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A Meeting at the Park (IC)

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Riverside park was one of the more peaceful sections of the city. Especially since it was right by the bay. As always, the statue of Centurion stood proud and strong, surveying the water and acting as the city's silent protector.

All was quiet that night, and it was nearing nine o'clock.

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Gigawatt waited, floating around the statue. Waiting was always the most irritating part of an experiment. There was nothing that could be done, and he knew it. He had no idea who to expect. Man or woman, short or tall, human or not. Anticipation was going to kill him.

"For all I know," he mused aloud, "it's going to be a 5 handed monster that's devoted to Cthulhu or something. Wouldn't that just make my night."

So he flew around the statue, waiting and hoping this would be worth the time.

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Gigawatt heard the distant rumble of thunder. The skies above Riverside looked like rain. For a brief moment, Gigawatt's eyes and ears were dazzled as thunder and lightning flashed through the skies. The lightning struck the cement in front of the place where the Centurion's statue was anchored.

When he opened his eyes, Gigawatt saw a woman clad in blue steel armor standing before the statue. Though the top of her head and her eyes were obscured by the visor of her helmet, he could tell that she was gazing right at him. She stood above the scorch mark on the pavement where the lightning had struck with her legs, shoulder width apart, and her rust colored gauntleted hands rested on the bottom of a massive hammer. The hammer's head rested on the ground before her feet, its ornate carvings both beautiful and terrible to behold, much like the woman herself.

"Hark, mortal," She commanded, "Speak what business thou wouldst have with a servant of the glorious Odin!"

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Not a monster after all, it appeared. Alright, it was a nice effect. The whole thunder and lightning entrance is a real showstopper. Now, just how in the hell did that happen?

He ignored the odd speech pattern. It worked with the theme, and if he mentioned it it would most likely end with an irritated woman and no answers. Still, who talks like that?

"Evening madam. Before I get down to the business that has called us both here, I feel an introduction is in order. Gigawatt, man of a billon watts, at your service." he smiled. This was a bit corney. Still, if he played along, it might help grease the wheels, so to speak.

"As for my business here, if our mutual acquaintance may have already told you, we had been have a theological discussion, in which I posed the theory that folks like yourself do not actually get there abilities from divine figures. She took the opposite position, and we discussed until we'd backed ourselves into a corner. Without someone who did claim to have divine power, we could really get anywhere. She then said you would be able to assist us. I thank you for your time."

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"I am called Valkyrie." she returned the greeting, "I was indeed given rudimentary information about thine discussion. Though I still find that I question your purposes." Valkyrie stood before the statue, matching it's immovability, "Is the presence of one such as I not enough to dispel the doubts of thine eyes?" Valkyrie asked.

Valkyrie hefted the hammer over her shoulder and strode forward. Her gait was relaxed, yet confident. It matched the confidence of a true believer. One who knows that they are not alone in this world, or the next. She halted a few feet from Gigawatt, gazing up at him as he floated in mid-air. "If it is a display of power thou art desirous of, then I could surely oblige." Her gaze defiant, even through the helm, as if challenging Gigawatt to doubt her, to doubt the strength of the gods.

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"A Valkyrie. Of course you are." He really should have guessed that himself, but there were enough other possibilities that it was possible she'd go by something else. It worked, and that was what mattered in a name.

"You see, it's not that I don't believe you have abilities, it's that I haven't seen any proof of the divine forces folks claim to see. Now the entrance you gave was very nice. I liked the weather effects and the whole 'ride the lightning' thing you have going on. The problem for me comes from the fact it could be something else. Teleportation for an orbital satellite, genetic mutation, the possibilities are endless. I don't mean to offend, but I find it hard to believe that a god like Odin would have any stakes in the world today. No one really seems to believe in the man anymore. What does he care?" He was being rude, yes, but hopefully her comeback, violent or not would give away something.

She seemed to have lightning based abilities, and that hammer was very large. Hopefully he would be unaffected by the swing, and possibly by the burst of lightning that would come with it. Unless thee was some of the 'holy fire.' If nothing else, this whole thing had made his day so much more interesting.

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"It is true, that Odin oft cares not for the wiles of petty mortals such as yourself. But certain events have taken place, that have caused him to reconsider. Odin has charged me with the protection of his holy artifacts, until such time as they are needed to once again defend the halls of Valhalla."

Valkyrie swung the hammer down from her shoulder, and rested the head in her left hand. "Four gifts have I been given. The Hammer, Mjollnir. An instrument of destruction forged by the Gods and purposed for the annihilation of their foes." She raised the hammer for Gigawatt to see.

"The Gauntlets of Power, and the Belt of Strength as they are called in your language were a gift to aid in the proper use of the Hammer."

