Event The Mask Slips

quirbles

on smoke break, bother somebody else
Staff member
M.I.R.A. TerminOS version 0.62b
Secure Distribution - North-Atlantic Bureau A4
TerminOS kernel 40406 [build 40406 OEM 8eXD]
Running TerminOS as current module . . .
Press DEL to run Setup
                                                                                        
                                                                                        
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SITE-WIDE NOTICE: PASSWORD ROTATIONS IN EFFECT AT 1500 HRS.
CURRENT CLEARANCE LEVEL: RED-9
CURRENT AGENCY-WIDE STATUS: BLUE

FETCHING INCIDENT INFORMATION . . .

INCIDENT ID: I-212255087-ADI-C
LOCATION: MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, NEW YORK - CENTRAL PARK
INCIDENT STATUS: ACTIVE
INCIDENT DESCRIPTION: POTENTIAL SUPERFELON(S), ASSAULT WITH DEADLY FACTOR, ARSON

THREAT-STAKE ASSESSMENT: RED-3

FETCHING DISPATCHED AGENT LIST . . .

[ ALL AVAILABLE OPERATORS ]




"THE MASK SLIPS"
CENTRAL PARK, MANHATTAN, NY - 1533 HRS


All active Jurors on-call, we have multiple reports of assault with a deadly factor and potential arson in the southwest sector of Central Park. Be advised that eyewitness reports have detailed two suspects, male and female; no positive ID. Incident Response Task Force is currently being formed at Bluebird; should you be in the area, please detail alias and specialty, over.

Typical incident response protocol mandated nearby on-call operators to respond to active incidents at or below their Threat-Stake level; a RED-3 event was not entirely threatening. It was par the course for most active incidents, especially in a city like New York; everyday crime was elevated in severity by the presence of PMPD-affected individuals, but the breadth of coverage by MIRA served as a thorough means of disincentivizing any illegal activity-- in broad daylight, at least. Every now and again, though, there was a criminal that used their powers as a means of spectacle-- not quite hurting anyone, but attempting a robbery, ransom, or some sort of greater institutional attack to send a message. Good for the cameras, and good for MIRA-- and any detractors saying that the fights were staged, or greenlit by the agency were thoroughly drowned out in a carefully-engineered media blitz. The Myth was preserved, the Jurors would prevail, and criminals were given scathing rebukes in court before being locked back up. There were rumors that some prisoners played the heavy-- arriving at some sort of agreement to take the fall and fail in exchange for financial support to families, better living conditions in PMPD-friendly incarceration centers, or image rehabilitation. All rumors, though, of course. Nothing provable, and never anything on paper.

But then there were the outliers.

Arson in Central Park was an outlier. Assault with a deadly factor, too, was not under the purview of The Myth-- extensive bodily or mental trauma to innocent civilians was clear grounds for a measured, but fierce, response from the agency. Still, cloaks were always advised to take the high road; pursue incapacitation if possible, and neutralization as a last resort.

Central Park S and Central Park W have been cordoned off and available officers are looking to contain the media response; civilians with cameras are still in the park, however. You are redlight for lethal engagement. All responding Jurors are mandated to respond at 59 Street, Columbus Circle, for delegation. Incident Response will be executed at 1536, T-Minus 3 minutes.

 
Last edited:
3:33 p.m.

Hovering over the cloud cover, arms splayed, black cloak billowing, was Monsoon, accompanied by the MIRA-NASA Joint Division commentating idly in his ear. He was creating a sunny day for New York City, casual practice in using his power that brought a side benefit to the city below. They'd been cleared for weather alteration in advance, a compromise that would allow him to conduct his training without loading onto a plane for shipment to a desert.

He opened and closed his hands, squeezing the clouds in his mind. All indicators were green - high conscious synchronicity rates with the meteorological patterns, minimal psychological contamination, so nothing was happening that he didn't directly command. This was a large-scale wind redirection combined with temperature adjustments. He was, effectively, practicing creating ideal weather.

