Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Atrophy
Raw
Avatar of Atrophy

Atrophy Meddlesome Kid

Member Online

Henri’s favorite way to tease Maysah was to give her dramatic readings of posts from fanboys on cape forums gushing or bagging on Stardust. He’d affect a comic book nerd voice for the ones that ranked her power level or argued about who would win in a fight, and he’d switch to a creepy mouth breathing whenever the comments turned to her tights. Maysah absolutely hated whenever she heard about herself, especially the latter parts, but Henri’s mocking tone was a guaranteed way to draw an embarrassed smile out of her after a rough week of vigilantism. One day she caught him writing a post on one of those forums—her very own husband was a closeted super-fan. There was no sweeter revenge than the merciless teasing Maysah was able to level against Henri, at any moment making her husband blush by affecting the same voice her husband had used to pester her.

Eventually, it became one of their biggest inside jokes. Henri and Maysah would go back and forth with hypothetical Stardust fanboy utterings to see which one would become uncomfortable first. They’d be sitting there, one of them watching TV while the other read a book, when someone would eventually utter something either incredibly stupid, totally foul, or both, and then it’d be a competition to see who could outdo the other. Maysah specifically remembered one time where Henri suggested that Stardust could outrun a missile, to which she replied that she’d like to give Stardust her missile. That in turn sparked a prolonged period where two fully grown adults in their thirties with master degrees proceeded to make exploding dick jokes like preteen boys for their own amusement. In the end she didn’t remember who cracked first, but she did remember Henri telling her later that night to maybe just avoid testing any of her powers against massive explosive devices. She reassured him that she’d already survived one such explosion, but if it made him sleep better then she’d promise to stay away from missiles.

She never thought that breaking and entering into a former colleague’s secret underground base would end up breaking her promise.

“Oh, I dunno Miss Stardust. You ever saw a security camera that has a question mark on it?”

Maysah grumbled as Hex’s sidekick gave her a sarcastic little bite. This room was turning out to be a dead end, and she was about to give up and give the others a call when Lazlo hit the keyboard one more time and the ground shook. Maysah only had time to shoot him an alarmed look as he protested before something crashed into the roof. She whipped her head to peer out the tiny window, but then the roof started to crumble. She was fast and her shield was up, she could easily make it off the roof before everything fell apart but that’d mean leaving Lazlo behind. She’d hurt him if she grabbed him and dragged him out, but it was better than leaving him to get buried alive. She turned to grab him, and then the bomb exploded.

As Lazlo dropped down, Maysah was hurled up like a purple distress flare arching out of a tornado of fire. Her shield had absorbed the blast proving that if she couldn’t outrun a missile, at the very least she could survive one, although she hadn’t survived quite yet. She watched the earth flatten and move away from her as she was carried up by the momentum of the blast, and then closed her eyes and braced herself as gravity began to carry her forward. Still, as she hurtled to the ground she felt the plasma surge through her body, strengthening the shield surrounding her. She would make it, that she was sure of, but a deeper fear gripped her—would she be the only made it? Maysah was tired of always being the survivor. It’d be easier if—

Her body smashed into the ground like a meteor. Maysah took a moment to collect herself and then stood up, no worse for wear. She climbed to the edge of the small crater and witnessed the destruction around her. It was all just rubble and fire now, even the canyon walls had been mangled by the blast. She felt exhausted. She discharged her shield, breathed in the air, and coughed. Now what? Back to Canada? Maysah massaged her temples. No, not yet. Hex’s secret lair was a bunker; maybe it could stand something like that. She pulled out her faraday bag and prayed that Addison’s pager wasn’t crushed by her fall. It was still in tact. The first message made her laugh bitterly. Thanks for the warning, she thought. The second one made her stop. At least one of them were still alive, buried under that rubble.

The purple plasma cracked back to life around her as she stepped out of the crater, the pager safely tucked away in its little cage as the message from the siblings came through. Arguably, the others could take care of themselves, but Addison was only human so that made rescuing her a priority. Plus, it would be a hell of a lot easier guessing which pile of rubble was the front door than a side entrance. Maysah thought about Lazlo, but he’d been Hex’s pupil. Surely he had some tricks up his sleeve, even if his physique was normal and he was as close as she was to—Just focus on rescuing them. She began to move through the rubble when she saw the form of another person emerge from the ground. One of Addison’s team? Maysah moved closer. No, it wasn’t. Suspicion swelled up inside of her. The bunker gets blasted and then a mysterious super arrives on the scene? Maysah could easily take her out. All that was required was a flick of the wrist.

But the others needed help first.

“Hey, you! Over here” she shouted at the newcomer. “People are still inside. Help me clear this!”

With that, the middle aged, neon-purple glowing woman in mom jeans and cardigan began shoveling away rubbish at superspeed, melting down any pieces that were too large for her to toss with plasma blasts.
2x Like Like
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by ML
Raw
coGM
Avatar of ML

ML Attempted Polymath

Member Seen 1 day ago


---
CURRENT DATE -- 23/05/2047


Where the fuck had Spellbound gone? With the threat of imminent immolation gone, he noticed that the woman had disappeared entirely. He'd thought they'd both been safe behind the door, but...

What the fuck was that? Gabbie said. Her normal, electro-sensual tone had become a keening hiss. That was the last thing I'd expected coming in here. A fucking bomb?

ET checked the HUD in his visor. Suit integrity was intact. No holes in his suit, or in him. "I don't know what it was, Gabbie," he said. "It was smart, and it was talking to someone, but that's about it." He looked down one side of the corridor, then the other. "Any idea which way is up?"

A blinking light popped up on his HUD at the same time as a message from the Tower. His breath caught. Addison KIA. "Son of a bitch," he hissed. He'd liked Addison: probably one of the few people he'd met in the last decade to feel truly genuine. Genuinely good.

Genuinely dead.

But two of them were alive, at least. If his files had been right, ET guessed that Stardust had pulled through as well. "All right," he sighed, setting off in the direction of the HUD light. He needed to get to higher ground. Communication with the outside world still seemed to be impossible, although the pagers were somehow working. Old tech, better tech? Who knew.

"Gabbie, can we set up Iron Door Protocol?" He had a feeling that the next few weeks were going to have a lot of loud technology nearby. Iron Door was a protocol he'd designed with Gabbie a year back which transformed all the 'sentient' tech around him into background noise. He could talk to them, and ask them to do things, but they couldn't talk back unless he added them to the whitelist. Useful for silence, but a lot harder for him to convince stubborn electronics to do his evil bidding.

A hysterical laugh of lightning coursed through his mind, and then IDP went live. Poor Gabbie. She'd be alright, but not for a little while yet. He didn't feel any differences yet; any electronics that had been alive in the area had been pulverized, aside from the cybernetic supers a a half-kilometer away. GET TO SURFACE ASAP -- NEED TO REGROUP, He sent to the pagers, then started walking.

He looked for Spellbound for a little while, but there wasn't a hint of a trace of the woman. Eventually, he kicked a piece of metal, only to watch it soar away into the setting sun. Oops. It crashed to the ground fifty feet away, and he was outside again.

The bossman lives! Dave's voice. Thought you'd been toasted to hell. I saw that there missile fall, so I high-tailed it outta there until I was past the blast radius. There's someone new out there, so watch yerself. I'm sittin' out here behind a cactus 'til you're good to go.

Relief flooded through ET, along with a sudden craving for a drink. Dave was alive. He shook his head. Dave 2 was alive. "Rest easy, Dave," he said to himself. He wasn't talking to his car.

