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Everything Is Illegal Here!(IC)

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City Hall, Emerald City, Oregon

December 3rd, 10.17 AM, 2016

 

"...so we turn to the man with a plan: Maximilian Mars! Together with our beloved mayor and crusading D.A.! Shall we give them a warm welcome, fellow munchkins?" 

 

Fit and fashionable John Nakane needn't have bothered with the suggestion. A roar of applause and hollaring voices greeted a short, smiling and stocky red-haired man dressed in expensive blue simplicity, a care-worn and kindly-looking woman whose quick wave, predominantly green wardrobe and auburn hair marked her as Mayor Amanda Talbot and a thin and stern-looking brunet whose bespectacled officiousness pegged him as District Attorney Stanley Everett.

 

The unlikely trio took to the podium mounted at the end of City Hall's broad front porch, a stubby granite cliff flanked by the slopes leading up to the aggressively modern metal and glass structure from which over 450,000 souls had their fates determined. With a flicker the holo-screens snapped to life, showing the three at gigantic size in crystal-clear resolution across the front of the building.

 

Tilting down the microphones a little to better reach his bearded face, Max Mars grinned boyishly at the congregation. In almost every direction the manicured lawns and gardens held scattered collections, singles or parties of locals, while the geometrically exact white lanes were crowded to the bursting with them, the throng thickest in the broad square right before City Hall. The winter sun was unusually strong today, despite the clouded weather, which fit with today's agenda perfectly.

 

"Hellooo my little people! It's great to see so many of you here today! The public notification did say this was just a sneak peak at the future, and you're the ones who make the future happen!"

 

Waiting for the whoops of approval to die down with a fatherly "aw, shucks" expression, Mars quickly got down to business.

 

"We all pay attention to the news, and we all know the problems facing our world. A lot of them seem too big for anyone, or even everyone to handle. But we didn't get where we are by giving up! You can't cross a thousand miles in one step...well, at least not until our teleporter watches are out in 2018, but until then we take this one step at a time, one day at a time, one problem at a time."

 

Mars took a hard drive out of his pocket "For a start, our wasteful consumer culture. This is a two-terabyte drive, peanuts, right? But look at all the stuff that goes into it, just to make a disposable, near-obsolete pile of junk. Mr. Everett?"

 

The District Attorney stepped forward, rummaging in his pocket and pulling out something that took a second for the sensors to focus properly on it: a tiny thumb drive, grey and russet with the MarsTech logo.

 

"How much space is that again, Stan?" Mars asked with a grin at the audience.

 

"Two hundred and fifty terabytes, Max. Consolidation of city records is already almost complete, and the security is, well..." Everett frowned at the piece of electronics in his hand "...well it's actually almost unbelievable. I have even been keeping personal files on this."

 

"And this is just the first step, folks! Mayor Talbot, you've been looking for material to shore up Red River Dam, correct?"

 

"We all know what happens if it collapses, Max, and frankly I would prefer our fair city not suffer Astoria's fate." The mayor's smile was a little more wry than usual "This the part where we dramatically reveal those slow-growth nanobots?"

 

Mars clapped a hand over his mouth, eyes wide with betrayal "Mandy! How could you? But yes!" At his nod Talbot held her hand up to the sensors, revealing a tiny pile of concrete visibly alive with activity "Self-repairing structures aren't just Freedom City's thing anymore, folks! And we don't need an Ancient Egyptian cosplayer to do it either! This is all us, Emerald City, we're making this happen together!"

 

This time the cheers, whoops, screams and claps lasted for a good five minutes. Which was no problem. Selective sound-pitching tech meant that the questions from the press, civilians and short statements from the most powerful people in Emerald City carried through loud and clear.

 

In the hustle and press of the crowd, a cheerful-looking young man with a ponytail and a very consistent red/green color scheme accidentally stumbled against a smaller woman. With a yelp of surprise he whirled around, fists half-raised until he saw who she was. "Sorry! Sorry, I wasn't paying attention! You okay? I'm Paris, Paris Redwater." He offered his hand with a chagrined twist on his mouth "I'm here for school, my Comms teacher wanted me to see professional public speakers in action. How about you?" He asked with a raised eyebrow "Here for the city spirit?"

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Peri had a unique view on the whole event perched on the edge of one the downtown skyscrapers she was enjoying a rushed breakfast in a bag beside her, sipping on a diet soda. It hadn't been difficult to swing a shift maintaining the air conditioning of these buildings, most of the other's hadn't want to work with so much going on down below, which was helpful as Peri couldn't help but feel that trouble was bound to breakout. In case trouble did start she had worn the Spdr Rig under the very oversized jumpsuit she tended to wear for just such occasions, the other tended to gently tease that they couldn't find a jumpsuit that could fit her tiny frame. 

 

Even at this height she couldn't help but miss the events unfolding below, the screens were just that big, but she wasn't paying that much attention to what was actually being said. In Emerald City these kind of events were pretty common and tended to follow a similar script, she suspect many people did the same and just read the twitter headlines about what was actually being announced. On day the city could be renamed Marsville and people wouldn't find out ten minutes later and in 150 characters or less.

