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  1. 2 points
    As Autumn took her position, Cassandra breezed around the room, just giving it a once-over. She took a snapshot from one corner, then the opposite one. At the big print with the mountain and the lake she paused thoughtfully, then took a photo of that as well. She'd seen that before. Might be important. On searching the sports jacket on the rack, Cass found a set of keys...which by the fob went to a car. A Porsche. Her eyes widened and she held them up for Autumn to see...then even took a picture of them in her hand, and put them back. No grand theft auto today. Tomorrow though... Her exploration of the walls yielded a small keypad set into one. At that keypad she hunched over to bring it level with her face, and exhaled onto it repeatedly. When Cass turned to see Autumn staring at her, she blushed a little and said, "It's...supposed to fog up the keys except the ones that have skin oil on them. It, uh, didn't work though." Clearing her throat, she quickly made her way over to the desk. Between the two monitors was something odd. A funny sort of projector that was actually built into the desk itself. She tried wiggling it, but to no avail...it seemed to have been bolted on, or perhaps was poking up through a hole in the desktop. It'd have to be disassembled to get it out, Cass reckoned. She bumped the mouse a little, and the righthand screen awoke to a password prompt. Dr Cook had left his office unlocked, but not his computer, it seemed. In the drawers was a bounty though. The top right one opened to show a notepad upon which was written, 'J.bannon 4oclock meeting. Notes and observations.' In a neat printed script. It was otherwise blank. Her breath caught though when she pushed the pad aside to see what was under it. A gun. She didn't know a lot about guns, so she wasn't sure how big it was, or what make or model it was. She did notice, by chance, that it didn't have the little switch by the handle. The safety. That seemed odd to her. Cass quickly took a picture of the weapon, without touching it, and closed the drawer. The middle drawer of the desk then had just stationary and breathmints and boring stuff. The other drawers were locked. Dead end. Other than he might be planning to shoot Jase. Cass didn't think that'd go well for him. "Find anything?" Cassie looked up at Autumn and shrugged. "He has a gun. And he was planning to see Jase at 4 today. That's like..." she checked her phone, "...a half hour from now? Probably made that plan before the fight though." Autumn nodded, though seemed ill at ease at the mention of a gun. "So what now?" That was the question, wasn't it, Cassandra thought. "I think I'm gonna try something...shiny." She closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. In her mind's eye she built Cook's office, just as it had been while she explored it. Cass let the details seep in, the colors fill out, until it was as good as the real thing. Then the shine took over. She felt more of the roomness entering her mental construct...more detail than she'd been able to see, but that was still there, noticed only subconsciously. The smell of it. The feel of the still air. The slight tension that came with it belonging to someone else. And beyond that, a kind of weird intangible sense that her mind didn't really know what to call, but that clearly identified the space as 'Dr Cook's Office at the Medical Center.' And then Cassandra rotated that space, not along any physical axis, but along the axis of time. thewindowslightenedanddarkenedandlightenedandablurofmovementCookandsomeoneelseandothersandthenemptyand...she managed to slow it down in time to spot Cook at his computer, and let the 'playback' go long enough to look over his shoulder and see where his fingers fell on the keyboard. With a gasp she let the vision go and quickly scrabbled at her phone's Note app, copying the code down into it. Autumn was looking at her again. "Everything okay?" the redhead asked. Cassie nodded. "Yeah. Just...had a lot at once there. Why, what did it look like?" "You were just kinda...standing there for minute, and then did a jumpscare. Sort of jerked and..." Autumn sucked a breath in as if startled. "Like that." "Okay." Cassie squared her shoulders and steeled herself. "I'm gonna try again." This time the mental 'construct' of Cook's office came almost immediately. When she started to 'rotate' it, she did so far more tentatively and carefully...and that caution was rewarded. Days sped past, timed by the light sluicing in through the blinds over the windows. She found resistance after a few days, and didn't push it...instead releasing the image and allowing it to move forward normally. "Holy shit," Cassandra exhaled, her eyes opening wide. "Holy shit, I think he killed Etienne."
  2. 2 points
    "The dog?" Cassandra lamented. "God...damnit..." She got up from her computer and with a couple of violent stomps mushed her left foot into its shoe. She'd yank the heel up later. As she emerged into the living room, the aforementioned dog came running eagerly over, giving her the adorable big brown eyes and floppy ears and slightly down-cast tail wag that bespoke he was perfectly aware of what he'd done and hoped she wouldn't be mad about it. Cassandra leaned down and ruffled his shoulders and scratched between his ears. "You know, Bacon," she said sweetly, "she's only feeding you my breakfasts so you'll get fat and full of nutrition for when we finally cook you up." Bacon thumped his leg happily. Beth poked her head around the corner from the dining room and gave Cassandra a smile and a wave. "Hey." Cass returned the smile and stood up. "Morning. Thanks for the ride. Mom's kind of all hardcore about schedules these days." "Well, she's being a responsible adult," her friend noted with a mischievous smirk. "You could learn something from her." "Uuunnngh yeah, or...I could just keep spinning around in an oblivious, narcissistic haze until my life breaks and I become a homeless bum." Cassandra considered. "Yeah, gonna go with that. Want anything before we go?" With a laugh, Beth shook her head. "No. I actually ate my breakfast before I came over, instead of letting my mom feed it to my dog." Bacon wuffed and went over to Cassandra to butt against her leg with the top of his head. "Laugh it up, fuzzball," she told the dog with faux-irritation. "You're next." --- As they piled into Bethany's very well-used Civic hatchback, a handmedown from her now-college-age brother (and, Cassie suspected, one of her parents' before that), Beth asked, "So...are we going to talk about...whatever there is to talk about right now?" Cassandra dug her plastic spoon into the little carton of yogurt she'd filched from the fridge on the way out and bought time as she stuck it into her mouth. Play dumb? Play dumb. "You're going to have to narrow it down," Cass said as she stirred the yogurt some more. "There's so much to talk about. Climate change, for example. Why is no one talking..." "You know what I mean," Beth insisted. "Yesterday at Bunnee's you were all worked up." Cassie winced a little, then pressed herself back in the threadbare upholstery of the Civic's passenger-side seat. "It's...kind of a work in progress," she said. "I feel like I don't know enough to talk about it yet, and..." She trailed off. Beth stared at her for a little too long, then quickly had to slow down or risk plunging into an intersection. "And what?" she demanded. "...and it involves...things...that maybe you'd be...better off not knowing?" Cassandra managed to say. It wasn't not true, but she'd stumbled getting through it because she knew damn well what Beth's reaction would be. Her friend, now safely stopped, stared at her again. "I'm sorry...better off not knowing?" "A little bit?" "Not knowing. You're saying you don't want to tell me because I'd be better off." Cassandra covered her eyes. "Beeeeeeth..." "No no, because we've had this conversation, only from the other side. Remember when you were bitching about Crossroads and I said maybe your dad knew something and you said he didn't tell you and I said maybe it was for your own good? Remember what you said to that?" "...maybe." Beth glanced at the intersection, put the car into gear and started driving again. "You said that you'd always be better off knowing. And that people who said they were trying to protect someone else by not telling them something important were really just trying to protect themselves. Your words. Not mine." Cass sighed. "I mean, technically paraphrased, but..." "Don't technically me." "Okay! Look. Beth." Cassandra sat forward again and latched her seatbelt, somewhat belatedly. They were almost to school now. "Here's the deal, okay? If it was just me, I'd tell you everything. But it's not just me. It involves other people too, and I can't just...blaaaauugh..." She pantomimed vomit spilling from her mouth. "...everything and drag them in, and drag you in...and all because of something I don't even know if it's REAL or not yet. I just...need you to trust me. I promise, when I'm surer...when I know more...when this whole thing is ready to pop...I will tell you everything. Okay?" The car rattled to a stop in the school lot, but Beth kept her hands on the wheel for a moment. "I just...feel like we're losing touch," she said tightly. "You never used to not tell me things. I had to consciously try to distract you to get you to stop telling me things." Cassie reached over to put a hand on Beth's shoulder. "This is a really really special situation. It's not like when we were...well okay we are kids, but when we were younger kids. The worst thing we used to investigate then was like, who was stealing people's newspapers from their porches, or why your neighbor's cat disappeared. This...has to do with my dad. And if I screw it up, people could get hurt. I have to be careful." Bethany shook her head. "And I guess calling the cops wouldn't work?" "Cops need evidence. And...I have kind of a record just accusing people of things, so I have to work harder, you know?" "And...these people who could get hurt. People like...who? Me? Your mom?" Cass nodded. "Yeah." Beth turned to look at Cassandra. "What about you?" She smiled. "Nah, I'll be fine. Remember? Psychic powers?" Cass tapped her temple. A slightly choked laugh escaped Beth, and she impulsively leaned forward to give her friend a hug. "Just...be careful okay? This isn't a movie." The hug was returned with force. "I know. I will." "And I'll hold you to that promise. There'd better be a Pulitzer or a novel or...or something at the far end of all this." "You can be my editor." Now Beth laughed for real. "Oh my god no. I've read your drafts. Kill me and send me to Hell first." They pulled apart and got out of the car. Cass said, "I'm still hungry...I'm gonna go grab a quick bite at the cafeteria. Coming?" Beth shook her head. "I actually can't. Meet you at lunch?" Cassandra nodded. "Yeah. I'll text you if I can't make it, but should be fine. Seeya then!" They split apart like atoms in a reactor, each going their separate ways. Oblivious to the chain reactions they could set off as they went.
  3. 2 points
    The lanky, somewhat unkempt boy had not noticed her approach. Shaggy hair slightly darker than usual from it's residual dampness, and with his breakfast half-finished, Jason had been staring out of the cafeteria window, his eyes tracking the bustle of the world beyond without conscious effort, marking everything with a predatory alertness. The apparent interest in the world's goings-on was deceptive, a function of deep instinct without conscious effort - for his attention was elsewhere. The walls were a deep red with gold veins, neither marble nor jade but something in between, forming corridors through which his consciousness walked on solid polished floors inlaid with mosaics: abstracts which attracted the eye, conduits to mental processes that seemed to take on life and vibrancy as his feet passed over them, only to fade softly behind him, becoming inert once more as his attention turned elsewhere. Along the pale gold veins in the walls, light pulsed faintly with rainbow glimmers, harmonies of colour which formed patterns in the air containing other sensory information as one passed through them - a puff of perfume, a boisterous laugh, the bite of a freezing winter morning, the taste of sauteed mushrooms. He moved from the corridors through a gallery lined with shelves filled with books and curios, one of many in this place, and from the gallery to a vast central chamber that took the form of a lush indoor garden, adorned with statuary and portraits, the air filled with light from the prismatic crystalline ceiling. There was the faintest of sounds in the air - not quite a rumble, not quite breathing, but possessed of the qualities of both, giving a sense of Something present and watchful. A Something not currently inclined to action, content to abide until called upon. Unleashed. It was an edifice of reason and memory, constructed on foundations laid of Will. There was little gentle or yielding here, little in the way of conventional morality or mercy, merely consciously applied principles of aesthetics designed to contain ruthless drives older than conscious thought. It was beautiful, but it lacked most of what would commonly be considered 'humanity'... Except the central chamber. The central chamber was warmer, held small niches of comfort and peace, the air here filled with faint music that changed as one moved around the garden. He stopped before Marissa's portrait, gazing at it contemplatively as it came to life under his gaze, every image and memory and impression that he associated with the girl surrounding his consciousness as he looked upon her face. He breathed in... And paused. The scent was wrong. It was still pleasant, but it wasn't Marissa. This was less sophisticated, warm juniper mixed with something citrus, a scent he associated with a welcome newer addition to his central garden- "Hi. Do... you mind if I join you?" Jason had been staring out of the window as though looking for someone or perhaps lost in thought, but the way he did not even blink, simply looked around and up at her was somehow so eerie that Autumn was struck by it. There was no blink, or apparent change of mental gears - his attention shifted the way a wild creature's did when you attracted it, as though suddenly you were everything and whatever it had been doing before did not exist. He studied the girl in that brief heartbeat or two, noting the bloom of colour in her cheeks as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other under his gaze, and the way her unruly mane of fiery red-gold framed her blue eyes and freckled ivory features, and then he smiled at her and gestured to the seat across from him, the corners of his cool green eyes crinkling ever so slightly. "Of course you can." Jason told his newest friend, shifting slightly and picking up his fork as he realised he'd not yet finished eating himself. He was aware that a couple of sophomores at the other end of his table were snickering and throwing sideways glances, and turned his gaze on them as Autumn pulled out a chair and got settled. The two girls hushed under that impassive stare, turning their attentions back to their phones, and it was with the faintest flicker of amusement Jason turned his attention back to Autumn. "How's your morning so far?" he asked, swiping some sausage through the syrup on his plate and raising his fork to his lips as he tilted his head at her enquiringly. "Good, I hope."
  4. 2 points
    That last few notes of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me rolled off the strings of her guitar as the three people in front of Lona clapped vigorously. One of them whooped, a guy her age with brown skin and a huge Stetson. “Love that song,” he said, ambling forward to drop a dollar in her open guitar case. “Thanks,” Lona murmured, smiling shyly at him. A woman with gray hair called, “Do you know Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” Lona’s frowning; she’d never even heard of that one. “I’m sorry, no.” “It’s an old song, I figured it was a long shot given your age,” the woman said with a shrug and tapped the man with her on the shoulder. “Come on, we need to check on the sheep.” “Thanks for listening!” Lona called after them, even as her phone beeped a reminder. Time to go. She smiled at the boy still standing in front of her. “Show’s over, sorry.” “Are you performing at the fair?” the kid asked. “I’d love to hear more.” “Yeah, I’ll be performing at five on Thursday on the little stage,” Lona said, keeping her voice neutral despite the lousy time and venue. Most people would be watching the Halsey Sisters performing the same fifteen gospel songs that they’d sang for the last million years. They were a popular fair staple, and being set to perform at the same time as them ensured she’d have a small crowd. “I’ll be there,” the kid promised. “Awesome! I’ll also be playing on the main course at random spots,” she added, rising and collecting her money. “Any requests - besides my cover of Stay With Me?” “Something by Blake Shelton? Like God’s Country?” “I’ll see if I can swing that,” Lona said, wondering if she had time to learn the song between now and Thursday. She’d try - she didn’t want to disappoint her only fan (at least, her only fan who wasn’t friends or family). “See ya Thursday.” With her PR done, Lona packed up and started to walk the mile or so to Bunnie’s. It was a long walk to the fairgrounds, but worth it for the income and getting her music out there. There were always people setting up for the fair for days before, and some people even brought their show animals a day or two early so they’d have a chance to settle. Many of the new arrivals appreciated entertainment and without the rides open, most had cash to spare. She’d made enough to pay for her lunch today and cigarettes for a week, plus a bit more. Tomorrow would be another chance to earn even more money; the closer to fair day, the more early-comers would be there. By the time she stepped foot on the side of Highway 2, she was dripping sweat and already grossed out by herself. Great, didn’t think about the fact you’ll be stinking up the group by walking, did ya? Sucking on her lip ring, she fanned the front of her tank top, wishing she could take it off -- Aw, fuck it. If Cade’s dad nabs me for indecency, at least his car will be air conditioned. She slipped her shirt off around the guitar straps and tucked it into her belt. It didn’t help with the heat too much, but it was one less layer of cloth over her overheated body. Within seconds, she wanted to remove the bra too, but she wasn’t into exhibition. Her underwear wasn’t for public exposure, so she left her jean shorts in place. Vehicles zoomed by, more than one honking. Lona gamely flipped off the honkers, irritated that she couldn’t walk in peace without commentary from randos. Then one of the honkers pulled over in front of her, and Liam Day leaned out the window, smirking at her. “Hey, Lona, if you want picked up, you know I’m available.” “How about a ride to Bunnee’s?” she said, wishing that she had kept the shirt on. Liam always came onto her in the worst ways, but his car looked like a welcome refuge after ten minutes of hot asphalt. “Sure, if you keep your shirt off,” he leered. Lona measured the possibly of heat stroke versus the discomfort of Liam’s company and mentally shrugged. Both were kinds of hell, and if he drove her, it’d be over in a matter of minutes. “Gross, Liam,” she said, walking to the passenger side of his old car and wrenching open the door. “Do you have to pay for it, too?” “Never,” he vowed as she stowed the guitar in the back seat, “it’s against my religion.” “First Church of Slutism?” she guessed as sank into the car and discovered that the old beater had working air. Liam and his ugly flirting was forgotten as she aimed all the vents in reach at herself. “Jesus, it's hot out there.” “It’s hot in here, too,” he said, running a finger down her shoulder as the car started forward. Lona rubbed her forehead and flicked the sweat on her fingers at him. “Hands to yourself, Liam.” “Don’t you feel like you owe me a little niceness?” he asked plaintively. “A little sweetness?” “Nope,” she told him, raising an eyebrow so that light glinted off the ring in it. “We’re supposed to be friends, Liam.” “If you stopped friend-zoning me, I could make you happy,” he told her, sliding around the corner a little too fast. “I’d treat you like my queen.” It didn’t matter that she’d told him that she didn’t want to date him. He wasn’t going to stop; guys like him never did. So she pulled her shirt out of her belt and put it on. “Liam, I’m going to be clear. Be my friend, or get the fuck out of my life. And you can drop me here.” Ten minutes later, Lona dragged her sweaty self into the diner. The drop in temperature wasn’t quite as severe as it had been in Liam’s car, but it was still worth a moment to stop and enjoy the chill. She scanned the room, scowling at seeing Clara with her notebooks stacked next to her. Fortunately, her irritating roommate was being distracted by Cassie and Chet, which should be fun for all. She felt a little bad for Cassie, but she wanted to be a journalist so she’d better get used to robo-people and jackasses. Turning, she slipped over to Sean and Bannon’s booth and dropped her case under the seat. Sitting next to Sean, she fanned herself with napkins and moaned, “I’m here. Please don’t tell me that everyone else has bailed on us. Cause getting heat stroke just to be blown off would suck.”
