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  1. June 8, 2022. Claremont Academy Dorms. First Floor. After school. Effigy and Invisigirl BOOM BOOM BOOM. “Paperboy, get your trunks on! Pool time now!” Wilona was already bikini-ified, though it was hidden underneath loose yoga pants and a thin hoodie. All of which, obviously, were yellow/orange/red with flame designs. Because subtlety. Naomi was in a one piece with the same loose yoga pants plus thin hoodie combo over top of it. Only she was in bland grey. So what was goin’ on? It was a hotass day. Wilona was bored. And she wanted to go swimming. Swimming alone sucked ass. So she’d corralled Carmen, who was hanging out in the lobby, and started pounding on her teammate’s door. Did Wilona know a place to go swimming? You bet your ass. Did she know Luke was also in the room? Hell, no. Would she have cared if she did? Hell, no. The more the merrier.
  2. Sharaf found the picture near the end of the school year, a steady black and white photograph in a book about the Hinomaru. The Hinomaru had been Imperial Japan's version of the Ubersoldaten of World War II; cruel agents of empire who had mostly come to a sticky end at the hands of American, British, and Chinese super-agents during and after the Second World War. This particular book had been put together by the US National Archives just after the war, a murderer's row of assassins, terrorists, and killers of various stripes. (Socotra of course hadn't been involved in World War II; the first Typhoon had been just a boy living under British rule off the Arabian coast in those days.) He found the girl near the end of the book. Akuma no Neko, aka "Devil Cat" had fought several Allied incursions on the mainland of Japan at the side of Crimson Katana, and had vanished in engagement against British heroes during the campaign in Burma just as the war was entering its final stages. There was an image like an identification picture; a pale-eyed girl with shockingly white hair, standing modestly in a schoolgirl uniform like a sailor suit, one of her standing at a podium, standing on a stack of books so she could address a small unit of IJA troops, and an artist's rendition of the girl surrounded by illusory devils. She was by all accounts a black magician, an infernal sorceress of the Green Dragon Society, and - well he had seen that girl before, walking around the halls at Claremont, sitting silently in most of her classes, her accent thick and English often uncertain. There really could not be that many young Japanese women with white, fuzzy hair and big visible cat-ears atop her head, or a tail visible in the rear shot at the podium. This was Neko Musume.
  3. Acheron River, Mesopotamos, Greece In an instance you’ve gone from the night sky of Freedom City to a bright blue sky of a beautiful Greek day, in what seems to be a relatively rural area of the country. After a few minutes of a relaxing river ride you come across a bend in the river where another dock has been set up for your arrival. At the dock you’re all helped to shore by Nereid’s and again assigned an assistant (the same one as before if you wish). A small crowd is also gathered here, most interested Greek locals, with a smattering of local and European media. They’re held back by what appears to be warriors clad in traditional Ancient Greek Armour watched over by an angry looking woman in very similar garb (Ioke a spirt of onslaught, not someone to mess with!). This is much smaller crowd and no one here to have arranged any interaction with them, though even Ioke won’t stop you if you wish to talk them (though Ioke gives you some pretty withering looks). Your assistant points out the wooded hill that sits above the town, up there sit’s the site of Necromanteion of Acheron, which compared to the glitz and glamour of you leaving Freedom City (or wherever else) is rather underwhelming. Your assistant explains that the road ahead leads up the hill towards the Gala, it’s about a ten minute walk, but if required transport can we put on to get up the hill (or you can fly up directly). It’s quite a pleasant walk with forest on one side, filled today with various creatures and spirits of nature (hopefully to keep you safe), and white washed red roof buildings. The locals seems to be curious about everything going on but seem content to watch at a safe distance. Whatever route you take you all end up at the same point, a path that ends up with a symbolic looking doorway through which you can’t see beyond. Set up just before this is a little lectern where the four eyed Argus Panoptes, dressed much like a maître d', who was checking tickets against a massive list of potential guests (a list that Argus is very much keeping away from guests). It’s mostly academic as it seems no one has tried to sneak into the event, or that they don’t seem to be bothered about any interlopers. If any trouble was to start Argus had someone to help out, the massive three headed dog Cerberus. Though the Ancient Greek Good Boy rather than a ravenous beasts was like a massive puppy enjoying the attention of some of the guests. Though after several thousand years he was well behaved. Once your ticket is cleared you’re allowed to step through the portal into the gala itself… This is the second of an open social threat a chance for player characters to meet and greet each other and some NPC's. Only one of you characters can be active in a thread at a time, but you can move them through the threads as to have one in each at a time. If you want to spend more time focused on something you are welcome to spin off into another thread, or a vignette or even ten questions! You are free to create and use minor NPC as needed, the more important character like the Ioke will need a Ref's permission, you will obviously be interacting with Argus but he’s all business. Cerberus will obviously be available for skritches of all kinds!
