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Found 8 results

  1. August 15, 2015 Hanover Steve had slept poorly that night, a victim of bad dreams and worse memories - but this was not uncommon. Luckily, sleep was something he rarely needed. He was up much earlier than Gina and in the kitchen, cooking shirtless since he didn't worry about the spatter from the electric stove. Particularly not with what Gina preferred to eat - which usually didn't require the use of the nearly spotless stove at all. Toaster strudel went in the toaster and Fountain Mist from the soda machine, and within a few minutes he had Gina's favored breakfast. After some consideration, he took the eggs and potatoes from the previous night and reheated them in the microwave. When it was done, he had breakfast all ready for her - and for himself as well. With his limited sense of taste, he usually ate whatever she was eating, albeit in considerably larger quantities. While he waited for her to wake up, he took a seat at the table and began paging through the phone that was a present from her, digging out that day's weather report. It would be cool, for Freedom City in August, beginning the day at seventy degrees and not rising much above eighty even at the day's height. With clear, dry skies forecast and a breeze coming in off the ocean, it was by all accounts a good day to go outside. With things having settled down recently, and Steve himself having returned from his exile in 19th century Utah, it was a good time, he had decided the night before, to change things for the better.
  2. From the album: Alder's Artistry

    Harrier & Cyberknife

    © K Keppeler

  3. January 18, 9:30am Three days after the havoc wreaked by the robotic hero doppelgangers, Freedom City was still finding a precarious balance of normalcy. The rescue work was done, the destroyed buildings were being put back together, the rubble swept up and carted away. Funerals and memorials were being held for the dead, funds raised for the care of the living. As usual in these sorts of events, the Viktor Archeville Foundation, the charitable branch of ArcheTech, was one of the earliest and largest donors of both money and equipment, but for the first time in more than a year, the charismatic CEO was nowhere to be seen. In fact, no one had seen the unmistakable Miss Americana since before the Day of Wrath, and people were beginning to wonder. On the morning of January 18, ArcheTech released a statement that Miss Americana had been injured while defending Blackstone Prison against a robot doppelganger and would be recovering at her home. All inquiries would be routed through her office until further notice. Not too far away from ArcheTech, in an unassuming house on an unremarkable street, Miss Americana herself was busy catching up on her correspondence. Or rather, Miss Americana lay in useless pieces on a lab table in the corner while Gina sat at her computer and picked through her messages. There were a lot of them. She felt no guilt about taking a couple of days off after the crazy trip through space to save Steve. It had taken almost that long for her to just start feeling normal and safe again. She might even have been willing to play hooky a little longer, but Steve had insisted it was time for him to get back to his job, so she'd done the same. The first thing that stood out when she checked her transcribed voicemails was the more than a dozen messages from Ghost Girl, aka Kimber Storm, all wanting to talk about Sharl. Gina remembered, of course, being told about Sharl's teammates, and suspected she knew what this was about. Sharl was another topic she'd been unfairly putting off, but it really had been a difficult couple of days. Steeling herself, Gina activated the voice modulator that would trade her own voice for the more dulcet tones of Miss Americana, then called the offered number. "Hello, this is Miss Americana, calling for Kimber Storm, is she available?"
  4. With the heroes and two-thirds of the ship's complement beamed down into the heart of the Curator's central control room, it was just Jill and Vrix-117, and of course Quickstep as well. Vrix wasn't as talkative as Samran or Shepard, and admitted that as she showed Jill how to read the panels that showed everyone's life readings inside the Curator's construct. "Commander's tactical, Shepard's science, but I'm more engineering. I mostly keep the ship running while they're on missions." Vrix had removed her helmet too, revealing bronze skin and hair as red as a lollipop. "I...oh!" she pointed as one of the wall panels lit up to reveal a flash of light from the distant perimeter of the ringworld, a silvery saucer ship flying through the gap. "I don't know that design, but they're not local. Hang on." She tapped a button on the panel in front of her, then shook her head. "Damn. I can't reach the commander, but I got a tachyon squirt out to the fleet. They'll be sending reinforcements. Friends of yours?" she asked, cocking her head Jill's way. Dorothy peered at the screen and said, "Looks just like a flying saucer from the movies!" - The saucer erupted into the Curator's system as it dropped from FTL, spilling a wash of tachyons and neutrinos along with a spray of visible light. They were between the ringworld's star and its structure, and for a moment the sheer size of the magnificent construction, known to be one of the largest structures in the Milky Way, filled the scanners of the ship. Thanks to the Curator's famous paranoia, it had been a long, long time indeed since anyone had ever gotten this close. 'Beneath' them was an ocean big enough to swallow multiple Earths, a storm playing across it that could have covered the entire planet, with distant shores visible even to the naked eye beyond before the ring curved away into invisibility. Trillions of people were down there, living their lives, perhaps never knowing about the Curator. Above them, close to the star, hung a black sphere the size of the Earth's moon, part of the circle of rotating black squares the size of planets themselves that made day and night for the people below. It was the central control unit of the entire structure, the geniuses aboard could tell at a glance. And inside that sphere, somewhere, was Steve. And attached to the side, visible as they got closer and closer, was a white pod the computer recognized as a Lor military vessel.
