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A Night at the Opera

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The L. Hampton Opera House was one of the many exquisitely quaint musical houses in the Theatre District of Freedom City. It was set on the south side of an "open" block containing a small greenway, complete with Gazebo and benches. To the east of the Opera House was a small row of shops: a bakery, a coffee house, and a few others. To the west, just across the street, was a stretch of downtown office space. To the north across from the park was one of the many warehouses that were so frequent in blocks so close to the fens.


At about 9:30, the show let out, and the theater crowd reluctantly made their way out of the park and into the frigid night air. Most made a beeline for the parking garage to get in their nice warm cars. A few headed east to the coffee shop, and a few brave souls lingered in the park to enjoy the clear night sky.

The park wasn't inhabited entirely by theater-goers. A few young men lingered in the northwest corner under a large tree that was still in the process of shedding it's leaves. The young men seemed harmless enough, and such a sight was quite common in this part of town. The locals made an observant note of their presence and then moved on quickly without giving them too much more thought.

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The L. Hampton Opera House was one of the many exquisitely quaint musical houses in the Theatre District of Freedom City. It was set on the south side of an "open" block containing a small greenway, complete with Gazebo and benches. To the east of the Opera House was a small row of shops: a bakery, a coffee house, and a few others. To the west, just across the street, was a stretch of downtown office space. To the north across from the park was one of the many warehouses that were so frequent in blocks so close to the fens.


At about 9:30, the show let out, and the theater crowd reluctantly made their way out of the park and into the frigid night air. Most made a beeline for the parking garage to get in their nice warm cars. A few headed east to the coffee shop, and a few brave souls lingered in the park to enjoy the clear night sky.

The park wasn't inhabited entirely by theater-goers. A few young men lingered in the northwest corner under a large tree that was still in the process of shedding it's leaves. The young men seemed harmless enough, and such a sight was quite common in this part of town. The locals made an observant note of their presence and then moved on quickly without giving them too much more thought.

theater.jpg

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The L. Hampton Opera House was one of the many exquisitely quaint musical houses in the Theatre District of Freedom City. It was set on the south side of an "open" block containing a small greenway, complete with Gazebo and benches. To the east of the Opera House was a small row of shops: a bakery, a coffee house, and a few others. To the west, just across the street, was a stretch of downtown office space. To the north across from the park was one of the many warehouses that were so frequent in blocks so close to the fens.


At about 9:30, the show let out, and the theater crowd reluctantly made their way out of the park and into the frigid night air. Most made a beeline for the parking garage to get in their nice warm cars. A few headed east to the coffee shop, and a few brave souls lingered in the park to enjoy the clear night sky.

The park wasn't inhabited entirely by theater-goers. A few young men lingered in the northwest corner under a large tree that was still in the process of shedding it's leaves. The young men seemed harmless enough, and such a sight was quite common in this part of town. The locals made an observant note of their presence and then moved on quickly without giving them too much more thought.

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It had been three short weeks since his his first super-heroic experience, and Wesley Chase had hardly had a moment to himself. Aside from his work at Astro, he'd also found himself in a few dangerous situations involving petty thieves and jewelry-store robbers.

'Being a hero must attract the criminal element,' Wes thought, clutching his briefcase which held his Pulse costume, 'I should definitely make a note of that.'

This was Wesley's first true night to himself in three weeks, and he was happy to have spent it at the Hampton, enjoying their production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, despite the fact that he thought the woman portraying Elvira was something of a dud.

Wes thought for a moment. The night was crisp and cool, and the visibility of Wesley's breath echoed that fact. He noticed some men standing under a nearby tree, huddled together, and wondered for a moment why they wouldn't seek warmer pastures. He considered putting on the Vibro-Suit, just to keep himself insulated from the heat, but decided that a cup of joe would do the trick just as well.

'Besides,' Wesley thought, 'the costume'll just attract the baddies.'

Wesley walked briskly towards the coffee shop, stopping only for a moment to put a few dollars into the cup of a panhandler outside the theater steps. Nothing could ruin how perfect this night was.

