Technomancy. So that was it. Alex folded his arms and leaned back in his chair as Arbiter explained his powers. A few dots in his mind connected themselves; the anonymous message warning them of the missile strike, the strange presence he'd noticed hacking into his systems way back when they'd first met. The club. It explained a lot; for a man able to control pretty much any computer system in the world, the cop was surprisingly...not subtle about the use of his abilities.
Then Maysah introduced her abilities next, although Alex knew that there was more to the "quick blaster type" lady than it seemed. He had a dossier on her, back when he was still in the Knights, and she was one of the more powerful Blasters in the US. He knew that if she wanted, she could put a plasma blast clean through his heart, something his second skin wouldn't save him from. He was quietly thankful that they were on the same side and that he could just as easily redirect her powers elsewhere if she shot at him.
At the rather flippant and brief "yeah he big" explanation given by Maysah about his own powers, Alex let a harrumph escape his chest. He straightened in his seat and, almost as if the speech was practiced, detailed his own abilities.
"Walking Fortress: Tower of London-class reactive, regenerative armour plating. Centurion-spec cybernetics. No onboard weapons, but I don't need them."
He leaned forward slightly, placing his hands on the table.
"I'm a tank on legs. Built and designed that way. Point me in the direction of something that needs breaking, and I'll break it."
Alex leaned back and resumed folding his arms. "Although, if we're doing a covert operation, I presume I'll be the last resort. I'm too big and loud to be stealthy. I know that much."
Alex kept his arms folded, even as a man appeared spontaneously out of nowhere. He had an image to maintain, damn it, and the appearance of another super wasn't supposed to phase him. But he'd done several detailed scans of the area, why hadn't this man showed up on his optics? He briefly scrolled through logs of supers with any powers that could confuse or obfuscate cybernetic optics and found several, alleviating his worries at least for the moment. A few of those supers he'd known or heard about; doing things like fooling infra-red or x-ray scanners or even enhanced optics like his.
He didn't really pay attention to the talk after that. He was more focused on pulling up what information he could on the new arrival. Facial recognition almost instantly tagged him as the lead suspect in a number of robberies, homicides and missing persons reports in several places in the US, but not much else came up after that. Mostly rumours and hearsay among the bigger PMCs about some new super with the ability to obfuscate and conceal himself from virtually every kind of surveillance device known to man. A formidable power to be sure, but what came up on his optics told him that this man, past the powers, was still just a man. A bullet in the right place would end his career in the criminal world faster than anything. Alex made sure to save the man's face and bioelectric presence into his cyber's systems, just in case.
Then someone made a play. Someone powerful enough to knock out just about everything in the club save for the single light bulb above their table. Alex felt the wave of electromagnetic energy pulse through the entire building and his back's contact with the wall behind him was enough for him to feel it. No hard reboots, no alarms, but he felt his optics glitch out slightly, along with everything else cybernetic about him. His second skin of nanites rippled and hardened all over his body for a split second before his systems got a hold of the situation and regained control. The Tower immediately scanned for where that wave had come from and his optics settled on Arbiter.
His gaze narrowed at the cop. Did he do this? The question was briefly shoved to the back of his mind as the meeting seemingly wrapped up after the show of force. Hotel rooms were recommended and a rendezvous given. A time and place at a smaller bar in the city. Alex pushed off the wall as he made sure the hotel rooms were indeed being booked for them silently using his cybers, then dusted his hands off and placed his empty glass of water on the table. The big man left last; he sure as hell was going to make sure their new contact wasn't going to stab them in the back.
For Addison. For Hex. Shirtless, Alex slowly paced his hotel room. A burger wrapper, french fry carton and empty cup of soda sat on the coffee table. The meal had done little to soothe his nerves. Ever since he'd gotten to his assigned room (and ordered food along the way), he'd been itching to get answers. Mostly on their comrade, Arbiter. Who was he really? He sure as hell wasn't some backwoods cop with a shoestring connection to Hex. That much was obvious. And what were those powers he'd displayed earlier at the club?
Alex sat down in one of the two armchairs in the room and let a long sigh escape his chest. He knew Arbiter was in the room next to him; Alex's room was sandwiched between Stardust's and Arbiter's, and he could also see the man through the walls. His optics allowed him the benefit of x-ray vision so he knew precisely where the cop was: sitting at the smartDesk and talking with someone. Not like he could hear the conversation but the movements of the man's lower jaw suggested conversation. So Alex did the only thing he could: use his own systems to dig around for information.
