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Found 1,142 results

  1. Weird Science [IC]

    February 17th, 2018 Science Lab, Claremont Academy Zhu It was Saturday Afternoon and while most students were either still asleep or relaxing as there were no scheduled classes today. Zhu, dressed in black yoga pants and a flowing white thigh length tank dress was the lone occupant in the lab. While she wasn't working on any particular school project, the amazing array of equipment was a dream for her to work on. She was currently trying to revise her nanobots to give them a little more independence. Her latest babysitting adventure had convinced her that she needed to really work on their capabilities. While she was working in the pristine lab, another pair of student was finishing up their tour. Eric VanWitzenburg, a senior, was leading Tony Edwards through the science section of the classrooms. He paused just outside the lab that Zhu was in, "so that pretty much wraps up the tour. We're in the science section and you'll have a lot of classes here. You have the introduction packet, your schedule, and your room assignment. I hate to do this, but I have to head out. You should be able to get back to the dorms through that door." He shook Tony's hand and hustled back to the admin building where there was another person whom he had to give a tour too. Meanwhile an atomic centrifuge made a powerful whirring noise from the lab as it separated some component materials to it's atomic elements. Zhu didn't appear to be looking at the very detailed readouts on the console, but every now and again, a prompt would flash up and it would go away without her even seeming to acknowledge it.
  2. Circumference of Hi [OPEN]

    16 February, 2016. Lunchtime. Claremont Academy, Cafeteria. Tony's stuff had already arrived, but he himself had not. He looked up at the Main Entrance, and then down to the map. He had to get to administration to sign in. Carrying a few large rucksacks on his back and and a couple of rolling carryons behind him, he didn't seemed phased at all. He could feel the other students eyes on him as he walked through the Main Quad on the way to the Administration Building. He'd felt it before in normal school. Being the big guy meant you were dumb or a target by smaller people trying to prove themselves. Or both. So he waded through, looking at the map. Though he hadn't eaten lunch yet. He was quite hungry. Maybe the cafeteria had some snacks. He was pretty sure that he couldn't get lunch until he signed on the dotted line. So he went to the cafeteria. Head still down, but the map was gone. He reached inside his pocket to pull out some money. Luckily there was an exchange at the airport. He eyed the egg sandwich and dropped some money in the vending machine.
  3. The End of the World Job

    Wharton State Forest, just off Sorrow House Road Right Now The creature in the clearing lounged in a throne made of bone enjoying there first taste of freedom in centuries. It had expected someone to try and stop its return but was really disappointed by the effort, only a single human female had tried to stop them with her flaming sword. She was now held by some of the skeleton warriors, servants of old returned to carry on there servitude. The glowing green eyes beneath her hood was a nice touch they'd have to determine how she managed such a trick. "Did you expect to be able to beat me all by yourself pitiful human?" "Not exactly." the woman voice had an accent unfamiliar to them "Let me tell you how this all started a..."
  4. Hot Shot

    GM Feb 18th, The Fens In the morning... It happened practically outside Bonfire's door. At some ungodly hour in the morning, when everyone should, rightly, be asleep or nursing a hang over after partying to hard the night before. Or at the very least, pounding alertness back in to their head with a strong coffee. On the streets in the Fens, where the paucity of wealth and opportunity oft forced the youth into nefarious and dangerous pastimes. A gang of thugs was engaging in mindless vandalism. Baseball bats and clubs, sticks, and stones. These wonderful devices, and more, were being used to splendid effect in the ignoble pursuit of window smashing and car wrecking. There was the growl and scream of angry dogs, for this gang was armed with what looked to be rabid and viscous dogs. And now, a patrol car arrived. "Halt! Put your hands up!" Then screaming. A shot. Two shots. And more screaming. The two police officers were pinned to the floor by the thugs and the dogs, and looked, verily, to be in danger of imminent loss of limb. Or quite possibly life.
  5. (IC) Intent

