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The Devil Is In (The Details)

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It’s loud.

She knows that it’s loud.

Not because she can hear it (although she can, just a little bit), but because the rhythm of the bass is beating in her chest. She can feel the music pumping like it’s taken up residence in place of her heart.

It’s nice. But it’s also a little distracting. And right now she needs to be focused.

She leans against the edge of a balcony, staring down at the throng of bodies packed onto the dance floor of the Triple Six. Up here in the VIP section there’s a little more room to breathe. She sips her margarita. Idly she licks at the salt on the rim of her glass. Her body might be turned towards the activity below, but her attention is focused on the black door marked “employees only” located behind her.

Adora sighs and pulls her phone out of her purse (again) and reads her text message ( again ).

Micah : Heard that Sweet and Skater are doing a secret show tonight at Hellfire. I got tickets but I can’t go. Do you want to see them?

Translated, it means that

  1. Shadow Weaver and Skeletor are having a meeting at the 666
  2. It’s a surveillance only job (DO NOT engage, DO NOT do anything to compromise your identity
  3. (this is her favorite) Angella has no idea when the meeting is.

So guess who has been hanging out at this stupid club for the past five hours?

Stake outs are actually the worst. And she isn’t even being paid for this! I must be an idiot to be suckered into doing this. She shakes her head, willing the negative thoughts away. No… no. This is important. Angella needs all of the information that I can get.

She glances at the door. Still shut. Still guarded by a meaty bouncer. Still totally inaccessible to her. All she can do is wait for them to come out.

She scrolls back in her texts, desperate for something to do.

Micah : Heard that Sweet and Skater are doing a secret show tonight at Hellfire. I got tickets but I can’t go. Do you want to see them?
A:Yeah sure!

Micah : Great! I’ll e-mail them to you. And keep in touch so I know you’re safe, yeah? I know their shows can be kinda rowdy. (Send me regular status updates on the mission)

A: ok, will do!

A (8:42 PM): Why is this line so long. This place isn’t even that good. (...Okay there isn’t any code behind this one. She just hates waiting.)

M (8:43 PM): I have a VIP pass you can use.

A (8:43 PM): You do?

M (8:47 PM): Check your e-mail.

A (8:58 PM): Thanks!

A (10:02 PM) When’s this show supposed to start again?

M (10: 53 PM) I don’t know, I’m sorry!

A (11:12 PM) Secret shows are cool but you think they’d at least put the time down...they don’t have to be THAT mysterious… (still no sign and also I’m bored)

M (11: 31 PM) You know you could always go home if you’re not feeling up to it.

A (11:41 PM) No it’s okay. It might start at midnight.

M (11:42 PM) Ok, just let me know.

A (12:21 AM) Show STILL hasn’t started...typical. I’ve seen some of the openers doing a sound check though. (No sign of Shadow Weaver or Skeletor, but I recognize a few other Horde goons who’re coming through)

M (12:30 AM) I’m sure it can’t be too much longer.

A (12:45 AM) They’re here!

M (12:50 AM) Finally! I’m glad that ticket wasn’t a fake.

A (12:52 AM) Me, too.

A (1:02 AM) Ugh, there’s someone standing in front of me and I can’t see the show.

M (1:07 AM) Can you see around them?

A (1:07 AM) Not without speaking to them or doing something drastic.

M (1:07 AM) That happens a lot. It sucks but at least it’s better than nothing.

A (1:08 AM) I want a better view! My brain is melting out of my head in boredom.

M (1:09 AM) Adora, don’t. I know it’s rude of them, but I don’t want you taking any unnecessary risks.

A (1:09 AM) I’m dying

M (1:09 AM) I’m calling an ambulance


M (1:11 AM) They’re on their way, they’ll be there in 10 minutes tops. I called the club security line and let them know to get ready and to apply first aid until you can be transported to North Land General.

A (1:11 AM) Seriously???

M (1:12 AM) No.

A (1:12 AM) Har, har.

M (1:13 AM) Msg me when the show’s over, I’ll get you a Lyft.

A (1:13 AM) Okay.

M (1:14 AM) And don’t drink too much.

A (1:14 AM) I am painfully sober.

