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Going Green for the Holidays

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Archetech West Building, Emerald City, Wa

December 2016

 

If you wanted to be seen in Emerald City this time of year the place to be seen was the yearly MarsTech Christmas party a massive extravaganza that attracted politicians and superstars from throughout the city and beyond. This year the buzz was about Emerald Cities new superheroes, which unlike Freedom City wasn’t over run with heroes and villains, and whether they would be invited to attend this year's party.

 

So the PR department of Archetech had come up with a bold plan. Being famous for it’s association with supers run by one of their leading lights and with a hero of their own associated with Emerald City, and some unfortunately business that had luckily been mostly forgotten, had sent out an open invitation to cities heroes to attend a Christmas party. But the real bold part was that it was on the same night as the MarsTech bash.

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As the local Archetech representative (albeit not the director - Gina had quite sensibly given that job to Jose Tyler, a mustachioed Argentinian man in his late fifties who had taken the night off to be with his family), Citizen had taken the lead in planning the party. And as he put the topper on the tree in the middle of the big lobby that served as the party venture, Sharl was content with the job he'd done. As much as Sharl's friends might have joked about his rationalist perspective, Sharl Tulink wasn't a bully - he understood that this was a holiday important to Terrans because of its symbolism of giving and charity far more (at least in his opinion) than its religious connotations. The stories about the magic man at the North Pole were silly, of course, but learning why and how they were false was a great way for Terran children to learn a scientific truth about the world where they lived, and to better understand how to find truth. Yes, Christmas really was Sharl's favorite Terran holiday. 

 

"All right, I think I'm ready!" He was wearing a Christmas sweater provided by a relative of Eliza's, a multicolored, vaguely abstract garment that somewhat resembled the large tree that stood in the middle of the converted lobby. The sign overhead bid visitors welcome, Archetech hired caterers stood ready to serve punch and various foods, and Archetech staff were already milling around below. "Let's give these people the best Christmas party they've ever had," he said with authority as he headed for the swinging doors to welcome in the guests waiting outside. It was cold outside, as befit this far north in the continent, but not as cold as a plankton tender on Tronik's frozen artificial seas. 

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Standing at the door outside, hand raised to knock....

 

Was a being who looked part-ape, part-human, and seemed dressed more for the tropics than a cold day in the Northwest United States. His colors were fairly festive; between his fur (fur!) and clothes, there was a lot of gold and red. He blinked as Sharl opened the door, slowly lowering his hand. Before it went to the back of his head, awkwardly scratching for a moment, in a sort of nervous tick. He offered his other (right) hand to Sharl.

 

"Hello! Ah, I'm Sun Walker. I'm....sort of new to town. I hope it is acceptable for me to be here?"

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“I really hope so or this has been a bit of a wasted journey.” a voice came from above

 

Emerald Spider was descended upside down on a silvery cord that seemed to go up forever into the night sky, her legs were tucked under her body and her fingers seemed to be playing out the thread, though it had an ethereal not quite real quality.

 

“I was hoping to pop in and snag a sandwich whilst I was here. Been a long day swinging through the city.”

 

Peri hadn’t been sure if she was going to this little bash she just knew that she wasn’t going to the other party in town. Her Nan however insisted that she go and meet a few of the other heroes in the city, it would be fun she insisted and that Peri deserved a nice night out. And Peri might have faced fearsome supervillians but she wouldn't dare argue with her Nan.

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"Emerald Spider, come in! Temperance is just upstairs getting ready," he said, waving his hand towards the admittedly small studio upstairs where Eliza usually stayed when she was visiting him in Emerald City. "And you as well, come in!" He knew Sun Walker a little - he'd made sure that all the invitations to the heroic community had gone out to heroes he actually knew something about. That was easy enough in Emerald City, with its far lower density of metahumans than Freedom City. His handshake was firm and his eyes bright, up close the android hero looked and felt almost exactly like a normal human being. 

