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The Little Shop Around The Corner

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Silberman's Books. Friday, March 27th, 2015. 4:06pm

Friday afternoons were always dead, especially when it was cold out. There were a few regulars, mostly elderly Jewish men who liked to enjoy coffee and a danish while they played backgammon or chess with one of the store's weathered sets. A young mother pushed her stroller around as she perused the Mystery section, her toddler banging his sippy cup against the bookshelves as they passed.

 

Store owner Lynn Epstein was sitting behind the counter on a tall stool, reading a novel by Scott Westerfeld; in front of her stood her grandfather's old cash register 'Jezebel', restored by Detective Colby's magic, though now a fairly morbid 'Skello Kitty' figurine was glued on top of it as a sort of staff in-joke. Beside her, Gretchen McDaniels leaned on the counter between the register and the espresso machine, resting her chin on her folded arms. Neither seemed to be doing much this lazy afternoon, though yet another sippy cup assault caused Gretchen to finally frown and stand up.

 

"I'm gonna kill that kid."

 

Lynn responded without looking up from her book. "No you're not; that's infanticide, it's a horrible crime."

 

"Well can I at least steal his sippy cup?"

 

"Nope.

 

Gretchen returned to resting her chin, looking comically grumpy. "Fine; I won't commit any horrible crimes."

 

"Thank you!"

 

The bell over the front door jingled.

Edited by Heritage

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20 Minutes Ago...

Endeavor in her blue and gold supersuit and vest flew over Freedom City. She was starting to get acquainted with the area finally, with few crises happening for her in the area. And she has been busy, if it wasn't chasing after electric griffons or stopping a paramilitary group of art thieves, she brought it all. That and her brave defense of a fishing trawler got her a bit in the news papers. But now the schoolgirl supergenius was going to check out something new that popped up on one of her searches for bookstores. In particular rare books...

 

Then again she was wanting to hunt for a few out-of-print RPG rulebooks, and perhaps indulge in a comic or two... she can't be all official business.

 

After flying to a nearby gas station to change out of her suit, stuffing it into her backpack, she put on her white blouse, and a black skirt with plain brown shoes over knee-high white socks. After tying her bow at the neck of her blouse she put on a new waterproof overcoat she got for her birthday, buttoning it up for the early spring chill.

 

After slinging back on her pink backpack and getting some snacks for later in a pretty cheap bag, she walks to Silberman's Books.

 

Now...

Sakurako walks through the door, admiring the mechanical efficiency of a doorbell that wasn't electrical, before adjusting her data glasses she retrofitted from a Google Glass system. The constant communication from her laptop in her backpack, to the glasses she was wearing, and the tablet in her purse provided her with a pretty substantial data stream.

 

"Ah... a Japanese Newspaper... time to catch up... let's see if this covers where my Dad's house is..."

 

She started looking for the prefecture that had the most news coverage listed in the news, while looking about for what was in stock at the store. Sakurako stood out with her Pink hair, and stood out in the store. She shook her head. "Nope... still conservative and more Politics..." She said with a heavy sigh, politely putting it back on it's pile. Her cloth gloves preventing smudging of the ink, or it getting on her hands.

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Gretchen raised her head slightly and frowned just a bit as she noted the Japanese girl's appearance; she looked her up and down for a few seconds before noting softly, "Genki girl at twelve o'clock."

 

Lynn looked up and drew an invisible line in the air with her hand. "Mmm, I'd say that's more ten o'clock, really." She returned to her book, but then noticed Gretchen's complete lack of movement. "Aren't you going to greet her?"

 

Her employee merely sighed, chin still on her crossed arms. "Can't; too busy."

 

The bookstore owner rolled her eyes and swung her feet 'round the stool. "God, you're so useless sometimes!"

 

"Yep!"

 

Stepping around the counter, Lynn tucked her book in the pocket of her apron and offered a warm smile to the newcomer; bowing slightly, she cheerfully spoke in perfect Japanese. <"Good afternoon, welcome to Silberman's Books! What can I help you find today?">

Edited by Heritage

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Sakurako turned to Lynn, smiling. She would say something in Japanese in return, but she wasn't Native Japanese. She just lived there a couple years. As she was about to speak, she noticed the little spawn lifting up his sippy cup and tossing it. Sakurako didn't have time to look to see if the cup had a metal band on the gasket that kept the cup tightly sealed or the mechanical contrivances that keep whatever was within by spilling.