  5. 2 points
    For all the dangers and freakishness of the situation, Fisher was calm. Relatively so, with superhuman intellect and focus running down the situation. In front of them, a potential repeat of the Nekyia situation when the Band first got into the heroing business. The creatures on the other end had held off once they'd noticed Fisher and his heritage. They couldn't rely on that this time. Step One, stop Todd and get him away. Austin, Fisher thought approvingly, was already on that. That left the issue of containment. The wisps seemed to be confined by the pentagram, but that thing wouldn't likely stop whatever eldritch evil was coming through from stepping out. What would an anime/manga protagonist do in this situation? It was hardly a silly question. The many great series carried their rivers of Japanese tales and lore, homages in their way to the Amatsukami, of whom he was a Scion. Obviously, he couldn't pull a Naruto and just create some fuinjustu masterwork to seal it back up. But there were other ways, a more traditional option now that he thought about it. Fisher drew Comb Tooth and jabbed it forward, turning the pen into a naginata, and catching some of the flying paper. It came down into Fisher's outstretched hand, cut into strips. And Comb Tooth retracted back into a pen. Was the pen mightier than the sword? Thankfully, Fisher could have it both ways. In swift flickers, Fisher drew the kanji. "Izanagi, father of the gods. He who brought Chikaeshi-no-okami. Bind death away from life here!" The stone from which his own pendant was made, Fisher remembered. With a toss, defying the laws of physics, the strip of paper which Fisher had inscribed his step-father's name sailed as if a rigid solid object and met the doors to the lab, slamming them shut and sticking as if glued firmly. "Amaterasu, heavenly queen and sun! Restrain this twisted light with your own!" Another inscribed strip found its way to one point of the pentagram. "Susanoo, slayer of Orochi! Drive these monsters back!" "Tsukuyomi, moon lord! I plead for your support!" Two, third points covered. "The Seven Fortunes! Give this your blessing!" Four. And of course finally, "Izanami, mom. You owe me." The last one came into place. Ofuda. The various talismans, amulets and other charms issued by Shinto shrines. Often they had the names of the shrines too with the kami, but Fisher Capra was a Scion of the Amatsukami and the writing was done by a genuine Relic. He WAS his own spiritual holiness for this. And he would make their bindings real. Five to cover the pentagram, one on the doors to bar the room just to be safe. And their words glowed, a pure white compared to the sickly green cracks. White lines connecting the circle...
  6. 1 point
    "Occam's Razor." Jason's voice was it's usual calm, even tone, containing an almost-patient air as he resumed eating his breakfast once more. He'd paused to listen to Cassie, his icy jade gaze on her face as she told the tale and then peering past her face and elsewhere for a moment. Whatever thoughts had been provoked were swift, for he was now once more mopping up syrup with a piece of pancake calmly. Autumn looked over at him, gaze narrowing. "Occams what?" The redhead frowned. Cassandra also spared the slender youth a glance, considering his words. "He means the simplest likely solution is probably the most accurate." The blonde journalist replied, receiving a slow nod from Jase and a grunt of agreement from Sean. "The simplest solution being..?" "That the Dark and whoever impersonated Dylan are not on the same side, for one. Perhaps someone with Shine, making you think you saw Dylan. Perhaps with a gift like Charlie's, disguising themselves as Dylan. But their motive appears to be separate from the Dark and someone we assume is the Dark's agent - Mr Black. Just because two weird things happen doesn't mean they originate in the same place." Jase pushed his empty place aside, narrowing his gaze a little. "Okay, so why did Mr Black just walk up all spooky like? If he's our enemy, why didn't he just get us when we were far from the car like I said? Why didn't he chase us?" "Obvious enough. He wanted to spook you, not catch you. At least, not at that time." Jason's tone was still unperturbed. "He's testing, seeing how you react - whether you react intelligently or panic, whether you're bold or timid, aggressive or defensive in posture. If you'd made it easy for him, by being dumb or panicky, then he might have done more. This is the opening feints." "What makes you so sure of that?" Sean asked after swallowing his mouthful of toast and bacon. "Not that I question the theory - it's plausible." "He did the same to me, after the meeting at the bleachers." Jason remarked casually. "I was driving home and the Cadillac leveled alongside me, Mr Black beside the wheel. His attitude was one of challenge, at least that's how I read it, so I sped up. We raced a little, though my car was never going to be able to beat whatever is under the hood of his, then he disappeared after trying to make me wreck." The others stared at him. "And you didn't mention this till now because..?" Autumn demanded. Jase's eyes met hers. "I didn't know he was testing others. Obviously it is not a personal issue between me and him, as I thought it might be, so I think it's best to share the experience."
  7. 1 point
    Cade's eyes narrowed. His first thought was that Marissa was messing with him, but her eyes showed him she was actually serious. Marissa, in her own way, was asking him for help. It wasn't something he was accustomed to. Largely he'd remained under her radar, despite his own star athlete status, and he didn't really care for or about the social games she played. They didn't have any bearing on him, so it was at least in his mind, a live and let live scenario. With all the craziness leading into this year, they had at least some minor tangential connections, but this, what she was proposing would be a whole new level. He was still seeing Cora, and he knew that him saying yes would definitely get back to Cora. That would definitely have "Results." He couldn't tell the others the truth of this, and it would probably expose him to some real negative pushback. Jason knowing and acknowledging the "Bro Code" was something that was completely unknown. He'd never heard of Jason dating anyone, so he wasn't sure how he'd react. The fact he had concerns about Jason, how he thought and saw things, and what he'd already done using his powers, and now Marissa had exposed her own concerns, he knew he wasn't going to say no to her here. Telling her no would bring its own problems, not the least of which is earning her ire and attention. "I am not so sure he knows about the "Bro Code" or cares. He's shown himself to be fairly single-minded in his pursuit of what he wants, and direct in how he reacts to things." He looked at her still holding her gaze. "You're asking me to do alot Marissa, not the least of which is lie to my friends and betray my girlfriend. I won't lie, this is going to be hard for me to do. Still, I'll do it, Not because you're some prize, but because I share some of your concerns." He sighed. "We're going to have to work hard on selling this. The others are not going to believe this at all at first. How exactly are you planning to start?" Through the conversation, he of course had to look down, as he towered over nearly everyone at school, including Marissa. There was no denying she was the most attractive girl at school, but this was business. He did his best to not think about it, to just treat this as business, but to fool everyone, they'd really have to work at it. Perhaps it wouldn't be physically painful, he was pretty sure she'd see to that, but there were other forms of pain, and that was likely something they'd both end up having to deal with.
  8. 1 point
    Tuesday Morning - Shelly High Cafeteria "How's your morning so far? Good, I hope." It was a decent start, she decided as she sat down- no laser eyes, no smirks, no sly comments that made her feel like she was standing too close to a bonfire. This was real life, right? Jason Bannon was acting like a normal person, like someone she’d gone to school with for six years, and maybe had the occasional conversation with in the hall. ...Not like someone who definitely wasn’t normal, whom she’d given a more-than-wide berth for the last six years, and had only finally spoken to a few days prior because he and Clara had cornered her in the bathroom after she’d gotten slapped in the face by physics. But, even that was only because of the Shine, wasn’t it? If not for that single incident, she never would have gone with them to the trailer, would never have ended up in that nightmare place, would have never seen that- that- whatever the hell it was that tried to eat them, wouldn’t have needed to loan- bloody, on fire, ohmygod he’s naked ohgod cannot unsee -Goddamn Jason Fucking Bannon her hoodie, wouldn’t have gone to his house on Monday to get it back. Wouldn’t have told him she was afraid of him. Wouldn’t have made a second friend, in as many days. Autumn glanced across the table at the Impenetrable One, unsure if she should now be more, or less wary of him after their talk yesterday. Especially since she almost- Nope, no, nuh uh. Hard pass on the 1000-degree face today, thank you. We are focusing on the now, and right now you have french toast to eat. With your friend. Because that’s what he is. ...Probably. Just like Marissa is also probably your friend. Don’t be a weirdo, weirdo. “Yea-” she began, vaguely aware that the corners of her mouth were curving upward in response to the greeting- "Hey guys! Hope it's okay if I join you." The redhead blinked as Cassandra, clearly not all that concerned about whether it was actually okay or not, quickly made herself comfortable… followed by Sean at the other side of the table, and any answer she could've given was rendered pointless. Seriously? Autumn sighed inwardly, regretting having even opened her mouth in the first place, and just nodded in response. Should have stuck to the plan, her brain smugly opined as she peeled back the corner of her syrup container and busied herself making a loose spiral out of the sugary stuff over her meal. But… it wasn’t like they’d done anything wrong, really, they were probably like this all the time. What, rude as fuck? No! Friendly, I guess. …? Just, different. “Here,” she offered after a moment’s consideration, turning the end of her tray with the still-untouched buttered toast and bacon toward Sean. “Yours if you want it. Some actual food might help.”
  9. 1 point
    In which we…play Mario Kart while attempting to talk about books. We are very distracted in this; there are occasionally pauses and also more cursing than usual. Our history with Mario Kart We talk about what we’re working on while cursing at each other What we’re doing for the holidays Combining birthdays and other holidays: Don’t do it. What we’re looking forward to in the new year! Let the Streets Run Red Ludwig von Koopa wins a tournament Dixie gets indignant about The Music Man Links: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/mario-kart-8-deluxe-switch/ They Came from Beneath the Sea!: https://they-came-from-beneath-the-sea.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders Aberrant: https://trinity-continuum-aberrant.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders Pugmire: https://www.realmsofpugmire.com/ Scion: https://studio2publishing.com/search?q=scion Fetch Quest: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/262120/Fetch-Quest The Music Man: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Music_Man Onyx Path Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/theonyxpath Onyx Path Discord: https://discord.gg/5uckcBk Dixie wrote this post, so this is the image we’re going with.
  10. 1 point
    Monday Night - Sean Sean was up late. When Laurie had revealed the depth of her intelligence and asked for his help in learning to apply it, for just an instant, he had felt a pang of pique and dismay. It hadn't been long that he had to accept that he would be shorter, less athletic, less strong that both of his sisters, the older and the younger, but he told himself that was okay. He was the smartest of the Cassidy siblings. But if that wasn't true, what did he have left? That he was bustier than both sisters combined? Not the tag he wanted. It was an unworthy thought. Initially, he'd been pissed when he found out just how much Jase had been hiding his smarts, but he got over it. Sean still excelled with computers - even more so now, considering the nature of his powers - and math and puzzles, innate intelligence couldn't completely overcome skill and experience. And he didn't want to downplay Laurie's own revelatory Shine. It was clear she wanted to contribute however she could and he wanted to help her with that. But how could you help someone be smart? People learned in different ways. He spent two hours doing the best he could, giving Laurie guideline and advice on how he learned. Like working out to build your body - like Laurie was doing since - or even before - joining the football team - you had to work out your brain too. Reading, watching, listening, were excellent start points, but for Sean, he also needed to apply that knowledge, use it, work with it, and make mistakes to really understand it. He might have always had a talent with electronics and computers, but it he hadn't taken them apart, and yes, made a few mistakes that his parents had been less than pleased about, he wouldn't be as good with them as he now was. Laurie would need to find out what worked best for her. But he did give her access to his Curiositystream and Skillshare accounts to start, learning something, anything, was better than not learning at all. Laurie didn't seem entirely satisfied as she was leaving, not even when he gave her all the references he had looked at on Psionic powers, but it was what he had. Lets see what she can puzzle together. "You might want to talk with Jase, about this too, sis," Sean said when Laurie had opened the door to the converted barn. Laurie scowled at him over her shoulder. "He's a psychopath." "But not the people-eating kind." Laurie didn't appreciate the sally and Sean sighed. "He can give you logical and objective advice. I learn stuff better one way, Jase does it a different way. Getting more than one point of view, more than one kind of advice can only help you. And really, does a simple word make him that much different? More than bloody real, actual psychic powers?" "The word and the psychic powers definitely makes him scarier, Sean." "And he can still help you." Laurelei gave her overly buxom brother a long stare, then sniffed. "I'll consider it." Then she left the barn, closing the door behind her. And then there was the other thing. The intruder, the one who had invaded the sanctity of his sanctum. The one that had to be like him. He could sense the traces of the invader's presence, like digital fingerprints smudged all over his stuff. They hadn't taken anything, hadn't changed anything, that he could tell, just... looked. But it was a violation all the same, an infuriating one - they might as well have been peeping on him when he was taking his bra off. He didn't think they were lingering in his system or network, but all the same, he taped over every camera he had. He didn't lie to himself - even with his firewalls and cybersecurity, if the NSA or CIA or other alphabet soup wanted in, they would get in, but he'd like to think that even they would have trouble. This was different. His defences had been broken or bypassed. They had been ignored. How did you stop someone like him from doing what he willed with your data, digital footprint, online presence? It was something he had been considering already, and so far, all he had really come up with was keep your shit offline and out of sight. If he didn't know where the trove was, and didn't have a wired or wireless connection leading him towards it, he couldn't hack it. But his intruder had found a way in. Sean's fault, he hadn't been paranoid enough, or at least, had believed in his own digital supremacy. But that meant he should be able to follow the intruder back. True, the intruder might have raised the drawbridge - Sean might not be able to get inside the Intruder's defences, but at the very least, he'd have a better idea of where the bastard had come from. Sean changed into something more comfortable, an old, oversized soccer jersey, worn smooth and comfy, and a pair of baggy shorts, stoked up the fire in the fireplace, then curled up in his gaming chair in front of his gaming computer. He stared at it, the screen saver flipping through screen shots and concept art from the video game he was working on. Cold fury rose up inside him. The Dark was out there, threatening his town, threatening his friends, and now this fucking voyeur. He had built his computer himself, this one and others. He had overclocked the processor into an inch of its life, liquid cooling keeping everything running in top trim. Electric synapses, in synthetic or biological media, it was all the same, when you get right down to it. What worked in one should work in the other. Unconsciously, the electrical impulses in Sean's brain began firing faster, stronger, in greater density, forming greater and deeper connections. He wasn't going to let this bitch get away. He had played at dipping his hand into the vast digital ocean, grasping at signals pulsing like fireflies, reading them, barely bothering to use an interface anymore when using his phone, or tablet, or computer. But he was going to go deeper this time, far deeper, far further than he had ever gone before. Sean took a deep breath, then dived in with barely a ripple, imagining as though he was diving into his monitor and into the world on the other side, though he never left his comfortable, encompassing chair. The internet is a series of tubes... Sean let out peals of unmitigated laughter and the virtual world about him rippled in sympathy. The movies had it so wrong. It wasn't their fault, they were limited by the medium, and only being able to imagine the experience, rather experiencing it for real. It wasn't a series of tubes or highways leading to towering skyscrapers of a seizure inducing Time's square. It was infinitely branching and merging streams and rivers of bits and bytes, leading to and from two sided pools, lakes, seas that plunged into unknown depths and enticing heights in a virtual reality as vast as outer space, yet as packed as when the doors opened for Black Friday and there was that must have toy or gadget for the season. There was the neon lights portrayed by Shadowrun and Tron, but so much more as well. Pastels, muted and dark shades of colour, matte finishes, glossy, vistas drawn with the absence of light, intermingled incandescence and a variety of darkness. The scrolling numbers of the Matrix were there too, in a fashion, if you could look close enough. Sean had seen them when perusing the comm transmissions flying about him. Here, the numbers were in an infinite palette, tight and close, to form photomosiacs, art and knowledge in one, for those who could decipher it. There was sound too, music, hums and basses in a collage of frequencies and amplitudes. It was the sound the sound of the busiest city, the thickest crowd imaginable, that gave rise to incredible symphonies and counter melodies that clashed or challenged. Sean vibrated with sheer force of the encompassing sound. There was physical sensation there too that the screen could never convey. The coolness, searing cold, pleasant warmth, biting heat.... smoothness, coarseness, things that prickled, bit, engulfed, stuff that clung and stuck and had to be scraped off (Pop-up Ads?). And there was smell, tasted as well, the bitter and sweet, acrid and arousing. Every sense, and the extra ones he possessed, was being assaulted, challenged, teased, and caressed. It was bewildering, terrifying... and fantastically wondrous. Sean had manipulated this place, had rowed about on its surface, but now he was a part of it. He had no form here save that which he conjured. He wasn't male, female, something in between here. He wasn't old or young. He just was, a self of will, bits and bytes of memory forming a core identity, and power. And someone had gone poking in where they didn't belong - Sean conveniently overlooked the fact he had done so more than once himself. He was going to find them. The digital world was incredibly dynamic, ever flowing and changing, yet it was static too, everything leaving near indelible tracks, if you knew how to find them and follow them. The hunt was on... ... Sean didn't get the satisfying conclusion to the hunt that he wanted. Someone had left neotic spoor all over the digital networks about and around Shelly - at least some of those networks must be part of Dr. Cook's surveillance system. There wasn't a single trail, but many. They didn't converge on a single point - his intruder was too wily for that, or at the least, minimally competent - but they did suggest a common point of interest in the virtual world. Two points. One was Bulwark Air Force Base, light-eating darkness laying over parts of the para-rescue training center. The other was a shadow under the bright pool of the Merias Medical Center. With what he and Sara had learned about Dr. Cook and who was really behind the program, that drew his interest and curiosity more. Sean swam cautiously closer, the psychic miasma growing stronger. A tentatively probe at the indistinct node and he recoiled. Whatever that network node was, it was beyond SOTA, it was next-gen's next-gen level stuff. And had absolutely no reason to be in Shelly, clinging like a parasite to the underside of the Merias Medical Center, however seriously the Medical community took HIPAA. For a moment, an instant, an iota of time, Sean considered trying to worm his way in, or even break through digital defences he had never encountered before, or even heard tell of. Then his better judgment got a hold of him. Suddenly, he was back in his gaming chair, blinking his eyes, his chair rolling across the floor as he kicked away from his desk. His screen saver merrily continued flipping from pic to pic before him. He'd been in there for nearly two hours, when it felt like barely minutes. He brushed his red-gold hair from his face finding it damp with sweat. What had he been thinking? If he was going to try and penetrate firewalls like that - especially if they were backed by someone like him, he wasn't going to do it from home. And if he did manage to get in, what would he find on the other side. He stared at his computer, stared beyond it, thinking, considering, as he breathed slowly, trying to calm a racing heart he hadn't realized he had. Then he got up, full lips pressing into a tight line, and pattered across the hardwood floor in his socks and manually turned off his router/modem. It wasn't full proof, but it would make things a little more inconvenient if his intruder decided to try and visit again. It took Sean a long time to fall asleep, pondering who had spied on him, what they knew, and what they could do, and what he could do about it, as he lay on his bed in the loft, petting his grey cat Turing who had nestled herself against his breasts.