 

"I don't know if you have any special dietary requirements," he apologized, "but there's vegetarian and gluten-free," he said, gesturing towards the full Christmas buffet and drink tables, "and I can probably go get anything special you need. Did you have an easy time getting here?" he said as he went around and made introductions to the Archetech staff already at the party. Archetech had recruited heavily from the northern 'cousin' of Emerald City, hiring almost entirely from people from Emerald City, Washington - as Citizen was the main hero of the northern version of the Jeweled Cities, most of them had never met Sun Walker or Emerald Spider before. 

 

"June Collins, nice to meet you. Are you a genetic hybrid?" asked one excited-looking young woman with rosy cheeks and thick glasses as she met Sun Walker. "I mean, uh, I'm so sorry!" she said, suddenly mortified. "I'm an experimental geneticist - oh I'm sorry, but you're magnificent!" 

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Sun stepped aside to let Emerald Spider in first.

 

"You first, Lady Spider."

 

Such a gentleman! Then he entered and shook Sharl's hand, giving the man a slight smile that seemed to nonetheless speak of a large amount of enjoyment.

 

"It was just a quick jog, really, Sir Sharl. It really is more than a bit of an honor to have been invited. I know I haven't been quite as visibly active as some of you; despite having had my powers for a while now, I'm still getting used to them. Plus I...went on walkabout a bit. Either way, while I admire the inclusiveness of the spread, I'm perfectly content to enjoy all foods. I do hope you've got something that involves bacon."

 

Sharl would know he meant "I took a bit of a trip in space", considering when that journey started. Sun turned and blinked a bit at June's passionate questioning. Stepping further inside (so as to not risk blocking the door), he clasped his hands behind his back as he spoke. The tip of his tail twitched with nervous energy a bit, even wrapped around his waist as it was.

 

"I suppose the answer to that question is both "No" and "Yes". My ancestry is not quite fully human, but I was not hybridized or chimeraized by modern science. Many many years ago, Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, did what many men of his temperament and fame did, and many generations later, here I am. My ancestor came to me in a dream, offered to enhance me, and I took his offer. I decided, why not be a hero with that? I apologize if the nontraditional route for my current physical form isn't quite what you'd hoped. You do look very nice today yourself, Miss Collins."

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A portal appearing in the middle of the room certainly wasn’t a common thing.  It had quite an interesting look, seemingly simply be a hole in the room, the inside of it pitch-black. The outside was a bit more fancy, a purple light, seemingly solid, bordering off pitch-black void and the rest of the room.

 

It probably would’ve been cause for alarm, if not for the fact that immediately, somebody stepped through it, the portal closing behind him. The person stepping through looked interesting. A white and black square pattern, running from a hood down the entire body, with green boots finishing the look. The hood was pulled up all the way, and below it there seemed to simply be darkness, two glowing green eyes being the only thing to pierce it.

 

And to top it all off, this very person was also wearing an oversize Christmas sweater. One of the really fancy ones, with a bunch of reindeer that had red LEDs as noses, all of them currently being lit up. Immediately upon passing through the portal, he held up his hands, surrendering as to not get attacked already. At the same time, he spoke, his voice booming.

 

“Greetings. I am Sha’ir, The Spellsmith. I hope my entrance did not disturb any of you. I also hope we will be able to enjoy this Christmas party. “

 

Edited by olopi

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With a little flip Emerald Spider landed on her feet beside the hero who looked just like Son Ogong, not that she wasn’t going to give a little Spider snark.

 

“Why thank you kind sir.” she gave a little mock bow, but also a lot of humour in her voice

 

She was seriously considering how to enjoy some of that excellent food without revealing too much about her identity, but first she wanted to greet the apparent host. Not being quite as reserved as Sharl she gave the android a friendly hug.

 

“Came by bus or at least on top of one, it’s tough to carry exact change in this get up.” being active mostly in the southern part of the city getting here could be a challenge sometimes.

 

She took the time to greet all the staff as they were introduced, with one final task before tackling the food table.

 

“Sharl would you mind if we took a selfie, I need to prove to a friend that I’m actually attending this party. They seem to think that I don’t enjoy fun!” she couldn’t help but think that her Nan had tricked her into attending.

