Sunday, November 2, 2014

1/10/13 - Peur Bleue (Les Trois Grands) - pt 4

"Nique ta mere!" Foudre Blanc hisses as he sprints down the hallways to the exit. The phone of Nurse Marie Corisande keeps ringing, and ringing. But Nurse Corisande -- aka Madame Slithertongue -- is not picking up, even though she's supposed to be at home.

And he can't port out of this facility because of the safeguards, here.

There's no limit to how bad this could be for all involved. There's just a possibility that Corisande finally decided to flip on the arrangement with the Front Nationale, in spite of their efforts to get her out of jail. She might just have used her hold over that con Capitaine to get information on what's really going on at the Police Nationale. And maybe she's planning to sell it to a high bidder, get out of Paris, and start her life over somewhere else -- truly free at last.

It wouldn't be too much of a stretch, given her past dealings with fellow supercriminals and underworld types. She's a snake, after all. What else could they have expected?

But if it isn't the Nurse? If it's some imposter wearing her looks, and using similar powers of mind-control?

Then someone has clearly broken their operation wide open. Then someone is in possession of something that could bring that operation straight down, to say nothing of the NF, itself, and certain aspects of the Terre Unifee as well.

And that someone would have a piece of information that would make Foudre Blanc look very bad in the eyes of his two, ultra-powerful teammates in Les Trois Grands...

So he runs for the open air, knocking people down and cursing every step of the way...

* * *

The dead woman's phone is ringing and ringing. Nefartiti is grumbling and cursing, tossing every last piece of dead person in the apartment into the frothing sink with what's left of the nurse, and throwing all the Dark Alchemist's special dissolving powder she has left in along with it. 

This hasn't been the best-run job in the world. She will readily admit that, now. !@#$, she'll even tell that crazy robot they all work for that they stepped right into the !@#$, here.

But how were they supposed to know how big of a pile it really was?

All they had to do was infiltrate the Police Nationale's prison system, and get information on the super villains that the Terre Unifee was holding, around the world, so they could add the useful ones to their side when the time came. But how were they supposed to know that the super she'd been sent in to replace had been a supervillain? How were they supposed to know that the Terre Unifee didn't even know she had been one?

How were they supposed to know that there was another hand in play, here -- working the TU for its own purposes?

If things had gone according to plan, her and Husqvarna would have kept this deception going right up to the point where the big plan went down. But instead they walked right into two ongoing things that no one had any idea of. And, as soon as they realized the depth of their mistake, it was all they could do to get what they'd come for, burn their tracks, and get the !@#$ out. 

She'd convinced the Capitaine to go in and get the information, which he had done according to their admittedly-shaky, last-minute plan. She was currently getting rid of all evidence, which was not going according to that same plan, but at least going in that direction. 

Now they just had to get out of Paris without being seen, which would require Husqvarna to stand by and do nothing while she did away with the Capitaine.

Nefartiti walks over to the black box on the table. She turns the key, and the blinking red light goes solid. 

"Has it been a !@#$ing half mile, yet?" she asks Husqvarna, who's been oddly silent since their last communication.

"Yes he is," the man says: "I was just about to call you."

"Well then, this is for !@#$ing staring at my !@#$ boobs all night, you !@#$ing horse-eating yahoo," she snorts, and presses the button.

* * *

When Capitaine Maximillien DuNord was six years old, he watched with amazement while his father curb-stomped a black tourist in broad daylight. 

The man was from Mali, of all places. He'd been visiting France on his own, rented a car, and drove off into the northern countryside to see something off the map. And, just his luck, the car had broken down in their small, little town.

He spoke excellent French, but seemed a child in a man's body. Maybe that's why he didn't realize the drunken, violent men he approached for assistance were not going to aid him. Maybe that's why it took him forever to start screaming for a different kind of help when Maximillien's father and uncles grabbed him, tossed him to the ground, and kicked him for what seemed an entire hour.

And then, when the fellow seemed more red than black, his father dragged him over to the side of the street, adjusted his head just so, and killed him with one solid stomp to the back of the head. 

When the police eventually came, Maximillien could only stand helplessly by as his father was betrayed by his own brothers. He couldn't do or say much at the subsequent trial, and they wouldn't let him go to prison to visit him until he turned 18, by which point his father -- having fallen in with some disreputable types, even there -- had been killed with a makeshift weapon in the showers.

So when Maximillien got old enough to decide upon a career, he didn't choose law enforcement because he wanted to help people. He chose law enforcement so that the "right people" would be there, should someone like his father ever need help for doing the "right thing" for France and its people. And went into the Police Nationale because it was somewhere that someone with his temperament could be an asset, rather than a liability; the fact that he got to beat up negros almost every day and claim it was part of the job was just the icing on the cake.

