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March 31. The Internet. 11:45 EST

 

It wasn’t always easy, but the superheroic costumed detective (among a few other things) Terrifica had sent out her carefully worded invitations. Terrifica herself was at home in Boston. Her husband was still awake, but her two children slept the sleep of the very young and carefree. She had taken great care to retrofit this particular chat room software (“borrowed” from a certain popular program) to be invisible to all but the most dedicated searchers. No program or system was entirely unhackable, but there was something to be said for going under the radar to avoid being hacked in the first place. The ultimate purpose of the chat room was the same as the invitations. Terrifica’s very nature precluded not looking into mysterious or suspicious circumstances, and what she found was often criminal in nature. Therefore, it needed stopping. And while various law enforcement bodies were quite capable in their own right, there were situations they were not fit to handle. Situations that required a…superheroic touch. Terrifica interceded in this situations when she could, and requested assistance from her protégé and friend Miracle Girl when she could not. However, this still left certain situations unresolved. This would not do. She had wrangled with it for the better part of a year, but there was no realistic choice. She would have to outsource further. To that end, the invitations (one time use links, as she would provide permanent ones to the regulars) and the chat room. She had informed Miracle Girl in person a few days ago, and requested her presence as well.

 

LittleMissTerrific loitered alone inside of it for now, a welcoming message (Welcome to Crimebusting Monthly!) and a short list of rules (1. Be civil to each other. 2. Respect each other’s privacy. 3. Try to use common sense.) pinned to the top of the general channel. There were four channels. #general, #herostuff, #suggestions, and #askagenius. Contrary to what those who didn’t know Terrifica well might think, #askagenius was not where Terrifica would be replying to questions. She had a bot for that, linking to Wikipedia and various other pertinent websites for information. All that there was left to do…was wait.

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As much as she hated to admit it, Casey was kind of glad that her roommate had left school; not that she hadn't (mostly) gotten along with Maria, but it just made the heroic side of her life easier. Like tonight, she could just flip open her MacBook and log into her friend Terrifica's website, create a user profile (after much thought, she'd settled on 'GSCookie', or just 'Cookie' for short) and get ready to chat without-

 

There was a rapid knock on her dorm room door; a quick glace through the wood revealed her sorority sisters Lola and Steph, two of her favorite Pis, dressed to go outside. Casey herself was only wearing an oversized FCU jersey and her favorite pair of sleepy pants.

 

"It's open," she called out. She never locked the door; between her x-ray vision and super-speed, she always had time to hide anything suspicious, plus locking your door made people think you actually had something to hide.

 

Lola and Steph practically spilled into the room in their enthusiasm, which brought a smile to Casey's face; the two couldn't be more different on paper (quirky nerd and outgoing athlete), yet somehow they'd bonded almost immediately. "Hey guys! What's up?"

 

Steph adjusted her glasses and looked to her roomie. "Well, Lola and I were online trolling neckbeards on Reddit-"

 

"So much fun!"

 

"When I got a notification in my school email about a late night sushi place that opened not five blocks from our current location."

 

"Three magic words," the happy jock said as she counted off on her fingers. "All. You. Can. Eat."

 

"Technically, that's four," the blonde heroine responded with a grin as she wagged a finger at Lola.

 

"Well, yeah, I mean, it's...look, it's not a frickin' math test, okay? It's all you can eat sushi! Now are you in or out, Case?"

 

Casey sighed dramatically. "As much as I'd love to help you eat a sushi place out of business, I can't." She shrugged and indicated her laptop with a nod of her head. "I've still got work to do."

 

Lola blinked for a few seconds in stunned silence while Steph frowned slightly. "This is unlimited food, Case; you never say no to unlimited food."

 

"Yeah; isn't that, like, against your religion or somethin'?"

 

"Are you ill?" Steph attempted to place her hand on Casey's forehead, but she playfully slapped it away.

 

"I'm fine, just a little busy, that's all. But thanks for thinking of me and my bottomless stomach. Now go, pig out and have fun!" She made a shooing motion, then turned back to her laptop. After making all sorts of exaggerated pleading expressions that Casey pointedly ignored, at last the pair left, carefully closing the door behind them.

 

"Peace and quiet at last," she muttered to herself as she finished setting up her user profile with a flurry of keystrokes. "Aaaand, we're in! Enter."

Edited by Heritage

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"Micah! Get in here!"

 

At the sound of Dr. Sallai's voice, Micah looked up from the pancakes she was making. "Yeah? What?" called back. No response. Micah glanced at the mountain of pancakes she already had plated and ready, almost drooling. "Take them with me... no, it'd be rude to drip syrup in the study." A sigh escaped her lips as she switched of the gas stove. "I'll be back, my loves..." 

 

Dressed in a Hoosiers sweatshirt, sweatpants, and fluffy socks, Micah walked out of the kitchen and into her professor's study, pulling her copper hair out of her ponytail as she did. "What's cracking, Doc?" she quipped as she entered, finding the professor seated and staring at a glowing computer screen. Dr. Christopher Sallai was young, especially for someone with multiple degrees, only in his early thirties. Short black hair, a thin, well-trimmed beard, and still dressed in work clothes rather than sleepwear, despite the fact that it was late and he was in his own home. "I guess he's been working on his computer for a while," Micah thought. Sallai turned around in his chair, looking at Micah with blue eyes underneath a smart pair of glasses.

