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Found 1,547 results

  1. High Earth Orbit The Lighthouse Friday February 7, 2020 8:50 PM Greenwich Mean Time (3:50 PM Freedom City) In the aftermath of Eria's first meeting with her fellow members of Orange Team, the Swedish teen had made arrangements for her team to spend the weekend on CoVic Station as guests of the Praetorians. So when classes had finished today, the members of Orange Team were taken in a school van to Freedom Hall, where they teleported up to the Lighthouse, the most convenient place for the Praetorians to meet them. The Claremont students had been aboard the Freedom League's space headquarters for about half an hour, getting a tour from Freedom League member Velocity, who for the most part had managed to keep herself moving at a more normal speed. When the yellow clad speedster got word that the Praetorians' spacecraft had exited the wormhole at the edge of the solar system, she led the teens down to a large viewing lounge located near the airlock where the spacecraft would be docking. Outside the large windows of the lounge, the teens could see the Earth moving past below, with the northern half of Africa having moved into view. "Well, it should only be a few more minutes before they arrive." Velocity said as she moved over near some of the windows before turning back to regard the group of teens.
  2. Happy Hour, Chester's Club, West End, Freedom City 14th February 2020 Lucy wasn’t generally one to feel melancholic, she enjoyed her un-life to the fullest. But this year was going to be rough on her, the 1920 had been her time when everything swung and she was among the bright young thing. It wouldn’t be long before a century that she was originally killed, and whilst she’d missed most of it the weight of the years weighed heavy on her. People shouldn’t relive a decade more than once, and she wonder mournfully if it was be the same if she made it to the next ‘20s. Sipping her dirty Martini Lucy wasn’t really paying attention to the cub she liked to spend her time, instead of the dingy (though no longer smoky) jazz atmosphere, the club was brightly lit with table for a night for those who didn’t have a date for this special day...
  3. January 2020 History Study Group "This text is nonsense," said Eira flatly, setting down their European history book and looking at the other students she'd been assigned to work with bored contempt reflected in her wide blue eyes. "Two thousand years of Scandanavian history and they are obsessed with three hundred years of Vikings. Dum," she pronounced in Swedish with authority. "If you actually want to learn about Nordic history, you should do your own research."
  4. TheAbsurdist

    Again.

    The Rooftops of Dubai, sunset. It was still hot, the metal of the scaffolding was warm, the bright orange reflective paint of the unfinished portion of the But what was more worrying was the swarm of Katanarchists. The why of them being here was currently not the thought that Benjamin d'Amato (a.k.a the bouncing pugilist hero Rebound!) was worried about. It was more that they were here and fighting him, that was the pressing concern. And punching, kicking, stabbing, ninja starring (Is that even a word? -ed) were also pretty important. This wasn't what he was used to. A street scuffle, or a place where he could make like a pinball and ping about, but this was limited space with guys and dolls who were a cut above (I see what you did there. -ed) in a precarious position that hemmed him firmly outside of his comfort zone. Heck, this high up and he wasn't sure he couldn't be cleaned up except by paper towels. They were working towards the crane at the top of this thing, and he was trying to stop them. Already worn down from however long this had been going, he worked himself after them. "Don't s'pose youse guys wanna call it quits and just give in?" He ducked his head sharply behind one of the metal poles as a shuriken struck against it, "Okay, okay, good talk. Well whateva youse doin' I gotta stop ya so..." And with that he changed his grip and swung around bringing his feet against a pole, and bracing against it before he leaped up towards the crane, and the Katanarchists. It was in the middle of the trajectory that he noticed one of the Katanarchists as doing something, and at the moment he would have made contact there was violence and brightness, and he found himself sailing backwards, flung by the force. As the world broke apart. Claremont Academy, Combat Simulator Room, February 9th. 1PM, ish. Rebound tried to course correct, his mind already working out the angle of his movement, and he completed the flip as he hit the wall, and grunted with the force of it, but he bounced right off. His control was such that he fell forward, and the twenty feet down from the wall, to land in a smooth crouch. He panted, his uniformed dusted up, his domino mask a little torn, and his lip was busted up. As per usual he was on a multi hour training scenario, though this was him trying to pick up the tactics, the world he was thrust in now. Kids were the same, ish. Maybe. But the combat scenarios had a lot things for him to look into and sort through. His natural instinct was simply to go another time, in a different scenario that the computer was randomly generated..
