Logs:This shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet; their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths.
|This shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet; their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths.|
cn: violence, gore
"We can't risk them capturing us."
It's a miserable afternoon, frigid and grey and currently in between downpours. The block is quiet -- there's an elderly woman under an unnecessary umbrella waiting for a bus, an unhappy-looking dog walker wrangling five variably-sized dogs down the sidewalk, a UPS truck parked on the corner as the driver loads packages onto a trolley, a young man in a Duane Reade uniform hurrying towards the crosswalk. None of them even look up at the fleet of Sentinel Services cars that roll up to the corner, the squad of spiderlike robots that skitter out. The larger humanoid robots that take up position around the row of brownstones do earn a second look -- though not a third. Most people seem very occupied in getting where they're going.
The people inside the brownstones might notice, though, when the larger robots get into position -- or might, at least, notice the power suppression field that follows.
Spencer appears in the living room of one of the buildings, looking harried and haunted. He doesn't have a coat on, and though he's wearing layers much of his clothing is tattered and ill-fitting -- his outermost layer is a gray waffle thermal shirt worn so thin that the blue-and-black striped shirt beneath it is plainly visible, his blue jeans torn at the knees to show red long underwear pants underneath, his hiking boots at least a couple of sizes too big, their laces unmatched. His hair is jaggedly cut, about ear length except for a long, thin braid trailing from behind his right ear, and there's a faded rainbow DNA-trimmed black kippah double-clipped at his crown. "Ok, who's left?" he asks a young woman with short, black hair sitting at an old-fashioned writing desk.
"Two kids in the last house on the row, on the big side for you," Sage replies calmly, watching the others in the room gear up for battle around her," but you won't be able to get to them now. There's a suppression field up." She rises. "You should come with me into the back," she suggests, rising, though there's a faintly fatalistic tone to this offer. A couple of the haggard mutants checking their firearms in the room look at her sharply, then back at Spencer. "I'm sorry," she adds, dully. "But we can't risk them capturing us."
A host of police officers are also pouring out of the vehicles. The human officers have less urgency than the robots -- they hang back, right now. Let the clutter of spiders fan out around the building first, then start clambering up the walls. There's a scritching at the front windows, a crackle-shatter of glass; the jagged-limbed robots cast eerie silhouettes against the murky grey light outside as the first of them begin to breech the front windows. There's a continued scritch-crack from the sides, more scratching from the back where more robots are starting to arrive.
Not far behind the rearmost of the humanoid Sentinels is a figure who would be unobtrusive -- grey jeans, dark peacoat, plain grey knit cap -- if he weren't so very well known -- still, the robot has very little time to react before its programming is getting swamped with a new bespoke blend of malware -- rapidly disseminated across the Sentinels' network to the others. The robots' malfunction is visible long before Vector is anywhere in sight, the suppression grid the first thing to fail before their navigation ability does.
Spence vanishes where he'd stopped behind her, reappearing in the living room where a Sentinel had crashed partway into the room only to start staggering around the room in a familiar, telling malfunction. He stretches out a hand and brushes the armor of the spidery robot as it passes. It disappear and reappears legs-up a few steps away from and above the nearest knot of officers, crashing to the ground beside them. "Grid's down," he announces, " as if his teleporting the Sentinel away didn't demonstrate that. "I think it's Vector."
Several of the robots clatter to the ground where they've been scaling the house. Except the one Spencer just teleporter, the few that are already inside are fumbling, walking in circles or crashing into the walls. One of them tries shooting a repulsor beam at its own foot.
The sudden scuttling of the spiderlings puts the police on higher alert. Several of them draw weapons, start to head for the door. Stop, at some shouting from behind; rather than breach the entrance a knot of them are conferring just outside the front stoop.
At the back, where the spiders had been breaking in, Vector is climbing in through one of the broken-open windows. Like many people these days his clothing is a little ragged, his face a little haggard; one forearm is in a cast. His steps crunch on the broken glass just inside as he crosses through the room. Regards Spencer, first, before the other mutants in present. His eyes flick only briefly to the front of the house. "I can keep the bots down. Can you get them out?"
