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Avenger Assembled

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  • Birthday 11/10/1981

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  1. The Patriot would have told La Puma Negra that her responsibility was to protect everybody, even her - until the godling showed up. Sweating, Ashley tried to speak again and found that she couldn't, her mind already spinning ahead with images of permanent muteness, her career, her relationship...no, that's stupid. You know how it is with Quirk. He plays his game, then he's done. You just have to play the game right. While she was having a small existential crisis, Quirk raised his hand and said "Hello there, kitty cat. I am Quirk." He smiled as the baby on his lap waved exuberantly. "My little girl here is a big fan. I bet you can give her a good show, can't you?" He gave a cold, pitiless look to the Patriot, then smirked faintly. "Oh my dear Patriot, upset that your kitty days are behind you? What a shame, what a shame. Stay up here and don't interrupt, or there'll be two catgirls going back to Claremont."
  2. Eira was not naked, contrary to the implications of questions that certain people had asked her about her plans for the Gala. The string bikini she was wearing was a little racy by American standards but Americans were rather prudish about such things in her experience. It wasn’t as if she was going to get cold at the Hades Gala. Or anywhere else, for that matter. The bikini itself was an opaque shade of blue with words written on them in bright gold - CHEEKY. It was a reminder to herself about the right attitude to have alongside Pan and in the company of gods and heroes; and it was a message to anyone who actually saw the string bikini. Most people wouldn’t. What most people would see Eira wearing was a gorgeous blue and white rococo dress, with flowers in a Y-shape down the chest of a darling white-laced blue jacket and curlicue paisley patterns at the floor-length hemline and a festive white feathered hat on top Or maybe they’d see her in a blue that was almost metallic, covered in white lace down the sides and in ruffs at the sleeves, topped with a big blue hat that perfectly matched the colors of the outfit underneath. Or maybe a dress that was more aquamarine than blue, with white-gold lace everywhere and a carnival mask over her eyes, her fingers adorned with glittering jewels. Or maybe any number of increasingly implausible dresses, all of them long and brilliant, gleaming with jewels and lace and color, the sort of thing she could wear now that she wasn’t hiding from herself at Claremont but in full flower of the being she’d always wanted to be. Eira wasn’t actually wearing any of these outfits, of course. A cunning series of implanted holographic projectors (which she’d installed into her latest body with her own two hands) let her adopt whatever style she wanted; and after much debate she had decided to simply wear all the outfits she liked, all of them drawn from the rococo stylings that she personally found the most attractive of any old-fashioned style. Sure the outfits were impractical - but she wasn’t really wearing them, so what was the problem? The outfits switched back and forth on a randomized cycle, saccading quickly enough that only an inhumanly fast eye could see through to what Eira was actually wearing underneath. Eira herself could do this, so could Pan, and anyone else whose vision could penetrate holograms - but if they had that kind of power, let them look. All they would see was what Eira herself had made. (After all, she’d made the bikini too) Oh she knew there was trouble afoot at the gala, a god’s sinister schemes and brave heroes who would defeat it. You didn’t have to be clever to see that, and Eira Katastroff was very clever indeed. If anyone called for Angelic to save the day, or even just cause some trouble to make it happen, she’d be there for them. But she had faith in the heroes of Freedom to save the day. In the meantime, what was wrong with having a little fun?
  3. Summers would have used this as a teaching opportunity, Ashley mused: but those men had what looked like real machine guns and this was a teenager. Superpowered or not. "There's no cell service out this far, but you can use the phone on the wall..." She glanced towards the phone and relaxed fractionally when she realized it wasn't a rotary dial. Thank God, place isn't that old. And then something happened. The two heroes were joined by two more people; well, one man and a baby. The man looked to be in his mid-twenties, a short brown goatee on his chin wearing what looked like old, comfortable clothes. Sitting on his lap was a chubby-faced tot in a cat costume, really a black onesie with floppy ears. Naturally the baby reacted eagerly to La Puma Negra, chortling happily and waving pink fists at her. The Patriot almost shot the man in the face before she recognized him. "Oh-" "Ssh!" The man held up his finger and though the Patriot's lips moved, no sound came out. "Don't swear in front of the baby."
