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Kingston, Freedom City New Jersey

Late Fall 2019, 10:30 PM

 

Since the Terminus Invasion of 2018, much of Kingston had consisted of ruined buildings and empty streets. Only the most minimal efforts to start to rebuild had begun, and mainly along the boarder sections with other North Freedom neighborhoods, leaving the majority of the center of the formerly historic neighborhood still largely abandoned and in shambles.

 

Now, those that frequented the Kingston area were those that wished to be unobserved or otherwise isolated from the more crowded and active sections of Freedom City, while still maintaining a close proximity to the rest of the city. A small figure in a trench coat made its way through one of the empty streets in the heart of Kingston, moving among the shadows with a seeming confidence that there was nothing to fear among the dark ruins.

 

The figured walked for several blocks along the cracked and broken sidewalks, stopping a few times to peer around towards the dark recesses of the nearby buildings. Eventually the figure turned into a dark alleyway and was seemingly swallowed by the darkness within. If anyone had been following the figure, it would have seemed they had vanished into thin air in the alley.

 

However, the figure continued on its journey dozens of feet beneath the cluttered streets, moving along a path through the partially flooded sewer tunnels that ran under Kingston. The figure still moved at a steady pace, perfectly at home in the dark, damp confines of the sewers.

 

After passing through several city blocks of tunnels, the figure came to a bend in a tunnel where a section of wall had collapsed, beyond was a larger open area that appeared to be a half buried subway station. Several tables of various shapes and sizes had been set up along one of the platforms and were covered with a variety of scientific equipment.

 

Another section of the platform had been turned into a makeshift living area, with a bed and some other furniture set up. The entire area was partially lit by several emergency lights that had been placed around the platforms. The result of the makeshift lighting was that there were sections of the platforms that where relatively well lit, while the rest of the station was cast in shadows of various depths.

 

The figure moved onto the platform containing the collection of tables, stopping briefly to look at some of the equipment as it went by, before coming to a mostly empty table. The figure sat a large duffle bag onto this table and began carefully removing various objects from within it.

 

As the figure was focused on its task the almost oppressive silence of the chamber was interrupted by a cold voice from somewhere among the shadows. "Good evening Dr. Seidel."

 

The figure quickly turned away from the table, scanning the illuminated section of the platforms, even as he edged towards some of the nearby shadows. "Who are you?" The man asked, his tone a bit surprise but not necessarily concerned or frightened.

 

"Someone who has spent some time trying to locate you." The voice from the shadows simply replied.

 

The  trench coat clad figure identified as Dr. Seidel moved into one of the deep shadows near the collection of tables. "You will soon wish you had not done so." Dr. Seidel responded, his voice deepening and straining slightly as he did so. This was followed by a few pained grunts and groans before the shadows went silent.

 

Then, a large figure could faintly be seen climbing among some of the shadows above the platforms lit by the emergency lights. "So, you can now change your shape at will." Stated the cold voice that again seemed to come from multiple directions at once.

 

"All the more reason you will regret coming down here." Replied a deep, partially hissing voice from the large shape crawling along one of the uppers walls of abandoned station.

 

"Perhaps." Replied the cold voice. "But I believe there is a way we may help one another with mutual goals."

 

The large figures stopped, peering out to scan the darkest areas of around station with yellow reptilian eyes. "I suspect there is little you can offer which I will be interested in." It replied in almost a growl.

 

"I believe we may help one another in striking out against the Second Raven." The cold voice replied from the darkness.

 

There was a long pause as the yellow eyes of the large figure peered out at the shadows around the station platforms. "Go on, you have my interest."

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Hanover Zoo

Hanover, Freedom City, New Jersey

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

9:42 AM

 

A small yellow school bus pulled into the parking lot of the Hanover Zoo, continuing along toward the drop off area located near the zoo entrance. Inside the bus were several students from Claremont Academy, in particular members of Green Squad.

 

The outing to the zoo had been arranged by Veronica Danger, one of the returning members of the squad from last year. The Danger Institute had been partnering with the zoo on several conservation programs for a number of endangered species under the zoo’s care. Veronica had brought the other members of her squad along to get a backstage tour of the facilities for the program and a chance to get a close look at several of the animals, which included a pair of rare giant tortoise.

