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Tiffany Korta

A Rock Big Enough (IC)

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"Little India", West End
16th October 2012


The term Little India was a bit of a misnomer as people from all over South Asia had made this part of the West End their home. This included a sizable Muslim population, mainly from Pakistan, and today was a special day for the whole community. After several months of collecting and planning they were finally ready to start construction on a local Mosque. The plan was for the community to build the place themselves, mostly for the few of them who worked in construction, but on the first day the idea was that the whole community would pitch in to start the building. They’d even invited a prominent Muslim to lay the first stone of the Mosque.

One problem them had to decide upon was a local resident Lucy Harker, also known as Revenant. It seems that this area was once her home and she had now resumed residence in the area, acting as a protector of all the residents of this part of the West End. The moments she had heard about their idea she was enthusiastic about the idea, attending all the meeting and generously donating money. The problem wasn’t that she was an outsider or even a woman; it was that she was quite openly undead.

Edited by TiffanyKorta

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Finally it was decided that the communities poor Imam would have the job of explaining to her that whilst they would happily accept her help, once finished they couldn’t allow her to enter the building. This Lucy took in her stride, it wasn’t exactly the worst thing someone had tried to do her for being undead, that would be trying to bury an axe in her head, and she could understand their reasoning perfectly well.

So whilst the Imam and the community leaders, along with a few members of the press, waited for their special guest she was round the back of the lot single handily unloading pallets of bricks.

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Asad has an interesting relationship with the local Muslim community. He had funded a community center, and done quite a bit of other things. In fact, it was common to see him in the area, and hosting social gatherings. He was, for lack of a better way to put it, the most famous Muslim in Freedom City. Certainly he was far more progressive than a lot of people were comfortable with. But he held the purse strings, and that gave him influence and leeway. Today, he was being understated, as while he provided positive publicity, this was not about him, and the Imam had made it clear to him, and Asad had agreed. So he showed up in a pickup truck, hauling a bunch of things they had needed, and while he was the special guest, and the press immediately swamped him, he placated them, and played peacekeeper, drawing them back to the Imam again and again. As this was not just Amir's thing, this was a community's, and the Imam was central in getting this off the ground. And while he was doing this, he pulled on some work gloves, and chatted with the community leaders, and then ended it with a tip of his head to the journalists, "Here is your big news story, I am going to break a sweat and get dirty. Thank you." And then he wandered off to go do some work.

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Lucy had decided to dress down for the day. After all the important thing was the building on the Mosque, not that there was someone like herself involved. So instead of her usual suit, she was wearing a pair of jeans and a hooded top, with the hood pulled up to hide her coal black eyes. Dodging between the children, who seemed fascinated with her shows of strength, she put the two pallets down. With only a glance at the hubbub going on at the front of the lot she returned to gather more pallets from the truck.

The Imam gently guided Asad to where the foundation ceremony was to take place. The first stone had been carefully crafted with a prayer inscribed on it in both Arabic and English. As he walked the two toward the spot he whispered in Asad’s ear.

“If you could make a quick speech about the event, then after a prayer you can lay the first stone.â€

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For the first time ever Asad showed discomfort actually being in the spotlight, it was funny. "Alright, I will do it. Though you should be the one giving the speech, not me, this is more your baby than mine." He sighed a little and nodded, before turning to address the press and the people there. "I, on behalf of everyone involved in making this possible, would like to thank the tireless efforts of this community to bring about this new Mosque. This community has needed a proper one for sometime, and I feel proud to have been allowed to take part in the process of building it. This will be one that is not paid for by the community, but also built by the community. Our hands will lay the stone to bring about the home to enliven out souls. It is my hope, and the hope of everyone else, that the co-operative spirit that made this place possible will far outlast this Mosque. Thank you." And he stepped aside to let the Imam speak, managing to look a little sheepish, as much as a good intentioned, yet not rigorously devout person could be.

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After Amir little speech the Imam led the community in a prayer, and gave a speech thanking everyone for giving their time and effort. With the ceremony now over the majority of the press drifted away, apart from the few who were either interested in the building itself or the superheroes taking part in the building.

“Thank you for your help today, you’re welcome to stay and help out if you wish. I’d understand if not, you a busy man after all, but if you could visit us when the Mosque is finished?â€

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He laughed a little then, and shook his head. "I am here for the day, I took the day off for this, besides I could use a little bit of humble pie, and I brought extra supplies in the back of the truck." A flash of his winning smile, and he moved, along with the Imam to place the special cornerstone down, and then managed to somehow drift off to the side, and let someone else take the spotlight as he set about working like this was a normal day to day thing. Except he wasn't too skilled, but fortunately, he was good natured, and took his lumps well enough, along with criticisms about how he was doing things. It helped that he could banter with them Arabic, those that knew it, and he was very big into the philanthropy with the local Muslim community, and just so gosh darn approachable.

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The Imam, with a smile, directed Asad toward one of the foreman’s in charge of the building. After a few seconds thought the foreman, what do you do with a Billionaire Businessman with powers who wants to help, he directed Asad towards the truck at the back of the site.