A bang on metal interrupted his self-pity party. He turned to see the newcomer digging into the metal, and then looked left to see Stardust attacking the rubble with a vengeance. It was nice to know she cared, even if she was digging in the wrong direction. "Hey Stardust," he said, his voice magnified by Gabbie's speakers. "They're about forty feet to your left, I think." There was no mockery in the words, only business. This was not the time to fight with allies. Even the cranky ones.

His shotgun slid back into his hand. He'd holstered it magnetically over his shoulder while the world caught fire, but a newcomer was a threat. Especially considering the fortuitous timing. He felt Dave rolling back up to the ridge nearby, training some very precise, very powerful riot-control cannons at the newcomer. Stun-power of the 'less-than-lethal' variety, in case his shotgun got stripped away from him.

He stayed a comfortable distance from the woman: that is, the slugs in his shotgun could comfortably reach her if necessary. "Hey," he said conversationally, hefting the shotgun before him. "I'm Arbiter." He smiled, but the cold polymer-alloy of his helmet blocked the view. "Convince me you didn't have anything to do with that missile."
1x Like Like
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by SgtSlayer
Raw
Avatar of SgtSlayer

SgtSlayer Basic Bitch

Member Seen 3 mos ago

Cassey's eyes snapped up to meet a human form rising from underneath the rubble and immediately knew her intention of staying undercover and being this jolly group of super's shadow was official over. Her plan had been thwarted, extinguished, and revealed by a damn missile. Where the fuck did that thing come from anyway? It left her in the precarious position of having to explain herself, something she had no desire of doing. Even less so now that the same woman she had been tailing just a few hours prior was now asking for help. Something told Cassey that no matter what she did, and no matter how she responded, she would be regarded as the prime suspect.

With an annoyed sigh, the petite woman agreed to help Stardust. Cassey still needed to know if the detective was alive, and what she knew about Hex's killer or killers. There was no doubt in her mind that his death was definitely not an accident and whoever was the culprit certainly didn't care about subtlety. And besides, there was no reason for her to draw anymore suspicion to herself.

"The detective, was she in there?" Cassey inquired. Knowing the heat of Stardust's plasma blasts would hinder her ability to help she moved to the opposite side, and knelt down into the dirt to start clearing the rubble. A dark substance pooled around her body and several large, tendrils appeared. They slithered their way under and around the debris, lifting chunks of rock and metal before they were tossed aside, away from all the debris.

Cassey began to wonder what she'll do if the human was dead. 'If' was perhaps farfetched in this scenario, as she had a hard time conceiving how a human could survive a damn missile explosion. Cassey could lie and explain how she came to help, out of the goodness of her heart, after she heard the explosion. These people had no idea how her powers worked and couldn't confirm either way. Fooling them would not be an easy task, and an extremely risky gamble she didn't want to bet on, even if a part of her dreaded needing them to find Hex's killer.

A voice broke her out of her thoughts, and when Cassey craned her head up she came face to face with a large man covered in armour, who in the nicest way possible, pointed a shotgun straight at her. Whatever she said, whatever she did, there was no way they would trust her. Even if she spilled her guts about who Hex was to her, what reason would they have to believe the words of a complete stranger?

"Would ya believe me if I said I got Addison's transmission?" Cassey replied in a gruff tone. Arbiter, huh? Never heard of you. Why should I trust you? Trust was a finicky concept; hard to gain yet easy to lose. A two-way street that could turn out to be very smooth, or very rocky and filled with potholes. "But if ya really have to make the bad guy, at least give me a good backstory."

Cassey shifted her attention back to the rubble she was currently knee-deep in. A shotgun blast from this distance would be hard to avoid, even if she was quick enough to shift in time. If this Arbiter fellow wanted a better answer, she was all out of those.

She hated how Hex put her in this position. Knowing him changed her whole existence. His generosity, his love, is what pulled her from the depths of despair and self-hatred. She hated that she wanted to find out who murdered him and despised that she wanted to do the right thing just because that's what he had taught her.

You heard right, Cassey was blaming a dead man for her current predicament. And if you think that's low, you just wait, 'cause you ain't seen nothing yet.
2x Like Like
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Atrophy
Raw
Avatar of Atrophy

Atrophy Meddlesome Kid

Member Online

Maysah let the newcomer’s question go unanswered. It wasn’t because she didn’t hear her as she tore up debris while the occasional blast of plasma sent an echoing zap noise throughout the canyon. Instead, it was because Maysah didn’t know how much information she should give away. The other woman knew about Addison’s existence, but Maysah had been under the impression that Addison had only reached out to the warehouse gang. Maybe the woman was a late arrival, maybe she was something else, but at the very least she was helping. That alone meant something.

“Hey Stardust,” came a familiar voice, albeit slightly mechanized, “They’re about forty feet to your left, I think.”

Maysah stopped working and looked up. It was Arbiter, the poor bastard whose throat she’d jumped down on their first encounter. A look of relief washed over her face that quickly disappeared as Maysah further assessed the situation. His fancy, high-tech gadgets must’ve saved his life, but he was alone. Shouldn’t Spellbound have been with him, skulking unnervingly around in her creepy getup? She sucked in her lower lip and moved towards the spot Arbiter had pointed out. Spellbound was okay. Avant-Garde was okay. The English duo and the American agent were okay. They just needed to work together and dig them all up.

She stopped a few feet from where Arbiter had indicated. Maysah chided herself. Where was this unbridled optimism coming from? Odds were they were all probably dead and she should expect that to be the case. She wasn’t digging them up to save them. She was digging them up to confirm a hypothesis. It hurt less that way. If she was proven wrong then great, and if she was right then her smug satisfaction could armor her from the blow.

Maysah had stood around long enough to overhear Arbiter call out the stranger. Normally she wouldn’t mind someone taking a move from her playbook, but if she was incorrect and the others were okay then there wasn’t time for this kind of inquisition.

“If she had something to do with the missile that means she’s stupid enough to put herself within the blast radius,” shouted Maysah as she began her work of clearing away at debris once again. “Now get over here and help me!” she shouted as she blasted a slab of concrete with a beam of plasma, the loud zap punctuating her order.
2x Like Like
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by DJAtomika
Raw
Avatar of DJAtomika

DJAtomika Second to Most

Member Seen 1 day ago



23/05/2047
Alberquerque, New Mexico


When Alex and Shirley emerged from the ruins, it was to a shadow of their makeshift team's former image. Out of all the old capes and names that had shown up, only ET and Stardust were left standing after the missile hit. The duo were clearing rocks and slabs of concrete from what used to be the front door when the Tower's massive form burst through the rubble, one shoulder charge away from salvation. Behind him was his sister, illuminating their path up until they hit the surface. In Alex's arms was the corpse of agent Addison Reynolds. All attempts to resuscitate her had failed, while they'd been trapped in their underground prison.

Alex strode forward and gently placed Addison's body on the ground, silent and solemn, arms at her sides as if she were asleep. But Alex knew; the burns that covered agent Reynolds' body were too extensive, internal and external. There was no healing from this. No surgery. No magic. Not even nanotech. They were out in the middle of a desert, following a dead man's trail of breadcrumbs, trying to make something out of nothing. And it had cost the lives of several supers and one unlucky agent who'd managed to get into the wrong mess at the wrong time. Alex knelt in front of Addison for a while, silent and sombre, before he spoke.

"Nothing I could do. I tried my best."

Shirley placed a hand on his shoulder as she stood next to him, squeezing him warmly.

"You did. You protected us both. But she's not augmented like we are."

Alex sighed and shook his head, gesturing vaguely to the corpse ahead of him.

