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Found 96 results

  1. February Vignette - BEES

    The February vignette prompt is: "Bees!" Please post your vignette by February 28 to receive full credit - don't forget to include a link to it in your post counts! ... ... What, you want some plot ideas? Okay. Freedom City: http://www.freedomplaybypost.com/guide/people-of-freedom/non-player-characters/giant-bees-r14/ Some civic-minded heroes have volunteered to show some 'alien visitors' the ropes - not knowing that these visitors are enthusiastic honeybees the size of large trucks who can talk and breathe fire! They're very imitative - it's how they learned to talk, and they won't betray your secret identibee. (Yes, they talk like that but MUCH LOUDER). One will happily don a large tarp to fly around after a hero, wearing a mask as befits the style of the time! The Emeralds: (with thanks to Ari!) A seeming explosion in the bee populations on the West Coast is received with jubilation. Until it turns out that most of them are genetically-modified organisms created by KessKorp, with implications of a hidden agenda. Alien plants that have managed to survive and form niches on Earth mutate bees through pollen, and the honey made from them does the same to humans. A fleet of robot bees made by MarsTech is hijacked by a reckless Digital Demon. (how many of these are happening? Maybe all of them!) Bedlam: It's way too cold for bees in Bedlam City in February - there's still feet of snow on the ground, for Pete's sake! So where are all these little yellow bastards coming from - and given how much Bedlam could use blooming flowers, should we be stopping them, or helping them? But as swarms of bees appear over the 'Mistake By The Lake', it's pretty clear somebody's got to do something! There you go - potential prompts for all! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjAbLPcb7Gc
  2. Mid December, in the midst of 'normal' east coast weather, Freedom City is hit by a sudden cold snap that dumps feet of snow on the city. Given all the strange activities that go on in and around the city, it's entirely possible that the weather is not natural but the storm lasts only long enough to snow in the citizens of Freedom City for a weekend. For this month, we invite you to submit a vignette to Winter Wonderland (will add the link in when the thread's up), which can focus either on being snowed in, or dealing with the sudden blizzard in one way or another. Perhaps your hero ends up stuck in a house with someone they love - or hate! Or maybe you spend the day out making sure that no good citizens of Freedom City end up suffering in the inclement weather. Or perhaps a typical criminal caper is complicated by the unfriendly weather. The usual vignette rules - and rewards, apply. Make sure to have all vignettes posted by the end of December.
  3. Vignette Ideas

    So, I thought we could probably use a thread to throw out and discuss vignette ideas for upcoming months! Here's mine, and I'm tossing out a format that I thought might be helpful. Feel free to offer ideas on either format, or concept! Also, as a reminder, anyone is welcome to comment or suggest ideas. You don't have to have funny colored names to participate at all! Vignette Proposal Month: December, 2016 Event Tie In: Potentially! Concept: A blizzard (either mundane or not!), hits and hits hard. The vignette provides opportunities for characters to be snowed in together, caught in the weather, or just dealing with inclement weather. There's a potential for a concurrent thread dealing with the weather's source if its supernatural. I might even be willing to run that thread, especially if AD will give me back up on dealing with combat. (I hate running combat so much).
  4. On August 1, 2016, heroes across Freedom City and the world wake up as small felt and velcro puppets! While this transformation lasts only about twenty-four hours, it's a startling one indeed as heroes drop down to the size and consistency of Sesame Street characters (with the occasional marionette) - albeit one with superpowers. It's a chaotic day across Freedom City and other centers of superheroic activity as heroes aren't the only ones transformed - thousands of civilians are altered as well by this strange metamorphosis! While an unlikely team of heroes deals with the father of this crisis (the young demigod Quirk), the heroes of Freedom and beyond have to deal with a crisis that is certainly the strangest in recent memory. Yes, it's a more light-hearted adventure to go with the grimmer story we had back in April - an adventure in the mold of the Angel episode "Smile Time" or of the recent sitewide musical episode. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zUkT9YAPDY - think this! Assume that superpowered and super-abilitied characters still have their respective powers and abilities, just cast in a puppet mold. A fire controller might throw red and yellow felt balls that work just like regular fire! (Learn towards comedy rather than tragedy here, people - this is supposed to be light-hearted) Think of this as a chance to have fun and build the story of one big, crazy day! The usual vignette rules - and rewards, apply. Make sure to have all vignettes posted by the end of August.
  5. Foreign Climes / New Civilizations They say travel broadens the mind, and some heroes can get anywhere in the world in mere seconds, but it's not until you stop and experience a place that you can truly learn something. So for this month's vignette we’d like you to tell a story of how yourcharacter was taught something whilst spending time in another country. Whilst they might have help saved the day, it’s the local who managed to solve their own problems. And if your character is active in space, then don’t despair, it just means you have an entire alien culture to work with! Post your vignette in this thread by midnight of Thursday, June 30th so that it can be included in this month's post counts.
  6. Love Is a Many Splendored Thing Spring will soon be upon us and in honour of a certain special day we've decided to celebrate love in all its myriad ways. So for this month's vignette we’d like you to tell us a story of your character being in love in the past, present or future. It can any be any form of love, both good and bad, but if it’s just physical love remember the sites PG-13 and keep such things to a tasteful fade to black. Post your vignette in this thread by midnight of Monday, February 29 st so that it can be included in this month's post counts.
  7. Vignettes

    Vignettes Every few months the Refs at FC PbP offers the community a chance to write a small vignette. This helps enhance the community, flex our writing muscles, gives a chance to think more deeply about our characters, and earns the player an extra power point for the month. Below are summaries of all prior vignettes, along with links to the thread where the vignette was first offered (and which in turn contains links to the individual character vignettes themselves). List of Vignettes 2007 December 2007 Should auld acquaintance be forgot A Vignette detailing how heroes or villains spent the last few minutes/seconds of 2007. 2008 July 2008 What Price Freedom? A vignette about characters ,taking place on July 4th (game time, showing some thematic relationship to the concept/idea/virtue of “freedom.” The vignettes don't have to be patriotic necessarily nor are they limited to heroes only; they just have to be about “freedom” in some way. October 2008 Happy Birthday! Freedom City Play by Post turned one year old on October 24th, 2008. In commemoration, a vignette about that takes place on a character's birthday. Stories about how the character would spend their birthday, and how they view the passing of time, aging/maturing, or their own mortality (or lack thereof). 2009 February 2009 Bloody Valentine's Ah, February. A time for Groundhogs and Valentines, for Presidents Days and Fat Tuesdays. And, for 2009, for the terrors of Friday the 13th!!! A vignette that has some thematic relationship to the concept/idea of either “bad luck” or “horror.” Stories ideally describing the most horrific things characters have either experienced or imagined, or the most horrific thing they have performed (this latter part is obviously aimed at villains, since heroes shouldn't do horrific things), or about the unluckiest day the character ever experienced (which could include their Origin Story!). June 2009 FC PbP's Musical Episode The Maestro has enacted his most diabolical scheme ever! Acting in concert with Medea, the Conductor of Crime has found a way to force people… to sing! And not just sing, but to sing about themselves and their secrets! The duo plans to use their newfound knowledge to blackmail certain wealthy and influential members of the city. Daedalus, Johnny Rocket, Seven and Sonic will stop them… but not before a large pulse of the mind-manipulating melody goes off, hitting several PCs throughout the city. October 2009 The Masks We Wear Superheroes and supervillains are identified by their distinct costumes. For some, the costumes – such as battlesuits or magical garments – are the true source of their astounding powers. For others, the outfit has no intrinsic powers, but it's the symbolism in it and in the person who wears it that give it a kind of power. Costumes with masks can be even more iconic, due to the mystery associated with it. But we all wear masks, in one form or another. In fact, we all wear several masks in the course of a day – you put on one face when dealing with your spouse in the morning, another when dealing with a supervisor at work, yet another when relaxing with friends. Most all of these masks contain elements of the real you, but only the ones you want certain groups to see. Changing your posture, your walk, your tone of voice and manner of speech, can all be used to alter your identity – to a degree – without masks or makeup. A vignette about characters' costumes/masks, or about the 'masks' they wear when interacting with others. Why do they wear what they wear? Was it something they made, or was it handed to them? Is it meant to evoke certain images (of animals, or a certain profession, or an ideal)? Is it worn to conceal their identity so villains cannot target loved ones for retribution? Or to conceal oneself from some past misdeed for which they're striving to atone? 