Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Eventua
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Detroit, July 7th

A Spark of Golden Hope: Episode 2

Well. That had certainly answered some questions. Unfortunately, it had raised plenty of others.

Everett had avoided lingering any longer than needed - he needed time to think, after all, and the open was not the place to do so. Without hesitation he'd grabbed one of the pamphlets and made his way to the edge of Midtown, a strange and seedy line drawn between the dense developed residencies and the ruins that seemed to personify the rest of the city. Standing in the shade, the mid-day sun still hot but in a more distant sense, he rested against a wall of concrete and thought carefully about what steps forward there would be.

Was she right? Was this really the way to make a difference? Could it really have been so simple, this whole time? The idea that the problems could be fixed by "the man on the ground" was one he'd always hoped as a child would be true, though the things he'd learnt as an adult had put those dreams to rest.

The thought of "facing resistance" wasn't comforting, but he'd had his fair share of run ins with the law, and she seemed to be a capable spokesperson and organizer... he could tell. Something about the way she had spoken, the way she had moved when addressing the people, the fact that she'd not backed down - even when her opening lines had caused more than a few angry murmurs from the people around him.

That girl has ideals. She knows what she believes in... and she's got no hesitation around fools-


The feeling of something soft and warm, wriggling at the back of his head, shook him from his thoughts. It was a strange and slightly eerie feeling that reached down into his stomach, and for just a moment he had the awful sensation that something very small and very ancient had just been snuffed out of existence.

"What, um... what was that?!" he thought, echoing in the dark golden light that he envisioned when his eyes were closed.

A delicate, pointed leg curled into the center of his mind's eye, My apologies, Mansa. I was making the best of an unusual circumstance.

A cold sweat crawled its way down the back of his neck.

"What... what does that even mean...?!" he seethed, his teeth gritting physically from the sheer focus on the internal discussion.

It is nothing of great importance - that place was surrounded by warm, ephemeral living things. They were beyond your perception, and your touch.

"Wait, you mean... did you just eat a ghost?!"


Everett couldn't help but frown, pinching the bridge of his nose, the fume-stained oil of his finger tips coagulating into a thin grime that he would probably regret later if he couldn't get some sort of shower.

"Remind me one of these days to ask you more about this sort of stuff. It's weird enough having a magical spider in my brain without also, mmm... knowing the air is apparently filled with the equivalent of magical flies, too."

I will be certain to discuss it with you, Mansa.

Everett sighed physically, stretching his arms and cracking his knuckles with a single motion, before looking again at the pamphlet. There was the address, written in a tight, professional sort of font that he didn't recognize.

"Should I... what do you think? Is it worth a shot?"

A soft and rhythmic sound like swallowing, echoed in his inner ear.

The choice is yours, Mansa. You alone hold ruin and prosperity in your hands... however, I did feel something... strange, from this queen who holds fire.


Undoubtedly, that mortal has the spirit of a queen in her voice. Her threads - at least the ones I could see - burn a zealous trail... for a certainty such a burning mind is one to guide a golden hand, if you are happy to allow it.


In fairness, he also had to think of where else he would go.

Between the risk of getting burned, or the oblivion of the pavement... what choice was there?


The address led him south, through Midtown and beyond, and gradually the city thinned and industrialized. Cramped apartments gave way to construction - both abandoned and in-progress - which gave way to factories and warehouses. The horizon seemed to thin under an orange sky, as early evening set in and massive cargo ships docked and undocked from one end of the bay to the other.

Here, at the western edge of the bay, was an unremarkable building. Two stories tall, worn brick construction, though Everett didn't spend much time thinking about it. Even with the brief stop at the gym to use their showers - a trip that had cost him his last ten dollar bill - he was worn out, his thoughts foggy from hunger and the sun.

One shot to get this right... man, I really hope money talks.

He had trained himself to always keep his head low, his old duster black hat over his eyes, though it hadn't quite clicked the place was desolate and mundane, at least on the outside - there were no armed guards, no electric fences, no dogs or checkpoints.

Though if those flames were just for show, who knows how dangerous she is in an actual fight?

His shoes struck the concrete with an uneven beat as he approached the door, his breathing shallow, and tapped his knuckles against the glass door before opening it. Taking a moment to carefully close the door behind him, he tried to focus on the scene before him.

And then, with a deep breath, tried to hide his confusion. He had always been bad at hiding his expressions.

It's… much, much nicer in here than outside, wow. It’s even got that fresh paint smell.

I feel I might have led you astray, so please do not be fooled. I can see there is something lingering over this place.

The spider's echoes seemed to slow down, before fading gradually into the back of his mind, to the mere echo of a whisper - Traces and strands in the air. Please be cautious, Mansa. This queen of flames has stranger allies.

Everett swallowed, breathed again, and stepped forward. The reception had clearly been done up recently, with its sleek black desk and multi-layered coffee machine. The computers were the trendiest and latest models.

A number of abstract and surrealist paintings were hung up around the room, though most notable of all was a large blue poster. A man of bronze, his mouth bound by a cloth of red, white and blue - and there, beneath his chin, it read: “Patriotism means NO QUESTIONS.”

In every way he could think of it felt very much the modern, sleek office building - he half wondered if he’d accidentally walked too far and wound up in silicon valley.

But he wouldn't let himself be fooled. There was more to this place than met the eye.

"Hello, I..." he held up the pamphlet, wrinkled from his re-reading and from the sweat of his hands, "I was at the rally, near Midtown. I wanted to know how I could help with, um..."

He wiggled the fingers of his left-hand in an awkward sort of motion, though he had to pause mid-gesticulation with a hearty cough into his right sleeve.

He coughed again.

Once more.


Okay, that time he got it.

"Ahem," his accent finally becoming clearer from months of trying to 'blend in', "sorry about that. My name's Evan."

He paused again, the receptionist's expression more than a little uncertain.

"Atut. Mr Evan Atut. That's me."

I really should have practiced this beforehand.
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Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by nitemare shape
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nitemare shape GM of Create A Hero and Star Wars: Legacies

Member Seen 7 days ago

The sun hung high in the sky bathing the city of Lost Haven in it's warming rays. Despite the dark clouds that had threatened the city with rain earlier in the morning, it had turned out to be a perfect day. Scott Hunter walked along the sidewalk with his head down, watching his shadow as he made his way toward the waterfront for a lunch date with Alexa. The last few days had been hectic for the couple. Between board meetings at Winstone International, and last minute preparations for the Hub's grand reopening, it had seemed that there just wasn't enough hours in the day. In fact, the young couple had barely seen one another, aside from fleeting moments in the early morning and late at night. They had decided that today, they would make time for lunch at a new diner on the waterfront called “Captn's,” which boasted a broad selection, but was becoming well known for its seafood.

As Scott walked through the glass front doors of the restaurant, his phone vibrated in his pocket. He took his phone from his pocket only to see that he has a new text message from Alexa.

“I'm upstairs.” It said, indicating that she was waiting for him on the rooftop deck. So Scott made his way up to join her.

He found her sitting at a table at the edge of the deck, giving them an unobstructed view of the harbor. When he approached her, he placed a hand just below her shoulder and leaned in and kissed her on the top of the head before taking a seat in the chair beside her.

“What looks good?” He asked as he opened the menu.

“Everything. She told him, before adding. “I ordered the fried calamari.”

“Great...” He said, his tone indicative of his dislike of the appetizer.

“Relax, I ordered you the nachos.” She said with a grin.

Once their appetizers arrived and their orders were placed for their meals, Scott and Alexa did something that they hadn't been able to do since they were in Paris, talk. They got each other caught up on what they had been up to in the days since they returned from their vacation. Scott told her about the difficulties that he and Eric had run into while getting the club back up and running, and Alexa regaled him with stories from the boardroom. Major deals that were in the works and the acquisition of several smaller tech firms that would give Winstone International the leg up on the competition, primarily Avalon and Midas Industries.

“Speaking of which...”Alexa said as she reached into her purse and produced a small box which she handed to him. “Open it.” She said eagerly.

“Alexa, what is this?” Scott asked, perplexed by the sudden gift.

“Just open it!” She exclaimed, her anticipation was palpable.

Scott pulled the lid off of the box and looked at what was inside. It looked like some sort of bracelet, about the size of a Fit Bit which was matte black with a pair of silver buttons which were outlined in cobalt blue, which lay flush with the device. It was sleek and somewhat futuristic looking, but at the same time it looked like something that could be purchased in any electronics store.

“What's this?” Scott asked, appreciative, but slightly confused by the gift.

“This,” Alexa said with a grin. “is just a little something that the R and D department and Winstone has been cooking up. It doesn't have a fancy name, but it's a nanotech deployment apparatus.”

“A nanotech...” Scott said, slightly confused.

“When you press THAT button,” she said, pointing at the device's top button. “the nanites will deploy from the device and cover you in something of a protective shell. I pre-programed it to the specs of your uniform, but it's completely customizable.”

“That's...that's amazing.” Scott said, completely taken aback by the gift.

“You like it?” She asked.

“I love it.” Scott confirmed as he leaned in to kiss her. However, the sounds of police sirens in the distance interrupted the moment.

“Well, no time like the present to give it a whirl.” Alexa said.

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Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by VATROU
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VATROU The Barron

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Twisted Memories

The creatures’ corrosive liquids had come as a surprise, costing Richard his shield, along with a few more pieces of his armor, such as the sensory equipment on the side of his head; the liquid violently snapped and crackled as it came into contact with his powered armor, leaving a trail of burnt and dissolved metal in its wake.

It took off a layer of his shoulder armor, and damaged the side of his helmet before it subsided; the armor was still more or less intact, but any more damage might expose the inner workings of his right arm.

Unburdened, the wild beast lunged as the viscous saliva singed away at Roadblock’s plating, eating away his shield and exposing the man behind it; Hound Dog countered the beast with a lighting blast. Not to be caught off guard, the wolf had been expecting this, and with an unseen agility it nimble dodged Hound Dog’s attack, turning around for an attack of its own by making full use of its caustic fluids.

Hound Dog was pushed on the defensive as the beast slung balls of vomit through the air, forcing Hound Dog back by zipping himself along the rails as his body felt the sudden whiplash of such massive G forces imposed upon him bones. It countered the lighting user with a newfound agility, likely seeing them as prey, the beast reached down as Sinclar was dodging and with great pain to itself, loosed a howl ripping out the rails and chucking them like javelins

Impacting with a thud two steel rails became fixtures in the brick Hound Dog stated. ”I think we might be in the shop for this one.” Blasting bolts back at the beast it ducked and claws dripping swipped to grab Sinclair with a thundering shockwave that burned even Sinclair’s flesh the beast was thrown back. ”I think we have some chemistry, sparks are in the air pal and I don’t think you like me all that much. Youse come closer again and we’ll hug this out. Or are yah chicken.” A crackling formed around Hound Dog as he unleashed a barrage of rolling thunder that leaped off the ground.

The creature got on all fours, preparing to move out of the way no doubt, but it’s attempt to dodge resulted in it suddenly being dragged backwards, and a loss of balance. Richard had fired a steel cable at its feet, then tugged at it, allowing Hound Dog’s rolling flash to build up on the rails, and strike at the bound beast.

”It’s a mistake to forget about me!”

Richard shouted as he pulled on the cable again, causing the beast to come flying at him, as soon as it was close enough he slammed his fist into it, breaking it’s momentum, and sending it straight into a wall.

Hound Dog readied himself and the beast smashed into the wall and sat for less than a second stunned before it vaulted towards the ceiling and began to rip out more metal pipes to toss, but not before coating them in acid; zapping a few away Hound Dog found himself caught off guard from the acid oozing in and out of the flung pipes. When it wasn’t slinging pipes it bolted all around the tunnel, taking swipes at both Roadblock and Hound Dog, then quickly slipping away in shadows and lunging from behind.

Backing up toward Roadblock he whispered. ”We need a plan. Pin him down and finish this.”

”Pin him down huh.” Richard said as he jumped to the side, avoiding one of the creatures tossed pipes. He tossed his gaze all over the ‘werewolf’, looking for anything more he can do, and then he noticed it’s bullet wounds had somehow healed already; clearly he’d need to get up close. So Richard slipped one of the grenades at his hip into his hand and palmed it, waiting for the creature to pause, and it did. It stopped by an ceiling light, already ripping it out before it even settled, and then Richard tossed his grenade.

”Close your eyes.” Richard whispered to Hound before he started sprinting towards the monster.

The small cylinder raced towards the creature, its head turned quickly to face what Richard had just thrown, but it stood its ground, only to realize what it was a moment too late. It exploded with a white flash, and a bang that echoed through the rest of the tunnels. Richard followed up by leaping after it, slamming his elbow down onto its head. To its credit, the beast was quick to its feet, and wasted no time trying to counter attack; but it’s new found blindness caused it to miss repeatedly.

So Richard took advantage of this and poured on his counterattack, several meaty thuds echoed through the tunnel, signaling each successive hit, with him only pausing to deflect a claw or two. But he got too eager, the creature recovered and slashed at his armored breast, and then it followed up with a bile blast to separate them. Richard just narrowly jumped back, with only a splash on his feet as a reminder to his inexperience.

Steel bearings floated in Sinclair’s hand and they whipped out individually drawn back to each other due to the magnetism that he imparted onto each tiny orb keeping the creature back so Roadblock can regain some composure. ”We need to end this lug of a beast, otherwise we’ll be it’s happy meal. The acid eats through metal and I think it’s strong enough to tear through traps. If we can keep it still one of us should have something to deal with it in one go.”

”I got it to stay still!”

”Richard, I know you enjoy using your hands, but why don’t we try something a little more permanent. Try the foam grenades.”

”I don’t need backseat fighting!” Richard started shouting from the pressure, but she was right. He should have thought of it earlier, but he just wasn’t used to having such a weird tool. At least his other weapons had normal comparisons, but with this, he had to aim it right or it could backfire, literally.

”Keep your distance, Hound Dog, I’m gonna keep it down.” He cocked his arm back again and let it loose towards one of the remaining ceiling fixtures. The creature was already mid air when the grenade flew towards it.

The grenade pinged off the metal frame of the light and then violently exploded with a hiss, releasing a thick spray of foam in the area. A blueish, gray, substance shot out of the can, coating the ceiling and the creature in a sudsy substance. It tried to jerk its way out, but the foam quickly hardened, finally stopping the beast in its tracks.

”Richard, Hound Dog isn’t strong enough to defeat it alone, and your rifle isn’t high enough calibur to affect any change; as you’ve seen. Use the AC-107 in combination with Hound Dog, we’ll blow it away in one shot!”

”The wha-” Richard’s question was prematurely answered as more information poured across his screen, and a certain weapon rotated itself over his shoulder. His lips shifted into a wide grin.
”Finally I get to see what this does, but how do we do this with Hound Dog?” More information danced across his display, this time with pictures to go along with Artemis’s explanation.

Richard motioned for Hound Dog to come closer to him before starting.

”Hound, I’ve seen you use those ball bearings, I need you to do that, but form it into a thin layer in front of my gun, try to take the shape of a lens, that way your electromagnetic energy will wrap around my blast.”

”That would work. Like what we doing a particle cannon! That’s some real groovy shit. Youse never told me you were smart enough for that bit of genius.” Metal balls flew around the front of Roadblock’s mounted cannon taking position and rotating as Hound Dog stood parallel to him ensuring the bearings speed up fast enough. “I don’t know how long that prison of yours will hold so fire at will.”

”We’re underground so I’ll be dialing your power back.”

”Got it!” Richard shouted, replying to both of them, and knelt down onto one knee.

He placed a hand over his cannon and fired. Steam ejected from Richard’s backpack and the ground under him gave way slightly as a thick red-yellow bolt shot out, shifting into a blue-white as it came into contact with Hound Dog’s energy, and accelerated towards the beast.

The creature had managed to crack the foam and had freed an arm, but it was futile as the ionized wave crashed into it, and washed away its form.

Richard shot up into a standing position.

”Hahah! Finally!”

Taking a moment of silence Hound Dog walked over to Roadblock. ”We should look into what the Hounds were doing, in case there’s more of those out there or more victims. But yeah for now we did good. I’ll see what Poseidon can dig up; let’s call the rest of the Boys in Blue and secure the place, collect what evidence we didn’t blow up. Then Milkshakes. Sound good.”

We won’t be looking into anything, you and I better make like a banana, and split. Richard said as he pointed at the ceiling. There wasn’t anything tasteless like a bloody smear, but there was a fair sized hole, and several missing ceiling accessories.

”Maybe but I don’t like the idea of Hounds still running around with any tech, so I’ll keep my eye out for them.”

”I’ll call Jen and the rest of the SCD as soon as you leave, no need to make this too easy for the regulars.”


”Took care of quite a rowdy bunch, was good teaming up with you Detective Roadblock. I’d buy you a shake, but I think you still have some more paperwork to do, unless you got some time to kill?”

”Paperwork can wait, I’m hungry now, and there’s a Shipley’s down the road. Want in?”

”So long as you don’t beam up your food.”
Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by DearTrickster
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Time: Midnight - Three Weeks Ago
Location: The Permanent Portal - Paris

Hovering outside the magnificent copse of Yew Trees, the moonlight casting in silver shafts of light through the endless branches of Yew. The Ambassador stood ready to see an old friend, the former adversary - Duchess Gelsey of the Autumn Court. A court that The Ambassador gladly called home territory harbouring her close relationship with the earthen fey, mixed generously with Unseelie and Seelie faerie, her oldest allies found in that court of nobility. Not the strongest, but her assuming control of the Duchess proved a great deal for a newly empowered sorceress, many years prior.

Dressed for business, as usual, Odette’s outfit was of a simple black blazer with the sleeves rolled and cuffed up to her forearm. A white low neck tank tucked into the belt of her navy blue and gray chiffon skirt. Her gray heels providing her with a few inches, she tucked a charmed hairband, black with a cluster of small diamonds to the right side of her head. It gave off a small halo of light knowingly sure it would make it even harder for the Duchess to look upon her straight on.

The Ambassador adjusted the lapel of her blazer idly as she walked down the path toward the portal, Bach by her side. Odette knew Gelsey would be her first place to start for finding a piece of the Fomorian Blade, her family having ruled over the Autumn court for millennia. She was almost certain following an instinct that Gelsey would know and she could easily squeeze that information out of the cowardly Duchess.

She was met with her copper armoured portal guards, their faces hidden behind bright copper helmets they bowed low at the sight of her - wielding glaives with various charms tied around the base of the blades, the klinked against the metal of the blade when they moved. They were tall, impressively so but vigilant.

A formal meeting and formal way to travel to the Autumn Court.

They bowed murmuring, “My Lady,” in Common Fey.

The door of the portal tucked into the bark of a yew tree, the moon reflected off the golden sheen of the doorknob. The Ambassador curtsied to the guards before opening the door - willing her new destination, asking the Arcane Stream so kindly to let her travel safely to where she wished to go. The Arcane Stream bent through time and space when the door creaked open the very energy of life flooded the copse of Yew. The trees lapped up the energy greedily, seemingly taking a deep breath in.

She crossed the threshold breathing in deeply much like the trees, feeling invigorated as she usually did by the Arcane Stream. Familiar as it was, a comforting flow took place around her. Mockingly gentle, pink lips parted to a smile.

Dutifully, Bach followed behind wearing a sly easy grin, teeth bright white, his hair filled with bright green leaves, horns poking out from beneath his messy mop and yellow-tinged eyes settled on the back of his human pact partner. The green of his blazer brightened by the light of the portal, dirt caked into his elbows and the knees of his pants. He walked barefoot, long, dark nails on his hands and toes. The parlour of his skin sickly green.

Landing among soft moss, the quiet preceded with anxious tension. The swamp stretched out before them, pockets of dark water, insects buzzing through the air, humidity apparent - a fog settling at their ankles. The Ambassador walked across water without worry, solid pads of grass appeared beneath her feet guiding her to the Duchess, begrudgingly ready for her arrival. Her smile never faded as she walked further into the swamp, a hand trailing after the soft ivy and moss growing from branches of willows. Eyes from the hollows of trees watched as she passed squinting at the light from her headband, chittering with delight.

A distant discordant song across small drums followed on the back of laughter, unnerving to most but a welcome to their Faerie Mistress.

The Ambassador arrived at the opening of the court, having passed mounds of dirt, floating lily pads, the Fey that called this swamp their home had wide heads, living among the roots of trees, within the depths of water and mud. As they moved closer, long spider webs stretched across the branches of trees.

It was no place for a mortal human to tread.

It was a timeless place, rarely changing - beautiful in the sunlight as it was under the cover of night. Many faerie called the Autumn’s swamp their home - a constant moving ecosystem of life shifting under the surface. A concept that Odette once struggled to understand, seeing past the veil was more than just learning to see and interact with Faerie. It was diving head first into their world.

On a throne of toadstools at a long table of rotting wood, Duchess Gelsey awaited patiently. Hooded in white-gray spider silk, her hoven feet delicately crossed over her ankles, surrounded by stacks of books. Jade green eyes looked up from her open book to regard The Ambassador’s arrival, dark bark much like a pair of plates laid flesh against her cheeks, giving her face a strange profile. She pushed up from her seat to bow her head. She failed to make proper eye contact.

She spoke in Common Fey, “Welcome, My Lady.”

Odette stopped short of the table, a hand laying flat against the wood pressure giving way to the softness. Bach carried on, rounding to the other side of the table. Without the need of permission, he snagged a book off one of her stacks and started to flip through it with some idle interest.

Duchess Gelsey.

The Duchess bowed lower, “My Lady Ambassador, what an honour it is to have you visit us in person. Whatever could be the reason? We heard of the triumph against the Hounds of Humanity and rejoiced. Our faith, as always, well placed in the actions of the Ambassador.”

Her words were without sincerity, just a simple obligation. Odette loved to hear her bend as she did.

The Hounds of Humanity were removed but our true enemy lies with The Winter Court.” The Ambassador said, stopping short of Gelsey - standing tall over the Duchess, she refused to look her in the eye. The Duchess, like many others, assumed the faerie Winter Court. “This is a human witch hunting group likening to call themselves The Winter Court, they were to blame for the destruction of a coven of witches and Pixy Stix. So much so, even Puck has taken to move against them.

Duchess Gelsey finally looked to The Ambassador, squinting past the light to see her face. Her thin lips pressed into a line of thought, “Oh, Puck. Handsome and charming Puck has a plan then?” She found her seat again, leaning down to sit.

Yes, he aims to collect certain… pieces of a weapon.” The Ambassador began taking a seat up beside Gelsey, invading her personal space. The Duchess pressed against her chair, pulling away. “Any ideas about what that could be, Duchess?

Staring then pulling a book off a stack, she laid it out flat for The Ambassador to look. “I genuinely hoped it would remain a secret.” The Duchess began, slowly, quietly, “For millennia we kept it safe, why would Puck want to reunite such a disgusting thing?”

The Ambassador was curious as to why she had the book among her current reading, glancing at the book Odette smoothed a hand across the ageing page - soft as fresh linen but discoloured. Names, a long list of names - titles of knights and whom they served to protect the piece. “How long has it been in your possession, Duchess? This list is long even by your standards.

Ignoring her question, Duchess Gelsey anxious to know as she asked, “Why would My Lady agree to fetch such a thing...?” Her eyes fell onto Odette’s icy blue pair, Faerie gathered around them. Clustering at The Ambassador’s back, leaving the Duchess without support. They were all various levels of small, some wore buttons for hats, others had spindly limbs, long noses, wide colourful heads, expressionless masks. Sidhe lounged from their muddy mounds to watch, vastly different in appearance to the ones surrounding Salem. Beautiful as they were in their own way, but creatures of the bog nonetheless.

