Description: Bats tend to avoid urban areas, but for some reason they're converging on a small clinic in a suburb of Hackensack NJ. Zach Glenn investigates...
Bats are found all over the world, though the transformation of bat habitats into urban living spaces has curtailed their population somewhat. Accordingly, bats are rarely, if ever, found in the more populated cities of northern New Jersey, and many people go their entire lives without seeing a single specimen of the order Chiroptera.
Which makes it all surprising to hear of a number of eyewitness reports about a supposed bat population in Teaneck, New Jersey. A relatively quiet residential town in the center of the most populous county (and also one of the wealthiest) in the US, Teaneck is pretty much the antithesis of a typical bat habitat; it's not -terribly- noisy, but it's got a distinct lack of bat-suitable caves. The upsurge in bat population has been relegated to a minor story in the fast-paced lifestyles of northern New Jersey; a passing footnote to pretty much anyone -except- those looking out for such atypical occurrences.
If one were to ask around, common knowledge would point to the city's main thoroughfare, Teaneck Road -- particularly, the area around a certain Holy Name Medical Center. With 361 beds, the healthcare facility is fairly modern with neoclassical brick and concrete construction, but its current claim to fame is the "Asian Medical Program" oriented to provide comprehensive health coverage to the underinsured and uninsured Korean population.
With the recent changes to health coverage, "business" is booming and the staff doctors alone have been forced to take on additional practitioners, meaning that some "doctors" employed here might not all be board-certified. But even still, their names will be on the front wall: and one that may stand out is Rachana Patel, marked with an asterisk (as are three other names without an MD following). An additional piece of paper is taped beneath it, identifying asterisked names as working with the influx of Metro City patients.
Zach wasn't sure how it had happened. He doesn't really have access to the means and sources of how the family gets the information they use to present cases to him. However, he was more than a little surprised when he got the folder showing the hospital and contact information. Needless to say, he all but leapt at the assignment, which had left a couple of people scratching their heads. Seriously? New Jersey?
Zach's outfit might get him some looks that he ignores; this is as close as he gets to a work uniform without strapping on guns. Slacks, a polo shirt, and what appear to be hiking boots (that had set off the metal detectors), along with a longcoat.
He knocks once on the doorframe before poking his head in. "Excuse me? I'm looking for a Rachana Patel? I was told I could find her here."
The health center's receptionist smiles back at Zach, gesturing him into the waiting room with a friendly wave. A young Korean girl, fresh out of college, she's got a smile overbrimming with good cheer, her neatly-cut fringe kept to an even more prim standard of neatness by a purple headband. "Yes, you're in the right place! Please, take a seat! She's with a patient right now but should be out any moment..." A friendly gesture is offered to one of the seats, though there is a certain ease to her tone; she must say this -a lot-.
True to the receptionist's word, it will be a few moments -- two minutes, to be more precise -- before another patient walks out of the doors from the back room. An older Chinese-American lady with what appears to be back injuries limps out from the back, aided by a cane. She looks around at the waiting room for a moment, before collecting herself with a small huff and striding out the door.
Shortly afterwards -- after what appears to be a brief conversation with the receptionist, the door opens once again. A woman in her late twenties with a long blue lab coat stands in the doorframe, gesturing with an open hand to the blonde newcomer. "Hello, I'm Rachana, I'll be..."
The figure blinks, and tilts her head. "... Zach?" A smile grows on her face for a moment -- the warm glow of recognization, the reassurance of purpose. But it seems another, darker thought occurs to her, as her hopeful smile takes a downturn. "... I mean, it's good to see you of course. But, er, what... What can I help you with today?"
Zach nods once by way of greeting, a faint smile on his lips. "It's good to see you too, ma'am," Zach says politely. "It pretty much made my month when Minal told me you made it out of Metro City alive."
He glances away, somewhat pensively, when the direction of Patel's thoughts becomes clear. They had met in pretty dire circumstances, and had not really been in contact since the incident in Metro City. Zach's presence here could most certainly herald something troubling.
"I'm working for a private security company that occasionally investigates strange happenings," he explains. "The news piece about the bats crossed my desk." Zach heaves a sigh as he shrugs. "Your name came up. Sooo... instead of pushing it off on a subordinate, I figured I'd look into it myself. See how you were doing. That kind of thing."
