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Running Out Of Time
(2012-12-26 - 2012-12-27)
The TDA meets the time-controlling murderer of Legion. Things get complicated!
Mercade Alexander Things have begun to get into a normal routine again, though things have been somewhat crowded due to the ongoing issues involved in dealing with refugee problems. This late, however, many people from Manhattan have begun to spread out through other worlds, finding places to start new lives with the help of Hearts Intertwined and other groups. No one wants to stand as a refugee forever.

Mercade Alexander pores over some notes in the hotel room, scribbling various things across pages of paper in his classic shorthand.

Maybe he'll even be able to get something done without anything terrible happening for a change.
Will Sherman Will kicks open the door.

Okay, less kick, and more opened it VERY LOUDLY and then shut it! Loudly!

"Don't we think we're cute, Mercade?!" he says, indigniant. "Laugh it up chuckles because I've had it with you!" he says, pulling out..


Will proceeds to cover Mercade in it.
Legion Christmas is over. In other words, the moment of reprieve is over. The Network has finally, quietly, departed from their room after depositing their presents to the various members of the TDA. Strange presents, in fact, that one could say was more like someone trying to emulate the celebration of Christmas rather than engaging in the celebration of Christmas. They DID say that sticking around in one place too long would be suspicious and, indeed, they have spent too much time in this one place as it stands. Umi in particular had been loathe to remove themselves from the Hotel but she left a cell number for Will so that 'further orders' could be provided during their probationary period.

The first real indication that the moment of reprieve is over is when there's a small tink against the side of Mercade's hotel window--as if someone hit it, lightly, with a pebble.
Mercade Alexander Mercade blinks at the noise, looking up as Will confronts Mercade! "Look! I'm just trying to-WAAAAGHGHAGHHAHGAHGHGHRGHRGLRHGRL!" He yells as he gets covered with SILLY STRING.

He falls backwards as he hits the floor under the window, and he grunts. "Dammit, Will!" He says...

tink tink.

Mercade looks up, interrupted in his righteous indignation, as he opens the window and looks around, festooned with silly string, as he tries to see who the source of the disturbence is.
Will Sherman Will grins, shaking the Silly string at Mercade as he hears the tink.

Odd. He walks over with Mercade, holding the silly string in hand as he ends up coming right up behind Mercade.

"Maybe it's another case?"
Legion Mercade opens the window! He looks out! Will looks out with him!

And there's Legion. With another young man! The young man has placed an arm around Legion, in a companion-y sort of way. He is a young man, with black hair--kind of messy, he doesn't take care of his appearance too well, it seems. He looks, even at a glance, like a stereotypical disaffected youth. He wears a cap like one might expect to see on a newsboy. It blocks the sight of his eyes and much of his face. Regardless, he seems about ready to flick another pebble. He is wearing slacks and, has earbuds wrapped around his neck, and a black shirt. It's hard to see the design from where you're watching.

However, what is clearly evident to Will, at least, is a gesture that Legion is making with her foot. A triangle with two lines sticking out of it seperating into three 'fingers'.

Man with a gun. It's the hobo sign for man with a gun.

However the man does not have a gun. He has a pebble. He flicks it towards the window.

And it punches forward with the speed of a high calliber pistol round--it's a good thing the window was opened because otherwise it'd be, for sure, shattered. As it stands, it may graze Mercadee if nothing is done.
Mercade Alexander The pebble goes flying at ballistic speeds, and Mercade throws himself out of the way.

It's almost not fast enough. There is a ripping noise as the rock slices through part of upper arm, embedding itself into the opposite side. "JESUS CHRIST!" Mercade yells, before carefully popping his head back out. His gun, the pearl-handled revolver, levels itself at the man. "Okay, seriously. Stop that and step away from the young woman. This relationship is not coming off to a good beginning."
Will Sherman Will's eyes widen for a moment...

Fate is displayed before his eyes for a brief moment... possibilities fly everywhere. Mercade's dodge was not his which he looks to the man...did he..?

There is a small grim smile on his face, as he turns back towards the man that just assaulted them. Mercade goes for his gun, but Will is already out of the window...

