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  1. Fulcrum waited patiently and with great amusement. After all Viktor and Penny were having a bonding moment. Which recalled a few memories of early relationship days. Particularly how Penny only really started liking Viktor after the whole Incident. After the cat accepted him, Mona knew the relationship was solid. She never mentioned that Penelope Archimedes Teymourian was a non-negotiable part of the deal. Or that she was a he until 2013. Whether that memory or Viktor's reaction contributed more to her Cheshire Cat grin was left to the ages. "Thank you. Thank you! The experience was... unique. The first time I just kept picking up speed until I felt like I hit some sort of barrier. Like g-forces, but I still felt like I was accelerating. Until, well, I was just floating along while the stars were swirling around me. That was the odd part. The stars didn't pass by me. They dimmed, and seemed to spiral together in these odd patterns. But somehow I still knew where I was going. That may answer the navigation question. For a moment orbiting Alpha Centauri A, I was terrified I'd be lost out there. Then I just thought about where I wanted to go, and next thing I knew I was home. Intuition I suppose." Tapping her fingers on the arm of her chair, she continued, "The pattern reminded me of the spirals I saw when I looked through the window of your house from the outside. I can only conclude I wasn't so much traveling faster than light than folding space-time around me. Which makes sense in light of your hypothesis that my superhuman strength may be partially based on warping space. You remember: helps explain why I don't pulverize the surface I'm touching or the collapsing the object under the strain." "But as for what it was like," she nodded, still grinning, "It was joyous, beautiful, transcendent. The world just faded away into a void, yet there was this vibration like I was connected to the universe. Eternity. Infinity. Next thing I knew my vision was engulfed by this yellow light: Polaris. I was giddy. I watched an alien star burn and churn and eject glowing matter into space. I orbited a giant and its neighbors and saw new constellations. I'll be frank, I felt like a goddess. I want to do that again. And share that with you."
  2. Fulcrum gave Miracle Girl a reassuring smile before listening to Bolt. As he spoke, she tapped her chin in thought and gently rocked in her chair. An amused expression crept over her face. This conversation, maybe this whole trip, was obviously becoming quite enjoyable to her. Slick, Bolt. Very slick. Looking around the room in thought was really a pretense. She was really looking for AV devices. But she was gathering her thoughts regardless. Eventually, which was a few seconds at best, a course toward pure honesty was charted. Best not to overthink things. When she spoke, her tone was frank. "I don't. I'm not being facetious nor am I self-flagellating. I could talk up my pros and analyze my cons." At that she held out her hands like moving scales. "Simply put however, I don't know if I can do the job. The League is a lot of responsibility. Responsibility I am not sure if I can handle or want." "You're right. There is only one Captain Thunder. And Bolt. And Miracle Girl. And Fulcrum. I didn't show up here to replace or be as good as anyone. I'm here," she leaned forward and tapped a finger on the table, "because maybe any good accomplished can be multiplied as part of the League. And if I'm not right for the team, that's okay. I'll still be out there fighting the good fight."
  3. "A wonderful bonding experience comparably, but I'd rather not go through the latter either." A wry smile at the memory turned to a tender one at his caress. "You old smoothie you. I will be right there beside you." The beast, sated, reverted to fluid state. Thankfully, Penny was used to the kinetic side of this particular person. Why? Because the rewards were so worth the patience. The volume of her purring slowly crept upward. Any louder and she'd be rattling the furniture. To Viktor's gentle teasing, Fulcrum did something rather out of the ordinary. She turned her face away, looking rather bashful. His laugh, however, elicited a chuckle of her own as she turned back. Her face scrunched up in thought, and the wheels in her mind could be seen whirring. Maybe the cliche that couples became more alike had a grain of truth. Her pride at her accomplishment just needed the right phrasing. She spoke up a few seconds later. "Well, let's see. I started out for Mars and eventually Pluto. Alpha Centauri, being our nearest neighbor, was my first interstellar target and took about 0.5 seconds. I arrived at Polaris from Earth in less than a minute. If my math is correct, I should be able to reach Coalition Victory Station in about 45 minutes." She continued stroking his hair.
