Ava Adore/Project Ares
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
- Ava Adore
- Brendan Aft
- Shelly Lightfoot
- Flint (spelled with two I's)
- Callista Roase
- Neo Trick Shot
- Alex Naf
The Trap is Set
Weeks had passed, the priority capture noticed had been sent out to all Crey employees almost two months earlier, and not a single attempt had been successful. Annette slammed her fist angrily onto the desk, the aids around her all took several steps away, they knew how volatile her temper could be, only Annette's personal assistant Dumal Kash remained within reaching distance of the angry doctor.
"Its not like I'm asking them to bring me Statesmen himself, she's just a girl, and not even a large one, how hard can it be to extricate her from that wretched city!" Annette's voice, edged with a slight eastern European accent echoed through the surrounding lab reverberating throughout making the aids cringe even more.
Dumal made a frantic motion next to Annette catching her eye for a moment, only Annette was able to communicate with the strange creature who used interpretive dance and a collection of weird statements to make himself understood. Annette tilted her head looking at him in careful thought for a moment, "That's really not a bad idea Dumal, hire one of the Destiny Manifest trash to do the job for us."
Crossing the lab, her temper cooled for the moment at least, "Get the systems ready we shall have Ava and the culmination of Project Ares by the end of the week. I know just the person to ask, Crey has been keeping a careful eye on her since her release from Zigursky."
Turning to the young man in a lab coat near her, he abruptly turned a sickly shade expecting the worse from the ill tempered older woman, "Get me the contact information for Rhiannon Gladstone from Arachnos, I don't care who you have to bribe for it."
Thankful for the reprieve he ran off to get the information for her.
It would take less then 12 hours for a meeting to be set up with Rhiannon Gladstone, who agreed to kidnap Ava in exchange for a favor from Annette. Annette in turn would give her a device that would allow her to neutralize Ava's psionic powers for a short period of time. Information had been covertly leaked to Ava regarding the possibility of information on radiation poisoning cases being locked up in the Crey facilities still located in Woodvale. What she wouldn't know is that Rhiannon would be waiting for her there.
Kidnapped by Crey
Shutting her laptop a bit more abruptly then she'd planned, Ava sighed audibly with frustration running her fingers through her hair. Three weeks now, and nothing useful had come from any of the reading, or research. Stifled by the total lack of any conclusive clinical data on severe radiation poisoning and treating patients who survived the first 20 days.
It was looking more and more like she wasn't going to find an answer, at least not short of cloning, and even that held a very high risk of failure. Her conversation earlier in the evening with Shelly regarding her boyfriend Jake and a possible magical fix for her problem came to mind, but she didn't want to explore the unknown till she had to.
Standing up and glancing to the clock, the 03:00 glaring at her mockingly, she still had a few hours before she needed to be home, otherwise Brendan would notice her gone, the last thing she wanted was him more worried. She debating picking up the lab, and decided her trip to Woodvale wouldn't take that long, no one was up at this hour anyway.
Clicking the lighting for the base lab off she walked through the base, listening to the noises around her, people sleeping, a few others working into the late hours like her. Raising her ID to the teleporter the system beeps at her, maybe a bit to perky for 3 AM, but never the less granting her access to the teleporting system. Founders Falls materialized around her, the sea clapping slowly against the moorings nearby. It was a calm night, the air crisp and cool as it always tended to be at night in New England, it was almost unsettling how quiet it was, but even the bad guys have to sleep sometime.
The hike up to the security entrance for Woodvale was one she knew well, and could perhaps even do blindfolded, a street had once run here, she'd fled Woodvale along that street almost 5 years ago. Since then she'd crossed this area each time she returned to Woodvale, once her home, before the war, before the Rikti assault and before the Devouring took over. Two police force guards stood at the entrance to the hazard zone, one stifling a yawn as he checked her presented ID with only a cursory glance waving her through the gate.
