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Found 13 results

  1. Raveled

    The Talk

    January 23rd, 2013 FDR High School, Freedom City Late Afternoon FDR High was an unassuming building made mostly of brown brick, sitting in the middle of one of Freedom City's largest suburbs. It was bigger than most of the colonial and ranch houses around it, and the entire thing was enclosed by a chainlink fence. Jessica Parker had already walked around the entire thing twice, trying to figure out where students would come out (in just about ten minutes, now) and had found at least three, all spilling out in different directions. Which would make finding Baxter Bowles a challenge, to say the least. Jessica stopped underneath a bare tree and sighed, looking at her feet and snuggling a bit deeper into her fuzzy peacoat. The Day of Wrath had been a trying time for all of Freedom's heroes: she had engaged Victoria Atom in a rooftop duel to defend an apartment full of T-Babies, and even after subduing the heroine the body had burst into flames while Ironclad was flying her to Blackstone. Now the tangled wreckage was sitting at the bottom of the South River. Nothing could have prepared her for the news that the Bee-Keeper III, also known to her as Baxter Bowles and maybe-kinda-sort-of her boyfriend, had snapped and tried to incinerate a biker gang and a bunch of bystanders. It had hit her like a punch in the gut to think that someone she knew could be a cold-blooded killer. Now the truth was out and she and the rest of the world knew that the Bee-Keeper that had done such horrid things had been an imposter. But if what Jessica had heard was true, then it was possible that she had never known the real Baxter. Which made the possibility of talking to the real thing more than a little frightening to her. She had liked the Baxter Bowles she had talked to, but who knew if that had any relation to the real thing or if it had all been a lie? Nevertheless, she knew that if she didn't at least try she would always wonder, so here she was. Waiting for a guy who maybe didn't even know that she existed.
  2. 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.
  3. January 15, 2013 Morning West End There's a man in a giant robot suit marching down the street, calling down vengeance on all who have oppose him. Just another day in Freedom City. "Fools!" boomed the voice of the giant automaton, the pilot just visible inside. "Everyone always said old Jerry Craven wasn't ever going to amount to anything, but look at me! I've got a giant warsuit! Now I'm big, and YOU PEOPLE ARE SORRY! AHAHAHA!" He laughed manically and stomped forwards, people fleeing in terror as he made his way from the warehouse that he'd simply walked his way out of, heading in a leisurely fashion towards the sea. His suit was big, towering as tall as the small tenements on either side, and wide enough that he nearly brushed them on both sides as he went. This was a big problem for the neighborhood; one false move in that big suit and the whole thing would come crashing down on the neighborhood!
  4. The group of young heroes and their Lor allies stepped onto the transmitter pads and vanished, their atoms quantum-tunneling five hundred miles through solid computronium and re-emerging in the central control room of the Curator - the mighty cybernetic intelligence whose vast power and arcane manipulations of their world had brought them to this place. They found themselves standing in a vast, cathedral-sized hall lined with dark and silent monitors cut in a triangular shape, the too-bright silver light overhead a source of stark illumination inside the central hub of the Curator's lair. The air was stale and smelled musty, a relic of however many eons it had been sealed inside since the Curator's original construction. At the 'altar' of the room sat a massive chair, almost like a throne, covered in the same silver-black pyramids that were the Curator's symbol, tentacles of computronium rising from it to infiltrate the wall behind. Sitting in that chair, its head bowed ever-so-slightly, was a still, silent Curator drone, its three eyes dim and dark. And standing next to it was Dr. Sebastian Stratos, lightning crackling around his fingers. "Hey, kids!" he called with a wave. "Got your hive going, eh, Barry?" He chuckled. "I wondered if I'd see you again. You didn't happen to bring any food with you, did you? Because I am _starving_!" He waved his lightning-covered hands around for emphasis. "I found this zoo a couple of levels down, but most of the animals tasted terrible, and one kept trying to shapeshift into my mother or something. It was awful!"
