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Found 1,363 results

  1. September 8th, Saturday, 2018, early evening The Starlight Room, Midtown, Freedom City It was with all possible grace that a green dragon as tall as an elephant flared into being. Blue-red fire snapped and hissed across its body and its two mighty wings, which it flapped once to waft out the lingering flame. This act revealed two people sheltered under its wings, one of which was a tall young man with close-cut black hair, golden eyes and livid white scars from under his eyes to his jaw. He looked quite at ease, smiling reassuringly to the shocked and frozen staff and waiting guests just recovering from the appearance of the dragon. "Good evening. Party of two, name of Leroy Ransom-Conte and Nicole Whitfield-Hall," he told the burly, Biblically-bearded old man behind the desk, his seat framed by murals of the constellations, "my dragon will not be joining us." The creature looked at him very sharply for that. Blinking once, the old man said in a deep gloomy voice "Delighted to have you, sir." The man looked up at the boy, taking in the unfamiliar sight with no little wariness. The boy was dressed in rich blue tunic, trousers and robe with silver patterns suggesting roses or possibly eyes. He also, to the faint confusion of the man behind the desk, wasn't wearing shoes or socks, instead just a pair of ornate silver sandals. "Please wait to be seated, service will be here presently." Patting the dragon on the flank, Leroy murmured "Be close, keep watch." "Gild the lily, why don't you?" the dragon said, but he was already fading into another burst of heatless fire. The entry to the Starlight Room was hundreds of feet above Freedom City, with panoramic bay windows giving a breathtaking view of the sea, the hills and forests and rivers surrounding it. Light was fading behind the mountains far in the west, a dim orange-pink line receding before a tide of blue and black and farther stars. Light pollution was as bad in Freedom as anywhere else densly populated, but out the windows and across the sprawling domed ceiling of the Starlight Room blazed countless billions of stars. They were just images on a screen, one synced with real Earth-time to show an accurate picture of what the Lenape and early colonists had seen in the sky so many centuries ago. To add to the effect, the lights were kept low and in cool blue tones. Entry into the Starlight Room proper was up a flight of broad, gentle steps marked with the phases of the Moon from full to new and through a a set of doors decorated with the Pleiades, the lights cunningly set so looking directly at them hid them from view. The foyer itself was decorated so all color seemed to be fading into the floor, the walls in black snd silver, the floor and base of various objects like the lamps, chairs and the desk colored in orange, deep purple and faint pink. Only the bright red 'EXIT' sign by the emergency starway broke from the theme. Stepping over to his fellow passenger, Leroy beamed, his voice uncharacteristically-hushed as he said "How was the teleport? Sorry to say Dio is still young, but he learns swiftly." He smiled "Certainly bests waiting in an elevator."
  2. GM Emerald City, 4 PM, November 28th Magh'kee had been busy. Her work as a welder, working beneath the waves on Emerald City's new wave-power generator seemed to be a never ending one. Always something to do, always something to put together. She was not alone under the water, despite her clear advantages. A security measure, it had been called. At least two under the water, at least one, preferably two, above. All for safety reasons. Working under the water was not exactly a safe job for a regular human, after all. Her coworker, one Matthew Stone, had been acting unusual all shift. He had always been twitchy, but cautious. Not the hardest worker, but he had done his part, even if he complained all the while. Today, he had been working like a man possessed. No extra breaks, no complaints. Working in silence, working hard. And then, suddenly, while they were alone under water, started thrashing about, before he stopped all together. Even under the water, Magh'kee could hear his scream. Pain, fear. Across the city, at University Hill, Robin Lynne Langley had left work, hurrying to catch the bus, when she heard a scream, not entirely unlike what Magh'kee had heard under the water, though without the water buffering the sound. It was clear, almost inhuman. Everyone turned to look at a ragged-looking homeless man, standing in the middle of the road. He fell, thrashing about violently, and then stopped moving, as cars swerved to avoid him.
  3. Fall 2018 Archetech When the self-driving car from Archetech arrived, there was an Omegadrone inside it, sitting in the rear passenger compartment. Steve looked up at Delta, his scarred face hard to read through cybernetic enhancements designed to give tactical feedback rather than the finer points of humanoid facial expression. "Delta. Miss Americana felt you would want company." It was his first chance to meet the woman who had been described as the leading expert in Terminus technology on this plane - the greatest who was not mad, anyway. The Omegadrone's voice was grave and deep; an impossible thing given the cold, emotionless horrors that were Omegadrones but one Delta had heard already. After all, the Omegadrone had been among those who'd met him in this new realm and had asked him questions about a realm both of them knew only too well - questions about dread Nihilor. "I have secured a collection of Earth-Prime music and educational recordings for the drive. It is short but you may find them productive. How are your studies progressing?"
