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Wayward Transit (IC, Open)

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GM: The day was May 14th, 12.38 P.M., and a warm breeze, smelling ever so slightly of the ocean, was blowing slowly through the city of Freedom, having traveled far to see the great metropolis, and feeling in high spirits at being allowed to pass through at its own speed. It blew its warm, slightly salty and ever-so-sticky breath with special kindness on a bus stop in Midtown, plastered with posters for plays, local music groups, more ads than anyone could ever want or need to read or observe, maps to various locations of interest in the city, and dazzling with multicolored(and multifaceted) panels of tinted glass, the product of an over-enthusiastic glass-blowing convention gone frighteningly beautiful. The most eye-catching part of this eye-catching display, however, was the myriad of people from practically every socio-economic group waiting patiently for the arrival of their piece of the mass-transit pie. They were in the throes, for the most part, of deep disappointment. Their driver(a dour, angst-ridden soul named Norman MacArthur) had stopped for an idle 5-minute chat with a fellow driver as they waited for the lights at the hazardous Liberty/40th Ave. stoplight, where gridlock was practically constant. As a result, the unfortunates at the bus stop had plenty of time to get acquainted...

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A sound of quickly moving feet sounded from around the corner of a nearby alley, and a tall youth wearing a dark green coverall and heavy boots came into view, though on seeing the bus-bereft nature of the bus stop, he slowed as quickly as he was able, skidding a few inches to a stop. Marceau sighed deeply, rolling his beard through a series of metal rings as he did, as he watched the streets gloomily. He'd been hoping he could be back at Monkey Towers in time for lunch, which he knew vanished quickly on his floor, to the point where he had to post small notices on meals he wanted to take to work saying"Don't Touch' on them. Glancing up, he caught sight of Lady Liberty carrying two heavily armored fellows high above him. Seeing his movement, a few of the other waiters followed suit, and the stop and most of the street briefly erupted in cheers for the gallant heroine as she sailed smoothly overhead, and some of the crowd swore she looked down and waved to them as she passed. The small respite gone, the crowd sank back into the mire of gloom as the minutes ticked away. Deciding he could do worse than make some acquaintances while he was here. Turning to the person to his immediate left, he smiled cheerfully and said "High time the snow left, eh? Haven't seen the city this bright and pleasant in a while"

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The warm breeze blew through Victoria's long white hair as she walked towards the bus stop. She carried her sketchbook, drawing implements and iPhone in her bag. She shielded her unnaturally colored eyes, both from the sun and from anyone who might be notice she and her costumed identity Wisp shared the same ocular condition, with her sunglasses.

Reaching the bus stop, she read several of the flyers, especially interested in the one for an upcoming sci-fi/fantasy convention. When she was disturbed from her reading by a familiar voice, she glanced next to her and her face lit with a smile as she recognized Marceau from their little adventure in Haitian home building. "Indeed. Good to see you again Marceau," she said , lowering the shades slightly and meeting his eyes before replacing the eye-gear.

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A distraught boy, young man really, with sun-bleached hair and a healthy tan wearing olive slacks and a navy blue sweater-vest carrying a backpack and a water bottle with the Bayview Public High School logo on finishes trudging to the bus stop. Wow, there are a lot of people here at this time. I hope that means the bus hasn't been down for a long time.. Taking the jovial comment from the sinewy black man as directed towards anyone, Brian chimes in "Sorry dude, normally I'd agree, but with the way today's been going ...." Brian looks less distraught and quite embarrassed as he thinks he just butted into someone else's conversation. "Oh. Um.. Sorry for interrupting."

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And in the fullness of TIme, a rather unusual person approached and joined the queue: Tall (6'1") and inhumanly slim (102 lbs), he was covered in black-spotted yellowish fur, with a well-developed muzzle and rounded ears on top of his head. Had it not been for his bipedal posture, the multiply-pocketed khaki vest he wore, and the palmtop he carried in one pawlike hand whilst scribbling on its screen with the stylus in his other pawlike hand, any onlooker could easily have mistaken him for a common -- non-sentient -- cheetah.

The feline was fully aware of his surroundings, but his overall demeanor was not friendly; he displayed no sign whatsoever of willingness to interact with anyone on a social level. He wasn't overtly hostile, either, but with his claws and fangs...

