Unholy Genesis - [UG:Round 3] MY HERO

Description: Zabel Zarock's guerrila concert on the outskirts of the transplanted city of Metro City isn't just a noise pollution issue. No, the intent is to instigate more and more Majigen residents into a frenzy and send them off into the City proper for a slaughter! Not that Charlie knows that, his unit gunning for the rocker for his supposed connection with Jedah. Nor does Alexis know, who's just looking for her band's gig as opening act, something that puts her in the path of Charlie whether he likes it or not. Will the riot continue as planned, or will Charlie be able to close down the show, with or without Alexis' involvement? (Winner(?): Charlie)

There are some major hurdles to arranging any sort of event in Majigen that requires equipment, primarily involving transporting it. Zabel may (grudgingly) be working for Jedah, but that just means it's possible to get stuff in, it doesn't mean he's going to have much help. Having devoted cultists to do the heavy lifting makes things a lot easier, though. And while vicious darkstalkers may be a significant concern to many people trapped in Majigen, many of them have learned not to mess with Zabel.

And so, with some grumbling from Zabel about how much time it's taking and how much of a pain it is, the necessary equipment has been hauled out to the outskirts of the city, and a stage has been erected. Numerous generators are chugging along behind the stage, and wires are running everywhere, including to numerous speakers set up along the perimeter of the city. They go out for quite some distance, ensuring that the concert will be audible to anyone, or anything, within a large area. A few darkstalkers have already wandered by just to check them out.

Giving the rest of the equipment another look, Zabel nods then jumps up onto the stage. He kneels down near the center of the stage, gesturing to one of the robed people accompanying him. The man steps over, extending an arm and slicing open a cut with a ritual dagger. Zabel dips a bony finger into the blood, then begins tracing a pattern on the stage. After doing this for a while he nods again, apparently satisfied, then leaps back to a standing position. He accepts a guitar from one of the robed followers, while others take up their own instruments. The zombie's shadow ripples, and then a purple... creature emerges from it, taking up position at the drums. The homunculus Le Malta blinks its one massive eye, picking up a set of drumsticks.

Zabel strides to center stage, running one hand along the edge of the guitar for a moment, staring out at the city, and the various beings walking, flying, or otherwise moving about. Some of them are paying attention, but not many. Well, that will change. Zabel grins, the red light in his eyes flashing brighter for a moment. Then he inhales, and his hand moves to the strings. And the relative quiet, broken only by a few faint screams in the distance, is shattered by the music which begins thundering out of the speakers. If anybody was looking for Zabel, it won't be hard to find him now.

"Why are we doing this again, Lexi?"

The question from the drummer of her own band doesn't break the look of concentration on Alexis' face as she leans forward against the steering wheel of Killasaurus Orphanage's touring van. While under the best of conditions, it'd be generous to refer to the vehicle as a 'fixer-upper,' the thing is pretty much a safety hazard on wheels as it navigates the landscape of Majigen. The entire vehicle rumbles ominously as it rolls through the outskirts of Majigen Metro.

"I mean, sure, we kind of needed the tour, but there'll be other tours, eh? And if Zabel Zarock /is/ out here, how are we going to bring him back? We're almost out of gas, and we don't even know if we can go back the way we came!"

"I need the washroom!" guitarist Benny Lava pipes up from the back seat.

"If we stop here, you'll probably get eaten by giant bugs, Benny," Alexis growls as her eyes sweep the way ahead.

"Why do you think I need the washroom, eh?" comes the reply from the back.

"Shut up, Ben - wait. That's him!" Alexis spins the steering wheel hard to the left, flooring the gas pedal.

"What's him? All I hear is something that sounds like the wailing of the damned accompanied by the war drums of hell," bassist Kim 'Kim Penetrable' Steel chirps.

"Exactly, Kim," Alexis mutters as the van peels off toward the concert. "Buckle up, guys. We're gonna save Zabel Zarock."

"We're, uhh, already buckled," Matty the drummer replies.

"Yeah, Lexi. I mean, following you into some hell dimension is one thing, but not wearing a seat belt? With your driving?"

"Shut up, Benny!" Alexis yells as she lays even harder into the gas pedal.

Music, meanwhile, is the last thing on the minds of the SFMAP unit that advances on the imppromptu concert stage set up on the outskirts of town. With communication only barely restored between earth and the swallowed City, and evacuation out of the question, the only thing that military presence can do at the moment is try and minimize the worst of the damage until a proper evacuation, or even a restoration of the city to the proper plane of existence, can be managed.