Then Valkyrie lowered the hammer and set it down by her side. "But possibly the most important of the holy relics which I wield is the Orb of Fate." Valkyrie pressed her left hand to her chest, where the large glass Orb lay embedded in her armor. There was a flash of light, and the Orb separated from it's moorings in the armor, and lay peacefully in her gauntleted hand. Shimmering with blue light and swirling clouds, the Orb pulsated with holy power. "Mayhaps it contains the proof which is sought by thine eyes?"

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'Alright, this is going a lot smoother than I anticipated. Where's the anger? The righteous fury that I, a mere mortal, would -dare- question the gods?' He was almost disappointed. It looked like she was entirely confident. Most liars would try and deflect, to get attention off themselves. Not only did she give the 'go ahead' but she was candid about the whole thing. She even explained what her little toys were.

"I was under impression that hammer was Thor's. Does he know that papa Odin raided his room?" He was gunna have a little fun. Without tools, he couldn't make proper study of whatever the thing was. He was hoping she'd give away little details so that he could piece things together that way. If it came down to it, all he could really do was see what sort of reaction it had to his abilities, at the moment. That was hardly telling of where it came from.

He hovered over the orb, looking at it. He made a lot of hmms and huhs. It'd sound like he was finding something other than a big glass ball. He wanted to save zapping it until the 'miraculous truth' was revealed to him, a sort of last ditch effort. Until then, he'd let his mouth wander on it's own. "Still, with everything that goes on down here, It sure is an odd place to keep something safe. I'm sure that a go would have a closet with a padlock at least. Down here we have robots, and evil masterminds that would most likely love to grab this stuff from you." It really seemed nondescript, except for the glowing. Could be a damn light bulb for all he knew. He decided to run his hand over the thing. A little shock wouldn't hurt it if it rode a lightning bolt to get down here.

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Gigawatt laid his hand on the Orb, and felt within it a warmth like that of a beating heart. It seemed to beat in time with the pulsing light. Though, there was something off about it. It was a beat, yet it was not. It flowed, and yet it did not. The Orb puzzled all of his senses.

Then he tried to remove his hand, and found that he could not. His heart caught in his throat as he suspected triggering an attack that he had expected to be more obvious. And then his hand separated from the orb, suddenly and quickly, and he separated from reality.

All around him was an expanse of white. An unbroken plane of nothing, and everything. There were no shadows, because there was no light. There was no darkness, because this was a place where night did not exist. A silence as loud as a roaring waterfall descended upon him. The only noise in the expansive waste was the static crackling of his own body...

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He didn't know what he was seeing. Had he passed out? Had he dissipated, not able to hold his form together? He felt altogether. Was he in some sort of containment? Had it been a trap fro the beginning? Why would she want to trap him? There were so many questions, and he didn't have an answer for any of them.

"WHERE AM I?" he called to the nothingness around him. "What did you do to me? Where the hell am I?" He didn't get an answer. What was he supposed to do now? What was going on? With so many unanswered questions, he started to panic. He had no idea what to do.

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"Calm yourself, mortal." came the soothing reply. It seemed to emanate from all points on the horizon at once. The voice was everywhere, inside him, and all around him.

Gigawatt blinked, and when he reopened his eyes, he saw a woman standing before him. It was not Valkyrie. Though armored, she was different, but just as beautiful, if not more so. This beauty, however, was a terrible beauty similar to that of the Hammer, Mjollnir. The armor was gray, and it was trimmed with fur. Like Valkyrie's armor, it looked built for mobility. The steel plates covered all of the vital portions of the body, and none of the unnecessary parts leaving leaving little to the imagination.

"Greetings, mortal. I am the Norn."

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The Norn? The Fates? This was getting weirder by the second. Next thing he'll see is the man Himself smiting him for combing his hair wrong, or something. No matter. Whatever this woman was, it was better than being stuck here alone."Who are you and where is this place?"

He hoped to get some answers out of her. This was far too close to those 'out of body visit from God' type scenarios for his taste. Unless he was mistaken, she'd be as vague as possible, and not rally say anything while he flailed around like a fish. Oh wouldn't this be fun.

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"Art thou deaf, mortal?" The Norn looked displeased. "Thou willst not ask questions to which answers have already been given. Be thankful that it is I who was sent to give thou audience. The Mighty Odin would not take kindly to such petty whimsical behavior."

"Enough of this. We shall waste no more time on such paltry matters. Thou hast been given a wonderful gift. A visit from an agent of the gods themselves and still thou hast doubt." The Norn approached him. Gazing up at the spot where Gigawatt floated, she spoke once more. "This trick of levitation conjured by thine powers is amusing. But it is naught but that, trickery, in the eyes of the Gods." The Norn lowered her head, and with it, Gigawatt. Soon he felt his feet rest upon the floor which was not really there.