    Lor Standard Date 1853.1 WISE 0535−7500 The Lor don't know the moon's name - not yet. They know that the stellar body that Terrans call WISE 0535, too large for a planet and too small for a brown dwarf, was part of a star system in Delaztri days - a star system that went missing in the interregnum in the records between the fall of the Delaztri and the arrival of the first Lor starships. They know this moon, the size of a Lor-Van-sized planet, was inhabited in those days with cities, a spaceport, and a population in perhaps the millions. They're not sure yet; the layers of ice, first oxygen and atmospheric gases, then water ice, are thick enough that the Archaeological Service has been digging for months even to come this far, to the high upper stories of what had once been an arcology. They've found some interesting things. - Pugio awoke to pain, and voices, and darkness, the sounds of vibration elsewhere. He faded in and out of consciousness. "Translator online, deciphering audio records." And darkness, and confinement, and _cold_. "Spaceship hangars are gold - not only does it give you access to their tech, it gives you their starmaps - and that gives you access to _more_ of their tech." He wasn't in his own craft, he was in something else, something dark and cold and confining, and then suddenly the rear of it was coming open. In the instant before light came streaming in and two envirosuited humanoids looked down at him, Pugio realized he was in the back of a medical evacuation shuttle - but what in all the hells had happened to it?
  6. Fire, Water, Fist and Coding

    West End, Freedom City, New Jersey Saturday February 10, 2018 9:34 PM Mali Benjawan was standing on the rooftop of a four story building in West End dressed in the costume she wore as Crimson Tiger. Over the past couple of days Mali had been investigating the disappearance of several young people in some of the lower income parts of Freedom City. Her investigation so far (read: some roughed up criminal informants) had led her to believe that these disappearances where the work of the Dark Fist, a street gang connected with the On At-Zhang, a Triad that operated in parts of the West End. While Mali would normally not be overly afraid of pursuing things further on her own, as luck would have it her friend and former classmate at Claremont, Giang Trang, had reached out about wanting to help Mali with anything she might be working on. Giang had explained she was helping a current Claremont student with some things and wanted to get her a bit of crime fighting experience as part of the process. So the two had arranged to meet here. Mali had arrived a bit early, to watch over the location that her sources had indicated was a hideout for the Dark Fist. It was an old warehouse on the West End’s boarder with Grenville For the most part the warehouse was dark and appeared abandoned, but from her vantage point, Mali could see that the section toward the back had lights on, and there were lots of motorcycles parked out near the back entrance and occasionally people coming and going out there. A few blocks away Jessica Witchblood was on a Freedom City Transit bus, on her way toward the southeastern edge of the West End. The young woman had been looking into the disappearance of Hannah Ryan, a girl that was a peripheral member of the group of friends who worked in the clubs that Jessica was part of. Despite warnings from Jessica and some of her other friends, Hannah had gotten at least partially involved in some of the more dangerous criminal elements of Freedom City. And now no one had seen Hannah in a couple of days. Not convinced the police would put this as a high enough priority, Jessica had started looking into it herself. So far the best lead she had was that it might somehow be connected to a street gang known as the Dark Fist. So, now she was on a bus headed toward a place the gang was known to hang out at. The next stop would get her a few blocks from the address.
  7. Stay Local(IC)

    GM February 2nd, 2.22AM, 2018 The Stately Faretti Haunted Manor... Outside the world was white. All of Lantern Hill was blanketed in the same piling, driving mass of sub-zero powder. Diamonds glittered in every snowbank, deer driven from the Wharton State Forest to find forage tip-toed gingerly through the yards, leaping fences to nibble at some potted greens. Birds fluttered and shivered as they hunted for scraps to bring back to the nest, keeping an eye out for any night-prowling cats. And Taylor Xiao Chun Faretti did not have to think about any of that, relaxing after an exhausting day, strong walls and a sturdy roof(not to mention a particularly powerful elemental ward) kept the chill at bay. For all her cares as Heshem's chosen and the newly-minted Master Mage of Earth's dimension and dominions, for the moment such things could wait. Which was about when the familiar, sepulchral voice spoke. Chosen The golden light of the lamp that roiled into being, along with the robed figure whose hands held it aloft on its staff, was unmistakable. There is a crack in the gates. Through it, innocents fall to darkness. My light shields them, but the night is hungry. The light curled, and for a moment Taylor saw eyes hard with anger. Such has never been, it must never be again. With a roar of fire, the image of Heshem vanished.
  8. Frogs Rush In