  5. January 15, 2013 9 AM Freedom City Courthouse "We now go live to the courthouse steps, where Star Knight has appeared to offer her opinion on the Yamashita verdict." The trial of the accused stockbroker had been a high-profile case of financial fraud in Freedom City, Greg Yamashita having plundered the pensions of several established Freedom City companies, and his acquittal had brought many demonstrators out with placards and catcalls. Yamashita was being ushered through the crowd by the police when Star Knight, the armored heroine and Freedom League member, swooped down from the sky overhead and briefly hovered over Yamashita and his police escort. The crowd fell silent for a moment as the heroine raised her hand, looking down from her faceless armor at the wide-eyed stock forger. "It's time," she said with perfect clarity before suddenly firing a deadly blast that instantly incinerated the criminal and sent his police escort tumbling like so many ninepins. "The day has come when the heroes of Freedom will no longer stand the existence of our enemies! You're next!" she yelled to the camera as the crowd began screaming in terror. The camera fell, tilting wildly, as a distant explosion sent the crowd stumbling. The last shot captured by the camera before a foot crushed it to bits was the heroine floating in the air and firing blasts into the side of the jail attached to the courthouse, laughing at the top of her lungs. "Hahaha! It's judgement day!" January Vignette: Day of Wrath On January 15, 2013 at 9 AM EST, a wave of violence sweeps through the heroes and villains of Freedom City, without regard for who and what they might once have been before. Some seem to go mad, laughing manically as they fall on their enemies alike like a rabid wolf gone among the sheep, driving some of Freedom City's worst to take shelter from the best gone evil. Some stalk their enemies with cruel, predatory intent. Their acts are showy and terrifying, sending the civilians in the street running in fear from their erstwhile protectors and criminals alike. Though deaths are largely limited to villains and criminals, the deeds are frightening enough, and deliberately, _mockingly_ public enough to strike at the very heart of Freedom City's trust in its heroes. As heroes and villains alike go mad, the heroes of Freedom must rally like never before to defend themselves, their families, and their cities from this unexpected attack. The 'wrathful', as the press has dubbed them, will happily tell anyone what they're doing: Freedom City has tolerated scum and villainy for too long, and now they're going to destroy the enemies of Freedom whatever it takes, and whoever they happen to be. It looks as though judgement day has come... Vignettes might include: Dealing with panicked mobs fleeing a particular crisis, or even one that has turned on another costumed hero in a moment of panic they will later bitterly repent Fighting a hero or villain 'gone mad', they are frightening foes who attempt to persuade the other heroes to join them in their campaign of violence before turning on their erstwhile ally with vicious intent. (make sure to get approval for the use of any canon NPCs in this capacity) If cornered, they will fight to the death. Helping investigate the crisis, looking for psychic spoor, computer linkups, poison or disease in the air, and whatever else might have caused this terrible transformation Reassuring the public, either on TV or in person, that they're going to solve this, and that they might even know who it is that's behind it. Blowing up one of the control boxes, and dealing with its various Foundry bodyguards [Note] Associated Threads: These Chains On Me: Miss Americana and Gabriel, and a mixed bag of allies, deal with an attempt by Harrier to blow up Blackstone Prison and kill the inmates there. Arms and the Man: It's Jill O'Cure vs. the Interceptors as she eliminates a jobber villain for them; permanently! Time and Chance: A battle between gangsters and bikers takes on a whole new terrifying turn as Jubatus, Velocity, and Silver Spider take on a Bee-Keeper gone bad! Pale Moonlight: Blue Jay deals with a battle between Congressman Aaron Walsh and some Terminus babies by shooting as many of them as possible with arrows while Blod, El Heraldo, Warp, and Kit take her on! Counterfeit Medications: When Wander kills Jonathan Grant during a board meeting, what will her lover Midnight, the rest of the Liberty League, and old friends Cobalt Templar and le Renard Bleu do? War of the Worlds: Young Freedom learns that home isn't necessarily where the heart is Checks: DC 20 Bluff, Perform, Sense Motive The 'wrathful' are obviously playing to the crowd, whipping up terror among civilians with their deeds as much as actually killing criminals, and specifically picking opportunities for showy, violent fights with other supers over general mayhem. DC 25 Computers/Technology There are radio signals passing between most of the maddened super-people emanating from various control boxes in Freedom City. Blowing them up should deal with some, if not all, of the 'wrathful' in the area. Careful, though, because those boxes have powerful robot guardians of their own... I will provide further information once one of the wrathful takes significant damage in combat. Send me a PM, or post here, with Vignette ideas or other stories you'd like to spring from this!  