Spencer's wide, wide eyes snap to Vector when he walks in. Drop briefly down to the cast on his arm. Back up to his face. It takes him a great effort to actually speak, but when he does the words come out in a tumbling rush, "I can't, I mean I can try but it's just as likely to get people killed and there's too many, anyway." He bites his lower lip hard, his gaze dropping to the floor. "Sorry."
"We have vehicles and an evacuation plan," Sage says from the doorway. She's armed, now, though the pistol looks heavy and unwieldy in her hand. "But no way to safely reach them."
Spencer nods, sharp and quick and too many times. His fingerless gloved hands flutter rapidly at the hem of his tattered shirt. He forces himself to look at Vector again. "Can you -- can you take down the cops, too?" No one else had been speaking, but a hush nevertheless falls over the room as eyes that had only been surreptitiously watching Vector fix on him plainly.
Just outside, the drove of police appear to have come to some sort of decision. Unfortunately for the people inside, that decision includes hurling several flashbangs in through the broken windows. The noise in the enclosed space is booming, the flare painful-bright and searing; it sizzles on the floorboards, risking ignition of the wood around and burns to anyone who does not get quickly away.
Vector's dark eyes flit between the other wide ones in the room. His jaw has tightened, his shoulders squaring. His breaths come slower, more deliberate, as he turns toward the front. "You'll get there safely." It's quiet, and quietly assured. When the grenades come through the window, though, his grim assurance fades. One lands very near him; his cast-hand flings up near his face, which doesn't quite stop the reddening singe against his cheek, the sharp gasp pulled out of him. He stumbles forward, teeth and eyes both clenched; his first blind grasp for support lands one hand up on the shattered glass of the window frame before he jerks it back to the wall instead. His head bows, shoulders tightening inward.
He may not be having a great time right now -- but outside, the police are rapidly developing an even worse one. The muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, swift and severe internal hemorrhaging are hard to spot; the blood that starts dripping from eyes or noses is a little more obvious.
Perhaps not very noticeable in the chaos as the grenade comes clatter in, Spencer vanishes from the room --
-- and reappears outside, high above safehouse and freefalling for a few seconds as he gets his bearings. Long enough to see what's happening to the cops outside, anyway. He flickers out of existence for just a moment, his movement abruptly reversed, though he only falls up for an instant. As he hangs in the air he disappears again --
-- and returns to the room more oriented than those who'd been there for the initial flash and bang, though he's several shades paler, his eyes haunted. He's herding everyone out of the potentially-soon-to-be-on-fire room and into the hallway -- Vector included, though the touch of his small hand on the man's arm is just a bit tentative.
Vector's eyes are still mostly-squinted, half-closed among the smoke, his fingers curled loosely in toward his palm and his hand curled against his chest. He's easily herded, stumbling along where Spencer leads and blinking his eyes slightly more open as they get farther away from the smoldering grenades. He doesn't quite make eye contact with anyone in the room -- but maybe that's just the bleariness of his wet and reddened eyes. Maybe. "It's safe now. You should go before more of them come."
At this Sage is barking orders to for people to gather their evacuation teams, though still blinking her own eyes clear. Spencer lets go of Vector, but lingers beside him as the safehouse goes into a moderately orderly exodus mode, hands plucking at each other nervously. "Thank you." Then he adds, hesitant, "You should come with us." His lips press thin as he looks over Vector's burns, the cut on his hand, then the cast on his arm again. "We'll find you a healer."
Vector's teary-puffy-red eyes open wider. Quick, startled. He looks at Spencer with a small hitch of brows, and then to the chaos out front -- the endlessly looping robots, the police officers crumpling onto the stoop in puddles of their own blood. His head dips in slow assent as he turns back to the group, falling into step with the evacuation. "With you," he echoes, softly. "I like that."