Then - the tell-tale chirps of an active MIRA Incident alert. The Joint Division relayed new information to him - not the training coach, but an ops head. Southeast Central Park - assault with a deadly factor, and potential arson. As a Flex, he had a little more discretion with this kind of thing. He was not technically On-Duty for patrol; this was a training exercise. He was very far from Central Park...vertically.

"Copy. Joint Division, be advised that I am redeploying. Please connect me with the response comms."

Weather stabilization exercises could wait. He was good at this, too, and it'd been a long time since he'd been local for a battle incident.

He heard the click of the comm switch. Joint Division would still be in his ear for weather data, but now, his words would carry on the main channel. He followed the response guidelines to the T.

"Monsoon. CONSPEC. Over."

Now watch this dive, he almost added. His wasn't a power that was sensible to show off with. But what he was about to do was a matter of personal discretion, and getting to the incident scene faster. It didn't require a tremendous shift in the weather.

He tucked his arms in, drawing the cloak tight around his body, and dropped line a stone, hurtling face down towards Manhattan. Then, right as the buildings came up to greet him, he flexed and opened his arms wide, a roiling gray cloud condensing around him and behind him like a menacing dark contrail as he glided towards the incident area. His jaw was tight, but the adrenaline rush was phenomenal. An excellent approach.

Overhead, the sun retreated, and more dark clouds filled the sky. It started to rain, and rain hard.

Whoever was in the woods out there might know what they were up against, and know it was a good idea to surrender.

 



"Of course you can have a picture." The juror knelt down next to the young girl and smiled towards her phone. This was what patrols were like for him. On paper they were meant to sell the illusion that MIRA actually gave enough shits to stop snatch and grabs or get cats out of trees. The reality was three hours of roaming photo ops around Manhattan.

The crowd was growing denser by the minute as more people noticed he was stopping for photos and decided that they might as well get in line. Occasionally someone would ask to throw a rock or pencil at him to see the barrier in action. Even now, a thousand times later, people were still in awe of his 'Absolute Defense'. Social had wanted to call it his Divine Bulwark but, he knew that would only make him sound just as pretentious as he looked. As much as he enjoyed his thrice a week publicity walks he couldn't help but find himself frustrated by them. He had a goal to accomplish and this wasn't going to help him do that. He needed something big to finally make his move. Up until now he had been building a reputation worthy of being able to make a claim for the throne....all he needed now was a big enough/
All active Jurors on-call, we have multiple reports of assault with a deadly factor and potential arson in the southwest sector of Central Park. Be advised that eyewitness reports have detailed two suspects, male and female; no positive ID. Incident Response Task Force is currently being formed at Bluebird; should you be in the area, please detail alias and specialty, over.

"Sorry everyone, duty calls" One by one their phones began getting the emergency notifications. Like a herd they cleared him a path and he took off running.

"Gilgamesh. SHOCKSPEC. Enroute." He was close to the designated meeting location, only a 2 minute sprint. The sky began to grow dark and he looked up to see Monsoon flying in like Zeus with a cape made of literal clouds. "Since when does Monsoon give a shit about presentation?" He grumbled, under his breath, as he ran.
 
"Six hundred twenty-one. Six hundred twenty-two. Six hundred twenty-three."

Beads of sweat poured down Damon's face- but not as much as one would expect for someone currently bench-pressing about a thousand pounds. The weights had been custom-made for him, and shipped all the way from Chicago to New York, because nothing in the central East Coast Jurors facility's admittedly impressive gymnasium posed much of a challenge for the Dragon. After all, he was something of an anomaly among those metahumans with superhuman strength. They had no need to work out, because their enhancements were 'static,' neither growing nor diminishing. Damon, on the other hand, was growing stronger by the day, and he'd long since outgrown any class of weights an ordinary human could hope to lift.

The relentless beat of the Swedish power metal blasting in his earbuds was such that it took him almost a full minute to notice that his pager was buzzing. Setting the weights down- and feeling the ground shift just slightly beneath them -he took a moment to wipe his face off before retrieving the device. Though seemingly antiquated by modern standards, it held a few advantages over a smartphone. Namely, it would still function perfectly when out of cell service, and apparently, had been designed to keep working even amidst the sort of intense electrical storm that Monsoon could create. Thus, it was possible for MIRA central command to reach its operatives at any time.