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This certainly was quite the speech to be at. Hakim had not missed the chance to see some of the most recent inventions to soon affect EC be revealed. Sure, the relationship between WestRock, his own employer, and MarsTech was a complicated one, where it was never quite certain how the two regarded each other, but, after all, it was new technology. And advances in technology were good for all of humanity.

 

WestRock Software as a whole had taken a business trip to today’s announcements. The few of them had set up in a nice spot, eagerly following everything. There had been some rumours in circles some of the employees frequented, but the actual reveal certainly outdid everyone’s expectations. It was a mix of surprise, amazement, joy, but also a bit of anger that spread through the employees, including of course, Hakim. He had taken a seat towards the front of the group, dressed in a pretty classical outfit. A grey trenchcoat and his trademark scarf, with a blue beanie topping it off.

 

As the main wave of cheering started, Hakim’s group did not join in. Instead, they held what could best be described as an emergency meeting, going over what had just happened. All of them were thinking along the same lines, but with everything going on, it wasn’t easy to make out what the others were saying.

Edited by olopi

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"Aw, don't worry about it! No harm done! 'Sides, I like bumping into new people!"

 

Giggling good-naturedly, the well-dressed blonde woman who had been behind Paris took his hands in hers. Both were sheathed in fine white leather gloves made of some animal the college student had no name for and was probably skipping merrily down the road to extinction. Through them her hands were remarkably warm in the chilly weather. A bright yellow coat, red headscarf, sunglasses and impeccable makeup completed the picture of an eccentric professional out for a winter stroll.

 

"Call me Brandy! I was just with some friends, but I guess we got separated. Actually..." Brandy suddenly looked very thoughtful as she sized the younger boy up "You from around here, Paris?"

 

'Hell yeah! An in! High-class lady like her won't know the real good spots! Okay, don't screw this up, just be casual...' Suppressing his urge to beam gleefully, Paris nodded "Yep! I know m'way 'round, why? You need a guide that doesn't make you scan a QR code every five seconds? I know some places they don't show on the city maps, too."

 

Brandy's face, already bright, grew positively radiant. Drawing Paris into a tight hug, she yelled over a swell in the crowd(Mars must have said something amusingly self-deprecating. His writers earned their keep with those) "Would you?! Oh, thank you so much, Paris! I'll find you by the podium after the show, okay?

 

"Uh...sure! Yeah, sounds great! S'see you there, Brandy!" Disentangling from the woman, Paris smiled shyly after her as the garish woman ducked back into the crowd, waving to him before she was lost.

 

Flicking back some thick black locks that had fallen into his face, the student mentally fist-pumped, grinning foolishly at nothing. 'Y'da! Great success! If she spends half as much on random stuff as she does on clothes, I just might get a hook's bonus. Ooh, gotta think of a good route, one that hits alll the high points...'

 

Finding a small, well-fashioned rise, Paris sprawled on the grass, head propped up on his arms, and watched the show...

 

 

Emerald Spider

 

If nothing else, the job usually gave her a nice view of the well-planned and beautiful city. She had seen some of the best parties on the West Coast from thirty to forty stories above them. From Peri's vantage point it wasn't hard to spot things that didn't fit the familiar, colorful pattern of a crowd in Emerald City. For a start, black jackets were a rarity. Even the police preferred navy blue and deep green.

 

For a follow-up, the black-coats were steadily making their way towards the podium-cliff in a unified semi-circle. Quick-like, too.

 

Then Peri's phone started ringing. Caller ID showed the worst possible name: Myung-sook Pyeng.

 

 

Sha'ir the Spellsmith

 

"Two hundred and fifty terabytes?!" Marc Presson rubbed his head, grimacing. "How the hell is anyone supposed to compete with a goddamn flash drive that holds that much? What's Mars doing?"

 

"The other four daibatsu have never liked us little guys either." Pris Tooley, for her part, looked as disinterested as ever, no matter how much venom was in her voice or how much her eyes burned. "Makes sense. This is their first step in pushing everyone else out." Glancing at Hakim she asked "What's with the-?"

 

Somebody on stage said something and the crowd replied with a sudden, deafening cacophany of laughter and cheers, briefly drowning out the small cluster of coworkers.

 

It gave Hakim a great chance to see the man literally crawling with mystical energy. He was a Chinese-looking guy in a black jacket and jeans, hair cut so short he might as well have been bald, fit and muscular with hard green eyes. Up and down his arms ghostly green spiders skittered.

 

He was gone almost as suddenly as he'd appeared, heading towards New City Hall.

 

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The magical energy nearly threw Hakim back. He’d never seen this much outside of the Library, and that one creature he’d fought once, which literally consisted of nothing but magical energy. Seeing somebody who also used magic was pretty uplifting. But, that said person wearing all-black, being quite muscular, and moving towards any place like the Hall, especially at a day like this, didn’t suggest good things. Yes, it was stereotyping, and inside, Hakim hated that he was stereotyping whoever that was like this. Still, it was time to act, this didn’t look like it would play out nicely. And besides, he’d been longing for some action.