  4. Neko wrinkled her nose briefly once she'd pieced together the woman's Japanese. "Yes. I speak English okay." She hesitated, thinking about what she knew about the dead demon in the neighborhood. "I know about him. But I can help. I am not from here. But I can talk to them. My Japanese is very - old and country. I am like a...Japanese hillbilly," she said, remembering the phrase Raina had used.
  5. "Excellent," said Ashley, her sunglasses in her hand as she smiled at the fox-woman. "I'm going to wear mostly black with a feline theme to match what used to be my costumed identity; so keep that in mind when you're assembling your own outfit. We don't want to show up wearing the same thing," she added. "Even if it's just us girls going out on the town. I think if anyone asks how we met, we should stick to the truth - I met you through my government work and invited you out to the Hades Gala so that we wouldn't have to go stag. That, uh, means going out to a couples event solo," she added, wondering if the term had a very different meaning in Jean's home dimension. "You won't have to pretend anything more than friendship, since several people who'll be there know I'm with someone."
  6. Neko stared at Betsy with big eyes and ears flat against the top of her head, an expression mirrored by all the watching cats, relaxing a little once she saw the ID. She started to say "I don't know anything about that" when Betsy finished speaking; her usual way of responding to English statements that didn't make no sense, until she finished processing all of her words. "Private investigator. Sam Spade. Maltese Falcon?" she said out loud as she remembered. As the film rattled to a halt, silence fell in the barracks. "What did the film teach you, children?" Miko, ever-ready, raised her hand and earned a nod from the Katana. Neko had hardly been able to process what was happening; so many people together in one place, all of them speaking a foreign language. But she'd managed to puzzle out who Sam Spade was; a lone force of righteousness amid a city wrapped in vice. "Americans are all criminals or liars," said the girl frankly, "and greedy treasure-seekers to boot..." Neko blinked away the memories and added "You are very big and strong. I am just a girl alone." The cats seemed to prove that a lie. "What are you investigating?"
  7. The men down below appeared to be in the middle of an argument, some shouting, some waving their fists, and one with glasses peering at a paper roadmap. Pressed up against the wall behind Puma, the Patriot was peering down too, and her breath caught audibly as the map with the map opened the trunk of the old car to reveal full cloth sacks with dollar signs on them. Ashley muttered a rude remark under her breath and checked something at her wrist before murmuring softly, "It's still 2022."
  8. That will work! Okay, posting now
  9. The argument between the girls (if you could still call them that) wasn't quite finished; the air almost visibly crackling with the stress of their angry regard for each other. Then, as on an unspoken signal, they broke it off together and looked at Davyd. "Is that so different from your own society?" parried Kay after a time. "There are always limitations on resources; those who have more and those who have less. The difference here is that all have the same chance to gain them. And as we grow, so too will our resources. A fully synthetic society will not have the limitations we have today." Still fuming, Eira had moved away, standing near the edge of the studio. "Is that your intent? Global domination?" "If we can uplift all the world, and the world wants to be uplifted, why not?" asked Kay. "That is no more domination than the spread of democracy means British domination, or Wal-Mart American. Besides, Eira, can you tell me you don't think the world would be better off it were more synthetic?" "We are not visiting my place, yes?" parried Eira in return. "I am not the one who sided with Talos."