Each breath still a herculean labor, Damon the message, then reread it three more times before the words fully sunk in. Reading between the lines of the tactical jargon, he got the gist- a supervillain attack. Here, in the middle of New York City. A brazen challenge to the Jurors' authority, and one that would not go unanswered. According to the notifications that popped up on the pager a few moments later, two members of the local team were already responding. Gilgamesh, who Damon had found to be something of a showboat, but undeniably effective, in their brief time working together- and Monsoon, who he'd almost never seen around the Bluebird facility. Always away on one Dagger mission or another, keeping the country safe from the shadows. Or from the center of a storm cloud, in his case.

Nobody had ever raised the possibility of doing Dagger work to Damon. He was probably a bit too loud.

Removing his earbuds, the Dragon replaced one with his MIRA-issue comms device, which was linked to the pager, and used the same hardened tech. Not that he had to worry about losing his connection in the middle of New York, of all places.


"This is the Dragon. ShockSpec. Please be advised- I am responding."


There was no time to clean up after the workout, but as Damon grabbed his signature jacket and pulled the mask down over his face, the heavens opened, and a deluge began, informing him that wasn't a concern- he was about to get a free shower. Thankfully, his clothing was all water-resistant as well as reinforced, all in the name of keeping him clothed while on missions. Being able to walk through a wall of flame was nice, but less so if it left you naked afterwards.

Contrary to his instincts, Damon didn't sprint through the halls of the Bluebird facility. By the sound of things, the situation was urgent, but stable, meaning he could afford not to run so fast his feet left imprints in the ground behind him. And he'd already been lectured about doing that once. For much the same reason, he'd been asked not to simply run to every incident location, if he could avoid it. Instead, they'd provided a motorcycle- in the classic crotch-rocket mold -and told him to use it. To make the offer more tempting, they'd even had it airbrushed green and yellow, with a dragon decal on the side. The merchandising potential was, no doubt, a side benefit.

Few people passed Damon in the halls as he made his way down to the motor pool. No doubt most of them were at, or headed to, their station, ready to run support for the ongoing incident.

Swiftly locating his vehicle, the Dragon hopped atop it and gunned the engine, taking the briefest of moments to enjoy how it hummed and purred beneath him, before peeling out of the garage. With the flick of a switch, he activated the special siren the engineering team had installed, which- like the unmistakable whine of a police car, ambulance, or fire truck -told commuters to pull over and let him pass. Not that he needed the extra space. Since receiving the vehicle, Damon had swiftly become adept at weaving in and out of traffic, never so much as scratching another driver's paint.

It took mere minutes for the Dragon to arrive at the designated rally point, just after Monsoon had touched down and Gilgamesh arrived on foot. The downpour had made driving somewhat more dangerous, but as long as he didn't hit anyone, Damon wasn't overly concerned about crashing- what was the worst that could happen, when he was virtually invulnerable?

Even before he dismounted the vehicle, Damon was already soaked, but for once, that was a good thing, as he'd have no doubt reeked of sweat otherwise. There was no time to waste on pleasantries, so he simply gave Gilgamesh a friendly nod, and Monsoon a more professional one, before turning to the MIRA dispatcher.


"Here to help. What's the situation?"
 

"Alias 'Cyclic' responding-- en route."

As each responding Juror grew near the incident site, the sound of sirens grew louder and louder; first, the general noise of police car horns, followed by the droning, clarion blare of trumpet-like sirens from the fire engines on-site. At the corner of Central Park West and Central Park South, a small triage center had already been set up; officers rushed between cars and kept the perimeter sectioned off from the gathering crowds, who watched the responding agents with a measured awe as opposed to emboldened applause.

Maybe it had something do to with the raging fire within the park, and the plume of smoke that billowed up into the afternoon sky.

The smell of cinder and ash was thick in the air, even from a distance; a woman clad in a bulletproof vest and relatively normal civilian wear-- save the gun hanging in a sling from her chest-- greeted the Jurors as they touched down.

