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Found 32 results

  1. 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.
  2. Robin ignored the trickle of sweat down her spine as she balanced, holding a sign aloft in her hands as she tried to make sure it was straight enough to install it. In the wake of the invasion, without school; she had to find SOMETHING to focus on. That something was the very ratty, very cheap office with apartment above that she'd reluctantly taken some of Fred's hard earned money to put together. She agreed, though, they couldn't make it work without someplace to take in clients... and Robin DID need somewhere to leave. Between the bionic arm that glinted dully metallic in the light and the strong cording of her muscles, there was no questioning the super human strength that let her hoist it aloft to set it into place. 'Knight Errant Private Investigations' It was a play on her last name, clearly, but Robin HAD gotten the certifications needed to legally open up the PI firm. It wasn't the most.... typical way to do superheroing but Robin couldn't join either the police or the military. This way, at least, they could try and help people, that's what Robin was trying to focus on. At least if she focused on that, she didn't have to look too closely at the wreck of her personal life. "How's that?" She wanted to know from her partner as she fished for the wrench dangling from her thin, worn jean loop. "Is it straight?"
  3. January 2, 2018 Ashton and Grenville The advertisement at the music store had been well-presented enough - musicians wanted for a Holiday Concert at Club G4118. They were paying in both cash and exposure, with promises of out-of-town label agents in the audience. That sort of thing was a little outside of Fred and Matt's scope these days, but the money was nice, as was the opportunity to perform before a crowd that didn't involve anybody they knew. They were a little new to this public performance thing, after all. And so on the evening of January 2, 2018, they were making their way to Club G4118, a private club built into a converted home on the edge of Ashton. They were at the extreme edge of the neighborhood here, so far to one side that on the other side of the street was a vacant lot that itself segued into Wharton State Forest. It was a cold evening, with a light coating of snow on the ground, as they surveyed a neighborhood that looked like light suburban commercial development - a strip mall here, a chain restaurant there, and the looming shape of Club G4118 nearby. It looked to have been an older house before its conversion, perhaps one of the 19th century homes that had stood on this spot when Ashton was technically an independent town. Before consolidation had meant the murder of much of the town's history in the name of progress. From somewhere, distant Christmas music played, probably a tune from one of the stores in the stripmall. But Christmas was over now too - this was the last day of their last Christmas holiday.
  4. June 4, 2017 The rails out of Greenbank might not have run trains out to Goldman Quarry anymore but that didn't mean the abandoned hole in the ground never saw visitors. At some point in the early aughts a Claremont student who's name had been lost to the annals of high school history had hit upon the quarry as a good place to test out powers a little too destructive for supervised sessions in the Doom Room and the location had been passed from rebel to loner to misunderstood problem child. Every few years the faculty had reason to make it clear that students were to stay well away from the quarry but those who made use of it tended to prefer asking forgiveness rather than permission anyway. At least that's how Riley had explained it to Winifred after they'd begun searching for somewhere to test the new explosives they'd been tinkering with in the chemistry lab. "You're sure you know where you're going?" the alchemist shouted over the noise of the wind, seated behind the survivalist on his motorcycle. They'd already driven clear across the length of the city from Bayview but she still hadn't decided which was the more terrifying conveyance between Smith's bike and Sanderson's flying broomstick.
  5. Gizmo