  4. Supercape

    Red Net

    GM October 10th, London The WEST jet was a converted 747. It was jam packed with sensory equipment, libraries, laboratories, computers. THere was space to live and eat in there. It even had a fish tank. But no jacuzzi. Doctor Norris North, director of W.E.S.T (World Exotic Science Taskforce, an arm of the UN) had flown Replica there. They had only just saved a valuable and dangerous batch of Darwin-X from theft by the mysterious Red Dawn. The soldiers who had tried to take it, whilst clearly Russian, clearly highly trained, seemed to have no memory of anything to do with their mission or their masters. The only tangible clue was Mother Board, the name of the hacker who had orchestrated the Gridlock that had allowed the theft. After landing, North and Replica took a famous black London Taxi to the HQ of Vanguard. "I have somebody in mind. Synapse. Genius member of the Vanguard, the supergroup of this area. She is highly skilled with computers and has some experience with Darwin-X, I understand. If anybody can help us, she can. So lets put on our best diplomatic hats, and see if we can persuade her..." He rang the doorbell of the Vanguard HQ. "Hello? Hello? May I enter? This is Doctor North, from the United Nations..."
  5. Around Sunset, Bedlam City Very few who live in a blighted urban landscape like Bedlam wouldn't suspect that it had much in the way of magic. The founders of the city had made sure that several convergences of ley lines meant the city was brimming with the stuff. Like the city, the magic was icky and blighted, though many still argued which caused the other. Away from the prying eyes of many a superteams and powerful mystics, Bedlam made a perfect place for those who practiced the less savory styles of magic to meet up and exchange, or more often sell, rituals and artifacts that were unpleasant if not outright evil...
  6. Wading Station, North End, Freedom City 7:30 pm 4th September 2018 It had taken a year to arrange everyone schedules, mostly it's was true Lucy's schedule, but finally, they were free to take there road trip across the country. The place that she'd chosen to meet up with Nicole was Wadling station and old Art Deco station that she remembered from her breathing life, the contrast between that and the modern building just reminded her how her life was now. With her standard sunglasses, she lent on the body of the car that they'd be using for this road trip, a '63 soft top Corvette in black, obvious her assistances idea of a joke. It was probably lucky that she couldn't find a Model T-Ford car or this trip would have taken so much longer.
  7. GM December 10th, 2018, 4.54 AM Star Island Space Control Center, Atlantic Ocean, USA All around the heroes, the Space Control Center buzzed with activity. People rushing by in uniforms of every shade, shouts, the rattle and roar of machinery, the feel of the floor and air vibrating with the sheer noise passing through them. Above was a clear, chill Atlantic sky, a few stars twinkling despite the blazing lights of the offshore aerospace facility. Over the base's cacophony, a voice cut through. "...And that's where we're at. Thanks to the cooperation of these two, we have a lock on Blackstar's most likely location by tracking the signature of his Shadow Bands. Faster-than-light approach in a Pegasus should let you get close to the base without raising the alarm, and if our readings and the information from his followers is accurate, his castle should be minimally-staffed." To his credit, USAF Col. Randall Austin didn't look enviously at the sleek navy blue spaceplane taxiing into the launch sling. The flickering decade and change had thickened the man a shade around the waistline, and the grey in his hair fair outnumbered the thickets of coarse black, but the last hour and a half of explaining a lot of information clearly and concisely proved his mind was as sharp as ever. "If you can apprehend Blackstar, that would be great. But if you learn how he and his followers are transporting to Earth without the Lighthouse detecting them, that's far more important. Now, are there any questions before takeoff?" Behind his glasses, Randall beamed hopefully.
  8. October 2018 Outside Claremont Academy Her long dark hair safely tucked away beneath a Freedom City Heroes hoodie, her face hidden by a dark pair of aviator sunglasses, Judy Smith waited by her sister's side for the arrival of their friends. "This is gonna be so fun," she told Ashley with a smile. "Ah can't believe we're gonna go shopping in a mall! It's gonna be the best day ever!" It had been a long, long time since she'd been able to go shopping by herself - and this didn't remotely count as by herself, but it was still a lot closer than she'd have been able to come under normal circumstances. Ah'm gonna find some jewelry for the dance, and maybe get a present for Leroy while I'm there - it's gonna be great! Secure in leather jacket and jeans, eyes hidden by her own dark glasses, Ashley thought about the vetting that the Secret Service had done before selecting the Patriot Shopping Center as the best 'mall' choice for Judy and her friends from Claremont to visit, the quiet checking she'd done herself into Danica and Micah's backgrounds, the advance scouting her team had done of the site, the advance driving she'd done to plot out the drive to Lantern Hill, the hope and the prayer that Lantern Jack wouldn't show up - and Watchdog grunted. "Hrm." It was going to be an interesting day, at any rate. Now where were Danica and Micah, the two friends Judy had invited along for a "crazy, secret trip to the mall!"