2010 January 2010 New Year's Resolutions A new year has dawned, bringing with it new opportunities, a fresh start. Will characters make any New Year's Resolutions, pledging to improve some aspect of their life? And if so, how serious will they be in holding to it? Will it be nebulous (“lose weight”) or precise (“lose one pound a week”)? Will your resolution be made known to others, in order to gain support in achieving it? Or do they keep it to themselves, a secret vow regarding some aspect of themselves that they would rather keep hidden (“give up bizarre internet pornography”)? A vignette about a character's New Year's Resolutions. April 2010 All Fool's Day Ah, April. It's got World Health Day, Earth Day, and Arbor Day. Passover and Easter. Tax Day, and 4:20. And All Fool's Day! A vignette about a pranks characters have pulled, or pranks pulled on them, or even their reaction to a prank they saw pulled on someone else. June 2010 House of L Revisited The reality-bending powers of Richard Milhous Lucas created the House of L timeline: a world where the Silver Age never ended in Freedom City. The world never really moved past the shiny optimism of the early 1960s, even keeping the same fashion choices. The Centurion survived the Terminus Invasion here It's a better world in many ways, a place of happiness, peace, and order. But it's also a deeply troubled world trapped in the mindset of an old man happier decades past, one where the revolutions of race, gender, and sexuality never really came to fruition. It's a place, in short, very much like the comics of the High Silver Age, leavened with just enough of the Bronze that minority characters actually exist. This vignette covers what happened to characters in that universe. A world with a bright side as shiny as its underbelly is grim? The Silver Age isn't friendly to all character concepts, but Rick's not a murderer: the people are there, some simply very different. House of Lucas Wander (Wander-L) is a cheerful, boisterous acrobat with super-strength, while Geckoman-L was adopted by the Raven and became his successor. Tell their story in that other world, give us a day in their life: give us a 'crossover' with the universe of House of L. September 2010 Gruevasion For the third time, the Grue have invaded Freedom City. They have attacked the very infrastructure of the city and seeded their agents into every organization. They stir up unrest and chaos where ever they go, before they step out as enemies proper. Will the third time be the charm for the insidious alien invaders?! Not if our heroes have anything to say about it! And that's precisely what this Vignette is about! This Vignette is all about how the cities heroes stepped up to the plate and helped kick the alien invaders right back into space. Grue sleeper agents are keeping the heroes occupied and spreading them thin combating various threats throughout the city. They're also slowing the evacuation process anyway they can. Atlas is a Grue/human hybrid is being controlled by the fiendish Grue Meta-Mind to attack his former friends and allies. But this is all a diversion from the Grue's true sinister plot: the destruction of the entire Earth! Amidst all this chaos the Grue Armada descends from the deep regions of space and begins laying siege to the city, unleashing their super-weapon: the aptly named Planet Cracker. The heroes have to stop the weapon in time to save the Earth, but also keep the Grue forces in check to ensure that there is a city left to save, and they have to free Atlas from the sinister alien control. October 2010: Unbalanced Unbalanced A war has been waged in the shadows. On one side, Hades, Greek God of the Underworld, bound to Tartarus by Zeus' decree after a failed attempt at invading Freedom City. On the other, Baron Samedi, loa of death and corruption. Both seek to conquer not only all of Creation, but also all of the dead. Each thinks they're the most powerful death-god, the one who'll be standing at the end, and their petty squabbling has gone on for millennia. But now Hades has changed his game, and is in a position to get everything he's ever wanted. Their war spilled out into the streets. Gang warfare between those allied, knowingly or not, with the Labyrinth and those under Samedi's sway is peaking. Zombies (and worse) roam the alleys. Ghosts and wraiths are appearing, as the fading walls between worlds are weakened further by the divine feud. How did the heroes deal with it? November 2010 Meet Up Freedom City is full of superheroes, but they do not always travel in the same circles, even though some could easily do so. This is for OOC reasons: we do not allow players to have more than one of their characters at a time in any given thread (as that would throw a wrench into the end-of-month post counting). For this vignette, players were allowed to write what it would be like if their own characters met. December 2010 PSA/Vignette Revisitation The hectic month of December offered two choices for its vignette, to help those that the holidays keep so busy: Heroes either took part in a public service announcement (on the television, by radio, even by poster or magazine), or Characters revisited any of the previous vignettes, providing the opportunity to expand upon previous stories these characters weren't around for. 2011 February 2011 First Time Wuv…twue wuv…. In the spirit of Saint Valentine's Day, this vignette prompted explored a character's first time in love (or even first times with a specific partner) - be they first times falling in love, first times admitting love, first kisses, or first sexual experiences. Within the PG-13 board ratings, of course…. April 2011: Time Warp Time Warp Tears in the very fabric of spacetime are appearing, not just over Freedom City but across the globe! Some are spitting things out from different times, some are sucking in people and sending them to the past or future! What's causing them? Is this a prelude to some invasion? The result of an out-of-control experiment in some Hanover or ASTRO Labs workshop? Will the heroes get their taxes in on time?! June 2011 Legends of Freedom The heroes of the present fling a light into the future, inspiring heroism to come. July 2011 Ia! Ia! Archeville Fhtagn! The monstrous Other side of the supergenius Viktor Archeville emerges in full, rendering his better half nearly powerless. Thus unleashed, Archeville attempts to take over the world with the tainted Atlanteans known as Deep Ones, Grue modified to possess many of the powers held by the Interceptors called Metaceptors, and the arising of the true monster that has lain hidden in Archeville's family line causes outbreaks of madness and riots across the globe! September 2011 The Gorgon Comes On the heels of the chaos of Archeville, the silencing paralysis of order comes in the form of The Gorgon, an immense creature built by the Preservers, ancient sowers and uplifters of life throughout the galaxy. She comes in the form of an immense woman's head ringed with gigantic serpents, with the intent of coating the Earth and all on it, in it and under it with nanites that shall freeze it in indestructible stasis. While some take to the sky, space or other worlds in search of answers to the looming question, many others must remain on the ground and try to either soothe the panicked citizenry who know all too well how fragile their situation is, or evacuate them to worlds the Gorgon is not. December 2011 Player's Choice Another chance to revisit any previous vignette, taking the opportunity to play with a story in which characters weren't around for or stories that weren't submitted by the previous deadline. 2012 March 2012 Hot Zone A madman has unleashed a mutagen throughout Freedom City, granting everyone superpowers, or making existing superpowers go haywire. Worse, the mutagen will burn out a person's body in about two months. To contain the spread, the government quarantines the city, so it's up to the local heroes to both contain the newly empowered citizens (many of whom have gone mad with power) and cure them before their bodies burn out! June 2012 NPC Limelight/Player's Choice A chance for important support characters to shine, or for characters to revisit old vignettes (especially the PC Meet-Up). July 2012 The Crucible As either part of a plot by some sort of criminal mastermind (August Roman is always a safe bet) or just a string of really bad luck, the heroes of Freedom City end up experiencing trials throughout the month that take them to the limit. Of course, the hero rises again, bruised, battered, but not broken. 2013 January 2013 Day of Wrath On January 15, 2013 at 9 AM EST, a wave of violence sweeps through the heroes and villains of Freedom City, without regard for who and what they might once have been before. Some seem to go mad, laughing manically as they fall on their enemies alike like a rabid wolf gone among the sheep, driving some of Freedom City's worst to take shelter from the best gone evil. Some stalk their enemies with cruel, predatory intent. Their acts are showy and terrifying, sending the civilians in the street running in fear from their erstwhile protectors and criminals alike. Though deaths are largely limited to villains and criminals, the deeds are frightening enough, and deliberately, _mockingly_ public enough to strike at the very heart of Freedom City's trust in its heroes. As heroes and villains alike go mad, the heroes of Freedom must rally like never before to defend themselves, their families, and their cities from this unexpected attack. The 'wrathful', as the press has dubbed them, will happily tell anyone what they're doing: Freedom City has tolerated scum and villainy for too long, and now they're going to destroy the enemies of Freedom whatever it takes, and whoever they happen to be. It looks as though judgement day has come… November 2013 A Day/Night in the Life Most superheroes have a cause. A focus. A reason for getting out of bed at night, putting on strange clothing, and beating up malefactors. Many tales have been told of their “big, sweeping” stories and not the night-to-night work, the same way your typical episode of Law and Order is less about a random mugging (and that's it) and more about mob ties, hate crimes, and/or strange sexual escapades. But what does a hero do on a “quiet” night. What sort of minor issues they deal with in the course of their duties which aren't necessarily salacious enough to draw in other heroes, but which still need to be resolved. After all, a hero's duties start with one injustice, no matter how small. 2014 January 2014 Camelot City It's Fantasy Freedom, with a twist! For January 6, 2014, Freedom City was reflected in a fantasy mirror, as a city in a world of Arthurian myth and legend, where mighty knights and brave wizards battle foul fiends and twisted mystics in an effort to bring truth and justice to a lawless land. Heroes recast as a fantasy version of themselves. This version of Fantasy Freedom is closer to Thomas Malory's than Marion Zimmer Bradley's, a land with a really and truly holy Church that fights demons that just might be hanging around to try and steal souls, and where some medieval ideas are closer to truth than others. June 2014 A Day/Night in the Life A vignette detailing a hero's exploits from somebody else's vantage point. They could be heroic, they could be a victim, they could be a bystander. Anyway you slice it, this is their story to tell. August/September 2014 WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION/BACK TO SCHOOL The end of August and the beginning of September mark a very special time of year for citizens of Freedom City. Summer is ending and fall is beginning, vacation is wrapping up and the school year is beginning! This vignette details just exactly what went on during those wild summer nights, or those less wild back to school mornings. 2015 January 2015 Big Leagues While the adult heroes of Freedom City spread out across the globe to combat the Incursion, the students of Claremont Academy are left to watch over their fair metropolis! When villains attempt to take advantage of the situation it will be up to these teen titans to rise to occasion! Against foes that give even the Freedom League and other seasoned veterans difficulty can they prevail? Can they even survive?! It may take a holiday miracle!
  8. Big Leagues While the adult heroes of Freedom City spread out across the globe to combat the Incursion, the students of Claremont Academy are left to watch over their fair metropolis! When villains attempt to take advantage of the situation it will be up to these teen titans to rise to occasion! Against foes that give even the Freedom League and other seasoned veterans difficulty can they prevail? Can they even survive?! It may take a holiday miracle! Big Leagues is a vignette open specifically to Claremont Academy students excluded from Incursion: Phase Two, taking place between Christmas Day and New Years. The usual vignette rules apply: vignettes should be at least one word processor document page in length, limit one vignette per character. Given the prompt, players are encouraged to have appearances by established villains but should remember to PM the ref team with a request and summation of their vignette's plot just as they would when asking to use an NPC in a normal thread. Joint vignette are also encouraged this time around but are not necessary! Post your vignette in this thread by midnight of Saturday, January 31st so that it can be included in January's post counts!