    Elevator Pitch

    Winifred lowered the blouse in her left hand and raised the buttoned dress shirt on its hanger with her right, frowning at her own reflection in the full length mirror on the back of her dormitory room's door. "If I'm meeting her at her apartment rather than her office I shouldn't be too stuffy, yes?" she reasoned, raising the blouse again to look at the pair of tops side by side. "But the apartment is still inside the company's building and it's still a business meeting. I can't look childish so erring on the side of professionalism might be wiser." Despite her limited wardrobe she'd already been debating her outfit for a good half an hour before asking for Raina's assistance. She'd been preparing for her meeting with Ms. Albright of AEON for the past week and while it would have been one thing if she were simply delivering scientific findings proposing a line of alchemical cosmetics necessitated a certain level of panache she wasn't confident she could meet. If any of her friends knew how to dress for success it was the self-assured pyromancer.
  6. The website for Chrysopoeia Cosmetics went live as the product began to appear on store shelves throughout Freedom City and sample arrangements arrived on the doorsteps of local beauty bloggers; the always popular Set posted a literally divine smokey eye tutorial which garnered the usual surge in likes and reblogs that came whenever they roped Sekhmet into participating. Adorned with tasteful calligraphy the site was styled after an old-timey apothecary shop and boasted a surprisingly robust backend thanks to a certain technically inclined simian. The core line ranged from foundation with the benefits of a moisturizer to chip-proof nail polish that went on in a single coat to smudge proof, waterproof and somewhat alarmingly fireproof lip colour. Those bold claims were backed up by accompanying videos hosted by a serious young woman in a white lab coat, delivered in much the same way as an academic dissertation even if the volunteers joining her attempted to insert a bit more style and humour. Colours ranged the gamut of skin tones, including those traditionally under serviced. The most popular were quickly placed on backorder with a formal apology posted assuring customers that production was being adjusted in response to demand and thanking them for their patience. More exciting, however were the signature lines! Heat sensitive 'mood colours' shifted from rich imperial purple through the spectrum to a sensational scarlet. The 'nighthawk' assortment shifted between subdued, professional looks to bold club style with the setting of the sun. 'Multifaceted' variants dried into delicate patterns like ice crystals, star fields and chocolatey swirls. The 'inner glow' colours soaked up ambient light to shine with non-toxic and surprisingly tasteful luminescence. As though in acknowledgement of the overwhelming array of choices one page of the site featured pre-selected bundles of sample sized product, highlighting some of the more eye-catching colours. The 'smoke hound' kit included light-devouring blacks paired with softer slate greys while the 'ice queen's kiss' kit encompassed a half dozen different lip colours that reacted to temperature. There were bundles themed around each of the LGBT+ pride flags and appropriately for Freedom City bundles themed around prominent heroes, such as the cheekily named 'Briticana' set of red, white and blues, the 'Earth Mother' assortment of lush greens and the subtly metallic 'Dragonscale' colours that glowed like embers in the right light. The most significant page on the site was a deceptively simple text field with layers of behind-the-scenes security to ensure the utmost discretion. The form invited visitors to request custom orders tailored to their own specific requirements. Foundation suitable for amphibious skin? Available at a week's notice. Unique colours to match a heroic uniform? Easily done. Telepathically activated eyeshadow laced with psionically reactive crystals that wouldn't irritate delicate skin? Packaged with a complimentary exfoliant scrub. After all, the site's copy opined, pairing someone with their ideal product could be truly transformational.
  7. Gizmo

    Skipping Leg Day

    June 21, 2017 Winifred considered herself to be in fairly good shape. Certainly she was fitter than she'd ever been prior to arriving at the Academy, largely thanks to the demanding 'physical education' classes that were part of the curriculum, not to mention the extracurriculars with which she found herself involved. Consequently she did not feel particularly compelled to spend any of her remaining free time making use of the school's many training facilities, yet with classes finished for the day that was exactly where she was headed with quick, clipped strides. Robin had been spending less and less time in their shared dormitory room over the past weeks - months, really. Her friend was absent many nights, out patrolling the Fens neighbourhood Winifred suspects, either sleeping elsewhere or catching brief naps during the day. When she was about campus is was almost exclusively to train, pushing herself harder and harder. At first Winifred had said nothing under the assumption that Robin was spending more time with her boyfriend and later she'd reasoned that there was nothing wrong with being driven, especially as she focused on her own projects. Eventually it had become clear that Robin was pointedly avoiding socializing, intentionally keeping to herself. In Winifred's experience that was the sort of behaviour the preceded downing an untested serum of one's own devising. Metaphorically, in this case. Stepping into the Academy's less fanciful gymnasium the alchemist pursed her lips slightly as she scanned the large room. This was only the first stop on her list of likely places to find Robin but she was hoping traipsing across rooftops wasn't going to be necessary.
  8. Gizmo

