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Justice

 

8PM, March 14th, 2020

Betlehem Heights, the noodle place on the corner of 14th and Ramos

 

Robin was nervous. Not quite to the oh-god-I'm-a-wreck level of nervous just yet, but she was nervous. She wasn't the only hero in Emerald City, which was great, but everything was just so random. One day, she'd run into Emerald Spider, then it would be months before she saw someone else. Emerald City was big, sure, but it was almost like everyone was staying away from everyone else on purpose, and well, she'd been nervous about trying to rock the boat there. Emerald City didn't have many heroes, she didn't want to get on the bad side of anyone by pretending she could be the one to call everyone together and boss them around or anything like that. She really didn't want to do anything like that, but, well... things were changing, right? They'd probably seen the news of the Mars Ultio Suits, if they hadn't already run into them on the streets. And well, she knew some things about them that the others might not. At least she had a little bit of local fame with the whole thing with fighting the Wall getting on TV and when she helped put Devlin back in place, so she wasn't a total unknown. Still, she was still nervous about this thing.

 

She was wearing her costume. Red with light grey boots and gloves, a pink lion on her chest and wearing her red domino mask. She wasn't quite ready to let everyone know who she was here, but wearing the full armor would be weird, if she wasn't about to fight someone at least. God, she hoped nobody would start fighting.

 

So, Robin put out the call on HeroHouse and CapesList. A simple message:

 

Hey, everyone in Emerald City, this is Justice! I know we're not really a close-knit community or anything, but things seem to be changing, and I'd like everyone to meet up. I'll be at the noodle place at the corner of 14th and Ramos in Betlehem. I hope I'll see you all there.

 

Right, so, she had met Emerald Spider, Meta-Naut and Kanunu. Hopefully at least one of them would show up, maybe some of the other heroes that had started running around. At least the owners of this place were good people, they didn't mind people in masks and costumes. Maybe she'd even get the chance to thank Emerald Spider for introducing her to the place

 

So, she waited. Eyes on the door. Hoping that at least someone would show up.

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Emerald Spider

Hello Mrs Pak I’ll have the usual please, and a coffee best make it strong!”

 

After a long day at work, and the various heroing, Peri was tired and wanted to do nothing more than curl up and catch up on her shows. But this message from Justice was important, as (somehow) the elder stateswoman of the heroes of Emerald City it was important that she make the effort to get involved. It was a little showing off but she jumped up and balanced on the top of the chair, her natural reflexes and the Spdr Rig allowing her to perch without much effort.

 

I guess you found a chance to check this place out after all! So how’s it going Justice?”

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Nicole

 

Nicole had to admit that someone calling an assembly of all heroes into one place was mighty suspicious.  It was a place to gather and paint targets on everyone's backs, including the Paks, the elderly Korean couple who had been bought the joint during the late 1990's after the financial crisis had left Mr. Pak's comfortable salaryman life in South Korea in tatters.

 

Good for them to have found a new life in Emerald City. Financial stability, a large diaspora, friends and family.

 

But it was about to get even more colorful, Nicole noted as Emerald Spider and another hero continued loitering in the small noodle shop. She sighed as she shut the book she had been pretending to read on the street corner a block away from  the noodle shop and stood up, quickly striding into a nearby alley. She wrapped the coat tighter around her. She was used to colder in the East Coast but the weather had taken a turn for the worse in the last hour.

 

It was irresponsible really, to expose civilians so brazenly, but perhaps it might just work to keep the villains at bay. She had heard rumors of Comrade Frost settling down with a coven of tame vampires.  It would be nice to have no other than her Freedom League Auxiliary leader stationed in this city with her. Besides the possibility of Frost, she knew several Emerald City heroes, either as one-off acquaintances or through the news.

 

Nicole doubled back to an appropriately shadowy and deserted part of the alleyway. The lights began to flicker, sending the whole area into darkness in brief moments.

 

Maybe Justice had the right idea. Maybe what the people in this city needed weren't heroes scurrying around like mice, from one shadow to the next, to be caught one by one with no help, alone. Maybe it was time to gather around.

 

At the very least it would make the nights less lonely. It was times like these she missed Claremont.

 

"So what do you say?" Nicole reached out and patted Bellios on the elbow. "Ready to pose for the cameras?"

 

***

Salvo

 

With a roar of flame, Salvo descended from the night sky and landed heavily in front of the noodle shop's entrance, startling a group of highschool kids on a Friday night out.

 

She waved at them then pushed the glass door open and stepped inside, followed by the excited murmurs of the kids who had just noticed the gathered heroes inside and were now themselves gathered around the storefront, too shy to enter on their own. The door shut and with it, the kids' murmuring was shut out, though Nicole smiled in her control room. It had taken her literal forever to finagle that level of fine control on Bellios.

 

"Hey Spider, long time no see." She called out, giving a wave to the hero balancing on a chair. "How're the webs?"

 

She glanced around at the plastic chairs that would no doubt break if she sat on them and decided that standing was the better option.

 

Then Justice would see herself reflected on Salvo's visor, somehow a small glint of recognition appearing in that one-way mirror.

 

"And you must Justice." The armored hero extend a hand, towering over Justice. "I saw your call on Hero House. You wanted to meet?"

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Venomax

 

the social scene had never really been Vernons thing, even in his civilian life.

 

Though he would go out for coffee or on lunch break with his co-workers he would usually find himself tuning out and in turn being tuned out.

 

In his heroic endeavours however this would leave him cut off from both information and support, it would be a critical weakness to let himself carry on in total isolation from the now much larger and more active community of powered individuals.