 

“We’ve still got our niche, and they won’t just hire us out without a fight. And finding people with our skillsets and experience won’t be that easy, even for them. “

 

His hand went into his pocket, pulling out his phone in one swift motion. He entered his passcode, and faked scrolling down a few messages. At the same time, he spoke, making up an excuse to disappear. This was an unpaid excursion, so at least there wouldn’t be any trouble with that.

 

“Uh guys, something just came up. Nothing big, I’ll be back at the office by the afternoon, hopefully, but this is more important than Mars documenting his rise to global dominance.”

 

Without even waiting for a response, Hakim dove right into the crowd. As he tried to pursue the man he’d just seen, his hands also went into his messenger bag, pulling out what appeared to be an average paper notebook, which he held in his hand. That guy was nearly overflowing with magical energy, certainly there had to be some way to track him. Besides, he was wearing black! In Emerald City!

Edited by olopi

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Peri sighed she had expected something, it was like a Spdr sense, but she had hoped that she’d at least have time to finish her breakfast. As she striped out of her jumpsuit she took a bite out of her sandwich, before stashing her clothes and her food behind one of the stacks, as she did she answered the call already having her headphone in ready with her Spdr playlist. Nan tended to talk a lot anyway allowing her to pull down her goggles and pull a kerchief over her mouth.

 

Then with a little run up she threw herself off of the building arms out as she began to fall, the sound of the wind finally catching Nan’s attention.

 

“I’m kind of in the middle of something Nan, yes there’s a good chance I’ll be on television. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to let you know, the baddies didn’t file a request like I asked.” her snark didn’t go to well with Myung-sook

 

“Sorry Nan, but excuse me a minute this bit is a little complicated.”

 

She began to twist in the air and made a complicated gesture with her hands sending a twirling silvery cord into the air. With perfect timing she swung over the crowd with a whoop of pleasure.

 

Emerald Spider had made what she hoped was an impressive entrance.

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Ishmael was the last of the three to see what happened.

 

Emerald Spider

 

The adored, gentle Ha'ni of South Emerald's Korean community was quite a bit less patient with her own granddaughter. At least when it came to her habit of jumping off buildings into camerashot.

 

~"Oneul ai chenchang! At least have the good grace to jump from a building you aren't working on! You keep endangering your secret identity I'll...I'll-!"~

 

Her voice quavered ~"...Just come back. It's all right if you have to run. You're all I have left, too. Good luck Pey-Pey."~

 

Below her, the crowd burst into silence and confused shouts, quickly making space for the mysterious hometown-hero with the spidery super-suit. The press stuck around, but stayed put and swiveled their cameras in her direction. Which left her with plenty of room and a half-circle of about fifteen very startled-looking men and women in black jackets.

 

The mayor and D.A. looked shocked as well, but Mars beamed down from his fifty-foot holo-screen with perfect equanimity. "Ah, our stalwart shield of science! Can we help you, Spider?"

 

From offstage a cheery voice shouted, augmented by the P.A. system "Nope! But you can help me! Get your hands up!" 

 

Sha'ir the Spellsmith

 

Marc jumped to his feet, jaw set and eyes alight "Yeah! We're not going down that easy. See you 'kim!"

 

The WestRock crew got quickly back to planning, Hakim's words bringing them back to the task at hand.

 

Meanwhile, the Spellsmith had a pretty easy time following his mystic man of mystery. Whatever energy he channeled left an ugly stain on the souls of anyone who so much as touched his shadow, amking a trail of sickly corruption and venemous evaporation that was almost impossible for him to miss.

 

The man came to a halt beside a newsvan, a little further back than the rest, and watched Emerald Spider's arrival with undisguised disdain. But the voice behind the morning's stars got his attention, as did the voice's owner.

 

She appeared on a blur of motion beside the Mayor. A woman dressed in a skin-tight white bodysuit with cheetah-print armor covering her lower arms and legs, her eyes shining behind gaudy white-gold goggles and blonde hair spilling down her back. A broad and dazzling smile, oversized cat ears and a cat-head silhouette cutout on her chest completed the effect. Whatever it was.

 

With a snap of her fingers the holo-screens refocused on her, and grabbing a mic from the stand she called out to the crowd, the press and the heroine "Hey Munchkies! I'm Faster Pussycat, your new favorite villainess! Nice to meet you, Spider, I'd hate to be the only animal-motif girl in town! Sorry I can't stay, but I'm on a schedule here!"

 

Sudenly she flashed around the trio on stage, her legs and fists smashing and battering them into unconsciousness, grabbing the golden flash drive from the D.A., the nanobots from the Mayor and slamming Mars face-first into the ground. 

 

Catching the microphone before it hit the ground with a bloodied gauntlet, she added gleefully "You'll find out alllll about it on my site! Keep Spidey-chan busy, Kittens! Sayonara!"

 

Leaping off into the air, Faster Pussycat landed on her feet and dashed off in a white-gold blur. The people in black jackets took out odd-looking guns and began circling Emerald Spider.

 

All but the man Hakim had tailed, who began sneaking off after the fast-paced feline...

