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August 1, 2016 

 

It was Puppet Day - and things were a mess. Despite the public service announcement by Johnny Rocket and Dr. Metropolis (the latter six inches tall and made of hovering brown and green felt) that the Freedom League was on the case, the mass transformation of close to a third of Freedom City's population (especially its superhumans) was causing chaos all over the city. There was plenty for heroes to do, large and small. 

 

-

 

The Dakanan Consulate

 

For all their substantial superpowers, Edge and Monsoon had been pressed into service for the moment as child-minders - an assembly of children between the ages of one and six, the dozen or so children having drawn an unlucky straw and had two parents turn into puppets. Though neither Mark or Nina had much experience with childcare, they had quickly moved into action. Mark kept bags of snacks and bottles of milk and juice full, while Nina's stories kept older children occupied. Those that weren't playing iPads, anyway. Freedom City kids were resilient. 

 

"And then, all the world was transformed into a strange medieval society! I myself became a marid, daughter of the king of the seas, wedded to a handsome prince from the jinn kingdoms! Only our friends-" 

 

"Are you and Mr. Mark married in real life?" asked one small girl with a head full of blonde curls and a curious expression on her face. 

 

"Ah, no, but-" 

 

"But he said you two live in the same house!" asked one little boy of about the same age. "Are you two brother and sister?" 

 

"No! But we will be married soon! Now, children, back to the tale..." 

 

 

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It had been 7 AM when Cassidy Bauer had gotten ripped out of his sleep. Usually, things arriving this early would just be silent, them actually alerting meant big things.  He had been up until really late the day before, so getting up was an effort, fuelled by coffee, but after the second espresso he was at least able to keep his eyes open.

 

A lot of messages. Something big was happening.

 

… Puppets?

 

Was he still sleeping? Was this just a dream? A quick slap onto his bare upper body proved that no, he was awake. And also that adrenaline in fact helped with staying awake.

 

 Cass wasn’t sure how being Bonfire was going to help here, at all, but it clearly was time to act. From what he could tell, he was still made of flesh, being among those that weren’t felt-ified. Perhaps that was a good thing, perhaps it meant something bad was going to happen to him? He’d probably find out soon enough.  Something had to have caused this, right?

 

A few minutes later, a cloud of smoke slipped out through the window frame of Cassidy Bauer’s apartment, heading northwards. Perhaps he’d find something relating to this somewhere downtown. And if nothing else, he could at least help people’s efforts of organizing things. Some other heroes would probably show up, maybe they’d have an idea of what was going on.

 

As it turned out, nobody really knew. But, people were organizing some things in the park. Help the people that got felt-ified. A hotline, for those affected by the transformation to call and then receive information, and if necessary, help and support. And that was were Bonfire would help out for now. Sure, he could  just fly around the city all day, but this would at least do something good if nothing else. And free food and drink were part of the benefit of volunteering.

Edited by olopi

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At 7 AM, Punchline was still asleep in his cot, hugging the pillow to his chest and drooling languidly on the sheets. This excitement continued into 8 AM, and then 9 AM, and then finally 10 AM when his alarm went off like a sonic bomb. The clown-faced hero leaped out of bed, scattering the blankets hither and yon, and bounded to the beeping machine. He reached out one pale, ivory-skinned hand and pressed the 'snooze' button. "Five more minutes," he said, and dashed his boxer-clad body (they were blue, with faded pink hearts) back to the warm and cozy confines of his dreams. As he rushed passed the side-table he glanced down and noticed that the Internet was abuzz with gossip -- apparently, ran the scuttlebutt, people had been turned into puppets. Felt puppets. Felt puppets of vastly diminished height. Punchline's eyes widened into wide, yellow headlamps as he picked up the phone and scrolled through the articles. "This is crazy," he murmured, a smile spreading over his bright red lips. "This is madness," he said, the smile splitting open into a teeth-baring grin. "This is awesome!" he shouted, raising both hands above his head, fingers clenched into excited fists. He strode over to the window, pulled open the blinds to display his blinding-white body to the world, and crossed his arms over his chest. "This looks like a job for Punchline!" he crowed. "Don't worry, Freedom City; the Jester of Justice will get to the bottom of this!" His boxers, purchased years ago to fit the much larger Robert Goodman, started to slip down his hips. Blushing furiously, the clown pulled them back up and spun around, willing his garishly-colored costume to materialize. Chuckling, he turned again to the window. "And this time, I'll handle it PG! PG-13, at the most!" The Internet, which never lied, had mentioned some sort of support group for the recently puppeteered people being put together in the city's park. Leaping to his door -- and only tripping a little on the scattered blankets -- Punchline reached for the knob... and hesitated. "Right," he reminded himself. "Right, I've got to put my costume on!" He spun, again, and when he left the building he was disguised as Robert Goodman. Once on the street, the cable repairman hailed a taxi and sped off to the park.

