Three Two One ...

Summary:
October 1, 2014: No good deed goes unpunished. Cameron learns this the hard way, with Big Barda's help.

Warehouse and immediate area in Queensland Park

Originally, this land was set aside by King George III for his consort Queen
Charlotte, though after the Revolution those who wanted to live like 'Kings'
quickly set up their farms and became the shining welcome to newcomers to
Metropolis.

This area is home to the bulk of the immigrant population and while in other
areas, like New York and Gotham, would say that members of these diverse
ethnic cultures cannot live in close proximity, the residents of Queensland
Park prove it untrue.

Welcome to the melting pot of humanity.


Characters

NPCs

  • <Name of NPC or "None">

Various servants of Darkseid


Mood Music:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6jCJZEFIto


Yesterday was a weird day. Cameron Tenoaks apparently picked up a boyfriend somehow when she wasn't paying attention and somehow Mom seems to think it's the most amazing thing since sliced bread. When the statuesque woman is troubled and needs to get away from the stress of having to deal with her crazy fame and looks she goes on effective 'walkabout'. She looks for folks who need healing, folks who have been hurt. It lets her stay grounded and it helps the community.

Today is a weird day. On such a 'walkabout' she's found a most disturbing *trail* of half-broken men and women, some seriously injured, some near-death. Taking them in turn, she's able to heal them all, but it leaves a very important and unanswered question…

Where are all these people COMING from? What could be doing this to them?

***

A crackle of energy and a short scream over in the vicinity of a warehouse - during the day, the place is pretty much dead anyway except for a couple pencil pushers who are probably dutifully pretending nothing is happening - seems to maybe potentially provide an answer to that question.

Of course, the guy in colorful garb with maybe one tooth left in his mouth and his arm at a weird angle landing with a *THUD* in front of Cameron from that direction reinforce it.

As she gets closer, the sounds of fighting become more noticeable, more pronounced. There are a still a LOT of combatants, though the number of those conscious seems to be dwindling pretty rapidly.

"YOU CALL THAT A PUNCH? LET BIG BARDA GIVE YOU A LESSON IN PUNCHING!"

***

Cameron was NOT expecting a person to land in front of her, and definitely not someone that's been pounded furiously. She places both hands on the guy almost instinctively, drawing upon the birthright from her father to bring the person back to at least a more survivable status. She closes her eyes briefly as she almost wills the body to re-knit itself, and hey, at least the arm got healed. The teeth… yeah, that's going to require some reconstructive dentistry. She's a paramedic and a healer, not an oral surgeon!

Leaving the guy still somewhat dazed but alive barring him doing something stupid, the orange-haired woman strides towards the warehouse.

"Hey! Cut it out."

For all of her looks and size, she should have a much louder, prouder voice than that. It's almost like a mouse chittering!

***

The sight that greets Cameron as she rounds the open area within the warehouse property but still outdoors is… colorful at best. There seem to be a few different uniforms in various garish secondary color combinations, but they're all focused on only a *single* person.

Seven and a half feet of primary-color-armor-wearing fury, whirling and wheeling and kicking and punching and YELLING and … It almost looks like she's having FUN?

A dog-pile looks for a split second to get the better of her, but then people just fly outwards in various locations — against walls, crates, one girl goes right into the back of a truck.

Did someone say something? Barda actually *looks around*, sparing attention to try and see whoever it was spoke up while still fending off attackers.

***

Cameron can't place the color scheme to save her life. All that matters is that there's a woman that makes *her* short making very quick work of this mob of people and… having fun doing it. The fire-haired woman takes off her department windbreaker, revealing a black tank top.

"HEY! STOP IT!"

The shorter of the two, she cracks her neck and assumes a largely defensive stance. Her technique is all wrong. She's giving away four different attacks she's planning, and she lacks complete confidence in her capability to inflict pain. If anything, it's as if she's trying to hold herself back.

Still, she DID call out Barda, and she is standing there, ready to tussle with, clearly she's the main event, right?

***

The fighting actually… stops? Mostly because the people from Apokolips that are getting their butts kicked six ways to Sunday and still conscious to worry about it are confused. The mooks have their orders, Barda has her freedom to defend, and the whole lot of them have Survival on the brain thanks to untold decades (possibly centuries) of conditioning…
BOOTING a small clot of people out of her way to clear a path either for or towards Cameron, Big Barda stands poised - Mega-Rod gleaming in her hand and not even sweating. She sizes up the young woman… and throws back her head and *LAUGHS*

"Children? The Elite of Apokolips are sending untrained doggerel and CHILDREN to bring BIG BARDA to heel? I'm INSULTED!"