    Fragile

    Beneath Claremont Academy 8:42 AM July 10, 2017 By design the impervium cell was nearly empty. The front wall was transparent due to a process that Winifred would have usually been much more interested to learn about and the cube was large enough to pace about comfortably but the only furniture was a smooth bench large enough to also serve as a bed, constructed from the same material as the walls. There was a television set outside the transparent wall, featuring rather clever motion controls so as to forego the need of a remote control but the young alchemist didn't want it even for the white noise just then. Instead she sat on the bench beside the pillow she'd brought with her, wearing the oversized flannel shirt she'd adopted as sleepwear. She hugged her legs against her chest and pressed her face into her knees, letting out a long, weary sigh as she continued silently reciting the elements.
  9. GM Claremont Academy, Headmistress's Office Approximately 4:30pm, May 18, 2017 Four students had been called into Headmistress Summer's office, by way of notes handed over quietly early in the day (so as not to raise a fuss about the matter): Riley Smith, Winifred Wei, Matthew Rivera, and Raina Sanderson. Miss Summers sat behind her desk, typing away as the students filed in, a couple of quick clicks closing whatever she'd worked on, before she turned and faced the students. She sat back in her chair, folding her hands in her lap as she calmly regarded each of them for several moments. "To begin, understand that none of you are in trouble. Instead, this is me presenting you all with an opportunity for...let's call it something of a work-study program. I believe that, between your individual skills and your friendships with each other, you are well-suited to this task. I can't make you do this particular assignment, but you all do have hours and credits and the like to finish, so if it's not this particular assignment, it will be another. And unfortunately, I can't guarantee another opportunity that's as..." She paused and thought over her words for a moment, apparently quite conscious of some of the strong personalities in the room. "I can't guarantee you won't end up being forced to complete an assignment while working with one or more fellow students you do not get along well with. And don't think your companion's skills would let you bypass this requirement, Miss Sanderson; I'd know if he tried. Still, I have faith you all will be interested in this particular project."
  10. Gizmo

    Maybe It's Alchemy

    Claremont Academy Dormitories April 15, 2017 Winifred still wasn't used to the literal weight taken off of her shoulders be her recent haircut but after putting it off for so long there was a certain visceral satisfaction in having had the nearly waist length hair cut back to a tidy pixie cut with razor sharp lines that kept it off of her ears and neck. It had already proven to be more practical in the lab and if she were to allow herself a moment of vanity the displaced Victorian might have gone so far as to say that it combined with the collar of her slate grey dress shirt to make her neck and jawline look fantastic. A scientist had to acknowledge empirical fact after all. Shifting the strap of the bag slung over her shoulder, she strode down the dormitory hallway with her shoulders squared and her chin tilted slightly upward. It had taken almost half a year of trials and tweaking but the grin threatening to break through her composure came from the feeling of a craftsperson preparing to showcase their efforts. She counted slowly backward from one hundred as she rounded the corner; she wasn't in a position to let excitement or nerves get the better of her. Reaching the door to the room shared by Clouston and Sanderson she gave it a distinctive trio of sharp raps.
  11. April 1, 2017 It wasn't that Winifred Wei wasn't allowed into the city by herself, per se, rather everyone involved agreed that given her condition it would have been monumentally unwise. Still, prudence had never ranked high among her gifts and the restriction chafed. Browsing the breathtaking wealth of information available via the Academy's computer lab kept her reasonably occupied but while picking through the bibliography of references on a poorly maintained page the displaced Victorian was surprised to come across the title of a long out-of-print book written by one Heinrich Schreiber. What Winifred knew which the site's amateur scholar could not have was the Schreiber was the pen name of one Nika Azadeh Sharifi, one of London's famous 'rogue scientists' - famous, at least, in her own day. Old Madar Nika had been wizened by the time Winifred had met her, only half coherent, though that had still placed her among the more reliable in that community of peers. She'd never heard of the older woman having had any of her work published in earnest, only the occasional pamphlet but as she began researching in earnest she learned that 'Properties of Humours and Tinctures Thereof' had been complied well after its author had passed away, complied from recovered notebooks as an oddity more than serious research. She had known, of course, that in the century and a half she'd spent transmuted into a statue anyone she had ever known had surely passed away but it was still a sobering thought. Further digging and several phone calls later the young alchemist had learned that against all odds a shop in Freedom City's West End had a copy of the book on its shelves. The sensible thing to do would have been to explain the situation to one of her friends and plan a day out; the book was unlikely to disappear within the week, after all. Instead she called upon skills learned from watching the cagier of her circle to slip away in the early hours of the weekend, intent on holding Madar Nika's work in her own hands without delay.
  12. Gizmo

