Limited First Movement

This RP is open, but with limitations.


Exotic instrumentation, with a particular fondness for the sitar and tabla, is common. Songs often have more disjunctive song structures, key and time signature changes, modal melodies and drones than contemporary pop music. Surreal, whimsical, esoterically or literary-inspired lyrics are often used.​

Step one: scout ahead.

Psychedelia always went first. The day before, Min’yo sent him in wearing a polo and loose slacks. The spider backpack might’ve gotten a few looks – even a compliment from the teller whose desk read Sandy. He explained that he was waiting for someone outside, and he just needed to use the bathroom. She was understanding, the way most people where when they saw Psych’s sad eyes and nervous smile. She pointed them in the right direction, and gave them the perfect overview of the lobby.

They drew it from memory when they got back to the hotel. Camera placement, guard locations, tellers, waiting areas. The bank hadn’t been busy yesterday. It was today, as they sat in the van, watching Techno disappear inside. Their part was done; the rest of the team was already out. The van would be warmed up and ready to go when the others were done in there, and Psych was safely out of the way.

Techno tracks mainly progress over manipulation of timbral characteristics of synthesizer presets and, unlike forms of EDM that tend to be produced with synthesizer keyboards, techno does not always strictly adhere to the harmonic practice of Western music and such structures are often ignored in favor of timbral manipulation alone.​

Step two: set the scene.

Techno stepped between the first set of double doors, hands in her pockets like it was too cold out for her. It was cold out, admittedly, which was why it worked. Casual and smooth, without so much as a weird twitch as she released a soft pulse of energy that would scramble the metal detector and camera in the breezeway. A localized power surge. The first symptom of the problem that had just entered the bank.

Nothing seemed to be tripped, though. She didn’t have anything on her. She didn’t look like she belonged, for shit sure – purple eyes, uneven hair, army jacket and cargo pants, spiked collar. She definitely got people’s attention, but she waited in line like everybody else, and she had a hunch she intimidated the guard just a little bit. That was good. She’d hate to have another incident where she had to throw a punch before she even delivered the message.

The woman behind the counter looked like pretty much every bank teller, ever. Her name plaque said Sandy. Psych had mentioned her yesterday. Well-meaning, if a little straightlaced. That meant that she’d earned enough of Techno’s respect to get a not-quite-animal grin, and a note slid across the desk.

She waited for the understanding to appear on Sandy’s face, before she turned to the rest of the busy room. Two dozen or more people loitering around, waiting on appointments, or in line behind her. Techno’s grin widened a little, and then she spoke up over the quiet in a harsh voice that betrayed her hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

“Ladies and gentlemen, can I get everybody’s attention up here, please and thanks.” She waited until about half of them looked at her, then raised her voice a little more to make the announcement:

“This is a robbery.”

A cartoonish wall of noise that embraces catchy tunes and memorable hooks. The music zooms between beauty and ugliness, as shimmery melodies collide with mangled instrumentation.​

Step three: make an entrance.

The wide front windows blew inward, shattered in a wave of tinkling noise. Anybody standing too close would be covered in painful glitter. In Hyperpop’s mind, it’d be an improvement on whatever tacky business clothes they were wearing. With a little headstart from outside, she did a spinning jump over the remaining windowsill, and landed in a T position. She and Techno made eye contact, and then Pop turned her attention to her captive audience.

“Nobody do anything crazy,” she chirped, her seafoam eyes sparkling like the rhinestones on her mask. “I don’t wanna have to do that to anybody’s bones.”

She strolled in like she owned the place, confident despite her unusual clothes. Her hands were gloveless, revealing the sparkly mint nail polish she was wearing. She kept her palms separated, but one wrong move, and they’d be ready to come together to reinforce her point.

For many Japanese, min'yō evokes, or is said to evoke, a nostalgia for real or imagined home towns and family.​

Step four: play the part.

A blast of wind came in through the open windows, just enough that people would notice. It stirred the glass and announced the woman who flew through. The director and producer of this little ensemble, recognizable to some – though probably not to anybody here – as Min’yo.

She landed beside Techno at the counter and spun her bo staff around once, before giving the visibly panicked Sandy a glance. There wasn’t a piece of glass on her, not a speck or smudge on her white halter top or cotton pants. She swept the room with sharp, dark eyes as another figure came in – like a reasonable person, through the front door. She didn’t look at him. She didn’t need to. Instead, she looked at Sandy again. Her small features were surprisingly neutral, given the circumstances.

She gestured to Techno with one hand, as Symphony handed her the respirator mask and the latest in her collection of obnoxious purple battle rifles. “This can be handled civilly, I think. No need for a fuss. Escort my associate to the safe, and we won’t have any more problems.”

Sandy nodded, tremulously, and Techno hopped the counter. Really, nobody used good safety measures anymore, did they? There were places where this would be a real situation. It didn’t seem like this would be one of them.


An elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements.​

Step five: be patient.

Symphony watched his wife disappear around a corner with the teller, his own Colt drawn. He swept over each of the other tellers at a glance. None of them were fighters. This entire situation hinged on the training tellers received – insurance would cover money lost, so go through this without a fuss. Avoid the publicity.

That wouldn’t be happening today.

Techno hadn’t turned off the cameras around the front desk – or the silent alarm. It wouldn’t be long before they had company. Normally, that’s what a robbery like this would try to avoid. If the point was to get the money without being followed or tracked, then they were doing a shit job. Thankfully, the money was a secondary goal. It wasn’t the point, although the civilians here didn’t need to know that. Sure, cops would get a message across, but this was Pittsburgh. Metahuman capital of the US, by some people’s count. A magnet for vigilantes and villains alike. The cops were coming. But it was entirely likely they’d have company long before they heard the sirens.

“Everything’s set,” he said, softly.

Min’yo started to walk, and Symph trailed behind, his eyes darting around the room, picking up movements, context cues.

“How long?” she asked him.

He did a little math, then smiled. “Five to ten minutes. Any longer and we’ll be long gone.”