 

The Salmon

 

Ishmael stared as the scene unfolded, until he remembered the costume he'd stupidly crammed into the bottom of his backpack. Rolling into some bushes to change, the boy tried to process just what he'd seen.

 

Supers sometimes came through the Jeweled Cities. Most of the time, it was to meet at Joy's for some super-secret talks that couldn't possibly happen just in a house somewhere, or to help with natural disasters, or see Mars for...some reason. That last was mostly just Captain Thunder, though.

 

But nobody was stupid enough to be a supervillain in either Emerald City.

 

'And I'm gonna be one of the reasons why!' Securing his backpack in the bushes, the Salmon burst out and charged in a super-speed flash of orange and black, racing after the feline felon!

 

Suddenly he remembered that Emerald Spider was facing a dozen people all on her own, with a huge crowd and some of Emerald City South's biggest names hanging in the balance. Grabbing a lamp post he spun around a few times to slow down, mind whirling like his vision as he tried to make a decision. 

 

'If I catch Faster Pussycat, I'll be a hero!'

 

He glanced back '...and if I don't and I don't help Spider I'll be an asshole...'

 

Shaking his head furiously, the fish-faced speedster took up the chase 'No! She'll be fine! She's...she's gotta be! But I'm faster, I'll help track this maomew and we'll both cach her!'

 

He tore through the streets, following the elusive trail of his first super-crook. 

Edited by Ari

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Whatever this mage was doing, it wasn’t good. Maybe it was a passive effect, maybe he was actively doing something? He had to be stopped. Hakim continued to follow, keeping some distance, but ready to go at any moment. This man had to have some motive, some reason he was here. And just fighting him would probably not reveal it. The Spider’s appearance was welcome, she would probably be a welcome ally in whatever was going to probably go down.

 

And then, a villain appeared. Quite publically so. Internally, Hakim was actually a bit happy. Mars getting some humiliation, especially on a public stage like this, was almost cathartic. Of course, the fact the thief was making off with these “cornerstones of the future” was less good. A thief, and the mysterious mage. And, from the looks of it, The Spider was outnumbered.

Helping her was the first priority. The mage left big enough of a signature to chase later, and Sha’ir wasn’t really a match for somebody with the speed of the cat. Anticipation tingling in his fingers, Hakim ducked down, the crowd’s attention was elsewhere. A single motion was enough to pull his scarf over his head, revealing its true form.

 

Sha’ir floated upwards from inside the crowd, his robe flowing in the light wind. The robes were long and wide, hiding any sort of body below them, the only part clearly visible being the head, where a hood covered the face, green eyes piercing the darkness below. His book, looking like a large, old tome, floating besides him, The Spellsmith flew above the heads of the crowd, approaching the Spider and her opponents.

Edited by olopi

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As she landed she’d squatted down on all fours looking up at the crowd that had luckily given her the space. Still she was looking forward less to the ear bashing she’d get back home than the challenge here.

 

“Well it’s nice to have such a warm welcome! Can i take this opportunity to plug my Emerald Spider branded merchandise, at low, low prices!”

 

In her second piece of luck the baddie put her plan into motion, with the minions paying some attention to her. She slowly stood up looking up at the stage and gave a wave at the fleeing villain.

 

“We should do coffee, I’ll visit you in jail, compare notes on costumes.” she then looked around at the minions that surrounded her “So you went with the who themed costume looks, it’s a nice look suits you!”

 

She raised an arm to the sky and made a series of hand movement raising herself into the air. As she rose she fired off a series of blast from her Spdr Suit using the minions themselves to bounce off and move around in a circle, firing more blasts, as she rose back into the sky.

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GM

 

Oddly enough, none of the Kittens said so much as a word, instead drawing odd-looking, almost bulbous orange guns and attempting to get a bead on the ascending Spider.

 

The heroine was much faster, however, and in a few short seconds half of the jacketed errand-dogs of evil were lying unconscious on the ground. Each one that fell shifted and distorted at the space-shofting field's touch, the simple black replaced with gaudy gold and yellow, with a snarling cat mask shivering into place over very different faces than the ones they had worn moments ago. 

 

The other half, meanwhile, had caught sight of the other ascendant with with his magnificent grimoire and emerald eyes and quickly divided their forces to fight on two fronts. Only a few of their shots lanced, white-hot, against the Spdr suit, but every searing bolt of energy aimed at the Spellsmith went wide.

 

The Kittens still never said a word, though their own disguises were dismissed with some invisible signal. They kept to a loose square on the white flagstones, evidently hoping they could avoid a mass-dispersal like their comrades.

 

Elsewhere...

 

A chase between speedsters feels much longer than it really does, even for those without the capacity to process information at super-human rates. What felt like hours passed for the Salmon as he slid under cars, swerved around corners and dodged pedestrians that would have been minor inconveniences for anyone moving at less than 100 miles per hour. But he couldn't pause for even a second, lest he lose the white-gold blur of his quarry.

 

Luckily, Faster Pussycat didn't have his extensive, intimate knowledge of the southern Dragon's Eye. As they raced, her unaware of the other speedster and Salmon all too aware of the clear gulf between them, Ishmael quickly began to get an idea of where the feline felon's destination was.