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It had been three short weeks since his his first super-heroic experience, and Wesley Chase had hardly had a moment to himself. Aside from his work at Astro, he'd also found himself in a few dangerous situations involving petty thieves and jewelry-store robbers.

'Being a hero must attract the criminal element,' Wes thought, clutching his briefcase which held his Pulse costume, 'I should definitely make a note of that.'

This was Wesley's first true night to himself in three weeks, and he was happy to have spent it at the Hampton, enjoying their production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, despite the fact that he thought the woman portraying Elvira was something of a dud.

Wes thought for a moment. The night was crisp and cool, and the visibility of Wesley's breath echoed that fact. He noticed some men standing under a nearby tree, huddled together, and wondered for a moment why they wouldn't seek warmer pastures. He considered putting on the Vibro-Suit, just to keep himself insulated from the heat, but decided that a cup of joe would do the trick just as well.

'Besides,' Wesley thought, 'the costume'll just attract the baddies.'

Wesley walked briskly towards the coffee shop, stopping only for a moment to put a few dollars into the cup of a panhandler outside the theater steps. Nothing could ruin how perfect this night was.

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It had been three short weeks since his his first super-heroic experience, and Wesley Chase had hardly had a moment to himself. Aside from his work at Astro, he'd also found himself in a few dangerous situations involving petty thieves and jewelry-store robbers.

'Being a hero must attract the criminal element,' Wes thought, clutching his briefcase which held his Pulse costume, 'I should definitely make a note of that.'

This was Wesley's first true night to himself in three weeks, and he was happy to have spent it at the Hampton, enjoying their production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, despite the fact that he thought the woman portraying Elvira was something of a dud.

Wes thought for a moment. The night was crisp and cool, and the visibility of Wesley's breath echoed that fact. He noticed some men standing under a nearby tree, huddled together, and wondered for a moment why they wouldn't seek warmer pastures. He considered putting on the Vibro-Suit, just to keep himself insulated from the heat, but decided that a cup of joe would do the trick just as well.

'Besides,' Wesley thought, 'the costume'll just attract the baddies.'

Wesley walked briskly towards the coffee shop, stopping only for a moment to put a few dollars into the cup of a panhandler outside the theater steps. Nothing could ruin how perfect this night was.

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It's very important to act cold; no one gives money to a curiously warm street urchin

Being very careful to shift from foot to foot, hunch up her shoulders, and make a show of being 'chilly', nineteen year old Lynn Epstein watches the well-to-do head inside Starbucks after their stupid opera. Fat women screaming in Italian at the tops of their lungs? Yeah, there's a good time.

"Like any of them even know Italian," she mutters to herself.

Lynn had chosen her look carefully tonight; dress too light, they wonder why you haven't frozen to death, but dress too heavy and you get no sympathy. She'd given serious thought to going pregnant, but that was the easy way out, and if the cops came to run her off, having the baby magically disappear into her torso could lead to problems. So she went with a thick layer of ragged sweatshirts under an army jacket, a pair of fingerless woolen gloves, and a New Jersey Devils baseball cap to go with her usual jeans and Keds.

Keeping an eye open for the FCPD (and any other sort of trouble), she shakes her cup a few times, not even bothering with any sort of spiel; a young guy with a briefcase actually stuffs some paper in to join the pennies and nickels, but she's too stunned to even say thanks.

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It's very important to act cold; no one gives money to a curiously warm street urchin

Being very careful to shift from foot to foot, hunch up her shoulders, and make a show of being 'chilly', nineteen year old Lynn Epstein watches the well-to-do head inside Starbucks after their stupid opera. Fat women screaming in Italian at the tops of their lungs? Yeah, there's a good time.

"Like any of them even know Italian," she mutters to herself.

Lynn had chosen her look carefully tonight; dress too light, they wonder why you haven't frozen to death, but dress too heavy and you get no sympathy. She'd given serious thought to going pregnant, but that was the easy way out, and if the cops came to run her off, having the baby magically disappear into her torso could lead to problems. So she went with a thick layer of ragged sweatshirts under an army jacket, a pair of fingerless woolen gloves, and a New Jersey Devils baseball cap to go with her usual jeans and Keds.