Pop was already doing rounds, occasionally giggling as she saw someone especially nervous. That one had a couple screws loose. But she was crazy powerful, and she believed in Min’s message even when Min herself had doubts. She was a useful tool. And even more than that, she was like a little sister to the rest of them. Even if she could take care of herself, they’d all rain hell on whoever moved on her first. And with Psych outside in the Astro van, that was a few different loose ends tied up. Now they just had to wait and see if any new ones came loose.

The bank was supposed to be a quick appointment. It was just supposed to be a discussion about the lending amount currently afforded to Stonewall, and that’s why it was not Obsidian, and not Ethan, but James Fielding sitting in the waiting room. And as usual, he was thinking of himself as such, to avoid breaking character. His suit was well pressed, the legs well creased, the shirt collar crisp, and his tie (red with black diamonds) was flat and pinned in place. He was fiddling with the heavy silver embossed cuff links on his sleeves when the woman by the counter announced that this was a robbery.

In the next breath, the room around them exploded into glass and sound and wind. James watched all of it unfold around him, and slowly, his face went from blank and serious to a small smile.

A metahuman bank robbery. How fascinating. He watched the woman with the two-tone hair for a moment, then let his eyes dance briefly over the younger one in the leotard. His eyes skipped over the woman in white to the brunette man for just a moment before immediately flicking back. Those golden eyes rested on her for a moment, taking in her staff, her oni mask, and her pure white clothes. He caught a glimpse of a tattoo down her arm– moon cycles with a pattern of constellations behind it. Her appearance was distinctive, and he knew of a metahuman who had the power to control the air with that appearance.

With that, James sighed and closed his eyes. He was going to make a very angry call when he was home. A very angry call. Because that woman standing there was Selenite, his missing metahuman from the NYC sect of Slate. As far as James knew, they had been looking for her for almost four years. Or, well, Garnet had claimed they were. But this was just one more thing proving that the woman was far less capable than her predecessor. But then, when it had been under Amethyst for those two years, it had been efficient and deadly. He’d have to reassess the management team there again soon. Maybe a business trip was in order.

He shook his head and looked up at the ceiling. God, he had just wanted to get this over with. He brought his eyes back down, looking at the line–

– and right into the eyes of Lapis, who was standing in line with Connor. She stared at Obsidian with a mild kind of horror in her eyes. Oh, this wasn’t good. She turned her attention back to Connor. She had brought him here because he had been recommended by Todd– Todd, of all fucking people, apparently knew Connor– to open a bank account instead of carrying all his cash around on him in person.

It had taken a week to sort all of the forged documents out, but once they had, getting him an ID had been easy, and now setting up a bank account would also be easy. Or, it should have been easy. They shouldn’t have been in a bank when a robbery was taking place. And they especially shouldn’t have been in the bank that Obsidian was in.

God, what if Connor picked up his scent and saw his face? Obsidian hated when people saw his face without his permission. She’d have to distract him if he tried looking. Maybe she could turn him onto these robbers. After all, Connor was actually a good guy, and while Lapis didn’t give a rat’s ass about whether or not they were being robbed, Connor might.​

Money laundering was a finicky business.

One certainly couldn’t expect to run a mercenary company without dealing in washing and moving around various funds. Luckily, Mari had a head for numbers, and an even better head for organization. Spork said she was just neurotic. She said they could launder their own funds for the next few months. They’d threatened to start bringing people back to the apartment. That had ended the conversation.

Mari had set up several false identities with addresses tied to PO boxes in various cities. She ensured that she only used banks with large branches, enough so that she could reasonably spread her funds across the country. Unfortunately, she had to keep the money moving. If it just sat there and only came out predictably, that could allow someone to connect the dots. She had a randomized schedule where she would infrequently withdraw amounts of cash and deposit them in uneven amounts to her various accounts, of course reserving some for personal use so there was no paper trail of the full amount.

And Spork said she was neurotic.

That’s why she was here, despite having a stuffy nose and a fever that was barely keeping itself in the double digits. Kasumi Sato had the bank account here, and she was dressed in a simple hoodie, jeans, and comfortable boots. A black cloth mask covered the lower half of her face. Mari killed people for money, she didn’t want to get anyone sick. Colored contacts changed her eyes to a startling blue. Her hands fiddled in her pockets, tracing over the lines of the rough half-mask she’d crafted for taking in public. With the rise in criminal activity, Mari never knew when she’d have to defend herself. Or show off to a potential client.

Some punk girl was at the head of the line, turning and shouting at the crowd, her thick Jersey accent causing Mari to raise an eyebrow. Then the windows exploded everywhere, and she hit the ground with the rest of the people just trying to get their fucking money. A burst of wind swept through the place, and she stole a glance upward. She knew that accent sounded familiar. The masks, the outfits, the gaudy purple rifle.

The Resonants were trying to move in on her turf. And Kitsune had worked too hard to let it go that easily.

Mari’s phone found its way into her hand, a quick message typed out to Spork before being slipped away.

At the bank. Competition moving in. Bring equipment.

That was all they needed. Spork needed no excuse to show up for a brawl, but Mari would try to give them the extra incentive. She needed equipment because she was woefully underequipped. Her hoodie was plain, not her usual more protective attire. Mari curled up on the ground, hiding her face and hands in what she hoped was a decent approximation of cowering in terror. In reality, she was unfolding the mask and attaching it to her face, covering the cloth mask she previously had on. An image of bared, jagged teeth obscured the lower half of Kitsune’s face as she reached lower, grabbing the pistol she’d kept in her boot. Not her modular kind, just a simple one with a few extra energy cells on her person.

Kitsune glanced upwards, whipping out her gun and squeezing the trigger, aiming for Techno’s stupid purple gun. A calling card was one thing, but hers was just garish. She brought herself up to her full height, which admittedly could have been taller. Being intimidating was Shiba’s job. Kitsune let out a sigh, the built-in modulator rendering her voice rough and jagged.

“Typical kids. Robbing a bank without checking to see if someone else was already in the area. No wonder you’re not very well liked.” The Resonants were rarely talked about in good tones online, at least in the circles Mari kept an eye on. They were loud, brash, and had a flair for the dramatic, which usually resulted in collateral damage.