 

"Come in, Micah. I found you a mentor for your extracurricular activities," Christopher said, his face displaying some excitement.

 

Micah was less excited. Her raised eyebrow dropped and her eyes narrowed. "I thought I told you I wasn't doing that," she said flatly.

 

"Come on, now. You have the power to do some real good. You stopped those jewel thieves. Besides, what else have you been going to Wharton for, punching trees for if not practice?"

 

Micah crossed her arms and allowed a playful bite to creep into her tone. "There's plenty of heroes to do good, and I go to Wharton to let off steam. I'm like a corgi that never gets taken on a walk when I just sit around." The part about why she went to Wharton was only half true... she also just enjoyed the feeling of power she got, but she wasn't about to let her professor know that. "And one of those thieves shot me. In the stomach. Three. Times."

 

"And you survived!" Sallai retorted.

 

"Yeah, that time. I'm not keen on playing Russian roulette."

 

Sallai threw up his hands. After a pause, he said, "Fine, fine... it's your decision. But if you're looking to let off steam, I think this would be a good way for you. You could test out your powers in a... controlled environment. Just take a look, and give it some thought, okay?"

 

Micah looked back and forth between Sallai and the computer. A part of her was curious as to what he found... and she was more than a little curious to find out exactly what she had become. Micah let her amber eyes settle on her professor. He had been... nothing short of extraordinary. Even before she received her powers, he had taken a personal interest in helping her academically. When the accident struck and Micah changed, he did everything he could to keep in a secret, keep others from finding out. He gave her an alibi for the dorm fire, and even let her crash at his home, under threat of his guest room burning down and rumors of an affair between the two of them, just so she would have a place to stay without worrying about hurting anyone or being outed as a freak. Micah had no reason to distrust Chistopher in even the slightest, so if he thought it was a good idea... why not at least give it a try?

 

"Fine. This is payment for all the food." Micah walked around the desk and leaned in over the professor's shoulder to get a good look at the screen. "Whatcha got?"

 

Sallai clapped his hands together and rubbed them excitedly. "Glad you asked. There's this forum, Crimebusting Monthly." Sallai ignored Micah as she rolled her eyes. "It's been... well, it's been pretty well hidden. I only got here from a single-use link in a dead forum. Whoever made this dangled a line to see who would find it. Maybe they can mentor you. My suggestion... bite the hook, see where it takes you.

 

Micah nodded slowly. "Okaaay... you do know that the fish usually dies when it bites, right...?"

 

"I'm bad at metaphors, sue me. My point still stands. Whoever made this is clever and discerning, just what you want in a teacher, and they're looking for people like you. Are you in?"

 

The computer screen and web page remained motionless, impassive, as Micah stared at them. Part of her wanted to just turn it down... it would be better to ignore it, all of this... superhero stuff. 

 

But... there was that other part of her. She wanted to see how far she could go, how far she could push her powers. She wanted that same adrenaline rush she felt when she beat up those burglars.

 

"Screw it." Micah tapped a few keys and hit enter. "There. User name Svarog. Slavic god of fire and earthquakes. Fitting enough."

 

"That's Peklenc."

 

Micah swiveled her head. "What."

 

Sallai grinned. "Svarog is a fire god, but he's like Hephaestus, a forge god. You're thinking of Peklenc - sometimes called Ny - a diety of underworld fire. He's the one that makes earthquakes."

 

Micah blinked. "Oh." Another blink. "...Welp, too late now. Pancake time!" She stood up straight and spun on her heels, before promptly returning to the kitchen to finish her midnight snack. "Bring the laptop. We can surf and eat that the same time. Pancakes!"

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Replica

 

Within the sanctity of her lab Replica was finally able to relax her sociability subroutines. 

 

Work today had been trying more than usual. Not that the actual work that her job at ASTRO Labs officially required, mind you. Creating logic algorithms and designing software and hardware came naturally to her. 

 

It was the sometimes incomprehensible emotional labor when working alongside humans that made her processors work double-time. Today alone there had been three staff meetings, twelve instances where she had to make "small-talk," an impromptu office party for one of her co-worker's engagement, and an incident where she had to soothe the nerves of a new hire who feared he'd lose his job over a simple miscalculation. 

 

Replica had gotten better when it came social interactions and mimicking typical human behavior. She didn't forget to routinely breathe anymore and was much better at detecting someone's mood through their body language. Still, besides helping the new hire, which had oddly enough her positive feedback, she was glad her work day was over.

 

Now, she had the opportunity to focus on the mysterious invitation she had discovered earlier in the week. She had found the link while "swimming" through the Internet for data worthy of notice. 

 

The link was definitely that and more. It led to a chatroom that had some of the most elaborate encryption that Replica had ever seen. She was impressed and fascinated by it and wanted to learn more.

 

After making certain that the chatroom wasn't some kind of malware trap that would spring on her if she ventured any further into it,  Replica had made deeper examinations.

 

That's when she realized that the chatroom was for people in the "crime-fighting" business as it were. A place likely set up a veteran hero of considerable programming talent given its high-encryption. 