"And this is what happened. What are we even doing out here? Most of our team is dead or buried, whatever, and who's left? Just the four- wait, five of us."

He stood, dusting off what was left of his clothes as he surveyed the scene. The ruins of the bunker were still on fire in places, concrete, rebar and metal plating littering the area. Other than the flicker of the myriad number of fires in the area and the subtle shifting of rubble due to gravity or otherwise, it was quiet. Alex shrugged and looked to the rest of the team.

"...what now?"
1x Like Like
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by ML
Raw
coGM
Avatar of ML

ML Attempted Polymath

Member Seen 1 day ago


---
CURRENT DATE -- 23/05/2047


Arbiter sucked in a breath of recycled air, chewing on the side of his mouth. There was some sound logic behind Stardust's words, despite his rabid desire to mistrust a newcomer after a catastrophe. He lifted the gun and set it back on the shoulder holster. After another second, he looked at the newly emerged Tower and Beacon. And Addison. He pinged Gabbie, who folded the helmet back and out of the way.

He breathed again, this time inhaling dusty, bomb-charred atmosphere. He was so thirsty. "Dammit, Reynolds," he hissed, taking a step toward the body in Tower's hands. What did they do now? Why the fuck was Reynold's death affecting him like this?

The sky spun above him, and only Gabbie's gentle stabilization kept him upright. He forced words past the dead tongue-worm in his mouth. "Stardust, stop. Spellbound's gone. Reynolds is dead. If Avant-Garde is still alive, we can't afford to w-wait for him." Was he in shock? Why was he stuttering?

Facts. Follow the facts and sew them together. That was what he did. Fact one: Addison was dead. Fact two: Hex was dead. Fact three: he was still undercover, and couldn't afford to lead anyone back to Midwest City yet. Fact four: a mili-corpo grade missile had just annihilated a base in the middle of a desert that nobody had known to exist. How convenient that it had dropped as they got there. Too convenient.

Another shuddering breath. His heart was slowing down again.

"One of us was tracked here. If I had to guess, I'd say it was Reynolds." The pieces were coming together. Slowly. "We can't stay here." He tromped toward the Tower and, moving as gently as cyber-stablized muscles could allow, frisked the corpse. He hated doing it. It was like burning a cat's whiskers or pouring concrete down someone's throat. He persevered, slipping a notebook from one of Reynolds's pockets. It was full of neatly-recorded notes...on them. Hex's, maybe?

"We should bury her, but," ET broke off, looking up at the Tower. "Fuck. If anyone was watching the strike, we're probably already on borrowed time. Let's...let's take her with us." He pinged Dave with his mind, and a moment later the super-car squealed down a hill nearby. It pulled up in front of him, and the camouflage that rendered it nearly invisible switched off. The trunk popped open, and he pulled a body bag out of the trunk. Captain Ong really had prepared for anything.

ET tossed the bag to Beacon, then looked at the rag-tag team. Survivors of the raggier-taggier team that had started the op. The rag-taggiest. "Look, here's what we know. We started today looking into a secret, magical base. Someone with an unhealthy amount of firepower just tried to disappear us. That means two things: something in that base was incredibly dangerous, or whatever Reynolds was on to was dangerous. Or both.

"Whatever was inside that base is either dead, or on the loose. I'm erring on the side of caution. Gonna go to Denver and put my ear to the ground. If I didn't drastically need the backup, I wouldn't ask anyone to come along. As it is...I'll ask once." He looked at the newcomer. "And I still don't know your name."
2x Like Like
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Atrophy
Raw
Avatar of Atrophy

Atrophy Meddlesome Kid

Member Online

Maysah felt her chest tighten and her throat dry out as the Tower emerged from the ruins carrying the limp frame of Addison in his arms. Arbiter didn’t need to tell her to stop. The plasma that rippled through her body diffused as a scowl set itself on her stony face. Addison had practically been a stranger, but she had thrown both her career and life into jeopardy to gather Hex’s old compatriots—and now she was dead. It was just like how Maysah said it would be, and knowing that kept her numb but stable. She found a sturdy enough looking piece of rubble next to Addison and took a seat. She had used a lot of energy; she needed to rest.

Maysah watched as Arbiter took command, her eyes narrowing as he searched her corpse until he withdrew a notebook and tucked it away. She had known of almost everyone else Addison had gotten in contact with except Arbiter. The man was a mystery; she couldn’t even remember if he ever mentioned his powers to them. She continued to eye him as his car emerged from camo and he produced a body bag from the trunk. Maysah chewed on her lip. Who had a spare body bag lying around? He was talking a lot, too, way more than usual, and he was making a lot of conjecture. Perhaps he was just shook and this was how he handled it. Perhaps it was something else.

“Arbiter, take a breath. You look like you’re about to pass out,” said Maysah as she stood from the piece of rubble. She winced, then frowned. It was definitely not as comfortable as it had looked. “I’m not going to give up on avenging Harrison just because some prick dropped a warhead on me, but if I’m going to Denver then you’re driving.”

She began to walk to Arbiter’s car and turned back to the group, waiting impatiently with her arms folded. Denver was a few hours away by car. It’d be plenty of time for her to try and crack the Arbiter mystery.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by DJAtomika
Raw
Avatar of DJAtomika

DJAtomika Second to Most

Member Seen 1 day ago



23/05/2047
Alberquerque, New Mexico


Alex sighed as Arbiter produced a body bag from the trunk of the super car that rolled up to the debris pile. Without another word, he began the process of packing agent Reynolds' body into the bag and zipped it up tight. Once that was done, he hefted her body in his arms again and sighed. Once a person, now reduced to just another object. It was a feeling that was familiar and painful to him; images of his parents' deaths all those years ago flashed briefly through his mind as he stood.

"Hey, Tower."

Shirley tapped him on the shoulder, concern written on her features.

"Are you going with him?"

He shrugged.

"Might as well, yeah. There's nothing left for us here."

"Then I'm not going with you."

"Shi- wha-"

His sister grabbed him by the collar and pulled him in close.

"Listen, Alex. If we travel together, we might be stronger but we won't get jack shit done otherwise. Look what happened today. You follow Arbiter and help him with whatever, I'll go back to Cedar Fort and see if I can't use our fame to get me some pull with their police department, maybe get access to other things Addison had on Hex."

"No, I- What are you thinking, Beacon? Denver and Cedar Fort are very far apart. I won't be able to help you if you get in trouble."

"I'll be fine. We're both armoured, remember?"

"Yeah but you're not strong like me."

"I'm going back to Cedar Fort by myself and that's final. We'll uncover more info if we split up. I'll meet you wherever afterwards after, say, a week?"

"...fine. But you keep me in the loop at all times. Make sure you call me if you need help."

Shirley nodded as she turned to head back to their car, while Alex sighed, shrugged and addressed Arbiter.

"Arbiter, wait."

Alex turned to face the American. Their plan was in tatters, their leaders (as far as everything was concerned) was dead and most of their team was gone. The only thing they could do was pick up the scraps. Arbiter was right. They had to be a lot more careful. If a ballistic missile was aimed at them, who knew what other hazards laid ahead? But it just felt like a lot of effort to go to Denver to track down possible leads? Rumours? Whatever worked, he guessed. Whoever wanted them dead had clearly meant it and they weren't safer if they all clustered in one place. Holding the body bag in his arms, he approached Arbiter.

"I'm going with you. My sister's going back to Cedar Fort to look into Addison's files, see if she had anything that she wasn't sharing with us. If you need protection, I'm your best bet. Beacon can handle herself."
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by ML
Raw
coGM
Avatar of ML

ML Attempted Polymath

Member Seen 1 day ago




No bottles, Turner. No bottles, no tremors. Arbiter repeated the mantra to himself again.