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"Good to see you again, Mz. Knight! Been well since Haiti, I hope?" rumbled Marceau, beaming genially at the familiar face and voice, and was about to follow up with a veiled compliment for her actions on the island nation when the newly arrived young man chimed in with his reservations on the day being especially good, then hurriedly apologized for the supposed intrusion. "Not at all, sir, not at all! No need to be sorry in the least! What in particular is the problem, if I may be so bold?"

It was then that he caught sight of Jubatus, and noticing the generally standoffish air the he emitted, simply waved discretely at him and smiled quickly.

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"Well, it's really embarrassing, but..." Brian pauses and looks Marceau in the eyes and the impulse to get this anxiety off his shoulders strikes him. "I had to go to a meeting with my school principal because I am failing all my courses." Brian hurriedly adds "It's because I have a hard time paying attention to what the teacher is saying when there is so much going on... jokes, tales of daring, or pranks, and relationships, fears and hopes, music, and girls, there's just so much going on, so many people with something to say that unless I am talking with the teacher like this, where I'm conversing one-on-one, I have a hard time focusing."

Blue eyes? Brian blinks, and tries to follow Marceau's attention. Lots of people here today. Most look rather irritated. An albino gal, how exotic, with stylish shades, too, Brian thinks as he looks around. Holy Cow, A Cheetah!! Brian's brain boggles.

After a moment for the hamsters to start running again, his earlier worries at least momentarily forgotten, Brian turned back to Marceau with a question eager on his lips, and excitement permeating through voice, "Do you know them? Could you introduce me?" Brian quickly moves his water bottle to his left hand and extends Marceau his right. "I'm Brian, by the way."

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As he listened to the litany of scholastic woes, Marceau felt a slight gloom beginning to grow in the back of his mind: When the last time I was like that? When my worst problems came from schoolwork? A slight crease grew on his high forehead By St. Xenia, why did I ever think taking vengeance into my own hands was a good idea? That's hundreds for a one-way ticket I know I'll never buy!. When Brian held out his hand, he shook it warmly A L'enfer with it! Jackie needs her blasted crazy-pills and I need to get a better job, Freedom College may turn out to a den of iniquity, but at least it's something.

In answer to Brian's request for an introduction, he was happy to oblige. Turning to Victoria, gestured to her and said "Brian, this is Mz. VIctoria Knight, an acquaintance of mine I met in Haiti where both of us worked on building houses to replace those destroyed last year. Mz. Knight, Brian, a" He thought for a second and shrugged "young man in scholastic distress. I believe you two are of contemporary age, so perhaps you, Mz. Knight, might be able to help Brian with his problems with focusing in class?"

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Another man approached the bus stop. He wore a green shirt with a stylized golden bird emblazoned on the chest and jeans. The others could see that he was easily as tall as the strange cheetah person, though nearly double the feline's weight. He had a tan camouflaged back pack slung over one shoulder, and a pair of iPod ear buds trailing into his left pocket. He only had one of the earbuds in an ear, his right, the other was tucked into the collar of his shirt.

Overhearing the conversation as he approached, he chimed in, "Sometimes I am amazed at how different this country is from Russia." He smiled as he placed the backpack at his feet. "In Moscow, no one talks on public transportation." When he realized he was getting some strange looks, he added, "You were expecting me to say, 'in Soviet Russia...' maybe?" and shrugged.

A Cheetah that walks upright? Now I have seen everything...

Any sign of the bus, my friend?

It is delayed. A ways away it stopped for a few minutes. It seems now it has begun to move.

Excellent!

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GM: At The arrival of Jubatus, there had been a noticeable hush as the small crowd took in the approach of the anthropomorph. The average Freedonian would quickly assure anyone who asked that they had no issue with any race, creed or religion so long as it didn't involve being a super villain, yet they still were human, and therefore needed a brief time to adjust to changes like seeing bipedal cheetahs. To their credit the Freedonians acclimatized to the new arrival with slightly greater speed than someone unused to a constant expectation of the extraordinary around every corner, and after about ten seconds of peace a neatly-dressed young man who looked to be in his late twenties came up to him and politely asked if he would be agreeable to an experiment in the bending oF the space-time continuum, which, he said, was a required study for his Master's thesis, and certain to get him a recommendation for entry into A.S.T.R.O. Labs., if successful.

Sam was a fairly ordinary-looking human, so nobody paid much attention at first. After his light jab about Russian Reversal jokes, however, which got several chuckles from the older citizens there, an elderly woman sitting on a small pile of luggage cheerfully asked: "Tell me, son, whereabouts in Russia might you be from? You sound like my uncle, an East-Coast man."