"Blair Novak. Lead On-Site Analyst. Red Room's on the line," She stated, tossing specialized earpieces to agents that didn't happen to carry one at the time of response. A moment later, there was a thunderclap of sound as an armored suit adjusted for landing; Cyclic had finally arrived, touching down into a run as his boots slid along asphalt.

"Hell happened here-- barbecue gone wrong?"

"Unsure." Blair replied, shrugging her plate carrier and pressing a finger to her earpiece; a moment later, she nodded, moving towards the armored SUV that she had presumably driven to the incident site. The vehicle was currently parked on the grass proper; set up on the hood was two laptops and a police scanner. "Fire started maybe twenty minutes ago. Reports were two suspects, looked like they were in medical gowns. Seemed agitated. Police report came after one of them reportedly lit a tree on fire with-- allegedly-- their eyes. Civilian presence is unclear, probably between ten to twenty. Police presence was heavy--"

As if on cue, there were a series of pops from deeper within Central Park, hidden by the treeline and rolling smoke.

"Don't think you're going to fully extinguish the fires, Monsoon, but you can help delay the wildfire until the incident is neutralized. Can't get FDNY in there otherwise. Plan is to get you in the air and minimizing smoke drift, keeping winds from spreading the fire," Blair stated, looking to Gilgamesh and Dragon next. "Gilgamesh, Dragon, we want you on bystander recovery unless a qualified DEFSPEC is reporting. One they're secured, engagement will be spearheaded alongside Cyclic."

"Wonder if I can adjust my sonic cannons to try and extinguish--"

"Keeping the two suspects busy is a priority. Gilgamesh, Dragon, help with engagement as needed. Break. Freestyle within those boundaries; more orders to follow once we get a positive ID. So get us that ID. Can't help you unless we know what you're up against. We in alignment, agents?"

 
Damon shifted uncomfortably as he listened to the briefing, adjusting his soaked-through undershirt, which clung to his body uncomfortably. For the most part, he was happy with his powers, but right now, he envied Gilgamesh, whose personal force-field was keeping his tailored suit nice and dry right now.

By the sound of it, the perpetrators of this incident were of the variety of metahuman people colloquially termed 'blasters,' the same way people with strength and durability like Damon were 'bricks.' And since they'd set part of Central Park on fire, that meant they were shooting heat beams. That necessitated a different approach to engagement. The Dragon had been inside of burning buildings before, and managed to get out without any burns, so his unbreakable skin was also flameproof, but that didn't mean these people couldn't hurt him. A blast straight to the eyes could leave him blinded, and if they had a high level of fine control, they might even be capable of boiling the very blood in his veins- sure to be lethal.

For the time being, though, it seemed like Damon would be on search and rescue. That was to be expected. Saving lives was the top priority- but he couldn't deny that he'd be a little disappointed if he got through this mission without cutting his teeth against a metahuman opponent. Fighting alongside Cyclic would be good opportunity to learn, too. He was an experienced, well-regarded hero, considered the leader in all but name of the New York 'Premiere Team.'

"Understood," the Dragon responded, trying to summon as much professionalism as possible. "But if I see the guys behind this, I'm taking them down."

Without waiting for further confirmation, Damon ducked underneath the police cordon sealing off this section of the park. Underfoot, the dirt, rapidly turning to mud under the relentless assault of Monsoon's downpour, squished and squelched uncomfortably. His shoes were going to be ruined before the day was done.

Banishing those pointless, material concerns from his mind, the Dragon cracked his knuckles and took off into the park, heading straight for the sound of gunshots.
 


He returned Dragon's nod just in time to catch Cyclic's landing. Despite his own opinions of the guy he had to give credit to his social media team for managing to make him look good. He wondered how many times they'd rehearsed that landing during his first year. Cyclic being here made infuriating sense. With the group that had assembled he had a feeling that his job wouldn't involve being sent into combat right away. A suspicion that was almost instantly confirmed during their briefing.

"Copy that" Gilgamesh responded, doing his best to hide his lack of enthusiasm and infuriation at Cyclic who he had half a mind to call out for his complete lack of focus on the task at hand. Then again, if this joker was the best the NY premiere team had than it wouldn't be too difficult to surpass him.