Patel's facial expression may have become a bit more difficult to read once Zach speaks -- the words are recognized, but it takes the woman a few moments to assemble them into a realization. And then her face lights up with joy: "Oh! Right! She -did- mention your name, and..." She bites her lip for a moment, glancing out at the waiting room. There's a handful of people there, mostly plonking around on their mobile phones, but even still, it's not the best place to talk. Heck, right then, another patient enters; Italian, with fairly fancy clothing, but that's hardly unusual in the suburb of one of the most upscale fashion centers on the planet.
Patel insists: "Step into my office, would you?" She motions inside to the spacious hallway, gesturing to one of the many otherwise nondescript doors. Patel walks to one of them and opens it; inside are numerous bookshelves, crammed to the brim with medical journals and reams upon reams of paper printouts. A window looks out onto the fading sunlight of Teaneck Avenue. And, naturally, a desk and three chairs.
"I've stepped up from 'Nurse' these days -- wasn't like I could exactly keep punching in at the condemned hospital, and the job opening was pretty much tailor-made for me." She smiles briefly, gesturing for Zach to sit as she takes her own seat.
"Minal is dear to us, her family is practically part of our own. So to find out that she knew you too, that was... good news."
Her hands steepling upon the desk, Patel's smile fades -- there's only so much vapid small talk that can distract the man from his true mission here. "I'm ... trying to make sure I'm not just -paranoid-, Zach. You -must- have had the same sort of nightmares that I did -- the ones where you know, beyond all reason, that someone is watching you. That your nightmare might be real, or that your reality instead might be the nightmare..." She trails off somewhat, her chair pivoting slightly so that she can look out the window. "The nightmares had stopped, maybe two months ago... but now they're back. Those damn bats, creeping me out." She glances back to Zach, frowning. "I can't even see them most nights. I might catch them out of the corner of my eye, but... I know they're there. Watching."
Zach takes a seat to listen, and then is quiet for a moment, appearing to be thinking about something. He's doing that, but he's also getting a 'feel' for the area around the medical center. He finally speaks after what seems to be an eternity.
"I'm... not a psychologist," Zach admits, "And I'm a mediocre empath at best. But if you're thinking you are being watched, there's a good chance that you are," he says quietly. "You went through... what you went through, and you survived. Surviving the experience has made you more aware of things. You're probably more alert now than you were before Metro City." Glenn considers things as he stands up. He glances back at the door, a concerned look on his face before turning back toward Patel.
"Do you have access to the cameras watching the waiting room?" Zach asks.
Patel looks down at the desk; if Zach's hands were actually placed onto the desk, she'd most likely place her hands upon them. Because she could use some comfort right now that's not of the alcoholic sort.
Her face is one of confusion, however. She knows Zach was prone to moments of silence during his time helping out at the ill-fated Il Paradiso, so it's not altogether unexpected -- however, the fact that he's confirming that she's probably -not- just paranoid just turns her stomach further. "Zach, I know you mean well, but this is the time where you're supposed to laugh and say, "Ahaha, you're crazy! It's all over with..." A nervous, self-effacious laugh escapes her as she eyes the window once again...
Only to be asked for access to the cameras. "Y...yes." Clipboard all but forgotten, she pivots the flatscreen monitor to where Zach can see it. Rolling out the keyboard drawer, she taps a couple keys -- a mere moment later, the camera footage of the waiting room comes up.
The Italian woman is in the midst of a lively conversation with the receptionist. Talking, laughing, all the hallmarks of two good friends, or two acquaintances that just happen to have good chemistry.
And then, four spindly appendages erupt from the Italian's back. Two pin themselves to either side of the charming young Korean's temples. While a third spidery leg hovers a mere inch in front of her eyes.
There is no screaming from the petrified receptionist -- and thus, no sign to the clueless people in the waiting room that maybe they should look up from their phones.
"What the --" Patel stammers out, jumping We've got to do something!"