 

When they arrived at a recently auctioned-off shipping warehouse, the boy didn't need a second look to see this was the end of her line. He could outswim most boats and she wouldn't be going anywhere soon ('I hope...') so as to not draw attention.

 

Spinning on his heel, the river runner hurtled back the way he had come. He'd seen how fast and hard this woman could take down a normal person and Ishmael didn't dare risk fighting her alone. He had to get help, needed a plan...

 

The Salmon looked up just in time to see the poison-green fist before it hit him right under the sternum. Then the world exploded, he hit a wall and blessedly lost consciousness.

 

 

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As his fellow hero began to take down the various thugs, the Spellsmith approached, floating only a few feet above the heads of the now dispersing crowd. Without moving any part of his body, he floated, his eyes staring down towards the battle. Only as bolts of energy shot past him, he began to move. His left hand extended outwards, the grimoire moving in front of it. At the same time, he lifted his right hand up to about the height of his face, the white and black covering his right eye.

 

His booming voice drowned out whatever noise was in the area for just a moment. “Aumento Pietra Pralaidus”. In a swift motion, he lifted his hand further up. Corresponding to its movements, transparent versions of the flagstones appeared from the ground, rising up, seemingly without mass as they simply phased through the kittens’ bodies. In the blink of an eye, they had risen to just slightly above their heads, as the Spellsmith brought down his hand, the stones crashing downwards, once more phasing through everyone’s bodies, but this time with a clear effect.

 

And then, from the corner of his eye, he spotted a magic signature. One that most likely belonged to the man he had followed earlier. One that did not mean anything good, especially not one at that size. Immediately, his book flipped through pages at supernatural speed. He turned his head towards the Spider, less boom in his voice this time.

“Another attack in the distance. Go. Step through.”

 

He moved his right hand and lower arm in a rough circle, as what appeared to be a line of solid light (however that worked) appeared in the sky not far away from his fellow hero. Much like the attack before, it seemed to correspond to his movements, soon being a (somewhat good-looking) circle, the middle of it showing a different place than what would actually have been behind it.

Edited by olopi

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GM

 

There was only enough time for the Kittens watching Sha'ir to begin shouting a warning before the attack struck. A few hands squeezed on triggerpads, but the shots harmlessly gouged the glistening limestone as they fell.

 

On the field and walkways the crowd paused, watching silently, uncertain what to make of all this. The sun shone down, the sea breeze blew, the thin cirrostratus clouds moved sedately overhead. Seagulls sang.

 

Almost as quickly as it had begun, the first supervillain attack either Emerald City had seen in decades was finished. With a BANG the New City Hall's enormous doors burst open, the building's security team flooding out to secure the area even as the sirens of the ECPD rapidly drew nearer. The squad of Brande Management personnel who raced to the podiums and silenced the NCH's holo-screens favoured the heroes with a glare as they carried their charges out of sight.

 

Below the duo, the pool of reporters and other sundry media apertures seized the moment and rushed under the heroes, shouting a desperate flurry of questions at the enigmatic apparition and the home-grown tech-head. Dozens of cameras, phones, boom mics, mics and recorders were hoisted up to better catch the faces and words of these new gods.

 

"Wait! Courier-Express, Pollard!" A forty-something man with balding hair, an ill-fitting sweater and fogged-up glasses waved his pad and pencil frantically, shouting over the crowd "You in the robes, who are you? Did you know this would happen? What's going on?"

 

"Lu! Channel 8!" A trim bald young woman in meticulously Casual Light Winter Wear that probably cost more than the Spdr suit shouldered to the front, brandishing her phablet "Who was that woman? Where did these people-" she kicked one of the Kittens in the mask "-and their tech come from? Is this linked to recent thefts at KessKorp?"

 

Wailing morosely, the ambulances from ECU burst in seemingly from nowhere, skidding to a halt to let out the EMTs and their equipment. They glanced uneasily at the floating people and the superfelonious feline's hired help, but checked them for wounds and other injuries all the same before prepping the lot for transport. Mars, Talbot and Everett were hustled off in record time.

 

and a short step later

 

The portal led to an alley near the intersection of Pilchikamen and Kahkah. It was spacious, clean and had nothing out of place besides the young man in the salmon-styled costume slumped against the wall, bile dripping out of his mouth onto the ground.

 

To Sha'ir's eyes it was obvious what was wrong: the boy's body was a practical nest of venom-green spiders that crawled in and put of his body, feeding on his life force and corrupting it with poison from their glistening fangs.

 

Over Peri's headset, Myung-sook's voice burst into her head ~"Pey! Who is that man? How long have you been seeing him? And where are you? I saw you go into some sky-hole and your feed cut for a second! Are you in that military town across the river? Did that woman strike there too?"~

Edited by Ari

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As soon as it was clear that the various thugs would not be standing back up, Sha’ir began to float towards his portal. It was not the quickest flight around, but covering the distance did not take much time. As he heard the first questions being shouted, without moving any part of his body, the Mage’s voice filled the air.

“They call me Sha’ir, The Spellsmith. We will deal with this situation.”

