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EternalPhoenix

My Name Is Terrifica. Ask Me Anything. [OPEN]

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Terrifica was a busy woman, it was true. Deduction, crime fighting, husband, a child in Nicholsen, a second child going there in the fall, and of course being an associate professor pf physics at MIT. However, when Hero House got in touch and said that people would like to hear from the reclusive super genius, she didn't think it would take much out of her busy schedule. So she made an account, SimplyTerrifica, and posted in the correct forum. 

 

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Hello. My name is Terrifica. You may know me from from saving your life, chewing you out for being an idiot, or (more rarely) from my contributions to superheroic science and technology. I'm told someone of you have questions about me. Well, as the name of this forum indicates...Ask Me Anything.

 

 

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Robin didn't spend as much time on Hero House as she used to. Honestly, she wanted to, it was fun and there were some great info and speculation about a lot of heroes, but actually getting in on the crime fighting on her own kind of cut into the time she was spending online. And there whole building and maintaining all her tools things, too. Still, she heard that Hero House was doing an AMA with some well known heroes, and she just had to get in on that. Anything that could help her get a handle on the situations she's been getting into lately. She had to be secure about it, though. Logged in at the university through a few levels of IP rerouting and VPN connections, a brand new user, too. And so, JustJustice logged in.

 

Hi Terrifica, I'm a huge fan. I've just started out as a hero, using mostly my wits and gear, and I've found myself in situations with three- or even fourway fights, where you're just not sure who is supposed to be the bad guys. Do you have any suggestions on what to do?

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Terrifica was finally not so busy. Though the unconscious thugs behind her would not be so pleased by this. As they were weapons smugglers, she did not care about their opinion. The police would be here shortly to arrest them. Ah, there were the lights and sirens now. Good. She checked on her AMA (via her suit’s gear) and saw a question had been posted. Hmm. Must be tactful.

 

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SimplyTerrifica: My first suggestion would be to not be so hasty to get into a fight. I can tell that you are fairly young and thus eager, but as you said you only have your wits and your gear to fall back on. I am in a similar situation, and I can tell you that it pays to hang back and observe. Give yourself time to watch and think before you leap into a given situation. A keen mind can be as potent a weapon as any superhuman power, but only if you take the time to use it. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. Take your time and be mentally prepared if not equipped for as many possibilities as you can think of. Of course, there are times when things get unexpectedly chaotic. Then it gets more difficult. I can only recommend more experience for dealing with those, as I have an advantage you most likely do not.

 

The officers were exiting their vehicles now, having pulled up as Terrifica typed out her reply. They definitely wanted a word. She sighed lightly. A hero’s work was never done. She signed off the website and moved to greet Freedom’s Finest.

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Robin had set up a notification on the thread, she wanted to check it the moment Terrifica responded. Sure, she didn't expect it right away, she was a busy hero after all, and she had plenty of other work to do anyway, but, well, she wanted to know when. Getting the ping, she quickly switched away from the calculations she had been doing for the suit and back to the AMA thread. She frowned a bit. She really didn't want someone like Terrifica thinking that she was just mindlessly jumping into fights... so she typed out a reply.

 

JustJustice: I wouldn't really say that I go looking for fights, but things do seem to end up unexpectedly chaotic a lot of the time. I will keep your suggestions in mind and try to hang back and observe a bit more, at least.



If you have time for another question: What kind of items are your must-haves for an utility belt?

 

Sure, Robin didn't have an utility belt yet, but she was planning on it. Could just as well try and find out what she would really need for it.

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Salvo

 

Salvo crouched, knee deep in sewer water. It lapped at her armor but she paid it no mind, comfortable behind multiple layers of dimensions. Her radar played across her mind, allowing her to see the labyrinthine maze of tunnels and ducts for several hundred feet around her. Nothing so far, just the usual rats scurrying in their warrens.

 

She had a tip-off that Thule sorcerers were gathering somewhere nearby and with the recent alignment of stars and the location's central location between a trio of magical hotspots and well... she had a few ideas what Thule would bear the sewers for.

