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Tiffany Korta

February/March Vignette - The Common People

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We all know how you hero deals with the world of superheroes and villains around them, but what about those who view these things from a distance? So through February and March here's a chance to show how the general public sees you as a hero. Among some of the choices you have are as follows:

 

  • How regular folks see your hero, either from a single encounter or a lifelong obsession. Regular folks can be anyone from an Innocent bystander, to members of the emergency services, worried loved ones, muggers and robbers or even the cute pets you've rescued from trees.

 

  • Media representation of your hero, good or bad, that can be of any type you wish. Examples include talking head fluff pieces, to exerts from tell-all book to reviews of classic run of there comics or that embarrassing off tone TV pilot that few have seen. If reference other heroes show try to use Freedom City equivalent or real-world pieces, so talk about that campy '66 Raven show rather than a certain bat...

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  • Actual fan-fic about your hero. Either a short story or extracts from a longer epic. Keep things PC-13 and whilst any NPC's are fair game please ask before using anyone elses PC characters.

 

  • How your hero reacting to any of the above, maybe they love the attention or maybe all they want to do is cringe and hope no one else ever knows about such things.

 

Please post them here by March 31st. 
 
 (As a reminder, vignettes follow the same general rules as posts in terms of content, player character limits, and so on. You may have only one vignette per player character. Each vignette should be at least one page (~500 words) in length; if posted in your thread counts at the end of the month, it is worth 1pp for the associated character. An especially long vignette, 1000 words or more, may be worth up to 2pp. Multiple players can collaborate on a single vignette - we recommend Google Docs for this, it's very useful - but the vignette should be about one page per participating player. )

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The Streets of Bedlam City are perfused with gossip and stories. Small tales of small heroics circle round friends and bars…

 

…here are just a few pertaining to the enigmatic Red Rat. Are they true? Or are they bent and twisted by Chinese whispers? Or are they simply urban myths?

 

Maybe we shall never know…

 

The Red Rat, as told by Audrey Hunter, 50, Retail.

 

My husband and I own a store on Root Street. Sure, it gets rough every now and again, when some tweaking junkie comes in demanding money. I got a shotgun under the counter and a baseball bat on the shelf. Thank God I ain’t had to shoot someone.

 

Lot of traffic on Root street corner. Plenty of folks going this way and that all time of night. All sorts of folk, if you get my meaning. Some of them working. If you get my meaning again.

 

Anyway, we heard about the Red Rat. Most folks have, although it’s a load of nonsense, I reckon, for the most part. Soviet super spy, they say. Mutant Rat-woman, they say. Alien body snatcher, they say. Well, we heard plenty. I guess you can pick out enough to make some guesses. Ain’t no mutant, Ain’t no alien. Ain’t no rat, neither.

 

Those folks, like us, who listen to the stories enough. Well, most people think she is some kind of spy. On the run, although who knows from? Maybe it is the Russians. The name would fit. Anyway, people on the run have a habit of ending up in Bedlam. And I guess she fits in just swell. It’s a place where you can lose yourself. Maybe you have to lose yourself.

 

On the run, I reckon. But even if she is hiding, she is still there, you know what I mean? Just pops up, here and there, helping people out.

Nobody can make Bedlam safe, not all the time. But its nice to know at least some folk are out there. Makes the villains think twice, I guess. Maybe makes us all sleep just that little bit better.

 

So Tony and I, we were finishing up one night. Must have been two in the morning. Even the drunks have passed out by that time, least for the most part. We get the sound of braking wheels outside. We just look at each other, you know? Get that sixth sense thing.

 

Tony went to get the baseball bat, and looked outside. Four punks, in a stolen car. “Looking for some action!” they said as they barged in.

 

Tony ain’t a young man no more, but he tried to throw them out. Got a kick in his nuts and a boot in his face for that. His nose ain’t been the same since, I swear.

 

They were punks, all of ‘em, with bright red hair. Soon worked out why. Their idea of fun was the setting buildings alight. Just for the thrill of it. Didn’t matter to ‘em if anybody was in or not. I guess they probably preferred it if someone got roasted.