Dave the supercar drove them up along I-25, leaving ET to his dangerous, dangerous thoughts. It was about a five hour drive, so they would be getting in at around 3 AM, if they were lucky. So far, they had been--no more missiles had tried to tear them a set of new assholes. Just to be safe, he'd had Dave drive in camo-mode. In his youth, it would have been dangerous and stupid to drive an invisible car, but smart cars could handle it in the magical year of 2047.

No bottles, no tremors. Fuck. His throat was so dry. Hip flask in the glovebox. Maybe...maybe... His eyes drifted to the Tower, who sat shotgun on account of being fucking massive. The man's presence shook him out of the haze a bit, and he settled more firmly into his seat. No bottles, no tremors. Stardust was in the back, and the stranger--Shade, right, Shade--had her own ride. They'd been on the road for a little over three hours, so in two more, they'd be there. He glanced at the speedometer. Maybe one and a half.

Fucking Denver. ET inhaled sharply, then let it out in a slow hiss that changed the shape of his mouth halfway through. His throat was so dry. Well, he mused, tough luck for him. He mentally flipped a switch that would let him communicate to...Shade, and inhaled again. "So," he started. "Denver. Anyone been there since 2029?" Since Envoy showed up, he meant.

He'd been there on vacation, not too long ago. Mountains were beautiful even if a genocidal dictator was ruling the city.
1x Like Like
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Atrophy
Raw
Avatar of Atrophy

Atrophy Meddlesome Kid

Member Online

Maysah sat riggedly in the back of Arbiter’s self-driving car. The Tower’s presence had dampened her fervor to interrogate the man, and after a while she even stopped glaring at Arbiter through the rear view mirror. Her vision drifted to the road and she even allowed herself to enjoy the gentle rock of the supercar as it burned down the road. She could possibly match speed with the vehicle on anything but a straightaway, but it was nice not having to exert herself every now and then. She rested her eyes and leaned her head against the window, but couldn’t bring herself to fall asleep.

“So, Denver,” said Arbiter. “Anyone been there since 2029?”

“No,” said Maysah, lazily opening one eye. “It was officially decided that the best course of action to take against someone like Envoy would be a reaction. Naturally, I disagreed, but I also didn’t want to be the one to spark her to kill another fifty kay. In the end, it was an American problem. So I never returned.”

Returned. That word alone revealed the fact that Maysah was glossing over. She hadn’t been to Denver since 2029, but she had been there after Envoy’s attack—she had just arrived too late. Maysah lacked the access to private jets the more corporate supes had, and so she arrived in Denver the same way she did to New Mexico: on foot. By the time she got there, Envoy had already killed three other capes and marked her territory. Maysah was determined to go in, but some harsh words eventually convinced her to step down. In the end, the dead were little more than a statistic to those with the real power. Avenging them would be more costly than just marking them down as acceptable losses.

“I imagine the Tower must’ve been too busy protecting the crown jewels to be bothered to get on a plane, but where were you during all of this, Arbiter? You must’ve been on some kind of team by then. What, was local small time gang activity more important than dealing with a potential national threat?” she asked, seizing the opportunity to probe at Arbiter's unknown background.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by ML
Raw
coGM
Avatar of ML

ML Attempted Polymath

Member Seen 1 day ago




Right, he was Arbiter, not ET the alcoholic cop. “I’ve only ever worked private security, really. I’m just a guy in a supersuit, so I get a paycheck and shoot people as needed. Probably would have better served as riot control in Denver, y’know?”
--
”I’ve never been to Denver. Was busy across the pond, back home. I heard about it though, was on the news for weeks back when it happened.”

Alex stared out the window of Arbiter's super car, seated comfortably (thankfully the car's front passenger seat was just big enough for him) as they went on the five hour drive to Denver, Colorado. The last few hours had been a blur; the team had separated at Albuquerque, his sister had gone back to their hotel to return to Cedar Fort while he had followed Arbiter directly from New Mexico. He still smelled faintly of burnt fabric and gunpowder, but he was otherwise okay.

--

“The media does love covering a supervillain,” said Maysah, and then muttered, “except for when it’s one of their advertisers.”

She flicked her eyes back to Arbiter. The world was lousy with guys in supersuits who shot people for money. They usually deserved to have a bullet put in them more than the person they were hired to pacify. “So if you’re so small-time Arbiter then how did someone like you ever catch Hex’s attention?”

--

“Hex was pretty flexible about who merited his attention,” Arbiter said. That had been in the file. “And not just anyone can pilot Gabbie. You need peak physical and mental condition, and a general instinct that a lot of folk just don’t have.” He stifled a laugh: him, peak condition? Riotous. “We worked together, one time: told me to keep in touch.”

“What about y’all?” He asked, not-so-subtly redirecting. “How did you know him?”

--

”We met him at some superhero school graduation thing. April Springs, Utah. 2035. Academy of Virtue.”

Touchy subject. Alex rubbed the side of his face and sighed, his memories going back to that fateful day several years ago. When his parents died defending the young superheroes there.

”He uh...helped save a bunch of new capes at that Academy, when extremists attacked the school.”

--

Oops. ET had known that, but Arbiter hadn’t: the file on the Tower had mentioned a past catastrophe. “Sorry to hear that, man.” He sent Dave a mental signal, and the seat he was in spun around to face the other two in the car. “He was one of the good ones.”

--

“He was a drug addict and a busybody who created nearly as many problems as he fixed,” said Maysah, glaring Arbiter down. “He stopped me from doing something stupid. Sometimes I wonder if it was really the right thing, but I knew he did it with the right intentions.”

“I guess what I’m trying to say is he did more good than harm. Makes him better than most, doesn’t it?” she continued, turning to Alex. Her face tightened. Hex had invited her to April Springs, which she denied going—too commercial for her tastes. She could’ve helped him stop it sooner. She felt like apologizing to Alex, but for what? The past couldn’t be changed. It’d just be empty words.

“When did you work together, exactly?” asked Maysah, giving Arbiter a raised eyebrow.

--

Arbiter narrowed his eyes ever-so-slightly. So many questions. This was dangerous territory: she knew the dead hero a hell of a lot better than ET did. He’d have to be evasive, yet truthful. Within the last twelve years, nobody had worked with Hex: the last decade, after all, had been one of superhero corporatization and nationalization. Small-group acts like Hex, Stardust, the Tower and his sister? Less than popular.

“Man,” Arbiter put a hand to his face, more to hide any potential tells than out of a need. “That must have been….what, fourteen years ago? Maybe more?” Total lie. He’d only had his powers for eight years.

“I was just starting out as an operator, but the corp was having a hell of a time with some small-town gangsters in one of the city blocks. Small-town gangsters led by one mean motherfucker of a super. Hex was tracking them too, and saved me from walking right into a trap they’d set.”

When had he gotten so good at making up total bullshit? Arbiter let the hand drop from his face, comfortable now. “He let me take most of the credit for the bust: it really kickstarted my career. Honestly, I’m not sure it was ever officially recorded as him being there.”

Okay, that was enough of that. “Any more prying questions about my relationship to a dead man who saved my life?” He snorted in real irritation, and continued quickly: “Look, I get that you don’t trust me or my motives. It sucks, ‘cause we really, really don’t have the time to argue about it right now. We’re going to get to Denver in a little while, and we’ll have to be awake to do some groundwork. I’m going to sleep for a little while now, and I suggest you do the same. If, if we live through the next week, then we can talk about this shit, okay?”