  11. 1 point
    Tuesday Morning - Autumn “Shit,” Autumn grumbled to herself, annoyed that not only had she not managed to get more than a couple hours of sleep the night before, she'd completely forgotten about meeting up with Clara and Lilly to run the track this morning. ...And she was probably going to miss breakfast, yet again. She turned the handlebars away from the main road and toward the school parking lot, half-consciously reaching for the elastic band around her wrist- and finding none. "Really?" she sighed rhetorically, bike coasting slowly toward the rack out front as she raked a hand back through the still-damp tangle of curls settling around her shoulders. I swear, one day, I will get my life in order. One day. Her phone had chimed several times in the pocket of her hoodie as she'd pedaled to school; fishing it out with one hand, she swiped the lock screen with her thumb, chewing her lower lip thoughtfully as she checked her notifications. Absent-mindedly, the redhead rolled her bike into an empty space and clicked the cable lock into place as she scrolled through the list. Just nooooot today. There were three messages from Clara and one from Lilly (which Autumn grimaced at, but silently resolved to answer in person), and the infamous Snapchat group (now called “Cereal v Milk Deathmatch”) was still showing activity even as she walked toward the building. The familiar sounds of conversation, shouting and doors slamming rang in her ears, and she glanced up just in time to narrowly sidestep two young-looking guys- Freshmen, maybe?- as they raced out laughing through the double doors of the cafeteria and past her, down the sidewalk. Blinking after them, the redhead felt the frown that had knit her freckled features dissolve, replaced by a slow, easy grin. Maybe the day hadn't gotten off to the greatest start, but it was still early yet, right? She tucked the phone back into the pocket of her faded red jacket and stepped inside. It wasn't instinctive yet, the idea of searching for the faces of the Fellowship all gathered around a table; it didn't occur to her to seek them out until she was in line for french toast and happened to catch sight of them assembling. Well. Most of them. "Can I trade one of these syrups for extra butter, please?" Autumn asked the lady behind the counter with a smile. "Thank you!" Craning her head around the rest of the queue, she tried to figure out who was missing, her clear blue eyes scanning the crowd for people moving toward the group- people who moved with purpose because they were supposed to be there. No sign of the twins, or Cade's girlfriend, no Sara... No Jason Freaking Bannon, either, but after the Monday he'd described, that maybe wasn't so weird. Maybe the meeting that went wrong had something to do with the other latecomers, too? The idea twisted into a tiny knot of uncertainty in the pit of her stomach, and her gaze kept skimming the room restlessly as she swiped her meal card and headed out into the chaos of the cafeteria proper. She had almost decided to just go eat outside and count her blessings that she hadn't gotten stuck with oatmeal when she caught sight of another familiar face. Oh! ...and, without any prompting whatsoever, felt her cheeks get a few degrees warmer. Mother. Fucker. Exhaling through clenched teeth, the redhead paused, squared her shoulders, and wove through the milling bodies to the mostly-vacant table where Jase was currently sitting. Alone. It's fine, she reminded herself. Totally fine. We talked, and it's fine, and we're friends, and I'll just say hi. "Hi," Autumn began, suddenly conscious of the fact that she was getting sidelong glances as she stood across from the solitary/misanthropic/dangerous/impenetrable teen. "Do... you mind if I join you?" No, no, no. This was not the plan. 'Just say hi' was the plan!
  12. 1 point
    Session 4 of Weirder Stuff is coming to a close, and in commemoration I am issuing a community project. Naturally, participation will lead to XP awards. What is the project, I hear you cry! Or I would, if you were within earshot. The Project leading into Session 5 is this: Present me with ideas for future Projects! Yes, that is sneaky. I have a handful of ideas of my own, but as with your NPCs being your contribution to the enrichment of the game, so will your ideas for fun bonus Projects extend the number of these there will be. That means you will get more XP and hopefully have more fun getting it! Aren't I generous? And now, the rules: You will get 1 XP for each sensible Project idea, up to five. You can submit more, but you won't get anything except an honorable mention for it when and if I choose to use it. Lists for Project ideas are to be sent in PM here, to GDP_ST. The Project will run until Saturday 21st December, 2019. Have fun!
  13. 1 point
    Clara had a hard time figuring out what character to make for the game, so Sean introduced her to the time-honored tradition of randomly rolling for things. She ended up with a Tiefling Wild Mage, something she never would have made herself due to the bloodline's chaotic effect on gameplay. Who knows? Maybe it'll help Clara learn to adapt more easily. Levis Abandoned by her parents almost immediately after birth, Levis grew up with every disadvantage: she was a poor orphan tiefling and early on in her life the wildly unpredictable nature of her magic became painfully obvious. She was handed around from orphanage to temples and back to orphanages until she finally struck out on her own in her young teens. She's never managed to make close bonds with others, always assuming that eventually they'll turn against her (and that it will probably be her fault). Despite her sadness, she tries to stay content with what she can do an knows that she's still far luckier than others.
  14. 1 point
    "The tentacled ones are his competition." Charlie supplied as a matter of course, having found a place to sit back and scratch his head. He then whispered loudly, hand cupped as if trying to secretly impart a fact of great importance. "His artificial greatness surpasses their natural splendor. You make them feel bad about their bodies, Jason. That's meeean." The obvious confusion, plus 'is he fucking crazy' looks from Devin and Marissa resulted, causing Lilly to groan. "Charlie's smoked an entire joint of your special product." A fact which Charlie confirmed by drawing in the dregs of the stump of a joint with a wide grin. "Like I said. Artificial greatness. Fortunately, they have a nudo-phobia. That's a fear of nudists. So they have to eat them."
  15. 1 point
    Even with the others around, the feeling this was a bad idea had gnawed at the back of her head, enough so that Coraline had picked up a stick lying at the side of the trail. Shit all useless against a gun, but better than nothing. The stress knotted up in her gut, the anticipation of a gunshot with every single footfall and passed tree. Hostage scenarios of all kinds played out in her head. One gunshot and nothing more? She was not expecting a dirty trailer and what amounted to a second party brewing out here in the dark. Cass's causal greeting and wave did it in. "Okay. Ooookay. What the heck's going on?! What happened with the gunshot? Is everyone okay? Did you know about this trailer before? Seriously, what the heck's going on, guys?" she exhaled in exasperation. No one visible seemed particularly urgent or worried, so her fear for her friends was starting to thaw into worried anger at her friends. If this was all nothing, she'd... Well, she'd figure out exactly what when she got to it. For now, answers would do. They'd do for a lot.
  16. 1 point
    "That's what that means?" Devin sat there looking about as dumb as he had in a very long time. Courtney looked at him and nodded her head slowly with an expression that read 'duh'. "Well shit. Jesus Court, why do you have to be gay? You're like, perfectly fucked up enough for me. And those two?" He laughed. "Not a chance in hell. Tawny is ironclad straight. Cassidy, eh, maybe, but I'll know soon enough." "I'm going to hold you too that," she said with a predatory glare as she tipped his drink and finished it. She tossed it at his feet and stood up. "Have fun. I've things to get on with." "Later." He offered passively. For a few moments he had some quiet and time for himself to keep looking on at a city filled with people he cared nothing about. Or did he? Why did the actions of the Nerd Herd keeping running back to the forefront of his mind? Why did they care about him that day when they all knew he would never had done the same thing for them? With a sigh he stood up and brushed aside the confusing thoughts in his head and decided it was time to get on with his party night. Meeting a new girl was always a gamble. Especially when that girl was Laurie Cassidy and you'd spent the better part of three years beating up her brother. Needless to say it didn't place things in his favor. He had a reputation, one he no longer seemed to care about, but a reputation nonetheless. It wasn't going to be easy. In a way that was totally not, but seriously was, creepy he walked about the party for a bit stalking and observing her. Tawny was part of the problem and knew with her there all his lines would be shot down as she tried to save Laurie from Devin's antics. After a few moments Tawny skittered off with a few other friends and Laurie was alone, if only for a few moments. He approached her and planned it perfectly. As she turned around he was right there and she bumped right into him. Classic technique and opened up an avenure for conversation, since people were always apologetic after running into someone. He took the impact and waited for her to apolo- "Fucking watch it, Juantsen," she back away and scanned her chest and pants for any spilled drink. "Jesus Christ. Are you blind or just stupid?" "Uh...," he stammered trying to process a backup to what was the perfect plan. "Stupid, got it." She moved to walk around him. "Good talk." He had nothing. This was supposed to be flawless but she was a master at this game. She was a whole new level of impervious to his station and money and popularity. This wasn't right. It wasn't supposed to work like this. "Excuse you." Was apparently what his brain thought was the best choice. She stopped. Success. Sometimes they just needed a moment to realize they were walking from an opportunity of a lifetime. She slowly turned, her eyes narrowed in disgust. "Excuse me? Exuse me?" "Yeah, you ran into me." Just be stern with her. She's wild and needed to be broken. She stepped back and met him face to face. "You're Devin Jauntsen. For three years you've abused, bullied, tortured and generally made the lives of us in Shelly High a living hell. You're a self-centered, egotistical, pretty little rich boy who thinks that everything in the world is owed to him. You're sorry, pathetic, entitled little ass wouldn't last ten seconds without daddy's money and frankly I can't until the day comes where someone comes a long and ruins you. You deserve nothing but contempt and I hope you and your stuck up sister choke on the ashes of your insecurities and vomit up rancid, blackened sacs of the horrid, viscous nightmares that pass for your souls. You are small. You are wretched and you are weak. Now, do I look like I give one care about running into a piece of shit like you?" There was silence amid the loud music. He could almost see the storm clouds in there eyes and the thunder rolling in her voice, each insult a strike of lightning that coursed through his skin and started his heart. Laurie Cassidy was savage as fuck. "Ssssooo... do you wanna go out sometime or exchange numbers or something?" He regretting saying it as soon as he heard it. He had nothing, his brain was paralyzed. "Exchange numbers? This wasn't a car accident, Devin," she smirked and walked off. "It was a slaughter. I hate you and I hope your prostate falls out." With a toss of the bird she walked off. 'Duh' seemed to be the only face that he could muster. She walked off into the evening and all he could think of was what the wedding ceremony would be like. She was pure fire wrapped in a delicate, beautiful feminine form. He replayed the whole thing in his head and decided to own it. He frowned a bobbed hiss head in retrospect. "That went well."
  17. 1 point
    Coraline's worried inner monologue gently dissolved in the wash of Lona's music like salt crystals in the rain, replaced by the ephemeral images of potential routines that flowed with the notes strumming from the instrument. Her fingers tapped out a beat to match the tones, short hand to what she could see behind her closed eyes, faster movements to the happier tunes, slower and more balanced held positions for the happier ones. She could put names and faces of Dance Club members past and present to who would best fit which routine. Lona's care and dedication to her craft was obvious in every note, bringing a further twist of appreciation to Coraline's smile. She'd track down Lona later to congratulate her on the performance. She was slow to come fully out of the haze brought on by that good mood, fingers itching for her notebook of (poorly drawn and ill-proportioned) dancing sketches, a few hours in her basement to see what was possible and what was flight of fancy. The tall brunette caught sight of the back of Cade's head as he and his family headed away from the stage. Hmmm. Okay. she brushed straw off the back of her dress and smooth out any wrinkles. Presentation was the difference between a good performance and a great one, and Lona's obviously emotional act had left a little seed behind for her to act on an idea. She moved through the crowd in the direction of Cade's last heading quickly as she politely could. Which wasn't very fast really, a game of social pinball between 'hellos' with classmates she knew at least in passing. She was no queen bee like Mari, but it was amazing how much a smile and a lot of patience could get you. By the time she caught up, he was on his own again, and a faint flush danced in her cheeks. "Cade! Enjoying the fair?" she opened up with, closing the gap with a big smile on her face, "Want to hang out until it's time to go?"
  18. 1 point
    Chet didn't get too much into matching wits with either of the women, although all of the inbreds were being loud enough that Devin could have clearly been involved in all their conversations at once. He sighed, annoyed that he was still here but hadn't quite built up a reason to leave yet. Alone at his booth he just tapped the screen on his smartphone browsing his favorite social media, trying to tune out the local mouth breathing drama sponges. "D," Chet held his arms out to Devin, looking at him like a comrade in arms against the teenagers of Shelly. "Bruh, you gonna let em' gang up on me like this? Help a brother out, man?" Considering Devin had, at one point or another, abused, chastised, emotionally assaulted, sexually harassed, or was just cruel in general to about every person sitting in the restaurant at that current point in time, a few got a bit worried when Chet made a call for reinforcements. Sean knew the depths of Devin's emotional detachment when it came to making others feel terrible. Bannon knew that Devin would rather burn this whole city to the ground than spend one more minute there, Clara knew that while she had a Plan, Devin probably had a Manifesto. He hated Shelly and everyone in it and it was moments like this he cherished and salivated at. Moments where he could just bring their perfect little worlds crashing down around them and remind all the little people how weak and pathetic they actually were... Several tensed for the abuse that was about to be visited upon the dining area... "Chet," Devin never took his eyes away from his phone. His tone was filled with boredom and lack of caring to an extreme, like a bored prince sitting on his throne when he'd rather be whoring. "Sit down. You're an idiot. You picked a fight you couldn't win, and while your insults make about as much sense as Roid Rager over here," he thumbed to Lilly without acknowledging anyone. "I mean, 'you chase after them', really?" He still hadn't looked up from his phone. He was irritated about something, they could all tell. Devin never missed an opportunity to destroy any of them, yet here we was just passively blowing them off. "If you don't want to go to the party... just don't go. It's that simple. You don't even have to say anything, simply don't fucking show up. Look around Clara... no one, will, miss, you. Put that on your suicide note, and we'll all still try to pretend to cry and act like we didn't see it coming. You're smart enough to know that if you talk to Chet, he'll talk back, it's what children do. Chet... you're a moron dude, sit down, drool, look stupid... that's it. That's your fucking job. Don't come over to the big brains and start shit, you know you're gonna lose. Because this is your future, bro. This town. Nothing more. Not a scholarship, not an 'A'... ever, and certainly not fucking my sister so quit hitting her up on Facebook, because she's lost her voice from all the dry heaving your broken English has induced. And for the record, Dick Snot, 'pretty' is spelled with a 'y', not two fucking 'e's..." It wasn't often Chet got it from all sides like this, and it was unprecedented for Devin to fire off both barrels on one of his own popular, jock clique friends. Something was certainly rotten in the state of Den... Montana. Chet had a made a move for Devin's sister, and everyone knew that there were only a few taboos in Devin's world, one of them was trying to date his twin sister Marissa. Chet was Devin's radar... that meant some people, like Sean, might be able to breathe easy for a week or so while Devin's rage was focused elsewhere. "Shit, Devin... uh, look bruh, I was-" Chet tried to stammer out but his babbling was cut short by a very loud snap of Devin's fingers. He still didn't look up from his phone. He just cut off Chet and with the same hand he snapped his fingers with he just casually pointed at the bench opposite to him, inviting Chet to have a seat. Everyone knew what came next: the talk. The warning. The one and only time Devin would every tell them to stay away from his sister. There were rumors (and only rumors, mind) of what he'd done to those who didn't heed that warning. Some were never seen again, others he sold their organs on the internet, in one instance he punched their soul out of their body... you know how kids talk. Either way, no one wanted to be in Chet's shoes today, not that anyone could fit in Chet's big ass shoes...