 

A pair of shades sat before her, on a platform where a spirit of Hiding feasted on the magic emanating from her rune. It was enough to conceal her from a cursory scan and she hoped the sorcerers weren't expecting her.

 

She was here for who knows how long, the window for the ritual stretching to a few hours from now. So she did what any teenage girl would do and browsed the net.

 

Terrifica's thread was posted a few minutes into her stakeout.

 

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StartASalvo: Have you ever thought back to the Terminus Invasion? Back creating the Omegadrone sheathe disruptor and setting it all up in the field?

 

 

She remembered it, well enough as if it was happening right before her eyes. She wouldn't be surprised if Terrifica, with her sulerhuman brain, would just as well.

 

To have a chance to think was a relief, especially back then, as if ASTRO Labs was an oasis in a desert full of poisonous snakes.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Terrifica had just wrapped up her conversation with Freedom’s Finest, and decided to hang around for just a little bit. Make sure everything about the arrests went smoothly. So she thought to check her AMA thread. Goodness, two responses this time.

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SimplyTerrifica: My apologies, JustJustice. I did not mean to imply you were acting without thinking. I am certain you were to begin with. It is simply that those of us without superhuman physical abilities would do well to be more cautious than those with. And then those of us without any superhuman abilities should be more cautious still. There may be times where you feel invincible, but always remember you are not. Momento mori, as it were.

 

As for a utility belt, I have so many things in mine. I suppose the most useful items in it are the grapple gun (to get places my Terrifi-cycle cannot), the various masterwork tools (one cannot overstate the usefulness of a terrific set of tools), the Chameleonic Field Projector (most criminals and superhumans rely on their eyes to detect you, after all, but watch for those who don’t), and the Visual Scanner (I reconfigure it now and again, but there’s nothing like seeing in the entire light EM spectrum, microscopically, to help with investigations).

 

 

And then there was the second one. Salvo.

 

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SimplyTerrifica: My memory is perfect, Salvo. I remember. The sights, the sounds, and the smells. I will only forget them with outside intervention. It was a very bad day, but we did good work.  But thinking about it? No. For my own sanity, no. Because the scent of incinerated human flesh is indelibly tied to the memory of our work. And outside of my intellect I am as human as anyone else.

 

Even right now, she purposefully wasn’t thinking about it. Instead she was playing chess against three of the masters simultaneously. Sometimes she calculated Pi for another million digits. She had a long, long list of other things to think about and remember. It did not always work.

 

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SimplyTerrifica: If you need to talk about it, I know a good psychologist. They have been very helpful to me. I can send you their contact information.

 

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Salvo


Two hours and nothing.


She stood up, straightening to her full height, and ground the pair of sunglasses under her armored boot. She heard a hiss, as if in annoyance, and the air filled with smoke as the spirit roused from its feast back to find more suitable food. A warren of rats or maybe a warehouse of smuggled goods, wherever hiding could be found.


Then she trudged back through the path she had taken to get into position, following the walkway slick with sewer water.


She needed to get back before her presence in Claremont would be missed. Almost walking on autopilot, she focused her attention elsewhere, pulling up a screen where she browsed the net.


She saw Terrifica had answered.


"She had always made Boston difficult to penetrate." Her father had appeared behind her, reading the online text. "In the end the cost was too great and I gave up on that project."


Nicole turned so that the screen wasn't visible to her father.


"And why not give up on Freedom City?" She asked with a frown, though she was genuinely curious. "There're so many more heroes than just her here."


"Which creates opportunity and exponentially provides more factors which prove just as much a hindrance to the heroes as it does the underworld."

 

"And opportunities."

 

"Very much so my dear daughter, very much so. Boston did not give either with its dearth."

 

"Huh," was all she could say to that. Instead of thinking she began to type.

 

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StartaSalvo: Thanks for the offer but I've got my own and it's going well. My psychologist has worked a lot with powered people--

 

She paused typing. She was just about to talk about Gabriel Marquez, Claremont's head counselor, but realized how easily it would be to divulge personal information then. Then she resumed, more careful. She knew a few current Claremont students who had participated in the invasion but they did not feel as she did about it. Perhaps it was her memory that was the cause for the difference, how easily anything could stick with her for the rest of her life.

