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March 21, 2020

DuTemps Castle 


"Kimber!" called Eira from the guest bedroom the Claremont girls were using to change. "I need your advice!" Technically the members of Orange Squad (along with her room-mate and her friend Pan) were here for diplomatic and professional purposes. True North, Canada's super-team, had recently teamed up with the British super-team Vanguard to battle the forces of the Fenian Liberation Army - the fight had been long, been hard, and it was all very interesting if you cared about the history of cross-Atlantic imperialism and the lasting legacy of American and British imperialism. But what was relevant right now was that in the aftermath of the battle in upstate New York, the teams had come to a neutral spot to celebrate, reconnect, and enjoy the hospitality of one of their richest American partners. 

It was a great opportunity to meet adult heroes from all over Europe and Canada, use the DuTemps pool - the big one, that the Deep One who lived here typically avoided because of its chlorination, get acquainted with the Claremont alums who lived in the castle, get out from under Claremont discipline under the watchful eye of adult heroes, and maybe hit the sound system and eat snacks while they were at it. 

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Dee Farrington emerged from the bathroom of one of the guestrooms where she and Erick Slone, Foreshadow II, had gone to rest a bit before the impromptu celebration for Vanguard's recent joint mission with True North. "I think this wave has passed." She said to Erick as she took a deep breath. "Thankfully Du Temps had some mouthwash in the guest bathroom."


The Englishwoman was still wearing the medium grey and purple full bodysuit she wore as Synapse, a member of the English superteam Vanguard. For the moment she was not wearing her mask.


I hope I can make it through this little gathering, considering I cannot bloody drink. She said to Erick through the mental link the pair shared.

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Once he heard the word "pool", Ben Wang didn't hear much else. He did catch the bit about Aquaria not liking the cleaning chemicals, which suit him just fine. His enhanced sense of smell did make the chlorine scent more overpowering, but it didn't irritate his skin. More importantly, he could both enjoy being in the water and be less likely to run into the Deep One with whom he'd had such a contentious relationship, and as far as he was concerned, that was "win/win". He headed straight for the pool, dove in, and proceeded to forget that the rest of the world existed for a while. "WOOOOO!" His flesh shape-shifted mid-dive, so he appeared to be fully clothed when he first jumped, but by the time he hit the water, he was wearing nothing but a pair of black and yellow swimming briefs with blue dots running along the edges. He let his gills open up once he went under for the first time, and left them open when he resurfaced. Onlookers could see bursts of air bubbles expel from various spots on his body when he decided to flex his internal fluid bladders give himself a speed boost, cutting through the water like a brown torpedo.


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”Ooh, summoned!” Kimber floated down into the guest room through the ceiling, reclining horizontally with her ankles crossed and her fingers laced under her chin and broad smile. “Give me a chance to have opinions and watch me appear!”


The poltergeist had manifested a deep cerulean blazer over a pale robins egg dress shirt with the buttons undone down to the bottom of her sternum, showing where her fine chain and pendant hung between her breasts. Her matching slacks ended above the ankles to display a pair of dynamic heels, the height of which might have been impractical had she actually been required to walk upon them.


“What’s up, bleep-bloop? Everybody good? Did you and your friends want any snacks?” Eira was as good as Sharl’s little sister but there had been plenty of times over the years when her ultra-rational friend might not have been the best source of advice for an adolescent girl. The Canadian ghost still had a little trouble remembering that Eira was a little girl any more.

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Eira was wearing a one-piece swimsuit, its colorless grey fabric shot through with gleaming silver fibres, her hair wet and wild around her head and colored a distinct shade of grey. The titanium teen definitely did not look like a little girl in the high-leg suit, but truthfully it was nothing a young lady wouldn't wear to the beach and look respectable. Kimber had seen superhero costumes that covered less! "I need fashion advice," she said with a smile on her grey-tinted lips. "Bluebird only really understands Furion fashion." (Or so she claimed, anyway.) "And I want to show you something."


She tapped the suit and it abruptly changed color and shape into a dark, clinging costume adorned with bone-white sort-of vaguely occultic symbols that Eira's favorite metal bands liked - but the suit wasn't the only thing that changed! Even as the occult patterns shifted vaguely back and forth, Eira's hair shifted to a deep, almost matte black to match the color of the suit, and so did her painted lips - turning her from slightly undefined to a distinctly Gothic look. "I call this one Night Princess - "


She tapped it again, and this time it shifted to a brilliantly iridescent blue and yellow that looked like lightning against a clear blue sky, crackling ever so slightly as Kimber watched. Her lips and hair changed for this one too; a brilliant mixed pattern of blue and yellow. "And this one is Swedish Lightning. Which one do you think is better? I want to-impress the people here." Kimber had known Eira Katastroff since the latter was eight years old. Something was up. 



