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Found 56 results

  1. Prologue Anne Leonard Books had been a fixture in Emerald City's trendy University Hill district since the late Sixties, but earlier in 2018 the elderly proprietor announced her plans to retire and sell the store, as none of her grown children had any interest in something as archaic as running a used bookstore. For several months, it looked as though she'd have to sell to some developer, who would either want to turn the painted lady into an Airbnb, or worse, just tear it down to put up ugly condos. Luckily for Anne, a pair of young out-of-town investors contacted her in August, expressing interest in buying the store outright, including all current stock. They both flew in all the way from Freedom City to begin negotiations, and the retiring bookseller couldn't be more delighted with the young women; true, there was some unspoken tension between the two of them (Anne suspected some sort of romantic entanglements), but they couldn't be more professional or courteous in the business dealings. She felt a small twinge when they stated they would change the name to reflect the connection with the parent store back East, but it was hardly surprising; only her own children wouldn't have made such a change Apparently the younger of the two named Gretchen would actually be operating the store, and she asked a lot of very educated questions about the neighborhood, the store's clientele and what sort of books sold best as well as the most requested items they didn't stock. When all was said and done, Anne felt very good about the sale, and even considered stopping in from time to time to see how young Gretchen McDaniels would fare
  2. So now that the Shrike has been approved, I'm thinking about having a grand opening sale at the new Silberman's location in the University Hill section of EC-OR. This would be an opportunity for any EC-based PCs to check out the new used books and records store in town, and meet Gretchen in their civilian identities. Sign up here if you're interested!
  3. Herein lies a tale, a tale of two cities...
  4. Player Name: Heritage Character Name: The Shrike Power Level: 10/12 (180/189PP) Tradeoffs: Defense +3/Toughness -3 Unspent PP: 9 In Brief: Snarky barista/musician wielding magical artifacts. Alternate Identity: Gretchen McDaniels Identity: Secret Birthplace: Portland, ME Area of Operations: Emerald City, OR Occupation: Barista/bookseller/personal crime-fighting assistant Affiliations: Grimalkin, Silberman's Books Family: Evelyn Woolsey (mother, deceased), Mark McDaniels (father), Caroline Clement (aunt), Lynn Epstein (girlfriend) DOB: November 21, 1991 Gender: Female Height: 5'1" (5'4" in costume) Weight: 113 lbs. Hair: Brown Eyes: Blue Gretchen is an attractive young woman in her mid-twenties; she tends to keep her brown hair loose, and has a lightly-muscled athletic build. She has several tattoos on her body, including bars of music on both forearms, inspirational lyrics on various parts of her torso, and the words 'The Future Is Unwritten' on the four knuckles of her left hand. Her ears bear multiple piercings, mostly a mix of rings and ear spikes. Gretchen usually doesn't wear much makeup, but she experiments with lips gloss and eyeliner. As far as clothing goes, she sort of falls into the 'hipster chick' look, mostly because she just hits the same resale shops she favored as a FreeSA student, so comfortable jeans, hi-tops, combat boots, fatigue jackets, plaid shirts, t-shirts, vests, etc. When she's feeling frisky, she'll show some skin (typically a more revealing top), but if she's feeling antisocial, she'll dress down. She often wears rings and bracelets, but always has a silver ring with a large red stone on her left index finger. The Shrike is a mysterious figure wrapped in black; her costume is a mostly black armored jumpsuit with silver accents, topped with a hawk-like silver half-face mask bearing a large ruby in the middle of her forehead. Her heavy reinforced boots add three inches to her height to make her slightly more intimidation, and her gloves are padded for extra protection. A black hooded cloak reaches down to her ankles; the hood helps to hide her features a bit better, and the cloak softens her outline in the shadows. A small carbon fiber shield is strapped to her right arm, which she keeps on her back when not in use. A silver ring with another ruby is visible on the index finger of her left gloved hand. History: For most