He took off running, letting rain that had formed within his field spilled out onto the ground, and kept his eyes open for civilians. The roaring flames and torrential downpour mixed together to create a symphony of chaos that drowned out cries for help. Instead he kept his eyes open while moving away from Dragon to cover more ground.

 
Cyclic was on scene, along with Dragon and Gilgamesh. Monsoon, impassive, only gave the trio a curt nod. The rain ran down his jaw that looked cut from stone. The everpresent frown was subsequently obscured by his high-altitude mask. His monotone reply crackled across the comm line.

"Roger. Wilco."

Monsoon raised his arms to chest level and rose upward as if plucked by some unseen force, set free from gravity by an invisible alteration to the air pressure around his body. He floated upward, the nimbus coalescing around him as he pushed into the sky. He could control the weather with much more accuracy and range when he was higher up. The heavy rain he'd created in the area gave him more to work with in terms of manipulation. A sunny day was less potent than a downpour, and the Joint Division along with Tactical had assured him on previous occasions that being able to use his powers to his fullest was well worth the environmental hazard he posed.

Monsoon curled his fingers into fists as he rose higher than the rooftops, mindful of the thunder crackling overhead. The lightning was kept to the clouds. Taking a deep breath, he pushed outward, fingers splayed, and connected with the immediate atmosphere. It thrummed in response, and he began twisting the air around the blaze. From up here, it looked ugly. Man-made, and spreading.

As a CONSPEC, this was his bread and butter. Far easier than a precision strike. He began to slow the spread, the heavy rain pattering over his billowing poncho.
 

With the fire momentarily contained by Monsoon's efforts, the exterior threat to civilian life was pacified. However, the interior threat still persisted; with the incident still active, there was no telling what metahumans had caused this, nor was there any particular number or even description beyond vague testimonies within the 911 calls delivered to the emergency services of NYC.

"Can't see shit on an aerial," Cyclic stated over comms. "Touching down for investigation."

The world felt odd, here. Wrong. The roar of sirens and the murmur of the crowd at the police gate had all but faded, now; despite the distant ghostlike wailing, the world was surrounded by ash and smoke, blocking out the midday sun with the summoned rainstorm to create an almost dusklike atmosphere. Gilgamesh and Dragon had all but run into purgatory, now, and the first evidence of life would soon reveal itself.

A woman carrying a child.

She was covered in ash, one side of her body smoldered; the child she clutched was alive, but staring blankly over her shoulder as she clutched him close, stumbling along the path along with a few others. They were equally as disoriented; blood leaked from the ears of some. They all seemed distant-- shellshocked.

"There's-- two. Two of them," The woman mumbled. "Police are-- they're-- are you..."

More gunshots ahead. Here, the active wildfire was roaring-- the ashen grey and darkened tones of smoke were traded for flickering, brilliant shades of an inferno, heat tickling at the face and building into a searing discomfort. It was the remnants of some sort of burning gazebo, or restroom hut of sorts; a man crawled out from beneath the wreckage, coughing. Nearby, a police officer stumbled towards the pair, hand still on a raised gun that he haphazardly pointed towards Gilgamesh.

Once he realized who it was, his gun lowered, eyes blinking to clear the dust and smoke from them. An arm wiped at a reddened, bloody face, ash smearing with crimson along his sleeve.

"Fucking-- I don't know. I don't know what happened. He just..." The man muttered. His pupils were dilated; his ears, too, were bleeding, leaking warm and clear fluid alongside the crimson. "... you're MIRA. Right? You're..."

A moment later, he collapsed. More gunshots echoed in the distance-- and then--

KRAKA--THUMMMMMMMM.

Monsoon, be advised, LARGE flareup and detonation in quadrant A3. Unprecedented. Divert rainstorms and lower temperatures; contain. FDNY can start working on whatever you abandon. Repeat, LARGE flareup in A3."

"Whatever's making the fire-- it's moving."