 

At first, she was, well, nervous wouldn't be the correct term, but apprehensive about the possibility of work with working and communicating with other heroes. The stakes involved with failing to properly communicate with a co-worker was one thing but finally to do so while fighting crime could result in more lethal consequences. 

 

She spent most of the work contemplating whether to respond or not, using probability algorithms to determine the likely consequences of doing so. Eventually, she came to her decision. 

 

Replica took a moment to glance at her lab's central computer before finally taking the plunge and signing into the chatroom, making her presence known. "Let's see where this takes us."

 

 

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Terrifica had waited, and there were now three people here. It was a start. She sipped from a mug of herbal tea, and started typing.

Quote

 

LittleMissTerrific: Hello. I asked you all here specifically because there’s work to be done. Crime to be busted, so to speak. I’ll be blunt. I have more leads than I or my associate (who should be along shortly) can handle.

LittleMissTerrific: I thought about simply assigning them to you, but that’s too authoritarian. Instead, I’ll pin what I have to #herostuff and you can talk them over there. In the meantime, introduce yourselves, get to know one other, and chat as much or as little as you like.

 

 

Hmm. A few casefiles to start with. Nothing requiring heavy or even moderate investigation. That was her job, after all. She switched over to #herostuff.

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LittleMissTerrific: Lincoln. Juanita Mendoza. Hispanic female, approximately 16 years of age. Missing three days. Last seen with poorly trained magician/hypnotist, name currently unknown. Investigation reveals he is powered (mind control seems likely), and has gained the trust (or control) of a local street gang. He is currently residing at [address].

LittleMissTerrific: Docks. Illegal weapons deal tomorrow night at [warehouse address]. Blaster rifles. Maybe grenades. Salvadorans branching out, trying for a stake in Freedom. Complications: Yakuza may know time and date of exchange. Possible magical support from urban shaman.

LittleMissTerrific: West End. Biker gang. Out of towners. A few jewelry smash n’ grabs. Leave to FCPD normally, but investigation shows lycanthropy. Norse berserkers, not werewolves. Contact is Detective Fantoni at [phone number]. He’s an ally. Be nice.

 

 

Terrifica pinned the three posts to the top of #herostuff, then flicked her gaze to her second screen. As if she’d stop looking into things just for this.

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Casey took a sip from her water bottle as she read over LittleMissTerrific's posts; three very intriguing cases! "Interesting..." Then she set aside her water bottle, adhusted her glasses and began to rapidly type.

 

In #general:

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GSCookie: Hi, I'm GSCookie, but feel free to call me Cookie. I've worked with 'Terri' for a few years, and she's the real deal. I operate out of Freedom City. I'm strong and I can fly; I can do more, but that's all you get on the first day :D Very excited to be a part of this!

 

In #herostuff

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GSCookie: Case 1. This one has the potential to go so bad so fast; the thought of what a mind controller could do to that poor girl! As far as what I can do to help, there are pluses and minuses. Pluses: I speak fluent Spanish (maybe not a big plus, but I'll list it anyway). My senses are really good, which can help with tracking/gathering of clues. Minuses: If the perp has psionic powers, those can interfere with my own, which could make me a liability.

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GSCookie: Case 2. I've worked a case on the docks before; this doesn't make me an expert, of course, but might give me some advantage in dealing with dock workers (shrug). That case also involved weapon smuggling, which seems to be an ongoing issue. Would love to work on this one. Side note: I also speak Japanese; yeah, languages are kind of my thing 9_9

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GSCookie: Case 3. I don't have anything specific to add here, other than I get along well with the police :D Also are berserkers some kind of 'bear people'? I thought they just did drugs before going into battle.

 

Edited by Heritage

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Christopher placed the laptop on the kitchen counter top while Micah swiveled around to set down a heaping plate of syrupy pancakes. She took a look at the screen. "Hey. LittleMissTerrific already replied," she said, cutting into the pancakes. She took a bite before sitting down on a stool. A few bites later, and a second user replied. "All right, let's do this." Micah's fingers fluttered across the keys. 

 

#general

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Svarog: Nice to meet you all! Wow, you've been in this for years, Cookie, LittleMissTerrific? I've only had one "case" before, so... 

Svarog: Anyways, I'm strong and tough. Skin is made of rock. I can control rock and earth, too. And start fires.

 

Micah turned to Christopher and asked, "What does she mean about lycanthropy being about vikings, not werewolves?" Sallai shrugged. "Some vikings wore wolf-skins, and were sometimes identified loosely as 'wolfmen'. I wouldn't know what she means in this context, however."

 

Micah returned to the keyboard, her fingers motionless for the time being. She liked the idea of testing her mettle against a gang of drugged up viking battleragers... but the other two cases seemed more pressing. The first one seemed... tame, compared to the second. Micah instantly felt a pang of guilt. "Really? You're willing to let a girl get kidnapped because you want to tussle with the mob?"  However, either way, letting any of the cases go could lead to something bad happening, and unless a lot of people joined in, they wouldn't have the manpower to take on all three cases. Micah began typing again.

 

#herostuff

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Svarog: Like Cookie, not sure what you mean about the berserkers. Also, they've only robbed jewel stores so far? How likely are they to get violent, if they haven't already? I would rather find Juanita or stop the gun deal if you think that they'll stick to just stealing stuff for now.