 

"We are almost there Prudence." Veronica said into her cellphone as she looked out one of the buses windows. Those that had been on Green Squad the previous year were well familiar with the personal assistant to both Veronica and her cousin Janus. As so often was the case, Prudence had handled the vast majority of the logistics for the visit.

 

"No, I still think it is fine that you are not going to be here for the visit." Veronica continued. "I am sure there is plenty of other matters that need your attention at the office."

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Octoman

 

As he'd boarded the bus, Ben Wang quickly flipped over so that he was walking on the ceiling. "What up Squaddies! I mean, other than me..." He made his way to the back, greeting each student he passed with the usual grin, pair of finger-guns, and some kind of nickname.

 

"Lara Croft!"

 

"Bowsette!"

 

"Libby!"

 

"Shape o' Water!"

 

"Johnny Cash Junior!"

 

When the driver insisted that he couldn't sit on the ceiling while the vehicle was in motion, he rolled his eyes and dropped down into a seat with a loud sigh.

 

As soon as the bus doors opened, one of Ben's tentacles shot out from the back seats, making a *SPLAT* noise as it stuck to the inner windshield. The tentacle retracted in an instant, yanking Ben to the front of the bus in the blink of an eye and nearly decapitating anyone who'd peeked around their seat to look. He skipped the staircase, bounding out directly onto the ground.

 

"I LOVE THE SMELL OF NATURE IN THE MORNING!" He turned back to the bus and clapped his hands together. "Move it, Peeps! Stuff ta see and things ta do, chop chop, forward march, a-holes an' elbows! We don't wanna miss feedin' time! Squirtle's gonna do a monch, and it's gonna be super-effective! I read on the way here they'll eat whatever you put in front of 'em as long as it's not moving! Veggies, roadkill, even other turtles! You thought they were vegans, turns out they're just lazy!" He turned back toward the zoo, tapped a fist against his chest, and pointed. "Yo, I can relate. I feel ya." He turned back to the bus and stood off to one side of the doors. "Hey, I'm that guy who's always standing next to the helicopter in war movies. 'GO GO GOOO!!!'"

 

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Heroditus had been one of the first ones on the bus, and the normally stoic Atlantean was practically bouncing with excitement as the others boarded.  "Yes, yes, come, come!  We should have left by now!"  He was very eager to see all the "exotic" land animals, which was to say all the land animals, and anything else they had.  During the ride, he asked the others what their favorite animals were, which transitioned to talk of pets.  When asked about his own pets, he assembled his hologram-casting circlet from the components in his pouches to produce images of Marmo, a marbled electric ray.  "He's been with me since I was six!"

 

 He bounded out after Ben, paused for a quick drink from his waterskin, and hopped from foot to foot as he waited for the others to disembark. 

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Danica had been to the zoo many times since she'd moved to Freedom City, including several previous field trips. That didn't even make her a tiny bit less excited to be going to the zoo today, however! She'd filled any moment of silence the others had left during the van ride with facts about the zoo in general and about tortoises in specific, and by the time the driver had gotten her Segway unstoked and off the bus, she was all but vibrating with excited impatience. "Can we see the tortoises first?" she asked, climbing onto the scooter and steering it in a tight circle. "I want to see the new habitat! My parents helped consult on it, but I haven't seen it since they finished!" 

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Micah Roebuck was more of a mechanical guy than an animal guy. He had no real desire to go into biology, zoology, or really any of the -ogy sorts of studies. He had no innate desire to, like, hug a turtle or something. But he was also still at least a bit of a kid at heart, and zoos were pretty cool. He had a solid team group, and so he was looking forward to the trip. The energy and excitement of his fellow students had fed that, at least a bit.

 

Which was why he was on the ball enough that when he leaned into the aisle and looked back toward where the surprise tentacle came from, that he just used super-speed to duck out of the way. He smiled as he lobbed a complaint forward.

 

"Watch it, Sir Armsalot!"

 

Yeah, Micah was definitely a bit more sassy than normal. And if you looked outside, the weather was great. The young weather controller stood and walked toward the front of the bus, hefting his small backpack back on as he did so. He waited by the door to help anyone out who needed it. Danica got a helping hand onto her Segway, but everyone else was looking pretty well on top of things. 