Spork would love them.

Kitsune held her gun loose, relaxed, as if she didn’t have a care in the world.

“I just wanted to make a withdrawal, and now you’ve gone and ruined my day.” Another deep, rattling sigh. “Anything to say for yourselves?”
I’ve been in Pittsburg for five days.

To be fair they had been relatively normal days for Beatrice. Moving into her dorm. Getting used to her new college classes. Learning the routes of public transport. It wasn’t until yesterday her Uncle Amos called her asking her to meet with a couple of lawyers to clear up last minute things with her inheritance and then open a new account at the bank. Being who she was, it taken a little while to square everything away, and had actually been on her way out when the glass shattered, spraying over her.

Beatrice threw up her arms to protect herself, startled. It wasn’t until the ostentatiously crew of thieves made their announcement did it sink in that shit had gotten real.

I’ve been in Pittsburg for FIVE days!

She tried to make herself unnoticed, concealing herself by inching near to the people closest, but she wasn’t exactly inconspicuous herself. Her eye makeup and lipstick matched her inky black hair. A steel ring hung from her nasal septum. But otherwise she has chosen to dress in a bright yellow blazer, and her hair (now littered with glass) was pulled back with colorful hair clips.

Beatrice looked around, keeping her gaze on the thieves. She had to stay calm so she didn’t use her powers on instinct. Her plan was to keep her mind on what was going on so her mind didn’t wander. Staying focused on the present made it more difficult to bend reality.

Then another patron did a stupid thing, and pulled a gun on the thieves.

There’s no way this can get any worse, right?
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Connor had been shuffling the documents around in his hands, trying to make sense of the words on them and still trying to wrap his head around why he was even here. His confusion was interrupted by the declaration of a robbery and a shattering of glass. He looked up and remained still and watchful as the robbers took control of the room, while everyone else got down or coward in fear. Connor barely moved. He shot Lapis a look, not sure what to do. He instinctually reached a hand up to his shoulder, only to remember he wasn't supposed to carry his sword around in public.

The small blond one was skipping around terrifying the crowd, she skipped right past Connor, and she went past him Connor held out his hand and gently grabbed her by the back of her leotard. He gently puled her off the ground and up so she was eye level with him.

"This isn't a very good idea, you know," he said. "You're being loud, and getting attention, why? That's not very smart, the police will respond quicker, or vigilantes, that's giving you less time; that must mean you want that, why would you want that?"

He was distracted by the sound of a weapon being fired, though it didn't sound like anything Connor had heard before; a pew pew sound; he glared at the shooter. Thinking she wasn't helping any.
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Techno tracks mainly progress over manipulation of timbral characteristics of synthesizer presets and, unlike forms of EDM that tend to be produced with synthesizer keyboards, techno does not always strictly adhere to the harmonic practice of Western music and such structures are often ignored in favor of timbral manipulation alone.​

Techno strapped the respirator onto her face as she followed Sandy to the doorway that led to the safe. Probably. It should, if Sandy didn’t want to get shot. Obviously Min wouldn’t like that too much, but Techno had been the shoot-first-ask-questions-later type long before she and Symphony joined up with their former arms dealer. It seemed like that wouldn’t be necessary this time, though. If this had been a normal bank robbery, this would be going really well.

This wasn’t a normal bank robbery. And it wasn’t going well enough for Techno until someone decided to get up and play the hero.

The smell of burning metal drew her purple eyes down to the barrel of her newest rifle. She stopped walking and looked down at it, then glanced back over the counter at the first hostage to decide to play hero. Her mask hid her mouth well enough while she grinned, but she couldn’t wear the right kind of voice modulator to hide the entertainment in her tone without shorting it out.

“That was a brand new toy!” She hefted the gun Pop had painted for her. “How’re you gonna pay for that, huh?”

An elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements.​

“We’ll take a direct deposit,” Symph said, calmly, voice only slightly muffled by his bandanna.

Out of everyone, he should have been the most nervous about a laser gun, because his brain was already picking apart all the possible structures for its interior, and all of them were both impressive and lethal. Either this mercenary, or someone they knew, was superhumanly intelligent. While invention was a talent they shared, his was much more mundane, and a pencil crossbow wasn’t going to do him much good against anything else this person was packing.

But his eyes were calm as he turned them from the shooter to his wife – dull, even. Only she and Min would know the spark behind them that indicated his turning gears. “Go ahead and wrap up in there. We’ll save some of the fun for you.”

For many Japanese, min’yō evokes, or is said to evoke, a nostalgia for real or imagined home towns and family.​

Min’yo didn’t shift her gaze from the hostage with the laser gun as Techno actually disappeared, shifting the rifle to hold it like a club in the absence of a working barrel. Min was not tense. Her face had its usual sternness with relaxed edges that said this was what she looked like at rest. Just like the rest of her team, however, there was a fire far behind the dark pupils. There was violence in her soul, looking for an outlet, but kept under far tighter wraps.

“You know, if this was your turf, you’d think I would have heard of you,” she said, coolly.

Like the other – mercenary, probably – she held her weapon like she was in no danger at all, even leaning her weight on it. It was hard to command authority, at her size. So, she’d given up on that endeavor, and let her team speak for her. She looked in Hyperpop’s direction, toward the towering figure who hadn’t moved when chaos had erupted and to the miniature woman beside him.

A cartoonish wall of noise that embraces catchy tunes and memorable hooks. The music zooms between beauty and ugliness, as shimmery melodies collide with mangled instrumentation.​

Pop had been too surprised to react when someone just grabbed the collar of her leotard and picked her up like a kitten.

“You think we’re being loud now?” she laughed. She looked at Min like she was sharing some kind of inside joke. On the way, her eyes touched on the gun–man? Woman? Person, she decided. Gunperson. Whose day was apparently ruined by a silly little robbery. She just beamed.

“If it’ll make you feel better, I can ruin the rest of your week to match!”

In the corner of her eye, Min nodded to indicate the air had tightened around herself and Symphony for a moment. There was a glint of his green barrel – that she’d generously painted, like the ruined masterpiece of Techno’s latest rifle – and she knew it was her time to shine.