 

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And he suggested to reach out to you.

 

 A convenient lie.

 

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Our minds are different and maybe we connect with that. How do you avoid thinking about it? How do you avoid thinking of every thing that had gone wrong, of looking back when you remember everything so easily?

 

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Other people had started posting now. StartaSalvo, huh? Robin read through her comments and questions, as well as Terrifica's responses to herself. She smiled lightly at the response that she didn't mean to imply anything about how she had acted, and the suggestions for the utility belt. Yes, she had to get a grapple gun, she was aware of that. And the suggestion for the Chameleonic Field Projector fit great with the ideas she was having for some of her alternate suits. One good thing that had come from working with Kidd was his question about her having a stealth field or something like that.

 

Still, that brought her to another question. Kidd

 

That's alright! Really, no need to worry! Thanks for the suggestions for the utility belt!



 

Somewhat related to my first question: I've been in a situation where I've teamed up with a cop, only to find out that he was far from the good guy he appeared first, like actively wanting to kill a criminal that had basically surrendered, making sure to try and get camera off him for that, and I'm pretty sure he's involved in worse things. Still, he's a cop. How do you figure out someone is like that before teaming up? How do you deal with someone like that?

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It was a late night getting back to Boston, but tonight’s hero work was done. Terrifica supposed she’d get some sleep. She had removed the blue and neon orange panels that declared it as hers, and then changed clothes. At home again, she figured she might as well have a look at the AMA thread before bed. Ah. Both Salvo and Justice had posted. Well, she had a few minutes, didn’t she?

 

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SimplyTerrifica: Well, then. You can tell him I’m quite satisfied with my current doctor. There are many ways, Salvo, and I have no doubt your psychologist has discussed a few of them with you. If he’s worked with enough powered people he should be familiar with the techniques. They are your thoughts in your mind. They are your memories that you can choose to remember, or not. Just because I have perfect recall does not mean that I have to use it. However, minds are fickle things.

 

Samantha Carson paused without sending. She fingered the cross around her neck. It was a gift from Stan, her husband. Yes, let’s tell people.

 

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I am (although I don’t believe I’m particularly good at either) both Buddhist and Christian. May God grant us all the serenity to accept what we cannot change, to change what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. All desires lead to suffering, the Buddha teaches. With that said, I think some (such as the desire to change what one cannot) are worse than others and should be among the first abandoned on the path to enlightenment. Even leaving religion out of it, we’re heroes. We learn from our mistakes, and above all we keep trying. I don’t know if that’s nearly as profound a statement, but it’s what I have.

 

Sam browsed Justice’s reply. Ah, a rogue cop. One they’d trusted who turned out to be not so trustworthy.

 

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SimplyTerrifica: You don’t figure it out beforehand. Speaking from experience, trying leads to being obsessive and paranoid. You have to extend trust, or you’ll start suspecting the motives of everyone around you. And that is no way to live.

 

Sam paused and flipped through her mental files. She knew every notable member of the Boston PD by face and name. FCPD, too. She knew a lot about them, too. She had detailed observations and psychological profiles in her head. She knew their favorite kind of doughnut, if they were vegan, how they liked their coffee (or their preference for tea). She’d have to look into this Kidd. There were several with that last name, and a few who might fit the bill. A first name would be useful. She continued typing.

 

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There’s two ways for a hero to deal with someone like that. One, you catch him and throw him in prison like any other criminal. If you give me his first name, that can be accomplished without any input from you. Or, you can take the harder road. Kidd sounds like someone you had a good relationship with before you discovered who he really was. The second option is to try to help him. Not kill people, obviously, but bring him back from whatever terrible thing brought out his darker impulses. You may have to get a bit dirty, and it will not be any fun whatsoever. But…, I think that we’re heroes. We do fight crime, yes, but that is a sideline. What we’re in the business of is saving people. Do with that what you will. And if he will not be saved, the first option remains on the table.

 

Sam flicked off the suit’s datalink, and stored it. Time for bed.