He moved to his Desk and, after a brief moment syncing his cybernetic systems with the hotel's internal system, took to the phone immediately. His sister picked up on the second ring.
"Alex." She breathed a sigh of relief over the call. "You're alright. Thank god."
"Yeah, I'm fine." He lowered his voice. "Listen: do me a favour. I need you to look up our cop friend for me."
"Who, Arbiter? Yeah I can, but why?"
"I have a suspicion he isn't who he says he is. He shut down a club today by standing up and slamming his hands on a table. And I mean electronically. I felt the EMP wave come from him."
Shirley squinted at the screen and screwed her lips in a frown.
"That bad, eh? You suspect super?"
Alex nodded. "Yep. That's why I need you to look into him for me."
She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. It was abundantly clear that she was also running on little sleep and a bundle of nerves.
"I'll see what I can do. In the meantime, go get some sleep. Isn't it 3 AM for you?"
"Ish. Send me what you find and I'll have a look at it later."
"Alright. Oh, Alex?"
"You got any leads?"
He shook his head. "No, but we've got a job to do to get us a lead. A drone from Envoy's fortress crashed in a Carolex facility. We're going to...steal it."
Shirley's eyes widened.
"Carolex? One of the biggest supercorps in the world?! Are you insane? Are your friends insane?! You remember what happened when that corp wanted to test its new security measures."
He knew. All too well. One of the few scars he did have was from a Carolex hyper-sonic high explosive squash head anti-super round fired directly at his chest. Obviously the strength of the round was dumbed down because he was just a test subject loaned to the corp by the British Military for a weapons test, but it still had hurt. Penetrated his first and second layers of armour and did him some damage. Fixed without a worry, of course, but his chest still bore the vaguely circular scar and burn marks from the round.
"I know, Shirl. I...am not gonna say that I might come out of it without a few more scratches. But we have Stardust with us, along with some guy named Void who can conceal himself from cameras and hypersensitive optics. And we both know Maysah. She's powerful. Way more powerful than both of us combined."
"Yeah, and remind me again if her reflexes are superhuman? Or if she's hardy like you? She might not survive a few of those Hyper-HESH rounds you know. You might not either."
Alex sighed and squeezed the bridge of his nose, eyes closed.
"I- fuck, Shirley. I don't even know what we're doing here. This is like, the furthest we could be in finding out who killed Hex and Addison. But if it gets us a lead, I have to try."
His sister's expression softened in the call.
"Stay safe. After that missile...and since we're apart right now, I can't be there to help you."
"I know, Shirl."
Alex placed a hand to the holographic screen and Shirley reciprocated the gesture; their palms together even though they were several hours apart.
"You stay safe too, okay? We'll be back together soon." 24/5/2047 A Morning Cup
Alex arrived next, having stopped by a clothes store to make a few more purchases so he had some better clothes than his superhero get-up. Simple stuff; a t-shirt with the American flag emblazoned across the front, blue jeans and the same work boots from earlier. His imposing figure made his journey through the obnoxious flyer-givers, suits and expensive cologne a lot easier; people parted when a tall, obviously augmented for strength, man made polite nods and soft 'excuse me's to the crowd in the bar. Once he spotted Arbiter and Stardust, he made a beeline straight for them and took a seat at their table, trapping Arbiter between himself on one end and Maysah on the other.
"You can say that again. Why are we even agreeing to steal this drone back from one of the biggest bio-tech engineering corps in the world?"
Oh hey this is back up again, I'll throw my hat into the ring once more! EDIT: I found my old sheet from the previous iteration of this RP, throwing it in here!
WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
"David. David Sawyer."
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
"Forty four years old, as of this year."
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSION, SKILL OR LIFESTYLE?
"I am a photographer. A former journalist and international correspondent for a big Boston news agency. I've been around the world, covering many different stories, about war, famine, pestilence and death, and of life, love, prosperity and glory. I spent the last twenty or so years of my life writing stories to go with the pictures I've taken and the things that I've seen and experienced for myself. You spend as much time as I have behind a lens, you learn to live with a camera in every aspect of your daily life. A camera lens and my laptop were my best friends during those twenty odd years and when I retired, I left a great big gaping hole in that news agency's office. I've learned since then that there hasn't been a new photojournalist in my office since."