 


The inferno blazed around the hero as he maneuvered through the smoke. He watched flames lick against his barrier and fold around it. The actual plasma that made up the flames would never touch him but, the heat still found its way through. Beads of sweat traced down his face and oxygen was getting thin. Given his barrier's relative ineffectiveness against gasses he had underwent training to hold his breath and work within low oxygen environments. He still sparred with an airflow restricting mask on to ensure he would be able to fight in those conditions. Thanks to that he could operate at maximum effectiveness for 5 minutes and 11 seconds off a single breath. After that his performance would rapidly decline and within 60 seconds he would fall unconscious. Thankfully, with powers like his, he only needed 5 minutes to end a fight. This wasn't a fight, yet, so he opted for a medium pace that would allow him to extend the duration his breath lasted by another 2 minutes.

"Dragon I need a hand with an evac. Over." '-30 seconds. 3 minutes remaining' The hero thought while swiftly adjusted his watch timer. There were four total civilians. He knew he wasn't strong enough to move the rubble and still have enough oxygen to save the rest of them. The officer as well, given his passed out state, would prove too heavy as a third person to have to carry. It would be best to leave them to Dragon. He would handle getting the woman and her child out of the inferno.

"I'm with MIRA. Lets get you out of here." He said as he scooped them into his arms. '-30 seconds. 3 minutes and 15 seconds remaining.' He made a break for the tree line. Carrying the two in his arms and weaving through the blaze. Ahead of them he heard a loud CRRAACCCKK. At first he thought it was just a branch until he noticed the blazing body of a tree collapsing. At this pace they would end up directly under the falling forestry. He could feel their bodies tense up with fear. The tree fell and was met with the soft electrical hum of his polarity field pushing against it.

He broke free from the fire and placed the two in the care of the crisis response teams that had gathered around the park. "You're both in good hands." He took four deep breaths and reset his watch timer to 5 minutes and eleven seconds before breaking to a full on sprint towards the large flare up. "This is Gilgamesh, I heard gunshots from A3. I'm heading towards the location now. Requesting greenlight for Lethal Engagement should the need arise." By the time he arrived he would have four minutes of optimal performance left.

 
"Copy on A3. Diverting."

It was an explosion, in the heart of New York City. Beneath him, citizens he'd sworn to protect scrambled for safety. Dragon, Gilgamesh, and Cyclic were in there somewhere, doing whatever they could to mitigate the damages. Gilgamesh and Dragon were SHOCKSPEC, first to breach, the vanguard of their efforts. Cyclic, a TECHSPEC, would provide versatility. But Monsoon was the only CONSPEC to have arrived. A lump grew in his throat as the weight of the responsibility began to build.

Floating up above the tallest buildings now, he couldn't make out any details, but he could see the expanse of the destruction. Suspended in mid-air, like a balloon unmoved by the wind.

They needed him disconnected, up in his own little world, for him to function effectively. Better that he not see what was going on down there, and just respond to what was needed.

A concentrated downpour would begin over A3 as the temperature began to drop. He was manufacturing an isolated downdraft, rapidly cooling the atmosphere in advance of a macroburst of rain. Hopefully - as directed - it would help put out the fire and stop it from catching.

He toggled his AR view with a press of a button on the side; the whole city was bathed in green, the previously effervescent quadrants now illuminated in his line of sight. It was bright down there, but it helped him with targeting. Everything suddenly looked unreal.

Think of it like a video game, he remembered one trainer telling him, years back.
 
"Copy that," Dragon replied, turning on his heel and breaking into a full-on sprint towards Gilgamesh's location. Their communicators had a built-in positional tracking system, allowing the Jurors to transmit their coordinates to one another rapidly, without having to waste time giving directions verbally. Fortunately, for as much as he'd pegged the well-dressed hero as a glory hound, Gilgamesh wasn't so hungry for press attention as to attempt a rescue he wasn't suited to accomplish alone. And Damon was happy to play second fiddle if it meant saving lives.

It was a good thing the Dragon's mask protected his eyes, otherwise the smoke would have made it difficult for him to see. Things were difficult enough having to hold his breath as he closed in on the location of the remaining civilians, having not been provided with breathing equipment before heading in. Maybe the first responders had just assumed he wouldn't need it, what with being a metahuman- or maybe he'd run off into the event zone before they could give him a mask.