  4. GM The Fens Evening Early March 2022 The Fens was in chaos. A pair of super villains had made the district into their own personal battlefield, fighting through the the streets, the rooftops and anywhere they could. One of them was a man in light brown cargo pants and full face mask, with a slightly lighter brown cape and yellow glasses, a black trenchcoat over the rest of his clothes. He was heavily armed, with a pair of rifles strapped to his back and handguns in his hands. He was flipping around, shooting and shouting, laughing and having the time of his life. The other was a man in completely black costume , with letters in different fonts, forms and colors that seemed to move and shift all over it. He made noises, and words sprang to life before him, letters appearing in the air before him taking on the properties of the words that he spoke. SHIELD to block the shots, BOOM to blow things up. He didn't say much, aside from that, but he was throwing everything he had at his opponent. Somebody would have to do something to save the Fens!
  5. Summer 2022 Southside Paseo Boricua It was summertime, which meant the Patriot was back in Freedom City from her time in space, which meant she was doing her civic duty. Her helmet and jacket on, she rode down the streets of Freedom's Puerto Rican neighborhood, keeping an eye out for the Claremont student she was supposed to meet. Guess she didn't have anywhere to go. Too many damn super-orphans, she thought, thinking of her own childhood commuting back to New Orleans every summer from Claremont boarding school. She caught the usual flash of cameraphones when people recognized America's most famous patriotic hero but there were advantages to Freedom, the locals were hard to impress - one woman riding a motorcycle, even if she was a superhero, wasn't enough to get the big crowds out on the street.
  6. A few blocks from the Freedom School for the Arts, Riverside, Freedom City 2022 May 1st (Sunday), ~9:45am. Clear skies, calm, about 60o F. Davyd Palahniuk hummed random tunes as he made his way down the Riverside street. He was in a good mood, which readily showed on his face -- and it was his own face which he was wearing. He'd let his hair grow out a bit over the winter months, and it now reached just to his shoulders, rising and falling as he bopped along. His outfit, as usual, was fairly simple, a yellow long-sleeved cotton shirt, with plains cuffs and collar, blue jeans, and well-worn brown sneakers. He'd had many reasons to feel in such a good mood. The successes he'd had in his new job with DNN, and the challenges he'd recently overcome, was certainly a factor. And the day's pleasant weather didn't hurt. But one thing was foremost in his mind at the moment, the reason he was walking down this particular street: a call from one of his former classmate, Louise ("Lulu" to her friends) Beaumont. She'd called him a few days ago, asking to meet, to catch up over a meal. There was a new Ukrainian restaurant which had recently opened in the area, and he'd wanted to check it out -- maybe to treat his family for a Mother's day brunch next Sunday -- and this seemed like a perfect way to combine his interests. He'd not seen much of her since their Euro-Trip, and that was almost a year ago! I wonder if she'll have changed much? He didn't see her when he got to the entrance, and waited a few moments...
  7. Nightscale Way too late Leon and Luke's dorm room or perhaps somewhere else. It was not unusual recently, for Luke to spend his nights shifting in his bed, to the charging of his roommate that had found himself having to contend with the restlessness of the young dragon boy. What little sleep he could get was plagued by nightmares, of the kind you wake up from covered in cold sweat and with only vague dreadful memories the morning after. That night, though, it felt different. It wasn't the aftermath of a bad dream to wake him up. It was... Well it was freaking cold. An icy breeze was dancing on his bare flesh, clad as he was only in the pair of black gym shorts that the seventeen years old used to sleep in. Still under the haze of dreams, the young man turned, his hands stumbling around in search for his blankets. They weren't there. Gone. Weird. Truth was, that, well, it were not only his blankets that were missing. In fact, as he began to properly wake up, Luke soon realized that he was no longer even in his bed. Instead, he was laying with his back on a mix of cold, rough stone and dirt. It felt like the floor of a cave. What the hell! The seventeen years old jumped on his feet. Adrenaline pumped in his veins and dispelled what was left of his drowsiness. It was dark. He rubbed his eyes and a shiver ran down his spine when he realized that they could not pierce the shadows as he was used to, since the day his dragon soul awakened. The world was eerily quiet, all he could hear, at first, was just the sound of his breath, his quickly accelerating heartbeat and dripping water in the distance. It was when his senses had began to adapt to the situation that he noticed that perhaps, there was actually another noise. Rhythmic, slowly paced, it was another set of breaths. Someone was asleep nearby. He stumbled in the dark, toward the source of the noise, until he found the sleeping form of his friend. "Leon." He whispered. "Wake up man!" They were not in Kansas anymore.