He turned in his seat and closed his eyes, resolving himself to silence for the rest of the trip.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by ML
Raw
coGM
Avatar of ML

ML Attempted Polymath

Member Seen 1 day ago

ACT II:
Groundwork





Denver was a city of rings. With the rapid influx of inhabitants in recent years, the city had tended to grow upward, more than outward. Starting from the outside, the Mile-High city had the usual suburbs and flatlands one expected in an area of the country that was still habitable. Moving in, however, there was an explosion of height: single-story ranches transformed into minor office buildings, movie theaters, and "sensory experiences". Past that was the Downtown area, a thermonuclear burst of neon lights, holograms, manufacturing, and unchecked commerce. And then, there was the Steel Citadel at the center of it all.

That was the big draw of Denver over the other megacities appearing in the fracturing United States. Envoy didn't much care about what the people in her city did, as long as they didn't cross her or her friends. When a few super-tech powered building companies had moved into the area, joined by four of the Big Six, it was a match made in heaven. It had taken just eighteen years for the city to go from a big city to one of the biggest.

ET was shook awake by Dave the Car, just in time to see the city rise up in front of him. "Lord," he whispered. Flashing lights, dancing shadows, and behind it all, the Citadel. They were in Denver, all right.


The Steel Citadel. Like something out of a twisted fantasy, perpendicular to the angular steel and glass structures surrounding it on all sides. There was an unspoken rule that no building in Denver could be higher than the Steel Citadel. This was not an issue: the fortress reached skyward like a mountain, constructed from materials sourced from three miles of ex-city. It lived. It breathed. It killed anything that got too close, screaming the entire time. Even the skyscrapers couldn't hide enormous structure behind them.

But that wasn't why they were here. ET kept silent while they drove in, but he instructed Dave to turn off the car-camo. It wouldn't do for them to get stopped on account of being invisible. He also instructed Dave to take them to the place where he figured they could start the search: TONDE. He'd found the place while on vacation. Admittedly, his idea of a vacation was a little different from most people's.


They pulled up to the bar-slash-nightclub, which was still surprisingly active for 3 AM. Gabbie, I need you to let me go now.

Sure thing, hot stuff. But I want you back inside of me the minute there's trouble, deal? The supersuit around him folded back, wrapping around his seat and leaving him in a bodysuit.

ET rolled his eyes. "Sure," he muttered, surprising himself by speaking out loud. That was stupid. He steamrolled ahead to cover. "Okay, so here's my plan," ET said. "It looks like somewhere between then and now, that Shade lady disappeared. No harm, no foul, I guess. Anyway, this place is good for information. I found it on vacation. We're going to go in, ask a few unpointed questions, and see if anyone knows anyone who knows anyone useful. Questions?"

He didn't wait for a reply, getting out of the car and heading for the trunk. He pulled out a T-shirt and jeans. Maybe not the most stylish of choices, but he was from Midwest City. They were still going through the transformation old-timer flatland to supertech dystopia. It was fine to wear there, so it would be fine here. At least the Tower and Stardust were dressed somewhat casually. Nobody would have taken them seriously in super-gear, except Envoy. Top priority, avoid attracting the attention of Envoy.

The body bag caught his attention next. Strapped down to one side. Reynolds was in there. "Sorry," he whispered. He mentally promised her that they would bury her as soon as they could. A proper burial, too, not one of those shitty mass graves. No, a proper cremation. "I swear on my brother's grave, Reynolds."

He pushed his handgun into its concealed holster, banged the trunk shut, and headed up to the door of TONDE. He waved the other two toward him, motioning inside. Without the suit, he was just a guy. Better to let the walking tank and nuclear reactor go first, just in case.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Necroes
Raw
Avatar of Necroes

Necroes The Fourth Seal

Member Seen 3 days ago

TONDE


A night club, a bar, a restaurant, a quote-unquote "gentleman's club;" Tonde was many things, but most importantly, it was neutral ground. Without regard for who they worked for or where they came from, criminals of every variety and background had a habit of gracing Tonde's walkways. That even included those at the top of the proverbial food chain, if rarely. Usually, though, there was at least one major player within the city choosing to enjoy some manner of Tonde's many offerings.

Tonight, that man was Patrick Peterson. An older man, and one of few unafraid to show it, Patrick was a somewhat round and bald-headed man. The last of his hair hung from the sides of his head, short and mostly gray. While he didn't need them, he had a habit of wearing glasses with dark lenses. Where many men and women chose to wear their money as artificial youth, he chose a more traditional show of wealth. With a suit, fitted with diamond cuffs and gold buttons, perfectly fit to his frame with a thread count at the limit of what can be created by human hands. If nothing else, Patrick was a man of refined taste and excellent judgement.

Which suited Michael just fine, as Patrick was one of the only crime lords on the planet with his number. That, of course, was the reason Michael was present at all. Tonight's affair was fairly straightforward, if somewhat tedious. Patrick had hired him to act as a bodyguard-something he'd done a dozen times before, and would likely do again as the man paid very well-during a business transaction between himself and an informant. As per the usual, someone had gotten their hands on valuable information, and Patrick was offering them a very large sum of untraceable money to find out what that information was.

That whole business was over with, and had been for nearly an hour. Patrick, known to celebrate, had ordered foie gras with filet mignon and truffles. A meal fit for royalty, but one that takes time to prepare and longer to eat. Given the selection of brandy Tonde offered, though, Michael was happy to stay the extra time. He had even considered joining Patrick for his meal, but then something happened.

Given his assignment, Michael had chosen a spot where he could see the front door. The usual crowd had come and gone, much like the contact Patrick had met. No one looked any more suspicious than anyone else had, until those three. The first one was a big fellow, a bruiser if ever there was one. Muscle was a common sight, especially in a place to look for work. After him followed a woman, tall but seeming short next to the man. She was attractive, in the way only a mature woman could be. Whoever she was, she was not to be trifled with; Walking into a place like this, without a shred of hesitation, was not something just any woman could do.

And then the cop walked in.

He wasn't in uniform, and he had no badge to be seen. Still, in a hole filled with rats, it's fairly obviously when a cat walks in. There was something about the way they carried themselves, a kind of certainty that very few could hide. This one was too tall and a little too lean. In fairness, Michael couldn't take all the credit for noticing him. Others around the bar took notice, the easily spooked crowd making themselves scarce. From the looks of things, he was carrying a hidden weapon, based on the reaction of those with obvious cybernetic eye enhancements. Those looking to work as bodyguards found that particular upgrade generally worth the pay increase, though Michael was not personally a fan of such gadgets.

That alone wasn't enough to prompt a response, though. Some were getting scared and running, but that happened almost every time someone walked in. Though it had a reputation, Tonde was still a legitimate business, completely unconnected to all the crime that went on under its roof. This could be something as simple as an officer looking for a place where his authority would be respected to impress guests, or as elaborate as an exchange of information between two interested parties.

When Patrick waved the three of them over, Michael had a feeling he knew which it was. Patrick, after all, was a man known for making himself available to those looking for what he had to sell. Either he thought this was a good chance to offer his services, or he knew these people were coming and had waited specifically for them. Whichever it was, Michael knew it was time to get closer. Until now, he'd remained open to the world. Patrick didn't know he was there either way, and Michael was quite good at blending in, even without his ability. Now that it was active, though, nothing except the rubber ring on Patrick's finger would give the slightest indication he had ever been there, let alone was there still.

Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Atrophy
Raw
Avatar of Atrophy

Atrophy Meddlesome Kid

Member Online

Maysah had irked Arbiter with her probing, secretly pleased at her ability to get underneath his skin. Nevertheless, she took his advice and let the uncomfortable silence wrap around her like a blanket as she nodded off. When she awoke it was still dark out, although the cheap neon glow of the nearby nightclub made it hard to tell. Maysah leaned closer to the tinted glass and looked up beyond the club at the Steel Citadel that loomed over all of Denver as a constant reminder of who really owned the city. She clicked her tongue against the back of her teeth. Envoy murdered fifty thousand people and was handed one of the biggest cities in the US. Maysah was framed for the accidental death of fifty people and had to spend over the last decade of her life in hiding. Should’ve been a villain. Damn her for having morals.

Envoy may have owned Denver, but her city still played by some of the rules. Big cities meant lots of cameras, lots of witnesses, and lots of police—not a great thing for a wanted criminal. It was unlikely that her face would instantly be recognized the moment she got out of the car, but it would come across a scan at some part and bring loads of unwanted attention to the trio. The fact that Shade had run off didn’t sit well with her either. It would’ve been smarter to wear her mask the whole time in Albuquerque. It definitely wasn’t an option here. Couldn’t let Envoy feel threatened. Couldn’t let Stardust just take her out sixteen years ago. Maysah grumbled under her breath and pulled out a discreet pouch.

Four glamours left.

“...this place is good for information. I found it on vacation. We're going to go in, ask a few unpointed questions, and see if anyone knows anyone who knows anyone useful. Questions?"

“Yes,” said Maysah to Arbiter, her voice raising as he left the car, “Who vacations here!?”

She sighed at her unanswered question, pulled a glamour out of the bag, and swallowed it dry. There was no cringing, no painful transformation, no pop, really no fanfare at all. Maysah glanced at the rearview mirror and another woman glanced back. Higher cheekbones, darker eyes, grayer hair, thinner nose, and a handful of other minute details that made Maysah no longer look like Maysah. Hopefully nobody in town was slinging around counterspells, if that was even a thing. She frowned in the mirror. Almost the last of the supply of Hex’s gift for a peaceful life, and she was squandering it at three in the morning to go talk to a bunch of drunk lowlifes.

“Don’t act surprised, and don’t call me anything other than Maria,” she said as she joined the two men. She wrinkled her nose at Arbiter’s civie uniform. “Well, at least I’m not going to be the worst-dressed person in the club.”

They entered. TONDE didn’t outright appear seedy, but any place that was open this late likely had a layer of filth buried beneath the glitzing lights and the pulse of music. Maysah right away didn’t like it, and it was clear from the way people moved when they entered that they didn’t like them. Maysah was thankful the Tower was there. Someone had known about them in Albuquerque, and if Shade had tipped people off about them heading to Denver then at least there’d be a shield to take the first bullet for her before she absorbed every cheap neon sign in this building and demolished the place thrice over. This had been a terrible idea. They should’ve split up.

She was about to turn to Arbiter and give him a piece of her mind when she caught sight of a man beckoning them over. Someone expecting them? Already her danger sense was tingling, unless the balding man stuffing his face had been a drinking buddy of Arbiter’s when he was on holiday. She glanced at her two compatriots and then moved towards the man. No point in running from him. She waltzed up to his table and gave him a quick once over. Wealthy, or at least dressed to convey wealth, but with a questionable taste in jewelry. Shady, but only because of his environment and the fact that he appeared to be eating...was that foie gras? She couldn’t stop the disapproving frown.

“What do you want?” she said, a sour hint of annoyance on her voice.

“More of what you want. A Union Jack, a soccer mom, and a cop just walked in,” said the man. His voice was surprisingly nasally yet refined. He gestured at them with his fork. “Unless you’re just drunk and lost, you’re here for information.” He took a bite of food and smiled. “Can help with that.”

“We could just be here to get to the point of becoming drunk and lost,” said Maysah, sliding into a seat. “I’ll settle for information, but let me know who we’re talking to first. I take it you’re one of Envoy’s envoys?” she asked, pronouncing the name differently than the word and smiling at her own cleverness.
1x Like Like
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by ML
Raw
coGM
Avatar of ML

ML Attempted Polymath

Member Seen 1 day ago


T H E P R O P O S A L
CURRENT DATE -- 24/05/2047, ~3 AM


"Envoy's envoy. Clever." The man smiled at Stardust, impressively genuine for a shark. His eyes slid from the woman to ET, and then to Tower, then back to him. Assessing, plotting, planning. "No, no...I'm just an interested party. Envoy doesn't really do...underlings."

ET was too tired for this. Not a minute in and Stardust had already given away that they weren't from the area. "Sit tight," he said, glaring at Stardust. Stomping over to the bar, he tossed a wad of bills at the robot barkeep. "Caffeine," he said, raising his voice above the noise. The pulsed in his ears, and although a few of the patrons had scattered when they walked in, it was still packed enough to make him nervous. He chugged the foul drink as he walked back to the table.

"Name," he growled, sighing as the drink took effect. As the man opened his mouth, ET cut him off. "And explain why we should trust you over another information broker. We're short on time, and I'm short on patience."

The man closed his mouth, blinked twice, then smiled, waggling a finger at ET. "I'll have to keep an eye on you, won't I? Call me Peterson. Patch, if you like. And you can trust me, because I haven't already called Law Enforcement about three supers waltzing into my turf." He must have read ET's face, because he rolled his eyes and shrugged. "Just an educated guess. A cybernetic freak walking in isn't uncommon, but a cybernetic freak walking in with two apparently normal people who aren't even the least bit afraid of the area? Only supers could have that kind of ego, am I right?"

So they were already made. Fine. Being superpowered wasn't a crime any more than augments were. "Good guess," he admitted, then settled down into a seat next to the man. "We were running an op as a favor, and nearly got bombed to high hell. Half the team died. You probably heard about it?"

"Ah, the shipper warehouse demolition. Totally legitimate, so I hear." Peterson took another bite of whatever he was eating--some kind of meat--and nodded. "There have been some whispers, yes."

"Yeah, great." ET put a hand to his face: the alcohol craving with the caffeine jitters was blurring his vision a bit. "Look, if you're as good as you act like you are, can you help us out?"

Peterson shrugged. "Sure can. Gonna need a favor of my own first, though." The balding man finished the plate, and a drone in a tuxedo silently shuffled it away--wait, a drone in a tuxedo? The thought vanished as Peterson leaned forward. There was a glint in his placid face that hadn't been there before.

"Three days ago, a drone flew out of the Steel Citadel." Seeing ET's blank face, the man sighed. "Nothing leaves the Steel Citadel. At least, not visibly. When Envoy wants something, the demands appear in the dirt, or in the sky, or on a piece of paper, whatever. But this time, one of my guys saw a drone leave from a window, fly across the dead zone, and into the Carolex Experimental industrial complex."

That was something ET knew. Carolex Experimental: one of the Big Six WorldCorpsTM. "You want us to break into the third-largest-megacorp-in-the-world's largest industrial complex to steal a drone...why? Sheer curiosity?"

Peterson laughed. "You're saving me all the trouble of explaining the job! You really are a superhero, saving the day." The man leaned forward and folded his hands together on his lips. "The contents of that drone are worth a fortune. Not just monetary, but legally. The dirt that might be inside that thing? It could topple corporations, if...leveraged properly."

ET wasn't sure if anyone else was about to talk, but he held up his hands anyway. "And you want us--three people--to what...knock down the walls? Skydive in from above?"