"I started this line of work when I was young. Cameras interested me in my teens and I always sent in my pictures to our local newspaper's photography contest that they held every few months. Only won first place once and that's when I knew I had a knack for it. For a while, I bummed around a few places, sending in my photos and building a resume that I could use, and finally my local news company took me in to see what I could do behind a keyboard. The years flew by, I left the small-town newspaper gig and went to Boston to work. By that time, I had enough under my belt to consider myself a photojournalist, but some part of me wanted more. It wanted adventure and travel and so when I got a job at a big Boston news agency, I jumped on the chance to be an international correspondent after showing off my resume. That's how I got to travel to war-torn third-world countries to document starving children, African prairies to take pictures of lions, I even managed to photograph the aftermath of that bombing at the Boston Marathon."
"But the years weren't kind. Work got to me, as did every other sordid, tragic story I was sent to cover. And after about twenty years of just enduring all of it, I knew I had to leave. Otherwise I was gonna go crazy. After I retired as a professional journalist, I took up photography again, my old hat. Nowadays I don't write stories for my pictures; I let them tell their own tales. My curiosity and drive to see and document the unknown has led me to many places in search of the unreal, the mysterious and the supernatural. I let my camera speak for me and capture the moments that words fail to describe. I've traveled the country over this last year or so, letting my curiosity guide me as I document the United States of America in pictures. It's been rather relaxing, really."
"I like to live my life from moment to moment, contrary to what most people do at my age. Always looking for that next adventure, although nowadays 'adventure' in my book means a flight across the country to take pictures of some supposedly 'haunted' house or something else. Still, at least I like to live my life slightly dangerously, less so than my job was."
HOW ARE YOU BEST RECOGNIZED IN A CROWD?
"I always carry my camera on a strap around my neck. I've also got a brown leather satchel that has my other essentials, lenses and water and whatnot. I like to wear this black leather biker jacket too, fur-lined. Keeps me warm."
WHAT IS A STRANGER'S FIRST IMPRESSION UPON MEETING YOU? HOW DO SEE YOURSELF?
"I... I'm not sure, I've never been asked this question before. I guess I'm a sort of...calm person? I like to socialise with others, y'know, talk about stuff we like and whatnot, but I'm not much of an outgoing type. I can talk for long hours about subjects we both like, but don't expect me to start the conversation myself. If a stranger first meets me, I guess they'll see the gruff, worn exterior and think I'm some sorta guy who's seen a lot, and frankly they wouldn't be wrong. But I'm just a man that did his job until the job made me quit, so now I'm an average man, not a globe-trotting photojournalist any more."
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? WHERE DO YOU FEEL AT HOME?
"I was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, to a pair of loving, doting parents that never thought I'd grow up to be a journalist. I moved to Boston after I scored my big news gig and that's where I've lived ever since. I feel most at home behind the lens of my camera, capturing pictures and telling stories through still images. To be able to show someone the story of a life, or the emotions in a scene through pictures...that's the greatest pleasure."
WHO ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE?
"Gee, I've never been asked that question before. Truth be told, there weren't a lot of people in my life after my folks passed on and I got into journalism as a career. I would probably say... Jeffrey Nolan, my editor. He was like a brother to me, up until I resigned. We still talk regularly and I like to send him the best snaps of my overseas trips from time to time. And there's also Ian Malcolm, my co-writer and proof-reader. We were office buddies, basically brothers at that point. I wrote the stories, he helped me make sure they weren't abject shit on paper."
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR STRENGTHS ARE? WHAT ARE YOUR ACTUAL STRENGTHS?
"My strengths, they probably lie in observation, analysis and creativity. I know how to handle a camera, how to frame a shot. How to read people, watching for their emotional tells, knowing when is the perfect moment to push the shutter and capture a frame for eternity. I know how to write well enough to encapsulate a story, to tell the reader what is going on with a specific picture, yet leaving enough gaps for them to fill in the blanks. Alongside that, I... I haven't done anything athletic in a while, but I'm hardy enough to survive the occasional sprint or hike."
WHAT ARE YOUR FEARS, FLAWS AND SECRETS?
"I have many. Years in the life as a journalist covering the worst that humanity has to offer has left me rather emotionally traumatised. Some therapists I've seen have diagnosed it as a milder form of PTSD, and I believe them. After all the work I've done in documenting the human story, how much can one mind take? I baulk at loud noises, don't feel much pain or revulsion at viewing particularly gruesome things...saddening as it may be, I've had to fortify my mind against my own emotion at times purely so I could capture those of others. To show to the world what suffering exists."
"I keep many secrets. Stories that I cannot bear to tell because of how horrible they are. Whatever you imagine is the worst of humankind, I've seen it. Locked away behind closed doors, covered by tarpaulins and buried in the ground. And no matter how much I wish to share them with the rest of the waking world, to tell someone that these things exist and something needs to be done about them...I keep quiet. I know that, if these stories are told, the men behind them will come after me and the people I know and care about. They will stop at nothing to ensure that their private lives remain a secret."