Svarog: As for case 1, I don't think I have anything special to add except muscle. If we aren't sure how the hypnotist uses his powers, overkill might be turned against us. You mentioned you're a psionic, Cookie. Any other thoughts?

Svarog: Case 2, I bring a lot of muscle, and I might be bulletproof. Not sure about that last one yet, kinda don't want to find out, but hey, thought I'd mention it.

 

Edited by NotAHoneyBadger

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Facsimile sat near a window, still wearing most of his bike leathers, helmet on the floor between his boots this new late night sushi place he'd heard so much about staring at his phone as he waited for the seaweed rolls to come back around, sparing an occasional glance towards his bike, one could never be too careful after all...right? in truth he was stalling, stalling from potentially answering terrifica's call; not for any slight against her, nor an unwillingness to lend himself to good causes, he stalled for the same reason he was here at the sushi place now rather than at home on his Desktop.

 

His brother.

 

Richard was utterly infatuated with the heroes of freedom city and that love had twisted into envy when he'd learned his brother had power, envy that causes him to endanger himself, others and even sell Alex out to a clandestine goverment organization before now, he couldn't find out about this thing.

 

the sound of the door opening and a small group of students, mostly female entering the shop all a noisy bustle broke him from his naval gazing, glancing over at them briefly before returning to his phone and tapping the act.

 

It would be wrong and selfish of him to prioritize his relationship with richard over people who needed true help.

 

#General

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HrdHat: Hey folks, Pleasure to meetcha, On Phone @Sushi place so slow to reply. Had a few Incidents but nothing major, Mimicry powers, Obj. based

 

A short sweet introduction 

 

Reading over the channel history in the #herostuff channel and looking at the cases individually he turned them over in his head, complex problems indeed, but there were always solutions.

 

#HeroStuff
 

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Hrdhat: Case 1: Seems like a priority, Human element, Can offer muscle for handling Street gang, No Special resistance to MndCtrl tho. So far as I knw.
Case 2: Fght at docks might prove difficult, Stealth?, 
Case 3: Feels Weird, V. Specific Targets 4 robberies, any significance to Lyc Condt?

 

Edited by Exaccus

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Replica

 

A quick scan of LittleMissTerrific's posts told Replica that this definitely wasn't the work of a hobbyist playing at being a superhero. It couldn't have been easy to gain such seemingly reliable details about Freedom City's crime scene she thought.

 

She herself had been searching through the darker corners of the Internet for any major criminal activity and hadn't heard anything about this cases. Replica supposed it just be another thing she had to work on.

 

Reaching out with her digital mind to manipulate the chatroom program she communicated with her new colleagues. 

 

#General

 

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Lifelike: Hello to you all. I am also new to the "crimefighting" business and hope to learn by working alongside you all.

Lifelike: I possess heightened physical abilities and technopathic powers. I'm actually using the latter right now, in case anyone was curious. 

Lifelike: Anyways, I hope and predict success for our future endeavors.

 

 

A succinct and focused debut she thought. Giving the essentials of what she was capable of without unnecessary exposing to much about her identity. Replica quickly moved on to the more important topic. 

 

#HeroStuff

 

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Lifelike: Case 1.The street gang seems easy to physically counter. The psionic though will prove troublesome without access to psi-resistant technology. It's possible for me to design something to that effect, but without having more knowledge about his abilities I cannot be certain about its effectiveness, especially if his powers are supernatural in nature.

Lifelike: Case 2. I concur with Hrdhat. Given the various forms of firepower our perpetrators could muster a stealth approach would be best I believe. 

Lifelike: Case 3. I must admit, supernatural threats like this are... bewildering to me. Still, even if these berzerekers are genuine shapeshifters I believe they would still be just a physical threat. In that regard I can definitely assist in overpowering them. 

 

 

 

Edited by Cubismo

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Miss Grue

Whilst Daphne loved her room in the Castle the warehouse and its contents was where she considered home. She made a point of visiting Baby, the craft that had brought her to Earth, ever night to just visit or often to take out for a flight. It helped that she didn't need to sleep, though she liked sometimes to explores others dreamscapes.

 

Tonight she was sat on the top of Baby high up in the air a holoscreen showing the chatroom that Mother Unit had come across exploring the Internet.

 

So what do you make of it Mother Unit?

 

The set up is primitive but whoever set the site up shows some promise...

 

I meant the offer itself Daphne explained patiently, Mother Unit could be some literal sometimes.

 

Nothing seems amiss so far I believe it's on the level.

 

A few minutes later a private message popped up for Terrifica.

 

StarMom: I've made some improvement to you security methodology,

now no one but who you want will be able to access this chat.

StarGirl: Sorry about @StarMom, she means well really she does.

StarGirl: And hello by the way! :D

 

#General

StarGirl: Hello World! To those I might have met and those I'm sure to meet soon.

StarGirl: Talking off would it easier to meet up and decide who and what should go where? I can provide a pickup service if people want

 

Daphne liked chat room as much as anyone but she was really a people person and wanted to meet everyone in person if she could.

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Casey wrinkled her nose at Svarog's question; apparently she hadn't explained her powers well enough. She was about to respond when several more people signed into the chat, which was pretty darn cool.

 

#general

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GSCookie: Welcome, new arrivals! Nice to see we have a wide variety of powers and skills to bear in dealing with these issues.