  9. Through Another's Eyes Do you have a minion? a sidekick? or even just a friend or relative? failing that, a bystander! Write a vignette about your heroes exploits from somebody else's vantage point. It may be a chance for a sidekick or minion to shine and be heroic themselves! Whoever your choose, and whatever they do, they should be involved in the story themselves, as should the hero in question. They could be heroic, they could be a victim, they could be a bystander. The thread could be written in third person, or in first person (such as the 'others' account of the event to his/her diary, a reporter, or just a verbal account). When/Where: Your choice. How Long: At least one page length in your word processor of choice.
  10. January 6, 2014 It's a typical snowy day in Freedom City, Epiphany for those who celebrate the holiday, and everyone is just starting to wind down from Christmas. When suddenly something happens, and it's still Epiphany 2014 - but now things are different. Freedom City is New Camelot City, perhaps the greatest city in the World Empire that stretches from Old Camelot in Britannia to distant Serica far across the Greater Ocean. New Camelot City is this year playing host to King Arthur Constantine XVI, who with his wife Queen Morgan rotates between the great cities of the World Empire 'sits at the Round Table of the World' every year so as to prevent rebellion - and as well it should! From the days of The Blue-Gold Knight, New Camelot City's first and doughtiest champion, fantastic men, women, and creatures stranger than both have walked the streets of this city of wonders, sworn to defend it against the demons and other beasts banished to the great Wharton Forest that stretches for many leagues beyond. This should be a good day, a happy day; the King and Queen have newly arrived and settled into their palace in the center of the great walled city, and the weather is warm enough that the crops may not freeze this winter at all (especially with the help of Camelot's great mystics and builders) - but rumors swirl through the city this day. Rumors of strangely changed champions who whisper that this world is a lie; that Camelot itself is a lie abound - the arrival of the royal court to New Camelot City has exposed corruption close to those that have ruled this land for 1500 years on the Christian calendar. Perhaps this will indeed be Camelot's last day, despite the best efforts of the League of Camelot to guard King and Realm. Unless they become its greatest enemies. Yes, it's Fantasy Freedom, with a twist! For January 6, 2014, Freedom City will be reflected in a fantasy mirror, as a city in a world of Arthurian myth and legend, where mighty knights and brave wizards battle foul fiends and twisted mystics in an effort to bring truth and justice to a lawless land. Your hero is cast as a fantasy version of himself or herself, inspired by some of our competitor roleplaying games (you know the ones, with dragons in their underground fortresses) as well as Fantasy Freedom on page 107 of Worlds of Freedom.  This version of Fantasy Freedom is closer to Thomas Malory's than Marion Zimmer Bradley's, a land with a really and truly holy Church that fights demons that just might be hanging around to try and steal your soul, and where some medieval ideas are closer to truth than others.   Please post your January vignettes before January 30th so that you can get full credit.
  11. November 2013 Greetings, all and sundry! Your Vignette theme for this month shall be... A Day/Night in the Life Most superheroes have a cause. A focus. A reason for getting out of bed at night, putting on strange clothing, and beating up malefactors. But many of our threads tend to focus on the "big, sweeping" stories and not the night-to-night work, the same way your typical episode of Law and Order is less about a random mugging (and that's it) and more about mob ties, hate crimes, and/or strange sexual escapades. But what is it your character does for the cause of justice "between the threads"? What sort of small international incidents does Edge handle in his work with UNISON? What sort of street crime does Wail help to clean up? What sort of affairs of the dead does Nick Cimitiere put to rest? What sort of minor extradimensional incidents does Lord Steam take care of? This is your chance to tell a story about what your hero does on a "quiet" night. What sort of minor issues they deal with in the course of their duties which aren't necessarily salacious enough to draw in other heroes, but which still need to be resolved. After all, a hero's duties start with one injustice, no matter how small. When/Where: Your choice. How Long: At least one page length in your word processor of choice.
  12. July 2013 Vignette: Patriotism

    July 2013    Greetings, everyone.    Your July 2013 Vignette Theme for Freedom City Play By Post is: PATRIOTISM   A cultural attachment to one's homeland! Devotion to one's country! The last refuge of a scoundrel! It can be all this and more, depending on your character's nature and where exactly is they are from. Heroes in the world of Freedom generally don't work directly for governments (except for Victory and sometimes Cannonade), but some wear their colors like Miss Americana or Lady Liberty, and all of them have a relationship with patriotism - even the ones born in no nation at all still live in one now. Some heroes are proud citizens of their native land; some are refugees from a native land that spat them out like a peach pit. There's a lot to say on this subject.    If you don't want to delve into that kind of deep character development, concentrating on more serious threats like an alien PC's reaction to all the funny red white and blue bunting hanging around the city in early July, or a team of bank robbers in Uncle Sam on Stilts costumes taking advantage of the holiday to do some bad stuff, that's just fine too.    This should not be political. (You should know this already.)   Your vignette should be posted by the end of July 31, 2013, EST.    Go ahead and post them to this thread.   Do it for the original Freedom Eagle...Sam.   
  13. January 15, 2013 9 AM Freedom City Courthouse "We now go live to the courthouse steps, where Star Knight has appeared to offer her opinion on the Yamashita verdict." The trial of the accused stockbroker had been a high-profile case of financial fraud in Freedom City, Greg Yamashita having plundered the pensions of several established Freedom City companies, and his acquittal had brought many demonstrators out with placards and catcalls. Yamashita was being ushered through the crowd by the police when Star Knight, the armored heroine and Freedom League member, swooped down from the sky overhead and briefly hovered over Yamashita and his police escort. The crowd fell silent for a moment as the heroine raised her hand, looking down from her faceless armor at the wide-eyed stock forger. "It's time," she said with perfect clarity before suddenly firing a deadly blast that instantly incinerated the criminal and sent his police escort tumbling like so many ninepins. "The day has come when the heroes of Freedom will no longer stand the existence of our enemies! You're next!" she yelled to the camera as the crowd began screaming in terror. The camera fell, tilting wildly, as a distant explosion sent the crowd stumbling. The last shot captured by the camera before a foot crushed it to bits was the heroine floating in the air and firing blasts into the side of the jail attached to the courthouse, laughing at the top of her lungs. "Hahaha! It's judgement day!" January Vignette: Day of Wrath On January 15, 2013 at 9 AM EST, a wave of violence sweeps through the heroes and villains of Freedom City, without regard for who and what they might once have been before. Some seem to go mad, laughing manically as they fall on their enemies alike like a rabid wolf gone among the sheep, driving some of Freedom City's worst to take shelter from the best gone evil. Some stalk their enemies with cruel, predatory intent. Their acts are showy and terrifying, sending the civilians in the street running in fear from their erstwhile protectors and criminals alike. Though deaths are largely limited to villains and criminals, the deeds are frightening enough, and deliberately, _mockingly_ public enough to strike at the very heart of Freedom City's trust in its heroes. As heroes and villains alike go mad, the heroes of Freedom must rally like never before to defend themselves, their families, and their cities from this unexpected attack. The 'wrathful', as the press has dubbed them, will happily tell anyone what they're doing: Freedom City has tolerated scum and villainy for too long, and now they're going to destroy the enemies of Freedom whatever it takes, and whoever they happen to be. It looks as though judgement day has come... Vignettes might include: Dealing with panicked mobs fleeing a particular crisis, or even one that has turned on another costumed hero in a moment of panic they will later bitterly repent Fighting a hero or villain 'gone mad', they are frightening foes who attempt to persuade the other heroes to join them in their campaign of violence before turning on their erstwhile ally with vicious intent. (make sure to get approval for the use of any canon NPCs in this capacity) If cornered, they will fight to the death. Helping investigate the crisis, looking for psychic spoor, computer linkups, poison or disease in the air, and whatever else might have caused this terrible transformation Reassuring the public, either on TV or in person, that they're going to solve this, and that they might even know who it is that's behind it. Blowing up one of the control boxes, and dealing with its various Foundry bodyguards [Note] Associated Threads: These Chains On Me: Miss Americana and Gabriel, and a mixed bag of allies, deal with an attempt by Harrier to blow up Blackstone Prison and kill the inmates there. Arms and the Man: It's Jill O'Cure vs. the Interceptors as she eliminates a jobber villain for them; permanently! Time and Chance: A battle between gangsters and bikers takes on a whole new terrifying turn as Jubatus, Velocity, and Silver Spider take on a Bee-Keeper gone bad! Pale Moonlight: Blue Jay deals with a battle between Congressman Aaron Walsh and some Terminus babies by shooting as many of them as possible with arrows while Blod, El Heraldo, Warp, and Kit take her on! Counterfeit Medications: When Wander kills Jonathan Grant during a board meeting, what will her lover Midnight, the rest of the Liberty League, and old friends Cobalt Templar and le Renard Bleu do? War of the Worlds: Young Freedom learns that home isn't necessarily where the heart is Checks: DC 20 Bluff, Perform, Sense Motive The 'wrathful' are obviously playing to the crowd, whipping up terror among civilians with their deeds as much as actually killing criminals, and specifically picking opportunities for showy, violent fights with other supers over general mayhem. DC 25 Computers/Technology There are radio signals passing between most of the maddened super-people emanating from various control boxes in Freedom City. Blowing them up should deal with some, if not all, of the 'wrathful' in the area. Careful, though, because those boxes have powerful robot guardians of their own... I will provide further information once one of the wrathful takes significant damage in combat. Send me a PM, or post here, with Vignette ideas or other stories you'd like to spring from this!  