Crey's old facility was thankfully not far from the entrance, she'd gotten over her petrifying fear of the Devouring a few months earlier on a mission with Brendan and Brigit, but she could still feel her insides turn to mush every time she heard something as she walked the ruined streets. A sick feeling forming in the pit of her stomach, as she saw a group of Devouring creatures near her. Picking up her pace she arrived at the old run down facility without any incident. The buildings were non-descript, however the towering Hive spire located in the middle of the grounds loomed over her. Working quickly she managed to get one of the doors open and slipped into the dusty and dark interior.
Closing her eyes a moment at the entrance, Ava reached out around her as far as she could, sensing for other people, other presences or disruptions in the building, and found them to be empty, even of stragglers or homeless people. No one came to Woodvale anymore so it wasn't much of a surprise. The floor creaked under her feet providing the only sound as she walked through the facility searching for the file room.
Shivering slightly she noticed the temperature dropping as she entered a large open room, the ice came next, crackling as the ice formed around her, creeping across the floors and up the wall. Looking around Ava saw a woman standing several feet from her as she walked out from behind a column, she was tall, several inches over Ava's height and she was a frighteningly beautiful visage. Her hair long, and the color of newly formed frost, her skin the same frosty color, her eyes glowed a bit and snowflakes fell around her. Ava took a step back finding a wall behind her and pressing a bit against it, the woman couldn't possibly exist, she couldn't sense her, or feel her presence at all. Even with a telepathic block she should have been able to sense her presence, a ghost maybe?
The woman standing before her was Rhiannon Gladstone, an infamous escapee from the Zigursky. But Ava would have no way of knowing that, she never bothered reading any of the Hero Corps dossiers, she never came across any of the people from the Rogue Isles except in Pocket D where they couldn't do anything.
"Hello, Ava." the woman spoke, watching her, "I've been waiting for you."
Ava eyed the woman cautiously, "Who are you?" Ava's voice managed to not show her building apprehension. "And more specifically how do you know me?"
"Oh I know a lot about you Ava, I know how you were made, " she pauses slightly with a bit of a smile, "I know your mother..."
Easing slightly Ava laughed a bit, "I figured out the birds and the bees a long time ago as a kid, and I think you mean you knew my mother, she's been dead for five years now."
Walking a bit of a wide half circle around Ava, Rhiannon didn't answer her immediately, instead taking a moment to observe her, chuckling lightly to herself, "Or maybe thats what she wanted you to believe? But perhaps I should be blunt, I'm not here for my own sake, I'm here simply to garner a favor, and where I come from favors are worth more then gold. Because we always collected whats due."
Pausing slightly she stopped standing in front of Ava, "You've managed to impress your mother you know, surviving this long, but she's invested a lot into you, and I doubt she wants to see that destroyed so soon due to the carelessness of the Rikti during the war and your radiation poisoning."
Pressing her body closer to the wall behind her, Ava could feel a cold chill go up her spine, the woman was obviously mad, she had after all seen her mother's corpse with her own eyes. But how did she know about the radiation poisoning, she'd only told Brendan and a few others she trusted, maybe someone had overheard. Raising her voice slightly towards the woman, "You're a liar, probably just another one of Crey's hired goons, I've been dealing with them for over a month now, I'll deal with you the same way..."
The woman's laughter filled the room, "Me? A Crey Goon? I enjoy busting their heads for enjoyment on a regular basis, no, after this they are going to owe me," a grin creeping across her face, "and I'm going to enjoy collecting on it."
Before even finishing her statement the air around Ava began to freeze, water vapor crystallizing around her body and holding her. Struggling almost futilely against the thick ice, Ava concentrated pushing at the kinetic energy still left in the frozen water, the ice shattering around her. Standing quickly she focused briefly slinging a burst of psionic energy at the woman. The pain was immediately and intense almost throwing her to her knees, pain ripped through her mind a buzzing sound building. Taking the chance Rhiannon slammed her with more sub zero ice, snowflakes swirling around Ava, a few catching in her hair, the temperature rapidly dropping.
