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Kicking the Tires! [IC]


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01/07/2018, Late evening

Lincoln - Between Yin and Yang Convenience Store


The Noreaster which had swept over Freedom City had slowed the torrential pulse of the city into something softer and more manageable.  The streets, quiet on a Sunday night, were especially so with the foot of snow which had brought things to standstill.  However, the city, and its heroes were quite used to the Eastern Seaboard weather, and things were already getting back to normal.


The Yin and Yang Convenience Store was a relatively new establishment in the Asian dominated area of Lincoln, but had quickly gathered a patronage due to the warmth of it's older owners.  They seemed to be able to really put customer first policies in place and managed to get a rather wide variety of ethnic produce and foods to stock the shelves.  However, on this Sunday night, the only person in the store was Zhu, who was sitting behind the register reading a book on Practical Applied Mechanical Systems for one of her classes.  Her parents had sacrificed much to get her to America and the Claremont academy and she did her best to help them out when she could.  Sunday night was usually a good night for her to give them some well deserved time off while she minded the store.


While the store was not in the best of area's, it wasn't as deadly as the Fen's and the routine patrols by police and heroes did a lot to keep crime down in the immediate area.  It didn't help that there was a liquor store adjacent to them, but at least they had a nice metal grate over their windows to deter the criminal element from the block.


Drumming her fingers on the counter, she was making notes as she read, the computer next to her seeming to dictate things nearly on it's own.  Outside a plow rumbled through the streets and she looked at the blinking yellow lights as the faded down the major thoroughfare.  With any luck, she'd be able to close up early and get back to her dorm.  She had a new dance track she wanted to play for Lexa and get her opinion on it.

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She felt it, the pain was coming back. The all too familiar pain. It started in her head and went through out her body. Opening her bottle of pain killers - she had got some of the stronger over the counter stuff, not wanting to move up to a prescription. Costs too much and leaves a trail. She was content with over the counter for now.


She had no idea why she was in Lincoln. The entity lead her here for some reason. It wanted her to find injustice. It wanted her to correct the wrongs of the human race. It was very persuasive. It also made her persuasive. Also smart, and sharper of senses. All in the name of Justice. There was a convenience store up ahead. She could buy some of the weaker painkillers there. Not the ones from a real pharmacy. Those would clear the pain right up. Unless the entity was asserting it's dominance. Then nothing could save her from the pain. She hoped it wasn't that.


Parking the car, she had to brave through the snow. Here was a good a place as any. rushing inside to get out of the cold as quick as she could she made it inside. There were a few people her. The owners at least. Her 'vision' was not sight. The entity saw everything for what it 'truly' was. Lckily nothing needed bashing here. She was in a light blue thick hooded fleece coat, black combat boots and an ankle length skirt for all they people in here saw. Later tonight she would quickly change into her heroic persona: Delirium.


To not look suspicious, she went around the store. Picked at the magazine rack - Stargazer had an article written about her newest book, 'The Peer Deeper'. Also the latest True Stories comics. - and grabbed a cup of dehydrated soup. She even powered through and made the cup of soup before walking to the counter. "Cold night, huh?" She placed the magazines on the counter and pointed to the boiling pot of water. "Chunky Bits and," she pointed to a bottle, "bottle of ibuprofen, please?"


She looked at the book the kid was reading, "nice. I'm a bit of a math and science buff myself."

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As the lady walked into the store, Zhu had looked up at her, flashed a warm smile and said, "Ni Hao..." greeting the woman in Mandarin.  Then realizing that she wasn't Asian, she immediately corrected herself, "I'm sorry, hello there."


She had watched the lady walk through the store, paying cursory attention as she did until she came back up to the counter, "yes ma'am, it is.  I'm sorry you had to be out."  She had replied while getting a bottle of aspirin behind the counter and setting it next to the soup and magazine.  "They say that we're going to get hit again tomorrow, but it's going to be at least a little warmer.  What kind of science and math do you like?  This is kind of a dry book on mechanical engineering, but you really have to understand fundamentals if you want to work on more advanced material."


If Valerie was paying close attention, she might notice that Zhu was not really hitting that many buttons compared to the beeps on the register, however what was more noticeable was her sudden curious stare at the older woman.  The beeping on the register continued for a moment until even it had ceased and the young girl was looking at her with something akin to recognition.

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She shook her head. Technically she could take this for the pain. But it wouldn't be pleasant afterward. Well, technically anything would be better than having the entity ripping and reforming her metaphysical form it gave her. "This is aspirin, dear, not ibuprofen. Motrin. Advil," she sighed. "This weather has been hitting my system bad. Lots and lost of pain."


She smiled when the young girl's attention turned towards her. Just then the water pot steamed. She went back to the cup and pot. The large dehydrated meats and noodles plumped as the hot water hit them. "I'm a physical science type, but my true love is astronomy." She let the further realization hit the girl. She had to reel her in. "I track stars and planets with equations. Like how they're going to be a 'super blue moon' in three weeks."


She took her card and her ibuprofen. Popping open the bottle, she broke the seal and pulled two out. Swallowing them, she followed it up with the soup. It would take a while to kick in, but at least she'd be pain free. "Thank you," the compliment trailed off as she didn't have a name to say, "I don't think we've been introduced. I'm Valerie." She grinned prettily. If the girl knew who she was, this was the big reveal.

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Zhu nodded, her stare broken by Valerie's discussion, "yes, the author, right?  I have a pretty good gift for faces.  I think we even have a magazine in here that talks about one of your books."


She looked between Valerie and the aisle where the magazines were as if she could read the article from here.


"We do a little astronomy in school, but not as much as I'd like.  Most of my time is spent with engineering classes and some other extra curricular activities.  Would you like a chair... and if you want, my mother sent me with pan fried noodles.  It's probably better than the instant soup.  I'm not going to eat it all... I think she feels I'll develop faster if I eat more.  I'm pretty sure that it'll just make me weigh more.  It's just easier to take it and smile though."



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