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 Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)

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Bloo
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PostSubject: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:54 am

The weather was far nicer in California than Mariya's Russian blood was used to, making her a little uncomfortable in her combat boots and cargo pants... but at least she had the forethought to wear a thin polo instead of a sweater. The weather wasn't the most pressing worry she had, though. She had spotted them earlier through her gold tinted aviators-familiar faces. In her line of work this usually meant trouble.
After a few loud cracks of her knuckles, Mariya stood up and ran a hand through her messy hair that stood up at every angle. There were people all over, not knowing what kind of a monster was just soaking the sun on their park bench.

Or what sort of evil men were lurking just a few meters behind her, preparing something extreme to get their target alive.

They were pros, Mariya would admit that. It was just luck that she caught a reflection off the pond earlier. That's what made her prepared for this fight more than anything. With a quick pivot, she spun on her heel and gave the bench a kick. It flew quickly at a group of about 10 men who were lurking in the shadows cast by the parks tallest oak.
"Come out then, rats!"

That was the start of the chaos. There were gunshots ringing out through the air, families scurried and grabbed their kids. It was a rather stressful situation for the poor civilians.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:54 pm

And so on an Autumn day in the middle of an American metropolis amongst the family quarter, a battlefield emerged. Envy thought he'd left such things behind. Unused to the bang and clamour of violence, the people of Jump reacted with plain panic. While not the target of the bullets (they never were) the civilians were in as much danger of being cut down as anyone. Invidus had watched such displays in the past with an expression of amusement. He had to remind himself that this would not do a hero.

His charade had to be convincing. You never knew who was watching in Jump City. If he wanted to endear himself to the heroes which came to this city he had to share the work and risks that they did.

"Get down!" He barrelled sidelong into a woman and her little girl, knocking them to earth, as a scythe of bullets passed nearby. His recent battlefield familiarity had allowed him to judge where the most dangerous zone was about to emerge. He was surprised by the fear that struck him as he did so. He was durable but not bullet-proof.

In a 'changing of the lanes' where the guns fired from a different side of the tree, he yanked the pair to their feet. Looming over them protectively, he ran them to a verge, beyond which they would be safe, "Go, mam. I'll deal with this." He turned to head back into the maelstrom, only pausing briefly to register the call of 'thanks' which he got in return.

He'd rarely had such words spoken to him in sincerity. It should have touched him. Yet all there was, was the thought that they got to be safe while he was still in danger. Ingrates.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:02 pm

The blasts of the weapons proved to be rather inefficient. It seemed that they were using small handguns in an attempt to hurt the Kryptonian hybrid. Mariya smirked at the thought. That wouldn't be enough.
As she stepped toward the group, bullets ricocheting at strange and hard to predict angles, the men started to back up. Mariya hesitated mid step though, when one of the men from the back came forward with a much bigger handgun. It looked like a revolver of some kind. That... might be enough.

When the shot rang out, Mariya had already taken to the air to dodge. The girl moved with a serpentine maneuver towards the biggest threat these hitmen had, but every time she got close she found herself forced to weave sideways to dodge.
"You lot are annoying!"

Her rage rang through, and she decided to charge forward. The man expected her to fall for his taunts and held out the revolver... only for it to make a click sound when he pulled the trigger. He looked in shock at the charging alien who's eyes were now glowing. She was looking through the gun to check his ammo!

The impact was rough, for one of them. The man was pushed into the ground with such force it was possible he didn't even survive the altercation.

Then, with a sadistic grin and a splatter of blood on her shirt Mariya looked towards the others. "Who's next?"

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:29 pm

The police would already be on their way. If he picked his moment right then Envy would be in danger for a miniscule amount of time. Long enough to claim the credit but short enough that he wasn't one more victim in this whole sad sequence of events. He wondered what had stirred the gunmen, what it was all about. He was surprised to find they were attacking a single girl. As many men as that for a sole human female. Yet when he watched her move he corrected his assumption. This wasn't a human. He expected meta-human but his cursory glance at the psychic information he received from her told a better tale.

She was part Kryptonian?!

Earth's greatest so-called hero was a Kryptonian. Envy knew well enough to stay out of his way. The alien's reputation for might was legendary. And he was not a fool. To send ten men after one girl seemed foolish. To send ten men after one Kryptonian was foolhardy. Jump City was truly a city of wonders. Envy hadn't seen an alien in thirty years.

