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Found 1,298 results

  1. The De Leon Househould West Vallee, Emerald City, Oregon Thursday, November 22, 2018; 7:30PM "Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen." Around the table, the family performed the sign of the cross, ending the prayer, and with the sound of cutlery they began to serve Thanksgiving dinner. They were a family of five, the parents first-generation immigrants from Mexico. A mother and a father, three girls, the youngest of which was Nicole's age (who couldn't keep from batting her eyelashes at Pan) and the oldest of whom was in her mid-twenties. The wife, Elizabeth or Eli for short, was a matronly woman who had aged well in her late-forties, bronze of skin and her hair dyed a reddish-brown. She was, to hear it told by Nicole, someone who had raised her and saved her and someone the teenager owed a debt to. Rafa, the husband, seemed to have blood leading directly to a Spanish conquistador. Trisha, Kate, and Abby from oldest to youngest, from the most formally dressed to the least, from the one most resembling her father to the mother. They shared a round table just large enough to accommodate the five of them comfortably but with Nicole and Pan visiting, the table was cramp, all jostling elbows and clanging plates. Nicole and Pan were beside each other, Eli to Pan's right and Abby to Nicole's left. A white tablecloth covered the table. There was the traditional turkey dinner, laid out on the center as the main course, but plenty of breadstuffing and a few more homecooked Mexican dishes to go with it. Nicole wore a pink undershirt. She had taken off her sweater, in a white and blue striped pattern, which hung from the back of her wheelchair. Emerald City was a chilly place to be, with snow and clouds concealing the sun. Rain had just fallen a day before, lowering the city's temperature even more. But it was cozy inside the dining room and the house in general. It wasn't the biggest house, or even big, but it was cozy and homey, with old mementos and pictures doting the walls and tables. Well-worn sofas in the living room waited for them just a few feet away as an electric fireplace heated the house. Nicole had come in for the Thanksgiving holidays flying first-class by commercial airplane and by pity or some other mushy feeling invited Pan along. He flew couch. They had briefly met before his time at Claremont, back when he had reverted to his old trickster ways and Nicole in her armor was looking to vent her frustrations on the first opportunity that reared its head. It didn't end well for either of them and it left a bad taste in Nicole's mouth. So maybe this was an apology of sorts to the sophomore who had no family to be with during Thanksgiving. "So, Pan," Eli finally said, putting down her utensils. "Nicole never told us she was anyone. How did you two meet and where did a handsome young man like you come from? You aren't from around here are you?" Nicole, for her part, was in the middle of chewing on turkey as the question was asked. And she blinked in confusion before the realization dawned on her, her cheeks growing red, thinking that Pan had no idea what Eli meant. "N-n-no, no, no," she said with her mouth full, which made what she said sound more like, "M-mm-mhph-mwo." "Whymft." And she began chewing her food vigorously. The others around table meanwhile waited for Pan's answer.
  2. GM Emerald City, Bethlehem Heights, Nov 1st It so happened that Halloween had been the night before, and trick - or - treating had been treatin' and a trickin' half the night and longer. And in the midst of such festivity, it appeared that many pockets had been picked, many wallets gone missing, and many valuables gone astray. Yes, it appeared that in this poor area of the city, everyone and their uncle twice removed had been a victim of some no-good theivin! This included a certain Marjory Doors, administrator at the university, who complained in most bitter tones to all and sunry about the loss of her mothers wedding ring that she had around her neck until last night. And it so happened that one of those persons she complained to was a Ms. Robin Lunne Langley. "Oh, what I would give for some Justice around this city!" she lamented! Maybe Ms. Robin Lunne Langley was just the right person to speak to, if one wanted Justice!