"Now, thou is visited by a second agent of the Gods, and still thou hast doubts." Gigawatt saw the Norn frown. "Though Odin must stay his immortal hand in such mortal matters, he hast sent me in his place to grant you the gift of understanding. Thine ignorance displeases Odin, and he wishes it dispelled. So then, ask thine questions and be hasty! Our time together grows short."

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At this point he didn't really care about possibilities. He didn't really care about 'what if it's a trick'. His mind was screaming about the impossibility of this place, and he didn't listen. Something had grounded him fore the first time in a while. This whole situation had put him in a panic, and this lady came out of nowhere. There was nothing like a little personal experience to bolster belief.

"Alright then." His voice was a bit shaky. "So your one of the Fates. Sent by Odin, because I wasn't believing. I'm with you so far. Alright. Umm, So first things first: Of you come from Odin, would that mean the Egyptians, and Greeks, and Christians got it wrong? What I mean to say is are there others besides just the Norse gods. Does Odin hang around with Zeus, or is it all just different names for the same people?" If he was going to ask questions, asking "Is Odin real?" seemed redundant. Everything that was going on here was basing itself around the idea that Odin existed, and this was an agent of said god. So he needed to ask questions based on those 'facts.'

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"All good questions," responded the Norn. "Thou shalt have them answered in due time. Though now is not the time." Gigawatt watched as the Norn began to fade away before his eyes.

"I was called upon to attend to thou whilst thine faith was in question. I was to aid thou in thine belief. It seems, now, that both that goal, and thine faith have been fulfilled." the Norn flickered once more be completely fading away. Her voice echoed once more from all directions at once more, "Go now, mortal, in the name of Odin and the Gods!"

There came a sound like rushing wind in Gigawatt's ears. Louder than an earthquake; as still as an underground lake; faster than the blink of an eye; slower than an eternity, the nothingness left. The sensation was like traveling thousands of light years across multiple galaxies and solar systems through space and time itself in but the blink of an eye. Gigawatt both saw and heard the entire process, and yet he didn't. Suddenly, all was still and silent again. Gigawatt floated slightly above the ground in Riverside Park with his hand on the Orb of Fate. The birds chirped, the wind blew, and Valkyrie stood before him.

"Didst thou enjoy thine journey?"

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If Gigawatt still breathed, he would have been panting. His heart would have been beating faster than he could say. As it was, his normal blue was a little more pale when he found himself in front of the statue again. He looked around, ignoring Valkyrie for a moment. He forced himself to float a few inches off the ground, and he rose. He rose to get a clear view of the lake, and pointed a finger. A small bolt raced toward the water, and dissipated almost instantly. Things seemed to be back to normal. He was calmed down. 'Now for the woman,' he thought.

He came back down to the ground again, and looked her in the eye. "What exactly did you do to me?" He already knew that she would say she had done nothing, and that it was the power of the gods. He didn't bother to wait for an answer. "Why in the world would your gods choose someone like me to 'educate?' What could they possibly get out of that little misadventure?" He was still a little disoriented. It had been a thoroughly odd experience.

He wasn't sure what he expected her to say. He guessed at what she would say,and could probably carry on the conversation himself. But he waited. Hearing it would help. It would give him time to process exactly what had happened, if nothing else.

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It was by the merest quirk of fate that the angel of Freedom had been in the skies when Valkyrie gave Gigawatt a more personal connection to her gods, but by the time the electrical hero's awareness had returned to the plane of mortals, Freedom Angel had gained a particular awareness of what was transpiring below. His jaw tightening, he swooped in to the scene below, interrupting the dialogue before Valkyrie could answer. We are not enemies, he reminded himself, but all friends, serving the cause of justice. Even though she bears the marks of... He couldn't lie, but that didn't mean he always told the entire truth.

Surrounded by a golden nimbus of light, his wings outlined by the sun's fire behind him, the angel looked from Gigawatt to Valkyrie. "The young man asked you a good question, daughter of the Aesir."

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Taylor Chun was playing with her infant son when the familiar tingle started at the base of her neck. 'Guess this means I'm off maternity leave now.'

It took a few minutes to hand the baby off to his father and less than that to transform and wink over to the mystical disturbance.

To those in the park, the shadows unfolded into a grim faced and ghostly cloaked figure who uttered no word of greeting and merely turned white hot glowing eyes on the scene as she waited to see what would unfold.

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Valkyrie slowly withdrew the Orb of Fate. In her hand, it shrank to a smaller size. From it's six inch diameter, it resumed the size of a large jewel, about two inches across. She secured it once more in the armor at her chest.

