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Electra

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Freedom City Guidebook

Freedom City PBP: A How-To Guide

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  1. "This is boring," Danica agreed, flipping her book shut. "I've already done the comparative religion unit twice." She'd celebrated the holiday by braiding a little crown of some early wood sorrel she'd found, the shamrock-like leaves looking very seasonal indeed in her dark hair. The rest of the handful of leaves she'd brought as a snack, popping one occasionally into her mouth with every sign of relish. "We could hop the wall and take the train downtown, go to the mall and see a movie," she suggested. "A real mall-mall, not a strip mall. They're great for hanging out in, I've seen so many movies about it."
  2. Gina scanned the flowchart, one eyebrow raised as her eidetic memory absorbed the fairly significant amount of data. "Yeah, I'd say it's just as well," she agreed dryly. "As romantic as it sounds to be argued into accepting a proposal, this was probably better all around." She hesitated for a moment then looked up at him, pursing her lips with sudden nerves. "It's going to be complicated," she told him. "I've... I've been working on it, but I'm not ready to go public yet. I don't know when I'm going to be. And I don't want to marry you as Miss Americana. That would just be messed up. I'm not sure how we're going to make it all work out in front of the public."
  3. Erin stared back at Trevor and didn't complete the sentence, instead moving her shoulders in a way that indicated mild discomfort. "You could try and get a temporary assignment in Europe," she offered instead. "We have a friend working for the UN, he might know some places that need coastal defense, or underwater cleanup,, or, I dunno, fish diplomacy?" She plucked two cocoa packets from the box and began shaking them to distribute their contents to the bottom. "If you're going to be over there for a little while, you can get to know him before you do anything, and maybe if things are good you can make it a recurring thing, or something." Her normally pale cheeks were suffusing with additional blood flow, which might mean that she was about to go and hide in her bedroom.
  4. "Saving him from aliens and telling him you like the way he looks are good first steps," Erin told Aquaria, and now she was grinning for some reason. She might have just been happy to hear that the courtship was proceeding apace. "Does he do any hero work? If you can team up with him a few more times, that would probably be good. He'll get a chance to see you in action.. It might be worth finding your way across the ocean to visit, even. How fast do you swim?"
  5. "Oh, is that what that was?" Erin asked Trevor, raising one eyebrow and giving him a look that Aquaria had never seen Jessie make. "I guess if it's effective..." She turned back to Aquaria to listen to the description of Sergeant Shark's courtship behaviors. "You bit... his face? And that was... good, I take it?" Her voice was hesitant, but she was still not poised to flee, so that was a good sign. "If he likes how you smell, that's probably good. Where exactly does he live?"
  6. "Sergeant... Shark? Like, he's a shark?" Erin asked, then seemed to struggle for words for a moment before becoming aware of her mate's presence. She gave Trevor a look that on Jessie would've meant that whatever fun thing Aquaria was doing was probably going to have to stop. "You could jump in here anytime," she invited him, her voice a slightly more pointed pitch than it had been. "I mean," she added, her lips curving, "I'm assuming not every guy electrocutes himself to show a girl he's serious, but you could add a valuable male perspective on this question."
  7. Erin's forehead became wrinkled as she flared her nostrils and narrowed her eyes. This was Jessie's thinking face, and in Aquaria's experience it could go on for some time. After a few moments, Erin moved her shoulders up and down. "I guess it's pretty much the same as it is between two women," she ventured. "You meet each other, you date for awhile and see if you have chemistry... um, see if that person gives you feelings like maybe you want to, ah, mate with them. And you have to decide if you're ready to do that sort of thing, and if it's a good idea, and if they want to mate with you. It's, you know, a process." She shifted from foot to foot, another indicator of Jessie being ready for a walk, but didn't leave.
  8. Erin stilled abruptly, a box of hot cocoa mix hanging limply in her hand. She did not say anything at all for a few moments, but her eyes had gone wider. If Jessie's eyes had done that, it would mean that she was probably going to go for a walk around the tower soon. Erin did not, though. She carefully set the box on the counter and laced her fingers together in front of her. "That's very personal," she observed, her voice slow and precise. "I might not want to answer your questions about that. What did you want to know?"
  9. Aquaria had been left to work alone for a few hours before Erin came down, barefoot and wearing a sweatsuit with a faded logo for Ocean Heights amusement park across the front. She blinked as she walked into the kitchen, making a face that on Jessie's identical face would mean she was about to go have alone time in her room for awhile. "Hey Aquaria. That's... that is definitely quite a smell you've got going there. Fish again?" She rubbed one hand over her nose and mouth like she was checking for stray crumbs, then touched the button that turned the vent hood up to maximum. That was probably a good idea because it ventilated the air and minimized the risk of fire. With that accomplished, Erin turned and began rummaging hastily in the pantry closet.