Inclining her head she unrolled the paper Puck gave her, the image of the Fomorian blade laid across the pages. “It will undo those who oppose us. Which of your Knights protect it, Duchess?

Shivering, she tugged her spider webs closer. “Becan, you will have to speak with him directly to gain his permission.” Gently nudging the paper off of her book with the back of her knuckles, “Would it be easy to convince a Duchess to do any one thing, Knight Becan is far more steadfast in his duty.”

The Ambassador made no move to remove the paper, enjoying how uncomfortable Gelsey was. Such a secret lying with the faerie whom unwittingly provided Odette with every opportunity to become The Ambassador of the Fair Folk. Sincerely doubting if it was not for toppling Duchess Gelsey, Odette would most surely still be at her beck and call today or just as likely to be dead.

The sorceress laughed heartily, making Gelsey flinch. “We can trust a Knight before we can trust a Duchess. You need no convincing - simply an order. How ironic.” Standing from her chair, Bach shared a smile with Odette.

The Duchess clenched her fists, her jaw ground with frustration.

Do you have something to say, Duchess?

Gelsey sat silent for a moment, her hands disappeared under the table folding over her lap, “No, My Lady. Proceed into the bog to speak with Knight Becan.”

Hovering over the Duchess for a few moments, The Ambassador withdrew. Holding her hand out to Bach he linked up with her and together they disappeared in a burst of green leaves shrinking down to only a few inches. They walked together, hand in hand deeper into the bog only tall as a blade of grass.

They arrived to a burrow with a matted patch of grass covering the hole, silk coated the area surrounding it. Silvery trip lines just outside of it were taunt ready to alert the homeowner of their approach. Thankfully, it’s master came to greet them before it did.

Fluttering down from far above them Knight Becan descended, his fluttery moth wings dark grey kicking up motes of dust - his curly narrow brown boots touched down on top of the grassy burrow lid. Light fur covered his legs and poked out from beneath his golden brown chitin-plated armour wrapping his narrow torso and chest. On his hip was his sword, his soft coated head sporting his feather antennae, two small decorative skulls were at his shoulders. Regal, distinct and a true air of nobility to be expected of a Knight of the Autumn Court.

He bowed his head, sweeping his wing out gracefully to greet The Ambassador, he spoke in Common Fey. “My Lady, it is an honour to meet you.” His voice was soft as a whisper, hands resting casually on his sword hilt.

Still holding Bach’s hand, she gave it a distinct squeeze before nodding her head to greet the Knight.

The honour is mine in meeting you, noble Knight Becan. I have come to you to ask for a favour.” The Ambassador began pressing her open hand to her chest. “One I would not expect to be taken lightly or without consequence.

You may already know what it is I am about to-

Patiently he raised his hand to halt her, The Ambassador closed her mouth waiting for him to speak, his shoulders shifted in a languid sigh, “Whatever it is, it is yours, My Lady.” Becan replied.

Bach shared a look with Odette, the pair confused. He began resting his large black eyes on the pair, “The Good Will you have earned among my people here in the Autumn Court will stretch for generations, The Duchess once ate us as a delicacy - as many of the noble folk took to as a fashionable exotic entree. Try as we did to defend ourselves.” He clenched his fist until it shook.

“I took the burden of protecting a piece and Knighthood to protect my own, but it is you who brokered unity right under her nose. The Court thrives, but it is unfashionable. . .” He chuckled, “Such is life.”

He took long strides to reach Odette, gently grasping her hand flourishing his wings out as he kneeled before her, bowing his head against her hand. “You need only ask, My Lady. I would trust no other to such a dangerous artifact.”

Odette’s expression softened genuinely, a glow of admiration brightened her smile.

Noble Knight Becan, I ask of you to give me the piece you protect, the piece of Fomorian Blade.” She asked softly, “I will relieve you of this burden.

Tilting his head up, a light squeeze of her fingers in his hand and he nodded once before standing back up. He turned walking back to the burrow standing on the lid once more he knocked his heel against the lid three times. Long legs of a spider crept out from under the lid pushing up to regard it's master’s call. A twitch of antennae, a series of knocks told the spider to fetch the blade disappearing deep back into its burrow.

Minutes passed, far away sounds of something heavy being dragged back up to the surface. The tip of the blade gently poked it’s way up first, six inches of an iron blade eventually laid flat on the ground. The Fey taking considerable distance from the piece wrapped in layers of silk. “The most dangerous part of the dagger was given to me, wrapped in silk I was able to move it safely underground to store it.”

Odette nodded her eyes on the first piece. “I will look after it, I swear.

“Please do not hesitate to call upon me or my people, My Lady Ambassador. We will happily serve your needs as you will it.”

Stepping away into the deeper grass giving Knight Becan plenty of space, Bach released the spell and they returned to their normal sizes. Bending down to scoop up the blade, carefully folding a white silk handkerchief over the blade. She stored it away into her purse. Knight Becan took flight fluttering around her, a bright smile and a rosy tinge to her cheeks of glee.
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Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by NeutralNexus
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Member Seen 4 yrs ago

“What?!? What do you mean I can’t afford another round of drinks for everyone on the beach?!”

A familiar, boisterous yell echoed across the typically serene beaches of Fiji as a man sprang from his hammock to a sitting position at what the waiter just stated, the sunglasses slipping from his face from the momentum as the fiery glare peered out over the eyeware.

“Well you see, Mr. Hurst,” The attendant began, his hand running down a piece of paper he brought with him. “Up until now you have been able to provide the funds for your stay, as well as covering the damages on the on-site bar you destroyed having a ‘barfight for fun’ and the two Yachts you rented that we found washed ashore in pieces after a game you called ‘boat chicken’. But the other payments aren’t being wired in from your offshore account. We contacted your holdings this morning and got a response that...you are out of funds.”

“What? That’s impossible!” Mr. Hurst roared in response. “I spent years gettin’ more money than I ever knew what to do with, and now I’m straight up broke?”

“That...seems to be the case, sir.” The attendant responded flatly, his eye moving from his paper to the freshly-broke customer before him. “You have no more money coming in unless you have another method of payment for our services here at the resort.”

“Well, that really blows.” The hammock laid man shifted his weight carefully as he slipped off the roped netting, his bare feet burying into the white, pristine sand before slipping into a pair of cheap foam sandals, an odd choice for someone who clearly threw their money around. “In hindsight, I probably should have invested some of that money in economic management, or at least an accountant. I figured the $50 million I had stashed would last me way longer than this, at least.”

The man returned his sunglasses to their original position as he rose to his full height, towering above the diminutive waiter. Running a hand through his well-groomed beard, the man exhaled a long, sheepish sigh as his gaze swept across the crystal blue waters of the ocean, the quiet roar of the waves constantly providing a calming white noise for those rich enough to enjoy the private beach of the resort.

“Wait,” The man spoke aloud to no one in particular, his body jolting slightly as whirled on his heel to the resort attendant, his hands lashing out to grip the man by his shoulders. “Does that mean I don’t have the money to actually get off this rock?!”

The attendant's body froze up as the man grabbed hold of him, briefly twisting and jerking in an attempt to free himself as he responded. “That is-nngh-not my concern, Mr. Hurst! What matters is-mmf-you still owe the resort for the round of drinks you have already bought all guests on the beach as well as the golf cart you rented and we have not seen since!”

“Oh, shit, good point.” Mr. Hurst responded, releasing his surprisingly iron tight grip on the beach attendant and lightly smoothing out the accidental wrinkles he had created on the attendant’s shirt. “So uhhh...what do we do in this situation? We putting this on a credit card or am I going to set up a payment plan? I mean I think I have a mansion or a plot of land I may have accidentally purchased when I was drunk, but that may take a while to get someone to buy it, I’d have to get a real estate agent, but that’s going to take MORE money so I may have to take a loan--”

“You can't be serious.” The attendant interrupted, again jerking his body away from the now woefully bankrupt guest and adjusting his own outfit. “We are one of the finest resorts not only on the island, but in the world. We will not be accepting ‘credit’ or waiting for a loan. You will have to make up for your financial situation before you get back to the Americas!”

Mr. Hurst let out a loud groan, his attention drifting off the frustrated beach attendant and out to the beach. He pulled the sunglasses from his face, folding them and stuffing them into the breast pocket of his lounging shirt.

“Then I guess the moment has finally come...I guess time for me get back into the rat race and go back to work.” the man said, his face contorting into an unsatisfied grimace. “Shame too...I was really starting to enjoy this ‘retired’ life.”

He took a few steps from the hammock, slowly striding out past the tropical trees out into the open sands, his eyes fixed on the sky with a cavalier grin on his face. “And yet...I can’t deny I’ve been itching to get back into the the field…”

“Sir, wait!” The attendant shouted, angrily raising a hand as he began to chase after Mr. Hurst. “Where do you think you’re going?! You can’t jus--”

“Ah ah ah, I’m going to stop you right there, chief.” Mr. Hurst responded with a hand gesture, never taking his eyes off the sky. “You should stay back where you are or I can’t be held responsible.”

“Responsible? Responsible for what?”

But even as the attendant spoke, the air around the hotel guest had begun to change. A wind had begun to crawl along the sands, swirling and flowing away from the man who called himself ‘Mr. Hurst’. A bluish aura began to waft off of the man, energy distorting off of the muscled figure as he slowly crouched, as if he was preparing to jump straight into the sky.

“Oh, y’know. This.”

All at once a burst of energy shot from the man’s feet like a cannon launched straight into the ground, the sand blasting out in all directions. The attendant shrieked, covering his face as he and some other unfortunate beachgoers were enveloped by a sudden sandstorm, as if a cloud of flies swarmed across the beach before drifting back down to the ground. In a streak of blue, Mr. Hurst careened out of the sand cloud and into the air, rocketing high above the beach towards the hotel, the faintest sound of a ‘wohoo’ echoing over the sudden burst. Before the hotel attendant even could regain his sight over the cloud, the man had shot back to the hotel, swooping through one of the windows and coming out with a full suitcase of what could assume to be what belongings he could hastily stuff inside, soaring back over the beach and out towards the ocean.

“Y...you..your a....Wait, come back here!!” The attendant attempted to shriek as the man flew by overhead. “Thief! You owe the resort!”

“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over how awesome this exit is!” The man hollered back. He glanced back, giving the disgruntled attendant a familiar cavalier sneer and a wave of his free hand in a cheeky salute.

“And you better tell the world that it should check its wrists, because I think it just regained a Pulse!”
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Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by HotDogLad


Member Seen 2 yrs ago


A Sickly Feeling



"Thirty-Five minutes..." the thought escaped through his lips in the form of a low mutter. The finely dressed Irishman is currently seated on the passenger side of a white and not-at-all suspicious looking van. He stared down at the bottom of the vehicle, pinching the bridge of his nose as he tries to block out the highly obnoxious singing of his "professional" hirelings. The lyrics of "livin' on a prayer" rang throughout the interior of the vehicle as Sean AKA Mr.Bipolar slowly raised his head to gaze upon the road in front of him before letting out a moan of disbelief and frustration "Thirty-Five damn minutes! We have only moved a few inches for the past Thirty-Five minutes." His hand slid down from his nose, stretching the bottom half of his face before letting flop right back onto his lap as he stared out, bewildered at the conga-line of over a dozen cars. "Thirty-Five minutes of listening to all of you sing the same goddamn song over and over and over again! Jesus H. Christ!"

The singing came to a halt as all Six men just stared at their annoyed leader in complete and utter silence. The man fellow driving the vehicle gave Sean a gentle nudge on his upper-arm before giving him a toothy grin "Let the guys have their fun boss, from the looks of things we will be stuck here for a while."

Ignoring the driver, Mr.Bipolar leaned forward a bit as he glared at the traffic. "What on earth is even the cause of all this? I swear if this is all over for something stupid I'll-" Before being able to finish his sentence, Bipolar was interrupted by one of the hirelings seated in the back "Probably a car crash or something. Those kinds of things are starting to get more frequent you know." the others mumbled in agreement, some even betting that it was because of some superpowered freak. "Oh yeah, you know how those kinds of people are. They think that they're hot shits because they can shoot fireballs out of their hands or fly! When in reality they're just assholes who go around wrecking shit."

Mr.Bipolar rolled his eyes, such talk coming from the people who are about to rob a damn bank. He was about to point it out before realizing that the cars in front are finally starting to move at a decent enough pace. Mr.Bipolar let out a sigh of relief, he kind posses the sudden desire to let out a loud cheer. instead, he straightened his posture and cleared his throat, waiting for their own vehicle to start moving once more. A song slowly broke out within the vehicle.

"For fuck sakes" He muttered as to himself as quietly as he could. He now understands why so many people own headphones. He looked over at the driver who just finished off a high note. "How long until we arrive at our destination?" He asked, already fearing the answer. He just wanted all of this to end. He knows that this song will be haunting his dreams for the entirety of the year. The Driver let out a sigh, annoyed that his sing-along with his buddies was interrupted. "Ah, I'm not so sure man, maybe 30 more minutes? Hell, maybe even an hour! It all depends on the flow of traffic. Just sit back and relax boss." The thing is, Sean was not able to relax, not only because of how much he is going to hate this damn song for the next several months but also because he is both nervous and afraid. No amount of literature and unrealistic bank heist scenes in cinema history could never fully prepare him for all of this.

This robbery was not only going to make him a good bit of money, but it will also be his big debut. If he fails, a good chunk of his plan will be ruin.

The rest of the ride was pure agony. So much so that Mr.Bipolar wished that he was dead upon birth. The only good thing that came out of all of this was that the hirelings finally stopped singing the same song over and over again. Then he desired to kill himself once more as they sang a new song, a song called "Don't Stop Believin'." Nothing was wrong with the songs themselves it was just the fact that they kept on singing it over again until every single lyric was imprinted in his mind.

Finally, the bank was in sight. Bipolar loudly cleared his throat hoping to capture the attention of his hirelings. "Listen up, if all goes according to plan, this should be an easy enough score. I go in, and as soon as you all see the civilians flee the building, I want you to equip your mask and join me inside, one of you stay by the door and keep a lookout. If you spot trouble, tell me. Driver-" Again, for the second time today he was interrupted. By the same fellow from before, who was currently gazing upon his mask that shares a resemblance to the Comedy and Tragedy masks that are usually associated with theatre. "Boss, what is up with these masks? No offense but couldn't you have picked something a bit more intimidating?"

Lord have mercy. "Ah, no it is inti- Look, I am just trying to go with a theme here. Ok? Now please stop interrupting me." he took in another deep breath, hoping that he can go on without wanting to shoot anyone. "Driver, once everyone is out of the van. Take it somewhere behind the bank, ok? I know it's going to be hard because it is a fucking white van, but try not to appear suspicious. Now, does everyone understand what they are supposed to do? Ok? Ok."

He cleared his voice once more, feeling the sudden dryness before turning around to gaze upon the bank once more. He felt his heart pounding against his chest like it was a bongo. He proceeded to reach down to the bag between his feet to pull out a strange three-face mask before gently placing it into position, feeling the stings of it latching onto his face to become one. He can feel its power surge throughout his body, a sudden burst of confidence filled his spirit as he stepped out of the vehicle. "Ok, time to do this thing..."
Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by Liseran Thistle
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Liseran Thistle The Lilac Doe

Member Seen 3 yrs ago

Eris sat there at the table, their hands clutched tightly together as they digested the story that Charlton took great care to tell.“So…” They began after a short pause. “You knew my granddad when he was younger?”

Charlton nodded, chuckling bitterly. “I knew him very well. We made slow friends at first, but I soon grew used to his pompous nature with time.” He sighed, settling back into his seat. Eris thought that maybe telling the story was taking a lot out of him, but he soon straightened his back out. “I remember the day that Eric first showed up at the record store. He and Thaddeus were the very best of friends.”

“And then my gramps died, right?” Eris asked. Charlton shook his head, sadly.

“No. It was something much darker than death that ruined their friendship, I’m afraid.”


Charlton was tending to some of Thaddeus’ clothing in his small room that he shared with his brother. He had been tasked with cleaning all of his clothing for a week, and all Charlton could do was seethe silently at himself for opening his big mouth at the wrong moment. Though that was the least of his problem, noting the newest addition to the record shop, there was still the issue of Eric and Thaddeus. They were both grating on Charlton’s nerve, and belittled him to no expense, though nowadays it seemed to come from a place of familiarity.

Water sloshed onto the floor as he scrubbed extra hard on the satin fabric of Thaddeus’ shirt. He had lied when he claimed to know more than him about clothing material, but Thaddeus would be the one to pay for it in the end. This shirt was going to be more than just ruined when it was returned to him. The door downstairs opened with no warning, though Charlton could already tell by the heavy tread who it was.

“What do you want, Eric?” He had asked him without looking up from his handiwork. “I’m busy with something here, if you couldn’t tell. Also, knock next time, why don’t you?” Eric ignored him, and walked into the room, seamlessly hopping over the larger puddle of water on the floor.

“I’ve got another proposition for you.” Eric announced, taking a seat on Charlton’s bed.

Shaking his head, he spoke. “I already told you, I’m not interested. Besides, it’s just a gathering full of stuffy rich folk like yourself, what do I have to do with any of that?” He said. For the past few days, Eric had been inquiring to him about a “small get together” with “family associates” and practically badgering him to attend. Charlton was more than against the idea.

“I’ll pay you if you come with me.” Eric told him, crossing his arms.

Charlton snorted. “What am I, some kind of escort service now? I’m already cleaning Thad’s shirts-”

“And doing it quite poorly if I have anything to say about.”

“-and now you want me to follow you around some lame family reunion cause you’d be bored?” He took the shirt out of the water, and wrung it out like a towel. “Why not just skip the whole event entirely and do something else for once.”

Eric was quiet for a moment, as if contemplating that very sentiment. “Like...what? What else could I possibly do in this dead end town tomorrow when that reunion hits?” He scoffed. “Go see a movie? Walk around a park? I’d rather not have people gawking at me, the whole time, Charlton.”

He sighed, stood up, and flung the shirt somewhere into a corner before turning to Eric. “Then just...I don’t know. Hang out with me tomorrow?” He suggested. “I’m going to one of those jazz concerts that’s been touring around the country for awhile. It ain’t a movie, but it also ain’t a reunion. You should come along.”

Eric tilted his head to the side, in mock consideration. “I could...I suppose I could follow you along to whatever commoner’s soiree you’re attending.Besides it sounds a lot better than listening to nothing but ‘Classics’ for the whole evening.”

“Wait, do rich folk really just sit around all day listening to Beethoven and the like ‘cause they’re too good for other types of music?” Charlton laughed. “That’s one of your funnier jokes, Eric.”

Eric stood. “No, we don’t spend all our time doing that, and- you know what. Never mind. I don’t have to explain anything to you. Just know, my parents are very stuck in their ways, and their tastes, and I want no parts of it.” he crossed his arms, hearing no more of Charltons teasing.

“Alright then, it’s settled. You’ll come with me to the Jazz concert instead of the stuffy rich people meeting.” Charlton stood up, stretching his arms in the air. “There’s gonna be a few friends of mine tagging along, however. You might even know a few of them.”

Eric thought there was no way he would know anyone associated with Charlton, of all people. But he would soon come to learn he knew Charltons friends a lot better than Charlton did.


Welp Its been quite a while since I've posted anything but I finally have some time now to just write seeing how all my classes are all but finished.

Go watch Dororo, seriously season 2 just dropped guys its a good ass show.
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Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by nitemare shape
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nitemare shape GM of Create A Hero and Star Wars: Legacies

Member Seen 7 days ago

The light shone in the darkened garage, illuminating the large space enough so that work could be done. The man in the garage, the man formerly known as Dr. Jason Miles; had been working for weeks, getting everything ready for the moment that he would finally make his grand debut to the world. The former Dr. Miles stood under the hood of the school bus that he had acquired during the recent crisis with the Hounds of Humanity, making last minute modifications to the vehicle's engine and other systems.

Dr. Miles had once been a leading doctor in the field of sleep medicine. He had made several major breakthroughs in the study of sleep disorders, and had been on the verge of one such breakthrough which would have changed the lives of millions of people, he had found a cure for insomnia, a malady that he himself had suffered from. He had developed a serum that he believed would finally cure insomnia itself and was about to begin human trials on the formula. Unfortunately, the research firm that he worked for, The Nox Foundation suddenly pulled the funding for his project and confiscated all of his research, which forced him to use the only dose of the serum that they had been able to manufacture on himself. Sadly, the serum did not have the desired effect. Instead of a cure for insomnia, the serum intensified the symptoms, rendering Dr. Miles unable to sleep at all.

Days went by and Dr. Miles had been able to get a moment's rest. No matter what he did, he could not get an ounce of sleep. He was exhausted, both mentally and physically, with no way to find relief. Days turned to weeks, and as each day passed Dr. Miles began to lose his grip on his mental faculties. He became short tempered and irrational. He soon found himself easily overstimulated, and being out in the world was too much for him, so he stopped leaving his home.

As the weeks went on, Dr. Miles began a physical, as well as mental metamorphosis. As his mind began to fracture, he became almost physically unrecognizable. His eyes became sunken with dark circles around them. He became sickly looking, his skin turned an ashen gray before turning a jaundiced shade of yellow.

Eventually, driven mad by the inability to sleep, Dr. Miles decided that the Nox Foundation was responsible for her current state, and they needed to pay for what they did to him. So he went to the Foundation's main office and forced his way into a closed door board meeting and began ranting and raving at them for shutting down his research, screaming at them for making him what he had become. When he finished berating the Nox Foundation board members, he produced a Glock 37.

Then he opened fire.

The board member scattered from the large round table that they had been sitting at when the deranged former employee had entered the room, however Miles continued to fire until not a single board member was left standing. Only when the slaughter was done, did he leave the boardroom, where he was met by security, who had been trying to gain accesses to the room unsuccessfully, but a contingent of the Crown Ridge Police force, who took him into custody without incident.

He was then taken to one of the best mental facilities in the Northeastern United States, Acadia State Hospital. The doctors there did what they could to treat Dr. Miles, unfortunately, it soon became apparent that he might may just be beyond help. So they locked him away in the darkest corners of the facility, and while they continued to try to help the man, they had little faith that anything they could do would have any effect on his current mental state. However, despite the best efforts of the staff at Acadia State Hospital, they were unable to keep the man who now referred to himself as Insomnia locked away. In a stunning display of brutality and cunning, he murdered several staff members as he escaped the facility.

As demented as he had become, the man now known as Insomnia was still just as brilliant as he had been prior to his transformation. Soon after he had escaped, the Hounds of Humanity had revealed themselves as a true force to be reckoned with, having destroyed multiple American cities with an orbital weapon. With their fevered pursuit of anyone even suspected of being a meta human, Insomnia went underground, waiting until the terrorist organization's downfall to reemerge.

“Don't worry, you'll be just fine.” Insomniac said as he continued tinkering under the school bus hood. “You're going to help me remind these people just who I am.” He said as he slammed the hood down and met the gaze of “Paul,” or at least that's what the man's name tag had said. Insomnia didn't know Paul, the gas station attendant had just been unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now found himself gagged and bound in the driver's seat of the school bus that Insomnia had been putting the finishing touches on. However, Paul wasn't alone. Within the garage, there were five other buses, with five other people bound and gagged in the driver's seat.