  9. Gizmo

    Let's Fall in Like

    Friday, October 26th 2018 With the folding bleachers tucked away in the far wall the Claremont auditorium was already an expansive chamber but the dance committee had outdone themselves for the first real school-wide social event of the semester. Some creative use of Ed Crawford's mass displacing abilities had moved temporarily shrunken potted trees indoors before regaining their full side to like the back and adjoining walls in brilliant yellow, oranges and browns. Their bows arched over each side of the stage where Susan Denning and Ricci Sharp were arguing about whether or not one could have too many amps. To the left of the entrance Martin Li was fussing over long tables supporting bowls of party mix, slices of candied apples and what was clearly a cast iron cauldron that he had to repeated assure concerned faculty members was filled only with warm spiced cider, regardless of the unnaturally coloured flames that spat up from its base occasionally. The finishing touch had been a joint effort. Jessie Singh's simulation software extrapolated what the darkened skies above the Academy would have looked like without light pollution while Caitlynne-May Dixon's artfully concealed projectors placed the image on the auditorium's ceiling, space clouds rolling by in real time across a brilliant star field. Crawford had attempted to congratulate the pair of tech wizards on the effect but had hastily decided to leave them furiously making out in the server room in peace. After all, romance was in the crisp autumn air for Claremont's fall dance.
  10. Bedlam City 1st June 2018, 06:30 am Life was cheap in Bedlam but every now and again something would happen across that would disturb even the jaded citizens of the blight of Wisconsin. The corpse in question appeared ancient, even though several witnesses saw them mere hours before going to a hotel that charged by the hour. Normally Bedlam Cities "Finest" would sweep this desiccated corpse into the gutter and forget about it. But Merryn Blundell was a person of some influence being an auctioneer of some repute. Mostly there was high value, and dubious origins, that meant some very important Bedlamites wanted whoever had done this caught right away.
  11. April 2018 The Castle Aquaria climbed her way up the side of the skyscraper, sticky pads clinging to opaque panels rather than translucent windows. She didn't normally indulge herself in this way, but it was much too dark for Surfacers to see clearly outside - and the driving rainstorm outside disguised her from any prying eyes below. The warm wet wind, thick with ocean-scented rain, felt wonderful on her skin. Freedom City was never quite as comfortable as her home waters - but at times she could dream, and imagine a better place. Once she reached the floor where she and Jessie lived, she wriggled her way to one of the secret access panels installed for the benefit of flying superheroes or outdoor maintenance and made her way through a supply closet to the secluded floor where she and Jessie lived. Padding her way nearly silently down the corridor, as usual careful not to alert their neighbors, she took only a few seconds to nimbly lope down to the rooms that she and Singularity shared. She had a fish under her arm, thick and juicy, and there would be frying tonight!
  12. GM The lunch room of Ripley High School was all abuzz with the latest gossip. The star of the school's football team, Ross Montana, had gotten into a scuffle with his best friend and local farmboy Anthony Anderson . Apparently, the well off Montana's family was buying up local plots in a bid to begin an industrial farming operation in Ripley. A business that would almost assuredly put the Anderson family out of business. Both teens could be seen on opposite ends of the lunch room, only fueling the rumor mill all the more. "You owe me twenty cents." A soft voice whispered from behind before setting a carton of milk in front of Dancia Devons. The cheery faced red headed girl made her way over to the other side of the lunch table. "So what did you get on Mrs. Greenwalt's test? I'll be done for after my mom sees my grades."