  10. "We went to Freedom Hall in eighth grade," Danica commented, rolling fully up to a sitting position again. "If you're on the Nicholson field trip, they show you things that the public doesn't get to see, like the communication tower and the locker rooms. And then somebody from the Aux team tells you that if you work hard in school and learn to manage your powers responsibly, you could be on the League too someday. I got to do the field trip twice," she added, sounding pleased, "because I was in eighth grade twice. We had Fleur de Joie one year and Gabriel the next. It was before they got bumped to main team." She looked over at Abigail, her eyes going a little wide. "You live in the castle on the skyscraper? I see that all the time, but I didn't know anybody actually lived there. I thought it was, like, a museum or something? Is it really castley inside, or do you have wifi and Nintendo and hot water and stuff?"
  11. "You could do that?" Danica asked Micah, sitting up as her interest was piqued. "Make like, a giant hair-dryer tunnel of warm to get from one building to the other? Sign me up for that!" She looked pleased at the idea. "I mean, cars are good, but you still have to go outside to get into the car, and the car is cold too, and sometimes it just makes more sense to fall into deep hibernation until spring." Danica had never actually hibernated, but she was getting awfully tired of the weather in New Jersey. She craned her head around to look at Monica. "Trip? What trip?"
  12. Danica sat up from her stretch and gave Micah and Corinne an absolutely woeful look before flopping onto her back, a maneuver complicated by the fact that her shell stopped her at a 30-degree angle from the floor. "I can't go out and study," she repeated dramatically, "because it is too cold! Have you ever noticed that there aren't many tortoises living in the wild in Alaska? Or in New Jersey for that matter?" She rocked from side to side a bit on her shell. "Somebody's going to have to carry me. Or at least bring me food so I don't die."
  13. "I'll help you with quadratic equations if you want," Danica said from her seat on the floor. She was wearing a sweatsuit and doing stretching exercises, the sort of phys ed she could do and still keep up with the class. She was surprisingly bendy for someone with a hard shell. The seated forward fold she was in now did make her look a bit weird, like a turtle with all four limbs sticking out the front. "Once you get the factoring down, they aren't so bad. But somebody please tell me I'm not the only one blowing off the history paper for next week? I need to get to the library, but that's far away and it's cold out!"
  14. Gina cocked her head at him and smiled a little, her eyebrows going up. "Oh my god, you told the Interceptors you were going to propose, didn't you," she guessed. The thought was enough to have her laughing. "I can't begin to imagine what kind of strategies they must have come up with, especially since they think you're dating Miss Americana the high-profile CEO superhero." She patted him on the chest with both hands. "Thank you so much for not listening to them. I would've hated to die of embarrassment on such a nice day."
  15. Gina stared at him for another second, then reached out all at once and grabbed the ring, box and all, pulling it in towards her chest before she could sabotage herself the way she always did. "Yeah, okay. Yes. Yes." She ran the tips of her fingers over the ring, the analytical part of her mind calculating color, cut, clarity, the weight of the materials and filing them away as mostly unimportant. It was cool and solid and real and hers. She looked up at Steve again. "We're probably both crazy," she told him solemnly. "But no takebacks."
  16. Back when Gina had first come into her powers, she'd constructed tests to measure the cognition speed of her newly enhanced brain. Even back then, she'd been able to think at something like twenty times human average, and a bit more when it came to computer processing. She'd only gotten faster since. As a result, the experience of having a completely blank mind was rather novel. She stared at the box, feeling the runaway train of breakup-panic speed off into the distance without a blessed thing to replace it. "Steve... I..." She looked up at his face, a little startled by the naked emotions there. "Are you sure?"
  17. Miss Americana chuckled a little. "Believe it or not, yours are not the most unusually-shaped eyes I've had to figure out light protection for. But if you're good, we won't worry about it." She adjusted a few readouts, turned the blue light to a soft amber as another machine took a very close look at his feet. "So what's your favorite part about Earth Prime so far?" she asked conversationally. "Have you been able to get out and do much yet? Tried much of the cuisine or the music? Freedom City's no New York, but we've got our share of world culture."
  18. Gina hadn't so much as picked up her fork, fiddling with her napkin instead until Steve stilled her fidgeting with his hand. She thought back to the first night they'd spent together, how sad they'd both been, how despairing of ever having anything better. They'd come a long way from that, she thought, they had a pretty good gig going... if you were looking at it from the perspective of somebody in a deep hole of depression. To anybody, well, anybody even a little bit normal, it probably still seemed like a complete disaster, especially for Steve. "Well, you deserve better," Gina offered, trying her best to make her voice sound like she meant it. She was terrible at lying outside her Miss A armor. "You deserve to be happy, whatever that looks like for you."