  8. Necromanteion of Acheron, Mesopotamos, Greece Through the doorway the sun again streamed down and the sky was a deep blue, with a squint (or with magic) you could make a fain barrier that was here to provide some privacy from any and all forms of aerial spying. Those that had check the reconned could see that everything was as before, and it seemed you were free to wonder the site away from the gala if they wished. The space for the Gala was fenced off with large ionic columns covering a large clear area, looking through the columns you could see an area that was somehow larger than that the columns should cover. Those with the knowledge would know it was a pocket dimension, and out that would allow those covered by the Pact to visit this plane of existence for the party. Despite some rumours to the contrary the pocket dimension was tied to this place and not Hades underworld as some had suspected. Just inside the pillars there were a series of white marble statues, done in classic style by a well known Freedom City artist. They showed some of the most famous of Freedom Cities (and other placed) heroes, head of them all looking down on everyone that entered was of course Centurion. The rest of the place was a fairly traditional entertainment space, with touches of Ancient Greece thrown in, there was two bar on regular and one juice for those who didn’t (or couldn’t drink) and a buffet that was a mix of traditional fair and classic Greek dishes. Serving staff, mostly human it seems, were wondering around offering drinks and snacks. They seemed to have been hired from the nearby town in a once in a lifetime gig! Think were still fairly early and only a few you recognized were milling around in conversation. Most were superheroes or there friends and family, with a smattering of other well known people from a variety of fields. Most of the major guests, including the hosts, weren’t here yet, as was the fashion they would of cause be fashionably late to there own Gala! This is the third of an open social threat a chance for player characters to meet and greet each other and some NPC's. Only one of you characters can be active in a thread at a time, but you can move them through the threads as to have one in each at a time. If you want to spend more time focused on something you are welcome to spin off into another thread, or a vignette or even ten questions! You are free to create and use minor NPC as needed, the more important character will need a Ref's permission. Player characters with suitable job are welcome to work in there civilian roles before going off (or not) to the gala itself.
  9. Freedom City. Southside/Bayview Border. January 22, 2022. 2PM. Jimmy’s Shake Shack. GM Jimmy’s Shake Shack was exactly the kind of dive one would expect. It served burgers, hot dogs, French fries, and milkshakes. All of it was better than you’d expect, but no Michelin stars would ever be awarded. Terrifica picked it because Nevermore ought to know of it, and it was as calorie laden as Miracle Girl liked to eat. Her powers apparently demanded a diet higher in calories than most. There wasn’t a plan, really. It just seemed proper to introduce her new mentee to her old one. They could eat, talk, and then go on their way. She, naturally, had her ways of getting in touch with both of them.
  10. Spring 2022 AnimeCon Riverside Hilton In the relative privacy of the women's bathroom, Neko took a moment to inspect herself and her companions. She was dressed in one of her prize possessions, a brightly-colored red and white kimono that Talya had acquired for her, something that wasn't a Westerner's stage prop or fashion choice but something old enough that it had actually been a working garment. Her hair was behind her back in a neat plait, her ears curled above her head, her tail poking out the kimono's back thanks to some artful modifications to the fabric. (Nobody in the bathroom was looking at her; nobody could see her at all.) On her left shoulder was Merlin, her erstwhile 'manager' having come along for her live debut once it was clear, and on her right was a bright red mechanical insect whose color scheme was a near mirror of her kimono. "Come on, Red," she whispered, and sure enough the small insect-bot buzzed and hummed and began flying around her head. She smiled at the pretty bug and whispered, "You are so pretty! Everyone will be watching you if I am not careful!" With that, she checked Merlin's phone, nodded in satisfaction as it showed the success of the livestream, then checked with her manager one more time before she turned and exited the women's room. As she exited, she let herself be seen for the first time as she was (Merlin staying discreetly hidden), heading out into the crowd. "Hiiii!" she declared to her hovering bug-drone, smiling as she twirled a red umbrella over her head that was a costume prop. "Welcome to Catgirl Reacts to...AnimeCon! Make sure to like and subscribe!" She was by no means the only person in a costume, but so far she was the only person whose unusual appearance was natural. The room was crowded with people, more than could have fit into her whole village, all of them with unusual sounds and smells. She wasn't even the only person doing a livestream in the crowd, but she seemed to be attracting attention. Good, good! "Today I am going to see other catgirls, watch anime, and play video games! Come on!" With a smile for the hovering camera-bot and a girlish wink, she headed into the crowd, her sensitive ears catching the mostly-admiring comments about her appearance. People know Catgirl Reacts! This is actually...working!