“They said I'm insane, but the truth is, everyone else is asleep at the wheel. I'm the only one who is awake. I'm the only one who knows what's really going on.” Insomnia said as he checked the C-4 explosives that were backed into the passenger compartment of each bus. He then pulled what looked like some sort of remote control from his pocket and presses a button. With that simple press of a button, each of the six school buses roared to life and began to roll out of the garage into the city of Crown Ridge. “But soon enough, everyone will see the truth.”


Officer Jim Dawes had just finished a long shift and was getting ready to call it a night. Once he put the finishing touches on the report that he was working on, he would finally be able to go home and see his family. To Officer Dawes, it couldn't come soon enough. He had been on a long, sixteen hour shift dealing with all kinds of low-life's and gang bangers, and he had had just about enough for the day. In fact, he had wanted nothing more than to get a job somewhere else, Crown Ridge had always been a dangerous city, but between the organized crime syndicates and the costumed freaks, as he referred to them, the city had gotten even worse than it ever had been. Officer Dawes had finally finished his paper work and filed it for the night and made his way toward the department exit.

“G'night Jimmy.” Leslie Jenkins said from behind the reception desk.

“ Night Leslie.” Dawes replied as he stepped toward the door. However, he did not open it.

As Jim looked out the door, he was blinded by headlights coming straight toward him. He stood frozen in shock as he looked upon the school bus that raced toward the entrance of the 16th Precinct. Though his brain was screaming for him to move, to get everyone away from the front of the building, he feet refused to move. Finally, he was able to snap out of his stupor. He turned back toward the reception desk and started to run toward the back of the room.

“Everybody move!” he yelled. However, it was too late. The bus crashed through the front door of the precinct and ran into the reception desk before anyone had time to get out of the way. Upon impact, the explosives in the back of the bus detonated, sending a fireball ripping through the 16th Precinct.


Kyle lay on his side, holding Sam tightly against him. It had been a hard couple of months for them. Sam was still having a hard time dealing with losses suffered during the Hounds of Humanity attack at LHU. Thought she had been on her way to the school when the attack broke out, one of her favorite professors had been killed in the attack, as well as several acquaintances. Fortunately, the attack had occurred during the school's summer session, which meant that only a fraction of the student population was on campus that day.

Then there was the Sammy incident. Kyle had been shocked to find that she had come to Crown Ridge from Upstate New York under the impression that Kyle and she were engaged, snuck into the house and into the bed that Kyle and Sam shared, ambushing him while wearing nothing but a tee shirt. Kyle had immediately contacted Sam to fill her in on what happened, and even though they both were able to laugh about the situation, Kyle could tell that it had bothered Sam. However, that was all in the past.

Kyle squeezed Sam, pulling her closer against him as he leaned in and kissed the back of her neck. She turned and craned her neck slightly, meeting his gaze and smiled. He leaned in to kiss her, and just as their lips met, the entire house shook. They lay in bed for a moment longer, shocked by the sudden commotion, before a second explosion rang out. Kyle jumped up and ran to the window, even as more explosions could be heard in the city. He was horrified by what he saw, multiple burning buildings in close proximity to one another. Though he didn't know exactly what was going on, he knew what it looked like, a coordinated attack.

He ran over to the closet and opened the door, then put his hand on a black panel on the side wall of the closet. A green light on the panel flashed, and the back of the closet opened, revealing another small closet. It was a security measure that Ash had installed soon after Harry had brought her in to replace him, and although he thought that it may have been overkill, he was gratful for the added security. When Kyle emerged from the closet, he was dressed in his Lyger garb. He looked to Sam as he put the mask on.

“You need to go.” Sam told him.

“Yeah, I'll be back as soon as I can.”

“I know. Just be careful.” She told him as he threw himself out the bedroom window, rushing headlong into danger.

“I love you.” She whispered as he vanished from view.
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Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Dedonus
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Dedonus Kai su teknon;

Member Seen 15 hrs ago

The Mandela Effect: Part 3

"90's" Aubrey Adkins??? | Will Grant (with Spidey powers)

Pacific Point, CA

Will was not sure why he was brushing his teeth, as he and Aubrey were about to head out for brunch. Maybe he was subconsciously stalling so he could buy some time to figure out what was up with Aubrey? Putting aside the caricature that was now her body, she was acting a little—off. She had almost rush out of the house in her drider form without wearing her superhero costume. Aubrey would normally not be that careless with her secret identity. Sure, there was that one time where that serial killer was trying to abduct them, but there were extenuating circumstances in that situation.

Now that Will had dawdled long enough, he could not waste any more time. She would start wondering if anything was wrong. After Will had rinsed off his toothbrush and set it on the bathroom counter, he turned the handle of the door and exited. He found Aubrey reclining on her living room couch, dressed and ready. Or at least it looked like she thought she was ready. She was sliding the touch screen of her cell phone as she browsed her device, while she still had her drider appearance, despite her knowing that they were heading out in public. At least she was wearing a pair of the yoga pants that Athena had altered so that they would fit Aubrey’s spider half.

“Ready?” Aubrey finally looked up from her cell phone.

“Um…shouldn’t you have your power nullifier on?” Will asked. For a few seconds, Aubrey just gave her boyfriend a blank stare, as if she was wondering why would she have her nullifier on. Then her face suddenly became flushed.

“Oh, dah! I have no idea how that slipped my mind!” Aubrey finally responded to Will before rolling over onto her eight arachnid legs and scurrying off to her bedroom. Her voice, however, betrayed Aubrey’s sincerity, hinting that she was trying to act a part. Before opening her door, Aubrey turned her upper body towards Will. “Blonde moment, of course.”

After Aubrey had hurried into her bedroom to change her wardrobe, Will took a seat on her couch and started to wrack his brain. What could be causing Aubrey to act slightly off? The first thought that came to his mind was some sort of mind-altering power, like that Voyager. However, this did not explain her physical changes. Plus, Voyager was a hero. Otherwise, this would be the worse prank ever. And a mean one, too.

Then he considered the Game Genie. His hard-light holograms could explain Aubrey’s exaggerated physical appearance. But it would not explain her peculiar behavior. Plus, the Game Genie had been apprehended a while ago. So, unless the villain had planted a device to enact his vengeance on the heroes who had taken him down, the Game Genie was also an unlikely culprit.

Now I’m ready,” Aubrey alerted Will. Her voice broke Will’s train of thought. He was going to need to return to this inquiry later. There was no reason to break the news just yet. Not many people would not freak out if someone challenged their identity. Plus, because Will’s spider-sense was not blaring in his head, he knew she probably was not some villain doing a poor attempt at a doppelganger.

When Will turned his head, he noticed that Aubrey had changed her entire wardrobe. The shirt she had just been wearing a few moment prior must have went well the yoga pants that fit her spider half. Her outfit obviously was not designed for someone who looked as if she jumped off the page of a 90’s dark age comic book, but Aubrey tried to her best to mask this fact. But because he had no leads on what has caused her to look and act in this way, Will just had to play it cool.

“Great. I’m starving,” Will answered.

It took a little bit for Aubrey to remember how to drive a car that ran on gasoline and rolled on four wheels. Luckily it was like riding a bike: you never truly forget the fundamentals. She wondered whether Will had started to realize something was up, especially because of the car troubles and her initial wardrobe choice. Maybe she should fess up that something was wrong. But what if he thought she was crazy? Maybe it is better to keep things under wraps and keep acting like she was his Aubrey. Thinking about whether temporarily romancing an alternate version of her boyfriend from a different universe would be considered cheating was just too much for Aubrey to comprehend. It was not like she was intending to steal this Will from this world’s Aubrey or anything. How hard would it really be to play herself? Sure, it was an Aubrey from a different reality, but how different could they really be?

After Aubrey and Will had finished their brunch, they decided to head over to the local putt putt course in Pacific Point, the Seagreen Gardens. Although Will did try to suggest to go home because of the afternoon heat (and so that the Aubrey from a parallel universe would not attract any attention), he had no response to Aubrey’s argument that he did not fly out to Pacific Point just to sit around in her apartment.

They were on the fourteenth hole and Will was lining up his shot. He pulled back his putter and tapped his red golf ball. It started to roll towards the hole, but it eventually swerved passed it and stopped about a step away.

“Will, you’re the most inconsistent putter I’ve ever seen,” Aubrey commented as she aimed her shot. “You can sometimes make par and even sink a hole-in-one, and yet you use all your swings on some of the easiest holes.”

“You should see me when my sister is whispering ‘you’re going to miss,’ whenever I’m up to putt,” Will answered back. Aubrey’s ball, meanwhile, glided across the green surface and bounced inside the hole once it dropped into it.

It was Will’s turn again. He stood next to his golf ball and took some practice swings before placing his putter behind his ball. Once he was happy with his shot, he began to swing his putter. However, when the end of his putter came into contact with the ball, it had also struck the sole of a shoe. Aubrey had placed her foot in the way of Will’s shot.

“You were going to miss again,”

“What?” Will asked. Seeing the future was definitely not one of her powers.

“You’re not keeping your putter straight when you’re swinging.”

“Well, we’re just playing for fun. So, it doesn’t matter if I’m inconsistent.”

“Let me show you. It’ll just take a second,” Aubrey suggested as she rested her putter on the ground before walking up behind Will.

“What? No, I don’t think this is necessary!” Will protested in vain.

“Come on, just get into your stance,” Aubrey told this world’s version of her boyfriend. Once he had, she reached her arms around his sides and placed her hands on his putter. He squirmed a little when she pressed her body up against his back. She held her head over his left shoulder, while her blonde locks billowed down beside him.

“All you have to do is keep the club straight and hit the ball. It will keep going in the same direction if you swing straight through,” Aubrey explained as she controlled Will’s putter. When she hit the red golf ball for Will, it rolled straight into the hole.

“See, that wasn’t too hard!”

Although Will tried to put on a smile, Aubrey could tell he was a little flustered. But her mind was not focused on why he was flustered, but rather on a different realization. Unlike her Will, this one had a little more muscle on his bones. Don’t get her wrong. Both this and her Will were skin and bones. But this one seemed a little more fit. More toned probably would be a better description. It was beyond her how this version of Will could look like this in such a technological backwater of a dimension they were in.

“Ready for the next hole?

“Sure,” Will told her, although his voice betrayed his attempt to look composed. He really needed to figure out what had happened to his Aubrey.
Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by nitemare shape
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nitemare shape GM of Create A Hero and Star Wars: Legacies

Member Seen 7 days ago

The warmth of the morning summer sun hit Scott Hunter's face as he stepped onto the roof of The Hub. Though the sun was shining and there was not a cloud in the sky, Scott was nevertheless restless. With each step he took, his legs felt as if they were weighted. He had things that he wanted, no, needed to do. However, before he could get to tasks at hand, the growling in his stomach informed him that he needed to get breakfast.

The only question was, where should he go? Bea's Diner over on 3rd Street? Maybe a quick trip down to the Cape? Or perhaps he was in the mood for something a little farther away. Red's Place in Chicago? Or maybe even Calypso's in Miami? The truth was, he didn't know what he wanted, but he figured that he'd decide once he was in the air.

With the press of a button, the nanites which formed his suit deployed from the bracelet that Alexa had given him and began to cover his body. His skin tingled as the nanites moved first up his arm, then over his torso. In an instant, his easily recognizable costume had replaced his normal clothes and he had been transformed into his famous alter ego, Icon.

I'm not sure that I'll ever get used to that. Icon thought to himself as he rose up into the Lost Haven sky. As he ascended upward, the city skyline dropped below him, and with a half turn, Icon accelerated away from the city that he called home, westward, toward Chicago. The ground below him was a massive blur of greens and browns which would change to grays and blacks as he rocketed past cities. Though the trip from Lost Haven to Chicago would have taken hours, or even days if taken by traditional means, it only took him a matter of moments to reach his destination.

Once he arrived in Chicago, he touched down in an alley behind Red's Place, a local diner that was known throughout the city as one of the best places for breakfast in the entire Mid-West. With a single press of the button on his bracelet, the nanites which constituted his costume instantly retracted into the device, leaving him in his civilian clothes as he made his way to the front of the eatery.

After eating breakfast, which consisted of a large meat lover's omelet, a stack of pancakes, and a generous side of Chicago's famous breakfast sausage, Scott was ready to hit the skies again. He had a lot to do today before the club opened, and one thing in particular stood out more than the rest. In fact, he hadn't been able to think of anything else for the last several days. So once he had paid for his breakfast, he went back into the alley behind Red's and with the press of a button, again changed into his uniform and took to the skies.

As he flew home toward Lost Haven, his mind drifted to the task at hand, and what he had to do. Though the thought of what he needed to do terrified, he found within himself a steel resolve, and he knew that nothing was going to get in his way, not even the fear that he felt deep down inside. Nevertheless, he was going to take the first step, he just had one more stop before returning to Lost Haven.

It had been awhile since Scott had returned to his hometown, however, today was a special occasion. He landed on Gallows Hill, near the famous water tower the word “Salem” painted above the image of a witch on her broom. Once he had retracted his costume into the bracelet, he began the short hike down the hill and out of the woods, passing a small playground and basketball court on his way back into the downtown area. Although he had been back to Salem infrequently since his father passed away, something about the city just seemed to stay familiar, it was almost as if nothing ever changed. As he walked down Highland Avenue towards downtown, images from his past played in his mind. He could see himself walking this very street with his older brother Brandon, as well as Jenny when they were children. Jenny was always running ahead of them, anxious to get into town and get candy at the comic shop on Essex Street.

Scott smiled at the memory, and kept walking. He walked passed the Ropes Mansion and the Witch House, and crossed the street. As he did so, he looked at the Army Barracks shop at the corner and chuckled to himself when he thought about how around Halloween they would always put a display outside of a man in a spooky mask sitting in a chair surrounded by hay, and sometimes they'd replace the mannequin with an actual person who would occasionally jump up and scare tourists and locals alike as they walked by.

Though these were fond memories, today was not about the past. On the contrary, today was about the future. He made his way down the street, where he crossed at another intersection and found himself in a pedestrian mall. About a half of a block down, across from a new tattoo shop was his destination, Witch City Jewelers. Though there were other places that he could have gone, this was the same store that his father had bought his mother's engagement ring, and just about every other piece of jewelry for as long as Scott could remember. There was something fitting about coming here today. He stood in the doorway for a moment, and for a brief moment, he hesitated. A cold sensation of panic washed over him, and he considered turning around and going home, though, only for a split second. With a deep breath, he pushed open the door and went inside.
Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Indy Cooper
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Indy Cooper Deity-in-training

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Banner credit to Nitemare Shape. Thanks Boss!

Nicky sat with her elbows on her knees, chin in her hands. They had apparently determined she would be back at some point, and had had clothes ready for her in the correct sizes, probably thanks to Grisham's limited physical exams. Now she wore black rip-stop skater shorts, a white tee and a grey hoodie. She had staunchly refused shoes until; it was pointed out to her that businesses wouldn't let her in and she could still carry bacteria around on her skin.
So she had agreed to at least wear shitty trainers and ankle socks, though she reminded them that her feet would outlast anything strapped to them. Her black hair was held out of her face by a pair of clips, since it wasn't long enough for a good ponytail. The little flower-shaped things were a “welcome back” gift from Megami, who promised they were almost as durable as she was.

Megami sat at her side, though not in the form Nicole was most used to seeing her, instead as a very pristine and prim red fox, with luxurious and shining fur that the teen was sure would never survive five minutes in the wild on a real fox. They were chatting in Mandarin, waiting for their third.

<Wait, so today is actually an experiment? God damn it Crawford!

The fox rolled its eyes. <You shouldn't be mad at him. It was her idea. That's how a lot of the tests around here go.>

Nicole stopped herself from getting up in fury and stared at her companion. <What do you mean?>

<Well,> said the fox. Her mouth wasn't moving, and Nicky was pretty sure she was using telepathy, though she couldn't be sure. <You, for example, have much more of a sense for how invulnerable you are than any of us ever could. Crawford can probably think of it scientifically, but his brain refuses to believe there isn't a breaking point. Even I have some problems with some of you. The limits of your powers are much more visible to you than to outsiders, especially those who don't have powers themselves.>

<Okay, I guess I can understand that.>

<The case is even more pronounced with people like yourself or Miss Rose, whose powers tend towards what science deems physically impossible. Flight and lasers and other things are at least in the same realm as normal, even if the source is unusual and the mechanisms not quite understood. But you, specifically, would make physicists cry trying to work out what was happening.>

Nicole grinned at the thought of making ivory tower college kids weep just by being in the same room, but that reverie was quickly broken as a pair of black heels appeared in front of her, attached to black slacks-covered legs. Nicky's eyes tracked up, past an absolutely ridiculous white blouse, waistcoat, and long black jacket, and up to Rose's face, where she absolutely lost it in a fit of giggles.

Rose placed a hand on her hip and stared forlornly at the girl. “What? What's so wrong with being stylish?”

Nicky recovered her breath enough to stand up and take a swipe at the black top hat on rose's head, which was disappointingly immaterial to her hand. “Sure, dude. Stylish if you were a magician in the twenties.” She calmed herself quickly, and watched Rose pick up the suddenly appearing leash that led to a rhinestone studded black collar on Megami. ”So what exactly are we testing?”

“Something I couldn't without you here, actually. We're going to see how far I can project.”

”And you need me for that?”

Rose smiled indulgently. “Well, I can't know the exact bounds I get to because I can't carry the pedometer you've got back once I disappear. Megami is here to watch out for danger. You are completely risk free, unlike everyone else, and you look normal. I couldn't very well ask Marble to go with me.”

The black-haired teen nodded. “That makes sense. So where are we going?”

“Up to you! I'm just happy to get out with someone!”

Nicky gave her a sidelong glance as they started down the pavement. ”Can't you go out whenever you want?”

“Ye-es.” The reply was drawn out, like Rose was thinking, which Nicky realised she probably was. “But to be out with someone else who knows the reality of my situation is different. And if this goes well, I can take the real me with us, and if something happens and I can't manifest or whatever, you'll still be around to get me to safety.”

Rose gave her her own sidelong glance, and said with a frown, “Besides, it seems like you could use an actual friend or two, kid.”

Nicky scowled and stepped out along the pavement. Rose and Megami followed. The psychic impression or whatever that comprised Rose's “out” form walked with some flair, acting like she owned the pavement and daring people to comment on the fox trotting primly alongside her. The only clue Nicky could pick up that she wasn't really there was the occasional lack of sound from her steps, which made the teenager frown in thought. So she has to consciously handle literally everything she does. That seems like too much work. On the plus side, she was now outside, and the summer sun shone down like a signal that, however much her life might suck these days, at least this season was still a time for relaxation.

She had been made aware that, due to her status as a minor and an orphan, part of the deal with her staying at the facility was that she had to still do all the classwork that normally would come her way, albeit in a much less traditional fashion. The state was still finding her an attorney to represent her and a social caseworker, but her unique situation coupled with all the trouble lately had put her on the sidelines in terms of priority, something which suited her just fine. If she could just be left alone to her own devices, she thought, everything would at least get to some semblance of normal.

She was surprised that, when she looked up, the sun had sunk quite a bit. Megami's little fox form was panting, and Rose was beginning to look pale and had called out to her to stop for a minute while they found a water fountain for the poor thing. Nicky still wasn't entirely certain what as up with the Japanese girl, but she wasn't going to make any disparaging remarks right now. After all, she was effectively immune to thirst and Rose was technically back at the facility, so Megami ruled the breaks at the moment. They made a turn down a foot path into a small park and found a fountain with a dog spout lower down which Megami gratefully drank from, making not a whiff of fuss that she wasn't actually a dog.

Nicky had just leaned against a tree when the two men sprang out of the bushes. They wore masks and nondescript clothes, and were built like concrete foundations, thick with muscle and not of the size any of the three of them could do much. Rose's hand immediately went out like a Jedi's, obviously trying some sort of telekinetic force, but she barely even slowed the man she aimed at. Megami backed away, growling, and then gave Nicky one long, meaningful look before spinning and taking off into the park like a shot.

Nicky, for her part, threw herself without much thought at the men, yelling like a madwoman and throwing punches, all of what little training she had gotten in China immediately forgotten. Her only goal was to protect her friends. Rose vanished as one of the men punched her in the face. The other went down as Nicky leapt up and planted her knees in his chest, screaming and flailing at his face with her fists. He threw up his arms to defend himself, and the other swiftly arrived behind her and simply wrapped his arms around hers, pinning her at the elbows, and then lifted. A hood was thrown over her face, and she couldn't see anything else as she was dragged, kicking and screaming, from the area.
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Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Indy Cooper
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Indy Cooper Deity-in-training

Member Seen 11 mos ago

Banner credit to Nitemare Shape. Thanks Boss!

Frequent Fighters gym, two blocks east of LHPD Central

11:12, June 12th

Darya fell against the ropes after a heavy blow and barely caught her arms around the top rope, preventing her from falling on to the mat. She tried to get herself back up into some semblance of a ready stance, but her arms refused to do anything more, and her legs wobbled unsteadily. She heard the coach call it and cursed under her breath in Farsi, sweating dripping from the tip of her nose and all over her. She let herself drop, and her opponent held his hand up from the other side, where he too had collapsed. She winced as she held her own lightly padded hand up in salute before letting it drop and relaxing her neck enough to see the coach climbing into the ring next to her.

"You know, every time you come in here for a couple rounds, I end up thinking I might have to call an ambulance." He tossed a towel over her face, which took her a moment to actually grab and use. Her arms felt like limp noodles.

"Yeah, well," she said, "at least I'm keeping your boxers in shape."

"In shape? They're as half dead as you are by the time you guys are finished! It takes months to get these guys in hsape for a bout, Kama!"

The shortening of her surname had been a matter of her refusing to listen to the coach and owner of the gym mangle her full name any more than she had to. In the month since she had been coming to this gym, most of the men and women had taken to calling her 'Kama', which meant she wasn't getting rid of it now.

"They know that, Jazz. That's why the ones with upcoming bouts don't fight me."

"The way you heal up, girl, when am I gonna get you to fight for the gym?"

Darya shook her head like she had every time he asked that question.

There was no doubt that Jasper "Hard Jazz" Godfried had been a hell of a boxer in his day, though a staunch refusal to go pro still mystified sports reporters even to this day. Fighting for his gym was seen as a sort of prestige honor in the area, and Darya was certainly glad of the opportunity to spar at the gym. She had even learned several hard lessons about her superhuman strength and toughness not being equal to someone like Icon, and in fact she was just barely above human unless she "accelerated" herself, something she wasn't prepared to do in a friendly bout.

But she wasn't here to win accolades, or even to earn things. She was here to work herself like a dog, distract herself from the vile images that haunted her nightmares about that hellish night a month ago, and to drive out some of the anger she had felt at her uselessness in the whole fiasco of the Hounds. She had grown a dark core at the center of her heart, and the new captain of her unit had put her on leave until there was an emergency,. Although she was welcome to sit in on situation reports, she was not allowed to see mission briefs, not updated on wanted individuals, and wasn't allowed to train with the team until her psych evals said otherwise. She was effectively benched.

Sarah's situation hadn't done Darya any better, either. On top of the other damage she had taken, the doctors had found fractures in her skull, and her hamstrings had been severed. One had been salvaged, but the other had proven more difficult, and Reeves had been discharged from the FBI on medical grounds, though given a hefty severance package and full benefits as though she had retired. But she remained in outpatient therapy, would never run again even with Holliday's help, and after a month, would barely speak over a whisper.