  14. Another one, already? Sure, why not? FC:PbP is offering the community another "vignette" opportunity! Thinking on the fact that The Dark Knight Rises is coming out this month -- and how it seems to be drawing heavy inspiration from the arc that introduced Bane, "KnightFall" -- we might as well offer something thematically similar for our heroes: The Crucible. Who: Any player who is interested. Please clearly label which character the Vignette applies to. What: As either part of a plot by some sort of criminal mastermind (August Roman is always a safe bet) or just a string of really bad luck, the heroes of Freedom City end up experiencing trials throughout the month that take them to the limit. Gina may have to deal with a Die Hard situation at HAX where she's cut off from Miss A. Citizen might end up dealing with a magnetic field-manipulating terrorist threatening to crush Pyramid Plaza. Nick Cimitiere finds himself cut off from his necromancy and thrust into the deeper part of Tartarus. And, of course, there's always the good old-fashioned archvillain team up. And the hero rises again, bruised, battered, but not broken. When: The deadline for submissions will be Tuesday, July 31st, by 11:59 PM EST (GMT -5). The time the vignettes themselves take place is up to you. Where: Anywhere in the campaign setting; the written Vignettes should be posted in this thread. Why: To enhance our community, to flex your writing muscles, to think more deeply about (or put a new spin on) your characters, and to earn a bonus PP for your character for the month of July. How: Once your story is finished and proofed, post it in this very thread here! Additional Notes/Clarification: Vignettes do not count as posts. Post here with questions. Blue Jay: Coming of Age Cannonade: Reforged Nick Cimitiere: Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go Cobalt Templar: [untitled] Crimson Tiger: [untitled] Doktor Archeville: The Reformatting Gabriel: [untitled] Harrier: Even When The Music's Gone Ironclad: Breaking the Bank King of Suits: Strength is All Myrmidon: History Repeating Rene de Saens: The Great Retreat Silver Spider: Sting of the Scarlet Scorpion Supercape: Heavy Metal Thrash Voltage: Thirty-Six Seconds
  15. FC:PbP is offering the community another "vignette" opportunity! A Day in the Limelight! (Alternate titles: "Agent Coulson's Day Off", "Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Superheroes") From Doktor Archeville's robot gorilla butler to Citizen's dog, there are a million stories in Freedom City that haven't yet been told. Until now! Write a story about someone in your hero's supporting cast -- a Minion, Sidekick, or even an un-statted character. "But Dok, you mad, handsome Admin!," you cry, "what if my character doesn't have any supporting cast?!" A fair question, especially for our players who are still semi-new. As an alternative to the "Day in the Limelight" idea, we're also allowing you to go back and revisit our old vignettes. Not everyone's had a chance to submit something for all of them, and even if you have, some of them (like the New Year's Eve ones) could be redone. And here's a double secret bonus (it's my birthday this month, I'm feeling generous): in honor of the Avengers movie which came out last month -- in which many heroes assembled together -- we will allow you to do the PC Meet Up vignette as a bonus, second vignette this month! (I.e. you can do two Vignettes per character this month, but if you do, one must be the PC Meet-Up one.) Who: Any player who is interested. What: See prior Vignette instructions When: The deadline for submissions will be Saturday, June 30th by 11:59 PM EST (GMT -5). The time the vignettes themselves take place is detailed in the individual vignette entries. Where: See prior Vignette. Why: To enhance our community, to flex your writing muscles, to think more deeply about (or put a new spin on) your characters, and to earn a bonus PP (or two!) for your character for the month of June. How: Once your story is finished and proofed, post it in this very thread here! Additional Notes/Clarification: Vignettes do not count as posts. The "Musical episode" vignette may take place in June 2009 (the time of the original episode), or at a later time. If doing so during the original event, but your char was not in FC (or not an active superhero at the time), you can still do so; the magic reaches out to those destined for greatness. If at a later time, please include something about your character finding an odd crystal or something which had captured some of the magic, and releases it when your char touches it. Post here with questions. Blodeuwedd: NPC Spotlight (Miranda) Cannonade: NPC Spotlight (Andy) Cannonade: PC Meet-Up (w/ Nick Cimitiere & Temperance) Nick Cimitiere: Horror Vignette Nick Cimitiere: PC Meet-Up (w/ Cannonade & Temperance) Citizen: PC Meet-Up (w/ Harrier) Citizen: NPC Spotlight (Rogue) Cobalt Templar: NPC Spotlight (Corbin Hughes of Erde) Crimson Tiger: NPC Spotlight (Black Tiger) Crimson Tiger: PC Meet-Up (w/ Voltage) Dead Head: PC Meet-Up (w/ Doktor Archeville & Protectron) Doktor Archeville: PC Meet-Up (w/ Dead Head & Protectron) Dragonfly: NPC Spotlight (Puppy) Edge: NPC Spotlight (Martha) Fleur de Joie: NPC Spotlight (Amaryllis) Fleur de Joie: PC Meet-Up (w/ Wander) Gabriel: NPC Spotlight (Sonya) Gaian Knight: NPC Spotlight (Tiamat) Harrier: NPC Spotlight (FLSCH) Harrier: PC Meet-Up (w/ Citizen) El Heraldo: NPC Spotlight (Galanta) Ironclad: NPC Spotlight (Sonya) Jack of all Blades: NPC Spotlight (Yolanda) Jubatus: NPC Spotlight (Ed Halstonne) King of Suits: NPC Spotlight (Ace of Suits) Lord Steam: NPC Vignette (Blakely) Lord Steam: PC Meet-Up (w/ Rene de Saens) Midnight II: NPC Spotlight (Redbird) Miss Americana: NPC Spotlight (Emerson) Protectron: Birthday Vignette Protectron: PC Meet-Up (w/ Dead Head & Doktor Archeville) Rene de Saens: NPC Vignette (Marcel) Rene de Saens: PC Meet-Up (w/ Lord Steam) Revenant: NPC Spotlight (Kaplina) Silhouette: Time Warp Supercape: NPC Vignette (Leibniz) Supercape: PC Meet-Up (w/ Synth) Synth: PC Meet-Up (w/ Supercape) Temperance: NPC Spotlight (Michael Oxum) Temperance: PC Meet-Up (w/ Cannonade & Nick Cimitiere) Voltage: PC Meet-Up (w/ Crimson Tiger) Wander: NPC Spotlight (Singularity) Wander: PC Meet-Up (w/ Fleur de Joie) Young Brittania: NPC Spotlight (Maggie)
  16. Vignette, March 2012 - Hot Zone On Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, a mutagen is released into Freedom City at large - slipped into the water supply, dispersed as nerve gas in a number of public locations, and engineered to ensure transmission via skin-to-skin contact. By the end of the day, the majority of Freedom City has developed superpowers, and only a few of them have any control over them. And heroes are not immune, as some find themselves dealing with new powers beyond their ken - or find reliable old talents have fallen out of their grasp. A powers pusher by the name of Mister Motley claims responsibility, and appears to have some powerful backers. The city is placed under quarantine by the federal government to prevent the further spread of the mutagen - and worse, it appears that the mutagen burns out the immune system of those infected, giving everyone affected two months to live unless a cure is found. The heroes of Freedom City are doing their best to ensure the city remains fully operational despite the emergency - but with everyone empowered, chaos in the streets, and Mister Motley's backers in SHADOW pulling the strings, can they keep everything together until a cure is found? Who: Any player who is interested. What: Write the story of your character as they deal with Freedom City falling under quarantine as its citizens gain powers far beyond their control. Threats include: Uncontrolled power eruptions threatening to do damage to both the infrastructure and citizenry of Freedom. Two-bit crooks finding their powers upjumped and trying to seize power amidst the chaos. Average citizens coming to terms with their powers in the worst ways possible - turning to violent vigilantism, or attempting to gain vengeance on those who wronged them. Established villains attempting to take advantage of the confusion and the weak spots in the infrastructure during the emergency (e.g., the Green Man attempting to booby trap much-needed produce). SHADOW operatives taking advantage of the madness and hauling in affected citizens for "study." Plots include: Helping to keep things operational during the week-long emergency. Working to find a cure for the effects of Proteus. Wrestling with new powers, losing your existing powers, or helping family members and loved ones with their new abilities. Length should be at least one (1) page per character involved. When: The week of March 7th - March 14th, 2012. Your vignette is due March 31st, 2012 at midnight EST. Where: The greater Freedom City area - or outside, if your character was out-of-town when the quarantine came down. Why: To help keep the peace as chaos reigns in Freedom City, to search for a way to restore order, and to save the city's people from a slow death. How: Once your story is finished and proofed, post it in this thread. That way everyone will be able to see it, and play off it as appropriate. Vignettes Cannonade Catalyst Nick Cimitiere Cobalt Templar Doktor Archeville Edge Fleur de Joie Fulcrum Gaian Knight Gabriel Harrier El Heraldo Ironclad King of Suits Lord Steam Medic Midnight II (joint w/ Wander) Myrmidon Protectron Rene de Saens Silhouette Supercape Synth Voltage Wander (joint w/ Midnight II) Weaver Whiplash