Edited by Sophistemon

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For once, Tristan Delacroix wasn't still tangled in his silk sheets--or just finally crawling into them--when the sun rose.  He caught the first report by accident, then noticed the beginnings of a trend, and soon found himself glued to his laptop screen, unsure of when or how he acquired his much-needed cup of coffee.  Puppets, of all things?  This had to be one of the stranger events he'd encountered, but Tristan grew up in Freedom City; if something ever astonished him to the point of disbelief, it wouldn't be this. 

 

He tried to focus on sympathy for the victims, concern for various tangential consequences the city would surely face from a disturbance on this scale, but Tristan's thoughts kept coming back to the same idea.  A lot of heroes got changed too.  This is my big chance! 

 

So by daybreak, the young scientist rapidly picked through his closet of diverse outfits for a new disguise.  In his haste he didn't put much effort into today's costume; hopefully he wouldn't spend long wearing it, before coming across a job for Leviathan.  He filled out an oversized polo and slacks as a hefty man, gave himself a walrus mustache, practiced his grandfatherly smile in the mirror for a minute, and then hustled out the door.  On his way, he thought casually about the biological ramifications of this puppetry.  Did the victims have little felt organs now?  Would preexisting medical conditions halt or change?  Maybe he could collect a few samples for study, after his patrol was over.

 

Not that it would likely matter; such a phenomenon wouldn't translate well to the realm of science.  If he encountered any of the puppets in need of help, what good would his years of higher education do?  Not for the first time, Tristan muttered to himself: "I'm really starting to hate magic."

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Tristan stepped out of his apartment - and found another door on the opposite wall. This one was brand-new and unlike the rest in his apartment building, frosted glass and shiny grey metal like a brand-new business's front door. He could just see figures moving on the other side of the door - but stranger still were the words in black paint emblazoned proudly on the glass. "QUIRK'S TOY SHOP - COME IN, TRISTAN." In the corridor, nobody else seemed to see the door - though that was probably because the only people he'd been joined by were a wide-eyed, too-smiling young mother, and the babbling felt baby doll she was carrying down the hallway. 

 

 

Robert's cab wound up taking him in a slightly different direction than he expected, depositing him at the end of a small cul-de-sac he did not remember as being close to the park. There was only one building on the street, an old toy shop that looked vaguely Victorian in design to his admittedly-not-architecturally-sound sensibilities. The door was frosted glass and shiny grey metal, impossible to see through. Written on the door was QUIRK'S TOY SHOP - COME IN, ROBERT AND CASSIDY. Cassidy had found the toy shop too - people in the neighborhood knew the streets well enough, and a new street just appearing today was a sign that something very strange was going on!

 

 

"All right, the staff will take care of the kids." Mark and Nina faced the door in the Consulate - QUIRK'S TOY SHOP - COME IN, MARK AND NINA. "Looks like this is pretty straightforward - Quirk is the one messing around with Freedom City, so he wants us to go in and play his games. It'll be fine, the League deals with him all the time." 


"He will find that there is no game greater than one played against Monsoon," said Nina, shaking an armored fist at the door. She'd donned the armor of Monsoon, complete with cape and armor, and looked ready for war - despite Mark's cautions that you really did have to play Quirk's games when he showed up. She looked like a conqueror ready to fight instead - and Mark thought she looked absolutely gorgeous. 