    Transmutation

    Winifred was still relatively new to being a friend, having been something of a consummate loner growing up in her native time period but she liked to think that she managed to be a reasonably good one, uncontrolled bouts of mass destruction aside. Certainly she still managed to be better socialized than the majority of her circle of peers, enough so that she'd been quick to scoop up her bag and borrowed music player and make her excuses when her roommate's boyfriend had knocked on their door. She'd almost let curiosity get the better of her once and asked Robin how exactly that worked before deciding that neither upsetting her friend or sitting through a detailed explanation were outcomes she particularly wanted. The Victorian was much happier to simply give the couple their privacy. That did leave her somewhat at loose ends, however. Normally she would have put in some time in the chemistry lab but the most interesting equipment there was in the process of being repaired or replaced and as those weren't entirely unrelated facts she had been strongly encouraged to find other ways to spend her time until further notice. The weather had turned brisk enough to discourage a trip outdoors without a destination in mind and the common room wasn't an appealing option, not at a time of day where she knew it would be crowded; the altercation with Madison and her squad hadn't done Winifred's reputation around campus any great favours. The miniature in-ear speakers Matthew had lent her made avoiding conversation while traversing the halls considerably easier but she'd found they did distressingly little to discourage interruption while sitting in one place. Sighing quietly to herself she placed them in her ears and gingerly pressed the triangular button on the player. Perhaps Raina and Cathy would allow her to hole up in a corner of their room for a while. It wouldn't be much warmer than the quad but the Scot was always eager enough to lend a wool jumper to any visitors.
  13. Content note: transphobia, profanity June 2016 11PM The Doom Room In the Doom Room, Riley was on edge. The training room itself was empty, its holographic displays silent while he waited for the rest of the team. He had taken the opportunity to polish and clean his bow, its gears half-disassembled on the plastic floor, and was crouching there as he worked. He was going in without a plan. He hated going in without a plan. Late night training, no notice about the scenario (which was pretty common, especially in the last few months) and no notice about who he'd train with (which was pretty common too), described by Mr. Archer as "the final event for the year." Not one to complain about his education, especially about combat training, Riley silently went about his work, his ears open to his surroundings even as his eyes focused on the work before him. It wasn't the first time he'd had to refurbish his bow without being able to watch his back.
  14. May 2016 "Hello, children!" The famous, or more likely infamous, Dr. Dimitri Peshkov was waiting at the curb when the Claremont shuttle bus arrived - all smiles beneath his parka's raised hood. "Welcome to headquarters of the Freedom League!" He sketched a courtly bow to Fred as she stepped out, then gave Ardent a warm, almost predatory smile as she joined the Chinese alchemist before doing the same thing. "I am Comrade Frost, and I will be your lecturer for special study session on heeero history today. It will be exciting times, sure," he said, pulling his heavy gloves back on. "Did you have pleasant ride?"
  15. Winifred wasn't one to spend time in the common areas of Claremont Academy's dormitories unless she was on her way from place to place. It might have had something to do with the way common room emptied conspicuously quickly any time she sat down to read in one of the armchairs there or the way normal conversations turned into urgent whispers when she walked by in the hallways. For her part the alchemist liked to think that she was simply good at making efficient use of her time. With that in mind her strides where swift as she made her way through the boys' dormitory with a worn but carefully patched saddlebag full of chemistry equipment. She kept her back straight and chin high but her eyes didn't waver from looking straight ahead no matter what looks she could feel aimed at the back of her head. Reaching her destination she rapped quickly on the door, calling, "Smith."