Pop clapped her hands together.

Of course, he was still holding her, but most people in his position would cover their ears, and if there was anything Pop was good at, it was maneuvering in midair. She felt the weight of Min’s attention, and knew she’d give her an extra boost with a firm gust of wind as soon as she was free. Plus, as a bonus, it was well within range of the gun-person, too, and the itty bitty girl next to the giant. The plan was to catch herself on the ground in an impeccable backspring and give Symphony room to turn his pistol on the known threat – the gunperson. Pointing before they’d have time to aim back.

For many Japanese, min’yō evokes, or is said to evoke, a nostalgia for real or imagined home towns and family.​

Neither Min’yo nor Symphony showed that they felt the shockwave. This was par for the course, part of the action. Min had an extra push ready for when Pop went free, and Symphony would follow the other mercenary with the barrel of his Colt, finger on the trigger not from lack of discipline but in clear warning.

“I’d recommend waiting for a real hero to show up before trying anything else like that. We wouldn’t want anyone actually getting hurt, now, would we? People might think even less of us if it came to that.”

As she said that, the fire in her eyes brightened just a touch. Therein was the answer to the giant’s question, and a challenge to the local big-shot. One metahuman and one well-armed mercenary wasn’t the fight they were looking for – but they weren’t exactly a challenge, either. Three on two, with a fourth in the wings, was hardly a fair fight.

Spork is at the gym. Not the corner of Mari’s workshop with the spinny hitty machine and the weights and the punching bag, but the actual gym. Mari’s sick, and she’s always so spiky when she’s sick. They’ve been nice all week, bringing her soup and making sure she sleeps in a bed and not at her desk. And what thanks do they get? Kicks and complaints when all they’re trying to do is be a good friend by bodily carrying her to her bedroom and blockading guarding the door.

What they’re saying is they deserve real hitting-and-chatting time. Mari went out for an errand or something, and even though Spork was all set to follow her around like the excellent caretaker they are, she refused to let them come with. So, fine, they can have Spork Alone Time. They’re a strong independent Spork who doesn’t need no-


They resist the urge to check their phone for all of three seconds. Then they drop the weight they were curling and unlock their phone, doing the gesture that makes the robot voice read their texts aloud.

“Give me five.” They dictate. They’re already tucking their things into their pockets, not bothering to return the gym equipment to the racks as they trace the familiar route to the exit.

Spork probably shouldn’t be grinning when their partner in crime is in a dangerous scene all on her lonesome, but it’s nice to be appreciated.

It takes a little longer than five minutes. They had a lot of stops to make, alright? They show up fashionably late, in full Shiba gear with the Hello Kitty tote bag containing Kitsune’s kit - ha - slung over their shoulder.

They’re lucky to have beaten the cops there. This is pretty high-profile, just the sort of target that Mari would find “too messy”. Miku feeds them info on the scene, and they make the executive decision to leap through one of the already-broken windows and make a bee-line for Mari. Priority one: make sure their twig of a partner doesn’t get snapped. Priority two: kick ass and take some names.


Incredible how someone could have such power and yet still be an absolute child. Kitsune simply scoffed at the girl’s outrage. “Boo hoo, I ruined your cheap toy.” Her gaze flicked between the members she could see, one of them wearing a worrying look. She knew the look of a tinkerer, she saw the gears whirring behind his eyes. That was gonna be trouble. For now, though, her attention was drawn by the leader, Min’yo, doing her best to insult Kitsune.

“You know,” she growled. “If you had more than two brain cells between the four of you, you might actually think to do some research.” Kitsune despised their sloppy, lackadaisical attitude towards crime. She would have been surprised if they had spent more than five minutes on this plan. An annoying bubbly voice pulled Kitsune out of her griping, belonging to the fittingly named Hyperpop. She was being held by a mountain of a man that looked as though he could snap her in half. Fortunately, she was still in the “telegraphs all her moves beforehand because she think it’s intimidating” phase. Kitsune wasn’t complaining.

As soon as she saw Pop’s hands move, Kitsune curled up, dropping low and wrapping her arms around her head protectively, remembering to unclench her teeth to avoid them being damaged. The shockwave was intense, no doubt more so for the mountain that held her. As it was, Kitsune slid along the floor, crashing to a stop against the wall. She let out a strangled gasp on impact, the sound crunching through the filter. Nothing broken, at least she didn’t feel like it, but she would be a mosaic of bruises in the next few hours.

Thankfully, the cavalry arrived.

Shiba always had a flair for the dramatic, and of course they would make an entrance. She watched as they leapt through a broken window and charged for her like a lineman. Kitsune coughed a little as she snatched the bag from them gratefully. She turned her face down, removing her hasty covering and fitting her helmet snugly on her head, orange eyes flickering to life, familiar HUD greeting her.

“That was more than five.” Kitsune said in greeting before adding. “Why did it have to be Hello Kitty? Is comedy always your first response to danger?” She already knew the answer. Her jacket was pulled on quickly enough, muscle memory taking over as Kitsune suited up. The other pistol was tucked away, her primary one drawn and leveled at the man with the Colt, her eyes between him and Min’yo.

“I’d recommend waiting for a real villain to show up before trying anything else like that. We wouldn’t want you getting hurt now, would we?” Kitsune jerked her head towards her larger, broader, altogether more energetic partner. “Because now all you’ve done is annoy me, and Shiba doesn’t need any more reasons to beat the shit out of you.”

There was nothing that James could do in this situation. Nothing, except watch. James had no idea if the cameras everywhere were still rolling, but he could see the little lights flashing on the cameras behind the counter. There was a small smile on his face regardless. Because while James couldn’t do anything but watch, something flashed behind those brown contacts over his gold eyes. James couldn’t do anything but watch, but then, Obsidian did love to watch.

The shockwave blew his coat from his lap to the ground, and his suit jacket open. He waited for it to pass, and then carefully tucked his hair back into place. He smoothed his clothes back out and picked up his short grey wool coat from the ground. It wasn’t his preferred black one, but that one had become relatively iconic with a crowd he wasn’t associating with that day. He cleared his voice, and with a pleasant tone, he called out, “Terribly sorry to interrupt. I was hoping to get some business done today, do you think you’re going to kill any of the staff? You said there wouldn’t be issues if people did this civilly, but clearly, we’re past that now.”

