Date/Time: November 11th, 2022. 5:45 PM.
Location(s): Redline PRT Headquarters
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick....
Ugh, it was like he could feel the clock boring his skull open.
Truth be told, he had been dreading this day ever since it was dumped on him. All because he tried to be the smart guy in the room....Last time he made that mistake....Again. Fukuda could feel his eyebrows scrunching up in consternation; somehow, this was all going to blow up in their face. Maybe literally, given the fact they were bringing that Tinker girl on board. Speaking of...
To at least take his mind off his impending doom, Atsushi took to reading the files they had handed off to him yet again. The details on those who had been picked out by him, or in a few niche cases, those who came to them instead. The subtle clicking of the clock could still be heard, in spite of his best efforts. Fifteen minutes. He'd given the kids a deadline; 6 PM. Roughly thirty minutes after most of them would be out from school. Time to arrange for anything, maybe get some food, or just goof off before something this high-stress. He didn't know.
He tried getting comfortable. The meeting area they'd set up for The Wards, lying just below the prison sector, had some pretty cushy seats, so there was that. Beyond that, though...Pretty sparse. A few terminals for them to use, keep track of things, watch out for teammates from the safety of HQ when/if necessary...Probably play video games if they were slacking off. That, and the still hidden-from-view foldaway monitor, for when important people (like himself, heh) had to make some big announcements to the team without being there, or fill them in on dire information that couldn't be passed onto their terminals. Alright, enough beating the damn bush. His personal datapad flipped open (thanks, Tech Wizard, for these complicated damn iPads), he began scanning through the files once more.
Aurorea (Eleanore Evans) [Crystalline Visage: Breaker (Brute 9/Thinker 6/Mover 3)]
Memento (Morgan Reine) [Biomass Assimilation/Self-Duplication: Striker 6, Brute 4+, Master (tentative)]
Faeble (Wilbur Levins) [Parahuman Deception: Master 4/Stranger 4 (potential Thinker ability)]
Workshop (Beverly Hillshire) [Chaos Creations: Tinker 5 (tentative 2+ in other Classifications)]
Gress (Aaliyah Zaire) [Warp Gates: Mover 8 (Blaster. Tentative Thinker)]
Bastion (Demi Stevens) [Power-Nullifying Barriers: Shaker 5/Trump 7 (Brute 5)]
V (Carmen Foster) [Object Cloning: Striker 6/Tinker 1]
Bloodlet (Lito Walker) [Hemokinetic Weaponry: Striker 6/Brute 4]
Wattson (Jen Mackens) [Selective Tangibility: Breaker 9/Stranger 7/Striker 5/Mover 2/Trump 2/Brute 1]
Artemesia (Luna Chambers) [She-Devil: Changer 7/Stranger 7/Mover 3 (Brute 3)]
Astromancer (Alman Kastrati) [Concentrated Light Spheres: Blaster 6 (Shaker)]
The sheer volume of volunteers was concerning, and even moreso were how many he basically just plucked right off the damn streets. Seriously, this city had problems...Still, at least there would be strength in numbers, even if most of them were lacking any sort of formal training. A few stand-outs here and there, either on personal merits or the potential of their Parahuman abilities, but otherwise, this looked downright miserable.
As if an angel descending in his hour of need, his Vice Director, one Rachel Elton, had just now descended to the room from a side passage normally kept hidden; it was there for convenience, dramatic entry, and of course, when the elevator would inevitably not work due to something stupid or horrific occurring. Perhaps both. She was snugly dressed over her typical business attire, a thick pale blue scarf constricting her freckled face like a snake, with her mitted hands holding two fresh, steaming lattes as she strode to sit beside her ever-so-woeful 'boss'.
She couldn't help but give him a stern glare behind her cozy prison that entrapped a good half of her face; honestly, how could he be acting his dour when he was getting exactly what he wanted? Sometimes, she just couldn't understand him. "Sheesh, lighten up, Atsushi. You look like you're reading a KIA list, not looking at the faces of our best and brightest, y'know?" She quietly passed his hot beverage to him, which he took wordlessly and also proceeded to take a rather satisfying sip of. "Meh, I suppose you might have a point. Still, this is over double the estimated team size...Sounds like we're in for a lotta hassle."