Bluebird, the castle's domestic AI , was standing by the pool and chatting with the Canadian science heroine Verglass - when water splashed right through her slightly translucent blue form, she turned and cheered the high-spirited teen before stepping "across" to Verglass's other side. "Delightful! I have been telling Kimber your nation should encourage more young champions as this one does," she said to Verglass with a satisfied expression on her face. "It has so many benefits!


Across the room, another Bluebird stood near the snack trays - on the other side, one was guarding the music. Another was monitoring the situation inside the guest quarters but knew that most organics preferred their privacy. 

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”Oh! Well I know which one Tarva would pick but this would certainly be the right audience for colour-coded patriotism what with True North and Vanguard and all of that,” Kimber mused while floating back an arm’s length to get a better look at Eira’s outfit change. She not-so-subtly focused more on the girl’s expression than her swimsuit however. She placed the tip of a slender finger to her chin. “You know it does seem like you usually would have said doing your hair and makeup before jumping in the pool would be, let me think, something like ‘an inefficient display of preening frivolity’ and then grumped about having to go socialize instead of working on a project in your room. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard you worry somebody wouldn’t be impressed with you.” The phantom rotated in the air so she was in more of a seated position. “Which ‘people’ are we talking about impressing?”

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It couldn't have come at a better time really.


He'd been gathering dust in the basement of the club immortus for however long he'd been down there waiting for the call to action in his dense dream filled sleep, it had felt like an eternity had passed and yet at the same time, no more than an instant.


The battle had been a good bit of exercise, enough to shake the rust from his bones and then some and root him firmly in the here and now.


He'd just finished giving himself a s omewhat overdue shave (courtesy of the small blowtorch he kept in his toiletries bag.) Watching in mild curiosity as the blackened flesh receded back to its healthy colour.


A little reminder from his adventures in the neolithic highlands of wales.


His armour (admittedly entirely vestigial  as it was.) Rested In its case, ready for a round of percussion maintenence and a spit and polish when he was back home.


For now he'd opted for a more casual attire of a white shirt, black trousers with suspenders, and his least stompy leather loafers.


Satisfied he looked at least presentable he made his way through the the guest wing, stopping only to give a light tap on his comrades door.


"You guys ready yet?" He rumbled "I'm head on down t' mingle."

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"Oh, well, it is a large...professional opportunity..." Eira had never lied very well and as color rose to her artificial cheeks (an autonomic, built-in reflex given that what passed for her blood was definitely not red) it was clear she hadn't learned how to do so at Claremont. "Listen, I did not want you to get the...wrong idea," she said carefully as she began smoothing her hair back, the magnetic fibers clinging to each other in a way that made styling easier. "But I have...you know, made friends at the school. It was not as bad as I thought it would be," she admitted. "And one of them is a boy who is going to the junior prom with me. Not as one does romantically, just as friends," she insisted, "but just for fun, just because we are friends. So it is a date, but only in the technical sense, just because English has no words for a boy and a girl who are friends going out together for fun, because it is a language built out of many wars on top of each other rather than any reason," she finished. "And anyway, he...he always looks very good," she admitted, "and I want to make sure I look good too. So we will match." She snapped her fingers, changing color back to Swedish Lightning. 

"I do like this one," she said, studying herself in the mirror, iridescent blue and yellow in the suit (and in her face and hair) seeming to crackle with barely suppressed energy. 

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Do you need me to see if they have crackers or pretzels or something?  Erick Sloane doted over with concern.  Though he hadn't moved from the bed, the lone American member of the Vanguard was trying his best to keep from nervously rushing over to check on Dee.   He was currently laying with his back on the bed staring straight up at the ceiling above.  The hood of his cape was currently pulled down, and his domino mask sat comfortably on the pillow nearby.


His concern even prevented him from teasing her about her preferred choice of beverage of the night being water.  Though he sympathized, in all actuality Erick preferred to nurse a drink or two the entire night.  In case he ever needed to act drunk, which somehow happened more often than not to him including the day the pair met.  His reasoning to prevent actually ever getting caught off guard. 

"If it gets too much, we'll blame jet lag and just head to the manor in North Bay.  But, I think it'll be fun.  Black tie, without the parts you hate.  Plus, I never miss an opportunity to watch Joseph eat finger foods.  I pretend he's a kaiju attacking a city and the little shrimp are the townsfolk."  Erick Pointed at the door after Joseph knocked and called out in response, "Sure thing big guy, we'll be out in another minute."