  4. Her response was a snicker. "Don't let her fool you. She loves you like a son. Even if she is too proud to admit it until you put a ring on a my finger." "Quite a few people would be happier if we checked in occasionally. For both of us." Fulcrum looked into her tea cup, swirled it, and took a sip. "Do you need a five year journey? Because if you do, we can make this work. I just have obligations here I can't leave that long. Commitments I can't or won't walk away from. Maybe I shouldn't have even suggested going with you. You could go out there and really find yourself." Crossing her legs, she reclined in the chair, still holding his hand. A sheepish look crossed her face. "Regardless I wanted to bring up what I meant by commute. You mentioned a shuttle, or perhaps picking up a pod at CoVic. After all of that, I started wondering how fast I could fly in space. No air resistance, microgravity, etc. Sooo I may have done a few short trips off world. How fast is the Weltraumwohnmobil?" At his weaker chuckle, she didn't say a thing. She simply freed her hand and began running her fingers through his hair again. That techorganic hairdo she seemed to like.
  5. "It's Fulcrum!" Soon enough, a chorus of young voices joined the first. "Fulcrum! Fulcrum! Fulcrum!" The ruckus erupted on the western tip of the park. On this otherwise quiet morning, a mob of young children had descended on the giant heroine. They were crowding around her, peppering her with questions, and a few "flew" in orbit around the group. Amused parents and guardians began gathering at the scene. A few moments earlier, the heroine had been leaning against a tree near the sidewalk and intently watching a shop across the street. She wasn't kitted out though. On the contrary, she looked rather dapper in dark slacks, dress shoes, a white button up, and a powder blue vest. Hanging from a branch was a canvas shopping bag. The sudden attention seemed to catch her off guard. Quickly enough though her surprise turned to delight. A few moments after that she was in "improvised public relations mode". Which meant that she was a hovering jungle gym and answering the sorts of questions only children had the honesty to ask. Kids were hanging from her outstretched arms and one was swinging on her six-foot braid. For all the squealing attention, Fulcrum seemed to be enjoying herself, or a least had a great deal of tact. Still though she kept an eye on the shop, a record store, across the street.
  6. Penny accepted the scratches with some irritation. After all mere scritches were nothing compared to the earlier massage. Nonetheless these came from one of her favorite humans...so they were okay. Cue more purring. Fulcrum considered his examination of the Synthia Bower and nodded occasionally in agreement. At a couple of points, an eyebrow went up, but she waited for him to finish. "That reminds me. How long are you intending this trip to be anyway? Remember I didn't plan to go initially. The more you talk, the longer the trip sounds." Not that he was treading on dangerous ground, but she was obviously curious. "Also my mother would never forgive me if she missed the birth of her grand baby. I can commute back for the delivery." At the second sentence, she grimaced. Viktor had known her long enough that the topic wasn't the cause. It was that she let something slip. As for her question, she looked at him with a deadpan expression. Partly, yes, this was old news to her. The other part however listened and listened closely. But the idea of such monstrous entities didn't seem to phase her in-and-of itself. She managed to crack a grin. "You're such a curious man, Viktor. At the existential horror, you're quite the dispassionate scientist. Yes, that does sound familiar. The part I missed, or misinterpreted, was that it was an offspring of the Nameless One. My understanding was that it was the Nameless One." A dramatic sigh. "Oh well. Thank you for filling in the gaps. Making you suspicious of magic would be a brilliant defense mechanism." Mentally, a new life goal was added to the list.