 

And with that, he floated through the portal, probably leaving even more questions behind. This was not the time for media-mingling. Whatever the other mage had done, it was no good. A few cursory glances down the alley the portal had placed itself in showed no further danger, which was both a good and a bad thing.

 

Immediately the other costumed person sprang to attention. Seemingly dropping out of his flight to cover the distance, Sha’ir hit the ground next to the man. “Please keep watch, we may not be safe.” And then, he went to work. He had no idea of the healing magic in the Library, if there even was one. It now struck him as a grave mistake, but he’d not expected to have to use it. Still, he knew some things about counterspelling.

 

Two ethereal drops of water, each the size of a cabbage, formed below the Spellsmith’s outspread hands, before shifting their shape into a group of hummingbirds each. The ethereal blue birds, more and more of them appearing, moved towards (and some through) the masked man, beginning to combat the various spiders.

 

Edited by olopi

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The aethereal creatures set to work, worrying the spiders out of their lairs and gobbling up the ones unlucky enough to be outside. The spiders reared and fought, but they were almost defenceless against the darting, agile beaks and claws.

 

In moments the mystic poison was drained away, the hummingbirds drinking from the astral wounds and vanishing into the sunlight. The boy groaned weakly and shifted, turning his head in the direction of the other two.

 

With an effort, the Salmon tore away the part of his mask that covered his mouth, got slowly to his feet, stumbled over to the designated garbage-disposal container, dropped it into the bin, and was then violently sick.

 

The Salmon then stumbled over to the water-dispensing machine opposite the garbage bin, washed off the bile as best he could, and then returned his attention to Sha'ir and Spider.

 

"Hey, uh, thanks. I dunno what happened, some bats' dude got...spiders. Had a mask over his mask. I'm...the Salmon. You're Emerald Spider, you're...real cool. The jigo are you, man?" He demanded, pointing unsteadily at one of the three Spellsmith's occupying the alley.

 

Ishmael slumped against the alley wall, visibly struggling to get his reeling brain under control. Suddenly his head jerked up and in the blink of an eye he'd crossed the distance between himself and the others, grabbing Peri by the front of her costume, yelling frantically "I saw where the maomew-I mean, where Faster Pussycat went! She's in a warehouse by the docks, we can catch her! We have to!"

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Emerald Spider got to her feet and spent a few moments enjoying the attention she was getting, it was nice to be appreciated, but there was still things going down and she wasn’t going to stop until she got to the bottom of it.

 

“Hi, love the show, I’d like to stop and chat but we still have baddies to catch. If you’ll excuse me all please.” with a series of hand motion she took to air and swung through the portal.

 

She came out with a acrobatic roll expecting, as was the case, that the superstring strand generated by the Spdr suit wouldn’t transfer dimensionally. Maybe she could alter the suit to generate some kind of quantum entanglement to transfer across an area. Something to consider for another time maybe.

 

It only took a few seconds to get up to speed and work out what was going on, this was her life it seemed and it was amazing how quickly she’d managed to adjust to this lifestyle.

 

“Yeah let’s go get her them. Does anyone have a fancy plan or shall we just wing it?”

 

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As the hummingbirds appeared, id what they had been called upon to do, and then disappeared, Sha’ir stood still, not moving even an inch. Partially because it looked better, partially because this was one of those pesky “concentrate with all your body” spells.  Once the most pressing parts of the poison had been cured, The Spellsmith resumed a more natural position, floating just slightly above the ground thanks to his robes.

 

A quick hand to help up the poisoned meta, then he left him to do his thing, and begin recovery. His tome of knowledge began moving its pages as Sha’ir turned his head towards it. There had to be some spell that healed, right? But after going through what he knew, he quickly had to concede.

 

“I have a suspicion who he was. And any person able to summon magic of this force, against fellow citizens, is no good thing. We only found you because the sky lit up with the magical energy behind the attack. I feel it is appropriate to say you are lucky there won’t be any long-term effects. “

 

Hopefully. A complete bluff. The second part at least. Hakim had no clue just what it took for a spell to leave permanent marks, but it certainly felt like this came close. And unless the Spider was a mage herself (not entirely impossible), nobody would be able to disprove him on it.

 

“I am Sha’ir, The Spellsmith. “

 

He approached the other two further, floating in slowly.

 

“I agree, this is urgent. Salmon, can you fight? You do not seem to be in the best condition, and I am afraid I cannot do much about it. As for the plan, I have a large array of spells to call upon. We do not need to rush in blindly. I could scry upon the area, or similar to-“ his hand went up to the sky, where the Portal the two heroes had travelled through slowly faded out of existence. “- before, gain us access directly. I could cover our entrance in darkness, or summon a creature to fight. But I am afraid there is not much I can do about the Cat’s speed.”

 

Edited by olopi

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"Uhhhhhh..." Ishmael goggled blankly at the other two. This wasn't how it worked. When the Golds needed to work with the Old Hawk or the Little Dragon ('Mr. Takazumi Tetsuo and Mr. Takazumi Ryu' he reminded himself hastily. The last time anyone called Ryu 'Little Dragon, in earshot it had cost him both little fingers) they already had a plan, they just needed help making it happen. With a sudden, jarring sense of unreality Salmon realized 

 

There is no plan. We have no idea what we're doing. We're all new to this.

