Fear Not Fair Ladies

Zeke had gone out to see if he could dig up some useful information, Laroche was busy keeping their secret hideout just that, secret, so Kuo was left much to herself, to recover and to think. Sitting on a old crate for dynamite, Kuo stared empty into the campfire. What could they do to get Cole out? Realizing how much she'd relied on Cole up until now, Kuo had to come to terms with some long overdue truths about herself. Would she keep on relying on Cole? Could she break free and stand on her own two legs? Thinking back, Kuo noticed that Cole had been aiming for that all along.

Taking seat across the camp fire, Mary rubbed her hands together as to get them warm. «Mind if I share your fire with you?» She asked very politely. Kuo managed to somehow grunt out something that sounded like a yes. Tilting her head a little, Kuo looked at Mary for a long time. Her ice blue eyes were met with Mary's deep red and they held it for several minutes. «Can you make... more, of-» Kuo started, before getting cut short by Mary. «Vampires? I'm afraid not.» Mary explained that she could take some of her blood and inject it into a human, allow her to make him or her do her bidding.

However, there were some limits. Firstly, no one got powers that could rival Mary's. They got stronger and tougher, but that was about it. Secondly, as the human body creates new blood, the blood Mary injected to them would be watered down until it lost all its effect, unless they were given a second injection of course. There were some, very few people that got the power to shape-shift into large humanoid bats and they had some rather exotic powers. Most likely people with the Conduit gene, Kuo thought to herself. At the end of the day, Mary seemed to be a Conduit with powers similar to Sasha, using her own blood instead of tar.

When Kuo asked Mary what had happened to Terry, she replied in a rather as a matter of fact tone, that Terry had died. It was naturally and painless, as he died from exhaustion after pushing himself above and beyond in order to get Cole's message to Zeke. More dead people to their names, Kuo thought. How many more would there be before either Cole or Kuo had enough. «Where did you go? After Cole... woke you up?» Kuo asked, deciding to take a small break trying to think of a way to help Cole. Mary was happy to tell Kuo that after Cole had brought her up to date on the world, she left New Marais to see the new world for herself.

Sadly it didn't live up to expectations, and Mary returned to New Marais after Cole had left. Hearing people talking about Cole's many efforts to help complete strangers, it made a lasting impression on her and she decided to take contact with Laroche to help him maintain law and order in the city. Some weeks later, Zeke returned and from there Mary learned of Cole's predicament. Thankful for bringing her back from her slumbers, Mary insisted on joining Zeke in whatever efforts he'd make to free Cole. Yes, Cole sure had that effect on people, Conduits in particular, Kuo mused to herself. «So, do you have any ideas?» Kuo asked Mary, figuring it was worth a shot.

Mary was more than willing to help out in whatever way she could, but her knowledge of this new world was painfully limited, so she was unsure just how helpful she'd be in planning. While Kuo did see Mary's point, she was hoping that Mary would be able to think out of the box Kuo found herself trapped in, since Mary was so... different. Oh well, it was worth a shot, Kuo thought. Just then Zeke returned with some more information. Cole had fried that air base pretty good and as an added bonus, the plane that would have delivered the mind chips crashed. The pilots made it out alive, but the plane with its cargo was lost. At least that was something.

Knowing Moya, she'd double, if not triple her efforts to keep Cole under lock and key. It is also entirely possible that she'd conclude that Cole was more trouble than he was worth, thus disposing him as she'd done with Alden and Sasha. Even without electrical power, it was still a military base. They couldn't just walk in through the front gate, Conduits or no Conduits. «You know, if they get that mind chip into his skull, Cole's going to be like Darth Vader. Just he'll be hunting Conduits and not Jedi's.» Zeke said, taking a seat by the fire. While he was stating the obvious, Kuo knew that he was right.

Thinking back to her fight with Cole at the base, Kuo shuddered at the thought where she had to fight him again, going all out. «But fear not fair ladies, for I have a plan.» Zeke then said with a sly smile. Mary and Kuo let the fair ladies comment slide as they first looked at each other, then at Zeke to get him to spill his plan. Zeke pointed out that during their time in New Marais, there was an engineer that helped Cole become overcharged with electricity. It was used to reboot substations on the electrical grid around New Marais. As a little bonus, while overcharged, Cole's powers would fry anyone and anything that got remotely close.

The airbase that they kept him was a mess, so a lot of people was going in and out, in order to make repairs and the like. Zeke suggested that they'd use Mary's thrall powers to inform Cole that they'd set him up with an overcharge, so he could make his escape. They could use the same method to use people inside the base to make whatever preparations they needed. If this were to work, they had to, yet again move fast. They had to take advantage of the initial chaos on the base, for once things were starting to take shape, they'd be asking questions of why some people were doing something that didn't fit the time table.

Kuo was skeptical at using people like puppets and also pointed out that without any electrical lines to grind on, Cole's overcharge would loose its force shortly after standing on the ground. Mary assured Kuo that her thrall effects were harmless and only a temporary effect. Zeke pointed out that the plan was not to get Cole grinding all the way to New Marais, just a quick exit off the base grounds. Knowing that Cole's original plan had failed because of her own hesitation, Kuo gave in and said that they should go with the plan. It was a terrible plan, which Zeke remarked was obvious as it was their official trademark by now.