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SUPERNATURAL ABILITY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
"Out of the blue, huh? Well, maybe the ability to freeze time? To be able to catch every shot, in the millisecond that it happens, without missing a single heartbeat or movement. To be able to frame the perfect shot without having to compromise on quality or be constrained by time. But right now, I have to settle for this weird... Well, I call it my Sixth Sense. It's a weird vibe for the supernatural that I have. I guess it's part and parcel of my journey into the supernatural world. But whenever I step into a place that's supposedly haunted, this Sixth Sense of mine comes to life like a radar for ghosts. I can't detect exact locations but this Sense leads me to places that have high concentrations of...stuff. Paranormal stuff."
SHOW US A SAMPLE OF YOUR WORK.
"Well uh, I've got a small story from a town I visited a few months ago. It was a story that led me to you guys and it was in a town called Duskwick."
With a big mug of coffee by his side, David sat in a corner of the diner, idly tapping away at his Macbook as he processed a folder of photos he'd taken of the countryside surrounding the quaint little town. His camera laid next to his mug and underneath that sat a single missing persons poster. A plate stacked with pancakes and bacon sat nearly untouched on the other side of his laptop. The hubbub in the diner was rather quiet, given the time of day, and as he took a swig of his strong, black coffee, he took in the familiar small-town sights and sounds. It was comforting, very homely and warm. Felt like safety, even though he knew he was here for the complete opposite of that.
David had only just reached the town of Duskwick; he'd spent the better part of the day before driving to the town itself and he'd spent the rest of it resting in the town's only motel. Now he was here, having an early brunch while he sorted through his pictures. He'd risen a little earlier and had done a small walkabout around the park, taking photos of the early morning sun and the scenery, which was all very quaint. Except for the slightly upset man who'd ripped off half the remaining missing persons fliers off the notice board in the diner. Some sort of uppity youth wearing that dumb looking Google glass thingy on his face.
He just couldn't resist.
As one of the staff walked out from behind the counter to confront the man, David took up his camera, framed the shot from his chair, and pushed the shutter.
As he set down his camera to review the shot, he noticed one of the lights flickering. Probably was something to do with the place's age, but then he spied the blue dragonfly perched on the rim of the lamp. He raised his camera again, zoomed in as close as he could without moving, and took another picture. David put his camera down to review the shot and grimaced. Overexposed because of the light.
He plugged his camera into his laptop and got to work trying to fix the problem, watching over the top of his Macbook as the drama unfolded in front of him. There was some hubbub going on about a missing child. A small, young girl, whose photo was up on the diner's noticeboard. A small town like that had such a thing in their central diner so residents could see what was going on; events, bake sales and forest treks, stuff like that. Her poster was one of the fliers that uppity young man had torn off and some of the townspeople were getting upset. Several other youths added their voices to the whole thing and frankly the entire affair was getting rather noisy. He finished up with the photo open on his desktop and closed his Macbook for the morning, sick and tired of doing hobby work while there was a sumptuous breakfast waiting for him.
Just as he grabbed his fork and knife and carved himself a chunk of pancakes slathered in maple syrup, something caught his eye. There, standing among the arguing crowd, was a little girl. The bright red rain boots she wore were too big for her feet, as was the sweater and scarf wrapped around her neck. She had a light pink glass in her hands, and he saw that it was because of the strawberry milkshake within. He set down his utensils and grabbed his camera again. With the picture framed just right, he snapped a photograph of the little girl amidst the chaos of the morning rush.
Then the manager recognised the girl. All of a sudden the hubbub of the diner turned into silence, almost as if time itself froze. David couldn't move as he watched the moment frozen in space; the older lady with a hand to her mouth mid-gasp, the young girl whose milkshake slipped from her little hands.
The glass shattered and suddenly everything sprung back into real time. The girl ran into the back of the diner, bumping into one of the tables on the way as she barreled into the ladies bathroom and locked the door behind her. There were shouts to call the police and everything happened so fast he couldn't get his camera up in time to capture anything. But he had noticed the girl drop...something out of her pocket as she bumped into one of the patron's tables. David picked up his fork and stuffed his mouth full of pancakes (delicious, fluffy and still warm) as he stood up and walked over to where she'd dropped the picture. The picture was...strange. An old, worn-looking Polaroid of the same blue dragonfly he'd taken a picture of from his seat. Same angle, same light, same...