    Leviathan's Lair The depths of Great Bay, Freedom City, New Jersey Saturday February 10, 2018 Up on the surface of the waves of Great Bay, the winds still whipped the cold that had gripped the East Coast across the water toward Freedom City. But deep beneath the waves’ surface, the waters were not much colder than they normally were. Along the rocky floor of Great Bay, nestled amongst the kelp and seaweed beds that rouse up dozens of feet, lay the undersea lair that Dr. Tristan Delacroix had created to be his lair as Leviathan. It was there that the good doctor was currently located. After encountering the Deep One Aquaria (also known as the superhero Sea Devil) a few months ago, a number of different things had seemed to come up and prevent him from showing the Deep One his headquarters. But finally they had been able to find a day that fit both their schedules, so now Aquaira and her roommate Jessie White would soon be arriving.
  9. Far From Home

    Unknown Wednesday February 14, 2018 (hopefully) When Rev and SFX entered the portal, they immediately felt as if they were being pulled forward at incredible speed, yet at the same time felt as if they were going nowhere. All around bright light flashed by, creating a sort of tunnel around them. Just a little ways ahead of them were the simulacrums who were still holding on to Lawrence. However, some sort of distortion appeared around the three, appearing to be centered on Lawrence. "You will be taken to the master." Said the simulacrum that looked like Robert. "It is inevitable."
  10. The Spiders for Mars

    Downtown Emerald City Though most of the development was done out at the MarsTech campus there was always a need to have a Downtown office, and Mars being Mars it was obviously the largest most dramatic building in the area. Three green crystals, each taller than the other, looking like they had grown from the ground to be bound in metal. Only from above was it apparent that the three together formed a giant M. It might be an architectural marvel, but it still needed the modern comforts that made working there bearable. Unlike most buildings it airconditioning was all on the roof but rather discretely scattered throughout the building, and concerned about a possible chemical attack it has some cutting-edge filtration equipment, that contained some rather nasty chemicals. Many service companies bid for the lucrative contract to maintain this system but only one company won, thanks to the planning and knowledge of one skilled young engineer...
  11. The Devil In The Details [IC]

    GM February 5, 2018, 9:15 am Fires weren't an altogether unusual occurence. Accidents happened all over the city, and with a population as large as Freedom City's, they were bound to occur at some point or another. The Hampstead Apartments weren't exactly trouble magnets--a high rise apartment complex with several hundred tenants, it mostly went unnoticed by most who didn't already live there. Today, however, things were different. The fire started at around 9 am. In a matter of 15 minutes, however, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors of the ten story building were spewing thick, black smoke from broken windows, the flames raging inside enough for even Jessica to see it from a block away. The iire department was doing its best to combat the flames, but they only seemed to be spreading by the second, and it seemed that not everyone was out of the building yet...
  12. Cape No More!

    Ardor asteroid belt just a few light years inside Lor Space Along the inner edge of the Perseus Arm Lor time mark 1801.4 [February 6, 2018 (Terran Calendar)] The Ardor asteroid belt lay beyond any of the systems with Lor Republic, but still within the borders claimed by the Republic. It was a collection of various sized asteroids that stretched nearly half a light year, but was well enough out of the way of any systems that it did not normally interfere with regular trade lanes. But several cycles ago, some unknown force had begun shifting the belts location, threatening to move it to where it would be a hazard to regular space traffic. As such, a Lor science team had been deployed to the asteroid belt to investigate and see what might possibly be done to halt the process. The team had included an unusual consultant, Quentin Quill of Earth, also known as Supercape. Working with the Lor scientists, Quill had identified an usual singularity that was causing the asteroid belt’s migration, a Quantum Dark Zone within one edge of the belt. During one of Quill's trips into the void to investigate the singularity, he had inadvertently been pulled into it, finding himself trapped within it. Unbeknownst to him, that was a little over three Earth years ago.
  13. Mistaken Controls