Mary used her charms to lure workers from the base into her fangs, draining them of some of their blood, converting it into her own and injecting it back into them. Kuo had helped her getting more dressed with the times, making a point of her curves and chose clothes that enhanced her sensuality. Considering that both Zeke and Laroche had a hard time stop staring and gaping at Mary, Kuo thought of it as a success. With half a dozen workers and a pair of guards on Mary's blood list, they made good efforts in putting their reckless plan into motion. It was on their third night that their preparations were done and all they needed was word from Cole.

Getting into Cole was difficult to say the least. He'd been drained of all his powers and Moya had lost faith in human guards, instead putting Cole under constant video and audio surveillance. Zeke was not thrown back by this setback and told Mary to approach Cole in her mist form. It was critical that she was not seen by the cameras and that she spoke in a hushed voice so not to be picked up by the microphones. The main point was to let Cole know that they were ready for him. Zeke was confident that his friend would find a window of opportunity, no matter how small, and use it to the fullest.

Kuo could understand that Zeke had great faith in his friend, but she was still worried that their efforts would be in vain. Mary on the other hand happily followed Zeke's instructions, sliding through the air vents until she was just over Cole's head. From there she passed on Zeke's plan word for word. Giving a sneeze as a reply that he'd gotten the message and would be ready, Mary took her leave. On the other side of the cameras, Moya was ever watchful. Noticing that Cole had shifted his attention to the air vent, she ordered him to be moved to the deepest level on the base.

Not taking any chances, Moya personally hand picked the guards for the job and was on site to oversee that the move went without a hitch. «How-do-you-feel-Cole?» She asked, without any trace of interest or concern. «Drained...» Cole managed to squeeze out. Weakened, Cole was half dragged through the halls and down the stairs. Looking drizzly around, Cole tried to get his bearings and find out where he was, where he was going and how to get out. He was however not fast enough, as he was soon introduced to his new cell. «In-a-few-hours-you'-implant.» Moya told him, sounding a little smug about it.

Seeing Moya sitting right in front of him, the guards on either of his side to hold him and unlock his handcuffs, Cole took a chance. With the last of his strength, Cole wrestled free from his guards and dived forward, placing both hands on Moya's face, pushing her backwards on the floor. «You did good Moya, killing off all the electricity on the sub levels by cutting the wires, the candles were a nice touch, but frankly you're just not my kind of girl.» Cole grunted. Hearing that the guards were getting back on their feet, Cole focused on his hands. «But you know, there's another source of electricity that you forgot about. YOU!» And with that, Cole drained Moya and her electrical wheelchair dry of all electricity.

With his powers partially restored, Cole arch restrained both of his guards and made a run for it. Mary had been following the development passively through the air vents and guided Cole to the exit that was nearest where Zeke and the gang had rigged their overcharge setup. Along the way Cole had to fight of a few wandering patrols, snatching their flashlights to get as much electricity as he could. Well outside, Cole locked on the strongest electrical power source he could find and with soldiers hot on his heels, set off in a shower of crackling sparks. Mary's red misty ball soon joined him by his side. Following an electrical cable that was just a feet over ground and leading into the night, Cole knew his friends would be at the end of the line.

Pressing on, Cole saw the vague silhouette of a truck and he soon run out of cable. Using his static thrusters to cover the last stretch, Cole made a soft landing on the back of the truck. No sooner had his feet landed, the engine started with a roar and they drove off. Laroche did the driving, with Zeke in the passenger seat. Kuo stood by his side and Mary was following close behind, covering up their car tracks as she sped along low to the ground. Once they hit solid asphalt, Mary also took a place on the truck. «Are you okay?» Kuo asked, sounding worried. Cole nodded and soon started laughing. They had made it, by the hair of their teeth, they had made it. Not quite according to the original plan, but no matter. They had made it!

The group settled down in the abandoned mine where Cole was allowed some time to recover. Plenty of food and drink were offered, as Cole had not been properly fed during his captivity, an effort to keep him constantly weak. «So, what about Moya? She's going to be after us for sure.» Zeke said once things started to settle a little bit down. «I wouldn't worry too much about that Zeke. Moya's dead.» Cole said between mouthfuls of food and drink. Zeke, Kuo and Mary stopped up and looked at Cole with big blinking eyes as if asking for confirmation; did Cole kill Moya?

«I killed her, I... ah... drained her for neuroelectricity.» Cole admitted, though he didn't sound too happy or proud about it. After an awkward pause, Kuo asked: «You mean, you... sucked the life out of her?» Cole took a pause in his eating, his left cheek bulging with food, and with a serious look in his eyes Cole nodded a few times before resuming his eating. Moya had been a thorn in their side pretty much from day one, so neither Zeke or Cole wouldn't say that she didn't have it coming. Kuo had never heard that Cole could drain electricity from people, she'd always assumed that he needed to take it from the grid or batteries.

It had felt weird, feeling the life inside Moya fade away, while feeling his own strength returning. Very different from a streetlight or a battery. Sure, batteries felt empty after they were drained for their power, but Moya... she'd just felt dead, for the lack of a better word. In that process Cole felt that he saw something, a sneak peek into what was waiting on the other side perhaps? Whatever it was, it was so vague and diffuse that Cole could not make heads or tails of it now. It was there though, a lingering and troubling feeling that was hard to define or put into words.