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The image cuts in from static, catching just the tail end of a commercial featuring a towel-wearing man in front of a shower. The recording was apparently pulled straight from the television broadcast.

"Welcome back to Twenty Questions. I am of course Rich 'Voyeur' Royer and I'm coming to you from Greenbank, where we've just spied a superhero in action. She's finishing up now and it's time to see what she has to say about us, herself, and all the people out there at home. Let's go ask some questions!"

The camera moves forward, turning around the corner and making its way down the block to reveal a short woman with dirty-blonde hair. Slumped on the ground or against a wall are unconscious - but largely physically unharmed - thugs in casual suits. She's dragging one out of the street by his collar to toss him with his friends as the host comes up behind her. A small counter in the bottom corner of the screen - possibly added after the show's broadcast - appears:


"Miss! Ma'am! Rich 'Voyeur' Royer. Could we have a moment of your time to ask some questions?"

The woman - girl, almost? - turns around, the upper half of her face obscured behind a visor. "...no."

"But don't you want to introduce yourself to the public? Twenty Questions has quite a few view-" He's cut off as one of the thugs struggles to his feet and reaches inside his jacket pocket; almost without turning around the heroine holds out her hand and hits him with a twisting, rippling shockwave of some kind, knocking him back into the wall. He slumps back down to the ground, a knife tumbling out of his grip. The heroine turns her attention back on the camera.

"Twenty questions. If I answer them, you'll go away?"




"Well, let's make the first question-"



"Second question. Asked your first. 'Could we have a moment of your time to ask some questions?'"

There's a pause, and then a chuckle. "I guess we did. The second question, then! Could you introduce yourself to our viewers?"

She leans back against the side of a black car with tinted windows, nodding, but folding her arms and looking a little uncomfortable. "Dragonfly."


"I don't think we've heard of you, Dragonfly. New in town?"

"Yes. Late June."

"Any predecessors the people might know? Previous Dragonflies in the world you got the title from?"

"Not that I'm aware." She frowns a bit, scuffing the ground with a toe. "...hope not."


"What caused the scuffle here? What had these men done to earn your attention?"

Dragonfly tilts her head, mouthing the word 'earn' and thinking for a second before shaking her head, reaching over, and opening the unlocked trunk of the car she rests against. The camera turns and zooms in on a trunk packed full of rifles and handguns, with an unmarked black metal box tucked away to the side. A hand reaches out for it before Dragonfly's voice makes it stop. "Don't."

"I do suppose we should make sure no fingerprints get on any of the-"


"...ah. Well, thank you."

She nods, haltingly.


"Taking the fight to the city's weapons dealers, then? Or were these just in your way?"

She scowls, pointing at the still-unconscious men. "People like these are scum. Profiting off the crime and death of others." Reaching down, she grabs a grenade and holds it up. "Criminal might use this for revenge. For money. Desperation, fear, insanity. Many reasons. Bad reasons, but reasons. Selling them...professional dealers, organized crime. No excuses there. Do it for the money only...or because they enjoy it. Worms of the earth. Deserve what they get."


"What they get? Surely you aren't going around taking justice into your own hands...?"

She shakes her head, calming down a bit. "No." The camera turns and zooms in on one of the dealers - or buyers? - who is, indeed, still breathing. "Scum, but human scum. For the police. Getting...too violent helps little. Draws attention. Makes enemies that don't need to be made. Not rational. Ethically bad." She waves a hand, dismissing the idea like you'd shoo a fly.


"That's some fancy stuff you're wearing. Did you build it yourself?"

She nods, holding up a gauntlet for the camera. It's a heavy metal affair, all complex parts and layers. No moving pieces seem to be exposed, but there are and odd and inscrutable assortment of wires at the hinges or flush with the surface, and a couple of glass-looking tubes near the back. "Will remake them soon. Had poor tools. Some flaws." She turns the gauntlet and eyes it critically, as if the supposed flaws are self-evident. "Does the job for now."


"You must be one smart cookie to have thought those up. I suppose you have a Master's or a PhD in your field?"

She shakes her head.

"Well, that's not for all young geniuses. A normal degree, from one of our own fine institutions?"

She shakes her head again.

"Not from Freedom City, then?"

She looks terribly awkward for a moment, and coughs. "Not...don't have...mm. Not...from the city."

There's a heavy pause before moving on.


"Well, why don't you tell us a bit about how they work?"

