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Electra

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Freedom City Guidebook

Freedom City PBP: A How-To Guide

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  1. "If you can't fight with somebody and then be okay afterwards, then how are you ever going to be able to relax around them?" Danica mused aloud. "I mean, nobody gets along all the time, right?" She brightened. "But you can come into my shell if you want, I just cleaned it and everything! Rocking forward, Danica plunked down chest-first onto the floor and wriggled until she'd disappeared fully inside the black and gold patterned shell. As soon as she was no longer visible, the shell began to grow, spreading up and out till it was the size of a pup tent. The neck opening was big enough to crawl inside, if one didn't mind tight places. "Come on in!" Danica called, her voice a little echoey from inside.
  2. "Well, maybe Ashley was trying to protect you, then?" Danica suggested. "I mean, she seems to be kind of..." Overprotective seemed at once too blunt and perhaps not quite strong enough. "She seems really invested in keeping you safe. I guess that probably gets to be a drag." She slid out of her shell, a sight that never got entirely less weird, and leaned back against it, now clad in a black and yellow t-shirt and blue jeans. "I mean, being safe is good, especially with you guys coming from where you do, but it gets suffocating, yeah?" She gave Judy a raised-eybrow look. "Did he say he was sorry?"
  3. Danica raised her eyebrows. "She's your big sister, right? I don't have a big sister myself, but if television has taught me anything, it's that butting into your life is basically her full-time job, and vice versa. I mean, think about when you were younger, you were always getting into her stuff and following her around, right? You guys are always going to be tangled up in each others' lives." She rocked from side to side a little. "I guess the main point was whether Leroy was actually being an idiot. Was he?"
  4. "Probably a good idea," Miss A agreed. "We do run into those all hands on deck situations from time to time. Plus, going out for god knows how long into space with only AIs you've programmed yourself is a recipe for going stir crazy." She grinned at him. "Even Mike Nelson had some evil scientists to talk to. But space is a busier place than we used to give it credit for, you could probably find some company out there without too much trouble. I know some Earth heroes have gone to space permanently already."
  5. "You didn't upset me," Danica assured her easily. "I see a lot worse than that in powers training. There's only so much you can do with a hero whose main power is being too sturdy to hurt, so they mostly work on my emotional abilities. Last year they took me to the courthouse and I just had to sit in the gallery for an entire afternoon of divorce court and see if I could keep anybody from screaming or throwing a punch at anybody else. It was messed up." She shook her head, not seeming terribly fazed by that memory either. "But I wouldn't do that to you," she assured Judy, "stop your fights, I mean, not unless you wanted me to. It seems kind of rude, and emotion control's a little ethically tricky." She leaned back on her elbows, only a little bit because most of her weight balanced on the shell. "What was today supposed to be like?"
  6. It was easy to miss Danica, curled up in a beanbag chair by the window; with the roundness of her shell and the general not-quite-humanoid outline it gave her, she looked more like a second beanbag stacked on top of the first. "Sorry! Danica told her, sounding a little embarrassed. "I would've left when you started yelling, but you know how long it takes me to get out of a room. It would've been like one of those movie scenes where the climactic battle has to stop while the creaky little old lady crosses the screen with her walker." She pursed her lips and looked at Judy. "Are you okay?"
  7. "There is something to be said for a return in triumph," Miss A allowed, "as long as you think that the people whose minds you're hoping to change will actually be impressed." She leaned back in her seat, nearly slumping but not quite losing that excellent posture. "If I've learned anything in this job, it's that the public is a fickle creature, and never wants to pay attention to the things you want to highlight. I have lost count of how many press conferences I've given where clean energy or prosthetic advancements or shareholder confidence has been ignored by the press in favor of talking about whether my skirt was too short or long.On the other hand," she allowed with a tip of her head, "they do love a good redemption story. Are you planning on going alone?"
  8. A small smile curved Miss Americana's perfectly bowed lips. "Well, it would be pretty goddamned hypocritical of me to tell anybody that running away from the past and all its problems isn't a viable solution. At least, not for the short term. I hear that there's plenty of work for a genius scientist to do out in space, you could probably do a lot of good out there. Maybe make a name for yourself with people who don't have any preconceived notions. The thing about running away, though..." She sighed a little, leaning back in her seat. "The longer you stay gone, the harder it is to ever go back."
  9. "When I was little, I thought the mall was the raddest place in the world," Danica admitted cheerfully, seeming happy to follow Judy's instructions as they left the theater. Her Segway hummed cheerfully up the aisle, running over bits of popcorn as she went. "All the cool kids hung out there and had Orange Julius and got Glamour Shots." She sighed wistfully. "At least Orange Julius is still around." She looked over at Aja and Pan. "I guess probably no real malls where you guys are from, either." Her eyes rounded a little. "I wonder if this one has a Spencer's," she mused. "We could probably go in there, since there aren't any adults with us."
