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North End, Freedom City

Saturday, October 26, 2019

11:05 AM

 

Dr. Martin Meyer was having a rough day. First, his five year old son had come down with the flu unexpectedly, meaning he had to watch over the poor kid who was busy puking his guts out. Then, he got a call from his job at ASTRO Labs demanding he come in. They weren’t particularly sympathetic when he told them his kid was sick, so he had to scramble to find his son a babysitter. Now, he was running late and getting a million angry texts because some lunatic super had melted the asphalt on the road, causing a jam.

 

“Metas…” he hissed under his breath, trying to ignoring the vibration of his phone in the seat next to him.

 

“Oh, doc,” came the voice of a young man that made Dr. Meyer jump. “I would say I’m disappointed you seem to hate us meta-people, but I’m not really surprised.”

 

Martin wheeled around, eyes wide, to see one of his charges, Gabriel Napolitano, sitting in the back seat. “Why aren’t you at the lab?” Martin asked, his throat suddenly running dry on him. Slowly, his hand began drifting toward the glovebox.

 

“The lab? Why would I want to be at the lab? They’re gonna take my powers away there,” Gabriel said. “You’re going to take my powers away. I don’t think I want that.”

 

Dr. Meyer slowly popped the glove compartment open, one eye settling on the gun inside. “Gabriel, you’re sick. The source of you powers is unstable, you could…”

 

Gabriel barked a laugh. “Oh, yeah, that’s what you keep telling us,” he said. “But somehow, given that you’re reaching for that gun, I’m starting to think you’re just scared of us.”

 

Martin stopped, his hand drifting back toward himself. “Us?”

 

Just then, a terrible screeching noise came from above him as molten fingers dug into the hood of his car and began to peel it away. Within moments, Martin could see her standing above him, her skin glowing like molten steel: Angela Ruiz. “Hey, Dr. Meyer!” she said, still visibly smiling despite the brilliance of her molten skin.

 

Martin, realizing he was in serious danger, quickly grabbed the gun and let loose a bullet right into her midsection. She cried out, and Gabriel rose up to to try and help her. Martin used his chance, and threw himself out of the car, running through the cars to try and find a way to safety.

 

“Help!” he cried. “Someone help me! They’re going to kill me!”

 

 

Gabriel watched as his girlfriend reverted to her normal form, clutching her stomach and groaning. Despite the residual heat, he threw his arms around her. “Angela!” he cried, realizing then that he might be about to lose her.

 

Gently, Angela pushed him away, and pulled at the bullet hole in her suit to reveal that there was no actual damage. “…I think I’m really durable,” she said with amazement. “…Yeah, there’s no damage. Hurt, though.”

 

Gabriel’s eyes lit up, and he kissed her furiously on the lips. “Oh, honey, I love you.”

 

“Aw, I love you too, Gabe,” Angela cooed, her voice sickly sweet. “Do you wanna go and melt Dr. Meyer’s skin off?”

 

Gabriel grinned ferally. “Yeah, I sure do. Let’s go make him die screaming.” With that, he dissolved himself back into toxic smoke, and rose up into the air, looking down over the maze of cars. “MEYER!” he roared. “COMING FOR YOU, BUDDY!”

 

Edited by Shofet

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Soliton

 

Patrol. It was weird to be on patrol.

 

That was what Soliton was thinking when she was sitting some 600 feet up, legs dangling over the edge of a skyscraper. She was dressed in her costume, a black and white mix-and-match thing that she had generated this morning, complete with domino mask. When she was done with it, she’d disintegrate it and then make a new one the next time she needed it. It was a habit she was cultivating so that she would never one day have someone, like… discover her costume and figure out her secret identity.

 

But then again, how many heroes were 6’01” women?

 

Maybe she was overthinking this. You had a lot of time to overthink when on patrol, especially when she had been told to leave things to the older, more experienced heroes if she could. It was almost like they didn’t want her to get any experience. Why even bother giving them these costumes if they couldn’t fight bad guys?

 

At least she wasn’t alone. She had opted to take Octo-Man along with her for this little excursion. He wasn’t part of her squad, but she felt she meshed pretty well with the guy, all things considered. Besides, she understood he had done some heroing out of school and that was always helpful.

 

She was broken out of her thoughts when the sound of sirens cut through the air. A manic smile crossed her face, and she teleported down next to Octo-Man Tapping him on the shoulder, she maintained her grin.

 

“Ben, I hear sirens. It’s hero time, buddy,” she said, making sure her lips were plainly visible to him. She hadn’t mastered ASL yet, and probably wouldn’t for a while, so this was the next best thing. “I’d race you to the crime scene but we both know I’d be there first.”