 

"I think that's an entirely reasonable thing, Danica. That's pretty cool! Did they lay out all the plans, or just the rough drafts and major ideas?"

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Veronica Danger

 

Having gotten off the phone with Prudence, Veronica was free from distractions to be ready for Ben suddenly shooting to the front of the bus pulled by one of his tentacles. Thankfully her years of traveling the world with her parents and the related adventures had resulted in pretty quick reflexes, so she had little trouble making sure she was out of the other student’s path.

 

With Micha given a mild verbal rebuke, Veronica simply gave a small shake of her head, though she could appreciate the enthusiasm shown by Ben and some of her other squad mates.

Following closely after Ben, the teenage Danger stepped off the bus and looked around the front entrance of the zoo for a moment. As always, Veronica was dressed as if she were getting ready to hike off into the wilderness, grey cargo pants, a fleece top and well broken in hiking boots. Because of the colder weather, she had a rugged dark green winter parka.

 

"Sure Danica, we can do that." Veronica said in agreement with Micha at the other girl's question about starting with the tortoises and their habitat first. "We just need to meet with our guide and get our badges first." Spotting a zoo employee heading their way the teen then added, "and it looks like they have found us."

 

A women in her mid-thirties wearing a jacket with the zoo’s logo on the front was making her way over toward the group of Claremont students. "Miss Danger?" The woman asked as she approached the group. "Good morning, I am Molly Ellison, one of the assistant zoologists here. We are very pleased to have you and your classmates here today for a tour of the facilities your family's foundation has helped fund."

 

"Here are your badges for our tour." Ms. Ellison continued as she passed out a badge for each student to wear around their necks and started leading the group towards the zoo entrance.

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Octoman

 

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When asked about his own pets, Heroditus assembled his hologram-casting circlet from the components in his pouches to produce images of Marmo, a marbled electric ray.

 

"Oh hey, that kinda looks like the fish that bit me!" Ben pulled his smartphone and brought up a picture of a blue-ringed octopus. "Tiny little dude, thought he was cute 'till I felt the pinch and started puking my guts up all over the pavement."

 

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"Can we see the tortoises first?" Danica asked, climbing onto her Segway and steering it in a tight circle.

 

"Yeah, I'm with Wheels here." Ben pointed a thumb at Danica. "Let's go say 'Shello'."

 

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"We just need to meet with our guide and get our badges first."

 

"Badges? We don't need no stinkin' BADGES! ...No? Nuthin'? *SIGH* Look, just ask your parents...'s parents...'s parents. Friggin' swear, man, I'm the only one here who knows anything about CULTURE."

 

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"...And it looks like they have found us."

 

"But not if WE find THEM FIRST! ...Wait, no, that doesn't work."

 

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"Good morning, I am Molly Ellison, one of the assistant zoologists here. We are very pleased to have you and your classmates here today for a tour of the facilities your family's foundation has helped fund."

 

Ben slid up next to Dr. Ellison. "YOOO, Molly! Wait, sorry, 'DOCTOR Molly'! 'Doc Molly'? Nah, we gotta come up with a name for ya that doesn't sound like yer sellin' pills out of a nightclub bathroom. Sooo, is it true that the turtles'll eat another turtle if it's dead and, like, not as far away as other food? 'Cause, seriously, I can relate. Any of you guys kick the bucket, y'all better hope there's a bag of frozen taquitos and a microwave sittin' between me and you, otherwise it's down the hatch, know what I mean?"

 

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"A kyanos dachtylidi?!," Heroditus exclaimed when he saw the creature on Ben's phone.  "You are lucky to be alive, then!  Their venom is exceedingly lethal.  It is a blessing that they are so very docile -- wait, no, the proper phrase is 'chill,' yes?  And you say the bite of this is what gave you your abilities?"  He leaned back a bit and made a sound somewhere between a whistle and a series of clicks.  "I do not think I shall ever adjust to how," he paused a moment, seeking an appropriate yet inoffensive word, "malleable Surface Humans can be."

 

Ben's next few outbursts drew uncomprehending looks from the Atlantean, owing largely to having no idea what he was referring to.  The cannibalism comment, though, which mirrored what little he knew of Deep One funerary practices, drew a sincerely horrified look.  "Is... is that a mindset you developed after your..." he gestured vaguely in his direction, not sure what the zoo's staff knew of their background and thus what was allowed to be said in regards to their powers, "or is that a... a family tradition?"