  19. "I'm not sure anything short of picking me up and shaking me would've woken me," Gina admitted. "I was up till five reworking the security firewalls for Claremont just to keep all the little metahuman script kiddies busy." She yawned and stole a piece of bacon, then set it down again when Steve mentioned wanting to talk. Talking wasn't necessarily bad... but it wasn't exactly good, either. And Steve was exactly the sort of guy who would think it was appropriate to provide a gift to accompany bad news. "All right," she said, just a little bit carefully. "I've got the time if you do." She took the plate he handed to her and carried it to the table, sitting down at the spot obviously laid out for her.
  20. "When I am ready?" Gina mused aloud, studying the note. It was obviously important somehow, but she wasn't exactly sure what he meant by ready. Sleep in if she wanted? Get dressed for the day before braving the kitchen? She decided she was too hungry and curious to take a shower and get dressed before finding Steve, but compromised by putting on yoga pants and a sweatshirt and brushing her hair before venturing out into the house. "You're up early," she observed as her bare feet hit the kitchen tiles. "Smells good."
  21. Miss A nodded absently, most of her attention still on the readings she was taking. "Barring supervillainy, yeah. I've got a conference call with Tokyo at seven, but I don't think it's going to take very long. Will you bring dinner home?" She touched a few controls and the blue lights shifted pattern, one of them turning yellow and faintly warm as it played over the cyborg's body. "How long have you been free?" she asked Delta. "All the way, I mean. Did you break away before the big power shakeup, or more recently than that?" She wasn't as up on the history and politics of the Terminus as she perhaps ought to have been, but it was one of Steve's least favorite subjects in the entire universe so she tended to let it go. "If the light's too bright I can give you sunglasses."
  22. "Metal on your body is fine," Miss A assured him, "it'll just be easier to get a scan of it without anything in the way." She did a brief double-take when Delta showed up naked for the scan, but kept her expression pleasantly neutral despite the surprise. Once Delta was settled on the table, several devices that looked like boxy cameras descended on robotic arms from the ceiling, pausing a few feet over his body. "None of this should hurt," she reiterated from the control panel on the other side of the room. "If you feel any discomfort or you need a break, tell me right away." The devices began to hum with activity, one of them bathing a soft blue light over various parts of Delta's body. "Can you tell me a little more about your history?"
  23. Danica seemed loathe to admit it out loud, but her face said clearly that she hadn't been entirely sure Ashley wouldn't shoot those people. She diplomatically changed the subject instead. "But at least we got Judy her dress, and now we've got a case study to talk about in class, just like the upperclassmen! I just wish I'd thought to record it, but I was too busy freaking out," she admitted frankly. "Maybe next time." She turned to Micah. "And if you've made any progress on those shoe things, I'd love to try them out! I was super-awkward in there, the aisles were so close that if I'd had to retreat, I'm not sure I couldn't turned around!" The mental picture had her laughing, for all it could've been a tight spot.
  24. "Yeah, I'm fine," Danica assured Micah, leaning over the seat to talk to the kids in the row ahead of her. She'd vanished her shell by this point and looked like her human self again, though it had been tough to wedge her Segway into the tiny cargo area of the van. "I wasn't really at any risk, guns can't hurt me and if something is too scary I can just make my shell weigh a thousand pounds and hide in it. They taught us all kinds of escape and evasion back at Nicholson," she confided, "it's what we learned instead of superhero stuff, just in case. I was bad at escaping and evading, but I'm super-good at hiding!" She seemed quite cheerful despite her deficits in this area. "I was more worried about the poor clerk, he seemed really scared and confused." She gave Ashley a look that was just a little bit disapproving. "I think maybe we didn't really need to break his door down."
  25. Miss Americana gave Steve a look that was both affectionate and exasperated. "It was a misunderstanding, he was in his armor and in the middle of an emergency situation. It took us a few moments to realize he wasn't the one who caused the emergency and was actually trying to help. Nobody's going to shoot you with lasers here," she promised, then reconsidered. "Well, nothing that's not harmless and diagnostic, anyway." When the elevator opened again they were in a quiet, empty and very clean hallway. Miss A stepped out first and led the way to a double-airlock door that opened into an expansive lab full of equipment that looked sophisticated and expensive, but mostly was impossible to determine the function of. A robot that looked like an upended trashcan with arms rolled up to her and presented her with a tablet and a surgical cap. Aside from it and two others like it, they were alone in the lab. "Thank you, Emerson," Miss A murmured, briskly twisting her blonde hair back into a bun and securing it under the cap. "All right, Delta, if you could step behind that curtain over there, you'll find some surgical gowns and drapes. If you feel more comfortable keeping some or all of your clothes on, you can keep anything that doesn't have metal on it. When you're ready, you can climb onto the table." Her meaning was obvious; the entire lab was centered around the table that stood alone in the center of it. It wasn't made of stainless steel like much of the equipment, rather it seemed to be made of some plastic or foam substance and actually looked like it might be almost comfortable if it were in an austere bedroom instead of in the middle of a research facility. "Take your time, I'll be setting up."
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