When the shockwave hit, it hit Lapis hard. She was standing right next to Connor and the young girl who he handpicked up. And Lapis was a small person, as opposed to her boy– current date. She had started to reach for Connor, to pull him back and away, to make him drop her, but it was too late. She saw those hands meet, and it rolled across her and away from her– carrying Lapis with it. She went down, skidding across the floor as it flung her away from Connor. She crashed hard into the wall and just barely managed to bring her hands up and around the back of her head in time.

She’d have to thank Sulphur for the refresher. If not for that, she’d likely have ended up unconscious. She shook her head, her short and uneven hair shifting as she looked up and around her. That merc who had shown up was addressing her backup, so Lapis took the chance to move quickly and low to the ground back to Connor.

”Connor! Shit, Connor, are you okay?”
Between the customer with a gun, the large man grabbing one of the robbers and another meta (she assumed) coming through the broken window, it was a miracle no one was dead yet.

Bea groaned, having been slammed back against the wall the moment the small robber, held in place by the large redhead, had clapped her hands. Her powers involved some kind of concussive force. Her head hurt from the impact, but otherwise was unhurt. She looked around, and most concerning to Beatrice was the woman with a gun. She did a quick headcount and saw only three of the robbers; the other had taken the clerk to the vault. That one also had a gun.

But she saw more than the threat. There were innocent people here- including a small woman with cropped hair calling after her boyfriend. She was restrained, for a moment, by the fear of making things worse, but things couldn't get much worse regardless of what she did. There was also that naive, fool's hope that maybe she could help these people.

She imagined a voice more commanding and authoritative than her own, and focused her thoughts on the woman with the gun, letting her words creep into the woman's head, making her hallucinate words only she could hear.

"Lower your gun. Look around you; You're going to get someone killed."

It was easier than Beatrice remembered, but that was the danger of her power. If she wanted someone to see or hear something they did, it was a matter of desire, rather than sheer will. Beatrice kept her unassuming posture but she wasn't done yet. She turned her attention to the leader of the thieves, once again speaking mentally to the woman.

"You're outnumbered... outgunned. Leave while you can, before your people get hurt."

Beatrice accompanied her words with further hallucinations of police sirens, gunfire, and the sounds of her teammates screaming. Hopefully it was enough to unnerve the thief, and not send her over the edge. The last thing Beatrice wanted was for this to escalate.
Connor's ears gave out the second the wave hit, all noise dimmed to nothing in an explosion of pain. He dropped the girl, clutching his head. It felt like his skull was going to split open, and for a terrifying few moments his hearing did not return. He felt partly blind, like the edges of his knowledge now shrouded in darkness. Connor pressed his pals into his ears, and slowly a ringing noise would appear, along with the slow re-appearance of sounds around him. He was so in pain that he didn't realize Lapis had left his side, he reached around frantically hoping to find her touch. He eventually did, and he looked around at her; her lips moved, but Connor couldn't hear what she said. His hands came away from his ears, and they were covered in blood.
For many Japanese, min’yō evokes, or is said to evoke, a nostalgia for real or imagined home towns and family.​

Min’yo turned her eyes away from the pair of mercenaries, to the window, as the world shattered into sound. She knew the moment she looked that there was nothing there, but the act of looking was itself a moment of weakness where her concentration wavered. A tremulous note in her discipline, sure to be noticed by whoever did that. The other mercenary, maybe? She looked at them, and at the teammate who had used their entrance to shield the first. Even without Symphony’s mind, she knew that their strength was technical. The armor and laser were proof of that. But now, the seed of doubt had been planted – what was real, and what wasn’t?

She didn’t let her expression change as she looked back at the civilians, curled up in various positions. The man who’d grabbed pop was on the floor with bleeding ears, his girlfriend beside him. No one else of interest present, except the red-haired businessman.

Had it been him? Or was her assailant hiding themself from her through illusion?

Her mind was disorganized. She tuned out the mercenary’s attempt to intimidate her, as well as the imagined gunfight. She breathed in, feeling the nitrogen mixed with necessary oxygen enter her body and then leave it, warmer, full of carbon. She focused on the particles while they were in her core, flooded her mind with them as well as her lungs. When she breathed them out, she exhaled her doubt.

So steaded, she glanced at Symphony beside her.

An elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements.​



Min’yo changed her language to a soft command in Japanese: “<Conduct.>”

A simple order, and her last, for this fight. He understood. That was what he was here for – to see everything, and act as general. He looked up at the mercenaries, first. Now that they were together – and wearing their signature masks – Symphony recognized Nine Tails, Inc.

A unit.

Small-time assassins, whose specialties didn’t overlap much with the Resonants. Which meant Kitsune’s irritation was personal, not professional. He kept his finger on the trigger, but knew when he looked at their armor that it wouldn’t do any good except to slow them down if they charged. For now, they needed to buy time.

A sidelong glance to catch Min’s eye. They didn’t need words. She understood.

For many Japanese, min’yō evokes, or is said to evoke, a nostalgia for real or imagined home towns and family.​

She’d figured that would be his direction. They could recall Techno, but that would shatter the illusion, clue someone in too early. It didn’t look like any of Pittsburgh’s heroes were coming, either. That meant that if there was going to be a fight, this was her only chance.

So Min’yo centered herself, breathed deeply, and finally lifted her bo staff from the ground. She stepped between the two strangers – though she got the sense Symphony had recognized them – and her coordinator. Recognizing, coordinating, researching, that was his job. Hers was to stand and fight. Which she would do, with no small pleasure.

“Big talk, when you’re hiding behind an attack dog.” She recognized the kitsune mask for what it was – though the other one wasn’t quite the same. Unlike the fox or her own Oni jaws, it didn’t seem to have any bearing on the culture that inspired it.