 

It was about to go sailing into a bookshelf when Sakurako drew her EMWand, and using it's ability to manipulate magnetism she holds it in place. It making a signature sound recognizable to anyone in the shop who have watched Doctor Who...

 

Sakurako spoke up with a solid English accent... not quite Downton Abbey, but close. "Well for one thing I get the sense my choice in overcoat was correct. Second..." She uses the wand to levitate the sippy cup back to the stroller. "...I think this is better off here... Third, I am looking for some research journals in regards to quantum mechanics." She said, pulling out her tablet, and showing the entries of 3 scientific journals in regards to how the higher and lower dimensions of reality interact with timespace. "It's an important project... A Thesis."

 

Sakurako saying that, when she clearly looked 16... 17 years old was a surprise.

 

She smiled. "I'm Sakurako. First year, Claremont Academy. And your accent suggests maybe a Osakan who has lived in Tokyo a few years." She said, looking over Lynn. She was starting to analyze. "You don't get many Claremont students here?"

Edited by The Osprey

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The young mother's cheeks went a little pink when the sippy cup was returned to the stroller, while Lynn arched a graceful eyebrow at the display of the wand's power.

 

"Lynn Epstein, owner and proprietor; pleased to meet you." She pursed her lips and nodded. "Claremont, eh? We've gotten a few in here, actually; a very sweet Welsh girl was in here, looking for some books on magic a few months ago. And one of the seniors actually works here after school." A somewhat sneaky smile spread across her face. "Good school, Claremont; I told Mr. Summers so myself when I spoke with him about a month ago."

 

The petite brunette motioned for Sakurako to follow her. "Y'know I hate to admit, but we're a bit light on the harder sciences and engineering; I should probably work on that." She stopped in front of a narrow set of shelves. "This is what we have; as you can see, not a lot. If you don't see what you're looking for, I'd be happy to try and order it for you. Claremont students save fifteen percent on all purchases."

Edited by Heritage

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"Ah, excellent! I had a feeling about this..."

 

She squealed with delight... "Out of print RPG pooks! Now we're talkin'!" She said, wheeling over to that section, peeking up over a bookshelf. "I'm not here for just business, I'm also looking for some RPGs and I'm not familiar with all of the locations that provide my... hobby... adequately."

 

"That and it's hard to break into a game shop's cliques when you just arrived in town."

 

"But this is definitely something nice." She said, turning around. "What does Silberman's usually carry?"

Edited by The Osprey

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Lynn followed her customer over, happy to note her enthusiasm. "Well as a used bookstore, we pretty much have whatever people sell us, either stuff that one of the local stores can't move, or somebody's collection when their wife tells them to grow up; sad, really." She picked up a slim softcover book and flipped through it, shaking her head. "I don't know what the hell 'Torg' is, but it keeps showing up like a bad penny."

 

She slid a finger across the spines, going down shelf by shelf. "Everything's alphabetical by system, and then editions are in sequence, so like we've got AD&D, second edition, 3.0...my brother knows more about this stuff, though I played with him a bit when I was little." She smiled. "Princess Grisselda, the half-elven sorceress-thief; oh, the delicious irony..."

 

Though there were indeed large blocks of games nobody really played (Silver Age Sentinels was very well represented), there were large blocks of higher quality games, especially from the 90s; World of Darkness, 7th Sea, Legend of the Five Rings, Ars Magica, Deadlands and various Star Wars rpgs all made good showings. There was also a locked glass cabinet with items that were either harder to find or signed by an industry star.

 

After giving her customer a little time to browse, the storeowner spoke again. "Are you looking for a place to play? We have a nice big table over there with plenty of chairs, snacks and drinks. If you promise not to be too loud, I'm sure we could work something out."

Edited by Heritage

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Sakurako blushed. "I appreciate the offer, but we got plenty of space at the Academy. The faculty would like we stay on campus as much as possible, although there isn't any ban on travel into the city itself." She said, looking over the collection before spotting a certain book on the shelf that made her skip a breath.

 

"No way... mint condition Third Edition Big Eyes, Small Mouth... Still cover price. Eat your heart out, Ebay... I just snaked me a deal..." She thought picking up the red covered book.

 

Lynn noticed the odd device in Sakurako's bag, It wasn't Endeavor's EMWand, that was back in a pocket on her overcoat. She saw a flash of pink and white in her backpack. Sakurako hadn't fully zipped up her bag when she packed her suit into the bag when she changed into something a bit less flashy.

 

Gonna give Grim a

gimmie here... >She knows everything DC 15 and easier on Endeavor/Sakurako's reputation.