  5. RocketLord

    Cosmic Love

    GM Claremont Academy, Freedom City 3PM, February 14th, 2020 The being came from the stars, far beyond Earth. Travelling on the interstaller waves and cosmic light, it soared towards the Earth, beyond Jupiter, past Mars, a line of invisble light going past the Moon. If anyone tracked it, if anyone could even keep up with the ray of light as it headed towards the Earth, it would become clear that it was heading towards one particular academy in one particular city. The weather was nice. Sunny, slightly warm for February, a few clouds on an otherwise clear sky. Classes had ended early for once, something about someone having gotten to the PA systems, and it had sounded very much like Headmistress Summers announcing that classes were cancelled for the rest of the day. Before anyone figured otherwise, the chaos was too great, and the teachers decided to just let the students have the day. Everyone was young and in love at some point, after all. Which was just what the being was after. A place full of young, brave, beautiful heroes. What better place to find someone worthy of its full, undivided, cosmic love?
  6. February 17, 2020 15 minutes before the first class of the day Her face a picture that might have been captioned "Soon!", Eira Katastroff leaned back against the wall, a lazy smile on her face as her internal clock ran down. The halls were full of people in their lockers, heading to and from class, chatting and texting to each other, but as usual she seemed to be an island unto herself amidst the other teenagers. Smirking, she leaned back against the wall, her blue hair visible inside the yellow hoodie she'd pulled up over her head, and watched the other students go by, her head rocking slightly to the beat of an inaudible melody.
  7. GM The Painted Desert, Arizona October 3rd, 2019 14:00 PM Survival class, that was what the guest teacher had called it. If you were going to be a hero, then you could end up out in the middle of nowhere, and you needed to know what you could do to survive. The fliers on Blue Squad might have argued that they could just fly away, but the Doctor Alexander Macedon had not accepted any objections, and a day later, Blue Squad had found themselves in the Painted Desert in Arizona. They had all been given proper gear stuffed into heavy backpacks, and now they had been dropped off near the Rainbow Visitor Center by the van that had picked them up at the airport. Doctor Alexander Macedon looked like a man in the early 70'es. His skin was tanned by the sun, and seemed slightly leathery, from years of being out in the harsh sun. His thinning hair were grey, almost bordering on white, as was his scraggy, unkempt beard. He wore a black eyepatch over his left eye, with a pair of horn rimmed glasses over both eyes. A cowboy hat on his head, he wore a beige dress shirt, with the few buttons closests to his neck open, revealing his grey chest hair. He had rolled the sleeves up, with an brown bomber jacket stuffed into his backpack. He wore dark grey fatigue pants and a pair of heavy dark boots. Something about him made him seem even older, and one the way here, he had made it more than clear that he didn't want to do this or have anything to do with a bunch of super powered kids, but he owed someone a favor. Standing by the side of the road in front of the teens, Macedon held up a map, making sure they could all see it. "Listen up, kids. This map is our only clue to where we're goin'. We're gonna be crossing through the Painted Desert here, and we're gonna survive off the rations you've brought and what we can find, but make sure you don't do anything to harm the nature around here. No smashing rocks with any of your fancy gadgets or powers or anything like that. We're gonna go off road, and gonna end up at the Painted Desert Visitor Center, with some stops on the way. It's gonna take a while, so save on those rations." He made a short pause and lowered the map. "Now, who's up first for learning how to read and follow a map? Yer all gonna get yer turn."
  8. GM February 25th, 2020, 10:00 AM Claremont Academy, Sub-Level Four, Combat Simulator "Alright, listen up. I know that you got some experience from your old school, O'Brian, so you've been chosen to help show Winters the ropes, but no funny business. Got it?" A tall man with brown hair and a crew cut was barking orders at the two students in the Combat Simulator. The gym teacher, Mr. Travis Armstrong, was barking orders with the best of them. He had also made it clear on multiple occasions that he was watching Max, not entirely confident in her change of heart and her shifting from her old school. Still, he had told her that this was him showing her some trust by letting her take part in this exercise. The teacher stood behind the safety glass in t control booth, a confident smile on his lips as he looked down on the currently bare room. "With that out of the way, let's start with a warm up." His fingers danced over the keyboard and controls, gettingeverything ready. The entire area around them changed, blinking for a second, then the pair found themselves standing in the middle of a random city. It didn't seem to correspond to anywhere in Freedom City in particular, more a mish mash of parts. They were alone, no cars, no people. Not until a group of four masked men with guns appeared before them. "Alright, go get 'em!"