 

Does Octo-Ben have a Deep One lurking in his ancestry?  Could that be why the bite changed him instead of killing him?  This may warrant closer investigation.

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Octoman

 

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"And you say the bite of this is what gave you your abilities?" He leaned back a bit and made a sound somewhere between a whistle and a series of clicks. "I do not think I shall ever adjust to how," he paused a moment, "malleable Surface Humans can be."

 

"That's the theory, yeah. I mean, I didn't have powers before I got bit, and I had 'em after, so it'd be, like, the freakin' Gigantosaur of coincidences if they were just totally unconnected. But it wasn't a normal octopus. The truck that hit me had a whole buncha animals, all super-poisonous. The labcoats at ASTRO caught a couple of 'em, and they said they were radioactive and their DNA was messed with BIGTIME. Big mad-scientist lizard-dude probably still tryin' to find a cure for bein' a big lizard-dude. Most of 'em got away when the truck crashed. They're probably still crawlin' around in the sewers under us." Ben looked down at the ground and waved. "Hiii Poisonous Radioactive Death-Monsters!" He looked back up at Heroditus. "But the poison still shoulda killed me, so maybe I got somethin' else goin' on, dunno." He shrugged.

 

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"Is... is that a mindset you developed after your..." he gestured vaguely in his direction, "or is that a... a family tradition?"

 

"What, cannibal turtles? Nah, man, that's just on Wikipedia." He held up his smartphone, showing a browser window with a Google search for "cannibal tortoise". "See? Wait...you thought I was SERIOUS about EATING YOU? Dude. DUDE. Like you said, CHILL. Joke. Sarcasm. Verbal irony. HA-HA."

 

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  • 1 month later...

Veronica Danger

 

While Dr. Ellison was likely accustomed to dealing with energetic students, but did not seem quite prepared for one with quite the level of energy as Ben. But before she could even gather herself to respond to him, Ben attention was already off on the next thing. "Umm, yes, right..shall we get started then?" She asked the group as Ben began talking with Heroditus about his encounter with several mutated animals prior to gaining his powers.

 

"Thank you Doctor. There was a general consensus of starting with the tortious habitat." Veronica replied, giving Danica a small smile.

 

So the group of Claremont students were making their way through the zoo. As they went, Veronica fell into place alongside Micah.

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Micah shook his head at the rather more verbose antics of his classmates, before double-checking his own backpack and pockets. Once he was sure he had everything, he fell in with the group, trailing toward the back. After a few moments, he noticed Veronica keeping pace with him. He raised an eyebrow and spoke up softly. His voice held no anger or irritation, just curiosity. 

 

"What's up, Veronica? Anything I can help you with?"

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Veronica Danger

 

"Hmm?" Veronica responded as they continued along one of the main paths through the zoo and Micah asked her if she needed anything. Up ahead of them Danica was taking full advantage of her Segway, zipping ahead to look at some enclosure, and then quickly catching back up with the group only to be diverted over to some other enclosure. "Nothing in particular. Just wanted to see if things were okay. You've been sort of quite."

 

------------------------------------------------------------------

A short distance away from where the group of Claremont students were following after their guide, a figure stood in the shadows of a building along the main path. "As I promised, they have arrived Seidel. Including the one you are so interested in." The figure spoke quietly in the headset he had in one ear.

 

There was a pause before a response came from the other end of the line. "How did you get the information that they would be here Blume?"

 

"We are not the only ones with scores to settle with Raven." Replied the shadowy figure. "Be ready, it will soon be time to spring the trap."

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Ms. Thursday

 

Ok. Astrid was fairly sure she wasn't being a total arse. Yeah. She had up until this point been totally spaced out and singularly focused on her phone while everyone else was gushing about the animals she was supposed to be gawking at but she had a good excuse. Sort of. 

 

From the moment they had hopped on the bus to Hanover Zoo Astrid eyes had been glued to her phone while her ears were closed off by her headphones. How she was able to pay enough attention to the outside world to get off the bus and grab her badge was a tiny miracle on to its self. But she had her reasons for that. Zoo animals were cool and all but the fact of the matter was that Astrid had work to do. Said work being her music. She had been listening/watching her last recording since she got up this morning. Examining it with a critical eye and trying to figure out what wasn't clicking about it. She was shredding like a demon but there's something missing in the vibe. She just didn't know what. Yet.