 

Now, we could have been cooked that day. Came darn close. But fortunately, someone had got wind of these punks. And someone had been following them. And that someone was the Red Rat.

 

Silent, she was, just standing at the door whilst the punks started pouring out gas. Wearing a smile and that red jacket of hers.

 

And carrying some guns. Not your regular street ones. This was something else. In the blink of an eye, she fired. Silent, you could barely hear them. Just a little flash, a little sizzle. And she was fast! You could barely follow her. The guns hissed and spat, fast! I don’t know what they were firing, but it wasn’t bullets.

 

The thugs fell to the floor! Zam! Out cold. Like they had been tasered, or something. And there she was, blowing the tops of her pistols. Huh. Now I think about it, I don’t recall them smoking. Like I said, not bullets. Just for effect, I guess. Looked cool. And were just so…scared? And relieved.

So that’s my little story. Plenty of those around. Some of them true, like I said. Bedlam ain’t safe, but a few stories like that keeps people a little warmer in a cold city.

 

The Red Brain, as told by Charles Higgins, 18, Internet blogger.

I’m got mad internet skills, see. Like, super mad. I can burn the stream and ride the flow. Big style to the supermax.

 

You know, as an awesome internet guy, I get a lot of info storms. Gotta sift through the data web, trying to see the patterns, the holes and the glitches. You can get real then. See the truth as it is. Not some Government cover up. Only way to live.

 

Takes up a lot of my time. My fingers and my brain are my weapons. So I might be a bit on the large size, what with only getting out of my deck to go for a dump. Sometimes I even got to cut corners in that department. Its serous sweat getting out of my chair when I’m jacked in and over thirty stone. My momma keeps telling me to get some sunshine and take some exercise, but what does she know? Well, she treats me good, I suppose. Keeps me in crisps and soda whilst I am cruising the web to the max. To the supermax, actually.

 

Anyway, I get all the cyber gossip. And I was cruising the information highway when I catch this hyper glitch. Some Russians, splicing the FBI hard software. You know, like its real superserious and stuff. Cybersuperserious!

 

I got mad skills, yeah. But, you know, I’m trying to frack their Snizzle, stop them or warn somebody, but I’m cut out. I may have the skills, but I guess they had the better hardware. Cut me out and start frying me. Like, serious circuit smoke. Double circuit smoke, really. 

 

Now, on the cyberspace city, there’s this dude. The Red Brain. I mean, smooth like electronic lightning. Zips in through the security traps, icy cold artic frost man. Never seen nothing like it. Just this icon, a red brain. We all heard of him. Nobody knows who he is. Maybe Russian, they say. Some say he hangs out with the Red Rat. Well, I don’t buy that, I mean, sure they are both red but that’s it, yeah? The Red Rat is a girl, anyway. Even if she is super hot.

 

So the Red Brain slicks through cyberspace hyperstabbing counter measures all the while like they weren’t even there. Supercool. Wish I had his rig. Gets the Russians and they like don’t know what hit them. E-fried, man. BAM! Must have smoked their rigs and traced them. Doublejacked their hard drives. Toast!

 

The Red Brain, man. King of cyberspace. Don’t mess, seriously.

 

The Red Ape

 

 

The Red Ape, as told by Jim “Jimmy” Block, 56

 

Ain’t that many folks up at five in the morning. Even the scum that litter the streets at night have gone to bed or passed out in the gutter.

 

Almost like a ghost town. We and the crew, we start picking up the garbage. Around Five thirty. Usually meet for a breakfast and a cuppa strong coffee. Maybe three of four coffees. It actually ain’t a bad time to be in Bedlam. The folks at the diner are friendly, and there is a kind of comraderie for us early morning folk.

 

After filling up, we start the rounds. It’s honest work, and the pay reflects how honest it is. We don’t grumble. Well, don’t grumble much. Sometimes we even have a laugh at the things we find. Maybe we might find some thug passed out on the street. Them are sweet days, because we might accidentally step extremely hard on his, or her, face, with an iron shod boot.