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GSCookie: @StarGirl I don't think we need to rush things; not everyone is so eager to meet IRL for any number of reasons. At some point we may have ppl who have a lot to offer, but can't meet IRL for whatever reason, which I think we should respect.

 

#herostuff

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GSCookie: @Svarog I'm not really psionic, or at least not in the usual way people think of; I can't read minds or anything like that. My powers are 'mental' in the sense that my brain somehow creates an energy field that allows me to do what I do. Early testing shortly after I got my powers indicated that psionic attacks can disrupt that field, leaving me vulnerable.

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GSCookie: I am always in favor of using stealth any time it can benefit an op; personally, I don't think enough heroes use stealth and/or recon in mission planning, but I try not to be a Miss Bossypants and tell people how to do their job :$ :D

 

Edited by Heritage

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Facsimile Hmm'd to himself as he watched the text advance forwards, he wasn't a brilliant mind, his time around some of his super genius peers and even the less extreme intellects of his classmates has taught him that much, so he focused mainly on being observent and simple but cunning in his thought process.

 

Taking a long drink from the soda he'd been nursing since he'd sat down he turned the individual problems and possible solutions over in his head.

#General

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Hrdhat: Nice StarGirl! Vry Thghtfl of U, I have a Motorbike, No sidecar tho but should be able to carry 1 more myself if transport needed for mssn or in general. Food for thought: mght be good to meet formally before mssn for rundown, rthr than turn up hlf baked @Different times w/Different Plans, Social things Aside.

 

#Herostuff

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Hrdhat: @Lifelike: Intrsting! I could potentially mimic anti-psi device and tackle Case 1 w/you if we wanna play it safe on both fronts, Technopathy useful Re: Case 2 Adv Weapons & elec Surveilance/security also ur call!
Hrdhat: RE: Case 3, Im sure any of us can handle zerks physically, might require invstigations into motive, Magic is weird! anyone got exp w/ mystic stuff?

 

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Quote

Svarog: Hi StarGirl, StarMom, HrdHat

Svarog: @Cookie Oh, I see. That''s a unique power you have :D

 

Christopher leaned in at Cookie's explanation of her powers, eyebrow raised. "Yes, I would be inclined to agree, Micah. Unique and interesting."

 

"I can ask her out for you, if you want," Micah quipped, smirking. She rested her head on her hands while she thought up her next response. StarGirl was eager to meet, so was HrdHat, perhaps. Micah initially felt put off at the idea of meeting so soon. "I don't even know what form I'm going to arrive in, what secrets I am willing and unwilling to tell... I need more time." On the other hand, they didn't have that kind of time, did they? Micah settled on a response and typed it in.

 

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Svarog: @HrdHat Sorry, no magic experience.

Svarog: Back to meeting up, I would like to agree with Cookie... but we should meet face to face to discuss a plan, and these cases seem to be on a time crunch. Juanita has been gone for 3 days already, the gun deal happens tomorrow, the angry gem thieves are angry and thieving gems right now.

Svarog: Obviously, if someone can't meet, or doesn't feel comfortable right now, that must be respected. But perhaps those of us who are ready to and able should arrange something soon? Just my two cents.

 

Micah leaned back to think, forgetting she was on a stool, and nearly fell off. With a grumble, she resumed propping her head in her hands instead. While waiting for more replies, Micah started trying to determine what information about herself was critical to be shared with the others, as well as whether she wanted to portray any sort of fiction about herself to create a healthy cushion of anonymity.

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Terrifica leaned back in her chair, pleased. This was going well. They were discussing meeting up to plan further, even.

 

#general

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LittleMissTerrific: Greetings to the newcomers. For the record, I do have powers. Increased cognitive function and speed. Or in layman’s terms, my brain can outperform almost all computers. I am an expert in the martial arts, and I’ve made a few devices to assist me in combat. As such…to #herostuff

 

#herostuff

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LittleMissTerrific: Case 1. I wouldn’t worry about being mind controlled. It seems to be more a long term effect. There are certain training manuals on the internet that can teach you to harness your inner psychic. Lies by con artists, mostly, but there’s a few that appear to work. The effect I observed appears similar. This does not mean he cannot attack your mind directly, or that he isn’t using a psionic effect.

LittleMissTerrific: Case 2. I do recommend stealth, but I generally do. You all should know your own strengths and weaknesses fairly well by now. I’m…trusting you to not be, well, idiots. :D

LittleMissTerrific: Case 3. Forgive me. I’m not always aware that other people don’t share my pop culture background. There’s a book series about a wizard PI that has an alarming amount of truth in it. Lycanthropes, generally speaking, aren’t just werewolves, or even wereanimals. There’s also those with, for lack of a better way to put it, animal souls. They can tap into that bestial rage for inhuman strength and stamina. A good SWAT team or the STAR Squad should be able to handle the bikers, even with that…but I’d rather the officers didn’t get hurt in the process.

LittleMissTerrific: Final thing. I am a busy woman, but I can squeeze in one of these if you feel you need the womanpower. Just let me know when and where you decide to meet up, and I’ll appear.

 

 

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Incognito

 

“Take the rest of the day off, David. You’ve earned it.”