Darya didn't know why the former agent's condition effected her so much, but it did. Maybe it was spillover from her feelings about her friend Broadway's gruesome end, or the other violence she had seen. The agency psychologist had given her the number of a local therapist, but she hadn't called yet. Her agency pay managed to get her half an apartment in LH, one she shared with Reeves as the only person the woman had okayed to live with her, and one day walking back from her own brooding meditation spot further north, she had spotted the gym.

Jazz knew she was a metahuman, had tested her behind closed doors, and then okayed her to fight with some restrictions in his gym. She couldn't let loose completely, so she had to hit the bags with him before any sparring match so she could gauge her own levels. And she wasn't even allowed a water bottle while in the ring, though that was for the others more than her. He had required her to divulge, to any sparring partner, that she was a meta, so she had cut through the middle and announced it to the whole gym. There were around fifty men and women who came in on a regular basis, and the place now offered boxing, MMA, and kickboxing. Darya was in the kick boxing class and loved it, but she knew she wouldn't be able to fight for the gym any time soon.

Despite her misgivings about seeking therapy, she knew something was wrong inside. Any time she was in the ring, or even just hitting bags or working out, she could feel something bubbling within her, trying to get out. During those times, she could fly off the handle at any little thing, and while the gym members might've given her no passing thought at her size, the damage she had wrought on several of them in the ring meant she was a known danger when angry and was left alone. Some of them usually attempted to calm her down, which led to her going for runs to cool off and go home.

Yes, she knew something had broken, but she couldn't fix it, and wouldn't show it to anyone else, so she drove herself as hard as possible into her workouts. She fixed Jazz with a level gaze from her spot on the mat.

"You know I can't, you stubborn geezer."

"Yeah yeah. Maybe they'll make a meta league or somethin'. You could be the start, you know." He grabbed her under the armpit and lifted her easily to her feet, where she swayed for a few seconds and then managed to get her bearings and find her way out of the ring and to the gym floor.

"Sure, coach, right after I join the Olympic swim team. I gotta get home, I'll see you on Tuesday."

She collected her gear, changed in the locker room, and made her good byes before heading out the door and onto the summer street. She wished something would happen, a mugging or something, but schooled herself immediately for such a thought. It required someone having the worst day of their life, and she didn't want that kind of karma.

She thought about heading down to the river and getting some of her other practise in, but the water wasn't calling to her today. It hadn't in weeks, in fact, though she knew her powers still worked. She had pondered the idea of her having some sort of danger sense that made her get near water, and hadn't ruled it out, but there was a sneaking suspicion that it had more to do with her state of mind than anything else. She didn't want to address that, however.

Since the water was out, she hefted her duffel and limped home, a mere block away. The building wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible, either. Six stories of pale brickwork with iron fittings, forming an L-shape around a small playlot. The local kids already knew her by sight and waved as she got to the front door. She gave a half-hearted wave back, punched in the secruity code, and made her way through the building to her shared apartment on the third floor. Noting Sarah sitting in her wheelchair staring out of the window, she muttered a hello, wnet to her room, and flopped out across her bed. She fought back tears for some time before she managed to pass out from the exhaustion of the morning's work.
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Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Mercinus3
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Kayla’s eyes flickered towards Jai. While she was still getting her bearings straight from the healing process from hell, she did manage to catch some of the words he said. Slowly, she propped herself up into a sitting position, her cognac eyes looking at him. ”Maybe at some point, when I have come to terms with it,” she replied to the comment. Her head throbbed, her sense of balance thrown into spinning circles as she tried to regain her other senses. When she felt her body was stable enough, she raised her left hand to go to rub the temple.

About halfway through the movement, her hand stopped mid-motion. Without her willing it, her hand - her whole body - slowly shifted towards Racheli. Much like what had happened in Sherman Square when the Hounds attacked. Kayla’s mind still bogged down from the pain, recalled the same moment when Racheli was also annoyed at that kid. That moment caused her to stop too. She also controls metals or magnetism? But before she could follow that thought with the same question, her friend turned and left the garage. She winced as the door was slammed shut.

It was at that moment she noticed a change in demeanour in the virus in the room. Normally, she wouldn’t be bothered by the apparition, but something was different. The words that came from its mouth stunned the archer before it disappeared into thin air. In her moment of showing both Jai and Racheli that she wasn’t weak - that she wanted to feel as strong in her human form as those two - she pissed off her friend. ”Oh hell,” she spoke, exasperated in tone. ”Looks like I need to talk to her before she disappears…” Slowly, she tried to get up onto her feet.

Jai was near unresponsive at Kayla's remark, just shifting his dual irises in her direction with a subtle quirk of his brow. His blue eye had mechanical like circles inside it as if he was continuously analyzing the scene and her. But, the gaze shifted its focus when Racheli stormed out, slamming the door behind her. The virus's words were ominous, but he said nothing. At the moment, everything seemed well enough…

He moved when she did, hands reaching for her to hold her steady. "Steady, Kayla," Jai warned, gripping her forearm and shoulder. "I do not think it is advisable to move quite yet."

He blinked and his sensors were giving him the information he didn't notice before. Switching his one eye to a different view, he noted the strange electrical energy coming off of her. "She will be back in a moment, but pace yourself. I should warn you that there are changes happening that I'm not entirely sure is happening."

Leila was observing and taking notes and seemed to be very dedicated to it while she paced the room.

Kayla was surprised to see Jai near her when she tried to get up from the ground. Logically, she understood his concerns and should be following them. However, her stubbornness and determination weren’t having any of it. ”And doctors told me it wasn’t advisable to do archery ever again, but look how that turned out.” As she looked at him, her eyes gave off a sense of deviousness to them. There wasn’t hiding the fact that she was going to ignore what was advised and try to get up. If she wasn’t to get onto her feet, then at least she could get onto the nearby chair. ”Besides, I bet you’d love to say ‘I told you so’ if I collapse onto the floor again.”

Slowly and hesitantly, she got off of the floor and moved onto the nearby chair. She wasn’t going to lie to herself and say that was a piece of cake. Her entire body ached throughout the move. When Jai spoke again, the archer looked somewhat perplexed at what he had said. ”There are changes you aren’t sure of? What’s that supposed to mean?” The concern in her voice raised the volume slightly to make it more audible in the garage than what it would normally be.

When she rejected his aid, he dropped his arms to his sides. Still, that didn't prevent him from standing close enough to catch her if she did stumble. There's a wry smile that ghosted over his lips, a faint semblance of amusement at her words of practising archery. "As amusing as it would be for me to say 'I told you so,' I don't think that would give me or you any sort of enjoyment for rubbing it in." The only look he received was a raised eyebrow as Kayla doubted he wouldn’t enjoy the comment.

There was a wary glance when she shifted to the chair without much trouble. Still, the sparks of energy had yet to cease. The amusement dissipates when she asks and from the corner of his eye, he can see Leila shifting, and listen in with a keen eye.

Kneeling down in front of her, his elbows on his knees, he said, "You have strange electrical energies radiating off of you that shouldn't be normal in someone who just received what Leila gave you." His eyes darted to her and returned his focus to the woman in front of him. "Not only that, but I was absolutely certain that there was nothing entirely metallic in that injection and I'm watching—" His eyes slide to her shoulder blade where she had been previously shot, "—where you've been previously shot slowly be filled with something metallic." He looked away and returned his focus on her.

"Is there something either me or Leila should know?"

At first, a puzzled expression was etched on Kayla’s face as the information on electrical energies came up. While the nanites she was injected with could be something that is the cause of that, she doubted that as Leila had tested it before and it didn’t come up. And the concoction that Evergreen gave her that enhanced her agility? That certainly wouldn’t be the cause of this energy.

The expression changed into shock at the mention of something metallic being in her body. She knew that the modified nanites that came from Racheli’s blood were organic, so that definitely came from something else. Her eyes widened with shock and panic at the idea that something was inside her that she didn’t know about. Her heart rate began increasing once again as panic set in. ”There’s something inside of me?!" she gasped, her voice breaking. It certainly didn’t help her that whatever was inside of her was going back to where she was shot before. The whole thought of that night giving her something else made her nauseous. Her skin paled as her skin began to clam up.

It didn’t take long before the archer’s arms scrambled for the nearby bin and threw up. It had been too much for her. Once she finished, she slumped into the chair. She felt more exhausted than she did the moment the healing process finished. Breathing heavily, her eyes slowly moved from the bin to Jai and Leila. ”I swear… I don’t know… I didn’t know…”

Jai could only sympathetically watch when Kayla did not take the news well. But, clearly, there was someone else intervening with Kayla and her body that was not Leila. Setting the thought for another day, he needed Kayla to focus on something else and try to move past the initial news. They need to try to figure out a way to find the answers rather than worrying about it. Though, as concerning as it was, he supposed that it was only normal. Most, if not all, do not take too kindly to finding out that there was something invading one's body. The very thought gave him pause, and he forwent the idea of further contemplation.

The soldier shook his head, glanced in Leila's direction where she gave a hard look. At Kayla, he stood up so that he could reach forward and place a hand on her shoulder as a means of reassurance. "If you don't know, then perhaps it will be best if you let Leila take a few samples from you to figure out what it is exactly you have in your body. Much like how she did for Racheli."

At her cue, Leila walked over with her arms crossed, a finger tapping her chin in thought. "Certainly," she said with a nod. "I'll definitely have to take samples and analyze. I want to make sure that they are not going to wreak havoc on you, but it doesn't seem to be anything alarming since it seems as though it is helping you rather than being a concern. So I do not imagine it'll be too much of a problem for the time being." The woman hummed. "But rest first and we'll collect the necessary samples later. Don't worry, I'll take good care of you as I did with Racheli."

Jai dropped his hand from Kayla's shoulder. "You are in good hands, Kayla."

Kayla gaze sank to the floor in front of her, her mind still trying to process everything that was said. While she thought of the possibilities into what caused whatever was inside her to get there in the first place, her thoughts instantly returned to the night she almost died. It seemed to be more than a coincidence that the place the metal inside of her was returning to the same spot of where her injuries were, but it was reopening a wound she spent the past few years trying to close. It was getting too much for her and she was on the verge of breaking down.

When the warmth of Jai’s hand touched her shoulder, she stiffened slightly. It was the first time someone outside of her family and Mr Taylor had placed a hand on her in a while. The added thought of someone else getting in her personal bubble was mixing her addled mind more. However, the touch and warmth of it grounded her tumultuous emotions to allow her to think more clearly. She failed to notice her body slowly gravitating towards the source of the touch as she zoned out for the briefest of moments. It wasn’t long before she focused back on the conversation about Leila going to examine what was inside of her.

”It sounds like a logical course of action,” she replied, her voice still choked up from the shock. Her body returned to its normal position when Jai’s hand was taken away from her. ”The sooner it is examined, the sooner it can get out of me.”

Jai isn't accustomed to touching since he's "returned" to Earth. Reappearing as he did, touch felt almost foreign to him that doing it seems almost a necessity rather than any sort of habit. Rehabilitating him when he was with Leila helped, he noted, and that was perhaps why touching never seemed to give him the same sort of initial aversion when he "came" back. So seeing Kayla relax and perhaps become grounded from his touch was something he noted to do a bit more of in the future.

"I suppose this is a lot to take in one go," Jai said with a subtle lift of his brow, but his tone of voice was almost… concerned.

"We'll take this one step at a time," Leila said, frowning. "Just focus on recovering and resting from this first and we'll tackle this another day. I'll figure out whatever it is later, I promise."

Jai crouched in front of Kayla, looking her over with his eye. While the electrical energies had yet calmed, still, it was fascinating to watch it bounce off of her the way it was. For now, it seemed harmless and he hoped it would stay that way.

"Like Leila said, it seems harmless and it's helping you so I cannot think it's going to hurt you. I just wanted to let you know to be on the lookout for any changes."

Leila nodded. "Mhm. You should be experiencing the things I've outlined in that documentation that I had you sign before we started all of this. If you experience anything outside of that, tell me right away."

Kayla listened to both of them as they both understood that the information was a lot to take in and it was something they would deal with. At least that is reassuring, she thought, nodding to them as she understood that she needs to rest after the healing process. It was at this moment that everything caught up to her. Exhaustion kicked in as her energy levels plummeted. Her back slowly fell to the back of the chair she was sitting in, allowing it to support her as she fully relaxed.

When it came to the topic of letting them know she was experiencing things that were unexpected. ”Yeah, I’ll make sure I’m on top of it,” she sighed, the sudden fatigue apparent. ”It’s certainly the last thing I want to happen, especially when the trail of the Penose is still warm.” While she hadn’t mentioned much about it, Kayla had spoken to them about a problem she encountered prior to the Hounds attack and that she obtained some information to follow up on. The specifics of Mark’s injuries and her infiltration of the police HQ to ‘question’ the man who attacked her were left out as it had been need-to-know. Roadblock was the only one who had an inkling of an idea of the former and knew of the latter. With him involved now, she needed to make sure some of the information is correct.

It was a moment in her reflection on the Penose that she noticed Jai was looking at her, crouching in front of her. She noted the fascinated look on his face. ”Anything that eye of yours noticing?” Her left eyebrow curled up as she asked him that question, her gaze curiously looking at his response.

Leila, at this point, had wandered off to the other part of the garage once Kayla gave her confirmation, taking a seat on one of the chairs in the corner as she recorded her notes.

Any comments either of them could've made regarding the Penose fell short when Kayla seemed to be lost in thought.

"To be frank, it's interesting to see how your body is reacting to both the injection and how there was already something else inside of you that is creating what I see," Jai answered, gesturing to the sparks that hovered over the surface of her skin. Even if she couldn't see it, he could. "It is not often that I can see the effects of something like this." And in person, he might've added, if he were to consider his stance on the matter.

He dropped his hand to return his focus to Kayla. "Forgive my impertinence," he said with the shake of his head. "How are you feeling?"

Kayla listened as Jai talked about what he was seeing. She had to admit that it was interesting to hear what he was seeing, still wrapping her head around the idea that one of his eyes can see more than what she can with her own. Her gaze on him remained as curious as ever. The corners of her lips curled up slightly as her subconscious noted the gaze he was giving her as well as his hand hovering over her. She failed to notice her heart skipping slightly with his hand being close to her.

The fleeting moment disappeared as soon as his hand returned to his side. Her curious gaze disappeared and returned to a resting face she had before, the signs of fatigue returning. ”I’m feeling ok, all things considering,” she replied. ”Tired as all hell though.” Her eyes looked up at the clock on the wall, noting that it was getting closer to when she was due to leave. Jeremy had other business at another location he was hoping to buy, so he was giving everyone in the shop half a day. She cursed under her breath. ”And it’s almost the end of the working day too. I still have a lot to do before closing up for the day.”

Tentatively, Kayla pushed herself up onto her feet, her footing feeling slightly uneasy from everything earlier. After a few moment, her entire body was steady again. ”I shouldn’t keep you guys waiting. I’m sure you have other important plans waiting for you back at where you’re based than to babysit me.” Her lips curled up slightly as to try to reassure both Leila and Jai that she was going to be alright. ”I’ll be fine with doing the closing and getting myself back home, okay?”

When her gaze shifted to the clock on the wall, Jai knew what she was thinking moments later. He frowned and stood with the shake of his head. "As appreciative as I am of your work ethic, you just went through a huge ordeal that I don't think it's advisable that you move when you just said that you're 'tired as all hell'," he said when she pushed herself to standing. His hand shot out to her side, hovering next to her when she was unsteady on her feet.

It was only when she was steady once more that he slowly dropped his hand once more. Still, he didn't move too far from her. His gaze subtly narrowed and he sighed, despite the reassuring smile. "I wouldn't call this babysitting as it's more out of concern for your wellbeing."

Leila lifted her brow at Kayla once she was finished with her notes. Rising to stand, she said, "Kayla, Jai can finish up your work for you—just direct him and he'll do it for you." She glanced around the garage. "I'd rather you not push yourself this first day." She shook her head and placed her hands on her hips. "And we only did this today because it was a halfday and Jai can help cover if need be since he was the only other mechanic in the shop that knew what we were going to do," she pointed out.

"Unless you don't believe I can help you finish your work properly? In which case, I have half the mind to prove you otherwise." There was a ghost of a smile curling at the edges of his lips, hinting toward something of amusement. It seemed unlikely, given how he was just as qualified and competent as she was for the job. Still, it was what most would've considered a joke and it's perhaps the first one that Jai had ever made.

When Jai retorted to her wanting to close up shop, Kayla wanted to object. ”I’ll be fine,” she replied back, her tone turning sterner. In her mind, she knew she was the complete opposite. She had never been fine since that night. She knew that her physical capabilities would never be the same with the muscles in her shoulder being damaged. But she endured through that and she was sure as hell was thinking she’ll endure this. And she was sure as hell not letting anyone get in the way of that.

Kayla had to bite her tongue when Jai tried to reassure her that he wasn’t babysitting but ‘being concerned’ for her wellbeing. While she knew that they do mean well and whatever she was going to say will only make her feel better, she didn’t know the impact on the words. The archer had an inkling of an idea that Leila would have picked up on the types of medication she is currently on with the condition she’s on. It didn’t help that the same medication on her medical file was wearing off and she would be needing it soon. It hadn’t helped when Leila herself interjected into the conversation and mentioned that Jai should help.

”Fine…” Kayla responded curtly, her right hand rising up so her thumb, index and middle finger pinched the bridge of her nose. There’s only so much I can hold back of my irritability, she thought. She needed to take her medication before it wore off and her annoyance becomes too much. ”Just make sure all of the machinery in the shop is shut off for the day. I’ll get the end of shift paperwork sorted out and shut the computer systems in Jeremy’s office.” Reaching for her bag that was by her bench, she began walking towards the office to fill in the sheet and shut the computer down.

Despite the fact that Jai suspected otherwise in Kayla's demeanor that she was anything but fine, he dropped the subject. In fact, he lifted his brow but said nothing when there was an indication that she wanted to say differently. He waited several beats before Kayla finally responded, sounding exasperated, if not at herself, but at him.

He only turned away when she pinched the bridge of her nose, and he began their closing procedures with shutting each of the machines and closing up shop. Their current cars were parked and locked, and current projects left for the next day to tackle. He did a cursory glance, switching between his visions to make sure all of the machinery were off before proceeding to doing a quick cleanup. It was a lot quicker than he expected but by the time he was done, Kayla stood off to the side, watching him.

"How do you like supervising me?" he asked and he walked over to her. "I trust it meets your expectations?" Jai glanced around the garage for another glance, but dropped his gaze back on Kayla. He knew he did a fine job, having been at the garage long enough that the closing procedures was committed to memory. Still, maybe he ought to tease the ruffled feathers of a certain archer.

Leila seemed to be finishing up her notes from where she was sitting. She hadn't moved from where she initially sat down.

Kayla arrived in the office after storming out of the shop floor for the electrical work. She closed the door behind her before resting her back against the door. The archer took heavy breaths as she finally slumped fully against the door, her body slightly shaking from the pent up emotions. She didn’t know what it was, but the way Jai teased her struck a chord in her. The shaking in her shoulders moved heavier as she raised both her hands to her head, her finger tips running through her hair. The more she thought about it, the more the question she thought resonated with what she felt. Why of all things he is doing reminds me of him? With her body propped up against the door to prevent her from slipping down, her head slowly sank towards her chest, fighting the tears back.

Gathering a few moments to try and compose herself, the archer got back up onto her two feet and walked over to the computer. Wiping her eyes from the excess water, Kayla began closing the running programmes. Once satisfied, she began closing the computer down. With that task done, the only thing left was to sign both her and Jai out. She walked over to the clipboard where the sign out sheet was. Seeing a water bottle by the stored archery kit she had at the garage, she took a moment to pick it up. Her left hand reached in the bag to pick up the medication and deftly opened it with one hand. Shaking the contents towards her mouth so two of the tablets entered her mouth, she closed it again and drank the contents of the bottle. Once happy with getting everything done, she turned to walk out. While she thought about it, she decided that the arrows in the kit would need to be refletched. Decided in the last minute, she turned back to her archery bag and slipped the arrow tube of the case and walked out of the office.

When she returned, Jai was almost finished with the cleaning. Kayla had half a thought about watching him, though the emotional drain caused her to zone out. She was tired. She felt overwhelmed. She wanted to just be left alone for the rest of the day. Despite all that, she did want to say sorry to Jai, Leila and Rach for everything that has happened today. It was the one thing she wanted after the past few weeks: she wanted to feel like she wasn’t burdening everyone she came across. Especially in a world where there are people with amazing abilities.

Just as Jai finished cleaning up and was looking back at her, Kayla zoned back in. Listening to him, she instantly felt the teasing nature behind the words. Her head slouched forward once again, trying hard to regain her composure. When she thought she had her emotions in check, despite the redness around her eyes suggesting otherwise, they all flooded back. ”Just stop…” she muttered, choking on the words. But the words weren’t enough to stop the emotional breakdown she was about to face.


Her face shot up as she screamed in the shop. Her eyes welled up to the point of her starting to cry. The glare she was giving fully betrayed the hurt behind them. She couldn’t take this any more. The only thing Kayla wanted at this moment was to get out of here. Without much warning, she tightened her grip and ran out the door. Ripping the door open, she left without any further word and slammed the door behind her.
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Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by NeutralNexus
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Member Seen 4 yrs ago

“What the hell kind of name is ‘The Hounds of Humanity’?”

The murmurs of the recently bankrupt mercenary garnered an immediate plea for silence by an older woman sitting at the front desk of the Lost Haven Public Library, the even tone of her hush displaying the experience she had quieting people for decades.

“Oh, shit. Sorry!” Trent replied in a shouting whisper, offering a wave of apology before hunkering back down behind the public access computer currently loaded with numerous tabs of news articles over the past two years. When Trent went on his semi-retirement, he made a very concerted effort to sever all ties with the current events of the world. He wanted to spend all his earnings in peace, free from any world-spanning threats or crisis or assassination requests that he could. However, now finding himself broke and hilariously uninformed, Trent found himself busily trying to get himself up-to-date on what has happened while he was away. Of course catching up on current events is a much more difficult task when the mercenary found himself with barely enough cash for an uber and no access to a smartphone. After spending what was most of a week flying to Lost Haven, the energy-wielder found himself at quite the disadvantage in terms of info gathering. He has lost touch with his old handler, Warden, around the same time he began his “retirement”. With no contacts, no network and no budget, the man found himself hunched over a public computer jotting notes down on a notepad among what true bookworms still remain in the 21st century.

And what he found in his research? The Hounds of Humanity. Apparently right after his retirement, an anti-metahuman group made a massive statement across the nation, enacting countless crimes against those of the amplified persuasion and even firing a doomsday weapon down on major cities. Of course with these attacks came their defenders and trolls among the internet, branding their misguided physiology on every forum they could access. Social Media sites were plastered with countless hashtags, posts, and photos of people who associated or agreed with these anti-metahuman degenerates.

And among those statements became some wild declarations. Lists of countless superhumans that the Hounds declared they were responsible for cutting out of the gene pool.

Among those names? A curious figure by the name of War-Pulse.

“Of course!” All at once Trent’s hands slammed against the table, his body jolting from his seat with such momentum that the chair went tumbling away. That’s why nobody came looking for me, everyone thought these Hound guys killed me! I mean, it’s a little insulting that people thought I got killed by some hate group, but stil--”

“Excuse me, sir!” The librarian interjected, her unblinking glare now fixated on the man she spent half a day shushing like an impetuous child. “This is your FIFTH outburst today within the course of THREE hours! If you cannot be quiet in the library I will have to ask you to leave at once!”