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Octoman

 

Quote

Soliton was dressed in her costume, a black and white mix-and-match thing that she had generated this morning, complete with domino mask. When she was done with it, she’d disintegrate it and then make a new one the next time she needed it. It was a habit she was cultivating so that she would never one day have someone, like…discover her costume and figure out her secret identity.

 

Ben Wang had not given his own superhero costume the same level of forethought as Soliton had hers.

 

Ben's parents now knew he had powers. Bombshell and Jack of All Blades had convinced him that attending the Claremont Academy while keeping them in the dark about its true nature would have been impractical at best, and most likely impossible. Sooner or later, the stars would align, and even the most absentee parents would finally attend an open house or a parent/teacher conference. But while Ben's parents saw the wisdom in him learning enough control over his powers to avoid getting himself or someone else killed with them from those who know about such things, they emphatically did not want their underage child to have any active involvement in superheroics. Ben didn't know how to sew, he was worried that he might arouse his parents suspicion if he showed a sudden interest in it, and even with as little as either one of them were home, he didn't think he could hide a sewing machine from them in their tiny West End apartment. If his parents found out that he was indeed jumping from rooftop to rooftop putting himself in harm's way, they'd ground him for sure. And there was a chance, unlikely though it was, that one of them might take enough time off of work to actually enforce it.

 

So instead, Ben used his shapeshifting powers to transform the outer layers of his flesh into his Octoman "costume". It had not yet occurred to him that maintaining his shapeshifted forms had always required at least a modicum of concentration, meaning that, were he rendered unconscious, he would immediately revert to his true form, as he did every night upon falling asleep. One lucky punch from a hired goon could very well mean the end of Octoman's secret identity.

 

While Soliton was lost in thought sitting on top of the skyscraper, Octoman's tentacles were stuck to the side, suspending him next to it in mid-air. He faced the building, and the smartphone being held in front of him by another tentacle, striking a dramatic pose against the city skyline as he recorded another vlog entry. He yelled, partially so the microphone could pick up his voice over the crosswinds, and partially because he couldn't hear himself anymore and rarely had any idea how loudly he was talking at any given moment. "WHAT UP FAM, IT'S YA BOY, THE SENSATIONAL CEPHALOPOD, THE CRIME-FIGHTING KRAKEN HIMSELF, THAT'S RIGHT, THE OUTRAGEOUS OCTOMAN, COMIN' AT YOU FROM DOWNTOWN FREEDOM! I'M UP HERE WITH MAH GIRL SOLITON, LOOKIN' OUT FER ALLA Y'ALL." His tentacle flipped the phone up and around briefly, catching a glimpse of the bottoms of Soliton's boots hanging over the edge of the roof. "YOU'LL PROBABLY SEE MORE OF HER IN MY NEW VIDEOS. SHE'S GOOD PEEPS, NEW BLOOD LIKE ME, CUTTIN' EDGE OF THE FREEDOM CITY SUPERHERO COMMU-HELLO!" The tip of his tentacle tapped the smartphone screen to stop recording as it started buzzing and flashing its notification light.

 

Quote

Soliton was broken out of her thoughts when the sound of sirens cut through the air. A manic smile crossed her face, and she teleported down next to Octo-Man. Tapping him on the shoulder, she maintained her grin.

“Ben, I hear sirens. It’s hero time, buddy,” she said, making sure her lips were plainly visible to him.

 

Octoman's tentacle was stashing his phone in one of his "pockets" as Soliton appeared next to him. He raised his left wrist up toward Soliton's face. A square patch of his skin roughly one and a half inches on each side slid open to reveal the face of his smartwatch. It was vibrating. The tiny light in the corner was flashing, as was the watch face, which read in large block letters, "SIREN".

 

"Cool, huh? Does the same thing for screams, cars honking their horns, even dogs barking. There really IS an app for everything." Octoman's "mask" appeared to have an opening just big enough for his mouth, but it clung to him like a second skin so perfectly and moved in such exact sync with his facial muscles that it never showed even a tiny glimpse of the skin beneath it. Being able to observe it this closely, if Soliton didn't already know that there was no "skin beneath it", she'd at least have some questions.

 

Quote

“I’d race you to the crime scene but we both know I’d be there first.”

 

"Nah, it ain't about 'first'. Dude rolls up on a comment and just posts 'FIRST!' and he gets buried in downvotes and nobody sees it anyway. You want the UPvotes, you make an ENTRANCE."

 

Octoman's tentacles drew him back against the side of the building, where he folded himself into a crouch. Then a burst of air exploded from somewhere behind him, launching him across the sky.