  5. January 15 It was not a good day for getting commlink messages in Freedom City. It seemed like every message that came in heralded some new disaster in the city, another hero replaced by a robot double, another fire that needed put out somewhere. In the middle of the parade of messages assailing the communications array of Dragonfly's suit on a day when she was already considerably distracted, one message managed to stand out, for its oddity at least. The message was in text, bald blinking letters that scrolled across the screen of her suit. <> That was one voice who had been silent through the tumult of the day, Miss Americana had been nowhere to be found during all the rescue work, though there had been word of her at Blackstone Prison early in the morning. What followed the message header, though, was no description of danger or location, but rather a long string of scrambled letters and complex equations.
  6. Gina's spending an HP to create a detector that will pick up Harrier's unique signal due to the special modifications she has helped make to him through the course of their association. With her mental Quickness and the HP expenditure, an invention can be made with eighteen minutes of design and eighty rounds (eight minutes) of building that will last the length of one encounter, so hopefully long enough to let the gang zero in on the abductees. Super-Senses 20 (acute analytical extended 15 [same solar system] radius ranged detect Free Omegadrones [mental]) [20PP]
  7. Freedom City was in danger! That was hardly different from any day in the city where weirdness never slept, but today was worse than most. Disappearances were being reported all over the city, people suddenly vanishing, other people and strange creatures appearing out of nowhere, fights and rampages in the streets! It was a bad time, but luckily, Freedom City had its heroes to protect it. One of those heroes, Miss Americana, was already in the air, flying over Hanover as she attempted to suss out the situation. There were disturbances on the ground, sirens blasting, and what looked like... was that a band of Vikings on the ground? A superhero in the blue and gold colors of Claremont Academy seemed to have the situation in hand there, so Miss A flew onward. A few blocks away, she noticed a strange disruption, almost as though reality were bending like the air on a hot summer day. She flew down to get a closer look, turning midair to land... Gina's eyes snapped open as her consciousness rudely and abruptly thudded back into her squishy flesh body. "Goddamn radios," she muttered, hastening over to her work chair and rolling it to her main interface console. Within seconds, she'd activated the robot's implanted locator beacon, the same type used on black boxes and EPIRB units to be traceable from half a world away and in just about any conditions. She zoomed in on Hanover, recalling exactly where she'd been, down to the millimeter and... nothing. There was nothing there. No disturbance, no robot, no locator ping. It was an empty stretch of sidewalk that didn't even show signs of radio interference. She quickly widened the scan, to take in the city, then the whole region. Still nothing! Scanning further would take time, but what else was she going to do? As she waited for the search to run, Gina considered the possibilities. Could the robot have fallen victim to one of the portals and been whisked away to who-knows-where? She had to admit it was looking distinctly likely. That was... not good. Nobody knew what the portals were, or where they opened onto, or if anything that went through one would come back. The Miss Americana robot had only an extremely basic artificial intelligence, enough to maintain a human mien, walk and act as specifically instructed, and seek out solar energy when its battery ran low. There was no possible way it could return on its own to Freedom City. For now, possibly for the foreseeable future, Miss Americana was out of commission. But Freedom City still needed heroes. Gina went upstairs and looked out her front window. It was quiet in the direct view of her house, but she could hear sirens, and people yelling in the distance. Bad things were happening. Surely she could do something. She headed for the door, only to catch a glimpse of herself in the reflection off her cabinets. Dumpy, dowdy, out of shape, dressed in sweats and with her hair ratty, she was nobody's idea of a hero. What the hell was she supposed to do out there anyway, just stand there and hope she scared the invaders or made them recoil with revulsion just to look at her? She didn't have laser beams, she couldn't fly. When it came to saving the city, she was absolutely worthless. Gina retreated downstairs to continue the futile search. Hours later, her search had covered the entire world to no avail. Gina was forced to concede that the robot might be gone entirely. That was a very depressing thought. She prepared herself a supposedly healthy frozen dinner, then added a half pint of Cherry Garcia and a bag of Doritos to her tray and carried it all downstairs to keep working. It could be months before she had another robot working, and even that would require a lot of very uncomfortable contact with the outside world. In that time, who knew what would happen to the contacts and work that Miss Americana had been doing? What would happen to the little girl in Switzerland? Just as Gina stuck the first spoonful of ice cream in her mouth, the locator beacon alert shrilled at her from the computer! Fumbling aside her dinner tray, she dove for the keyboard and interfaced with the local satellite to get a close-up picture of its location. The robot was exactly where she'd left it, in the middle of Hanover, on an empty sidewalk. Only... it didn't look the same at all. Gone was Miss Americana's skintight red-white-and blue uniform, replaced with a long blue dress that looked distinctly Victorian, corseted and with a full skirt that dropped to her ankles. Her golden hair was pinned up in ringlets and partially hidden by a large, feathered hat. Wherever she'd been, someone had been playing dress-up and gotten really carried away, it seemed. A bit of reflected light on the satellite picture caught her eye, and Gina magnified again. On the robot's finger was a gold wedding band. "What the hell were you doing while you were gone?" Gina demanded aloud, then dropped her body to go and retrieve the damned thing before it did anything worse.
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