of her life, Gretchen McDaniels has been disappointed; by a father who abandoned her mother to raise a child alone, by a world that seems more concerned with money than reducing human suffering, and by a music industry obsessed with churning out catchy crap. Growing up in Portland, Maine, young Gretchen was drawn to the performing arts from an early age; her mother Evelyn was a successful attorney specializing in labor law, and though their family was small it was full of love, and the budding musician never lacked for love and encouragement. There were piano lessons and violin recitals, and Evelyn couldn't be prouder. But then when Gretchen was fourteen, her mother was killed in an accident while driving home in a New England ice storm; with her father nowhere in sight, it was decided it would be best for the girl to live with her free-wheeling aunt Caroline in Freedom City. Moving to a much larger city during her freshman year of high school, especially right have her mother's tragic death, proved to be particularity painful for the introverted girl, and she began to slowly build walls around herself. However Caroline, who was also musically inclined, offered something to Gretchen to help with the pain: classic punk rock. The anger, passion and energy of the music struck a chord with the unhappy girl, and even though she often struggled to express her grief and frustration through words, she could always turn to punk to feel better Eventually graduating from FreeSA with a degree in Musical Performance, Gretchen found her BFA opened a few doors but didn't lead to steady employment, so like many recent college graduates she turned to the world of retail to make ends meet. She frequently found herself 'working with idiots to serve idiots', and her dry humor and rather surly demeanor did little to enamor her to either her coworkers or customers. In time she got a job at Slberman's Books in the West End, and her life has never been the same. Due to a rather bizarre set of circumstances, Gretchen now bears the Gifts of the Magi, once borne by Lynn's great-grandfather Ira Silberman, aka the Amazing Al-Kazar; these two magical artifacts adapt to their user, so her costumed identity is very different from her predecessor's. After having been in a committed, very intimate relationship with Lynn for over two years, Gretchen felt the need to make a change; it's not that her feelings for Lynn had lessened; in fact, they'd grown more intense. But Gretchen nonetheless felt the desire to get some space, to work through some things, and do some solo crime-fighting on her own. After much discussion over the course of a long summer road trip, Gretchen and Lynn came to an agreement. Gretchen would help open a new Silverman's Books location in Emerald City, under her own management and operation. The two would still remain dating, but had permission to see other people, though they would still be very much a couple connected by strands of magic. This whole situation is very new, but Gretchen hopes it will help her shake off the feeling that she is being smothered by someone she loves. After a year, both parties will review the situation and go from there. Personality & Motivation: Gretchen is keenly aware of life's injustices, but for most of her life, she felt powerless to do anything about it; but now, inspired by her mysterious employer Lynn Epstein, she found that she can make a difference in small ways, and as the equally mysterious Shrike, she can do even more! Her attitude is frequently seen as caustic or sarcastic, but it secretly hides a big caring heart that she tries to wall off from the dangers and disappointments of the world. Though she doesn't like to use labels like 'bisexual', Gretchen has dated both men and women in her life; she finds men to be uncomplicated and easier to get along with, but women to be more challenging and rewarding in the long run. In any event, she's never been very good at maintaining long-term relationships, due to her extremely guarded and somewhat negative attitude. Powers & Tactics: The Shrike's combination of flight, stealth and ranged attacks make her an ideal infiltrator and combat 'sniper', and the psychokinetic power of the ring allows her to grab and detain foes as well as move objects and remove obstacles with ease. The Gifts are now better attuned to her personality, unlocking several new powers, including creating a sort of 'magic grenade' and allowing her to become immaterial, abilities that greatly increases