Dragonfly brightens, evident even with half her face covered. "Spacial distortions. Gauntlets are a linked pair of efficient warp engines capable of..." She goes on for at least a few minutes, parts of her talking obviously cut out in post. It's apparently what she considers the highlights - between the terms she uses and the theoretical science involved, none of what she says would be in the least bit helpful for reverse-engineering or thwarting her 'creations'. As it finally seems to catch up with her that she's boring her interviewers to death she trails off, folding her arms again and leaning up to the car. She's turned a little pink, and the lights on her devices actually seem to dim a little in embarrassment.


"....yes, well. That's...yes, well. You must be a very smart young woman."


"How did that affect your childhood?"

"My-" In a moment several emotions seem to flash across her, from reflexive anger to suspicion to bitterness to resolve. "....my childhood was...affected."


"Just 'affected'?"

"Yes. Not...easy. Not always pleasant. But survived. Will continue to survive. Freedom is...nice."


"Freedom...you mean the city?"

"....yes." It doesn't sound like a very convincing 'yes'.


"You did say you were new to our fair town. What's kept you busy since you arrived?"

"Inventing. Patrolling. Setting up home."


"And where does a heroine like yourself set up shop?"

Dragonfly just gives him a quiet look for a moment. "Don't think I'll say that on TV."

"Not even a general area?"

She holds the look.

"...no, I guess not. Well, I'm sure you have to keep it safe somehow!"

Her voice is completely deadpan. "With automated turrets."

"I...think that would also work, yes."

"Very well."


"Met many of your fellow heroes?"

"Some. Ironclad. Divine. Others. Good contacts. Mostly nice people." Something about 'nice people' seems to make Dragonfly uncomfortable again. "Friendly. Learning - interesting."


"As a high-tech hero, what do you think about some of your fellows? Their powers? How do you think you stack up?"

"Have respect for other inventors. Some for heroes using others' inventions. Not as interesting, though." The heroine bit her lip, thinking. "Am a little underequipped. Not much to work with. Working on it. Difficult to ensure quality and safety. Each without the other is...bad."


"Oh? How about the less sciency heroes - the aliens, the mutants, the magic-users?"

"Aliens...fascinating. Need to brush up on biology. Strange, unusual physical capabilities. Humans seem underwhelming. Curious." She tilts her head, apparently thinking on that for a bit before brushing it aside. "Mutants unusual. Aberrations on the human genome. 'Grab-bag'. Unpredictable."


"Aberrations? You don't like them?"

She starts out of her thoughts, shaking her head vigorously. "Not what I meant. Sorry. Fine people. Do good work, I'm sure. Genetics a mess. Too many variables, such strange mutations. Statistically unlikely. Also curious."


"How about magic? Any thoughts, as a woman of science?"

"...not sure. Do not trust magic, completely. Do not know the rules. Seems...don't know. Don't like that it plays with the laws of nature." She pauses, and lifts up a gauntlet that was not ten minutes ago warping the fabric of space. The faintest hint of a grin tugs at the edge of her mouth. "...sort of. Double standard, maybe?"


"Well, what about-..hm, what question are we on?"

Her answer is immediate. "Twenty."

"Well, then! Any final thoughts for your hundreds of thousands of new fans?"

She lifts her head, looking at the camera like she really hadn't thought about it. When she speaks, it's quiet and sounds more than a little taken aback. "Hundreds of thousands of...."

"Absolutely! Twenty Questions is a popular show - everyone loves to know a little more about the people that keep us safe every day."

She's frozen for a moment, and if it weren't for the occasional car driving by in the background you'd think the feed had stopped. Slowly, almost mechanically, she reaches into the trunk, picks up the metal box, and holds out one hand; the world at her fingertips seems to fold in on itself, forming a shifting, twisting portal that she barely has time to step through before it collapses and winks out of existence. The street is left empty except for knocked-out criminals, Royer, and his crew.

"...well, there you have it! Dragonfly, faithful viewers, a woman of few words, and one more hero you've all met here on Twenty Questions."

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Accessing text file.


Who are you? Sum yourself up in one sentence.

I am an inventor and technology-based hero.

Do you have any nicknames, street names, titles, or nom de plume?


What is your full birth name?

Mara Hallomen. No middle name.

Where do you live?

I own a warehouse in Greenbank.

How old are you? What year were you born (if applicable)?

18. I was born in 1991.

Physical Traits

What is your gender? If not applicable, please explain.


How would you describe your heritage?