Falling to her knees her hands holding her head, the buzzing becoming louder, Ava's vision begins to blur unable to focus through the pain. Footsteps approached, as Rhiannon walked over to her and stopped, standing only a couple of feet from her, "I plan to bring you back intact, so stay still."
Gritting her teeth, Ava managed to shoot an icy glare at Rhiannon, her voice strained, "Lady you're nuts, there is no way in hell I'm going to stay still..."
Shaking her head, Rhiannon walked a circle around Ava before slamming her again with another icy blast raising her voice a bit, "Now, will you come peacefully or not?"
Wincing in agony at the cold chilling her to the bone, Ava cried out slightly at the pain from the cold and the constant buzzing in her her head, beginning to shiver uncontrollably, "No.... they'll come looking for me, and you'll regret it, when Brendan finds out..."
Another icy bolt slamed into her as Rhiannon cut her off, "Yes, and I wish them luck getting through the walls of the spiders lair in Grandville, because thats where you're going. And when he gets there, I'm sure my patron will be more then happy to give him a welcome to the isles he'll never forget..."
"Now I suggest you submit, because that headache you have now is only going to get worse."
Straining a bit, her voice through gritted chattering teeth, "I'd rather die then go with you."
Rhiannon shook her head tsking Ava a bit, "Don't do that, it makes it messy, you either come with me willingly or encased in a block of ice, but either way you will be coming with me, its a forgone conclusion now."
"Lady you're off your rocker if you think I'd ever willingly go with you anywhere, if you plan to take me it better be in a block of ice. "
Sighing to herself Rhiannon shakes her head again, "Suit yourself. "
The air around Ava slowed as it became colder rapidly dropping below a habitable temperature, water vapor began to freeze instantly against her skin as her body temperature dropped to an unsustainable level Ava fell into a sleep long before her body shut down in hibernation.
Off in the distance the steady sounds of the propaganda video played over the security screening entrance to Grandville, Lord Recluse's voice urging the faithful to spread the word of his glorious future. The fact that this message was emphasized by the Bane Spider Commanders yelling orders to those in line to have their papers ready, only gave it a bittersweet taste of irony. No one would ever say the spider's lair wasn't fortified, it was rare for the so called do-gooders to make it into its confines and even rarer that they would make it out.
Rhiannon watched the doctor approach, the woman was obviously older, but she commanded a bit of an intimidating presence, especially clad in the Crey power tank armor. She was shorter then Rhiannon, hair coal black, her eyes hidden behind a pair of dark sunglasses, the occasional flare of red electricity from her armor gave pause to anyone willing to jump her. Behind her came the strange creature that had been with her during their initial meeting, it didn't speak, merely waiting several paces behind the doctor mostly motionless. There was no questioning the creature was ugly, his skin some sickly shade of aqua green, dressed in ratty brown clothing his head covered in a hood, but still something about him gave even Rhiannon pause, it was obviously he was not what he seemed.
"Ah, so I hope that everything went as planned?" Annette's voice was pleasant, her eastern European accent slightly more pronounced, "And I trust the device worked as promised?"
"Yes, she resisted, so I was forced to encase her in ice, " Rhiannon hesitated a moment before continuing, "I can deliver it whenever you would like, at that point I will release her from the ice."
Annette stopped for a moment turning to look at the strange creature with her holding out her hand, it produced a small black cylinder from a pocket handing it to her with a word. With a click and a slightly hiss the device opens and Annette presses a few buttons before closing it and offering it to Rhiannon, "This is a teleporter beacon, attach it to the ice block and let me know when its ready for transport. This will place it within the lab so we can prepare her immediately." Lowering her glasses slightly she affixes intense gray eyes on Rhiannon, "And I trust Ms. Gladstone that you will let me know when you plan to collect on your favor?"