her combat flexibility. Since losing the Cloak of Mystery, Gretchen's supplemented her magical devices with tactical gear, including armor and several varieties of handmade, non-lethal grenades. Complications: Give a Guy a Break: Gretchen has a tendency to not take men super-seriously, seeing them as rather uncomplicated creatures; this underestimation may cost her. I Don't Like Labels: Gretchen has dated both men and women in her life, though never for very long; this attitude may bother those with more traditional values. Secret Identity: The Shrike has been told how important it is to maintain a secret identity, especially if you're not a shapeshifter! The Distance Between Us: Gretchen and Lynn are attempting maintain an open, long-distance relationship assisted by magic. It's challenging and very much I'm work in progress Abilities: 2 + 6 + 4 + 6 + 4 + 4 = 26PP Strength: 12 (+1) [Heavy Load: 130 lbs.] Dexterity: 16 (+3) Constitution: 14 (+2) Intelligence: 16 (+3) Wisdom: 14 (+2) Charisma: 14 (+2) Combat: 12 + 24 = 36PP Initiative: +3 Attack: +6 Ranged, +6 Melee, +10 Ring of Power Grapple: +7, +16 Ring of Power Defense: +12 (+13 w/Shield) Knockback: -10 (-1 without Cloak) Saving Throws: 8 + 7 + 8 = 23PP Toughness: +2/+7 (+2 Con, +2 Defensive Roll, +3 Protection [EP]) Fortitude +10 (+2 Con, +8) Reflex +10 (+3 Dex, +7) Will +10 (+2 Wis, +8) Skills: 152R = 38PP Bluff 8 (+10) Computers 12 (+15)* Craft: Chemical 2 (+5) Craft: Electronics 12 (+15)* Disable Device 12 (+15)* Drive 2 (+5) Gather Information 3 (+5) Investigate 7 (+10) Knowledge (Arcane Lore) 2 (+5) Knowledge (Current Events) 2 (+5) Knowledge (Pop Culture) 7 (+10) Knowledge (Streetwise) 2 (+5) Knowledge (Tactics) 2 (+5) Knowledge (Technology) 7 (+10)* Medicine 3 (+5) Notice 8 (+10) Perform (Keyboards) 13 (+15) Perform (Singing) 13 (+15) Perform (Stringed Instruments) 13 (+15) Search 7 (+10) Sense Motive 8 (+10) Stealth 7 (+10) Feats: 8PP Attack Specialization 2 (Ring of Power) Defensive Roll 2 Improvised Tools Inventor Precise Shot Skill Mastery* Equipment: 0PP (40EP from Rewards) Silberman's Northwest (PL10 HQ) [15EP] Size: Small [0EP] Toughness: +5 [0EP] Features: [15EP] Communications Computer Cover Facility (Bookstore) Fire Prevention System Library Living Space Powers 6 (144PP, see below) Security System 2 (DC 25) Workshop  Shrike's Gear Armored Jumpsuit 3EP Small Shield 1EP Laptop 1EP Tactical Harness [20EP Utility Belt] Tear Gas grenade (ME: Dazzle 4 + Nauseate Explosion 4) [18EP] Flash-Bang grenade (AP: Dazzle Burst 4) [1EP] Smoke grenade (AP: Obscure 2 [visual])[1EP] Powers: 17 + 32 = 49PP (All have Magic descriptor) Device 4 (Helm of Truth, Magical Helmet, 20PP, Power Feat: Subtle. Flaws: Hard-To-Lose) [17PP] Comprehend 2 (All Codes and Written Languages) [4PP] Super-Senses 16 (Danger Sense, Magic Awareness [Visual, Analytic, Extended, Tracking], Vision Counters Concealment, Illusion, and Obscure [All]) [16PP] Device 9 (Ring of Power, Magical Ring, 40PP, Flaws: Hard-To-Lose) [32PP] Magic Blast Array 10 (23PP Array, Feat: Alternate Power 3) [26PP] Base Power: Ranged Damage 10 (Power Feats: Affects Insubstantial 2, Precise) [23PP] Alternate Power: Ranged Burst Damage 6 (Power Feats: Affects Insubstantial 2, Selective, Triggered 2) [1PP] Alternate Power: Move Object 10 (Strength 50, Heavy Load: 12 tons. Power Feats: Precise, Subtle) [1PP] Alternate Power: Insubstantial 4 (Power Feats: Selective, Subtle 2) [1PP] Dimensional Pocket 1 (Flaw: Limited [Storage only], 100 lbs.) [1PP]  Flight 5 (250 mph) (Power Feats: Subtle 2) [12PP] Super-Senses 1 (Communication Link [with Grimalkin]) [1PP] Abilities 26 + Combat 36 + Saving Throws 23 + Skills 38 + Feats 8 + Powers 49 - Drawbacks 0 = 180/189 Power Points DC Block: ATTACK RANGE SAVE EFFECT Unarmed Touch DC16 Toughness Damage (Physical) Blast Ranged DC25 Toughness Damage (Physical) Flash-Bang Ranged DC14 Reflex Dazzled Magic Bomb Ranged DC21 Toughness Damage (Physical) Smoke Grenade Ranged - - - Obscure (visual) Tear Gas Ranged DC14 Reflex Dazzled and Nauseated
  5. So I've recently been considering turning Grimalkin into an NPC, and having her Sidekick the Shrike take my remaining PL10 spot; that way, they can still be a couple and appear together in vignettes and the like. I've come to the conclusion that while I still love Grim, her PL and ridiculous array of powers really make it hard to find good threads, and as she's maxed out, she has no room to grow. Are there any serious repercussions to me as a player if I retire my Titanium PC?