  6. Ready for anything, the heroes erupted from the pyramid ship, weapons raised as they prepared to do battle with unending robot hordes! But instead they found...stillness. The lights were bright, just as VINCE had suggested, the sharp white glow of the central spine overhead casting harsh shadows everywhere. There was a scent in the air vaguely like the stuff added to natural gas back on Earth, and everywhere there were robots! Eerie humanoid skeletons with three eyes and clawed limbs, ferocious-looking guardians of the Curator that were doing absolutely nothing. For a long time, Harrier eyed the robots, his armor having chunked open over his skin, before he spoke in a voice loud enough for them all to hear. "Look at them. They are not arranged. They are not armed. They are...immobile." And sure enough, the robots were silent and still, caught in the middle of walking, pressing buttons, circulating around the hangar bay, but not a single one moved a metal muscle. Harrier walked over to one, still wrapped in armor. "It does not react." "So what does that mean?" asked Quickstep, scrubbing her hands along her arms as she leaned out of the ship. "Is he waiting for something? Is this really his base? Are we were we're supposed to be?" She wrinkled her nose against the smell. "What do we do now?"
  7. The night of January 15, 2013 2 AM The call went out to le Renard Rouge's, Cobalt Templar's, and the Liberty League's line, one after the other, at a time that just happened to catch them all when they were otherwise indisposed. The woman's voice on the other end is rough and raspy, with the tension clear as she speaks. "
  8. 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.
  9. The Morning of January 15, 2013 The Wonderbus roared through the skies of the Northern Hemisphere almost impossibly fast, the extra-dimensional construction of the craft shunting away the excess heat energy from its hypersonic flight enough to keep it undetectable in the air. They were flying thousands of miles, but the fantastic speed of their craft would get them there in less than an hour. Trying to keep his mind off the crisis of Erde-Tronik, the bioweapons, and the advanced plasma weapon that had nearly killed them all, Sharl had pulled up situation monitors from the computer inside the Bus, trying to keep track of what they'd left behind. "The good news is, the chaos seems to be limited to Freedom City, so it must be something there...I don't know, that bomb was extra-terrestrial, but I didn't recognize the maker. Maybe it's something with the Grue again." At least what they hoped to do with the Sanctum was easy enough. "I'll connect Erde-Tronik to the power supply there and keep it safe until Miss A and I can get it protected. As for the bioweapons, we can just drop them in one of the stasis fields there. It's not a long-term solution, but it'll last long enough for us to keep things safe. We-" A distant beeping interrupted Sharl. "That's the proximity alarm. Maybe there's somebody from the League there already." He tapped a few buttons on the bank of monitors they were all sitting around, the black and white screens looking as much like something from a 60s sci-fi TV show as the high-tech pieces of super-science they were. "I don't understand, there's something on top of..." The great grey vessel squatted over the Sanctum like an anteater scooping out ants, tentacles rising from its lower half scooping away huge chunks of ice even as they watched. The three eyes and slight horn at the rear echoed the face of the Gorgon, but Sharl knew that face well enough from his studies and his nightmares. He saw the details in an instant; the great digitizing towers driven into the icy Arctic landscape like tent spikes the size of buildings, the glowing red 'eyes' that bespoke an active subspace connection across the galaxy, and worst of all, much, much worse, were the smaller tentacles already buried in the exposed roof of the Centurion's Sanctum. His eyes wide with horror, Citizen managed to form the words: "It's the Curator."
