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[Plot Thread 1.3] Trust & Other Issues [Complete]


Malachite
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Spoiler

Trigger Warning: Graphic violence.

 

8:48 PM MST, Thursday September 19th, 2019


Eva
Eva held onto her companion's arm in just the way that she was supposed to, but a tremor of nervousness was still travelling up and down her spine. Rick Felman was by far the richest client she'd had so far - or at least the one that had spent the most money on her. They'd spent a week coming to terms over the evening - he'd wanted her to come with him to Mexico for an evening of socializing and networking and she was nervous about travelling out of the country with a man she'd only barely met, even for work. Especially for work. His money was good, his business checked out and he didn't have any arrests or even tabloid articles about anger issues or the other red flags she checked for when taking on a new client. 

So, here she was, just on the other side of the US-Mexican border in a small town called Sasabe. It seemed an odd place for an international business meeting, but once she saw the decked out private club, she understood. This was, most of all, a private and unassuming place for the meeting, where everyone there had been shipped in from somewhere just for the event and no one would think to look for such a meeting. Well, hopefully it's just business and not the start of a rich group serial killing spree or something. 

Despite her mental misgivings, she had to admit that the place was beautiful. The small complex of buildings looked like a converted missionary from the outside, but the insides were modern chic and sumptuous. The attendees didn't disappoint as well: they were young, beautiful, and clearly rich. She didn't recognize anyone specifically, but these weren't the circles she'd run in for years now. 

Rick smiled down at her, his mop of shaggy blond hair framing his face attractively. "Nervous?" Thunder rolled outside as if to punctuate his question.

She opened her mouth to give a coy and clever response, but the ceiling exploded upwards instead. Plaster, glass, and wiring rained down on the two dozen in the room as lightning flashed erratically in the sky above. Eva let out a startled yelp; Rick was already pulling her to one of the tables and pushing her underneath. When she looked around she could see that everyone else was likewise taking cover, with a quickness of response and not at all the screaming one would expect from such a crowd. The assortment of small arms suddenly appearing was honestly a little more disconcerting than the explosion. 

"Stay here," Rick said in a firm command. "What is going on out there?" The question was snapped out, but not at her. She could see from his expression and moment of stillness that he was listening to someone. 

"LIARS!"

The shout came from a ways above her. Eva snuck out from the table just in time to see someone - a man in a tattered suit, one shoe kicked off - floating nearly fifty feet off the ground. His face was flushed with orange-white glowing veins and his hair had transformed into living flame that licked furiously at his head. "ALL OF YOU! LIARS AND DECEIVERS! YOU MUST BE PURGED FROM THE WORLD TO MAKE IT PURE!"

One of the women two tables down leaned out and called to flying man, "Grant! Stop-" Her she clawed at her throat as her words cut off, turning red and then blue. Her body slumped to the ground; a blast of something pushed her away from the table and into the far wall with a sickening crack. Gunfire rang out. Rick had disappeared.

For several long, loud moments, Eva froze. She came to to the feel of metal pressed into her hands and a strong, warm hand on her shoulder. The metal was a high-powered sniper rifle and the hand was Rick's. "I need you to get around behind him," Rick was saying in a voice way too business-like for the insanity surrounding them. "He's knocking off the bullets in front of him but maybe you can kill him if he doesn't see it coming. I know you can make the shot, Eva."

All of the sudden, "Rick Felman" was transparent to her. That wasn't his name. He wasn't a business man. He was trained. Someone you didn't want to meet in a dark alley and someone that knew all the right things to get you to do whatever he wanted. Everyone in the room showed that same training, that same response instead of retreat to this moment of utter chaos. "Rick" was using all that training at the moment to keep his mind on the insane emergency on hand and not have his hands all over her. He was also quite clearly terrified. 

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Deep crimson lips parted in a long, shuddering exhalation as Eva felt the warmth of a hand on her shoulder and cold steel in her hand. It was like a sepia-toned photo suddenly bloomed into blazing colour. Contrasts were sharper, colours more varied and saturated to her eyes. The rumble of thunder, the crack of lightning, the panicked screams all held a richer depth of sound to her ears. The acrid bite of propellant hung about Rick like cologne while powdered plaster, burnt wiring, and the tang of ozone hung heavy in the air to her nose.