Even underneath the scarf, Fukuda could tell she was smiling just by the glint in his Vice Director's eyes. "Like it isn't that way 24/7 around here? C'mon, we've handled worse, and besides, we're doing something really good here. A lot of these kids need something to lean on, and beyond getting them involved in the ridiculous world of superheroics, we can actually support them. Give them somewhere to belong. Isn't that great?" Ever the optimist. The Director just sighed. "Just don't count your chickens, or however the hell that saying goes. We've got our work cut out for us this time..." As if on cue, they could hear the silent 'ding' of the elevator, signaling one of their arrivals finally approaching. A silent dread creeped over the Director's face, whereas cheery and warm mirth at the thought of meeting one of the kids in person again reached Rachel's.
Well, that went to hell faster than he expected. To imagine that the bigwigs managed to pull these kids straight into the fire on day 1 was unfathomable, even by Fukuda's exceptionally low standards. Still, it was happening now, whether he liked it or not. The kids had gotten all dressed up, and with two convoys to carry the whole team (and Rachel, who ended up driving for Memento to make sure she got a clone body instead of the original), they were off to the scene of the predetermined crime, that being the Museum of Parahuman History. Honestly, as the Director oversaw the work of the techheads monitoring channels and debriefing PRT officers, he just couldn't wrap his head around it. From the precognitive information given to them, it seemed like this was somehow gonna end up a big event, but he just couldn't imagine why. The Museum had some interesting pieces lying around, sure, and maybe some of that deactivated Tinker crap could have some concerning implications in the wrong hands, but overall, it was far from the hot topic that the majority of the Guardians were going to confront, that being an attack on the mayor's own home. Stranger and stranger....
Taking his mind off of things, he spoke into his earpiece, reaching each of the Wards, as well as the Guardians who were en route to meet with the kids at the Museum, Fuse and Siren. Not exactly the team he would've picked for the job, but well...That was Risen's job. "ETA is 10 minutes now until you reach the museum; we don't know what to expect in there yet, so as per usual, the Capes - to be more specific in this case, Fuse and Siren - will be taking point until we can determine the threat and plan accordingly. For you Wards on the line, I'll drop a quick piece of advice. Property damage can get paid for, but loss of life? Not so much. It's doubtful there would be many visitors at this hour, but regardless, your priorities should always be toward civvies in the combat zone. And next in order of importance? Yourselves. A lot of you are new to this in more ways than one, so stick together and don't pull anything reckless. Follow the lead of the Guardians and you'll be fine. Director out."
He returned his focus back to theorizing, planning for what could potentially be there. Was this a preemptive Seven attack? Nah, that's next to impossible. Their last sighting placed them somewhere in Europe, near Germany. Only one who could be here that suddenly is the man himself, and he doesn't split off very often from his pack. Was it a Herald attack? Equally improbable. Sure, the timeframe is close to right, but only Gaia could emerge at a point like that, and she's currently recovering, even if the damage to London was pretty severe. With the concerning out-of-left-field possibilities pushed to the side, he began probing his brain and their databases for the likelier suspects.
The Mutants? Hm...Not impossible. If taken in a certain light, trashing this Museum could fit their M.O. Still, that didn't sound entirely right. The Knights? Not a chance in hell. There'd be little to no personal reason for them to pull it, and he doubted anyone could swing enough cash their way to bother with something that, at least in the scope Fukuda could see, seemed so miniscule in impact. Maybe The Skulkers? They were a small-time crew, but they've clearly been pushing to be let into the big boys' table, so to speak. While there might not be much money in this, perhaps notoriety could be the aim...There was also the Syndicate to consider, but the information was just too scarce; even if they were a part of this, being able to actually figure that out would be a pipe dream. Ultimately, Fukuda found himself back to square one, with nothing quite matching up.
So all that would be left is to wait and see....And hope that rat bastard Fuse didn't blow up half the museum and rake that property damage bill to sky-high rates.