So when his friends in the Front Nationale needed his help with their plans for the Police Nationale, he was happy to extend them every courtesy. He even went well above and beyond their needs, just to be sure that lovely, persuasive woman he'd met had everything she needed to do her job. And the fact that he got to help her with her unique and deadly methods of feeding and stress relief? A major side benefit, to be sure. 

(Who knew there was so much happiness in slavery?)

As such, any honest appraiser of Capitaine Maximillien DuNord of the Police Natonale would have to declare him a piece of human filth, barely worth the genetic material used to create his body, much less the biochemical energy needed to animate and maintain it.

Which is why it's bizarrely fitting that the scarab-like device that blows his skull apart is not only keyed to his loathsome gene structure, but also draws its explosive energy from his body's biochemistry. And he must have been a well-fed man that day, because the blast not only turns his head into a cartoon-like, atomic cloud from the jawbone up, but also takes out every window on his side of the street, and maims quite a few hapless pedestrians in the process.

"Well, !@#$," Husqvarna says, swiveling his sniper helmet's aim back to focus on the headless corpse as it stumbles a step forward, and then falls down on its con: "I had no idea those Scarabombs were so nasty, hon."

"Whatever," Nefartiti mutters: "Wheels up, Husqvarna. Burn your !@#$ and go."

"Totally," he says, re-acquiring Ciel Rouge a split-second later: "Just a moment..."

* * *

That was not a bullet, her Other says, but Ciel Rouge doesn't need that presence's say-so to know that. She'd have felt the explosion from the barrel, and heard whistle of the bullet through the air. She'd have experienced a slight sympathy as his head caved in on one side and blew out on the other. 

She'd have known it for what it was, and this was not that. Not at all. 

She teleports, quickly, to the side of his jerking, twitching body. It's a mess to say the least, and the smell nearly overcomes her equilibrium. But she commands herself to be at peace, on the inside at least, and her body obeys.

And then, before the pyramid-headed, would-be assassin on the rooftop can draw a bead on her, she teleports both herself and what's left of the Capitaine somewhere that the bastard can't see them. 

Somewhere she can have privacy for what must happen next.

* * *

At last, the well-guarded front doors to the prison facility are in sight, and with them freedom.

Foudre Blanc shouts for people to get out of his way. He screams abuse and hurls himself at them, making them come to heel. Confused guards shout and then flatten against the walls, knowing that if one of Les Trois Grands is acting this way, there must be some emergency. 

(And boy are they !@#$ing right about that.)

He leaps over the line for the body imager, making sure no one smuggles anything in or out. He powers past the front doors, running through an alarm as he does. 

And then, not three steps from those doors, he screams in anger, and then goes to electrify himself, s as to enter the maze of wires and cables that allow him to zip around the city. 

But something goes wrong, just then. He jumps up, but then falls down, right onto his well-armored chest.

"What?" he sputters, chuckling the readings on the computer on his wrist. Everything is charged and working. Why hasn't he transformed?


 * * *

"What the !@#$?" Husqvarna says, suddenly unsure of some things. 

"What?" Nefartiti asks.

"Nothing," he lies, quickly shrugging the sniper helmet from his head and shoulders, ducking down to get out of them, and allowing them to clatter to the roof: "Meet you at the rendezvous point. Out."

He looks down at the sadly-unused weapon, and says its self-destruct code ("Bring me cheese, love slave") at which point it begins to smoke, sputter, and turn to metallic sludge. 

"Nice," he says, admiring Doctor Playgood's handiwork. All he has to do now is get down the same service elevator he came up, get into the special car that's waiting in the garage -- the one with holographic screens for windows, to disguise its real driver and passengers -- and get the !@#$ to their air transport, just south of town.

And if he can do it without having to kill anyone, all the better.

He's about to turn around and do just that, but then someone's right in front of him. Someone dressed in a blue uniform, with red and blonde hair, and a very strange smile on his face.

(Made stranger by the fact that his eyes are closed.)

"Well, how about that?" Husqvarna says, looking at Tempete Bleu: "Figures you'd show up just after I melted my !@#$ gun."

The French hero doesn't say anything in response. He just stands there and smiles.

"Oh, the silent type, huh?" Husqvarna says, roaring up his chainsaw-hands and getting ready to throw down: "Well, let's see if I can't make you !@#$ing scream, you piece of !@#$. Been sneaking around too !@#$ much on this job."

Still nothing, except the smile's gotten a little wider.