  10. "Hades has invaded Earth, tried to corrupt its champions, and at least once he tried teaming up with Baron Samedi to raise an army of the undead. He's what the US government calls a League-class threat. We know we don't have the power to fight him directly, so when he stages something, we sit back and direct the metahumans at him." Well that was leaving a few things out, but there was no reason to discuss the Titan missiles that were targeted at Freedom City and similar points of interest. Just in case. "And he's immortal, so this so-called 'reform' isn't going to last even if it's genuine." Ashley smiled thinly. "He's had fifty years to tell us who he is. As far as attending the gala, I'm fairly sure most of the metas attending are going to keep an eye out for whatever trap Hades is going to spring." Ashley spread her hands and said, "Cards on the table. The United States government wants more than just the Freedom League's say-so that people are keeping an eye on Hades. They want to make sure that we have someone on the inside; and that honor falls to yours truly. But if I show up stag, that's going to look suspicious - and it's not really the kind of party even I can infiltrate. But if I show up with a date, a metahuman everyone recognizes, that gives me more freedom of action. So..." She hesitated only briefly before saying, "I'm asking you to volunteer to come with me to the Hades Gala. Uh, don't worry, this is just for work," she added, blushing faintly, "I...well, my girlfriend isn't going to be in town for the party....anyway, this is something that could have some lasting benefits for you. Working with the US government isn't exactly respectable among some metahumans, but it's something that can work to your advantage. Now, and in the future. You're going to be living here for a while, right?"
  11. Neko listened carefully, her eyes narrow and head tilted slightly, ears pointed forward and hands folded in front of her. It was actually easier to understand Set the more she heard the Egyptian kami talk; even though the subjects were very different, his command of the English language wasn't so different than Owain's. She listened to Sekhmet too, albeit with a faint lowering of her head and attitude of more proper respect. It was certainly true that her videos for the Internet were not exactly respectable work - not the sort of thing her parents would have wanted her to do, had the world kept turning the way it should have. But there were no fields to till here or men like her to marry, and nobody was terribly interested in her hand at soba or spinning. "It is like - performing in a show," she offered. "You must be very...big if you want big money. Oh, you - " She tilted her head, then nodded. "All right. I have a friend who wants to see you. Please, do not be surprised." At that moment, something distinctly happened on Neko's right shoulder and a monkey appeared as he had always been there. He wore a service animal's harness and a leash that disappeared somewhere into Neko's kimono but he didn't look like a service animal, especially with the way he was tapping away at an Archetech-brand smartphone that Set recognized as one of the high-end models social media types used. This impression was only heightened when the monkey introduced himself as Merlin, Neko's manager (though this got him a friendly buzz from Red) and thanked Set for the recent social media support.
  12. Ashley smiled faintly in return. "I've had some experiences with other dimensions myself. I know what a culture shock it can be. There's actually another dimension out there where I'm told that I am the Raven, if you can believe that." She grinned, projecting the idea of just how ridiculous that was. She took a seat, then removed her dark glasses so she could look Predator in the eye. "But you've done well for yourself despite that. I know you haven't been here long, but you've had a chance to make a name in the super community. I understand you received an invitation to what people in the mask community are calling the Hades Gala?"
  13. Ashley hesitated, thinking about what to say. Yeah, tell the girl who'll never be able to sit down at a restaurant without people staring that you know how she feels. "Claremont has a way of forgetting there's a real world outside of putting on a costume and adopting a codename. But there is a real world out there," she said, tapping the window. "If you're a superhero 24 hours a day, you'll go crazy. You need to figure out who you are." She hesitated again, then said "Listen, if you're interested, I can -" Whatever she was about to say was interrupted by noises from down below. Peering out the window over the small kitchenette, the pair realized there were strangers outside - an old-fashioned car had just pulled up nearby the tower, a big black roadster full of men in old-fashioned suits that came quickly tumbling out.
  14. "When I was at Claremont," said the Patriot reflectively, "my teachers would have told me it was to build character and not actually explained a damn thing. I'm here to show you a place you can get away from it all." The walk up the hill (which you could technically call a hike if you wanted to) turned out to end in a tower, a wooden tower that actually rose above the treeline and ended in what looked like a small house. "The woods here catch on fire all the time," said the Patriot as they started climbing the steps up the side of the tower, "so they put people out here in the firewatch tower every summer to keep an eye out for smoke. Even in the days of cell phones and superpowers, nothing's better for protecting the woods than eyes and a phone." Up inside, the three-room dwelling turned out to be covered with a fine layer of dust that suggested nobody had been here in a while. "Nobody's on duty right now, but they'll be filling it up soon with fire season starting."
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