Which, again, brings a military unit to Zabel Zarock's guerrila concert. At the rear of the unit, bearing rifles and energy-resistant body armor, is one Charlie Nash. Looking rather pallid due to barely recovering from his run in with the Outworlders not too long ago, he remained insistent that he lead his unit on this sting. "Sir, visual confirmation of the stage," one of his lieutenants chimes in a whispered breath as they look in from the brush only remaining from the earth-side of the environment. "Any sign of the target?" Charlie asks, sweating slightly as he double-checks on his bandages, making sure no stitches have been pulled yet. "Not yet s-"

Then the guiltar squeals out, and any doubt that their target is there is erased. All gathered duck, clapping their hands over their ears. Eyes shut from the thundering sound, Charlie forces them open, glowering before an unspoken signal to advance is given, his unit filling out of the brush in 2-by-2, with him taking the rear. Trying to find a way to flank the stage might be hard, especially with so many demonic presences about, but it's their best shot to get to Zabel first before things get too out of hand. No need to get caught in a Majigen mosh riot after all...

So far there isn't that much happening other than music, which may or may not be to the tastes of the people listening. Darkstalkers are starting to make their way over to investigate the noise, though. The show is intended to build up to other things, but Zabel is still an artist, and he's not going to be rushed in his work, even if it's under orders from Jedah. Influencing folks with his music takes time, anyway. Luckily for Charlie, Zabel also gets pretty focused in his music once he gets going. He's certainly not keeping an eye out for people sneaking around, and of course there's no need for the special forces to worry about being quiet.

Also, it'd be pretty hard for Zabel to keep an eye on things anyway, since he's now moved onto a part of the song where he's banging his head. Probably violently enough that it might cause whiplash, if he had to worry about that kind of thing. The van might be a bit more easily noticed, though even the engine might not be audible.

Matty leans up in his seat to try and get a better view of the concert through the windshield. The drummer's brow creases in bemusement, and he reaches up to adjust his sunglasses. "What's he doing?" Matty asks as he watches the commotion.

"I think it's called headbanging, Matty," Alexis replies as she swerves to avoid slamming into a mass of legs and mandibles.

"No, I mean, why's he playing a concert? Do these things pay admission?"

"He's probably trying to scare these things away. They probably hate loud noises, right?" Alexis posits as the van swings to a stop near the stage. "So if they come after the fan, just lay on the horn really loud. That should scare them away," she tells Matty as she puts the vehicle in park and unstraps her seatbelt.

"What are you planning on doing, Lexi?" Matt asks with an apprehensive tone as Alexis reaches for the door handle.

"I already told you, Matty. I'm gonna -"

Whatever she ends the sentence with is drowned out by a wave of noise as the driver's side door swings open. The brunette grabs her guitar from between the seats and pulls it on over her shoulder as she climbs out of the van. Slamming the door shut behind herself, Alexis rushes for the stage, keeping low in an attempt to not look out of place amongst the darkstalkers - a feat which is all but impossible for a teenager wearing a bright red guitar and a catholic schoolgirl's uniform...

There might be no need to keep quiet, but the Special Forces unit still remains silent, if only because any vocal communication would be pointless under the blanket of noise as they advance. Keeping with gestures and signed communication only, the unit continues to advance on. As they get closer to the stage, though, Charlie moves further up the ranks until he's nearly leading the unit forward. He doesn't know how strong Zabel is, but if he's connected with the figure responsible for dragging Metro City down like this, he can't take chances.

As they reach closer, Charlie gestures for his group to set up a perimeter, at least on the side of the stage they're approaching. Big of a risk as it is, with his injuries still healing, he has to take down the man himself.

Luckily for both Alexis and Charlie, the darkstalkers in the immediate vicinity do seem to really be getting into Zabel's music. They aren't worked up into a frenzy, yet, but they do seem to be paying much more attention to Zabel than anything in their immediate surroundings. And then Zabel reaches the end of the song, the music fading out for what some might consider blissful silence. Except for the ringing that is probably lingering in most of the audience's ears.

Zabel looks up, gazing out at the audience. He doesn't actually need a moment to catch his breath anymore, but old habits are hard to shake. He spots Alexis making her way through the crowd, finally, since she does stand out against most of the crowd. The zombie looks confused for a moment, and frowns. This might be a little bit awkward. Then he shrugs to himself, snaps his fingers at his band, and they launch into another song. He'll just wait and see how things go. And as far as Charlie is concerned, he's got a pretty clear path. There's a couple robed musicians between him and Zabel, but they aren't directly in his path, and everybody on stage is looking out at the front.

Now that she's made it to the midst of the Monster Mash, Alexis makes a more meaningful move to make herself more manifest. The girl jumps up and down, arms thrashing in the air as she tries to push herself above the audience that's forming in appreciation of Zabel's music.

"Hey, Zabel!" the girl screams, her voice only faintly audible, much less intelligible over the pounding of the instruments. "It's me, Alexis! I'm here to save you!"