But every now and again, we find some thugs still out on the prowl. Looking for some mischief or another. And it can be pretty brutal mischief.

 

And sometimes, they get a pretty brutal payback.

 

Heard of the Red Ape? Big ugly thing. Like a cross between a man and a gorilla. Hairy, tall, strong, knuckles on the ground. Some say its actually the Red Rat, but I doubt it. She’s hot. This thing? Yeah, not so much…

 

So, we catch the Red Ape at work. Pounding six thugs to the ground. Never seen something so strong. Flipping them around like they were dolls. Finished ‘em off by picking up the leader, and using him as a club to batter the others. I can still here the bones splintering.

 

Then the Ape, I swear, not wearing a single scratch, looks at us. I’ll always remember this. Now, the Red Ape may be strong as hell, but looks like the brains department are a bit lacking, you understand.

 

So, the Red Ape goes to us. “Bad man get smashed up” with a big grin, like a child who has done something naughty but, you know, is like really happy up.

 

“Me smash bad men” it added, by way of explanation.

 

We just stood there, with our jaws to the floor. So the Red Ape turns around and lumbers off. And then, and then…it did a little dance, a little skip. To celebrate the smashing of bad men, I guess.

 

Don’t know who started it, but we ended up giving a round of applause.

Edited by Supercape

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Lobisomem, as told by Garrett Baker, 22, General Lowlife.

 

I swear I saw it! Don't make fun of me, I saw it! That...that thing! No, I wasn't high! I didn' take anything that night, saw clear as day, I did! Felt it too, thought I'd die that night...

 

Ya guys know what I was gonna do that day. Easy come easy go. Stunk to high heaven, it did, but it was usable. Would get us a good buck, you know, if it succeeded. But no! It just had to be one of those days!

 

We didn't hear anything for a while, everything was going well, our customers would arrive soon...and they did! It was great, they paid, most didn't take it...guess they wanted to be at home...and then they tried to leave...now that I think about it, that's when things got a little bit strange. I mean, I didn't even hear their footsteps once they got outside, thought nothing of it...then I heard somebody scream. Not those little ladies with their purses, walking round at night, but a scream. Like you were being murdered. We...I guess we froze, nobody wanted to be the one to check, not with that type of scream, and then brave old Bart went to take a look.

 

I think it was quiet for maybe a minute. Thought that maybe it'd be a big dog, scary, but we could shoot it! And then he screamed, shot, and kept screaming. I wanted to help, I really did, and now that I think about it, it wouldn't have helped anyway. Bart was thrown through the door, he didn't scream no more, but he was alive. The door was empty, I thought at least. Could have been a ghost that threw him! At least till I saw something move, it was invisible, I swear. And it was fast. Two seconds, and my biddies were being hoisted through the air by this monster, big enough to hold two of them with one claw! Now I moved, and I shot at it, yeah I did, and I hit it too! And guess what, it barely budged, it just turned around like I scratched its back or something. Good God was it big! Like a snake with legs, lots of legs!

 

It threw my buddies down, and then it vanished, right before my eyes. I-I admit, I just started shooting everywhere, but what would you do like that!? Only problem was, I ran out of bullets fast, and I hit nothing, that was for sure. I heard nothing, and maybe I thought I scared it away...and then it was in my face. I don't even know how I missed those horrible eyes, pitch black.

 

And then it ate me...

 

...what? Ok, fine, it bit me. But I thought it was gonna eat me so I may have...y'know...fainted. And here I am. In jail. It's crazy, but I think I heard it talk, something weird like Lobisomem or something like that. Crazy. I just never want to see it again...

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Starshot

 

This is a special report by Vox Saga, on the strange world of the space safari!

 

For those that do no know, and surely they are few, Vox Saga is the galaxies finest investigative reporter. Astute, incisive, and fearless, Vox peels back the veneer on society, and gazes at its underbelly. And check out her tail! Hubba Hubba!