 

Frustrated, Astrid was on the verge of exiting her isolated bubble and asking Micah for his opinion despite well-knowing that he guy wasn't necessarily into her brand of death metal when something else entirely distracted her: Benico and Heroditus were having the weirdest chat, with 'cannibal turtles' being the most striking part. Despite herself, Astrid actually kind of liked Benico's schtick. The dude had high-energy and a motor-mouth which verged on obnoxious but at least he was openly emotive if only in a superficial way. It remembered her of a few of her old friends back in Norway. Loudmouths that talked a lot in the hope that it would make them come across as cool or fun to be around. They didn't always hit the mark but neither did Astrid. That was why she liked them in the first place.

 

On 12/15/2019 at 4:56 PM, Grumblefloof said:

 

"What, cannibal turtles? Nah, man, that's just on Wikipedia." He held up his smartphone, showing a browser window with a Google search for "cannibal tortoise". "See? Wait...you thought I was SERIOUS about EATING YOU? Dude. DUDE. Like you said, CHILL. Joke. Sarcasm. Verbal irony. HA-HA."

 

 

Astrid took off her headphones and pocketed her phone. A wicked smile was on her face. "That sounds like something a cannibal would say," she says faux-seriously. "Watch out, Heroditus! We got a man-eater over here. His tendrils may seem inviting but he'll gobble you up the moment you drop your guard."

 

 

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Heroditus had, as was so often the case, left dumbfounded by Ben's rapid-fire retorts.  So was he 'joking' about the 'Radioactive Poisonous Death-Monsters in the Sewers' thing?  If such creatures had invaded the city's infrastructure, surely there would be reports, either of attacks or an increase in the frequency of system breakdowns.  And when sewage lines break down, people notice!  Even Surfacers!

 

He was about to ask Ben for clarity on that subject, when Astrid intervened.  "Ah, more joking, yes?," he replied, hoping his smile convinced them that he was completely in on the joke.  (He was 95% sure.)  "Yes, jokes to build camaraderie and strengthen inter-team bonds," he clasped his hands together, "splendid!"  He gestured towards Astrid's phone, "so, are you reviewing some of your latest works, or seeking inspiration in the performances of others?"

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"A little of column A and B," Astrid answered Heroditus honestly. Astrid didn't really know much about Heroditus' taste in music but figured that it won't hurt to get his opinion. After all, it wasn't like she knew a heck lot of Atlanteans back home and learning about their view on viking metal sounded like a pretty rad form of cultural exchange. "Here," Astrid said, taking off her headphones and handing it and her smartphone to Heroditus. "Give it a listen, ja. Tell me what you think and don't be afraid to be harsh about it. I'm a big girl and can take a bit of criticism it."

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Micah chuckled a bit at Veronica's observation.

 

"I would hope you know I tend to be, though. Besides, some of our group are displaying enough energy for, oh, about two of our groups."

 

It was not hard to guess who he meant. He shrugged as they continued to walk, taking a deep breath with a smile on his face.

 

"Just kind of enjoying the day, you know? It's nice outside, I'm in a fun place with friends. Beautiful weather, and I didn't even need to push that part!"

 

His smile turned just a bit melancholy.

 

"We didn't go to the zoo much when I was younger, but the times we did are good memories."

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica gave a small smile and nod at Micah’s comment about "some" of the team equaling two or more of them in terms of energy. "True." She responded. "Though, one of our normally more mellow members is gunning for the high energy title today." She then added, tracking Danica briefly with her eyes as the other teen guided her Segway off to one side up ahead of the group.

 

As Micah's smile and tone turned a bit melancholy, Veronica did not ask about the slight change in mood, instead just listening to what he was willing to share. "Well, hopefully the day remains one that is easy to enjoy." She stated.

 

But even as the teenage Danger said this, out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw someone standing in the shadow of a building watching the group. But by the time Veronica turned to focus on the area, the figure was gone. Did I just imagine that? Veronica thought to herself as she looked over in the direction of the building.

 

Micah had also caught sight of the individual standing in the shadows, but unlike Veronica, he had not looked away before looking back. Micah had focused on the figure and saw it move back to disappear behind the building.