The argument that those words had caused was one of the most polite and bizarre in Victoria’s life. Weren’t people supposed to want time off? But no. David wanted to make sure that she was okay, that she could handle her afternoon meetings without him, that she wasn’t going to drop the ball. By the time she finally convinced him to go, it was already past the time she should have been logged on to that discrete meeting site.

She’d practiced this. How was it supposed to work, again?

In #general
 

Quote

????????? has joined. You must construct additional pylons.
?????????: Apologies for being late.



There was a lot of information there. A LOT of information. Victoria took it in as quickly as she could, resisting the urge to skimread and trying not to get flustered by the fact that the chat kept moving even as she worked to catch back up on the scrolling text.

It felt strange to see people talking so openly about these things. There was always that tiny part of her that worried it might be some elaborate trap, but ultimately, she had to accept that her ability to locate and discern threats was limited. A wider network of contacts could only be a good thing. She just had to trust that it wasn’t going to be compromised.

After several minutes of reading, she took a deep breath, and opened up.

In #general
 

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?????????: I am also a martial artist. I am currently based in Freedom City. I primarily have experience dealing with the Katanarchists and various organised crime elements. I would prefer any meetings in person to be done somewhere private, preferably at night.



In #herostuff
 

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?????????: @HrdHat I have experience with supernatural threats. It is always wise to exercise caution, but magic increases the number of unknown factors greatly.

?????????: Case 1 – Gang connection is interesting. Would be curious to know if other gangs have noted a change in their behavior, goals, business model etc. Most likely do not have time to fully investigate. Agreed that rescuing the child should be priority. Stealthy people try to find & liberate child whilst others distract/incapacitate gang as distraction?

Case 2 – Need to agree mission objective here. Stop weapons deal? Ascertain buyer and intercept after deal? If Yakuza come in force this will get messy quickly and will necessitate quick action to prevent loss of life.  Would suggest two teams – one to intercept Yakuza & delay prior to arrival at site if feasible, one to seize weapons & incapacitate Salvadorans and buyers. Hope there is no Katanarchist connection re: ‘shaman’. This seems most delicate of the three.

Case 3 – Jewellery & precious metals often important in mystic rites/rituals. Could also just be pawned for quick money. Berserkers stealing is an interesting MO – would expect more desire for violence. Agree @Hrdhat requires more understanding of motive. If feasible would recommend two teams again – 1-2 people make open approach to meet & talk, rest provide hidden overwatch and backup in case violence is required.  

Realize above might sound like I am trying to take charge. Not intended. Just throwing out initial thoughts. Sure there are many applicable approaches.


After all that typing, Victoria set back in her chair and exhaled. Her eyebrows were already deeply furrowed and her jaw hurt where she’d been clenching her jaw. These were three potentially very complex situations, and she could only hope her insight was useful. It was ... surprising, how stressful just writing some text could be.

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Yet another new individual arrived. With LittleMissTerrific's help, and everyone else's, there was a chance that all three cases could be looked into... although that would leave little manpower distributed to each. Perhaps it was better only to take on one or two.

 

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Svarog: Hello ???. Nice to have you! :)

Svarog: On the kidnapping, any chance the gang, or at least key members of it, have been hypnotized? If so, breaking it could prove very useful... or create problems if they are upset at being controlled.

Svarog: @LittleMissTerrific Don't want to overload you, but considering the number of us, and the urgency of all of these cases, you'll almost certainly be needed. 

 

Reading over the newcomer's assessments again, Micah couldn't help but be both impressed and put off. On the one hand, they were brutally to the point. No pleasantries, barely anything in the way of greeting. Beyond that, though, they were very efficient. No time was wasted in formulating mock plans, including specific points of interest to investigate.

 

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Svarog: I have to say, I like ???'s suggestions, having two teams. But we barely have enough for two people per case. So I think we need to make a decision soon: Are we going to try and take all three? Or are we going to let one go?

Svarog: We have 7, including Terrific. 2 per case, and Terrific can join a case as time allows, or be on stand-by to backup any team that gets in a jam. Or we can drop one, put 3 on the other two, and again have Terrific pitch in where able/needed. 

Svarog: Or... since Terrific believes the 3rd case to be manageable by SWAT... maybe we put only one person on it, to help them out? It'd certainly make their jobs easier/safer, whether by gaining intel or just suiting up with them.

Svarog: What do you all think? 

 

Micah waited on replies to her question while thinking about ???'s comment. "Prefer meeting in person be done in private, at night..." It was painfully obvious how little Micah actually knew about any of them. A comment like that would normally sound like an invitation to be gutted with a broken bottle in some back alley. Strangely enough, Micah wasn't particularly worried, likely a side effect of having survived being shot.

 

"Be more careful, Mikes... it might have been a fluke, and they might have bigger guns. Stay smart."

 

Regardless, Micah still wanted a private meeting. It would be easier for her to arrive transformed, rather than as herself, and without tipping off her "fan-boys" or letting anyone see her transform.

 

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Svarog: Also, I agree with ???. Would prefer meetings to be private. Maybe that is something best discussed once we know who is taking which cases, though? Meeting just among teams might be a nice compromise between those who want to talk face-to-face and those who don't right now.

 

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Alex liked how focused everyone was on doing good, they'd brought up points he hadn't considered and had helped narrow down his choices greatly, he was about ready to leave now, just a little bit more soda to go and then he'd pack up, give his compliments to the chef and make the short ride home.