  7. Fulcrum's energy output hadn't varied much. Certainly, the rate spiked at his initial question about having a child. But then the readings receded to baseline and stayed there. Of course that baseline was still an oddity. Unlike most people, whose electromagnetic auras almost "sang" to the Doktor's senses, Fulcrum's was defined by absences. She was absorptive of electromagnetism, and her presence should have registered as a void. Yet paradoxically, she still registered in normal bands. In addition wisps of Terminus energy danced around her only to be reabsorbed. Yes, she seemed rather relaxed, content even, or as content as someone living with metabolic regulators could be. What was she doing during this time? Giving Viktor the sweetest, most affectionate smile. Listening intensely. Considering carefully much as he had done. And judging from her eyes, loving him fiercely but with obvious pain at all he endured. "Viktor, please look at me," she began gently, releasing his hands and cupping one side of his face, "Someday this pain will pass. You will be the free, good man you already are. One of the greatest minds of your generation. Of many generations. I will continue to speak this truth until you embrace it." And for that brief moment, the strength of her belief in him was undeniable. Eventually, her hand returned to his and she sipped her tea. Her tone lightened, "Not too many modifications I'm sure. Those tesseract devices - never trusted those things - mean you probably have everything and the kitchen sink already. If you really want to to this," she added, giving him time to reconsider before continuing, "then the small matter of timing should be considered as well. I'm not familiar with space citizenship questions, and I can only imagine current U.S. policy." She laughed lightly at the last sentence. She looked to say more, before freezing in place. Her mind was a whirl, easily seen in her eyes. "Viktor, dear, are you implying that that thing was just an offshoot of something else?" Now that spiked her emission rates.
  8. The ornery looked melted away, replaced with a small, pleased smile. "I know. Thank you." She gently massaged the top of his hand with her thumb. A contemplative, somber mood replaced her earlier anxiety. She watched him quietly for a moment. Finally, she leaned forward and rested her other arm on her knee as she regarded him. "I thought about leaving you," she started, shaking her head, "Not now. Not over this. Several times though. I had various reasons. I didn't appreciate how you treated the Interceptors at times or the manipulative undercurrent you used on me. The power differential in our relationship bothered me. During your recovery, I wondered how much you had played me for a fool. That maybe if I left, you would be able to focus more on healing. That is one reason I kept this place." Her tone was plain spoken without judgment or guilt. "I also remember the good times. Oktoberfest. Really, really bad German movies. Listening to your heartbeat as you cuddled me in your sleep. How much calmer you seemed when I was around. Moments like this." "What I'm saying is what we've pledged before: that we'll stay together. I'm fiercely territorial and will not share you. I also want you to have children." "You want kids, Viktor. You've also been studying the topic a great deal. The science, yes, but I imagine your research into parenting techniques has been extensive as well." She tilted her head and gave him a knowing look. "You will be a wonderful father." She leaned back in her chair. "I have all the time in the world, Viktor. Not just centuries. I honestly believe...I have forever. But maybe you don't. My mother doesn't. And a small part of me is amiable to the idea of children. Building our own little Addams Family. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot." "As to your question, the answer is yes." She squeezed his hands.
  9. Fulcrum: A New Enterprise () Contest of Centurions () Park Time Job () Scene: Fulcrum and Miracle Girl ()
  10. For good measure I'll roll Sense Motive and Diplomacy on the Gamemaster. Sense Motive: 1d20+14 = 29 Diplomacy: 1d20+13 = 18 Thanks!
  11. Snapping from a reclining position to upright was jarring to say the least. Fulcrum stood still and ready on her rock, arms at her sides, save for reflexively stretching her fingers. Her eyes quickly scanned the area, and she quirked an eyebrow at the assembled group. Especially after realizing she was in costume. At the Gamemaster's appearance, she looked up and her posture eased. Impassively she listened with her arms crossed. Slowly but surely a look of utter incredulity crept across her face. Almost looked like she was going to laugh. Phalanx's response drew her attention first, and she nodded several times in agreement. Once he finished, she swept out a hand toward him. "Nicely put." Arms held out wide, her voiced projected into the void, "The man has been dead and buried for decades. The world doesn't need another Centurion. We have heroes! Heroes with names of their own." She looked around at the other paragons and back to the figure, "You already have one answer. I can only speak for myself, but no. I don't want to be the "next Centurion". I'm sure not going to battle decent people to be "worthy". Her voice began fading, her hands came together palms upwards. "Why don't we just talk this out face-to-face?" Mentally, she processed the conversation and the people around her. Triakosia she knew. Great gal, former Legionary from Centurion's home dimension. Phalanx she had never formally met. Flying in similar orbits though she recognized him. A good man as well. The orange woman was new. Judging from the others, Mona suspected she was good people too. This "Gamemaster" must possess a frightening amount of power.