 

Up ahead, similarly to Veronica, Ben had caught a glimpse of the figure out of the corner of his eye, but by the time he had fully turned his attention away from Astrid and Heroditus, the figure had disappeared.

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Octoman

 

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Astrid took off her headphones and pocketed her phone. A wicked smile was on her face. "That sounds like something a cannibal would say," she says faux-seriously. "Watch out, Heroditus! We got a man-eater over here. His tendrils may seem inviting but he'll gobble you up the moment you drop your guard."

 

Ben bent down and mimed pulling a mask out of his pocket and putting it on, though anyone standing nearby could see that he merely shapeshifted. When he stood back up, he was taller and bulkier, and appeared to be wearing a mask made from patches of human skin stitched together. He held his arms above his head and waved them in a comically exaggerated style as he ran toward Astrid at half-speed. "RAAARRR! Y'know, most people think it was just another trashy exploitation film, but it's actually a symbolic statement about the breakdown of post-World-War-Two American ideals about capitalism and the nuclear family model in the face of a more cynical post-Vietnam-War, post-Nixon reality."

 

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So was he 'joking' about the 'Radioactive Poisonous Death-Monsters in the Sewers' thing?  If such creatures had invaded the city's infrastructure, surely there would be reports, either of attacks or an increase in the frequency of system breakdowns.  And when sewage lines break down, people notice!  Even Surfacers!

 

"Ah, more joking, yes?," he replied, hoping his smile convinced them that he was completely in on the joke. "Yes, jokes to build camaraderie and strengthen inter-team bonds," he clasped his hands together, "splendid!"

 

Ben knelt down again, "removed his mask," and stood back up at his natural, diminished height and weight. "Yeah, kidding, exactly! I mean, not about the mutated radioactive poisonous animals running around free in the sewers. That part's legit. They still haven't found most of 'em. We're talkin' the little shy guys, y'know? Snakes, spiders, that kinda thing. Like, most animals that can beat you in a straight-up fistfight don't HAVE to evolve poison in the FIRST place. It's the scrawny NERDS who cook up venom so they'll stop getting stuffed into their own lockers. But the me-eating-people part, yeah, that's a goof."

 

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"Here," Astrid said, taking off her headphones and handing it and her smartphone to Heroditus. "Give it a listen, ja. Tell me what you think and don't be afraid to be harsh about it. I'm a big girl and can take a bit of criticism it."

 

Ben's shoulders slumped a little and he frowned. Damn. I miss new music. I mean, yeah, I got the app, but it's just not the same. Still better than nothing, I guess. He sprang back up and waved at Astrid. "Yo, hey, toss me a link or email me a copy or something. I got an app for that." He tapped on his own phone a few times, then held it up for her to see. It was muted, but playing a song, and vibrating with varying degrees of intensity along with the music. "Works best if it's heavy on the bass, 'cause, y'know, OBVIOUSLY."

 

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Up ahead, Ben had caught a glimpse of the figure out of the corner of his eye, but by the time he had fully turned his attention away from Astrid and Heroditus, the figure had disappeared.

 

Ben's eyes narrowed. He tapped Astrid and Heroditus on their shoulders. "Hey, anyone else see that?" He pointed at the building. "Some dude creepin' around. I'm gonna go take a sniff. B.R.B."

 

Edited by Grumblefloof
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Micah smiled back at Veronica. 

 

"I think we're on track for it to be a..."

 

He trailed off and frowned as he watched...someone?...duck behind a nearby building. He next spoke in a low tone, barely above a whisper.

 

"Did you see...them? That didn't feel right."

 

The air suddenly smelled faintly of ozone, and the breeze picked up a bit.

 

"Should we talk to Security?"

 

Micah glanced around, looking for the school chaperone, a member of Zoo Security, or really any adult who looked like a good possibility for reporting suspicious activity.