She spun her staff, and the air in the room started to shift. But she stood her ground, even as she started to tense, to recite forms in her mind’s eye. A few burns on her staff wouldn’t hurt anything, and as long as she could keep Kitsune’s new friend at arm’s length, she’d make it until Techno could come back and take care of them.

An elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements.​

While the team shield started to take care of their most pressing problem, Symph resumed taking stock of the room.

Connor, the big man, was down for now. The blood in his ears was a good indication he’d be stunned long enough that the Resonants could focus their energies elsewhere. His eyes turned to the blue-haired woman, but he left her be for now, too. She was more concerned about Connor than the rest of them, so she was safe.

That left the red-haired man who’d spoken out, unfazed by the danger. Symphony found his brain trying to focus on him, to explain the unease that was spreading through his body and tightening his muscles like a spring. If he could list the attributes that were unnerving him, the tension might leave. Explanation was always the best medicine when a problem stole too much of his attention.

He cut off that hunt when he caught Pop looking in the same direction. She caught his eye, and he nodded, once. She was the best chance of stopping that problem before it got out of hand, the most dangerous out of the five.

A cartoonish wall of noise that embraces catchy tunes and memorable hooks. The music zooms between beauty and ugliness, as shimmery melodies collide with mangled instrumentation.​

As much as she would’ve loved to get involved in Min’s standoff, Pop was outright dangerous for team combat. She was just as likely to hurt Min’yo than the Tweedles – Dumb- and Dumber-looking – so unless one of them broke off, she needed to focus her energies elsewhere.

Where better than the mouthy hostage in the nice suit? Scaring people was her whole thing. She could do it in her sleep. She had. She could scare people easily, without scaring easy herself.

Her palms stung when she cartwheeled over to her, but the glass bits didn’t cut deep enough to stain her trail pink. She came back to an upright position in front of him, smiling under the glittering teeth of her skull half-mask, hands close but not touching. A warning, a telegraph – an intimidation tactic. One that she didn’t look ready to use, at first.

“Sorry, sir,” she said, sweet as cotton candy, “we can’t make any promises at this time. Just sit down and wait, mkay?”

And of course, when she told him to sit, she meant to make him. She didn’t have the wind-up for an audible clap – but force didn’t change the effect, as her palms tapped each other. Another racket, another breeze, and hopefully, another hostage remembering who was really in control right now.

She watched for the look in his eyes, waiting, with apparently uncharacteristic patience, for the pain and the fear to set in.

And just like that, the mask of James fell away and Obsidian came out to play. As soon as he hit the ground, he looked up and saw the camera that had been trained on him was broken. With a wicked smile, he chuckled and pulled the shadows in around him, condescending them on his skin. Then, he rose to his feet, and he tilted his head to the side. He looked down at the girl who had laid him out, his ears thrumming.

He had to make sure she couldn’t do that again.

In a blink, Obsidian was moving. He rounded the bench and raised his hand, grabbing the girl by the throat and pulling her with him as he dropped. He pinned her to the ground by her neck, holding her tightly in place. That clap had done enough damage that he knew he was going to be sore tomorrow. He saw blood drip down from his ears and onto the ground around the girl like rain. But for now, he could take a hit. He didn’t want to kill her, but scare her and maybe take one of them out of the fight?

That, he could do.

He started to pull on her, feeling the energy flow into him like pop rocks, fizzing and cracking…

…And across the room, Lapis caught Connor’s hand and looked at the blood there. And she was filled with an immediate, blinding rage. She had no idea why that red made her see red, why her small body quivered in barely contained fury. But something about this had just sent her emotions boiling over the edge of the pot.

They had hurt her dog.

At the same time that Ethan moved and took the young one in the bedazzled mask down, Lapis pushed to her feet and looked at the setup in front of her. She saw the man with the gun just past the woman who was bending the air around them. Lapis would wait out her attack, or whatever she was doing, and then she would go in. She would go for the man with the gun, with the simple bandana around his face. He was the most dangerous one left. She would disable him and get him out of the fight. That would give Obsidian enough time to work, to take them all out one by one. And soon, Connor would recover, and he’d be by her side.​

“Just be grateful I didn’t stop for Starbucks,” Spork snipes back, silently glad that Mari is alright enough to be pedantic. Honestly, they didn’t even check which bag they were shoving stuff into. The gear delivered, they do their best to stand between her and danger while looking intimidating. Yeah, so they’re a glorified brick wall. So what?

They could use the stillness, regardless. The current standoff allows them to tune out everything except Miku’s constant stream of information, cluing them into the weapons and positions of everyone who might pose a threat. It’s a lot to juggle, and they’re no supergenius.

It would be easier if everyone would stop moving, but it only takes them a few moments to determine that the lady in front of them (who Miku has designated T-04 out of 7, and that’s gonna get real annoying real quick) is the one they’re meant to be focusing on. No dicking around then. They unclip their baton and extend it to its full length with a flick of their wrist. They’ll need the reach, says a clinical voice in their mind that sounds a lot like Mari.

“If I’m the attack dog, what does that make you? A squirrel?” They’re tempted to jump the woman, but Mari likes it when they act on her signal. So they wait, feeling an unnatural breeze stream past their neck and wondering just what they’re about to get themself into.


“I would kill for something hot with honey and lemon right now.” Kitsune growled back, not entirely due to the filter. “My throat is killing me.” While she did her best to hide her feelings while on the job, which Kitsune supposes she technically is now, she feels a lot more comfortable with the bulk of Shiba in her sight. Their presence is more calming than she’d usually care to admit.

Min’yo gave an order that she knew Shiba didn’t understand, but she certainly did. A perk for sure. It seemed as though she was giving command to Symphony, letting him “conduct” the Resonants while Min’yo handled Kitsune and Shiba. If she thought she was enough to take them on, she was delusional. If she thought she was enough to take Shiba on, she was insane.

“Zako no kuse ni yoku iu na.” Kitsune tilted her head and snarled, slipping into the familiar Japanese that Mari’s mom had taught her.

<Tough talk coming from a little bitch.>

Maybe Spork was rubbing off on her a bit too much.