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Bonfire had done what he usually did, float around the streets. At a low altitude, to avoid any major wind, and also to see what was happening down below him. This was a route he’d taken a few times before, it offered the fastest way up north. Yet, this was one thing he’d never noticed before. Streets didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Then again,  usually people didn’t turn into puppets out of nowhere either. Was there a connection? Yeah, that was likely.

 

A Toy shop? It certainly felt like the most ominous toy shop Cass had ever seen. He’d not seen many, so that was an easy feat to achieve, but a toy-shop, in a street, appearing out of nowhere? A higher priority than being a hotline helper, for sure.

 

The cloud approached the ground, upon hitting which it turned back into a more corporeal, human form over the course of a few seconds, only the head remaining smoke. Bonfire made his way closer to the Toy Shop, taking careful steps but still walking with a certain pace. He quickly took a picture with his phone, just to later confirm that yes, he hadn’t just been ahllucinating, then appraoched the store.

 

…. Well, the door just adressed him. Probably him, at least. He had no idea who Robert was in this case, but it felt like that would change soon enough.  Knowing his identity? Ominous. Together with everything else this was like a huge flashing sign saying “Don’t go in here.”

 

But, what had that thing been his teacher had always said? “You have to take risks to accomplish things?” Something along those lines, it sounded better when he’d said it. Nevertheless, there was only one thing to do.

 

Bonfire took a deep breath, exhaled, and opened the door.

Edited by olopi

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The dumpy, disheveled man stared at the building with a blank expression on his face, his gaze slowly sliding across the words emblazoned above the door. "Robert," he muttered, sounding out the unfamiliar name. "Robert?" He turned, and saw another man open the aperture and step inside. "Cassidy," he continued, and nodded his head. The words floating around in his brain, bumping against disconnected ideas and half-formed thoughts, searching for something to belong to. It was another few moments before the realization hit him like a ton of bricks. "Oh!" he said, drawing out the word in a long exhalation. "They think that I'm Robert!" Chortling, the man grinned -- his white teeth blinding in the sun, even when compared to the glass-and-gray-metal toy store that stood before him. "Well," he said, reaching for the knob. "They don't know me very well, do they?" He opened the door and, still beaming that bright white smile, made his way inside.

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What.

 

Tristan froze, his cheerful face draining to a ghostly white.  He had traveled to another universe with heroes from his childhood, fought what he was pretty sure was a dragon in human form, tangled with the Russian mob, but this door was far and away the scariest thing he'd encountered since putting on his scales.  He very nearly turned around and went back to his apartment, to hide under his sheets until this bad dream went away.  It wasn't fun, and he didn't want to play anymore.

 

But this Quirk knew him.  Probably knew who he was, too, and maybe one other person beside Tristan could say that.  He had to investigate, to put an end to this threat.  If he didn't cooperate just for a little while, then his identity would very likely be compromised anyway; wasn't that how blackmail worked? 

 

So, with his mustache shaking and his hands in even worse shape, the biologist gently pushed open the door.

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The door opened - and the four heroes entered the shop together. 

 

The toy shop looked like something out of a movie from the middle of the last century - the shelves and boxes along the corridors were stuffed full of a wide variety of old-fashioned toys ranging from yarn dolls to tin rocketships, from cap guns to tea sets. Everything looked well-made, with marks of craftsmanship on carved wood, stitched seams, and metal welds. Except that nobody was here; outside of the newly-arrived foursome, the place was empty. 

 

Until suddenly, a figure pushed open the door behind the counter. "Well, it's about time!" The young man who stepped out the door and from behind the counter was immediately recognizable as Quirk, the young prankster who had bedeviled the heroes of Freedom so often - albeit looking a few years older than his last appearance. If he usually looked to be about twelve, now he looked near the end of adolescence, maybe sixteen or seventeen, in an old-fashioned suit and leather apron like a craftsman of everyone's grandparents' generation. In his arms was a baby, blonde-curled and in a heavy onesie that looked equally old-fashioned. "I called for a sitter this morning!"