“Maybe you could help Lucy unload the truck?†he looked around conspiratorially “Be warned she a little on the strange side.â€

He gesture towards whom, Asad had to assume, was the woman in question. The woman herself seemed quite innocuous, hand in her jeans pockets whistling a little tune to herself.

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He blinked a little bit, and looked to the Imam. "Lucy?" Then his brows knitted together, as the Imam gave him that odd aside. "Really, I cannot speak on people being weird. You should see the people I talk to on a day to day to basis. I will go help her, so I will, hopefully, stop making mistakes." Another smile on his face and he moved to where the truck was tugging at his gloves as he looked at the woman. "Hello, I am Amir, I am here to help you with unloading the truck. I think they sent me hear because I will do the least amount of harm here..." And he grinned at her as he made the self-deprecating remark. Clearly happy to take the air out of himself, while not drawing attention to who he was. Time and place for such things like big formal and flowery introductions, hefting bricks around was not that time.

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Lucy gave a little laugh, not an unpleasant sound “I’m afraid it’s probably me. I’ve convince them I could do all the heavy lifting to save on expensive equipment. But the Imam seems to think that I’ll suddenly burst into flame, I suppose this doesn’t help…â€

She pulled back her hood revealing an attractive face, if not on the pale side. The only thing that suggested anything amiss was her eyes, two orbs of inky blackness.

“Hello there I’m Lucy Harker, I sometime go by the name of Revenant.†She gave a bright warm smile.

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"Oh... Ohh! Yes, I had heard about you." He didn't immediately judge, as for whatever involvement he had in religion, it was something that had come to him later in life, and he admittedly phased out a bit after the command to be righteous. "Mmm I see, I get why they put you to one corner, I am sorry for that." He didn't trump up his fame, either people knew him or didn't, he did not sweat over the matter, it was what it was. Of course, he didn't feel like he could question the Imam about this, he knew that she would likely unsettle people, still what he had heard of her was good, and it made him feel more than a little ashamed of his community.

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Lucy face fell “Oh no nothing like that. I decided to stay out of the way. After all this is all about the community, they didn’t need me hogging the limelight. Beside they’d only drag out that clip of me punching the dragon again…â€

She hopped up onto the back of the flatbed and began moving the pallets forwards like they weighed nothing.

“I get on well with almost all of the community, they’ve accepted me in with open arms. The problem is that some of the older members have had dealing with undead. Seems that when Pakistan formed some European vampires, especially British ones, took a Man who would be King to a little bit to heart and tried to form their own petty kingdoms in the chaos of the birth of a new nation. Imagine there surprise when they found Heathen temple were just as bad for them as the churches back home.†She gave a bright smile “I keep telling them it won’t affect me, I often go up to St Stephen’s or help the Sister at Our Lady of Mercy. But they still worry about me, it kind of sweet really.â€

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Hearing her story, he flashed a small smile to her. "Ah, I understand that. A little, but I think I understand where they are coming from. Of course I understand what it is like to be treated a little oddly by this particular community. Certainly different, but despite the money I donate... my public image is not necessarily the best for them to touch, even if I do help... Anyway, I am glad my assessment was wrong." Looking at that pallet that slide closer to him, and he grinned, just a little bit. "Hm, well I cannot readily move all of this quite yet, hope you don't mind if I lift less than what you can." Flashing a small grin, as he picked up an arm load of bricks and carried them over to where they were being set down.

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Lucy returned the smile “I try to judge people on their own merit, and so far I see nothing but good thing from you. But I’m from what people call a simpler time, not that it seemed that way when I was living through it all.â€

She lifted another of the pallets and jumped down from the truck.

“One advantage of my condition is that I never tire, but that does mean I forget that other people do. Just let me know if you need a break. I’m not quite sure what you’re capable of, it seems people are more interested in what you get up to than what you can do.â€

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"I have noticed that too." He laughed a little as he dipped into a crouch and set those bricks down, a big grin on his face. "It helps I have not really put out a press release stating my abilities, I have heard some interesting speculation... but trust me there are enough people interested in what I can do..." His eyes went far off for a moment, remembering his extended 'vacation.' "But then, I do not really want any supervillains to be familiar with what I can do either, so it is a bit of a catch 22." Straightening up then and moving towards the pallet again to grab the next armload of bricks, before coming back to set them down as well.

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She placed the pallet down with the others and looked at the rapidly emptying trucks. The driver was watching them work with a bemused look on his face

“Well we’re should be done here soon, just a few more to go.†She clambered back up for another pallet.

“I couldn’t help but notice you didn’t answer the question, I hope you don’t figure that I’m going to become a villain and use my knowledge against you.†She gave a bright grin “Sorry in my previous life I was a lawyer, which some seem to consider evil these days, so I tend to notice these kinds of things.â€

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And he laughed a little bit then, and he winked at her, "A guy has to keep his secrets, I hear that an air of mystery is very enticing." Then he wagged his brows as he chuckled, the shook his head and sighed just a little. "Besides there are at least two paparazzi on me at any given point, I imagine some of them are using those laser microphones. They would publicize every scrap they could find, and suddenly I am the first fatality due getting their information from TMZ. I mean, as it is, they are currently connecting me romantically with Madame Zero."