  11. As arranged when your ready to leave a taxi arrives to take you to the departure point, not only is it remarkable well time whatever company you choose you get a classic old style taxi. The driver, who speak in the broadest Jersey accent, explains that everything been paid for and he (or she) knows a few shortcuts to get you to the spot quickly. And indeed despite the traffic you seem to get there in almost no time at all! Your destination is the docklands all light up with a rather impressive layout for the whole thing. You can see what appear to be giants, probably Cyclopes, keeping back a fairly large crowd. Leading this security is a woman dressed all in black with a large skirt and veiled hat, you can tell it’s probably one of the Gorgons as her snake hair has been (carefully) teased into a ponytail. Your taxi stops a distance away from all this, in a relatively darkened area, and your met by what seems to be you guide to all this, a nymph or satyr, suitable dressed for this kind of night. (those of you that choose to skip the taxi are met by suitable creatures, including Tux wearing harpies for those that fly, who explain similar things). They explain that theatre has been laid out a whole media circus arranged, with photo ops and interviews as you wished, but they then point out a back route darkened and out of shot for those that wish to avoid all that. This leads down to the dock and your transport to the gala. Those of you that still wish to run the gamut of the press are guided to a small gaggle of PR people, who seem to have been picked from the smaller newer superhero PR companies. Your assigned PR agent for the night explains that the red carpet has been split into three groups. The first group are student reports and small independent creators, lots of social media types a few you might recognize for there fairly balanced reporting, no influence types just out for themselves. You then have the local new people, from all the television, radio and newspaper, and finally the national and international reporters. There are even spot where you can instead go and meets the fans who came out to watch this media circus, either in the crowd or places set aside for more intimate meetings. After spending however much you wished dealing with the press and public you go down to the river to see your transport to the gala itself. Down a set of steps, with Tritons and Nereids keeping people safe, is a wooden boat looking like a miniature Ancient Greek Trireme with it sweeping eye festooned prow. At the stern is a tall cowled figure ready to row you to your destination. It was be a good guess that this is Charon, helped by your assistant giving you a obol for the journey, though they insisted it was just a souvenir for the night. Once about a dozen or so of you were seated in the boat a silent Charon pushes the boat off the dock and begin to punt the boat, that after only a few meters disappears for those in Freedom City to appear halfway around the world. This is the first of an open social threat a chance for player characters to meet and greet each other and some NPC's. Only one of you characters can be active in a thread at a time, but you can move them through the threads as to have one in each at a time. If you want to spend more time focused on something you are welcome to spin off into another thread, or a vignette or even ten questions! You are free to create and use minor NPC as needed, the more important character like the Gorgon will need a Ref's permission, Charon however will not speak at all he's just here to do a job! Player characters with suitable job are welcome to work in there civilian roles before going off (or not) to the gala itself.
  12. GM Friday, December 17th 7PM Riverside The Benedict Sans Office Tower 25th Floor The Benedict Sans Officer Tower was a newer addition to the Riverside skyline. It towered over its neighbors as an collection of office floors. Importers liked its proximity to the river and as did start up tech firms like to distinguish themselves from their Hanover counterparts. Representatives from numerous technological and import companies, both local and from outside the city, gathered for a pre-holiday party at the offices of Dumass and Prude Imports. The offices occupy most of the 25th floor. Networking and deal-making was done under the veil of festive cheer. Everyone knew the party was a thinly disguised ploy at gaining favor with key companies. Everything was going fine. Champagne flowed, hors d’oeuvres were nibbled, and schmoozing abound through out the large room where the party was being held. Offices lined two walls of the party room, while floor to ceiling widows encompassed the exterior wall, overlooking the courtyard and offering a magnificent view of the river in the distance. Suddenly, gunfire pierces the evening cheer as armed goons dressed in black stand aside from the open doors of the party room. Five men, one a large man with a thick red mustache and bear paws for hands, another scrawny man with large fly-like wings, bug eyes and arms. A bald, heavyset man in wrestling pants and a long grey/black hair man with glowing eyes flanked them. Finally, another man, obviously younger then the others stood to one side, with a drawn out nose and mouth that gave him a shark like resemblance to match the sharp white teeth his grin shows off. The red-haired man steps forward and spoke up. “Listen here ya prissy, walking checkbooks. This here’s a robbery, you’re gonna cough up whatcha got while we rummage through your offices for pretties, or I’ll know why.” “Now see here!” An older man in a expensive suit steps forward from the terrified guests. Mr. Russell Dumass. The co-owner of Dumass and Pride Imports and the man hosting the party. “You would do well to leave before you face trouble.” Mr. Dumass glanced over at large, suited man with an earpiece and nodded. As if on cue the man and several others around the room draw pistols on the intruders. The party crashers laugh as the armed guards aim there weapons at them in return. The black clad goons aimed small assault rifles and the tension in the room thickened until the red-haired man raised a bear paw of a hand and the goons relaxed some. What happened next was swift and vicious. Four of the men moved with purpose while the one with glowing eyes simply watched. The guards quickly fell under the assault of the villains. Some knock unconscious while others were less fortunate. With the shark faced man being the least restrained. The man he took a bite out of bled profusely and this seemed to only drive him into a frenzy. The other villains only watched as the shark man bite the man over and over until in a rage he picked the bloodied guard up like a rag doll and tossed him through one of the floor to ceiling widows to have him land in a blood mess in the building’s courtyard 25 floors below. The speed and ferocity of the attack cowed any further resistance in the crowd as they began to comply with the men and their goons. Satchel carrying goons began to move through the crowd as the villains regrouped. They spoke in hushed tones before splitting up. The bald villain in wrestling pants and boots took several goons and left the party room as the bear-handed man turned his attention to Mr. Dumass. “You.” He commanded. “Your office, now.” The frighten businessman followed the command and lead the villain into his office. The villain closing the door behind him for privacy. The remaining three villains watched the goons moving through the party guests like vultures waiting on their next meal.