 

She adjusted her overcoat. "How long has the shop been here?"

Edited by The Osprey

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The shopkeeper was discretely examining her enthusiastic customer; she was Claremont, so she was no ordinary student. Japanese, funky space tech, sailor suit; wasn't there something in the paper...?

 

"Since 1946; my great-grandfather Ira Silberman opened it right after the War; he didn't see action in any official capacity, but he did his part. His son Louis took over after Ira disappeared in South America in the Sixties; he was Nazi hunting at the time." She sighed before continuing, thinking back on her family's legacy. "Grampa Lou ran it for decades, then left it to me when he died; the will gave me the title on my twenty-second birthday, but I was only able to take full possession last year."

 

It all sounded so simple, so straightforward; as always, all the really important stuff just fell through the cracks. Attempting to shake off her sudden melancholy, Lynn cleared her throat and smiled. "So, Claremont! Excellent school! What are you studying there?" She indicated Sakurako's backpack with a nod. "Did you make that glowy thing yourself? Looks pretty darn cool!"

Edited by Heritage

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Sakurako knew that the proprietor had her pegged. Using the EMWand was the dead give away. She smiled, setting her backpack and her book selections on the table set up for use for gaming as she pulls out her Exploration Suit. The mission vest still slipped over it, but unbuckled. "Yeah... heroing is in the family too. And yes, I call your predecessors heroes." She said, brushing off some dust on the rubbery pink and white suit. "I designed this off of some ideas from the first suit Mom let me use. She was a sidekick for most of her young life, so I fit pretty good in it when she handed it off to me. After maintaining it a couple times I got ideas for this suit. I've been upgrading slowly ever since."

 

She pointed to the two stripes on the collar. "This is the Mark II design... upgraded the flight system."

 

Sakurako remembered wearing that suit with pride, mixed with the sadness of her duty at times. At least some people found peace anyways. "I didn't want to show up here and make a scene though so I stopped by at a convenience store to change."

 

She blushed. Realizing she picked a overcoat she wore when she was stuck on the Yacht in cool weather she was starting to think the nautical concept of some of her clothes was hinting at a habit... "I... designed my suit more for exploration than stopping criminals but... I seem to be okay at that."

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Lynn shrugged as she took a seat on the edge of the table. "Well, there's never a shortage of people who like to beat other people up. Now, people who are good at rescuing people? Those we can never have enough of; just my opinion, of course." She indicated the suit with a nod of her head and an extended hand. "May I?"

 

Once she had the suit in hand, she gently ran her fingers across the surface, almost stroking it like a cat."It's light!" Then she held the material close to her eyes as she scrutinized the seams with a critical intensity. "Wow; these seals are amazing! Can this actually survive hard vacuum?" Then she abruptly grabbed the suit with both hands and yanked it hard, pulling the material this way and that; behind the counter where she'd been quietly watching, Gretchen sat up alarmed, convinced her boss was destroying a customer's clothing. It probably would have ripped a garment of lesser construction apart, but then Sakurako's Exploration Suit was of course exceptional.

 

Handing it back to its creator, Lynn chuckled and shook her head in amazement. "That is one hell of a suit; excellent work! Your parents must be proud."

Edited by Heritage

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"Oh yes, Hard Vacuum no doubt, but I've also visited the wreck of the Titanic with this suit... as for rescues, I'm usually kitted out for that." She said with a smile.

 

She knew this person was very much interested in her heroing... was she another potential Hannah? Sakurako didn't think so... something about Lynn had a hint not of a super villain to be. Sakurako raised up her Index finger. "One moment..." She said picking up her suit again. As she wasn't needing to be fast she didn't destroy her clothing right then and there with her quick-disrobing system, opting to switch out her clothes like a normal person. The black undergarment that helped her put her clothes on and off when changing between her suit and her street clothes preserved all of her modesty, and the shop's rules of no shoes, no shirt, no service. A minute later she was wearing a baggy, mostly deflated fat-suit, before pressing a button tightening her suit around her. Buckling together the mission vest she pressed another button on her wrist changing the color scheme of her suit and gear to a bright, high visibility combination of red, yellow, and white.

 

She had the helmet for the suit form around her head and close up a clear face plate. The life support system quietly hissed to life, as the suit puffed out a little. "There we go..." She said, strapping the EMWand to the belt of her suit. "As for mum and dad... They're starting to come around to this suit. There's still a lot I can improve to make this suit completely my own."

 

She stuffed her street clothes into her bag. "I wager you've seen your fair share of fully fledged superheroes here, no?"