The wind was light tonight, just light enough for a string of christmas lights to be pushed closer to Will as he falls, his hands grabbing them and swinging down to right infront of the newcomer. Will's eyes come back up, looking right towards him...and then points at Umi. "That's my subject your messing with, and I don't like it when people shoot at my friends."

Damn it, he thinks, he doesn't want to fight. Not now...not with the power he uses coming from Loki...but he's given little choice. He takes a breath...he's not going to abandon Umi. "Anyway, you don't have too much time, shouldn't you be worried about that, than tormenting my friends?"
Legion The young man is a jerk?! Yes it seems to be. ANd he doesn't seem to care that that's how he's seen. Indeed, the first words out of his mouth, right now, are, "I don't want to waste any time with you not understanding the sort of guy I am, but you should still be thanking me, I wasn't aiming to blow your head clean off."

He looks up. "Time's all I got." And indeed, rather than normal pupils, he has little clocks across his eyes. "And I don't give a shit about fate before you start going off on that. I know where I'm going in the afterlife. I've got no beef with you, though, either of you. You can save hearts and solve cases to your heart's content. But yer a homeless man, yeah?" He turns his head towards Will. "Then you gotta know how impolite it is to touch another man's food."

He licks his lips. There's little doubt this young man is Cronus.

According to Umi's Fate, however, she is not going to die today. But, of course, Will knows that Fate can be changed.

"It is not our scheduled match, The Network notes that killing Umi now may result in a disruption in the experiment." Umi says.
Cronus seems annoyed by this, and a bit dubious like he's not so sure that's the case, but he doesn't kill her. "This isn't a threat, it's a kindly warning." He says. "I don't like being messed with. Your subject's just a doll." He actually seems to be trying to convince Will of this rather than taunt him, it's something he genuinely believes. "Believe me, I know. Had to break 'em over and over again. At first multiple at a time, you know, before they really knew anything about fighting..." He looks up. "But they kept on reporting in. They'll report in again. Don't mess with my food. Yeah I get you don't think you're being cruel, you think you're doing her a big favor. You're not. You don't know what you're messing with."

He lashes out with his foot against the back of Umi's leg, knocking her over. He can't kill her, it seems, but that doesn't mean he can't hurt her a little. He grinds his heel into her for a bit, seemingly disgruntled with his own actions but even more disgruntled by the results.

"Really they're kind of boring." He says. "I guess I don't mind if you try and mess things up. But I'll break ya. Go on and shoot that gun if you want." He doesn't seem terribly concerned by it.
Mercade Alexander Mercade listens. He doesn't like what he hears, judging from the expression on his face. "She's a person. Just like you and me. You might not think of her as a person, but that's irrelevant." He hops out of the window, lowering his gun as he slowly walks forward. "Go eat some turkey. Ham's in this season. I hear chocobo is nice. Stop eating Legion. Thank you for the warning, but I'm not seeing a reason to stop here. You might be good at beating up young women, but you're probably going to find that you're getting the attention of people who can give you some trouble."

He points. "I'm not going to back down just because you're some kind of time asshole."
Will Sherman There is a rumble...

The ground, for a moment, trembles.

"I said... 0LEAVE HER ALONE!" Will growls, his hands balling into fists and jumping right for Chronos. He might not care about fate, but will is going to make sure it /cares/ about him a great deal. His hands reach out already, aiming to grip at the threads that are laid bare to him, and TWIST them, shrivling them and weakening their force on the world.

Before Will aims to slam both of his hands into Chronos once...TWICE.... and then aims to upper cut him.

Then the shotgun of leadership comes out, pointing it towards him.

"I don't care who the hell you think you are. Do not, EVER touch Umi again. Do not touch ANY of them. You want them, you'll only get them over my dead body..'

He growls again, "And let me tell you...better than you have tried."
Legion Cronus smiles. He enjoys Mercade's response. He enjoys Will's response less, apparently, an annoyed look flickering in his eye as Will lashes out at the strings of fate. He grabs at the strings of fate and twists at them, but the strings of fate--twist back, spinning even in Will's hands, resisting his manipulation--Is Cronus twisting time to his advantage? Is it just his will? A combination of the two? Either way, Will moves in swinging, lashing out with his hands. Striking with both hands, even. But even as Will lashes out, his strikes seem to slow upon getting within range of Will, allowing Cronus to juuuust avoid the strikes. His head twisting from side to side and ducking underneath the uppercut.