Keeping an eye open for the FCPD (and any other sort of trouble), she shakes her cup a few times, not even bothering with any sort of spiel; a young guy with a briefcase actually stuffs some paper in to join the pennies and nickels, but she's too stunned to even say thanks.

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It's very important to act cold; no one gives money to a curiously warm street urchin

Being very careful to shift from foot to foot, hunch up her shoulders, and make a show of being 'chilly', nineteen year old Lynn Epstein watches the well-to-do head inside Starbucks after their stupid opera. Fat women screaming in Italian at the tops of their lungs? Yeah, there's a good time.

"Like any of them even know Italian," she mutters to herself.

Lynn had chosen her look carefully tonight; dress too light, they wonder why you haven't frozen to death, but dress too heavy and you get no sympathy. She'd given serious thought to going pregnant, but that was the easy way out, and if the cops came to run her off, having the baby magically disappear into her torso could lead to problems. So she went with a thick layer of ragged sweatshirts under an army jacket, a pair of fingerless woolen gloves, and a New Jersey Devils baseball cap to go with her usual jeans and Keds.

Keeping an eye open for the FCPD (and any other sort of trouble), she shakes her cup a few times, not even bothering with any sort of spiel; a young guy with a briefcase actually stuffs some paper in to join the pennies and nickels, but she's too stunned to even say thanks.

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The crowd continued to mill about in the park. The line in the coffee shop was too long for the small lobby, so it spilled out onto the sidewalk. The latte seekers huddled together trying to get as close to the warmth of the shop as they could.

The young men slowly made their was along the north side of the park. They laughed, shoved each other around, and were generally being loud and obnoxious. They casually but directly to the next tree over and then began to loiter again. The boys were obviously dressed like "young thugs," and their behavior was becoming increasingly suspicious. The people in line at the coffee shop were beginning to look over more frequently and whisper.

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The crowd continued to mill about in the park. The line in the coffee shop was too long for the small lobby, so it spilled out onto the sidewalk. The latte seekers huddled together trying to get as close to the warmth of the shop as they could.

The young men slowly made their was along the north side of the park. They laughed, shoved each other around, and were generally being loud and obnoxious. They casually but directly to the next tree over and then began to loiter again. The boys were obviously dressed like "young thugs," and their behavior was becoming increasingly suspicious. The people in line at the coffee shop were beginning to look over more frequently and whisper.

theater1.jpg

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The crowd continued to mill about in the park. The line in the coffee shop was too long for the small lobby, so it spilled out onto the sidewalk. The latte seekers huddled together trying to get as close to the warmth of the shop as they could.

The young men slowly made their was along the north side of the park. They laughed, shoved each other around, and were generally being loud and obnoxious. They casually but directly to the next tree over and then began to loiter again. The boys were obviously dressed like "young thugs," and their behavior was becoming increasingly suspicious. The people in line at the coffee shop were beginning to look over more frequently and whisper.

theater1.jpg

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Wes looked over at the coffee shop line and adjusted his glasses. There was no way he was going to get in there in any sort of timely fashion and, besides, by the time he did, he was sure to have developed a cold anyway. Even still, he looked over towards the line to further consider his options.

He could hear the opera-goers whispering to one another about the five boys by the tree. Wes shook his head in disbelief.

'I guess they're not dressed for the opera or anything,' thought Wesley, 'but that doesn't mean they're here to rob the place. Snobs.'

Of course, what if they were? Wes thought that that would just be his luck. He decided to make his way towards the alleyway between the bakery and Starbucks. Changing into his Pulse costume at this point would probably be for the best anyway. It'd keep out the cold and he wasn't getting any coffee tonight, plus he hadn't driven; he's used the Pulse-Gauntlets to propel him here.

Wesley walked towards the alleyway. When no one was around, he'd open his briefcase and get a move on.

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Wes looked over at the coffee shop line and adjusted his glasses. There was no way he was going to get in there in any sort of timely fashion and, besides, by the time he did, he was sure to have developed a cold anyway. Even still, he looked over towards the line to further consider his options.

