Entrapment
Cutscene: Entrapment
Author
IC Details
Synopsis:

The dangers of New York's new political landscape become all too real for Zatanna Zatara when she tries to prevent a disastrous arrest.

IC Date: November 24, 2018
IC Location: Central Park, New York City, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted: 25 Nov 2018 06:35
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 for violence and blood.
Associated Plots

These days, she was determined that when out and about, she was simply going to mind her own business. It was simpler. It was safer. But today made it impossible.

The year's Autumn didn't last; she felt Winter's bite by the last days of October and there was snow in the ground at exactly mid-November. Only a few weeks until Christmas, her favorite holiday of the year, New York's cityscape had gone from a rich palette of reds, oranges and golds to a grayscale tableau half-buried under ice. It did nothing to detract from its beauty, however, especially in its man-made parks, where snow clustered on skeletal branches and made everything glitter. Christmas decorations were already out and in the darkness of the late evening, lit in a myriad of colors.

A city that never slept invariably meant that violence could happen at any moment - a lesson that Zatanna Zatara had taken to heart since returning to the United States and this specific metropolis two years ago. She had been foiling such elements since she was young, the earliest being at around ten years of age when a purse snatcher ran past her while stepping out of a dentist's office, but she had never been wary about doing so before. The Registration Act, passed mere days ago, had changed everything almost overnight for crimefighters, do-gooders and mystical adventurers like herself.

And yet here she was, attracted to cries of help - the distant begging and pleading of a feminine voice. It led her to stop behind a tree, peeking out from around the bole, ice-blue eyes finding several armed men clustering around a young woman who already felled two of them with sparks of something that shot out of her fingers. What drove her to a halt, when she had enough power and ability to simply land in the middle of the fray like a space marine, and dispense her own brand of vigilante justice, wasn't the sight of weapons, or the fear that would overtake anyone in such a situation, but the bold yellow letters that stood out from the dark blue of the armed men's jackets:

N.Y.P.D.

She could ignore it. She could. It wasn't their fault that it fell upon them to enforce what the state deemed necessary to pass. It may not even be their choice to enforce the law. But they have to. They must. They were just doing their jobs.

"Please…I didn't mean to…he was trying to take my purse, I couldn't just…"

"Are you registered, ma'am?"

"N-no…I mean, I meant to, I really did, but all the paperwork is…"

"Then you'll have to come with us. Put up your hands, we'll sort it out at the station."

"But my boy…he's expecting me home and the babysitter's probably wondering where I am. I'm already late and…it was self defense!"

"I understand, ma'am, but the sooner you come with us, the sooner we can get you back home, alright?"

Arcs of lightning started coruscating from the woman's fingers, her expression growing more and more agitated, veins of white-blue light pushing up from underneath her skin. "But my boy…I have to go home to my boy…"

The guns were back up in an instant. The lead officer took a step back, his finger tightening on the trigger. "Shut it down, lady!" he cried. "Don't make us do this!"

No! There wasn't any helping it. Zatanna pulled her scarf up, the crimson color banding around the lower half of her face. After pulling her hood up in a swift motion, she took several hurried steps out from behind the tree, throwing a spell towards the officers. Her heart was in her throat.

"PEELS!"

It was over in an instant. The policemen dropped, guns rendered useless as their unconscious bodies collapsed into the snow. The command left the woman stunned, her hands lifted, but so far, she had stopped herself from using her powers. The young magician lifted her fingers, spreading them - the universal gesture of no intention, at least on her part, of any hostile action.

"Easy," Zatanna breathed, her hidden mouth expending small puffs of mist at every breath. "I'm here to help…either you injured or killed them, or they would have shot and killed you. I wasn't about to have either."

The woman swallowed, her eyes glistening with tears, her fingers shaking with fright. Slowly, she lowered her hands. Stepping closer, and giving the policemen a wide berth in her approach, the blue-eyed witch reached for her arm.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah…thanks." The woman's green eyes turned to the officers on the ground, her expression half-hidden by her collar. "I…how did you do that? What did you say to them?"

Despite herself, Zatanna grinned faintly, albeit it wasn't visible save for around the eyes. "That's not really important, yeah?" she wondered, pale digits lifting to tug her scarf further up her nose. "Anyway, they're not hurt. You should probably get back to your son, I think. Before they wake up."

The woman nodded, a grateful look cast to her good samaritan. "You…you're not papered either, are you?"

"Registered?" The witch shook her head. "No. It— "

She realized her mistake only too late. In a flash of light, the woman she intended to save lit up once more, the sudden illumination blinding in the dark and searing her eyeballs at her close proximity. The lance caught her in the chest, seizing up muscle and bone, and setting every synapse on fire, lifting her up off the snow and hurling her through the nearby trees. It took moments - seconds - leaving her sprawling painfully on her back, her limbs twitching, air leaving her lungs in a gasp.

From a distance she heard it, though she couldn't see the woman anymore, but her fuzzy senses picked up two distinct words - pick-up, and dispatch. Eyes blurry with tears of pain, she forced herself to roll over, to plant gloved hands on the snow and push herself upwards. There was no time to think. Whatever else happened, she had to run.

Scrambling for footing, she hurled herself through snow and branch, cries to halt ringing in the darkness from somewhere behind her:

NYPD!

You're under arrest!

Don't make me do this!

The last, in particular, were five words that she was starting to despise ever since the new law had taken full effect.

Snow crunched under her feet as she forced herself to move, to flee further into the night. Gunshots cracked after her, splintering through branches, the trees…

Pain exploded from her back, spiderwebbing outwards in a haze of crimson. Something hot and coppery filled her mouth and the world tilted dangerously sideways. Her cheek found dirt and frost, her black hair spilling from her hood. She felt her breath leave her, her very life draining away in the garish red pool spreading underneath her. Distantly, she registered the wail of sirens…but this was New York. It could be for anyone.

Trembling fingers twitched. They reached out for something further in the snow and curled around a root. She heard the footfalls of the undercover officer chasing her, though it was getting difficult to maintain a thread of consciousness.

She felt her step closer, heard the telltale click of a safety.

"Don't move," said the woman she wanted to save, though she sounded less confident than before. It must be the sight of all the blood. "I…I called an ambulance. It'll— "

Zatanna felt magic, smelled it, before she even heard the cry. All around her, dead and dying trees suddenly found new life, lashing out from under layers of frost in a ripple of green, incandescent motes. The undercover officer shouted and swung away from her, bullets catching fibrous tendrils with no visible controller, hurled away into a nest of them where she became further entangled, her gun and lightning worthless when smothered and unconscious. She did nothing, said nothing - not that she could, even if she wanted to.

It wasn't every day that the Green came alive to rescue someone from the human world.

A dark, imposing shape loomed above her, red eyes gleaming like rubies in the dark. She felt roots shift underneath her to roll her bleeding body on her back. Heavy, ice-blue eyes took it all in.

"…sw…swam…" Zatanna breathed from around viscous, crimson bubbles. "…thank…you…"

These days, he was unrecognizable, irrevocably transformed from the botanist and scientist once known as Alec Holland. But his new form had in many ways turned him into something more: the undeniable protector and guardian of all plant life on Earth. And like most individuals tied to mystical forces beyond human ken, an old acquaintance of her father, Giovanni Zatara.

The Swamp Thing rumbled an acknowledgment she couldn't quite hear, reaching out with both hands to pluck her out of the blood-stained snow. As earth turned itself over at his whims, eradicating the biological traces of her, numerous vines bundled her up within his grip and the two of them slowly sank into the ground, to be transported elsewhere.

It was only then that Zatanna allowed herself to close her eyes.

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