  13. Citadel Lor Timemark 1792.4 [March 4, 2018 (Terran Calendar)] The planet Citadel was perhaps among the most unique in the known galaxy. The world had long ago been terraformed so that is contained dozens of different biomes and even atmospheres, many sealed off from one another to prevent contamination. All of this was possible thanks to Mentor and incredibly advanced technology that made the division possible. The various biomes and atmospheres allowed for the incredible variety that made up the membership of the Star Knights, providing barracks and recreational atmospheres as well as training grounds for the Knights and its potential members. On the largest continent of the planet stood a massive fortress consisting of a ring of a dozen towering spires. Each spire was the width of several city blocks of a major Terran city and rose up well over a mile in height. From this inner ring, dozens of smaller buildings, each no more than ten stories high, extended outward like spokes for several miles. These reached out to connect to some of the major atmosphere sectors of the most unusual planet. This was the central headquarters of the Order of the Star Knights, the interstellar guardians of freedom and justice. Within those walls were the vast processors which contained Mentor, the enigmatic cybernetic computer network that contained the knowledge and experiences of thousands of individuals. There were also training facilities, living quarters and various administrative and support offices for the Order. As the sun rose in the sky over the headquarters of the Star Knights, many members of the Order and its recruits were just beginning their day. For the group of recruits that were recently officially given the title of Star Squire, today would mark the first day they would be leaving Citadel to continue their training working alongside current Knights, undertaking the sorts of missions they would one day be expected to carry out on their own.
  14. Freedom City, Earth Prime Silently above the streets of Freedom City flew the vessel, an amazing vessel of bronze and copper that looked like a broad flat sailing vessel. Even within the crowded airspace above the city, it drew some attention from those below, few vehicles like this flew in its skies. From beneath the vessel shot out a bright light that scanned the ground beneath it, going from person to person the light being more than just a simple spotlight it was searching for someone very special, special even in a city like this one. The crew of this craft was searching for a very specific half-blood, whos very existence could maybe save an entire civilization from disaster!
  15. Christmas was a touchy time for Jessica. Sure, Freedom City loved their heroes. But those of her type were not seen as heroes at first glance. And especially since the holidays had been co-opted by Christianity. Well, Jessica didn't invited to go caroling. At all. Still, she had a lot to keep her busy. Gift giving was irreligious. Her magic lessons with Jack were the highlights of her days some times. Jack was the highlight of her days most of the time. She had already went shopping with him earlier, but this time she wanted to get a special something. She poked through her contacts to see where she could get to the weirder side of Freedom. She knew his style of magic was different than hers, but he barely knew about his. So she taught him hers. Quite fun. What she found was Silberman's Books. A bookstore, naturally, but something of a seller of magical things to the mundane. Magic For Dummies. How To Summon Confidence. Annotated Necronomicon. It all looked like a cash grab. But her sources knew better. She was here for something more advanced. And real. Arcane musings aside, Jessica's carnal spirits knew that there was something there that she needed. Most of demonblooded didn't take stock in writing, but a treatise was written a few hundred years ago. Only seven copies remained of it. And it was in reach. So much for buying the SO a gift. She was sure something would pop up.
  16. Millennium nightclub. Saturday, October 13th, 2018. 8:05 pm The night was cold and dark, which fit the way Lynn Epstein felt today; it had been thirteen days since Gretchen moved the last of her stuff out, other than one drawer in the bedroom on the off chance she visited and wanted to spend the night, which had happened exactly twice. Of course, with but a moment's thought she could reach out across two thousand plus miles, and tell the girl she loved how she felt, and she did from time to time. But Gretchen didn't always respond, and that felt worse than dying... So here she was! Millenium was one of Lynn's favorite clubs to work back when she was scamming guys in the 2000s; it's location near the major banks and trading houses meant lots of well-dressed, Gordon Gecko-wannabes with lots of cash. The nice ones she threw back into the sea after a pleasant night of drinks and dancing, but she took the real douchebags for all she could. The place looked pretty much the same, all polished chrome and recessed lighting, and the pulse of techno thumped down from the dance floors upstairs. Lynn was seated at the bar, nursing a Long Island ice tea as she tapped one foot to the beat; it took a lot of effort to get out of the store, and even more to be in a place this loud and public, but she knew she needed a change. She was thankful that Megan was free to come out and cheer her up, which she desperately needed tonight. God, when was the last time she'd hit a nightclub? It had to be decades ago, or at least since she'd been in one like this; back on Bill's world, they were all saloons. To get into the the mood for dancing, the changeling spent a lot of time on her look for the evening, conjuring up a bright red strapy dress that showed of a lot of leg, back and shoulder, and a pair of black low-heeled shoes that were a nice balance between sexy and comfortable. Her hair was much shorter than it had been for some time, 'cut' just past her jawline, and it was straight with a bit of wave and a lot of bounce. Overall, combined with her 'makeup' and a few other aesthetic refinements, Lynn looked almost ten years younger than when she'd left the store this afternoon; she was heading back out into it, and determined to make a splash.