All this information he received was superfluous, however, to the question - what would a hero do now? It was important he got it right. The good of this world were so often full of contradictions. Violence was abhorred and yet necessary. Understanding was expected yet a cruel ideology could not be stomached.

The Sin found himself sliding across the grass-green ground to come beside the stricken gunman, and within range of the diet-Kryptonian. The one Mariya thought she might have killed.

"Who are you?" Another attacker said with an affronted lilt, not daring to take their firearm away from the woman, no matter how ineffective it had proven.

Envy picked up the fallen weapon and pointed it at them, "He brought you here, didn't he? He was in charge. The biggest weapon and the loudest voice. But now he's dead. And he left you here. To face a Kryptonian of all things alone, with useless guns." A look of horror crossed the face of many of the remaining men. Either they had not known her physiological status, or they had not thought he was dead. He wasn't, only stunned, but they didn't need to know that, "Retreat, regroup. I'll deal with her." At this Envy stood and turned to look defiantly at Mariya, "Can you believe your luck? You'd better make a decision quick."

Whatever had shocked them had forced their brain into rash decision mode. And the random stranger offering to occupy their target (otherwise known as their imminent instigator of death) was a godsend which many a desperate human could not refuse. If they retreated, he had stopped a small war. And thus spared civilians, combatants, and aliens alike. Everybody won.

Heroing wasn't as hard as the Virtues made it seem.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:58 am

As Mariya began her slow and powerful strut towards the thoroughly intimidated group of demoralized hitmen, there was an unexpected intrusion that brought her steps to a stall. A masked man arrives? Her grin turned to a reluctant frown as she assessed the newcomer with half lidded and tired eyes.
The remaining gunmen responded well to his presence, scurrying away in a valiant- albeit desperate- attempt to retreat. The police were arriving on the outskirts and drawing their weapons on the men who were already surrendering to the protection of the JCPD.

"Hn. That was short lived." Mariya commented, putting her hands into her pockets after a quick and unproductive attempt to brush the blood off her purple polo.

After looking at the masked man for a second, her eyes would begin to glow a bit as she activated her x ray vision to see through that mask of his.

"You're either confident," she started speaking as she took in his appearance, "or stupid. The gunmen couldn't do anything to me. Can you?"

Her hands balled into fists in her pockets as she spoke. If he let her use her x ray vision and see what the... thing in front of her was, she'd let out a sharp laugh. "I'd wear a mask if I was you, too."

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:55 pm

The sirens were as if sweet music as the fleeing men began to scatter like leaves in the wind. He cast a glance back to view the sudden panic that had awoken among them. Nine combat capable men without the guiding hand of a leader. Pity.

The Sin refocused his attentions on the Kryptonian. She had helpfully let the attackers go now that she had a volunteer to stay behind. While it was difficult to sum people up in one word, his ESP told him that this 'Mariya Crestfallen' was given to evil. She had demonstrated enjoyment at the prospect of a fight. Things could have gotten ugly if she'd gone unchecked. Even if she was merely fighting in self-defence. He'd stripped her of an excuse.

Envy sneered, "I broke up your party. I'm not interesting in prolonging this silly battle. You're the victim here. Act like it. As for me, my work is-" He paused as she got across her observations of his appearance. Without the mask and hood it was quite plain he had a demonic countenance. He had two great horns growing out of his head after all.

Envy's eyes narrowed, "X-ray vision? Tch, you weren't suppose to see that... Dammit." He was in the middle of a great deception. No one could know he was a demon yet. This complicated matters.

Slowly, deliberately, Envy crouched down and hefted the unconscious gunmen by his shoulders. He lifted him up so that the man was dangling his full height, facing away from Envy. The demon looked over the dead-weight's shoulder at Mariya, "I'm sorry I couldn't stop him from shooting you." And then fired the revolver in his hand.

The reckless girl clearly needed to be eliminated. By positioning the unconscious gunman like so, Envy could pretend to the encroaching police that he'd tried to wrestle with the assailant, but been too late to stop that fatal shot. Of course in thinking quick, Envy had overlooked one glaring fault with his plan. The exact same fault which had been the downfall of the gunman. The one he'd only just observed a second ago.