Fortuitously, the clogged intersection had been briefly unclogged, and Norman MacArthur was accelerating down the road to his next stop, his grim mind abuzz with questions. His friend(Uriah Casseivy) had mentioned seeing a strange shape along the road last night, like a man reflected as in a mirror, but on pavement, while a creature black as pitch had stood silently staring at it. Brusquely pushing the exchange from his mind with all the force he could muster, he focussed solely on the road before hum, carefully making his way past cars innumerable, and began planning how he would approach the next atop on his route, which he knew from long experience was difficult to get right up against without bumping the curb and scratching the bus.

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"Uhm. What is your name?" Brian asks Marceau before turning and asking them both, "And how did you get involved in repairing houses in Haiti?"

Brian extended his hand to Miss Knight with a warm smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you." Brian was unlike most teenage boys in that he did not usually stare or leer at other people and he directed his gaze towards their eyes, although for some attractive women it was more difficult to not look lower. But Brian didn't view people as mere objects to be admired, and in his story books he had often read of the 'eyes as the window to the soul' and while Brian didn't think he'd seen any souls yet, he'd seen strength, fierceness, intelligence, and anger before, and even if he isn't a good judge of character, Brian was not trying to judge but perceive. Brian's own bright green eyes reflected the warm and curious attitudes of 'the world is a good and wondrous place', even if the worry lines around them did say today didn't start out well.

"I haven't been to Haiti before. What was it like?"

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"Uhm. What is your name?" Brian asks Marceau before turning and asking them both, "And how did you get involved in repairing houses in Haiti?"

"My name is Marceau Suvou" Came the hurried reply, How exactly does one go about forgetting to introduce themselves right when they've been asked their name? he wondered in irritation, "As for the building houses part, that was mostly due to volunteering for Habitat for Humanity" he explained.

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Sometimes, Jay Xavier's brain was faster than his brain. When that anonymous geek asked if Jubatus could please demonstrate his Timeshift under laboratory conditions, Jay's immediate (Timeshifted, even) first thought was How the [bg=black]xxxx[/bg] does this clown even know about my Timeshift!? -- followed, only marginally less quickly, by the follow-up notion Oh. Right. Dude studies the space/time continuum, so whatever sensors he uses, I probably stick out like an acetylene welding torch. Never mind.

Which left the question of what to say in reply. In the first few days after he'd 'traded up' from his human body, Jay reflexively preferred that nobody learn anything about his Timeshift, on the grounds that manipulating the space/time continuum was too friggin' dangerous a trick for anybody to mess with. But that was before he recalled all the time-travelers who'd shown up in Freedom City, and elsewhere, over the years... In the end, Jay concluded that his objections to letting people study his power probably fell under the category 'closing the barn door after the horse escaped'. That said, there was nothing wrong with being cautious about who he allowed to study his power...

Jay's internal musings whipped by in a (somewhat large) fraction of a second, after which he replied: "An experiment, hrrm? Possible, but I'd like to know more before I give you a yea-or-nay." Jay took a subtle sniff of the geek's scent, and made note of how the geek reacted when he heard Jay's inhuman voice. "For starters, what kind of set-up are we talking about here?"

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"Nakhodka, ma'am." Sam smiled. Her guess had been a good one, "It is like you say. Southeast coast. Tell me, your uncle, does he still reside there?"

As Sam talked with the lady, he also took a look at his surroundings. A few of the more talkative ones seemed to be of a younger age. Perhaps still in high school. Sam felt a dull pang of regret, remembering he'd never even finished school.

The strange human-cheetah was standoffish, though who could blame him? He likely caught a lot of unwanted attention looking like that.

"I haven't been to Haiti before. What was it like?"

"As for the building houses part, that was mostly due to volunteering for Habitat for Humanity" he explained.

When two of the younger ones began discussing Haiti, Sam's ears perked up, "Haiti? I have been as well, as it happens. I served there only a few years ago. The were a few armed conflicts between the National Police and the former Haitian Military. The entire area used to be a mess. Thankfully, I hear the MINUSTAH has gotten things under control recently. A shame about the recent natural disasters as well. That is why you were rebuilding, yes?"

At a look from the two, he assumed they'd be wanting to know who he was, "Sam Wolf." he extended his hand, "It is a pleasure."

