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Chelsea, London, England

Wednesday, March 24, 2020

10:32 AM local time

 

Dee Farrington guided her grey Aston Martin down the streets of London on this overcast morning. She was on her way to the apartment she owned in the area to check up on the time displaced teenage girl that was staying there currently. The Englishwoman had taken a bit of the long way round getting to the apartment, wanting to get ever little extra bit of time behind the wheel of her sports car before she got too far along to be able to be able to drive it.

 

She was dressed in her typical attire, jeans, a T-shirt, black leather jacket and a pair of Doc Marin boots. Her shoulder length black hair was pulled back in a ponytail, though a few locks hung lose along one side of her face, including one dyed green.

 

Not being able to truly justify any more delay, Dee pulled her car into her reserved car port. Climbing out, she made her way over to the front door, keying the intercom next to the gate for her apartment. "Muirne, its Dee, I will be up in a moment."


Letting herself in, three flights of stairs later (the doctors said it was good to continue to get regular exercise) and Dee was at the door to her apartment. Opening the door, she made her way into the living room. "Morning Muirne. How you doing today?" She asked as she entered.

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Muirne was wearing loose fitting comfortable clothes that swamped her figure, aiming for practicality over any form of fashion. Her hair had been wrestled into a messy braid reaching the small of her back. She enters the living room quietly, her eyes dart around the room, checking for any other visitors. "Good morning Síþwíf1 Dee. I've been well enough,  I haven't transformed in a while which is good, but I haven't been going out much because I don't want to risk doing it in public. I've been trying a few things I never got to before... well you know. My studies have been going well enough, but I'm having trouble with some of the mathematics. Is there anything I can do or get for you?" She pads over to the entrance of the kitchen, "Would you like something to eat or drink?"

1 A noblewoman or Lady

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"That is good to hear." Dee responded when Muirne mentioned having not transformed into her shadow form in awhile. The teenager's shadow form was very powerful, but she was unable to control when she transformed and then was often stuck in that form for hours at a time. Dee hoped that with time the teen would be able to obtain better control of the transformations, but for now she would take what good news there was. "I understand your concerns about not wanting to lose control in public, but you cannot hide yourself away from the world forever." She added with a slightly concerned tone. "But hopefully in time you will feel more confident to be out in public."

 

Taking a seat on the sofa, the Englishwoman shook her head slightly at the offer of something to drink. "Thank you, I am fine." She replied as she looked at the stack of books on the coffee table and considered Muirne's comments about her studies. "What exactly is the problem with the math?" Dee asked as she looked back over towards the kitchen. "We could take a look together and I can see if I can help."

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Muirne looks sheepish at the minor admonishment, "I know that I can't hide away from the world forever, and I know that powers are more common now than they were before, but I just... I don't want to be seen as a monster." The teenager brightens slightly at the change of topic, but gives the mathematics textbook at the top of the pile a sour look. "It's just algebra again, solving the equations this time. I have most of the rest down, I have until the end of the month to figure it out before I'm behind on my studies. If you're willing it would be nice to have some help, but you don't have to." She brushes a hair that had escaped the braid out of her face, while she says it. "A- anyway, how are things going with you and Breogo1 Sloane?"

 

1Prince, Lord or ruler

Edited by Kaede Kimura
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"I am always willing to help with your studies." Dee responded as she glanced briefly at the mathematics book before turning back to Muirne. At the teen's question, the Englishwoman briefly considered another reminder that there was no need for formal titles, but chose to let it go for the moment. "Erick and I are both very good." She replied instead. "In fact, that sort of leads to some things I wanted to talk to you about."

 

Sitting up, the Englishwoman turned so she was facing the teen a bit more directly. "First, Erick and I shared this with Joseph and Klara shortly after our recent mission to Canada, I am pregnant, the baby is due in about eight months."

 

"Erick and I have also been talking, there is a school in Freedom City that is exclusively for teenagers with powers and other unusual abilities." Dee then continued. "We think it might be good for you to attend the school in the autumn."