Reaching out and taking the cylinder a few ice crystals forming instantly over the metal as she touches it, Rhiannon regards the older woman, "You will know when I have decided on my favor. Take good care of your daughter, children are precious." Turning from Annette almost melting into the darkness of coming nightfall, leaving the Crey doctor bewildered at Rhiannon's meaning.
Phasing into reality in a bright flash of blue the ice encased form of Ava appeared within the Crey lab, water already trickling off it steadily as the ice began to melt rapidly. The lab assistants moved around her in a flurry, first removing her Hero Corps teleporter, then beginning the process of attaching a variety of needles, electrodes and other sensors to her body. As she slowly awoke from the enforced hibernation Ava sensed the movement around her, a dull, steady pain continuing in her head. At first she assumed this must be the hospital, someone must have found her and rescued her from the woman who had attacked her.
Blinking to force her eyes to focus, a lab assistant slowly came into view, she could feel the pricks as they attached things all over her body, these weren't hospital assistants, her mind slowly putting it together, the strange woman's comments to her about her mother, about Crey. Sitting up suddenly Ava looked around, seeing the Crey tanks near the entrance, and her mother, only a few feet away in a lab coat and gloves. This was wrong, this couldn't be happening, her own mother couldn't possibly be doing this.
"Mom?" Ava's voice panicked, something primitive in her mind telling her to run, "Whats happening? Where am I? I thought you were dead..."
Annette looked to her daughter with an icy gaze devoid of motherly love, or compassion, "I am simply finishing what I started before you were born, you will be my ultimate work, over 20 years of planning. You will make a fine addition to Requiems plans."
Eyes widening in a panic, Ava felt the berserker take control instinctively as a survival mechanism, Ava didn't even try to fight it. Enraged she lashed out towards Annette leaping off the gurney with little effort landing only a few steps away from Annette. The IV already attached to her arm sent a warm numbing sensation through her veins. Grabbing for her mother futilely she fell to her knees first looking up at her mother, her eyes filled with rage, betrayal and hatred. It felt longer, but it was only mere seconds as the tranquilizer finally finished the job, and she crumpled to the floor like a ragdoll.
Moving the last couple steps to the crumpled form, Annette looked down with some disdain, "Pick her up, and get her into the chamber, we don't want another incident if she wakes up." Turning to look at Dumal with a small nod they both disappear into an adjoining room as the assistants strip the last of the clothing from Ava's form then begin the process of shaving some parts of her head and placing electrodes onto her, some attached with needles. The re-breather mask is added last before her body is placed inside a chamber of glass and metal, as they close the lid the chamber fills quickly with a viscous liquid, covering her entire form until she's floating, breathing only through the re-breather.
Sleep gave way to dreams. Like a steel anchor dropped from a ship in a freezing night storm, Ava's unconscious reached for memories, pulling them up from the depths. Happy memories... to keep the mind grounded. To keep sane. The first thing she heard was Brendan's wings, then saw the fluttering of his black pinions. She was sitting atop his back, his wings stretched and riding the winds. Ava could feel her legs around his waist, arms out in the blowing wind. She felt the gentle brush of the sunlight on her face, from above the clouds. The cold air whipped through her hair and fur, contrasting to the warmth - physical and emotional - beneath her in her memory.
Memories drifted. Sifted. Melting away. Washing aside as a new drug and substance was manifest. The mind seemed adrift for a time. However, something new arose. Something unfamiliar. Grass. A woman in an elegant 12th century gown stood before her, an old style 12th century home in the background. There were birds chirping in the trees. She tried to get a good look at the woman. At first she thought it was Annette, but then it crystalized and for a moment it was Rhiannon's face. "Take good care of your daughter, children are precious." she heard Rhiannon's voice say again, but chemistry washed it away. For a moment she thought she could glance a face... a younger version of Rhiannon's face, young girl in a simple blue dress looking up at Rhiannon... but REM sleep soon faded into higher levels of unconsciousness and all the dreams faded into the drugs.