Vaulting over a collapsed tree, its leaves still aflame, though the pouring rain was sure to extinguish it soon, Dragon soon reached the location Gilgamesh had indicated, finding one man caught beneath the rubble of a small building, another passed out on the ground, uniform identifying him as a police officer who- like Damon himself -had gone into the inferno without a mask. Carrying two adult men would be a difficult prospect for most people, but the Dragon had a distinct advantage. Clearing away the fallen stones that had the first man pinned, Damon slung him over one shoulder like a sack of potatoes, before doing the same with the cop. Then- taking care to ensure they both remained secure in his arms -he took off at a sprint again, now heading for the park entrance once again.

As soon as they were clear of the smoke, Damon took a breath, gasping in lungfuls of precious oxygen. The need for it was one of his few vulnerabilities, given the general physical invulnerability he enjoyed, so having a way to deal with it would be useful. As soon as he'd set the two civilians down on stretchers, the Dragon made sure to grab a spare mask from one of the ambulances. Then, a bright idea occurring in the heat of the moment, he put a finger to his earpiece to contact Monsoon.

"This is Dragon. Is there any chance you could whip up some kind of air funnel, maybe suck up some of the smoke? Would make it a lot easier for those of us down here on the ground."


Without waiting for a response from the high-flying hero, Damon turned back towards the park, muscles tensing as he prepared to take off into a sprint again. Then, he paused. Gilgamesh hadn't taken a mask either- and if it turned out Monsoon wasn't capable of clearing out the smoke, he'd definitely need one. Hoping he wasn't depriving the emergency response crews too badly, the Dragon grabbed another mask and clipped it to his belt, before launching back into action. They'd saved lives- now it was time to confront whoever was so intent on taking them.
 


The journey to A3 was an intense flurry of smoke and heat from the encroaching wildfire. The closer Gilgamesh drew, the higher the strength of the surrounding inferno-- until it felt like he was sitting in a God-damned oven.

Agent Gilgamesh, be advised, we are detecting extreme temperatures for human habitation from your earpiece tracker. You are advised to proceed with caution.

Another silhouette stumbling through the smoke-- up ahead, there was a stone bridge, the surrounding river and surface of the pond steaming with the runoff heat from the wildfire. Something was wrong-- they never burned this hot. More variables entered the equation once another police officer staggered out of the blackened clouds towards Gilgamesh-- the sounds of gunshots close enough to hurt the ears.

The officer in question was missing half of his face.

As he turned, the evidence revealed itself; half of his face was practically melted, singed and boiled over with third-degree burns. His eye was swollen shut; his hair had singed, then entirely burned away on one half of the head, his jaw clenched in a rictus with teeth and molars revealed beneath reddened, crispened sinew.

"... ahead. He's... it's..."

The man collapsed. Ahead, on the bridge, two officers sprinted through a wave of roiling smoke-- one of them fully on fire, with the other smoldering as he leapt into the pond. The horror in question revealed himself, finally, to Gilgamesh.

A man; just a simple man. Crudely dressed in a hospital gown, a plastic band about his wrist that'd been seared and melted into the flesh of his arm; his entire body was covered in patchwork burns, bandages laying burnt about his head and chest. He wore one slipper, singed and blackened; his lips were reddened, eyes bloodshot, but that was hardly noticeable from the distance Gilgamesh was at. The way he walked suggested impairment, on some level-- he was slightly hunched, arms hugged tight to his chest. Mumbling something under his breath as he stumbled, clutching onto the bridge a good hundred feet away from the Juror.

"... n-no. Not... I can't... this isn't-- isn't real. Can't be." He muttered to himself. A ways away, his head lifted-- looking to Gilgamesh, barely visible through the currents of smoke and fire. For a moment, he almost seemed to lock eyes.

"... you aren't r-real. Are-- are you?"

Got a clean shot on him, Gilgamesh. Try and chat him up while I get a lock on an ID. Longer you keep him talking, the more complete the ID will be.

 
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