One would easily recognize Dr. Tessitore from the many wanted posters. The young Italian leers back into the fetching young Korean's eyes. She licks her lips for a moment, before... something catches her eye. And within a moment, the beautiful Italian looks past the cinnamon rims of her eyeglasses into the unblinkin gaze of the camera. Silence.
With a sudden gesture, the camera lens is blotted out.
And then the screaming from the waiting area begins, followed shortly by a thin wooden door being ripped off its hinges. The chase, as it were, is on.
"Stay there," Zach says, authority clear in his voice as he turns towards the door. Zach's right hand drops to his side, and he mutters a single word as he steps toward the door.
Light erupts and lengthens from Zach's closed hand, shifting and distorting to form a claymore that seems to snap into reality. Zach's hand tightens around the hilt of the sword as he throws the door open. He brings the inside of his left wrist to his mouth. "Target acquired. It's Tessitore," Zach mutters into the mic. "I'm in persuit."
Zach suits actions to word and takes chase after the aberrant!
COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore has started a fight here.
Dr. Tessitore 0/-------/-======|
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn has joined the fight here.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0 Dr. Tessitore
A bright light can be seen flicking on outside -- but no danger there, per se; it's just the LEDs of the streetlights kicking on, as the sun finally descends beneath the horizon.
Patel gulps. It wasn't paranoia -- she's got that clear and present understanding now, from a man who she's found herself trusting many, many times before. "Got it..." she says. "I'll let the others know..." Her hand goes to her purse, and her cellphone, and as she curls beneath the surface of her desk, the distinctive sounds of a text message being tapped out follow.
Chunks of brain and bone matter adorn her two upper appendages, and matching clumps spatter the floor in a most decidedly unprofessional manner. The lifeless body of the young Korean is spilled upon the floor as well, her eyes rolled back in her head and her limbs splayed to awkward angles. The door to the waiting room is open -- and behind it, the would-be-patients are bickering on how to -open- the door, as Tessitore's superhuman strength has fused the locking cylinders, rendering it unusable. It will slow their escape, but not halt it completely -- and that's all she really needs.
"I'd -thought- it was odd seeing a non-Asian here..." rings out the sing-song voice of the Italian beauty as she strides through the broken remnants of the door, "I suppose it's not -completely- unwarranted, I mean, just... " She shrugs her shoulders dismissively, not really sure how to turn that around into a non-racist comment. "Whatever. I hate to cut your conversation short, but I -did- have a five o'clock with Doctor Patel... is she in?" A bloodied appendage reaches up to nudge the glasses up further upon the bridge of her nose as she fixes her gaze upon Zach: the only factor she =hadn't= planned on, this evening. He knows her name -- so this isn't just a chance happenstance. But, seemingly unfazed, the giddy not-quite-a-Doctor Tessitore continues prattling, "I guess she's not a -Doctor- per se, but you know what I mean!"
And while her limbs continue to attract attention, the very human hands of the Italian beauty sweep to the purse upon her shoulder, ransacking the inside in search of a very particular object. "... Now, sweetie... you should be careful with sharp blades! Someone could get -hurt-." And from the predatory smile upon the young grad student's features, it seems that she could enjoy hurting Zach -- very much so.
COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore calculates her next move.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0 Dr. Tessitore
Zach steps through the doorway leading back to Patel's office. He strides down the hallway towards Tessitore, a golden flame starting to slide down the length of the blade but emitting no heat. Motes of that odd golden light dribble to the ground in Zach's wake as his pace accelerates.
"I'm afraid," Zach says as he brings the weapon onto his right shoulder, "That Doctor Patel is unavailable right now."
Zach steps in quickly before delivering an explosive stomping kick that glows with a light almost identical to that covering the blade of the sword, his intent to force his way back to where he can help effect the escape of the people trapped in the lobby still!
COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore counters Power Strike from Zach Glenn with Metastasis.
- Power hit! -
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/---====|=======\===----\1 Dr. Tessitore
Okay, Dr. Tessitore just made a super-dramatic entrance, but even she has to admit that the delivery of Zach's line was pretty badass! Her cheeks flush red -- it might seem like she's embarassed, but the psion ought to be able to tell that the grad student is actually pretty impressed that the blonde is able to keep his cool amidst such obvious carnage. "Oh... " After a moment of stammering, she starts to continue, but then Zach is suddenly surging into motion!