Not entirely sure. Mostly European, I think.

How tall are you?

5'4". Not very tall.

What is your body type?

Normal? I try to keep in shape.

Do you have any particular weaknesses, such as allergies or physical disabilities?

Not as such. Difficulty sleeping sometimes.

How do you carry yourself? Are you graceful, or heavy on your feet? Can you be stealthy, do you walk with confidence?

'Grace' likely isn't accurate, but it will do. Don't excel at stealth. Decently confident.

Describe your skin, eye, and hair color.

Average Caucasian, blue, dirty blonde.

How do you wear your hair, if applicable? Do you have facial hair?

Can't be bothered to deal with it. Loose or pulled back. Not going to dignify 'facial hair' with a response.

Do you consider yourself attractive? Do others?

I suppose. Not much experience with what others think of me.

Do you have any scars, tattoos, piercings, or birthmarks?

Pierced ears. A few scars, nothing serious.

Do you resemble anyone famous?

Not that I'm aware of.

Do you have a dominant hand?

Ambidextrous. So no.

What kind of clothing do you wear?

Practical clothing. Not going to wear a nice shirt if I'll just get grease all over it.

Do you wear makeup?


What is your vocal range? Is your voice distinctive in some way?

Middle-range and unremarkable.

Do you have any distinctive habits, nervous tics, or mannerisms? Where did they come from, and what causes them? Do other people notice and remark on these habits? Do they annoy you or other people?

I'm told I fidget rather badly when uncomfortable, which has bothered some. Pace when excited. Fold my arms when thinking.


Where do you come from?

A lab complex.

Have you made any major moves, or do you live in your hometown?

Moving to Freedom City likely qualifies.

Do you feel loyal to your country of citizenship? Do you consider yourself patriotic? How do you feel about the government of your country?

No and no. A government is necessary but I don't care for politics or politicians. Professional liars.

How do you feel about the place you come from?

I grew up without friends or caring family. You tell me.

Where is your home town? What was/is it like?

I...don't remember where. Side-effects from suddenly going off 'treatments'. It was unpleasant, though it took me a while to realize.

Growing up, were most of the people you knew similar to you, or were you somehow a minority? How did that affect you?

I was the only child, so 'minority'. I'm not comfortable around people because of it. Need to work on that.

Is there something you've always been really good at or really bad at? How has that affected your life?

Building things. Taking things apart. Inventing things. It...makes me happy.

Were there any traumatic experiences in your early years (death of a family member, abandonment, orphaned at an early age)?

My mother died when I was very young, though I cannot remember her. Looking back, my whole childhood was approaching 'trauma', though I couldn't see it at the time.

Briefly describe a defining moment in your childhood and how it influenced your life.

When I first built a working machine. It didn't do much - spun around in place, made a noise. The joy of having it work - of building something like that by my own hands - was wonderful.

What stupid things did you do when you were younger?

Built things for my-...for a very bad person.

Where did you go to school? How much school did you have, and did you enjoy it?

I didn't. I educated myself, or had knowledge crammed into my brain. Not so enjoyable. Once I left, I got my G.E.D. and decided that was enough for now.

Do you have any mementos of your childhood? What are they, and why did you keep them? If you have none, why not?

Old plans and devices. Nothing spectacular. Very few memories from back then that I want to keep.

When did you decide to become a hero? Why? Did anyone influence you one way or another in the decision?

It allows me to accomplish my goals. And...allows me to even out my karma, maybe. I hope.

Is the reason you give people for becoming a hero different than your real reason? If so, why?

Yes. Generally not a good idea to spread the word that people have suffered and died at the hands of people wielding things you built.

Do you have any deep, dark secrets in the past that may come back to haunt you?

The things I've built...that I've caused and enabled. And anyone still hunting me after my escape.

Do you represent yourself as being different from who you really are? Why?

No. Not very good at deception. Do try to conceal my stress, with mixed success.

If you do have these secrets, what do you fear would happen if the truth became known? How far would you go to protect those secrets?

Do not want to be pitied. Not worth killing over, but it would make me...very uncomfortable.

Do you have any sort of criminal record? If so, is it public knowledge?

Nothing official. I suspect there are more than a few who know or suspect my connection to the things I've built.


What are your biological parents' names?

Was not allowed to know my mother's name. My father is Anthony Hallomen.

Were you raised by them? If not, please explain and describe who raised you.

By my father, ostensibly. By his lackeys, in practice - distant people who either didn't want to know me, or who were too afraid to.