He'd forgotten the revolver wasn't loaded.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:46 pm

The newest challenger seemed to have a mouth as sharp as his brain. He was shooting out rather respectable logic trying to get Mariya to back down, and it was starting to work... but it seemed that her invasion of his privacy wasn't something easily forgivable to the masked man. So he was hiding that form from the public? Interesting.

"You seem like a pretty smart guy." Mariya commented, taking one menacing step towards him as she cracked her knuckles. Then he pulled the trigger and the gun clicked it's empty chamber. "The problem with all that intelligence is that sometimes you're thinking too much and you forget about the most simple things."

Her grin resurfaced as she started closing the distance between them.
"If we're speaking of right and wrong, then I suppose since you just tried to kill me it wouldn't be wrong for me to-"

Mariya was cut off by the loud screeching of tires and the blaring of nearby sirens. The police had finally arrived here, interrupting the beat down she'd meticulously been planning for the puny man. That made this way more complicated. The park had some tall bushes and twisting paths cut off by obstructing oak trees, making it impossible for her to spot the incoming police without her vision. She didn't want to be here when they got here.

"Saved by the bell, then. This is where I'll take my leave. Maybe my next stop will be at the local news station? Local masked hero secretly hiding devil horns and disgusting wings?"

With a chuckle, she floated into the air towards the inner city. She wasn't about to let the man get away with trying to kill her. She was counting on him showing up at the news building so they could settle this with some privacy.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:10 am

Envy watched her leave as he dropped the gun. Some people had all the luck. And all the breeding. If he had power like that he wouldn't be roughing up thugs. Not that the group which attacked her were thugs precisely. The Sin needed to deal with his problem just in case she decided to follow through with her threat. He lowered the body softly against the grass and began to shed the gunman of possessions. It was as he did this the first police arrived on scene. While more than one cruiser pulled into the lanes, chasing down flighty-looking crooks, a solitary sergeant approached his position.

"Friend or foe? Can't rightly tell no more."

"They call me Aequalitas, Officer. And this man-" Envy chucked a wallet at the sergeant, "Is SVR. The Russian Secret Service. The one that spies outside of Russian borders."

The copper grunted, "SV... R? It say that on his gym membership?"

"The man had no Russian accent. I'm guessing the name on his credit card doesn't match his real one. Alexi Farrachenko. Born in Kazan. Age of 42. Relay this to your Federal bureau. Run his finger-prints. Then you will know for certain." As soon as Envy looked away from the unconscious Russian he forgot the information he had just spouted. He didn't need it any longer.

"And what about the other rodents?"

Grief, this human got paid to take the initiative, "Probably hired locally. SVR don't run like scared girls. But that doesn't mean there aren't more. I would put yourselves on high alert. They might mean mischief. The Russians think you Americans are lazy and ineffective."

"Lazy, eh?" Envy saw the seed of resentment plant inside the sergeant. He marched over and roughly cuffed the gunman, finally waking him. The man protested but was told to keep quiet. The sergeant called in the arrest on his walkie, "And I got another one of those vigilantes here. Yeah the city's crawling with 'em. Hey buddy, what you say your name was aga-" But Envy had left.

--------------

When buzz-words got spoken over the communication lines the American intelligence agencies took it very seriously. They didn't need to wait for the finger-prints. The information Aequalitas had provided produced photographs that matched the prisoner. They were reasonably sure they had caught a top Russian spy. They just didn't know why he was in the US. The involvement of one lone Kryptonian girl was unknown to them.

Suddenly an anonymous phone-call was made. The speaker was frantic and confusing. But the gist of the message came across before he hung up on the dispatcher. Bomb. News room. Russians. Hurry. The police department came alive. By the time Envy found the local news station, people were already filing out the door.

There would be no fresh news in the next few hours. The Sin had shut them down with little more than paranoia. If his blackmailer wanted to follow through with her threat now, she would be met with a stone wall. She would see what a powerful enemy he could be and hopefully choose timidity over bombasticity. After all, she was only human.

If she was something more than that, he could not remember.

The Sin snuck passed the cordon of beleaguered doormen and security guards to get inside. Until the bomb squads arrived, and until they figured out a plan of action, he would be all alone in the building. What he did remember was his adversary had X-ray vision. She would find him. If not, it meant he had scared her off.