  9. GM Bethlehem Heights, March 14th, 9:30 PM Bethlehem Heights might not be a rich area, or one where the police routinely patrolled, but it was still home to many. And in the last few weeks, there had been a rash of so far unexplained disappearances. The disappearances seemed focused on the undesirables of society: The homeless, the drunks, the addicts. The people of the street. Not enough to make city hall care enough to send the police for more than routine attempts at searching for the missing people. People were warned to stay off the streets in Bethlehem Heights during the night, but otherwise, little effort was put into finding the missing people, or even finding out what was going on. If anyone were to solve the mystery, it seemed that the heroes of Emerald City would have to step up. And as a man's scream cut through the night in Bethlehem Heights, they might soon get their chance.
  10. Vibora City Morgue, 13th February 2020, Probably to Early for most Latresia Barnes was not having a good day, already having spent far to long trying to sort out something for tomorrow and it might all be for naught either. She wasn’t meant to be in today but the police had insisted she came in and did this one, a body found abandoned in the Oldcorne district with the old money of there insisting it been handled quickly and quietly. “Female around 20 years old, appears human. Corpse is overly pale and appears emaciated.” she intoned into the recorder as she began to prep for the autopsy, it was always sad when they died this young “No outwards signs of wound on the body, will now open up the body. What the f…?” Opening the corpse the smell of decay filled the room, no something unexpected but not as someone who had apparently died so recently. The source of the smell was more obvious from the internal organs, that appeared withered and mummified and not the type of organs you’d find in someone so freshly dead. It was something that beyond her knowledge, however skilled she was, it was something for those with a very different skill set. “We better get the Police Chief down here, and see if those new superheroes of ours are free to come on down.”
  11. GM Riverfront August 9th 2019, 4 PM The Riverfront district was as busy as ever on the Friday afternoon. City officials trying to get the last bit of work done before the weekend, locals and visitors starting their weekend in the nearby culture centers and the Yellow Brick Row shopping complex. Traffic had slowed down considerably. Everyone wanted to go somewhere. All in all, a typical Friday afternoon in Emerald City. Peace and quiet, as you would normally find in a city without super villains. Until, suddenly, several men and women stopped what they were doing, and exited their cars. A young man, maybe in his early twenties, stood nearby, appearing seemingly from out of nowhere. He was dressed in a costume with dark and light blue stripes at a 45 degree angle all over his body. He wore light blue boots and small gloves in the same color as the light blue stripes, and had a hood pulled up with the same striped pattern. His eyes were hidden behind a light blue domino mask. One could just spot his short blonde hair at the edges of the hood. His eyes seemed to be glowing white as people left their cards, starting to walk after him and towards the government buildings. Then came the sound, a loud crash as someone big came barelling through the traffic, flipping the cars out of the way while laughing loudly. The ones that caught a good look at him could see a large man, standing at least 10 feet tall, clad in what appeared to be grey armor, stylized like a triceratops, including a large helmet that mimicked that of a triceratops' head: A large flat shield, a pair of horns at his forehead, and a small horn on a part of his helmet over his nose. His eyes were hidden behind black lenses that connected directly to the helmet, while his mouth was left visible. The rest of his armor was the same dull grey as the helmet, consisting of several armored plates interconnecting along his body. He seemed to be running with little rhyme or reason, instead seeming to cause just as much chaos as he could. He didn't seem to care if he hit already empty cars, or cars that still held passengers. Moments after the man had begun his rampage, a bright light illuminated the sky. A woman in a red costume flew from the sky, leaving a trail of fire behind her as she moved. A white sun symbol at the center of her chest seemed to glow as she sent streams of fire flying randomly across the area around her. The yellow goggles that protected her eyes seemed to reflect the light from her flames as she set whatever random targets caught her sight on fire. The goggles were held in place by a heavy leather strap that went over her short black hair. Fire burning in her hands, she came to a stop, hovering above a rather large group of people. "Listen up! I'm Sunburn, and we're the Upstarts! I don't know how a city like this have been this quiet this long, but that's gonna change! This is our city now! So all of you better start handing over everything you got!" Smart phones were capturing everything already. What better place to attack than a city with no other villains? Nowhere to step on your toes or take your score? But the Upstarts had made one mistake: While Emerald City was a city without villains, it was not a city without heroes.
  12. angrydurf

    The Hunter

    Wednesday January 22nd 2020 11:13AM EST 42 degrees Freedomheight Light rain wind gusting to 30 mph offshore Skies over Kingston Over the abandoned homes, squatters, and bold rebuilders that comprised Kingston now the rain fell in the kind of lazy drizzle that said even it didn't want to be out in this weather. Those too proud or too poor too flee the ruined suburb went about their days heads down and focused on the next step and getting in from the blustery wind and chill wet that coated the near empty streets. High overhead the clouds, or space itself twisted and through the rent between worlds something emerged unnoticed by those below. That wouldn't last long. The Unbreakable Kronk emerged from the twisting rift in the warpwold his transit beacon giving off a foul acrid smoke and letting out a high pitched keen before falling silent and still no matter how hard he tapped the display. Against the backdrop of the dark clouds the black and chrome of his wyldride was but a shadow for any soul who looked up. Of course dimensional transit by such crude means would have alerted many looking for such things or sensitive to the warp and weft of the terminus and the fallen worlds it left behind. The bulky rider looked out over the city trying to get his bearings and soon his eyes fell on the doomforge, apparently unguarded but for distant proles far below. With a wild whoop and bellow far below the hearing of most humans reverberating off the clouds above he charged the cannon mounted in his sidecar and gunned the engine of the inter-dimensional bike the repulsors leaving a golden afterglow in the skies above as he angled for attack, "EAT MOLTEN DEATH YOU GLORIFIED TIN CANS" Kronk boomed as he unleashed a blistering burst of charged particles from the scavenged ship cannon mounted at his side. With a crashing boom the sky was lit by the stream of energy as it crashed into the nihilor steel of Doomforge sending arcing lighting crawling the dormant buildings armored bulk. With a mad laugh the biker swooped past and turned about angling for a fresh attack heedless of the panicked proles below fleeing from his assault, "COME GET ME DRONES I GOT A FRESH SPOT JUST FOR YOU!" he challenged slapping the side of his bike where he'd meticulously painted miniature Omegadrones for each confirmed kill.
  13. GM January 25th, Saturday, 2020, 11.55PM Outside Emerald Tower, downtown Emerald City, OR The last lingering, heartrending notes pierced the chill night air, and UK's violin went silent. For a moment, all around Robin was an almost sacred hush as the renowned string virtuoso stood to take a bow. In the glare of red lamps that had filled the night sky, held in place by repulsor bands that turned clouds of countless paper shells into magnetically-unified pieces of airborne art, Robin saw K looking almost uneasy at the awestruck hush. Above and about flitted the newsdrones, covering the MarsTech New Years bash while other electric eyes took in events unfolding across the Emeralds. Of all the crowds, though, this was going to be the biggest. There were familiar faces in the crowd, not like looming Chung was ever going to miss a chance to carry his "THE END IS NOW" signs where a camera was going to be, but on nights like this the comforting seas of familiarity was upset with crosswinds of newcomers, people who'd look at you funny and hurry on if you asked them how they werre doing. In that moment, though, all were united, Munchkin and outsider alike, by that same thrill through every heart. To make a sound would have been blasphemous. Max Mars broke the spell, jumping out of the audience and onto the stage beside K with a single bound, applauding furiously with giant grin on his face. "Yue Kei, everybody! All you shapes and flavours out there, give her a big 'welcome home' hand!" With admirable obedience the Emerald citizens cheered, the cold winter air blasted with steam from thousands of throats. In the heated shelter UK started, laughed despite herself, and bowed in rapid succession to different areas of the crowd. Max grinned like an indulgent father. Switching off his mic, he and UK exchanged a word, the young woman nodding and beginning to clear up her music and put back her instruments. As she did so, Mars went on blithely. "Nicely done! now, Kei has to leave us for the night, but stick around! Because on the stroke of midnight, as we enter a new year, I've got a little surprise for you...well, two surprises, but you'll see! Now, may I have a volunteer from the audience?" His brilliant green eyes scanning the crowd suddenly locked on Robin's. "Well hey-hey, Rob! Glad to see you could make it to another of my little shindigs! Like to come up?" he looked deeply chagrined as he added "I promise, no giant robots this time!"
  14. CLAREMONT ACADEMY, FREEDOM CITY, NEW JERSEY, VINLAND, MIDGARD* FREYA’S DAY, MONTH OF THORRI Bobbi day had been fairly normal when she got up, but now she was walking down the drive of a prep school that probably cost more than her town made in a year to meet the daughter of a god. At least she hadn’t had to fly here, and a flying horse was just par for the course in a city like Freedom, and she could stop for a coffee without, many, eyes brows being raised. But just in case she came to Claremont in a taxi as Bobbi. It had been many centuries since Sanngriðr had met any other Asgardians so Bobbi wondered what this young woman would be like, and how pleased to see her as the whole idea that she would be taking her for a visit had been covered with the regular Asgardian bombast. *Earth
  15. The Freedom Ledger Online #ReleaseTheRavenCut by Dancia Devons At the top of the story a video plays of an old ‘80’s film, an older Centurion turns to look as an armoured foot stomps down. A pan up shows a power-suit in with the familiar form of The Raven. If you ask the more discerning comic book fan they will tell you one of the best comics of the 80’s was a The Raven Rises, a comic that imagines a very 1980s future where an old Raven comes out of retirement to save Freedom City opposed by a similarly aged Centurion now working for a government that bans superheroes. What many don’t realise is that there was a film made of the comic, though only a few clips have surface in the last forty odd years. Many consider it a cheaply made film to keep the rights, like Coorman’s Atom Family movie, but many insist that it a fully realized movie on par if not better than ‘78s Centurion: The Movie or ‘89s The Raven. So when rumors began to circulate at the end of last year that a print of the film had been found the internet was quick to call for the movie to be released, creating the now famous #ReleasetheRavenCut hashtag…
  16. Aboard the Pale Rider in the Naraka System Early February, 2020 Evening The Stigmata hung in view on the Pale Rider’s cockpit video screen. A great, cyclopean vessel, it spanned at least two miles in length and almost resembled a greatly displaced ancient Mayan temple in construction. Strange geometric patterns ran across its surface, glowing in what seemed to be a strange equivalent to running lights. Rather than steel, its exterior seemed to be made of some strange, orange ceramic or stone. And around it, there was some sort of aura of portent, as though it were a prophet of ill-omens to come. Moving in front of the screen was a young Lor woman, short but solidly built, dressed for an expedition with a skintight space-suit and a pack full of analytic tools. She was Dr. Ea’Po, an archaeologist specializing in the lost civilizations in the Galaxy, and she was the reason both Starlok and Dirge were there. She smiled at both of them, showing off her perfect white teeth, and gestured. “So, this is the Stigmata. It belonged to the Atchpa civilization, which went extinct some 1200 years ago. Like the Noktoni,” she said, shooting a glance to Starlok, “they looked humanoid but had several key features that separated them.Four-chambered stomachs like most ruminants, flat teeth, a supernumerary eye at the centre of the forehead, and a strange variation on the pineal gland that allowed them to perceive things most sapient species cannot.” “Now, the Stigmata was from the end of their civilization. As we understand it, it was supposed to make a warp to the Andromeda Galaxy to find a new homeland for their species. Their own planet was going through ecological collapse for uncertain reasons and for reasons we don’t know, they seemed to want to get as far away from the Milky Way as they could,” she said. “Instead, it’s ended up here, about 60 000 LY from their home planet and 1200 years later, but definitely not in Andromeda. However, weirdly enough, it seems to be working fine. Life support’s running with specs similar to Lor-Van, so’s anti-gravity, and power’s active at least in portions of the ship. No visible damage on the outside…” Starlok stared from her position in the captain’s chair, legs crossed. All around her were electro-candelabras, her preferred method of lighting, which complemented the steel gothic look that the interior of the ship had. “And how many weapons would you say it has?” Starlok asked. “Oh, plenty,” the doctor said. “We’re talking some potent stuff, too. I’ve identified several class-1 torpedo bays - those could punch a hole even in a state-of-the-art Khanate ship-of-the-line, and at least a hundred laser batteries. They were expecting some pretty serious resistance in Andromeda.” Starlok steepled her fingers. “Excellent,” she said, sounding pleased. The doctor then turned to Dirge. “Now, from what I can tell… None of the ship is metal. It seems to be some kind of… I don’t even know how to explain it. But just in case I am wrong, I need you to not. Destroy. Anything. Everything on that ship is priceless. Once I have a look at what I need to look at, you can do what you want with it, but I need to study this thing.” Starlok tapped her chin. “And we know the ship can still be controlled?” “I mean, everything else is working, and as long as you have me around with you in the control room, I know their tech enough to teach you how to pilot this thing.” Starlok grinned. “Goooood.”
  17. Thevshi

    Reptile Brain IC

    Kingston, Freedom City New Jersey Late Fall 2019, 10:30 PM Since the Terminus Invasion of 2018, much of Kingston had consisted of ruined buildings and empty streets. Only the most minimal efforts to start to rebuild had begun, and mainly along the boarder sections with other North Freedom neighborhoods, leaving the majority of the center of the formerly historic neighborhood still largely abandoned and in shambles. Now, those that frequented the Kingston area were those that wished to be unobserved or otherwise isolated from the more crowded and active sections of Freedom City, while still maintaining a close proximity to the rest of the city. A small figure in a trench coat made its way through one of the empty streets in the heart of Kingston, moving among the shadows with a seeming confidence that there was nothing to fear among the dark ruins. The figured walked for several blocks along the cracked and broken sidewalks, stopping a few times to peer around towards the dark recesses of the nearby buildings. Eventually the figure turned into a dark alleyway and was seemingly swallowed by the darkness within. If anyone had been following the figure, it would have seemed they had vanished into thin air in the alley. However, the figure continued on its journey dozens of feet beneath the cluttered streets, moving along a path through the partially flooded sewer tunnels that ran under Kingston. The figure still moved at a steady pace, perfectly at home in the dark, damp confines of the sewers. After passing through several city blocks of tunnels, the figure came to a bend in a tunnel where a section of wall had collapsed, beyond was a larger open area that appeared to be a half buried subway station. Several tables of various shapes and sizes had been set up along one of the platforms and were covered with a variety of scientific equipment. Another section of the platform had been turned into a makeshift living area, with a bed and some other furniture set up. The entire area was partially lit by several emergency lights that had been placed around the platforms. The result of the makeshift lighting was that there were sections of the platforms that where relatively well lit, while the rest of the station was cast in shadows of various depths. The figure moved onto the platform containing the collection of tables, stopping briefly to look at some of the equipment as it went by, before coming to a mostly empty table. The figure sat a large duffle bag onto this table and began carefully removing various objects from within it. As the figure was focused on its task the almost oppressive silence of the chamber was interrupted by a cold voice from somewhere among the shadows. "Good evening Dr. Seidel." The figure quickly turned away from the table, scanning the illuminated section of the platforms, even as he edged towards some of the nearby shadows. "Who are you?" The man asked, his tone a bit surprise but not necessarily concerned or frightened. "Someone who has spent some time trying to locate you." The voice from the shadows simply replied. The trench coat clad figure identified as Dr. Seidel moved into one of the deep shadows near the collection of tables. "You will soon wish you had not done so." Dr. Seidel responded, his voice deepening and straining slightly as he did so. This was followed by a few pained grunts and groans before the shadows went silent. Then, a large figure could faintly be seen climbing among some of the shadows above the platforms lit by the emergency lights. "So, you can now change your shape at will." Stated the cold voice that again seemed to come from multiple directions at once. "All the more reason you will regret coming down here." Replied a deep, partially hissing voice from the large shape crawling along one of the uppers walls of abandoned station. "Perhaps." Replied the cold voice. "But I believe there is a way we may help one another with mutual goals." The large figures stopped, peering out to scan the darkest areas of around station with yellow reptilian eyes. "I suspect there is little you can offer which I will be interested in." It replied in almost a growl. "I believe we may help one another in striking out against the Second Raven." The cold voice replied from the darkness. There was a long pause as the yellow eyes of the large figure peered out at the shadows around the station platforms. "Go on, you have my interest."
  18. GM Lightning struck in Vibora Bay. At least, that's what it seemed like at first. There was a sudden flash of light, a great rumble echoing across the harbor, and then there was fire. The coast of Vibora Bay never sleeps. The beaches and waterfronts are active year-round. The water in Vibora Bay was warmer in the winter than it was during the summer in some other beach towns, and even when people weren't swimming, there were still picnics and barbecues. It never got cold enough on land to discourage tourists from all over the world from seeing what the shops and restaurants and nightclubs had to offer. For natives of the Northeast or the Midwest, Vibora winters weren't even jacket-weather. And shipping had always been the life's blood of the Queen City. It was one of the most active ports in the world. This weekend afternoon was no different. Ships had been coming and going constantly, an even mix of cargo freighters, fishing vessels, and pleasure craft. A bulk carrier ship had left the Easton Shore just a few minutes ago. It was about a mile into the water, still a couple more miles until it would have reached the place where the Bay became the Gulf. Now it was on fire, and the flames burned so brightly that, even a mile away, it was difficult to look directly at them. It was like looking into the Sun.
  19. January 2020 Eira sat in the library meeting room, staring at the closed door. The lights were off and it was quiet, and she had arrived several minutes early for the Orange Squad meeting. She was wearing an oversized blue hoodie and jeans, a concession to the relative cold that her robotic nature didn't actually require. This would be the first time she'd met most of the Orange Squad, the team to which she'd been assigned upon her admission to Claremont - an admission made possible by her parents connection to the hero community and substantial wealth. It was team-building day.
  20. February 2020 St. Thomas Chapel basement "Thanks again for chaperoning us!" said Judy cheerfully, addressing Father Guimont with the familiarity of the student who probably worked with him more closely than anyone else. "This is gonna be a great night." Enthusiasm for "Ben-Hur Night" had not been what she'd hoped, even in youth group, but that was okay. _Yes we can watch movies that aren't about Jesus even though we're Christians, Karen_ she thought back, briefly distracting herself with the argument from last week, _but not when we're in church!_ But there was no reason to worry. She and Leroy were going to enjoy themselves, Ashley had settled into her usual spot in a corner of the basement, and..."Ashley, you're not going to read through the movie, are you?" "No," said Ashley, stuffing the Lor-English dictionary back in her jacket pocket. "Trust me, my eyes will be where they need to be." She was the only one in the room not in costume - well, she was in her Watchdog gear, anyway. One thing had turned to another and they were all wearing her best costumer's attempts at togas. If Mia could dress up for her movie, it only made sense they dress up for theirs! Father Guimont, an older man getting well into middle age, had conscripted Leroy to help him get the big screen TV programmed and hooked up to his new sound system. "Just plug that in there, and oop, I think he needs to get that in," Judy had joined them while they worked. "It's gonna be great!" she said with a wink Leroy's way. "I think Micah must be picking her up right now..." The double-date had been her idea - as for that matter had been Micah 'bringing' Mia to movie night at all.
  21. Persephone Vibora Bay, December 2019, A a chilly Thursday evening Camellia Blume lounged on her living room couch, pulling a quilt tighter around her shoulders despite already wearing a heavy sweater. Occasionally she jumped when she caught the flicker in the corner of her eye of the flames dancing in the fireplace. Since her transformation, fire was one of the few things that could still seriously hurt her, and she knew it on a primal level. She'd never been particularly afraid of fire until she'd bonded with the plant-symbiote. But the house she was renting was old; that's how she got such a good deal on the rent in the first place. It didn't have central heating, and, paradoxically, her transformation had also heightened her sensitivity to the cold, so during the winter months, the fireplace was essential. She only half paid attention to the Hallmark movie playing in front of her while she thumbed at her smartphone. For once, Camellia seemed to have a real weekend ahead of her. No supervillains were brawling in the streets or taking the mayor hostage. She didn't have any familial obligations or conferences to attend or new treatment options to research or backlogs of notes from patient sessions to review. No appointments with the accountant or the lawyer she'd had to retain to make sure all the "i"s and "t"s were dotted and crossed for her practice. "Without them, how would I know PRECISELY how much money I'm still losing on it?" She laughed, then mumbled to herself some more. "Maybe I should go up to five session days a week...or would that just make me lose more money faster?" She pulled up her calendar and wrote herself a reminder to email her accountant. She didn't actually write the email; that would tip the scales of work/life balance she was trying so hard to maintain for once. When the movie reached the high point of the lead couple's courtship, Camellia got caught up enough in the moment to open the ErosUnlimited app again. She hadn't known that he was on EU until The MatchMaker recommended his profile to her. In fact, she hadn't checked the app since she'd met him. During the following weeks, she'd gone back and checked his profile again, more times than she'd be comfortable admitting to anyone, least of all to him. But she hadn't messaged him yet. She was hoping he'd reach out first. Maybe he'd recognize Persephone despite her flimsy disguise, or maybe he'd just be drawn to Camellia on her own merits. She kept going back and forth in her own mind. He had me at "Bonjour", but he's movin' about as fast as a herd o' turtles. It's not like I've been subtle. Maybe I came on too strong and scared him off? Or maybe he's just worried about making me uncomfortable. After all, in a way, we are coworkers. Maybe he's just busy. Sure, but so am I. Or maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part and I'm not his type and he's trying to be polite by ignoring it when I throw myself at him. No, there's something there. It can't just be all in my head...can it? Her finger hovered over the "MESSAGE" button hesitantly, then withdrew, then hovered again. "UGH!" Her head snapped back and she rolled her eyes. She typed up a message and sent it quickly, not giving herself enough time to talk herself out of it again. Marcus Dumont received the following message from Camellia's profile: Rapunzel's waiting up here in the tower, ready to let her hair down, if only a knight in shining armor would ride by... The woman in the profile pictures looked familiar to Marcus. He'd definitely seen her before, though he couldn't remember where.