What was their standing in the community? What did/do they do for a living?

My father is a weapons dealer and may as well be a crime boss. The others were scientists, guards, errand-runners.

Where are your parents now?

My mother is dead. I don't know where my father is.

Did your family stay in one area or move around a lot?

My father moves quite a bit. I never did.

How did you get along with your parents? How do you get along with them now (if applicable).

When I was young he was my hero - the big strong mysterious man. Now I think I hate him.

How do your parents view you now, or how would they?

I hear he's quite angry. That makes me fairly happy.

Do you have any siblings? If so how many and what are their names? Describe your relationship with them.

I am an only child as far as I know, which isn't very far.

What was your birth order in the family?

Not sure this applies. If I have siblings they could be older or younger.

Where are your siblings now (if applicable)? Do they have families of their own? What do they do?

Hopefully far far away from their father.

Do you stay in touch with them or have you become estranged?

I haven't tried to find any, because I don't know if any exist. I hope they don't.

Do you love or hate one member of the family in particular?

Father, hate.

Is any member of the family special to you in any way (perhaps, as a confidant, mentor, or arch-rival)?

Only in as much as complete detest is special.

Are there any black (or white) sheep in the family (including you)? If so, please explain.

My mother was a villain and my father sells weapons to villains, so I suppose that makes me the black sheep. Or white sheep.

Do you have a notorious or celebrated ancestor? If so, please explain, including how it has affected your life.

My father, for a given value of 'notorious'. It's no small shadow to escape from.

Do you have a partner and children currently? If so, please describe them.


If you do not have a partner or children, do you want them someday? How firm are you in your opinion on this, and what might change your mind?

I hadn't thought about it. I suppose. Attraction isn't very controllable.

What type of person would be your ideal mate?

Rational. Reliable. Honest.


Do you have any close friends? If so, please describe them, and how you came to be close to them.


Do you have a best friend? If so, how did they become your best friend? How close are you to your best friend?


If you were to go missing, who would worry about you?


Have you lost any loves? If so, how did it happen, and what did you do?


Do you have any bitter enemies? If so, please describe them and their history with you.

My father, whose history should be clear by now.

If you have enemies, how do you think they might attempt to work against you in the future?

He'll try to find and recapture me, I suppose. I am ready for him. At some point the local dealers and mobs will think I'm too much trouble to deal with, but by then I'll be ready for that, too.

What is the worst thing someone has done to you?

Locked me away in a lab for years, invaded my mind, made me forge weapons of death.

Where do your loyalties lie? In what order?

Myself, then people in need.

Who or what do you trust the most? Why?

Science. It's honest and reliable, if not always understood.

Who or what do you despise? Why?

This, also, should be clear by now. More generally, weapons dealers who profit from enabling suffering, people who cause that suffering, and organized crime.

What qualities do you admire most in other people? Are these qualities you possess?

Honesty. Reliability. Intelligence. I suppose I have them all.

What qualities do you hate most in other people? Do you have any of those qualities?

Arrogance. Sociopathy. Stupidity. Yes, no, and no.

Do you have a secret identity? If so, who knows it? Do you hide it from people who are close to you? Why?

Yes. Only myself. Whether or not I would hide it would depend on how close I was to the given people, but I suppose I might. Do not want to drag others into my problems.

Do you work well on teams and in groups? Are you a leader or a follower?

I work alone. I suppose I could team up if necessary. If I were to follow I'd expect a good leader. If I were to lead I'd require good followers.

Are you on a super team? If so, how do you get along with your comrades? Do you trust them, or do you have secrets from them?


Are you a member of any church, fraternal organization, club, committee, political party, or other group? How much time do you spend on that?

Religion is a tool created to control the masses. Gods often are.

Personality & Beliefs

Who are your heroes?

Anyone who is determined to be free.

Did you ever become disillusioned with former heroes or idols? If so, why and what were the circumstances?

Children idolize their parents. Older children...begin to question. I cannot remember when I became disillusioned with my father, but I remember it was unpleasant.

Do you like being a hero? If so, what is the most rewarding part? If not, what makes you keep doing it?

....yes. It...it is nice to do some good and balance out the evils I've been a part of. And it gives me the ability to police what evils of mine are still on the street.

Is there anything that would make you give up hero work, or even switch sides?

Pregnancy. Severe, crippling injury I couldn't compensate for with technology. Switch sides? ....extraordinary betrayal or insanity.