He licks his lips--and time shifts again, Will's momentum speeding up just enough to send him flying. Luckily he has enough time to recover without taking any harm.

He taps his foot lightly and adds, "Eh." He says. "It's no great thing killing someone. Luck runs out easier than Time does."
He glances to Umi, but Will was able to put some distance between her and Cronus.

"Y'act like I'm the one seeking them out." He looks to Umi. "They're the ones who start it. The last one started it too. They come after me, per their orders, and I kill 'em, as per mine. Don't get pissed just 'cause I'm the strong one."

Umi says, "Please be careful, Will Sherman. I am replaceable. You are not, the Network reminds."
"That sound 'like a person' to you?" Cronus asks, snapping his fingers.

Will's momentum threatens to suddenly shift into SLLLLLOWWWWW MOOOOOOOO--and shortly after, with a flick of his fingers, Cronus sends two pebble bullets flying for Will's chest.
Will Sherman Fate and time struggle against each other...

Time, however, has the upper hand. As Cronus' time dickery catches fate, however, the coup de gras that he was looking for is midigated when fate causes Will to 'slip' during the deceleration period, the shots grazing his hurts, like the dickens, but isn't the chest shooting pain that he could have gotten. However, time resumes, and Will goes breaking into a slide towards the feet of Cronus.

"Yes. She just showed concern for someone else, you think that people don't think like her? Some people think they are replaceable, others give their lives little meaning...they are /wrong/ but it doesn't make them any less people." Will himself has these thoughts.

The slide continues, as Will aims to sweep his legs from under him, before flipping back to his feet, once more sending two strikes towards the strings...this is the first time anyone's outright resisted his strikes. Well, resisted like this...sometimes fate can not be averted...but this is different.

This time, Will strikes for the legs, wanting to sever a different string. "Good thing I have a lot of luck, Cronus. I wonder, which will end luck or your time. Hint: I wouldn't bet on your time."
Mercade Alexander "So you're saying that she attacks you, and then you kill her. And this happens over and over." Mercade considers this. "Look, I think you're an ass, but I don't see the need to really force this." He is taken aback as Cronus makes his powers known. "How..." He sets himself, grimacing. "That's even more ridiculous than I thought."

He moves over, attempting to pull Umi away and separate them. "Why are you given orders to kill them? What's the point?" Mercade asks. "Isn't it possible to just.. stay apart from each other?"
Cronus "Eh, how else can I get stronger? I gotta get strong, especially now. They figure I can bring back Vespertine City," Cronus is clearly ambivalent about actually doing this since he sort of shrugs at its mention. "Go figure, first they want me to go around conquering <goosehonk>." He pauses at the goosehonk and seems seriously perturbed by it. "What the <goosehonk>?!" Pause. "<goosehonk!>". He's really angry now. Swearing used to be one of his favorite things to do.

Umi is pulled away easily enough, she isn't seriously hurt though she does stumble a bit. She seems annoyed, though, her fists are clenched and it seems like any moment she might break away and get involved. Of course, the ratio of success for Legion against this guy is abyssmal. Mercade's hair on his arms starts twanging up--static electricity.

"I mean I figured you guys probably got all fooled by the cute act, I mean don't get me wrong, pisses me off too--why make 'em look like girls anyway. It's creepy." He says.

Will keeps going for the strings, but while certainly better men than Cronus have tried to take down Will--one might be surprised at how little the quality of man matters when it comes to violence. Those strings spin rapidly--almost like his Fate Strings has the same strange abilities he does.

But Cronus seems to flat out admit there are some gaps to his manipulation in time. So far he's only shown an adeptness with speeding up and slowing it down. He hasn't shown whatever he did to make that Legion Mercade saw get all over his shoes. Nor has he flat out stopped time and tried to drop a steamroller on Will which, considering the player, is honestly the biggest surprise of all.