Kitsune was painfully aware that she was rusty, her Japanese accented with American while Min’yo’s was crisp and perfect. The mask of professionalism was slowly slipping, Kitsune growing more and more tired of dealing with the Resonants. She heard another detonation come from Pop, and turning to look at the damage, saw her target cloak themselves in shadow and yeah no that was enough for her. Kitsune didn’t have the fucking bandwidth left to deal with the fact that fucking Obsidian may be in the same building.

She instead turned her attention back to the matter at hand. She chuckled at Shiba’s comment.

“Fitting.” Kitsune’s posture slackened as her eyes flicked between targets under the mask. “Cute, a pest, and diseased.” Kitsune leveled her gun at Min’yo.

“Shiba, release.”

She wasted no time as Shiba exploded into action. While they proceeded to commit presumably unspeakable acts of violence against Min’yo, Kitsune instead chose to focus her attention on the conductor, breaking off from Shiba and letting her HUD assist with her aim, squeezing off three shots, sending three beams of sizzling orange light hurtling towards Symphony: two for his chest and one for his weapon hand, looking to disarm him and maybe take the weapon out of commission. She made sure to keep an eye on Shiba, though.

If they got hurt, Kitsune would have to get violent.

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For many Japanese, min’yō evokes, or is said to evoke, a nostalgia for real or imagined home towns and family.​

In a rare moment of weakness, Min’yo was distracted. Those who didn’t know her personally wouldn’t even notice the pause, the hesitation, as like her enemies her eyes were drawn to the two figures. Where the red-haired man pulled shadows around him, revealing his identity to those who knew him whether by reputation or by personal experience.


It was barely a whisper, carried away from her lips by her own raging winds. For a moment, just that hair-fraction needed to say those syllables, her resolve faltered. They weren’t ready for Slate – not head-on. It were all four of them, with no distractions, then maybe – maybe they could take Obsidian alone. But Pop was down, Techno was out of the room, and she and Symph had one too many problems to split their focus any more, or to drive it all home on one figure.

A cartoonish wall of noise that embraces catchy tunes and memorable hooks. The music zooms between beauty and ugliness, as shimmery melodies collide with mangled instrumentation.​

All of Hyperpop’s focus was seized by one figure.

The change was immediate, terrifying, and incredible. One moment, the mild-mannered man hit the floor. The next, it was Pop on the floor with a monster at her throat. Her eyes went wide in obvious surprise, staring into the shadows, searching for the shape of humanity underneath.

But even as the cold set in, there wasn’t any fear there. Shock, maybe, and a little spark of anger, but they never had a chance to spread. They disappeared, replaced all at once by a strange intensity as she unfocused on the face above her. Instead, her eyes took in the color, the movement.

Because, even as he started to siphon her life away, he was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

The thief gave way to the artist in the same split moment of Min’yo’s hesitation. Her mind molded a muse out of the monster. White teeth, flat and impeccable, were bared in a smile so sharp it could cut her if he leaned any closer. They were the only clear lines in the figure above her; the shadows moved like an extension of the man underneath, a second skin, a new, all-consuming limb. Specks of red fell from where his ears must be to land on the floor on either side of her face, interruptions in the otherwise flowing work of art that she heard Min’yo identify in words she didn’t understand.

And slowly, despite the fact that she was about to die, she found herself with an edge of a smile under the grinning skull mask, because if she lived, she’d found something akin to her life’s work in the thing that almost killed her.

For many Japanese, min’yō evokes, or is said to evoke, a nostalgia for real or imagined home towns and family.​

Sasaina bujoku wa anata no hyōban ni ataishimasen, Symphony said. Kitsune to sono kozakana wa motto purofesshonaruda to omoimashita.

The sound of her parents’ native language grounded her, tearing Min’yo free of the icy fear that had gathered around her heart. Under the Oni mask, her mouth twitched, and then fell back into a purely neutral position. Like someone placing their hand on the metal of a bell, all the chaos inside of her went deadly still.

Even as the winds picked up more. The statement filled the space of a second, but it served its purpose. The command was pulled free as she focused on her role, her task, her team. She was to protect them. Right now, she couldn’t protect Hyperpop – she had to rely on Symphony for that, from the safety of the cover she could provide. There were two rivals in front of her, one of whom was physical, the other with her laser pistol still drawn. Min made the decision instantly.

She spun her bo staff and turned to catch the points of light in the wood. It was treated, so it shouldn’t ignite even if the heat burned deep into it, and the beam was too short to cut through for any real damage. Doing so, however, left her vulnerable to attack from Shiba’s bulk. With enough air padding, she could avoid permanent damage. It was an acceptable trade if it kept her right hand from suffering a lethal attack.

Braced for impact, Min’yo had Nine-Tails Inc. under control.

An elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements.​

He’d miscalculated. A mistake that some might consider fatal. Not this time. A single glance at the positioning of their bodies told him that Obsidian had no intention of killing Hyperpop. Obsidian, one of the few people who worried Min’yo. The threat posed by Nine-Tails Inc. was small by comparison, but with Pop down, Min was the only one who could hold them off until Techno came back. Out of everyone in the room, he might be the only one to notice her hesitation. His eyes turned frontward, ignoring the other two threats – or seeming to, anyway, as he addressed the other mercenaries.

“<Petty insults are not worthy of your reputation,” He said, and he saw Min’s hesitation shift. “<I thought Kitsune and her little bitch would be more professional.>”

Min’yo moved again. It wasn’t much motion – her hesitation hadn’t been much hesitation – but it was enough to intercept the incoming attack from Shiba. His Japanese wasn’t perfect, but his accent was honed from practicing with Min, even if his vocabulary was lacking. It served its purpose, at least, and he shifted his attention to the woman staring daggers at him. She hadn’t gone unnoticed – ever since everyone’s attention had moved to Obsidian, she’d been looking. And her focus had settled on him, telegraphing that he would be her target.

Presumably, she was Slate. If he acted against Obsidian to protect Hyperpop, she’d attack him. Possibly kill him, if he killed Slate’s head. That was an inadvisable decision no matter what, however. They weren’t prepared for the heat that would bring. What he could do, however, was get Obsidian off of Pop – and potentially out of the fight – while calling back their biggest gun in the way only he could. That was to say, with the small gun.

