1964-08-06 - Gone Until You
Summary: Things keep going from bad to worse.
Related: Gone Until You
Theme Song: None
rosemarie lucian 

A frantic seabird flailing around with short pointed nails threatening to gouge metal or flesh in kind meets a set of men well aware of the possibility for violence. Just possibly not this exact sort. It’s not like they have a particularly nice occupation.

“Call it in! Get Vlad on the radio, go!” shouts the one on the left. The one on the right puts his hand into his white coveralls and pulls a Beretta, moving back several steps and adopting a shooting stance. Anything able to gouge through a half inch of steel is not someone he’s going to take lightly.

The third one, who threw the cleaner on her, is already calling ‘home’ for an update. The crackle and burn of the radio thumbing into dispatch brings a quick, sharp exchange in a language more Eastern European than not. Not Russian, alarmingly.

The war-bird might recognize the hostile posture confronting her, confined within the boxy van. Man, if only that thing were purple with wizards and unicorns painted on the side, it might convey a totally different situation.

“«Do I shoot her?»” the left asks gent on the right.

“«Boss prefers alive. She’s a fucking demon. Don’t care at this rate.»”


Another sharp pulsation of his wings keeps him spiralling aloft. Lucian is rarely one for show. The situation cannot be helped and enough mutants go airborne he probably feels relatively safe, even if some office building owners might be thinking about installing anti-aircraft guns at this rate.

Drunk on the heights of the sky, he cuts on a circular gyre, his feathers absorbing the sunlight from a dying day. Their relative transparency leaves only the faintest copper sheen to be caught against the sky, though drunk on the bright heat of the sun he kindled four billion years ago, he doesn’t think of that.

Plans foment, on networks to tap and people to talk to, ideas tick up and down. Then comes that other incoherent shriek settled upon the wavelength of a personal sin. He sweeps another revolution around several higher skyscrapers, hissing under his breath as he strives to locate it. Minus smoke rising into the air or some obvious pinnacle, though, he’s not going to find her so easily.

The Shi’ar war-bird doesn’t know the languages of Eastern Europe or the Asian continent. It doesn’t know what a gun is — but it does recognize the posturing put forth by the man holding the gun.

Terror from its host’s logical mind-track beneath the control of the Otherness gives it reason to mark this man in particular with a bright, predatory, single-eyed glare, even as its host’s chest rises and falls in rapid pants.

Still, be still, be big, wings — Lucian, wings — what is that? A rapid flurry of images and information from Rosemarie’s human memory supplies it an answer as to the weapon held by the man and a whispery shriek of a half-hearted cry is the next sound to escape the slit tape. This is the primal sound of cornered fury, of the creature attempting to calculate the nearest escape route that will allow it to live another day.

Being big normally disturbs people. Mutants and inhuman things as large as the Hulk reasonably steer off lesser predators. Guns equalize the score. Shi’ar haven’t learned that much yet. The world full of guns really does sometimes equalize things, and humans are ingenious at destroying one another by interesting means when pressed.

Just ask Lucifer Morningstar.

The two men are busy debating if they really want to shoot her or subdue this crazy woman some other way. One might be regretting his lack of use of holy water or worse. She’s largely contained to the van and the fellow in the front finally gets an answer worth having.

“«Bail if we have to! Got what we needed!»” shouts the third cleaner, using the door as a barrier. It’s not like they can’t scatter or take up positions further along the road, and they seem to be considering it. The whole notion of live again to fight another day is appealing…

That single golden eye shifts to the other man not wielding a weapon and measures him carefully. He may also be armed and she simply cannot see it at the moment.

What’s the lesser of the evils? The bigger risk: bloody herself in an attempt to escape this madness and leave their bodies rent in ways not seen since the Cenozoic Era and its terrorbirds — or simply continue to screech until someone hears and comes to see what sounds like someone removing a macaw’s wings from its shoulders?

Inhaling one huge breath to inundate her system with fresh oxygen, Rosemarie crouches low in the van and lets out one final scream of avian fury before bolting towards the open doors of the van. Rubberized flooring does allow a grip, after all, and it’s probably like being bullrushed by some demonic peacock, all feathers and fury and blitzing speed pressed to humankind’s upper reaches by adrenaline and the alien misunderstanding of its host’s physiology. Peachy talons flash out towards whomever is closest, their movements blurred and their aim almost deliberately off.

The rage peep warrants a look between the men again. One gun remains trained on her, the other backing away to find cover at the corner of a brick warehouse without any quality of welcome. The place she’s at lies somewhere deep in the cannery district and probably constitutes a difficult spot to navigate. Roads turn to alleys and dead ends. Unwelcome little corners filled by debris and dumpsters abound. Or she might just end up at the river, the waterfront, somewhere stinking and unwelcome.

One gunshot gets off, the second compression of the trigger hinting at the work of a professional. Its blinding retort from a muzzle might not do much to her, and possibly it could. The flick of blood isn’t only her own, nails hitting skin. The shouts in Bulgarian help him withdraw as the two victims flee through their appointed gauntlet. They might know where they go, and the devilish she-bird is on her own to negotiate humanity’s sprawl with the atavistic memories from another era.

She’s on her own.

Blood sprays as the shot grazes the outer roundel of her shoulder, puncturing a puckered hole in the wake of its passing. Those vicious talons do their work well enough and a secondary splattering means someone didn’t dodge quickly enough. It rapidly cools on her fingers as she keeps moving, fight or flight giving in to the latter as pain overrules the need to dispatch her retreating captors.

Towards the water then, towards the open, thus gainsays the wings within her mind — she needs room to take off, after all. The Shi’ar doesn’t accept that the human skeleton is still far too heavy for liftover and its wingspan that of a fledgling at best. To flap is to gain a little speed of movement, but it makes taking the corners of the gritty buildings and unmanaged alleyways difficult. Red smears on one wall as she collides with it bodily, momentum just too much. A pained shriek escapes, but on — on and on, fly fly fly, freedom in the open and the air.

She enters one particular alley where the concrete is poured double-wide to allow more than one delivery truck to pull in and deliver its wares. Ambient light might glance off azurine feathers, but damn the chainlink fencing that suddenly cuts off her immediate pathway towards the river. Maybe it’s a saving grace — a road lies beyond it, sidewalk as well, and this is busy enough to warrant hearing a passing car at least every four minutes or so. The glitter of the river lies beyond still, barely visible through another alleyway still, across that tarmac and over the fencing.

Rosemarie claws at it, her talons making short work of the thin strands of wiring, but it’s making a hell of a racket and she’s still bleeding.

She’s on her own, then. The dirty world of stained gasoline puddles and battered walls, uncaring shores and the diesel stench of industry. Fear feeds on the profits gutted from speedy purposes from capitalism’s corpse.

The shouting men arrange their work quickly. The injured one gets bundled up, a first aid kit in the front seat abused easily enough. Gauze and bandages pulled out serve their purpose well until someone can see to that nasty cut.

Their pursuit will not go further than that, the point already made. A demon can be hurt. A demon can suffer. A demon can die.

Bulgarian curses shine alongside the preparation of turning the van around and out of Hell’s way.

They can only wish.


On the wing, Lucifer Morningstar has better places to be than a cliffside or a rooftop like some demented gargoyle. He drops straight between the buildings in a little corner of the Lower East Side, a place where the vacant buildings don’t really have much to speak to. And tonight, someone’s going to be told to do a few things just cause.

Tonight there’s a possibility that heavy costs are coming home.

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