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The man that looks like Bob Goodman let out a long, low whistle when he enters the store. It reminded him of something out of an old movie, with the shelves full almost to breaking with handmade toys, games, and knickknacks of every description. He smiled, and his eyes twinkle yellow as his inner child begins to assert itself. "Look at this," he says, his voice just a little too high, a little too animated for someone who looks the way he does. "I think that my dad had something like that, once." He points to a little tin train on a shelf, set on a track that coiled around a model town. "Haha, this is great." He spun himself in a slow circle, arms stretching out, to take all of it in. And then, of course, Quirk appeared holding a a bundle of bouncing baby brat. A tingle ran up Bob's back and he paused to take in the strange, newly-adolescent demigod. My weirdo-sense is tingling, he thought to himself, and crossed his arms across his rumpled chest. "And what's that have to do with me?" he asks, his forehead wrinkled in faux annoyance.

Edited by Sophistemon

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Walking in like a nervous cat, Tristan jumped when he saw the other three, then jumped again at Quirk's arrival.  He felt very glad of his disguise--not that it did much good for this trickster-god, apparently--but also regretted not taking things a step further.  Leviathan would calm his nerves a fair bit right now, Tristan thought. 

 

...Do I still have time to shift?  Would...would they notice?

 

He shook his head, his eyes wide and his face still pale, and managed to settle his attention on Quirk.  The child he carried invoked some real concern (though Tristan couldn't help subsequently feeling proud of himself for it, which brought his self-esteem right back down). 

 

"...Did you steal a baby?" he asked bluntly. 

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Upon entering the room, suddenly three others were standing next to Bonfire. Most strange. He took a few looks at the others, before then turning his attention towards the room all of them had ended up in. Now this was a nice room. So many things, all looking really nice and high quality. It wasn’t Cass’s world, but he could still appreciate something like this. He spent a few moments, trying to identify some of the stranger things he could see, and also giving another glance towards his fellow … travellers? Who didn’t appear to have an idea what was going on either.

 

When the man stepped out, he certainly drew the attention. Cass didn’t really know who this was, he’d heard some things about this “Quirk” fellow, but it was only rumours, and those hardly ever counted for anything. So, he’d just approach this as somebody he had no clue about. Which wasn’t that far off to begin with.

 

He took a step to the side, his eyes still focused on the young man (not that anybody would be able to tell). A few small steps, just to stretch his legs a bit. Then, he turned his attention towards Quirk in a way everybody could tell, and responded.

 

“Sorry, I didn’t get the call. Probably stuck in the depths of my mailbox. I can do some babysitting, sure. Anything I should know beforehand? I’ll be honest, I don’t have that much experience. “

Edited by olopi

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Cassandra set her container down as the first worker turned into felt. Despite the yelling, he did not appear to be hurt. She circled above the docks to see if the event created any dangerous situations. Satisfied that her home and her friends were safe, she left her comfort zone and headed into the city. She passed the support groups and crisis centers, they seemed to have the situation well in hand, a certain side effect of living in Freedom City. 

 

Finding the new street wasn't terribly difficult, people were either gawking at it or avoiding it entirely. The new doorway was equally obvious as several costumed heroes steeled themselves and stepped inside. Cassandra took one more pass over the street before landing in front of the strange doorway. She paused for a moment to consider its odd appearance, then pushed the door open and stepped inside. 

 

She stopped just inside the door to consider the scene before her. She normally wasn't too concerned with her appearance, but the costumed group in front of her made very conscious of her worn BDU pants and dirty tanktop. The group did not seem to be paying much attention to her as they were distracted by the young man with a baby. 

 

She spoke quietly to the costumed folks standing near her, "Is very strange, yes? He is young to be father."

Edited by SoullessGinger

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"It's not my kid, gross, it's my sister!" Quirk handed the baby off to Edge, who scooped her up neatly into his arms with the sort of ease that it made it look like he handled babies all the time. Monsoon was still watching Quirk suspiciously - but Nina had read the briefings on this being's power and she wasn't fool enough to pick a fight with him. 