Awaken the Sleeping
The face that slowly came into view was that of her mother, a face Ava knew well, her head hurt and her body was filled with strange aches. Blinking against the liquid covering her face, Ava tried to focus on her surroundings, finding herself unable to speak, her mouth covered by some sort of device. Eyes widening in the beginning of panic, she tried to sit up, but she felt her mother hold her down, her hand firm but gentle, the panic subsided slightly.
Lab assistants moved quickly to remove the rebreather, wiping her face down with a cloth towel. Ava's eyes flew around the room, a lab, she could hear the hum of the equipment around her her eyes falling last to her mother. Her voice harsh, her throat raw from the rebreather, "Mom! Where am I?"
Annette observed her cautiously, Dumal had mentioned there may be issues with her memory, however it appeared Ava now held absolutely no hostility to her. Taking the chance Annette began concocting her story, her voice full concern and surprise, "Ava? Oh thank goodness it worked! You're in my lab, we've just resuscitated you."
Reaching up to hold her head a moment Ava eyed the tubes and needles attached to her with a horrifying realization, "I... what happened to me? I remember going to lacrosse practice and there was this terrifying noise..." her eyes begin to widen again panic starting to set it. "Mom! What happened to me?"
Annette frowned motioning to an assistant to give her a light dose of sedative to calm her, "Ava its alright, calm down, " Annette set her hands on Ava's shoulders, "Everything is alright now, I'll explain everything in time. You've been in a coma the past five years, you were knocked unconscious at your school during an attack by alien invaders called the Rikti, I barely made it out of Woodvale with you alive after I found you."
Furrowing her brow a bit forcing sadness into her eyes, "Your father wasn't quite so lucky I'm afraid. I've spent the past five years trying to resuscitated you, Crey Industries was kind enough to fund the research in hope its could help others. But I'm afraid the procedure has also changed you. We've had to genetically modify you."
Slumping slightly as the sedative began to force her to relax Ava looked to her mother tears forming in her eyes, "Dad..." she wouldn't flinch or protest as they began removing the tubes and needles, standing as she was directed, a plain shift wrapped around her shivering form.
The assistants worked quickly to removed the reactive fluid from her, her wounds from the needles healed rapidly. Numbly Ava was brought to a room with a bed, the walls plain the bed stiff and unyielding under her weight. As Annette entered the room she stopped for a moment in the doorway before setting down on the bed next to her. "Much has changed Ava, Paragon has become corrupt, working with alien forces not dissimilar from those that attacked us 5 years ago. We'll work together though, with an associate, we'll make the world right again for people to live in, we'll avenge your father."
Annette's words began to fade a bit as sleep slowly caught up to Ava, nodding in agreement, "Yes mom..."
Annette left the room as Ava fell into sleep, her dreams troubled with memories, fragmented and broken, of people she didn't know. But mostly of one person, a man with dark wings, Brendan, the name seemed natural, right somehow.
It was those dreams that brought her comfort against the unknown, and she had no idea why. The dreams would continue for weeks, some often the same, others would be different. Her mother continually insisted it was probably something she created while comatose, a coping mechanism of the mind. Ava wasn't so sure, but why would her mother have any reason to lie?
But yet how could she feel such strong emotions for someone who wasn't real?
- TBA "scene with Rhiannon in Cap au Diable" -
Aid in the Strangest Places
- TBA "Scene with Callista & Brendan" -
Task Force Drake & Manticore
To be added, in game task force to request Manticore's aid.
The Detective's Discovery
It had become a regular routine for Alex, checking the Crey systems looking for any proof of illegal activity, he'd found things before, but tonight he would find the mother load when it came to information. The aid was probably half asleep when entering the data that obviously went into the wrong system. The first file referenced a woman named Ava Mannheim and her apparent extrication from Paragon City to the rogue isles for a project named Ares.