"Alright, fine, whatever.” Trent responded, waiving the librarian’s threat off as he begrudgingly rose to his feet, strolling his way towards the great library’s doors in his familiar cavalier swagger. “This place smells like mothballs and dust anyway.”

He ran a hand through his hair as he met the cool but somewhat stagnant air of the city, calmly lumbering down the concrete stairs before sinking back into the masses on the street. His hands found their way into his pockets as he lazily ambled through the crowd, his gaze drifting to where where the skyscrapers meet the skies above. The world thinks the infamous War-Pulse is dead? The man who helped stop D-Day? The merc who blew a chunk out of Lost Haven’s harbor? The renegade Iron Knight came down to recruit to help fight Pax Metahumana? It is a wonder the news never reached him out on his vacation.

But Trent found himself relatively comfortable with the idea that the world forgot about him. Apparently his career of fighting, violence, and mayhem had become little more than a footnote after a few years of laying low in islands most people never heard of. It gave him a bit of freedom to roam around the city now without anyone attempting to shoot him, praise him, or call the police.

However, that brought up a far larger wrench in his current predicament. What was he to do now? Finding work would be extremely hard if everyone thinks he kicked the bucket. Without Warden keeping jobs flowing through him, promoting that he was working again was going to be a bigger burden than he was originally hoping for. It was not like he could just make a post on craigslist that he was a metahuman-for-hire and hope he could get some decent money. He may have found himself in a bit of a rough spot, but he still had some standards.

His train of thought was interrupted however by the sound of his stomach making a horrible rumbling noise. He stopped in place, rubbing a hand over his abdomen with a concerned grimace over his face. Normally consuming food was not necessary for him, being able to harness the pure potential energy in his body meant there really was no need to consume food regularly. He consisted basically off of whatever energy he could sap from other sources, even this very morning he had jammed his hand into a backup generator of a Wal-Mart and sapped the thing dry, hoping someone would notice before they needed the generator.

And yet, the body still had its cravings, and right now the smell of the mid-day food carts and cafe’s had clearly piqued the more human aspects of the mercenary’s physiology. He fumbled around in his pocket for his wallet, knowing full well he only had enough on him for something small, but perhaps grabbing something quick would allow the unemployed meta to come up with a plan to advertise his business again.

And luckily, Trent knew just the place. He had wandered back towards the seedier parts between Little Sicily and Little Ulster, as his previous knowledge of the city reminded him that there was a greasy little convenience store by the name of Grab N’ Go on a little known street corner. One would think a place like this would be a commercial chain store connected to Gas Stations around the country, but as far as Trent was aware, this was the only one in existence.

That did not mean it was unique in any way, but with “War-Pulse”’s current budget, a gas station-quality hot dog would hit the spot.

He slipped through the building’s to the sound of the latest pop song barely brodcasted across the flimsy isles through muffled speakers in the roof while the supposed “Janitor” cleaned the isles with the familiar yellow bucket. The woman at the counter, a slightly greying figure in her 40s, offered a short nod in acknowledgement as Trent leaned on the counter, offering her a smarmy sneer through his newly groomed beard.

“Hey there pretty lady, mind getting me the greasiest wiener you got rolling on that barely clean roller of yours and one of them super-sugary slushies? Berry blue please.”

The woman offered a small grunt, procedung to place a large plastic cup under the swirling clear clyniders, the disgustingly colored blue sludge plopping into the container while she pulled the hot dog bun and condiments from under the counter, slathering the meat in a mixture of red and yellow. Her motions were quick and efficient, the actions of someone who has prepared many hot dogs over the course of many years, though with no love or passion, the actions of a drone. She settled the hot dog and slushie in front of Trent with a indifferent frown, stating in a monotone murmur. “That will be $4.72.”

“Thanks hun, you’re an angel and don’t let anyone tell you any different.” The merc said, placing the money on the table with one hand and giving her a finger gun motion with the other, with a small huff as the only response. He swept up both pieces of food and slipped out the automatic doors, plopping himself on the bench outside to enjoy what barely constituted as a meal.

But before he could really sink his teeth into the sausage, the lone car squealing to a stop in the convenience store parking lot caught the eye of the mercenary. A little odd for it to come at such a quick pace, and even odder to see three men donning hoods and facemasks storming into the building. They did not even give him a glance as steel flashed from their pockets, the sounds of clacking metal ringing in their hands as they barged into the building.

And then the single warning shot rang out from the doors, vibrating the windows as the man screamed in fear.

“CASH REGISTER, NOW!” The supposed ringleader said, cocking his gun and pointing it over the counter at the terrified cashier. The other gunmen were pointed at the storekeeper, dropping his broom in fear at the sudden onset of firearms pointed in his direction. The panicked cashier fumbled at the register, her panicked eyes flitting between the masked gunman and inputting keys. Eventually, after a tense few seconds the sound of a register popping audibly rang throughout the violent silence.

The ringleader removed a duffle bag from his shoulder, tossing it to the cashier with his gun still trained on her. “Now put all the money in the--”

But his demand was cut short by a hot dog smacking him in the side of the head, an audible smack echoing through the store as the meat wobbled through the air and flopped to the floor. The man turned on his heel, rage flashing through his eyes.


Again, his shouting was cut off, this time with a slushie colliding with the bridge of his nose and exploding onto him, sending the gunman stumbling backward. He coughed and sputtered as he attempted to wipe the blue sludge from his face, catching his footing after bracing himself on one of the store shelves while he wiped surgery ice from his eyes.

And when he finally was able to clear his face, he found himself facing the shit-eating grin of Trent standing in the automatic doorway, much to the disbelief of him and his compatriots.

“Sorry, I thought shouting wouldn’t have got your attention.” Trent began with a shrug, placing a hand on his hip as he spoke. He gestured to the bewildered cashier. “Of course, that cost me my meal, so can I get a replacement once this whole shindig is finished?”

“Who the fuck do you think you are, you piece of shit!?” The man said, regaining his composure and focusing his gun on the cocky man before him.

"Well before I answer that, let me just ask...” Trent responded, casually advancing on the man to his confusion, “A Convenience Store robbery? Really? You guys live in a city where the most FAMOUS superheroes live and this is where you decide to hold your grand ‘heist’? God, you guys have to be the stupidest buncha crooks this side of Maine!”

“Oh, yeah?” one of the other robbers blurted out, twisting his shotgun to point at the oncoming figure “Ain’t no superhero’s here now to save your sorry ass!”

And to punctuate his response, a blast from his firearm rang out through the store, the cashier screaming and holding her mouth, for a moment believing Trent had met his end as the automatic doors behind him shattered from the shells. And yet, he still stood, his shirt and coat sporting rips and tears from the firearm discharge, the ominous sound of flattened bits of metal clanging against the floor.

“Oh...oh fuck..oh no..” the man stammered, cocking his shotgun and flimsily moving back.

“Oh, don’t worry.” War-Pulse growled, the air around him crackling and humming as he took another step forward, a cruel smile creeping along face as he brought his hands together, cracking his knuckles. “I think I’ll be more than enough to deal with this.”
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Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by Athinar
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Athinar Big Stupid. Veteran from Oldguild.

Member Seen 5 mos ago



All was still in the center of the intersection, the University students began to pour out of the building in interest. Curiosity began to overwhelm confusion and fear as the crowd closed in on the two giants, one standing upright and the other buried to the rear in concrete. The entire crowd jumped back as the legs of the buried goliath moved, twisting around each other before unwinding like a rubber band. The gold clad behemoth twisted out of the ground with a corkscrew motion, its body moved unnaturally fast and it was bolt upright as fast as it had arrived.

His crater released all of the pent up smoke from his body, washing the entire intersection with a thin cloud of grey. If you listened carefully you might even have heard Auan’s heavy breathing, though you only need look at him to see it. His colossal shoulders heaved up and down, raising and falling at least three feet with each breath. There was a pregnant silence as the dust and smoke settled, Auan’s masked face trained its dead and empty golden eyes on Terra Firma’s own face. ”They must decide for themselves. None can halt us from giving them the option to walk this path. Please, David, understand..” His body language relaxed and he extended his hands out to his sides, palms forward and fingers open. His head was low and his body read with pleading and desperation. Not that he was afraid, not that he was lying or conniving, but his every motion spoke to a man trying to desperately convince someone of the truth.

No matter how dark said truth was.

David jumped back slightly as Auan twisted himself into the air and back onto the ground again. His own chest was heaving up and down, showing that his own stamina mirrored Auan’s, the fight was exhausting for the both of them, and he’d be a fool to deny it. So David also rested his stance, as he also welcomed this pause in the fight, even hoping that this would be permanent.

”I agree, humanity should be free to make its own choice. But can you guarantee it would be ours? I can’t imagine you came all the way from the ‘future’ to watch.”

”Nothing I do will be distinguishable from your own actions. Our own choices, acting under our own willpower, doing what we see as right. I will give them a choice, accepting or refusing is up to them.” He took a step back and leaned up against the lamppost. ”Won’t simply watch, no, but I’ll act to the sum of my power.”

”As long as it’s their choice, and an informed choice.”

David nodded, and continued.

”Then what will you do, will you return to your craft and simply, wait?”

The golden giant thought for a second, casting his gaze across his surroundings as the crowd began closing in. ”Perhaps not, finding Companions here might be an easy chore.”

”I won’t stop them from believing you if that’s what they want, but all I ask is that you tell them the truth.” Although he said that, David still didn’t believe in what this man was saying, or if he even told him everything. But freedom to choose and believe, that was something he believed in, so he just hoped it was the right choice. Removing Auan’s craft by force wasn’t something he could do today,, so for now, he would leave. David floated off into the air, and then dashed off towards home.

As the trail of flickering energy left behind by David faded into the immaterial, Auan’s previous glance across the intersection had not gone to waste. Though the crowd dissipated and the police began to move in, someone very clearly did not react naturally. A wastrel of unwashed appearance and underwhelming stature had been eyeing his body intently, or at least, it seemed like he was eyeing Auan up.

”You there. With the unwashed hair.” He lazily pointed a finger at Angel. ”You act strangely.”

Angel, at this, frowned, and made to walk away, but then thought better of it. This man was likely incredibly fast, and could stop him if he liked. Better get the ATD ready for deployment, just in case, though he didn’t know what good it would be, if the man right there decided to come at him. Coughing, and clearing his throat, Angel tersely said, ”Was hoping the hippie would take you down. Decided to watch the fight, but you decided to throw words instead of fists.”

The word Hippie didn’t exactly connect meaningfully, but the rest of the statement made enough sense. ”David is not the enemy, friend. Come, speak and regail me.” He stood up away from the post and walked across the road, like a lumbering colossus of golden iconography he shook the ground and drew the attention of every passerby.

The golden-armored giant saying Terra Firma’s actual name did not go unnoticed by Angel; he saved that little snippet of information for later. ‘David’, huh? Well, he’d have to look into that later, as apparently the armored man wanted to speak to him. Eyeing the armored man suspiciously, he muttered, ”Think we’re in a shakespearean play, do we?”

However, he eventually spoke up, studying the man’s armor with both his sight and his technopathy. It was… strange, arcane. Not even alien AI was this strange to his senses, this eldritch. ”So. What, exactly do you want from me?” He figured he might as well get to the point. Despite the danger this man posed, there was no reason to beat around the bush.

”Perhaps.” Auan directed his thumb to the police beginning to close off the area. “We might wish to vacate, and discuss safely elsewhere.”

Shutting down the police cruisers’ radios, and choking their engines, the police cars sputtered, and slowed to a halt, and the police officers, in full Metahuman Response Unit gear, got deafening feedback in their earpieces, causing them to keel over, scrambling to get their helmets off. The few that realized the truth of the situation, and pointed their guns at the duo, found that their guns refused to fire, and even jammed, for good measure.

Hijacking a police cruiser, and forcing it to drive towards the barricade of police officers and civilians, who all scrambled out of the way, Angel nodded towards the opening in the crowd, saying, ”I know a place where we can talk in peace, I just need to retrieve something from my headquarters.”

Auan watched all of this unfold rather coldly, despite his previous engagement and heartfelt words. ”I shall follow.” He began walking forward, though his steps were intentionally slowed to allow Angel to walk at a comfortable pace alongside him.

Furtively walking towards his nearby garage home, well, as furtively as one could, with a ten-foot golden giant plodding alongside him, Angel made sure that no one was following or looking at him, and then ducked into the (formerly) abandoned mechanic’s shop. Pulling a sheet off the ATD, which stood curled up in the middle of the main garage room, (almost touching the ceiling without the hydraulic lift having to do anything,) Angel opened the cockpit, and, controlling the suit’s hand, lifted himself inside, synching with the suit, becoming Equilibrium.

His exit from the building was awkward, ducking under the lip of the roof, cracking the concrete, but by this point, Angel didn’t care. His location was most likely burned already, and anything the authorities found here wouldn’t be of use. STRIKE had the only files on him, DNA samples, everything, and he had made sure of their erasure when STRIKE fell.


Unfolding to his full height, standing taller than the golden-armored metahuman at 12 feet in armor, Angel looked at the man, giving him a small, affirmative nod, and attempted to speak directly into what he assumed was the communications suite of the suit, so no one else would overhear.. ”Follow me, there’s a place on the city outskirts.”

Auan was fortunate he had a mask to conceal his face, his first instinct was that Angel had climbed into the suit believing that Auan was also in a mechanical suit. His grin would have revealed that he thought Angel was trying to compensate for the disparate height.

And with that, he jumped into the air, activating the jump rockets of the ATD, flying through the sky over Lost Haven, occasionally having to land, and jump again, but he made the trip from the French Quarter to his old hideout, (now a ruined, mangled, burnt-out mess of brickwork and steel,) in record time. Looks like the calculations Sherlock did during the Hounds fight paid off.

Behind Angel soared the golden goliath with a trail of blue plasma bursting from his legs and back occasionally, he was kind of lazily flying rather than his previous rocketing. The fight with David had been incredibly tiresome, physically and mentally, so putting effort into flying was not on his list of things to do.

Crashing through a hole in the roof, and crushing a block of old, rusty machinery, he looked up at Auan, asking, finally (over the loudspeakers, just to be sure,), ”So, what do you want?” Auan descended through the hole behind him and touched down slowly, the ground glowed red hot as his plasma vents superheated the floor.

After he planted his feet firmly he stretched his arms upwards and raised the rubble from the floor up to the roof, replacing it from the dynamic entry. In a few moments he’d sealed the gap and lowered his hands to his sides. ”Allies.” He said it very flatly, a matter of fact tone to his voice. One word was all he needed in this situation.

Rolling his eyes within the suit, Angel said, ”I'm going to be honest with you. I probably won't care about whatever ‘cause’ you're fighting for; all I really want is something to enhance my suit, and if talking to you right now can get me some of that bullshit plasma flinging technology, then I'm willing to. However, I'm just as willing to broadcast our location to every metahuman in Lost Haven, if it will get me something, even just a broken fragment of an armor servo.” Pausing, Angel looked over the golden-suited metahuman. ”Give me a reason to join you.”

It was risky, threatening a metahuman that he didn't know the capabilities of, but there were two factors that made him more bold. The first, and most obvious one, was the fact that he was in the ATD. While not invincible, it was tough as hell, and had agility that belied it's size or bipedal nature. The second one was the fact that he had just gone a few rounds with Terra Firma, or “David”, who was reputedly quite powerful.

Auan tilted his head a little bit as he processed the mention of his plasma shunting, he must have thought it was the suit. He also threatened him, a particularly ballsy play for someone who was the squishy center of a crunchy outer shell. This was exactly the kind of person he wanted on his side, courageous and daring, a good and useful friend in these trying times. ”We of the Supersol seek to give Humanity the choice to stand against faceless masters in high ivory towers.” He raised his hand and projected a hologram of The Deadlands, the Earth as it is in his time. ”Certainly you notice the disparity I pose. Difficult as it is believing, we are from your future. Time lost warriors seeking to change Humanity’s future, so that we might not be necessary.”

”If you need compensation, I offer you services in advancing your machinery.” The hologram condensed into a singular point and small trails of particles began to run from the surrounding area to the singular point where the hologram once was. They built slowly into a small electric dynamo, little sparks of electricity arced from the tip to his hand. ”Not an engineer, but educated enough to offer technologies beyond your time.”

Angel watched the display with interest, observing the holographic creation slowly phase into physical being. Was it nanobots? A cloaking device? Angel, even though he watched the item get created through every camera and sensor he had, couldn’t figure it out. ”What kinda sci-fi bullshit do you know to magic a machine into reality? Is it atomic-sized nanobots or something?” Shaking his mech’s “head” (really its main sensor suite,) Angel let out a sigh, and said, ”Damn it if you don’t make a good pitch, though.” Eyeing the machine greedily, and the man who created it cautiously, Angel grimaced. ”I’d like to take you up on that offer, but...” The man was too power-hungry, too ambitious. He’d end up using Angel for some purpose that would spiral out of control, leading him down a chaotic, dark path not of his own choosing. And as soon as he completed that thought, Angel, without a second word, jetted off, through the roof, collapsing the building around him. As he left, he swore that Auan looked… disappointed? Whatever, it’s not his concern anymore.

Flying off into the outskirts of the city, Angel laid low in an abandoned factory for a few hours, before making his way to his garage under the cover of night. Well that was… an experience. Angel sighed, collapsing on a ratty couch, in the corner of his garage. He wished he had gotten something, anything done, but he couldn’t just… magic up technology or materials. If only it was like the old days, where STRIKE was bad, I’m good, and the other heroes are morons who try and keep me in prison. Man, I didn’t really properly thank Trent for that, what happened to him? And thinking of the past fondly, Angel fell asleep, under the watchful gaze of Sherlock.
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Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

Member Seen 4 hrs ago

Documentation gets stacked and shuffled. Fingers run across the edge as hands flick through the pages, gauging the length. The full document is turned on it’s side and tapped twice on a home office desk to straighten and square the sides. A bulldog clip placed over the top to secure it, before it’s put in a small, heavy-duty safe kept within a desk drawer, the drawer itself protected by lock and key.

The man wanders across to his private bar, pours himself scotch on the rocks. He swirls it vacantly as he stares out the window contemplating the full ramifications of what he has just done, their likely consequences, and the following moves he’ll have to be mindful of making. He looks back at the desk briefly, with no remorse, no morality for the consequences, only a thought for his own personal vulnerability.

Satisfied he’s given enough thought to the ramifications of his decisions for now, he takes his glass and leaves the confines of his home office for his living room. He sits down in a fine velvet chair, turns the television on to a 24 hour news network and watches the clockwork of the world.

* * * * *

Gloved fingers frantically glide around a keyboard, the slap of keys echoing uncomfortably loudly through the empty pitch-black office. In the depths of his mind the Vigilante knew he SHOULD be alright; security only swept through the floors three times throughout the night. But the times were largely unpredictable. The building’s security officers were generally lax, and frequently lost track of time. He could have as much as 4 hours, or they could walk through any second.

He saved his changes, confirmed his desire to do so and breathed a sigh of relief as he set the computer to stand-by mode. Done. Now the window of his vulnerability was down to however long it would take him to safely get out of the building.

He stayed clear of the elevators. That was the easiest giveaway, since the movements of the lifts were monitored centrally and visible to anyone working the security office. He kept mainly to the shadows, knowing the internal cameras cycled through sequentially every few seconds. It was impossible to know which would be viewed when. But fortunately, the same lax security officers were the ones monitoring those cameras. So long as he wasn’t too flamboyant, chances were they wouldn’t be paying too much attention. Hopefully. He noiselessly crept up five sets of stairs, before he heard voices and saw the swinging light of a flashlight above him. Silently he slinked back down one floor and melted away into the shadows. The tapping of black office shoes on linoleum were followed by an increasingly loud murmur of two men discussing some inane local sports result or another, as maglights swept across the floor searching for potential trespassers and the imaginary under the routine pretense of doing work. The Vigilante tucked himself tighter into his hiding place as if he could feel the warmth of the spotlight.

Seconds passed and so did the security guards. The man in black watched as they went down the stairs, and crossed the floor and decided to take the other stairwell to continue back up. He made good time as he felt confident that there would be no surprises on his way up now, keeping to the sides still but racing on quietly towards the roof. The Vigilante got to the top floor and the final door to the rooftop outside, which was a wired-up heavy fire door, but he had come prepared. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wired by-pass, carefully attaching clamped wires to both sides’ contact points before taking a beat to breathe. Finally he shoved the heavy door open and winced in anticipation of it all going wrong and triggering the fire alarm, but it had worked perfectly. He slipped underneath the mess of loose wires, holding the door open with his foot. He pinched one end of the wire and pulled it through the door, trying carefully to let the heavy door close as gently as he could control. Finally, he yanked the wire back through the tiny gap in the door. He recoiled the wire quickly and stuffed it back in his pocket, pulling out his grapple gun and walking to the rooftop’s edge.

And just like that. He was gone.

* * * * *

Isaac tossed his keys in the bowl on his kitchen countertop. He got changed and grabbed a beer out of the fridge. He habitually flicked the television onto the news for background noise as he busied himself around the house. He took stock of the sugar in his storeroom, still fine for the week, even with how much he would go through. He vacuumed his empty closet again, just to be sure, before putting it away again in its own power-docked nook on the wall next to it.

He went back to the television and watched it for one cycle. Nothing of importance was happening. He turned it off and started hauling bags. He loaded up the small nook with a familiar amount and made one final pass of the house, checking lights were turned off. The house was black as pitch and felt completely devoid of life. It was the lonely hour between 2 and 3 am, but Isaac’s day was still at its start. He walked into his closet, flicked a familiar switch and let the randomness of quantum uncertainty pick his destination.

* * * * *

Isaac took note of the purple painted closet as he stepped out into Lost Haven’s early afternoon. The purple symbolized he was in his French Quarter rental on DuChamp. He stepped around the closet and grabbed the vacuum from it’s nook, carefully clearing the floor of all the scattered excess sugar granules. He grabbed some keys from the bowl on the kitchen counter as he walked out into the brisk Maine afternoon air.

He’d left his school things at his Little Ulster house, after a quick stop he’d be ready for the rest of his day.

* * * * *

He pulled up to Lost Haven University having retrieved his laptop and bag. Since it was early enough for him to do so, he figured he should put in the appearance and earn the capital for all the days he’d be too busy protecting one of two cities through wanton acts of violence to ever pretend to take notes and pay attention.

He pulled up in the carpark and hit the central locking button; the final precaution to car theft, with the first being his junker’s general aesthetic. The car looked the part of belonging to a regular broke college kid, even if the driver looked considerably older.

He cut through the sports fields to make his way to the Law building, only to see a familiar kid racing across the green to get to him. He cursed quietly under his own breath.

“So..!” The young man enthused, seemingly continuing a conversation Isaac didn’t remember having. “Tryouts for fifteens have to be coming up soon!”

“Yeah… about that. I don’t think the new guy has any interest in me doing that anymore. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t kill the program.” Isaac replied in his thick Terrarian accent.

The younger man looked crestfallen. “The new Dean?”

“With a capital ‘D’. Yeah. Don’t think he likes me very much. Still, not done yet. We’ll go through the motions ‘til he does, I s’pose.”

“I’ll-- I’ll talk to him! Maybe I can get him to understand.”

“You’re more than welcome to try. I can’t hang around to talk. I’ve got class. Probably missed too many as it is.”

“Ok. I’ll handle this. Don’t you worry about this! I’ll handle it!” The youth called back over his shoulder, having changed direction and started running towards the Dean’s office.”