Once more, he glibly slide around the thrust of her question. Couple that with the smile he had, and Mr. al Misri was looking shrewder than the affable twit he played on television.

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Lucy listened intently and then gave another friendly laugh.

“I get the point I will stop asking about what you can do. Personally I’ve never been one to hide what I can do, whatever the costs.†Without thinking about it she rubbed a small wound on her forehead, the only blemish on her otherwise perfect skin “But I can appreciate why you’ve chosen to obscure your full abilities.â€

As she worked she thought back over what he had said, trying to get a feeling of the kind of person he was, a bad habit that had served her well when she was a lawyer.

“Does it not concern you that most people only see the shallow millionaire? Or do you keep your true identity secret with such an obvious deception?â€

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He still smiled, it was an easy expression, one that he seemed to do a lot as she still probed and spoke to him. Slowly he crouched down and started to set the bricks down in a pile carefully. "There is no secret identity, Asad is Amir al Misri, and the inverse is true as well. Admittedly the need of either name is irrelevant." Though his tone came off as teasing, just a little. "Billionaire. I am a shallow billionaire." Dusting his hands together as he rose to his feet, and glanced to her. "Should I really be concerned that people believe me to be an ineffectual man who lucked into things and happened to have some good contact? I certainly did not make a conscious decision to get my powers. I have found, though, that fate does not really care about your input on the matter. So if people think of me like that, why should I disabuse them of that notion?"

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Lucy sat on the back of the trailer and thought a little about the conversation they’d had so far, then she smiled as a thought struck her.

“It must be quite frustrating for you sometime. I mean everyone wants to talk about you, but they rarely want to talk about you. Just those little quotes that everyone seems to like these days.â€

She jumped down from the trailer and stood in front of Asad.

“So lets start we the basics what do you like? I'm afraid my knowledge of music and motion pictures is a little out of date, but I’m catching up quickly on sports. Personally I’m into Baseball, probably one of the oldest followers of the Flag’s in the city or state. I know I’m meant to be loyal to the Comet’s, what with everything that happened, but I’m a traditionalist at heart.†she gave a telling grin that suggested otherwise.

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"I have, on retainer, several PR organizations.  Right now I am either a fiscal genius, or a lucky fop.  I do not really have too much of a problem with it, I get a surprisingly a lot of privacy in complete view of the public as long as I feed them what they are looking for.  And it is fun to play the game, and now that I can fly, I can get away from the jackals easily enough."

 

He laughed a little and shrugged a bit.  "Well, my days are about 30 hours long, I spend about a week a month travelling.  I like good food, a nice cigar, and a fine scotch.  I have been looking into buying into some of the local sports teams.  Unfortunately I am from New York, so I am a Yankees fan, and I am a season box seat and ticket holder there, though I have them for all the teams here as well.  I did spend most of my life abroad, so I also like football.  Though I am an avid motorsports fan too and own a few racing teams, and I have a race track and a car collection outside of town."  He grinned back at her as he spoke, listing off all the things he liked.  "So if you ever want to catch a game, I will happily let you have my tickets, if I am not going."

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“You’d be amazed at how difficult it is to fill 24 hour when you don’t need to sleep, though I’m not trying to run a large company.†she gave one of her easy laughs “I managed to see the Yankee’s play Comet’s in ‘27, I read since that many consider them the best team. Luckily they played us early enough in the season, that was a busy year for me.†she spoke as if these things had happened yesterday, which to her it almost was.

As they were speaking a few of bricks they had unloaded began to rattle slightly as they began to move under their own control.

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"Well fortunately I can get away with an obscene amount of delegation, so I am able to have free time occasionally.  But not having to sleep would be a blessing and a curse.  Like it always is, I suppose, right?"  Laughing a little as he looked at her.  And then his voice trailed off as looked down at the bricks moving.  "Huh..."  He had noticed any of the strange phenomena that had been happening around him.  He frowned a little bit, and moved over to the bricks.  And he stopped a bit, and lifted his head to look at her, frowning a little bit.  "This is not me... is this you?"

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They both watched as a brick wobbled until it fell of the stack only to land softly on the ground without damage. It was almost as if it was being cushioned by something.

"I've got nothing like those kinds of powers, I might be dead but I'm no poltetgeist."

A few more bricks tumbled from the pile and together the seemed for form a shape. That of a rather large looking hand.

"I don't know about you but I was expecting some kind of trouble, and this looks like trouble. Go get everyone off the site and I'll try and stall it." Lucy turned towards him and gave a smile

"And before you get all gallant and suggest you stay, let me remind you that there more likely to listern to you." The grim grew a little wider

"Besides I can look after myself."

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He paused a moment as she told him to go, and then he nodded without putting up a fight.  "Going."  He had nothing pithy to say, but he knew where the bullhorns were, as that kind of thing was necessary, even just for photo op events like this.  Especially for them.

 

He pushed off into the air, and roared away at F1 speeds.  A sudden acceleration like that would stir his other power, just a little, as it dispersed the inertial forces when he stopped abruptly near the foreman, "Bullhorn, need it now!"  Shouting to the startled man almost immediately after he landed.

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