Things got out of hand very fast after that. Vines began growing from the closed (and locked) bathroom door that absorbed one of the diner's staff. David helped a few others break into the bathroom, only to find the girl missing and the single toilet stall a portal into a different place. A mirrored version of the same town he'd just been in. The events had been a blur and David hadn't been able to remember most of it after he'd entered the strange mirror realm, but he'd escaped. Alive and intact, with a camera full of photos of a place that wasn't supposed to exist anywhere. It wasn't long after he found his car and made his way back home that the Sunday Group contacted him.
"...and that's kinda how you guys found me. I'd share more, but my memory of Duskwick is really hazy and I wouldn't be able to explain the context of most of the photos I shot in there. But...I'm sure you guys will figure out what happened there. Eventually."
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.
"Can't say that I have. Well, not those fancy schmancy names anyway."
David nodded as Brianna shared her knowledge of the unknown with him, writing down a few notes as he listened. The magical beings part... He wasn't all too familiar with it but he'd vaguely heard of such terms before. Whispers floating through certain journalist circles of interviews with strange people that could manipulate the world around them. Creating fire or becoming magnetic and attracting metal. References to otherworldly forces, or the suspicions of such by more skeptical writers. The exact terms of such powers weren't familiar to him but he wrote them down anyway, noting that Brianna's power seemed to be opening and closing those portals that led to the Outside.
He knew his own powers, of course. The tattoo on his back that gave him the ability to see the paranormal. His special eyes that could see into the histories of photographs and the images captured within. Even now he could see those same auras, ethereal wisps of smoke that poured from the pages of every book on the shelves, the telltale signs of pictures that had more to tell than just being another pretty image.
David placed his notebook on the table and ran a hand through his hair, scratching absently at an itch as he glanced between the two women.
"I don't know about you ladies, but uh, I can see magical auras. And I can look into the histories and stories of photographs. The more recent the photo, the stronger the impression. Especially if it came from my camera. And it also lets me see past illusions."
David frowned. He knew that there were more of them than just the few of them that had run out of that portal. The lady that the young man...Tristan was his name? Or something? Those two hadn't run out of the portal. In fact they'd only gone deeper into that strange, shadowy, wrong place. He knew there were more trapped in that...labyrinth. There was a hint of a smirk on his face from how dreadfully ironic the whole situation was, but he suppressed the urge to chuckle darkly at other people's expense. After all, he'd been there at one point in his life.
Focusing on the task at hand, David pulled a notepad from his satchel, a pen from his pocket and began to write down everything that had been said thus far, not noticing Abigail also entering the library and making brief eye contact with their group. Admittedly, the curious cat inside of him wanted to know more. Much, much more. That taste of the Outside had sparked something in him, a dangerous curiosity that he could only sate with knowledge of the unknown. To him, that meant questioning Brianna (and by extension the other lady sitting at the table) about everything they knew about the Outside and pooling their information.
As Brianna and Kaitlyn spoke about parallel universes and got the part about the Outside here changing to fit the whims and minds of its current occupants, David scribbled down everything.
"So...that means this Outside is already changing to fit the people that are still trapped there? That's...not good. Is there a...way of getting back to that Outside? I remember...not all of us back in that strange place made it out of your portal, Brianna."
David thought for a moment, tapping the end of his pen against his chin, before continuing. His next question was something; it would either turn out to be total horseshit and make him look like an idiot, or shed even more light on the situation than he would hope. After all, the tattoo on his back was the question mark to end off that 'what if?'
"And then there's the matter of the how... If you opened that portal, Brianna, is it safe to assume that there are others like you out there? People with...special powers?"
My name is DJ.
I am a roleplayer.
A roleplayer of roughly a good decade now.
I write a lot of things, and am able to roleplay a lot of things.
[u]Random Things about me[/u]
- I run a small YouTube channel.
- I listen to a helluva lot of music. Love music.
- I'm from [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore]Singapore[/url]. It's a little island in Southeast Asia.
Anywho, I've not been RPing for a long long time, but here I am, hopefully to make a few friends and RP some.
<div style="white-space:pre-wrap;">My name is DJ. <br>I am a roleplayer. <br>A roleplayer of roughly a good decade now. <br>I write a lot of things, and am able to roleplay a lot of things. <br><br><span class="bb-u">Random Things about me</span><br>- I run a small YouTube channel. <br>- I listen to a helluva lot of music. Love music.<br>- I'm from <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore">Singapore</a>. It's a little island in Southeast Asia.<br><br>Anywho, I've not been RPing for a long long time, but here I am, hopefully to make a few friends and RP some.</div>