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3PM, August 28th, 2020

Silberman's Northwest, Emerald City


Silberman's Northwest was a nice place, even if it was very different from the original Silberman's back in Freedom City. Gretchen McDaniels, otherwise known as the Shrike, was, of course, retired. She had left Freedom for Emerald to get out of the hero life, but some times, you just couldn't.


She had met Robin Lynne Langley on a few occasions. She had become a regular at Silberman's Northwest, and about a year before, she and Gretchen had shared an adventure into a magic book that was some knock off of the Wizard of Oz. They had managed to escape, and they had kicked ass and taken names, but even as they learned each others secret identities, Robin had respected Gretchen's choice to not be a hero anymore.


Of course, things were different now, and Emerald needed all the heroes they could get...

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Robin stood outside Silberman's, dressed in a pair of jeans and a light blue t-shirt with an image of the Centurion on it. Her hair was loose, while she adjusted her glasses slightly. Why was this so weird? She'd been to Silberman's so many times, she and Gretchen were on fairly friendly terms, so why was today so difficult?


Maybe because she was going to ask for help. Their team had gotten together, they'd done some great stuff, they even got an Ultio Suit to look into, but for some reason, but she needed help here, and, well, Gretchen seemed to have what she needed.


So, Robin took a deep breath and stepped inside. Alright, she could do this.

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Back to school was a busy time, even at a used bookstore; Silberman's NW had a decent collection of used textbooks, and certainly offered better prices than the ECU bookstore. Despite herself, Gretchen felt pangs of nostalgia around this time of year; things were so much easier when she was back in FreeSa. Sex, drugs and Call of Duty with a side of studying and working on class projects. Nowadays she staring down 30 as she still somehow toiled in retail. Then she smiled; at least she got to sleep with a beautiful faerie princess before it all went to s###.


Right now, Gretch was doing the manager thing, checking prices with a scanning gun; she wore one of her ten pairs of Doc Martens, black jeans, a Banana Splits T-shirt and a sleeveless green flannel shirt, and her usual disdainful expression behind her black plastic framed glasses.

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Gretchen looked busy. Like, way too busy. She probably shouldn't interrupt, right? This was Gretchen's job, her own store and everything, she was busy, yes, no need to interrupt. Robin paused, looking for a second. No, she really should do it. She had to do it, right? No second guessing, she really had to stop doing that all the time. She wasn't just some awkward teen, she wasn't just some newbie hero anymore. She could do this.


"Uh, hey Gretchen. Busy?"

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Gretchen looked up from her work and spoke in her usual deadpan. "Incredibly. Your timing couldn't be worse. I have to scan every item in this because my new hire Keitha appears to lack the most basic computer skills. What's up?" It was always hard to read the sarcastic musician, but there seemed to be a glimmer of interest and maybe the ghost of a smile on her lips. At the very least, she seemed to be listening as she resumed her scanning.

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"Y'know, I could probably fix up a machine that could do all that for you... I mean, not right now, but, eventually, if you wanted or something or..." Alright, alright, that wasn't why she was there. No, not at all. She was there on business. At least par business, right?


"So, umm... I know you're retired and everything, but I put up this whole thing on HeroHouse and CapesList, and I got a bunch of heroes together and, uh... I had kinda hoped you'd show..." She trailed off a bit.

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"Yep. I'm definitely retired," said Gretch with a short nod of her head, still scanning away. "I also definitely do not have a police scanner, or read all the city papers or do independent research here at the store. And I absolutely don't leave anonymous tips on the ECPD Crimestoppers Hotline based on said research." Again that hint of a smile. "So there is no way I want to hear anymore about this project of yours."


The bookseller paused to look down at her scanner.


"I have to put this back in my office. You can follow along if you like."

Edited by Heritage
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Robin paused a bit. She didn't really know what to say at first. It was all so specific, all the things that Gretchen weren't doing aaaaand... oh. Yeah. Alright. She got it. She definitely got it. At least she thought she got it.


"Yeah, yeah, alright, I'll come along. Need help carrying anything or something?"


Could just as well help out a bit, right?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Once they were off the floor, Gretchen led Robin to her office, a small room very much in the musician's style. The room was organized, with various clearly-labled bins for office supplies, a state-of-the-art laptop and printer/scanner, and a small desk lamp. A black cat with a witch's hat on the desk and a few tabloid sized concert posters on the walls were the extent of the decoration.

Gretchen sat behind her desk and instantly started typing, barely acknowledged the chair across from her with a nod. "Who else is in the distinguished cadre of heroes."

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