What are your short term goals (what would you like to be doing within a year)?

Survive. Secure my defenses. Arm myself. Make a name, make some contacts with other superheroes.

What are your long term goals (what would you like to be doing twenty years from now)?

Dismantle my father's life piece by piece until he's left exposed and helpless.

What is your greatest fear? Why? What do you do when something triggers this fear?

Being imprisoned. I build things to keep my mind off it.

Is there anything you would give you life for?

A good enough cause. A close friend. The ability to go out with a bang and do some serious damage not otherwise possible.

How do you feel about money and material wealth? Do you desire it or disdain it? Are you miserly with what you have, or do you like to share? Is it a mark of success, or a means to an end?

Wealth enables one's goals. It is a tool, nothing more, and one to use carefully and deliberately.

How do you generally treat others?

How they deserve to be treated.

Are you a trusting person? Has your trust ever been abused?

No, and yes, which explains the no.

Are you introverted (shy and withdrawn) or extroverted (outgoing)? Do you have a lot of self-confidence?

....shy. I am confident in my abilities but not by ability to deal with other people.

How do you act around attractive, available members of your preferred sex?

Pitifully flustered.

What are your most annoying habits?

I fidget, pace, and need to constantly be doing something with my hands.

Do you feel contempt for any general category of people? Who are they, and why?

Organized crime and weapons dealers, for building their lives around profiting from suffering. Any criminal who chooses to be such while having other options available to them.

What is your favorite food? Do you prefer any particular type of food? Do you take the time to enjoy your food, or do you eat as fast as you can?

Quality, high-class meals are a treat. I am fond of Italian.

What is your favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?

I am technically too young to buy or drink alcohol. But wine.

What is your favorite treat (dessert)?

Cheesecake is a wonderful food.

Are there any specific foodstuffs that you find disgusting or refuse to eat?

Do not care much for heavy spiciness.

What is your favorite color? Are there any colors you dislike?

Muted colors. Grey, black. I do like blue quite a bit. Do not like yellows, am not terribly fond of pink.

What sort of music do you like? Is there any that you hate?

Classical is beautiful. Electronic is energizing. Have a great distaste for country.

If you have a favorite scent, what is it?

Fresh flowers.

Do you have a favorite animal?

The dragonfly. Naturally.

What is your most treasured possession? Why?

The things I have built - they are mine, and others cannot be trusted with them.

Do you enjoy "roughing it", or do you prefer your creature comforts?

"Roughing it" is for masochists and men suffering from testosterone poisoning.

Is there a job or a task you would absolutely refuse to do?

Distasteful criminal jobs. Sell most of what I build. Help those I have distaste for.

Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? If so, how do your beliefs affect your life? How important is it to you?


Was your faith influenced or molded by anyone special?


If you belong to a religious organization, how often do you attend? Do you have a specific place of worship, or friends within the organization? How much do you agree with the beliefs of your organization?

This does not apply.

Could you kill? Have you killed?

Yes, and once, though not entirely on purpose.

What circumstances led to you forming that conviction, or taking that action?

Killing is unpleasant but it is naive to assume there will always be other options.

Are there circumstances under which you believe it is permissible to kill? What are they?

Self-defense, or when there are truly no better ways.

How would you react to watching someone kill another person? Would your reaction be different if the killer was a friend or an enemy of yours?

With a critical mind. A friend may kill for a justified reason. An enemy rarely would.

How would you react if something important was stolen from you?

With ire. And force.

How would you react to public humiliation?

Badly, I suspect.

How would you react if a good friend or relative were purposely or accidentally killed? Has it happened to you?

With ire. And likely too much force. No, it has not happened.

What do you consider to be the worst crime someone could commit and why?

There are too many, but wide-scale genocide and personal violation are at the top of the list.

If your life were to end in 24 hours, what five things would you do in those remaining hours?

Quiet goodbyes and any four things that would do the most damage to the most enemies. If I must go, let it be memorable and with a bang.

Career & Training

Do you have any special training in your hero skills? If so, where and how did you get it?

Extensive knowledge in and experience with science and technology, beginning when I was quite young. Otherwise, no.

Who taught you the most about your heroing abilities? What was your relationship with that person?

Myself. I do not always get along with her.

Do you have any particularly unusual skills? How did you acquire them?

I can use computers at a distance, with my mind. It is apparently an inherited skill of unknown origin.

Do you do something besides hero work for a living? Have you ever done anything else, or do you plan to?