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Soliton

 

Soliton smirked at Ben. “Alright, Octo-Man, style it is!” She said, before stepping to the edge of the building. “Watch this,” she said, before leaping off. She allowed herself to fall just long enough to pick up terminal velocity, before a great crack filled the air and suddenly Mia was back in the air, using her ability to change her direction while teleporting to instead raise her up a few hundred feet in the air and launch herself across the sky, the same speed that had been making her fall now catapulting her forward.

 

Given that it wasn’t enough to keep her in motion forever, she supplemented her movement with her teleporting, occasionally disappearing and reappearing in a small crack of light. She also decided to pull off a few tricks, if only to tease Octo-Man a little bit. Some flips and spins added in, along with a few teasing gestures his way.

 

She finally stopped at a billboard overlooking the noise, and her playfulness dissipated some as she looked down to see the commotion. Much of the road was a sea of melted, steaming asphalt, pulling at people’s shoes in gooey strands as they hurriedly tried to vacate the area. At the centre of it all was a young woman who looked like molten metal, and a surging cloud of purple gas tearing over the cars. Grimacing, she looked back and hoped that Octo-Man would be there to join her.

 

This was definitely not a one-person job.

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Octoman

 

The blank white eyes of Octoman's mask, which were already slightly larger than they should have been in proportion to the rest of his face, widened to twice their normal size as he watched Soliton use teleportation to bungee-jump in mid-air. "SWEET! Damn, I shoulda been filmin' that for the vlog!"

 

As Octoman soared through the air, his tentacles whipped out in several different directions in rapid succession, each one slapping against the side of a building or a tree or a lamp post and sticking to it just long enough to jerk him to one side or another and alter his trajectory, adjusting his descent to avoid obstacles between him and the two metahumans in the middle of the ruined street and then to re-align it with them. His arc finally ended with two of his tentacles wrapped around a traffic light pole. He hung upside-down and swayed back and forth beneath the light like a child on a tire swing under a tree.

 

He cupped his hands and shouted at the metahumans. "HEY, SO BEFORE WE TAG IN, WHICH ONE OF Y'ALL'S THE BANK ROBBER, AND WHO'S THE MISUNDERSTOOD HERO TRYIN' TA STOP THE BANK ROBBER?" He turned up toward Soliton and flashed her a wink, a grin, and a "thumbs-up" gesture.

 

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GM

 

The smoke stopped mid-flight, and took on a more humanoid shape as it twisted to get a look at Octo-Man. Slowly, the smoke coalesced into a solid form, looking like a young, Mediterranean looking man with a mop of curly black hair and deep brown eyes that had an almost feral quality to them. Other than that, he was handsome in a young kind of way. He was dressed in a jump-suit with the ASTRO Labs logo on it. He briefly exchanged glances with the molten woman, then grinned at Octo-Man.

 

"Wow, a real super-hero!" He said, clearly sounding insincere. "Hey, buddy, I'd come over to kiss your ass and worship the ground you're walk on like the rest of this city, but right now I am kind of in the middle of something so why don't you go on and play while I finish ending this doctor I'm hunting, okay?"

 

The molten woman cackled. Her features were mostly obscured by the heat and light she was giving off, but she seemed to leave long, wavy hair extending down to her back, and it looked like she was wearing the same type of jumpsuit the smoke man was wearing, which was miraculously resisting the intense heat.

 

"You're so mean, honey," said the woman, in a chiding but amused voice, before she turned to Octo-Man. "Seriously though, you don't want no part of this. Let us do our thing."

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Octoman

 

The yellow, black, and blue-spotted teen hero kept swinging back and forth under the streetlight, keeping the momentum going.

 

"Sorry, Dude, doctor-huntin' season ended last week. Ya already bagged yer limit. It's LAWYER-huntin' season now. But thanks for goin' solid and lookin' me in the eye when ya tell me yer evil plan. Really shows RESPECT. Plus, if you didn't, then I couldn't do this."

 

Octoman reached forward as if offering his hand for the teen to shake, then squeezed his fingers into a sort of half-fist which left most of his palm exposed. An orifice pulsed open in the overlap between his palm and his wrist, and a spurt of black ink shot out of it toward the teen's face.

 

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GM

 

Gabriel almost looked caught-off guard when the ink came rushing towards his face, but he reacted quickly, phasing into a transitional stage between gas and solid which allowed the ink to pass right through him. When he re-solidified, he looked pretty miffed at Octoman. "Dude! Don't fire your wrist butthole at me, you freak! Angie, honey, let's ice this creep before he does anymore weird crap!"