  13. Sunday, February 27th 2022, Midday afternoon Predator /Shift end in approximately 14 seconds…/ “Thank you, Cynthia.” Jean snarled as the tentacles tightened around her, trying to crush the armored shell protecting her from the alien environment of the dimensional transition. Servos strained as she fought to pull herself free of the creature. She didn’t even know what it was or what it wanted, and frankly she didn’t care. Honestly, she didn’t even know if it was actually sentient. It had been pulled into the space between worlds with her when she shifted. She’d been through this often enough that she’d been able to tune her sensors to the subtle signs of when a shift would hit her and estimate when it would drop her into a new world. Seconds ticked down as she fell through the nothingness between worlds, struggling against an abomination nearly four times her size. Freeing an arm finally, the fingers of her gauntlet retracted and a click-snap was lost to the colorful void. A foot and a half long blade extended from the back of the hand of the foreplate, just under the Duster plate and clicked into place. With a vicious slash, the edge bit into the tendrils ensnaring her other arm. Again and again she hacked until her other arm was freed. In an instant, a matching blade appeared and Predator began driving the mono-edged weapons deep into the rubbery flesh of what seemed to be the main ‘body’ of the creature. Purple ichor ran from the numerous wounds she dealt it. /4…3…/ The numbers echoed in her ears as she desperately tried to free herself. /2…1…/ Crap, wherever she was about to wind up, it seemed she was going to have an unwanted tag-a-long. /0…/ Inside her helmet, Jean shut her eyes against the disorientation of shifting. Nothing happened for a full two seconds. It was only an estimated timing after all, it wasn’t right all the time, to be honest it was never 100% correct. Another second passed and a tentacle slipped around one of her arms again. She pulled her other arm back to slash… A new reality slammed into the combatants. The force driving them apart as the duo fell through open midday air. Predator quickly recovered, it wasn’t her first shift after all. Noting the pull of gravity on her again she twisted as she fell, getting a view of where she was falling to. Below her a city stretched out beyond her current field of view. Inside her helmet, screens flickered and shifted as a wave of new data was being processed. /Locate gravity detected…calculating time to impact…7 seconds…6…/ Jean grunted, but her primary concern was the mass of tentacles and teeth mere meters away from her. It was slightly lower then her, most likely due to their relative orientation when they shifted. Somewhere in the corner of her HUD the local time and date synced and she made a split second decision. ‘Sunday…’ She thought briefly. /5…4…/ Predator twisted again, bring the hands of her gauntlets to bear on the creature. The blades click-snapped, collapsing and sliding back into the forearms of the suit as her palms opened to reveal the focusing lens of the twin blasters set within. Taking only a moment to note her surroundings and judge her attack. /3…/ Light erupted as the energy blasts struck the creature. The force actually slowing Predator’s decent even as they drove the creature down with more momentum. The angle of the attack drove the thing into a nearby building, sending it plowing into empty offices before it could land on the populated street or sidewalk. The sound of the impact alerted those below, causing a commotion as people either ran for cover or pulled out cell phones. /2…/ It didn’t matter to Predator though, as long as they stayed out of harm’s way. Using her maneuvering thrusters she slowed her fall and angled into the opening in the building’s exterior. Inside the ruined office Predator rolled with her landing and came up with her palm blasters ready, Cynthia’s countdown cutting off. The creature was not in sight though. Dust and papers fluttered in the air, settling around the destroyed furniture. She could hear the buzz of damaged lighting and the interior was dim, but not dark. It had only been a moment between her shots and her entering, it should be in sight. Slowly the smooth faceplate of the helmet scanned the room. Nothing registered on her sensors and she began to worry. /Negative signs of movement…/ Cynthia offered. “Gimme thermal vision.” Jean ordered. /Engaging.../ On her screens the color palette of her imaging switched to the colorful gradations of infrared thermal sight. It was hiding, waiting to strike. This had been how it has surprised her just before she shifted. It had come out of nowhere, latching on to her seconds before they both dropped out of that world and fell into the void between worlds as she had decided to call it. What it didn’t count on was that this time it was the prey, and a Predator was the one on the hunt for it.