After a few seconds, the girl's gesticulations slow, then stop. The expression in her eyes starts to become distant as the cacophony washes over her, her hair and clothes rippling in the breeze created by the sound. For a moment the girl stands stunned and silent. And then, quietly, she breathes out: "This... is... awesome."

Unfortunately, for those legitimately enjoying the 'concert', there might be a bit of an...interruption suddenly. With everyone else distracted as is, Charlie's able to come in low, and with the robed musicians in a bad position to stop him, the Major is able to slip in behind, until he's hopefully close enough to Zabel to reach out for the heavy metal monster and reach out for him.

"We have business with you, Zarock. About you and Jedah," Charlie says, hopefully loud enough so at least Zabel can hear him. And lest they think he's alone, his unit backs their way up onto stage for support, sights trained on the rest of Zabel's band in hopes of keeping them back long enough to get Zabel off stage. Then again...with this crowd....

The music falters for a moment as the robed figures react in surprise to Charlie and his men coming up on stage, but they recover quickly. Zabel did not tell them to stop. And the zombie himself certainly doesn't stop playing, though he does glance over his shoulder at Charlie as the soldier speaks. Experience, and a bit of supernatural ability, let him make out what's being said, although even he can't hear what Alexis is trying to shout to him. He does keep half an eye on her, though, and manages to very briefly shoot her a thumbs up. Though he's not sure how she'll react once she gets close enough to see that his monstrous appearance is... very convincing, to say the least.

With a glance and a gesture with his head at one of the robed figures, he manages to get his microphone cut out, using some instrumentals to cover things for the moment, while he speaks to Charlie. "Now's not really the time, man! If you want an autograph, come back after the show!"

Meanwhile, back in the van, the other members of Killasaurus Orphanage await their lead singer's return with trepidation.

"Is she dead yet?" Benny asks, his tone quavering.

"Benny! Lexi is gonna be fine! She's probably already on her way back with him! Right, Matty?" Kim replies, running a hand through her pink hair. There's a long moment of silence. "Matty? Can you see her?"

Peering silently through his sunglasses, Matty watches Alexis as the girl starts to jump again - but rather than throwing herself straight into the air, she's instead throwing herself against nearby darkstalkers that are congregated in the vicinity of the stage. Pushed back by the throng, she continues her assault, continuing to smack into the creatures of the night with determination.

At first, only a single word escapes from Matty's lips.


And then, a few seconds later, he adds, loudly enough for the rest of the band to hear:

"She's moshing."

Frowning, Charlie adjusts his sunglasses with his free hand before it returns to a place along his side, where the bandages under his uniform lay. "Now is the perfect time. You have connections with the guy responsible for dragging Metro City into this kind of place. We're taking you in for questioning now. Your audience will have to make do," he says, remaining insistent as he tries to pull Zabel from the stage. The remaining members of his unit continue to keep their weapons trainined, covering for their squad leader and hoping they can make a clean extraction.

Actually being pulled on does finally manage to upset Zabel's playing... and it's actually not that hard to pull him a short distance, since he's rather light for somebody of his size. A few discordant notes blare out from his guitar, and the cultists scramble to switch into something they can handle on their own, sweating and trying not to look at the soldiers. Zabel, meanwhile, plants his foot and stops himself from being dragged back further, then slowly turns the rest of the way around to look at Charlie.

"You think you can just walk up here and put a stop to my concert?!" The rocker glares at Charlie, hands clenched into fists and the pinpricks of red light that form his eyes flaring in anger. "You've got questions? Here, I've got an answer for you!" He lunges at Charlie, throwing a fist toward the soldier's face. The studded leather gloves might be bad enough, but the bone spikes which erupt from Zabel's fist make things considerably worse.

COMBATSYS: Zabel has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Zabel            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Charlie has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Zabel            0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0          Charlie

As Alexis moshes violently against a bug-person in front of the stage, the eyes of a small contingent of darkstalkers linger on her. Beneath the thrum of the music, they vocalize to each other in their dark language.

"Isn't that a human? What is she even doing here?"

"She must be trying to get herself eaten. She keeps throwing herself into people! It's so rude!"

"Maybe she's one of us. Look how pasty she is! She could be a vampire!"

"You'd think a vampire would have a little more dignity..."

When the frontman's playing comes to a stop, though, Alexis' violent dance slows, then ceases. Her eyes return to the stage, blinking as if emerging from a trance. When she sees that Zabel is being accosted, her lips curl into a scowl. "Hey! Don't stop the rock, man! What the f*** are you doing?" she shouts at Charlie before making a leap for the side of the stage. The blasting of the speaker towers threaten to fling her right back off, but she manages to sustain the wall of noise long enough to pull herself up onto the set. She lifts her head up just in time to see the violent reprisal from Zabel.