“I’m not worried about that.” Isaac said once he was out of earshot. “I’m worried you’ll either succeed or he’ll think I put you up to it…” He muttered to himself as he started to jog to the Law building.

Isaac got to the lecture hall just as freshmen were starting to pour in. Isaac decided he’d pick a seat on an edgerow in case he had to make a hasty exit due to “other business”, but close enough that the lecturer wouldn’t think he wasn’t engaged in the lesson. As he walked down the steps towards the front one of the more game first years spoke up.

“So, what are we learning today, Teach’.”

“The class is on your schedule, kid. Do I look like a ‘MIZ Pearson’.”

“I don’t think it’s my place to judge you on how you’d fill out a skirt.” The youth responded, and he turned to fistbump a kid sitting behind him.

Isaac stood and stared at the source of his irritation, sucking one of his rear molars and contemplating the costs and merits of caving in the head of a kid who needed a fake ID to buy alcohol. He was sitting 4 seats into the row, Isaac could visualize taking one broad jump onto a desk, a short step down into a seat for stability, grabbing him by the scruff of the shirt and hurling him down to the floor of the lecture hall. Maybe he couldn’t throw him the whole way there. Maybe it would take a bounce or two.

Isaac grinned at the thought, and turned to continue walking down to his seat..

“Nice comeback.” The grinning youth said.

Isaac turned back. “Amazing. If your father could have accurately said that to your mother 20 years ago nobody would have to deal with this kind of shit from you right now…”

The grin dropped off his face. “Ooooooooh!” the kid behind him yelled, “Savage! He got you, bro!”

“That better?” Isaac asked, putting his laptop on his desk. The other students around kept jeering the kid who got put in his place by the older man. His face was reddening more and more by the second. Sensible heels clicked down the aisle and it was clear the class was about to start. As an attractive woman in her mid to late 20s, or possibly even very early 30s, walked to the the desk at the front of the class.

“Alright, alright, get yourselves organized I want to jump right in today. Mr Brunson, is there any chance that could be possible or are you going to be a distraction for the first five minutes again. This is college now, not high school, none of you have to be here if you don’t want to. If you want to walk out those doors, that’s on you. Just don’t blame anyone else when your parents ask why you squandered the opportunity and you’re left paying student loans with nothing to show for it.”

She put her things down next to the desk, retrieved a stack of stapled paper from an expensive legal briefcase and left them on the edge of the desk itself. She turned on the class’ recording device so the lecture could be turned into an audio file for anyone who would be taking the class online. She then went and started to wipe the board clear, still talking loudly over her shoulder.

“I’ve marked your freeform essays, they’re up here at the front. Feel free to retrieve them at the end of class…”

She wrote “TORTS” in big letters across the board

“Alright, does anyone know what a ‘tort’ is? ...Brunson, if you or your pal Overton, tell me it’s a dessert, so help me.”

But Danny Overton was in no mood to tell anybody anything. His forehead was still such a deep shade of crimson from Isaac’s comment it looked like you could fry an egg on it.

A hand sprang up from the back of the class.

“You don’t really have to put your hand up here…”

The young girl eagerly spat out “FITTED CAB!”

Brunson laughed from his seat and shook his head, and the rest of the class broke out laughing as well.

Ms Pearson chuckled from the front as well, but quelled the class. “That’s actually not as bad an answer as it first sounds, and we’ll get to that by the end of the lesson. Your sister took this class too, didn’t she Miss..?”

The girl blushed in embarrassment, “Heather-- I mean, Miss Fox. Heather Fox.”

“Ok, Heather. Calm down. It’s just class. I know what you meant, even if everybody else here doesn’t yet. But at the moment we’re talking more broad strokes. What, just as a general definition, is a tort?”

“Oh! Umm-- a tort is, like, any kind of harmful thing which someone could be responsible for in civil law.”

“Thank you, Miss Fox. That’s exactly what we’re looking for.” She turned and wrote ‘Harmful Thing’, ‘RESPONSIBLE’ and ‘Civil Law” on the board and underlined each.

“And as Miss Fox was kind enough to jump ahead and spoil us for the next answer, examples of the primary actionable torts can be remembered as…”

She turned and wrote the following letters on the board:








“--Now did your sister say what this means?”

“Umm… The first is false imprisonment, then one of the ‘T’s is trespass, I think. Something-something assault and battery..?”

“Well, you got over half of them…”

Ms Pearson turned and filled in the gaps:










“Hey! You screwed up, You wrote ‘Trespass’ twice.” Danny Overton piped up, now seemingly cooled down from the earlier burn.

“Not a screw up, but good point. One is for trespass upon land, and the other is for trespass upon chattel or personal property.”

“Which one’s which?” Chimed in a voice from the back.

“What do you mean?”

“Which ‘T’ is land and which ‘T’ is for cattle.”

Ms Pearson turned to look at the student, then turned back to the board, then finally back to the freshman in frustration.

“Does it matter? This is just to help you remember what the main actionable torts are.”

She turned back to the board and wrote ‘(land)’ next to one of the ‘T’s.

“And it’s ‘chattel’, not cattle.”

She wrote ‘(chattel)’ next to the other. Then drew an arrow with two heads linking the two descriptions showing they were interchangeable ‘T’s.

Isaac sat, listening and found himself staring intensely at the list. He was pretty sure that at some time or another, over the last ten years he was responsible for having done every single thing listed on that board.

And furthermore, at the conclusion of these courses, once he has graduated and has his law degree he knew he would still intend to continue doing so.

It took him ten minutes to realize that whilst he was listening to what was being said, he was far too engrossed in his own head to really be making sense of any of it. It was just white noise to his thoughts.

He wondered if that would always be an apt metaphor for law in his life.

And so the lesson continued.

* * * * *

The class concluded and students walked to the front of their class and found their essay in the alphabetically sorted stack at the front of the class. Isaac took a few seconds to catch on that students had been packing their stuff up to get ready to leave, he’d lost track of time and was taking loose notes on his laptop. As a result he was one of the last ones to get to his feet, as he saved his file and put his laptop on sleep mode, putting it in his bag.

The last dozen or so essays were strewn across the desk, but Isaac was the only one left. Presumably the remaining papers belonged to students who were away and would be taking the day’s lecture online.

“Good to see you decided to come in for a class.” Isaac heard behind him, as he flipped through the papers. “And your choice of essay topic was very interesting as well.” Isaac finally found his work in the loose papers and turned to face the voice’s source.

“Thanks.” He replied. “I guess…”

“Well, it was meant as a good thing. Sorry if that came across as catty at all. Guess I’ve still got my ‘teacher’s voice’ turned way up.”

Isaac smiled in response.

“And I meant it about your paper. Most people usually just write some egocentric paper on what they think I want to hear in terms of why they decided to take law. ...When generally it’s because they had the grades that allowed it and Mommy or Daddy pushed them that way.”

Isaac took a chance on what he could get away with. “Is that speaking from personal experience?”

Ms Pearson laughed. “Maybe a little.”

“It’s hard to blame them though. They’re kids.” Isaac said. “If you don’t give them a topic of course they’re going to talk about themselves. I have to be honest, I wasn’t even sure what I was going to write on. Freeform essay. It’s too broad. Too many options.”

“That’s true.” She replied. “But the main point is to figure out how they’re writing to start with so things can be fine tuned later. Add layers... how to properly use footnotes. It’s a process.”

“So you’re saying mine was overkill.” He smirked.

“Not at all. It broke up my night when I was marking all the others. Interesting choice of topic. What made you pick it?”

“General legal guidelines for a liaison department between self identifying superheroes and law enforcement? Well, we’re in Lost Haven. At LHU. it seems pretty pertinent doesn’t it? Topical. I mean, its pretty clear I'm new in town.”

“I suppose so. Is that what brought you here? Interest in capes and demons? I must say you don’t look the type.”

“No. My father died. I spent a few years travelling the world. And what I realised was that it’s a fast changing world… but it wasn’t going to change in the one way I wanted it to, so I figured I should probably at least go back to school and figure things out with some sense of normalcy.”

She chuckled. “Try again.”

“Pardon me?” Isaac said, surprised at her response.

“If you were looking for the stability of routine, you’d be at classes full time and not have taken a wide array of courses that seem to be almost completely available online with no personal attendance requirements.”

“There’s a difference between wanting to fall back into routine and normalcy and feeling completely comfortable that you’re ready for it. Set myself up with a bunch of online courses, and if I don’t feel I can face the world some day… I don’t have to.”

“Ah-huh. And how do you explain away taking on coaching a team..?”

The Hell..?

“Well, for one thing that wasn’t my idea. Second, so we don’t just make this a one-way street, Madame Prosecutor, what’s someone like you doing teaching freshman law? You were once the most promising young lawyer the DA’s office, I’d heard you were inline for a promotion that would have made you one of the youngest Assistant District Attorney’s in the state’s history and then you left before it was made official. What happened there?”

The lecturer stood agape.

“Don’t look at me like that. You’re not going to spin me a story that there’s a second Josie Pearson, are you? And as best I can tell it’s a lot less unusual for a prospective older orphoned student looking into his teacher’s credentials than there is for said teacher to be looking into a particular student’s extracurriculars and other classes… particularly with as attractive a student as is in this case...”

She turned a deep shade of crimson and spluttered.

“Alright, the last bit was unfair and just me poking the bear. But I think we can both agree, when just meeting people, perhaps an open interrogation isn’t the way to go. Particularly when that person just mentioned their father died.”

“OK. Perhaps, some of that wasn’t entirely unwarranted.” She said, as her skin tone started to be restored and a smile started to crease upon her face.

“So maybe this’ll do better. Josie Pearson? Isaac Fontaine.” He held his hand out.

She took his hand in hers. “Isaac Fontaine? Josie Pearson.”
Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by VATROU
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VATROU The Barron

Member Seen 1 yr ago

So no shit there I was watching Riley freaking out over the prospect of venturing further into space as I looked back towards this tosser of a spaceman. The fu@# does this Andromedan know, Dickens is fine; far as I can tell he has some kinda stick up his ass I thought looking at the two conversing with Martel and Aunt Briley. ”I got um stuff to prepare then, I need to see a guy about some magic. So you all just work on your thing for now yeah I'll meet later “ By later I mean sometime after space boy loses interest Taking the time to muse over the thought while moving to lug the crate of armor through the door and disappearing with it. “Merlin’s library, as uninviting as ever. I always feel so weirded out here like it’s watching me.” A few books fell over as I turned back around and reached for the door. Stopping I just glanced searching for Merlin who I completely expected to berate me over my carelessness. “Huh, no yelling, no one calling me a incompetent brat. Guess she stepped out.” A feeling of unease washed over me and I shook the numbness from my fingertips returning home.

--- Sometime later ---

Steam poured out the door as I stood drying off my hair; the shower was nice, the hot water relaxed my bones and I had the house to myself. My next step I thought would be a bucket of mint ice cream something on Netflix and maybe I’ll stop by the salon tomorrow. Dickens flopped about on his tiny feet as the fridge was wholly raided for snacks. Arms full, ice cream, salty snacks and spicy crisps. Nioce. “And!” With remote in hand I pressed the power button and…

A warpy space distortion appeared right in front of me and who of all people pops out.

“Eva, what are you doing? And how come you haven’t cleaned up your mess after you knocked that stack of books over!?”

“Ah, Merlin. Yeah no was just getting to that honest.” Bags of crisps slipped from my hands and I struggled to keep them in my arms. “Just uh hungry.”

I could see her eyes narrow and fill with irritation. But she was a cu%t so it didn’t matter what she thought.

“It’s finally time you started working on truly mastering Excalibur, if you could be bothered too.”

I did my absolute best to keep my eyes from rolling but from Merlin’s exasperated sigh that was clearly a monumental failure. “I think I know how to use Excalibur rather well, how much mastery do I even need? I’m a walking lightsaber.”

”Excalibur is not a saber, nor does it emit any light. There is more at stake than your petty jokes.”

Of course she wouldn’t get a Star Wars reference, I didn’t know any myself until a few years ago. It was always too uncivilized to watch any fantasy or science fiction movies in back in Walhforth Castle.”So what, there’s always something threatening the world. That’s why we have an Icon.”

”We don’t need an Icon, we need a Dragon Slayer. The blood of a dragon should increase your powers and prove your worthiness to wield Excalibur. For if you cannot there are others.”

Hold on others, no that can’t be right. “What! What do you mean others. I thought there wasn’t anyone else. And I’ve fought a few magical beasts not more than I can count on my fingers. What do I do with a dragon, ask it for a bit of blood?”

”Preferably kill it. A dragon is a magical beast on par with most lesser gods. A cosmic deity of sorts. That is why all heroes of legend have some sort of help. The Gods would offer aid and send them on their way, as luck would have it aid has found its way to you. With dragons long since abandoning this world finding one will be a difficult challenge one these friends of yours should be up to the task for.”

Merlin seemed to drone on ignoring my first question and even skipping out on any such aid if she even could offer someone a helping hand.”Wait wait! Your not monologing yourself out of this one, you said there were others. And what you think it’s fine to just send me out as is without any new tools or upgrades?”

”I don’t have much to give you. I did keep one item that my Arthur left in my care. Rhongomyniad or the spear Rhon.”

A bracelet was pulled from god knows where and placed into my hand.“This is jewelry. And others?.”

”Rhongomyniad can freeze water pulled from your surroundings and turn it into a near unbreakable spear as long as it remains in your hands, it can be thrown but it will shatter. The gem that dangles underneath will be your guiding light. As for this elephant as you call them in the room yes there are others. Your Brother, Sisters, Mother. They all carry the potential and with a bit of awakening could be worthy themselves few others outside your bloodline have ever been known to even hold Excalibur let alone be worthy of it’s true power.”

“Okay question answered. So anyone of my Blood relatives got it. I still don’t know why it’s necessary. A right bloody effort to kill a dragon I suppose. ”

”The Hounds have awoken some ancient evils, and riled up the magic community. Their offshoot the Winter Court angered the Elves, and a few beings of magic so vile wander this Earth, Icon or not he is not equipped to deal with threats of these caliber. Excalibur is a weapon uniquely suited for protecting and eliminating them.”

“Alright fine.” I do kinda feel like she’s using me but yeah might as well go in, not like I can back out now. “Let me just put these food items back and grab Dickens.” I noted how much the ice cream had begun to melt while we chatted and sighed as I shoved it back into the freezer. Dickens was still hanging around the living room so scooping him up was nice and easy, all I had to do now was pack my bags. Merlin had moved about in the kitchen but I didn’t pay much mind to it as I returned downstairs after grabbing my things. I didn’t understand what she was still doing but I went for the door leading to her library on my way to find one of my friends as it were, looking back I finally understood what she was doing. I could feel my voice booming with anger. “HEY! YOU WANKER YOU BLOODY GIT! That’s my mint chip!” Her eyes met mine and the door slammed my face busting my nose good as I found myself on the other side somewhere in Lost Haven. “Well shit, where the fuck am I now..”
Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Dedonus
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Dedonus Kai su teknon;

Member Seen 15 hrs ago

Pacific Point

Christopher Arthur made himself comfortable in his limousine as he waited for his driver to begin their short journey. After Chris had discussed the idea of forming a permanent superhero team with Icon, he had flown out to Pacific Point. There were two heroes there that was on Icon and Chris’ radar: Slipstream and Voyager. Therefore, Chris decided to kill two birds with one stone. Although Icon could easily have flown out to California, but there was no good reason to have both of them traveling out there when Chris could just as easily cover both recruits.

Voyager was going to be the easiest of the two for Chris to find. Chris did not even need to lean on his company ties to S.P.A.R.K., as it had diverted some of its resources to help Poseidon Energies set up this organization. S.P.A.R.K. had publicly announced Voyager’s involvement in their team. All Chris had to do was show up at the main S.P.A.R.K. facility and work his magic.

Slipstream, on the other hand, would be a little more difficult. Although Chris knew that the speedster superheroine probably lived in Southern California, as they teamed up right before the Hounds reared their ugly faces, he did not have an exact location for her, unlike Voyager. He was tossing some ideas around in his head and the one he was thinking he would pursue was to use skywriting to get Slipstream’s attention. Chris was of course going over the top to recruit these women.

After waiting several minutes in the Pacific Point traffic, Chris had finally arrived at the main S.P.A.R.K. facility in Pacific Point. Once Chris had stepped out of the limousine, he made sure to straighten out and neaten up his nice dress suit before he entered through the front door. He strolled inside the building and looked around for the first person he could find to point him in the right direction.

“Hey Jordan, the shop was out of bratwurst so I-aaaah!”

Gabriella Muniz stopped dead as she almost walked right into the resplendently dressed superhero, the color immediately draining from her face and her mouth opening and closing of its own accord.

"From the sound of it, I don't need to introduce myself," Chris said as he turned around to face the woman who had also just entered the building. He pulled off his sunglasses, clicked their temples closed, and stowed them away in a pocket inside his coat jacket. "But I'll do it anyways. Christopher Arthur, playboy billionaire philanthropist. I’m here to meet one of your resident metahumans.”

“Haa...hello…” Gabriella managed to stammer out, her eyes darting back and forth to try and find an escape route, if needed. Easier said than done; since Briley Patton got the S.P.A.R.K. bandwagon rolling, this facility had been busier than ever, with scientists and staff milling about and interacting with newcomer heroes looking to get a leg into the game. Needless to say, with so many heroes around, the arrival of a particular famous one like Iron Knight was causing quite a stir; more than a few conversations ended in a hushed gasp when they realized who just walked in, with a few personnel desperately searching their persons for something that could be signed. The heroes especially were quite star struck, with one girl dressed like a magical princess looking faint at the sight of him.

“Oi, fancypants!”

Less star-struck was Jordan Fletcher, dressed in her new uniform with the S.P.A.R.K. patch on the shoulder, who stormed in from the security office to see who was causing trouble. Looking at her clipboard, she didn’t notice at first who she was talking to.

“I don’t have anyone cleared for visiting today, and we don’t do walk-ins!” she said importantly, looking up at Arthur. “You need to call in advance and we’ll send you ah...haa!” Fletcher nearly dropped her gear out of shock as Gabriella subtly scooted behind her girlfriend, not so subtly hiding her face in her hands.

“Interesting, I could have sworn I made an appointment. Let me look at my calendar really quickly,” Chris said as he pulled out his cell phone from his pocket. For a second or two, Chris swiped and tapped the screen of his phone until he got the information he wanted. “Well, as of two seconds ago, I am officially on your schedule. You guys should upgrade your security. You never know when a supervillain might try to break into here.” Gabriella squeaked and ducked down behind Jordan, who didn’t look at all amused with this suggestion.

“You’re hilarious,” Jordan quipped, rolling her eyes as the crowd inevitably began swarming in. “What are you even doing here anyway? Not like you don’t have your own equipment to use, I’ve seen the news lately.”

“Well, I was recently talking with Icon,” Chris started to explain, while at the same time he was signing whatever the other heroes, who were present at the time, were handing to him. “He wanted me to come to Pacific Point and talk with one of the heroes employed by S.P.A.R.K. I can’t quite remember her name. She’s kind of squidlike with blue skin, if I’m remembering correctly.”

“...what exactly do you guys want with Voyager?” Jordan said accusingly.

“That name kind of sounds familiar,” Chris replied to Jordan. The crowd of heroes all sighed in disappointment when they found out that they were not the hero Chris was looking for. “Well, I have some things I must discuss with Voyager. If you guys have any private conference rooms at this facility, that would be fantastic.”

“Well we would have if you scheduled AHEAD of time,” Jordan said with a bit of sarcastic emphasis. “But if you want to talk with her she’s in the Juno Assembly Lab. It’s down the hallway, head three doors down and follow the letters, can’t miss it.”

“Do you need me to take you there, Mr. Iron Knight?” the magical princess heroine asked, fluttering her eyelashes, prompting Jordan to roll her eyes even harder.

“I appreciate the offer, but I think I can manage getting there on my own,” Chris answered what seemed like a die-hard fan of his. “But thank you all for the warm welcome.

Keep up your good work and stay safe and try not to break too many laws. He then said to all the other heroes who had gathered up around him. After also thanking Jordan for her help, Chris left the crowd of heroes behind him as he walked down the hallway and looked at the labels on the doors until he found the Juno Assembly Lab. He then pushed the door open and entered the room.

”-and this will seal against unpleasant environments?” Voyager said nervously.

“Absolutely, just want to run the auto-seal and see if it functions properly and you should be spacefaring in no time,” Dr. Martel explained.

Not making his presence known just yet, Chris approached the scene cautiously, as it was a rather unnerving sight, seeing the squid-heroine seemingly trapped inside of a glass box. She seemed to be wearing a new, more armored version of the costume he’d seen before, with a standard breathing apparatus hanging off of her hip for some reason. The scientist nearby, who he assumed was this Dr. Martel, started to work on his console quite cautiously.

“Alright, I’m lowering the breathability of the air gradually, Riley,” he explained. “The seal activates when it drops below 50%, if you’re not comfortable or something goes wrong the shutdown trigger on your mask will flood the chamber and bring things back to normal. You ready?”

Voyager gave a thumbs up, and Martel began twisting a knob slowly. Chris watched a meter on the side of the tank slip lower and lower, until…


Voyager gave a start as a helmet sprung seemingly from nowhere, sealing tight and hiding her face behind a glass, opaque visor, with her eyes being visible as colored eye-shaped symbols behind the glass. She stumbled a bit to find her bearings, running her hand over the glass surface.

“Everything okay in there?” Martel asked into a microphone.

“Yes! I am getting air in here…the pressure level is normal as well...” Voyager reported, regaining her senses a bit. ”It just feels...what is the word where its a tight space again?”


“Yes, that is it!” she said.

“Well at least it is safe. Why don’t you give your powers a shot while you’re in there, make sure they work alright?”


Raising her hand, Voyager extended her psionic abilities and lifted a stapler sitting next to Martel into the air, letting it hover slightly before flinging it where Christopher Arthur happened to be waiting patiently.

Chris immediately regretted not making his presence known sooner, as a stapler was now soaring towards him. Initially, he was going to try to catch the stapler, but he soon decided to step to the right to just dodge it, as he did not want to get staple in the hand or anything like that.

“Excuse my interruption, but I have things to discuss with Voyager,” Chris said so as to make his presence known, if they had not already noticed him.

Martel raised an eyebrow, recognizing the flashy superhero. “Well, this should be intriguing…”

”But...do I not need to finish the suit to save the space dragons?”

“Well if Mr. Superstar can just barge in unannounced I assume he has something just as important, hm?” Martel said, whether it was with sarcasm or not, Chris couldn’t tell.

“Oh, it is really important. I would tell you all about it, but it’s top secret superhero stuff. So, if you don’t mind, after you help her out of there, we’re going to need some privacy.”

“The lab should do fine, I think,” Martel suggested, turning the knob back. “Stand back, I’m unlocking the vacuum tube.”

Chris did so, and there was a hiss of air as the tube unhatched from the floor and ascended into the ceiling of the lab. Voyager activated a button on her wrist as the air around her went back to normal and the helmet snapped open and folded backwards, hiding itself and leaving Voyager to blink the sudden brightness out of her eyes as she removed the back-up breathing mask.

“I’ll be right outside then. Don’t worry, the doors are soundproofed,” Martel said, striding past the hotshot hero and shutting the door behind him, leaving Voyager to stare at Chris curiously.