  17. FC:PbP is offering the community another "vignette" opportunity! December is a hectic month for many. For students and teachers, it's the end of the Fall semester, so tests and projects are due. There's also the assorted holidays, and the rush of gift-buying and -making, decorating, baking, and spending time with friends & family. But we also know you like to post here, and chances to earn extra points. This month, we're giving players the chance to revisit our old vignettes. Not everyone's had a chance to submit something for all of them, and even if you have, some of them (like the New Year's Eve ones) could be redone. Who: Any player who is interested. What: See prior Vignette instructions When: The deadline for submissions will be Saturday, December 31st by 11:59 PM EST (GMT -5). The time the vignettes themselves take place is detailed in the individual vignette entries. Where: See prior Vignette. Why: To enhance our community, to flex your writing muscles, to think more deeply about (or put a new spin on) your characters, and to earn a bonus PP for your character for the month of December. How: Once your story is finished and proofed, post it in this very thread here! Additional Notes/Clarification: Vignettes do not count as posts. The "Musical episode" vignette may take place in June 2009 (the time of the original episode), or at a later time. If doing so during the original event, but your char was not in FC (or not an active superhero at the time), you can still do so; the magic reaches out to those destined for greatness. If at a later time, please include something about your character finding an odd crystal or something which had captured some of the magic, and releases it when your char touches it. Post here with questions. Cannonade: [What Price Freedom?] Know Your Rights Catalyst: The Masks We Wear Changeling: The Masks We Wear Nick Cimitiere: [House of L] Lost Highways Citizen: [House of L] Citizen: Behold the Citizen! Doktor Archeville: [House of L] Doktor Archeville: Blood & Iron Fulcrum: [bloody Valentine] Takes One To Know One Gabriel: %5BMusical%5D Songs & Revelations Harrier: %5BBirthday%5DHarrier: Who You Are In The Dark King of Suits: [House of L] Sanded King Lord Steam: Ia! Ia! Archeville ftaghn! Myrmidon: The Masks We Wear: Personas non Grata Rene de Saens: Birthday Supercape: What Price Freedom? Synth: Birthday Wander: [Masks We Wear] Don't Judge A Book Weaver: The First Mask We Wear
  18. September Vignette (The Gorgon Comes!) For a week in September, 2011 from September 20-27, the World of Freedom sees among its darkest hours as the Gorgon, the all-preserving, all-transforming, comes to the Solar System to transform the planet Earth into a sterile ball of ever-devouring nanites. Though the heroes of Freedom do succeed in defeating the Gorgon before the planet can be shattered, the cost is high: there is global rioting and panic as she comes; weather disasters and tectonic shifts at her arrival, and finally the terrible chaos of her defeat. Worst of all are the threats that come from within, as the heroes of Freedom learn that the legacy of the Preservers may run far deeper, and be far darker, than they ever anticipated. Who: Any player who is interested. Characters who are involved in main threads may post Vignettes as well. What: Write the story of your character as they battle a world slowly going mad before incipient Armageddon. Threats include: Apocalyptic end-times riots in the Fens Giant plant monsters in the West End Incoming space debris (everywhere) Criminals, large and small, taking advantage of the chaos for robberies Space pirates raiding the Earth one last time Storms, earthquakes, tidal waves, and other disasters Plots include: Helping friends and family deal with the disaster Fighting bad guys Assisting with the evacuation of select people to other places Length should be at least one (1) page per character involved. When: The week of September 20-27, 2011. Your vignette is due September 30, 2011 at midnight EST. Where: Anywhere, as there are threats all over! Why: To stop the Gorgon from destroying all life on Earth, as well as to experiment with a big all-site event where everyone can feel included. How: Once your story is finished and proofed, post it in this thread. This way everyone will be able to see it, and play off it as appropriate. Bluesman Cannonade Nick Cimitiere Citizen Cobalt Templar Edge Flora Gabriel Harrier Ironclad King of Suits Lord Steam Rene de Saens Spitfire Supercape Wander Wisp
  19. The Gorgon is coming (in a month), but before the threat of crystallizing order, Freedom -- nay, the very world -- shall face unfettered chaos! Will the heroes be able to push back the tide before all is lost? Who: Any player who is A] interested, and B] has a character not already involved in the main thread. What: Tell the story of your character fighting back these city- and world-wide threats. Will they fight Deep Ones coming in from the sea? Save any hostages still within the submarine? Attack the Super-Grue Drones, in Freedom or in some other city? Track their source, in the spooky (and metahuman power-negating) German castle? Try to track & confront the mysterious armored figure who made the announcement which preceded all this? Something else (which would need to be cleared with me)? NOTE: In addition to the crises listed in that News post, there are two other things of note that PCs can respond to: A] A few minutes after the mysterious armored figure's announcement, a mass of the dead rise up in Germany and surrounding countries, and a large mass of creatures/monsters from the South American rainforest; both groups fly (or, more accurately, are pulled by some force) to Freedom City, at hundreds of thousands of miles an hour, and converge into one spot in North Bay, where they merge into a Gigantosaur-sized thing. (The Giant Tentacle Monster that Dok turns into.) Good thing the Interceptors (and former Knights of Freedom) are there to fight it, but they may need some help! B] At around the same time as that, throughout the world -- mostly Europe, but pockets all over -- random people go completely insane and attack everyone and everything near them. Length should be at least one (1) page per character involved. When: All these will be taking place on June 17th, 2011, a Friday (two weeks after the Claremont Graduation). The deadline for submissions will be Sunday, July 31st, by 11:59 PM EST (GMT -5). Where: Anywhere, as there are threats all over! Why: To enhance our community, to flex your writing muscles, to help me conclude a big story arc for my namesake character, and to earn a bonus PP for your characters (the ones involved in this Vignette) for the month of July. How: Once your story is finished and proofed, post it in this thread. This way everyone will be able to see it, and play off it as appropriate. If you've got questions, post them here, PM them to me, or ask in Chat. Vignettes Posted Arcturus: fights Metaceptors in the West End! Blueshift: goes to Dok's super-secret asteroid belt HQ, finds much more than she bargained for! Cannonade: Fights maddened hordes in Southside! Citizen: fighting Evil!Vince in the Freedom Hall computers! Cobalt Templar: Fights Metaceptors throughout Freedom City! Crow: Fights Metacetpors in Bayview, receives unexpected help from... his mother? Dark Star: Fights Metaceptors and madmen all over the globe! Dragonfly: 'ports up to ArcheStern and repurposes its communications array into a massive microwave laser, which she fires at the Giant Tentacle Monster rampaging around North Bay! Edge: Helps free the prisoners of Schloss Wissenschaft, then rains meteors upon it! Fleur de Joie: Takes in precious refugees at Sanctuary! Gabriel: Attacks the super-sub of the Deep Ones with Ironclad! Harrier: got kidnapped by Deep Ones, but he turns the tables on them! Ironclad: Attacks the super-sub of the Deep Ones with Gabriel! King of Suits: Defends the Fens from Deep Ones and Metaceptors! Midnight: Saves people from the collapsing Centery Narrows Bridge with Wander! Miss Americana: shutting down ArcheTech teleportals! Myrmidon: Pushes back the Deep Ones at Riverside! Nick Cimitiere: Exorcises the dead from the Giant Tentacle Beast rampaging around North Bay! Overclock: Fights Metaceptors near Master Lee's in Hanover! Push: Keeps Metacetpors off Blueshift's back as she hax Nichtuberall's systems! Rene de Saens: painting/trapping monsters in Mexico! Silhouette: allows herself to be kidnapped by Deep Ones so she can find/free the other folks they're taking! Supercape: fighting Heavy Metal, maddened by the Blood of Archeville! Torque: Fights Grue & screaming madmen in Freedom City! Vanguard: The monsters in West End who oppose his shield must yield! Victory: Fights Metaceptors alongside Push up in Nichtuberal, but then faces a figure from his past. Warlock: While flying from Kingston to Riverside, is seized upon by eldritch forces and transmogrified back into Kid Cthulhu! But is it as a hero... or a servant? Wander: Saves people from the collapsing Centery Narrows Bridge with Midnight!