  3. GM Post 17:13:56 October 19, 2018 Somewhere in the Amazon The ceiling falls. Huge slabs of rock brake from the ceiling, clouds of dust and debris exploding as they rain down on those below. People run across the ground, trying to escape the deathtrap they had found themselves in. Screams and shouts of alarm ring across the temple, echoing across the stone walls to mix with the sound of crashing stones. Shallow cracks web across the floor, the intricate artwork extolling gods and storied legends tearing itself apart. "Get out of the way!" A father leading three young children by the hand shoves past Cassie, causing her to stumble. When she looks up, the family of four is already moving among the panicking crowd. They rush for the nearest exit where the day outside streams through like a solid pillar of light. You move to follow but hear someone calling your name. "Cassie! Cassie!" A tall man wades through the crowd behind you, concern filling his eyes. His head is shaved and a beard, curly and orange, marks him like a target at a firing range.
  4. GM The man who walked into Silberman's Books could best be described as "goth pimp with hipster garnish," the unholy union of a failed stage magician and an even less successful pick-up artist. He wore a long black velvet overcoat with puffy faux-fur trim, also in black. His slacks, suit jacket, and long-sleeved collared shirt were black as well, while his waistcoat and necktie were splashes of red. His dark hair was tied back in a braided pony-tail which almost reached his waist, peeking out from beneath a wide-brimmed black Stetson hat with a red ostrich feather stretching a foot and a half above and behind him. His beard was almost as long as his hair, waxed and styled in a pseudo 19th century fashion. He wore several fine chains around his neck, from which hung a giant gold pentagram and several different crystals. All of his fingers were covered with mis-matched rings. A pair of black snake-skin boots, polished to a high gloss shine, completed the ridiculous ensemble. The man clicked his walking stick on the floor as he strode up to the counter, swinging a briefcase with his other hand. The red-lacquered wood was topped with a silver handle shaped like a coiled dragon. He tipped the brim of his hat to the employee behind the counter and gave them a smug grin. "I'd be much obliged if you could point me toward the restroom, and if you could have a double espresso macchiato and your manager waiting for me when I get back. Assuming the beans are fair trade, of course." The man reached into the breast pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a metal calling card case, and a money clip bulging with a three-inch thick stack of folded bills. He pulled out an embossed white business card, and a hundred-dollar bill, and slid them both across the counter. "Keep the change. Buy yourself something nice." He winked. The business card read "HAWTHORNE BOOKS & ANTIQUITIES," with an address in Bedlam City, Wisconsin.
  5. 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?"
  6. GM John Smith's most recent job had run well past sundown, and the closest bus had still dropped him ten blocks away from his shabby Downtown motel. Five blocks into his hike, he spotted a yellow Chevy Camaro 5G with its driver-side door hanging open. It was parked on the right side of the street, facing him head-on, a couple blocks away. The passenger door was adjacent to the sidewalk, but closed. He thought he could see someone in the passenger seat, but the driver seat was empty. There was some kind of dark lump sitting on the street behind the open driver door. Twenty stories above Smith, Arrowhawk perched atop the crumbling faux-Gothic stone facade of a half-empty tower. Even with half the lights burned out on this street, her eagle-eyes could read the license plate, confirming that the Camaro belonged to Mike Donaghy, the Scarpia family associate she'd been stalking for the last few weeks. He extorted protection money from several lower-tier businesses in the worse parts of Downtown, and she'd planned to intercept him along his usual pick-up route. One of those businesses was a convenience store a few blocks away. She'd doubled back on the most likely route when he didn't show. From above, she had a much more clear view of the situation. It was obvious to her that the lump in the street behind the car door was a person, halfway into the fetal position but unmoving.
  7. Freedom Oil Station, Broadway 3rd September 2018, 19:30 Robberies in Gas Station were something that, alas, happened in all cities but in a city like Freedom City it was more common for them to be done by more colourful costumed villains. But even in this city, it was an unusual case. Sitting on the counter was a figure around four foot tall, a literal cartoon character, dressed in a typical '20's flapper and apparently in black and white. "Come on Beth the fuzz'll be here soon!" her accent was a broad stereotypical Chicago drawl The other, a blonde compared to the others dark bob cut, was trying to stuff notes into a bag which was not easy when your only four foot tall!