 

The molten woman looked concerned. "I dunno, don't we wanna catch the doc? This guy doesn't seem like he's worth anyone's time." She looked away for a moment, eyes scanning the crowds for any sign of Doctor Meyer.

 

"HE TRIED TO POOP ON ME, WE ARE KILLING HIM, ANGIE," Gabriel said, clearly incensed.

 

"Alright, fine, jeez," Angela replied. "Sorry, Captain Calamari, but looks like you die today." She crouched down, and got ready to fight.

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Octoman

 

DAMN. MISSED. What do I do NOW?

 

"EW, Dude, it's not POOP, it's INK! I mean, didja miss the half a MILE of TENTACLES stickin' outta me? KINDA got a whole freakin' THEME goin' here! See, maybe if you'd GO to science class instead of tryin' ta kill the teacher, you'd KNOW, like, ANYTHING! And it's not a butthole! It's just a sphincter I use muscle contractions to push stuff out of and OK FINE it's kinda like a butthole!"

 

Still suspended from the traffic light above him by his tentacles, still swinging back and forth, Octoman waited for the upswing, then held his hands and feet facing backward, flexed his internal muscles, and pushed a jet of air behind him, releasing his tentacles' grip on the light pole as he launched himself toward the teen boy.

 

What I do now is what every great fighter does: THE UNEXPECTED. Everybody knows you can't win a fight by just doing the same thing twice. Nah, I need to do the last thing they'd expect...and that's doing the same thing twice!

 

As Octoman flew toward him, he held his other hand up in front of himself and squeezed another glob of ink toward the boy's face. "So, y'know...ENJOY A FACE FULLA BUTTHOLE JUICE EVIL-DOER!"

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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GM

 

Gabriel's eyes went wide as Octoman tried once more, and then he ground his teeth. Once more he shifted into his purple, gaseous form, allowing the ink to pass through him, but this time he remained in his form. He made a face at Ben. "You little rat bastard," he spat. "I'm gonna make you regret you ever put on those tights." Following up his threat, he held the gaseous forms of his arms in front of him, which blasted forth in the form of a great cone of noxious gas. The smell was chemical in nature, almost metallic and harsh on the nose. It was clear that it was incredibly toxic to breathe in, as even as it washed over Ben's skin, it started to itch and chafe, though not enough to impair him.

 

"How do you like that? I'm made of poison, buddy," Gabriel gloated. "And I got an infinite supply. Can't hold your breath forever."

 

Angela was about to join him, when out of the corner of her eye she saw someone waiting in the wings, looking an awful lot like a super hero. Glowering, she turned on her heels and launched herself upward toward the building. She didn't even know she was able to do it, but somehow, instinct told her to try. Sure enough, she launched herself onto the building where the woman in black and white stood, and launched her fist at her face.

 

"Only one partner to a dancer, sweetheart," she said.

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Soliton

 

Soliton was about to go join Octoman down there, when a molten hot woman came launching up at her. She tried to teleport out of the way, but it wasn't fast enough. The woman's fist connected with her cheek, and immediately the skin began to bubble and blister. "AUGH!" cried Soliton, and she took the opportunity to complete that teleportation, sending her a few hundred feet away onto another rooftop as she aimed her arm at the young woman.

 

"That hurt!" she cried, and then, she manipulated the atoms in front of her, inverting charges. There was a flash of light, and Soliton focused hard to create a tunnel for the blast to travel in. It came as a focused beam, heading towards the woman in a blinding flash. However, the molten woman managed to throw herself out of the way just in time, leaning to Soliton accidentally annihilating a bill board advertising health insurance instead.

 

"Why do you even wanna kill this guy?" Soliton asked indignantly. The response, she wasn't ready for.

 

"Wait, I know that voice," responded the molten woman. "...Mia, is that you?"

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Octoman

 

The white eyes of Octoman's mask squinted until they were practically closed as the toxic gas washed over him. The thousands of suckers lining his tentacles squeezed closed and the tentacles themselves flailed around wildly. He tried to keep his mouth shut as he coughed and gagged. He flinched when he looked up to see the flaming girl launch herself at Soliton. Aw man, she's gonna get fried, and I'm gonna check out like some sad old dude sittin' in the garage with the engine runnin', unless... He glanced frantically around him. Unless... His eyes widened when he looked down and saw a fire hydrant within arm's reach. His eyes grew wide again. IDEA.