A few hours later, Alex had the report, musing over what to do, the paperwork involved in an official file with the PPD would be tremendous, and by the time anyone did anything Crey would know he had been in the system and have moved her. Alex did know people who could get the job done, quickly, the Freedom Phlanax. His conversation with Manticore was brief, yes he knew someone looking for a girl named Ava, matching the description of the girl in the reports surveillance files. Manticore directed Alex to a woman, Callista Roase, a member of P.O.W.E.R., a well know super group in the city, she'd been inquiring with Manticore a week earlier regarding any information he had regarding Crey and the woman.
He left her a message, and she agreed to meet him without asking the purpose of his visit, the P.O.W.E.R. base hummed with life as he entered using the supplied coordinates, grabbing a seat in the modest waiting area Alex flipped open an older copy of Cosmo. The woman that would approach him after a few moments was tall, and attractive in a way not currently in style but that men never stopped appreciating.
Callista approached Alex, her voice no nonsense and blunt, "I apologize for keeping you waiting, " her voice trailed off as she regarded the Cosmo in his hand with a bit of a smirk.
Without much notice Alex set the magazine down, "Quite alright, learning a bit more about women. " He stood up from the chair, "Anything to keep my fiancee happy."
Nodding a bit at the comment, Callista didn't comment on his statement, instead staying on the topic of business, "Your message mentioned you have information for me?"
"Yes, " he stated flatly as he pulled a cd from his vest pocket holding it out to Callista, "That should explain everything, I would advice not showing it to anyone you won't be taking with you to save the young lady in question." His voice drops a bit as she regarded the cd for a moment, "And for the record, I wasn't here, you didn't receive that from me, and I have absolutely no idea what it is."
Shaking her head knowingly, "No worries in that regard, this conversation doesn't go past us and the walls."
"You have 2 days, 3 at most before they'll know I was in their systems, my advice to you is to take this information and get a move on immediately. Once they know its been seen they will move her from the location."
"Thank you Detective, there are quite a few people very worried about her, so this is greatly appreciated."
"Its my job to help, no thanks necessary, that fact alone kept me going till I had someone to love," he paused a moment, "And I'm not doing this as a detective, so please call me Alex."
"Thank you then Alex, let me know if you need anything in the future that I can help you with, " her eyes narrowed slightly, "We'll get her back in one piece, or Crey will be making headlines and it won't be for record breaking profits."
"You don't owe me anything, just hurt Crey and we'll be even, now if you'll excuse me I have business to attend to, " turning and heading for the exit without looking back, Callista regarded him cooly knowing she would be seeing him again, something about the man seeming familiar.
The Faithful Encounter in the D
The familiar Thrum Thrum Thrum of the D reverberated in his bones as Brendan Aft followed up on the private note that had been left on his phone. He wasn't sure what this was about, but it seemed to have something to do with Ava. The ebony winged Seraphim spotted a woman in a blue suit with bits of frost and snow seeming to exude from her body randomly in places. He didn't immediately recognized her, but after pondering for a few moments he recognized her as Rhiannon, an aquaintence of Mindre.
Brendan shudder a bit inwardly at the thought of the diminutive T'Sharii huntress his wings twitched a bit unconsciously in response. Mindre, sat contentedly nearby sharpening... something. Again Brendan found himself involuntarily shivering, he forced himself to look away from Mindre to the other person present at this gathering.
Intimidating was the first thing that came to mind, she was much shorter then the tall fae woman next to her, but her stature did nothing to diminish the power of her presence and her stony gaze. Something about her was familiar, something he couldn't quite place. He eyed her curiously, and the look she gave him back, stern her gray eyes flashing with something for a moment a small, sinister smile curling her lips.
Brendan stood straighter suddenly, something in that look and that knowing smile, it was different but so similar to...
"Ahhh Brendan." Rhiannon broke through his train of thought startling him a moment, she smiled in her usual self-satisfied way. "I'm glad you could make it. Now that we're all here..."