  14. The Harrow Estate, North Bay. Thursday, April 14th, 2022. Noon. Lulu Beaumont sat cross-legged on her bed, staring down at all her acceptance letters and program materials from various colleges and universities spread out before her. Her eyes darted from letter to letter, to glossy brochure and then to pamphlet, her right leg pumping nervously the whole time. At length, she sighed, through up her hands, and rolled off the bed onto her stocking feet, and began padding towards her foster mother's home office. Once she got there, she gently knocked on the open door; it was indicative of her state of mind that she was still wearing her oversized Alabama State jersey and pink sleeping pants this late in the day. "Hey Megan, you got a second?" She hung on the door frame as though afraid to step inside.
  15. Spring 2022 Jean had heard plenty about agents of the US government; even met a few during her settling into this dimension. This one was female, which was a trifle unusual. Her hair cut short and black, her eyes hidden behind sunglasses, her body wrapped in a suit and tie - well that wasn't so unusual. Once she'd shown her US government ID to the fox woman, demonstrating her bona fides as a member of the organization called the "United States Secret Service" 'Ashley Tran' said "Do you mind if I come in?" Well she's definitely a bipedal fox. Ashley remembered her meeting with the Copycat of Ani-Earth back when she was in high school and decided she wasn't going to cast judgement on this dimensional refugee. What the hell; being here had to be like a little slice of madness all the time. Well it's about to get even crazier.
  16. Little Kyoto, The West End, Freedom City 14th April 2022, Butsumetsu This little slice of Japan in Freedom city, if not the oldest it was close, was particularly quiet today as among the more superstitious it was the unluckiest of days. For on this day the Buddha had died and hence nothing important should be embarked upon. The day had definitely been unlucky for poor Mr Chishio who had been found dead in the courtyard of his home, under the shadow of an ancient Cherry Tree. With nothing suspicious about the death, the man was quite old after all (and no one ever remembered seeing him as a young man), he’d been carted away to the morgue. Someone knew something was amiss however...
  17. Winter 2021 Kyiv It was a grey day in Kyiv, grey and white as heavy snow fell on top of what was already a heavy snow cover. But the people of Ukraine's capital were used to this, along with the various new super-coming-and-goings that the recent creation of Rurland, the robotic homeland, had brought to the region. But even so, the Ukraine was not Freedom City, and when Angelic dropped out of the cloud cover there were excited exclamations and snapping pictures. Eira liked that, so she flew a little slower as she circled Mykhailivska Square before coming in for a landing on front of its statuary. It was definitely cold, somewhere below 1C by her internal sensors, but she was comfortable in her cape and shorts combination. A few passersby wanted pictures, a few autographs, and with a smile the beautiful golden-haired goddess went about her work, snapping open an electric pen from her pocket. It was nice to be appreciated.
  18. Greenbank Railyards Mid-March, 2022 Natalia had mixed opinions on Greenbank. She did actually like urban decay as a design, all the crumbling signs of what was, the traces left behind of the people that had been through before you, the little signs of life and business still ghosting through to show that the place wasn't completely abandoned - but the best version of that was always clean, in her mind. Not sanitized, but less raw garbage piled up. In her ideal world, it would have smelled better. More rust and crumbling brick, less ammonia. "He's promised me that he's not here on work," she was saying as they walked down a sidewalk that was slowly losing a fight against grass and weeds. She'd worn boots for this trip - something broken glass or rusty metal wouldn't get through, that complimented skinny jeans and a loose black top with golden stitching. "That probably means it is work, just not the kind that causes any real trouble. He wouldn't lie if he thought I would find out and catch him on it."