Tessitore's eyes widen in abject fear. She'd come expecting a fight, but to have it right in her face, right now?! "AAIIIIE!" she shrieks, covering her eyes and twisting to her left, practically curling into a fetal position. She may be a terrifying monster, but beneath it all beats the heart of a very terrified young grad student... right?
Or... not. Because while her human body is petrified, her spider legs almost move with a mind of their own. It might be tough for the psion to see through the deception while he's driving his foot towards Tessitore -- and indeed, it takes quite a bit of focus, talent, and power to deliver such deadly force on the flick of a light switch. But the evasive maneuver means two things for Zach.
First: his target's -very- unsportsmanlike evasion has dropped her out of the effective range of his stomp kick.
Second: Four spider legs are right there to intercept him in mid-air. The two higher legs lance into his shoulders. And the other two sweep from below to spear into his thighs, just below the hips. The individual phalanges, still slick with the receptionist's blood, latch on tightly...
And then the presumably oblivious Tessitore rises, twisting rapidly with the prey in her spidery limbs. In one fluid motion, she twists about, whirling with Zach's rushing momentum as she slams him into the boundary wall separating the hallway from the waiting area. Sheetrock crumbles into a fine powdery mist in the wake of the strike, owed almost entirely to the rapidity of Zach's assault, parts of the wall flaking away to reveal the wooden two-by-four studs underneath.
The conveyance of Tessitore's prey complete, the spidery limbs retract, allowing Zach free rein as Tessitore continues striding down the hallway. The Italian brushes the powder off her fancy dress, making a distasteful frown. "I hope you're wrong. I'd have to have gone and made a mess for nothing..." Now, with Zach closer to the waiting room than she, Tessitore ambivalently strides towards Patel's office, taking careful note of the convex mirrors positioned to keep people from bumping into one another. She may have her back to Zach now -- but, as she's just proven, the spider's web may not always evidence itself until it's too late.
The door is latched -- but other doctors are still in the back rooms, as well. And they... hadn't all checked their text messages yet. They're rushing around in hysterics.
Zach gasps as he slams into the wall, before slumping to the ground and coughing as the dust starts to fall. He drags himself to his feet, wobbling slightly. He has noticed the blood, the gore. The spatter of brain and muck upon the purple headband that so forcibly reminds him of Honoka.
But he has no /time/ to worry about that now. He can /not/ allow Tessitore to find Patel. The spider-doctor's intentions cannot possibly be benign.
Zach hops lightly before kicking /hard/ off the wall behind him, forcing the wall to crumble even further as he launches down the hallway at the monster before pulling an impossibly tight forward flip that allows Zach to whip the claymore's blade up and over in a sharp arc that threatens to carve into Tessitore with little in the way of restraint or mercy!
COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore endures Zach Glenn's Dragon's Tail.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/--=====|=======\=====--\1 Dr. Tessitore
The handful of people in the waiting room jump, startled by the sudden shock of Zach impacting the wall. Terrified beyond belief, one man doubles over in pain, while the other two patients stare in befuddled silence. And then one of them finally comes to his senses, and realizes that while the door is forcibly shut, the window is available. He grabs the nearest chair, and uses it as a bludgeon on the window. SLAM! SLAM! SLAM! On the fourth SLAM, a hole is shattered through the window. It will take just a few more moments before the shattered glass is safe enough to provide safe egress to these three patients...
The doctors in the back are still at risk, however. And Tessitore still stands there, blocking Zach's path. She could step aside, and allow him to fly past her once again, letting her spider legs do the dirty work. Or... she could stand there, impassively. A low rumble echoes through the hallway as her knees lock. And as she eyes the reflection in the convex mirror, she...
Takes a half-step to the left. The psi-powered blade slices into her shoulder, cutting deep -- it's quite possible she'll lose the use of that limb. The shoulder strap of her stylish Italian dress is cut straight through as well; the satiny fabric falls away from the clean cut, baring the creamy skin of her shoulder -- what isn't marred by the crimson blood spurting out, anyway.