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It was truly marvelous to see the suit in action; the old men paused in their games long enough to gawk in wonder at the pretty young space girl in her colorful garb, prompting Lynn to playfuly chide them. "Back to your backgammon, gentlemen!" She was no stranger to costume changes, though of course she 'cheated' by using magic, or at least that's how she always thought of it.

 

At Sakurako's question, she grinned slyly. "Oh, we've had a few..." Unlike her former teammate Jack, she'd never been hyper-protective of her secret identity, at least not with people in 'the biz', as she liked to think of the superhero community, but she tried not to just blurt it out to everyone.

 

Returning to the subject of the suit, Lynn stroked her lower lip thoughtfuly, then indicated it with a wave of her hand. "So, does it possess any sort of stealth capability? Mimetic fiber, holographic projectors, sound dampeners...that sort of thing? Obviously for rescue work, you want high visibility, but for some missions you really need to keep a low profile. You mentioned flight; how loud is your propulsion system?" Her questions were certainly interesting, and oddly specific!

Edited by Heritage

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Sakurako hovered off the ground. There was surprisingly no ground effect, and the sound had a tone that was semi-bell like. Almost comforting. "I'm working on upgrading the outer suit membrane to provide a true visual cloak, although the flight system itself isn't very stealthy." She said. And it's primary strike against it in terms of stealth was the light it generated more than any noise. "The repulsor system based on it's very design can't suppress the generation of photons as it interacts with any gasses."

 

"But if I have to get somewhere quiet-like..." She said as she suit took on a black and grey motif as she pointed to a pack on the back of her mission vest that surrounded the back section on her suit that housed the flight system and life support... "...I can parachute into a location and keep to the ground or swim to the location. The parachute is a micro-memory membrane that is self packing, and I can cut away if caught in a tree or something."

 

She brushed off her suit. "But I designed my gear for exploration and rescue. If I'm being asked to go somewhere covertly, many, many poor career choices and mistakes have been made up to that point." She said with a grin.

 

She adjusted her suit, it switching to it's default pink and white color scheme as she lands on her feet. "My usual duties mean I have to be visible. But I wager some subtlety won't hurt... hence the chameleon circuit system I plan on installing."

Edited by The Osprey

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Lynn shook her head and laughed. "Alright, I'm not gonna lie; I only understood about half of that, but it sounded fantastic, especially that self-folding chute. That would be very useful in the field." Then bookseller was struck by an idea. "Y'know what...I've got something you might like to have a look at; let me consult with my assistant first!"

 

She practically ran back over to the bar and launched herself up onto it with both hands, almost looking like an eager child as she excitedly talked with Gretchen. Sakurako couldn't make out everything said, but she could definitely see the young assistant shaking her head and saying, "No, absolutely not." Lynn continued the discussion for a bit longer, her gestures becoming increasingly animated, but finally she sighed and returned to the Claremonter with a dejected look on her face.

 

"Yeah, Gretchen thinks it's a terrible idea..." But then she got a mischievious glint Iin her eye. "But luckily, I sign her paychech!" Lynn leaned in close like a playground drug dealer and whispered, "How would you like to see some technology from a parallel dimension?" She winked. "Pretty cool, huh?"

 

Gretchen threw up her hands in dismay as she got back to work. "Y'know what, why do I even bother?"

Edited by Heritage

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"Oh boy..."

 

There was something that was completely, totally, and unavoidingly true about Sakurako "Endeavor" Hino. It is the fact that any new experience to her is a clarion call to discovery. Even the mere implication that the person she was talking to was in posession of something trans-dimensional in origin to her... is bait most succulent.

 

"What sort of technology?" She said, leaning over. Even in her space-sailor looking costume she had a schoolgirlish like curiosity and energy that was almost contagious. "You got someplace safe to show it off?"

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Lynn scratched her head. "Uh, well the one thing is pretty big, so I'd have to show you upstairs in my apartment..." This prompted Gretchen to make a hasty sign with her notebook and a Sharpie that read, 'YOURE ACTING SUPER CREEPY!!!', and wave it around vigorously behind the counter. The bookstore owner rolled her eyes and rubbed her face with her hand. "Alright, she may have a point, but it's broad daylight, we've got a room full of witnesses...it'll be fine. Follow me."

 

She led the curious teen into the backroom, up a flight of stairs and into her kitchen; the room was very clean and smelled faintly of fresh baked cookies. In one corner stood what looked like a pinball table, except for the use of materials; there was no plastic, just a variety of polished woods, clear and colored glass, and brass fittings. It was simply beautiful and clearly made by hand.