    2018-02-07 20:12:00 Bayview - Pramas Bridge Pramas View CIty Park Zhu The view across the South River, and especially the impressive Pramas bridge was impressive, at least to Zhu who felt some comfort watching the docks on the other side of the river. Her home had been a busy port and this was a view that reminder her ever so slightly of where she had come from. Not that she objected to being here, but sometimes there was a twinge of homesickness where she just liked to pretend that she was still in China. While she enjoyed the view, she had more reason lately to come to the small park. Her mentor had asked her to work on her concentration and had given her some exercises and tasks that were to help her concentrate on more than one thing at a time. While she could do them in Claremont, she felt a little silly doing the Yoga poses in front of Rev and had sought out the solitary park with it's little memorial to Chris Pramas. On most nights, it was pretty clear of people, and certainly more so in the winter. While she hated the cold it was apparently good training to be uncomfortable while working on concentration. She was just about to get into her first position when she noticed the woman who had either entered the park with her, or perhaps had gotten there just before her. While it was a little odd, certainly the park was a public space and she wasn't the only person who appreciated the wonderful view. With a sigh, she began to try to balance on one foot with her other leg angled against her standing leg's knee. Shuddering a little, she raised both arms to the sky and held the position, trying to empty her mind and concentrate on just being.
  14. Praetorians: Interlude

    Kestevan 79 Coalition Victory Station (February 2018 (Terran Calendar)) It was a typical day for most on CoVic Station, with millions of sentient beings going about their daily routines as normal. But within the headquarters of the Praetorians located on the Main Plaza, it was something of an unusual day, as a majority of the teams members were all present at the same time. Amara Val-Ren walked into one of the side chambers off the main hall of the Praetorian headquarters. The Naram was, as normal, dressed in the costume she wore as Paradigm, a full length white bodysuit with black diamond patterns on the shoulders and the upper chest and back. Each of these patterns had a golden yellow trim. Black gloved covered each hand, going up almost the full length of each forearm, while her black boots similarly went halfway up her calves. Both had similar golden yellow trim. As she walked further into her room, her long black cape trailed slightly behind her. The room was dimly lit and was not regularly frequented. To either side of the room were several rows of holograms representing dozens of costumed beings from nearly as many worlds. As she slowly walked forward, Amara’s gaze drifted over numerous figures displayed. Among them was Raark, the feline F'terrix who had overseen her first missions as a Praetorian along with several of the others than had joined when she had. There was also Chrystaa, a powerful mentalist who had been one of the more senior members, and so many of her other comrades and friends who had fallen over two thousand years ago against the Communion. On the far end of the room, opposite the entrance, were about a dozen stone life sized statues of fallen Praetorians. These had been the memorials Kharag had managed to find time to finish before he had chosen to leave the team to seek out his people. Toward the center of this group was a statue of a male humanoid that resembled Amara. Kharag had captured Daar Val-Ren's powerful physique, the patterns of his costume, identical to Amara’s (though the colors had been different). Kharag had even managed to capture the confident look that was regularly on the older Naram’s face. "I miss you brother." Amara said as she looked up at the carved replica of her brother's face. "I miss all of you." She added, glancing a moment at some of the other statutes and holograms before looking back up at the statute before her.
  15. Family Ties

    Cline Building: 02/04/2018 GM: The Freedom League housing was a boon for those heroes who had not quite found their footing in a world that didn't always revolve around punching, blasting, or disintegrating the more mundane problems like rent. The small one bedroom apartments were tidy, furnished, and sufficient enough for Corporis after her sudden reversal of a very deathly condition. While she hadn't been either alive, or living there very long, it was starting to feel like home with some personal items beginning to give the space a personal touch. There was a semblance of food in the small kitchenette, some papers which appeared to begin the process to being recognized as a real person, and even some books scattered about. It was late on Sunday when Jennifer returned back from the small sports bar around the corner. Her need for human contact sometimes felt like it went beyond the social and the faint longings of the sweet nectar withing them was tempting. However, she had left that behind her and even if she wanted to be around people it was no longer to look at them as a convenient snack. So it was later than normal when she finally made it back to her apartment, the pleasant afterglow of a good evening still wrapped around her like a cloak.
  16. Do You Carry Asparagus Racemosus?