She blinks. Twice.

Then she scowls.

"Leave Zarock alone!"

COMBATSYS: Alexis has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Zabel            0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0          Charlie
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Alexis takes no action.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Zabel            0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0          Charlie
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Zabel successfully hits Charlie with Power Strike.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Zabel            0/-------/-------|===----\-------\0          Charlie
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/-------|

Charlie was fully expecting there to be trouble once he interrupted the concert. He was prepared for that, and in part, that's why he had his men covering the stage, in case things got ugly. What he didn't expect whatsoever is when Zabel throws out his fist. Sure, a punch, he could handle. One with bone spurs erupting from it that slam into his face hard enough to shatter his glasses, had he been wearing them? That wasn't expected at all, and the effect is like brass knuckles times two, causing the soldier to reel back. "AAGHHH!!!"

His men don't move, but they clearly call out in worry as they keep the stage covered. "Sir?!" "Stay at arms!" Charlie shouts, wiping off the blood from his face before glowering toward Zabel. Not aware of Alexis trying to instigate and interrupt, he continues to focus on the demonic rocker. "I'm not about to underestimate you a second time, Zarock," he snaps. "An American city is at stake, and I'll be danmed if I won't help drag it out of this twisted place.

Reeling his arm back, he summons up his energy into his fist, before snapping a right hook through the air. "SONIC BOOM!!" the speed of his charged right hook cuts through the air, an energized pressure wave following the vacuum collapse at near supersonic speed straight toward Zabel.

COMBATSYS: Zabel blocks Charlie's Sonic Boom.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Zabel            0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0          Charlie
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/-------|

Zabel grins as his fist smashes into Charlie's face. An imapct like that is extremely satisfying. Of course, Charlie's far too tough to get taken down by just something like that. Zabel brings his arms up as the pressure wave from Charlie comes flying at him, managing to block the blast, though it's still enough to force him back a short distance. Bringing him closer to Alexis. He spares her a glance, wondering just how she's going to react. He certainly looks different from when she saw him out of 'costume' previously, though the whole zombie look wouldn't be unfamiliar with someone who's been watching his most recent appearances. "Well now, didn't expect to see you here. Now all you've got to do is survive, and I won't be the only one who can say hell couldn't hold them." He flashes her a skeletal grin, then whips back around toward Charlie.

"You think you've got any authority here? You think you can stop my music?" His lower body begins spinning around so fast that it blurs, leaving him looking like a top. One which shoots up into the air, wheels around, and then comes crashing in toward Charlie. "Zabel Zarock won't be stopped!" And any past evidence to the contrary will always be ignored!

There's a moment's hesitation from Alexis when she finally gets close enough to get a good look at Zabel. Her eyebrows quirk as she takes in the more extreme aspects of the undead rocker's appearance. Can stage makeup -do- that? Not to mention those bone spurs from before - but those could have been springloaded into the gloves, right?

"Hey, Zabel - do you need... help, here?" she asks with uncertainty as the battle begins in earnest. The sound of the sonic attack reverberates through her, and she clenches her fists at her sides. Awash in the music of the band and the howling and other noises coming from the audience, she gathers her chi, the sonic force causing her clothing to flutter and her body to emanate a low hum as the energy builds.

It's starting to become clear, between the presence of armed soldiers and the fact that Zabel has just turned himself into a spinning top, that the girl may be getting more than she bargained for here - there's definitely no way that stage makeup can account for /that./

COMBATSYS: Alexis surges with the power of rock!

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Zabel            0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0          Charlie
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/---====|

COMBATSYS: Charlie blocks Zabel's Death Hurricane.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Zabel            0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0          Charlie
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/---====|

Pulling his arm back from the Sonic Boom, Charlie becomes aware of someone else on the stage aside from him, Zabel, and their respective subordinates. Blinking, the Major looks aside and spots a young woman in a...schoolgirl outfit? The hell? Seeing her as the only other human on stage aside from his unit, Charlie quickly tries to wave her off. "Get out of here, it's not safe!" he shouts, just as Zabel comes in with that wild, toothed top trying to buzzsaw into the soldier.

Arms crossed and leg up, he manages to catch the blow on his guard and deflect it away before he gets even more bruised. His face is already a mess from the earlier punch, he can't risk another shot like that. "Nhhh...if you have any connection with Jedah, then you damn well will be stopped!" he shouts, trying to wait for Zabel to stop his mad spin before stepping forward, a shuffle of his legs before thrusting out a powerful side kick straight to those protruding ribs.