 

"It would be a chance for you to be among others your own age in a safe place where your abilities would not make you stand out too much. In addition to helping you acclimate more to life in this century, the school should be able to help you gain better control over your transformations. You will be able to return to London during the longer breaks and over the summer."

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Muirne pauses at the news, but finds herself again soon after, "Congratulations! If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. It's the least I could do after all you've done for me." She sits down across from Dee, listening closely about the school. "A school for Powers? If you and Breogo Sloane think it would be for the best, and it might allow me to control my transformations, then I shall prepare to depart come the fall. I do think I would like to come back to London in the breaks." She hesitates for a second before continuing, clasping her hands together before taking a breath, "Uhm- until then, could I maybe... work with you? And Vanguard, it's just, my entire life I've been told that 'You're going to be a great hero one day.', slaying dragons and protecting the innocent but... I haven't done anything. I go out to stop Dougal and be a hero and end up here. Then I spend a few seasons learning how to read and write in English and do mathematics and just trying to catch up on so much. So I try to relax and not think about it and everything on the television is superheroes and grand adventures, and here I am in an apartment, trying pumpkin for the first time and all I can think about is that I am doing nothing when I could be out helping." She runs out of breath at that point, and looks at the ground, not meeting Dee's eyes, before quietly saying "I just want to help."

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"Thank you." Dee responded to Muirne's congratulations. "I appreciate the offer, we might take you up on that, but hopefully it while be awhile before it gets too hard for me to do much."

 

The Englishwoman then listened closely as the teen expressed her interest in working with Vanguard over the next few months, and her reasons for wanting to. She felt a bit of conflicted feelings about the request, on one hand wanting to tell the teenager to enjoy her new opportunity to live life as a normal teen for awhile, but she could also understand Muirne's other points about wanting to be able to help and feeling she was just sitting on the sidelines.

 

"You have been through a lot." She replied in a sympathetic tone, leaning forward to try to be able to meet the teen’s downcast eyes. "Both in the past and now waking up to a vastly changed world. You have made great progress in the last few months and going to Claremont will certainly help that process even more. I understand the desire to want to help, but no one would think any less of you if you just wanted to be normal for awhile."

 

The older woman then leaned back once more, her tone getting more lighthearted as she gave the teen a mischievous grin. "But that said, I don't think we would turn away a set of helping hands. So, these books will hold till another day. You feeling up to getting out of here for a bit?"


"Erick should be in the Haven right now, some of the others might be as well, we could pop by and see if anything is up."

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Muirne nodded, meeting Dee's eyes again, "I know I've been through a lot, and I know that I could try to be normal but... I don't know how. I barely knew how to be normal in my own time, and now the only only normal I know is what I was taught." She perked up as Dee mentioned going out, before quickly rocketing out of her seat at the mention of going to the Haven. "I would love to go to the Haven!" She looked at the clothes she's wearing before grinning sheepishly. "I think I should get changed into something more suitable for going out. Should I wear my armour, or normal clothes?"

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Dee grinned at Murine's sudden excitement about going out to the Haven. At the girl's question, the Englishwoman did not hesitate to respond, "normal clothes is fine for the trip there. Bring your other things, if need, you can change at the Haven."


"So, go change and gather your things then." She stated with a gesture towards the bedroom and a wide smile. It was good to see the teen's sprits brighten.

 

We are on our way love. Dee mentally transmitted to Erick Slone via the mental connection the pair had. She is receptive to the idea of going to Claremont as well.

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Muirne probably wouldn't deny having skipped out of the room, but that would depend on who asked. She rummaged through her closet, grabbing her armour, spear and shield. She began to look through her clothes for something to wear that wouldn't be too much of a hassle getting in and out of if she ended up wearing her armour. She settled on a burgundy button up shirt that fit better than her previous t-shirt, and some black jeans, with black sneakers. She bundled the gear into a hockey bag, removing the spear head and securing it against the inside of the bag. She was about to head out the door, before she paused, went back into her closet and retrieved her Domino mask, tucking it into her pocket, and grabbed her phone. With everything put together, she rushed out the door, bag in hand, coming to a stop before Dee. "I've got everything Síþwíf Dee."