  19. 1 point
    The howl of the sleek, black Ducati turned more than a few heads as it blazed down the avenue at just the right speed to annoy the hell out of the sheriff but not quite break any laws. Sheriff Allister was getting into his patrol car right as the Ducati pulled into Bunnee's with two riders. They pulled into one of the vacant spots only a space away from the sheriff and removed their helmets. Devin Jauntsen, local rich kid and overall bundle of trouble smiled wide and looked back to his passenger, Tawny, the attractive blonde farm girl who lived a few doors down from him. "Woo!" Tawny laughed as she shook her hair out from the helmet. "We gotta open her up one day on a flat stretch. See what she can do!" They both dismounted at about the same time and their laughter stopped as the sheriff approached them both, holding a coffee and a displeased look. Tawny cleared her throat and looked at him from a lowered head and raised eyes. "...while keeping it under the speed limit, of course. Mornin' sheriff!" He offered her a nod and a 'I'm not buying it' grin. "A little fast there, Devin, don't you think?" "Thirty five, just like the posted limit," Devin shot back, annoyed that this knuckle drager was wasting his time. "Looked a little faster than that, Devin," Sheriff Allister gave a disappointed look and raised an eyebrow. Mind, Sheriff Allister no typical sheriff of a small town. He wasn't the usual short an chunky comic relief one might find in a movie or the bumbling idiot with a coon hound as a partner and a derpy laugh. Sheriff Allister was a massive six foot two and built like brick shit house. Devin sighed, annoyed even more. He set his helmet and Tawny's on the bike and fastened them down so they didn't fall of and get ran over. All he said was, "Leibowitz Hypothesis." "I'm sorry, son, what?" Sheriff Allister leaned in, expecting some smart assed comment from the privileged problem child. "The Leibowitz Hypothesis. The normal human visual system tends to underestimate the speed of large objects by 40 percent. The visual task is one of estimating motion in depth. This is done by either estimating the changing angular extent, or motion parallax, relation to stationary objects, and the spatial scale of the detail of the target." Devin finally looked at the Sheriff, his head off to the side as an indicator that he wanted the conversation to be over with. "The reverse is also true. Smaller objects up close tend to be precieved as moving faster than they actually are. It's called an education, Sheriff. Had you bothered to get one, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation because you'd be successful and not a sheriff in this shit hole town in the middle of Nowhere, USA. Now unless you plan on opening an investigation and arresting me or Tawny, I'll remind you that were under no civil obligation to stand here talking to you, so, if you'll excuse us, we're a bit a hungry." With that Devin simply walked away and Tawny stood with her eyes wide and a look on her face that told the Sheriff 'the views and opinions expressed in this show were not a direct reflection of her or her faculties'. "Why are you hanging out with him, Tawny? He's trouble." "He's a great guy," she shrugged in all honesty. "I've known him three years and always been decent to me. I think it's just everyone else he hates, I dunno." She shrugged. "Anyway, sorry bout that Sheriff, please try and have a nice day. It's fair time!" "You too, Tawny. Oh, and you're dad was looking for you, about twenty minutes or so ago." He smiled and tipped his hat politely. "Yeah, I got his text. Was on the bike though," she giggled and moved past him. "Safety first!" Bunnee's was the bustling hangout in the summer here in Shelly. It was still early, so most of the adult crowd hadn't quite filtered in, but several of the local teens had already arrived for their obligatory 'burger before the swimming hole' meal. Several hid their heads as he entered, others were glad to see him, screaming his name like jocks cheering at a game. He simply grinned and gave them all a suave nod that said: 'I see you, I'm just too cool to give a shit who you are'. Tawny followed in a moment later and slapped his arm, laughing appearing to scold him that he was going to get them. Max approached with a smile. "Heya, Tawny." "Good morning, ladies." Devin smiled as he made zero eye contact with her and simply leered at her bosom." With an expression that told him that she wasn't amused, she continued. "You tow need a table?" No," Devin looked at her like she was crazy. "We just figured maybe you pull us up a carpet and just throw our food all over the floor and we'd just eat it there. Yes, we want a table, novel idea small town waitress." "Well, I see you're in a great mood today, Mr. Sunshine," Max didn't let it phase her. Devin was an ass clown, always would be until someone either kicked the crap out of him, or a meteor fell on him. She often prayed for either, some days both. She walked them over to a booth and somehow managed to keep smiling at the puke. "Daddy take away your trust fund again? Must be nice." "Speaking of trust, I wish I could find someone I trust as much as you trust those buttons," he thumbed at her blouse. With a roll of her eyes she smirked and slammed the menu into Devin's chest and fell back into the sea with a pleased smile on his face. The two teens laughed as Max walked off. Tawny was texting her dad, but they sat there talking about how Devin would one day be murdered by the waitress at Bunnee's and of course Devin hoped it would be by smothering. When Tawny's expression grew dour he asked her what was wrong she, frustrated, slammed her hand down on the table. "M'damn damn dad needs me to help him on the ranch for a bit. I swear, I can't get one day to myself." "I'll run you home," he offered, not seemingly irritated in the least that she had to go. "No big. Do what you have to and we can meet up at the fair later, or I'll come get you again." Tawny shook her head in irritation. "Naw, he's coming to get me. He was over at the feed store, so he said he'd just come by and get me. I appreciate it though. I can't keep asking you to drive all over creation to chauffeur me around, it's kinda selfish." "Tee, it's cool," he looked at her, shaking his hand as if to ask her to shake away her thinking like that. "Really, I like riding and it's no trouble at all. It's not like I have fuck all else to do in this place. You're the only person I hang out with, anyway. Do what you have to, and when you're done just-" The blaring of a truck horn announced to Tawny that her dad had arrived. Devin pursed his lips and nodded his head. Tawny just laughed at his expression. "I'll text later, kay? Don't get in trouble, and," she looked over to the booth not far from them where Sean and Bannon were sitting. "Don't you dare pick on that Cassidy kid, or Jason. I'm serious, Devin. Leave them be. They're good people, got problms of their own and you need to quit adding to them. See ya at the fair!" She jumped up and ran out of Bunnee's leaving Devin to sit there and flip through his menu.
  20. 1 point
    "One ounce each, max." the lanky teen stated flatly, his face as stony as his tone. "You're not my only customers and at the moment my supply is limited. I can go an ounce of tobacco too - the nice mellow shit, air cured, no additives." He and the two teens he was addressing, soon to be seniors at Shelly High, were currently hanging out across the street from Bunnee's, lounging on a bench as they appeared to speak idly to one another. “Sure, man.” One of the seniors, a football player called Kieran, nodded agreeably along with his cohort. “What about the – uh – party favors?” It might come as a heart-stopping shock to most of those who sorta kinda knew him, but he didn't hate the fair. Okay, so Jason Bannon disliked the crowds, the people, the disruption, the noise, the people, the livestock fixation and above all the people. But the stall food was okay, the carnival atmosphere was somewhat contagious, and unlike most of his contemporaries he wouldn't have his arm twisted to attend. He could leave whenever he wished to - in fact he didn't even really need to go at all. But it was good for business. Very good. “Sorry, man. I’m out of fireworks.” He said without much of apology in his voice. Last time he’d sold firecrackers to Kieran, the moron had gotten drunk and high then set them off at a post-game celebration last season, nearly injuring bystanders. Luckily the team had not shopped Kieran to the faculty or cops, but Jase was in no mood to rely on the high school code of honour. If someone had gotten hurt, Kieran would have been caught, would have squealed, and then Bannon would be neck deep in shit. No, he had decided not to sell homemade fireworks any more, which was a pity, as he loved making them. But those were the breaks. He sold weed, tobacco and other various ‘consumables’ to the bored youth of Shelly, and that for now was enough of a sideline. “Leave the money in the dead drop and then check it in two days.” He reminded the two as he stood. His dead drop system was how he preferred to deal with most of his customer base. Each small group or individual had a drop around town that was for them and them alone. Bannon checked the drops regularly to make sure they were still feasible, and made changes if necessary. A person could leave a note with an order along with the money, or else contact Bannon directly such as these two had done, and then (if the order was accepted) within 48 hours the money would be gone and whatever substance was their vice would be in its place. He never exchanged money for drugs hand to hand except in the most extreme of circumstances, not since he’d first gotten started. He’d gotten the idea from reading about spycraft and adapting the scheme, and so far it was working like a charm. Occasionally he’d get someone who didn’t want to go to such lengths and demanded special treatment, but his response was as unyielding as the bedrock. He was not going to get caught just because some asshat was impatient or stupid. He didn’t need customers so badly he’d risk that. Leaving the two older boys on the bench, he strode across the street with his hands in his pockets, a rangy figure in slightly too-large clothes and tousled dark hair, only looking up from his slouch to ensure he wasn’t going to get hit by traffic, his mouth a thin humourless line under hooded eyes. He entered the cooler interior of Bunnee’s and glanced around, seeing the familiar mop of red hair seated near the jukebox. “Sean.” He said as he slid into the seat across from the gamesmaster, hazel eyes meeting Sean’s before dropping to the menu as he picked it up and studied it. Sean was used to Bannon-speak by now – this was what other Earthlings would refer to as a ‘casual friendly greeting’. Jase rarely met someone’s eyes for longer than a glance unless he was angry or studying them like a bug under a microscope, both of which were disquieting. “One of those for me too.” He said to Max with a jab of his thumb at Sean’s drink and a glance her way as the waitress came over. “And a coffee. And a blue-cheeseburger with sweet potato fries.” He gave her a slight smile as he handed her the menu. “Thanks.”
  21. 1 point
    THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR Dominique held out a hand toward the box, but never came close to touching it, but wanting to verify what it was. She could feel the dark magic, the same she had felt just minutes before, emanating from the contents of the box and nodded. "That's more of them." she said flatly. "I knew either you or Mr. Walker hand them since you both arrived at the same time." she added. Dominique twirled the shot glass on the table as she let out a small sigh, looking at the box and considering things. "Here's the thing. The rest of you look at 'em bones an' see an item of power, or a weapon, or whatever. And that is what they seem to be, so no judgement from me 'bout that. But they are items of dark magic... very bad juju that one does consider usin' lightly." she said reassuringly, holding up a hand in a 'calm down' gesture to cut off anybody who might have seemed slighted. The young, beautiful black woman continued after giving a moment to make sure nobody was getting upset, twisting her head to the right and then left, to whip her dreads over her shoulder and behind, careful not to hit anybody. "But that's not all they are. As a witch, I look at 'em an' see the bones of a fellow witch, one that was never laid to rest, never allowed to return to the earth. She met a horrible end, one that nobody should face, an' now for over four centuries this woman's spirit has endured, her curse an' hatred and the time of her death fuelin' 'em bones with a dark magic. She deserves her peace. So, if we agree to work together to stop her, an' survive, then when it's all said an' done, I'd like to do just that... put her at peace and be rid of this dark magic. I hope the rest of you can agree." she explained, leaving it at that. She took in a deep sigh and let it out, shifting her thought a bit to the more direct matters hand. "Now, I am not sure how these came to be in your possession..." she said, looking to Dan and Colby, "..but I can tell a few things. However... novel... it may be to keep the bones of the dead in a small tin box, it's not particularly safe. So I can only imagine that they were kept stored away. If you have a few minutes, I can make somethin' that is not only a bit more respectful of the dead, but can also help protect the bearer from the bad juju radiatin' from 'em bones." she offered to Dan. "Oh. And I know where most, if not all, of the rest of the bones are too." she tossed in almost as an afterthought. "So a few things." Dominue said as she pulled out her phone and typed out a text to Darrik one handed as she spoke. Text to Darrik: "I'm not sure of the exact nature of Marko's curse, but judgin' by what he said earlier, I think it is workin' in our favor for the time bein'. Unfortunately, I'd bet that she had 'em cursed in the first place, knowing he would come back here and that, for whatever reason, would bring out the twins, maybe to help him? Anyways, if she had 'em cursed, she might be able to have it broken too. And that would be bad." Dominique turned to face Colby more fully, letting him take her in, in all her beauty and resemblance to her grandmother at the same age, and asked, "So Mr. Walker... Colby... Do you know anythin' about the ritual that was foiled last night or of a witch called 'Mother Walters'?"
  22. 1 point
  23. 1 point
    "CUR?!" The huge Aesir turned towards Freya, plainly bridling at the insult, the ire in his blue gaze increasing as he laid eyes on her. He spat at her feet, booming invective in his native tongue. "Fegh! Only a piss-reeking ginger slattern would confuse a man with a dog. Tis no wonder, though. All know how much the women of the Vanir like to lay with beasts!" For a moment, the ship, crew and (for Eingar) the girl who was his prize were forgotten, washed away by the savage enmity as old as Nordheim. For even as the Picts and Cimmerians hated one another with a deep loathing, so too did the Aesir of Asgard and the Vanir of Vanaheim war with one another gleefully. It is truly said that man hates most those with whom he shares most in common, and that enmity between neighbours can far outstrip rivalries between distant foes for sheer spite. Freya and Eingar glowered at one another, hands tightening on the hafts of their respective weapons as the ship's crew looked on in bemusement. Finally, the master's voice cut through their confusion. "Aiiee, scum! Kill both these savages - a purse for each of their heads!" With that the spell was broken, and with roaring cries the crew of the ship rushed along the pier at the two northerners. To be met with a furious gale of steel and woe, for the interruption of the pair's hostility was possibly the worst tactical blunder any man could make. Had the ship's master left things alone, the two Nordheimir would have torn one another apart, leaving the survivor likely wounded and thus easier game. Instead, just as a tall tree draws the lightning, so too did the reckless charge of the southern sailors provide a focus point for the pair's aggression. Freya spun on one heel, lopping off an upraised arm from one sailor before cleaving open the breastbone of another. Eingar was less graceful, but no less effective as the boss of his shield caved in the face of one man, even as the weighty stone head of his hammer carried through an upward arc, driving the shattered remnants of another luckless man's jaw through what was left of his brain. Another man, armed with a boathook, tried to snag Freya's arm with the cruel gaff, only to have the returning downward plunge of the hammer flatten his head like an overripe orange. Eingar began to sing lustily in his native tongue as he fought, the thunder of his voice ringing in the ears of all nearby. In a matter of heartbeats, the wooden decking of the quay was awash in blood and worse, and the two Nordheimir showed little sign of stopping as they carved and smashed their way towards the boat's gangplank. Red and gold hair flying, faces alight with the thrill of battle, and with their weapons and clothing splashed with gore, Freya and Eingar were a terrifying sight to behold even if one were an uninvolved bystander. For the hapless sailors in their path, the gods alone know what they felt, though several of those quicker on the uptake than their fellows began to jump into the harbour rather than stand their ground.
  24. 1 point
    He let her have it. The fit, the tantrum, the pounding on his chest. What was he going to say, to do? She was right after all, everything he did was hurful in someway to the Irregulars and he kept it all a secret because he knew that if they knew the truth, they'd not act in a manner according to their true character. He needed them to hurt, to be angry, to be distrustful and paranoid that the big bad Jaunt monster could teleport in anywhere, ruin their lives, and there was nothing they could do to stop him. They needed to believe so their reactions and actions would be real. "I know, Lils," he said quietly. There was nothin in his voice but caring and genuine remorse. His voice almost didn't sound like his own, she'd never heard him so honest. "I know it hurt, and I'm sorry. I had to though, I needed you guys to believe it. Had I told you the plan, you guys wouldn't have acted natural, I needed your reactions genuine if I was going to lure out Pandora and her cronies." "You're dad? That wasn't my idea, hon. That was his," he admitted, taking a step closer to her wrapping his arms around her as the emotions in her refused to relent. "He volunteered to help me, he trusted me Lilly, and can't joke when I say I was shocked. He thought it was a sound plan, so we faked his death, he donned the suit I designed and became Agent Twelve. Neither of us wanted to hurt you Lilly, but your dad, he's married to military. He would do anything to make sure you and the people of Earth were kept safe, even it meant having to break your heart, of only for a little while." It was no secret the animosity General Pryor held for Jaunt and in turn Jaunt held for, well, anyone in a position of authority, but now, in this moment, she could almost hear what was admiration in his tone. Devin finally 'got it', he understood why the General was the way he was and why did the things he did. He did them because they needed to be done. It wasn't self-righteous posturing or a need to wave his authority around. He had a daughter, and super powers or not he'd face down titans, fly into the son or even rewrite the cosmos if that's what it took to keep his little girl safe. He never thought he'd be able to work with the guy, given the way the vocally and open seemed to hate each other, but the conversations they had, the things he'd talk to Devin about... he never knew the old man was so... cool. "S'okay, Lills," he held her close, his voice low. "S'okay. I know, and I'm sorry." He tightened his grip, holding closer and with more care. "All I can say is 'I'm sorry'. Take all the time you need, I got you. It's just us."
  25. 1 point
    Lilly shook her head and backed up, outstretching an arm to keep him at bay as she backed up several steps. She could feel all the emotions she had been burying deep down beginning to well up again, especially now that they were, more or less, alone. She clenched her fists and pulled her elbows to the side as she nearly keeled over, shut her eyes tightly and let out a scream that was a mix of emotions. Anger, frustration, and anguish dominated the scream which was over as quickly as it had begin. She opened her eyes and looked at him once more, her eyes ever so slightly squinting and brow furrowed with hurt. "What the fuck dude?! Why'd you do that to us?" she asked, with the same hurt evident in her voice as she closed her eyes tightly again. "To me...?" she added, opening her eyes again to look right in Devin's, her black pupils reflecting the image of the Earth blow like a mirror... which began to sparkle and become distorted as tears began to well up in them. "I DID keep my faith in you... you.. you... ass! I kept saying that you couldn't have gone bad. That it had to be Pandora's mental control, or an impostor or anything except you going bad, because I KNEW that you couldn't have gone bad like that... I fucking KNEW IT!" she nearly yelled at him, the hurt slowly melding with her anger once again as she walked back up to him. "Do you have ANY fucking idea what that was like?! To watch you murdering my father, you asshole?" she said as she balled her fists and began to hammer fist Devin's chest with both fists, yet despite the prodigious strength she was known for, she hit him now harder that she would have if were 'dormed', showing the control and care she demonstrated with her powers, even when in such a state. The pummeling on his chest was more an act of frustration pent up for months than anything else, letting her vent it, at least to some degree, on him. "Even then I was STILL saying that it couldn't be you or you were mind controlled or... fucking... whatever!" she snarled in frustration and anguish, finding it hard to find her words at the end as she stared into his eyes, doing her best to blink back her tears.
  26. 1 point
    So we don't end up with a million posts just to walk through a door, please assume that the twins are following along with whatever the party consensus is. They're there to save the city, so they won't be hanging back and doing nothing. I just wanna avoid taking up time with 'they walk through the door', 'they look for clues', and relatively unnecessary actions that should be a given. Unless specifically addressed, assume they're with the party and 'toeing the line'. If it comes to an RP event or an action scene I'll step up for them.
  27. 1 point
    “Hello, ladies, I’m Jessica and I’m guessing we are all here for the same thing?” Hex looked over at Jessica and gave her a thumbs-up. "Free drinks for ladies in the lounge? Hell yes we are." As Dr. Psypher came jogging over in his glowy tech-armor Hex added, "Hey look, a penis. That's new."
  28. 1 point
    THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (at the bar) Dominique downed her shoot and shrugged. "Probably because they're not 'in on it', as you put it." she said nonchalantly. "This is mine and Darrki's place." she added, nodding to her partner with a glance, noting the woman now speaking to him, who stood out like a sore thumb. She smiled as a thought crossed her mind and shrugged again, turning back to Cara. "Anyways. He seems a bit... preoccupied... at the moment. But anyways..." she said and offered her hand. "Dominique de la Croix. I'm from one of the oldest lines of Hoodoo practitioners in New Orleans, if not the New World, for that matter, so I think I fit your bill." she explained as she closed her eyes for a second and muttered something, only to open them once again and give Cara a more noticeable once over. "So what's the problem? Restless spirits? A bad hex? Help with some revenge?" Dominique asked and poured two more shots. "Or does this have something to do with the fiasco last night that somehow spilled into my club this morning?"