 

Octoman looked back up at the smog-boy, smiled, and kicked his foot out to the side, knocking the fire hydrant free from the concrete and unleashing a geyser upon the street. The water rushed up and over the traffic light he'd been swinging from moments ago, and rained back down onto Octoman's head, drenching him instantly. Then he dropped to a crouch, then expelled a burst of air out of the orifices in his hands and feet to launch himself into the air. He breathed deep once he'd cleared the smog-boy's cloud.

 

Having no idea that the fire-girl had already used the dance metaphor, he shouted "MIND IF I CUT IN?!" as his tentacles all lashed out at her, wrapping around her body dozens of times. The water on the tentacles evaporated into steam instantly, and the rubbery skin on the tentacles began to audibly sizzle. "OW OW OW I AM SO ANGRY WITH MYSELF RIGHT NOW!" Octoman's face twisted into a grimace as he heaved his tentacles downward, smashing the teen down onto the ground, directly into the geyser. "Ahhh" he sighed involuntarily as the ice-cold water spraying up from the hole in the street soothed the burnt skin of his coiled pseudopods. "Hey, I'm still usin' it ta put out a fire, so, like, it doesn't count as property damage, right?"

 

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GM

 

"Oh my God, Mia, it's been forever! You totally dropped off the face of the earth this summer, what the hell happ-- AAAAAAAA," Angela screamed as her reunion was cut short by tentacles wrapped around her and suddenly yanked her into the geyser of a broken fire hydrant. She tried to struggle, but there was no use. Suddenly, Angela felt herself cool down rapidly, her metallic skin going from red hot to a cool chrome colour. She looked around, bewildered, and tried to reignite herself, but found she couldn't. She struggled against Ben's grasp, her eyes wide. 

 

"Hey!" she said. "Lemme go, you dick! Mia, get your boyfriend offa me!" She cried.

 

Gabe's eyes went wide, and he turned his focus on Octoman. "Let go of her!" He aimed towards Octoman, focusing a blast of concentrated acid in Octoman's direction. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for Octoman, he missed.

Edited by Shofet

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Soliton

 

Soliton's head was swimming at the realization that the woman she was fighting was Angela Ruiz, one of her best friends from Joseph Clark. She didn't have superpowers, as far as she knew, last time they spoke. But Soliton didn't have time to question her old friend, instead watching her get yanked away by Octoman and into a fire hydrant. She felt some concern, but the girl did just try and fry her face, so she understood why Octoman did what he did. She was more annoyed by what Angela had to say as she was struggling.

 

"Octoman and I are just friends, okay? You always do this! You always assume I'm trying to date every boy I-- Ope! None of that!" Her attention was drawn to the jet of acid that Gabe was firing at Octoman, and she knew she had to do something about this guy.

 

Conjuring a giant gas canister, she tried to envelop Gabe, but found that the guy was too slippery for her. "Ah, come on!" she said. "Can't do anything today." She looked to Octoman, wondering what he was going to do next.

Edited by Shofet

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Octoman

 

Octoman saw Angela's lips move while his tentacles dragged her into the geyser, but he didn't bother trying to parse what she was saying. He caught a few stray words, like boyfriend and dick. "Sorry, what was that? I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" He laughed and shifted her slightly so that Angela's face was directly in the path of the rushing water for a few moments. Then he twisted her face away from the water to face him again. "Could you repeat that?" Before she had a chance to reply, he turned her face back into the geyser. "Y'all don't act like your parents raised you right, so we're goin' OLD SCHOOL, washin' that dirty talk RIGHT outta yer mouth."

 

Quote

"Octoman and I are just friends, okay?"

 

OUCH. I mean, sure, I know if she ever saw the real me she'd throw up, but damn, just puttin' it out there, that's cold.

 

He smelled the incoming jet of acid before he saw it, just barely ducking under it as it passed. "TOO SLOW!" C'mon, Mia, pull your weight! Not much I can do against Fartboy over there unless I can trick him into chasing me into a freezer and, like, standing there for a while. Let's just call that "Plan B." But maybe if he's paying more attention to me than you... He looked up at Gabe. "Oh hey, did that make you mad? Oh man, then you're gonna love THIS..." His tentacles raised Angela a few feet higher into the air, and then smashed her back down onto the ground, further widening the crater around the spot where the fire hydrant had stood.

 

*SLAM*

 

"Bee-tee-dubs, the Sensational Cephalopod ain't NOBODY's 'boyfriend'."

 

*SLAM*

 

"The Crime-Fighting Kraken's a FREE SPIRIT, ya dig?"

*SLAM*

 

"Can't be TIED DOWN. Lots of fish in the sea, know what I mean?"

 

You can't fire me if I quit first! ROLLSAFE.GIF

 

*SLAM*

 

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