  8. Adam was at first delighted with the response. He wasn't sure how many of them were serious about playing, but he sent the materials out. He distributed materials for making characters and sincerely hoped that the people who said they'd come would be there. Then he got scared as he realized the implications. He had snacks, and drinks, and extra sets of dice, three copies of the player's book, an abundance of mechanical pencils, several notebooks, and a whole bunch of minis that his mom had given him. He had an inkling of what they were going to bring to the table, so he had a collection of various classes and races. He figured they could pick out their minis. "Game's starting in a bit, mom." He said as he did a mental checklist. "Yeah, yeah, it's the new edition, but most of these guys have never heard of the old stuff. Or the new stuff, probably. I dunno. Any advice?" While he waited for an answer, he paced back and forth. He had on a pair of boot cut jeans, his size fifteen sneakers, and perhaps daringly, a short sleeved shirt. He looked over them. He'd memorized every scar he bore. He wasn't going to bring it up, wasn't going to mention it. It was just too warm to wear a hoodie. He checked his laptop. He had a sound effect playlist as well as a music playlist. He probably did way too much research, he admitted. But, if he could make this work, he could make actual friends. With actual teenagers. This was a terrible idea, but he was determined to see it through.
  9. 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!"
  10. Azuth65

    Red Sky at Night

    October 5th, 5pm The doors to the Doom Room hissed open as the various members of the recently formed Red Squad stepped towards the entrance. From inside the gathered teenagers found what appeared to be a stereotypical dojo, rice paper walls and wooden floors with banners hanging decoratively. Crickets chirped softly, the sound carried on a gentle breeze coming from an open doorway within the simulation to a forest outside the building. Standing by the woods, admiring the simulated sunset in her school issued costume, Gauss turned her head back to the group. "Hey guys, I see everyone got my notes. So, you guys remember when Headmistress Summers grouped us up together, I figured if we're going to be a team and competing together against pretty much the rest of the school we should probably have a formal meet up to get an idea of what everyone can do power wise, any skills or talents we bring to the table, all that good stuff."
  11. Seven years ago "Perhaps, one day, Dunwich would rise again. Not as an exercise for visions of madness, but as a true place of realization." Thanksgiving 2018 The Parkhurst Hotel Arcane energies crackling around its edges like so much barely-suppressed lightning, the mystic gateway opened and out stepped a visio n from beyond the very edges of our reality! Resplendent in his starry robes, his eyes glowing with the energies that lay between the planes, the Gatekeeper raised his gloved hands and said, "Hello, Nick!" Kyle and Eric were actually on a first-name basis but they both were working, the latter especially. With the holidays, Claremont students with no particular place to go had been attached to established heroes for a "ride-along" - which explained what Ms. Thursday was doing there. "And company, I see." The Gatekeeper brushed his hair, looking a little distracted; the faint smell of smoke rising from him. "Are the two of you free for a small favor?" he asked. "I hate to interrupt whatever you're doing for the holidays, but I have a situation."
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. The Kirby November 10th, 1:30 PM Corinne had passes to a private showing before the public launch. Likely from her father. It didn't matter, really, though. As it was a show of modern Dakanan art, on a day the museum was normally closed, but for an exclusive viewing. Of course, she wasn't the only one with passes. Other people had them and she had been a bit free with handing them out at Claremont, so even some people who weren't really friends with her got some. Since Hannah left she felt a little... lost, and really just delved harder into the dancing. Until the injury, and the setback. But she didn't have much else. And no roommate meant she had no impetus to reach out, apart from stuff for the Orange team. Right now, she was standing there in front of a complicated mixed media sculpture, chewing thoughtfully as she took in the piece that dominated the room with it's abstract representation of... something. She wasn't quite sure what. But it seemed very insistent. She wore a pair of overalls, with her daisy adorned hat, and a big green sweatshirt on under the straps, and a pair of similarly green Doc Martens.