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"I will not," Leroy admitted, looking longingly at the snack table, "I do not eat or drink, yet I am grateful for the offer. Please, extend my thanks to our glorious hostess. This is beyond what we can repay." Bowing politely to Bluebird, the tall boy in the white robes wandered over to the pool. 


His hair had been piled up on his head, a thin circlet embedded in it dangling a fine-mesh white veil in front of his pensive face. As ever, he outright sparkled in the light, this time from a fine golden dust on his dark skin. His robe, soft cotton, was white as snow to a casual glance, but a closer look revealed shifting greys and glints of light, revealing that it projected the view of the clouds of some other world. His sandals were plain brown leather, without an inch of heel.


"Hullo." he muttered softly to Verglass, sitting gingerly apart from where Benicio had splashed. Almost immediately he lapsed into silence, watching gloomily as his green dragon floated belly-up, hissing with pleasure as his tail propelled him like a scaled torpedo across the lengths.

Edited by Ari
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Lately, Mia had been finding herself in a lot of places she would never expect to go. And that was strange for her, considering she could teleport literally anywhere on Earth should she choose to do it. But she never expected to go to space, or another dimension, or even just a superhero place here on Earth. And yet, here she was, in the bathroom of this weird place. She sighed to herself, psyching herself up. This wasn't a big deal. Just a minor appearance change. Definitely wouldn't be weird that she hid it with her hoodie on the way here.


She emerged from the bathroom, wearing a white and black one piece along with similar swim-shorts, but that wasn't what really stood out. What did was the fact that her hair, which before today went down to her butt, now was cut into a pixie cut, short on the sides and longer on the top. More than that, the long parts, normally pitch-black, were now an angry red.


"Uh, so," she said to the room around her, rubbing the back of her neck. "Does it look good or have I made a terrible mistake?"

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Eira caught Kimber’s expression in the mirror, her eyes wide and her lips parted into a nearly perfect circle of surprise and delight. She bobbed back and forth in the air and clapped her hands excitedly. “Oh. My Jams. You have a crush! You have a crush and he likes you ba~a~ack!” she singsonged. Her eyebrows shot up at a sudden thought. “Is he a bit evil? Did you come up with the goth one because he’s a bit evil? I promise I won’t judge.”

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"I think it looks very nice," assured Indira. She hadn't been hovering, necessarily, but she'd made it her business to make sure all their guests were settling in well enough, and she'd made sure to stay where she could track as many people as possible...including young women who looked nervous going into bathrooms.


She was dressed casually, slate slacks under a white button-up shirt with its top buttons undone - a dark purple tie hung loose as well, implying that she hadn't been long home from work before managing guests. It was a small but continuing blessing that she didn't need sleep.


She smiled, cocking her head to the side to get a better look at Mia's hair. "It is very modern," she said, nodding. "Very...fierce? I do not think it would draw negative attention from anyone whose opinion mattered."

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"I do not have a crush," Eira said firmly, crossing her arms over her chest. She looked irritated for a moment, but Kimber knew from experience it was hard to be mad at her for too long. "He is not evil, though he did help me with the...trouble." She smiled, her teeth white behind her blue-yellow lips. "We like the same kind of music, too. It's, ah, Pan, the one with the red hair and the green eyes. He is a dimensional exile from a plane aligned with Prime literature, so there must be a fascinating psionic resonance between his homeworld and ours. He is capable of some impressive magical feats such as flight and illusions, though it seems to be more an innate property of his being rather than a skill he has learned.

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When Ben came up for air, he saw Leroy and waved. "Yo, Prince Akheem! Isn't this place AMAZING?!" Then he saw the snack spread, and his jaw dropped open. "A pool...AND free food?! I'm dead, this is Heaven. Pour one out, I had a good run." He let his tentacles slip out of his torso. A couple of them shot up to the ceiling, hoisting him up out of the water, while a few more surged toward the buffet tables, winding around any people standing in their way. "'Scuse me, sorry, just gettin' my grub on, HELLO, 'suse me, score!" The suckers latched onto and curled around several food items, and then the tentacles retracted, pulling the food items in rapid succession into Ben's waiting mouth. He flashed two thumbs up to Bluebird and then retracted his tentacles from the ceiling, dropping back into the water.



Mia's hair, which before today went down to her butt, now was cut into a pixie cut, short on the sides and longer on the top. More than that, the long parts, normally pitch-black, were now an angry red. "Uh, so," she said to the room around her, rubbing the back of her neck. "Does it look good or have I made a terrible mistake?"