Fixing Cameron in an intense staredown, Barda -grins.- "You want to 'Die for Darkseid', pup? I'll send you back to your master and you'll wish you had!"

***

Cameron catches two of the booted people and sets them to the ground. They aren't SERIOUSLY hurt, so unfortunately her healing would do next to nothing for them. They are still unconscious, though, and she makes sure that they don't have any immediate medical needs before casually resting them against a wall of the warehouse. The others get a momentary glance, as if she's weighing trying to make a grab for any of them, then shakes her head.

The bigger threat is this woman. This 'Big Barda'. Well, she does live up to the physical description.

"The elite of WHO? Ma'am, I'm Columbia. I live and work in this city. You're hurting folks that live in it. So cut it out, okay?"

The paramedic shakes her head and then… kind of withers a bit under the stare… then stands up straight… then withers a bit. Very undecided. Most definitely someone's child or the like.

"WHO??"

It's not the accusatory 'who' but the clearly perplexed 'who' that is coming from her lips, even as she cracks her neck and assumes her pathetic stance once more. Mom's been harping on her that she needs to be training more…

***

Oh, Barda knows her level of infamy on her home planet. She also knows who she's fighting - at least as far as the people in uniforms go.

"Columbia?" Barda asks, fire gone - this is no longer someone she has any interest in fighting. "You don't know what you're talking about. None of these ZEROES are from your planet, let alone this City!"

Barda even points the butt-end of the Mega-Rod idly at some of them, "Fight on their side and they'll stab you in the back. Fight against them and they'll kill you or die trying and love every second of it."

The other combatants seem to be rallying quickly - and there's a growing crowd of aaaalll the ones Cameron healed on her way -to- this place, carrying weapons and snarling and looking generally unpleasant.

"Go home to your mother, little girl, I'm BUSY." Which is the crowd's cue to leap at Barda afresh, naturally. "ALL RIGHT YOU DOGS, BACK TO YOUR NAP-TIME!"

Cameron has her own group to worry about now - Barda was right, the Dogs of Darkseid are completely thankless bastards, and Cameron is between them and their Assignment/Prize.

***

The object lesson is very useful to the new heroine, and she resists the urge to question further as the combat resumes.

"Well… hell."

The woman cracks her neck and shakes her head at the incoming mob. "Surrender!"

The response from the ungrateful mob she healed is to get a pipe to the face. That proceeds to bounce off. A few more lay into her with fists flying and feet spinning… and they bounce.

And then the dig on her and her Mom sinks in a bit and… she grimaces, that turning into a bit of a snarl. Perhaps the girl has some spirit after all?

A body goes flying from 'her' pile into Barda's, bouncing into the mix.

Something rather unprintable is uttered as she launches into a series of clumsy, ill-trained, and poorly-timed attacks… but for the moment she seems to be handling herself.

***

As Barda deals with her crowd, she is about to shout and warn Cameron to *run* or something equally smart but non-heroic… except she sees the pipe bounce off her face.

"Huh."

Keeping half an eye on her ersatz sidekick and the other half on the Task At Hand, Barda leaps over the pile-up caused by the crossing-of-the-mook-streams. "Watch it! Keep that elbow crooked on your follow-through!" Grump! "-Kids!-"

***

Huh. Sounds sort of like Mom during training. Can't be her, though. Mom's blonde and wouldn't talk weird like this.

Still, combat is always the best test of learning, and Cameron does pick up at least a couple of the tips. Again, it seems to be one of those 'months of training restraint' versus 'murdering everything in sight' distinctions of training.

"Got it! Watch this!"

Yes, that usually means someone is about to do something Monumentally Stupid.

The shorter woman grasps at as many of the folks around her as she can get to, and she'll even allow them to grab onto her shirt or her. And then she leaps straight up… and stays up as she gives a solid *SHRUG* and attempts to send a bunch of her assailants tumbling to the floor.

"How you like them apples??"

Okay, her Smack Talk clearly needs some work.

After a brief moment to bask in the potential Awesome she aims herself at the center of a clump of the attackers, minding Barda's space a bit, and throws up a forearm that a blocking back would be proud of, pile-driving the pile into the floor, hopefully.

***

Strong, but not super-strong, the various trainees of Apokolips aren't pushovers but they just aren't as well-trained as either of the two women. Just as the pile of potential Parademons, Furies, and Dog Soldiers gets slammed into bruised bliss by Columbia, Barda is finishing a wheel-kick round of up the last group of them facing her to be followed up with a quick blast of crackling Kirby-dots from the Mega-Rod.

"Promising, but you've got another twenty years or so of work before I'd consider you ready for the Furies," Barda surmises. Looking around at the piles of goons around them, she just… shakes her head.