  16. Saturday April 23, 2016 9AM "This is Franklin Martinez at Waterplace Park in Providence, Rhode Island..." From behind the newscaster came the deafening chorus of voices raised in song - a bellowing, eerie song that could come from no human throats. He moved aside, letting the camera see the thousands of green and white-bodied creatures occupying the park, squatting in the river and the streets, hopping and singing their songs even as more came out of the water behind him. Deep Ones! Some were naked and weaponless, looking like the giant frog-fish humanoids they were, others wore black armor that looked like wrought iron and carried long, lethal-looking tridents. "Beginning early this morning, the Deep Ones began emerging from the Woonasquatucket River and occupying the heart of the city! So far the police and military have established a perimeter to keep back the invaders, but with their numbers increasing - " Suddenly, the Deep One nearest the newscaster (some thirty feet away, and behind barricades) leaped over and licked him, slapping him across the cheek with an arm-length green, bumpy tongue. The man shouted in surprise and staggered, nearly falling down, but kept his feet. He looked up at the camera, obviously rattled, and began to speak. "I, uh..." He wavered for a moment, then suddenly began stripping off his shirt. "Te veo a Jesús ! ¡Te veo!" he declared, his eyes wide and staring, a moment before the camera cut off entirely, returning to the news broadcast about the Deep One invasion of Providence, Rhode Island. At Aquaria and Jessie's apartment, Aquaria rose from her bacon-wrapped kippers and croaked, her voice warbling with the hiss that spoke of holding back a shout, "Jesssie, we need to go. We need to go there right now."
  17. Early February 2016 The weekend came and went - and Riley and Robin weren't back on campus from their weekend furlough. After classes on Monday, the RAs, with serious faces, assured Woodsman and Nighthawk's friends that the school knew where they were. On Tuesday, Headmaster Summers made a general announcement that Robin Chevalier had been seriously injured in the field and was currently recovering at McNider Hospital. These things didn't happen that often at Claremont; but there were procedures in place for counseling, for making cards, for hospital visits - it was something the staff all had in hand. There was no need to cut school, not when visiting hours would still be open in the evening. Of course, all that assumed you wanted to listen to staff in the first place. - Robin hadn't wanted to go to the hospital - hadn't wanted to go at all. But the personal intervention of Headmaster Summers, who had met the pair of them at the Goodman Building clinic on Sunday night, had changed her mind; largely with the reassurances that a false name would get her in the system without any risk of the system finding her again. McNider was the oldest hospital in Freedom City. They'd been discreetly taking care of superheroes for decades now. Riley'd gone to the hospital too, mostly to make sure he hadn't irradiated himself when he'd grappled Tesla Atom at the moment she'd been bisected by the forces between dimensions. He wound up calling from Robin's room, though, carefully punching out digits on the hospital phone. It was Tuesday mid-morning, right? It had been easy enough to lose track the last day, when all he'd been thinking about was the burned, bleeding woman on the bed, the one he'd have given his heart for. Luckily she was asleep - for now.
  18. AEON Institute, Downtown Freedom 10:30 AM February 3rd 2016 Though the late January blizzard had for a time dampened the fervor of the ongoing 'Humans First' protests outside the Aeon Institute with the city emerging from it's blanket of snow they had returned with renewed spite for all the institute and it's 'Terminus Spawn' CEO. AEON security maintained a safety corridor for those seeking AEONs services but beyond the barricades the protesters had grown ten deep chanting and waving their signs proclaiming humanities preeminence over the earth and unkind variations on 'Go Home Freaks!' and worse. Pictures of the mangled bodies from the last Terminus Invasion as well as some few victims of recent super violence often attributed to those afflicted with Terminus Energy Mutation Syndrome were shaken in the faces of executive and frightened petitioner alike while slurs and occasional threats were lobbed at those making their way to the main entrance of the Institute. Thus far violence had been avoided thanks in large part to the restraint of the well trained security team deployed along the barricade and the help of the FCPD who were quick to remove any protesters who crossed the line from peaceful protest. None the less the air was electric with the tension and for those with insight into such things it was clear the situation was unsustainable without something snapping soon. The young group from Claremont made their way to the cordon where a security agent and a well bundled receptionist took down their names before beginning to escort them down the gauntlet of hateful people and their signs. The youth of these particular petitioners it seemed inflamed the protesting crowd yet further with the screams of "Freak!", "Devil Spawn!", and worse rising over the general din as the protesters pressed angrily against the barrier despite the nearby securities warnings to back away.