"Aww. I was hoping for another snappy comment..." she states, reaching up to place her fingertips along the flat of the blade. The psychic energy sears her skin, forcing a furrow through her brow and a warmness through her cheeks. But the true motive of taking the strike is evidenced as she is now free to grab onto Zach with those spidery legs of hers, once again. The phalanges slam into Zach's joints -- two in the insides of the elbows, and two into the insides of his knees. And if she lands with all four, she'll forcibly pry his limbs apart from one another, as if placing him on a medieval torture rack -- and enjoy -every moment- of the delicious torture.
"Maybe 'Doctor' Patel will be more entertaining..."
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Dr. Tessitore's Infinite Diversity.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Dr. Tessitore
More of that odd golden energy slides over Zach he brings his joints inward to disrupt the momentum of the striking spider limbs. Pain lances through Zach's arms and legs as he yanks the blade free from Tessitore.
The hallway would allow Zach enough room to bring the sword to bear, but those freakish limbs make using the sword problematic to say the least. "My apologies," Zach says quietly, "The training tends to get in the way of mid-fight banter."
Zach takes a quick hop towards Tessitore, lashing out with a swift kick with his left foot. Glenn spins, lashing out with his right. Continuing to rotate Zach brings his left foot up over his head, and brings it down at Tessitore's collarbone. Each of his kicks sends up a spray of golden light that augments the force of each kick!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hits Dr. Tessitore with Storm Kick.
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Zach Glenn 1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Dr. Tessitore
The pain lancing through Tessitore's shoulder is unbelievable -- or at least it would be if she hadn't taken copious amounts of drugs before entering the facility. That explains the giddiness. So while she might not be able to simply shrug off the shoulder injury, she -is- able to finish fetching the tube of lipstick out of her purse, spreading it onto her lip and puckering slightly... only to find that her limbs aren't working as effectively as she may have hoped.
Grimacing, she pulls away, twisting about to face Zach once again. One of her spider limbs shelters the injured shoulder protectively as she narrows her eyes at the monster hunter, shaking her head. "Apology accepted! Now just step aside and leave us be!"
Tess -tries- to swing her right hand out to fend off the first strike, but she hasn't fully come to grips with the pain yet. She jacknifes from the first blow, and reels backwards from its kissing cousin. Rammed backwards against a wall, Tess's spidery limbs scrabble about for purchase but aren't able to make good on it in time to prevent a collarbone-cracker from overhead. The delicate bone cracks, adding another injury to Tessitore's collection as she drops down to one knee.
Free of the wall, Tess twists herself to the floor, her four spidery limbs whipping upwards as she attempts to sweep Zach's legs out from beneath him. Should she manage to sweep his legs, her limbs would attempt to lance into him once again, and curl him into a ball, so that he can be hurled like a bowling ball into the paper files of the logs and records station. "You're very close to a disgusting breach of patient confidentiality!"
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn interrupts Power Throw from Dr. Tessitore with Meteor Shoot EX.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0 Dr. Tessitore
The spider limbs slam into Zach's legs, threatening to topple the monster hunter. Zach saves himself by driving the tip of his sword into the floor to give himself an extra balancing point. He releases the weapon, hands whipping out to grab an incoming spider leg.
Having gotten a limb, Zach hauls back on the limb and hurls the smaller woman back towards the reception area and into the sealed door. Not done there, Zach yells as he gestures angrily at Tess and looses a beam of psychic energy about the same diameter as a basketball directly at her chest with enough force to rip the door off of the frame... and the frame out of the wall.
Zach pulls the legendary sword out of the floor and stalks towards Tess. He's not at all sure he's put her down just yet, and aims to make certain of it.
Curiously enough, Tessitore had, in fact, -expected- Zach to take advantage of the opening which planted her upon the floor. She'd dropped her purse, for one thing -- it had slipped off her shoulder in the flailing. The Italian had -also- loosed a spray of spidery filament between her palms and the walls above, hoping to leverage them to give additional 'oomph' to the blow. So even when she's pulled away from the floor by her own limb, a part of the slightly-delirious grad student still gleans some enjoyment at knowing that she goaded the experienced monster hunter into doing something close to (if not exactly) what she wanted.