 

"After we watch your sister, will you undo what has happened to Freedom City?

 

Quirk sighed and rolled his eyes. "Yes, obviously, but I'm not gonna tip you with that attitude. Half of you aren't even dressed up," he said, casting his gaze around the group with an annoyed look. "Babies are easy. All you have to do is make sure she gets fed, keep her happy and change her if her diaper gets dirty. I'd do it myself but I've got a date, and I don't want Stinkbutt here ruining my action." 

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"You...puppetted the city just to get a babysitter?" Tristan asked incredulously.  He immediately regretted his tone, wondering if this powerful being would make him suffer for it, but he then supposed that Quirk didn't seem the short-fused tyrannical type.  Yet.

 

The biologist also leaned forward a bit to get a better look at this child.  He'd never met a god before, and while these both visibly seemed a little underwhelming, he also considered that this task would likely be more difficult than it appeared, let alone how easy Quirk claimed.  Even a young deity seemed like trouble...

 

But he was already here, and damn it, heroes were supposed to rush into danger.  Surely keeping up with an infant was easier than tackling a villain who actively wanted him dead.  Knowing what to expect might help; they already knew that Quirk was the typical trickster archetype, so this baby probably had a dash of mischief in its blood.  What tree did the apple specifically fall from, though?

 

"Who, ah, if you don't mind me asking, who are the child's parents?  Who's your sister?"

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"...the baby is my sister and her parents are my parents. Ugh!" Quirk hung up his apron and shook his head. "Not that it's any of your business, Mr. Thinks-He's Raven." He pointed at Tristan - and suddenly Tristan was in Raven's costume! Not the costume the first Raven had worn around New York in the 1960s and 1970s, not the more familiar, increasingly armored costume that his successor still occasionally wore in outings with the Freedom League - but a brightly-colored outfit of grey and blue better-suited to the first Raven's appearance on Freedom Friends. "And you too, lady, c'mon, she needs a better example than Mini-Typhoon here." He pointed at Cassandra - transforming her garments into an outfit more suitable to one of the Soviet Union's patriotic heroes from several decades earlier. 

 

"We'll take good care of your sister," said Mark suddenly, having watched the scene with growing alarm flickering behind his deep blue eyes. In his suit and tie, he hadn't 'dressed up' either - but his outfit seemed to pass Quirk's standards. "Good luck on your date!" He smiled warmly, the perfect diplomat. "When should we expect you back?" 

 

"Curfew's at 10, 'rents are home at midnight. You'll be gone well before then, don't worry." Quirk turned and headed for the door. "Later." 

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Tristan tried to stammer that he'd just misheard the god, what with the barely-contained terror that currently filled most of his attention, but any complaints quickly dwindled.  He stood stiffly in his new costume, the jovial face he'd chosen for today crestfallen, and hugged himself awkwardly.  His eyes went to the floor until Quirk began to leave--an exit that certainly didn't bother this particular babysitter. 

 

Under better circumstances, Tristan might be fascinated by these tidbits of Quirk's life, in spite of his more-or-less atheism (a philosophy that felt a little strained at the moment).  He'd surely be more interested in his companions, too.  The part of him that did care about apparently being in the company of several other heroes, in their daily identities even, focused on how he'd already managed to embarrass himself in front of idols or potential allies, depending on just who they were.  This particular adventure wasn't off to the best start. 

 

At least the actual Raven isn't here to see this, he thought glumly. 