 

"This is a 'Knights Templar' bagatelle table; I don't know if you know anything about pinball, but it's the 'Twilight Zone' of another world." She flipped a switch on the back and the whole cabinet lit up; the backglass depicted scenes of damsels in distress, secret societies and the Crusades, with a rose window worthy of Notre Dame in the middle. The gameplay area had exquisite brass and blown glass bumpers, and holographic knights on horseback rode across it. And there was music, something like pan pipes and a hurdy-gurdy, that sounded one hundred percent analog.

 

Lynn lovingly stroked the cabinet and sighed. "They only made a hundred of these; she's my pride and joy."

Edited by Heritage

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Sakurako scratched her head. "So what is the evidence of this being from some alternate universe? Anyone with knowledge of something this baroque and combining it with some holographic technology could do this..." She said, noting her hand passed through the holograms projected, but what disturbed her was something that snapped her skepticism. "...wait... this isn't using a projection medium... it should have been disturbed by my hands passing through the air over the table..."

 

She walked around the table. "This isn't common technology by any measure... but what makes this something that isn't from this universe?" She said, amazed by the workmanship. "This is a lot of detail for a ancient predecessor to pinball and pachinko."

 

"By Leonardo's designs..."

Edited by The Osprey

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Lynn folded her arms across her chest. "What, other than the fact that it's totally bizarre and uses that tech in a completely frivolous way? I-" Then she frowned and looked at her feet. "Yeah, okay, I guess some weirdo could have made that over here..." Then she looked up and raised a finger. "Actually it's not old, it's contemporary; it's from a world where the technology progressed, but the design aesthetic is still locked in the 1870s." She shook her head. "No idea why; they just really liked spittoons and stuff. You want something to eat?" She pulled open her fridge, which primarily seemed to hold alcohol and baking ingredients. "Uhhhh...I make a mean omelet!"

 

The bookseller pulled out a beer and twisted it open. "Once you're done looking at that, I have something even cooler to show you." She winked and took a swig.

Edited by Heritage

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"Sure!" Sakurako said, "An Omelette would be wonderful, actually. I tend to have breakfast... whenever."

She sat at a table in the room, scratching her head. "Did they have Balloons there? that would be so romantic to be on. Just sailing so quietly in the air. No care in the world but where the next adventure awaited."

Smiling she took her book bag and sat it to the table. "I've been coming up with a neat idea for rescue teams to quickly organize a temporary Cell Phone and Wi-Fi network in a disaster area using balloons... these stations are anchored to float about 300 feet above an area to provide good coverage. Now... these designs use Hydrogen for lifting gas, but I have designed the gasbag to not catch fire, and if necessary detach and float away from the com-rig, deploying a chute to allow the rig to fall safely to earth. Little airbags on the bottom cushion the landing, and supplemental ones can provide buoyancy on a water landing or added cushion."

She pulls out her tablet, pulling up the diagram. "I could have used these com stations after the Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011..."

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Lynn grinned and nodded. "Great, I'll get started! Let me know if there are any veggies you don't like."

 

She began to bustle around the kitchen, pulling out pots and pans, whisking eggs, chopping vegetables and grating cheese; her movements were amazingly fluid, more like a dance than making an omelet. From time to time, she'd take another swig of beer or hum a few bars of a song.

 

"Yeah, they had lots of balloons; well, actually they were 'dirigibles'." She shrugged. "Y'know, airships. Still, very cool; lightweight aluminum frames, ballistic fiber skins, flexible solar cells wrapped around the envelope. Very quiet, very smooth ride."

 

Suddenly she stopped herself; her staff frequently chided her for revealing her double life too readily to strangers. Gretchen said she should just wear a button that read 'Hi, I'm Grimalkin! Ask me anything!'

 

She was very impressed by Sakurako's balloon designs; clearly this was a young woman who was going to make a difference! But when the young student mentioned the tsunami, Lynn grew more somber; between school and planning her wedding, she was wrapped up in her own world in the spring of 2011. She did make several large charitable cash donations at the time; that was a mitzvah, right? Plus, wasn't the Freedom League already helping out?

 

It was only since she'd come back, and watched all the YouTube videos of the destruction that she'd felt the full impact of just how much she could have helped, had she bothered to volunteer. 

 

"Personally, I think it's a mistake to look back too much; you can always beat yourself up for not doing enough, hindsight being twenty-twenty and all." She deftly slid the three egg omelet onto a plate, then laid out a basket of homemade blueberry muffins, a bowl of whipped butter, and a pitcher of fresh-squeezed orange juice, a spread that would make any Jewish mother proud.