Peterson glanced at ET's hands and snorted. "I rather thought you might sneak in. I have an asset--quite brilliant, really--who is capable of removing himself entirely from the minds and memory banks of both humans and machines alike. He could be standing here with us, and we would never even notice. I also," he said, interrupting ET's interruption, "have a certain friend who, if we're lucky, might be on board. She owes me a favor. Several, in fact."

The man took off his shades and sighed. "Look, let me level with you. I know a lot of things, but when it comes to big jobs like this, it's hard to find reliable, enhanced help. My man is good at his job, but Carolex knows about his existence, and they have plenty of countermeasures for him as a one-man team. If I'm lucky, you'll have powers that can compensate for those shortcomings, and we might have a shot. I could hire a team as an alternative, but it doesn't come as cheap as this exchange of information. Get me what I want to know, and I'll get you what you want in return."

ET folded his arms, taking great effort to stop his eyes from closing. "One: I'd be very interested in meeting these 'assets' of yours." Addison's face flashed across his mind. "Two: if I agree to anything, part of the deal is that you help us bury our friend properly. Three: I don't speak for these two. They make their own decisions."

"That so?" Peterson raised an eyebrow, and a ghost of a smile touched his face. "But you've been speaking for them since you walked in."

"Fuck off."
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by DJAtomika
Raw
Avatar of DJAtomika

DJAtomika Second to Most

Member Seen 1 day ago



24/05/2047
TONDE


Alex made sure that he was as inconspicuous as a six foot five, hulking mass of metal and flesh could be as he entered the bar-slash-nightclub. He'd foregone his usual trench coat and t-shirt combo in favour of a leather jacket, some cheap punk t-shirt he'd bought at a Hot Topic and a plain pair of blue jeans, with steel-toed work boots on in case he had to do any sort of kicking or stomping. He hoped that wasn't the case. This place looked like a dump already. Loud music, sparse patrons and robot service didn't mean jack to Alex. They were distractions.

The moment that Arbiter had told them that they were meeting an informant, he was in work mode. Once the doors opened, his optics were already scanning for potential exit routes including unreinforced walls, other doors, even the fire exit. Then his advanced optics set to work profiling every individual in the club, marking their locations and tracking them in real time even as he walked with Arbiter to where their mark was seated. He refused a seat, choosing instead to stand with his back to the nearest wall, eyes surveying the club for any signs of suspicious activity.

Meanwhile, his augmented ears were tuned in to the conversation between the two men. The details shook him slightly; a drone? From the Steel Citadel? Trying to retrieve that thing would be tantamount to painting a massive target on their backs with a little paper note that said "SHOOT ME" pinned to the bulls-eye. Not to mention that they were going to steal it from the third biggest megacorp in the world. The big target only got bigger as he told the computer in his head to pull up details on the industrial complex owned by Carolex Experimental, saving them to review later once they were out of this shit hole.

The Tower leaned his back on the wall and shook his head. This was a job for a huge team of safecrackers and criminals. Not a handful of washed up superheroes and their cop handler. Alex folded his arms and sighed to himself. What was their pursuit of justice for Hex turning into? He'd traveled this far to get embroiled in some messy criminal work and for what? Their contact was dead and now they had barely any leads to follow. Alex briefly closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind. They were doing this for Hex. Anything to get closer to the person that killed him and had attempted to off them with a ballistic missile.
1x Thank Thank
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Atrophy
Raw
Avatar of Atrophy

Atrophy Meddlesome Kid

Member Online

“He better get me something,” said Maysah as Arbiter ordered her to sit tight and then jetted off towards the bar. She flashed an annoyed glance over at Alex. The Tower had found himself a nice wall to hold up and his eyes were too busy doing ocular pat downs to catch her exchange. Arbiter returned with just one mug, which he had emptied before even sitting down at the table. Maysah gave him a look of murderous intent. If he was going to drag them into an underworld bar in the middle of the night after someone dropped a literal bomb on them, then he could at the very least buy a lady a drink.

She leaned back in her chair and let the two fellows chum it up with one another. Patch guessed that they were supers, and before Maysah could deny it Arbiter already spoke up for them. Fine. It didn’t matter if he knew they were superpowered individuals, but if he knew which ones they were. She listened as Peterson offered them information in return for a criminal favor. A rueful smile crossed her face at the reveal that they were being asked to go up against a corporation. Going up against corporations had been what burnt Stardust in the first place, but back then she could at least take a moralistic high ground on her actions. Now, it sounded like she’d be going after one “legitimate” criminal organization to benefit another illegitimate criminal organization. Hardly a prideworthy job.

“It would’ve been rude to interrupt,” said Maysah as Patch called Arbiter out for talking for them, smirking at his ability to get a rise out of Arbiter. She turned to her irritated chauffeur, “But I don’t even know why you bother to ask. I’m no merc, but my decision has been made since Cedar Fort.”

“Although, this doesn’t sound like a fair deal,” she said to Peterson. “You said it yourself, the information we’re getting you could topple corporations...but it never would be used for that, would it? Much smarter to extort them and keep a nice steady flow of hush money then to blow the whistle and get nothing but branded with stigmata for the rest of your career. Regardless, if you aren’t willing to tease us with a few of those whispers you heard about the warehouse now, couldn’t you at least buy us a meal, rent us a suitable place to stay, and get us some fresh clothes so we aren’t instantly pegged as a bunch of out-of-town super assholes the moment we walk out into the streets?”
1x Like Like
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Necroes
Raw
Avatar of Necroes

Necroes The Fourth Seal

Member Seen 3 days ago

Michael watched the conversation, leaning on the wall next to Patrick's booth. The group was a bunch of supers, and from the sounds of things, they were out for revenge. Likewise, it sounded like Patrick was once more volunteering him for a heist before telling him about it. While Michael was usually amenable to such work, going up against any of the big six was generally a bad idea. That he'd be up against the one who basically ruled the city Michael had built his base of operations in somehow made a bad idea seem even worse.

Of course, he was in no position to refuse. Patrick was far from ignorant of the risk, and Michael was a valuable asset to say the least. If whatever contents the target held justified the risk, Patrick would have plenty lined up to 'convince' Michael to take the job. He did not leave these kinds of things to chance, and the two worked closely enough that Michael was certain the resources to obtain his participation would be available. Though, that didn't mean he couldn't put himself in a better position to bargain for his price.

Turning, a quick look around the room and he saw what he was after. A waitress walking past had a pair of drinks on a tray-martinis dressed with an olive each, a favorite of his-and with a quick grab they were his. No one noticed, and even when she showed up with an empty tray, no one would care. Taking only a brief second to sample one of the drinks, he then sat down next to Patrick, taking up the final seat in the booth.

"Patrick," he said, appearing to the world once more. The older man hesitated only slightly at the appearance, the hand on his knife relaxing after a few seconds. "I'm surprised at you. It's poor form, not to offer a lady a drink. I expect as much from the pig-no offence-but you know better. I can only hope something this simple will make up for your poor manners."

Waiting a moment for everyone to make themselves accustom to his sudden appearance, he'd set down both drinks, one each for himself and the lady at the table. Patrick, of course, was looking at him with something between utter contempt and mild annoyance playing across his face. By contrast, Michael was all smiles, enjoying his drink and keeping his eyes on the woman. He didn't wink at her, exactly, but if facial expressions could have subtext, that would be his at that moment.

"Everyone," Patrick began, gesturing vaguely at Michael with his knife, "this is Void. As you may have deduced, he is the man I mentioned previously. As you wanted to meet your potential team mates for this mission, I suppose it's a sort of luck that he decided to make an appearance. If he seems a bit drunk, don't worry, that's normal."