  29. 1 point
    "All right. One last time. From the top." "I'm private investigator. I investigate things. Privately. Three days ago I took a job from a client asking me to investigate the disappearance of Harold Trent and his daughter Juniper. I did some digging. Turns out Harold is an immigrant who took a new name when he naturalized. Used to be Herrod Teshne. Old guy, old money...I'm thinking maybe the daughter wanted a pre-emptive inheritance then skipped with the money, but...yeah, you see it...she didn't inherit because she disappeared too. So I nosed around some more...starting with that inheritance. You gotta figure when an old rich guy vanishes, nine times out of nine it's about the money. His estate's still in probate obviously, but there was a funny thing. A work order for moving a couple of containers from their original storage unit to a new one. Containers were shown as 'sundries' on the manifest, which...doesn't help much. But since the new location was owned by someone else, I figured it was worth taking a closer look." Triessa hadn't smoked in years, but she found the familiar old craving right where she'd left it, gnawing on her brainstem contentedly. It would give her something to do with her hands, for one...and give her an excuse to pause and think about what to say next. "That's where the warehouse comes in. Or, I mean, that's where I come into the warehouse. I saw the shipping crate there, roughly in the middle with a big cleared out space around it. Three guys in turtlenecks...big guys, I'm going to guess ex-military mercenaries but I haven't exactly had a chance to follow up yet." She jingled her wrists, currently chained to the table, to emphasize the point. "Anyway, they were arguing about something while one of them fussed around with the crate. I couldn't see from where I was, so I started getting in closer and...gunfire." Triessa shook her head. "I thought I was dead, you know? All I could think was that you can't feel the gunshot at first. I was looking down at myself, then more shots, and I finally smartened the fuck up and dropped. And it's a damn good thing I did, because a few seconds after that..." With an exhaled 'kapssshhhhhhhhhh' noise she splayed her fingers to simulate the explosion. "Next thing I know, I'm waking up with a headache, tinnitus, and cops shouting at me to show my hands out where they can see them." The detective, she hadn't caught his name, was staring at her across the table with his slightly too-round eyes and his slightly sunken cheeks. "And that's all," he said flatly. "That's all I got," Triessa sighed. "I didn't see the shooters, or what caused the explosion. If I had to guess, maybe they were rigging charges to blow the crate and someone hit the stockpile..." "Don't guess," the interrogator cut her off, "You're not an investigator here. You're a suspect." "Jesus fuck, man, what do you think is going on here?" Triessa demanded. "I lugged a half pound of C-4 or something all the way across town to a random warehouse I have no connection to just to blow half of it up and set the other half on fire? While I'm in it?" Now the detective emoted, a little. He smiled a thin, annoyed smile. "Well that's the difference between us. You think and you guess, but me? I prefer facts. The fact is that I don't know what's going on, but I do know you're not telling me everything. So, lets start with who your goddamn cli..." There was a knock on the door to the interrogation room. A sharp rap, three times. A cop-knock. The detective sat back, still staring at Triessa. At the second knock he stood up and went to the door, then stepped outside. She couldn't hear the conversation that was going on outside, but figured it probably had something to do with her not having been officially charged with anything yet. Which could be good...or it could be a precusor to being charged, which would not be good. A few minutes later a detective came back in. Not the one who'd left though. Triessa sat up, startled but relieved to see a friendly face. Malcolm. After a second she felt unease creeping back in. His face wasn't that friendly right now. "Hey," she said, trying to keep her voice and attitude light and unconcerned. "Didn't think you'd be taking the case." "I'm not," Malcolm replied tersely. "What I'm doing is potentially putting my neck on a chopping block, so I'd like some goddamn answers from you." Triessa looked away, unable to meet that intense stare. "Harold Trent had some containers stored there, but that's not who you were tracking," Malcolm said, as if stating a known fact. "Tell me. I want to hear it from you." She rubbed her mouth with a couple of fingers, then said, "It was my dad. The container they were trying to get into was dad's." "Mercenaries? Gunfire?" Triessa fell silent for a long moment, then said, "Not mercenaries. Not guns. There was...resistance. A lot of it, actually... Things got a bit heated. And then..." "...and then half the fucking warehouse got exploded," he finished, his voice hard and sharp as a sword's edge. "What the fuck, Triessa?" It was finally too much. Triessa looked back at Malcolm and met his anger with her own. "I KNOW, okay?! It was NOT my fault. It wasn't human beings guarding the place, that's why there weren't any bodies. Whoever set it up was into some dark-ass shit, and I was fighting for my life. It wasn't my spell that blew the place up!" Malcolm narrowed his eyes. "But it wouldn't have blown up if you hadn't showed up. If you hadn't tried to fight them off instead of just getting the fuck out." "They HAD something! Something I could have used to track them, or at least get some answers! You think I'm walking away from that?" "Yeah, Tri. I do." Malcolm's face and voice calmed, but stayed firm...every bit the man who'd been there for Triessa and done his best to guide her when she was young and struggling to cope with the loss of her parents. "This is what people like me are for." "The police?" Triessa demanded, "come on, you don't have department mystics. You don't have the knowledge, or the resources, or the...the..." "Oh yeah? And how'd you do?" Hm? Did you get the container? Open it? No. You got it blown up. You got yourself in a whole heap of trouble, and you're risking your freedom and my career." Malcolm sighed and turned away, walking a few steps back towards the door. "I'm going to smooth this over. It's going to cost me, but I can pay it. In return, you have to promise me that Triessa is not going to follow up on this and keep pushing." She tried to stand up, but the chains anchoring her to the table caught her halfway up. "Are you kid..." "...if someone else wants to push and push and fuck things up for themselves, I can't stop them," Malcolm went on, as if he hadn't heard her. "But see to it that Triessa keeps her nose clean. No fighting monsters or mercenaries or whatever, no blowing anything up. I'm not going to be able to do this again. Are we clear?" Triessa paused then, frowning. Was he saying what she thought he was saying? Someone else. Someone not Triessa. Someone who didn't look, or sound or go by the name of Triessa. Someone who's actions wouldn't be connected to hers, at least not easily. Jesus, why didn't she think of that sooner? "Yeah," she said softly. "We're clear." I'm not wearing spandex though. Fuck that noise. Malcolm had his back to her, and he hadn't a drop of magic or psychic potential, but she could feel him knowing what she was thinking, and knew he had a big smile on his face as he walked out of the interrogation room. Goddamnit. That was another one she owed him.
  30. 1 point
    Most people probably didn't think about walking. Start with both feet planted. Lift one while leaning slightly forward. Catch yourself on your heel. Settle back onto both feet. Rinse and repeat until you got where you were going, adjusting for friction, gait, and footwear. Most probably weren't born with the ability to determine their position in three dimensions with just a thought though. If the word 'born' really applied to her, since most people were made up of more than 15% human tissue by weight. The Professor had told the young woman known as Mega Girl aka 'Alison' that trivia over a surgery, tone amused as he replaced a servo in her arm with a nearly identical servo, fully conscious and paralyzed. He had always enjoyed the efficiency of multitasking and if surgery time couldn't also be bonding time, what was the point? Alison was beginning to see how... twisted her creator truly was the longer she spent in the outside world. She walked from one wall to the other of her temporary cave home and back again, the chill of a Canadian winter blowing through the opening. Not that she felt the chill as anything other than notable information, putting one foot in front of the other, ever so careful to make sure that it at least looked like she was putting her weight on the appendage before lifting the next foot. It was all so precarious in her mind. Get it wrong even once and, bam, on your face. So tempting to skip the middleman and just go. But that wasn't an option, not if she wanted to play at being normal. Play. Another thing that had been just a word until she got away from him. Alison paused midpace, frowning deeply as a memory played unbidden and unpleasant across her mind's eye. Darkness and battle wreckage and courage uncertain and fear born of seeing her own face twisted in anger, her living reflection doing it's best to beat her down again and again and again, the result always uncertain between them. If she had gone back down for ANEI despite the fear, hoped that the power remained out, hoped that her sister could have seen past their desperate competition to avoid 'upgrades' and escaped with her... Maybe... Maybe... HOKORI suddenly wanted to punch the wall as hard she could, a choked scream escaping her lips. Wanted to, but didn't. No no no. She didn't need to bring the cave down on top of her and try to dig her stuff out of the rubble. Didn't have enough stuff to risk getting it smashed again. Forcing herself to suck in a deep breath out of rhythm, she focused on the positive, getting past the bittersweet truth that all the open sky she'd danced in, all the delicious foods she'd eaten, all the nice people she'd met, was... maybe... at the cost of leaving of the closest thing to family behind with their torturer creator. Alone. How screwed up was that? The world was nice, and it felt nice to keep it nice, to be 'Alison' instead of HOKORI, and put on a 'stupid looking' mask and cape over her usual hand-me-downs to go back to her own peculiar normal rather than the world's normal. Maybe... Maybe if she helped enough people... Maybe helping people extended to more back than food and clothes and useful trinkets... Enough strong people to save her when the Professor came... Enough strong people to help her try and undo her big maybe mistake... She had floated off the ground in her funk, and sucked in another breath, centering herself on the task at hand. She touched down, balanced her weight on two feet. Enough maybes. One foot in front of the other at time would get her there. It had to.
  31. 1 point
    A Day Unlike Any Other Jess pulled into the public parking area at the Fire-house where her dad was stationed and took an empty spot as close to where the engine bays were located. She sat there the jeep idling, absentmindedly rubbing her hand where the strange tattoo pulsed in time with her heartbeat. She should have been panicked, upset, but she wasn't. This thing the Starsign had chosen her, out of everyone on Earth. Her. But it hadn't told her why. It had made her a Marvel, one of the super-powered beings which where appearing more and more frequently in the wold. The Starsign an artifact/tool/weapon, imbued with a pseudo life-force, told her that it was her duty and destiny to master the the Starsign and use it's powers to protect and guide the Earth until it was ready to join the universal civilization. But she was only 20 years old how could she guide anything. Becoming a Marvel didn't scare her, in fact it was kind of exciting. But so many of them hid who they were and their actions while mostly for the good tended to sow suspicion and even fear. Jess knew that she couldn't do that, wouldn't wear a mask or hide in the shadows. If the Starsign was to be a symbol it would be a symbol that all could see and.... The knock on the door of the jeep startled her and she did give a little jump putting her hand out of sight she looked out at her father who was looking in. John Rhodes Jr. Stepped back as his daughter and only child opened the door and exited her muddy 4wd. That told him something right there, Jessica always cleaned her jeep as soon as she finished a trip so he knew that something was up her showing up at the station with a muddy Jeep. “Hi dad,” Jess said as she stepped into his welcoming hug. The embrace was so nice she felt the tension draining away. “Hi pumpkin. I was wondering when you would show up.” Jess leaned back and looked up a question in her eyes. “Bob, came in early this morning, to get something from his locker and talk to a couple of the other guys. He steadfastly avoided me and wouldn't even make eye contact. So I know you guys had gone up the mountain for the weekend and having him show I figured something had happened between you. I tried calling you but your phone kept going to voice mail. Any longer andwithout hearing from you and I'd have called the cops, and went and found Bob and beat it out of hi. So are you okay pumpkin?” John had placed his hands on his daughters muscular shoulders and gave her a fatherly smile. Jess gave a heavy and somewhat annoyed sigh, not at her dad but at Robert, she never used the diminutive nickname, a rookie firefighter and her boyfriend of six months, now former. “I'm fine dad, Robert and I broke up but that isn't why I'm here. Dad I need to show you something....” At that very moment the stations alarm blared and the controlled chaos that was a working fire station exploded to life. It looked like chaos as the men and women of Kingston Hose Co. #3 raced to and fro but it wasn't, each of these highly trained and dedicated firefighters knew their jobs and what was expected of them. Jessica stayed where she was for maybe three seconds as her dad quickly hugged her again gave her a quick kiss on the forehead and with a hasty “Gotta go!', raced off. Jessica watched as her father and the other fire fighter she knew and had worked with over the summer prepared to put their lives on the line again. After those seconds tick by she shrugged off her jacket and reached into the back of the Jeep where she carried her own personal response gear. She wasn't one to simply sit by and wait while others put their own safety at risk. As she ran to the large truck bays she saw her dad and the station chief and a couple of others in deep conversation “Multiple vehicle accident on the interstate, including an over turned tanker transporting hazardous material placard reading 5.2 still working on the exact contents. Ulster dept. is working two house fires and won't be responding East Kingston will have a truck on the way in 15, so we are it I want to roll in five,” said the chief. “Chief,” one of the Firemen also named John, spoke up, “we are short EMS for first response, looks like 45 minutes before any of them can break free.” “Shit,” barked the chief looking around. Jessica's dad was looking around too and saw her standing off to the side out of the way. He grimaced and the chief saw where and who he was looking at. “Rhodes,” he shouted and not at her father. “Grab a fire coat and sign in You ride with rescue.” He turned to John Rhodes and grabbed his arm. “She can stay in the truck unless we need her. It's not like she hasn't done it before.” Jessica called an affirmative but the others had already moved on except her dad who gave her a worried look. While she had often times worked sort of with her mother when they transported a patient to the emergency room, Fire Department policy kept immediate family members from working the same stations so the two of them had never actually been on a call before. She gave him a smile and a thumbs up then ran to the lockers and grabbed a spare coat and helmet before signing in and climbing into the Rescue truck. Sirens blaring the station emptied and men and women raced to save lives. Far above the Earth where the highest satellites orbited, a sphere of green reflective metal some 20 meters across popped out of hyperspace. The Nok, a Sindilian Gangster of no mean reputation, glared with his skeletal features at the small blue green planet below. The sight made him want to retch. This was not the sort of world he would normally care to visit but his ship had alerted him to a very rare occurrence. The Tr i-dimensional Transverteron scanner had detected a signal that, while it could not decipher the contents, had been identified with a 98% accuracy to be a Starsign activation transmission. Those in the know knew what that meant and The Nok was certainly someone in the know. The signal had originated here all he had to do was pin point it and then... The Nok turned its skeletal head and it glowing crimson eyes gazed with adoration at a plaque attached to the wall of his control room his chuckle sounded like a death rattle. Attached to the plaque were 4 broken shattered starsigns just like the one that had chosen Jessica Rhodes, with room for more. There were seven vehicles, including the tanker truck, Jessica could see as the rescue truck pulled into it's usual position. She immediately jumped out, ignoring what the chief had told her about staying put until she was called. The police and state troopers had beaten hem there and closed both sides of the interstate and set a good perimeter about 500 feet back from the immediate area of the accident. While the firefighter went about setting up to put out any fires Jessica took her medical bag and headed to where a small group of cops were gathered with several civilians sitting or lying on the ground. She counted eight persons on the ground two who were lying still, those sitting were brused and had what looked like superficial injuries. “Is this all of them?” “No,” answered on state trooper, “we couldn't get the truck driver out until you take a look at him he isn't conscious and may have serious injuries, and the last guy is in the car wedged under the tanker. Can't get to him at all, he's conscious but incoherent.” While the trooper spoke, Jessica was examining the crash victims she concentrated on the two laying before her. Both very seriously injured with broken bones and internal injuries. Their chances of making it lessened every minute and there was no ambulance to transport them, she was all they had. She looked up at the trooper and noticed that he was only a little older than her and very handsome. She didn't have a lot of time especially with two more probably seriously injured waiting for her. “Alright Trooper, can you take the rest of these behind the safe zone while I see about rousing these two?” The trooper glanced at the wounded and back at the wreck. “Okay, but don't take long that tanker is carrying class four and that car under it is a Tesla.” With that grim announcment the trooper gathered up theose capable of walking and started leading them to the parimeter. Meanwhile Jessica now not being watched closely laid a hand on the nearst chest and one on their forehead and concentrated. She felt two pulses her heart and that of the injured man, as she concentrated she felt the two pulses become one pulse and saw that the symbol on her hand pulsed as well energy flowed from her through the symbol into the crash victim. Organs mended bones knit. The man breathed easier and his eyelids began to flutter. She didn't know the mechanics of what she did or really how she knew what to do except that the Starsign had told her, not with words or texts not even with instruction. But it had told her nonetheless, in a voice that wasn't a voice but sounded like everyone she had ever looked up to, had respected. The internal voice of a mentor. It was that voice that had imparted everything she knew about the Starsign, a voice that had left so much more unsaid yet to be learned. Jessica quickly repeated the process with the other wounded driver this one a woman. As soon as both were awake, if somewhat confused Jessica waved over another cop, and asked him to take these two to outside the perimeter as well. Then she headed toward the truck. Several of the firefighters including the chief na her father were close to where the car was wedged under the tanker. She headed up to the cab where with the assistance of the rescue truck driver, also and EMT, climbed on the the overturned cab. He had made an initial assessment. “Likely spinal injury as well as a skull fracture, We need to get him out but unless they can get that battery in the Tesla removed we are sitting on a bomb. And the chief wants us to fall back until an engineer who can advise on that gets here.” “These guys don't have time for that Terry, We have to get both of them out now.” Without waiting for a reply she jumped down and jogged the few yards to where the chief and the others where looking at the problem. She paused to look in to see if she could tell anything about the driver but all she could make out was the top of the mans head and that he was moving slightly and moaned as if he knew she was there. “Rhodes! What the hell are you doing I told you to stay with the rescue truck,” yelled the chief. Instead of yelling back Jess jogged the few yards to where they were standing away from the wreck. “Sorry chief but I couldn't help anyone from the cab of a truck.” “Yeah well no harm I guess.” He raised his arm and made a circling motion and Yelled. “Everyone back!” “Chief we can't leave these two they can't wait.” “Rhodes, these Tesla pieces of crap have been known to explode after a wreck with even the slightest nudge. We got an engineer on his way by chopper who can remove the battery Thirty minutes and we'll know what we can do.” “They don't have thirty minutes.” She looked at her dad, “Sorry dad, I really wanted to tell you about this but looks like I'll just have to show you along with everyone else.” John Rhodes was about to ask what she meant by those cryptic words when his daughter raised her hand in a fist in front of her chest and he saw what looked like a tattoo of some sort of star on the back of her hand. His daughter didn't have a tattoo or at least she didn't before this morning. Then he saw it pulsing. Jessica shut everything out except the Starsign, she concentrated focusing on the pulse and the Starsign opened up. An aura of nearly translucent energy cascaded around Jessica. It was black light and it was incandescent fire, it was every color and none. The eyes of those right there saw something their brains had difficulty quantifying and each mind assigned something different. This was the cosmic energy of the universe collected, manipulated, directed. The energy sleeve surrounded Jessic and flared. Her clothing looked like it was being eaten, consumed by the aura like acid sprayed onto a canvas, but in actuality it wasn't being destroyed it was merely being altered the molecules rearranged, leaving behind the deep red and black suit with the silver star field and hovering above her forehead like a tiar the physical manifestation of the Starsign for all to see. The suit and symbol that identified the wearer, throughout the galaxy and beyond, as one of the Chosen, a bearer of The Starsign. Jessica looked at her father and the firefighters, saw the shock and on some the awe of what they had witnessed. She smiled at her father. “I'll explain what I can after I get these two out of this predicament. Right now dad, chief pull everyone back just in case this doesn't work.” Know that if she gives them the chance they will start in with the questioning so she doesn't she turns and rises into the air as effortlessly as she walks up a set of stairs and flies to the cab of the truck. Terry stares wide eyed as she descends onto the cab beside him. “Terry get down and stand clear I'll get him into condition to be moved and hand him up to you.” Again she gave her shocked associate no time to dwell and dropped into the cab where she replayed the same healing actions she had done earlier. The drivers injuries were more extensive and she only did what she could to stabilize him for movement. The she kicked out the cracked windscreen