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The man that looked like Robert Goodman stood impassively as the scene unfolded, a smile stretching wide across his face until it was almost too large to be contained by the confines of his features. He had to stifle a chortle when Quirk worked his strange magic and manifested costumes on two of the other 'babysitters,' as he'd gotten the joke almost immediately -- as good old Bob, he was in costume. Chuckling a bit to himself, he spoke. "So, I take it that we're all down with the cape and cowl crowd?" he asked, arcing a thumb at Tristan, who was awkwardly inspecting his new clothing. "Good. This suit gets hot -- there's too much padding!" He reached a hand up, passed his face, and dug around at his hairline until he found the zipper's pull-tab. He tugged it, and Goodman split open at the scalp and fell away, crumpling to the floor like a cheap jumpsuit. Punchline stepped out of his discarded outfit, yellow eyes shining, and kicked the shed skin of his alter-ego into a nearby corner. He stretched, his joints popping like corks from champagne bottles, and laughed. "Oh," he crooned. "That feels good!" He looked about, his sallow gaze falling on Edge, and stepped forward. "And there's the little bundle of joy that's caused all the trouble around here!" He reached out for the infant, looking to take her from the other hero. "A baby god," he giggled. "I wonder what she'd go for on eBay?"

Edited by Sophistemon

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Bonfire followed the conversation between the uncostumed man and Quirk, nodding every once in a while to show that he was listening too, as it wasn’t easy to see otherwise.  The discussion certainly was interesting. Somehow, it felt like not knowing about Quirk’s parents and family was a good thing. And the forced costume-ization of two of the attending crowd only proved that. Quirk wasn’t somebody to be messed with, and Cass was not about to try anything. Besides, this was something to spend time on, and that was welcome by itself.

 

And then, one of the two men that hadn’t received a new look … did a thing. That was the best way to describe it really. Instinctively, Bonfire stumbled a few steps backwards, before managing to catc himself. There he stood and watched, clearly baffled. It certainly was a disguise, and what it hid certainly was a unique look. Explained the lack of a new outfit on his part. The other man probably had a reason himself. Cass would really have to look up more of his colleagues so he’d have an idea if people he met on these kind of things were heroes too, and what ones.

 

When Punchline went over and took the baby, a god apparently, Bonfire took a few steps forward again, getting closer to the others, and getting a better look at the baby itself.

 

“Look, I’m not saying I couldn’t use the money. But I can give you more than a dozen reasons off the top of my head why we shouldn’t even joke about these things. “

 

He looked at the assorted crowd, a mix and match group, but one that looked quite capable.

 

“So, what do we do now? Any of you got experience with babysitting? And any idea how we’ll spend the time? Explore the place?”

Edited by olopi

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Cassandra follows the other heroes lead until Quirk withdraws. She didn't know who he was but she picked up on the wariness of the others around her. 

 

"Why I need new clothes to watch baby?" she mumbled.

 

She leaned over and peaked at the infant after hearing the others talk about her. "Is baby god? Is small for god... Who is eBay and why he want her?"

 

Cassandra then took a moment to look around for any baby related supplies,

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"You didn't look enough like a superhero," said Edge apologetically to Cassandra. "It's a nice costume," he added, "you look a little bit like a Lady Bogatyr! You should keep it," he said encouragingly, talking to her the way he might talk to a friend who had tried out a new, exotic hair color. From the looks of things, maybe the Russian lady didn't have a costume of her own. Wonder if she's a super-merc. But even they usually have a costume and codename, so they can tell each other apart when they're fighting. "Hey, woah!" He stepped back from Punchline as Monsoon interposed herself between Mark and what had been Robert. "Hey, it's cool you're enthusiastic, but we don't want to make the baby upset. Sometimes they get nervous when they see things they don't know." Sure enough, the little blonde-haired baby was stirring, not quite fussing, but close to it. 


Without really thinking about it, Mark snapped his fingers and produced a bottle, hoping that giving a god-baby formula wouldn't ruin it for breast milk. If it even was being breast-fed...he really didn't want to think about this any further. "And who would want to sell such a pretty baby, anyway, coochie-coo? I guess we'd better make introductions," he said, the well-dressed young man sounding as at ease as if this sort of thing happened all the time. He tugged at his tie. "My name is Mark, I go by Edge, and I work with the United Nations. This is my partner Monsoon." 

 

"I am a hydrokinetic," said Monsoon, her slightly augmented voice sounding with the distinct tones of Recieved Pronunciation. "And Mark has great power. You may, ah, use your nomme de guerres or any other name with which you feel comfortable. It seems we may be here a while." 