 

Even the people seemed more... more alive to Eva. Their emotions, the nuances were more clear to her. She hadn't been the best judge of character in her youth, but she had learned better with age and experience. But now, their fault-lines leapt out at her, the pressures points she could press, this way and that, to make them react that way and this, seemed so obvious. Her eyes went from Rick to the man with flame for hair she could feel from here and the bulbous, glowing veins pulsing on his face. She could even see his fault-lines, the rage and contempt and bitterness that had overwhelmed him, but they had so infused him that she didn't think he would react as most others would, even to one such as her.

 

She felt far more alive than she ever had as well. More limber and vigorous than she ever was as head of class of the School of American Ballet. The fear was there as she looked up at the wild berserker hanging in the air, but it was tied to a thrilling sensation stronger even than the first time she had cheated on her ex-husband... or the first time she had shot a man. And she felt the fury as the fucker in the air snuffed the life out of the woman, stole what was inalienably hers as though it was nothing.

 

"You're presuming a bit much," Eva replied to the man who name really wasn't Rick with a coy arch of her brow.

 

Her slight, teasing grin deepened as she stood up and found herself nearly eye-to-eye with him with her wedge heels on and saw his desire spike at the sound of her sultry, compelling voice. Despite her mild protestation, her hands handled the rifle with a sensual deftness that conveyed a sense of familiarity. She preferred pistols - and regretted she hadn't been able to bring one with her, having crossed borders, and it was deeply unfair 'Rick' and his fellows had - but she'd fired rifles as the range before. With a new surety of grace and self-control, Eva knew she was a better shot than she had been.

 

"We'll have to discuss what you think you know, and what you do know, shortly, hun," she teased, a finger caressing the line of his jaw, coaxing a groan of sheer want through his gritted teeth and iron discipline. Eva smirked at the tenting in his pants despite the chaos about them, then hefted the rifle and kicked off her shoes with a practised motion. She nodded up at the man above them, a lock of glistening ebony hair falling free to frame her face. "But first, let's see if I can help you with your boor of a friend up there. Definitely one you shouldn't have invited to the party. Maybe I'll be lucky. Don't try not to be shot, I'll be terribly disappointed."

 

She glanced about the lobby, noticed a door to emergency stairs in an alcove by the elevators that were mostly out of sight of the asshole with super powers and headed off. Despite the situation he was in, 'Rick' couldn't help watch Eva go, long legs displayed in a dress that revealed than it had, as she moved with intoxicatingly smooth dancer's grace and a damning sensuality.

 

Eva slipped out the door onto the open hallway of the fourth floor that looked out onto the atrium, the reports of gunshots ringing louder. Despite racing up the stairs, she wasn't even winded. Staying as far from the balustrade as possible, she strode around the curving hallway to circle behind the man who still hung a little above her.

 

Fucker's veins pulsed orange-white, the air before him seemed to turn almost visible, thick, like heat haze that the bullets sunk into, stopped, then fell to the ground fifty feet below like metallic raindrops. The heat haze hardened somehow and flashed below Eva's line of sight. She could hear more screams.

 

Eva got behind him, stayed well back from the balustrade to give herself what cover she could from flickering shadows and support columns, then lined up her shot, caressing the heavy rifle like another sort of lover. Her breath, steady and slow, she waited with a cold, vengeful patience. It had to be a shot that incapacitated or killed him instantly, if he had time to turn on her, she probably wouldn't survive the retaliation. The danger was arousing and terrifying.

 

When the next barrage of gunfire assaulted the man in the air ineffectually, Eva squeezed the trigger.

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She'd enjoyed her shooting practice, when she'd picked up her other habit. She'd been good at it and it was just satisfying. This time, though, she could feel the wind and her minute muscle adjustments to compensate. Her mind seemed to just feel where the arc of the bullet would go. The report of rifle caught the attention of the flying rage monster. He looked over at the stairwell, his eyes widening as he caught site of Eva just before the bullet struck him perfectly center of the forehead. He fell to the ground from forty feet above with a sickening crunch and in a spray of blood and brain matter. 

 

There was no shocked silence or break of activity in the ruined room below. Several people covered the body, guns drawn on both center mass and what was left of the man's head. Everyone else was finding a downed coworker to check, bandage, or in some cases hope to resuscitate. 'Rick' called out, "Eva! Are you okay?" 