Ben's head came back up over the water just in time to watch Mia walk in. "Whoa." The water around him seemed to boil as he gave himself a boost into the air, landing on both feet and one hand near her. "YES, I am NAILING those lately." He stood up and held up a high-five for Mia. "Sick hair! FASHION-FIVE!"


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Kimber tilted her head and gave Eira a look that knowing but not unkind. “Beep-boop, you know the colour of his eyes and you can’t talk about him without smiling even when you’re trying to be mad at me.” She spread her hands palms upward as though to invite the girl to draw her own conclusions.


The poltergeist unhooked her ankles and let her feet drop nearly to the floor so that she was standing upright next to Eira. ”I shouldn’t tease you. You’re allowed to have a crush, you know. Or to just have a friend you think is super great! I just don’t want you to miss out on what you really want because you’re trying to convince everyone you’re too grown up to have feelings.” She looked back down at the swimsuit appraisingly. “Also, have we thought about a two-piece?”

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Adhira Zev laughed behind one hand at Ben’s antics, letting out an amused yelp as she was splashed by the water displaced by his cannonball. The water droplets that touched her skin turned immediately to flecks of ice with a soft crackle and fell to the tile floor. “They certainly do seem to keep things interesting,” she agreed with the projection of Bluebird speaking with her.


The Canadian heroine wore loose white capris and a flowing navy blouse with a yellow rope pattern winding around it. Metal bands could be seen past the cuffs and collar, forming a sort of exoskeleton around her limbs and torso and continuing up the back of her neck before arching over the tops of her ears and around her forehead. The stripped-down version of her control suit didn’t afford her as much control over her kinetic energy siphoning powers as he uniform did but it was considerably better suited to a social event. Burnished metal bangle bracelets, rings and a nose stud helped make it look more like industrial fashion.


She brushed the bangs of her own short, dark hair and gave Mia an approving wink while giving the energetic young man with the tentacles room to gush. Adhira shifted her attention to Leroy and asked Bluebird softly, “Is that one alright? He seems a bit too sparkly to be quite so glum.”

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"I know the color of everyone's eyes." Eira bit her lip and tested the suggestion - evidently something she'd planned for. Baring her midriff - and for that matter lowering her neckline a bit, turned out to be as simple a matter as pulling up on a central seam of her suit, exposing pale skin marked with occasional faint lines around her stomach and back, and folding down part of the suit's top so it seamlessly folded into itself. 


She studied herself critically, seemed to like what she saw, but then rolled the outfit back down into its more modest shape. "...It does look nice. But I will save that for the next one," she vocalized softly. She glanced at Kimber in the mirror, bit her lip, and added, "Not with so many adult heroes around." She looked at herself in the mirror again, then back at Kimber. "My friends..did not understand my feelings the last time I talked about them. I do not want to make any mistakes, to look...stupid." She smiled at Kimber. "Thank you, tant Kimber." She reached back and extended her hair a bit, then with a moment's thought slipped a nose piercing out of her suit pocket and popped it in her nostril. "Let's go see what they're doing.



Bluebird considered that, then smiled. "Yes, but I may be able to give him some cheer." One of the projections approached Leroy - an intimidating prospect, given that even projected she was a mighty woman over six feet tall, built with great strength in her frame as she leaned close to his ear. "Are you Perihelion? I have an urgent message for you - one that must be delivered privately.


In the hallway, a hologram appeared next to Joseph and asked with the discretion of a good butler, "Do you believe they require medical attention?"

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That might help, maybe some ginger ale as well.> Dee mentally responded as she moved over to select something to wear before grabbing a quick shower. She smirked slightly at Erick mentioning this being a "black tie" affair.


"If they are expecting black tie, then they will have to be sorely disappointed." She responded. "I fully intend to take every opportunity to wear jeans without elastic waists." She stated as she reached down to take Erick's hand and pull up right.


"Now unless we want to turn fashionably late into unfashionably late we need to get moving, so it would be far more efficient for us both to get a shower at once." She stated with a slightly mischievous grin.



A short while later Dee was finishing getting dressed, the Englishwoman choosing a pair of black jeans, a black T-shirt and a Doc Martins. She had blow-dried her shoulder length black hair, a pair of green strips going down one side.

"We ready?" She asked as she looked over to Erick.

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Kimber positively beamed at Eira, wrapping the girl in a big hug before she could protest and lifting her slightly off the ground for a moment. As ever the ghost’s physical manifestation was cool to the touch but the gesture was warmed by the intent. “Proud of you, Eira. No matter what. Also pretty sure you’re too bright to be anything stupid, amiright?” She released the teen and gestured toward the doorway. “Away we go. I need to grill this green eyed boy with a whole list of embarrassing questions.”