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Used to the media customs of Terrans, Sharl posed for the picture, reflexively bringing in Spellsmith and Sun Wukong, before reacting to the sudden arrival of one and the strange words of the other. Spellsmith and Sun Wukong. His Internet connection gave him information on both at lightning speed. Delightful! He kept a smile on his face even so, though, too familiar with Eliza's friends to actually get into a fight with people over what they believed. "Welcome to the party, everyone, and to Archetech. Help yourself to the snacks." He wound up zeroing in on Spellsmith, who had certainly made the most impressive arrival of anyone at the party. 

 

"How did you generate that portal?" he asked the man, looking around him curiously for the necessary technology that would have accompanied the feat. 

 

"I don't know who Sun Wukong is," admitted Dr. Collins, studying Sun Walker with a fascinated look on her face. "Are you part of one of the archetypical dimensions, then, infused with the imageria of another plane? That's fascinating! Are there others like you here?" 

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The doors banged open and a blur of Halloween orange and black zipped through, a lanky figure sliding to a halt along the smooth floor, scrabbling for purchase with their stripéd fingers.

 

Pausing for a moment, the man, breathing heavily, glanced around the room until one embroidered eye caught sight of the catering tables. A flash of movement and he was on them, piling a plate high with the complimentary food. Adroitly maneuvering to a free spot at one of the party tables, the local speedster known as the Salmon dropped loosely into folding chair, pulled up the lower half of his mask to reveal his mouth and set busily to work. Luckily for the nearby diners he didn't eat at super-speed. He just ate. A lot.

 

Outside Ishmael looked perfectly self-assured and confident. You'd have to be to just waltz in. When you're a suspected murderer of somebody as beloved and feared as Uncle Zhi, godfather of the Northwest, it looks downright daring.

 

Inside, meanwhile...

 

A landing on one of Emerald Tower's staircase mazes...

 

"I believe you." That Mars said it so calmly didn't make it any less surprising. 

Despite himself the boy stepped back "W-what? But...everyone else thinks-!"

"An easy lie. You're a perfect scapegoat, kid, but nobody in charge here really thinks it was you. I'm sorry, but that mask of yours makes it a cinch to put whatever face people need onto you. I'd love to have you downstairs, but..."

The long silence between them let the music and laughter downstairs up unimpeded. Something fast and synthy with lots of bass thumped through the walls. At last the Salmon ventured "And you mean it? You can give me a new face?"

 

"New name, new suit, a steady job working for me and this city. No strings. I know how you feel and it would mean everything if you'd give me a chance. You don't need to show me your real face if you don't want to. But you can't be seen around here, people will talk and we can't let it out we have no idea who killed Zhi."

 

"Oh." It took a lot to say one word. At least while looking at Mars. The floor was less intimidating and didn't have those gimlet green eyes. "They don't take me seriously across the river, you mind if I bounce, sir?"

 

Mars smiled his cat's smile. "Please, kid, call me Max. And that sounds like a great idea, go have fun, meet your new friends, keep this talk a secret, huh? Be seeing you, call me when you know that mask won't get you anywhere."

 

'Well, here I am' The Salmon leaned back and glanced surreptitiously at the other, proper heroes who had already got to talking and smiling with each other. A very large part of Ishmael twisted in jealously that he couldn't just go up there. But they didn't have anything in common with him besides fighting crime and unusual properties. It wasn't like at school, where he could slide effortlessly into any group by virtue of having the dirt on everyone else. Even Emerald Spider seemed like some millionaire genius slumming it out of the goodness of her heart.

 

Ishmael wondered suddenly if she'd remember all that had happened in the first ever superhero/villain clash the Dragon's Eyes had seen in decades. He turned quickly back to the food, trying to ifnore the cold sweat beading under his tribe-patterned suit.

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On 12/4/2016 at 9:55 PM, Avenger Assembled said:

"I don't know who Sun Wukong is," admitted Dr. Collins, studying Sun Walker with a fascinated look on her face. "Are you part of one of the archetypical dimensions, then, infused with the imageria of another plane? That's fascinating! Are there others like you here?" 

 

Sun Walker blinked at the woman, tilting his head to the side a bit, his bristly sideburns twitching a bit to match his confused look. 