No. If I run low on money I could easily sell benign technology plans for quite a lot of money.

What is your preferred combat style?

Quick, precise, and at range.

Have you ever received any awards or honours?


What skill areas would you like most to improve in? Is there anything you can't do that you wish desperately you could?

Social skills. Further my scientific prowess. I lack sufficient understanding in biology, which I will need for future plans. I...it is not desperate but I do not know how to dance. ...next question.

How do you act around people who are more skilled than you in areas you'd like to improve? Are you jealous, or do you try and learn?

I study them. Won't pretend I am not jealous sometimes, but jealousy is wasted effort - if I learn what they know, then we will be on equal footing and I no longer need to be jealous.

Lifestyle & Hobbies

What is a normal day for you? How do you feel when something interrupts this routine?

Wake up in the late morning. Coffee. If I have a lead on some of my own inventions being misused somewhere, that is a priority. Otherwise, split my time between working on projects and patrolling.

Do you have any hobbies, or interests outside hero work? What are they, and where did you pick them up?

I play the double bass and violin. They were the only leisure allowed to me growing up.

What do you do for fun?

Treat myself to good food, play my instruments, invent things.

Do you have a costume? What does it look like?

More or less. Personal devices, plus black pants and a grey short jacket. Capes are not practical. Jackets are.

How do you normally dress when not in costume?

Comfortably. Jeans, tank tops or t-shirts.

What do you wear to bed most nights?

Very little.

Do you wear any special jewelry? What is it, and what does it look like?


Do you have a special place where you keep your valuables?

...no. I should probably install a vault in the warehouse.

What's your preferred means of local travel? How about long distance?

I walk or ride my motorcycle. I am working on flight...there are many wrinkles involved. Currently if I tried it would turn me inside-out and scatter bits of me across two districts.


Have you ever made a will, or tried to make arrangements for your death? What provisions did you make?

When or if I die, my benign technology goes to trustworthy organizations, my non-benign technology is to be destroyed, and my remaining wealth is to be split among a few select charities.

If your features were to be destroyed beyond recognition, is there any other way of identifying your body?

My brain is not extraordinarily physically deformed, but apparently it's somewhat nonstandard now. That would do.

What would you like to be remembered for after your death?

Anything but my current legacy.

Do you believe you pose a threat to the public? Why or why not?

No. Everything I make and everything I do is strictly controlled. Worst case scenario is not an explosion, it's simply shutting down.

What do you perceive as your greatest strength?


What do you perceive as your greatest weakness?


As a player, if you could, what advice would you give your character? Speak as if he/she were sitting right here in front of you. Use proper tone so they might heed your advice...

People are not as untrustworthy as you think. Make some friends, for god's sake. Earn some social skills. Lighten up!

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Vocal Log, code: Dragonfly. Access granted. Retrieving data....

"So. New city. New place. Not bad - got the warehouse cheap. Can't spend much money without being traced, I think. Have to be careful. Have to be faster. Installed some security measures, really need to get some better defenses in place. Can't be too careful. Can't be too safe."

[data skipped]

"- really don't like the neighborhood. Going to have to put some fear into the local crime groups. Show of power. Keep them away from my things. Don't want another incident like -"

[data skipped]

"Really wish I had an instrument like my old one. My one shining moment each day when I got to practice. Maybe there's a good dealer in the city somewhere...maybe someone's offloading an antique I can get my hands on. As if I'd be that lucky. Still, if I could, I'd give it a nice place of honor on the warehouse floor, up by the beds. Keep it safe."

[data skipped]

"System's still purging various...things. Wish I had a better foundation in biology. Will track mental progress...will hope for no degradation, but from what I've gathered so far my mind should actually pick up a small amount before what's left of the 'treatments' leave me. 'Treatments'. 'Medicines'. Headaches, still can't sleep. One more thing I owe my father. Part of me is still driven to understand these things. Part of me wonders if I couldn't apply my mind to find a safer way to boost my intelligence. Resonance? Headset could do it. Has the power. Not the technology. Kinks need working out. Biology knowledge poor. Will work on that, if I can gather the courage. Save log and file."

[end of log]

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  • 2 months later...

Video Log, code: Dragonfly. Access granted. Retrieving data....