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See you guys soon!  Oh when we drop her off we should get me one of those airport toblerones.  The bigger the better, we can see how small it looks in Joseph's hands.   Although Erick's retort was lighthearted to Dee it had an all too-familiar air.  The same level of focus he carried   Plus, it wasn't as if they needed to actually take a plane to bring her to freedom city in the Fall.  Clearly his attention was divided elsewhere.

After a few seconds Erick responded once more.  This time  with a renewed softness in his 'voice'.  I'm glad to hear she's down.  They have the tools and resources to socialize her with kids her age.  Well...unless when we fill out the paperwork are we counting her age from her birthday, because I think we might have to take her to a nursing home instead? 

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Dee had gotten up from the sofa when Muirne had gone to change and gather her equipment, moving over to one of the windows and looking out at the street below as she continued her mental communication with Erick. She smile slightly at his mention of a possible alternative destination for the teenage. Very funny, that would be sure to cheer her up. She replied. No, Claremont it is, and it will be good for her. See you shortly.

 

When Muirne came out with her things the Englishwoman turned to face her. "Well, off we go then." She replied with a smile before leading the teen out of the apartment. A short trip down the stairs and they were back outside and over to Dee’ parked sports car. Popping open the trunk of the car, Dee started toward the driver’s seat. "Just stow that bag in the boot and we will be off." She stated as she climbed behind the wheel.

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Muirne had a large grin as she walked down the stairs, bag in hand. She was going to the Haven she would be in the place that Vanguard operated from. Dee had told her to bring her armour, so if something happened she could help. She quickly packed her bag into the boot of the car, then crossed to the passenger side, hopping in nimbly. This was it. A short drive, then she'd be amongst other Powers. Among Heroes. She hoped one day that she could be counted amongst their numbers.

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Dee had started the engine of the sports car as Muirne stowed her bag, the already powerful engine had been fine-tuned by the Englishwoman for even greater performance. Once Murine was in with her seatbelt on, Dee pulled out of the driveway and maneuvered onto the road as she started off towards Whitehall. Due to the typical London traffic, Dee was never really able to shift into higher gear, but that did not stop her from weaving in and out of traffic as much as she could.

 

A short while later, they had parked at a Ministry car port thanks to Dee’s clearance and made their way down into the underground tunnel that lead to the Haven. The tunnel was rather barren and dimly lit, but eventually led to a huge metal door at its end, a massive letter V engraved upon it. Above the pair was the faintest sound of the Thames flowing overhead.

 

As the pair approached the massive door sensors located to either side activated, lasers shining in the dim light to scan each of them. "Greetings Dee Farrington, aka Synapse." Spoke a mechanical sounding voice. "Second individual identified, Muirne Sceadusangere. Please confirm secondary individual's clearance Synapse."

 

"Good morning VERA." Dee said with a small smile as she looked at the massive door. "Clearance is verified."

 

"Welcome Muirne Sceadusangere." The AI responded, as the massive door began to slide open.

 

Beyond the massive door was the large, towering central hub of the Haven, with austere décor of arched metal that formed a tall dome. Along the circular outer wall were several open doorways, extending outward like spokes to other various chambers.

 

At the center of the hub was a massive plated column covered with computers and monitors, all flickering away as they monitored a multitude of information sources.

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Zhenshchina-voin

Dressed down in a pair of suitably sized dungarees the very tall Amazonian woman Klara came through carrying a massive piece of equipment without any apparent effort. When she saw the newcomer she stopped and grinned at her and Dee.

 

So this is the new little sister you’ve been telling us about?” she picked up a faint Yorkshire accent on her decades in this country

 

In case you couldn’t tell I’m Klara Svoboda, I’d shake your hand or give a hug but you know..” she’d gestured towards the machinery she was carrying

 

Any questions don’t hesitate to ask, I’ve been doing this for a very long time!”