  19. GM April 20th, Wednesday, 2022, 11.30AM Guthrie Gallery of Energy Innovations, Freedom City University, Freedom City, USA Adorning the Gallery's entrances were banners inviting readers to "SEE THE FLYING ALIEN PYRAMID!", strategically augmented with "Free food!", "Live music!" and "Meet Max Mars!" Whatever else could be said about him, in this case all those things were true. Inside was an extravaganza of Max Mars' usual levels. The austere and functional layout of the Guthrie Gallery, a rotating exhibition of various energy sources from steam engines to a replica Omegadrone Power Pike, was coated in glitz and excess. On one stage, up-and-coming rock sensation Frank Larrabee sang about the misty forests and mountains of his hometown, Emerald City, and of the unsolved mysteries they hid from wondering eyes. On another, acoustically-isolated from the rock balladeer, metal band Spydor acted out the War of Taranok and Scorvicious, and on a third pop idol Silvia "Silver" Moon and the Moonlites danced through a confrontation with hereditary illness and the stigma against the chronically-ill. The technology making it possible for all three acts to be on at the same time without their performances interfering had its own mini-exhibit, replete with attractive salespersons. Booths pertaining to other recent inventions, including the Phobos V utility-phone, and advertising positions within MarsTech itself, packed the halls. The free food ranged from buffet-style steam trays to onigiri to fresh-baked pretzels, in quantities sufficient to feed even a crowd of university students and guests with families. And in the center, visible from all the arms of the Gallery, was the huge floating, pulsing nightmare of metal and stone that was the alien pyramid. A suite of technicians kept a careful eye on read-outs behind the cordon set up around the pyramid itself, a cordon guarded by smiling and uniformed representatives of Brande Mangement, a company so mysterious that all anyone really knew about it was that it hired superhumans as security personnel. In the shadow of all this, Max Mars, standing proud in his five-nothing frame cloaked in a resplendant red suit, held court and eagerly explained what the strange machine was and its ramifications. The crowd that had gathered filtered in and out, kept up to date everywhere in the Gallery on Max's endless patter through the P.A. system. "This is better than gold, folks! A working alien spacecraft! If you think anti-gravity is for your grandkids, you're in for a shock! With this baby we've picked out planets NASA wouldn't have found for another 80 years, at least! A food replicator, a database of languages we've barely begun to scan, and this ain't even it's full size! Before we dug it up, the people in that Mexican village thought it was just another hill! This is our ticket to the stars, people! Without having to wait until Americatech deigns to grace us with the answers, we'll make our own!" That last hit more of a sour note with the Freedom City crowd than it might have back on the West Coast. But Mars' other words, and the various gizmos around the central hall demonstrating the applications of this alien super-tech, left a much more positive impression. "And best of all!" Max's grin seemed barely able to fit on his red-bearded face, "We've found the space jockey who piloted this thing! He's been trapped inside, for thousands of years, and you'll be here when he says his first words to us! So stick around, folks, enjoy yourslelves, and get ready for an outta-this-world encounter!"
  20. GM Rath & Stromberg Plaza in Wading Way, Freedom City October 24th, 2021 3:32 AM The doors to Rath and Stromberg caved in, a group of four standing in the entrance. A tall man in a trenchcoat and welder's mask stood silhouetted, an enormous rifle smoking in his large, gauntleted hands. The red lenses of his mask were glowing red. Behind him stood a titan of a man, ten feet tall and plated in armour from head to toe. On his shoulders sat a small, brunette woman with a vulpine grin and a fluffy mane of hair, a domino mask covering her eyes. Finally, there was another woman, surrounded by soft green light, who didn't seem to be very interested in the events unfolding. Those who'd been paying attention to their phones would have seen the clips caught on phones of this group doing a series of smash and grabs across Freedom, sometimes teleporting in, others simply running or driving across the city. After a short dramatic pause they started marching inside, the lead man talking as he walked. "Everyone on the ground, and hands where we can see them. Don't try to be a hero, I'm sure the professionals are on the way. Just stay down, we'll take what we're after and be out of your hair. Stay quiet and none of you will be in any danger." The words were calm and measured. Clinical. The grinning woman laughed slightly before speaking up. "Come on Shadey-" "Don't call me that." " -we're robbin' a bank! You can live a little! Have some fun! Come on, back me up Anarchilles." The large, armoured man, Anarchilles, laughed. It was a sound like a volcano erupting. "I wouldn't mind having some fun." The glowing woman just mumbled something unintelligible. Ignoring them Steel Shade just marched forwards, knocking out a pair of security guards who tried to intercept him and striding past the reception desk. Just as he was about to head through a Staff Only door, he turned to the trio. "Keep the heroes busy for the next two minutes. Non-lethal only. Don't hurt the civillians." To the tones of some more mumbling and a cheery "You gots it boss!" He disappeared through the doors.
  21. Burnham Military Camp Near Christchurch Aotearoa/New Zealand July 3nd, 2021 On the first day of the Matariki celebrations an army of giants appeared from the Southern Alps, marching upon the city of Christchurch. With no time to respond the New Zealand Armed Forces had to turn to other sources of help. And so, the day after Matariki the government of Aotearoa put forth a call for heroes. At Burnham Military camp a liaison waited for the heroes to arrive, smiling when relief when the four heroes were assembled in front of the building. "Thank you all for coming so swiftly."
  22. Spring 2022 HAX When she was in America, it was not unusual for Eira to stop by Mara's place to collaborate with Ryder, or just to carry a message from Miss Americana to her erstwhile colleague. But Ryder wasn't at work on the April morning when Angelic landed on HAX's roof, her blue and gold cape flying behind her in what was actually a raging storm. She was tall and blonde in her adult body, looking a bit like a Viking warrior, a bit like her biological mother, and if you looked closely quite a bit like Miss Americana, right down to a costume in Swedish patriotic colors. Showing unaccustomed hesitation, she stood there in the driving rain, carefully clutching a plastic-wrapped box under her arm that bulged about the size of a loaf of bread, before she strode for the elevator down into the main body of the building.