Mara is leaning against her workbench, arms crossed as she looks up at the camera. "Equipment test...recently replaced video camera. Due for a log anyway. Might as well combine the two. Can always strip audio out of video file in the unlikely event storage space becomes scarce. Mm." She pauses, apparently pondering the computer's plentiful memory capacity before continuing. "Unusual start for a log: social record. Since last entry, have made several friends and contacts, portfolios and known abilities on record in file system. Notable entries: Ironclad II, Kid Cthulhu, Slick, Cannonade, all entries tagged 'concert'. Files incomplete, having to prioritize other projects. Ironclad's most complete - qualifies as best friend."

She pauses, tilting her head and actually smiling. "It's...good to have a friend."

"Regardless." She waved a hand, standing up and pacing a bit. "Progress along multiple paths. Few goals achieved, but reasonable success to date. Recovered 63 items from when I...from old, personal designs. 28 unique designs. Destroyed 51, remainder dismantled for parts. All devices dismantled to bare components to prevent tampering after reuse - bugs, vulnerabilities, exploits - and only retained parts from completely unused items. Could use parts from others, but...cannot bring myself to do so. Doesn't seem right. Caused suffering. Standard destruction procedures - dismantle, slag, disintegrate. Unusable even for scrap. By design. Unrecoverable by anything short of time manipulation...remains spread across multiple junkyards to prevent that. Reasonably safe. Will deal with unforeseen loopholes if they come up. Unlikely. ...possible, in this city."

"Surprisingly active in non-recovery hero work. Curious number of drug or drug-related crimes. New substances, old substances. So-called 'super' drugs, power-granting...always at high price. Unwise. Don't see the point in it. Suppose I wouldn't. Good to help people. Especially good to clean up streets. Local gangs afraid of me, I think - should be. Local weapons trade diminishing rapidly but still too active. More effort required. Larger plan? Multiple ideas but few feasible. Lack social graces required to establish myself as a local power...doubt other heroes would appreciate it anyway. Will continue turning the problem over."

She stopped, tapping a foot for a moment and looking at something on the workshop floor, off-camera. "Technical log to follow."

[end of log]

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Video Log, code: Dragonfly. Access granted. Retrieving data....

The video cuts in, not on Mara but instead on what looks like relatively low-grade file footage of an old clothes mannequin with some sort of pack strapped onto the back - the pack is mostly interlocking metal plates, and has four small, articulated stubby protrusions barely visible from behind the frame. Her voice cuts in, clearly dubbed in later.

"Wing test 23 - mid-September, 2010. Building properly secured, testing area behind reinforced protective field and physical containment. Pack has less than 1% power to prevent prolonged activity in the event of failure. Power supplied by standard non-chemical battery - usual power sources too dangerous if badly damaged. Initiating test about...now."

The small protrusions twitch to life, rising to stick back and to the sides of the pack. They crackle briefly before each projects a long, beautiful blade of pale neon blue energy, evoking a dragonfly's iridescent wings. The effect lasts only a moment, however, before the wings flicker, twitch, and suddenly go out of control. Distorting and misshaping, they turn inwards as if attached to a rapidly-flailing hinge; exposing a force field as they scrape across the inside, the wings turn the test area into a small, contained, but violent blender. Mara's voice is calm but clearly disappointed. "Power drain emptying battery cell in roughly three, two...."

The wings flicker and die, the mannequin collapsing to the ground in multiple pieces. Bits and shavings of plastic are spread across the floor, marking out the limits of the force field, which is now visible for a moment as it flickers and disappears. "Test failure - 2.8 seconds of activation followed by loss of field control. Disappointing. Stable energy blade viable - may adapt design for melee utility on gauntlets. Attempts to add theoretically fine lifting power to wings ends in critical destabilization. Interesting problem - spectrum analysis shows odd symptoms before collapse. Bears further analysis. Other projects more successful - visor nearly complete, though without full suite of desired features. Better than wearing a useless accessory on my head. Concert project also nearing completion - visual illusion easier than physical manifestation. Software requires further testing, having problems with exact teleportation coordinates. Will log further developments if I remember. Test review ends."

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Video Log, code: Dragonfly. Access granted. Retrieving data....

The video has cut back in to Mara, behind her workshop table this time, gesturing at a half-constructed platform of some sort. "Mentioned concert project. Not without complications. Could play solo, but difficult. Concert is a good cause - want to pull out all the stops. As the saying goes."