  20. FC:PbP is offering the community another "vignette" opportunity. If you'd like to read about our previous vignettes, check here. In the far future of 2525, the Freedom Legion does its best to restore the forgotten past of the Freedom League and the heroes of Freedom who lived and died so many centuries ago. But the great electronics crash of the 22nd century and the wars that followed wiped so many records, and even many so-called immortals are dead, silent, untrustworthy, or even simply mistaken about the long ago world of so many centuries ago. These stories are confused, and get a great many facts wrong. Sometimes they even get the era and planet where they lived wrong! (There have been a great many heroes in Freedom’s history...) But the ultimate truth of those long-ago heroes still shines through. (This vignette is inspired by this 1996 DC Crossover Legends of the Dead Earth.) Who: Any player who is interested, for one (or more) of their characters. What: Tell the story of your character as remembered by those who came long after him or her, drawing on the ancient archetypes which so many of them represent. This can take the form of someone telling the story in the 2500s, or of simply that story itself as recreated by the hardworking super-historians of the far future. Ex.: Avenger! In Victorian Freedom, Jack Faretti hunts a grim blade-wielding killer called Jack o’Knives, all the while dealing with the grim hungers of his revenant condition.Length should be at least one (1) page per character involved. When: The deadline for submissions will be Thursday, June 30th, by 11:59 PM EST (GMT -5). Where: Anywhere. When you submit your vignette, please make a note clearly indicating in which forum it should be posted. Why: To enhance our community, to flex your writing muscles, to think more deeply about your characters, and to earn a bonus PP for your characters (the ones involved in this Vignette) for the month of June. How: Once your story is finished and proofed, PM it to one of the Refs (AvengerAssembled, Ecalsneerg, Geez3r, ShaenTheBrain, or myself). When all the stories are in, one of our staff members will post them to the appropriate forums (which is why we need you to be sure to tell us where it should go!), and provide links to them in this thread. DO NOT post them in a forum yourself, otherwise it will not be counted for this exercise. Animus: Untitled Blueshift: I, Hero Cannonade: Untitled Citizen: Out Into The World Cobalt Templar: Horse of a Different Color Crow: Campfire Tales Dark Star: Untitled Doktor Archeville: Lo, Praise to Archeville! Dragonfly: Children Fleur de Joie: Bedtime Ztory Freedom Angel: The Last City Fulcrum: The Age of Aquarius Gabriel: A Life of Sacrifice Gaian Knight: Relics Geckoman: Untitled Glowstar: Untitled Harrier: No King But Freedom Ironclad: Untitled Jack of all Blade: Children of the 52 Jade Dragon: Untitled Jubatus: Knowledge Is Power King of Suits: Legend of the King of Suits Midnight (II): Untitled Miss Americana: Robot's Tomb Myrmidon: Glory of the Many Nick Cimitiere: Untitled Push: Tell It Truly Rene deSaens: Untitled Silhouette: Bedtime Stories Supercape: Untitled Wander: K. Erin Hunter
  21. September 24th, 2008 Gear City 13th Street, Tonatini’s Pizza Parlor Push awoke with a start, clutching his head and groaning. One minute he’d been riding to see Blueshift, the next, a blinding flash and the feeling like he’d been sucked into a never-ending vortex. In fact, it had been a oddly familiar sensation. Familiar in the sense of being yanked through time and space. Not good. He lifted his head, looking about, and the kineticist’s heart practically stopped. He recognized this place. An alley. An alley where he'd made his first bust after getting his abilities. A few blocks away from Tonatini’s pizza parlor. Tonatini's. His favourite restaurant in… Gear City. He was home. “Oh. Crap.†Push looked down from the sky, mind awhirl with a mess of thoughts. Some were amused. Others were excited. He was home! Back in Gear City, no matter when or why, but he was back home! He recognized the streets. He recognized a few people, though he made damn sure he was out of sight when he spotted them. He was admittedly confused and stunned, but it really was Gear City, as if he’d never left it. A quiet voice in the back of his head asked why, but he stifled it as he wandered the skyline. Finally, his wandering jets brought him to a building overlooking his and Mike’s old apartment above Lazarus Auto Repair. He looked down at it, wondering if Michael was up enjoying a huge hoagie at the old grease-covered linoleum table the two often had to eat from, or was downstairs working on some poor busted transmission. The front door opened, and he immediately ducked behind a nearby billboard, peering out and gaping as a very recognizeable figure walked out. It was himself. Past-self. Gabriel Quinn, pre-museum. "Oh. Crap." Push trailed himself, his psyche practically gibbering as he tailed what could only be his past self. He saw Gabriel Quinn reach into his pocket, and he remembered doing that exact same movement. He remembered the sensation of anxiety his doppelganger below seemed to be going through. But as much as he cudgelled his memory, he couldn’t recall what he was anxious over! It was frustrating as all hell as he looked down upon himself. A crazy thought filled his mind as he looked at Past-Quinn walk across the street, an unholy urge to fly down and seize his past self, telling him everything of what would be coming. Of Mr. Scratch and the chase across the USA. Of the demons and nightmares that’d become his every waking moment for the next two years. Of… “Oh. Crap.†The knowledge hit him at the same time the hired thug’s baseball bat hit his counterpart’s head. Of Associate Professor Wyrd. Of Anastasia. The warehouse was just as he remembered it, and he stared at the outside from the nearby rooftop with no small amount of trepidation. His kinetic vision was on full bore, and he could see through the walls as the currents of movement and energy inside revealed one of his less-savory memories. Anastasia’s machine was directly above his counterpart, and he saw Past-Push turn his head towards the female inventor. Finally, he turned his gaze on the young woman. Funnily enough, it hurt less seeing her through this vision than it would have looking at her in his normal vision. He was surprised when he saw it was a thug that had clubbed his past self, for a long time he’d labored under the illusion that Anastasia had done it herself. In a way, it was relieving. That she didn’t actually hurt him. Yeah, that was bull. She hurt him, alright. But then, so did he. They both did. Neither had the guts to come forward and tell the other who each other was. But while he was idiot enough to keep up an illusion, she’d tried to solve it in her own mad way. It was almost heartwarming, if it wasn’t so damn painful to watch. He saw his counterpart break the table’s binds, leaping off with a surge of energy that accidentally overloaded a nearby breaker. With almost clinical detachment he noted the chain reaction that lead to the destruction of the machine, and the subsequent burning of the building. He saw the energy silhouette that was himself try to force himself forward. He saw the silhouette that was Anastasia draw back, and the pile of debris that collapsed between them fall. And he saw his counterpart forced back. But the silhouette of his ex-girlfriend remained there, in the centre of the flames. Push watched as the outline fell to her knees in the centre of the inferno, and for a split-second, time practically froze for the mutant. She didn’t run. They never found any body in the collapsed building. Sure, she could have been ashes, but surely they’d have found something of hers. Then why didn’t she run? Why didn’t she escape? He never really came to a decision. There really wasn't one to make. Without thinking he leapt forward, kicking in the jets and covering his head as he rushed forward like a runaway meteor, going straight through the burning ceiling and into the conflagration. Wielding energies that would have been far beyond his abilities all those years ago, he pushed and bulled his way through the destruction, blasting holes in collapsed cisterns and shoving aside metal beams with his telekinesis. Flames licked at his coat and scarf, but he ignored them. The smoke made his vision and head swim, but he ignored that too. Every synapse in his brain was overloaded by one thought, to save the woman that nearly killed him. Finally, he reached Anastasia’s unconscious body, and he cradled her in his arms. Smoke inhalation, it had to be. She was unmoving, barely even breathing. As the warehouse collapsed around him, he kicked in what was left of his reserve, shooting up and through the roof, shielding her with his body as his back went straight through the metal ceiling. It hurt like a bitch, but it was all over. He’d done it. That thought ran through his brain as he landed on a nearby rooftop and collapsed, feeling that same sensation of being pulled into a vortex as he blacked out. April 20th, 2011 Freedom City Midtown He woke up in Freedom City, a few hours after he’d “leftâ€. She was right beside him, still unconscious. If you’d asked the kineticist, he honestly could not have told you if he thought the future was changed or unchanged. Sure, he’d saved Anastasia, but he didn’t know if she had really died in that fire, or if he’d stuck around long enough in the past, he’d have seen his future self finish the job. The doctors had swallowed the excuse he’d given them, amazingly. A fire downtown, and that he’d been on the scene in time to save her. The fact that he’d paid quite a bit of cash from L.A.I.R’s accounts to get her treated ASAP was glossed over in his mind. Coma, they said. They didn’t know when she was going to wake up. She was in a comfortable, white-sheeted bed now, hooked up to all kinds of machinery to keep her alive. Back in Gear City, he’d never caught Associate Professor Wyrd. For all intents and purposes, Anastasia Wyrd had never existed. Now a person with no identity was in the ICU. Nobody knew that she was alive but him, now. He looked at the hospital across the street, legs hanging over the edge, and pondered. Things were about to get a lot more complicated.
  22. In the night sky above Freedom City’s West End, a swift figure in royal blue leapt gracefully from rooftop to rooftop, racing through shadows only to reappear suddenly in the space over alleyways, flipping and tumbling like an acrobat. The swashbuckling swordsman known as Jack of all Blades knew every brick and stone of his neighbourhood so completely that he barely had to look where he was going. And that’s why nobody in their right mind causes trouble on my turf. Which made it all the more surprising when, at the apex of a gratuitously showy aerial tumble, the air seemed to rend itself before him, opening into a wormhole rift through which the flailing vigilante fell! "Gah! I swear if I end up in some Medieval Times knock off one more time..." Jack grated as he fell through warped space uncontrollably, only to suddenly be ejected back out into the night. Now, however, the city around him was well lit my neon light as he reflexively shot off his grappling line and swung down to the street. Looking about, he found that the buildings around him had sprung up into monstrosities several times the size they’d been moments ago. There was no mistaking that it was still the West End; he still recognised a handful on landmarks that had been incorporated into the unchecked urban sprawl, which seemed old enough now to look dingy and in disrepair. "Kansas, Toto, so on and so forth," Jack muttered to himself, rubbing the back of his neck. As the hero attempted to get his bearings, high pitched cackling drew his attention. Out of the alley, a quintet of youths in gaudy, shredded clothes emerged, displaying a menacing mix of oversized cybernetic enhancements and predatory animalistic qualities. "Looks like somebody got lost on the way to the costume party," the group’s jackal faced leader snickered, brandishing foot long metal claws as his gang surrounded their quarry. "Looks like you got lost on your way to the hospital, twip," a bold voice called from above a moment before a young black man in a leather jacket swung down to deliver a haymaker punch to the gang leader’s face, sending him reeling. "How ‘bout I draw you a map?" the new arrival grinned, gleaming white smile contrasting with the spade shaped tattoo over his left eye. "It’s a Fifty-Two!" a thug with mechanical wings cried, attempting to lift off into the air a moment before a willowy girl with shock white hair slipped from a darkened corner and laid him out with a flurry of blows from her metallic bo staff. What first appeared to be red tear drops inscribed under her right eye were, on closer inspection, a trio of diamonds arranged in a horizontal line. A motorcycle -like vehicle that floated well off of the ground roared onto the scene, it’s smirking driver bringing it to a sharp halt in front of the remaining cyborgs. "Ain’t you ever heard of a pocket pair?" he quipped with a distinct twang, patting a stylised set of hearts painted on the side of his ride while the amazonian blonde riding behind him trained an arrow notched in her composite bow on the suddenly outnumbered aggressors. Pulling the bowstring back with muscular ease revealed a club shaped cut-out in her top, made somewhat less alluring by the grim set of her tanned lips. Sensing that they were well and truly outmatched the remaining would-be muggers gathered up their downed friends and beat a hasty retreat back down the alley. A bemused Jack was left to regard his new-found saviours with an arched brow. "Pretty slick moves, there. Thanks." "Heh, no sweat," the jacketed youth assured the swordsman, crossing his arms with a confident smirk. "S’like the old man always says: nobody in their right mind causes trouble on the Fifty-Twos’ turf." "The police may be too afraid to venture here," the brooding archer intoned with more than a little heated anger, "but the West Quarter is not without defenders." "Or good taste," her red haired companion chimed in. "I mean, lordy, splicin’ and ‘borgin’? 2040 called, they want their feeb back!" The joke drew an amused giggle from the otherwise silent martial artist who had hopped up to balance impossibly in a crouch on the top of her staff. "...right." Before the conversation could continue, another rippling portal opened up in the middle of the empty street. "Whoa, think that’s my ride, folks," the swordsman observed, calling over his shoulder as he ran toward the rift and jumped in. "Keep up the good work!"