 

So here he stood just outside the noodle place mentioned in the herohouse post in his costume, freshly cleaned and chemically neutralized of any residue left over from his previous engagements.

 

Hesitating for but a moment he pushed the door open and walked in, quickly scanning restraunt for signs of colourful costumes he opted to place his order and wander over to join them.

 

"Names Venomax, saw the post; curious to what you have in mind." Short and succinct as always.

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Kimo wasn't the most plugged into the whole 'Hero Scene' as many, it had been part of the appeal of grad school in the Emerald Cities.  Of course that hadn't really worked out.  So his newfound semi-celebrity earned him a call from his auntie back in Freedom who did track all this hero stuff.  After no small amount of badgering from the temperamental elemental he'd agreed to make an appearance.  Besides a boy needs to eat right?

 

He hadn't bothered with his costume such as it was, since that was mostly taking off his shirt these days.  The big man strode into the noodle shop with a wide smile as he nodded greeting to the familiar heroes and unknown alike.  He ordered a large bulgogi bowl and joined the others sinking into the nearest chair to dig in.  "This way good."  he complemented with a laugh, "Worth the trip just for the chow."  the powerhouse looked to Justice with a brow raised between bites, "So what this all about then?"

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Santa Muerte

 

Ximena hadn't known what HeroHouse was, or that it even existed, until Atzi brought Justice's post to her attention. She hadn't thought of herself as "a superhero" until her friend and business partner helped her connect the dots. She didn't think of her spells as "powers", but they did allow her to do things ordinary people couldn't do. Nor did she think of her clothes and vestments as "a costume", but she had to admit that they, too, set her apart from the majority. The locals who had seen her in action had even provided her with a superhero name, dubbing her "Santa Muerte", the Lady of Holy Death. She had to admit it: "I'm a superhero." And thus, the call to arms from this "Justice" person included her.

 

Inside the restaurant, a bloody gash appeared in the air itself, sliced with a curved blade, transparent and glowing green, wielded by a dark-skinned hand covered in silver rings and bracelets. The woman the hand belonged to stepped through the gash, parting the flesh of the universe like curtains, revealing only darkness underneath. The breach healed behind her as soon as she stepped through. She wore a black corset over an elaborate multi-layered ankle-length bell-sleeved dress of the same color, under a scarlet cloak. Her face was concealed behind a mask carved to resemble a human skull so closely that observers had to wonder if it was authentic. A smooth oblong black gem was set into the forehead of the mask. Everything about the woman reeked of magical energy to Salvo, but the stone's aura shined the brightest of all.

 

The green sickle vanished from the woman's hand. She reached up and pulled down her hood, then pulled off her mask, revealing several necklaces, ear and facial piercings, and long white hair she shook loose. Under the mask her face was covered in extensive skull-face makeup of the sort one would see at a Mexican "Day of The Dead" celebration; while the mask had been on, the dark circles around her eyes and nose had enhanced its visual effect. She saw the colorfully-dressed motley crew gathered at the far end of the restaurant and made her way toward them, the heels of her boots clacking against the floor. As she walked past the booths and tables, she was hit with a sudden vision of death to come, a charred corpse fused to the seat of a car, with other cars backed up in front of it in lines as far as the eye could see in every direction. She stopped and grabbed the shoulder of one of the seated customers, turning to look down at him.

 

"You drive to work?"

"Um...yeah?"

"Take the bus."

 

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It had been a long time. Naomi had been doing the hero thing again for oh…a couple of weeks now. Claremont had been easy. Just grab a classmate or two and head out on patrol. There was always something happening in Freedom City. Not that Emerald didn’t have its share of crime. But bluntly? It was so much easier with a partner who could talk. It wasn’t that she minded not being able to, exactly. But man, was pen and paper ever inefficient. And explaining to cop after cop…look, it was tiresome. She needed some help on the social front. And it so happened she’d maintained a Capeslist account. So she put on her costume (lavender and gold bolero jacket, silver domino mask, golden skirt, the whole thing) and flew to the noodle shop. Well…more like rode the city’s soundwaves there. Yeehaw, cowgirl away. No force field, not for this. Just a friendly meeting, right?

 

Before going in, she peeked inside. Oh, there were a bunch here already. And, of course, she didn’t know any of them. At least, she didn’t think so? She had a brief urge to just leave. Because she’d have to explain. Again. But she shook it off and entered the noodle shop. She simply walked up to the group and joined them. She took her pad and pen out of her interior jacket pocket, and waved in greeting.

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Leaning back against the counter, Robin looked up at the ceiling while she waited, before shooting an appreciative smile at Emerald Spider. "Yup, been a regular for a while now, the Paks are awesome. And I've been busy... lots of things happening all over. I'm just happy that you're here, ES. I was worried that no one at all was gonna show." Yeah, it would probably be just the two of them. She'd met Kanunu a while ago when she'd teamed up with him and Emerald Spider to protect those bad guys from the Mafiya and she knew the Meta-Naut was out there somewhere, there were scattered reports about others out there... and then the Ultio Suits, of course. She frowned a bit at the thought.

 

And then it all happened fast.

 

On 3/23/2020 at 1:39 PM, Zeitgeist Blue said:

"And you must Justice." The armored hero extend a hand, towering over Justice. "I saw your call on Hero House. You wanted to meet?"

 

Someone in a huge armor entered the shop! Robin reached for her belt on instinct before stopping herself, just looking up at the huge armor with wide eyes. It was so big! 

 

"Woah... that's... that's a huge armor..." It looked kinda weird. Not quite just tech, right? 