  6. Moira was a guest employee at Silberman's since the beginning of the year. She'd pop in every Wednesday ring the register, but lately she and Lynn had an idea. What if instead of register work, she pulled in customers? She and Lynn talked about it and they both agreed that she would dress up in a costume. For the past two weeks it was successful. More people in the store, more word of mouth, more sales. Good for all. Not that she didn't get a say in the matter, but Moira generally joyed the work. She would have done it for free, but that's not how businesses work. This week she and Gretchen - the two had mended bridges over the winter months, taking to warmer climes to get to know each other better - had been talking back and forth. They would take lunch break together and wouldn't come back for the rest of the shift. A few hours later, Moira woke up in Gretchen's room, rested. She hadn't slept this peacefully in a while. No mind talk from the parents. And then she noticed her bracer was gone. That thing never left her arm! She didn't want to wake Gretchen, but Gretchen wasn't there either. hopping up from the comforting bed, she raced to put on a night dress and scoured the apartment. For her bracer. For her lover. For any signs of what happened. And nothing had happened! The only thing rustled was the things that got in the way when they came in.
  7. Hey gang! It occurs to me that Grimalkin and the Shrike have mostly been doing social threads recently, and I miss seeing them in action. I'm up for pretty much anything, though they tend to favor mystical/magical issues to deal with, though they're both pretty flexible. I would happily see them team up with other heroes as well.
  8. @Heritage Heroic hijinks are about to ensue!
  9. Silberman's Books, at the corner of Pratt and Frederick. Saturday, January 7th, 2017 10:30 am. With the panic and mayhem of another holiday season behind them, the crew at the West End's most popular used bookstore could finally breathe a collective sigh of relief. January was typically a month of austerity in the US, especially in the retail sector, which made it a good month to take stock and look back on the year that was, and begin serious planning for the year ahead. The decision to open earlier on weekdays and Saturdays, as well as offering breakfast sandwiches, meant major staffing adjustments and a lot more work for the openers. Despite the passing of the holiday rush, the store still need to hire a few more people. So far, the first Saturday morning was a success as the neighborhood discovered the new adjusted hours and menu items, but the store was just a little strained under the increased customer load. A number of Merges were on-site, though of course only one was currently behind the register; the others were either doing dishes or checking stock in back. Gretch was doing her best to 'play well with others' on bar while Lynn worked the floor, using her amazing social skills to good effect. As usual, the two lovers were going back and forth via mental communication, and as often was the case, it was playful and fairly snarky. I want you to list five things you like about Merge. Really? We're having this conversation? Five things. Fine. ...I'm waiting... She...always smells nice. Wow. Really, that's your opener? She does...cool stuff with her powers sometimes. Cute outfits and stuff...
  10. GM March 21st, 2017 8:31 AM A girl slipped in about a half hour after opening, short, a little shorter than Gretchen, though certainly not as slender as she was. She wasn't just hispanic, she was certainly an indio. A punk, with a burnt sienna colored dreadlock hanging on the side of her face, under striped hood of her striped sweatshirt. She idly picked through things, grabbing three books, and a magazine, before she moved back towards the front of the shop. Her age hard to tell, she pursed her lips, and played with the piercing on the lower one. "'Scuse me... only one here?" Her voice was heavily accented, matching where her face was from and English might not even be her second language. She continued on as she set the books down on the counter and she looked at Gretchen. The girl's smell permeated the air, some sort of fruity essential oil, and freshly rained on dirt. A little odd, but then, book stores like this place attracted worse. "Do you do a Mexican mocha?" Pushing up her brows as she shifted her purse up and onto the table, before she was shuffling through the studded leather thing.
  11. Silberman's Books, at the corner of Pratt and Frederick. Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018. 10:00 am. Today it was the 'Tuesday Morning Power Trio' on the floor at Silberman's; Gretchen dutifully working the register, Lance at the bar pulling shots and making the magic happen, and Maddy on the sales floor with her warmth and English Lit degree. The morning crowd of old Jewish men playing checkers and moms chatting chatting over coffee while their babies dozed in their strollers was very much in evidence. The store's owner Lynn Epstein was in her office, sipping coffee and reading resumes while waiting for another applicant to show up for her interview.