As usual, Michael bristled at the mention of his 'super-persona.' Very few people knew him by it, and he would prefer to keep it that way. While it sounded cool as a teenager, 'Void' just kept sounding more and more pretentious as he got older. The jab that he was an alcoholic was expected, and by now he would be more surprised if Patrick hadn't made a joke of that sort.

"If you lot feel like you're getting the short end of the stick on this one, you are but you're not alone. Until recently, I hadn't even known that this drone existed, let alone that I was going to be stealing it. Though, to be fair, I'll give you all a reasonable baseline for comparison. My usually fee for work like this-grand larceny-is about fifteen percent of the score's expected net sale value. Patrick keeps me on retainer for these things, though, so for him the price is only three-hundred and fifty-thousand per item. There are modifiers to that number, of course. For working with a team, I always charge an additional fifty percentage, to cover additional hazards. After that, there's an extra twenty percentage increase if the target has anything more sophisticated than a level 2 AI. Finally, whenever any of the big six are involved, my fee is doubled, or tripled if the facility either owns the target or it is located on their property. In this case, it's both, so the final price will actually be quadrupled. Patrick probably thought I was too drunk at the time to remember that part of the contract."

After taking a sip of his drink-giving everyone a chance to run the numbers, and Patrick a moment to consider ventilating his throat-Michael set down the glass and smiled at the woman across the table. "He never pays for food or lodging, but if you need a place to stay, my door is open to you. I can't say that I have anything by way of clothing for you, but I could certainly have a new outfit brought by the following morning. You shouldn't need it until then, anyway."
1x Like Like
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Atrophy
Raw
Avatar of Atrophy

Atrophy Meddlesome Kid

Member Online

Before Maysah’s question could be answered a man quite literally appeared right in front of her. It took every ounce of her will to stop herself from reflexively draining every single neon sign and fluorescent light in the building as she straightened up in preparation to flip the table. Only Peterson relaxing his posture prevented Maysah from causing a scene. Instead, her jumping in her seat had caused only the slightest drop of the drink that had manifested itself in front of her to spill. Maysah eyed the drink that was for the lady with a hint of worry on her brow.

“What?” said Maysah flatly. She looked up at the man that Peterson introduced as Void. Maysah first noticed that he was a handsome man in a nice suit with an agreeable English accent, but the attraction stopped right there. His smile wasn’t bad but his eyes suggested otherwise. Maysah felt her skin crawl. She knew an eyefuck when she saw one. She had dealt with men like this while going to school, while working in the lab, and while fighting crime in spandex. Now she had to deal with one while glamoured up to look like a different woman. She would rather go thirsty the rest of her life than be given a drink because she was the lady. Would he have given her a drink if the glamour had made her ugly? It was doubtful.

She exhaled slowly through her nose as Void began blabbering about his compensation and folded her arms over her chest. Once, she had agreed to take part in a superhero photo shoot for charity. The photographer suggested that she pose topless because her “power was so hot that it melted her shirt” and then called her a heartless bitch when she refused to do it. Once, a man had grabbed her ass while she was at a cocktail party. She slapped him, but she had also been in costume. The man claimed to be assaulted by Stardust, and only when Projector spoke up that he had witnessed the whole thing did the suit get dropped.

There had been plenty of other onces. She was used to the shit. Didn’t make it suck any less. Her hands squeezed against her knees as she sat there and took it again. Maysah had been spoiled with the company of the Tower and Arbiter, who while not without their faults had at least been respectful. Men like Void were one of the many reasons why she never really worked with teams. She closed her eyes and inhaled sharply as Void finished crunching numbers and proceeded to try and….what, exactly? Charm her? Embarrass her? Belittle her in front of her peers to make him look like a strong member of the team? It was always just implications with men like this. Implications, regardless of how obvious they were and this one was an obvious one, gave them a cowardly way out if they got called out for their behavior.

Still, that didn’t mean she wouldn’t call.

“Oh, you’re done talking?” said Maysah. Her eyes were closed and her voice was calm. She exhaled deeply. “Good, because I want you to listen. You don’t know me, but I know you. I know people like you, and I will unfortunately continue to know people like you for a few more years to come. Since we’re going to be stuck working together for the time being, I suggest whatever it is you’re trying here ends now. In fact, I suggest you show off that nifty ability of yours where you remove yourself from my mind so I forget all about you.”

“Because if I open my eyes and still see your fucking face,” she continued with ice in her throat, “you will know who I am. And you’ll know that I don’t need a thing like you to finish this job.”
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Necroes
Raw
Avatar of Necroes

Necroes The Fourth Seal

Member Seen 3 days ago

Michael kept smiling while she talked. He nursed his drink and let her have her turn. Though he kept his eyes on her, his peripheral vision was trained to keep on the look out for other things. The threat didn't send her friends into worry, nor did they try to calm her. She had jumped when he appeared, but people generally would; Her cop friend had done the same.

Once she was done, he'd already finished his drink. Turning to face Patrick, he raised an eyebrow and spoke. "Quite the little firecracker, isn't she?" If Patrick wasn't considering killing him before, Michael could see it in his eyes now. However, the older man knew the look his asset was giving him. Michael had a point to make, and Patrick knew it was better to let him make it while they were both present.

His face kept the smile, but his eyes became blank. "Madam," he began, voice calm and clear, maybe even a little bored. "If all it takes to rile you up quite so much as this is a free drink and an offer to jump in bed, then you're going to get cat-called into catching a bullet with your head before we get into the building."

Instead of being scared-or showing any real emotion from the threat at all, really-he practically ignored it. "Let there be no mistake, if we are to do this, you will be walking into a world you have clearly never been in. You supers all think that you're impressive, because you're used to playing the hero against the big villain. Dangerous work, to be sure, but it is a far cry from the depths we are set to delve down."

"We are not going to fight some lunatic with a power fantasy. No one will be wearing spandex to loudly declare themselves targets. When we get to our target, there will be humans there. Plane, ordinary humans, just doing their job. A lot of them will be mercenaries, men and women receiving a pay check for guarding someone else's property. More over, each one will, without doubt, be trained to kill people like you and me with zero hesitations or remorse, quickly and through whatever means possible. This will extend to non-combat individuals as well, who will attack us not because they are paid to guard the facility, but out of a belief that we might otherwise take their lives."

"This is because, when we go in, we won't be heroes. We'll be criminals. People there to take what is not ours. We will be met by human beings, earning a living through legal means, equipped with weapons and tools not only fully capable, but literally designed to kill us. Not just technologically, either. When dealing with the big six, magical means are not only possible, but to be expected. Very likely, we will come across people who have been given balls of paper they need only throw at us to do anything from detonate an EMP more powerful than a bolt of lightning, to completely desiccate our entire bodies, turning us into mummies before we even realize they're just another guard dressed as a pencil pusher."

"So," he said, taking a minute to let all that sink in while he ate his olive and his eyes returned to their cheery disposition, "would you rather go into an office building by yourself and determine if the woman behind the reception desk; the one with glasses, fussy hair, and a picture of her daughter riding her shoulders on her desk."

"Would you be able to kill her when she reaches for what is either a sign in sheet, or a bomb made of ink and paper, out of her desk? Or would you rather someone walk in ahead of you, who can incapacitate such threats before they even know the paper is needed? Because, I promise you; Unlike you heroes, who have been off doing god knows what this entire time, I've spent the past years doing exactly this. The big six, to a one, go out of their way to put this exact situation in your path at every possible opportunity, specifically to deter people like you. So, by all means... Kill me, and see how many more, completely innocent, men and women have to die by your hand because you couldn't take a man flirting with you."
1x Like Like
↑ Top
© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet