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  1. August 2018 The invasion was over - and Freedom City was rebuilding. With her husband occupied with the rebuilding process, Nina al-Darsah Lucas was taking a rare opportunity to get out of the house with her son and walk the streets of Freedom City. Close to a year old now, Amir Richard Lucas was dressed in a striped blue and white onesie that matched his mother's headscarf - which he seemed to recognize from his eagerness to rid her of that garment. "Amir!" she taunted him in playful Arabic as they walked fearlessly along the short pleasure boat dock extending out into the river. They were close by the Pramas Bridge, but for the moment Nina's eyes were all on her baby. "That is Mother's! Do not take from your mother!" She caught the baby's hand and he laughed, and she laughed too. He'd risen early that morning, but so had she, heading out together through the city with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the money in her pocket. "Come on, it's swimming time," she told him as she picked her big boy up in her arms and stepped off the dock; the two of them falling together into the river and not coming up. From his position on the pedestrian pathway on the bridge, Tempest had seen the mother and baby fall into the water without a sound - but it didn't look like anyone else had. This early in the morning, with most of Freedom's heroes and first responders still doing cleanup, if he didn't take action, no one else would.
  2. March 2018 UC-San Diego The UC-San Diego campus wasn't quite dead during spring break. They had far too many residential students, and students who lived on-campus, for that. But as Mark Lucas sat on the soft green grass of the Warren Mall, he mostly had the place to himself, minus a picnicking couple down the way and a guy doing his best to study despite the occasional gust of wind kicking up the pages of his textbook. He wasn't really paying attention, though. "I've been keeping an eye out and so have our friends, but so far there's been no sign of any assassins. I think maybe this was another empty threat. Listen, I promise I'll Skype you once we get there - yes, my phone has service in Dakana. I'm just waiting for my friend so I can give her a ride. Love you too, babe, and give the baby a kiss for me." Feeling sentimental, Mark hung up the phone and checked the West Coast time - did he had time to pop back over and see his wife and son before playing taxi for Tsunami? Probably not. With a sigh, he slipped his phone in his pocket and waited for his rendezvous.
  3. August 2, 2017 Freedom Medical Center Keeping things low-profile, as was the plan, meant that any image Mark had had of landing on the rooftop were quickly stifled by the reality of the need to look like any typical expectant family and friends arriving at the hospital late at night. Redbird dropped them off at the front doors and they headed inside, where the front desk attendant quickly directed them towards the secure elevator to the maternity ward. On the sixth floor. As the elevator ascended, an ominous rumble came from somewhere in the shaft - but Mark looked up and declared out loud, “No!” And with that, they continued to their destination, where as parents in labor but not particularly active labor, Mark and Nina were immediately handed a large pile of forms. Ready to walk around instead of wait, Nina handed them quickly to Mark. By the time they were about to head for their secure room, two visitors arrived. Iyar al-Iryani was the first of the extra guests to arrive, sweeping Nina up in a careful hug briefly stymied by another contraction. But Nina seemed to appreciate the company, and Iyar took her other hand. “Just think, Nina,” said Iyar with animation on her face. “Someday this day will be a holiday.” “You’re right,” said Nina, smiling at the thought. “This will be a good day - no, a great one.” “Thank you so much for all this,” Iyar said to Trevor and Erin, her accent notably thicker than her friend’s. “You will be remembered on this day.” She knew the Liberty League well enough to know who had planned all this. Exchanging a glance with Erin Trevor suggested, “Best left out of history books, maybe.” Having a commemorative plaque in their honor in some Socotran municipal park might be tough to explain down the line. Something reminiscent of a smile pulled at the corners of his mouth all the same. “Will settle for favourite American uncle.” Erin had stationed herself at the entrance to the elevator lobby, keeping an eye on the stairs and the banks of elevators all at once. She was close enough to hear the conversation, but far enough away from the action for comfort. Part of her job in the grand scheme of things had been screening content to show to Mark to keep him grounded in the reality of normal childbirth, and it had been… educational. Now that she was married and in her twenties, the idea of wanting children wasn’t nearly as foreign to Erin as it would’ve been even five years ago, but the getting of them was still a daunting proposition. “Yeah, aunt and uncle should work just fine.” “Oh, you guys…” Mark was close to tears, maybe because the moment was so emotional, maybe from fatigue, but Nina, still walking around, was articulate enough to say, “Thank you both so much. We owe you our lives, and so does our son, as soon as he makes his way out here…” Things got a little more complicated with the arrival of Martha Lucas, carrying a grandmother’s big bag of goodies over her shoulder and looking a little out of breath. Things weren’t exactly frosty between Mark’s mother and the rest of the Liberty League, but they weren’t quite friendly either - not with the lingering memories of what she’d done to Mark when he’d been in high school just before the barely-prevented end of the multiverse. But Mark had put those memories aside and obviously wanted his friends to do the same - especially today! Luckily they had this small suite of rooms and waiting room to themselves tonight - even in Freedom City, the metahuman wing of the hospital wasn’t so crowded in the dead of night when there wasn’t a major super-battle going on. Hot on Martha’s heels came Dr. Hussein, the Iraqi-born physician who was working as Nina’s primary ob-gyn. The hijab-wearing woman was no-nonsense and intimately familiar with all sorts of metahuman health issues, particularly maternal ones - she was exactly the kind of person Mark and Nina had been hoping to find. “All right, it’s time to go to work,” she said briskly. “Mother, let’s get you in your room - Father, we’re going to need you in just a few minutes…” Mark had been sitting his mother down and making sure she had her books and her sketchpad, now with Nina heading off to the delivery room, he found another moment for Erin and Trevor. “Okay, guys - I’ll keep you updated as much as I can. In another couple of hours, you’re going to meet my son!” He hugged Erin, and he hugged Trevor, and seemed to take a moment to gather himself, pushing aside his own nerves and jangling emotions for the support role he was going to play. “I’m gonna be a dad!” And with that, he headed off to join his wife in their hospital room! Nina and Mark had discussed their birth plan with Trevor and Erin ahead of time, just to make sure everyone knew what was what. Nina had intended to use an epidural and take her chances with a possible C-section, but strong painkillers and other sorts of sedatives usually made her powers unstable. That meant a natural birth, albeit one spent mostly in the tub full of warm water that Mark had practiced making until he could practically do it in his sleep. Since this was Nina’s first pregnancy, what that really meant for the people outside the delivery room was a lot of waiting as the hours of the late morning crept by into dawn, punctuated by occasional sounds from inside the room (mostly of Nina’s music, an Eritrean pop star she found soothing) and texted updates from Mark. Hours ticked by - not enough for it to actually be light outside but it was definitely thinking about it out there . Martha Lucas set aside the drawing of Mark and Nina she was working on and immediately dozed off in her chair. Iyar talked with Trevor and Erin about the refugee resettlement service where she volunteered - and then the lights flickered, just slightly, then again. Though they came back on, the effect was unsettling, especially when Erin and Trevor’s communicators both chimed with the fuzzy, static-heavy sound of Redbird’s voice. “<empora> <ncursio> <ospita>. <eav> <nterferenc>.”