Her glee is short-lived, however, as her bell is -definitely- rung; the close encounter with the door is enough to slam some good sense into her. Eyes widen, her mouth opens, and the shriek that escapes from her lips is real this time -- not feigned. Leaning backward with the heavy mahogany door, she finds herself outside the hospital... only to get blasted by a beam of psychic energy. Powerful enough to rip a vicious scar into the front of her slinky dress, laying bare the tender valley of flesh beneath, the skin a furious blush from the smarting blow.
Grimacing, she levitates back to her feet with the aid of her spidery limbs. The patients are stunned, pausing in their preparation of the window to find the door wide open. And one even tries to make a go for it, right past Tess...
Nope. Tess lashes out with her left hand, grabbing the older Chinese gentleman by the throat. He's a bit on the rotund side -- and yet, the Italian lifts him with ease, warmth returning to her cheeks.
She strides towards Zach, leering greatly. "You're sensitive to the thoughts of others, right? I wonder... what is it that your 'doctor' friend is feeling right now?" She spares a glance towards the Chinese man struggling within her grip, lifting him up so she can get a better sense of his despair.
"Don't you think I'm smart enough to bring... backup?"
The sound of shattering glass can be heard behind the stalking Glenn. Not just one pane, but -three-.
"ZACH!" shrieks out Patel from behind him, a moment later. "PROBLEM!" There is the sound of scuffles, and a decidedly -deeper- voice in conflict with her...
And then? That's when Tess's spidery limb pulls the silken thread providing an unbroken connection to the trap she'd lain earlier. The trap springs -- and if Zach hesitates too long, he might find his limbs stuck within it, completely entwined like a mummy as the sticky, silken threads constrict about him.
"Are you sure it's -me- you should be fighting?" asks the webmistress, with her hostage still in tow -- and the -other- hostages now under attack from her vampiric friends who'd just burst through the windows.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn overcomes Connective Tissue from Dr. Tessitore with Blast Punch EX.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0 Dr. Tessitore
Zach's head whips around towards the sound of Patel's voice when the glass shatters. He realizes that he just made a mistake. Things... get a little hectic at this point.
The psion hurls himself back down the hallway bringing his left wrist to activate the mic stowed there. Zach's voice is surprisingly calm, and he only speaks one word.
Three shots are heard seconds after two vampires hit the floor. One of them is missing its head, the second missing an arm. The third somehow sensed the supersonic round coming in, and manages to avoid the bullet that buries itself in the floor by turning into mist and allowing the bullet to pass through him harmlessly.
Zach has not even landed yet as he stabs harshly at Tess, loosing another bolt of psychic fury. Gold, tinged with violet punches through the closing webbing and screams towards Tessitore even as Zach turns to make sure Patel is safe!
COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore overcomes Blast Punch EX from Zach Glenn with Phenomenon Crash.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/------=|=======\=------\1 Dr. Tessitore
Jedah won't be happy about losing one of his more loyal vampires. Reclaiming the body will be... difficult at this point, considering the entire cranial cavity is blown into several messy chunks by the encounter with a rather potent sniper round. But luckily, the first shot is enough of a warning to the other two to take precautions, leaping for cover from the hail of bullets that has perforated the windows of this particular section of the Holy Name Hospital, dedicated to... darkstalker-inflicted wounds.
Tess nudges her glasses up along the bridge of her nose with one of her spider limbs. As the light glistens across the polycarbonate lenses, she sees something in the cloud of debris kicked up from all the commotion -- an opportunity. That same limb snaps a vial off the chain around her wrist -- one might have thought it was an ornate bracelet, when instead it is... insurance. As the chain snaps, the limb flings the vial back at the gold-tinged energy bolt -- and when push comes to shove, a rather -loud- bang happens. In this case, the vial was effectively a shotgun shell, containing a chemical explosive and a rather large amount of metal. When detonated by the psychic energy, the explosive force was enough to send its dangerous payload rocketing onwards towards Zach -- not half as much -force-, but enough to ruin his eyesight should it hit.
Tess glances over towards the man struggling in her grip, shaking her head. "Now, see, you should be thanking me, sir! Here, that nasty man would have sacrificed -you- to kill -me-... Tsk!" The man's growing a bit more pale, but at least his fellow patients managed to escape through the door in the confusion. The other two doctors? ... They're finding their way out too.