 

The galactic safari is an old institution perpetuated by the ultra-rich of the Lor republic, and indeed further afield. If you have the money, then the thrill of exploring the far reaches of the galaxy, to see strange and wonderful life forms, to explore strange new worlds, all of this is intoxicating and exhilarating. And sometimes dangerous.

 

The Lor republic do of course have rules and guidelines about protecting biospheres, and even more importantly non space-faring cultures of whatever technological level. There are many strict rules about the transportation of alien species, requiring medical and biological clearance to avoid deadly contamination.

 

But space is vast, and policing all of these rules and regulations is effectively impossible. We are reliant on the goodwill and ethical principles of those that run these adventures. And one man has come to epitomise the most bold and dangerous side of the space Safari. The terran known as Starshot.

 

The story of Starshot starts with the well known criminal Zaul Zeno, who is missing after decacycles of life crimes. Starshot was one of his slaves, one of his experiments, but since Zeno disappeared, Starshot has effectively rid himself of his previous life and re-forged himself. He has been running a successful extreme safari business for cycles.

 

His expeditions are costly, and dangerous. An escape for the thrill seeking ultra-rich. Remarkably, despite facing such terrible beasts as the Ootoomoo Flying Wet Slug, the Vyzur Death Viper, and the Lopsided Foul Breathed Gubbin of Metolium 6 (about which the less said the better) there have been no fatalities. Some scars, of course. That just adds to the mystique. I understand Count Orto VanLipsink has resolutely refused to get his third arm replaced with a cybernetic model or have biomolecular regeneration. He insists he is extremely proud of having it chewed off by the Flying Wet Slug, and to have it replaced would be a disservice to the creature. Having met the Count personally I can attest to his determination. It is, I admit, quite the conversation piece. The Count has the Flying Wet Slug that chewed off his arm encased in preservium trans-plastic in his hall. Macabre, perhaps, but also poetic.

 

Starshot is the extreme. Many guests have come back thrilled. Many terrified. That is, I suppose, the appeal, to reach the most dangerous and unknown corners of space and come back with a story, or a trophy.

 

But what about these trophies? Getting dangerous and alien species through Lor Space is at best, legally grey. Starshot has done some valuable work for the scientific community in capturing non sentient species that could hold promise for biomedical science, and he is, by and large, a valued asset in the xenobiological scientific community. But some of the ultra-rich would ove a novel alien pet, either for their lap or for their private cage.

 

This is a debatable area. Even if it can be clearly established that alien species transportation is biologically safe, is it ethical?

 

It is here that matters become murky and dark. Tales of bribery and corruption amongst the wealthy and powerful. Officials taking backhanders, scientists waiving through dangerous creatures.

 

One can reasonably ask, how possible is it to police the galaxy against such smuggling. In the core Lor republic, perhaps. But on the outer reaches? On the pleasure palaces built on spectacular barren moons? Can we really stop the illegal transportation of alien species?

 

I have interviewed many veterans of safari’s, both those who run them and have partaken. I have spoken to law officials, politicians, starport administrators, scientists and businessmen. Nearly all agree, the laws are fine in principle, but unenforceable in execution. We are relying on the reputation and conduct of the men and women of the Safari.

 

As for Starshot, I cannot find any evidence of misdoing. Perhaps his former life has driven him from any such cruelty or callousness – for Zaul Zeno was surely the epitome of the cold and brutal side of the Space Safari. Indeed, I have found several examples of exemplary action.

There is, for instance, the example of Liir Spoon, the heir to the Spoon business. I am sure we are all aware how rich that dynasty is. Liir was determined to get a pet, a simian species from Epsilon Gamma 493, a notorious biodiverse jungle planet. Having procured a specimen, an Ooga, it soon became apparent that the creature was sentient. Liir, reprehensibly, wished to capture the creature anyway, to serve as a butler or pet, or some mangled blend of the two.