  4. GM Disclaimer: this thread will have politically incorrect white 'nationalist' villains that get punched in the face. No one writing here agrees with the very few things these idiots will be spouting. DJ Eclectic's concert was in need of a venue and Moira loved the idea of live music. Especially when it helped the local talent out! So posters were plastered all over the city. Every pole had at least one. Friday, June 16th. 9PM. Morley's pub. West End. Free admission." Below that was in a smaller font was the address. Blow that in the same sized font was Two Drink Minimum. White Knight II (Aidan Miller) looked at the poster with a sigh, letting out some curse word when he saw the poster with DJ Eclectic's face on it. "Like why do they even let people like her even work here?" His bodyguard, Big Girl (Mary Forth), and his yes man, Southern Charm (George Kent), nodded in agreement. "I don't know about you two," Aidan said scratching his chin, "but maybe we should make an appearance." George beamed, "like our constituents did with the park play. We could reach a lot of people." Mary grinned and nodded silently. "So, all for one and one for all then," Aidan checked his watch, "we have about four hours. Let's go plan out speech." Later That Evening, 15 minutes before the show DJ Eclectic's crew was setting up the equipment, and there was quite a crowd coming to see her! Moira was tending bar. DJ Eclectic was tending to set up, rehearsing while doing a sound check. Spitfire was conversing with folks in the crowd, being part of the crowd himself.
  5. January 20, 2017 Port Regal "It's beautiful," said Mark, peering at the image Nina had found. "I love the lacework on the veil - and you've always looked good in white." Perhaps white wasn't the traditional color under the circumstances - but when he'd mentioned that the other day Nina had not been terribly happy with him. "I'll take you over as soon as we're done talking to everyone." Sitting next to his fiancee on their living room couch, he tried to keep his stomach from lurching with excitement as he remembered the purpose of the planned conversation. He'd kept Nina's secret because he loved her, but it had made January one of the hardest months of his life. "It's fine enough," agreed Nina, tabbing over to the page for her personal notebook.. Looking at the dresses had been Mark's idea - having found a satisfactory one, she'd already moved to the next step. "After I wear it, I can donate it to the Women's Center - Malikah's getting married this summer and she can alter it as she sees fit." The dress would do for their civic service in Freedom City in a month. For the wedding to come in Socotra's Great Mosque, when she would be her father's...overthrower, she would need something much more elaborate than this. Mark gave no sign that he followed Nina's thoughts, instead kissing her on the cheek and rising to his feet. "Okay, it's 10:30...I should start the frittata so it'll be ready when they get here." Only an hour and a half left! Mark and Nina lived in a gated seaside development - just the place for two Freedom City residents who had wanted a house and Mark headed into the kitchen. "Everything will be okay," he said aloud, stepping around the bookcase and firing up the oven. "We'll have them over, we'll feed them, we'll tell them we're getting married in February because we're going to have a baby. It'll be a surprise - but everything will be great."
  6. August 1, 2016 It was Puppet Day - and things were a mess. Despite the public service announcement by Johnny Rocket and Dr. Metropolis (the latter six inches tall and made of hovering brown and green felt) that the Freedom League was on the case, the mass transformation of close to a third of Freedom City's population (especially its superhumans) was causing chaos all over the city. There was plenty for heroes to do, large and small. - The Dakanan Consulate For all their substantial superpowers, Edge and Monsoon had been pressed into service for the moment as child-minders - an assembly of children between the ages of one and six, the dozen or so children having drawn an unlucky straw and had two parents turn into puppets. Though neither Mark or Nina had much experience with childcare, they had quickly moved into action. Mark kept bags of snacks and bottles of milk and juice full, while Nina's stories kept older children occupied. Those that weren't playing iPads, anyway. Freedom City kids were resilient. "And then, all the world was transformed into a strange medieval society! I myself became a marid, daughter of the king of the seas, wedded to a handsome prince from the jinn kingdoms! Only our friends-" "Are you and Mr. Mark married in real life?" asked one small girl with a head full of blonde curls and a curious expression on her face. "Ah, no, but-" "But he said you two live in the same house!" asked one little boy of about the same age. "Are you two brother and sister?" "No! But we will be married soon! Now, children, back to the tale..."
  7. September 2016 Lincoln Dancia had spent a week away from the office, covering a story about the new generation of West African nuns who were taking over an isolated Franciscan nunnery down on the Maurice River in southwestern New Jersey. it had been a fascinating story and a chance to meet people she might never have met, but the nunnery's remote location had left her isolated from world events. No sooner had she arrived back at the Ledger that she had a stack of urgent messages - including one from a familiar UNISON agent asking her to arrange a meeting with Triakosia at a remote cliffside lookout spot near Lonely Point. "This is an urgent meeting. Please let me know as soon as you've arranged it - and when we can see her there."
  8. Janurary 3, 2016. Freedom City. Southside. In front of the Main Terminal of Jordan International Airport. 10:00 AM. Francisca Rivera was nervous. She wasn’t late. That she knew. Therefore, the person she was here for was. She was UN Security, it was her first time in charge, and she was assigned to a high value target. UN diplomat Kenzie Zhang was one of the most accomplished negotiators in the world. Her work (and that of her subordinates) had kept Indonesia from tearing itself apart a few years ago. Not to mention her continuing work keeping North Korea from doing anything…drastic. She was the go to person when violence threatened Southeast and East Asia. Rivera was a little star struck, but she was a professional. That was not why she was nervous. Due to budget cuts, the UN hadn’t given her a full security team. This was not why she was nervous, either. She’d made do with worse. It was the replacement for her unsupplied agents. His name was Edge, and he was an American superhero who also worked for the UN. His presence by itself didn’t make her nervous. It was what it meant. The higher ups didn’t deploy supers lightly, especially since there weren’t many working for the UN. Something was going to happen, and it was going to be bad for her and her team. She’d expressed this to Edge, but he seemed rather unconcerned. She sighed. No help for it. Her team, limited as it was, had secured the area as best they could. Edge had brought a partner, and she had lent on a hand on that front. There was nothing left to do but wait for Ms. Zhang to come out. Her current security team was even more shorthanded than Rivera’s, and had been on the clock almost 24/7 for the past three days. Rivera just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. Her name was Brigitte. Today she had curly blonde hair (a wig) and blue eyes (contacts). She’d been training for this ever since she could remember. She was the fifth graduate of Project Stardust, and justifiably proud of graduating earlier than the other four. This was her first assignment. The director was right. People looked at her differently. They didn’t see her as a threat. Nobody looked at her twice as she was scouting for a good spot to take the shot. But she’d found a good spot, and squeezed into it. The cameras didn’t see her approach. Her escape route was clear. The only thing left was to wait for her target, line up the scope as she’d been trained, and pull the trigger. But her target was late. It made Brigitte uneasy. Maybe something was wrong. Had one or both of the other two been captured? Should she run? Was it already too late to run? She looked around through her scope. No, everything was fine. Her target was just delayed. That happened to planes sometimes. She munched a few small cookies and waited.
  9. This is the OOC. Feel free to ask me quite literally anything about the thread, especially if it doesn't make sense. I've likely missed something. As for the airport...it's the airport. Nothing special there. If you want to name Rivera's team members, you go for it. She has five, when normally she'd have a bit more than that. She's PL6, and her team is PL5. Brigitte's Stealth check with Skill Mastery means both Mark and Nina would have to roll 20s to spot her, if either knew she was there to begin with. The plan is, as discussed in chat, for Nina to intervene at the last second and prevent the assassination. My second post will have Ms. Zhang's arrival and Brigitte pulling the trigger. And then things'll get rolling properly.
  10. Friday April 22, 2016 It's an ordinary Friday afternoon - if you count news of a terrorist attack on Ocean Heights Amusement Park as ordinary. No one on the police scanner is entirely sure what's going on - there are reports of multiple officers down, some sort of massacre, "blood, blood everywhere," but whatever it is, it's very bad! If Nina was honest with herself, the main reason she was at mosque today was because she was in costume. The little Kingston storefront mosque wasn't the sort of place she'd go to worship even if she was feeling so inclined - too humble and unadorned, with the sort of simplicity that bespoke the sort of temporal poverty she still wasn't accustomed to. But speaking to the handful of young women at the mosque, most of them black Americans, well, that was a satisfying experience for the princess of Socotra. "From Nusayba to Queen Arwa, women have led, women have ruled, women of the Faith have fought from the very beginning. Never let anyone tell you you cannot be what you are because you are a Muslim." She looked around and struck one hand against another, her voice rising. "And never let anyone tell you that you can only ever be a Muslim - our faith is a finger on the hand that we raise to fight against injustice." When her police beeper went off, she reluctantly made her excuses, leaving behind her card before she headed outside to don her shoes and gather up her sword. Looking back as the glass door closed behind her, she waved to the excited young women inside, many of whom were taking pictures on their phones, before she began leaping from rooftop to rooftop, propelling herself towards the Amusement Park that was evidently the scene of some serious crisis.
  11. Go ahead and get initiative up!
  12. August 15, 2015 Midnight Manor Garage In black skinny jeans, a long-sleeved black T-shirt, and black leather shoes, Nina al-Darsah had certainly dressed the part for a meeting with Trevor Hunter. It was a little warm; but Freedom City's summers were nothing to Socotran heat. Messenger bag under one arm, she finished her walk up from the long 'guest' driveway and knocked on a garage door, banging her knuckles against the metal. With Mark away at work and Erin White mostly likely at her own security job, this was the best time to stage a meeting with Midnight when they wouldn't be interrupted. Assuming he wasn't with a client. She actually quite approved of Midnight's choice of a civilian vocation, unlike that of several of her fellow members of the Liberty League. Perhaps life as a high-end mechanic lacked the self-sacrifice of Mark's work, but there really was only one Mark. Building things showed cleverness, building things for others showed you were essential, building fine things for others showed you were indispensable. Of course, Father would say he was just a greasy-handed tradesman... She shifted the bag under her arm, the weight of it digging into her shoulder, and despite herself the images inside flashed in her mind, pushing her out of her speculations on Midnight's career. Photographs, hand-written letters that were obviously written under duress. CDs. CDs! Oh, Father. She thought despite herself, despite the pain and the fear she was holding back. I had to borrow Mark's laptop to see these. Did you think you were being au courant?
  13. PL: 12 (180) Abilities: 8 + 8 + 8 + 4 + 6 + 4 = 38PP STR 22/18 (+6/+4) DEX 18 (+4) CON 18 (+4) INT 14 (+2) WIS 16 (+3) CHA 14 (+2) Combat: 12 + 12 = 24PP Init: +4 ATK: +6 (+10 Melee/+14 Noahic) [+8 (+12 Melee/+16 Noahic in suit)] DEF: +12 (+6 Dodge Focus, +6 Base, +3 Flat-Footed) Grapple: +14/+12 w/Noahic [+16/+18/+14 w/Noahic in suit]) Knockback: -12/-6/-4 Saves: 3 + 3 + 4 = 10PP TOU +12/+8 (+4 Con, +4 Protection, +4 Protection [Suit]) FORT +12/+7 (+4 Con, +3, +5 Suit) REF +12/+7 (+4 Con, +3, +5 Suit) WILL +12/+7 (+3 Wis, +4, +5 Suit) Skills: 68 r = 17PP Acrobatics 6 (+10, SM) Bluff 15 (+17, SM) Diplomacy 6 (+8) Intimidate 6 (+8) Languages 3 (Arabic, English, Farsi, [Base] Soqotri) Knowledge (History) 4 (+6) Notice 12 (+15, SM) Sense Motive 12 (+15, SM) Stealth 2 (+6) Feats: 23PP Acrobatic Bluff Attack Focus: Melee 4 Challenge 2 (Fast Feint, Fast Taunt) Dodge Focus 6 Environmental Adaptation (Underwater) Evasion Fearless Quick Draw Second Chance (Will Saves vs. Mind Control) Skill Mastery (Acrobatics, Bluff, Notice, Sense Motive) Startle Takedown Attack Taunt Uncanny Dodge (auditory) Powers: 7 + 30 + 3 + 5 + 17 + 4 + 2 = 68PP Device 2 (Farida's Scimitar, Flaw: Easy to Lose, PF: Indestructible) [7PP] Damage 6 (PFs: Affects Insubstantial 2, Improved Crit, Mighty) [10DP] Device 7 (35PP, Monsoon's Armor, Flaw: Hard to Lose, PFs: Restricted 2 [Monsoon]) [30PP] Enhanced ATK 2 (to ATK +8) [4DP] Enhanced Noahic Array 0 (PF: Alternate Power 1) [1PP] BE: Impervious Toughess 12 (hydrokinetic stiffening) {12/12} Enhanced Saves 15 (Fortitude 5, Reflex 5, Will 5) [15DP] Enhanced Strength 4 (to STR 22/+6) [4DP] Immunity 6 (cold, disease, heat, radiation, poison, suffocation [Buys Off Flaw]) [6DP] Protection 4 [4DP] Super-Senses 1 (Danger Sense [radio]) [1DP] 4 + 1 + 15 + 4 + 6 + 4 + 1 = 35/35 Immunity 3 (cold, drowning, high pressure) [3PP] Movement Array 2 (4PP, PF: Alternate Power 1) [5PP] Flight 2 (25 MPH/250FPM) [4PP] BE: Swimming 4 (25MPH/250FPM) {4/4} Noahic Array 6 (12PP, PFs: Accurate 4, Alternate Powers 1) [17PP] BE: Move Object 6 (Effective STR 30, Heavy Load 1200 lbs, Extra: Damaging, Flaw: Duration [Concentration]) [12/12] AP: Move Object 6 (Effective STR 30, Heavy Load 1200 lbs, Extra: Area [Burst], Flaw: Range [Touch]) [12/12] Protection 4 [4PP] Super-Senses 2 (Darkvision) [2PP] costs abilities 38 + combat 32 + saves 10 + skills 17/68 + feats 17 + powers 68 = 180 The sword! This impressive blade once belonged to Nina's older brother Farida before she won it from him in fair combat. Made of meteoric iron found in the Arabian Peninsula, he had its edge lined with nigh-monotatomic computronium in the wake of the Incursion. A small sample of water preserved in the hilt means Nina can manipulate it with her hydrokinetic abilities. The armor! This blue and white armor, accessorized with gold cape and cowl, bears a striking but not complete resemblance to the body armor typically worn by Typhoon. A watery gel inside the armored shell provides a cushion against impact - and something for Nina to manipulate inside the armor. It has a fairly limited internal 'environment', being a product of the Socotran exile community rather than more advanced super-science, but it does give Nina a self-contained internal environment. PL: 15 (250) Abilities: 2 + 4 + 14 + 10 + 2 + 14 = 36PP STR 12 (+1) DEX 14 (+2) CON 24 (+7) INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 24 (+7) Combat: 8 + 10 = 18PP Init: +2 ATK: +4 (+10 w/Move Object) DEF: +10 (+5 Dodge, +5 Base, +2 flat-footed) Grapple: +4/+24 w/Move Object Knockback: -10/-3 Saves: 1 + 6 + 7 = 14PP TOU: +20/+7 (+13 Protection, +7 Con) FORT +8 (+7 Con, +1) REF +8 (+2 Dex, +6) WILL +8 (+1 Wis, +7) Skills: 72r=18PP Bluff 8 (+15) Concentration 7 (+8) Craft (Artistic) 10 (+10) Diplomacy 20 (+27) Knowledge (Popular Culture) 10 (+10) Knowledge (History) 10 (+10) Languages 3 (English [Base], Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish) Medicine 4 (+5) Feats: 60PP Beginner's Luck Benefit 1 (Status [Hey, It's Edge!]) Connected Distract (Diplomacy) Dodge Focus 5 Eidetic Memory Inspire 5 Jack of all Trades Luck 7 Sidekick 36 Powers: 16 + 3 + 14 + 2 + 12 + 54 = 105PP Enhanced Feats 4 (Ultimate Save 4 [Fortitude, Reflex, Toughness, Will]; Extras: Affects Others, Range 2 [Perception]) [16PP] Enhanced Feats 2 (Quick Change 2, Extra: Affects Others, Flaw: Action [Move], PF: Precise) [3PP] Protection 13 (PF: Selective) [14PP] Immunity 2 (aging, despair effects) [2PP] Luck Control 