She shook her head. "General schematic in files. Initially just to enable personal performance, then realized that the same engine could be re-purposed. Large social gatherings common villainous target; hero-themed gathering doubly so. Would think criminals would be smart enough to avoid sites with multiple superpowered entities...sanity probably a factor. Regardless. Civilian safety an issue. Solution not perfect, but at least better than widespread casualties or hostages. Will continue working - interface unreliable, targeting requires adjustment. Field stable, however. Nice change from the wings."

Device ? (Platform, easy to lose, ??pp) [??pp]
Warp Engine Platform Array ? (??pp array, Feats: Alternate Power 2) [??pp] (spacial)

  • Duplication ? (??pp summons, Flaws: Limited [user must remain on the platform], Real, Feats: Progression 2) [??/??pp]
    Illusion ? (Visual, Feats: Progression ?) (+ Communication?) [??/??pp]
    Teleport ? (Extras: Area, Affects Others, Selective, Range [Ranged], Flaws: Anchor, Long-Range, Feats: Progression (Weight) ?, Progression (Area) ?) [??/??pp]

[end of log]

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  • 2 months later...

Vocal Log, code: Dragonfly. Access granted. Retrieving data....

There's dead air for a moment as the audio file plays, though one can faintly hear the sound of a glass being put down on a table. When she talks Mara doesn't sound tipsy, but she does sound uncharacteristically relaxed.

"Still need a better name for my little 'warp engine'. It's just...that's what the technology does. Imagine...mm. Imagine space...dimensional space, length width height and so on, not outer space...is made of lines. A 3-d grid. Like you'd see in a video game. Coordinate system. Absurd, simplistic...will do for the example. Imagine space is made of lines, and you can reach out and grab them, move them. Teleportation is as simple - mm. Not simple. But easy enough. Bend the 'lines' in to touch - attach yourself to the lines you just bent in, let them bounce back to being normal. Takes a lot of power to maintain a warp in reality. Remove the control, reality reasserts, usually. Appear in a different place. A dimensional 'pocket' is made by wrapping up the lines in a way that's stable - form a sub-dimension out of material at hand.

"Possible dangers, of course. Reality is...resilient, elastic. But only stretches so far. Have to be careful with that. Small tears lead to big tears lead to...bad things."

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Vocal Log, code: Dragonfly. Access granted. Retrieving data....

There's another pause as she - from the sound of things - fills a glass, but doesn't drink. "So. Easy enough process. Requires strong power cells, clever engineering. Two new kinds of math. But an interesting challenge. A better challenge: using it non-lethally in combat.

"Was helped there by reality itself. Very odd. People leave...an imprint. A hole, mold, impression. Lower creatures less so. Inanimate objects only rarely. Cause not entirely known...difficult to experiment without breaking ethical boundaries. Regardless. Living tissue - even recently-living tissue - resists being...scrambled. Rearranged by manipulating the grid of reality. It's...cohesive. Stubborn. Elastic...mm. Even scrambled, reasserts itself - its local reality - quickly, 'knows' how it 'should be'. Phrasing annoying. Helpful. Ranged attack mode on the gauntlets is essentially balling the 'lines' up in a scrambled knot and throwing it. Reality tries to follow the lines. Works for defense, too - weave a barrier out of the lines. Incoming projectiles react differently. Particles - energy, air, plasma - impact and scatter, pulled in several directions at once. Small objects...usually bullets...scatter or zip across the force field. Smaller surface area, pulled in fewer directions at once, goes...heard a good word recently. Careen? Go careening off. Lose all their energy trying to stay in one piece or find a path, eventually spin off without dangerous kinetic force.

"Larger physical attacks...also get pulled in several directions at once. Matter wants to stay in one piece. Loses all its energy remaining cohesive - one pull cancels out another. Interesting effect. Damage is similar - 'tangle' is more aggressive. On impact, tries to pull touched matter in too many directions. Weak materials - paper - shreds. Elastic material deforms into swirls of least resistance...very useful for mapping effects. Thin metal bends and twists open. Living or post-living flesh remains, due to...imprint reinforcement. Lack good terminology. Very interesting effect, very useful. Not lethal unless I adapt to counter the resistance, which I don't. Bio-electric charge helps, too...present in all living things. Low-level but reacts in very fascinating....mmm. Hm.

"Real damage is caused by body itself, almost. Fights very hard to remain in one piece and...sane order. Very little physical damage - bruising, rarely broken bones - but puts large strain on system. Shock-like, almost. Body eventually shuts down - unconsciousness. Little lasting damage. Very useful, probably less violent than using uncovered fists. Hear it's very unpleasant, however."

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