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Vicky gave her hand to the other teen, remembering to check her strength while exchanging grips. "I know how you feel Brian, I think that's a major part of high school. It took me a while but I learned to filter most of the background noise out during class, saving it for lunch, between classes, or back in the common room in the dorms," she said.

"As for how Haiti was, I think hot would be a solid description. But it was a good way to spend spring break. Plus, the quiet nights let me get some drawing done," she smiled.

When she heard a familiar voice she turned and fought hard not to let her tongue slip back to the Russian of her parent's home, "Hello Sam, nice to meet you." If he could have seen her eyes, they'd have shown the hint of recognition for her acquaintance with the oversized avian partner.

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"Suvou" Brian says pleasantly, using a mnemonic device to associate the lean black man with a famous mime. "Marceau. That should be easy to remember, like Marcell. Although he's french."

As the large Russian joins them, Brian is rather impressed by his demeanor. While Brian had not met any soldiers before, he had not expected a friendly, jovial even, attitude from someone who's seen such tough situations. Brian also readily accepts Sam's handshake, and clearly thinks Sam looks like someone he's seen in the news or on television before, but can't place him and has no recognition at the introduction. Despite that, Brian's curiosity drives him to ask, "Are you a famous UN Peacekeeping Commander or something?"

"That's very cool," Brian says to Vicky, rather amazed; "giving up your spring break like that. What do you like to draw? I usually swim, listen to music, or practice tai chi for fun."

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GM: "Nothing very strenuous for you" assured the undergrad, who seemed only slightly startled by the strange voice Jubatus had, "it'll be me and four other students, as well as a temporal physicist from A.S.T.R.O. to keep an eye on us. What the experiments will consist of is a short series of trials examining the ways your abilities affect the world around you. For example, the first one I'm going to set up(provided you agree of course) will be an attempt to scatter a LASER's light by having you stand in front of it and activate your, ah, power, for lack of a better term, when it reaches you. The idea is that if you can alter the flow of time about your person, it may well be possible to figure out how you do so, based on its effects on exterior objects." he looked a bit sheepish for a moment before adding "a slightly tenuous base for such a hypothesis, yes, but if it's possible to determine what a boulder is made of by how much water it displaces, I think it within the bounds of reason to assume a similar rationale for the time/space continuum" he shrugged, "your call, sir. I understand metas are often leery of investigation or third-party use of their abilities"

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"Nadhodka? right next to the border? you've traveled far, son" the old lady said, smiling cheerfully at Sam. "My uncle does live east-coast, still lives, thank God! he's a fisherman in the Bering Sea" she leaned against the side of the bus stop uncluttered with all that many ads. "I'm going to fly and visit him today, in fact, been years since I saw him last"

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IC: "You're off in one respect, actually, I'm French myself. An emigrant though, so" Marceau shrugged and leaned back onto his heels, letting his toes leave the ground "Me and that wacko have something in common" To Sam he added "Oui, mon grand frere, the wretched plight of the Haitians as of late was indeed the impetus of the trip"

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Vicky had resist an urge to dig out her sketch book. "Mostly fantasy stuff. Wizards, elves, orcs, that type of stuff. I'm also working on a story with what I'm drawing. Once I have more done I'd like to submit it to one of the publishers with a fantasy imprint."

"What kind of music do you usually listen to? I've been on an Apocalyptica and Two Steps From Hell kick myself."

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Zap was cruising the city streets, skating on the power lines. Sparks flew from the soles of her costume as she raced up the streets, whooping with excitement and the pleasure of the wind through her hair. She sped along the electrical lines, having to jump from time to time as she passed to different lines. As she sped alone, she noticed her roommate waiting for a bus. Janis leapt from the power line, and landed near the bus stop, rolling to slow her descent.

"Vicky!" She ran to her friend, giving her a big hug. "I haven't seen you in...hours!"

She turned to Jay, and the part of her brain that controller rational thinking shut down. "KITTY!" <3

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"...an attempt to scatter a LASER's light by having you stand in front of it and activate your, ah, power, for lack of a better term, when it reaches you. The idea is that if you can alter the flow of time about your person, it may well be possible to figure out how you do so, based on its effects on exterior objects..."