  23. April 15, 2011 Fenris didn't usually suit up so early in the day; he wasn't an all-night-patrol hero like some, but he preferred to have at least some shadows to work with. If nothing else, it discouraged people from trying to figure out everything about his armor from the get-go. 'Never hurts to have a little mystery in life, people. Especially if that mystery means you don't get my tech...' Suddenly, alarms blared as multiple portals started tearing open in the sky all over the city! He sped down to street level, only a couple of blocks away from The Lab. He saw a couple of portals open nearby and produce... “Pirates? Really? That's kind of...Oh you're kidding me.†Another portal had disgorged what looked like “classical†ninjas. Somehow, the two groups were already fighting, swords of various kinds whirring through the air, throwing knives and primitive flintlock pistols trying to eliminate enemies at range. Civilians ran in fear, one poor man getting clipped by a throwing knife. “Okay, as much fun as this might be for YouTube later, this needs to stop. Time to shock some sense into them.†With that, Fenris began striding forwards, sending blast after crackling blast out from his PPCs. Each blast seemed to knock another combatant out of the picture; since he was alternating between each group, neither got any major advantage, thus keeping it from being a slaughter. Before long, it was down to the apparent leaders of each group. The pirate was a crusty-looking older fellow, with a whole lot of those pistols and a rather large cutlass. The head ninja was actually smaller than his fellows, but seemed to have an almost supernatural grace about him. The pirate charged first. “That's for me crew! Blasted metal dog-man!†The sword was caught in now-glowing claws, and quickly sundered to utter uselessness. The other hand came up in a devastating uppercut that knocked out a couple of teeth, even as the pirate slipped into an unplanned nap. “Wolf, not dog. Hey, watch the finish!†The ninja had tried to strike his head off while he was distracted. It had only succeeded in scratching the metal, doing no real damage. A quick elbow from Fenris staggered the ninja, and twin PPC blasts put him out of the fight. “Well, that was kind of fun. Minus the lives at risk, I guess.†His head whipped around as his suit picked up a “silent†alarm at The Lab. He sighed. “Bet they're all busy with these portals. Anything setting that off is bound to be bad news.†With that, he flashed away, speeding through the space between space, arriving in a flash of light just down the block from the front of the Lab. For the moment, the building looked intact, but there were three figures in front that looked quite menacing. All three were wearing what looked to be powered armor, but they were easy to tell apart nonetheless. One of them had a good two feet of height on the others, making him something like eight feet tall. He carried what seemed to be a large energy cannon in both hands; the weapon looked more like one designed for a main battle tank. The next, in a suit that bizarrely emphasized the fact that the wearer was female. She seemed to be armed with what looked like a long spear, and bore a jet pack on her back. The final figure, who seemed to be the leader of the merry little band, had a much more “generic†looking suit. He had an over-sized pistol gripped in each hand, and what looked like some sort of sword on his back. All of them looked dangerous. Especially the one pointing the giant gun at the Lab. “Hey! Heavy Weapons Guy! Hope you have insurance on Sasha there!†With only that cry as a warning, Fenris appeared perhaps 50 feet away, firing both PPCs directly into the huge gun. His shots damaged it, but it seemed to still be active, albeit going into a “standby†moder, perhaps to assess damage. Of course, he didn't have much time to think about that, since Leader was firing a barrage of shots at him, and Spear Lady was trying to turn him into a shish-kebab. He blurred away, putting a good 200 feet between them. HWG busied himself getting his gun up and running, Leader hung back, and Spear Gal flew after him. She aimed for his heart, the tip of her spear crackling with energy... Only for Fenris to practically fall backwards, his now-glowing claws swiping upwards at the shaft of the spear. Sparks flew, and the weapon fell to pieces in her hands. Spear Gal dropped the useless metal and drew a combat knife and an over-sized energy pistol. The pistol was also shredded quickly, but the knife managed to cut into his armor somewhat; thankfully, it didn't breach anything. He counter-attacked, punching her several times across the torso, and once in her head. She staggered, and he saw his chance. Getting behind her, he practically shoved both PPC barrels into her suit's backpack (which he figured had most of her power systems and such. With a wordless growl that sounded even worse coming over his speaker, he fired. The results were rather dramatic, as the backpack suffered an overload, producing a small explosion that scorched Fenris's arms and slammed her into the ground. There were a couple of moments where she was wracked by electrical overload, before she was locked inside an inert suit of armor. But Fenris had no time to celebrate, as the HWG was barreling towards him with a bellow of rage. “Sweet on Little Miss Spear here? She's fine; probably a few burnt hairs, definitely some aches and pains in the morning, and obviously a wrecked suit, but she's still alive.†He zipped away from where the large man tried to actually stomp on him, firing a few shots of his PPCs. They cratered the large man's armor, but didn't really slow him down. Fenris frowned inside his helmet; there was no way he was risking getting close enough to try taking him down with his claws. He started zipping around faster and faster, hoping to confuse the large man, or at least outmaneuver him. That was probably the only thing that saved him when he came out of a dash and was staring straight down the barrel of the huge gun the man carried. A barrel that was already starting to fire, having charged up for the last minute or so. Fenris crouched, the jumped high into the air, activating his Vacuum Flux Capacitor as he did so. In the microseconds before he entered that slipstream that would carry him over the large man, the energies of the cannon started to wash over his suit's legs. When he emerged, directly above and behind the large man, his legs were blackened and trailing smoke. He fired two stronger-than-normal shots, disabling the huge suit in a similarly dramatic fashion as the first. The huge cannon sparked and sputtered from the overload, several parts exploding within the casing, leaving it a useless wreck, even as the weilder collapsed. Fenris himself fell into a weary crouch, panting a bit beneath the armor. His legs felt like they were on fire; probably because a good portion of his armor there had been melted off. A couple of his actuators had been fried, too; everything in his legs felt stiff. He was about to stand up when a sword tip found itself resting at the base of his throat. “My my. Another armor user, but this time one of those pathetic “superheroesâ€? Well, perhaps pathetic isn't entirely accurate; you defeated both my comrades with little damage to yourself. But you forgot about me. Now, I'll kill you, and then I'll take what technology I can from the Lab. After that, I'll leave it intact, after planting a few spy devices that are cutting edge in a century or so. From then on, I'll have a free line on tons of great tech, enough to really keep me in the money. This sword's pretty sharp; looks like it's already cutting in. You'll open up like, oh, what's the term? Ah, yes. “Like a tin canâ€, I believe.†The man started to apply pressure, but Fenris suddenly collapsed backward, pulling himself away from the sword. Mostly. It still cut deeply, actually reaching to the final layer above his skin, leaving a mark scored in the interface suit he wore. His left arm snapped up, his blazing claws first scratching, then scoring, then finally severing the blade. It was quickly dropped even as Fenris fired his right PPC into the other armor's shoulder, frying the electronics with a well-placed hit. His enemy, undaunted by only 1 working arm, pulled his other pistol out and started to fire. These shots cratered Fenris's armor, two of them tearing into his own left arm systems, leaving almost that whole side useless. Finally, a lucky shot from Fenris hit Leader on the right side of his neck. The final armor down fried and done for the count, but Fenris hadn't fared much better. His suit was in shambles, and he was barely able to stand and start dashing back to his hidden base. As the armor was peeled off his body, and the automated shop got to work taking care of most of the damage, he was lost in thought. 'They would have walked all over me if I hadn't had the element of surprise. I had that, and I still almost lost. They said they were from a century in the future...I guess that means I need to figure out ways to get at least a century ahead, then. Because if this sort of “portal storm†shows up again, I might end up facing even more of them. And then people die, including myself. I can't let that happen, no matter what the cost.' Soon, he sat down at his drafting computer, and began to tinker with some old nanotechnology designs he'd found half-buried in their archives. Some of these things only needed a few tweaks to be perfected...