 

"Sun Wukong is the Monkey King, the Great Sage, Equal of Heaven. His exploits across China and the Heavens, and his adventures with the monk Xuanzang, have been chronicled for centuries in the novel Journey to the West. He resides in the Heavens with the Jade Emperor, the Buddha, and others, guarding this world much as those of other...pantheons...do. However, before his final ascension, my Honored Ancestor....well. It is not a metaphor, we shall say that."

 

He blushes a bit.

 

"I am a real person, Miss Collins. I am no more a "part" of some sort of "archetypical dimension" than you are. I am likely not the only one blessed with a fragment of the Monkey King's power in this world, though perhaps I am. He has not mentioned others to me when we have spoken. Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing, Xuanzang's other companions on his journey, were powerful warriors in their own right, and also have descendants today. Perhaps the best term for myself and others somewhat like me would be "demigod". Imprecise, but the best I can give, at least in English."

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As Peri made sure her pictures were saved she took a moment to center herself, reminding herself that this was no different that the conferences her company sent her to. Except that one was a robot hero and the other a demi-god, but then again last time she went to a conference she was turned into a cute Spider-Puppet so business as usual really.

 

Pulling her hood down further she helped herself to a drink before taking a look at the food tables.

 

“Hrm I wonder if we can get a doggy bag to take some of this home, maybe I should start accessorizing with a bag for just such moments.”

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It had taken a bit longer than she had expected. There was the matter of getting the freezers ready, making sure the content was more snow than ice... oh, and actually getting everything in position. Even with the ArcheTech staff aiding her, it had taken some time. 

 

She just wanted to make sure everything was right for the display - and the cleanup. She could easily take care of the melt, but the last thing she wanted was for her little show of powers to ruin the canapés. Or the carpet. Or anyone's gown. Or... 

 

Very well. Time to make an entrance. 

 

Eliza went over the railing, her ice sledge swiftly forming beneath her feet. She was dressed in more formal wear, but in sensible flats - she didn't dare try to ride the sledge in heels. As she did, snow fell around her in a shimmering curtain. Not a blizzard, but a flurry. The sledge touched ground and broke into further snow, joining its brethren of flakes above. The snow stayed swirling, not melting and not touching the ground. 

 

"Sorry that took so long," she said, kissing Sharl on the cheek. "Just wanted to make sure the decor worked." She turned to the others. "I'm Temperance. Pleasure to meet you. Seems I'm always a bit... well, focused whenever I come to Emerald City." She gave a warm smile towards Sharl. "It's always good to meet others in our circle." 

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Sha’ir casually descended, landing slowly. His entire body did not move, only once he had ground under his feet he began to move his arms. He let his fellow hero have a closer look at him, there was not much to see. More than usual, with the added sweater, but below, it was just the robes, flowing into whatever form The Spellsmith wished them to be at the time.

 

“The spell is a variation of the “Albad Ean Baed”, or “Door of Distance”, a spell originally created by a scholar whose name was lost to time, during the first crusade. I have personally customized it using “Starkunga Stat”, an old-german spell of structural stability, “The Cloak of Idolon”, a cantrip commonly used by mage-hunters and a similarly customized version of the common “Mage Hand”, to create it. “

 

From his belt, he took what appeared to be a grimoire of some sorts. He released it, but instead of dropping, I floated mid-air, as if attached to him. He shifted his left hand to the right slightly, upon which the book began to turn its pages by itself, soon stopping on a page which looked quite old, full of Arabic text and a sketch of a portal, looking similar to the one Sha’ir had used to make his entrance.

 

“Thank you for the invitation. It appears you have managed to get most of our city’s heroic population to gather in one place, this should prove a great way of getting to know each other.”

 

Edited by olopi

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This was the easy part.  Dropping out of his suborbital flight, he arced down as his power ate up the excess heat from the friction.  It was an easy trip, for him at least, to get here.  Following the spin of the earth kinda deal.  There was science, and the fact that he could skip out into space if he needed before zipping back down at speeds that should probably be pushing his spleen out of his feet.  Listen, biology wasn't his strong suit.