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Heroditus had been completely entranced by Astrid's music, and so had not so much as glimpsed what anyone else had seen.  He'd winced at first, but quickly recovered once he found the volume control and cranked it way down.  Choruses reminiscent of call-and-response antiphons.  Brief, relaxed phrases repeated over changing melodies.  Nice variety of vocalizations and instruments.  Many references to Norse and Viking figures.  He grinned, does she know I know about them?  About Atlantis' many encounters with Vikings, and our gods interactions with theirs?  Well, I can ask about that later.  He glanced up at her, smiled and gave her a thumbs up, then cast his eyes down again, focusing on the music.  From a technical standpoint, this is quite good.  A few jarring transitions, though I think some of those are intentional.  Strings sound a bit off, too, that instrument might need some tuning.  I should offer to-

 

OctoBen's tap on his shoulder barely registered, but the sudden whiff of ozone did.  He lifted the headphones up and looked about, "what has happened?"

 

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Veronica Danger

 

"I saw something over there." Veronica admitted as Micah asked if she saw something. "But only just caught a glimpse of someone over there." She admitted. It was then that she noticed the hint of ozone in the air and the shift in the breeze.

 

"Easy Micah." She said quietly, holding up a hand. "It might be nothing. But if it is…better to be calm and in control." She added before glancing around. "Dr. Ellison is over there, she can probably get through to security." The teenage Danger stated, looking over to where the Zoo employee was walking near Heroditus and Astrid. "Or we can just investigate ourselves."

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GM

 

Even as Micah and Veronica began to react to the sighting of the mysterious figure, Ben had already started over towards where the figure that seemed to have disappeared. Moving at a quick pace, he was able to close the distance quickly as he breathed in through his nose, taking in the smells of the area. 

 

First and foremost, there was a strong smell of various animals, even though this particular area was not near one of the enclosures, the animal scents were pretty strong throughout the zoo.

Focusing past that, Ben found a human scent, a male. It was pretty non-descript, pretty generic bodywash and deodorant, but then there was something else there. A mixture of some sort of chemicals…

 

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A short distance from where Ben was sniffing around, the figure that three of the teens had spotted moved down an employee path between two of the main public paths through the zoo. As he went, he raised his left arm, turning it so a small device fixed to his left forearm was facing him and his right hand began keying several buttons on the device.

 

"Activating the trap now Seidel. Be ready to move in."

 

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Up ahead of the rest of the group of Claremont teens, Danica had pulled her Segway up near one of the viewing areas for the tortoise enclosure. She stopped a short distance away from a group of elementary school children who appeared to be on a class field trip as well.

 

The appearance of the teenager on the Segway distracted several of the children from the enclosure and their teacher who was reading from one of the placards next to it.

 

"Wow, that is really cool." Said one of the kids, a girl who appeared to be about eight.

 

"How fast does it go?" Asked a boy around the same age.

 

Just then a faint humming noise began to emanate from somewhere nearby. The children looking up at Danica seemed to freeze for a brief moment, before they began screaming. One curled up against a wall, while most of the others turned and began running in all directions.

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Veronica Danger

 

As the faint humming noise began to sound from the area around her, Veronica felt a sensation of fear was over her. Fighting against an urge to just turn and run from the area, the teenage Danger still felt slightly shaken as she began to take in the unfolding scene around her.

 

All around the group of Claremont teens, the various scattered adults (including Dr. Ellison) began reacting to some unseen terror. Several screamed or yelled in panic, before turning and fleeing in another direction. The scene became one of chaos.


"Some..something's wrong." Veronica stated to Micah, as a shaking hand reached up to the necklace around her neck which held several small silver charms as she began to look about for any sign of what might have caused the sudden panic.

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Things were looking up. Heroditus seemed to be really digging her music after some initial shock, the Atlantean even giving her a smile and thumbs up in approval. Benico was also going a mile-a-minute talking-wise. First talking about an old horror movie (which Astrid remembered watching once on a very poorly translated bootleg when she was about twelve) only to start mentioning some weirdo he apparently saw around. Unfortunately, Astrid was too distracted to really responded to either of those topics, instead just bobbing her head as he wandered off.

 

Everything seemed pretty good. Until it suddenly wasn't. Astrid noticed how all around her people started to go from suddenly nervous looking to full on terrified. Some people even running off in a total panic. "What the Hel is going on," she asked aloud, looking first towards Heroditus and then a close by Veronica who seemed to have realized as well that something really bad was going on. 

 

seriously suspecting that Benico may have been right about whatever or whoever he spotted, Astrid immediately pulled out Porrklubba and steeled herself for whatever was coming there way. 

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