  24. Stesha was sleeping when the portals began appearing, not very heroic, but quite necessary nonetheless. She did a lot of sleeping these days, when the opportunity presented itself. Nevertheless, when the "All Hands" signal began broadcasting on her League radio, she didn't hesitate. A long green cloak over black and green maternity clothes passed for a costume these days, and as soon as she managed to get her shoes on, she was ready! Fleur de Joie teleported through the plant network to Hanover, and was immediately swallowed up by a time portal. She was so shocked for a moment that she didn't understand what had happened. She obviously wasn't in Freedom City anymore. She was standing on a hill overlooking a vast and beautiful wilderness that stretched away as far as the eye could see. In the other direction, an ocean gleamed like a blue jewel under a placid sunny sky. In the distance, thousands of shapes flew around a low mountain range... no, wait. Not any shapes, and not mountains. Those were giant bees, and the mountain range was some kind of giant bee metropolis... so this had to be Sanctuary. Not the Sanctuary she knew, but one she'd dreamed of in her heart, one that had decades or centuries of love and devoted care poured into it. The portal she'd gone through had taken her forward in time, she strongly suspected, but not in her own world, in the time of the world she'd built. For a moment, she was too dazzled to even be afraid, or to worry when and how she would ever make it home. "Look at it," she murmured, running her hands over her round tummy. "Look how beautiful it is. It's more than I ever imagined. I wonder how long it took to make all of this happen..." Cleaning the ocean alone had surely been the work of a lifetime, but how long would her lifetime be? That was an answer she didn't have, but if it wasn't long enough, then someone else had obviously taken up the mantle. She was shaken from her reverie at the sound of a voice behind her. "Stesha? My love, is it you?" She turned around and saw Dark Star, standing just a few yards away, his blank face and body revealing nothing, as usual, but still enormously reassuring. "Derrick, thank god you're here!" she exclaimed, hurrying over to him. "I thought I was all alone here, and I don't know how to get back. Do you know when this is? Did we really come forward in time?" Even as she stepped towards him he was changing, undergoing the familiar transformation from demigod to the man she loved, except now he was different. She stopped short, just before going into his arms. This Derrick was older, with shocks of silver in his hair and lines in his face, a man who looked as though he'd carried burdens that were far too heavy for far too long. But when she looked into his eyes, she knew it wasn't a doppelganger or a deception, it was really him. "Derrick?" she asked, her voice a whisper. "You came forward," he told her, his voice cracking at the edges with unspoken emotion. "You came forward into the future and saw Sanctuary in a thousand years' time, looking from this hilltop. When you went home, you told me about the trip, where you'd landed and what you'd seen. And I.. I remembered, and I came here, so that when you arrived, I would be here waiting for you. It's been so long, but I had to speak with you one more time..." With that, he took her into his arms and kissed her, a kiss full of desperate longing and loneliness and love, gentle despite its passion. It was very unlike the Derrick she knew, and yet so like him at the same time that she couldn't resist putting her arm around him and returning it. Bittersweet as it was, the moment couldn't last forever. Stesha still needed to know what was going on, and finally she pulled away. "Why did you come?" she asked him. "I mean, isn't it risky to tamper with the past, even like this? How did you know exactly when I would be here?" "I didn't," he said, his voice rough as he lay a hand lightly on her stomach. "I've waited here ten years, just for the chance to speak with you, with you as you are now, before anything else. There are hard times coming, my love, and I needed to tell you how immensely sorry I am that any of it has to happen. I know that it will be difficult to understand, and perhaps impossible to forgive, but for so many years I have regretted that I was never able to ask your forgiveness." "Ask forgiveness for what?" Stesha asked, suddenly afraid. Not of this Derrick, or even of the situation she found herself in, but for whatever he had done that so haunted him over the centuries. "What's going to happen? Maybe there's a way to change it, to make things right, if you tell me..." Derrick shook his head. "A thousand years I've asked myself what I could have done differently, if there wasn't something I could've changed, a duty I could've ignored while still remaining true to who I am. This ten years it seems I've thought of nothing but that. There are immutable principles in the universe, though, and one of the first and deepest is that heroes must act to preserve life, wherever it is endangered, and whatever the cost. But if I'd had any choice in the matter, I promise I never would have done anything that hurt you, or hurt our child. And I'm so sorry." Stesha blinked with confusion, trying to sort out the thousand thoughts and feelings rushing through her head. "Derrick, I..." He reached out and took her hands, and only then did she notice that her body was already starting to fade, so that he could barely hold onto her. "I will always love you, Stesha," he promised, looking into her eyes. "A thousand years, a million. Forever." "I love you too," she told him, trying to squeeze his fingers with hands that were barely tangible. "And whatever it is, whatever happened, I forgive you!" One last second of contact, as the world turned to white and gray around her, and then he was gone, and Sanctuary was gone, and Stesha was left standing next to a tree in one of the Hanover business parks, as though nothing had ever happened. She stood there for a moment without moving, long enough that a passing civilian asked her if she was all right. "I'm fine, thank you," she said with a reassuring smile, then disappeared into the plants and back home. The all hands signal had stopped, it seemed like things were starting to come under control. Unable to help herself, she picked up her cell phone and called Derrick. "Honey, could you come home?" she asked, not liking the weakness in herself, but not wanting to sit alone with all these worries and fears. "What is it, sweetheart?" Derrick's worried voice came over the phone. "Is it the baby? I'm out in Hanover with the dimensional cleanup, I can be there right away..." "No, no, it's not the baby" she reassured him, taking a deep breath and getting ahold of herself. "The baby is fine, I'm fine. Go ahead and do the cleanup, and I'll talk to you tonight. I love you." "I love you too," he told her, though already he sounded a bit distracted by his work. "See you tonight."
  25. Freedom City was in danger! That was hardly different from any day in the city where weirdness never slept, but today was worse than most. Disappearances were being reported all over the city, people suddenly vanishing, other people and strange creatures appearing out of nowhere, fights and rampages in the streets! It was a bad time, but luckily, Freedom City had its heroes to protect it. One of those heroes, Miss Americana, was already in the air, flying over Hanover as she attempted to suss out the situation. There were disturbances on the ground, sirens blasting, and what looked like... was that a band of Vikings on the ground? A superhero in the blue and gold colors of Claremont Academy seemed to have the situation in hand there, so Miss A flew onward. A few blocks away, she noticed a strange disruption, almost as though reality were bending like the air on a hot summer day. She flew down to get a closer look, turning midair to land... Gina's eyes snapped open as her consciousness rudely and abruptly thudded back into her squishy flesh body. "Goddamn radios," she muttered, hastening over to her work chair and rolling it to her main interface console. Within seconds, she'd activated the robot's implanted locator beacon, the same type used on black boxes and EPIRB units to be traceable from half a world away and in just about any conditions. She zoomed in on Hanover, recalling exactly where she'd been, down to the millimeter and... nothing. There was nothing there. No disturbance, no robot, no locator ping. It was an empty stretch of sidewalk that didn't even show signs of radio interference. She quickly widened the scan, to take in the city, then the whole region. Still nothing! Scanning further would take time, but what else was she going to do? As she waited for the search to run, Gina considered the possibilities. Could the robot have fallen victim to one of the portals and been whisked away to who-knows-where? She had to admit it was looking distinctly likely. That was... not good. Nobody knew what the portals were, or where they opened onto, or if anything that went through one would come back. The Miss Americana robot had only an extremely basic artificial intelligence, enough to maintain a human mien, walk and act as specifically instructed, and seek out solar energy when its battery ran low. There was no possible way it could return on its own to Freedom City. For now, possibly for the foreseeable future, Miss Americana was out of commission. But Freedom City still needed heroes. Gina went upstairs and looked out her front window. It was quiet in the direct view of her house, but she could hear sirens, and people yelling in the distance. Bad things were happening. Surely she could do something. She headed for the door, only to catch a glimpse of herself in the reflection off her cabinets. Dumpy, dowdy, out of shape, dressed in sweats and with her hair ratty, she was nobody's idea of a hero. What the hell was she supposed to do out there anyway, just stand there and hope she scared the invaders or made them recoil with revulsion just to look at her? She didn't have laser beams, she couldn't fly. When it came to saving the city, she was absolutely worthless. Gina retreated downstairs to continue the futile search. Hours later, her search had covered the entire world to no avail. Gina was forced to concede that the robot might be gone entirely. That was a very depressing thought. She prepared herself a supposedly healthy frozen dinner, then added a half pint of Cherry Garcia and a bag of Doritos to her tray and carried it all downstairs to keep working. It could be months before she had another robot working, and even that would require a lot of very uncomfortable contact with the outside world. In that time, who knew what would happen to the contacts and work that Miss Americana had been doing? What would happen to the little girl in Switzerland? Just as Gina stuck the first spoonful of ice cream in her mouth, the locator beacon alert shrilled at her from the computer! Fumbling aside her dinner tray, she dove for the keyboard and interfaced with the local satellite to get a close-up picture of its location. The robot was exactly where she'd left it, in the middle of Hanover, on an empty sidewalk. Only... it didn't look the same at all. Gone was Miss Americana's skintight red-white-and blue uniform, replaced with a long blue dress that looked distinctly Victorian, corseted and with a full skirt that dropped to her ankles. Her golden hair was pinned up in ringlets and partially hidden by a large, feathered hat. Wherever she'd been, someone had been playing dress-up and gotten really carried away, it seemed. A bit of reflected light on the satellite picture caught her eye, and Gina magnified again. On the robot's finger was a gold wedding band. "What the hell were you doing while you were gone?" Gina demanded aloud, then dropped her body to go and retrieve the damned thing before it did anything worse.
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