4 (cancel GM Fiat, cancel HP expenditure of others, give someone else HP, spend HP for someone else) [12PP] Mark is Magic 25 (50PP, PFs: Alternate Powers 4) [54PP] BE: Damage 15 (Extras: Area [General, Burst], Selective, PFs: Indirect 3, Variable Descriptor 2 [any accident]) [50/50] AP: Create Object 15 (Extras: Duration [Continous], PFs: Innate, Precise, Selective) [48/50] AP: Move Object 20 (Effective STR 100, Heavy Load: 12.5ktons, Extra: Damaging, Flaw: Duration [Concentration], PFs: Accurate 3, Affects Insubstantial 2, Indirect 3, Precise) [49/50] AP: Teleport 10 (1000 ft/Earth to Moon, Extras: Accurate [+1], Area [General, Burst], Selective, Flaw: Long Range Only, PFs: Progression 10 [100k lbs]) [50/50] AP: Transform 10 (inanimate to inanimate, 1000 lbs, Extras: Duration [Continous], Flaw: Action [Full]) [50/50] costs abilities 36 + combat 18 + saves 14 + skills 18/72 + feats 60 + powers 105 = 250 pts
  14. April 2016 Mark and Nina's house Near Freedom City Mark caught the look on Nina's face and closed the box - and suddenly realized he'd always associate the smell of tsebhi and taita with this moment. "Or, hm, I can just put this somewhere-" He was pulling the velvet box off the table, ready to put it into his pocket and banish it to some far-off place, when Nina put her hand on his, meeting his gaze imploringly. "What would our lives be like if I was your wife?" She asked him, with the air of a woman who knew the answer to the question before she asked it, but Mark was too honest to tell her anything other than what he'd been thinking. "We'd live in the house - keep the apartment in Geneva. We'd go on working for the UN, and keep trying to make things better for Socotra. Maybe in a few years we'd have kids, when we're both ready-" He fell silent again, the intense look on Nina's face taking his words. "Mark, listen to me." Nina squeezed his hand with both of hers, then reached up and stroked his face. "I love you. And I want to be with you. You don't realize the kind of man you are. But I don't want to spend the rest of my life living in this place." Mark looked around the kitchen and said, a little hesitantly, "Well, babe, I can probably make more gold and get us a bigger place if you want-" "It's not that." Nina chewed her lip in a way that Mark always thought was very pretty but that now wasn't the time to dwell on it, "Mark, I miss Socotra. I miss being able to talk to people without having to translate every word in my head before I say it. I miss the food, and the art, the music, the sky that's always so blue-" Mark interrupted her, his heart pounding in his chest, visions of a future he didn't like at all flashing before him. "What about Iyar and the other people you and Trevor rescued? That's half the people you grew up with right there!" "That's not the same thing, Mark!" Nina fired back at him, the water sloshing in their glasses as she struck her hand against the table. "Mark, you have spent your life being tall, and blond, and looking like someone put your name next to American in the dictionary. You can tell me inshallah on the telephone without being stared at by ignorant peasants. You can fly on airplanes and dress however you want without worrying that some fat American tourist is going to tell a hideous old German flight attendant that you 'look suspicious' and find yourself having to call your boyfriend so you can cross an international border!" The incident, as they called it, hadn't gotten any better even over a year later. And why would it, really? The intervention of the most powerful superhuman in Europe had gotten an apology from Lufthansa - and only made Nina angrier at her place in the world. Mark stared at her, his face going hot for a moment. "Babe, if you want us to move out of Freedom City, we can do that. I speak like four languages, and I can just pop in here for Liberty League stuff and emergencies. Hell, my mom is more than ready to move now that she's retired. But where do you want us to go?" Nina took a breath - and after years of thinking, and months of planning, spoke. "Mark...I want to marry you. I want you to be my husband. In the name of God, I even want to have children with you - can you imagine what they'll be like?" She smiled, quickly, a habit she'd picked up from him. "But I want to marry you in the Grand Mosque of Socotra - as its Queen." She reached across the table, past the supper Mark had made for her, and took his hands again. "You know that my father's rule has to end. And that the people of Socotra need a leader." "I do," said Mark, his voice tight. "But why does it have to be you? You were the one who told me what a monster your father was for pitting you and your siblings against each other! Treating your lives like a game!" "Because it is my duty to rule. I spent my life at the top of a very small pyramid. living off the work, the toil, the blood, of other people. They deserve something more than me running away to America to be a superhero. They deserve someone who can lead them out of the darkness. And I don't think I can do that without you, Mark. And that's not because of what you do with your power - it's because of what you _don't_ do with your power. I need you to be my partner on this - so I can be your partner in the other things." "...all right. All right." Mark rose to his feet and walked away, standing and looking out the sliding glass window of the living room, out at the wine-dark sea. Nina came up behind him, putting her hand on the small of his back. Mark thought of himself, a good half-foot-taller than most of the Socotrans he'd met, and almost a whole foot taller than Nina. "Okay. But I'm not giving up my job. Either of them," he turned and looked down at her. "And I'm not going to lie to an imam, so you need to figure out what to tell them about why I'm getting married in a mosque." "It'll be all right," Nina assured him, rising up on her tiptoes to kiss his mouth. "After all - they'll work for me." They kissed again - long and deep, and didn't talk about politics for a while. The next morning, Nina put on the ring.