Before she even addressed the new-comers, she proceeded to finish her conversation with Gigawatt. "Mayhaps the problem lies within thine thinking. Think not that it was you that was being educated, but I that was being tested." Valkyrie smiled, "It lifts mine heart to see that thou hast returned. The spell was set only to end when thy achieved new understanding. Come, it seems we have attracted guests during your time apart from us. We would do well to greet them with kindness, I believe."

Valkyrie turned towards Freedom Angel and Phantom. Hands on the but of Mjollnir which still lay with it's head on the ground she addressed them each in turn.

Freedom Angel I know. And Phantom. Great, the dimension police are here.

"Hail, Great Wing-ed one. From thine greeting, I can tell thou art well versed in mine ancestors. Thou art well met, Son of Gabriel." Valkyrie turned slightly and addressed the other. "And Phantom, I believe. Have you no greeting for one that serves the Gods?" Valkyrie's body language spoke only neutrality. She did not feel threatened while under the protection of Odin, and she let that show.

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Gigawatt was tired. Physically, he had a decent amount of charge built up. Mentally, emotionally, he had just been through the wringer. He didn't really have any anger left, though he was surprised to see there were guests. One he recognized, the feathers, the armor. He'd seen enough TV to know an icon when he saw one. The other one was a total mystery. Entrance: Impressive. The whole brooding darkness thing, less so. What was it about times like this that brought everyone out of the wood works?

"I will have questions for you later. Goodness only knows what you'll answer." He looked over the others, wondering what they were doing here. "Tell me the truth, you're here to get the secret Odin decoder rings, right?" There didn't seem to be any other explanation, aside from general boredom. But then, who could know the inside of any of these folks. With what he'd seen thusfar, he wasn't ready to discount anything.

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Freedom Angel gave Gigawatt a warm, friendly smile that glowed with warmth and reassurance, everything an angel's smile should be. "No, thank you, my friend. I am Freedom Angel, Heaven's ambassador to this city." He shot Valkyrie a look of frosty, correct politeness. "I was unaware that the valkyrja were active again in this city. Does your All-Father know you dally with the sort of men he'd sell as thralls in your Valhalla?"

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"Greetings, Idisi, O girl-child of Odin's. Shield-maiden. She who choses the slain." Phantom's voice rolled out of the dark shadow of her hood, strange and echoing. She floated forward, the long tattered hem of her cloak writhing over the ground with her movement to join the group. "Or would you prefer the more archaic forms? It has been a while since I had cause to visit Valhalla but well do I remember the greetings. Does this satisfy you?"

She looked down at the young man, her head tilting back to reveal a masked face under the cowl, "I came to observe but it appears that I will be more than a watcher to this little scene. I am Phantom.

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Valkyrie's pleasant smile grew wider at the reception she received from Phantom.

"Or would you prefer the more archaic forms? It has been a while since I had cause to visit Valhalla but well do I remember the greetings. Does this satisfy you?"

"Indeed it does, O Gracious Protector."

Then her mood significantly soured when she hear Freedom Angel's response. "How dare thy speak of Valhalla? Odin watches over and blesses every action I take. Thou hast no room to speak when the savior of thine people was known to keep whores by his side. Or didst thou miss that, when thy served in the army of the Fallen Angel?" The volume in Valkyrie's voice was rising. Freedom Angel's words had struck deeply, hitting a nerve. Her eyes narrowed beneath the visor. "I extend to you kindness, and you throw it in my face." Leaning forward, Valkyrie spat at Freedom Angels feet.

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Gigawatt didn't really know what has going on, but things seemed to be heating up. he'd never really gotten an answer on "is there on than one pantheon. So this could be nothing but a dispute over whos names were better, or it could be over who's dad had a better garden in the back. If things were going to break out, something told him he wouldn't be able to stop them.

He looked at the one called Phantom. "So, what exactly is it that you do. Aside from watching that is?" She seemed to at least know things, which was more than he could say for himself. He couldn't really place the stranger, either. Valkyrie and the Angel had taken their own sides. He wondered who 'Phantom' backed.

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Freedom Angel's lip curled, his handsome face looking uncharacteristically contemptuous for a moment as the light around him blazed a little brighter. "Ah yes, the famed courtesy of the Aesir. The centerpieces of a faith of thugs and savages who sought to pull down the light of the Creator's civilization, men who hid behind a one-eyed mushroom addict and his vicious sot of a son to cover their own manifest imperfections, building an afterworld of thuggery and violence, where the strong ever dominate the weak and helpless till all fall down in a bloody war of all against all. Go back to your apples and mead, and let the world be lived in by those who love it."

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