  12. Here's this. As always, ask me anything. I do make mistakes. Get your first post out of the way, and then let's Initiative ourselves. For my reference (and yours, if you like): Heart of the Earth Neutronic Paragon Blind Swordmaster
  13. So this is a pretty random idea that I've had for some time; it's not a major character detail, but I think it might be sort of fun to explore, maybe even just at the background level. How many of our Freedom City heroes are avid videogamers? The idea that I had was that Gretchen (aka the Shrike) is an avid gamer, as is Lynn (aka Grimalkin), but they feel that their special abilities gives them unfair advantage playing online games with non-heroic players. Might there be like a mega-secure Discord server or something else set up through HeroHouse that allows heroes to game together between crime-fighting and world-saving, and just gives them another fun level of connection?
  14. Of course, everyone in the thread is in the area when this happens. You can place yourself anywhere within sight of it.
  15. Earth K-Eldritch-5, Geloyra. The people of this Earth live by a loose set of morals, but there are heroes. And some of them are actually OK people. Oh, they'll save you, but you'll pay them for it somehow. Almost all believe in the reward for a job well done. Almost all believe in leaving a swath of bodies in their wake and taking the 'stuff' from said bodies. They'll return to small villages and towns to spend their rewards on alcohol and companionship. Gorth, a marauder. He wields a giant ax with the rage and fury of a demon. He speaks very little words that don't involve the name of his ax and his clan. Hysti, a chaos witch. A comely maiden who's lot in life is to get everything through her physical wiles or, if that fails, her magic. Barron, a thief. Like his trade implies, he will steal anything that isn't bolted down. And you most likely won't see him do it. Windleaf, a shaman. Turns into owls and trees and humanoid hybrids of those to heal and protect the others. The least bloodthirsty. Oh, she'll kill, no problem, but she goes down the path of least resistance. Who are these people? They call themselves the Squires of Avalon. They've made a name for themselves. Minstrels sing of their deeds far and wide. They're not quite legends, but everyone has at least heard of them on their earth. Right now they are planning the end of an epic adventure that will take them to another dimension to find the evil wizard Evadsrednas! Once they have his head on a pike, they will return to the kingdom of Autumnal and receive their rewards. Earth-Prime. Freedom City. 632PM. Friday. Near Federal Plaza. It's just another cold January day. A week or two ago, the world came to 2018 peacefully. Business has slowed to a crawl in the busiest part of town. But people still believe in commerce, the businesses thrive! But there are other reasons to be here. Mr. Murk has received a premonition that there will be a massive dying around this place at this time. He searches for answers to how and why. As if to answer the immortal's query, a giant red portal opened up. If the ancient neanderthal could see what came out of it, he's see a tall mountain of a man with sun darkened skin carrying a large ax on his shoulder, wearing nary but a loincloth made of a lion. A woman so beautiful that both man and women stop and stare. She's dressed in a revealing robe made of red and purple silks. A short man - a child maybe? - dressed in black leather armor, his hands resting on two of the multiple daggers on his person. And a woman with long sharp ears and a wearily expression, wearing a dress made of withered fallen leaves. "This, this place," the leaf-wearing woman speaks with a troubled ton and a valley accent, "its the right place. The connection to the world is greatly diminished!" "Don't worry, Leafy," the short guy said merrily with a British ganger accent, "we ain't gunna be here that long, luv. An' maybe we'll get some weird shyte that we can take back? Countin on it!" The silken robed woman looked to the gathering crowd, she smiled and giggled before making a snowman out of nowhere and having her and it dance for them. The muscle beast growled harshly, "less talk. Less play. Find Evas- Every-... Gods damned wizard." He looked to the robed woman, "talk, not dance!" The silken robed woman rolled her eyes at the wall of meat. Making the snowman disappear. "excuse me, excuse me," she addressed the crowd, her voice sounded French accented, "where would we find your tower of wizards? We are looking for Evadsrednas Do you know of him?"