  10. Miss A thought about this for a moment, which for someone with her processing capability was a long consideration indeed. "Well, I can't say I've enjoyed my own space travel much at all," she finally offered, "but some people take to it much more readily. You, for instance, would probably not be traveling cargo." She studied him, cocking her head slightly to one side. "I suppose the merit of the idea depends somewhat on the intent. Are you excited by the possibilities of traveling in space, or is it that you consider the mysteries of space preferable to the certain unpleasantness of rebuilding your life on Earth?" Her voice was not unkind, but it was blunt.
  11. "I don't really know," Miss A admitted. "Most of the heroes I work with don't talk about that sort of thing much, at least not with me." She smiled, a little wry. "I have to cultivate my air of friendly aloofness, after all. But it's certainly possible that some people who might have been having problems thought about getting professional help when they realized what the potential consequences could be." She smoothed her hands over the hem of her already pin-straight skirt. "For my part, I didn't start going until my fiance encouraged me. It's been a bit of a long road, but you know how that goes." She studied him for a moment, "Have you been able to source all the nutrients you need, and facilities for healthcare and... repair, if necessary?" She offered the word delicately, not wanting to offend, not sure what else to call it.
  12. "No whipped cream, but I do have sweet creamer," she offered, pouring coffee into an insulated paper cup. Only one cup, of course, she wouldn't bother to pretend to drink in front of him. When his coffee was fixed up she gave it to him, then sat across from him and folded one leg neatly over the other. "I promised myself I'd do what I had to in order to keep the company alive," she told him, unvarnished truth. "And I was angry at you at the time, very angry and disappointed," she admitted, "but I hope you don't think that anything I did with the company was out of animus. I... we had to separate from you to survive." Miss A sighed, ran perfectly manicured fingers through her perfect hair, disordering the pins slightly. "There's a lot of water under the bridge since then. We've both gotten some much-needed therapy, I think." She smiled thinly. "I like to think I at least understand a little more than I did."
  13. "I understand the feeling, to a certain extent," she told him wryly, "but I'm afraid I don't have much advice to offer. Would you like coffee, tea, a doughnut?" She gestured to the little kitchenette and its full coffeepot and electric kettle. "People keep telling me to get a Keurig, but the coffee it makes is just so bad." Miss A stepped over to the kitchenette, ready to serve up as requested. "Please, have a seat, make yourself comfortable. I have to admit, I'd noticed you come into town, but I wasn't sure you'd be getting in touch."
  14. The building looked vacant, as promised, the dual storefronts both slightly dusty and containing furniture that spoke of some old failed business ventures. Around the back there was a single security light burning over a heavy fire door. That door swung open as the doctor approached, silent and smooth and automatic. Inside, there was no trace of office equipment, rather a spotlessly clean and well-equipped electronics lab filled the majority of the space. At a glance, most of this workspace was devoted to robotics of one sort or another, both maintenance and fabrication. Schematics for a detached left leg filled the closest computer screen. Off to the side was a sitting area with a sofa and two comfortable but worn chairs, and the smell of fresh coffee was strong in the air. Miss Americana stepped forward from one of the computer consoles to greet him. She was dressed as impeccably as ever, a smart navy twinset with red accents and a white labcoat thrown on over it. Her long blonde hair was pinned back for lab work. "Doctor Archeville, so nice to see you again," she said with the studied pleasantness of a businesswoman. "How have you been finding the return to town?"
  15. "How about this evening, maybe nine PM?" she replied. "The parking lot is gated but I'll pass you in when you arrive." She gave him the address and the major cross-streets, a good-sized office park in an area of the city that hadn't quite realized its potential yet. "It's the third building on the left, just look for one with the E.G.E Realty signs in the front windows. I like to keep up a front that keeps away the curious without looking too forbidding. The actual door is around the back."
  16. "Thank you," she replied smoothly, "but your past apologies are more than sufficient, especially given the external factors in play. I'd be happy to meet with you and catch up on your progress and your plans. Would you mind coming to my personal lab on Diligence Way? There's more privacy there, less logistics." Fewer prying eyes, she didn't bother to add, less chance for a camera to pick up the disgraced man entering his company and starting a news story that Archetech couldn't afford. The main office in Freedom City still had picketers a few times a week even all these years later, to say nothing of the conspiracy theorists online. She wouldn't want to give them any fresh meat to chew over.
  17. "Thank you, Taylor," Miss Americana said, smoothly breaking into the call from her office desk. "I appreciate your diligence, but I will speak with Dr. Archeville myself." She waited until the slightly rattled assistant had hung up, then let silence hang on the call just a moment longer, a silence filled with unspoken words. Miss Americana had done a lot for Archetech in the years since she had taken it over, had been perhaps the only person who could have saved it in the wake of the incredible public relations disaster that had befallen it when its founder had gone so publicly villainous. The way she'd done it, though, had been to ruthlessly sever all connection with that founder, disavowing his actions and scrubbing him from institutional memory so thoroughly that his name was mentioned only twice on the company's entire website. (The Wikipedia page was quite a different story, despite her best efforts.) It had worked, but it was entirely plausible that the man himself might see it as a slight, if not an outright betrayal from his handpicked successor. "It's been quite a long time, Doctor," Miss Americana finally said, her mellifluous voice carefully neutral. "You wanted to see me?"