and grasping the roof peeled the thin metal back folding it up like it was no more that a tent covering. Once the obstacle was cleared she picked him up and carried him to Terry and another firefighter had a stretcher staring “Get him to cover just in case this thing blows, he still needs care but he is out of immediate danger from his injuries.” “Your one them, a Marvel.” Terry said the awe rolling off of him. “Terry I'm still me and I still have one more to rescue. Get him to safety please. We will talk later.” “Right.” Terry shook himself, “Come on Dave lets do what she says.” and the hefted the stretcher and began a gentle trot toward safety. Once Terry left with the driver Jessica moved back to the Tesla looking in where the battery was clearly visible “Hope this works,” she mutters as she reaches in and grabs both terminals! The electricity flows into her but instead of electrocuting her the Starsign absorbs the energy draining the battery in moments. As soon as the electricity was gone Jessica rips the battery from the car and tosses it aside. There explosive Tesla threat averted, car was already a totaled so no big. She then began to tear the car apart becoming her own personal version of the jaws of life. Using her own strength enhanced by the Starsign she ripped off the panels and the door and then pulled the seat back to get access to the driver who was in and out of consciousness. She healed him and gently extracted him from the wreckage and under the eyes of all the police and firefighters, including her father. As well as a news crew that had arrived, she rose once more into the air to float to where the ambulances where just now arriving. She was greeted with cheers as she landed and immediately was surrounded and had a thousand questions thrown at her. High above the earth The Nok had not been idel he had already activated the spheres stealth systems rendering it all bu invisible and had settled in to prep his various weapons for the fight to come. Taking down a Starsign was an accomplishment of great skill and tenacity, and The Nok had 4 to his name. This would be his fifth and would tie him with the notorious Shef. Starsigns were dangerous, even a newly minted one would be able to wield immense powers. So He had to act fast. As soon as the hero activated a power he would know it and where it was and then he would attack. This was a primitive civilization from what he could see so there was a good chance the Starsign would be completely surprised and have no idea how to fight advanced technology. As Nok finishes charging a double barreled disintegrator the detector sounded off again. He glanced at the read out he had the location of the Starsighn and soon he would have a fifth symbol for his plaque and the glory that went with it. Jessica did her best to answer questions and calm everyone down “I'll answer all your questions at an appropriate time right now we have to let the police and firefighters finish there jobs and these people have to be taken to the hospital!” But no one was listening they crowded her and she was still trying to gain control of the crowd when the sky erupted. A beam of green coruscating light flashed from the sky and connected to the ground about fifty yards away with a thunderous crash, it sizzled and flashed for several seconds before the beam withdrew back into the sky like a straw being pulled into the heavens bay an angry god, leaving a smocking crater with a bluish green mound in it's center. Slowly the mound began to unfold revealing a bipedal creature clad in metallic robe with a horribly archaic helmet on it's inhuman skill like head. The Nok had arrived. The crowd stared and Jessica pushed her way out of the press to stand in the open facing The Nok, she raised her hands shoulder high, hands open palms out ward in a gesture of peace and to show she was unarmed. “We mean you know harm...” The Nok raised it's weapon and fired, twin beams, negative and positively charged, struck Jessica squarely in the chest the energy enveloping her knocking her back into the crowd which scattered and ran all except the law enforcement members who drew guns and opened fired on the Nok. The thunder and smoke of gunfire filled the interstate as Jessica sat up tendrils of smoke rising from her unmarred suit. Her hands emitting cosmic energy which pulsed and crackled. John Rhodes had been rushing to his daughter side when she sat up he skidded to a stop. And went to his knee beside her and helped her stand. “What is that thing?” He wasn't sure if he was asking about the Starsign or the creature attacking them. “I don't know dad, I'll ask it after I kick its ass!” She steeped away from her father and raised her glowing hands and unleashed a cosmic blast at the intruder. Bullets whizzed by The Nok most missing, as the panicked police unloaded their fire arms, but a few hitting the monstrous being only to be tossed aside by some sort of force-filed the creature had. Laughing The Nok raised it's weapon and unleashed a fusillade of beams at the puny humans pestering it. Obliterating them had not been it's purpose there was little amusement in that instead his fire was meant to send them running in fear and confusion. It work now to collect his prize. He turned toward where the Chosen's body or what was left of it should be only to see the cosmic beam cross the distance and slam into his force-field with a crack with slit the sky and hurled him backwards. It still lived! “Get out of here dad let me handle this!” Jessica shouted as she launched herself into the air following her beams toward the evil (he had to be evil right?) Marvel. The Nok rolled to his feet and seeing The Starsign let off several shots in her direction before dropping the disintegrator and pulling out two molecular blades. Starsign dodged both blasts and slammed into The Nok who met her with flashing blades. The two spun and struck and dodge and parried with an occasion energy blast thrown in the exchange lasted several seconds and many blows and counter blows. The Nok was unsure of himself this Starsign was too powerful for newly chosen but it was a terrible fighter and didn't show much imagination but damn it was tough. With a flick of his wrist he threw one of his blades at the only other target in range the older human male that had run to the Starsigns aid. Jessica saw the razor like knife spinning toward her father and abandoning the villain blasted after it before it cut into her dad. She easily did this interposing herself between the blade and her father. Then with a scowl shouted, “Lets finish this!” And flew at him again putting all her might into her flight. The Nok had expected this and had acted appropriately after he had thrown his blade he had overloaded his Force field and set it to 500% drawn a blaster sidearm and as she flew toward him raised the deadly pistol. “Lets,” he hissed back at her. And shot the tanker. The explosion rocked the area rattling windows up to ten miles away, All of the cars added to the blast everyone was knocked to the ground blood flowed from ears and noses from the blast pressure but there were no fatalities among the humans which had been at least fifty yards away. All except one. Johnathon Rhodes Jr., Jessica's father, Fireman, husband, war-hero. Was bodily picked up and hurled some fifty feet by the blast where when he struck the ground he rolled limp and motionless his firefighting gear and most of his clothing blown or burned off. Jessica was knocked out of the air and while her power absorbed a lot of the blast directed at her not all of it had been taken in she landed near her father. Pain flowed through her she had broken bones and internal injuries but she felt the power of the Starsign still flowing and while her suit was torn and ren it's metallic sheen tarnished by the soot of the smoke her hands still pulsed with the power cosmic.. she opened her eyes and lay there a second then she turned her head and saw her father his eye staring at her empty, lifeless. Her breath caught her chest ached and felt like it would burst, she closed her eyes tight and opened them willing them to see something different but all she saw was her father. Dead. She screamed. The Nok had been standing next to the truck but the force-field had been turned to 500% and all that had happened to him was that his vision had been obscured by the flames as the heat and energy cascaded off of his protection and flowed away leaving him standing unharmed. As the flames cleared he knew that he was victorious there was no way a new Starsign could have survived that and even if it had it would be so badly damage he could finish it with his boot. The last thing he expected to see was the Starsign floating in front of him not two feet away. With a scream of anguish, rage, and pain Jessica flew at the alien killer and with both hands glowing with incandescent cosmic power brought them around with a mighty double fisted hammer blow at the same time unleashing the remaining cosmic energy she had absorbed from the blast. The Nok, had made a terrible tactical error. He hadn't taken the time to assess his target, didn't realize the this Starsign had an indomitable will far beyond that of any mere newly chosen she had a will that rivaled the oldest masters. The Starsign had chosen well. The Nok's force shield flared but it had already been over loaded and the blow and cosmic blast shredded it and sent the alien trophy hunter flying where it landed it wounded, unconscious, dying. Jessica landed by him and while she could have let him die and no one would have blamed her, she would have so she stabilized him, stripped off anything that even slightly resembled a weapon or technology and bound him with pieces of metal taken from the wreckage of the cars that had been destroy. She flew him back to the police and cautioned them then handed him over. Then she went to her father. She landed a few feet away and was astonished to find Terry and the Chief there doing CPR! He was alive! Jessica let the Starsign go and once again clad in the clothes she had been wearing before knelt to help Her own injuries and the exertions had let her drained and all she could do was stabilize him and ride with him to the hospital where her mom was waiting for them.
  32. 1 point
    This shit's going out on WorldStar!
  33. 1 point
    When you describe something or someone whose attraction goes beyond mortal description, you can combine uncomfortable concepts and add adjectives where they do not belong, for example. Consider this: "Skirting the edges between human and classic work of art, this person's appearance both recalls and redefines the old masters' paintings and statuary. Free of blemishes, injury or any sign of having been alive at any point, this person is painfully symmetrical. Like butterflies in your stomach, or at the edge of your mind, you are assaulted by conflicting emotions between lust, hatred and greed. This person's every move causes the world to slow down ever so slightly, as if it sat up and took notice. When this person speaks, the words seem to flow out of reality itself, like an addictive honey. Horrible thoughts spark deep in your gut, as if this person's injury or death would bring forward terrible retribution from the fabric of existence that they move in." Or this: "This person's face is like a blur, a veil drawn across something that is a gash in existence. Seeing it would mean instant death, a heart stopped by just being a witness to a secret no one was meant to know. Even looking from the corner of your eye, little remains in your memory save a hint of something crustacean, ophidean and simian, all at once. Organs functioning like eyes, ears and mouth should be placed upon this molten canvas, and yet whatever holds their place is unlikely to also hold their familiar function. When it opens its mouth to speak, your heart skips a beat, as if steeling yourself against a fear most primordeal." Describing impossibly ugly or beautiful becomes close to absurdist comedy, at some point.
  34. 1 point
    Devin held Lilly tight and far longer than a simple bond of friendship would hint. Each of the Irregulars specialized in something, Abel was smart, Sean was pretty, Lilly strong... for Devin, his perceptive abilities were unmatched. Through smoke and dust and debris he could still smell Lilly's shampoo and the hint of every product every woman used to make herself smell as pretty as she looked. He could hear her heart, the way it slowed and calmed as she held him. The difference in her breathing and slight whimper in her throat as the joy washed over her at the sight of her 'friend'. Scientifically, it was exactly what love smelled, looked, and sounded like. "Lilly," he held her tight. He inhaled and fought back a rush of his own emotions rising to the surface. "Oh, god... I missed you, girl," he smiled at her, using a finger to brush a few hairs from her eyes. "That Emperor... oh... well, Abel can apologize for misleading me later... I accept PayPal." Abel's glare offered a thousand insults telepathy could never have conveyed properly. When Sean approached they loosened their hold on each other and listened. "Cognizance," he corrected. "C'mon big brain, if I gotta make you write it on the wet board a thousand times, I will." He took a few steps away from Lilly, though it was obvious he didn't want to. "Well, you guys have work to do, get to it," he sighed and offered his hand to Abel. "Sorry I hit, bro. Sincerely, I'm sorry. I'm on edge, I over reacted and frankly you and Sean scare the shit out of me sometimes. Still, it doesn't excuse my hitting you." Abel waited for it. "Won't lie, it did feel pretty good." Jaunt added with a laugh. "Almost arousing... but that coulda been Lilly's new padding in front," he clicked his tongue and winked at her chest. "Didn't think we'd notice, but we did. Hello, ladies." "There it is..." Abel knew Jaunt couldn't offer a serious apology, whether he meant it or not. "What? C'mon, I'm serious. I am sorry." He offered his hand again.
  35. 1 point
    It was chaotic with a group of people so big in such a panic. As Jaunt teleported around, Lilly seemed to be everywhere he went, trying to calm or herd people. shielding other with her own body, taking down the terrorists, leaping away with the bombs and so forth, doing everything she could to protect life. It did not take long for Jaunt to realize that the size of the Vanguard had grown considerably, now numbering in the dozens. Unlike the other Irregulars (when they finally arrived) all of the Lillys where wear the same, mundane, semi-formal dress which, in some cases, was a little worse for wear, revealing the PAM suit underneath, it's current design clearly inspired by the suits worn by Captain American and Captain marvel in the movies, though her was sleeveless at the moment and only extended down her legs to above the knee, keeping it mostly concealed beneath the dress. Lilly did not wear her PAM suit all the time like most, if not all, of the other Irregulars. preferring to wear regular clothing as much as possible and generally only donning the PAM suit when preparing for battle. It was just another thing she did to remain 'human'. More recently though Abel had managed to convince her to keep it close, since they never knew when she would need it, so as a compromise, Lilly had relented and told Abel that she would, at the very least. change the PAM suit into just a single part of her outfit while wear mostly mundane clothing, thereby keeping it on-hand if needed while still keeping the experience of mundane clothing, a compromise she was thankful for at the moment. When things had calmed the Irregulars had mostly come together, though Jaunt's striking of Abel and his little tirade caught Lilly off guard. In a flash a Lilly was helping up Abel and make sure he was okay while Lilly herself moved between Abel and Jaunt and gave the latter a 'brainduster' slap to the back of the head. "The Emperor of Japan, dumbass." Lilly said. "Like the Queen of England, Japan still has a figurehead monarch." she reminded him with arms crossed beneath her breasts. Lilly then dropped her arms and lunged forward, causing Jaunt to tense for just a split second, preparing to teleport away as she wrapped her arms around him, giving Devin a tight hug. "I'm so glad you are okay." she said, hugging him tighter and resting her head on his shoulder. "We were so worried..." she nearly whispered, her voice trailing off, pushing away her fears of Devin's possible fate now that he was here, seemingly alive and well, back to his old, joking self, even if a little ticked off at Abel at the moment, which, to be honest, was also pretty normal for him.
  36. 1 point
    Nadya stalked through the hallways of Salem High, still bristling in the aftermath of her encounter with Niles. She writhed in fury and shame and not a little terror at having her mind taken from her, hate at what had been done to her, thought the hate at Niles was beginning to fade, despite her wants. There just hadn't been anything in Niles to hang the hate on beyond the act itself. He hadn't bleated out any justifications, there hadn't been a hint of gloating or boasting in subverting her desires, he hadn't even taken a bit of advantage of the situation... and that somehow was infuriating too. As she walked, she trailed her hand along the walls of lockers, fingers giving each combination lock a hard flick in passing. When she reached the gym, she paused outside, peeking through the narrow, wire-mesh windows in the doors. Her smile was bittersweet. Dane was in his element on stage. Rachel, Austin, and Fisher seemed to be having a fine time with their SOs, as was Laurie with whatever the hells Donner was to her. Normally, the embarrassment of being a fifth - or ninth in this case - wheel would just slide off her as easily as the habitual accusation thrown her way. But not tonight. Besides, with how she felt at the moment, she couldn't deal with Mercedes and her flunkazons crowing about how a slut like her couldn't even keep a boy like Niles interested enough in her that he ditched her at the Dance. One snide word and she'd do something... drastic. As exhilarating and stress-relieving that would be, it would probably wreck the Dance and the evening. Regardless of what had happened to her, her friends deserved better. Nadya left the school, her steps eerily silent as she strutted with nonchalant circumspection to her car. She put on her longcoat against the rising chill of night, though left it open, and slipped in behind the wheel. The engine of lemon-yellow '71 Mercury Cougar purred to life - or at least gave a disgruntled chuff of animation. Nadya peeled out of the lot with more speed than necessary, not even sure where she was going. Not home, not yet. Her stomach grumbled as she was passing by the Salem House of Pizza, and she slewed across the oncoming lane and zipped into the small parking lot of the restaurant and pizzeria, beating another furiously honking car to a spot right by the front doors. The door gave a little ding-a-ling as Nadya strode in and the guy - Guy, his name happened to be - manning the cash register looked up with a start. At this time of night, they weren't slammed despite their football victory, but business was still brisk, but the young woman walking towards him was certainly an incongruous sight. Dressed for prom by way of The Nightmare Before Christmas, she was gorgeous, impressively uplifted breasts not concealed by her open coat and so very out of place against the yellow walls and the orange extruded plastic of the bench seats and tables. "Are you here to order or for pickup," Guy asked after pulling his eyes from her stilettos and sleekly toned, pale leg glimpsed between folds of her charcoal grey longcoat. "Order. I need carnage. Can do you do that for me, Guy? An extra large, pile high with carnage?" "How... how do you know my name?" Was she a witch? More importantly, was she legal? Guy would have remembered ever meeting this girl before, though oddly, he thought she looked vaguely familiar. "I'm a witch, Guy. Left my broomstick in the car." At his expression, Nadya sighed, arched a brow, then pointed a finger gun at the left side of his chest. "Name badge, dude. Now about that carnage pizza?" "Oh, oh! Right. One meat lover's deluxe, that sound good?" "Double the carnage - that is, double the meat on it - and we have a deal." Guy nodded, brows raising impressed. The young woman wasn't particularly big, but she ordered what he and his buds often ordered. And he had to admit, there was something... carnivorous about her grey eyes. "One Meat Lover's, double carnage, coming right up, miss. It'll be about twenty minutes." When he told her how much it would cost, Nadya unconsciously eyed the tip jar, before shaking her head and pulling the needed cash from her wallet - her own actual wallet, even. He and his colleagues worked for those tips, and hopefully the manager or owner didn't swipe the tips from them. She forgotten to get a drink, but when she went to pay for two-liter bottle of pop she'd grabbed from the fridge, Guy waved her off with a grin, after a quick look over his shoulder to see if anyone was watching. Stepping out of the Salem House of Pizza with another light ding-a-ling, extra-large pizza in one hand, bottle of pop in the other, Nadya felt stupid. This was way too much pizza for her, and she didn't have anyone to share it with, and not enough to share if she went back to the Dance. Then she thought of someone else who was alone tonight, and who wouldn't mind finishing off a meat pizza with her. Several minutes later, Nadya pulled her car in behind the old Carlton Stables. Before she even opened the door, Wolf was bounding out to meet her. Nadya laughed giving her a hug, and scratching her behind the ears. It was a good thing she was stronger than she looked, otherwise Wolf would have knocked her on her ass. "Gods above and below, Wolfy, you're getting big," Nadya crooned. She would have changed out of her stilettos, but with Evelyn's fairygodmother trick, she wasn't sure what would happen to her original pair of shoes if she took them off. "Give me a bit to set up, and then I have a treat for you." Wolf cocked her head to the side, tongue lolling out, then cocked it the other way. Nadya ruffled the soft fur between her ears, then got moving, Wolf trotting along behind her. Nadya got a fire going in the ring of stones, then dragged out a reclining lawn chair and a heavy, somewhat musky down blanket from the stable. Then she got the pizza from the car. She cut off the top of the box to use as a plate and claimed three pieces of pizza for herself and gave the rest to Wolf. With the crackling fire and thick comforter, Nadya was warm against the rising chill of night and the season. She laid back on the lawn chair, gazing up at the silver-white of the moon and the deep shadows of the clouds. The surrounding trees rustled and rattled in the evening breeze, and Nadya almost could make out words in the sound. She might have the blood of a Goddess in her veins, but she felt anything but godly at the moment. She just felt like a trite refugee from any number of CW dramas. She wished she had something stronger than soda at hand. "Don't tell anyone I gave you people-food, 'kay, Wolf?" Nadya said. Wolf raised her head from the pizza box, more than half her share of pizza already gone to stare at Nadya. Nadya turned her and gazed back, a small grin tugging at her lips. Wolf went back to the pizza, chewing and chomping with gusto. "Yeah, didn't think you would. Well, this day went to shit. And it all start awesome. Or at least, I was made to think it had. Let me tell you about it, then we can sit here until whichever number of gods start pulling the sun across the sky again - Mr. S. could tell us, would probably expect us to know already." And Nadya began to talk, expressing her anger and melancholy and contradictory feelings to Wolf, who listened in benign - or perhaps resigned - silence. Except for one sound, drawn out and strained on the edge of audibility. Nadya stared at Wolf, face twisted in repugnant distress. "Dear gods! Wolf, was that you?!" Wolf seemed contrite, slinking away from the empty pizza box, and laying down on Nadya's other side, a paw over her snout. One of Wolf's ears twitched in apparently apology, unless it was wilting under the atrocious reek. "I don't mind sneaking you people-food, Wolfy. But cheese is off-limits. Ugh. I think I need a hazmat-suit."