COMBATSYS: Charlie successfully hits Zabel with Step Kick.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Zabel            1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0          Charlie
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/---====|

Zabel skids to a halt as he stops spinning, then suddenly flies back as Charlie's foot slams into his torso. Nothing graceful there, limbs askew as he goes sailing away from Charlie, then crashes and bounces off the stage a few times before skidding to a halt. He tilts his head to look in Alexis' direction. "Ugh... Well, if you wanna help out, I'm not gonna object!" Then he leaps up to his feet, turning a glare on Charlie. "If you've got business with Jedah, just go bother that bastard!"

The zombie leaps up into the air, doing a forward flip that easily clears the distance between himself and Charlie, while getting some good height at the same time. He comes down with a falling axe kick, at first on track to slam his heel into the top of Charlie's head. At least until bones spikes erupt from his leg and begin spinning around, turning the end of the limb into a rather nasty looking buzzsaw.

Zabel appears to be in a horrible state after that kick from Charlie. Alexis' eyes sweep across the stage, following the heavy metal zombie's tumble. The frown on her lips deepens. It's hard to tell exactly how much of Zabel's appearance is the work of makeup and how much is the work of the Major's boot. Her eyes turn back to Charlie. Her expression turns into a scowl, as if a decision has been made.

"Come on! Just because he plays metal doesn't mean he -actually- deals with demons, eh? Lay off of him!"

The clomp of her own boots against the stage's surface is drowned out utterly by the pounding of the kick drum as she charges toward Charlie. She's only aiming to throw herself shoulder-first at him mosh-pit style, but the added power of the sonic energy that she's gathered would add a forceful blast to the impact should she collide.

In the girl's head, though, things begin to go a little fuzzy. Perhaps it's the nostalgia of a tune remembered from her youth blasting in her ears that distracts her from the sight of Zabel descending from above...

COMBATSYS: Charlie blocks Alexis' Aggressive Strike.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Zabel            1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0          Charlie
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/---====|

COMBATSYS: Charlie interrupts Skull Sting from Zabel with Somersault Kick EX.
-@- Dazing Hit! -@-

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Zabel            1/-======/=======|=======\-------\0          Charlie
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/---====|

The step kick slams in hard against Zabel, something Charlie can feel good feedback from, but the way he had to turn his body nearly pulls some of his stitches, something that forces him down into a crouch, feeling his side to be sure he hasn't re-aggrivated his wounds. As he kneels, he sees the young woman advansing on him. "Wait!" he shouts to her, pulling his arm and shoulder into the path of her shoulder tackle as she advances. "Use your eyes and....WATCH OUT!"

Just as soon as he blocks her tackle, he tries to push her out of the way just as Zabel comes down with his bone-studded leg, trying to cut into him with the strange bone buzzsaw. Crouched already, he's in a good spot to use one of his most iconic moves, and he doesn't hesitate to respond with it. He's rather had enough of aberrants trying to carve him up like a human turkey, after all.

When the buzzsaw drops, Charlie turns, his body springing up and committing to a forward somersault, his body moving backward into Zabel's path as one leg slices outward. The heavy heel of his special forces-issue boot collides with the leg-saw, knocking it away, before his other tucked in leg follows the first, smashing into Zabel in mid air before the soldier flips rightside-up again. Landing on the ground, he grits his teeth, sure he's popped a stitch this time as an arm cradles his abdomen. "Jedah has things to answer for...but not until I get answers from you first."

Zabel's trajectory abruptly changes thanks to Charlie's foot. Several of the bone blades from the saw snap off, bouncing away, and it sounds like some more bones might have broken when Charlie's other foot impacts with Zabel's chest. He crashes down heavily on the stage, but then immediately sits up. For someone with actual broken ribs, the excruciating pain that would result would likely prevent that kind of fast motion, but it apprently doesn't bother Zabel much. "Yeah? Well, here's your answer!" And those words are accompanied by the zombie rocker flipping Charlie off.

He then starts to lower his hand, but doesn't complete the motion. Instead, a spear of bone suddenly extends from his arm, shooting toward Charlie in an attempt to impale him. It then retracts, and should it have managed to lodge itself in the soldier there's a good chance he'll be dragged along with it. To a waiting Zabel, who has his other arm drawn back, waiting for Charlie to draw close enough, at which points bones extend from his arm and rib cage, forming the side of his body into one massive claw which rakes upwards at Charlie, crackling with electricity. "Fuck off!"

The result of Alexis' charge is the same as commonly occurs in an actual mosh pit scenario - she's pushed back with equal force, sending her tumbling back into a the robed figure currently operating the keyboard. Sprawled on top of the instrument, her backside holding down an extremely dissonant chord somewhere in the bass clef, the Canadian punk rocker's dazed gaze ends up directed at the one-eyed purple thing beating against the drums. One eyebrow quirks upward slowly.