  15. All right, Giz, are you sticking with Skill Mastery re: Stealth? And what's your current Gadget allocation?
  16. Saturday, September 26th, 2015 5:49 PM Joe stood across the street, looking at the restaurant, wondering if he was even doing this right. It wasn't like he hadn't been on dates. He'd had a few - more than a few - relationships. It was just that things were... busy, for the most part. And he tended to throw himself into his work. And his hobbies. Especially his hobbies. Said hobbies including going out at night and dealing with assholes. This was not the kind of thing that contributed to long-lasting, solid relationships. Erin had been the first to suggest looking for someone within the community. That had been a good idea, but it wasn't like they made Tinder for capes (or if they did, it wasn't like he trusted having such a thing on his phone). But, through some dark magic, Mark had managed to set up a blind date between him and another superhero. Being Mark, the details had either been thin or somewhat exaggerated, but he was still willing to give it a go. There'd been the long debate about what to wear - be authentic, be classy, be "normal," whatever. In the end, he'd settled for going a bit more mod - a two-tone jacket and trousers over a long-sleeve Ben Sherman button-up. He still had the braces and boots, though. There were some things a man had to do. Taking a deep breath, he crossed the street for the restaurant, hoping he wasn't going to screw this one up.
  17. PL: 10 (150) Abilities: 4 + 14 + 8 + 0 + 4 + 6 = 36PP STR 14 (+2) DEX 24 (+7) CON 18 (+4) INT 10 (+0) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 16 (+3) Combat: 12 + 12 = 24PP ATK: +6 (+10 Melee/+14 Hydrokinesis) DEF: +12 (+6 Dodge Bonus, +6 Base, +3 flat-footed) Init: +7 Grapple: +12 Knockback: -4/-2 Saves: 1 + 2 + 7 = 10PP TOU +8/+4 (+4 Defensive Roll, +4 Con0 FORT +5 (+4 Con, +1) REF +9 (+7 Dex, +2) WILL +9 (+2 Wis, +7) Skills: 68r = 17PP Acrobatics 8 (+15) Bluff 12 (+15) Diplomacy 12 (+15) Intimidate 12 (+15) Knowledge (Current Events) 4 (+4) Knowledge (History) 4 (+4) Languages 3 (Arabic, English, Persian, Base: Soquitri) Notice 8 (+10) Sense Motive 3 (+5) Stealth 4 (+11) Feats: 27PP Acrobatic Bluff Attack Focus: Melee (4) Benefit (Fame [Princess]) Challenge 4 (Fast Acrobatic Bluff, Fast Feint, Fast Startle, Fast Taunt) Defensive Roll (2) Dodge Focus (6) Evasion Improved Trip Power Attack Precise Shot Second Chance (Will Saves Vs. Mind Control) Set-Up Startle Takedown Attack Taunt Uncanny Dodge (auditory) Powers: 10 + 7 + 19 = 35PP Container 2 (Typhoon's Heritage) [10PP] Enhanced Feat 1 (Environmental Adaptation [Underwater]) [1PP] Immunity 3 (drowning, environmental cold, high pressure) [3PP] Movement Array 1 (2PP, PFs: Alternate Power 1, Move-By Action) [4PP] BE: Swimming 2 (5 MPH/50 ft per round) {2/2} AP: Flight 1 (10 MPH/100 ft per round) {2/2} Super-Senses 2 (Darkvision) {2/2} Device 2 (Daphan's Scimitar, 10PP, Flaw: Easy to Lose, PF: Indestructible) [7PP] Strike 8 (PFs: Improved Crit, Mighty) [10DP] Hydrokinesis 6 (12PP, PFs: Accurate 4, Alternate Powers 2, Precise) [19PP] BE: Blast 6 {12/12} AP: Move Object 6 (Effective STR 30, Heavy Load 1250 lbs) {12/12} AP: Trip 6 (Extra: Knockback) {12/12} costs abilities 36 + combat 24 + saves 10 + skills 13/52 + feats 27 + powers 36 = 150 pts
  18. July 15, 2015 The Caribbean SS Mictlan The Captain's Table Day Two of the cruise was formal night, which meant the Captain's Table and a chance to get to know the other superheroes either volunteering or working as security for the Mictlan's maiden voyage. Edge and Monsoon had spent the first day of the cruise mingling, Mark and Nina doing their best to put aside Freedom City and Socotra and enjoy a rare vacation. Having gotten to know his girl pretty well over the years, Mark had been worried that Nina would resent being thrust into the role of "girlfriend of the famous UN hero" - but as it happened Nina hadn't spent much time worrying about that at all. "So you see, Captain Festus," the water controller was just saying, pausing as she cut open her rare steak, the glittering yellow at the head of her costume a warm color in the light of the crowded dinner deck, "Socotran refugees will be among the most motivated people your line can hire. They'll work hard, be comfortable even with low pay, and the older ones will know how to fight if there's trouble." "Well, I don't really know anything about that," said Festus with a cheerful chuckle as he dabbed at the steak sauce dotting the edges of his regulation graying beard. "And you know, normally we don't need quite this much security on a cruise ship! But the line wants to make sure the new engines are protected - they were made from experimental technology the US government developed back in the 40s, you know, and you never know what some super-hooligan will try to steal! Hoh-hoh-hoh!" Having been busy with an autograph, Edge turned back to the captain and the other guests around the table. The dining area was indeed crowded; it looked like almost everybody who could had gotten on their best clothes for an old-fashioned cruise ship dinner. It reminded Mark of pictures he'd seen from his parents' honeymoon, and his father's world travels. "People from Socotra get profiled a lot," he said quietly, "but you won't find better people." He reached under the table and squeezed Nina's hand. Eating in costume in a formal setting might have been strange for some people, but this was the kind of thing Mark had quite literally grown up doing. As for Nina, he thought she could look regal sitting in the dirt, much less in costume. "Ah, there's the rest of our guests now!" Festus waved cheerfully as another group of costumed individuals arrived - after all, who could turn down a place at the Captain's Table? No one - not if they were being paid to appear in public in costume as part of their time on the all-expenses-paid, six-decked luxury cruise liner as it steamed from Miami to Venezuela and back again over the space of two gorgeous sun-kissed weeks.