  12. 20 Questions 1. Where is your hero from? Fulcrum is a Freedonian native. She was born, raised, and educated in Freedom City. The West End is her home turf, and most of her family still lives there. 2. How would your hero physically describe him/herself? Is this different from how others would? Her obvious descriptors include athletic, muscular, long-haired, and medium complected. Others tend to add statuesque, composed, and tall. 3. Does your hero have distinguishing speech characteristics or recurring mannerisms? Mona tends to be expressive with her hands, especially when excited. She has a dry sense of humor that creeps into even serious conversations. Physical touch always carries emotional weight with her. Even something as simple as a handshake. 4. What is your hero's motivation? Her motivation isn't a calling per say. She likes being a hero for better or worse. A better description would be her instinct or drive. It's fundamentally a part of who she is and leaving the hero life isn't really fathomable. Separating Mona and Fulcrum isn't really possible. 5. What are your hero's greatest strengths and weaknesses? Fulcrum's greatest strengths revolve around her sheer indomitable spirit (or stubbornness) combined with nigh unstoppable powers. She juggernauts through life and will eventually bounce back from most any calamity. Fulcrum's greatest weakness though is her very human psyche. Fighting until the bitter end she can do. Facing her own failings or whispers of doubt (intrinsic or extrinsic) are much more difficult feats. Facing the banal side of evil, of casual and rationalized cruelty, that is much more difficult. On a practical level, daka crystals will freeze her into a living, conscious statue. 6. What does your hero love? What does your hero hate? In the abstract, Mona loves life. Life doesn't have intrinsic meaning. You make the meaning for yourself. So she loves her family and friends, her community, the world, b-movies, sensuality, chocolate, good-hearted people, freedom, justice: things that make the world a better place. The things that make the world worse: needless cruelty and violence, the hoarding of power, greed, willful ignorance, tribalism, hatred. 7. How would you describe your character's mental and emotional state? Cut through the manners and quips and you'll find a soft-spoken, contemplative, old soul. She's even keeled and gentle, only really flustering at personal topics. She takes things as them come, considers a course of action, and makes the decision. This has the effect of giving her a composed air, and isn't too far from the truth. Frustrations are a fact of life, however, and she tries her best to knowledge and let them roll off her. 8. What does your hero fear the most? Mona truly fears two things. One, capture in daka crystals. Two, that she is really a creature of the Terminus. 9. What is your character's greatest ambition? Her half-formed and impractical ambition was to defeat Omega. She's so very proud of the team that destroyed him, but a little disappointed at missing the shot. Nowadays her greatest ambition is to do her best as a heroine and a person. 10. How does your hero feel about the state of the world and his/her place in it? The world is a beautiful and terrible place. There is so much wonder and suffering, beauty and savagery, all in measures. The world is worth the fight. But she looks at people and sometimes wants to despair. Rampaging monsters and cosmic threats are her specialty, but the banal horrors perpetuated by normal people wear on her. There are better ways. 11. Does your hero have any prejudices? How does he/she get along with others? Just about everyone has a prejudice or two, be they major or minor. A politician is a snake-in-the-grass. There are no victimless billionaires. Until proven otherwise, which she is willing to do. A part of her is leery of authority as authority is easily abused. 12. Where do your heroes loyalties lie? In what order? Ultimately, Mona's loyalties are to herself. She's just willing to the do right thing, even if it means hurting herself or the ones she loves. Such decisions are not made lightly. Perhaps that is a form of selfishness, perhaps not. Thankfully, her family, the Interceptors, Viktor, and Freedom City are her tangible loyalties. The line between her team and Viktor blurs at times, and she would prefer not to have to choose. 