"Guess he decided to pick up some local talent," she decides as she plants a foot on C sharp to E sharp and pushes herself upward.

It's the sound of the words "Fuck off!" being shouted by Zarock that brings Alexis back to the present. Turning her eyes to Charlie and the death metal icon, she sees the spear of bone flying at the blond man.

Alexis is torn. Her first instinct - and perhaps a much stronger instinct than she should have - has been to side with Zabel. Clearly, though, there's more to her hero than she's known before. And while there's nothing more punk rock than fighting The Man - who in this case happens to be Charlie - she's not quite hardcore enough to be comfortable with the idea of Charlie getting impaled.

And so, she decides to split the difference - she'll throw herself into the air, aiming to grab Charlie by the neck with one arm before spinning and bringing him down. The nobility of the act, though, may be somewhat diminished by the fact that her body is still pulsing with musical chi - which will be released in a shockwave, should the takedown impact the stage. It also doesn't help that the most likely impact surface for Charlie would be his head.

And it certainly doesn't help that she might not be in time to intercept Zabel's attack after all.

COMBATSYS: Charlie dodges Alexis' Stage Dive.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Zabel            0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0          Charlie
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/----===|

COMBATSYS: Zabel successfully hits Charlie with Evil Scream.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Zabel            0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1          Charlie
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/----===|

Clenching around his side, Charlie pulls his hand away from his side, a clear small dark spot spreading on his side through his uniform. Looking up to his men, still covering the band and keeping a perimeter, he shares a nod with his second in command before pushing up again from the ground. As she gets up, he sees both Zabel giving him the finger, and Alexis charging in to try and throw herself at him. He furrows his brow, not knowing why she's so intent on throwing herself at him to protect the rocker. But when he sees the bone erupting from Zabel's arm, his eyes go wide. "GET DOWN!"

Even with Alexis's good intentions, Charlie's own forces him to run forward, away from her grasp, to intercept the erupting spear. He had meant to guard the strike and keep the civilian (read: Alexis) out of harms way. But his guard comes up too slowly, his opening wounds slowing him down enough for the spear to pierce into him and pull him forward. A yell of pain escapes him as he meets the massive electric claw that swipes upward, shocking him and slicing him up into the air, both wounds from the claws as well as the bone spear being forcibly ripped out of him. Falling to the ground, he cradles his now torn open chest, coughing with blood spattering his lips.

"SIR!" one of his unit shouts, before Charlie shouts, "MAINTAIN YOUR POSITION!" in return. Forcing himself back up, he glowers to Zabel, slowly crawling himself between the zombie and the 'civilian'. "Fine. We'll do this my way." Standing upright, his arms come back up into a fighting stance, despite the gashes over his body. "This show is over." Reeling his arm back, he summons up energy into his fist again, just like before with his Sonic Boom. However, soon as he sees Zabel try to make a move in response, he charges in instead, a flurry of punches, followed by a roundhouse kick, a back fist, and a finishing spinning back kick pummeling out and trying to test the zombie's defenses. If anything, he's trying to harry him and wear him down even if he keeps up a guard.

COMBATSYS: Zabel fails to counter Crossfire Blitz from Charlie with ES Death Phrase.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Alexis           0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0          Charlie

COMBATSYS: Zabel can no longer fight.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Alexis           0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0          Charlie

Too bad for Zabel that Charlie is sturdy enough to still get back to his feet after something like that. The zombie frowns, then raises his right hand as Charlie starts drawing back his arm. Zabel glances in the direction of the creature on the drums, and unfortunately that's the point at which Charlie unleashes his strike. The punches stagger Zabel, who tries and fails to put together some sort of defense. The roundhouse kick is accompanied by a cracking noise as Zabel does manage to get his arm in the way, but the result is just his arm bending at a point where there shouldn't be a joint.

Zabel's head snaps to the side from the back fist, and then the kick sends him crashing down into a heap. The lights in Zabel's eyes dim, as he starts trying to push himself back up, but only manages to roll over a bit. He puts his weight on his bad arm, which bends alarmingly and sends him back to the floor. Surprisingly, there's no scream of pain to accompany this; he looks more irritated by the injury than in pain. He glances from Charlie, then to Alexis, then back to Charlie. Under normal circumstances, at this point, he would retreat, but Alexis makes things tricky. Not that he's particularly worried about her safety in regards to Charlie, but running away in this kind of condition would just look so uncool.

The robed cultists, meanwhile, have finally stopped playing, and started nervously huddling together, watching Charlie and his forces. They're too valuable for Zabel to just throw away, so he does have some contingency plans in place for times like this...