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"VERA!  I was looking at that file still.  When I want something pulled up, multiple screens.  Multiple screens.  Don't you pretend to be freezing up on me again."  Foreshadow was arguing with a monitor in a corner of the center hub.  His mask and caped hood were wrapped around the back of his chair.  Merely a formality as the Ministry of Powers was already well acquainted with his identity that was growing less secret by the day. Throwing his arms up with exaggerated frustration, Erick prepared to argue with the ever helpful AI.  "I'm going to the Tesco and buying a new AI."

Overhearing Klara at the doorway, Erick turned around and gave a cheeky shrug to the trio before pointing at the monitor.  "She started it."

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 Muirne had to hold herself back from sprinting into the Haven, but couldn't have stopped herself from from gawking if she'd wanted to. She stared around at the base of Vanguard, keeping pace with Dee while she swiveled to keep track of everything, until she heard a voice behind her. She turned around and looked up, and up. And a bit further up. Klara towered over the short girl, holding the piece of machinery higher than her head height. "S- sweoster1?" she wasn't sure how to respond to being welcomed as family by a member of the Vanguard. Upon Klara's gesture to the great piece of metal she carried that was larger than the car she arrived in.  

"I- I will keep that in mind, thank you Síþwíf Klara." She jumped slightly at Erick's outburst, listening closely as he argued with the base's computers. "Is Breogo Sloane alright?" as he turns and denied responsibility she chuckled lightly, before she turned to Dee "Is there anything that needs doing?"

 

1 Sister

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Dee shot Erick a stern look at his argument with VERA. "As if any off the shelf AI could handle half of what VERA does." She replied before looking over to Muirne and giving the teen a small smile. "He is fine. Just has trouble with technology sometimes." She replied as she moved over towards the central hub. "I am sure there is something we could find that needs to be done." She continued.

 

Tapping one of the screens in front of her, Dee pulled up a holographic keyboard that formed in front of her as she began to type with one hand while touching the screen a couple more times while flicking active several holographic displays. "All systems seem to be operating fine VERA." The Englishwoman stated as she glanced at the displays before looking over the screen in front of her towards her fiancé.

 

"So, is there something in particular you are working on?"

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"Alright so the Chelsea Firm.  Publicly Chelsea make their money through exports/imports.  But, the firm is the largest crime firm in London.  The Sweeney Crime Syndicate, affectionately nicknamed The  Sweeney's, is unique that even in this day and age most of their income is generated illegally, UK organized crime is pretty territorial and the Sweeney's are aggressive in swallowing up said territory any time there is an opportunity to do so.  And last, but certainly my least favorite is.  Russov Petrova UK LTD, an investment company subsidiary of the Russov Energy company from Russia.  Locally their criminal acts are committed through intermediaries and London, but domestically they have their own PMC in Norway"  As Erick spoke VERA would display a different image to line up with the flow of the conversation.  To which Erick rubbed the bridge of his nose before double checking his monitor.  Checking that his multiple windows were still in fact open before continuing with the explanation. 

"So obviously they all want to control the big markets in MAX, ZOOM, and whatever the next big designer drug is.  Which in this case is BOOST, a nootropic that supposedly gives people heightened intelligence and awareness.  If it doesn't give you a stroke or aneurysm first.  So tension's been ramping up.  There's even rumors that they're hiring powered muscle.  I'd like to say this won't get too heated with them fighting over a drug that.  But, it's a lot easier to track legitimate purchases than it is ones that have run through multiple shell companies.  It's a whole Where's Waldo-I'm sorry 'Wally' thing." 

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Muirne listened closely to Erick's explanation, quickly schooling her expression, although no small amount of excitement bubbled inside of her. She could help with this, she could fall back on what she'd been told. "I don't know who Wally is, but in terms of the fighting, we should gather information on their forces and positions. Then, we can..." She searched for the words to express what she's talking about, "strike?" She nodded. "We can strike, thinning their numbers and weakening their hold on their, uh, land?" She looked up at the heroes surrounding her, trying to gauge their reaction.