  16. OOC for Here. Can I get a Notice check please. DC 17?
  17. It seemed like Lynn and Gretchen (alias Grimalkin and The Shrike) had only blinked, and the world was now somehow…off. It was subtle, with a slight dreamlike quality. Now they were in the modern equivalent of a (audience less) Roman Coliseum. How, why, and when did this happen? Kind of…fuzzy on that one. There was a slight memory of leaving Silberman’s Books, but that was all. The duo were close to the walls. Directly opposite from them were three other people. It was a bit far for either heroine to see them properly, though they wore obvious costumes. One was male, and the other two obviously female.
  18. Lynn and Gretchen's Apartment. Tuesday, March 14th, 2017. 1:05 am It had been a long night for the Shrike; Grimalkin's website got an anonymous tip about a human trafficking operation in Greenbank, but it didn't sound like it would be too dangerous. Lynn and Gretchen had been working on inventory with a little informal help from their new roomie Moira when the tip came in; thinking the situation would be quickly resolved, Gretch offered to take the op solo, though Lynn insisted she call her the minute things got too dicey. Gretch found the operation all right; it just happened to be run by a den of Greek witches who loved throwing vipers at their enemies, and hired ex-Spetsnaz 'eyegougers' for security. The young barista repeatedly tried to call Lynn, but the witches somehow blocked magical communication, which left the ringwielder fighting for her life for the better part of an hour in a freightyard. But all those hours playing first person shooters and training with Lynn really payed off; by the time the cops finally showed up, Gretch had personally subdued seven witches and nine Russian bad guys. The FCPD was suitably impressed, and the officers thanked her once they got her statement. Not ready to head home just yet, Shrike grabbed a coffee and slowly savored it on a rooftop, her feet dangling over the edge. Part of her was glad she wasn't able to reach Lynn; it was nice to know that if the chips were down and her back against the wall, she, Gretchen McDaniels, could kick serious ass. Now flying back towards home and the comforting arms of her lover, Gretch gently probed to see if Lynn was still awake; if she didn't get an immediate response, it usually meant the changeling was passed out somewhere already. If she wasn't in bed, Gretch used the Ring of Power to carefully pick her up and float her into the bedroom and tuck her in. The invisble crimefighter landed in the small lightwell patio between the two apartments and opened the door, stepping into the dining room. There was a soft flickering glow coming from the living room, which probably meant Lynn had fallen asleep watching home movies on her beloved PictureBox from Otherworld. Not wanting to wake her girlfriend, Gretch floated silently into the room to an unexpected sight: Lynn and Moira, sleeping on the sofa together under a blanket. All she could do was float and stare at the two of them for several minutes. At length, she finally crossed her arms and spoke. "Well, then."
  19. From the album: Heritage's album

    The floorplan of Silberman's Books
  20. This is the OOC thread for Viva Val Verde.
  21. @Heritage It hadn't taken much convincing. All Samuel Steiner had to say to get their attention was "Val Verde," and all he had to say to get their agreement was "Vacation." Three words were all it took to get Lynn Epstein and Gretchen McDaniels to board a plane to the secretive little island a few hour's flight off their nation's southwestern coast. That, and a few days of planning. A employer can't just disappear along with two of her employees in tow and expect everything to keep running like Swiss clockwork in her absence. Schedules needed rewriting, tasks needed assigning, and subtle, only half-joking threats of terrible retaliation for failure needed making before they could leave. All things considered, it was a painless procedure. It could have been even more-so, with the power available to the three. A few spells and they could have stepped from their homes to the island in an instant, without the need for planes, trains, or automobiles. But part of the joy of vacation is the trip, and so they took a passenger jet to the American southwest, arranged a taxi to a small, private airfield, and boarded another plane -- small, but richly furnished -- to the island. The process had been described in great detail by Steiner's letter, now slightly crumpled but none the worse for wear. Written by their would-be host, a man named Gallo, the letter had given the two women only the smallest taste of his personality, the tiniest glimpse of what he'd be like. Sam had tried to fill them in on the rest but some men, like Gallo, defied simple explanation. "He just is," the magician explained. "He's larger than life. Big eater, big drinker, big talker. He and I go way back; I think you'll like him. He was a good friend to me... kind of like how you guys are, now. He took me in when I needed taking in and helped get me back on my feet when I was laying low." Eventually, the flight neared its