  19. If only Riley or Raina is there I'll edit tags. Anyone with danger sense ought have it tingling. DC 25 Notice Checks to see a more organized subset of the protesters seem to be moving purposely through the crowd a few rows back pacing the claremonters as they walk the line.
  20. Date: Halloween, 2015 Location: Faretti Mansion, North Bay Halloween was a busy time of year for Huang's parents and he'd been able to plan on them being out of the house as soon as the sun went down. Arrangements had been made for his younger self to stay at Sanctuary for an overnight long in advance and JJ would no doubt be having a fabulous Halloween with Ammy and her mother on the verdant world. Huang had been warned no less than three times by his mother as she walked through the manor, putting things in her cloak for an evening of chasing down cultists, monsters and probably making out with his dad (ick!). He'd been told to stay behind the wards as there was no shortage of people who'd like the potent blood of a dhampir to fuel their fell rituals - and not to expect them back before dawn. So, technically, there hadn't been any specific rules about not having people over. Technically. At least nothing beyond the usually secretive bent of his family in general. When his father came downstairs in his Avenger costume, Taylor kissed Huang's cheek with one last reminder to stay safe before his parents vanished. Really, they should have been suspicious at the lack of requests to come along but Huang had his own plans for Halloween. Namely, an illicit holiday party! Earlier in the week, elaborate scrolls had appeared in the rooms of certain classmates of his - those that might be receptive to such endeavors. Without fail, a sealed scroll had popped showily into existence in front of them at some point earlier in the week. In contrast with the fancy appearance, the wording itself was utterly contemporary: You know who's got a mansion and a guarantee of absent parents? This guy! Party at my place on Halloween. Folks will be gone at sunset so party starts after. Oh, bring the scroll or you won't be able to find it. Magic. J.H.F. Also, goes without saying but, no racist costumes welcome, obv. Especially ghosts. They're really sensitive this time of year. For those who followed the very brief instructions, they ended up at an over grown driveway in a ritzy North Bay neighborhood where all the houses seemed to have expansive grounds. Which, of course, left them standing at the bottom of a winding driveway, heavily overgrown and oddly foreboding. There was no mailbox or sign to mark the place but for some discolored brickwork that marked the start of the driveway. Outside it, it didn't even seem like there was a house at the end of the drive but once they crossed the line, the cracked driveway and overgrown trees parted enough to reveal a dark mansion at the top of a hill through the overgrowth. It was spooky and foreboding, with thick cobwebs knotting the branches of the trees that obscured much of their view. Apparently Huang's family went all out for the holiday spirit?
  21. November 2015 The Fens Riley had had to come to the Fens separately from the girls - after weeks of detention and extra 'practice', he'd been authorized to carry his crossbow off school grounds again, and he hadn't wanted to miss the last day of training that earned him those rights. He knew some of his friends didn't like Mr. Archer very much, but as much as he'd screwed him over with that Metropolis thing, Riley had come to respect the drive and determination of the man. Not a lot of the teachers at the school would have been willing to put in these hours with him. A long Saturday morning of shooting at rapidly moving civilian targets had left him drained, but it had gotten him on the street in his costume. He'd made his way to the Fens on his own terms, walking along the South River's bank right under the Boardwalk, marveling as usual at how strange everything in the city had looked. Crossing the South River where he was from meant a difficult hike across a swaying, unstable passenger walkway, here the Mona-Glenn Bridge was alive and well and roaring with traffic. He wound up using his grapple arrow to make his way from stanchion to stanchion, far above the eyes of tourists, and then disappeared into a dark alley near the foot of the bridge, where the Fens themselves met the river. Closing his eyes, he thought of the Fens he knew with its marshy ground and dying buildings, its pine forest and the creatures that dwelt within. Opening them, he was at the gas station/convenience store that was evidently one of the few businesses in this part of town, and the spot he was supposed to meet Robin and Fred. A business with history, he thought as he loitered in the parking lot, remembering how the place looked with trees through the roof and a family of bears living inside.
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