Good.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:05 am

Mariya was deliberately slow on her way over to the news station. She knew that the simpler means of transportation that humans had couldn't exactly keep up with her flight. So, after a quick detour to pick up a new shirt- one with marginally less bullet holes in it- she found herself perched on an edifice just across the smaller, less imposing news building.
People were already evacuating. The masked devil boy was less of a fool that he had displayed earlier.

The disgruntled employees had gathered outside in many throngs, bickering and rambling to each other and the police officers who were facing the daunting adversity of keeping them organized and in place while the experts were en route.

It seemed that the evacuation was practically finished, but Mariya wasn't seeing her new acquaintance anywhere in the sea of faces. How disappointing.
A passing thought had her eyes glowing as she looked into the building, searching and scanning the multileveled structure with her x-ray vision until she happened on the familiar form of the winged boy.

"Bingo. I was hoping he'd show up."

Inside the offices, Envy would hear a hard to miss crash from the floor above. Mariya had decided to circumvent the doormen by flying over the building and breaking in through a second story window. She just hoped nobody saw her flying form.

"Honey, I'm home!" She called out towards the stairwell, her voice carried by the acoustics of the barren halls. "Come up, let's have a bit of a chat."

She'd wait, leaning against a camera stand and cracking her knuckles.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:48 pm

Hearing the voice Envy would check his daggers and then climb the stairs. The floorboards creaked as he made his way. When he entered through double-doors he resisted the urge to step into a corner. There could be no hiding from one with x-ray vision. His stealth would do him no good. If he wanted to kill her he must do it openly. She had survived an attack from several armed men which suggested he could not rush her. He must guile his way into her orbit. With his words.

He found her on a studio set. His eyes widened briefly as he regained the information on her he had lost. Kryptonian. How good for her. "You'll forgive the precautions. With so little going for me, I must make additionally sure that misfortune does not strike." The Sin would wander over to a stand of plugs and disconnect the brace of set cameras.

"If you insist on playing games I suppose I must indulge you. Do you want to know what I am? Who I am? Or shall we talk of what you are?" Envy was thinking of all he could do had he been granted the miracle of her birth. He saw every shining possibility, "If you came out as a Kryptonian, then the world would be eating out of your hand. They would love you, adore you. You wouldn't have to worry about shadowy men ambushing you in fields. All eyes would be on you."

He pointed, "And yet you're here. Mithering a nobody such as me. Now why is that?" He'd not yet considered that she might not know her heritage.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:22 pm

With the sound of encroaching footsteps, Mariya felt a familiar adrenaline rolling through her veins. She wet her lips in anticipation, but heard the words coming out of his mouth. She pegged him pretty quickly as some kind of diplomat. Her squared stance fell a bit and her arms became a bit limp at her sides. So, he tried to kill her before but now understood his mistake and wanted to make peace?
She respected his realistic approach to the situation.

"You seem to know a lot about me, then." She commented rather dryly as he flicked off the cameras to be safe. "Then you helped those Russians try to kill me... with that appearance of yours, I'm guessing you're some kind of Russian metahuman soldier."

She tried her best to even the playing field with her observations, but didn't know how far off she even was. The man knew she was Kryptonian, but didn't seem to know she wasn't a true alien.
"I can't exactly do that. I'm not all the way Kryptonian. My mom was human. So, I'm half human. I'm looking for my dad, though, if you've seen any rampant Superman-esque aliens flying around."

He would be able to know this wasn't entirely true. Mariya was not only born in a test tube, but it was the genes taken from the woman that were Kryptonian. It was starting to be clear that she didn't exactly know the full story behind her birth.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:16 pm

"Your mother..." How strange. He couldn't see a mother for this girl. Nor a father. Envy's ESP had been blocked before. But only in its entirety, never partially. He could still see a myriad of other facts about her, which could only mean one thing. She didn't have 'parents' in the traditional sense. What did that leave? He'd heard tales of the paltry gods of Earth spiriting individuals up out of the mud or ash or toilet bowl. But he would assume Kryptonians were more science based than magic. Were the humans playing god? Were they growing their own life now?