 

Starshot had nothing to do with this. He dropped off her off at the nearest mining colony without a word. Liir is still threatening legal action, but by every account Starshot was quite correct in his attitude. Maybe he was not legally or politically astute, for he has made a powerful enemy by not only frustrating Spoons’ mission, but by forcing her to suffer the ignobility of a roughneck mining station in the outer domains. She has not forgotten, nor forgiven. We shall see what comes of that clash of wills.

 

But within the broad safari community, such action was applauded. It gave their business a good name, and Starshot is held up as not just the boldest explorer of distant jungle moons, but as a man to imitate in ethics.

 

He will not only refuse to transport sentient beings, but has defended primitive cultures from exploitation. He has stopped the transportation of non-sentient beings when he has even a suspicion of dangerous use. Bioweaponry is a big business, and introducing dangerous fast breeding predators into an eco system could potentially wreak havoc on a world. Or several.

 

Sometimes, the stories suggest a stony resolve that is excessive both in the frequency and nature of his application. He is not, it seems, a man prone to the fiery explosive fits of rage that one can see in men and women of war and action. Those who know the man testify to a cold, steely, and even brutal resolve when he encounters things against his code. And a code he most surely has, because for all his gravel and grit, he would not harm anybody on his ship, no matter how vile. Even Liir Spoon was dropped off safely, even if she vexes and complains to this day about the filth and squalor she was subjected to.

 

He is not a man of explosive violence, but the icy directed violence that comes from brute determination. He kills rarely, and only when he must. But he has placed his cybernetic fist or hard boot on many face and many chest. He does not shirk from violence, but I would not judge him a violent man from my investigation. He is a man of course who loves the open worlds he explores, who loves the thrill of the hunt and the blood rush of excitement. But there is a certain honour in this for him. A ritual, perhaps. He appears to consider hunting a natural or primitive endeavour, and an honourable one.

 

But this does not apply to the flow and ebb of civilisations or sentients. Even the most cruel of criminals he would refrain from the death blow. In these core complex, possibly nauseating or confusing situations, violence is a tool and nothing more.

 

And so there we have it. An exciting, bold and dangerous business full of legal and ethical complexities. And at its head, a man of strange and turbulent past, a man both complex and simple, full of blood and bound by a code of his own determination. Starshot, man of the galaxy.

 

I must get my tail signed by him!

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Bloody Mess

Vera Crow, 86, Recounts her tale of Bloody Mess, and the Hound.

 

Would you like a cookie? I baked them. Burnt them a bit, I am afraid, but I still make the best darn cookies on Willowfield Street. Except for Greg Burns. I’d kill him to find his secret ingredient, I would. Wait…gosh darn it, he died last Summer. Or was it the summer before? Can’t rightly remember. Guess we shall never know how he made his cookies.

 

The Fens ain’t a bad place. Not really. We have a sense of community, of sorts. Now, I know we ain’t rich here, least for the most part. But we stick together. Well….for the most part. Eh, for the most part. Not always. No, not always.

 

We got our bad eggs. We got our rotten apples. And sometimes, we get even worse. It ain’t just people that poison the community these days. No, we got gangs, we got businesses, clubs, organisations. Worse thing is, they do things legal. Or at least try to. How we meant to fight that? They got lawyers and money and muscle. What do we have?

 

Well, I tell you what we got.

 

We got Bloody Mess.

 

The Bloodhound detective agency. They take on local cases, big or small. Try to get as much money as they can from you. They often do. That other fellow, what’s he called? Dogman? He’s a greedy little runt, I can tell you.

 

But not Bloody Mess. The Mess stands up for us. Makes sure they take on deserving cases for a discount. Sometimes free.

 

Let me tell you about this one time…

 

It was spring. Or summer. Can’t quite remember. Blazing hot, I remember that. Like Satan himself had his hot breath on Freedom City. You could hardly move without fainting, it was so hot. I swear it.

 

And the smell, oh sweet Mary, the smell. Do you remember the smell? You couldn’t forget it. I never shall, and my memory ain’t so good these days.

Oh, and I should tell you about the smell! It was terrible!

 

It was worst round here. Something vile. People started getting ill. Rumour spread pretty fast that someone was dumping chemicals in an abandoned warehouse. Cheap, I guess. A few bribed officials cheaper than disposing of it properly.