"What, too scared to look?" the assassin taunts.

"I don't need eyes to see, anymore," Tempete Bleu says, his voice strange and echoing: "Let me show you."

He does.

Husqvarna screams. 

* * *
"Yes, we're about to !@#$ing head out," Nefartiti says into her communicator as she heads for the now-completely-sanitized apartment's front door: "He's meeting me on the !@#$ street, and we'll rendezvous at the agreed point."

"Good," the voice on the other end says: "I gotta tell you, though, this isn't going to look good-"

"Can it, Buzzard," she mutters: "This whole operation's gone !@#$s up into a sea of merde due to bad intelligence, and if you think I'm taking the !@#$ing fall for that, you've got your beak up your brainstem. Now fire up the !@#$ing engines and get ready to-"

A massive thunderclap interrupts her rant. It shakes the entire building, and makes car alarms go off all over the place.

And somehow, Nefartiti just knows something has gone wrong.

"What was that, lady?" the Buzzard asks.

"Never mind," she hisses: "I'm going dark. Don't take off 'til I !@#$ing get there, or I swear I will cram so much natron up your !@#$ you'll !@#$ dust for the next two thousand years."

And then she's out of the apartment, down the hall, and running for the elevator like the devil himself was after her.

* * *

Ciel Rouge appears in a small doctor's office, not far from the explosion. Nurses and patients scream, but she ignores them, and all but runs into an examination room.

"Get out!" she shouts at the doctor and patient in the room, just about to undergo a prostate exam. The two men stammer and shout, but then, seeing who it is -- and what she's carrying -- begin to be sick, grab their clothes, and run out.

She lays the headless body down upon the table, then. She puts his cold, dead hands over his long-stopped heart. Then she puts her hands over his, takes a deep breath, and stares at the empty space on the table, right where the head should be. 

Maximillien Emanuel DuNord, you have died, she lets the Other speak through her: I see you remain around your body, though you no longer belong to it. I see you should be gone, but yet here you are. I name you in-between, and I command you to speak.

In her mind's eyes, she sees that the space is no longer empty. A ghostly image of his head floats there, now -- his eyes wide and scared.  

What's happened to me? he whimpers, clearly terrified. 

You died, mortal man. We have already said this. 

I... I can't be dead. No... 

Be brave, mortal man. You have only left one hut for another. 

But... I had so much to do... so many more things... 

You should have done them while you could, mortal man. Now stop your crying. It will not do to have your new friends see you come unto them a weeping shell of a man.  

I can't see them... 

You are in-between. I can send you where you need to go. 

You... you can? the ghost says, suddenly hopeful. 

Such is my power, mortal man, for I am the one who dances between the worlds. I can send you to your Heaven, I can cast you to your Hell. I can even place you up above the gods, should you prove yourself worthy of it.

But I have some questions, first. And you had better be able to answer them...

* * *

A bright bolt of lightning all but explodes from the wall socket of the nurse's apartment. It hovers in space for a second, and then turns into a human form. Foudre Blanc stands there, looking extremely upset.

And with good reason.

Apparently, they'd upgraded the security at the place, last weekend. The zone that kept people like him from coming in or out had been increased some distance past the front, too. And had anyone told him? Well, of course not. 

But he'd deal with their !@#$ing incompetence later -- right now he has a job to do. And he'd better do it quick, because he can feel Tempete Bleu, nearby.

And he can tell that something's seriously off with the man, today.

 * * *

"So that's what all that was about," the blue-clad hero states, looking off into the distance as what's left of the idiot with chainsaws for hands burns at his feet. 

(The chainsaws are strangely intact, even after all of that.)

From here, he can see the woman he came here with running down the street. He can almost sense her desperation, and her fear. 

If he doesn't do anything, she'll probably steal a car, and then go meet up with the third member of their party. He can hear a peculiar set of jet engines, out there, south of the city proper -- sitting in an abandoned field, hidden from view. 

Not from him, though. 

He doesn't even have to wave a hand, now. He simply wills it, and the lightning comes -- sharp and jagged, and with a force that can topple towers, and burn cities. 

It's enough to turn the hidden plane (shaped like a Buzzard, of all things) into scrap metal, to say nothing of its poorly-attired pilot. 

As for her, he'll just follow, ever so slowly, watching her every illegal move along the way. And he'll do so from far above -- savoring the moment when she finally gets to her destination, and sees what's happened. 

Only then will he appear to her, however briefly before the end.

And he will show her such wonderful things before it happens...

(SPYGOD is listening to Ripe with Decay (Nine Inch Nails) and having an Electrostatic Ale)

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