Mariya could have been lying, certainly. But there was a certain carry in her words and a breezy calm upon her face which suggested to Aequalitas that she thought what she was saying was true. Heritage was an important thing to mortals. They lived such fleeting lives that they tried to experience more of life vicariously through their ancestors. For Envy himself he could care less about his roots. All his father ever inspired in him was jealousy. If the Devil was the ultimate evil, then there was nowhere to go.

The Sin considered the Kryptonian's words and then decided how to unbalance her. Sometimes an illusion was best left unchallenged. This was not that time. He wanted to provoke her, "My dear, I don't know what fantasy world you've made for yourself. But I must rely on observations all my own, for I am not blessed by the superpower of Russians. And I can say with utmost certainty, that you have no biological kin. I am psychic, you see. I only learn facts which are true of you. You could only have parents in the technical sense. You were born into this world an orphan, Mariya Crestfallen. Your search is pointless. You're alone." He deliberately turned his back on her.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:39 am

Mariya's hubris faltered at the words of the strange masked man. Alone? Her first instinct was that the man was a liar, trying to save his own skin from the obvious Kryptonian beatdown that was incoming... but something made her hesitate further. The way he turned his back. He wasn't holding a gun, nor did he attack in sync with the Russians. He knew things about her that even the Russians wouldn't have intimate knowledge with...
The man was a psychic, she decided. That much of his story was no farce.

"Don't you walk away from me."
There was an edge to her voice that betrayed the fact that his words might have broken some layer of her invisible defenses. A frantic and borderline desperate panic of some sort. As if there was a curtain being pulled out from in front of her, but her stubborn exterior wanted to fight it with every ounce of her being.

"You can leave when you have my permission to leave, demon." The word came out as an agitated hiss, her own philistine attempt at verbal repartee against her newest aggressor. "Explain what you mean. Nobody is born an orphan, do you take me for a fool? Just because you know some parlor tricks doesn't mean that I'll believe whatever nonsense you choose to spout!"

She was full on defensive mode now.

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PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:23 am

"Parlour tricks? Feh." Envy counted three seconds and then turned back. He read the information scattered about her and began speaking rapidly.

"You're five foot eight, I know you tell people you're five foot nine but we all prefer to use our height as a baseline instead of a cut-off. While you are Kryptonian you are still susceptible to heat and cold. Your birth-place is not Russia and yet you're fluent in their language. Added to that the SVR agent, I have to assume you've spent a long time in the country. You're an exemplary poker player. I can only believe you have sadistic tendencies owing to the placement of your piercing. And to reiterate; you were born an orphan. I know no mother or father when I look at you."

It would be pretty difficult to deny his validity now. Of course it was still possible. People were capable of belief in any amount of their own lies. But Mariya would be fast running out of excuses. Maybe this stranger was right. Maybe he knew more about her life than she did. And when Aequalitas studied her, really looked into her foibles, he saw what he expected, what he delighted to find in his superiors.

He saw her envy, "I have suggestions why that may be, I could clear up this confusion. But do I bother? What use could a Kryptonian possibly have for a father? You must laugh at all those other children. So coddled. So spoilt. They don't get to grow up as fast and as tough as you, do they?"

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Villain or good guy?: Good

PostSubject: Re: Preemptive Retaliatory Strike (DD)   Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:31 am

The man proceeded to riddle off facts that punctured her rather striking emotional armor Mariya shrouded herself in. For a moment she stood there, eyes glowing as she stared passed his impassive mask to the humanoid face underneath. She was looking for his tells. Signs he was bluffing. Her aforementioned talent for poker was useful in more ways than one... but she couldn't find any tells that the man didn't believe the words he spoke.

"Growing up with no Father to teach you how to use this power I never asked for? A Mother with no capacity to care for a kid? Yeah, I'm swimming in luck here." She said, eyes narrowed as she ran a hand through her hair. She tried to tell herself it didn't matter. She had come this far all by herself, nobody to stand with or rely on... why should the fact that her Father wasn't out there change anything?

"If I have no mother or father, then by what blasphemy am I here? I think your so called omnipotence might have some limits you're unaware of." Mariya argued, but if he really read into her posture he could probably tell she was speaking more to convince herself than him.

"Tell me then, since you know everything about me. What even are you?"

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