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Compass Rose Tech Expo! (open)

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Freedom City Exposition Center

October 19, 2019

12:00 PM

 

"Compass Rose International Tech Expo: Tickets $25, students and heroes enter free. Open Saturday, October19 12 PM to 4 PM, Sunday 2  to 6 PM."

 

Compass Rose International. One of the few companies on the bleeding edge of space tech, attempting to fill a gap that had begun to form in the early days of the new millenium and had only grown over two decades. Spurred on by renewed interest in the ideas of space colonization and exploration, the company had carved out a healthy niche for itself in a fairly short amount of time.

 

It had come to Freedom City for a few reasons. The first was the fact that, not so secretly, the company had been seeking to expand its operations to Freedom City and was hoping to make a good impression. There was also the fact that Freedom City had a fairly sizable meta-human population, and hiring one of those would be a real boon if they had the right power set.

 

The convention centre floor was bedecked in multiple exhibits, ranging from rocketry dioramas to model Mars habitats. There were also little recruiting stations proclaiming "work for Compass Rose!", complete with contact details and resume drop-off zones. At the front of the hall was a stage, a lone podium sitting in the centre and flanked by chairs on either side.

 

Raya wells sighed, dressed in a black pants-suit with a white halter top underneath. It was a far cry from her usual style, but she had been told to tone it down. The only real personal flourish she had was a purple cap with a flat brim and a pair of ray bans. Next to her was Compass Rose's communications director, Sam Rio, an older man dressed in a simple blue button down and grey slacks, with his widows peaked black hair slicked back.

 

"I can't believe you made me come to this," Raya said glumly. She had been hoping to visit a world where Hannibal had crushed Rome, but she had been strongarmed by Rio's charm.

 

"You're the CEO," Sam said, side-eyeing Raya. "It would be weird if you weren't here."

 

"I am not the public type of CEO," she said. "You know that."

 

"Look, just smile and shake some hands, make a a speech, you'll be fine. Hey, look, we got our first arrivals," he said, gesturing to the entrance.

 

Raya grimaced. "Greaaaat."

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"This is where kids like you belong, Paris, this is the future!" A small squad of men and women in black Kireime Kei jackets and slacks had been the first into the building, their stony faces partially obscured by sleek rimless sunglasses. In their midst was the unmistakable, 5-foot-nothing, red-haired and bearded and beaming, the favorite son of Emerald City: Maximillian Mars. In his more conventional suit and tie, Mars stood out jarringly from the people who were obviously his bodyguards, his grandiose gestures and boyish grin in marked contrast to their rigid composure and the nervous, gangly Native teenager fumbling and shuffling in his wake. 

 

Looking around at the far-flung sci-fi extravaganza, Paris tugged self-consciously at the manbun Max Mars' barber had lovingly tied his hair into. His own suit was painfully new, scratchy and soft all at once, green with silver accents to complement the Slipstream suit. "This looks kinda crap, Mr. Mars." he said, voiced pitched low so as not to carry, side-eying a lavish diorama of the Martian landscape. "You've told me a bunch how Mars is a pipe-dream, and the only hope we got is through that wormhole at the edge of the system. Why're we even here?"

 

"Same reason I go anywhere, Pear! We're here to make friends!" Max marched across the room, heading right for Raya. "Hey there, Wells!" He waved merrily, "Lovely setup! Wish I'd thought of this myself! Listen, this here's Marstech's new hero: Paris Redwater!" He slapped the younger man heartily on the back, green eyes sparkling. 

 

"Mr. Mars was devastated to hear you were expanding out of Upper Emerald." Paris smiled wrily. "He cried for an hour." 

 

"Hey! It was fifteen minutes, alright? Fifteen. Nine-hundred seconds, that's it. You going to make a habit of lying, Pear?" Mars snorted in high dudgeon, turning loftily to Sam Rio, "Sam, can I get a second with you, in private? The kids can't get into trouble that fast."

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Justice

 

Freedom City or not, this was turning into a whole Emerald thing, it seemed. Robin suppressed a squee from under her armor when she saw none other than Max Mars approaching Raya.

 

When Robin had been flagged down by a Compass Rose employee on the street, she had guessed there were some kind of thing they needed Justice to deal with. Like, they accidentally created a super villain or some bad guy had stolen some important doodad that they wanted her to bring back, but nope, it had been an offer to come along and represent Emerald's tech heroes at a Compass Rose tech expo in Freedom City. Of course, Robin had kept her cool and thought it all over. Except, not really. More like squeeing and immediately agreeing, then realizing she'd be spending a flight with the Raya Wells (which, while awesome, had also been kinda awkward, what with Robin having to wear her domino mask the entire time, secret ID and all that), and now, here she was, in Freedom City for the very first time.

 

Full Justice armor (the newest, modular version of course), standing close to where Raya Wells was standing, ready to show off the best of her tech to any visitors, but even as she kept back, because obviously she wasn't about to get in the way of Max Mars and Raya Wells, but she just couldn't help but at least try to listen in.