 

"If you want," said Mark cautiously to the two heroes in transformed costumes, "I can try and fix your costumes. Is there any particular hero you want to look like?" He gave them both a look that screamed "Hint hint" 

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Punchline frowned, the exaggerated expression pulling the corners of his mouth down, down beyond the confines of his face. He stepped to the side and peered around Monsoon to address Edge. "Yeah, and who died and put you in charge, you big spoilsport?" He crossed his arms over his chest and pouted. "We're in a toy store for crying out loud! Let's let the brat have a little fun, yeah?" He looked at the infant and his smile returned, almost as grotesquely exaggerated as his frown had been, but quite a bit friendlier -- more cartoonish than anything else. Eyes gleaming, he waved at the baby godling. "Hey there, kiddo! Don't you wanna pal around with Uncle Punchy? Between the two of us I bet there's no end to the trouble we could get up to! What do you say?" His eyes flicked from the baby to Edge, and then back to the baby. He held out his arms. "Come on, kid; let's go crack open a toybox and see what's inside!"

Edited by Sophistemon

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Cassandra plucked at her new skirt and shifted her open top. She removes her new tiara and collar.

 

"Is nice. Maybe is too... small? Am being afraid to breathe too much in this."

 

She pulls on the cuffs of her gloves and flexes her fingers, "But these are very nice!"

 

"I am more comfortable with man who does not want to sell baby being in charge. But you are right, baby should be let play," she nods as she responds to Punchline.

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Edge?  Tristan didn't know the others, but as he hadn't spent his live under a large rock, he could at least recognize that name.  His spirits sunk even lower; here was one of the most powerful heroes on the planet, and he'd already blotched his first impression.  Well, for this poor cover identity, anyway.  The biologist considered his options.  Much as he hated to reveal any human connection to Leviathan (ideally, he wanted other people to assume the giant lizard monster was merely that), Quirk had already made it clear that they were all in the same career.  He did an unusually wise thing and decided to just cut his losses. 

 

"...I will...be right back," he said rather glumly. 

 

He shuffled away from the others, around a shelf of toys to the next aisle.  After a moment, there came the sounds of ripping--of cloth, and perhaps other things as well--and a few low grunts, followed by silence, followed by heavy, stomping footsteps. 

 

Leviathan reappeared in all his scaly glory.  The giant took care not to knock anything over as he maneuvered his bulk through the store, and he decided to pause some distance from the group, just in case.  Not that he figured he could be any more unsettling than Punchline, toward whom he pointed a stubby, webbed finger.

 

"That kid's a god," he reminded the clown of the obvious.  "We don't want to make her mad, but if she's anything like Quirk, too much fun might not be any better.  Let's not bring something worse than puppets into Freedom City."

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Bonfire took a few steps around the store, further inspecting the various things on the shelves and walls. A few interesting things for sure, most of it was far more fancy than anything Cass had seen across the last few months. He walked back to the group as introductions were being made, those usually were important.

 

…whoa, Edge.

 

While Cass’s general hero knowledge, especially outfits and faces, was not the best, he certainly had heard of Edge. So that was how he’d looked. Interesting. Accompanied by a hydrokinetic, which made Bonfire take just one or two steps to the side. He still was a bit wary of people able to exploit his main weakness.

 

Meanwhile, the …clown, was being just that. Cool enough, probably an okay way to babysit somebody, even if it was some kind of god. Cracking open a toy box sounded both interesting and a bit daring, and certainly better than sitting around for the rest of the day. But, introductions first!

 

“Name’s Bonfire. Freedom’s HOTTEST newcomer. Yeah, I’m that guy that was all across the news a while ago, I know. “

 

And then, the lizard stepped out. A shapeshifter of some sorts? He certainly looked big and imposing, much more than in his civilian outfit. Or in his Raven one, for that matter.

 

“Big Guy has a point. Still, we’ll have to spend the next few hours doing something, and I don’t feel like just sitting on the floor ‘till Quirk returns. “

Edited by olopi

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