He could hear the opera-goers whispering to one another about the five boys by the tree. Wes shook his head in disbelief.

'I guess they're not dressed for the opera or anything,' thought Wesley, 'but that doesn't mean they're here to rob the place. Snobs.'

Of course, what if they were? Wes thought that that would just be his luck. He decided to make his way towards the alleyway between the bakery and Starbucks. Changing into his Pulse costume at this point would probably be for the best anyway. It'd keep out the cold and he wasn't getting any coffee tonight, plus he hadn't driven; he's used the Pulse-Gauntlets to propel him here.

Wesley walked towards the alleyway. When no one was around, he'd open his briefcase and get a move on.

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Wes looked over at the coffee shop line and adjusted his glasses. There was no way he was going to get in there in any sort of timely fashion and, besides, by the time he did, he was sure to have developed a cold anyway. Even still, he looked over towards the line to further consider his options.

He could hear the opera-goers whispering to one another about the five boys by the tree. Wes shook his head in disbelief.

'I guess they're not dressed for the opera or anything,' thought Wesley, 'but that doesn't mean they're here to rob the place. Snobs.'

Of course, what if they were? Wes thought that that would just be his luck. He decided to make his way towards the alleyway between the bakery and Starbucks. Changing into his Pulse costume at this point would probably be for the best anyway. It'd keep out the cold and he wasn't getting any coffee tonight, plus he hadn't driven; he's used the Pulse-Gauntlets to propel him here.

Wesley walked towards the alleyway. When no one was around, he'd open his briefcase and get a move on.

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Young hooligans on the march!

The danger boys were drifting closer in that way boys do, as though it wasn't even on purpose but you know it really is, like something you would see tigers do on the Discovery Channel when you're bored but just too tired to dig for the remote. Lynn adjusts her position slightly, to give herself a better look at them out of her peripheral; those looking closely might notice a slight increase in the tension in her shoulders, though she's doing all she can to look both cold and disinterested.

Wait, where the hell is he going?

Mr. Good Samaritan has apparently decided to be an idiot, which possibly moves him over from the 'kind' to the 'naive' column; Lynn can only watch in disbelief as he makes his way into the pitch black alley schlepping his dumb briefcase. She adjusts herself again, just a touch back to the right, to keep him in her line of sight in case the dark alley proves to be, well, a dark alley. She's not going out of her way to watch over him, but if say his severed head were to fly out of the shadows in a graceful arc, she'd like to be able to tell those responsible 'that's not nice'.

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Young hooligans on the march!

The danger boys were drifting closer in that way boys do, as though it wasn't even on purpose but you know it really is, like something you would see tigers do on the Discovery Channel when you're bored but just too tired to dig for the remote. Lynn adjusts her position slightly, to give herself a better look at them out of her peripheral; those looking closely might notice a slight increase in the tension in her shoulders, though she's doing all she can to look both cold and disinterested.

Wait, where the hell is he going?

Mr. Good Samaritan has apparently decided to be an idiot, which possibly moves him over from the 'kind' to the 'naive' column; Lynn can only watch in disbelief as he makes his way into the pitch black alley schlepping his dumb briefcase. She adjusts herself again, just a touch back to the right, to keep him in her line of sight in case the dark alley proves to be, well, a dark alley. She's not going out of her way to watch over him, but if say his severed head were to fly out of the shadows in a graceful arc, she'd like to be able to tell those responsible 'that's not nice'.

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Young hooligans on the march!

The danger boys were drifting closer in that way boys do, as though it wasn't even on purpose but you know it really is, like something you would see tigers do on the Discovery Channel when you're bored but just too tired to dig for the remote. Lynn adjusts her position slightly, to give herself a better look at them out of her peripheral; those looking closely might notice a slight increase in the tension in her shoulders, though she's doing all she can to look both cold and disinterested.

Wait, where the hell is he going?