Will's strikes end up reaching into his deceleration field--and Cronus smiles. He thinks, at the very least, that he has Will just where he wants him. He doesn't want to stop fighting. In fact, he seems to be enjoying himself. He wasn't enjoying beating up Umi that little bit, but that doesn't mean he is inclined to ultimately spare her.

Cronus suddenly lashes out with his palm for the center of Will's chest--this strike in of itself isn't that troubling--but it allows for a certain kind of connection that, if Will is not careful--will suddenly speed him up, the small shove becoming like getting hit by a car, threatening to send him flying for the back wall.

"Never been able to stop people from fighting me before." He says. "Though I gotta say, you're interesting." Whether he means Mercade, Will, or both is unclear.
Mercade Alexander Mercade looks down at the odd feeling running up his arm as he touches Umi. That's odd. He glares back up at Cronus as he and Will continue fighting. "Who are 'They', Cronus." Mercade asks. "Who are you, really? Where did you come from?" HE continues to watch the battle, not joining it yet. "There's a lot of ways to get stronger that don't involve murdering other people, you know."
Will Sherman Something happens with the field...

Will doesn't slow down. While the field CAN effect's effects on Will are just as likely to succeed on him, as Will's are to succeed back on Cronus. Will moves, quickly avoiding the field and stumbling to the right as the hand moves to touch him...and he completely avoids it like he was acting normally. He stumbles to the ground, rolling onto his feet and staying crouched for a moment.

He felt that force, his eyes couldn't trace it...but he FELT it. That would have been bad for him, if it hit. Then Will spung onto the offensive again, once more trying that same strike, aiming for those strings, aiming to try and sunder them, before moving in and aiming to aim a palm right for the side of Cronus' head. Once connected, he tries again, aiming to repeatedly punch, before aiming a powerful two palmed strike for the center of the boy's chest. Will's style changes, more refined and more accurate...he wasn't just relying on his luck anymore.

Mercade can see movements of Han's in these strikes. Maybe a little of Tifa's style. Will's defintely getting better as a melee fighter. "Yes. <Goosehonk> is a thing. Deal with it. I am not fooled by any act, I treat her like I would treat anyone else...anyone that is deserving of being a person.

"Even chumps like you."
Legion Will stops relying on his luck. Cronus, however, continues relying on his Time. He has every right to be confident. He has gotten 'first blood' after all. Will might be fast and lucky, but some things are only a matter of time. The inertia disperses before it destroys anything, though Cronus gears up again, his Deceleration field building up around him again. Typically even fists would be turned away from him should they hit it, after all--it can even slow bullets. Those string grabs continue to not quite work too well. At least, not as effective as what Will follows through with.

Will's palm, without any luck at all--just mimicked skill--strikes the field. The grabbing of the strings weakens the deceleration field just enough to allow the strike through.

The hit itself isn't very powerful. He seems more surprised than in pain--before he gets grazed across the chest. He stumbles away, his expression changing to one of shock may be more than enough for Will.

"Tch--what the hell... you hit me? Nobody's ever hit me... Guess there's something to say for luck after all."

He wipes blood from his nose with his wrist. The amusement is gone from his features.

"Guess I'll stop playin' then." He says.

>>Umi, No.
>>Please, Umi, No.
>>Don't do it Umi.
>>Listen to Mercade Alexander.

"Man. All these questions." Cronus says, spitting blood of to the side. He seems to have some understanding of what Will is, hench the 'Luck' comments. He doesn't seem terribly perturbed by Loki. Maybe he just doesn't care about the world. He has his way of living and will burn the world around with him if neccessary.

But that's not what he wants to do, precisely. He has to be stronger than anyone. That's the only way, He doesn't explain why--he's pretty antisocial.

A thread appears between Will and Cronus now. That strike made it appear as if it was always there. Rivalry. Anger. It's not really hate. But he wants to 'show him'. Show him what? He's not htinking that clearly. To be fair, he just got clogged upside the head.

"Through fighting I get stronger..." He whispers. "I got shot at, I learned to deflect. I had to break things, i learned to smash. I had to run, I learned to accelerate."