 

So, a bunch of us went to Bloody Mess and asked him for help. That little toe rag scrawny guy of his, he asked for cash, first. Then asked for our silver. But he soon shut up when the Mess gave him that look. You know, the look. The “Shut the hell up and do what I say look”. And it worked, too. Now, I gotta say, and the Lord Jesus forgive me for being so cruel, our Mess…well, he ain’t a smart cookie, is he?

 

Say, do you want one of my cookies? They are bit burnt…no? Oh well, suit yourself.

 

Now, he got the heart, has the Mess. But not the brains. And, credit where credit is due, that friend of his, when he puts his mind to it, it’s a pretty good mind. Took him just a day, or maybe two, and he had tracked down the company.

 

They went knocking on the company door’s first, of course. Due process and all that. But they got stonewalled. Just came hard up against the cold iron face of business. Even got threatened with law suit, I understand. The Mess had to be practically dragged out of the building, he was so worked up. Ever seen him pumped up, that blood of his belting round his body? Looked the strangest thing. We all thought he was going to explode, and that wouldn’t be pretty. Not pretty at all.

 

So, they got kicked back to the dirt. But Mess, well, he ain’t one to give up. Not when his blood is pumping. And he certainly has the blood. So, he goes direct to the source. Tries to get some evidence. He goes to the warehouse. Now, its guarded too. No trespassers, that kind of thing. Sure, he could have smacked the two goons about a bit. But…now, no offence, he ain’t too bright, we all know that, but what he lacks in the brains department he makes up in heart….well, anyway, he’s a bit slow, the Mess, but he seems to know how to stay on the right side of the law. Even if he don’t know the law that well. Guess that’s what his partners for, the Dogman. He used to be a cop, so he knows all about due process and evidence and all that.

 

Kind say I understand it all. But you don’t want to end up a wanted man, I guess. Cookie? No? well I’ll help myself one, even if they are a bit burnt, gosh darn it.

 

So now, nobody can prove nothing. And nobody round here is going to drop the Mess in it, ya understand? But we all pretty much knows. The Mess sneaked in. Well, not exactly the Mess. You ever seen him do his trick?

 

It ain’t pretty to watch, that’s for sure. I only saw it once, and I ain’t ever having blood pudding again, I can tell you.

 

So he kind of throws up his blood. Gosh, it’s awful to see. Gives me a bad tummy even think about it. Anyway, he does his business, and then there is this horrible little blob of blood. And his body is all kind of shrivelled.

 

That little blob of blood, it’s perfect for sneakin’ you see. And the Mess, well he snuck inside the warehouse and took some evidence. Proper evidence, with a camera and everything. Used his head for something other than head butting, just this once.

 

We all know it was him, but can’t prove anything. Some funny witness statements, vague, rumours, gossip. The police, well, they might have been ordered to investigate a trespasser. But they didn’t look that hard, you see? I guess they use some judgement. They want to catch crooks, not the crook catchers.

 

So, the dumpsters got caught, and the chemicals safely disposed of. The Fens ain’t ever going to smell of roses, but it stopped smelling like the backside of Beelzebub. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Literally. I mean, we could breathe again without feeling like we had snorted a line of sulphur.

Thing is, the Mess never really got thanked. Not official, anyway. He got plenty of high fives and some home cooked meals – boy that boy can eat! – but never any public congratulation or recognition. Or, I suppose, his buddy the Dogman. Gotta give credit there, even if it does burn the lips saying the words. The Mess would be lost without him.

 

But I don’t think the Mess minded. The Fens know what happened, even if they can’t proper say it. The Mess might not have a medal – he broke the law, I guess – but he earned respect. And he seems happy enough with that. He grew up in the Fens, its in his blood – all that boiling super powered blood – and he seems just happy to make the Fens that little bit better.

 

That’s my story. Feel free to take some cookies home with you. And if you tell the cops what the Mess did for us, then feel free to ram that cookie right up your…

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