13. Does your hero have a lover or partner? How do they feel about the hero now? Mona loves her super scientist, Doktor Viktor Archeville. She adores him and feels so very lucky to have the sweet man in her life. He returns her affections and more. A fierce, romantic, companionable love. 14. Does your hero have a family? What is the relationship there like? Mona's mother, stepfather, and maternal grandmother live in the the West End. Her baby sister, Fatima, and her boyfriend live in Hanover. Nana and Mona are kindred spirits. Her relationship with Fatima is loving, if a bit distant due to their large age difference (16 years). Mona gets along with her stepfather well enough. He's a kind man that makes her mom happy. Her only difficult relationship is her mother. The two do not see eye-to-eye on many issues and never really have. Mona is unabashedly secular and epicurean while her mother is more conservative and religious. Mona isn't interested in children and her mom wants grand kids. Mona is an artist to her core. Her mom thinks she needs to get a real job. These disagreements have caused strain over the years. They even had a failing out for two years over Mona attending the Freedom School for the Arts. 15. How would the people closest to your hero describe him or her? Kind, mellow, funny. Unrepentant geek. Adorable (adorkable?) when flustered. 16. Is your hero a role model Fulcrum doesn't consider herself a role model. In fact she is apprehensive about the idea. Nonetheless she is a role model to more people (especially girls) than she knows. 17. How spiritual is your hero? Does your hero follow a religious tradition? Not particularly. Her spirituality is a deep appreciation of the wonders of the world. Mona does not follow a religious tradition and has no interest in them. 18. Is your hero part of a team, or would he/she like to be? Why? Although she solos a lot, Mona is a proud member of the Interceptors. Part of her has always wanted to be on the Freedom League. It's the big leagues, for one, and co-founded by her idol, Centurion. She's avoided the organization though due to superpower baggage and doubts about wanting that kind of responsibility. 19. How does your hero feel about the place of metahumans and aliens on Earth? People of good character are welcome. Are you egalitarian? Believe in a just and verdant world? Democracy, the rule of law, freedom, and personal responsibility? 20. If you could give one piece of advice to your hero, what would it be? You are a better person than you realize.
  13. Fulcrum Artist, paragon, coffee lover The Interview: 20 Questions HellQ Guidebook Reputation
  14. Fulcrum quickly stood up at the sound of the door. She smiled in recognition. The two hadn't met, but the hero grapevine told her of Bolt's fate. Personally, she was just glad he was alive, in some form or another, and her happy expression read as much. The giantess strolled up to a seat at Bolt's left during his introduction. She nodded in acknowledgement, noted Miracle Girl's reaction, and offered Bolt a handshake. "Bolt I presume? Wonderful to meet you," came her own formal introduction in reply. She would have asked how he was holding up, but best to be polite and stay on topic. As she slid, carefully, into a chair, she added, her voice relaxed, "I certainly won't hold this against you. Although knowing what the way is would be helpful." The statement was punctuated by a light wave of her hand. She seemed happy to play along. Once Miracle Girl was settled, Mona continued. Lacing her fingers together, she leaned forward in thought, her tone businesslike, "Hmm...what can I say that isn't already in your files. We're Team Air. My compatriot and I are bricks of the fluttering variety. Thus our team name is quite fitting I dare say. Heroines like us, sometimes we're criticized as naive or too idealistic. Maybe. Maybe. But all that speed, durability, and strength is put to use...," she glanced at Miracle Girl, then back to Bolt, "not upholding the status quo but making this pale blue dot a better place. Even if only for one person at a time. And that's why I put on the suit." Leaning back, she gazed in expectation at the other heroine.
  15. Fulcrum smiled to Leilani. Her pronouncements were the initial cause, but the happier demeanor pleased Mona. She must have missed the elemental's initial discomfort. Bravery and foolishness are easily confused. A lesson she had learned the hard way. That little thought, she hoped, was kept to herself. Fulcrum stepped forward alongside Miracle Girl at their team name being called. The walk was enjoyable enough. The slightly outdated ("retro") aesthetic fascinated her, but she wondered where the staff had gotten to. Though, she supposed, the answer was fairly obvious. Assuming the place had full-time staff beyond the heroes. Soon enough her musings were interrupted by their arrival. She nodded at the decor, honestly impressed, but her face pinched in confusion at Russian's quip about "little jokes". She waved him goodbye, walked into the room, and scanned the decor in question. "Good to have you on Team Air. How is life and the hero business, Miracle Girl? Haven't seen you since Sentry Statue." As she spoke, she dropped her purse on the table and browsed the decor with her hands clasped behind her back. She paused a moment in front of the etching Comrade Frost brushed. She leaned down to have a better look and tapped it lightly. Part of her was curious, and part of her hoped it wasn't part of a "little joke".
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