 

Shaking her head, she snapped out of it and extended her hand, quickly shaking the massive gauntlet, while being happy that she'd come up with a costume for while she wasn't wearing an armor herself. "Yep! I'm Justice! Great to meet you!"

 

On 3/23/2020 at 2:25 PM, Exaccus said:

"Names Venomax, saw the post; curious to what you have in mind." Short and succinct as always.

 

On 3/24/2020 at 7:28 AM, angrydurf said:

The big man strode into the noodle shop with a wide smile as he nodded greeting to the familiar heroes and unknown alike.  He ordered a large bulgogi bowl and joined the others sinking into the nearest chair to dig in.  "This way good."  he complemented with a laugh, "Worth the trip just for the chow."  the powerhouse looked to Justice with a brow raised between bites, "So what this all about then?"

 

And another in armor, and Kanunu... Excusing herself from the big armor, she quickly hurried over to Venomax, greeting Kanunu with a quick grin on the way, before turning to the other newcomer. "Hey, I'm Justice, come in, I've got some ideas, but I'll wait until..."

 

3 hours ago, Grumblefloof said:

...a bloody gash appeared in the air itself, sliced with a curved blade, transparent and glowing green, wielded by a dark-skinned hand covered in silver rings and bracelets. The woman the hand belonged to stepped through the gash, parting the flesh of the universe like curtains, revealing only darkness underneath. The breach healed behind her as soon as she stepped through...

 

Robin froze, looking at the woman as she stepped through. Alright. That... that was a thing that someone did. Cutting through the air, stepping inside, walking and giving people warnings about taking the bus. Yes, yes, that was absolutely a thing that some people did. 

 

2 hours ago, EternalPhoenix said:

She simply walked up to the group and joined them. She took her pad and pen out of her interior jacket pocket, and waved in greeting.

 

"Oh, hey, welcome!" She could hardly not introduce herself, and at least she looked a bit less scary than the last one, right?

 

Looking around, it was, well, a lot more people than she had expected. ES, Kanunu, the big armor guy, Venomax, the woman that cut through the freaking sky and the woman in gold and silver. Alright, seven of them in total, that was... that was a lot. She'd hoped for maybe 2 or 3 people showing up, herself included.

 

She should say something, she really should, but she was just kinda stunned at the whole thing? Everyone showing up at all at once, some of them already knowing each other of course. Maybe this was a bad idea. She really wasn't good at stuff like this, maybe she should ask Emerald Spider to do it... But that wouldn't really be fair, would it?

 

Steeling herself, she stepped up to counter and looked around at everyone else.

 

"Alright, I'm really not good at things like this, so bear with me, please?" She glanced over at Emerald Spider, looking for some support, before looking back at everyone again. "First of all, the Paks were really nice and let me do this thing here, so please be nice to them. They're really good people. So, uh... I think I introduced myself to everyone already, but just in case, I'm Justice. I've been doing the hero thing for about a year and half now, and, well... I kinda thought it'd be time for us to try and get together? Try and get organized a bit?" 

 

She shook her head. Focus, focus. Don't worry, worst thing they can do is say no. Which would be bad enough, but... Right, right.

 

"So, uh... I've been kind of looking at things. Emerald has its fair share of problems, right? But I dunno, seems like things have been changing lately. Its mostly been down to Earth stuff. Purse snatchers, organized crime, bank robbesr, that sorta thing, at least for me, but, its kinda weird. Like, those people that Emerald Spider and Kanunu fought, the Upstarts, and in the summer, when Devlin came alive and I helped stop that, and... well, then there's MarsTech's new Ultio Suits. Their "everyone can be super heroes" thing. You've seen that, right? I, um... I might have some kinda bad news there?"

 

Robin trailed off, rubbing her left arm. It still felt weird to know that Max Mars had stolen her tech.

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Salvo

 

20 hours ago, RocketLord said:

Someone in a huge armor entered the shop! Robin reached for her belt on instinct before stopping herself, just looking up at the huge armor with wide eyes. It was so big! 

 

"Woah... that's... that's a huge armor..." It looked kinda weird. Not quite just tech, right? 

 

Shaking her head, she snapped out of it and extended her hand, quickly shaking the massive gauntlet, while being happy that she'd come up with a costume for while she wasn't wearing an armor herself. "Yep! I'm Justice! Great to meet you!"

 

"Call me Salvo." She shook the hand offered. "And it's nice to meet you too."

 

Her eyes were drawn down to the stone on Justice's belt. Data arrived in her feed, confirming that it was indeed magic.

 

A fellow practitioner then. It was always nice to meet someone who was aware reality was more than science and physical laws. 

 

But before Salvo could say anything the door opened once and a second time in quick succession. Two more people had entered, one in costume and a big man without but who seemed to know Justice. Things were getting crowded in the noodle shop. Justice excused herself and Salvo let her go with a nod, watching as the host welcomed the newcomers.

 

On 3/25/2020 at 1:57 PM, Grumblefloof said:

Inside the restaurant, a bloody gash appeared in the air itself, sliced with a curved blade, transparent and glowing green, wielded by a dark-skinned hand covered in silver rings and bracelets. The woman the hand belonged to stepped through the gash, parting the flesh of the universe like curtains, revealing only darkness underneath. The breach healed behind her as soon as she stepped through. She wore a black corset over an elaborate multi-layered ankle-length bell-sleeved dress of the same color, under a scarlet cloak. Her face was concealed behind a mask carved to resemble a human skull so closely that observers had to wonder if it was authentic. A smooth oblong black gem was set into the forehead of the mask. Everything about the woman reeked of magical energy to Salvo, but the stone's aura shined the brightest of all.