  15. 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
  16. GM Oct 6th, Down South! On a dusty road, in a dusty desert, full of desert heat... Venomax was looking into poisons, toxins, and chemicals. And rumour had it, down here, in this strange remote landscape, there was some might fine poisons, of the toxic variety. And toxins of the poisonous variety. Scorpions! Venomax was entering the "town" of Littlebig Rock. It was hardly a town, more a collection of dusty buildings on a dusty road. But here, some old doctor lived, purpotedly proposing that the scorpions and toxins of this little old area of the world where the worst in the world? Was he right? He was drinking and smoking the day away just outside his home. Venomax could see him outside, drinking, and smoking. A thin leathery man, with dark wrinkled skin, dressed half like a cowboy, half like a shaman, and half like a gentleman. And probably half like something completely different. The sign above the door proclaimed this to be a dentists, for Doctor "Teeth" Whitefish as indeed a dentist. Or at least proclaimed to be.
  17. September 21, 2018 11:14 AM Southside, Freedom City "And right over there's the ArcheTech Disaster Aid Southside HQ!" Nicole waved an arm grandly at the squat, old building that sat at the corner of two avenues. It was rendered in a red-bricked style, as if it were from another century, though that image was marred somewhat by the the graffiti spray painted on its walls. Most of it were painted over but what Ajasoro could make out hinted at small-time gang signs, rude messages railing against the authorities, and cussing aimed at those '****ing aliens'. Buildings all along the area were in similar straits, faded in color and lacking in life. Down the street, only one store remained open amid all the shutter-closed stores, a mom-and-pop pharmacy where a man was smoking a cigarette beside the doorway. With a screech of tires on asphalt and its doors still open, the bus Nicole and Ajasoro had taken sped away as if it was eager to get to its next stop in record time. The two girls were the only souls in the bus stop, and it was nearing noon, a time that for all purposes should have brought busy streets and crowds, though they could only hear those city sounds in the distance. It could have been another world for all that they were alone. They were only at the outskirts of the Southside, where the west of Lincoln blended into eastern Southside and also where the effects of the Terminus invasion had lingered, even after the physical damage had been long rebuilt. "Not the greatest." Nicole's face fell with the admission as she began to drive across the street's pedestrian lane on her wheelchair. She wore a sunny yellow blouse, dark blue pants, and a pair of off-white rubber shoes. "Even with Doctor Metropolis fixing this area back to its pre-invasion state, the people living here still haven't been able to pick themselves up. Guess there isn't an economy-heal superpower yet." She chuckled at the thought. "Ever been somewhere here before?" With her vague wording she could have been referring to the local area, the city, or even a figurative dump of a place like they were in.
  18. 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.
  19. GM Pacer would be running. Of course she would be. After all, that was the entire reason that she had been chosen for this. A blur had raced past, and she had heard a single sentence spoken, with a voice that was almost like a whisper. The accent had been strange, nothing she could place from anywhere she had run to on the Earth. The message was simple, and yet enough to attract her attention: "Catch me if you can." Then she had seen the blurred being rush past her in a straight line. The other runner had the headstart, but she was slowly catching up, and she was starting to spot him. A golden blur, leaving behind a trail of sparks. Like a lighter that failed to ignite a flame.