  19. September 5, 2015 9PM (local time) (3PM Freedom City time) Dahab, Egypt Nina floated in the dark waters of the Red Sea, only her bare shoulders visible beneath the surface, as she looked up at Mark. Her voice was dark, too, and liquid like the sea that was her home, and the waves churned and thrashed around her with unnatural energies. "I will pull you down beneath the waves, Mark Lucas, and keep you prisoner in the depths of the sea to use for my own wicked ends. Come to me, and know my true power." Mark looked down over the side of their rented skiff and was in love. "That is really, really, hot, babe," he told her with sincere pleasure. Lying on his stomach, he reached down and took Nina's hand. In the darkness of the late night, he didn't worry about his admittedly hilariously fair skin burning - not that he'd have worried that much anyway. "But what if I break loose from your watery chains and subdue you, my tempestuous princess? What are you going to do if I-" The beeping of his alarm interrupted their conversation; and right when they were about to get to the part where they didn't talk, anyway. Muttering a curse, Mark rolled over and found his UNISON communicator underneath the black polo and slacks he'd been wearing as a Sinai Force civilian observer just a few hours earlier. He held up the text communicator, read the short message, and cursed with enough force that Nina slid right out of the water and onto the small boat with him. Mark looked over at her, the faint green glow from the comm casting strange shadows on his bare, sculpted chest. "Horus is attacking Egypt," he said, horror and disbelief mixed in equal measure in his tone. "What!?" Nina exclaimed in reply. - With the ongoing situation in Washington, Egypt barely merited a mention on the late-night news. "And in breaking news, superheroes working for the United Nations are today engaged in a battle with someone who claims to be the reincarnation of Horus, the Egyptian solar deity who served as a member of the Freedom League in the 1960s and 1970s." A grainy cellphone-shot video, with the tag "St. Catherine's, Egypt," depicted a conflict that pitted a woman in blue and white and a man in gold and blue against...against what certainly looked like the Avenger reborn, a darkened town illuminated by the glowing ankh in his left hand before a brilliant glare blinded the phone's camera. "Sources say Horus appears to be directing his rage towards St. Catherine's Monastery, the oldest religious organization in the nation. Both Egyptian and Israeli metahumans have taken up defensive positions outside the peninsula, with their respective governments promising to allow the United Nations to resolve this situation."
  20. Feel free to make whatever Well-Informed checks you want to know things about other heroes! Not to mention Medicine for first aid with the Captain.
  21. April 24, 2015  Lantern Hill  The McCay Bridge, one of the oldest in Freedom City and the furthest upriver, got little use by the second decade of the 21st century. The traffic that the 19th century builder had hoped to capture had gone south to Freedom City proper in the years before Lantern Hill and Freedom merged together - and even Route 6 which runs through this part of town and over the Wading had gained a real bridge back in the 1940s during its initial construction. In need of repair, the McCay had long since been closed to truck traffic and was primarily used by commuters going back and forth between Hanover and Lantern Hill.  On the night of the 24th of April, Monsoon sat on one of the brick towers of the McCay and looked out at the water below, feeling the distant pressure of its movements. She'd grown up on an island filled with water and so Freedom City's amount of rivers had been pleasantly familiar - albeit sometimes unpleasantly cold. She could stand the bottom of the sea as befit a daughter of Typhoon, but the waters around Freedom City were cool this time of year! In summer-time, when the sun's rays warmed even the bottom of the river, then things were comfortable. She checked her smartwatch, wondering if her partner for the evening was going to arrive on time or not. She'd only met Travis Hunter a few times but had respected the drive that had remained in the old man - and respected him more when she'd seen the grief his death had brought Mark. Maybe she'd never had a grandfather, but she knew the obligations that came with family - and the grief that came when it was taken away. Not for the first time that evening, she thought of Socotra. 