"TESSITORE," hisses the vampire who returns back to humanoid form, insinuating his own arm around one of the young Korean doctors as he huddles close to the wall. "WITHDRAW! We have one, that's enough!"
Tess's face contorts into a petulant frown. "Right -now?- Did you forget about the -trump card?!-"
Okay, that brought a smile back out of her.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Dr. Tessitore's Phenomenon Crash.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/-----==|=======\===----\1 Dr. Tessitore
Zach ducks his head, wrapping his left arm across his face to protect it from the explosive. Force and fire wash across the psychic, drawing a hiss of pain from the young man. Glenn lowers his arm to see that Tess still has the man in her grip, and takes in the situation. Anger surges up within him, causing the golden light around Drynwyn to flicker with the occasional streak of purple. That won't help, Zach thinks, as he forces himself to calm down.
Zach reaches behind his back and pulls out a Colt 1911 pistol, which is promptly aimed at Tessitore. The hand is... disturbingly steady as it tracks in on the scientist, moreso than one might think given the beating Zach has sustained. "Let the civilians go," Zach says in a level voice. "Or I put two in your eye. Let them go, and I'll let the three of you go. Without further harm."
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn enters a trance-like state.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/---====|=======\===----\1 Dr. Tessitore
Tess's smile only grows larger as Zach makes his threat. She's been told to retreat -- and yet, she has a trump card that she's -already- drawn attention to.
Thing is, she actually has several cards, one of whom being the man still in her grasp. He's borderline unconscious -- and Tess decides to let him down, just because it's easier for him to stand on his own than for her to keep hauling him up by the neck. Instead, though... she curls her good arm about his shoulders, as if the lovely lady were simply escorting a drunk man home.
From behind Zach, in one of the back rooms of this wing of the hospital, a high-pitched whine can be heard. The sound is coming from an electronic device, not unlike the capacitors from an old camera flash -- but the real magic happens from the small portal erupting on the floor beneath the vampire and his almost-a-doctor hostage. "See you on the other side, Tess..." rumbles the vampire, as he begins to shove the doctor towards the crimson-tinged oculus as it grows larger upon the floor by the moment -- nearly (but not quite) out of the sight of a window.
"It's only fair of me to show you mine, now that you've shown me yours..." Tess drops a similar device in front of her, making the same high-pitched whine. Like the portal in the other room, the passageway to Majigen grows larger by the moment -- a fact which she grins deliriously at. From behind her hostage, her chin right beside the man's ear, she calls out,
"I don't fear death when I have a way out of it."
Suddenly, and without warning, the purse which was 'carelessly' dropped in the earlier attack starts to shudder. Violently so -- and rocking the building just enough to possibly throw off Zach's aim. With no more than that one second of warning, it begins to explode -- a small-scale detonation, to be sure, but full of the searing chemical compound the good doctor had developed from a sample of the Bloodweaver's own vital fluid. It would... not feel good, and it would probably be enough to rip a hole in the center of the floor.
It should suffice as a distraction for the portals to begin forming.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn endures Dr. Tessitore's Experimental Battery.
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Zach Glenn 0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0 Dr. Tessitore
The remaining vampire's midsection evaporates not in mist, but in blood and bone, followed by the cracking sound of the sniper round being fired. The shuddering of the building does in fact throw Zach's aim, and the psion disregards the pistol as a viable course of action. Tess' purse comes flying in just as Zach explosively leaps at Tessatore. Acid and fire spray across Zach's body, exposed skin reddening and blistering as Zach flies through the cloud of pain. Two things might come to the not-a-doctor's attention.
The first is that the point of Zach's claymore has been swallowed in a miniature sun that trails motes of light. The effect looks very similar to a comet as it streaks towards the woman's face.
The second is that Zach does not call out in pain as some of the skin on his face and hands peels and melts thanks to the chemical bomb. The pain does not cause the sword to waver in the least.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hits Dr. Tessitore with Dynamite Punch.