 

The green sickle vanished from the woman's hand. She reached up and pulled down her hood, then pulled off her mask, revealing several necklaces, ear and facial piercings, and long white hair she shook loose. Under the mask her face was covered in extensive skull-face makeup of the sort one would see at a Mexican "Day of The Dead" celebration; while the mask had been on, the dark circles around her eyes and nose had enhanced its visual effect. She saw the colorfully-dressed motley crew gathered at the far end of the restaurant and made her way toward them, the heels of her boots clacking against the floor. As she walked past the booths and tables, she was hit with a sudden vision of death to come, a charred corpse fused to the seat of a car, with other cars backed up in front of it in lines as far as the eye could see in every direction. She stopped and grabbed the shoulder of one of the seated customers, turning to look down at him.

Nicole heard a small ping right before the hole in reality was slashed open.

 

Curious, she turned Bellios to look at the pinprick in the fabric of space and so she was greeted by the bloody gash rent into it a second later. A woman stepped out from that gash and though the insides of the gash showed nothing but darkness, her sensors had picked up what lay beyond. The gash closed and Nicole watched the woman stroll forward and the energies from that dimension followed her, as if she had bathed in them and bleached her bones and soul black and foul. 

 

Reams of the magic transformed into data appeared before her eyes, and she read things not meant for this mortal coil. The cloak infused by the remains of spirits, the mask drawing its power from the viridian stone infused with dead whispers that spoke to her from the edges of her vision. Only her armor's, Bellios', wards protected her from the intensity of the reeking magic, like a seawall against the tide.

 

"I-- I think I'm gonna be sick," she bent down and conjured a wastebasket moments before retching her metaphysical lunch into it. She lifted her head, wiping the leftover puke with a sleeve, and muttered a curse.

 

"Necromancer."

 

***

 

While Nicole grappled with the witch's appearance in her mind, Salvo was as still as a corpse, save for the slow turn of her head following Ximena's intently. Her reflection almost shined with how unnaturally defined it was in the helmet's visor, as if the armor itself was etching the necromancer into its memory. Perhaps she noticed the predatory stare, perhaps not as most likely all of the noodle shop and those outside it now had Ximena in their attention.

 

There was a masquerade to uphold yet she had made a scene of her entrance. Luckily for both of them such open use of magic could easily be excused as powers, a gimmick.

 

Practitioners who flaunted their mystical training so openly were misguided fools at best, dangerous madmen at worst.

 

And Salvo knows just where the newcomer falls.

 

20 hours ago, RocketLord said:

Looking around, it was, well, a lot more people than she had expected. ES, Kanunu, the big armor guy, Venomax, the woman that cut through the freaking sky and the woman in gold and silver. Alright, seven of them in total, that was... that was a lot. She'd hoped for maybe 2 or 3 people showing up, herself included.

 

She should say something, she really should, but she was just kinda stunned at the whole thing? Everyone showing up at all at once, some of them already knowing each other of course. Maybe this was a bad idea. She really wasn't good at stuff like this, maybe she should ask Emerald Spider to do it... But that wouldn't really be fair, would it?

 

Steeling herself, she stepped up to counter and looked around at everyone else.

 

"Alright, I'm really not good at things like this, so bear with me, please?" She glanced over at Emerald Spider, looking for some support, before looking back at everyone again. "First of all, the Paks were really nice and let me do this thing here, so please be nice to them. They're really good people. So, uh... I think I introduced myself to everyone already, but just in case, I'm Justice. I've been doing the hero thing for about a year and half now, and, well... I kinda thought it'd be time for us to try and get together? Try and get organized a bit?" 

 

She shook her head. Focus, focus. Don't worry, worst thing they can do is say no. Which would be bad enough, but... Right, right.

 

"So, uh... I've been kind of looking at things. Emerald has its fair share of problems, right? But I dunno, seems like things have been changing lately. Its mostly been down to Earth stuff. Purse snatchers, organized crime, bank robbesr, that sorta thing, at least for me, but, its kinda weird. Like, those people that Emerald Spider and Kanunu fought, the Upstarts, and in the summer, when Devlin came alive and I helped stop that, and... well, then there's MarsTech's new Ultio Suits. Their "everyone can be super heroes" thing. You've seen that, right? I, um... I might have some kinda bad news there?"

 

Robin trailed off, rubbing her left arm. It still felt weird to know that Max Mars had stolen her tech.

Another newcomer, though Salvo did not pay her much mind, then Justice opened the meeting by stepping onto the counter.

 

Salvo kept one eye on the necromancer as Justice began talking. She knew about the events Justice had mentioned. Perhaps in a city as congested by metahumans and all sorts of beings, things like the Upstarts, Devlin, or the Ultio Suits would have been drowned out in her local social media feed, but those same stories made headline news in Emerald City and so of course she knew about them. She knew that Justice at least had a few fights under her belt. She knew that the big guy must be Kanunu and that they and Emerald Spider apprehended the Upstarts and saved them from a Mafiya hit.

 

It wasn't enough to win her blind trust and undying loyalty just yet but she could acknowledge they all did good.

 

Unlike the other two and the necromancer. They were big questions marks and a red 'X'.

 

"Is the bad news about how now civilians think they can throw caution to the wind just 'cause they've got fancy suits?" Salvo uses the pause to speak up and nods in agreement. "I've seen the news on the Marstech launch and the girl's lucky she didn't get killed on her first day."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Santa Muerte

 

The woman in black and red didn't make or seek any introductions when she approached the group. In fact, she barely seemed to register their presence at all. Instead, she moved directly to the restaurant counter and placed an order, paying in cash. Only when that transaction was concluded did she take a seat near the other assembled heroes. She quietly listened to Justice's entire rambling speech, looking her right in the eye with an unbroken stare the entire time, her own face devoid of emotion. Only after Justice trailed off did Santa Muerte speak.