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Klara was regretting not packing her swimsuit before starting this mission, not that it was something she’d thought of in the first place, and it was unlikely that anywhere would stock anything in her size even in a city like Freedom City. And whilst they’d come a long way in the time since she left home there was still a taboo against swimming naked, especially with teenagers around.


“Oh what fools these mortals be!” she mused to herself, a quote from a favourite playwright of Tracy


She frowned wishing that her wife was here, but she couldn’t really drag Tracy out of bed so early in the morning for what boiled down to a superhero pool party.

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I'm sure there's a joke to be made about you drinking Canada Dry in front of the Canadian Super Team, but Agnes isn't here to make it to.    Erick gave no resistance as Dee guided him up, after all he had just told John they would be there in an eventual minute.  Swinging his legs forward to work with the motion.   As Erick heard Dee's suggestion, he already began stepping forward to lead her back towards the restroom with a face full of fake concern.  "Oh no, you're right.  I'd hate to not be punctual."



"Well, I certainly still have to applaud your efficiency."  Erick responded as he began wrapping a patterned yellow scarf around his neck.  Stopping snug under his chin and covering the entirety his neckline with it.  "I'm ready to escort Ms. Farrington to the ball," Erick joked before bowing forward playfully extending his arm out towards Dee.

Erick had taken a less casual approach to his clothing.  Donning a full Italian bespoke brown suit and matching boots. The blazer had six buttons split into two vertical rows across the center.  There was a small yellow pocket square handkerchief coming out of his pocket with his costumed identity's insignia.  No doubt a piece of the attire he never actually got to use but by the way he was patting in after placing it down it was clearly the part of the attire Erick was most proud of. 

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Mali had just finished a workout, then took her post workout shower. Then she remembered that they had guests and threw her bathing suit on before heading to the pool. She wore a lot of black, she admitted, but it suited her complexion. 


She walked into the pool area in a modest but flattering black two piece. She hadn't bothered to spike her hair because she was just about to get in the pool, and she was not about to bother with all that. She could have worn something else, but this was where she lived and she was a lot more comfortable in casual wear, or a bikini, than she was in anything formal. Her least favorite part of being a grown up. 


She was carrying a bottle of water. "Hey everyone. To those I know, hi. To those I don't, my name is Mali."

Edited by Thunder King
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Davyd had been soaring above the party, in the form of an eagle, taking in the sights of both the city and the many heroes gathered there (that's a lot even for Freedom!), but he also had an ulterior motive for doing so.  Not sure if anyone from True North or Vanguard would be impressed with my abilities, but when else would I get to show off in front of big heroes like them!


He banked towards the pool and landed, shifting into his Davyd form as he touched down.  At first he appeared to wear nothing but blue and gold swim trunks, but then he shifted, skin folding in on itself and shifting colors until he appeared to be wearing a midnight blue wetsuit.  He greeted his roommate OctoBen with finger guns (which momentarily elongated into tentacles), and waved at Leroy and Mia, then began introducing himself to others.  "Hello!  It's an honor to meet you!  I'm Horrorshow," he'd say, or something to that effect, then shift into a duplicate of whoever it was he was shaking hands with.


That is, until he got to Mali.  With her, he got through the "Hello!  It's a-" but then reflexively shifted into the form she'd last seen him in: a handsome man, mid-20s, tall (nearly six and a half feet!), with long brown hair, blue-green eyes, broad shoulders & muscular chest, a drab green jackets over a green and white plaid shirt, blue jeans, and black boots.


"Oh crap."


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Leroy rose, eyeing the Bluebird uncertainly. "I am he. Um. I just sent the form in yestreday, are there other Parhelions?"


He paused, and suddenly turned to Adhira.


"I-" he struggled with it for a moment, "-I could hear that. I was barely a few feet distant. If you wanted to ask, please do just ask, I am sorry for my behaviour, this is supposed to be a happy time and I am sorry that I have not better self-control. I said something stupid to a young lady I am very in love with and she said...it does not matter what, I was wrong and beg your pardon for my childish display and poor mouth. You are the Verglass, I have read your work, what little I understood was brilliant, you are brilliant. I wish I could be like you. That is everything, really."


He paused again "Thank you for what you said about me sparkling, I worked very hard on this outfit. Yours is much better." 


He turned back to the Bluebird. "I beg your pardon, kind and faithful intelligence, where were we?"

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