  10. Wharton Hill Harrier watched, as amazed as anyone else, as the Curator's ships gathered up the severed Freedom City and began to carry it away into the perpetually grey sky overhead. Over the distant rumble, he called, "We should not remain this area long! The subsidence from the city's removal may cause a collapse...and if the Curator's ships do come hunting for the missing ones who probed the sky, they will pass through this area early in whatever search they make. We should avoid being taken by the Curator...again," he added, chewing on that thought unpleasantly. "His attentions will not be in our favor." He was carefully not looking at Blue Jay or Bee-Keeper, eager not to resume the arguments that had nearly gotten the armored warrior and young (so young, was I ever that age?) archer captured by the collecting vessels.
  11. When the battle was done and the commandos defeated, Citizen floated out of the warehouse with his precious cargo tucked beneath one arm. "I've got it, guys!" He had both the truncated Erde-Tronik drive and the gold boxy storage medium from Earth-Prime in the same big black case. It would be up to he and Gina over the next few months, (probably as what would incidentally count as his graduation project) to integrate the Troniks together successfully but for now the backup was complete and the City of the Future (as he still sometimes thought of it, the very old motto that Tronik had kept even after the Exodus) was safe from the National Socialists. Assuming they got out there in time! "Wow!" He wasn't so focused as to not be impressed when he saw the battle with his own eyes; the smoking helicopters, the fleeing commando, the crack Nazi strike team that Young Freedom had taken apart with all of the skill and power of a master artist painting a portrait. "Nice, you guys," he said with a grin before disappearing into the Wonder Bus. "Now let me get the systems in here rebooted..." As the lights inside the Bus came back on, the other machines came out, Rogue in the lead in a humanoid body that looked like a human woman cast in the featureless nude, like something from a German Expressionist movie. With no explanation for the new shape, she cast her gaze from the scene of the battle to the heroes, back and forth, and for the first time seemed almost uncertain. "You did this. All of this, when you could have taken your Sharl and that city and..." She opened and closed mechanical hands before saying, decisively, "All right. All right, maybe you're right. Maybe there is another way to prosecute our war against the National Socialists." The group of robots behind her, which did not include her Sharl (who was in that system his counterpart was carrying) startled at that, but Rogue pressed on. "If you can fight the Nazis like this, teach them _fear_ without destroying them all, maybe we can try it ourselves. At least once, anyway. But you'd better take the Ragnorak with you. If we're not going to prune the humans back, it'll just look bad if we have it in our possession."
  12. January 15, 2013 Blackstone Prison With rumors of clandestine Terminus activity circulating through the city, it was only natural that the Freedom League wanted to interrogate their most high-level Terminus prisoner...and only natural that the most experienced expert on the Terminus would be part of the interrogation. Steve was waiting for Gabriel when the latter arrived on Blackstone Island, standing near the outer perimeter fence in a suit and tie and looking as menacing as any of the prisoners inside. "Good morning, Gabriel," said the former drone, his expression hard to read as he faced an imminent reunion with the monster who had destroyed his life. "Thank you for calling me on this case." With a faint smile, he cocked his hand towards the outer gate where the 'blackguards' were watching attentively at the arrival of the famous Gabriel. "They thought I should wait for you to actually go below. It seems I set off the security system." - Down below, in the ultra-high-security wing where the clone of Shadivan Steelgrave was currently sleeping in his cell, the man in the cell opposite was whistling. Miss Americana had been called in to repair a very high security, albeit damaged computer system; the tough, albeit rigid, circuits inside the cell's door control, among the most high-security in the entire facility and a restricted design trusted to only a few super-geniuses, had fractured into pieces like broken glass the night before. Only a backup system had kept the big impervium door blocking his cell from sliding right up and out of the way. "Yeah, 37042 thinks he's funny that way," Officer McInnis was telling Miss Americana, the stocky blonde rolling her eyes with a guard's amused distaste for a persistent prisoner. "Courts say we can't actually stifle him if he's not attacking people with his sonic powers, and he's been in here long enough to know the score. Nothing says we can't put you in solitary, though, does it 37042? " she called, rapping on the impervium with her billy club and making the whistling stop. "No pretty girls like me and Miss A to look at in there!" The only response was a single, defiant wolf whistle and a wordless grumbling that finally lapsed into silence.