 

"Your aim is noble, but you see only part of the whole. Science and technology run amok are not the only plagues afflicting our community. This shining city on a hill casts a shadow, and in that shadow dwell lost souls and creatures from Below, hunting and feeding with impunity, making their home in our world as if it were theirs. I have found an ample supply of demons and restless spirits who required my aid in moving on to their final reward or returning to the pits that spawned them. Sometimes that aid is accepted willingly, and sometimes it is not. And the supply shows no signs of dwindling."

 

She walked over to the counter to retrieve her bowl of noodles, brought it back to her seat, and sampled it. "The friend who alerted me to this gathering also assured me that this place had...what was the phrase? 'Positive Yelp reviews.' These are quite good."

 

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Naomi smiled as Justice talked to her. Always nice to be noticed. She started writing as Justice was speaking. It looked like she was taking notes. She wasn’t, of course. She hadn’t written an intro for herself. She did frown a little when Salvo was speaking, as without lips and in a busy shop what she said was mostly lost. Still, she finished quickly and rotated the pad so everyone could see.

 

[Hi Justice! I’m Waverider. I’m a Claremont alumni. I just started being a superhero again after a two year break. If you need some help just ask. But make sure I can see your lips, as I can’t hear.]

 

Explaining about her powers could wait. It just made things more complicated. Yes, she could feel you speaking on her skin from across the street. No, that didn’t necessarily mean she knew what you said. It was very confusing. And the obvious magician was creepy. Because of course she was.

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The Meta-Naut

 

Raya was late. Very late! She had been stuck in an investors' meeting and there was no real way for her to get out of it. Now she had to race across town to get to the meeting spot. Justice was her friend - at least, she considered Justice her friend and the invite made her feel like it was mutual - and Raya felt as though she owed it to Justice to actually show up to this thing when she took the time to invite her.

 

Thankfully, there wasn't a speed limit when you could fly. As the Meta-Naut, she rocketed over the Emerald Cities at full speed, watching as little bugs splatted against her force-field and created little sparks, like she was wearing a giant bug zapper. As she did, Google Maps told her to make all sorts of moves she didn't need to make, clearly unable to handle someone who could just fly over things. It occurred to her that using a GPS based service like this was probably bad for a secret identity thing but hey, the USG already knew her secret identity anyway and at this point, Google was pretty much an extension of that. Or the USG was extension of Google, depending on how cynical you were.

 

Before she knew it, she was in Bethlehem Heights, and at the noodle shop. Eager to show she wasn't late on purpose, she surged into the noodle shop, fixing her helmet as she did, only to see that spandex was the most popular fashion choice in the shop. Taking a moment to gawk, the Meta-Naut straightened her posture, and gave a thumbs up at everyone.

 

"Hi," she said, adopting a cool posture as she addressed the room. "I'm the Mighty Meta-Naut? I'm the one who goes to other dimensions and fights Time Nazis. Took down Captain Crime? Aaaaaanyway, Justice was pretty insistent I show up, thought I'd pop in."

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Kimo turned slowly as a chill ran up his back when space was sliced open behind him to let Santa Muerte through.  Turning slowly as he shovled the bulgogi into his mouth he frowned and glanced at the other heroes who might have been of a more mystical bent, "Witchy McSkullface gonna sour all the milk an eggs in here?  I wanna know before I take another bite."  he questioned as he set his bowl aside just to be on the safe side.  Keeping an eye if she made any threatening moves but she seemed friendly if creepy.

 

This left his hands free as he noticed the careful attention Naiomi paid to Justice's lips as and the pad he had assumed was for notes.  <You have ASL?>  he signed quickly, <I can translate.>  he offered with a shrug mouthing the words as he signed with the easy familiarity of one accustomed to conversing with the deaf.  Noting Salvos mask he quickly added a round of introductions but refrained from any further assumption that she desired further accommodation. 

 

"I go by Kanunu,"  he explained to the group at large though made sure he was turned to face Naomi as he spoke, "An, uh, I try an help out yea?"  he shrugged broad shoulders in a slow lazy roll.  He wasn't really sure what more to say and nodded to Justice and Emerald Spider, "I help out with some of you already so yea...  I'm pretty good in a fight an can handle alot more in the water."

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Naomi’s face lit up as Kimo signed to her. Oh my god, this was so great. She put her pad and pen back in her pocket. <I’ve had ASL since before I lost my hearing. Man, you have no idea how much of a pain writing it all out is.> She was still in top form, hands practically blurring in her excitement. ECU did have hearing impaired students and accommodations for them, after all. It was in other areas where no one knew ASL. It seemed like a good idea to mention it to him now, so… < I do vibrations and sound. My powers let me feel people speaking. It helps, but don’t replace my hearing. So you,> She indicated Kimo. <don’t need to face me. Your enunciation is great.>

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Emerald Spider

I’m glad you like all enjoy this place. Despite my best effort they insist I eat on the house, I stop a robbery here a while ago, so please all tip generously.” she pulled down her scarf to scoff and healthy amount of noodles

 

Peri was an engineer taught science and to think in logical ways, but she’d also seen quite a few weird things in her time as Emerald Spider. And she’d always enjoyed the stories Aunt Jae use to tell about yulyeong.