 

Eva shuddered in release and satisfaction, her deft tongue running along her bared teeth.  It wasn't quite as good as sex, but there was something ineffably tantalizing about doing something wrong for the right reasons. There was now one less man - an impossibly destructive one at that - out there to take out his frustrations and inadequacies on the women about him. Eva didn't hate men, she loved them - or at least greatly enjoyed their company - but she did rail against how so many just naturally assumed dominance or control over the women in their lives.

 

Eva stood up and gave her dress - shorter, snugger, and more form fitting than it had been - a practiced tug, dust and plaster dancing free to leave it almost pristine again. She was about to step to the railing to answer her client, though it seemed client wasn't the right word, at that, when she caught her reflection in the cracked pane of a decorative mirror. She stopped and stared in awe at the sight. At the sight of herself.

What looked back at her was an idealized dream of the woman she was. Young, near as when as she'd gotten married, but not innocent, no, not that, experience adding intrigue and glamour to her flawless, perfect countenance. Her eyes were a lambent, almost neon magenta - she had contacts that were a pale imitation of those eyes. She ran a tongue along her dark red lips and didn't taste lipstick. A heartbreaking smile flashed teeth whiter than pearls, bicuspids slightly longer and sharper lending the smile something... predatory. Her hair feel in striking waves of shimmering ebony that certainly didn't require dye.

 

A pair of fingers traced the line of her jaw, feeling the finest skin Eva had ever felt. She stared at herself in awe, having never imagined such raw beauty and appeal in a person, let alone that person being herself..

 

"Eva?!" Rick called out once again, more sharply this time, and Eva pulled herself away from her narcissistic-like appraisal with a start.

Rifle by her side, Eva strutted to the railing and looked down. Her eyes went to her target first, brows lowering, lips curving up in a poignant smirk. She didn't feel horror or regret at the sight, though she knew she probably should have. The de-brained ass had threatened her, killed another woman with negligent ease. Well, he wouldn't threaten anyone ever again, least of all her, now that she had an entirely new life, new existence, to experience.

 

"I'm fine, Rick," she purred back, adding a teasing bite to the name he had claimed, as wind swirling through the opened roof lifted her hair into a sable corona for a moment. "Better than fine." One hand on the railing, her gaze slid over the others about her client, and they covered the downed rage-beast and others went to support each other. She arched a brow at 'Rick'. Wealthy dilettantes and the upper crust did not react like this in a crisis. She knew it, he knew it. "I'll be right down. We have to talk. Be a dear and find my shoes, would you?"

 

Eva flashed him a smile that could raise the newly dead, then headed back for the stairs, humming spritely to herself.

 

He was standing at the door leading out of the main room towards the stairs when she came out of the stairwell, staring down at her shoes in his hand with a look that said 'why did I do that'. He swallowed hard when she actually came into view, his eyes roaming over her body. "Uh," was all he got out while she was walking to him. 

 

She pulled her shoes out of his hands, bending to put them on. When she straightened again, there were nearly a dozen eyes on her from the room, and most of the bodies attached to those eyes were already moving towards the doorway. 'Rick' seemed to sense the impending crunch and called out, "Pete, over here now!" 

 

One of the men with a gun on the corpse called out, "I'm busy."

 

"You're gay and that makes you the most important person in the room right now. Get your ass over here!" His voice cracked out with the presence of authority and the man in the room clicked his safety on and turned, blinking as he caught site of Eva. "Jesus Christ, she's....what the hell happened to her?"

 

Pete pushed his way through the group, covering the eyes of several people so he could push them out of line-of-sight of Eva. Rick managed to hold himself in place, acting as a barrier until the gay man could get to him. The two switched places and Rick pulled out a cellphone, hands shaking, started a phone call. Pete gave Eva another once-over. “Seems like you got an upgrade instead of going nuts. Good on you. You’re gonna need bodyguards after this. Hey, ‘Rick’, what can I tell her?” 

 

“That we’re headed back to the States. Everyone else, load up! Pete, you and her are with me in the sedan. You sit in the back with her.”

 

Pete grinned at Eva. “Darlin’, if I ever wondered if I was bi, you’ve answered that. Now, let’s get you in the car. ‘Rick’ over there will get word on what we can and can’t say on the way, and maybe even tell us where we’re going.”

 

Spoiler

Well done! Gain 1 XP and either Covert or one dot of Call for Backup. 

 

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