  17. Freedom City, Southside, 10:22 p.m. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour... ~ Peter 5:8 ____________________ Agnes was in for another cold night. Freedom City wasn't in the deep of winter yet, but it was getting there, and this icy, frigid drizzle from a dark and cloudy sky certainly didn't help. A sharp squall tugs at her red hoodie and burrows inside, stinging her skin as the wind whistles past the support columns of the overpass under which she had currently made residence. A few discarded beer bottles clink as they shudder against each other, as if also cold, and empty plastic bags and trash flutter past like modern tumbleweed. Above her, the sounds of rushing automobiles on the highway play an unappealing but strangely relaxing lullaby. Still, it wasn't all bad. Agnes had managed to scrounge up a half-decent meal and an unopened bottle of water. With no one around to bother her, Agnes is about to dig in. Then a loud KA-THUNK! KA-THUNK! sounds as a truck rolls over a pothole above, and Agnes is sent into a terrible place within her own head, past memories flooding back. They are so visceral, so real, that Agnes forgets where she is, that she is even Agnes. In the middle of it all, she hears the voice of a girl, not within her mind, but with her own ears, almost washed out by the noise of the cars. The girl screams once for help before the echoes fade away and Anges drifts into nightmares... Agnes wakes up as suddenly as she had passed out. She feels like only a few minutes had passed, but at the same time she is worn out as if she had been out cold for hours. This hadn't been a normal flashback. It felt as if something had pulled her into it, forcibly and violently. She could feel someone or something tugging at the deep recesses of her mind. That force is gone now, but it had still been chilling, and there is no telling who or what had caused it or if it would be back. One thing is certain, however... Agnes had heard a cry for help, from the overpass above. It hadn't been a nightmare, she had heard it with her own ears... ____________________ Delta's eyes were going haywire again. It wasn't the first time. Every now and again the machines within his body did something involuntary, sometimes without his knowledge that they could even do that. However, his eyes hacking into camera feeds are... well, not common, but it certainly isn't all that surprising. Sometimes, Delta just had to wait it out, and let the system restore itself. His eyes flicker from feed to feed, First a security camera from a bakery, patrolling an empty, locked up store front. Next, a cell phone being used to film a boy's twelfth birthday, just as the kid moves to blow out the candles... Third, the dashboard camera of a police cruiser, staring out of a cracked windshield as two men hustle another person with a bag over their head into the back of an electrical repair truck... What? Delta's eyes flick to a new feed, and he wrestles with his internal systems, trying to get back to the last camera. He eventually manages it, but only just as the electrical van is driving away. Delta can't catch the licence plate... but now that the vehicle has moved he can see a street sign in the distance. Abercorne Lane... a small street off the beaten path in Southside, about ten to fifteen blocks from the boardwalk. It is hard to get one's baring from one angle of a camera they've never seen before... but Delta thinks they are heading north, toward the highway. Maybe he can make it if he rushes. ____________________ The hero business takes on a different flavor when you are a genius. Terrifica has no need to monitor police scanners or internet rumor sites or even the daily news. Parsing through incredible amounts of data... that's what computers are for. Besides, Terrifica isn't some common thug who gets her kicks by going out at night and beating up common thieves who could barely tie their own shoes. In most cases, a simple tip to the nearest police precinct is enough to get those kinds of hooligans caught. As such, much of Terrifica's job as a hero can be automated, leaving her plenty of time to be Samantha Carson. But not tonight. Tonight, there is... an anomaly. Obviously, sometimes Terrifica needs to be alerted about specific circumstances. Her phone buzzes, and she is greeted by camera footage that her computer had been monitoring. It is the vision of the dashboard camera of a police cruiser, its window cracked, and no officer in sight. Meanwhile, a pair of masked men hustle a small figure out with a bag over her head, throwing her into the back of an electrical van. On its own, this may not warrant further investigation from Terrifica... but that isn't all. The reason the computer had tipped her off is that someone had hacked her. Her. Terrifica's firewalls are legendary, and yet... apparently not bullet-proof. But the hacker hadn't been flawless in his intrusion. He had left a trace. And now... Now Terrifica could follow his every movement. ____________________ Lulu sits in her empty dorm room in Claremont. It is Thanksgiving break, and a large swathe of students have left campus to visit friends and family... not Lulu, though. Instead, she stays in her room, keeping to her own devices. No distraction keeps her from missing Bobby, however. The entire day, she had had a wriggling feeling in the back of her mind, some creeping anxiousness. It felt almost like her powers warning her of some unseen threat, but too weak. Too subtle. Perhaps it was simply plain old, run of the mill nerves? Such a thought is dashed as a powerful vision - accompanied by a wave of nausea - washes over Louise. In her mind she sees a dark-skinned girl with curly hair and a red hoodie hunched over with her hands clutching at the sides of her head as a cry for help sounds out. For a moment, the vision lingers, before thrusting Lulu forward into the tortured nightmares of the girl. Most of it is incomprehensible flashes, but it is far from pleasant. Suddenly, it all stops. Lulu is inside a darkened, derelict building. From the IVs and discarded wheelchairs, it appears to be an abandoned hospital. All of the lights are off, and curiously, there are no windows, the only light given off by occasionally flickering exit signs. Louise can only see a few feet in front of her - as her eyes are somehow already adjusted the darkness - before near-pitch black shadow envelopes the distance. As she stand at the junction of two crisscrossing corridors, Lulu senses something terrible about this place, beyond its creepy atmosphere. Stains mark the cinder block walls, but without color, Lulu cannot confirm what kind... she can make a decent guess, though. Any attempt to peer into the dark void is disorienting, as if the hallways and corridors are twisting and swaying gently, threatening her with unseen horrors to force her to look away. The vision ends abruptly, just as it had started. Lulu is left watching over the girl she had seen earlier, who appears to have passed out. She is now in control of her own ESP, and can more accurately study her surroundings, that being a highway overpass. Bright neon lights in the distance mark casinos and gaudy nightlife, the signature sign of Freedom City's Southside district. She isn't that far away, not by bus or car. She isn't too to try telepathy on the girl, either... although there is no telling when she will wake up.