 

He shifted mid air to drop feet first before the building, and then checked the cuff links and tie to make sure they were still there, and sitting right, before he took off the goggles he had on, leaving them around his neck, as he walked towards the build.  Amir, two parties in one night?  This is the easy part.  Beside he needed start scouting his entrance into this city.  As much as technology allowed business to happen anywhere, the reality of two physical locations was very much there.

 

Pushing open the door, he strode in like the confident, airheadedly imperious billionaire he was known to be.

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Eliza got a warm kiss from her cybernetic boyfriend (not a common thing for him in public) - the snowflakes catching in his artfully-tousled hair. "Beautiful, just like you. Everyone, my awesome girlfriend came all the way from Freedom City for Christmas. Let's make sure she has a great one!" He really had learned a lot from working with Miss Americana. 

 

"That's interesting," Sharl lied to Spellsmith. More truthfully, he added, "Welcome to the party! Enjoy yourself - eat all you want, there's plenty more where it came from." Somewhat excitedly, he began explaining how Archtech West supported itself through cooperative arrangements with local farmers. "We use our processed water to help hydrate their crops, our processed biowaste helps fertilize them, and their domestic animals eat Archetech GMO animal feed. Of course, eventually we'll want to move to fully vat-grown food, both for plants and animals, but that's decades away at this point given the local technology." 

 

He greeted Asad as well. "Mr. al-Misri! Welcome to Emerald City and Archetech West. Our house is your house." 

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As he was trailing off about the history and make-up of his spell, Sha’ir began to notice how his host did not seem too interested in what he had to say. So, after comng to a somewhat natural stop, he left it there, Sharl thankfully picking up the conversation quite quickly with a description of the origins of the food offered to the invited heroes.

Intrigued to see what the food had to offer first-hand, Sha’ir took a few steps towards the table, grabbing a piece of bread from the table, and holding it into the darkness of his mask. All the while, he gave his fellow Emerald City Originals a friendly nod, not wanting to interrupt Citizen’s explanation.

 

“Your efforts are commendable. Working with the local farmers and supporting them shows Archetech truly cares about our corner of the world. And, I must say, the bread is quite good. “

 

His actual opinion was a bit more difficult, but flattery seemed the right way to go. All in all, it sounded like a good plan, even if Hakim didn’t like the sounds of making the local farmers totally dependent on one sole company, or the sounds of vat-grown products, especially animal ones.

 

Asad’s entrance actually made Hakim quite joyful. He’d been a fan for a long time, and getting to meet him would hopefully prove to be an experience. The Spellsmith did his best to calm himself, being glad about the fact his face was concealed, he considered what greeting to use for just a moment, before deciding on something traditional. Sha’ir was traditional after all, even if the person behind the mask wasn’t. He moved up, approaching Asad carefully and holding out his hand.

 

“As-salaam ‘alaykum, Mr. al-Misri, I am delighted to make your acquaintance. “

 

Edited by olopi

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From his seat, Ishmael watched in disbelief as more and more superfolks glided in. If this was the kind of company Archetech's western branch could get, the Daigobatsu across the river would need to seriously up their game. Even Saito Solutions' famed hosting of the Dalai Llama hadn't been this casually visited by Names. And that one, even the Hermits of Ming Xi Visions had turned up in their silk masks and austere silence.

 

He looked between the new arrivals to his fellow Emerald City Originals(Damn you, Pollard...), but the memory of their first team-up was still a little too fresh. Besides, Spider knew he had a crush on her and she'd be sure to bring it up. Temperance's Snow Queen act had certainly been dramatic, but she seemed approachable and friendly. Certainly more than al-Misri, the Lion of the Golden Hall.

 

With a speed and grace that belied his inexperience, the Salmon cleaned up his dishes and got himself a new serving, thanking the caterers profusely as he set out across the floor.

 

'Well, at least she hasn't had any reason to smirk at me yet'

 

"S'cuse me." A glovéd hand tapped Temperance on the shoulder, which turned out to come from the lanky guy in the fish-motif'd suit, a bowl of shrimp and noodles steaming in his other hand and a dab of wasabi on his chin.

 

From behind the embroidered tribal-pattern eyes, the Salmon squinted at the new arrival "I get the cold doesn't do for you like it does me, but d'you mind turning it down-" he paused, thinking it over "-up-" he shrugged "-not so Frozen?" 

