste of the telepath leaving him slightly bitter.

Caleb yells in pain and is then hit by the psyblade, the mixture of his earlier injuries, the amount of use he's got out of his powers and the blade knock the eternal teen out, and he will be out for several hours (Blank will just bump into him as he solidified when he speed punched at Psylocke).

July frowns at Caleb, and stretches an arm all the way to touch the guy's neck, checking for pulse. "He's alive." she says, shaking her head softly at that. "What do we do with him?"

Robin looks down at the fallen teen and Robin says on the link, «Crush his head.» Being a lot more negative than she used to be, she's not going to guess there is any hope of helping the hound, so her only suggestion is to neutralize. «I need to recover. Blank is injured.» With a slight pop, the blue puppet vanishes.

Betsy scowls, looking down at the unconscious hunter, the psyblade fading from view. «There's been enough killing as it is,» she says, making sure Robin can hear her before she disappears. Aloud she says, "We don't need another casualty." She rotates the arm that absorbed the impact of the punch and winces slightly. That will leave a bruise. Still, could have been worse. She takes a step back from the unconscious body back to July and nods. "Let's go." This time she and the other woman disappear into the shadow without incident.

July sighs at Betsy's decision, "While I agree with you, I just hope it doesn't come back to bite us in the ass." she says, nodding and then she approaches Betsy. "Let's go." she nods, letting Psylocke teleport them away.

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