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It was late now, and Robin was still at the university. Practically no one was around at this time of the night, and that just made it easier to work on her armor and tools. No utility belt yet, but she'd get to it eventually. For now, she needed to improve her suit. She wanted to be a hero, then she needed to be able to stand up to people like Blowfish and Kidd again.

 

And then her phone pinged with the alert she had set up. Terrifica had answered. Pausing her work at tuning the engines in the leg parts of her armor, she looked at the phone. And smiled. She had done it right, then. At least as far as Terrifica was concerned. Benefit of doubt, have to extend trust. Yes, that was what she liked doing. What she had been doing until now. Keep it up, then? And she read on.

 

As far as Terrifica was concerned, Robin had two options, then. The probably easier way, try to catch Kidd. Or be his Jiminy Cricket. Save people, not just fight crime. Maybe? She honestly wasn't sure. Kidd could have just been tricking her from the start, but maybe he was  good guy. It had given her something to think about, at least.

 

JustJustice: I thought we were working together, but then he turned on me. I'm not really sure, but I think he might have been tricking me from the start. I only knew him for a day or two before he turned on me. You can probably find the footage from Jack Jackson's show from early December, if you want a look. I will try and look into him a bit more before deciding what to do. I'm happy that you think we should at least try to trust people. I don't think I could live with being suspicious of everyone all the time.

 

She breathed out softly, then turned back her work on the suit.

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Salvo

 

Nicole downed her coffee in one go then slammed the thermos on the worktable, rattling the various tools and half-finished projects on it.

 

It was late in the evening, technically morning already, but she did not mind the clock that much or the fact that she had classes in the morning. This was the time when she could best work, when no one was around to bother her. She was alone but not lonely, with her mind and her tools keeping her company.

 

She glanced at her laptop's screen and saw Terrifica's reply and JustJustice's post, dated just a few minutes ago. A fellow night-owl. Nicole approved and if JustJustice's past posts were any indication, she had a feeling they were doing similar tasks. A fellow engineer together in a thread with a fellow scientist. The thread was brimming with brains.

 

Intrigued by the unfamiliar name, Nicole began to research on JustJustice as she intermittently typed out a reply. Going to her profile to gather what information she could, and then from there to the forums and the wider net. Wiki info, videos, there wasn't much but Nicole took what she could.

 

Meanwhile, her reply finished, she hit the send button.

 

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StartaSalvo: I think we can both agree on that. I'm no follower of any religion but to keep trying to be a better person than before. That's something I can get behind, even if all it means is working through the memories I have. Working on ourselves... even superheroes aren't perfect. It is the most human thing and we are human too at the end of it all.

 

Nicole wouldn't have thought she'd come upon realizations asking Terrifica for advice but she was pleasantly surprised by what she wrote, the words coming into her head as fast as she could type. And putting her thoughts to word made those realizations more concrete.

 

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 I won't try asking you about what you want to improve on about yourself or what's a weakness you have. Nothing that sappy unless you want to share, but I think I got it. And hearing this from you, with your similar memory and who I fought beside, maybe that gave me a different perspective. Nothing has changed yet but... it's something to think about.

 

She typed one last post before she would have to get back to work and she hit the send button a second time that night. Shorter this time and to JustJustice.

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StartaSalvo: Go for it. Saw the vid and whatever happens I'm rooting for you. 😁

 

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Another ping, and Robin rolled back to the computer and away from her suit. She really should finish tuning the engines for legs, do something about the excess heat if it ran too long, but she felt distracted tonight. And hey, it was StartaSalvo messaging her, too. Robin's face lit up. Someone had actually seen the video? And was on her side? That was great! She had only wanted to get it all on film to make sure they caught whatever Blowfish might try, but if it got someone to root for her? That was just great!

 

So, a quick reply to StartaSalvo. 

 

JustJustice: Thank you! It was my first time really doing anything in public like that, I was so nervous! Your support really means a lot!

 

It really did. Maybe she should just move to Freedom City or somewhere else with more heroes. Maybe that would make things easier? Then again, Emerald City was her home, and it needed more heroes. Would be wrong to just leave it behind.

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