The deceleration around him tightens. His body vibrates as if afflicted by the haste spell, his movements a blur. He reaches out, towards that string of fate now binding him to Will Sherman.

He grabs at it. It reacts to his touch, resisting his manipulation the same way his time resisted Will's. He lets go--and then looks towards Will's strings.

He dives for them--his intent clear: He intends to rip them to shreds, remove Will from time, eliminate Fate from his very being. Can he even do this? Not even Cronus knows. He's never had to do this before. He never would have even tried had he not met Will. And now he's trying. He can't quite see them, but he seems to sense their general presence, their existence.

>> Emi.
>>You are referring to this node?, The Network inquires.
>>I'm sorry for being selfish.
>>The Network commands you stop. Consensus is reached.

Umi darts suddenly away from Mercade Alexander. As has been said, she may have little value for her own life, but she considers Will to be very important. Will taught her about singing, dancing, and even allowed her a name. He also told her that he is a seal. A seal, she reasons, that can be in danger if this goes on.

Cronus doesn't seem to notice her, pushing, PUSHING to grab those strands.

Electricity ripples across Umi's body. They have shown signs of having some measure of ability themselves before, but they haven't made much use of it in an offensive capability. A bright string connects her to Will, though he's probably seen that one before now.

FRom her hands, an electrical eruption bursts free, catching Cronus across the hand. In his strange offense, he doesn't quite have the defense he does before. He is jolted back. It's a glancing hit that draws his attention to Umi.

--who is drawing a small kitchen knife she secured from the hotel. She leaps for Cronus, intending to slam it into his neck. And maybe in a just world, she would have succeeded.

But as Manhattan proven, sometimes the world isn't just.

The kitchen knife DISINTERGRATES before it gets anywhere near Cronus. He turns--

That action changed Umi's fate: Doom, in the short term.

With a lash of his hand, Cronus touches Umi.
It's enough.

Umi's chest bursts open, spraying blood everywhere. Cronus was shocked--he couldn't unleash his full power--but it may very well be enough. Umi jolts in the air and then collapses to the ground, her fluids leaking out of her. Even Cronus seems surprised by this happening.

"WHAT THE <GOOSEHONK>?!" Cronus says. "Why the hell did she do that?!" He steps back and then swears again, "<goosehonk!>" He turns to run off. "Remember your schedule, Network!" He shouts as he darts off at an accelerated rate. "Or this will happen again!" There's a small waver in his voice. Talking tough.
Mercade Alexander Mercade tenses as Cronus mentions that he's going to 'stop playing'. Traditionally, this is when someone gets murdered.

Unfortunately, it's not the person he was expecting. Umi breaks free. "DAMN IT!" Mercade yells. "UMI! NO!" He reaches out a hand...

And red spatters against the front of his stunned body. Reflexively, Mercade sends several bullets flying towards Cronus. They wouldn't hit even if he wasn't firing blind. The Detective rushes to the fallen Umi's side, dropping the gun and yelling into his new Ma Belle. "CELINA! We need you here behind the Hotel right now!"

She's the only one who could possibly save Umi right now. He has no idea how to deal with this...
Will Sherman Will grits his teeth, a smile forming along the edges as he sees the thread form...but it isn't enough.

He's going to show this <GOOSEHONK> what for.. He moves in, for a powerful shot, and Will doesn't dodge it.

It won't hit him, he doesn't know why...but he challenges the attack, getting ready for his counter att-

Then Umi. Horror flashes across his face, blood splattering over his face, as she gets in the way. He moves for her, ignoring Cronus, and aiming to try and catch her as she falls. Will's focus on him is broken, trying to desprately reach out for her threads...

"No! Why did you do that?! Umi! You know I am not human!" he says, tears running down the side of his face. "Hold on, okay?! Celina is on her way." he says, trying to hold himself together. He had to be strong, not now...he could fold later, but now...

She needed him, he can see the threads of doom...she changed her fate. "You hear me? You're not allowed to die! Your king forbits it.." he says, trying to force out a weak smile.
Celina Duvalis You do not get Mercade and Will both yelling for Celina that loud without it being a significant emergency. Tearing her way through the district, Celina barrels through the double doors that lead behind the hotel.