  23. January 30th, 2022, Sunday, 3PM Harold Hitspike's panic room, Hitspike Heuristics, 27th floor of 1386 Pittsburgh Ave., Freedom City, New Jersey, USA, Earth "So as you can see, Mr. Daye," bluff, red-haired young Hagar Hitspike nodded at the charred skeleton in the centre of the pentagram, surrounded by an otherwise spotless and undisturbed steel panic room, "this is a little outside of our understanding." Despite being a good foot shorter than Christopher and swathed about the middle in a long bath towel, the man looked both composed and solemn. His brother and sister, standing nearby, nodded vigrously. The towering, gaunt-faced, gold-haired woman who'd introduced herself as Hildegard wiped a tear from her eye with her green silk dress's sleeve, adding in a voice trembling with dismay "Yes! Father never trafficked with the hellish forces of the underworld! Me and Baby Harry knew all his business dealings. This is all some terrible frame-up job!" "Yes, uh...ah...hm..." White-haired, portly Harold Jr. was too stunned to say anything intelligible, and the man stumbled to his father's desk back in the rich wood-paneled office to sit down. "Now I understand this has been a little disorienting," Hagar said with an apologetic look somewhere under his dripping hair and beard, "seeing as we have for some unaccountable reason all stepped into this room at the same time from different places. God knows I didn't expect to come out of the shower and see my father a charred-black skeleton. But we can pay handsomely and the police stopped taking our calls years ago. So, well..." He scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. His sister stepped around the puddle forming at Hagar's feet to seize one of Christopher's hands with her own, her long nails and tough skin creating the effect of being grasped in the talons of some huge bird of prey. "I can't think of anyone else who could get to the bottom of this, Mr. Daye! Please, if you possibly can, find out what happened! What killed our father, and why?!"
  24. GM The Painted Desert, Arizona October 4th, 2020 10:00 AM "Sorry kids, grandpa wasn't kidding about this desert being hell during storms." Blue Squad had been told that they would be going on a field trip to Arizona, to the painted desert, to meet up with a Doctor Macedon for a survival class. Leon might have heard about his friends' trip the year before, and how the aging Doctor Macedon had decided to swear off any and all future field trips after yet another trip to the past through the Magic Mesa, but maybe this time would be different? The whole thing had started out pretty well. Doctor Alexandra Macedon had picked Blue Squad up at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with an off-road van with enough space for the entire crew, their luggage and Danica's ride. It turned out she was the previous doctor Macedon's granddaughter, and she had been more than happy to take up the task of leading another squad on a survival class. They had reached their dropoff point and then proceeded out into the desert. A few hours later, a sandstorm had started kicking up, slowly growing in strength and intensity. "We gotta find shelter! Anybody see anything?" Doctor Macedon's long brown hair was kicking around her in the wind already, while she fought to keep her stetson secure on her head. Up ahead, the group could see a mountain that just so happened to have a cave.
  25. Winter 2021 The interview location had not been the Patriot's idea. Showing the Christmas lights of the reclaimed Ashton Community Center behind her, symbolizing a city's victory over the Terminus and the holiday season, was certainly festive and even appropriate for the brand-new Danger News Network's interview with the Patriot. But the air here still felt wrong, buzzing with alien energies and danger, and it had her on edge as she paced the small trailer where she was waiting for her interview to start. Her makeup was done, her costume was on, and Daisy her night assistant was doing her best to keep both of the former under control. Daisy was a Claremont alum too, a flighty blonde who had gotten into some serious trouble after she'd left the school, but damn if she hadn't already proven her efficiency running the evening shift. It was the evening shift now; cold enough in the New Jersey darkness that the Patriot's interviewer was probably going to be dressed to his or her best. "I still can't believe they switched out interviewers at the last damn minute," Ashley was grumbling. "I knew we should have gone with an established network." "It'll be fine," said Daisy warmly, smiling with her darkly painted lips. In her drab brown pullover and skirt, she practically blended in with all the DNN staffers scuttling about outside as they made sure the lights were on and the season festive outside. "Making friends with the Dangers is good business in Freedom City, even if they do make life more complicated sometimes." She shook her head, checked her buzzing phone, and said, "Listen, I just got a text that the new interviewer is here. I'll go get them, bring them here, and then you can check them out for yourself before you start. You're going to do fine," she added, leaving Ashley sitting in the trailer's swivel chair. Ashley took out her own phone to make sure her sister was watching the show tonight, and Daisy headed out into the chill to see if she could spot the new interviewee, making sure to take frequent sips from the heated, sealed mug she was carrying so that her breath would stay foggy warm outside.
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