  37. 1 point
    "Well, I very much would like to not do that." Sunshine hopped back in the hot seat and put both hands on the yoke, while her tail snuck around and rested on the Drift engine control panel... just in case. "But maybe we shouldn't give away what this ship can do; if word gets out everyone'll be on our tails. So: talking sounds good."
  38. 1 point
    THE MARSH Karen pulled a knit hat out of the pocket of her outer jacket as soon as she zipped it up, breath misting in the early morning air. Ouuuf. Cold. The Californian native did not relish it and waking up in her birthday suit was not endearing the Louisiana weather to her. Hugging herself against the chill, she closed the gap to where she had stashed the cooler, popping it open and fishing out a sandwich. Salivating at the smell of human food after the half-remembered taste of raw deer and sensation of warm blood lapping down her tongue, Karen paused as her eyes took in the sorry sight of some of the pack, particularly those who had used the Juice. The sheer misery and huddling against the sunlight of those werewolves made her glad she had passed on the noxious cocktail. Then an unfortunately timed thought made her lower the sandwich. Damn it. The game called. She was looking forward to one of having one of those, too. The sandwich went back in it's baggie, and the baggie back in the cooler. She fetched out a couple water bottles and started making the rounds of the gathering, offering water to the afflicted and pointing them in the direction of her stash if they seemed mobile.
  39. 1 point
    "Well, we didn't want you to listen in, but since you have, what's done is done." Cara looked at her little brother as if to say 'that's it?' The old Marko would have offered up something, a threat a terror inducing anecdote, something. He poured himself a cup of coffee and snatched up a sausage from the plate, pinching it with his fingers and he nibbled off a bite. "Chill, sis," he shrugged and sipped his coffee with a smile. "Look, if they're going to be care takers, they're going to have to learn this shit eventually, right? The more they know now, the less this shit will bake their noodle later." "Oh, man this is awesome. This is like the Vampire game I play online. See there are thirteen clans of vampires all descended from Caine who was cursed by god- OW!" Cheyenne held the side of her head where Marko had flicked her ear. "Yeah, shut up dip shit, no one cares." He flicked her again, making her head 'thump' and she winced in pain while giggling slightly. "And that's for the ironic cereal." "You're such a dick, I swear!" She spun about and threw a sausage from the plate at him which hit him in the chest. She looked to Cara and fumed. "How do you tolerate him?" Cara managed a chuckle, although still looking really serious. "It's taken years. Marko, you wanna tell them the news?" "What news?" Abigail asked, cupping her coffee mug in her hands. Marko smirked. The girls were apparently his responsibility since Cara was not for the idea of them staying there, she felt it was too dangerous, but her brother was vehement that they had an obligation to care for the sisters due to their promise. Both the vampire sibling knew they would be debating this until the sisters were old and gray and it was long irreverent. "Get dressed, girls. We're getting you registered for school." Cheyenne spun around on her stool and looked at Marko. "Oh, come one, that's bullshit! We live with vampires, you guys have been everywhere and done all kinds of stuff. Why can't you teach us?" Cheyenne held her ear again and Cara flicked it. "Language. We don't have time-" "You have nothing but time!" She spun about and yelled at Cara, suddenly realizing what we did and got tight lipped real quick. She grasped her other ear as Marko flicked it. "OW!" "Sorry, I have no real reason for that one, it just seemed fun." He pushed off the counter. "Look, we're not sitting through complaints or bullshit, okay? You're going to school whether you want to or we have to compel you to." "But we don't have records," Cheyenne was doing her pest to put up a fight. Abigail was smirking, admiring the fight in her sister but knowing that "It'll take weeks to get them! Oh, darn!" "Not a problem. That's where compelling the staff comes in, "Marko smiled again. "Now, get dressed. Go." They didn't seem motivated until the veins around his darkened and his fangs grew. "Now." They screamed and bolted faster than the sibling vampires using celerity and were out of the kitchen and dashing up stairs. His sister looked at him, still not pleased with his decision to allow them to stay. "Nice." Cara laughed softly. "You know it's not that I don't care, Marko, it's just," she sighed. "It's dangerous here. They so young, and this city is a mess." "I know, Cara," Makro nodded as he approached his sister and wrapped an arm around her for an early morning hug. Cara's expression was one of 'this is nice' and 'who are you and where's my bother'. Since when had Marko hug anyone in the last... oh, century. "If they had anywhere else to go, I'd turn them away, but they don't. Besides, raising kids'll be fun." "Meaning this is going to be a fiasco of Marko proportions." She added dryly. "Most likely." He replied with a Deadpool sweetness to his voice.
  40. 1 point
    “What's an original?” Cara sighed and went to the cereal box, tilting it back a little to get a closer look at the ridiculous character adorning the front. "Not one of these," she chuckled. Such an innocent witness to such a dangerous question. Without looking away from the box, she then said, "The only reason you know to ask that question is that you were listening to our conversation with our guest last night. Our private discussion." Finally glancing up to meet Abigail's eyes, Cara went on, "Normally I would not reward a breach of trust with an answer...but to try to keep you from foolishly asking someone else, I will say this." "As we are to you, an original is to us. We are old, strong, fast and hungry. They are older, stronger, faster...and vastly, rapaciously hungry. We are dangerous, they are deadly. They know nothing of kindness...of decency by any human standard...and your first, best line of defense against them is that you are not anywhere near them, and that no one knows that you've ever heard of them." "If either of those things is no longer true, then you are in danger that even Marko or I may not be able to save you from. Do you understand?"
  41. 1 point
    Devin was lost. His eyes glazed over as his thoughts moved to elsewhere beyond the temporal bubble that Hooli was holding him hostage in. He waggled a finger lazily at Hooli as his thoughts became ideas and those idea became words. "No, Hootie, your right." Hooli rolled his eyes as Devin once again butchered his name. "When I got into gymnastics and later free running I was good at it, I had a natural talent for it. I was fit and flexible. Then when we moved my dream of the Olympics was over but I still practiced everyday. These powers are no different. I may have had a natural talent for awesomeness, because, well, look at me..." Hooli rolled his eyes and folded his harms. "Oh, here we go..." "But we gained a ton of power very rapidly. We evolved faster than our human genes could endure out necessity for a threat we had to be ready to face. Just like gymnastics, even after I mastered the moves, I had to keep at them, to master them more until everything was nothing more than muscle memory and reflex. That gain of power blinded me, Loogie, I've forgotten that there are no shortcuts. Mastery of my power is no different than the hard work and effort I put into myself before these gifts to compete in the Olympics." "It's gonna hurt, Devin," Hooti said. "These powers aren't like training for the Olympics." "There is not greater pain than the remaking of ones self, for we are both the marble and the sculptor." He booped Hooli on the nose with a smirk. "Thanks for the pep talk Yoo-Hoo. It all kinda makes sense now. I've trying to hard at trying to hard. "So, I've been dying to know something." "What's that?" The little fuzz ball looked up at him, arms still crossed. "What's it like in Lilly's underwear drawer?" Devin asked with a devilish smirk on his lips. Hooli chuckled and waved him closer. "You really want to know?" Devin nodded. "Well, first off it's..." Trinidad came to life around him and all the people began going on about their day as if nothing had happened because for them, nothing had happened. Time moved forward in it's ever flowing state and Devin pursed his lips as he bit his lower one in frustration over being swindled... by a teddy bear. Jaunt chuckled. "Sly little bastard. Well played, sir. Well played."
  42. 1 point
    Shelly, Montana [Now] Sean felt the stacked stone veneer of the bathroom wall dig into her back as Sara pressed her against the bathroom wall, but hardly cared as she fiercely kissed Sara back, their tongues wrestling. Sean's fitted button-down shirt lost most of its buttons as Sara nearly ripped it open, a small sound of frustration escaping their locked lips when Sara found a lacy black v-necked camisole underneath, deep, fair cleavage on full display. Sean's muted moan of delight joined Sara's frustration as she felt the stiffened, rounded points crowning her breasts being teased. Sean tangled one hand in Sara's short blond hair, the other cupping her ass and lifting Sara off the ground, enough that the shorter woman had to tilt her head down slightly to maintain the breath-taking kiss. Sean arched her back and Sara wrapped a leg around Sean's hip for more leverage. So much better than lunch and the food had been more than good enough. Still, Sean's lambent turquoise eyes cut to the door to the bathroom, then to the other side towards the wooden doors of the stalls decorated with wood burned crescent moons. This was considerably more public than Sean preferred... she also didn't want the genuine, passionate need to end. Sara could feel Sean trying to smile through their kiss and opened her eyes to see Sean arch a questioning brow. Here or elsewhere her gorgeous eyes asked, as long as it didn't end. [Then] Sean glanced away, hiding a wince at Sara's terse and tense tone. A few days apart hadn't mellowed things out and Sean bristled, realizing she had hoped that it had and it hadn't. She wasn't even sure who she was irritated most by, herself or Sara. Sean rapped the silvery rings of her Savant Multitool on her left hand on the roof of her vehicle, then turned back to look at Sara over the top of her car, her half smile brittle and forced. "There's always Bunnie's, but I'd thought we'd try a new place that just opened up, The Big Sky Dive," Sean said, faintly feigned cheer in her melodious voice. "Source and cuisine all from Montana. I hear the food is great, even if the place is a bit, hmm, hipstery." "Fine, that's fine." Sara's tone was neutral, and with her sunglasses, Sean couldn't see the expression in her eyes. The door slammed just a touch too loudly as Sara settled into the passenger seat. Sean sighed, then climbed in behind the wheel and put Little Bigfoot into gear and started driving down Packing Plant Road. When they pulled into the small parking lot of The Big Sky Dive and walked through the front doors, even without her nearly peerless senses, Sean could practically hear Sara's eyes roll. To be fair, some of that eye-rolling, might have been her own. The place was decorated all in stone and hardwood, like picturesque hunting lodge. The guy behind the bar was the very archetype of a hipster, with the glasses, beard and curled mustache, plaid flannel and beanie, stark black tattoos on his forearms. "If this is a vegan only place, I might have to kill you, Sean," Sara muttered up at her taller girlfriend. "If this a vegan only place, I'll let you," Sean admitted.
  43. 1 point
    THE NIPPON TRANSPORTAL NETWORK GRAND OPENING TOKYO, JAPAN THE CENTRAL TRANSPORTAL HUB Lilly had packed for the trip a bit sullenly. She looked forward to it, but was bummed that Kia, her BFF would not be going. It was Tokyo! Kia would have loved it. Despite that, when Lilly got there with her parents, she could not help but be almost overcome with the city. She had been in cities before, of course, but having lived in Shelly for the last several year had gotten her more used to small town life. Tokyo, on the other hand, was a true city, in every sense of the word. People on top of people along towering skyscrapers, a never ended flow of cars and more lights that Las Vegas. The city also had its balance of new and old though, which Lilly found captivating. Ancient temples, shrines and gardens nestled among the urban landscape, bring moments of calm and serene beauty to a place that was so busy and full of concrete, neon and glass. And then there was the people. Lilly had never seen so many people in her life. With it being a national holiday and a huge celebration for the opening of the network taking place (and the rumors of one of the Irregulars being in attendance), the populous had turned out in force. Lilly was not there in any sort of official or formal capacity. Just like her mother, she had really just accompanied her father who was the formal guest. Lilly was one of the two most well known faces of the Irregulars though, and far more approachable to the average person than Sean, since, though she was certainly beautiful and amazon-esque, she did not have the unearth beauty of Sean, nor the matching intellect that could make some of the most intelligent people on the plant feel like bumbling undergrad students. So even though she was not there in an official capacity, she had come to accept she was pretty always in a de facto official capacity. For her part, Lilly was all smiles and remarkably polite and well mannered, even by Japanese standards. Social situations like this seemed to come more naturally to her now, she would intuitively know just what to say or do, and on the rare occasion she did commit a faux pas, it was quickly and easily overlooked. She would bow, shake hands, pose for selfies with people and generally served as an ambassador for Keys to the general population, trying to humanize them, trying to stop ant possible rift from form between them and regular people. Despite her all her power, and the fact that she and her friends had literally saved the planet several times now, and was even an athletic prodigy before her Unlocking, she was still supremely humble, down to earth and approachable, never quite being fully comfortable with the terms like "hero" or the attention and even praise and idolization that she received, which only proved to bring in turn because of her humbleness. Some of the Japanese fans could be a little... overzealous... if Lilly were being honest, some showing up in what were basically cosplays of her, with their hair back in her all but trademarked ponytail and wearing some of the exact same clothing and athletic apparel (or extremely close versions of them) that she would wear, some even with fake, prop weights or I-beams tied into knots. It was flattering on one level, but on another level it was kinda creepy. Still though, Lilly was nothing but friendly and polite, seeming to find the time everybody, which may or may not have to do with the fact that due to the crowd, people did not realize there was more than one Lilly there. Normally she was hesitant to use her powers for something like this, but she thought it would be a nice change of pace for the other Vanguards to get to enjoy the more fun side of life, rather than just serving as battle reinforcements. Still, with a crowd this size and so many people being in proximity throughout the day, the Lillys could not help but to 'ping' the crowd searching for other Keys. With her node likely being the largest on the planet, it would be difficult if they were trying to hide, but she assumed it a good idea to at least get a handle on the number of them there as the various Lilly's greeted and took selfies with the crowd.
  44. 1 point
    Dan's own clothes were neatly folded, It wasn't that he and Maeve didn't feel the Beast, they both did, but unlike others, they embraced it, not treating it like and abhorrent curse. Through accepting the Beast, they gained more control. He liked to believe he had a good mastery of himself, and the Beast was a part of him, so he had Dominance over it too. He was the last of the pack to change, not because he couldn't, he could easily have been first. No, his cousin changed first, Leading the others. Dan was the last because he made sure that no one else came upon them in this time of pain and weakness. As his body Changed, he could feel his senses expand, the familiar sensation something he was quite accustomed to. It was like having his other arm untied from behind his back, he was stronger, faster, tougher, and more aware of everything, and at this point, it felt more natural to him at times than his human form, which had almost left him feeling crippled at first, after the rush of being a Wolf. His Change was nearly instant, and seemingly effortless, The pains of the first change, or even of so many after that were gone, Replaced with exhiliration of being "whole" again. Most of the pack were of mixed colors, very few were solidly one color or another, and only one member of the pack was as Black as a moonless, starless sky. That was Dan. His luxurious fur almost seemed to shimmer once or twice in the full moonlight, a trick of the light perhaps, and then he would almost disappear into the darkness. Often he was called the "Alpha's Shadow" as he and Cabe had similar builds. Neither of them were the largest wolves there, but Dan was certainly the quickest, and while Cabe led, Dan served as a sort of enforcer. Those who fought the Beast, they Talked as people. As wolves, they submit in deference to the yellow-eyed shadow that stalked the marshes. He knew the marshlands and bayous better perhaps than any member of the pack, and he never failed in leading them to prey when he was called upon to do so. Once the Howl was ended, he made his way to his most accustomed hunting mate, Maeve, and found Karen as well. He looked to the left flank of how the pack was moving after Cabe, and nodded, Then began to pad off into the marsh, knowing where Cabe was headed, He and his small part of the pack would scare up some deer most likely, or perhaps a hog or two if they were lucky, and drive them to the others. This method wasn't something normal wolves did often, but when hunting with a pack of nearly thirty, you had to adapt to satiate everyone.