 

Look we’re all here in the same reason, wherever and whatever bought us here, so let’s give everyone a chance to be heroes here. Beside we all know by now the real villains are those running th crooked corps, I don’t think I need to name any names here.”

 

She generally be more the solo hero type, but if it meant dealing with the real probables with Emerald City then she was able to deal with being in a team.

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Protectron

 

Heavy metallic footfalls could be heard coming from outside.  But when the door opened, it was not with a forceful push, but a gentle nudge.  Into the noodle shop walked a humanoid robot, standing a few inches over six feet tall.  Its body was gold, with silvery chrome power cables snaking up and down its limbs and torso, like exposed musculature.  Red daka crystal lenses adorned the forehead (which had two large, flat superstructures projecting from either side), shoulderpieces, and chest.  It slowly turned its head, scanning the patrons with glowing greenish-yellow optics.  Below those optics was a flat space where a nose would be on a human, and a permanently open maw, the inside of which glowed a faint blue.

 

"Greetings!," it announced, its voice clear and easy to understand, precise and electronic-sounding, with relatively little inflection and no accent.  "I am Protectron."  It moved towards the assemblage of heroes, and stood opposite Salvo (who recognized it from her time in Freedom City).  "I am here to help."

 

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<Thanks>  Kimo replied quickly and silently offered <Waardenburg runs in the family> as explanation he'd had more than a few deaf cousins and other relatives. He pointed at the newly arrived robot, <Protectron, here to help>  he signed his affect subdued to mimic the robots own mechanical speech.  

 

"Hey good to meet you."  he greeted the robot warmly, "We all are aren't we?"  he grinned and glanced at the spooky necromancer, "One way or another."  

 

He raised a brow at Emerald Spiders warning about the corporate interests and the dire tone of Justices news about the ultio suits and questioned curiously, "I hear lotsa trash talking about Mars on campus but the whole system isn't real popular there right?"  he shrugged, "There more to it than corporate greed and all that, I mean super powers for those with the dough seems shady to start sure."

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Vernon was not what one would call and overly expressive or emotional person but even his calm stony face cracked with concern at the mention of the utilo suits.

 

"I've been out of town for a while on...business." he piped up "so forgive me if I'm a bit out of touch with the goings on." His morphic molecule gloves creaking as he clenched his fists.

 

"Maximillion Mars is selling super powers as a subscription service...to whoever can afford them....and is incentivising their actions with some ludicrous objective based points system...effectively meaning he can put open bounties on anyone paid with fake game points."

 

 His teeth clenched a little before he took a deep breath and ran his hand over his hair as if smothering down flames that might have errupted from his head in anger.

 

"Well I know what I'm going to be doing for the next few months."

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Salvo

 

On 3/26/2020 at 1:28 AM, Grumblefloof said:

"Your aim is noble, but you see only part of the whole. Science and technology run amok are not the only plagues afflicting our community. This shining city on a hill casts a shadow, and in that shadow dwell lost souls and creatures from Below, hunting and feeding with impunity, making their home in our world as if it were theirs. I have found an ample supply of demons and restless spirits who required my aid in moving on to their final reward or returning to the pits that spawned them. Sometimes that aid is accepted willingly, and sometimes it is not. And the supply shows no signs of dwindling."

Perhaps Salvo had been too quick to judge.

 

The necromancer had made no indication that she recognized Salvo as a fellow practitioner. Nothing on her feeds had sensed the active use of magic from Ximena so unless the necromancer had a mastery of magic far greater and more subtle than any Salvo knew, something she very much doubted, then perhaps the necromancer really meant what she had said and was merely keeping the city's natural order of life and death in place.

 

Or everyone was actually duped at this very moment. It would not be the first time someone she had trusted or admired turned out sour.

 

So then she would reserve judgement, be watchful, until such a time that she could be sure.  

 

On 3/26/2020 at 1:43 AM, EternalPhoenix said:

[Hi Justice! I’m Waverider. I’m a Claremont alumni. I just started being a superhero again after a two year break. If you need some help just ask. But make sure I can see your lips, as I can’t hear.]

Nicole's eyebrows raised as Waverider introduced herself.

 

The costume was unfamiliar but she looked closer, past the mask and to the details of the face and the body. Height, weight, the shape of her jaws, the color of her skin. She was handed pieces of the larger picture and like a jigsaw puzzle arranged them to fit her image of one Naomi Suleiman.

 

Nicole grinned warmly in her mind's eye.

 

She had come her wanting to find the like-minded to share in her heroics. What she had found was a fragment from Claremont, that school of powers and wonder where civilian identities and hero codenames regularly swapped between friends and schoolmates. Everyone knew they were special in some way, everyone knew to keep the secrets from the outside world lest they be used against

them.

 

She moved forward, ready to greet her fellow alumni in a manner easier for the hearing-impaired woman.

 

On 3/26/2020 at 10:50 AM, Dr Archeville said:

"Greetings!," it announced, its voice clear and easy to understand, precise and electronic-sounding, with relatively little inflection and no accent.  "I am Protectron."  It moved towards the assemblage of heroes, and stood opposite Salvo (who recognized it from her time in Freedom City).  "I am here to help."

As she walked, another newcomer came and this one Salvo recognized from her years in Freedom City.

 

There was little mistaking the robot Protectron. Before it had arrived it was Spider or her who both held the mantle of veterancy among the heroes. Yet she recalled Protectron was active thrice as many years as she had been in the business.

 

This was good, now perhaps by sheer dint of numbers and each individual's reputation this shop would be protected from whoever would want to target them.

 

***

 

"You are thinking too small, my dear."