 

He offered his hand "I'm Salmon, the riverrunner. New to the hero thing, but here that goes for most of us. 'Sides him anyway." He jerked a shoulder at the Emerald Citizen. Having a Centurion of the West Coast was a new experience for the Gems of Columbia, and his recent rescue of a damaged passenger jet had made waves. Including in a few places that most people would think before treading.

 

"You should stop by in the spring. The cherry blossom festival is somethin' else, and usually people are pretty happy to have ice around then. It gets hot up on that hill, which every time people forget." 

 

As he spoke, fingers twirled chopsticks at super-human speed to coil and compress the pasta and meat into tidy, well-sauced globules, which one by one vanished into his mouth.

 

'Should I...he's no kama of mine, and he doesn't need some babysitter, but...'

"Listen," he added, glancing between Temperance and Citizen "Could you-would you tell him to be careful? This place isn't as dangerous as Freedom, but, well..."

The gestures he tried to make to subtly get his point across were hampered by the bowl.

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Asad had on his 'uniform,' the logo'd t-shirt, the cargo pants, and boots.  Though tonight he had jacket that matched the color scheme of white and burgundy, with the golden lion face on back.  Taking off the gloves, he managed a small, friendly smile as he looked around.  He laughed loudly at the comment from Sharl.  "It might well be!  Or leased from me!"  It  was Christmas, so he was full on Brian Blessed levels of cheer and bombast.  As the gloves were tucked away, and then he pulled out a Santa hat, and pulled it on.  "Though I'd tone down the scary 1980's sci-fi Utopia-that-is-in-reality-a-Dystopia there!, Sharl!"  It was gentle teasing, as Summit invested heavily in various competing things, though where Archetech did the scary super science that might turn everyone into strangle octohumans, Asad's ventures were more grounded.

 

Of course Asad knew.  Asad knew of everyone.  His contact list was likely worth more than the rest of his assets combined.  Probably.

 

Now came the awkward part, as he stopped and he looked at the man, carefully.  "Spellsmith, I presume?  Daar es-Salaam.  You don't have to call me Asad, my given name works just fine!"  And then he reached out and took the man's hand, and pulled him in to a rough hug, clapping him on his back once.  Managing to not display even a hint of his super-strength.  Though, showing that outside of that, Amir was a big, strong guy.  "Nice to meet you as well!  Nice to be out of the board room!"

 

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"I wouldn't put too much stock into those movies," said Sharl with a smile. "They're just fears of a more primitive era being played out in fictional form, like, 'Oh no, if we're not careful, we might have to speak more than one language or eat food from another continent, spooky!'" He worked the room, shaking hands and making greetings, by accident giving Salmon and Temperance time to talk away from prying robotic ears. 

 

"What an interesting story!" Dr. Collins told Sun Walker with a bright smile. "I'm sure I'd love to hear more about your origins, but why don't you tell me more about yourself?" She proposed. "What does a demigod do roaming around the Emerald Cities these days?" 

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Sun Walker gave a smalle smile back to Doctor Collins. 

 

"I had been operating a bit further south, on my own, for a while. Then the Communion came."

 

His smile fades, and a dark look passes over his eyes, before he sighs.

 

"I volunteered to join a team striking at one of their main strategic assets out at the edge of the Solar System, partly due to my availability, and partly due to my hardiness and power. We were successful, but it was a hard fight. I...went on a bit of a walkabout, and saw some things in the wider scope of the universe. But eventually, I felt called to return to the cradle of my birth, as it were, and returned to Earth. After some juggling of things in my private life, I ended up here in the Emerald Cities. I haven't been overly active as a Hero quite yet, mostly due to the...still-developing scene. As it were. But I'm hoping to make some connections today for, if nothing else, large emergency times."

