Lincoln Park, Tenebrae
He made a tsk-tsk sound with his tongue that reeked of condescension. His credibility with her had not started out high and it was swiftly plummeting. "Making me repeat myself on our first day. I’ll forgive you, but it’ll cost you the first move."
The man, Arc apparently, held up his hands. The black cloth that coated his arms vibrated ever so slightly. It had a similar appearance to the very slight blur that surrounded Gloria's form when she phased. She only really noticed it because she was so used to see her own body go in and out of focus in a similar manner.
"The win conditions are to 'lay me out flat', though at this point it's unlikely that you'll even touch me."
He was apparently quite literal in his words. That presented a problem. On the surface, the win condition should have been easy. Gloria was no stranger to taking on guys twice her size and knocking their feet out from under them was rarely a challenge. But the confidence and bluster that Arc exuded suggested he possessed some information unknown to her which would complicate the task. Presumably, what she was missing was information about his own superpower.
He could simply be extremely sturdy, a power that granted such excessive athleticism that it was nearly impossible to make him lose his footing. But his proclamation that she wouldn't even be able to touch him suggested something completely different. It implied some kind of area of effect ability, control over wind or sometime similar which would make approaching him a challenge. The most likely option, considering the construction of the briefcase, was the simplest one. He had electrical powers, a perfect foil to her own. It wasn't the only foil but it was the easiest one to observe from a distance. After all, his name was 'Arc'.
As soon as this thought had passed through her head, Arc's gloves began to disintegrate. Like some bizarre parody of an hourglass counting down time, the black cloth from his fingertips to his shoulders tumbled into the air as a cloud of fine dust. He threw his now bare hands outward, scattering the tiny, reflective particles into the room in a haze.
Gloria reacted instinctively. She sucked in a clean breath before the particles reached her and then phased, falling backwards through the bar stool she had been sitting on and through the bar itself. In the moment before she lost sight of the interior of the building she saw Quinn suck in her own breath and lung across the table to cover Jinny's mouth and nose with a bar napkin.
That's my girl. She thought with a smile as she tumbled backwards.
Gloria fell through the bar into blackness, her hands outstretched behind her head. The moment they were through the bar, they became solid again and when they touched the cold floor behind the bar, she pushed off, launching herself into her feet. In all honesty it was more of an acrobatic party trick than a combat maneuver but she used whatever tools she had.
She stood up behind the bar, keeping Arc in her view as her eyes scanned the bar for something she expected to be there.
He was still in gloating mode. He was so sure that he had her entirely figured out. "Freedom. Control. These two things were the world to me before I met him. Now? They come as easy as rain on a stormy day. You should consider yourself lucky, he’s offering the same to you. His vision of the future puts you and I at the height of success, no longer dogged around and put down, hiding like street rats." His head inclined toward her. "All he is asking is cooperation to usher in that future."
Gloria barely heard what he was saying. As he spoke she grabbed a rag from the bar and nonchalantly wrapped it around one of the newly opened bottles of a Bacardi 151, a high proof rum, before she poured herself a shot. She inclined it towards him and downed it in one move, casual as could be. Rum was definitely not her drink of choice and it burned as it slid down her throat. She usually preferred an electric green shot which tasted like green apple candy but in this instance the important thing was a high alcohol content.
As she was downing the shot, her thumb slid through the rum bottle where she popped the pouring spout out from the inside. In the same movement, the rag she'd picked up the bottle with phased through the glass, half poking out the top of the bottle somewhat unevenly as cracks started to form in the glass from the imprecise phase job. At the same time with her other hand Gloria snatched up a disposable lighter the bartender on shift kept behind the bar and set the rag alight.
In less than three seconds, in what was clearly a very practised procedure, Gloria was holding a lit molotov cocktail. She knew she had only a few seconds before the cracked bottle ruptured from the heat and the damaged Gloria had done when she'd phased the rag through it. Without pausing to think, she lobbed the firebomb at Arc with all the force she could muster, ready to duck if he displayed an ability to redirect it back towards her. Though she rather suspected it would explode midair if he tried. It might even explode midair before it actually reached him but whether it struck him or not, the flaming alcohol would be something he would have to deal with.
In the moment that the bottle was airborne Gloria felt the hair on her arms stand on end, like she'd just brushed a static charged fleece over her skin. A piece of the speech Arc had given which she had mostly tuned out while she prepared the cocktail filtered back into her brain. 'They come as easy as rain on a stormy day.' He had weather control abilities. He commanded wind, rain, and most unfortunately of all, lightning. A storm was coming.