  18. Jessie came out of the kitchen, albeit slightly reluctantly, carrying the tray of cupcakes again. She offered them around the room, sort of half-heartedly, as though hoping somebody would take a cupcake and that would count as social interaction. A few years of school had gotten her slightly better at interacting socially with friends and strangers, but most of the people in the room right now fell in the sticky area right between, not quite strangers, but not quite familiar either. It was a lot easier when she had a job to do. "Do you need something to drink?" she asked Aquaria, who could forget and start to dry out if she got very busy talking.
  19. "Well, Wonderpark was imaginary," Danica reminded him, "but there are amusement parks around, and they're fun! We'll go to Ocean Point when it gets warmer out, that's a water park so it's like an amusment park but instead of rollercoasters there are huge slides with water sluicing down them and you start at the top and slide down really fast on an inner tube. Plus there's roller coaster parks not too far away, maybe we can get somebody to take us for a weekend!" She put a quick hand on Pan's arm to make sure he stayed grounded, but seemed satisfied that he was remembering the need to remain subtle if they wanted to play hooky successfully. "But if you like this size screen, wait till we show you IMAX! Twice as big, and curved, so it's almost like you're inside. You'll love it!" She craned her neck around Pan to look at the other girls. "How did you guys like it? You okay, Judy?"
  20. Danica settled happily into her seat and munched her way steadily through the popcorn and candy as the previews ended and the movie began. It wasn't an opening weekend and the film was lightly attended, so she had no compunctions about leaning in and whispering explanations to Pan from time to time about various confusing parts of the movie, and to Aja if it looked like she needed it. Judy seemed to have a pretty good grasp on American pop culture, even if she didn't seem quite as into the movie as her friends. Danica made a mental note to ask Judy what she wanted to do next, and maybe they could find something else fun for a girl who couldn't enjoy movie or mall food at all.
  21. Jessie slipped in behind Aquaria, nearly unnoticeable behind her boisterous roommate. She held a pan of decorated cupcakes with pale blue and yellow swirls of frosting on them and looked like she was mentally only half-prepared to be attending a party. Still she smiled at Mali, then at Daphne. "Spice is fine," she told Mali, "Hot foods don't bother me. Moderately spicy with lots of peanuts is probably my favorite, though. Here, cupcakes." She set her pan down on the nearest clear surface and stepped away. "Is anyone else coming tonight?"
  22. "Let's see..." Danica grinned at the clerk, more than pleased by her friends' excitement. Movies were a lot more fun with people who were enjoying themselves! "Let's get an extra-large bucket of popcorn, with butter and salt, an order of churros, a large root beer, all these candies," she pointed at the impressive pile on the counter. "What do you guys want to drink? You'll need something cause the popcorn makes you thirsty. Plus with the extra large bucket, we can get a refill if we want! Just don't pass the bucket to Judy," she reminded them, dropping her voice confidentially. "She can't eat it and I don't want her to feel bad."
  23. "Thanks, Aja, that's rad!" Danica agreed enthusiastically. She used her phone to pay and tip the driver when they arrived, then climbed onto her Segway so she could keep up with the others as they went into the theater. "We can get your ticket for you and meet you at the ticket-taker guy, if you want." Even if Judy would rather play games, Danica delighted in showing her friends the wide variety of candies and treats available. "...and there's gummy bears, which are sweet, and gummy worms, they're super sour, and Junior Mints are squishy mint with chocolate around them, and Skittles are Skittles, plus they have nachos with the fake cheese like in the cafeteria, and the really, really big soda pop..."
  24. "Nooooooo!" Danica insisted, sounding scandalized. "I was talking to some of the other girls about that one and it was like if The Fault in Our Stars and Love Story had a sad angst-baby. Let's see something fun, like How to Train Your Dragon or Wonder Park!" She considered the other two passengers in the car. "You guys probably haven't had a chance to see the first two dragon movies, so maybe you'd get lost in the third one, but I hear Wonder Park is good. Do you guys like popcorn? Movie popcorn is the best. It's so buttery it makes your hands slippery. And you can get candy too, and big drinks. Food at the movie theater is expensive, but if you don't have any money we can share," she offered magnanimously.
  25. "We can take the train some other time," Danica promised, buckling herself into the back seat while the driver stored her Segway in the back. "It's fun, I take it to get home on weekends sometimes, but the trains don't run as often at night. We're better off getting a ride this time, and my parents gave me an Uber gift card for exactly this sort of thing." She bounced cheerfully in her seat and pulled out her phone to look at the movie times. "Man, there's a bunch of stuff showing tonight. I remember when I was little, we had like three movies at a time at the movie theater."
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