“Alright, before we begin, let’s just make sure nobody is eavesdropping on us,” Chris said before pulling out a small, circular device, that fit perfectly in the palm of his hand. He placed the device down on a nearby desk and activated it. If someone were listening on them, his ears would soon be screeching in pain. After he finished these precautions, Chris removed his jacket and slung over a nearby chair and turned to Voyager, who seemed to flinch when the device activated.

“You’re probably wondering why I’m here. Well, I’ve met with Icon and we both agree that we need to assemble a team of heroes. Since the year began, there had been several crises: D-Day, Pax Metahumana, Nightmare, and most recently the Hounds of Humanity. Each time, all the heroes were being reactive. We would gather up a rag-tag group of heroes and save the day. But how would these events had played out differently if we already had a team ready to meet the next crisis?”

”I suppose...”

“Icon and I have discussed potential members for our team. On Icon’s recommendation from your assistance with destroying the Finger of God, we have decided to reach out an invitation to you to join our team. We believe you would be a valuable asset to the team. So, what do you think?”

Voyager stared blankly for a millisecond before she suddenly gasped.



Voyager was immediately cut off as the helmet suddenly snapped over her head again, accidentally triggered when she threw her hands over her mouth. Chris waited patiently as she flailed around from a mixture of panic and excitement until she finally remembered how to turn the helmet off, leaving her gasping for breath, her back against the command console.

”You…pant...want me...on team?”

“We would like you to join, but if you don’t want to be part of this monumental milestone, we would understand.”


“Okay, okay. Slow down, there, before you give yourself a heart attack or something,” Chris tried to calm Voyager down. He definitely was not expecting that type of reaction. “Let me give you this.”

Chris pulled out yet another device out of his pocket and handed it over to Voyager. This device was rectangular in shape and was slightly thicker than a driver’s license. The top had a small screen embedded into it.

“We’ll contact you via this neat gadget once we have assembled all of our recruits and figured out our team’s name. We would like to keep things under wraps as much as we can until we are ready to make ourselves publicly known. Might be a little difficult after I just waltzed right in here, but that’s nothing I can’t handle. Do you have any questions?”

”Yes! I mean, uh...no! I mean….aah!” Voyager snatched the device and jumped on top of Chris, giving him the biggest hug she’d ever given someone before.

“Um...okay,” Chris mumbled as he patted Voyager on the back a few times before trying to pry himself out of her vice grip. “Well, if you don’t have any questions for me, I guess I’ll return you to your tests. And welcome to the team.”

”I will not let you down!” Voyager said proudly, springing into a salute before-


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Hidden 4 yrs ago Post by Mercinus3
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Chapter 1: The Falling Pieces

Unknown building, somewhere in Crown Ridge

Weeks passed since The Hounds of Humanity lost their battle to the superheroes of Lost Haven, and the Eye of Osiris was busy. The sudden influx of recruits from the former organization that were mostly scattered in most of Lost Haven and Crown Ridge were rounded up and were either drafted into the fold or ‘purged’ at the whim of Dullahan. The faithful already in the Eye before the influx were consolidating their positions in the two cities that were left because of both the gang war between the Yakuza and Triads plus the Hounds. In each case, the use of the Penose in Lost Haven and the Haitians in Crown Ridge made keeping the secrecy of the organization easier in the long run.

In Crown Ridge, Dullahan and a few of the key figures in the Eye were in a separate room. Altogether, there was him, his bodyguard Sobek, the spear-wielding man and the axe-wielding man standing around a table with a fifth person lurking near the ominous leader. “Right now,” Sobek spoke, keeping his eyes on the table that had the map of Maine and smaller maps of both the city of Lost Haven and Crown Ridge. “We have the base facilities for the import of our needed equipment set up in the Chinatown edge of Lost Haven, so we can get the specialized gear from our main warehouse across the Atlantic. As for the facilities here, we are mostly using them to keep stock of Eye personnel and military gear. That plus the warehouse on the edge of town allows for the drugs that will be coming in from the Netherlands and Haiti could be supplied throughout North America. Funds from previous endeavours allow for the goods to leave the city easier. The city’s no capes policy, although will be circumvented by local heroes such as Lyger, will make things easier as well.”

“But what about the big heroes like Lyger?” The spear-wielding man spoke up. “Small heroes could be easily deterred by the No Capes policy in the city, but heroes that stopped D-Day and Pax Metahuman will certainly cause problems down the line.”

“But you forget that in the process of setting up shop that some of our high-tech gear used to obtain those facilities will be there,” replied the axe-wielding man. “While the turrets and the gear we used was only specific to target the gangs and Hounds, they will be targeting both human and superhuman invaders when we finally set up everything.”

Sobek looks up at the two men. “Sekhmet’s right, Montu. The gear we have already is getting changed over as we speak in terms of the programming so that it will target heroes like Lyger and with them being high-tech, any of the known instruments used by Lyger himself will have reduced effectiveness against them. Trust me… He won’t be much of an issue and things being low-key will not warrant the attention to Iron Knight and Icon.”

” And of the location of our missing item?” Everyone bar the lurking figure turned towards their leader as he spoke for the first time during the meeting. ”Is there any progress?”

Sobek’s face turned sombre as he shook his head. “Anhur reports in that since locating the woman in question weeks ago, she had gone underground and with…”

Dullahan’s fist curled into a fist on the table as the red eyes of his helmet turned bloodier in colour. Both Montu and Sekhmet silently gulped in trepidation. Sobek was the only one unmoved by the sudden threatening posture from the leader. ”Get Anhur on a line… NOW!”

Location: An unknown warehouse, Chinatown, Lost Haven

The Penose were hard at work. Since the warehouse facilities on dockside Chinatown were obtained, shipments from worldwide came in and were running like clockwork. While some of the cargo was for legitimate uses such as imported food and textiles, some of the Penose product was also important and were prepared to be distributed. Overwatching it all, Anhur leaned against the railing on the upper floor of the warehouse. “Everything seems to be going along smoothly,” the man with the skull-face tattoo muttered to himself. “Just wish that Pasadena bitch would be found.” He had spent the past few weeks getting the network of Penose to locate the woman in question, who he knew as Kayla. That was the only information he had, despite the accurate description of her looks and the rough area of where she lived.

The closest he got to get to her was a college student who wanted the money for blow. He had managed to find her. And how did that turn out? An arrest and interrogation from a bow-wielding vigilante that came to be known as Fletch. Since word got out from what happened that night, not only had the woman disappeared, but no one followed up on obtaining the bounty he placed on her. And the fruitless endeavour was the reason why Dirk, the tall-blond Dutchman that led most of the Penose in the reclamation of the warehouses, was by his side with a phone in his hand. Reaching for the offered phone, Anhur pressed it to his ear. “Can I help you?”

“It’s Sobek. How goes preparations in Lost Haven? Any news about the girl?”

Anhur sighed, left hand raised to the bridge of his nose. “Things have been proceeding as scheduled. More of our turrets and ground-based attack drones have arrived and being distributed to the warehouses in Lost Haven as we speak. Once the next shipment arrives, they will be shipped to Crown Ridge. As for the girl…” He sighed. He had an idea that Dullahan was on speaker too to hear everything. “… Still, no signs. She seems to have slipped the…”

”Find her.”

Anhur shivered at the sound of Dullahan’s voice over the phone. “I’m trying, sir. But no one is taking up on the bounty that has been placed. Not while a vigilante with a bow is going after them.”

” I don’t care how you do it… Raise the bounty on finding her… Allow people wanting it to use our weapons… I don’t care… Just get it done, Anhur. You know what’ll happen if you disappoint me again…”

Then, Anhur was left in silence as the phone was hung up, with Dirk behind him wondering on the conversation.

Location: Unknown building, somewhere in Crown Ridge

With the phone to Anhur hung up, Dullahan sighs. ” Now that matter has been dealt with, what about our other sources? Have they narrowed the search?”

Sobek perks up a little. “While we haven’t had much progress with finding the girl, our network has sensed that the search area is on the western side of the US. We’re still narrowing down as we speak, though anything from Anhur will help significantly.”

Dullahan sighs. ”Very good. Keep your eyes on that. As for what to do, Sekhmet will head to Lost Haven and help with keeping our men in line. He would also help Anhur with his search for this… Kayla. Dismissed.”

Location: An unknown warehouse, Chinatown, Lost Haven

With the monotonous tone of the call ending, Anhur paused there in silence. On the one hand, everything was going smoothly with bringing the Eye’s equipment and product through that it would make the upcoming operation smoother to run for Dullahan. On the other, the smooth operation going on now meant jack shit if the girl was not located. The skull-faced man knew that without her, the critical item for the operation would not be found and scupper everything. And the last thought, tied in with the vigilante archer, pissed him off.

The skull-faced man threw the phone onto the floor below, yelling in anger that surprised Dirk. Then, Anhur turned to the Dutchman, his golden eyes swirling with hatred. “Get… the word out to every motherfucker in the city!” he bellowed, the Dutchman cowering with the overwhelming fear he was facing. “I am tripling the bounty on the bitch’s head for her to be brought to me alive. I’m also putting a $2 million bounty on the archer’s head to be brought to me on a fucking platter!”

While he was on a role, he thought about the hotbed of heroes that were present in the city. He thought about the thousands of poor people and criminals in the city that were in desperate need of the cash. If the operation were to run smoother than it already is, might as well remove a few more obstacles out of our way. The thought made Anhur smirk maniacally. It was for this reason that Dullahan had put him in charge of the operations in Lost Haven. “And while we are at it, send the word out to every poor soul and low-life thug that is out there. I am putting a $500k reward for each hero’s head. If they need the gear to do so, they get it through our suppliers.”

Dirk stood there, still frozen with fear.


Location: Unknown building, somewhere in Crown Ridge

With the three men gone, only Dullahan and the lone figure remained in the planning room. The Eye leader paused for a moment, pondering on something. ” For now, keep a close eye on your phone for any new orders from me. In the meantime, you carry on with whatever contracts you have open. Is that understood, Anput?”

The lurking figure stood up. Moving into the light, the figure wore a full military gear, hooded and mask covering any features that would identify what gender they were. Through the purple lenses of the goggles, they looked at Dullahan. ”Understood.” Then, as if by an unknown ability, the assassin disappears from the room.

Dullahan remained in his chair. While he sounded menacing to their comrade in Lost Haven, he knew that the words he said were to only fire up Anhur to getting things into motion. After all, a city of heroes is hard to cause chaos from the get-go. Weeks are needed before his plan could finally go into action and the better prepared they were for the operation, the smoother things will run, and the probability of success will increase. Then, much like the moment with the Hound recruitment, Dullahan smirks under his helmet.

”Everything is now falling into place.”
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Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by Eventua
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Banner credit to Nitemare Shape. Thanks Boss!

A Spark of Golden Hope: Episode 3


Rivertown District, Detroit, July 7th
EGE building

Sonya arched one delicate brown eyebrow as the newcomer mumbled out his purpose in entering the building. Green eyes flicked over the state of his clothes and the shy attitude. While she wasn’t actually meant to be at the reception area right now, she had taken over for a moment while the usual receptionist, Kyle, had gone to talk to one of the civilian employees. So now she was stuck in a situation she hadn’t actually wanted to deal with in the first place. One fine-boned hand tapped the pen she was holding rapidly on the glass top of the desk.

“I’m sorry, sir, you said you were at the rally? Does that mean you’re here for the community outreach program?” While her tone of voice didn’t have any malice or patronisation in it, it was cool and emotionless, purely professional.

Everett couldn’t help but give an awkward sort of chuckle - he could just tell this was going to be difficult to navigate. Her eyes gave him no room for error.
… Then stop grinning like an idiot.

“Um, yes, I was very curious! … About the program, I mean, it’s, um… a bit of a long story really?”

He glanced back down at the pamphlet, the ink on the paper having started to smudge and deteriorate into the paper from the nervous rubbing of his fingers and repeated folding and unfolding as the day had progressed. The word “re-affirm” suddenly stood out like a parent at a child’s recital, and he tried to refocus.

“Came over to Detroit lookin’ for ways to build a community. Help people, since, uh…”

He bit his lip slightly, avoiding Sonya’s piercing eyes as he glanced around the room once again.

“It’s a long story, but I think I could do a lot of good! Here! Like this,” he nodded, hand waving a little across the room - the point of his rambling had started to elude him, though he struggled to think about how it might look to others.

“Ah, ahem.” The woman cleared her throat slightly. The tapping of the pen had ceased, replaced by a faint scritching as she wrote something swiftly on a small pad next to her. She motioned the young man to move closer so he could read it without her exposing the script to the glass of the door, and thus outside. It simply had one word, in neat copperplate handwriting: “Meta?”

His lips seemed to still be searching for the words as the tapping stopped.

“Oh, ass, um…”

“How did she know?”

Who can know it, Mansa. Maybe it is a sign?

Signs were good, weren’t they? Better than trying to find your way out of a forest at midnight on your own, anyway.

“... Yes,” he nodded, awkward smile returning into a slightly wider grin, a few yellowing teeth showing through, “it’s, uh, not very… ‘flashy.’,” he winked, “But it is… ‘expensive’?”

The wink was more nervous that time.

Sonya’s entire demeanor shifted, ever so subtly. The eyebrow quirked up again at that ‘joke’, but otherwise she paid it no heed. However, her shoulders relaxed ever so slightly, and she stood up with a rush and purpose. And then she vanished, without a sound. Several seconds went by before she reappeared again, exactly the same.

“Very well, Mr Atut. Follow me, please, and we’ll see about getting you in and checked out.” Without waiting for a response, she took off at a steady, determined stride down the front of the office space, passing a double row of desks. A short man with curly blonde hair rushed past her in the opposite direction, heading for the desk she had so swiftly abandoned.

“Apologies for the necessity, but Miss Richter does require we do this away from the less exceptional employees, and also insists on personally knowing the, ah….quirks of everyone working in the organisation, the better to decide what tasks to assign them.” She turned a corner, down a carpeted hallway. A pair of doors on each side led to conference rooms, one of which was open and what looked to be a design meeting was in full swing. Her hand swung out, touched the door just so, and it swung shut as she passed.

“Of course, you can always refuse, but I’m afraid we’re not going to get anywhere without cooperation, correct?” she arrived at a set of steel doors, shining in the fluorescence of the hallway lighting. She pressed down on a discreet panel to one side, and there was a brief pause before the door opened. For a split second, as the door opened, there were actually two of her, both flickering on a barely noticeable level. And then there was one again. The doors opened onto a landing, stairs leading down into the basement, cool air blowing up from the next floor down.

Everett tried to smile through all of this, though it had to be said the shimmer had caught him off guard a little. First the sudden vanishing and reappearing, now this strange shimmer?

Had she moved them both through space somehow…? Whatever it was, it made the hairs on his arms rise, and he took a deep breath, nodding along as she spoke.

“O-of course, ‘course, that makes a lot of sense, yeah. I’ve been trying to keep on the low- my options, open. Options open. So I was a bit nervous about all this, won’t lie, and…” he glanced down at the basement, fingers fidgeting with the old hat in his hands, “walking down into dark basements isn’t usually, um…”

He sighed deeply, then the sigh became a yawn, and the yawn became a nervous, sweaty rubbing of the eyes in the cool rising air.

“Not usually something I do. But, um, Ms Richter, she… she’s clearly a very well, organized, sort of person, and I think we could both benefit.”

He paused, before then slowly but surely stepping down the stairs, the smell of his clothes drafting behind him.

“I have a lot to offer, it’s, um… in high demand.”

She gave him a sideways glance over her shoulder at that comment, eyes narrowed in calculation, but didn’t say anything.

The stairwell came to another set of doors that apparently required her unusual approach. This one, however, had an open panel next to it, clearly a space where a different security measure would be in place later on. These doors opened onto a brightly lit white hallway, wide enough for four people to walk side by side. It ran for quite some ways into the distance, interspersed with intersections and doors. They came to the very first door on the right, one with a large bay window facing into what looked like a normal studio apartment. There were a few details not quite right, however.

As a living room, it looked quite normal, if a bit run down. Ugly plaid couch, coffee table with a stack of magazines, ceiling fan and light, end table with a lamp and hardline phone, television and what seemed to be a full suite of modern gaming consoles. On second glance, two televisions. The one on the wall was a giant flat screen, but on the floor in front of it was an old twelve inch CRT with an attached VCR. Adjoining space contained what might generously be called a combination kitchenette and bathroom. There was a large industrial tub with a massive faucet, at least, and what looked to be an ancient iron fire-burning stove.

Sonya opened the door and there was a faint whoosh of pressurised air escaping, then held it open for Everett to follow her in.

He nodded and smiled, shaking his hat at her very slightly, and stepped forward… then stopped, just for a moment, his eyes flickering as if listening to someone.

Mansa, one has been thinking, and this seems… unusual.

“... I thought you wanted me to come here.”

One merely noted she had the spirit of a queen, but-

“A bit late to warn me now, isn’t it? I swear you really can be useless sometimes-”


“Shut it, okay? Stop distracting me.”

He blinked deeply, squeezing out the image in his mind’s eye to refocus on Sonya, and followed through with a forced smile, taking in the sights and breathing in the smell.

“This is, um…” he smiled again, this time a little warmer than before… and then he saw the game’s console and the set up, and he had the briefest flash of a memory.

Nothing grand, of course, but the layout of the room was achingly close. How long had it been now… 10 months? A year?

The clock had kept ticking, and in the never-ending chase everything had felt stretched - too much needle, nowhere near enough thread.

… He sniffed, shook his head a little, and tried to re-focus.

“S-sorry, it’s just, um…” he swallowed, “It’s been a while since I was in an actual house, you know that? It’s very nice! An impressive rig, too! My little brother, he, uh-”


His rambling stopped with a jolt, the sound of the heavy metal door slamming behind him. He turned to look at Sonya, her gaze still relentlessly detached and observant.

The wake of the echo was a cold and uncomfortable silence.

Sonya waited for several beats, watching the man’s reaction as he processed what had just happened. Finally, she broke the silence.

“You may have some questions. They will be answered either right now, in my little speech, or afterwards, one way or the other.” She let that sentence hang for a moment before continuing, “Whatever powers you may have, Miss Richter will need to see for herself. This room allows her to do so without fear of either her own safety or yours.”

Another ominous pause.

“Do not attempt to escape. The area this room is situated in is very secure, hence the unfortunate measure of locking you in here. While I would normally point out that there is, in fact, a mini fridge full of refreshments, I do not believe you will have long to wait before she can come down. In the meantime, do not do anything...regrettable.” And with her power’s usual disappointing lack of dramatic effect, she vanished, leaving him in the room to stew.

Huh. Well. Mmm.

He clasped and rubbed his hands together, the sudden loneliness throwing him off, just for a moment.

His face screwed up, just a little, as he tried to think what to do next. This Richter lady would be arriving soon, and she was obviously a very capable and, to Everett’s mind, purposeful sort of person. Not really someone he wanted to make enemies with, exactly.

He had to do something impressive, something really… wow.

“Maybe I could-”


He clutched his stomach, the thought of food having finally caught up with the thought of failure, and now they rested in his stomach like some sort of horrible parasite-baby.

… Okay, okay, fridge first - she won’t mind, right? I can buy a dozen fridges - then plan.

Without a moment’s hesitation he skipped over to the fridge - a straight forward sort of unit, two feet tall, shiny and plastic and chrome. The rubber felt fresh beneath his fingers as it opened, and…

For just a moment, he really could have cried. As a teen he’d lamented the supposedly terrible quality of american snacks, but here they were in abundance.

At first he paused, taking a deep breath, and carefully peeling open the wrapper to a single twinkie.

Just one, he thought, To tide me over. Just one.

But as pillowy cake and soft, fake cream hit his tongue, the deed was done. Like a childishly edgy prank that had inevitably spiralled into lovecraftian horrors, the most basic instinct of all living things had kicked in with a vengeance and he was suddenly much, much hungrier than he had been even just a moment ago.

For the next minute he tore into packet after packet, breathing in the smells and textures, and for just a moment, he forgot why he was even there.

Then the intercom crackled to life, and a german accented voice - with only half an intention to do so - nearly choked him to death, and along with it back to the present.

Moments ago…

Zoë no longer jumped in shock whenever Sonya appeared in front of her. It had taken some getting used to, that was certain, but by now it was just an annoyance. A rather large one at this point, as the girl had appeared between her and a sword that was strung from the ceiling some distance away from her easel. She scowled.

”Yes, Sonya?” Her voice dripped with, while not malice, sarcasm that indicated that it could, indeed, become malicious at the listener’s provocation.

“Sorry, ma’am, but we have a meta in the test lab and I didn’t think you’d be too busy.” Sonya sketched a quick shrug. She was one of the few that could actual remain safe while the temperamental meta was angry with them, much to her employer’s chagrin. Then again, they had a good working relationship, and Sonya, at least for her part, trusted Forge to an almost fanatical degree.

Zoë sighed, laying aside her brush and holding out her hand. She had changed into a well-worn and paint spattered pair of pale jeans and a flannel button up tee, both old enough to probably be retired but now used as crafting clothes. ”Very well, let us see what has wandered into the net, hmm?””

Sonya took the proffered hand, and Zoë found herself outside the “capture room”. Definitely going to need to come up with a better name for it at some point. She crossed her arms while Sonya ran her through everything that had occurred since the young man had come through the front door, all the while watching him gorge himself on cheap food, and then leaned forward and pressed the small switch next to the door. The inside of the room echoed with her voice, using her normal ‘Miss Richter’ slight German accent.

”Good afternoon, Mr. Atut. My name is Erika Richter. I am very curious to know what it is your powers are? Maybe a small demonstration? Nothing too major, but, you see, that is what this room is set up to do. If it’s destructive, please try to tone it down, but don’t be afraid to cut loose a little bit. The walls are very thick reinforced concrete and the window is extremely durable material as well. Everything inside is, of course, easily replaceable.”

Everett’s eyes widened as he tried to simultaneously avoid choking, to pay attention to what was actually being said, and to make quick work of a diet pepsi.

He stumbled over a beanbag chair as he awkwardly jogged back to the intercom by the door, brushing down his jacket of crisp shards and twinkie crumbs as if that would make any difference at all, and then leant into the intercom.

“Ah, um…! Yes, a pleasure to hear from you, Ms Richter, very impressive rally earlier! Really good!”

Everett, you’re breathing into the intercom, stop breathing!

He sucked his chest in a little and stood back, just a bit.

“The demonstration, um… do you have any preference as to what I, um... target with it? I appreciate a lot of this equipment is quite expensive, probably!”

”In fact, Mr. Atut, all of this was very kindly donated and is for this express purpose. But if you need a little direction, let’s sayy...the coffee table. It’s quite old and smells a bit of cat in my opinion. In your own time, Mr. Atut.”

“Oh, uh, fantastic! Great, I’ll do that, then!”

He turned and looked down at the table, a slightly battered old piece - an antique in the least interesting sense, and now that he thought about it, it did smell suspiciously like an old cat.

Not exactly to be missed, so.

Breathe deep, he thought, inhaling through his nose. His eyes closed, and he took a few more breaths.

He slowly raised his right hand outstretched, a single finger slowly pointing at the faded table. As he did, his right eye opened, and just for a moment… it glowed, a dark and brilliant orange. Like a sunset at the lowest point, or a shard of eons-old amber fresh from the soil.

In his mind’s eye the table was aglow. A warm and folding light, and in an instant of time it stretched and contorted, the foundational chains of its existence, the spheres linked by lightning, infinitesimal to the eyes of man.

His right hand curled, and there was the difference.

“Change.” he said, and his fingers snapped, and for the briefest of moments the room was made of gold.


And then, as the light returned to normal, the table was gone.