Out of all of them, he had the best aim. Precision was key, here, but so was speed. He had to act in the opening Min had given him, fast enough that he’d fire before Connor’s outraged girlfriend could cross the space between them. Maybe she’d tangle with Kitsune, but there was no guarantee of that, and so he wouldn’t count on it. Like Min, he had to be willing to take a hit for the others. That was what they were there for. Each other.

The gunshot resounded, aimed toward Obsidian’s near shoulder – the shoulder of the arm pinning Pop to the floor.

Symphony braced himself for the consequences of the shot.

Something in the girl’s face underneath him made Obsidian’s brow furrow for a moment. There was an intensity there that he wasn’t fond of. His smile started to dissolve, and it was at that moment that a gunshot rang out. It was muffled by the damage to his ears, but the pain in his shoulder sure wasn’t. The bullet ripped through his arm, but bounced right off his replacement shoulder joint. It ripped out the other side and ricocheted into the nearby wall.

He hissed in pain and withdrew from the girl, leaving her lying on the ground. He held the bleeding arm with his left hand, his dominant one, and turned his attention to the one who had shot him. The man, average height, a bandana pulled up over his face. Lapis screamed– he could barely hear it ringing around his ears– and started to charge in. She pulled a long knife out from under her jacket, from where it was sheathed against her back.


The small woman paused and turned toward him. He made a few quick hand gestures, strange ones that had no attachment to any language. But Lapis understood and immediately turned her attention. With her under control, Obsidian himself turned on the man. He used his speed to rush in toward him, letting go of his arm to reach out and grab the smaller man by the throat…

…Meanwhile, Lapis did as she was instructed. She made like she was going for the man, then turned around and went right for the woman in the oni mask. She reached out for the back of the woman’s neck. Leave him. Take her. She’s in charge.

Orders were orders.

She didn’t try to draw the knife across the woman’s neck, because her orders weren’t explicitly to kill yet. Instead, she went to stab it down into the woman’s shoulder as she reached for the neck. Rhody had trained her in the use of blades, and she was ready to prove how good she really was with the needlepoint knife she carried on her. There was a strange sensation as she drove the knife down, as though it was trying to pierce through something that wasn't there. Her other hand met the same resistance. She pushed harder, driving both forward with more force to combat the cushioning their leader had surrounded herself with.​

“Did you just call her a bitch?” Spork stage-whispers to their partner, because honestly that was the only thing they understood from her insult. And it was an insult, they have years of expertise on the exact tone her voice takes when she’s sassing someone.

Someone behind the staff-lady snipes back, and - “Did he just call you a bitch, Kit?”

Mari deserves it, probably, but the only one allowed to insult her is Spork, dammit. They start moving almost before Mari gives them their order, bouncing twice on their toes and then rushing for the woman in front of them. Miku feeds them the info they need, and they bring their baton around like a club, aimed for rib-height. They find that most people lose a bit of composure with collapsed ribs.

The unnatural wind swirling around them sends their hair every which way, but their breathing is steady behind their mask, their feet solidly on the floor. Nothing else matters. This is what they were made for. Once they reach a target, it’s as easy as latching on and hitting them until they stop moving. Works like a charm.

Except there’s a beeping in their ear, and they whirl out of the way as another person launches themself at Ms. Squirrel. Rude. They take a half-step out and swing at her from a different angle, not that they’re too picky about collateral damage.


“Yes.” Kitsune responded, rolling her eyes under her mask. She wasn’t surprised that the only thing Spork had learned from Mari’s occasional Japanese ramblings had been the swears. Hell, they’d spent weeks pestering her for all the swears she knew so they could "insult weebs in their own tongue".

“No, he called you a little bitch.” Shiba had thick skin, they’d be fine. But hell if they needed another reason to go feral. Min’yo used her staff and air manipulation to absorb her shots as everything began to get weird. She had a hand on her knife, ready to draw the blade and join Shiba when Symphony fucking shot Obsidian.

“What the fuck…” Kitsune muttered quietly. Nothing about this made sense. She would’ve thought the Resonants would at least be smart enough to hightail it when they realized the head of fucking Slate was in the same bank they were trying to rob. Somewhere in her analytical brain Mari filed away the leaking crimson from Obsidian. He could bleed, that might be useful someday.

Her gun came up quickly as one of the Slate members, a tiny girl although she couldn’t judge people based on height, launched herself at Spork. Kitsune was a millisecond away from pulling the trigger before she realized that she wasn’t attacking Shiba, but Min’yo. The gun dropped a fraction as Kitsune surveyed the field, marking targets and analyzing the situation as she moved around the edges of the carnage.

There was one Resonant she could see that was currently unoccupied, and she was the most destructive. Kitsune needed to take her out, and while putting her down might have granted her some small amount of satisfaction, it may also fuel the other Resonants. Taking the weapon out was the best idea.

Thumbing the intensity on her pistol to its maximum, Kitsune let out a breath, aimed, and squeezed the trigger twice. Bright orange beams sizzled through the air towards Hyperpop. They were risky shots, small targets that could easily be moved. But if they landed, Hyperpop would find her hands with some freshly burned holes, which would certainly hurt like a motherfucker to move, let alone clap together. Kitsune ejected the smoldering cartridge and slammed a new one in its place, mentally counting down the ammunition she had left. She kept her weapon focused on Pop as she approached, one hand on either of her weapons.

The ringing in his ears faded somewhat and Connor shook his head clear, taking assessment of the situation he saw the robbers were being taking on by others, Lapis seemed to be on top of things, and Obsidian too. Connor looked over to where Pop lay, she was struggling to get up. He did think to take care of her, but his gut twinged in fear and urged him to stay as far away as possible from that one. So Connor growled and turned towards where he saw one of the robbers go over the counter, despite the impairment of his hearing his nose still worked, and he could smell the remaining robber heading towards where he figured the safe was. He got up, his hearing slowly returning. He bounded over the counter and pounced towards where he smelled Techno like a Hound from Hell.