Okay, a non-invasive procedure, Jay thought. Good sign. "Well, sure," he said. "Basic premise of scientific experimentation -- if it's there, it can affect other stuff that's there." And then the geek offered up a clumsy, tentative attempt at a justification for trying to investigate Jay's Timeshift power in a lab. Since the geek would surely have flunked out of any science classes long ago if he was as incompetent as his current spiel made him appear, Jay concluded that the poor guy must be freaking out a lot more than he was letting on. Chalk up another one for my inhuman appearance, damnit.

"...within the bounds of reason to assume a similar rationale for the time/space continuum." He shrugged. "Your call, sir."

"You got that right, and I say I'm in," Jay replied. "What I'm hearing sounds like a decent place to start investigating. Got any particular hypothesis in mind to test, or are you just at the data-gathering stage of the game?"

"Ah, the latter, sir," said the geek. "Up until now, all I've had is a conjecture that some of the noise I've been getting on my Babson-Forward mass detector is directly related to your super-speed."

Because he doesn't have the hard data he needs to confirm that his toy's tracking me in particular. The feline nodded. "Makes sense. And you can call me Jay; I promise not to bite -- at least, not unless you ask politely."

The geek looked puzzled; Jay could tell the exact moment he got the joke by noting when the red of embarrassment washed over his face. And as luck would have it, that seemed to be the cue for a new arrival to intrude on their conversation:

"Kitty!"

Hearing that egregiously overenthusiastic word, Jay winced: "Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it..." He upshifted in the next split-second, making himself some time to let his intense annoyance drain away. The newcomer... Jay blinked in shock at first sight of her. "Hebe and da Gama, you're so young!" he said uncontrollably.

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Vicky barely caught Zap before she returned the hug. "Zap! Nice to see you again...," Vicky struggled for a lie to avoid giving away either her or her roommate's secret identities in the middle of the crowd. "Thanks again for fending off that Max-head. Not sure what I would have done if he'd stolen my sketches."

Turning a smirk towards Brian, "Also on the subject of hobbies, if it happens again I should add, 'I get saved from a mugging by a hot superheroine every now and then' to the list."

When she heard Janis yell 'kitty' towards the speedster, Vicky winced painfully inside. While her own first reaction to Jubatus hadn't been that tactless, she'd still noticed enough that the Cheetah-man was less than thrilled with being seen as an animal first an a person second.

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"Are you a famous UN Peacekeeping Commander or something?"

Sam, smiled. Thought it was a self conscious one, "No. I suppose it could be said that my combat experience was more of a windfall. But as it happened, during that conflict I was thankfully on the correct side."

"Nadhodka? right next to the border? you've traveled far, son" the old lady said, smiling cheerfully at Sam. "My uncle does live east-coast, still lives, thank God! he's a fisherman in the Bering Sea" she leaned against the side of the bus stop uncluttered with all that many ads. "I'm going to fly and visit him today, in fact, been years since I saw him last"

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IC: "You're off in one respect, actually, I'm French myself. An emigrant though, so" Marceau shrugged and leaned back onto his heels, letting his toes leave the ground "Me and that wacko have something in common" To Sam he added "Oui, mon grand frere, the wretched plight of the Haitians as of late was indeed the impetus of the trip"

Sam quickly turned to the woman, thankful for the distraction, "It is good that he is still with us."

A fisherman? Sounds like someone I'd like to meet.

I get the hint. We will go to the docks after I am finished with errands.

His attention divided, he added to Marceau almost absentmindedly, "It is good, then, that you were there to help. It is honorable, assisting those less fortunate."

She turned to Jay, and the part of her brain that controller rational thinking shut down. "KITTY!" <3

Sam saw the human cheetah stiffen, and somehow speed up his motions. He was practically saturated with nervousness and anticipation. He'd seen that look on the face of countless soldiers about to fight a battle they didn't want any part of. He gently laid a hand on the new girls shoulder, "Ohp! Forgive me, miss. But I believe, 'kitty,' would not be so keen on the hug that you are about to give him." It was only a friendly warning, and Sam played it off as if he just wanted to get her attention, "You said your name was Zap, correct? Tell me, your treeck with ze power lines. How eez it done, I vonder?" a small amount of his Russian accent bled into his speech near the end of the question.

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"You're off in one respect, actually, I'm French myself. An emigrant though, so" Marceau shrugged and leaned back onto his heels, letting his toes leave the ground "Me and that wacko have something in common"

"Really? That's cool. I was in Nancy a couple years ago, beautiful little city, with my dad so we could compare a fountain he unearted beneath the Rhine to the fountain of Amphitrite." Brian frowns, thoughtfully "Marcell is a wack? Like as a person or something? After I saw his role in Silent Movie, I thought he was really talented as a mime."