  22. De Pijp, Amsterdam Saturday, December 6th 3:23 PM local time Joe Macayle had to admit, this was a lot better than the last time he'd been sent abroad by AEGIS. Although it was cold and crisp in Amsterdam, and some of the canals were starting to show signs of frost, the streets were still clear and the sky was still blue. There was that general sense of charm to the place, of somewhere that was bustling but where you could find a place to sit back and watch the world go by. There was a lot to partake of here - the dive bars, the coffee shop, the other coffee shops... But all that would have to wait. AEGIS didn't send him out here for vacation purposes, after all. The tide of economic distress in Europe had turned over a number of rocks in the past few years, and the fascists had come skittering out to preach to the fearful and distrustful. Even in Amsterdam, though, the far-right interests had limits - while the Party for Freedom had spent years preaching about the menace of immigrating Muslims and trying very hard to "keep the Netherlands Dutch," that still ran headlong into the fact that the Netherlands were, well, Dutch. The party maintained an active defense of queer and Jewish individuals, asking that they be given their freedom and the law used fully to protect them from assault - mainly as a flying wedge against what they saw as the menace of Islam, but at least with enough lip service to make most other far-right parties look at them sideways. Aside from that, there were a few parties more in line with fascists concerns, but they were minor, fragmented, and often came into conflict with the big dog - the thing about using "support for Palestine" as a smokescreen for anti-Semitism was that it ran headlong into the interests that used "support for Israel" as a smokescreen for anti-Islamic sentiment. Which made it interesting that a new far-right interest was on the rise locally, one that seemed to be going all in. The United Netherlands Group had seen a rise over the past year, targeting working and middle class populations with the promise of a "reforged, refined" Netherlands. One that paid tribute to a heritage of fortitude, independence, and empire, and not "reverse colonization" and "personal degradation." They'd managed to stuff their distaste for things like the red light districts, the coffee shops, and gay marriage well down the docket, framing it more as a libertarian concern - "Who should tell us what we have to accept?" - while pushing the idea of a nation meddled with by outside forces, be it Zionists, Islamists, or the European Union. While the party had yet to claim any seats, it was gaining a good deal of influence in the smaller cities, and was starting to make inroads in Amsterdam. And, most alarmingly to AEGIS intelligence, the party's war chest was incredibly hard to trace. Where most of these parties had some media mogul or entrepreneur with some very unconventional beliefs pulling the strings, no one knew where the UNG was getting its funding. There was a part of Joe that had bristled at the idea that he was being sent to try and infiltrate what UNG interests he could find. He admitted, he did look the part - but mainly to people who assumed someone who looked and dressed like he did would gravitate that direction. But if it gave him a real in with the fascists, then it would be worth it. And make it all the more satisfying when he got to deliver the beatdown. He'd been told there would be some sort of gathering in this part of town, protesting some issue or another. For now, he waited for the tinder to gather, just to see who would light the spark.
  23. August 1, 2014 Midnight Manor 5 AM   The ball of water smashed into the grounds of Midnight Manor like a tidal wave, water erupting outward and down as the artificial sphere produced by a hasty mass teleport collapsed under its own weight in a mini-tsunami. The water smashed across the lawn and flooded the flower beds, smashed against the first floor windows on the north side (which were luckily closed) and flooded the pool.    In the center of the vast wet spot on the completely drenched lawn, a bedragged Mark Lucas and Nina al-Darsah were crouched protectively over an unconscious, bloody woman in a torn blue and white outfit like something from a Victorian's painting of a Middle Eastern harem. She looked bad, like someone who'd been grabbed in a giant's fist, and was covered in blood.   "<-STEN TO ME!>" Nina was in the middle of screaming; the only water still standing the head-height inch-thick wall she was holding up between them and an invisible assailant. Her formal Socotran dress was ruined, even royal-made waterproof blue and white cloth torn to ribbons and hanging bedraggedly off her body, as if she'd been tossed into a waterfall and come out the other side.    Mark wasn't panicking, really; he'd been in crises far worse than this, but as his soaking wet suit and tie erupted into his costume in a flash of light he was certainly far more focused than he usually was. "He's far away, and we have to get her to a hospital right now." He looked up, bloodstains on his hands from where it pooled on Fatima al-Darsah's skin like juice from a squeezed grape. "This is bad; I don't...I don't know how to fix this!" he said, a moment before he yelled "T-Midnight! Wander!"   Pacing around the scene, her eyes still out for danger that was thousands of miles away, the princess of Socotra kept moving. "It doesn't make any sense," said Nina desperately, pulling her hair loose so the black strands poured down, soaking wet, past her shoulders. "Why would he do this, why would he just..."   "Nina, please, I need you to help me with this!" Mark snapped. "I can't do this alone!" Torn out of her fugue by her boyfriend's urgency, not to  mention the crisis of the moment, the princess went to help tend the bleeding woman who twenty minutes earlier had called her Daughter...
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