  18. Starbase Coffee, Freedom City 1st June 2018, 10:00 am It wasn't often that you got to meet a namesake but sat across from Hypno-Hippie was one, Lucy S Diamond. When London was swinging in the sixties as well as being a hero she was hanging with all the big names including her fellow Liverpudlian the Beatles, though all involved denied (somewhat weakly)) that she inspired that song. Despite the intervening years she still looked as stunning as ever dressed casually but still looking classy sipping on her coffee. "Are you all right pet? Bit of a shock I know but I need your help with summin'."
  19. Prologue Anne Leonard Books had been a fixture in Emerald City's trendy University Hill district since the late Sixties, but earlier in 2018 the elderly proprietor announced her plans to retire and sell the store, as none of her grown children had any interest in something as archaic as running a used bookstore. For several months, it looked as though she'd have to sell to some developer, who would either want to turn the painted lady into an Airbnb, or worse, just tear it down to put up ugly condos. Luckily for Anne, a pair of young out-of-town investors contacted her in August, expressing interest in buying the store outright, including all current stock. They both flew in all the way from Freedom City to begin negotiations, and the retiring bookseller couldn't be more delighted with the young women; true, there was some unspoken tension between the two of them (Anne suspected some sort of romantic entanglements), but they couldn't be more professional or courteous in the business dealings. She felt a small twinge when they stated they would change the name to reflect the connection with the parent store back East, but it was hardly surprising; only her own children wouldn't have made such a change Apparently the younger of the two named Gretchen would actually be operating the store, and she asked a lot of very educated questions about the neighborhood, the store's clientele and what sort of books sold best as well as the most requested items they didn't stock. When all was said and done, Anne felt very good about the sale, and even considered stopping in from time to time to see how young Gretchen McDaniels would fare
  20. Jessica was still growing into this monogamous relationship with Jack, but she felt content with him. And that was enough to keep her eyes on her pride and joy. Waking up next to him made her happy. It didn't feel like almost two months had passed (59 days but who was counting? Her, that's who). He had school, but they shared time together in his off time. Last night was one of those nights, and today was one of those days, It was the weekend and they had actual plans. Shopping. For Christmas? Maybe, but definitely for each other. She had to contain the carnal spirit of Greed. Having a shower before he had even woke up, she stood stood over his sleeping form. She knew how he slept. Kissing him on the cheek before whispering in his ear, "time to wake the dead," she chided him playfully.
  21. Thevshi

    Checking In

    Timothy's Bistro Midtown, Freedom City, New Jersey Wednesday October 3, 2018, 5:10 PM Megan Howell-Harrow led Lulu Beaumont up to the entrance to Timothy's Bistro for their dinner reservation. Megan had arranged to schedule bi-weekly time to meet with Lulu over either coffee or for dinner. Given that Lulu was living on campus at Claremont while classes were in session, it provided a good way for Megan to check in with how Lulu was doing and see if there were things that she needed help with. It also helped to continue building a relationship with Lulu, which was going to be important for the next several years while the teenager was at Claremont. Due to Lulu focusing on getting into the rhythm of her new school and other things, tonight was actually the first chance they had for such a meeting since the start of classes. But Megan was determined to ensure that they made this time on a regular basis going forward. She had picked up Lulu from campus over half an hour ago, but they had faced rush hour traffic in getting to the well-known restaurant. "Next time we will pick someplace closer to the school, or plan for a different time to better avoid rush hour." Megan said with a smile as they made their way inside. Giving her name to the hostess, there was another brief wait as they ensured the pair’s table was ready. "So, how have things been going so far?" Megan asked with a small smile as she looked over to Lulu as they waited to be seated.