Things don't look well for the music business at the moment - at least, not from Alexis' point of view. After all, the industry already lost an icon - a cult icon, maybe, but an icon nonetheless - when Zabel Zarock seemingly died in his last concert. If he dies again here - which, judging by the number of things about the rocker that do not look -right- right now, might be on the table - that void in the entertainment industry and somewhere in Alexis' heart would return.

And, perhaps more importantly, Killasaurus Orphanage's support tour plans would pretty much be fucked.

It's for all of these reasons that Alexis now interposes herself between Charlie and the fallen legend. Reaching over her shoulder, she takes hold of the neck of her red electric guitar and unslings it, gripping the instrument like a battleaxe and letting the body of the improvised weapon rest on the stage floor as she glares at the blond Major.

"Alright, blondie! I'm not gonna let you take out Zabel the way they tried to before!" she growls as, even in the absence of playing from Zabel's musicians, a steady hum starts to build up around her. "I'm taking Zabel to my van, and then I'm taking him to a hospital to fix what you did to him!" The noise rises in crescendo as if to match the young woman's ire. "Fuck police brutality!"

COMBATSYS: Alexis surges with the power of rock!

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Alexis           0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0          Charlie

Coming to a stable position after finishing off the Crossfire Blitz, Charlie grits his teeth, putting an arm across his torso again. Even his trademark forelock looks rather lifeless at the moment, considering how much he's aggrivating the stitches from his near disembowelment, and how much help Zabel's been giving in reopening said wounds along with a few new ones. But from the looks of it, he doesn't need to do much more, with Zabel finally down and several of those weird bones broken off across the stage. Advancing on the fallen zombie rocker, the Major glowers. "Now...you answer me. What's your connection with J-"

Unfortunately , now would be the time that Alexis asserts herself, interjecting herself between Charlie and the undead rocker. "Please, miss, out of the way, I have questions for him, whether he likes it or not." He then levels a look to Zabel before turning back to Alexis. "Lieutenant, Sergeant, guard Zarock, make sure he doesn't try and do anything stupid," he orders, not moving his sight away from Alexis. "You don't understand, do you, miss? He's part of this. Part of..." He gestures to the demonic crowd watching from below. "...the same kind of things that pulled Metro City into this mess in the first place." He tries to negotiate with Alex for now, clearly loathe to lay hands on a civilian in any way, at least not one that's a victim of a misunderstanding and wholly misguided hero worship.

If anything, at least it gives him some kind of breather...

COMBATSYS: Charlie gains composure.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Alexis           0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0          Charlie

Zabel twists himself into a sitting position, ignoring the soldiers who start moving over to keep an eye on him. He grabs his broken arm with his good hand, and with a yank and a twist there's a crunching noise as the limb is forced back into the correct shape. He flexes his fingers a few times, glaring at Charlie. "Wasn't a good idea to interrupt me, soldier boy. Looks like I was making some new fans, and I don't think they're happy." The darkstalkers may not have been driven into a frenzy of bloodlust like Jedah wanted, but the crowd that had gathered does seem to be getting restless, and there's some targets right nearby. A few inhuman figures are pushing up against the edge of the stage, and look like they're about to start climbing up.

The zombie holds up his right hand and snaps his fingers. "Le Malta!" Then he gestures toward hiw robed followers. The purple creature blinks once, then suddenly sinks into the floor of the stage. A moment later a massive purple maw erupts from the floor beneath the robed figures, rising up and engulfing them whole before sinking back into the stage and leaving no trace. Takes way too much time to shape a loyal follower to let Charlie and his team take hold of them. He then rises to his feet, ignoring the shouts from the soldiers watching him, and the guns that are instantly pointed in his direction, fingers on triggers. He looks over in Alexis' direction, giving her a grin, even if he does seem to be moving more slowly than before. "Coming all the way here is pretty hardcore. And for me? You're a real fan. I think this party's just about over, though. Want to get out of here?" The question is punctuated by some howls of anger from the crowd, and darkstalkers clambering up the front of the stage.

The scowl remains on Alexis' face as she continues to stare down Charlie, but it softens at the edges as the man speaks. Before too long, her eyes turn to Zabel, brow still furrowed, by now more questioningly than aggressively. Leaning her weight against her guitar, she reaches up to run a hand through her hair and try and collect her thoughts -

And then suddenly the stage explodes. Alexis' eyes go wide as the culists from the band disappear into the abyss, swallowed by the purple monstrosity. Her grip tightens once again around the neck of her guitar, and she pulls the strap over her shoulder once again to free herself to be able to run if need be. She clenches her fists in a low guard, and one more look is turned to Charlie as Zabel makes his invitation. Finally, she looks back to Zabel.

"I... can't go with you," she says slowly and with finality. "I can't leave my band behind. They'd be screwed without - what the?"