 

On the outside, the lanky boy looked down at the ground for a moment. Every now and then he shivered. Inside, Ishmael was fighting to contain the searing delight. His mind felt much clearer now, and in a moment he knew what would work without fail.

 

Straightening up, Salmon nodded to Sha'ir "Thanks for the fin-up. Spellsmith, got it. Listen, uh..." he paused again, realizing he hadn't let go of Emerald Spider's costume. He very quickly did so, darting several yards away and (hesitantly) back in an instant. Blushing furiously he gave a swift, apologetic half-bow, mumbling "Sorry, wasn't thinking, won't do that again."

 

He clapped his hands together, firmly dispelling the cloud of thoughts hailing from the Sea of Wow She's Pretty, Even Under That Mask "Okay! So, Sha'ir, you can make portals? How'bout you send us to inside where she's hiding, me and Spider bust in and you make sure she can't just run away? Together, we can beat her no problem!"

 

"I'll show you where she's holed up. C'mon let's wind it!"

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Emerald Spider considered their options being comforted by the fact that the other knew just as much as she did. Salmon maybe a little intense but who was she to judge being dressed as green spider’s web to fight crime. Maybe they were as new to this as she was?


“Sound like a good plan, I couldn't come up with better myself.” she held her hand out questioningly “You know get the element of surprise and the drop on our kitty themed villain. I hope she’s not sponsored by them, fighting lawyers is the worst!” she couldn’t help herself from making a joke, there was something liberating about wearing the Spdr Rig.

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Sha’ir followed the Salmon’s actions with only a few, calculated movements, only turning his head. Keeping up this persona wasn’t always easy, but it was actually kind of amusing for Hakim. And then, he remembered something.

 

“We cannot forget about the other foe. The one responsible for getting us here, into this alley, in the first place. A Mage, one of Spiders. I do not know much about him; I have only managed to catch a glance. But with the amount of energy he was able to release, and the fact he found you, he is an important factor in this. For now, we must assume he works together with the cat. “

 

A short pause, when a stupid realization hit him. A slight chuckle, even audible from the outside. “The Emerald Spider, and The Salmon, against the … Pussycat, and the Spider Mage. I believe it is time for me to take the form of an animal too. “

 

And then, the magical tome floating by the Spellsmith’s side turned its pages by itself again, as he lifted his right arm. “I am ready to open a portal at any moment. It will hopefully not transmit any noise, but as soon as it opens, you should keep to non-verbal communication. But, one thing I still do not understand is the motivation.”  A short pause followed, as Sha’ir looked towards the others, speaking in a way that suggested he knew slightly more than the average person about how these things worked.

 

“There is no money to be had in something clearly belonging to MarsTech. Any company interested in it could not potentially explain why their newest technology is coincidentally, just what had been stolen. The personal information foolishly stored on the drive, perhaps? But then, why do it publically like that?”

 

 

 

Edited by olopi

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"No idea man, we'll find out later" Salmon brushed off the matter. 'Nobody would want that, any of it, and nobody hired her, so...' All he could he think of was that some out-of-towner wanted to steal it for one of those East Coast super-schemes.

 

As he darted downhill to the waterfront, Ishmael caught flickering glimpses of Devlin, towering over Council Island and the Astoria(why'd we name that after a ghost town at the bottom of Lake Vallee? There wasn't even a bridge back then...)-Megler Bridge. It was impossible to tell the the natural rusted-copper colour from the blue-breen rust that sprawled across the derelict antique.

 

Devlin was history, a Devestoid like the others unleashed against every coast of continental America during the 1960s by Dread Devestous. Up until now, that had been the last real super-action either Emerald City had seen. At least on the surface.

 

And now three superheroes were going to catch two supervillains and keep sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands! Fighting back a grin, Ishmael signaled to the others to follow him to the old dockyard. The trio paused behind some overgrown trees leaning over a drainage ditch, choked with invasive weeds. "This is the place. Bet you she's still here. Sha'ir, whenever you're ready!"

 

The shabby, broken-down warehouse loomed over a gravel parking lot that had long since been overgrown, the chain-link fence surrounding it leaving a gap for the waterline and small docks. On a wall in faded kana Salmon could make out Clover. Whatever they were, they hadn't lasted long in Emerald City. The massive main doors on the loading dock were criss-crossed by boards and sheet metal, the roof sagged and every broken window was boarded up, but there wasn't even graffiti.

 

"Send us in wherever, she won't expect us. Come on, Spider, let's give this kitty a good licking!" Diving through the portal, Ishmael realized only halfway through what he'd said, and as he landed in a roll on the other side his mind raced for a good save. What he saw as he leaped to his feet drove that thoroughly from his mind.

 

A man dressed like the other Kittens stood over Faster Pussycat, her golden hair a tangled mess in the water that stood on the even cement. A pool of soft gray sunlight helpfully illuminated the bloody cut on her cheek and the bruises on her jaw and face. The nigh-bald man looked down at the supervillainess contemptuously, talking to himself in a soft, hissing voice.