  22. Winter 2018 It wasn't exactly the Interceptors' Christmas party - but there was a tree up and lights in it, and there were children watching Christmas movies, eating cookies, sword-fighting with boffer weapons, or truly doing all of those things at once. It was a well-spent afternoon, anyway. Steve was sitting by himself on the couch in one of the upstairs bedrooms, just having finished a discussion with Yolanda about how these movies were just for babies that had left him feeling pleased at her emotional progression, when Erik entered the room. Despite the half-dozing children on the carpet by the couch (Yolanda on her phone) and the Santa hat perched incongruously on the Omegadrone's bald head, his face was serious as he asked "Does the evening go well?"
  23. Fall 2018 A Sunday evening The secret headquarters of Lady Horus Wadjet had taken Anna's departure to go pick up Chromium as a good occasion to break down her gun and rework its parts, something Nicola knew by now meant the girl didn't want to talk. She usually didn't. She was near the skylight of Old Main, the glass open to allow for Lady Horus's return, the lunch Anna had picked up from Five Guys not quite cooling yet as it sat on a table she'd pushed out for the meeting. "So. You and the old lady," she looked up from her work at Nicola, who Anna had invited over to meet the new guy "and make sure he ain't got no bad intentions." Anna had gone all out for the troubled teen who was about to move in with them, clearing out a space opposite from where Anna and Esperanza's rooms were. "Good for her." Esperanza's hair had grown out a bit since Nicola had first met her, though it was still short enough that it didn't reach the nape of her neck. - Out by the dockyards, Chromium had been asked to wait for his "ride" to Anna and Esperanza's secret headquarters - so here he was, the Sunday evening crowd light enough that even he attracted relatively little notice.
  24. Freedom Aquarium - 9:00 a.m., Tuesday It is a fine day on the Waterfront. Bright, sunny, and with just a hint of fluffy clouds in a warm blue sky, it was a safe day to leave the umbrella at home. A crowd unusual for a weekday mills about around the shops and ice cream stands, taking advantage of the cool - yet pleasant, for this time of year - weather. Many of these people are already lined up outside the Freedom Aquarium minutes before opening, eager to see a brand new exhibit featuring rare and deep sea specimens from the coasts of Japan and Korea. Most of the fish to be on display have never been featured alive for the general populace before, and a few are new species only discovered some months ago. The ticket booths are already running, trying to get ahead of the forming crowd of eager locals and tourists alike, and failing. As the front doors open a cheer ripples through the crowd, and the line drips forward slowly by steadily. Meanwhile, a few school buses pull into the parking lot nearby, all carrying schoolkids on a unique field trip and their just-as-excited chaperones. As people filter into the aquarium, some make a bee-line straight to the new exhibit, while some meander through the older exhibits, patient to save the best for last. A dark interior of gently winding hallways and dim lamps weave through massive glass cases filled with millions of pounds of water and entire ecosystems of exotic fish and other aquatic flora and fauna. A low hum of banter intertwined with the occasional screech of a small child rises to fill the air, and smartly dressed tour guides enthusiastically start to lead throngs of patrons through the corridors, facts and trivia falling from their lips to land on the ears of an enthralled crowd. Then, starting from the front, and slowly inching its way back all the way out the front doors, travelling past the ticket booths and even into the parking lot, haunting and hushed whispers wash over the atmosphere. Rumors of something gone wrong spread, hands cover mouths, and eyes go wide in confusion and concern. From the newly opened exhibit, several adults retreat, one ushering out two small, confused and irate children. Shortly after, employees close off the new exhibit, its grand opening lasting less than a few minutes. One tells another to call the police not quite quietly enough to avoid a few patrons from overhearing. The whispers ripple through the crowd again, rumors that the tanks featured no fish, no living things... nothing but blood-red water. __________________________________________ Forever Boy If it weren't for his physical build, Pan might have just fit in with the school kids. The Aquarium wasn't much, but on some of the more boring days, you take all the adventure you can get, even the small ones. Besides, sometimes one just needs to relax a little. Never-before-seen fish? Having been on Earth as long as he has, Pan knows that they either won't be half as strange as some of the creatures from Neverworld, or they will be incredible, horrifying monstrosities he could never have dreamed of. Slipping through the crowd to the front, however, the trickster is met with something truly unexpected... no fish at all. In fact, all he can see before employees begin trying to usher him and the others out of the exhibit are a lot of empty tanks with red water in them... save for one tank. In this one tank remains a lone fish. It is small and slight, barely as long as his hand, and its scales glimmer