A brief flash of headlights hitting her eyes interrupts the girl. Raising a hand to shield them, she looks out across the rising mob of darkstalkers to see the van pulling a U turn before driving off into the darkness to escape the unholy throng.

"Oh, those assholes," she breathes before looking back to Zabel. "Where are we going, exactly?"

COMBATSYS: Alexis takes no action.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Alexis           0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0          Charlie

COMBATSYS: Alexis has left the fight here.

                                  >  ////////////////              ]
                                  |-------\-------\0          Charlie

Charlie tries to maintain this standoff, hoping he can persuade Alexis to stand aside. After all, the fate of a city could hang in the balance on what he learns from Zabel. Unfortunately, a misguided soul seems to be insistant on staying in the way. And before he could try and persaude her further, Zabel tries to pull a fast one. With his followers suddenly disappearing into the stage, Charlie goes into command mode again. "Don't let them get away!" he shouts. "Um...sir..." his lieutenant interrupts, pointing down to the demonic forms starting up the stage.

Cursing under his breath, Charlie redirects most of his unit toward the stage. "Bear them back!" he shouts. "Don't let Zabel squeak out of this," he says to the two trying to cover Zabel still, but with the increasing mass clambering up, it's getting a little hard to remain focused on their target.

Turning back to Zabel and Alexis, he curses again. "Don't listen to him, he's part of the things responsible for pulling Metro City down here, he's an aberrant....Darkstalker!" he shouts, using the 'official' military term before turning to the colloquial. "He's essential to getting to Jedah and making him answer for this all. Don't let him sway you into something you'll regret, miss!"

Zabel glances at Charlie, then back to Alexis. "Probably best not to talk about it here. Wouldn't want these guys causing more trouble, right?" Then he looks back at Charlie, managing to roll his eyes despite them just being pinpricks of light. "Yeah, okay GI Joe. You find Jedah, feel free to give him a good kick for me, but I think I'll decline being your guest. If I'm going to 'disappear', it's gonna be on my own terms." And then Zabel suddenly moves quickly, just barely avoiding getting shot by one of the soldiers trying to keep a bead on him.

The zombie skids to a stop next to Alexis, placing one hand on her shoulder. "You might want to close your eyes." He grins, flips Charlie off again, and then Le Malta's purple maw erupts from the floor beneath Alexis and himself, engulfing them and then sinking back into the stage without leaving any trace of them or itself.

A short while later, back closer to the city, the process happens in reverse. A purple mouth springs out of the ground, opening to reveal Alexis and Zabel before sinking back into the earth. The robed cultists are milling around the area, though they come to some degree of attention once Zabel pops up. He staggers for a moment, then shakes his head. "Ugh, that bastard..." He doesn't actually look that injured, aside from the normal state of his undead form, but he's looking rather worn down.

The last that Charlie and the others on stage see of Alexis before La Malta surges from the depths has the girl wrapping her arms tight around herself, eyes enormous as she becomes aware of the monster beneath her feet. She turns her eyes to Charlie at the last moment, opening her mouth as if about to say something, but then the maw closes and she's gone.

When she's deposited outside the city, still huddling in on herself, her stare remains blank and distant for several seconds. Then, slowly, she allows her arms to drop to her sides, blinks a couple of times, and turns in a circle, taking in the scene. The only people around seem to be the members of the band from before. One of them - she's pretty sure it's the keyboardist from before, but it's hard to tell, what with the matching, identity-concealing dress code - seems to be staring at her. She'd probably scowl under most circumstances, but the entire scene is giving her the chills, causing her to shiver where anything shy of a sharp autumn day would normally fail.

Instead, she turns away, and finally, in the relative peace and quiet, takes a good, long look at Zabel.


There's a brief pause as the girl's brain processes what she's seeing.


Charlie might have won the battle, but he might yet lose the war, as before he can squeeze any information out of Zabel, the same beast that swallowed up his band members takes up the rocker and his misguided fan. "WAIT!" he shouts but unable to stop them, himself halted by his injuries. Falling to a knee as La Malta takes the duo away, he and his unit are left to deal with a throng of angry demonic...people? Whatever word is appropriate, he sees his unit trying to kick a few down from trying to climb onto the stage. "Orders, sir?!" one asks, shouting to Charlie.

"Fall back, the operation is a bust," he shouts, one soldier quickly swooping in to drape one of Charlie's arms around his neck, the others withdrawing, before trying to make an exit back to the same brush that they came in from. Unfortunately, it looks like he's no less closer to getting to Jedah as he was before, and that clearly frustrates Charlie....

COMBATSYS: Charlie has ended the fight here.

Log created on 18:49:31 04/25/2015 by Charlie, and last modified on 19:17:15 04/27/2015.