    February 1st, 2018 Ying and Yang Convienience Store, Lincoln GM: As was her schedule, Zhu often found herself back in her parents store on many evenings. Just because she was at school didn't mean that she didn't realize how much help her parents needed. Considering all they had given up to move here, a few hours during the week was the least she could do. At least tonight there wasn't much in the way of customers, being a Thursday evening. She'd be able to close things down soon after cleaning everything up and mopping the floors. The Yin and Yang carried a variety of sundries for the residents of the poor, but not criminally ridden neighborhood. So most of the customers were both regulars and local. Still, they did carry a variety of medicinal herbs that her parents either grew themselves in a small greenhouse, or somehow imported from China. When people came from elsewhere in the city, that's usually why they came. Frankly, Zhu figured that they could likely just run the store on those, considering what people were willing to pay for some of the more rare plants. While it wasn't really her call, her parents did welcome any advice from their gifted daughter. Which considering she had placed a fully automated restocking robot in place was probably for the best. She'd check the programming on the machine again tonight before heading out to let it do it's work. However, for now she had more important things to do as she was busy texting Lexa even though her phone was sitting five feet away on the counter. 'Nothing's going on. It's pretty dull here. What did you think about Eric in Powers and Responsibilities? I think he's pretty good looking, but what a temper' the text scrolled seemingly on it's own as she controlled it with her mind.
  17. Superpowered Babysitters Wanted

    GM North Bay, Freedom City, New Jersey Wednesday February 14, 2018 5:06 PM The streets of North Bay were generally quiet and not too congested with traffic, with the exception of the morning and evening rush hours. Of course, Lexa Veen and Zhu "Alexa" Xieng were just in the beginning of the evening rush hour, so there was considerably more traffic than normal as they rode in the back of a luxury town car. The town car had been sent to pick the pair up at Claremont Academy to bring them to the Harrows' home in North Bay. Headmistress Summers had recruited the two teenagers to help a family friends of hers, the Harrows, with some babysitting tonight. The slow moving traffic afforded the pair opportunity to take in some of the large homes and mansions that filled this part of Freedom City. Or to watch the many luxury or high end sports cars that they passed in the traffic. Eventually the town car had made it through the worst of the congestion, as it entered the more northern section of the North End, where the homes were much more spread out, possessing larger grounds and gardens around them. After turning off one of the main roads onto a smaller road, the town car finally reached the pair’s destination. The Harrows' home was a large mansion set well off from the road, a long driveway leading up to the front. Hedges ran alongside the road, although not so tall that they could not see more of the grounds beyond. There was a large, well groomed garden to the right of the driveway, and open grounds to the left that appeared to stretch back around the mansion for who knew how far. The home itself was of a classical style, that would like right at home on some English estate. The town car pulled up in front of the mansion, the driver getting out to open the door for the two teenagers.
  18. The Butcher

    Feb 3rd 2017, Early Morning On the outskirts of Freedom City... Where does a city end? It was hard to tell. But wherever it was, Morgan's Meats was right on the edge. That hazy place where the city drifts into the country, to the south east. It had a kind of sleepy air to it. Nothing much happened. Usually nothing much happened. But when it did happen, like today, it really happened. In a beat up old car, smoking cheap cigarettes, Vic Vazquez waited. She was a tallish woman, dressed in unassuming clothes, running hear and a baseball cap. She had olive skin and dark hair, and had that air of South America about her. If one looked at her closely, one could tell she spent long hours at the gym, giving her a muscular or even squat appearance. Vic was watching Morgan's Meats intently, behind dark sunglasses. And taking pictures with her camera. And waiting for Jessica Witchblood to arrive. She had judged the fledging demon best person to call. Hell, the police wouldn't believe her. And if they did, they wouldn't be of any help. Vic worked for Arcanus Arcanum magazine, dedicated to exposing and explaining eldritch forces. It was sometimes right on points of history and occultism, but rarely if ever right on points of real magic. Although Vic was the exception. She knew a thing or two...
  19. Block Head