  45. 1 point
    "Last time we used the science lab," Niles said, pointing Austin and Fisher. "Why the science lab?" Fisher just had to ask. "Boasts the most numerous amount of fire extinguishers than any other class room in the school." He replied simply while starting into a hurried walk. Austin rolled his eyes and followed. "I thought you didn't expect it to work, why were worried about fires?" "Because," Niles said it like that more he spoke to Fisher and Austin the dumber he was getting. The kids condescension was on par with Nadya's desire to revolt against authority. "Whether we take it seriously or not, it is stil lan experiment and an experiment requires proper protocol, which would a copious amount and fire extinguishers and meticulous notes and planning." The son of Poseidon looked to his friend and raised his hands up like he was choking someone. Fisher smiled and they continued to follow Niles, both of them trying their damnest not to strangle the dorky aspiring sorcerer. Through the darkened hallways and the echos of their foots steps rang through the halls as a sudden crash of lightning exploded across the night sky, strobbing the inside of the hall with bright white light. All three stopped to shield their eyes from the dazzling light. "Niles looked back to them. "It's started. He's started the spell!" The two Scions realized the stakes had just grown considerably and took off down the hallway until they realized Niels wasn't with them. He was still in the same spot pondering his last statement. "'Spell' seems to crude an explain," he rest his hand beneath his chin and narrow his eyes in thought. "Yes, 'incantation' seems more appropriate but would 'ritual' not suffice as well? Certainly further study is needed as using the wrong verbiage for arcane sciences, if it truly could be a science, could result in catastrophic-" Niles's eyes widened as Austin grabbed him and yanked him with great force down the hallway with them. --==[***]==-- "On the wings of Anubis come the winds of Mare Nostrum!" Lightning crashed and winds swirled as papers and random debris swirled about the room the moment Austin and Fisher pushed open the large double doors to the science lab. All the work stations had been pushed against the walls to make room for the large ritual center within the room that was made of make shift materials several candles (that remained lit despite the wind) and a pentagram drawing into the floor with what appeared to be ashes. Through out the pentagram were a few scattered bones that appeared blackened and charred, mostly the bones that comprised the fingers. "From the Near Delta lands to Rosetta's black sands deliver my desire unto me!" Three balefire green wisps appeared with a sputtering sounds and danced within the confines of the pentagram as Todd muttered the incantation with his arms raised high to the wisps as they danced and floated about. They chuckled and chortled as they danced about Todd's head. The wind blew hard against the teens in the doorway, so hard they had to shout to hear one another. "That's not right!" Niles yelled while his hair whipped about. "He's not doing it right! He's messing it all up! Todd you suck! You're screwing up my notes! Give them back!" The floor tiles cracked and greenish light began to shine from beneath them...
  46. 1 point
    Threads of Fate as heavy as chains tugged at her, pulled, insisted, and the more the hidden part of Nadya railed at and rattled them, the more the rest of her was bound tight, the enchantment suffocating her in imposed love. But the music loosened her bindings, made the chains weigh her down less. Dane could see even if Nadya couldn't. She was on something, some rank shit. He didn't know why she hadn't come to him, he never held out on her, but he wouldn't let her ride out the horrid high alone. Nadya finished her first song and opening her eyes, began to grow agitated when she didn't see her Niles watching her, waiting for her. "Hold up, Moonbaby," Dane said, snaking an arm around her bare shoulders. A nickname she hated from almost everyone else, Dane made it sound endearing. "You've got some serious pipes on you, girl. Niles just went to the head. You've got this party in the palm of your hand, how 'bout we give'em another round?" Dane gave a member of the band a pointed nod and deftly caught the tossed guitar and flashed Nadya his wide, earnest grin. "A duet this time." Standing stiffly, Nadya desperately gazed across the dance floor looking for Niles, then turned back to Dane. She couldn't see how the expression on her face contrasted sharply with the look in her eyes. If he wasn't buzzed, Dane would have shivered. "What did you have in mind?" Nadya said, returning his grin. "Something a little old school. The theme might not be 'Under The Sea,' but Homecoming still needs a little something classic. Do you know..." And that was how Nadya found herself singing a cover of a classic Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers duet, Islands in the Stream. As the song came to an end, Nadya heard the crowd begin to murmur and jostle. She turned from Dane and her jaw dropped open at the sight of Rae-Rae kissing that bitch Bridgette. Her face lit up in wild amusement, seeing Rachel do something unexpected and unconventional, but she didn't notice the single tear trailing down her check. "I want that. I want something real," she whispered.
  47. 1 point
    Tease didn't say much else as she pondered what he offered. Ten minutes later she'd asked him to pull over at a roadside diner, yes Montana roads still had a diner here or there, and this one in particular had one of Tease's biggest vices: milkshakes. They sat, or 'leaned comfortably' on the hood of his Corvette while they enjoyed a quick bite before continuing on. Dennis watched her as she wolfed down a triple cheeseburger while other young women her age looked on in abject horror and minor jealousy that she could eat like she did and not worry about calories. "That's just amazing," Dennis said, shaking his head. "As much as you want and you don't gain a pound?" "Kind of," she replied, catching a dab of mustard in the corner of her mouth and licking it off her finger. "See, Sean ran a few tests and my powers aren't like the others. I didn't gain their hyper metabolism or resistance to pathogens or extremes. He thinks it's something to do with my being able to make those same toxins and transmit them through my skin or saliva. So, unlike them, I still need sleep, can't stand a room of mustard gas, or run marathons anytime soon. On the plus side, I can get black out drunk, or high as a kite with the bonus that my liver won't rot or lungs or other organs won't fail on me. We're not sure the science... but I'm not immune to the effects of the stuff, but it can't hurt me if I abuse it." She shrugged, "I don't know." "Wait," Dennis chuckled. "You're poisonous." She offered him a coy, salacious smirk. "Venomous. And, kind of. It's not poison, or just poison. I can replicate pretty much anything from poisons to designer drugs. I could shake your hand and within a few seconds it would be as if you just snorted ten lines in a cheap hotel bathroom. Your heart would probably explode too." "That is so fucked up," he laughed, shaking his head. "Yeah," she nodded. She chewed some more and took a sip of her milkshake. "I didn't get the metabolism, but I did get the appetite. I have no idea where it all goes, but Sean thinks my body breaks it down and transfers it right to my node for energy." She shrugged. "I dunno. What I do have is what she calls 'Appearance Alteration'. It allows me to mentally control my appearance, from the make up I have on, to the color of my hair, its length, boob size, and to some extent, my weight. It's permanent until I change it to something else, or gain a few pounds, but every morning as part of my ritual of getting ready, I adjust my weight and sculpt my muscle tone." "Pardon my asking," he waited a moment to finish his bite from his burger, but rolled his finger like he was going to say something, he just needed a minute. "If you can change all that stuff, why you ain't gone... y'know..." "Bigger?" She asked. "Because that's a man's fantasy. You ever tried running with massive tits? I've found the gravity defying, perfectly firm, comic book style breast shape is more than adequate. So, we came all the way out here to talk about my chest?" "No, no," he shook his head laughing again. "God, no. Like I said, I was just asking. The things you guys can do it's... it's just a head trip is all." "So, about what you said, about being a partner?" Tease crunched up the wrapper of her triple bypass burger and tossed it at a waste basket just a few feet from where she as sitting. She missed and it rolled pretty much back to her, but with a shrug she continued on. "Just so I understand your proposal, you want me to use my powers of manipulation and persuasion coupled with complete mental domination, to bring the entertainment industry to its knees while you and I are sitting in the thrones they're kneeling to?" "Well," he leaned his head from side to side like he was weighing her words. "That's a real immoral, dishonest, and illegal way of putting it. We probably shouldn't ever-" "Because I am totally down for that," Tease replied with more enthusiasm than he'd heard from her since he'd met her. "We can explore those as options, I suppose," his line of thought did a complete one eighty. "But first... what I'm telling you, Marissa-" "Tease," she corrected him. "Fine, Tease. What I'm telling you, Tease, is that we won't have to use those sorts of tactics. I know the people, you have the talent. We could make it." Tease nodded, "Yeah, but what's to stop me from just doing it myself? I mean, it kind of feels like you're just using me." "It's because I am," his honestly hit her like a slap to the face. Dennis was a no bullshit kinda guy and his honesty just never seemed to be at anything but a ten. "I just want the American Dream, Tease, but that's the catch, it's a dream. We are not entitled to be rich, or have power. No one is guaranteed to make it in this world. I've worked very hard, darlin' and I've had my ideas stolen by big producers, I've had talent bought away from me by higher bidders with lower standards for their clients. Am I looking for a little payback? Oh, yeah. We can turn the industry on it's ear. So, you give me a chance to teach you everything there is to know about Hollywood and I will show you the Penthouses and the gutters. The high rollers and the low ballers and most important of all: there is nothing but devils and demons in the City of Angels and they all want a free ride to Heaven." "So, you just thought you'd slip into the Cave of Wonders and steal yourself a lamp," she summed up his explanation with metaphor. He shrugged. "Ali-Baba had his 40 thieves, Scheherazade had her 1,000 tales... I have a Tease. Look, all I'm asking for is a partnership, fifty-fifty down the middle. I'll be your mentor, your guide, your advisor. I'll help you with who to talk to, what deals are legit or worth taking, show you where the money is... if I know it, you'll know it." "Hell of a pitch," the teenage woman said while she smirked and winked at a guy who'd been staring at her for the last ten minutes. "Say I were to consider it, I'd have rules. Like first, when it comes to my abilities or powers, I call the shots. Nobody is charmed, mesmerized, enchanted or otherwise infatuated by my gifts unless I deign it fit to use them." "Fair enough," he nodded. "...and the 'bitch' thing? It's not just an act. We all pay a price for our power, Dennis. My brother's ego and desire for glory shot to titanic levels after he gained his powers. The others, they're all sociopaths or obsessives of some sort. In a nut shell, we're all a little crazy. For me? My competitiveness for popularity and status launched to insane levels. I can't help being a bitch because I learned everything I know about being a female mogul from 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians'. I don't think I'm better than everyone, Dennis, I know I am. I'm convinced that every baseline around me is nothing more than a servant or a fool ready to just do my bidding, because they are. Every time I try to be normal, that attitude and sense of superiority claws and screams at me until I give in. It's not a switch I just flip and be a regular teenager again and still have my powers." She seemed a little sad, like there was a self awareness about the fun, all around great young woman she used to be and the superior, raging bitch she'd become. As the saying went: 'all power has a price'. "You're not... dangerous, are you?" Dennis asked. "Well, yeah... I can coat my lips in cyanide, I'd say I'm dangerous," she mused with a chuckle. "But, no. My attitude doesn't make me dangerous, I won't hurt people or anything, at least not physically. I'm cruel and snobbish, but it mostly pushes people away from me, makes them dislike me." "Yet your powers pull them back to you..." "No, I have to use my powers to pull them back to me, but since I'm using my powers, the things they feel aren't genuine," she sighed. "Always alone, even in a crowd." "Pretty much," she chuckled again. The young man who'd been staring the entire time finally worked up the courage and approached the pair on the Corvette. Tease smiled at him as he walked over and that smile swept away some of the butterflies that swirled in his stomach. To assume Tease was out of his league would have an understatement. "Hi," she greeted him in a flirtatious tone. "Hey." He smiled back, offering her a nod. "I was uh, well, I noticed you and I was wondering if-" She cut him off. "Cool, uh, hey, would you kindly throw that burger wrapper away for me? I completely missed," her voice took an innocent, ditzy tone. "I feel so clumsy." "Y-yeah, no problem," he replied as the dumb smile on his face suddenly seemed plastered there like she was a DC villain who'd infected him with something. He knelt at her feet allowing his eyes to look up at her in abject wonder awe. Everything about her was everything he'd ever want in a woman and no other woman in his life after this day would hold hold a cnadle to her splendor. He scooped up the wrapper and tossed it in the waste bin. "A-anything else? Because I was thinking maybe I could give you my num-" "You can go now." She cut him off flatly and with a rash sense of jaw smacking reality. Uncrossing her legs she slid from her spot on the car, swung the door open and offered the strange guy a wink. "That's all I needed. Oh, and uh," she gave the guy a once over and winced. "Don't take this too harshly, but, if I were you, I'd seriously get used to rejection." Dennis sighed and shook his head as the Corvette sped out of the parking lot and they were on their way again. "You're gonna be a handful, I can already tell." She grinned as her eyes cycled through a series of shimmering and luminous colors from purple to blue to green, each one a thousand times more vibrant than a human eyes was capable of. She finally settled on a sparkling purple, a color she and her brother seemed to fancy. She grinned as she looked into the mirror of the visor. "You have no idea."
  48. 1 point
    --==[Manhattan, New York]==-- "Okay....," Mikey stepped away from the gun and looked at the vacant hallway where mystery dude just upped and poofed. "Think, Mikey. Think. Is this shit really so strange? I mean... you were just on fire... so, there's that. The hell though?" He walked around looking at... well, he had no idea what he was looking for. Dude was here, now he's not, but he left a gun. The gun. His thumb slid across the screen of his smartphone, his fingers tapping in a few keys for a Google search. He tapped the number Google provided and waited for someone to pick up while he paced around. The police would be there soon, but they never negotiated stairs very well so he figured he had some time. "Uh, yeah," he began as a receptionist answered. "Uh, hi, look uh, some dude was just on a roof top sniping people and then teleported away when I confronted him. You guys have people that handle this sorta thing, or is it like an F.B.I. thing? This is Irregular Solutions, right? The mutant group that helps other mutants? Cuz, seriously lady... I have no idea who to call right now, three people are dead and if this dude it teleporting, there's no way regular police are gonna find him. He left a gun behind, weird kinda tech on it... is there a finders fee?"
  49. 1 point
    *Irregular Solutions, Inc HQ* The youngest Irregular listened to all this with her chin in one hand, outwardly attentive, but she summed most of it up along the line 'Pandora was a lying bitch who played us, but we got her back'. And Pandora was the one who called her and the other new Keys abominations, so she'd already fulfilled her promise to punch Sara in the nose for her insults. Neat. Seemed simple enough. So did the route forward. It made her think back, attention splitting in two without loss of focus, one paying attention outward as they continued speaking, the other inward replaying a memory from three weeks earlier. ****** Jeane 'Traceuse' Hebert frowned at her reflection and tried to reconcile the stranger in the mirror with herself for the second time in as many months. It was still same mirror, just... Hung a little higher to compensate for the latest wave of practical joke her node had played on her in the days immediately after returning from the quantum realm and their nightmarish struggle within. She was was already missing the days when she'd *nearly* bump her head on every doorway she didn't duck through. The girl, no, woman really, who looked back at Jeane was more mature than the towering blonde's mental image of herself, features softer and less harsh with the ineffable quantum glamor that the other Irregulars had dazzled her with in the early days of her time on the time before Pandora's loops broke down. Only the fact that the image mirrored her every single move kept this from being any more surreal than it was. She'd never thought about herself as pretty before, especially after she had had her first quantum growth spurt. Nearly seven foot tall amazons weren't pretty, not not that way. Now though... She wasn't half bad, oh god no, and she'd be lying to the world and herself if she said a not so little part of her not so little self wasn't loving the change, doorframe-banging extra inches and all. The way her words and her looks made people stop and listen now, so much easier than before. It was just... Strange, strange as the unfamilar speed and depth of the thoughts going on behind her blue eyes. She was going to exploit the hell out of all this, build up even more of a positive reputation, try to be able to make people listen when she offered them their one last chance rather than have to take them down. So she was going to go run. Make some new friends. Film another commercial or three. Maybe even look into a GED if Abel's academy didn't work out. First things first though. Amazingly confident as she felt in her default curves-hugging PAM suit configuration, the towering blonde needed irreproachably-normal to make this work, much as she failed at that standard. Dress to fit the scene, her old scene before all this thisness happened to her, and be seen. Quantum-infused fabric shifted with a thought, ballooning out into comfortably loose running pants, a tank top and jacket combo, and the lightest of gripped running shoes to help keep her moving. She tested her very best reassuring smile at her reflection, peeling off the merest sliver of PAM suit and shaping it in one hand into a hair tie to bind up her hair in a simple ponytail at the back of her skull, tucking the blonde length into her hood as the latter finished forming. Reds and whites dominated the ensemble as it stabilized into it's new form, one last whim bringing a big black 'I' into being on the back of her jacket, proclaiming her allegiance for all that had eyes. Never knew if someone like Pandora's version of Rashoud might want to take a shot at a Key just in case she might be easy meat. But the team, her crew, had a rep all their own, and that might be the heartbeat of hesitation she'd need to win or run away. The question was how to do her run today though. Waiting for a crew of local runners to come by and let them lead vs the spectacle of just blowing through it on her gut instinct? Keeping it on the sly at least outside the US or going full hog with anti stealth approaches? There were perks to either or any of the options... Traceuse laughed in her empty room, amused by the wildly divergent yet parallel streams of thought running through her head that still made perfect sense as they came back together in the now and started to diverge again. Problems to solutions to more problems and to more solutions, so on and so forth in a way that somehow worked together unlike the clashing plague of voices Pandora's loops had left and Abel had healed. Still. Enough thinking. James had been kind enough to show her a tour of his dozen favorite cities, and that's how many new 'keyholes' she had to work with today. “All right, World. Take two on my coming out party,” she warned aloud out of old fairness, grinning to split her face as she pulled up her hood, “First stop: Norfolk.” ***** "All right. That all sounds great, guys," she voiced aloud when the memory played out, straightening up in her chair, "But it'd be nice if you guys had a list of the main groups that'd want to increase friction between Keys and everyone else and why they have beef with us. We get them off our case, we can start putting out fires by removing the fuel. At least that should take some of the heat off of the newest Keys while they learn the ropes. For instance, maybe work out some kind of agreement that will make border officials stop twitching whenever someone whispers the word 'teleporter'? Without it sucking for us. Some sort of compromise, that's all. Us with them, not us versus them, much as possible." She laughed quietly and continued, "I mean, I don't mind jumping out there to punch every Rashoud wannabe out there in the face, but I'd like to feel safe dorming down again once in a while. Or sleeping. Haven't done either since we got back. Maybe take Abel on more long weekends to the Underverse."
  50. 1 point
    Hopefully I don't have to re-write this version to make it playable like I had to do for the last one. We'll see, I suppose.
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