  22. GM Millennium Mall, Midtown, Freedom City 5:30 PM, November 15th, 2019 A rainy Friday afternoon, and Millennium Mall was packed as usual. There was a certain feeling in the air. Everyone was moving around in groups, even tighter than usual. Even through laughter and crying children, everyone hurried between the shops and stuck together, casting nervous glances about. During the last month, five people had gone missing, all disappearing within the vicinity of the mall during the evening. Everyone was hurrying to get home before it was too late. No one wanted to stick around, deals or not deals. That kidnappers had made no demands, and had not been seen. All that was found on the scene after a disappearance was a single silver ball, small enough to fit in a hand. And on this particular evening, several visitors to the mall would be finding similar balls all over the mall.
  23. Claremont Academy Freedom City, New Jersey Wednesday November 27, 2019, 11:00 AM "I appreciate your willingness to mentor another student Giang." Headmistress Summers stated as she and an Asian young woman walked down the path from the administrative building for Claremont Academy towards the Roberta Isley Gardens. "I believe Heroditus could benefit from being able to talk to someone who had a similar experience as something of the outsider among the other students. Your familiarity with Atlantean culture will be an added benefit." "As always, I am very happy to help Headmistress." Giang Trang replied as she walked alongside the older woman. Giang stood about five foot three, with a lithe build and moved with an easy, fluid grace. Despite the cold of the late November morning, she was not at all dressed for the cold, wearing a pair of jeans, a white T-shirt and a red windbreaker. However, the Asian young woman did not seem bothered at all by the cold. "Although I am curious why you thought of me and not Thetis or Thelia?" Callie Summers gave a small chuckled as she glanced over to Giang. "Well, certainly either has had a similar experience as Heroditus. However, both are also members of the Atlantean royal family, which could make it more difficult for him to fully feel comfortable expressing concerns to them." "I see." Giang replied simply with a small smile and a nod as the two continued toward where Heroditus would be waiting.
  24. December 2019 Dutemps Tower I AM GOING UNDER THE SEA. I WILL BRING YOU A FISH. Aquaria considered what else to say, then added HAVE FUN AT THE ART GALLERY! It was only a day trip out to the art museum with the glass with her other friend, but Jessie had been looking forward to it and that was good. She didn't want to spoil her good time, so she added a note on the refrigerator that said CALL HELP IF I AM NOT BACK SOON. With her job done, Aquaria headed to the closet where she kept her armor. She climbed inside and throbbed with satisfaction as the space-metal closed around her, the warm liquid that emerged from every crevice inside immensely more satisfying than the cold, dry air of their apartment. She and Jessie had special windows that actually opened, something Eve had said was the "superhero" model and because sometimes the claustrophobia in this little dry space was terrifying. With her armor on, she hung her trident over her back and began climbing the sides of the building, up towards the castle. Was anyone home today? She certainly hoped so. December 2019 "Would Heroditus Stylianos please report to the headmaster's office? He is being picked up." The rather odd PA announcement seemed to make Heroditus' art teacher very worried, and right in the middle of watercolors no less. Heroditus had never actually heard that particular phrase said over the intercom before, at least not when it came to him. "Oh dear, oh dear, well, ah, Mr.Stylianos, we'll take care of everything," said Ms. Zinzendorf. She walked him to the door, a sympathetic expression on her face. "Don't worry about a thing."
  25. Vibora Bay January 2020 Lavelle, WInifred's Uber driver took her as far as her GPS allowed, deep into the San Sebastian Swamp just to the north of Vibora Bay. It was hard to believe how close they were to a major city here, with even the skyscrapers of Vibora's highest points lost amid bare mangrove trees and pine forests that seemed to go on forever once you'd been inside them more than a few minutes. It was colder than Florida had been described to Fred; not quite a London spring outside but certainly nothing she'd have wanted to spend very much time in. "Welp, here we are!" The road had converted to gravel some time back, and the tires of the old black van rumbled slightly as they parked. GROCERIES declared the sign on the store that Fred's knowledge of architecture told her was built in the "Carpenter Gothic" style. There were only a few cars in the lot, and the odd dirtbikle which made sense given what she'd heard from Smith of the local travel conditions. "They don't get many folks here in the off-season, but you should be able to get some lunch if'n ya want it," said Lavelle, a cheerful woman in overalls and cap who looked old enough to be Fred's grandmother. Well, looked, anyway. "Ah'm sure yer friend'll be here, we just ran a little early on account of the bridge being open sooner than Ah thought." She cleared her throat meaningfully at that.
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