Mr. Good Samaritan has apparently decided to be an idiot, which possibly moves him over from the 'kind' to the 'naive' column; Lynn can only watch in disbelief as he makes his way into the pitch black alley schlepping his dumb briefcase. She adjusts herself again, just a touch back to the right, to keep him in her line of sight in case the dark alley proves to be, well, a dark alley. She's not going out of her way to watch over him, but if say his severed head were to fly out of the shadows in a graceful arc, she'd like to be able to tell those responsible 'that's not nice'.

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The young men continued to loiter under the tree. The coffee-seekers began to feel more comfortable again and the line continued moving. The whispers ended, and the pleasant, mostly banal conversations continued.


The alley was very dark, but completely abandoned. The perfect place for a quick change.

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The young men continued to loiter under the tree. The coffee-seekers began to feel more comfortable again and the line continued moving. The whispers ended, and the pleasant, mostly banal conversations continued.


The alley was very dark, but completely abandoned. The perfect place for a quick change.

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The young men continued to loiter under the tree. The coffee-seekers began to feel more comfortable again and the line continued moving. The whispers ended, and the pleasant, mostly banal conversations continued.


The alley was very dark, but completely abandoned. The perfect place for a quick change.

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The young men continued to loiter under the tree. The coffee-seekers began to feel more comfortable again and the line continued moving. The whispers ended, and the pleasant, mostly banal conversations continued.

Maybe she's getting paranoid in her youth; the doofuses (or was that 'doofi'?) were still under their new tree, giving each other wedgies or whatever else guys do for fun when no girls are around. Just in case, she moves closer to the Starbucks, to both give herself a better angle on the primates and maybe score some coffee lover's change.

Lynn decides the guy in the alley is not her problem; to be so dumb and yet still live must require divine intervention of some kind, so she lets the angels watch over him.

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The young men continued to loiter under the tree. The coffee-seekers began to feel more comfortable again and the line continued moving. The whispers ended, and the pleasant, mostly banal conversations continued.

Maybe she's getting paranoid in her youth; the doofuses (or was that 'doofi'?) were still under their new tree, giving each other wedgies or whatever else guys do for fun when no girls are around. Just in case, she moves closer to the Starbucks, to both give herself a better angle on the primates and maybe score some coffee lover's change.

Lynn decides the guy in the alley is not her problem; to be so dumb and yet still live must require divine intervention of some kind, so she lets the angels watch over him.

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The young men continued to loiter under the tree. The coffee-seekers began to feel more comfortable again and the line continued moving. The whispers ended, and the pleasant, mostly banal conversations continued.

Maybe she's getting paranoid in her youth; the doofuses (or was that 'doofi'?) were still under their new tree, giving each other wedgies or whatever else guys do for fun when no girls are around. Just in case, she moves closer to the Starbucks, to both give herself a better angle on the primates and maybe score some coffee lover's change.

Lynn decides the guy in the alley is not her problem; to be so dumb and yet still live must require divine intervention of some kind, so she lets the angels watch over him.

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When Pulse stepped out of the alley, all eyes turned to him. There was an uneasy moment of silence when the coffeehouse crowed was sizing him up, trying to determine if he was a hero or a villain. It only took them a few seconds to decide he was a good guy. A few people waved. A few people clapped. Most just went back to their coffee and conversation. This was Freedom City after all.

Distracted by the sight of a hero, most of the crowed didn't notice that the boys under the tree were on the move again, heading toward them. Or maybe the gang wasn't heading toward the coffee shop at all. Maybe their destination was somewhere else entirely.

A few seconds after Pulse exited the alley, a young man dressed in the typical garb of a "street warrior" entered that same alley from the other end. He was nearly running, so it only took him a few seconds to pass through the alley and come out right behind Pulse. As soon as he came out under the street lights, the five young men who had been loitering in the park began running directly at him. The two who were in the lead pulled out pistols and began shooting. The boy from the alley took cover behind some of the theater-goers, drew out his own gun, and returned fire.

The gangers managed to miss each other completely but several stray bullets hit the line of people waiting for coffee. Half of them hit the ground, trying to get below the line of fire. The other half began running in all directions. The scene was complete chaos.

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