In its place was something that would, if you squinted, resemble a table - albeit for very small, very rich people with really poor taste in furniture.

A mass of solid, glimmering gold, awkwardly propped up on four deformed and stump-like legs, warped and crumpled under the weight of the central mass.

Everett smiled, the feeling always a pleasant one… though he quickly lost the sense of power when the table completely collapsed under its own weight and formed into a single loose collection of golden lumps on the floor.

He turned to the intercom.

“So, um, bit of a long story, but that table is now, very… gold. ‘Fraid I can’t turn it back, though.”

There was the faintest of sharp inhalations through a nose. ”Very good, Mr. Atut. Any other powers?”

Everett’s awkward grin faded a little, eyes widening with concern.

“No, I’m afraid, ah… just that. I can actually do it more quickly, it just… I’ve been a bit out of practice. Sort of. Don’t normally use it on stuff that large.”

”Oh, I don’t think that should be a worry, Mr. Atut. Just making sure it wasn’t necessary to see you make something explode, as well. While this rooms furnishings are replaceable, some others are very much not. Please do not be alarmed in a few moments.”

Sonya blinked her employer back to the office, counted to fifteen, then blinked in, laid her hand on Everett’s shoulder, and transported him to the office as well.

The room had come a long way since Zoë had taken over the building. Gone were the threadbare carpets, replaced by shining darkwood. The desk was ostentatious in its size, especially given that the woman who now sat at it looked for all the world like a college art student. She reclined back into the creaking leather chair, which matched the walls and blotter on the desk in a deep forest green. Several landscape paintings were hung around the room, though they had an edge to them. The one directly behind her, for example, was of a fairly standard grassy plain, possibly Italian. However, the geometry was off, and the sense of scale was carefully turned on its ear, leaving the viewer with a slight sense of vertigo, despite its otherwise flawless workmanship. To the man’s right was a large window, looking out over the office space he had gone past earlier.

”So, Mr. Atut,” she said, glancing at Sonya behind him, who very suddenly wasn’t there any more. ”The first question may be the most obvious. Was that really gold? And if so, why do you look like your next stop after this interview would be the nearest homeless shelter?”

Everett took a moment to breathe again, the sudden warping having thrown him for the dozenth loop this day, and then shook his mind back to reality and smiled at her.

“Um, right! Straight to the questions! That, yes, actually… that does make sense, so, first question.”

He clasped his hands together, gave a tight-lipped smile, and then shrugged his shoulders heavily.

“You’re welcome to test it. I’ve been doing this for… over a year, now? It’s really, really gold. 100%. Purer than pure. And, well, as to why I’m dressed like this, I…”

Might as well be honest at this point. Penny for a pound.

“I’ve… okay, might be a silly question, you ever hear of a… ‘superhero’ that was sighted around London last year, named Mansa? Possibly was accused of murdering a politician? That, that was me - I mean, uh, to clarify, not the murder, that was a different guy, but they pegged it on me, see, because I wouldn’t join them - the murderers, not the politicians, though I wasn’t a fan of them either - and so I had to go into hiding, and fled here, and then the Hound attacks threw everything in the garbage, and now, uh, mmm.”

He took another, deeper breath.

“It’s… things are sort of in the can right now, honestly.”

‘Miss Richter’ kept her gaze on the man for some time before speaking, almost as if she was still processing this information. Her eyes were, however, glittering with intelligence, not cow-eyed with difficulty. Finally, she steepled her fingers and gently itched the end of her nose with a still interlocked index finger.

”Let me tell you what I am hearing, and then you can correct me if I am mistaken.” Her voice, despite the words, was very warm, like a parent just trying to understand, or a therapist. No judgement in it.

”You were ‘doing good’ in London, helping people - back to that in a moment, by the way - before you got caught up by your enemies in a character assassination. Seeing no other option, you fled the country, and have been keeping a low profile here. Where you are not legally permitted to live, unless I miss my mark. And where you are, in fact, hiding instead of clearing your name. Which means there’s something in your past you do not want to face?”

She breathed in slightly, laying her hands flat. ”Bear in mind, Mr. Atut, that your past is yours, to keep secret as you wish, but also to deal with. We live in a world where the old comic books seem to have come to life, and I am sorry to say the transition is not smooth, as the Hounds so aptly demonstrated. But one thing seems clear about...well, our people, as it were. We tend to be like cats, solitary by nature. And yet here I am trying to herd them, and at the same time trying to change the world for the better. It’s going to get violent, Mr. Atut, of that I have no doubt, and I would be ashamed to lead you on differently.”

”Which, of course, is my point. You’ve come here, gathering from my speech that I intend to go good work, and what I presume is the same core bit of you that made you want to be a hero in the first place has you in my office now. Well and good, but what happens when the chips are down, Mr. Atut? Will you run again? And what of these murderers? Surely they do not want loose ends? My point is, how much do I have to worry once you’re in my employ? How much added stress and danger am I going to have?”

The words were heavy, and they sank into him like wet sand.

That same heaviness began to infiltrate into the back of his mind, and the world felt just a little foggy. But it was not foreign to him - rather, there was something deeply familiar to it, like recognizing a childhood face in the crowd.

Will you run again?

He bit his lip, slumping down in the chair. His eyes were focused on his hands, and there they lingered, trying to piece together far more than he had really paid mind to in recent months.

“I,” he whispered, “I’m not sure.”

His teeth ground together slightly, pouring over the thoughts, trying to piece together how on Earth he was supposed to explain all of this to the stranger in front of him - truthfully, how much he even should have told her.

“It’s,” he sighed, his whole body shaking with the weight of his memories, “it’s complicated, and I’m not completely sure of the situation back home right now. I haven’t spoken to my family in almost a year - to protect them, and those… idiots, called themselves the “Osiris Collective” like they were anything more than self-righteous gangsters; I don’t know what happened to them. They were smart enough to frame me, but petty enough to do it over a disagreement, and they had no resources outside of their group… I honestly think they might all be dead or in prison by now.”

He looked up at her, her gaze still focused, reading his every move. He couldn’t help but sweat a little.

“I thought this power, this… thing in my head, could make the world better on its own. That I could just give people with nothing to their names’ a handful of gold, and fix all the inequality and struggle, but people… society, is more complex than that. When it brought the wrong people to my door, I didn’t know what else to do, so I panicked, and now I’m stuck here.”

He gave a nervous smile.

“On the other side of the coin, this country is somehow in a worse state than home - no offence - and I… I think if I had somewhere to direct this power, someone to help me guide this golden hand, maybe...”

He held out his right hand, slightly limp, and offered as carefree a smile as he could muster, his eyes wide.

“It won’t end like last time.”

Zoë stared at the proffered hand, mind racing. Real, live, actual Midas touch. Infinite gold. Funding will never be a problem again. Carefully, though. The is a gift that should not be abused, both for his sake and to keep attention away.

”I am willing to guide you, yes. But before we, ah, shake on it, you’ll need some ground rules, yes? As much as we are looking to help, you are still, by and large, going to be my employee, not partner. Which means the usual sort of thing, plus a contract, and some additional things I’ll need to determine because of your rather dangerous ability, Mr. Atut.”

As much as she sounded standoffish, though, her posture became much more relaxed and convivial, her tone less rigidly proper. Her feet, in their pink and white Reeboks, appeared and were propped up on her desk while she leaned back and regarded him carefully.

”The speech at the rally you heard was actually not meant for metahumans, really. That was for the people who have to do things the normal way. You and I and Sonya and others are much different. If you’d like to use older terminology, we are quite close to demigods, though I doubt any divine source of power, at least for me. But the power we have gives us infinitely more choice in our lives, as all forms of power do. We are given, through whatever means, the ability to shape the world to our liking well beyond what ‘mere mortals’ could. I intend to use mine responsibly, to clean up messes I otherwise couldn’t, and to help those without voices regain control of their destinies, not to be cattle and sheep fed into the machine that has steadily replaced choice in this world. To that end, there will be many who might end up calling me a villain. If I fail, I am more than certain that they will do all they can to metaphorically burn me at the stake, along with any who might help me.”

She rotated her chair, gesturing out of the window to their side. ”Out there are several dozen people who do not know all of this, because it will not be pretty and I intend to insulate them from the damage should everything go catastrophically wrong. Down below, where you were earlier, are the people who have found out or otherwise been informed choose to go, knowing that it might mean their livelihoods, or in the extreme, their actual lives.

She spun her chair back, feet dropping, to face him. Her demeanor shifted back to the more professional side. ”You, Mr. Atut, have a choice to make. This is your fight, but only if you make it yours. You are one of the metahumans. You could make a difference anywhere you go, really, not just with me or any other of our kind. And you may well fit in other places better than here. You may walk out of that front door to think about it. You may go see others of our kind and get a feel for them. You may do any number of things, but let me tell you right now, before you truly decide, that once I let you into the basement areas as an actual employee, Mr. Atut,” and here she paused between each word, hammering them with emphasis, ” There. Is. No. Going. Back.”

She smiled, genuinely and warmly. ”Of course, should you leave, think about it, or even go work for someone else for a while, then return here, there will be a position waiting for you. I like your eyes, Mr. Atut, they have quite a bit to say behind them, things moving that you need to process. And you came to me rather swiftly, which I appreciate. So you have, as it were, a standing offer. What I can give you right now is my solemn promise that it is not just because of your rather remarkable ability that you have this offer, and I will never force you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. You will always have a choice, saving that once you’re in, you’re in for good. Or until we collapse, of course.”

Only now, after saying her piece, did she offer her hand.


Throughout all of this he had watched her intently, followed her movements, and the office below. At last she offered the hand of her own, and the metaphorical ink suddenly seemed to take on a shade of red...

He stepped backwards slightly, stroking his chin, eyes darting downwards as he rolled it over in his head, over and over.

A one way journey, Mansa.

“And the people will say it’s straight to hell.”

This queen of flames is willing to balance prosperity on a knife’s edge… perhaps my words before were misplaced?

“Perhaps, but... we’re here now, lost up a creek, right?”

There in that office, the cool air-conditioning on his neck and the offer of purpose a handshake away, alternatives seemed as meaningless as hoping to win the lottery on a single torn ticket.

She was right - his power was a tremendous gift, something utterly unique, and he was wasting it playing at homelessness because of his fear and self-imposed isolation.

Self-imposed? tapped the spider,

“I did this to myself.”

A lie, Mansa, no-

“That, or you did.”

The spider’s incessant tapping fell silent, vanishing from view, and once again it was simply two metas in the renovated, ambitious office. His mind wandered for a moment on the white and pink sneakers, and the junk food in the fridge, in contrast to this place and what had been built so far, what was implied to have been built below.

She was human, this Richter. Human, but smart and more than a little artistic, ambitious.

Everett stepped forwards, his eyes locking into hers and briefly losing the nerves that had defined them so far - nervousness replaced with a sense of pleading.

I hope I’m not wrong.

“My hands could make anyone rich, Ms Richter. But I don’t really care about it for myself, and trying to help people on the ground hasn’t worked. And as for the systems in place, they…”

He sighed, a weak smile passed across his cracking lips.

“The systems are broken, the prosperity always winds up in the hands that need and deserve it least. But you… you strike me as someone with a plan, and a purpose, and willingness to use those systems only as needed. You don’t seem to view your people as expendable, either, and you don’t fear your rivals or outsiders, it’s… refreshing, honestly.”

With a sudden, deep breath he reached out and grasped her hand, a strength to the grip that seemed sudden and heavy.

“I’ll take that offer.”

He nodded, “No more running.”

She breathed out through her nose at the shake, and returned his nod, a slight edge of tension leaving her shoulders. ”Excellent. I’m glad you’ve chosen to work with us. We’ll have Sonya draw up a contract, which will just be the usual non-disclosure stuff, along with your pay and accomodations. Given the uniquely valuable and, ah, tempting power of yours, I might prefer you to stay in the more secure quarters downstairs, but we can discuss that once we’ve got you settled in and meeting people.”

She released his hand to press an unobtrusive button on a panel on her desk. Sonya’s voice came through a tiny microphone/speaker combo less than a second later. “Yes, Miss Richter?”

”We’ll need to get back downstairs, Sonya, and then I’ll need to discuss an employment contract with you later tonight.”

“Of course, Miss. Just a moment.”

Sonya flickered into the office, lightly resting a hand on the recruit’s shoulder, leaning past him, and meeting her index finger with the one Zoë stretched out to her. And then they were back in front of the examination room. Sonya disappeared just as quickly, leaving them in the brightly lit hallway.

”Any questions before we begin the tour?”


He’d visibly tensed up at Sonya’s reappearance, and went rigid as once again he was pushed through spacetime, the bright lights of the hallway snapping into place around him as suddenly and simply as viewing the next photo on a slideshow.

“Yes. Does she do that a lot, without asking…? And if she does, can she just sort of…”

He waved his hand slightly, before landing on a cautious “not?”

Zoë chuckled, gesturing for him to follow her down the hall. [color]”It is a little disconcerting, isn’t it? Alas, until we get the doors finished, it’s the best way down here. And, of course, until we can get you registered into the biometric system, which is unfortunately not up yet. At the moment, she is the most reliable way down here. I will tell her not to be so abrupt with you, however.”[/color]

As they walked, her sneakers squeaked on the floor, and she had a little skipping step every once in a while, and a bounce. Having dropped her business-like demeanor from the interview, she began acting very much more her age, and it became somewhat obvious that she couldn’t be much more than legal drinking age. She flicked her hair idly as they passed one door that stood open, revealing several snack machines, pool tables, couches, and televisions.

”Here is the rec room, where you are of course encouraged to meet people while on break, blow off some steam, et cetera. Next to it, the one that’s closed, is the gymnasium, which has amongst other things fight training, resistance, weight, and a small number of aerobic machines. Unfortunately, I’ve run into some snags clearing a trainer as yet, but it shouldn’t be too long. In the mean time, please feel free to make use of it as you will, but if you hurt yourself by using equipment improperly, we only have the one doctor on staff right now.”

Another gesture down one T-intersection as they passed pointed out several doors. The cool air from the A/C vents ruffled her shirt slightly, clearly more intense in that direction. ”Here we have the dormitories, where you will be staying until you make other arrangements, or we get you set up in a private room on the next floor down. That whole floor has yet to be finished, of course, or I would show you around down there.”

She stopped with another squeak, gesturing further down the corridor. ”Down in that direction we have our power supply and water treatment facility, which I am assured is of top quality, along with our server room and, just here at the intersection, Doctor Emilia Rivera’s office. She’s not in today, or I would introduce you. She is quite good and very passionate.”

She gave Everett a conspiratorial wink and a grin. ”Just don’t bring up anything political with her, she can go on longer than even I can and we have had some disagreements about healthcare positions before. However, she is very professional and will save your life as often as is necessary. We managed to snag her from a university hospital down in Mexico.”

She stood, facing him, elbows out and hands on her hips, looking quite proud. The strength of the white light on the white walls managed to make her look even more pale and blonde, and there was a playful glint in her eyes. ”So, what do you think?”

He smiled, looking back over his shoulder and around at the walls as he thought over what he’d seen. Seeing her sudden loosening of reactions and movements left him feeling a lot more open, though the tapping of the spider suddenly took on a more sinister tone in the middle of such bright, monochrome white…

She’s even younger than me, isn’t she?

“It’s impressive, for sure, to have all of this set up underground, does…”

He bit his lip, eyes darting as he struggled to word it in a way he hoped wouldn’t upset her.

“You mentioned you were expecting to make powerful enemies. I assume this is all strictly off the books...?”

Wait is that a suspicious thing to ask?

He laughed nervously, “For my resume, you understand... ‘Secret underground lair, July 2018 till Present’ is hard to use as a reference at MacDonalds.”

He waited for the awkwardness to pass, hopefully - or at least until it was tolerable - before shrugging and gesturing both forward and backward along the hallway.

“But it’s… it’s impressive, and all with - by the sounds of it - a fairly small operation so far. It makes me confident, you know? A good foundation, I think.”

Zoë’s face slid into a nearly fae smile. She leaned one hand on the wall next to her, opposite the dorms, and listened politely, nodding. Her eyebrow quirked up at it being small. Her fingers tapped out a distinct rhythm on the wall, and a panel slid open, revealing another hall. This one’s walls, however, were made of glass, and it made a significantly longer run than the one they were standing in. Somewhere beyond the glass it shifted into another section of white panelling. She gestured for him to step through the secret door.

”Small is an odd word to use, but yes, by the standards of, say, a government lab or military base, you are quite correct. And yes, we will make very powerful enemies, ones who want to stay in secret and hold the status quo. We are here to fight them, and we will be constantly outclassed in terms of funding and on just about every other factor. Except tenacity, really.”.

Through the glass walls were spaces of concrete floor, around thirty feet by fifty. Only two were anything but bare. The one immediately on their left held what looked to be a chemistry lab, along with lots of other machinery. Two men in lab coats looked up and waved at her as they passed the hall, to which she nodded. Just outside the door stood what looked to be a soldier, in black tactical gear and holding one of those small, very compact and high-tech sub-machine guns. He came briskly to attention as they passed him, then returned. A swift backwards glance revealed him to be playing with what looked to be a Game-Boy.

The second used space held a young man of Asian descent, sitting cross-legged in the very center of the area. Various crystals and mirrors floated around him in mid-air, though they began settling down as she approached the door guard outside his space. She shook hands with the guard.

”Robbins, this is...ahhh, crud. What exactly was your code name anyway, Mr. Atut? Oh, never mind, you won’t be using it around here anyway, that’s only for being out and about. This is Everett. Everett, Bill Robbins, one of our security team.” She had to raise her voice over the din of the exposed air conditioning above them. Either this area was unfinished yet or was purposely more spartan.

Robbins held his hand out for a shake. He was missing the pinky on his right hand, and a nasty scar dimpled his chin and jawline. “Pleasure to meet you, sir. Always nice to see fresh faces around here.”

Everett’s hanging jaw awkwardly snapped shut as he looked down at Bill’s open hand. He tried to refocus, not to let the sudden shift from “large basement” to “spy thriller headquarters” totally overwhelm his ability to think or socialize, though it was tricky.

“Uh, pleasure to meet you too, Mr Robbins. I’ll try to fit in, though my expectations are… sort of a roller coaster right now.”

Bill let out a deep belly laugh. “Yeah, the Little Lady loves her some surprises.” He very specifically seemed to pronounce the capital letters. He turned to Zoë. “I don’t know where Smith is right now, but if you send him down to the office here in a bit we can get him carded.”

”Thanks Bill. Is he busy at the moment?” She inclined her head to the man inside the glass room.

“Ah, should be finishing up any minute now.” The big man slid a card through the slot next to the door and opened it for them. Zoë held a finger to her lips for Everett’s sake and slipped just inside the door.

The man inside had just stood up. He came over to them and gave Zoë a deep bow from the waist, and another, much lighter bow to Everett.

”Everett, this is Yoshida. Yoshida, Everett will be joining the crew. His power is on the same danger level yours is.”

The Japanese man’s eyebrows raised slightly in surprise, then he nodded. He reached for the wall next to the door and grabbed a towel, then proceeded to wipe the sweat from his brow and hair. He was wearing a gi which was also damp, and the whole room smelled of it, despite the chill from the industrial sized air conditioning vent above them.

Zoë rapped her knuckles on the glass of the door, allowing Robbins to step out of the way smartly before she opened it, motioning the two of them back out. Yoshida nodded in thanks and proceeded back towards the living areas they had departed without another word.

Everett gave a bow in return, barely registering the smell - he’d gotten used to his own and others in recent months, and in the midst of everything else it was more intriguing him that Yoshida’s apparent telekinetic power caused him physical tiredness.

“Nice to meet you Yoshida. It would be interesting to share notes some time.” The man’s retreating form raised a hand in acknowledgement of the comment.

And with that, of course, he was out of the room and on his way, leaving the recruit and the revolutionary in the small white room.

Everett turned to Zoe, eyes seeming almost to flicker briefly as he maintained eye contact closely, adjusting his glasses.

“You know, this really is, um… I’m sorry I underestimated you, but I have a good feeling about this. The, uh… “skill sets” you’ve got here are so far very impressive, and the resources…”

He smiled nervously, fingers tapping.

“Now I’m more curious what the plan itself is, I’ll be honest, but… really, any plan is better than no plan, I suppose. A bridge yet to be crossed, mmm.”

Zoë smiled, gesturing back towards the same area Yoshida had gone. ”The goal is simple, while the execution will be quite complex. You will not know everything that is happening, both out of necessity and out of sheer impossibility. For now, however, I suggest you go get something to eat in the rec room, and find a cot. It’s nearing evening and I have other things I need to do. If you go through the pool hall, there is a small kitchen inside of what will eventually be a cafeteria. Feel free to make use of it as you will.”

She stopped outside of the secret entrance, and after he had followed her, she clicked something in her jeans pocket and the doorway closed, sealing itself back to invisibility. She turned back to him.

”A few ground rules. First, you’re not allowed back there unless it’s necessary or until we set up a work area for you. Until then, please avail yourself of the computer lab and library to educate yourself on any subject you fancy, keeping in mind that your power is only one portion of you and I need you to be more useful than just as a piggy bank. Second, you will not utter a word about that area to anyone who you haven’t seen back there already. If you do, I will kill you.”

She said it matter-of-factly, with no anger or posturing. It was a simple statement of fact. ”Understand that I won’t enjoy it, but it will be entirely necessary. We operate as a unit, and in complete secrecy, because if we do not, the entire plan fails immediately and it can not fail. The world can’t afford it.”

And with that she spun on her heels and began squeaking her way back up the hallway towards the entrance stairs. There was less bounce in her step, however.

He quivered, ever so slightly, a soft frown emerging.

She’s not joking, he thought, she’s not, even for a moment.

The tapping in his mind came back, and he visibly winced as its form reached once more into his mind’s eye. It whispered nothing, for it didn’t need to, and his heart began to sink, just a little.

“I understand,” the smile was suddenly scared, “that… makes sense, I suppose. I’ll avoid discussing it at all, to be on the safe side.”

He nodded rapidly as she went to leave, still uncertain, before at last a simple “thank you, good night” was mumbled towards her, and he made his way through to the kitchens.

… It was all so… quiet. Cool. Lonely.

He made his way through the routine of an evening with no routine and an unknown future, one weight lifted to only be replaced with a different, emptier sort of weight.

For the next hour he ate and drank from the kitchen supplies, slowly chewing the food and savoring the flavours even as he chewed over his thoughts of the future, savored the strange mix of anxieties that had brought him to this point.

The clock had been ticking; and the villains had been chasing; and the spider had been tapping; and the fingers had been snapping; and now he was here.

A way to guide his hand, of prosperity and ruin, by this would be queen of flames…

The spider had always called him Mansa - King - and that he would know when he had found his throne, but…

Was it here, in this unfinished, secret dorm? It was so hard to think, the evening darkness suddenly so much heavier than he last remembered, a comfy bed and soft sheets for the first time in months.

Rest, Mansa. The sun sets, the sun rises, and the world changes once again.

Far to the east, at the edge of a city of heroes, a woman with an invincible eye was driving a small black beetle down the long winding road into the heart of the downtown area.

“You think we’ll find him there?” whispered her partner.

“It’s as good a shot as any.”

“Mmm… it’s a popular hiding place for freaks and runaways, so I guess it fits. And what if we find someone helping him hide…?”

She sighed, silver eyes flickering in the mirror, “What do you think, Ghost?”

The Ghost paused, and a soft click ran through the dashboard.

“Whatever we want.”
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