She takes the turn towards the proper alleyway at enough speed that she skids and hops back and forth on her feet slightly, before she makes her way up to the group, mostly out of breath, pulling her necklace off.

Resting her hands on her knees, she wheezes out a mostly undecipherable phrase in Latin, the necklace glowing, before she drops down to her knees next to Umi, placing the necklace over her heart.

She then concentrated on the magic, murmuring phrases under her breath, most of them translating into vague murmurs about healing what was hurt, bring back what was once lost, etc, etc.
Legion Umi isn't dead yet, but if untreated she certainly will be. This isn't as bad as the other one, Mercade will remember, but that doesn't mean it's pleasant. He seem to have used some sort of haste/slow combination to cause this reaction which would explain the other's injuries.

Despite the horrible injuries, Umi is smiling. She seems relieved. She calmly acts to prolong her own life. She tries to rip off some clothing to staunch the blood flow but her body is shaking so much she's not making much progress. Her breathing comes in rasps, blood dribbles out of her mouth.

Will says he's not human. Umi smiles up at him and says, "Don't worry, sir, I still think of you as a person." She gives up trying to move her body, seeking instead to prolong herself by not wasting energy, letting her arm drop.

"Ahhhn...I really messed up. Omi is going to yell at you, The Network confirms she is blaming you. Omi is 'OP', remember?" Pause. "She's Omi because 'Omicron', see? The Network denies this name." She lowers her voice to a whisper, "She'll give in."

She goes quiet for a moment before wheezing out, "Sir," She says. "I'm sorry I failed probation. I'm always messing up, Omi says." She tries to raise her head and gives up, lying back down again.

"But when Omi comes to yell at you." She says. "Tell was fun." She closes her eyes. "And I totally hit him first."

The breathing is starting to slow when--


Celina starts using healing magic on Umi. Wounds start closing up. She's already lost crazy amounts of blood, but it seems to be working enough. After several applications of healing, the wounds are healed enough that they can be treated normally.

But Umi's eyes don't open up. Only time will tell if she'll make a proper recovery. Still, better than the rest have gotten.
Mercade Alexander Mercade stands up, turning away. His expression is grim, and he says nothing, reaching up to his chin as he thinks about this turn of events. He's no man of profound wisdom.

But one thing he knew for sure: Cronus didn't actually intend to kill Umi here. He reacted reflexively when she tried to kill /him/.

This problem is more complicated than he thought.
Will Sherman Will see's it as she jumping in the way to save him.

He grabs her hand...come on fate...don't backfire on him now.

"Don't need to focus on being alive." he says, biting his lip. His hand moved to grab hers, and then...

CELENA interupt. He looks up at her, apprecitivly and lowers her down to the ground to put her in Celina's care. She doesn't wake up, and he can't do anything else...his own fate can't force anothers too hard...backfiring will happen. He sucks in a breath, and looks at Mercade...then back towards the hotel. "I'ma go in there and not get in the way of the healing magic." he says, calmly.
Celina Duvalis Celina is good at INTERRUPT.

It's a talent.

She quietly and carefully controls the magic, before the light fades away and she rocks back off of her knees onto her butt next to Umi, rubbing her eyes as the necklace goes back over her head. "I've done all I can. She just needs time." Her voice is slightly hoarse. She looks between Will and Mercade, rubbing her temple. "I'm sorry I couldn't be here faster."
Mercade Alexander There's nothing you could have done to stop it." Mercade says. "She just... threw herself at the guy for some reason." He looks back over his shoulder, at the significantly less exploded Umi. "Well, maybe we can get her to a doctor now so they can oversee the rest." He sighs, kneeling down again and dialing some numbers.

He looks over his shoulder at the leaving Will, then over to Celina. "That's the most reasonable I've seen him in ages. But..." He looks back to Umi. "This is not going to be simple. Not at all."

This scene contained 26 poses. The players who were present were: Will Sherman, Mercade Alexander, Cronus, Celina Duvalis, Legion