"I do not have time for this," with a commanding voice the unfamiliar woman snapped at Rhiannon leveling her intense eyes on the fae, "State your payment, my time is precious and there are many things I need to attend to. So if you would please spare me the pointless dramatics."
The old, tall, blue fae woman seemed to completely ignore the other's need for haste. "When your my age, you'll find it wise to take the time to listen. I have a condition, and then I will name my price."
A slight twitch of her eyebrow was the only sign of her calm cool being disrupted her voice was as commanding as before, "And what pray tell is your condition? I would like to remind you Ms. Gladstone that our agreement did not specify I had to give you any conditions or amendments to your single favor."
It was Rhiannon's turn now to stare back at the woman a moment her lip curled slightly at the woman's pretension. A few tense moments passed before she spoke again, "As you wish Doctor, my condition is that you tell Ava the truth, or I tell Brendan everything."
Brendan's eyes were immediately wide as saucers. Rhiannon knew something! 'The hell... why hadn't she said anything? No wait, she'd called him here... maybe to tell him... wait... tell me what?' he was thinking. Before he could react however the other woman cut him off.
"Go right ahead." the strange woman shrugged in a gallic fashion, "It really won't matter whether he knows or not."
"Very well," Rhiannon nodded coldly her eyes daggers, turning to Brendan. "Brendan Aft, meet Dr. Annette Mannheim."
Brendan stared at the strange woman. "Mannheim...so you are Ava's mother... and you're dead..." he stated, knowing it to be a fact, though the fact she was there obviously denied it.
Rhiannon continued, unwilling to stop and explain the obvious to him. "You were aware of Ava's terminal condition, no?"
"No... what condition?" Brendan's mood was fast approaching dumbfounded. What the hell was this fae on about?
"Severe radiation poisoning from the war. I went looking for a cure. Ava's mother offered one, so I agree to bring Ava to her. She got a new body, fully cured. But now she's blocked Ava's memories from the point when the Rikti war began, and so Ava doesn't remember any of us. I met her earlier today in Cap Au Diable."
"You've seen Ava?!" Brendan blurted.
"She's fully human, though genetically enhanced and super strong." Rhiannon continued to explain.
"Gladstone, name your favor, so I can leave, please." Dr. Mannheim insisted.
Rhiannon Gladstone turned back to her. "As you wish. My favor, which you owe me, is to release Ava, and let her go free."
"Request denied, I'm not giving up my life's work!" Dr. Mannheim snapped.
"So you are going back on your end of the deal?" Rhiannon's eyes narrowed to thin dangerous slits, taking the short human woman's visage in. "Think well before you defy me."
"You don't scare me. I've researched the fae and the Unseelie Ms. Gladstone. The threat of endless torture for deal breakers does not worry me in the least bit. You can ask anything else, but I'm not giving you that."
Rhiannon held her icy fist before Dr. Mannheim's face. "You are now mine. Body, mind, and soul."
Annette snorted back at her. "Good luck collecting on that here in the D. Did you seriously think I would meet you alone in a place where you would be able to attack me?"
"Let Ava go free. Your final warning before the whole of the Unseelie Court and the X-patriots are turned loose to hunt you down like a dog until I have your soul in my hand."
"Brendan, I hope you know that this woman is the one who took Ava in the first place. And trust me when I say she wasn't the least bit kind in her efforts." Doctor Mannheim began to walk away, stopping a moment to regard Brendan, "I just wish I could understand why Ava continues to persist in having known you. But its really no matter in time she'll forget." Doctor Mannhiem disappeared through the archway to exit the club.
"So be it." Rhiannon scowled after her form. "It is to be war between us."
As the fae woman began to stomp out, Brendan tried to hold her back. "Wait why did you take Ava away from me?!"
Rhiannon glowered menacingly back at him. "Because it was the only way to cure her."