  13. Elsewhere Test Site I Freedom Hall Blue Jay woke up in a ditch, the smell of ashes in her mouth. She was in her costume and fully armed, the quiver at her back weighted with arrows. Raising her head, she found herself surrounded by a vision from Hell: a bombed out Freedom City laden with debris, ashes, and the broken remains of what once might have been bodies. She'd seen the effects of power pikes well enough to recognize their work. And there, screaming down from the sky like the armies of the damned, came the all-too-familiar sight of an Omegadrone troop carrier, big as a small jet liner but covered in the spikes and weapons she knew all too well. It roared overhead, antiproton engines screaming loud enough to nearly deafen her, and headed for what looked like Freedom Hall. Baxter awoke from a dream, and found himself in Hell. Bee-Keeper III felt the vibrations in his suit before he saw the ship come roaring down out of the sky; a monstrous vision of technological hell as it swooped overhead and plowed into a nearby street hard enough to rattle his teeth, careening along a street to plow into a nearby building. He noticed the apocalyptic surroundings next; the ruined Freedom Hall behind him, the smashed windows and fallen bodies of what looked like the aftermath of a grim and terrible battle here at the heart of Freedom City's heroing, and then finally what looked for all the world like a shattered city all around them. Jill O'Cure's eyes snapped open and she found herself in an empty hospital. She could tell that right away; the red, flickering emergency lights exposed a scene of wild chaos, torn and fallen beds and equipment in a mad jumble, but no sign of life, or death, for that matter. She knew this place, the waiting room of the clinic in City Center just down the street from Freedom Hall. She was in costume, not her scrubs, but before she could take further stock of the situation there was the brief scream of mighty engines and then a nearby BOOM, as if a plane had hit the ground just a few blocks away. Bones. Bones bones bones. Wander had seen plenty of those in her life, but the pile she was standing over was impressive. Smashed and broken, they were scattered over the front steps of the City Center Clinic like a child's much-abused toys. She could make out the familiar sight of skulls and other big bones, but these bones hadn't rested easy: something had disturbed the remains, if they'd come here first inside bodies. The ossurary at her feet was new; the burning city all around her wasn't. Suddenly, the familiar sight of an Omegadrone troop carrier roared overhead and disappeared over the nearest high-rise with a BOOM that shook the ground beneath her feet. When Harrier awoke, strapped into the recharging station of a heavy combat Omegadrone, Steve found himself frozen to the spot in the mortal terror of an awakened nightmare. He wasn't conscious of anything about his surroundings, only the sudden, horrible surety that his life was a dream and he was about to be taken away and dissected by the Physician. WAKEUPWAKEUPWAKEUPWAKEUPWAKEUP-the crash interrupted his frenzied mental shouts and tore him loose from the station, sending him bowled end over end against a hard steel wall before he realized the ship had crashed and that he was all alone inside it. Taking a moment to steel himself, and think of Gina, the Omegadrone chose to meet his fate head-on: armored up, he blasted out the nearest hatch and burst forth onto a murdered Freedom City street. It wasn't so strange, really, he'd seen many of those in his time. He distantly saw an armored figure in yellow and black nearby, and moved towards him with pike raised defensively.
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