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Zach Glenn 1/--=====/=======|===----\-------\0 Dr. Tessitore
Lord Dohma is -really- not going to be happy. Yes, there is pain, mutilation, and torture, striking right at the heart of a facility which had, in some form, dedicated a significant amount of resources towards fixing -some- of the mess caused by the translocation of Metro City into the Majigen dimension. But the collateral damage sustained is already pretty high -- two vampires have been destroyed beyond repair, and the third - with his broken arm - is playing it safe for now, huddling under cover and waiting for a moment to escape...
He gets his chance when the building shakes, and Zach has a much more pressing concern on his hands. With the hostage fleeing for his life, the crippled vampire takes the moment to crawl into the portal, ducking beneath what's left of the window and diving in head-first. The oculus closes up behind him, leaving nothing but crackled blood on the floor surface.
Over on Tess's end of the room, the situation is much more chaotic. Tess's own patient hostage maintains enough sense to see what's shaping up -- he breaks free of Tess and dives for cover as soon as the bomb goes off, ducking and curling his arms over his head. Dr. Tessitore, though -- well, she didn't expect Zach to -ignore- said hostage and charge for her anyway. She does have a bit to learn about human nature....
She will have plenty of time to think about it, as the soul-powered sword powers its way into her face, blasting her backwards. The spider-limbs twitch as she sails backwards for an instant, before making contact with the beleaguered wall of the building, before gravity mercilessly drags her down to the floor in even more unfortunate humility. This level of pain... cannot be numbed by drug intake, and the soul power sears its way through her flesh, the motes of light pock-marking her skin like a garish polka-dot pattern.
The portal yawns before her, casting red light from the sinister dimension of Majigen onto the ceiling. It's five feet away -- so close, and yet so far away. The spider-limbed woman lifts her head, one eye cauterized shut from the blast, her eyeglasses shattered from the blow. "Well played.... Mister Glenn." Her eye winces shut, and her left hand twitches as she sprawls it out before her. Consciousness is fading, and blackness crowds in on her vision.
A web shoots out from the spinnerets on her wrist -- far from actual jewelry, it's a serviceable silk gland. And the strands land on the floor on the other side of the portal. In the blink of an eye, the web retracts -- and just as quickly as her vampiric compatriot, Tess vanishes headfirst into the portal.
After a moment, Patel's office door cracks. "... Zach...?" she begins tentatively, not daring to raise her voice above a whisper.
COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore takes no action.
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Zach Glenn 1/--=====/=======|
COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore can no longer fight.
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Zach Glenn 1/--=====/=======|
Zach slumps to the ground, landing hard on both knees as the light around his sword dies out. A second later, the sword evaporates in a scattering of light particles. Glenn uses the last of his energy to position himself into a seated position, and holsters the pistol. Gasping and coughing, Zach bring up that left cuff again.
"All clear," he says, just loud enough for Patel to hear. "Should be safe..." Zach stops to take another pained breath. "For now. You okay, Rachana?"
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn has ended the fight here.
"I... I'm fine," stammers the Indian woman from the relative safety of her office. It's a mess -- and so is she -- as can be expected from the thin sheen of vampire now coating the chair which had been offered to Zach a few minutes prior. "... You look like hell though. I'd say we need to get you to the hospital, but..."
Right on cue, a small team of armed guards and an EMT arrives at the entrance to the wing. While the armed guards fan out throughout the wing -- a pure formality at this point -- the EMT rushes down to Zach's side, already breaking out a first-aid kit.
Rachana Patel kneels down a bit further away, giving the EMT space to work his magic. "Never mind," she adds with a light laugh. "I'm just glad you were here for us."
"Feel like hell," Zach admits as he offers Patel a weak grin. He's already started to heal somewhat. The efforts of the EMTs will help to ensure he's only down for days instead of weeks. "Right on time," he says to the EMT.
"They were after you," he says a minute later, seriously. "You and the other doctors. We'll get it figured out." He sighs, then regards the EMT gravely. "I need a place to lay down for a few hours, but I'm not sure I can get there without help."
A second after he says this, Zach closes his eyes and to all appearances goes to sleep.
Log created on 19:25:25 01/02/2016 by Dr. Tessitore, and last modified on 18:32:11 01/07/2016.