 

"Alright, dig in; food for growing minds and bodies, and all that." Everything smelled simply delicious! 

Edited by Heritage

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"Sure beats bugs and random plants." Endeavor said, starting to have her meal. "To be honest though I've found myself not minding living off the land as much as being here in the city. I get along fine anywhere." She said. "I got separated from a search team for a day, and my locator beacon was damaged for some reason, it's range got severely reduced. So, for that day I got to know the local wildlife."

She continued eating. "There isn't much food I don't like. No allergies, no real preference as long as it's cooked with some effort... trust me, I have simple tastes."

"That's why when I say this is outstanding, it isn't some simple compliment. I have eaten at four star restaurants who Gordon Ramsey would dress down for a poor performance. Then he'd wonder why a genius like you is stuck running a book store." She said, smiling. "The Freedom League was there, by the way, but there was just so much needing done, and not enough capes and cowls to assist. Hence why my Mom and Dad came out of retirement and Mom tossed me her old sidekick costume."

"Hence the inspiration behind my suit." Sakurako said with a smile. "My old costume was... a bit embarassing." She said with a blush. "Blue skirt with red trim, red vest, white suit with blue sailor collar. Very space-schoolgirl."

She nervously took a drink of her juice. "I prefer my design more. I can shift the color scheme to the needs of whatever thing I'm undertaking."

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Lynn nodded, clearly happy to move off the topic of regrets. "Yeah, flexibility in costuming is actually a wonderful thing; people who just wear the same standard look every day have no idea what they're missing." She grinned slyly as she leaned against the counter and snapped her fingers; suddenly her form was surrounded by swirling mist, leaving her dressed ala Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's, but with graceful tapered ears.

 

"Yeah, I'm a big showoff; I figured why keep beating around the bush with all this talk about other dimensions? I go by Grimalkin in the field." She indicated Endeavor's plate with a nod. "Once you're done, I can show you my much cooler piece of offworld tech." She took a big swig of beer in a most unladylike fashion.

Edited by Heritage

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Endeavor smiled. "Now that would be something, perhaps if I upgrade to nano-fabric instead of the Graphitex membranes I currently use, maybe I could have my suit pull off something like that. Formal dress that becomes a fully functional protective environmental suit? I think I got ideas."

"Now Magic on the other hand, that always rustles my jimmies. Not that I hate it because I don't understand it, there's just something that always... unsettles me. I guess anything that causes something to come from nothing bothers the scientist in me. Sadly she took over years ago." She said, scratching her chin. "I wonder if some other universe I'm some sort of genius witch... I do use a wand in this reality..."

She looked over to Grim as she finished her meal. "Grimalkin, eh? My Callsign "Endeavor" my mom gave me. I guess it's because I'm always getting stuck into some new Endeavor in terms of inventions or what-not."

"Why do I feel like I'm getting a tour of Willy Wonka's Factory?" She said, smirking.

Edited by Endeavor

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Grim shrugged as she led the Japanese girl out of the kitchen, down a short hallway and into a sort of combined living room-dining room; as she strode down the hallway, her dress peeled off her body in long strips of vapor, leaving her barefoot in a pair of black Capri pants and a loose gray sweater. "Don't worry, lots of folks hate magic; I probably would, too, if I wasn't actually made of the stuff." The furniture was all made of dark wood, and there were more movie posters on the walls, as well as Southwestern pottery and sculptures. Lynn stopped in front of the coffee table, on which sat a cube made of what looked like antique brass; the cube was about four inches to a side, and utterly featureless other than what looked like a black circular lens, no bigger than half and inch across, in the middle of its top. She indicated one of the soft leather sofas nearby, then picked a remote off the table and dimmed the lights.

 

"Have a seat; this little baby is called a PictureBox." She waved a hand over the lens, then cleared her throat. "PictureBox on." There was just the slightest of hums, then a 'screen' formed in the air directly over the lens, like a high-def flatscreen TV...without the actual TV. It was a pale blue menu screen about forty inches across diagonally, thin as paper and seemingly made of light itself. "Ionized air molecules or something; I'm a bit fuzzy on the science." The options listed were 'Photos', 'Videos' and 'Presentations', and the font looked like something you'd see on old Wanted posters.

 

Lynn stepped back and studied her young guest. "Walk around it; its shows the same image on both sides, but properly aligned."

Edited by Heritage

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