  20. Magic Club Room, Claremont Academy Bayview, Freedom City, New Jersey Monday, November 5, 2018 5:45:13 PM Nicole Whitfield-Hall slammed Bellios' helm on the school table in front of her, causing it to wobble. She ignored the wobbling, instead turning to meet the eyes of everyone in the room that Claremont's Magic Club called home. It was, as club rooms go, nothing too magical. The walls were painted white and the floor was covered in wood paneling. Light fixtures did a good job of lighting the room in white fluorescent and the windows were open to let the fall air in. Couches and cushions littered one side of the room, fluffy in bright colors. A large whiteboard dominated the opposite side and it was covered from end to end in Nicole's scribbly handwriting -- notes to herself and metaphorica-logic based tandems used to navigate her type of magic. The two wooden tables were pushed to the wall, freeing up the middle for the current occupants, a bunch of monoblock chairs that matched their numbers, and one table in the middle of it all. Nicole's eyes were a little bit crazed, like those of a powered up cultist high on otherworldly drugs and gods. Too much caffeine and too little sleep frayed the edges of her features and she sniveled her nose, ruddy with the cold she had been harboring for the past few days. She was sitting in her wheelchair, in clothes that could have been a day old or three. A gray sweater and blue sweatpants completed the I-just-woke-up look, though for her it might as well have been a I-haven't-slept-for-two-days look. "Right, so, I've gathered yo--" She stoppped, bringing a hand up to cover her mouth just as she sneezed. Taking her hand away with a sniffle, she reached for a handful of tissues to wipe at her nose. There was a few seconds of awkward silence as she did so and pocketed the used tissues before she looked up again to continue her explanation. "Right, so I need your guys' help. And I really need your help so I'm glad that you came here today no matter what we think of each other." And at this she looked pointedly at Huang, before muttering under her breath. "Jerkass." Then she continued, tapping at the helm on the table. The helm gleamed a bright red and their faces were reflected on its purple-tinted visor. "See, Bellios over here has been acting up ever since a thing I did last week, if you know what I mean. Now, I've fixed most of the problems but this last one is tearing my hair out. It's honestly pissing me off and it's been doing so for two nights now. And there's no way I'm going to a faculty member after Summers' drumming after the assembly." She paused and shivered, having experienced how scary Summers could really be in a locked room. Alone. "So," she said, picking up again. "I think you've got the skills. Is why you're here. And the magic obviously, this would be so much more complicated if you aren't. Some of us are touched by magic through the sympathetic bonds you've created with your... things." She threw a thumb at Elizabeth and Veronica. "And some are dripping magic like sweat after P.E." And here she tilted her head towards Abigail. "You're what I got and if you're thinking of walking back out the door right now we can deal. You scratch my back and I scratch yours kind of deal. What do you say?" She met their eyes again, clearly expecting them to either agree or "deal" in her words.
  21. Bedlam First Assembly 9PM October 30th 2018 Light Rain Dr. Thorne sat nursing their drink at the dinner where their prospective, client? informant? had requested to meet. The girl had sounded scared, genuinely scared, but determined and thought the PI might just be able to get what she knew to the right kind of cops. Outside in the spotty glow of failing streetlights the occult investigator could make out the knot of hardened looking young men paying a bit too much attention to the diner. Perhaps looking for victims, perhaps trying to screw up the courage to knock over a place under the protection of one of the families. Mr. Strix had stalked, followed, the group after he'd seen the handoff of clean and disposable guns in an ally a few blocks away. They had kept to the better traveled streets not giving him alot of room to find out more but that kind of hardware was not the sort of thing for a casual carry. They intended to use it. Pastor Theo set the last of the chairs up on the table in the churches small community room. The last of the NA attendees were vanishing into the cloud of cigarette smoke that lingered outside every meeting of this sort. Event he chill rain wouldn't stop them, though one supposed it was mostly better than the less legitimate vices they were trying to kick with varying degrees of success. It was like the weather. I night that seemed to be holding it's breath. Not quite still but with an air of something to come. And then it did, in a flash of dirty scarves and worn sneakers the girl spotted the gangbangers ont eh corner and bolted nearly knocking more than one off balance junkie off their feet as she sprinted for the closest thing to sanctuary in a town like Bedlam. A church. Most of the gangs were just superstitious enough not to try anything in a house of god, most of them. Across the street Thorne and Strix saw the gang member move into action the jumpier one flashing enough of his new iron to have the junkies and other patrons clearing out before they became victims, or worse witnesses. While a pair headed around the back and a couple fanned out to watch the street in each direction just in case the apparent leader approached the door grinning through a mouthful of fake gold. "Eh man, you see my sister eh?" he snickered not even trying to hide the lie, "She need get home real quick momma gonna be worried where she get to."