    Feb 1st 2018 Vision Inc. The man was extremely scruffy, grey haired, and wild eyes, wearing a lumberjack shirt and jeans complete with builders boots. He was in his fifties, one would guess, but in all honesty, it was hard to tell. He looked crazy. Probably was crazy. And he was certainly just skin and bones, full of wiry energy and vigour. In his scruffy hands, a scruffy box. "Dude, you gotta let me in! I gotta show this to that Mannequin guy. Like, super important, man! I mean, I guess its super important! Something spooky is happening, and it's like, in his hands! Or whatever you call those things at the end of his arms. You know his arms, like, the thing attached his torso, yeah?" He looked pretty mad, but he also looked pretty together. Like he had something important to say, and was determined to get through reception and talk to the man himself...
  20. The boardwalks own 'Original BurgerShack!' was not as busy as during the summer months certainly but the steady flow of locals looking for what was widely regarded as the best burger and shake this side of the south river earned it the rare honor of being open on the chill winter afternoon. A small number of workers from the nearby indoor attractions and a few die hards getting their burger on were spread out in the ample outdoor seating around the burger shaped hut that housed the BurgerShack! itself. The line wasn't long and moving quick despite the late lunch rush so it was an inviting enough option for the rare passerby. A half dozen construction workers waited patiently off to the side for their orders to be completed and on the edge of the seating area a group of local teens roughhoused boisterously as they clustered around a table just slightly too small for their group to eat the bags of food they'd just recieved.
  21. GM January 1'st, 2018, 6.43PM Cold as hell and with freezing winds blowing in off the Atlantic Liberty Park, Freedom City "Well, he's not in the north woods. He's probably dead, let's go home." Trudy shoved the scarf back up over her mouth, looking longingly at the apartment block rising up to the east. Beside the frozen Heroes Knoll reservoir, overlooking the tall and brassy statues celebrating the fallen crimefighters of Freedom City's past, it was hard not to sympathize. There was no protection from the wind and the temperature would have been below zero anyway. It was increasingly unlikely Mr. Meowmers would have gotten this far. The other five in the party muttered agreement, though Marsha did give the instigator of their four-hour long search a gentle side-hug. But Serena, red-eyed and bundled up like a bison, was made of more obstinate stuff. "H-h-he's j-j-jussst cur-r-rled up-p s-s-s-'mwere. Got-t-a k-keep looking!" She looked up at Jessica in mute appeal. A fresh, savage punch of wind hissed and rattled among the trees, splashing icily against the search party.
  22. Bloodsong

    GM Freedom City January 17th The Residence of Jennifer James... 'Twas a most mysterious package, sent first class. The motorcycle courier had looked out of breath, saying he the delivery company had been ordered to send it with every speed. Ordered. Perhaps threatened. The package, once unwrapped, was an ice box. And inside the ice box was a jar of frozen blood, complete with a note. It was handwritten, and elegant. Dear Ms. James, My name is Winston Welsh. I am not a well man. In my bold endeavours for health I have read much about less conventional medicine, the supernatural, and so on. And I have dug deep into my family history, in search of an understanding of my haematological ailment, for no doctor understands it. I have come to believe (although I may be crazed and clinging to delusional hope), That you are a distant relative, and, maybe, a potential cure. Despite the remote possibility of my conclusion being true (as opposed to birthed from a maddened mind), I cling to hope. If correct, I would hope that this jar would give you good road to New Orleans, where I currently reside...
  23. The Helix Project [IC]

    GM January 26, 2018 Everything was going to hell. By all rights, Tandem Robotics was just a research and development company that no one really knew much about or paid any real attention to. They were a well-funded business nonetheless, and in the last five years had been making forays into the realm of energy production. For a while, it was all theoretical research, nothing truly noteworthy. Somewhere in the last two weeks, however, everything changed. The blackout stretched for blocks. By the time police were on the scene, the overcast skies lent an ominous aura to the entire situation. And it was very much a situation. The seven story structure where Tandem Robotics was housed seemed to be in some sort of lockdown. Witnesses were being interviewed, but police had surrounded the building, trying to keep people out and witnesses/victims secure. The violet beam sending pulsing waves of light into the night sky didn'tseem to be helping matters at all, either. Right up until it wasn't.
  24. There is nothing quite like a good book. A good story, with well developed characters and an enticing premise. You learn to love and relate to the protagonist and learn to hate and despise the villain. Yes, there isn't anything quite like a good book and many people can easily find themselves lost in the world of the pages. Sometimes though a good book is too hard to put down... Calling @Zeitgeist Blue and @Exaccus
  25. Darkness Unleashed [IC]

    GM January 26, 2018, 3:30 pm It wasn't terribly unusual for strange things to happen out in Wharton State Forest. The wildlife made it dangerous enough, though no more dangerous than any other forest, all things considered. Campers and hunters frequented parts of it, so a distinctly human presence made it manageable. Nevertheless, there where times when things just took an unexpected turn--strange sightings, weird noises... and it seemed this was no different. Even from a mile or two away, one could see it: a great black haze covering a considerable portion of the woods like an opaque dome. Trees withered at its edges, and by all accounts, the dome was slowly expanding. The shadowy blight reeked of something ancient and terrible, attracting the attention of at least two interested parties...
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