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Raya would have looked like a deer in the headlights when Max Mars entered, if not for the sunglasses hiding her eyes. Of course, of course, one of the few people who would immediately recognize her had to walk in the door. She did a lot to avoid fame and publicity, but you couldn't avoid everyone. Not without like, ninja assassins. Which she had considered, but they were very expensive and also immoral. 

 

"Mars!" Raya cried, her voice hitting a pitch it almost never did. "Didn't expect to see you out here. Well, welcome to the Expo, and you won't have to cry too much. I will still mostly be running things back in Emerald."

 

Sam smiled and nodded. "And hey, we're looking at a facility in either Kenya or Ecuador too. Whoever thinks to build that first space elevator, we'll be there on hand," he said. "And sure, talk to me, Mars."

 

Sam happily went off with Max Mars, full of pitches, washing a sense of relief over Raya. Sam was charismatic, but he was also incredibly exhausting to deal with. Man had more energy than a toddler who had cocaine laced cocoa puffs for breakfast.

 

She smiled at Paris. "And hello to you, Paris. It's always good to meet other heroes," she said, before turning to Justice. "And speaking of, here's my favourite hero from Emerald City, the mighty, the miraculous... Justice!"

 

She made little jazz hands. "We brought her along to showcase the genius minds saving lives back in Emerald. It looks like Mars had the same idea."

 

 

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Raya took Moira to Emerald City a few weeks ago. And while she enjoyed her time there - meeting other heroes, helping people out with a different set of circumstances - she had responsibilities in Freedom. So when Raya mentioned the convention in Freedom, she asked to tag along with her.

 

While she did know some of this stuff from her trips to Compass Rose, she was hopelessly in over her head. Not that she was going to let it stop her from meeting new people. She wasn't a super genius, she had a knack for talking people up. Something that could probably make her an excellent company woman. But she knew her life was not in board rooms and business meetings. But as part owner of her family business. Oh, and also a superhero.

 

The place was modestly full of people, slinging jargon that she could only imagine what meant. Raya was talking to some people in tech suits. She smirked, remembering when Raya told her it was a tech convention in Freedom City. Moira that it meant cosplayers and hype for upcoming gadgets. It was not so. Still unabated, she took the dive in with her.  Her dress was a bit more formal than usual, a skirt that flowed down to her ankles and a short sleeve white shirt that a black sleeveless vest covered.

 

She smirked at the 'genius minds' comment Raya made. Oh yeah, Moira felt like the burnt piece of toast on this love breakfast table of geniuses. But hey, smile and look nice, it could get better!

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"Y-yeah, I'm not sure me and, uh, Justice? should be mentioned in the same breath." Paris laughed nervously, running a hand through his hair again. "I'm just the guy Mr. Mars has wear the Slipstream suit and do what Ms. Nisso says over the, uh, comms, I'm not...not really much of a hero. Pretty much just a, um, a really fast sandwich b-board."

 

Even from the way he spoke, Raya could tell Paris Redwater and Maximilian Mars came from very different sides of the tracks. He pronounced 'Slipstream' closer to 'Suhllipostremuh' and bits of jargon from from the Eastern District kept trying to poke through.

 

"He really wants us to, uh, team up," he added with a sheepish grimace to Robin, "y'know, as like an ad thing? Like when Racer and Waterbright fought that spiny kaiju back in the 2000's? I dunno half this stuff his media people are talking about, they keep telling Mr. Mars I need some kinda 'big brother' character, like this is pro wrestling." He rolled his eyes. "Can't wait for people to fight over who gets to legally adopt me. Never been more glad in my life that I've got my aunt Ellen. She would not hear a word 'bout me moving into the Emerald Tower..."

 

Paris trailed off, blinking as he caught sight of the newest arrival. "Uh...hey." Suddenly moving with a grace and confidence entirely lacking before, he stepped over to Moira, offering his hand and a winning smile. "You must be Ms. Morley! The GEnet lit up when you got noticed downtown! You are...whoa...way taller, in person! You planning to stick around our little burg in the future? We've had some of the more techy, stuffy kinda heroes from Jersey, but nobody like you!"

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She made a quick stance, hands on her hips and feet spread a bit apart, chest pushed forward and a smile on her lips under the armor. Might not be anyone that could see it, but that was fine! Robin was gonna shine anyway! Smile, even if others can't see it, right?

 

"Aw, c'mon, I'm nothing special." Why was Paris putting himself down like that? Granted, she hadn't really heard anything about Slipstream before (cool name, though), but that didn't mean he had to put himself down like that, right? "No need to be hard on yourself like that. If Max Mars choose you to be his hero, then I'm sure you're awesome!" 

 

She shot a quick look at Raya "I'm just gonna slip out of the armor real quick, alright?", then reached down for her belt and clicked the button to dismiss the armor. With all the bits and pieces being pulled off her and disappearing into small purple portals, Robin was left in her red costume and domino mask, with the pink line and the lion on the left side of her chest. She was still smiling, of course. "See? Just a regular girl, nothing special about me." 

 

Still, Slipstream had heard about her. That was a pretty awesome feeling.

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