  22. 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..."
  23. Supercape

    Head West

    GM July 31st, Late Evening It was a hot, languid night, with hot, languid tempers lolling this way and that on the streets of Freedom City. The Docks were cooler, thank the Gods, with the sea air gently taking the dge of the heat. 'Twas here that the Scarab spied. Mind reading was a handy talent for a crime fighter. From street thugs to shady dealers, it got her the inside scoop on todays deal. A meeting. Someone from the underground villanous organisation, the Labyrinth ,was meeting an arms salesman. The nervous salesman had arrived by boat under cover of night. He was a small, twitchy man, with a North African look to him, and a thick beard. He might well appear to the ignorant or malicious, a terrorist from first glance. A reason indeed for him to be twitchy. He was waiting, twitching away, when a black sedan drove up beside him, and three much larger men got out. "What have you got?" "I...I...can't bring it here" said the North African man. "...I can't get it into the states. It's...unstable, you see? Risky...very risky...." The large men seemed distinctly unimpressed. "It's real, I tell you...look!" said the North African man, showing them a video clip on his phone. This made the large men much more impressed after they saw the clip...
  24. In the past year, three racing champions had been murdered by, of all things, an archer. The shots were, in a word, impossible. The female sailor racer had been killed at sea, with nothing around for miles. The male dogsled racer was found when his dogs dragged him and his sled back into town. There’d been a killing blizzard that had shut down travel to the miles wide region for over a week, and the locals swore up and down nobody else had set out on the trail. The third had been a female marathoner, struck down in the American Southwest while training. In the desert. With several witnesses who swore nobody else was around for miles. September 28, 2018. Freedom City. Just outside Ashton and Grenville. Horizon Festival Main Stage. 9 AM. There would be over a hundred different races held, in varying skill rankings. Anyone with a driver’s license and an automobile that could pass an inspection could enter at the lowest level. The highest, however, was reserved for those who had proven their superiority over the competition. At stake? Honor, pride, and a trainload of cash. The Horizon Festival had come to Freedom City, and it was a madhouse. It was a street rally racing event primarily, but you wouldn’t know it from the stages set up what seemed like all over town. There was going to be three dozen bands playing at one time or another the entire weekend. Vendors had set up in sight of what seemed like every stage. Mechanics Alley was also open to onlookers, even if only the pro cars had slots booked in it. Because oh, yes indeed. The world’s finest street rally racers had followed the Festival to Freedom. Dominic Cortez was the grudgingly acknowledged best street rally racer in the world. He wasn’t worried about anything today. He’d drive in the kickoff race, but only for a lap. Any real racing, for him, wouldn’t be until tomorrow afternoon. As the world’s #1, he was automatically entered into the S class, highest at the Festival. The people who were worried were his agent and mechanic, Darius Greer and sister Sofia. He only trusted blood to work on his wheels. After the last murder, racing champions had gone into seclusion across almost all of racing. They only poked their heads out for events, and even then under astonishingly heavy security. Dominic Cortez was the sole exception. Leaning against the door of his car, he watched the MC blather on. The man was charismatic and effective, Dom would give him that, but honestly? Dom just wanted to get on the track already.
  25. 23:00, 5th November 2018 Southside, Freedom City Humanity had a great capacity to recover from almost anything, and that included their capacity to hate. Only a few months after the city had almost been obliterated by an invasion force already the various gangs of the Southside had already started fighting amongst each other. Even worse a few of the devices from the invasion had leaked onto the black market, including once such device that according to good intelligence was going to be sold this very night in a warehouse in more run down part of the area.
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