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Temperance turned towards the man in the fish costume as he made his request. Ah. She'd met a number of heroes in her time with special traits and quirks, some subtle, some... otherwise. She should have guessed one of the heroes tonight might be cold sensitive - or even cold-blooded. "My apologies," she said. "I guess I must have gone overboard in crafting a festive mood." With a flick of her hands, the snow began to rise up from the lobby, back into the room where she had crafted it - a room with an industrial-sized sink, meant to capture all the excess snowmelt without creating a mess. As she focused mostly on packing the last of the snow away, she turned to the Salmon, saying, "My name is Temperance, and --"

 

But, due to the awkwardness of modern conversation, her greeting was somewhat steamrolled by the Salmon's entreaty regarding Citizen. A little bit of the warmth left as Temperance felt herself sliding back into her standard demeanor. "Ah. I'm not sure I got your name, but you seem quite concerned about Citizen. I am, too... and yet I'm not. I've seen him face down things that ended worlds. I've seen him deal with things that tore his friends - and him - apart. This isn't the 'my boyfriend can beat the world' thing talking. I trust him to handle Emerald City. I know he can be... a handful sometimes, yes, but he cares. I'm curious as to what might have happened that makes you think he's blustering in." 

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'Kus. Strike one. Why don't I put on sunglasses and talk about how important living family is.'

 

"I mean, uh..." Salmon blurred, vanished and reappeared, sans bowl "Salmon, sorry, I'm not-! Look, there's..." Fumbling and stammering, Ishmael cast about for how to explain what he meant. Which didn't help. Salmon couldn't know too much, or Koschei would look into his mind and they'd know him

 

'"We are probably being watched. Each of the crime family heads has powers, and the way they talk there's gotta be more. They're siphoning off super-tech to fight you. If we get caught they'll vivisect us. KessKorp is making death robots in a basement under-'

 

Wait...that was it!

 

"Cybertribe! Er," off of Temperance's look, he hadn't hid his relief very well "sorry, I was just...you know how sometimes you want to say a word but you don't know what the word is and then suddenly it just appears and everything seems great? Yeah that just happened. Anyway! They're these weird computer people, and some of them can, like, mind-control robots, and he's a" waving at Citizen, Salmon squinted for a moment "well he's in a robot, right? Or something? Autonomic intelligence manipulating electronics in a facsimile of life? Well there's rumors they want to take him on and I don't wannim blindsided, and that time he saved a plane with that other robot made a lot of people start getting ideas and that's seriously all and I didn't mean to get all 'where's your dragon'."

 

Ishmael found it pretty easy to look abashed and awkward. Right at the moment he'd have welcomed a nice, refreshing ice tomb.

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Asad being aware of his, or at least his superheroic identity’s identity was not something Hakim had expected. It wasn’t a major deal, but it did make him feel quite proud, it was a good feeling. He had accomplished something, people from outside EC actually knew of him. His voice changed slightly, the magical filter less pronounced than before.

 

“It joys me to know you are aware of who I am. I see the exploits of our small local community were received even outside of the cities. “

 

He was totally okay with the hug, going along with it. Below the sweater his robes weren’t as loose as usual, which meant that Asad would be able to feel the actual, real body of the Spellsmith. A minor drawback, it made him less mysterious. Then again, this outfit already suggested that he was an actual person of some sorts.

 

“I imagine you must spend a lot of time in meetings, in said board room. Still, you have found time to travel across the country and visit our party, quite a feat I must say. “

 

Oh meetings. Al-Misri was speaking the truth. Hakim was glad for every reason he found to get out of the board room (somewhat rare), and any other meetings too (very common). Sure, occasionally the meetings were interesting, and at least thanks to being a small company they were informal, but it still wasn’t what his passion was.

 

“How did you manage to cover the distance? Were you in the area, or do you have access to something that allows you to travel at an increased speed? Or did you simply take a private flight?”

 

Edited by olopi

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Surrounded by millionaires, billionaires, magic uses, demigods and artificial lifeforms Emerald Spider felt a little out of her element, being a simple girl from Bethlehem Heights that fixed air conditioning. Filling her plate with the admittedly good food she clambered up one of the building support struts to sit in a gap between the roof supports.

 

Finally she was comfortable enough to pull down her face mask and start nibbling at the food, checking her social media feeds and sending her Gran, and only her Gran, the selfie she’d taken with the other heroes.


She’d go socialise later but right now a little me time seemed good for her to gain her bearings.

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