 

#General

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HrdHat: Sushi place is pretty great! Recommend it if you're a fan of such things! hi ??? took me a while to think up sweet handle too!

 

#Herostuff

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Hrdhat: Based on what we know so far, Willing to team up on Case 1 or 2, Solo case 3 (Co-oping with Contact ofc): Believe i outclass Zerks as far as strength is concerned and stealth on Case 2 or alternate means of sub-dual in Case 1 to avoid unnecessary harm.  ISF

 

It then occured to him that his meaning might not get across due to its vagueness so he quickly added

 

#HeroStuff

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hrdhat: ISF = In Suitable Form

 

Edited by Exaccus

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Replica scanned all the posts made so far. Good. Things seem to be progressing rather well. Plans are being made and good stratagems are being discussed. 

 

#HeroStuff

 

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Lifelike: I'm in agreement with ?????? and Svarog. Breaking up into teams so we can investigate these cases is sensible given the range of abilities we have. 

Lifelike: That said, if we must prioritize a specific case than I'd suggest Case 2 . The consequences of that arms deal being successful could send aftershocks throughout Freedom's underworld if it is the first step towards the Salvadorans taking territory. This could be our chance to stop a gang war from even starting.

Lifelike: Of course, as pressing as Case 2 is, Juanita Mendoza's possible kidnapping is also important. She has been gone for three days and statistics show that the longer an abductee is gone the less likely they will ever be found. 

 

Lifelike: Either or, we must act quickly. 

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Terrifica sipped her herbal tea. This was good. There were fairly intelligent people out there in the world. It gave her hope for the future.

 

Privately, to StarGirl

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LittleMissTerrific: Apologies, I’m rather busy this evening. I thank you for your assistance.

 

#herostuff

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LittleMissTerrific: I did invite you all here with the idea of breaking into teams to handle the things I and Cookie don’t have the time for. Meaning, the two of us ought to be able to handle these on our own. Therefore two capable heroes should be able to handle it, as well. I was holding back so as not to seem pushy or overbearing. However, I do have my own ideas on how to handle all three, if anyone is interested?

 

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Temperance had broken away from her term paper to look over the site. It had been some time since she'd last crossed paths with Terrifica - and, in all honesty, her studies had taken up a lot of her time. She was still hitting the streets, of course, but somehow, superhero socialization had taken a backseat to the dreaded drive to pursue the Honor Roll. But arranging matters from the safety of her apartment would work...

 

#general

 

NiceIceQueen: I'm not going to say no to sushi. I also know of a few cafes where a bunch of people gathered around cake and coffee and talking in veiled terms won't look too out of place. Yes, I know how weird that sounds, but look at this town.

 

#HeroStuff

 

NiceIceQueen: Case 3 might be more my speed. A number of these lycanthropes sometimes do it not by curse or inheritance, but by drawing a beast spirit into themselves. If I can work my way up and down the chain to find the bears who are happy to be lured in - pot of honey or otherwise - I may be able to pull rank with the ephemeral chain to get them to stop lending support. 



NiceIceQueen: Either that, or they're literally being bound into this, which means we will need to perform some liberation/brute force exorcism.

NiceIceQueen: I might also be able to lend a hand on Case 1. I know some of these low-level movers and shakers, and while his powers may be psionic, a few con artists have managed to call up forces of the arcane to work their will. Even if it is purely psionic, I at least know where to listen in to figure out where the weak points of his operation may lie.

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Victoria allowed herself a small smile. It was just a little thing, but the reaction to her handle amused her. Nobody had done the right number of ?s when speaking about her, and at least one person thought that she was waiting to think of a better handle. It was silly, but still, amusing to her. That confusion over her name was exactly the point - it was nice to get the occassional reminder that she wasn't totally out of her depth. The fact that others seemed to broadly agree with her initial ideas was just more ego-boosting!

In #herostuff

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?????????: @LittleMissTerrific – Please, share your thoughts.

 


Whilst there were a lot of other interesting comments to mull over, she was certain that the woman who had brought them all together would have great insight into how best to achieve all three goals with the resources at hand. She'd hold off on further comment until she'd heard it.

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Micah understood almost nothing of what NiceIceQueen just said. Micah took that as a sign that she knew plenty about mystical phenomena.

 

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Svarog: Hey NiceIceQueen. I take it you're familiar with magic and stuff, then? ;)

Svarog: Go ahead, LittleMissTerrific. You found the case, you would know most about them. Give us your thoughts.

 

Micah was mostly curious to see what the genius of the group would surmise that the rest of them hadn't. "How did she describe it? She could out-perform super-computers... right." Micah couldn't help but feel jealous. If only she had gotten such intelligence from the accident, instead of... what she did get. She would have been able to continue her studies in peace, excelling far beyond anything she had previously done. She wouldn't have to worry about how others would look at her.

 

There wasn't much use in grumbling about it, though. Micah was stuck with what she had gotten, and she had to deal with it, make the most of it.

 

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Svarog: I think I'd rather work on case 1 or 2. As I mentioned before, I feel like they're the most pressing, and I'd probably be more useful anyways. The deal will almost certainly go down in a deserted place, as will Juanita likely be kept somewhere fairly remote, away from civilians. I'd be able to let lose without worrying about hurting innocents, if I needed to. With case 3 I'd be limited in what I can do without blowing up half the block.