"Well, it's safe to say my escape was finally noticed. It might have been kinder to kill them, considering what punishments their masters will heap on them for failing the impossible task before them. But - Return to Sender, just the same. I'm done with needless death."

"Help me get these drips all in one spot, Columbia? Fun as this is I gotta get them out of here."

***

Columbia is not some eager panting dog desperate for attention. She has an inkling of what sort of fate might await these sorts of folks when they get back to wherever they might be going, but hey, they attacked her — and apparently 'Big Barda' — first.

"That's what Mom says pretty much every time I train with her."

Huh.

Then Barda confirms her suspicions and there's a bit of a sigh. "Hope you have some way of holding them? They'd kill most of the police officers I know."

The orange-haired woman tosses most of the folks into the pile, and then winces as she catches one of the folks who is nearly at death's door. She can't help it. Her hands grasp onto the Fury and her focus goes into concentration, rendering the Fury in question nearly intact but still unconscious and in the pile.

Cameron's expression is a bit apologetic as the pile is completed.

"Sorry. I can't help that sometimes."

***

"No need to apologize; that compassion is something that girl has never known and may never know again. If she lives, she'll either try to forget it or one day it'll save her and she'll break free of the cycle. One man's compassion did that for me," Barda adds in, just as she tosses her lot on the top and steps back a bit.

"I'm not going to contain them, they're going home." Pressing a few things on the Mega-Rod, beneath the pile of Trainees there's a loud *BOOM!* and a tunnel of light forms. As the unconscious sink into it, Barda walks around the edge of the portal towards Cameron.

"You fight well for someone from this planet." Barda offers her hand, "There's much to improve on, but you're young yet and you seem to have a good start. From what I've seen so far there aren't many decent warriors - you're very lucky to have one taking their time to train you."

***

Cameron winces a bit at the description. It very much sounds like Hell, wherever that place is. She represses a shudder and cracks her neck before taking the offered hand. She's not a true powerhouse like Barda, but she does have some strength to her grip. Respectable, even.

"That'd be my mom. She keeps saying I'm not pushing hard enough, that I hold back too much. But I don't want to hurt people. People are fragile, and I can't count on being able to heal them."

She pauses. "I just want to save lives. That's why I'm a paramedic."

***

As the Boom Tube closes and the coast is clear, Barda hangs the Mega-Rod from her belt. "Better than a Parademon, to be sure," she quips with a bit of a smile. "As to not wanting to hurt people when you fight — that's just stupid. It's a fight, people get hurt. If you know *how* to hurt people the right way, you don't have to hold back."

Barda gestures to where the crowd they just fought was. "Hesitate and you're dead, flinch in fear or worry and you'll screw up your form. You're -strong-, and I get the feeling that's part of your worry; but you are what you are. You hurt with one hand and you heal with the other, embrace that."

***

"What's a Parademon?" Admittedly, the two were too busy fighting to sit down and have a detailed description of the bestiary that was involved in the attack, so the question is legitimate from someone who probably never encountered one prior to this. And the comment about hurting people… That makes the fire-haired woman think for a moment. The riot at MTown. She did it without even thinking about it.

"You're the first one to say that. Most say pick one." She smiles a bit. "Thanks for the advice and… do you need help finding your way around town or anything?"

***

"We don't get our gifts because we're supposed to ignore any of them, you have nothing to thank me for," Barda shakes her head. This is all very much a no-brainer for her - no special effort or anything. "And thank you, but I'm finding things well enough. I should probably return what I was doing before a group of noodle-brained toddlers tried to kill me."

Immediacy of battle over, Barda visibly relaxes and her armor disappears; a crackle of Kirby dots leaving the brash warrior-woman with her hair down and in what can only be described as a Space-Bikini. "I am glad to have fought beside you, Columbia. Perhaps we'll do so again someday."

***

"What was it you were —" And then Cameron sees the Space-kini. "Oh, wow. That's neat." The awe is more directed at the outfit than at the person wearing it — it's painfully obvious Cameron's new at this because her top is heavily torn and thankfully now covered with the windbreaker she'd discarded earlier.

"I'm glad we didn't beat on each other, Miss Barda. I hope it won't be necessary, but… I'll keep what you said in mind."

***

"Don't waste time doubting yourself, girl, you'll get to where you're going anywhere much quicker. I may have given up on the pointless constant battles of my homeworld after all, but I still love a good dust-up when it's called for!"

Barda doesn't, however, give any thought to Cameron's reaction to her change of dress. "Just Barda." She grins then, gives the girl a hearty clap on the shoulder, and just - heads out into Metropolis again. "Stop hesitating! Just do! BE! The rest takes care of itself!"


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