M (1:18 AM) Let’s keep it that way.

She glances at her wrist watch.

1:23 AM. She turns around and glances at the “Employees Only” door. Forty minutes ago she had seen Shadow Weaver and Skeletor slip behind it. It figures that mobsters would hold a meeting at one in the morning.

Something in her peripheral catches her attention. It’s some guy. Objectively, he’s beautiful. He’s covered in vibrant scales, orange around his eyes and gradating into teal and then cyan as they progress down his neck. Some of the scales are thicker and sharper at the back of his head, and he’s wearing a snappy black dress shirt. Hands down the best looking reptile she’s seen. And he’s looking right at her.

Oh, no.

He must not hear her unspoken plea because he comes up to her anyway.

“Hey.” He says. “Someone stand you up?”

Adora, despite reading his lips perfectly, smiles politely and makes the sign for ‘deaf’.

“Can you read lips?” Not for you I can't. She continues smiling like she has no idea what he said.

“Oh.” He mutters, visibly deflating. “Only one (something) woman in (something something) club and she (something something).” Adora tosses her hair out of her face, one hand on her glass, completely ignoring the guy. The last thing she needs is some gross straight man grinding on her. To her immense relief he accepts her dismissal and goes to sulk in a distant corner of the VIP lounge.

Adora refocuses her attention. She’s seen a few other people come and go from the same door she saw Shadow Weaver and Skeletor disappear into, but most have had their faces hidden. She’s done her best to keep track of them regardless. She needs all the info she can get on these people.

If only there were some way that she could get back there to record their conversation...

She downs the rest of her drink, trying to curb the urge to crawl out of her own skin. Stake Outs. Are. The. Worst.

The initial excitement of seeing Shadow Weaver and Skeletor wore off about twenty minutes ago, and now she’s back to feeling stifled and cramped. Her feet are aching from the heels she’s wearing and the slim maroon cocktail dress she’s in isn’t particularly conducive to physical activity.

Adora wonders if it might be worth sneaking into that back room despite Angella’s explicit instructions to do nothing that might arouse suspicion. She crosses the floor of the lounge towards the bar, deep in thought, when--

crrrrkkbOOM! There’s a rush of air and particulates on the back of her neck, and she turns to see that the wall to the back room has exploded outwards. There’s snarling, and screaming, and she thinks maybe the guy who hit on her has been crushed underneath the rubble. There are people fighting, but she can’t tell how many because of the club lights and terrified VIPs.

Now this is more like it!

She reaches down to her side and meets empty air. It takes another beat before she remembers she had to turn her piece in along with her badge when the department fired her.

Pop! Popopop! Someone’s firing a gun. Without pausing to think about it she leaps over the bar counter.

Adora takes a moment to breathe.

She’s itching to get into the fight, but fight who ? This is Horde on Horde. And fight with what ? Her heels? Not to mention Angella would kill her if she found out Adora had even entertained the idea of getting involved.

Fighting the feeling of disappointment, Adora realizes there’s only one thing left to do: Get out of here.

She peeks over the edge of the bar counter. There’s a large orange humanoid she recognizes as Beast Man, one of Skeletor’s officers, squaring off with none other than the orange scaled dude from earlier. Snake guy dislocates his jaw to reveal massive fangs glittering with venom. Good thing he’s Beast Man’s problem, now.

To her left are the stairs. They’re clear. She doesn’t give doubt a chance to take root in her mind; she runs.

Adora has one foot on the top step when things start to go really wrong.

Someone launches themself from the rafters onto the steps beside Adora, knocking her off balance. They’re leaping down the steps at an inhuman speed when suddenly someone lobs a massive slab of debris right into their path. It’s immediately clear that the stairs are no longer a viable path.

Before Adora has a chance to reroute herself to another exit, there’s a heavy pressure on the back of her neck. Off balance and in heels, there’s no time to react as she’s lifted into the air. She hears a guttural scream, and then is viciously launched towards the nearest wall. She knows instinctively that she is going to die.

Fear (which had been on a low broil in her belly up until this point) comes to life with a howl. Her adrenaline spikes and blood surges. The world goes white.