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Zhenshcina-voin

Everyone here is a Sestra, even Mr Grumpypants over there! We look after each other like family.”

 

She gently put down the piece of equipment and went over to see what all the fuss was about, interested in the new girl and the case Foreshow was, badly, working on.

 

The Sweeny, Tracy loved that show… but that probably doesn’t help.” she thought for a few seconds before adding “Not all the Ministries files have been digitised, maybe it’s up in the paper files, or you know how the various groups dislike sharing. Have you had VERA peek at the Met files?”

 

With a smile she tried to explain it to Muirne.

 

These are not a traditional warriors you cannot just defeat them in a straight battle, though that is fun as well. We need to dig out the leaders and bring them to justice so they can’t just carry on with new warriors.”

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Muirne looked thoughtful as she considered Klara's words, "So it is not like fighting a battle, more like a... I don't know the word. Like killing lots of rats? We have to snare as close to all of them as we can. That way their numbers cannot surpass what the cats can handle. These Chelseas, Sweeneys and Russov Petrova are nests and the people selling the drugs are foraging to feed the nest?" She mulled it over in her head as she reconsidered the scenario.

 

"So the reason my plan to battle them wouldn't work is the nests would feel threatened and burrow deeper, but would not be stopped so the rats would return. So instead we have to hit the nests and foraging groups at the same time, but we can't go after the nest unless we can prove that it's truly a rat warren, and if we cannot get all three nests all we would have done is freed the others to expand. And we have to do all of this before the warriors clash." She fiddles with a stray length of hair while she thinks. "So we still need to keep track of the warriors, especially with powers involved, while tracking the nests. We still need to scout, and if we can we delay in a way that does not blame the other gangs. So we need a new  enemy that threatens them all while being something they think they can fight so they do not hide. What if at night I go out, gather information and begin delay tactics if they move too quickly?"

Edited by Kaede Kimura
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"Ey it's me VERA! Can I come in?" Boomed a dull but doughty voice from behind the metal doors that sealed off the haven before they cracked open revealing the hulking armour clad figure that was dreadnought in his Sunday best 

 

"Ta' love." He called over to the AI''s main interface as he thudded in "hey folks, sorry I'm late, had some ironclad stuff to do." He explained as he made his way over.

 

"Holding up OK, kid?" He asked Muirne directly as he arrived amid their conversation.

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Muirne turned as she heard him approaching, giving him a smile as he walked up, although eye contact became harder to maintain. "Good morning Breogo Walker. I've been well, it's nice to be out of the apartment again without having to worry about transforming." She gestured towards the screen, indicating what Erick had been talking about. "Breogo Sloane was just informing us about what some criminal groups have been doing."

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"Hey Paul Bunyan, it's good to see you in today."  Erick called out to Dreadnought as he walked in.  "Though before everyone lets the cart drive off the rails.  I do want to reel things in a second. Tensions are up.  But, they're not at the point of getting at each other's throats anymore than usual yet.  They have legitimate fronts and we can't exactly wipe any off the board in one swell swoop. As has been mentioned taking the head would be best, but the crime families may last even after that."

"Though, Klara's got a great idea in going analog to look for some of the older files.  A good short term goal would be finding who would be capable of designing the new hotness in designer drugs.  Take them out of the equation and no one will be able to fight for a monopoly over something that's no longer an option to sell.  Or even finding who has been brought in as muscle.  Scouting them for information that isn't in the government database is a good choice of action.  But..." 
Erick's darted between the other three senior members of the team.  Making a quick appraisal.  "Some nights are pretty much just staring at a warehouse with binoculars and nothing actionable occurring."

Others involve a bit more avoiding modern weaponry.  Anyways that's what I've been working on.  He discretely told Dee over their shared mental link.

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