"Mostly fantasy stuff. Wizards, elves, orcs, that type of stuff. I'm also working on a story with what I'm drawing. Once I have more done I'd like to submit it to one of the publishers with a fantasy imprint."

"What kind of music do you usually listen to? I've been on an Apocalyptica and Two Steps From Hell kick myself."

"Could I take a look at your works sometime? Awesome! I'm a huge fan of Apocalyptica as well. I like all of their classics and metallica songs, like Hall of the Mountain King, better than the originals! 'Quutamo' and 'Somewhere around nothing' are my favorite of their uniques... As far as other bands, it usually depends on my mood, anything from Coheed and Cambria to Endless Blue to Megaherz to Pink Floyd to Skillet to Judas Priest. I tend to favor energetic metal type bands, but if I like it I'll listen to it, as long as it isn't rap nor country."

--

Brian stops and stares, his jaw dropping as he watches Zap's dynamic entrance, and enthusiastic, to say the least, greetings. Brian's mouth half opens and closes, like a fish out of water, as he stands within arms reach of a superhero for the first time... he knows of.

Sam, smiled. Thought it was a self conscious one, "No. I suppose it could be said that my combat experience was more of a windfall. But as it happened, during that conflict I was thankfully on the correct side."

Brian's jaw clicks closed, "Oh. That's good, more than 'good' really. How did you it happen you went from russia to haiti to here, if you don't mind my asking? That sounds like quite a journey."

Turning a smirk towards Brian, "Also on the subject of hobbies, if it happens again I should add, 'I get saved from a mugging by a hot superheroine every now and then' to the list."

Brian laughs warmly and smiles at Vicky "There are worse fates than to have your own guardian."

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Janis smiled, and caught her breath. She looked at Jay, and offered him a hand. "Terribly sorry. It was an impulse. I should be more understanding." Her expression changed to a more serious one rapidly. "I know how it is with people jumping to conclusions. I bet you've jumped to one." She looked down a little and turned back to the cheetah. "And it's probably true. I tend not to think before I act. I'm workin' on it."

After a moment, her face quickly snaps back to enthused. "So glad you asked! Well, its a new trick I've learned recently. I...don't know how it works. Science isn't my strong suit." She turned to see everyone was looking at her. "I'm Zap."

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Brian's jaw clicks closed, "Oh. That's good, more than 'good' really. How did you it happen you went from russia to haiti to here, if you don't mind my asking? That sounds like quite a journey."

"That it was indeed. In this case, you may find that the 'how' and the 'why' are very similar. In the past I held no allegiances to Russia, nor any other country. I simply went where the fighting and the money was. But I am happy to say that this is all behind me now. It is not a good life and I am glad to have found a way out of it."

Sam gave Zap a smile, Crisis averted. Good thing too. The feline looked like he was about to pounce himself! He removed his hand from her shoulder, "It is a pleasure, miss Zap. Sam. Sam Wolf." With that same hand, he offered her a handshake.

This is the most active bus stop I have ever seen.

For sure. You want to know about the bus. It is still fighting traffic, but getting closer.

Good. The faster it gets here, the faster I can get this over with and the faster you can fish.

Oh I can not wait.

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Having gotten over most of his irritation in his second-or-so of upshifting, Jay raised one finger to the geek is a hold on for a moment gesture. Then he took Zap up on her offer of a handshake and spoke to her: "No harm, no foul. The 'kitty' thing's a hot-button issue for me, and I'm working on it. As for age... let's just say it's even money I'm older than at least one of your grandparents, hrrrm?"

Having said his piece, Jay gave the Russkie an approving nod and returned to his chat with the geek. "Okay: Like I was saying, how about you try a number of wires at known distances from my skin, or maybe just one wire you can reposition as needful, and measure the signal propagation time --"

"-- because that should tell us how the strength of your Time-distortion effect falls off over distance," the geek interrupted with a diffident grin. "And it would also be appropriate to do this at many different locations on your body, to see if there's any spatial variation --"

"-- right, right. And have a fixed-position wire at a known location, as a gauge of the absolute field strength --"

Those heroes who had dealt with the cheetah before would have been pleasantly surprised to see his current attitude; genuinely enthusiastic, rather than any of the countless flavors of Disgruntled he ordinarily displayed.

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