"WHY should I trust you after what you did to Ava?" Brendan snapped at her.
"Because if I didn't, your love would have died within the month." the angry fae twirled, Mindre in tow, to seek her prey.
Shelly Lightfoot was a diminutive Japanese woman who had been a part of the task force to fight Crey and try to find Ava. She had found the list of Crey facilities in the Rogue Isles in the database, which had been given to Brendan. She was short, black hair done up in Japanese braids, and wore a blue leather bomber jacket, dressed like a pilot from the 1930s only with a reverse-draw sword sheath strapped to her back with the handle of a Katana and a Naginata sticking out.
"So you said the other day you knew who this Rhiannon Gladstone woman was, right?" Callista inquired, her eyes slowly radiating phoenix fire, as intense as her no-nonsense attitude.
Shelly nodded, seated at the table where Callista Roase was questioning her. "Yes the name is familiar to me."
"Tell me what you know of her?"
"Only that she was a very evil and wicked woman, who did some horrible things to a friend of mine."
"Her name is Lanara Corrigan, she's with the ASPCA supers."
"Can we talk to her?"
Lanara Corrigan, it turned out, was a rather odd but tall white feline with blue tiger stripes and blue wings. A rather low-powered blaster, she spent most of her time going to school at Paragon University. 21 years old, and she was going to university for a degree in Nuclear Physics. Callista wasn't sure which scared her more, Rhiannon Gladstone or a feline studying material so far above her age group.
"What can you tell me about Rhiannon Gladstone?"
"Criminal. In 2001 she kidnapped me from the streets in New York City where I was living. She locked me in cages like an animal and did experiments on me with genetics and magic, turning me into this... freak!"
"How old were you?"
"Fifteen at the time. For five years I was her private guinea pig, locked in her underground lab, until one day I managed to use a magic talisman that enabled me to escape and call the police."
"Then what happened?" Callista asked.
"Police raided her base, arrested everyone, I testified against her in court, she went to Zigursky on multiple life sentences. Arachnos busted her out this past march."
Callista nodded slowly. "Any idea why Rhiannon Gladstone would have done this?"
"No, but I know someone that understands how she thinks."
"She has a daughter, who is a good person. A hero named Yolanda Gladstone. Here in the city."
It didn't take long to bring her into the P.O.W.E.R. base for questioning. She was all too happy to help. The fae woman was a lot older than she looked, but obviously younger than Rhiannon. She wore a suit of power armor and sunglasses to hide her eyes, but she was obviously the spitting image of her mother, Rhiannon Gladstone.
"So tell me, Yolanda, given all that we've told you of what's happened, can you help us understand why your mother did this?" Callista questioned her.
Yolanda sighed. "My mum and I have never gotten along." she said in her sort of posh-British accent. "She's insane and evil and I try to be the voice of reason. But I think, through hit all, we love each other in that kind of... platonic family way... Sunday afternoon tea kind of way."
"I don't follow."
"Well I know my mother has felt guilty about how she just failed - completely - to get along with me. To be there for me. Like a mother should. This... Ava, you said, is Dr. Mannheim's daughter. Mums are both totally evil, daughters are both good folks. I bet she looked at Ava and saw me. She wanted to help cure Ava of this sickness you mentioned. The only way to get Dr. Mannheim to cure her was to let the evil doctor do her plans, so she agreed to steal Ava away, let the Doctor fix her, and all the while - in completely fae fashion - reserving a special favor for her services. Once Ava was cured, she would call her favor and demand Ava's release. Then she brings Ava home and is lauded as a hero."
"I see. And now that it's not going according to her plan?"
"Then I feel sorry for Dr. Mannheim. My mum was second to Maab in the Seelie War. She'll call up the all the Unseelie fae and her human Villains Group, the X-patriots, to hunt her down. My mum is evil to the core and will settle for nothing less that the doctor's soul trapped in a stone and my mother's property for the rest of eternity."