 

It occurred to Micah that she didn't actually know how much damage she could cause. She had held back quite a bit against the jewel thieves she took out before. Out in Wharton State Forest, testing her powers, she still didn't push herself, and she had managed to make her own clearing. Although, it looked less like a clearing and more like a warzone. Micah decided that if she got the chance, she would be a good idea to head out to her usual spot and really let loose, just to see what kind of damage she could do, rather than test it out in the streets of the city.

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Miss Grue

Daphne followed along with the conversation it was interesting to try and figure out who and what the people on the other side could be, and how they'd be when they got to meet. Talking of which she had a suggestion that might be able to help in this circumstance

 

StarGirl: Actually I have a ship where we could meet up and also deliver people where they need to be. If that's what people want to do obviously.

StarGirl: As to the three cases I'm fairly flexible for any of the situations, so wherever I'm needed really.

 

She couldn't help but smile at herself at the little flexible joke, not that anyone would figure it out obviously.

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Casey came back from a quick bathroom break to see the chatroom had exploded with activity, which startled her, but in a good way. "Oh my goodness, look at all the people!"  Though as problems went, this was a good one to have. It only took about a second to catch up on all the posts, but her responses required a bit more thought. She also had a suspicion as to 'StarGirl's' identity, which made her smile.

 

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GSCookie: Welcome more new people! It's so cool to see so many smart people willing to help out!

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GSCookie: @????????? and NiceIceQueen: glad to see you've got some experience w/ magical stuff; we can really use you on these!

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GSCookie: though I am pretty good at being stealthy, my powers are less subtle. I find sneaking into a place then revealing myself to draw enemy fire works best, and I can take a lot of punishment. Just call me Ms Direction! :D

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GSCookie. I agree on private meetings once we settle on teams; I can bring snacks ;)

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GSCookie: @LittleMissTerrific: please do your thing! 

 

Edited by Heritage

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Terrifica swallowed the last of her tea. She believed she’d played this correctly, but people were unpredictable. Still, she did have a plan for each of these.

 

#herostuff

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LittleMissTerrific: All right. Please do keep in mind this plans were built for Cookie and myself. She, as she said, has superhuman strength, durability, and the ability to fly among other things. I lack such gifts, so I take a more subtle approach. Also, I notify the police of where I will be working, so they can both move in quickly and have the EMTs on standby.

LittleMissTerrific: Juanita and the hypnotist. This one is a bit…complicated. Bear with me. The gang members are neither well armed nor well trained. They could easily be outfought. However, they are as much victim in this as the girl. I would rather not harm them without need. So stealth would be the plan.

LittleMissTerrific: The main problem is this. There is no guarantee that rending the hypnotist unconscious would negate his mind control. And, as some have mentioned, the neighboring gang has begun to notice something is wrong. There is potential for events to get very complicated very quickly. So time would be of the essence, no matter what plan of action one chose. So, I would get in, retrieve Juanita, and get out as fast and as quietly as possible. Cookie would take her to the authorities, after waiting as backup in case something went wrong. After she returned, we would take out the hypnotist fast and hard.

 

 

Hmm. There was one other thing. She’d just discovered it today. Juanita’s grandmother. Silver Tiger. A contemporary of the World War II Leaguers, even if they’d never met.

 

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LittleMissTerrific: One last thing, before I move on. Please keep in mind these are unconfirmed rumors, just discovered today. I haven't had the time to prove or disprove to any standard, least of all my own. However…Juanita may be in possession of a mystic amulet that grants feline totemic abilities. She shouldn’t know it exists, and she shouldn’t know where to find it. With that said, “shouldn’t” has never been a guarantee. To say more would violate her family’s privacy.

 

She probably shouldn’t have said even that much. Superheroic ethics were such a murky field. It was virtually impossible to know where the line was.

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LittleMissTerrific: Moving on, the weapons deal. The meet is scheduled for late at night, as such things are. Cookie and I would do pre-emptive scouting to locate the dealers and then remove them from the equation. Effectively, we would take their places, halving possible adversaries from the outset and removing the weapons from any combat.

LittleMissTerrific: Shamans are typically rather fragile if you can surprise them, as well, so the he/she would be the first target after everyone had arrived. The Salvadorans and the Yakuza are neither superpowered nor exceptionally well trained. They would fall quickly after the shaman’s defeat.

 

 

Simplistic, maybe, but guns and swords wouldn’t even scratch Miracle Girl. Or Cookie, as she’d named herself. She’d have to tease the younger heroine about that later.

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LittleMissTerrific: Lastly, the bikers. Even with their superhuman abilities, they are no match for the average Freedom superhero. The main problem would be preventing any of them from escaping after the fight begins to go against them. If any did get away, you could safely bet on a return attack to rescue their “brothers” from the legal system.

LittleMissTerrific: Side note, since there are persons with magical talent present now. It is possible to…disrupt…their powers with a small ritual. Anyone with even a little magic can perform it. However, I lack anything resembling magical ability. I am not sure how well it would work on their leader, but the rank and file should be stripped of their powers.

 

 

That ought to do it. There were details, true, but typically she worked them out in the field. No plan survived contact with the enemy, or so the saying went.

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