 

Nicole groaned then turned to face her father, who was watching the same screens as her, a smug smile on his face and a glass of red wine in one hand. She motioned for him to expound.

 

"These Paks, they are nothing," he continued as if he had not so rudely interrupted her thoughts. "Killing them would serve nothing more than to draw the ire of you and your colleagues and we all know you can be a bothersome lot. No my dear, if it is targets I am looking for then I shall go after your families, your friends, your partners, children. Anything and anyone that might so tether you in this world, and all before you return for supper."

 

"And why are you telling me this?"

 

He paused, lightly swirling the wine glass by the stem, then slowly met her eyes. His smile faded and his eyes became hard.

 

"Because my daughter should know that she could not hide everyone she loves, especially not our former housekeeper's family, indefinitely. Not from the people she has chosen to stand against. And if you are unable to then neither would any of these champions of law and justice. Keep them in the dark about who you truly face and matters will only worsen for all of you."

 

She shook her head and whirled back to the displays, her teeth gritting on each other.

 

"Thanks for the... advice, dad. I'll keep it in mind."

 

"Of course. I expect nothing less."

 

***

On 3/26/2020 at 3:40 AM, EternalPhoenix said:

Naomi’s face lit up as Kimo signed to her. Oh my god, this was so great. She put her pad and pen back in her pocket. <I’ve had ASL since before I lost my hearing. Man, you have no idea how much of a pain writing it all out is.> She was still in top form, hands practically blurring in her excitement. ECU did have hearing impaired students and accommodations for them, after all. It was in other areas where no one knew ASL. It seemed like a good idea to mention it to him now, so… < I do vibrations and sound. My powers let me feel people speaking. It helps, but don’t replace my hearing. So you,> She indicated Kimo. <don’t need to face me. Your enunciation is great.>

Salvo reached where Naomi and Kanunu were conversing in ASL.

 

She had no clue what they were saying but she reached out and placed a hand on Naomi's shoulder. At the same moment, if Naomi had brought her phone then she would feel it vibrate with a new message.

 

If she would take it out, she would see a text message waiting for her.

 

<Hey, Wave! It's me Salvo! 🤗 Didn't actually think I'd see a familiar face around here. You wearing a new costume? Did it yourself? Love the skirt. Very retro.>

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Wait, Salvo? Could that be StartASalvo, back from Terrifica's AMA? That was... that was really cool that she showed up, actually.

 

Aw, Meta-Naut was here too. That was... that was really great, actually. Almost everyone she had met up with so far had showed up, and Robin would be lying if she said that didn't warm her heart just a little bit. Give her just that little bit more confidence in what she was doing here.

 

And then Protectron stepped in and Robin completely lost her place. The Protectron was showing up for something that she had started? Wow. Yeah.

 

She had to continue, right? The people here didn't seem to like the Ultio Suits either, which was kinda good, but also... made her feel kinda bad?

 

"Err... yeah, yeah. The whole supers as a service thing, that's bad, right... but, yeah, Mars is pretty popular, so people seem to just love it. I dunno if you've seen those Ultio people in action, some are good guys, but eh... not really all of them?"

 

ES talking about the corporations, corruption and all that, yeah, Robin had started seeing some of those cracks. Probably not nearly as much as ES or the others, she'd tried to just help people, but it kinda tied into the other bad part of everything?

 

"But, yeah, that thing with corrupt corporate people and such, kinda brings me to the next bit of bad news. Those armors? Mars is using at least some of my tech for it, and something else. I... kinda managed to get a close up view of one of those suits, and they're kinda scary with all they can do? My tech alone is a lot, but these guys, and bundling in everything else Mars has put in them? Just takes one of those guys having a bad day to cause some major trouble."

 

She scratched her arm. Obviously, Robin was feeling bad about this. Really bad.

 

"That whole system they use to hide the armors and then suddenly appear? That's my stuff... and I got no idea how Mars got that."

 

Robin really wished she could reply to everyone, but honestly, she just had to get through explaining this right now. Then they could damn her if they wanted to, at least it was out there.

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Ah now that made things more complicated he took a few moments to begin his meal as he turned over his thoughts in his head,.

 

"We were all civilians once, let's not forget that." He piped up at salvos comment "the difference is our paths were long and hard, they have tested our patience, dedication and perhaps most importantly our temperaments." He reasoned as he put down his chopsticks and leaned back into his seat a little more to get comfortable.

 

"These people have walked Into a store and bought something considerably more powerful than even than an assault rifle with even less regulatons. " He sighed as he rubbed his cheek with the back of his hands

 

"I am not a genius." He stated flatly perhaps it went without saying "so id assume whatever occurs to me about this has occurred to Mars."

 

"Not only are we facing whatever mess these Utilos are going to make and get themselves into but they're going to affect legislation as Marstech legal and R&D dances around attempts to regulate them."

 

He leaned forwards and steepled his fingers "at best this will sour our relationship with the general public....and at worse we get another Moore act."

Edited by Exaccus

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Santa Muerte

 

When the woman in black and red saw Waverider's written greeting, she set aside her noodles, closed her eyes, and whispered a short incantation in Ancient Atlantean while pressing her palms together and then folding them open like a book. "<Our words shall be seen by those who cannot hear them, and their words, heard by we who cannot see them. All shall understand and be understood, and all shall be revealed.>" Green flames erupted from the woman's eyes, vanishing as quickly as they appeared, though her once-brown eyes remained bright green in color. A translucent scroll of parchment appeared and unfurled in the air in front of Waverider's eyes, set off to the side of her field of vision. It wouldn't block her view, and it was easy to glance at. The layout of the scroll was similar to an online chatroom, with a small bust of each assembled hero painted next to words which were written on the scroll as they talked. When another person spoke, the image "scrolled up" in the traditional sense, the top of the parchment winding in as the bottom wound out, the new speaker's picture and words appearing below the previous ones. The font of the text changed in size and style to match their tone of voice. No one but Waverider could see the image. Meanwhile, whenever Waverider or Kanunu or anyone else signed, everyone else could now see glowing subtitles appear under their hands. In Protectron's case, the text was blurry and broken in many places, difficult to read.