all the colors of the rainbow, and shinier than pixie dust. __________________________________________ Queenie Being an "unmasked" hero has its perks, although Maybelle may not enjoy all of them. She didn't arrive early like some folks, but as soon as a few people recognized her, the crowds parted like the Biblical Red Sea. Locals pulled out cell phones and began snapping photos and taking videos, some folks asked for an autograph. Maybe it was just because when she was cooking, she didn't have much time - or perhaps patience - to deal with autographs. Maybe it was just a novelty to see her outside of the diner. Either way, right now, she is being treated like a celebrity, and shuffled up to the front of the lines. Not that all that did much in the end. All it meant was Maybelle was one of the first to see the new exhibit close down. Two steps inside and all she sees are tanks filled with red... and it doesn't take an expert chef whose fillet thousands of fish to guess what kind of red it is. Only one critter remains... a small, slight dartfish, its body barely as long as her hand, but glimmering like a rainbow. __________________________________________ Delta What a day to pick a clandestine meeting. Delta had been expecting a small crowd... someplace public, sure. But this... this was ridiculous. How was he supposed to blend in? Was his "anonymous informant" having a laugh? It seemed like a lot of trouble to drop coded messages and spend days picking a time and place to meet just to play a stupid prank. Still, his informant was nowhere in sight. Perhaps it had been foolish of Delta to trust a man (or maybe a woman. Delta didn't even know that much!) whose only claim was "I know someone who can tell you more about your past." As the minutes pass, the threat of a trap grows ever more ominous, but that trap never springs. However, a wave of unrest ripples through the crowds of people. Something about the new exhibit... something about everything being dead. A glance over his shoulder reveals what all the other glances have revealed: nothing. No informant. So far, Delta's only lead - if there even was one to begin with - lies with what has happened here at the Aquarium. After all... it might not be a coincidence that he just happened to be lured here at the precise time to witness all this unfold. __________________________________________ Bee Melissa is one of the first in line for the aquarium. Most people were here to see pretty fish. However, unlike most, Melissa is just as interested in the science behind it. The only reason half of the new specimens were on display was because of some fascinating technology. First, deep sea submersibles with the capability of capturing specimens had to be built and installed with a pressure chamber. Without the chamber, any organism from too deep would die from the journey up to the surface, as their internal body pressure became too great for the atmosphere around it. Next, those chambers had to be transported and seamlessly emptied into equally pressurized tanks, the very same tanks the Aquarium had spent millions installing. Through a very careful process and a series of airlocks, the specimens were introduced into their new homes here in Freedom City. Finally, to maintain the ecosystem in the tanks, automated maintenance robots were installed to monitor and clean the tanks as needed. After all, the less need to open the tanks or introduce a human element, the less risk of human error, or mechanical failure resulting in the untimely death of the new residents. All of that effort seemed to be wasted, as Melissa found out as she reached the exhibit. Nothing remains, save for the dark red tendril stains slowly diffusing and mixing with the water.
  25. Friday, October 26th 2018, concurrent with Let's Fall in Like Athletic Field The Autumn Dance was still thrumming away in the Auditorium, Astrid's raucous guitar roaring and screaming into the night, as two of Claremont Academy's magically-inclined students went out on an impromptu ghost-hunt. "I believe it to be here." Dio stabbed at the ground with his powerful tail, the junior hierophant having prowled and sniffed at the baseball diamond for a good minute after they'd arrived "But my skills for divining secret tunnels are...they're not very good." Cocking a head at Nicole Whitfield-Hall, AKA the teen runesmith Salvo, wielder of the mighty battle suit known as Bellios, the young green dragon asked "Can you see anything? You've got several different kinds of sensors, if I remember rightly. The book didn't mention anything about any security, but fair enough to guess Summers wouldn't want just anyone prying about. That at least is familiar, the obsession with secrets." Sitting on his haunches, the reptile gazed about the school grounds. "It's difficult to believe that this is Earth. It looks, feels and smells so different from the Earth I know." The Academy grounds were eerily quiet and deserted. A few lights were on in the dormitories, but most of the students were dancing or partying elsewhere. A cold, sharp wind blew in from the sea, carrying with it salt and a rattling in the branches of the towering oak trees that loomed high above the pair. In greener months, the oaks were a comforting, reliable presence. But now they stood like eruptions of bone in the harsh, distant electric lights lining the walkways.
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