 

"All this, for you. They call in a warrior of my skills, just to get rid of a useless interloper like you. Not even worth the power it takes to strike you dead. Goodbye, worm." Raising one leg over the prone supervillain's throat, he angled the heel for a crushing blow...

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As soon as they were through the portal Emerald Spider was in motion bouncing around the area using both her natural acrobatic and the Spdr Rigs enhancements. As she got closer enough to see what was happening she reacted quickly to defend the very person they were after. With a set of complicated set of finger movements she sent a spring of apparent  twinning matter, that seemed to wrap around him as it became more solid. Hopefully she’d timed it right to it would solidify around him before he had time to move out of it’s way.

 

“You know this isn’t the way to deal with employee complaints, a strongly worded letter is a much more effective strategy.”


Hopefully he’d find her a much better target, giving the others time to react.

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It was as she'd hoped.

 

The man turned like lightning, ignoring Faster Pussycat and flowing into a low crouch as he adopted a fighting stance reminiscent of a hunting spider. Seeing his peril he lunged aside...only for his pushing leg to get caught in the mesh of warping space. Catching himself awkwardly before he hit the floor, the man writhed and tugged furiously, no longer able to focus on his enemies. 

 

Below her, Peri saw Salmon twitch, and then simply appear past the jacketed assassin, whose head crak'd painfully from side to side from the super-human speed of the boy's fists. Spitting out blood, the would-be killer slumped, clearly out of it. Almost as an afterthought, the holographic disguise lifted...revealing a man made of crackling static.

 

Sliding awkwardly across the thin sheets of icy water, Ishmael caught himself with a scrabbling hand, panting a little as he surveyed his handiwork. Frowning at the sight his punches had revealed, he called up nervously 

 

"Hey! Uh..Spider! You know this guy?"

 

'Cause I don't...so what's he doing here? There aren't supposed to be any open supercrooks, what's going on?

 

 

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His two allies would go in and deal with the super-powered thief. Easy enough. She was fast. Too fast. She would get away, unless Hakim came up with some way to avoid that. Considering the amount of possible escape routes, and the size of the area, that could’ve been difficult. Difficult, had it not been for Sha’ir’s skillset.

 

For whatever reason, the mages of times gone by really, really liked spells that created barriers. Probably to distract and then run away, or to hide from the masses trying to lynch them, he assumed. It would be easy enough to find something that suited this situation. A large rectangle, rather wide. Hm.

 

He went through the library, at speed beyond that of mundane understanding. It was time to smith a spell, time to live up to his name. Take the creation speed of Daern’s, it would be fastest. There was a chainlink fence, a good starting point. Would make the spell less difficult. Toshiro’s Iron would help replicate enough of it to cover the area. The classical Gauss Formula to create the right shape, Welding Rod to make it hold together. That would be the framework.

 

A framework which was not nearly strong enough. He had to do something about that. Strengthen the Iron? There were dozens of way to do that. No, too easy. Something else. He flipped through the appropriate pages of his book, randomly stopping. He landed on … oh no. Marshmallow Mania. A spell created by some strange entertainer during the 70s. Well, there he was, he’d decided to let fate decide, and fate had decided. The chainlink would be padded with multiple feet of solid marshmallow.

 

As he took the parts he needed of each individual spell, the final creation began to take form. The formula was not easy, but it required no resources. Taking the right sections, fitting them where they belonged and running through the theory was a lot like creating code. Except that it happened at the speed of thought, if not faster. And then, as he’d finished putting everything together, he began to cast.

 

“Instant … Jufku ... I call upon the power … Der Magneten … and let there be … Tetsu Fortress … MARSHMALLOWS!”

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Whilst this gaudy woman was a villain Emerald Spider didn’t want her to come to any harm, though she wasn’t going to let her get away with the crime. Looking around she spotted a gantry high in the warehouses roof, it was do as a safe spot for not. With a rapid series of calculations in her head she worked out roughly the angle to safely deliver them both to safety,she just hoped that Faster Pussycat wasn’t one of those that were much heavier than she looked. With that she lept into the air and with a series of finger gestures fired a line of superstring into the air.

 

“Keep him busy for a moment I’ll be right back.”


With an almost perfect swing she swept past the foe that they were fighting snatching up the unconscious woman to deposit her safely in the overhead gantry. For now she’d have to take a chance that the woman would still be here when they were finished.

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"I'll do you one better, Spider!" Salmon hollered as he dropped into a crouch, struggling with mutated musculature and nerves as they ungainly rearranged into a sort of internal battering ram, bone and skin hardening, muscles shifting before the teenager launched himself across the room, blurring into invisibility and smashing his leg into the staticy man's chest with all his might.

 

His reward was a whoof of escaping air, a dull thud and the would-be assassin smashing backwards into the floor, lying still and slumped as he could with one leg caught half-way in the air.

 

Pumping a fist and letting out a whoop of exhilaration, Ishmael aimed a light kick at the fallen enemy and jogged closer to Spider's post.

 

"So what now? Check out that computer stuff?"

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