 

She fixed her gaze on Justice again. "You called this gathering, and you said that you wanted us to 'get organized'. What specifically did you have in mind?"

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Naomi was now feeling a bit overwhelmed. A lot was happening at once. Protectron and The Meta-Naut’s footsteps. Justice talking about the Ultio Suits. Santa Murte’s spell. Salvo’s phone message (for what young woman goes anywhere without her phone?). Everyone talking. Their hearts beating. Flowing through their veins. Or not, in the robotic hero’s case. She…she just needed a minute. Too many vibrations against her skin. Every since her powers emerged, she’d grown to dislike crowds. People really had no idea how many vibrations they produced. It was A Lot ™. She could feel them all literally soaking into her skin, and it had never stopped being creepy. And so, as she shut her eyes, the entire noodle shop fell completely silent. The rest of the noodle shop’s occupants didn’t notice anything amiss. She really genuinely hated using her powers like this (to just null all the extra vibrations out in the air). It rendered her vibration sense effectively blind, but she needed a second. Okay. Thoughts coming together. She’d take advantage of the mage’s spell providing subtitles to her signing to start with

 

It was only a few seconds of absolute stillness, before Naomi’s very loud snap broke it. Legal Brain, engaged. <Okay, so first I agree with the magic lady. I don’t think Justice called us here for just tasty noodles. She has a plan. Second, I think I have a few ideas to shut the Ultio Suits down from the legal side. It’s like Venomax said. These things are more dangerous than assault rifles, which civilians aren’t legally allowed to own.> It was a little more complicated than that (caliber, full auto status, etc played a role), but that was good enough fr now. < So existing legislation should apply to them. It’s just a matter of getting the courts to do it.> She smiled apologetically. <And third, I’m sorry, Salvo. I don’t remember you.> There was something vaguely familiar, but she couldn’t place it unfortunately.

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"Folks like Mars can get alot of access to places the rest of us can't."  Kimo pointed out with a small shrug, "Maybe you're suit leave a trace when you do your thing and he detected it backward engineer it?"  He glanced up at the incantation and Naiomi's stressed reaction with a frown, <You alright?>  he quickly signed checking in.  Not all hearing impaired were fond of having 'aid' rendered without it being asked.  

 

The swirling discussion of the legal matters seemed to him beside the point and if that was what Justice had gathered them for wouldn't she have gathered lawyers and lobbyists?  "I mean there already lots a groups trying to shut down the suits an fighting Mars in the courts and state house yea?"  He reminded them, "They gonna do that an we mostly gotta hope they don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and outlaw what you all do."  he pointed out Salvo, Justice, and Protectron in particular as the technical marvels of the group.  

 

"Way I see it we got a couple a problem yea?"  He paused and looked over the group, "One Mars even shadier than we think, he somehow lifted what Justice here do an slapped it on his suits."  He sighed heavily going up against one of hte biggest employers in town and well loved philanthropists was not a way to make friends on the Emerald Cities.  "Two we gonna have a whole buncha new folks out here with powers trying to help and trying to hurt the people yea?"  He shook his head long curls tumbling as he moved and looked between them, "So what I think she saying is we need something better than dumb luck to make sure we can be there when there is trouble."

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Salvo

 

Salvo crossed her arms as she listened to the various points bandied around the room. They were, in general, in agreement with each other though she doubted that the reasons for why they agreed would be similar. Justice was obviously distressed as it was her technology stolen and used without her permission, something Salvo could sympathize with. Then there the discussion and turned to the law and on those points she found herself disagreeing.

 

She herself was no lawyer, and people like Max Mars could easily enough dictate regulation. It needn't even be illegal. He merely needed to flex his corporation's legal muscles and the government would bend over backwards, if they hadn't already done so. Kanunu had the right idea and she took that and ran with it.

 

"You don't play the corporations' games using their rules, because you will lose." Salvo spoke up before looking up at Justice, still standing on the counter. "And as much I understand how vexing it is to have your work stolen from you, nothing Mars has done yet can be brought to court."

 

She paused, looking around the restaurant to stare daggers at the civilian patrons too busy taking pictures and eating noodles to scram. She would need to dance around the issue then, nothing incriminating.

 

"If you want something more than dumb luck, Kanunu, then there are people out there who could monitor the situation, very very thoroughly. If you want to know how Mars appropriated your tech, Justice, then that too can be done. You only need the right people or the right skills. Is this what you have in mind? Us organizing?"

 

***

 

Silently, Naomi's phone vibrated again as Salvo spoke. If Salvo seemed disappointed that she was not recognized, then she did not show it. She had memorized her schoolmates, as creepy as that sounded. In her time at Claremont, she had put to mind the names and faces of pretty much anyone who had attended or worked there.

 

It was a small school. She had a good memory, and a childish desire to know everything within that small world of hers.

 

<Claremont Batch 2019. Nicole Whitfield-Hall. During your senior year, I was right behind you on the line when the Diana Falk Cafeteria caught on fire. 😅 Ringing any bells?>

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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