end, and it wasn't long after that when the three could look out the windows and see it: Val Verde, set like a gleaming emerald on a sea of blue velvet. "My God," said Sam. "It's just as beautiful now as it ever was. I'd almost forgotten." @Blarghy James Warne dusted his hands and reached one of them into his jacket, intent on removing the battered carton of cigarettes nestled into a pocket therein. He was surrounded by the prone bodies of groaning men, their firearms thrown haphazardly around the room by a telekinetic storm of disarmament, with their persons having followed shortly thereafter. He flicked the lighter with a practiced thumb, lit the smoke, and inhaled. Other men might have allowed themselves a smile, if only a bitter one, at the idea of a job well done. Not Adept, not here. Duty called, he answered, and that was all. The cigarette, the smoke in his mouth, the fire in his lungs; that was his smile, his concession to the world. His phone buzzed, once, an indication of incoming text. He reached for it, touched the screen, and brought up the client. TSA pegged your old friend [STEINER, SAMUEL] leaving the country w/ 2 women, it said. [EPSTEIN, LYNN] & [McDANIELS, GRETCHEN]. They're headed for Val Verde. Pack for sunny weather and report for briefing. Sorry. It was signed, at the bottom, by 'B,' which meant it couldn't be ignored. Warne grunted, replaced his phone, and strode towards the exit. He passed police and paramedics on the way, who hustled towards the battered men behind him. When he was out of sight, he took to the skies like a bird of prey and flew back to the city. It was going to be a long day.
  22. JR's Family Farm and Corn Maze, Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Saturday, September 23rd, 2017. Shortly before 10:00 pm The Richardson family had given the heroes the use of their barn for this initial planning session; Emily Richardson had been nice enough to provide coffee, donuts and several lanterns, but Grimalkin, 'the Mistress of Mystery', had conjured up the long table and a dozen chairs that currently occupied the center of the barn. She'd also playfully decorated the place with colorful streamers, cobwebs and a few skeletons. The barn was redolent with the smells of farm animals and hay. Grouped at one end of the table were three figures; two of them were instantly recognizable by those who knew Freedom City's heroes, but the third, not so much. Grimalkin and her partner in all things the Shrike were joined by an older man in a wheelchair with a gray ponytail who wore a mask made from a black bandana with eyeholes cut in it, but otherwise wore well-worn denim and a pair of black Doc Martins. All of them were enjoying a cup of coffee, waiting for the others to arrive. After a few minutes of waiting, the older man checked his watch and sighed dramatically. "So how late do you think this meeting will go? You know your mom doesn't like me out late on Saturdays." "'Butch', can you please ixnay on the ecret identity-say? Some heroes are paranoid; they might be casing the joint invisibily to see if its a trap." Butch looked around nervously. "Oh, right...hadn't thought of that. 'Loose lips', am I right?" "Exactly." A few minutes later, the older civilian cleared. "Look, if I'm gonna join you on your adventures, can I at least get a utility belt or something? I don't have super-cool powers like you and your girlfriend here." "Dad, I'm not gonna get you a utility belt; you'd...try to use the laser blowtorch and burn the house down." Butch sniffed and folded his arms. "Fine, just let the bad guys take your old man hostage, then!" "Dad, just...ooh!" No said anything for several minutes until Gretchen reached out with her mental link. -You two are adorable.- -Quiet, you!-
  23. So Halloween is Grim's favorite time of the year, so I try to do something with her every year, though it doesn't always pan out. She often likes to do charitable events with a spooky theme to raise money for some of her favorite local non-profits. I had given thought of her and Shrike working with a local corn maze (New Jersey has a few), but Im not sure how that would work as a thread. Basically I'm open to any ideas
  24. GM Saturday, March 11th, 2017 Port Regal, Freedom City 11:21 AM There were those times when one wondered just how they got into the situation they were in. Truth be told, those situations probably were a large part of being a superhero around Freedom City. It usually was best not to think about it too much, yet, somehow, that was exactly what Gretchen McDaniels wanted to do right now. She had gotten roped into this thanks to her girlfriend, and the two of them were now standing in front of a large metal gate blocking the driveway. They had rung already, and somebody would come and get them in just a bit. Tied around some of the metal was bright green paper, cut into fine lines, together with a few balloons hanging off. The estate looked quite large, which in itself wasn’t a bad thing. But then, then it became more and more apparent. A sound most abhorrent. Something that really, really wasn’t necessary today, right? Children.
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