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Everything posted by The Story Guide

  1. "She is," Davian said, sidling up to the group after having heard Bastion's suggestions. "Trying to help, I mean. She's been spending a lot of her time trying to figure out how to make new technologies that'll give lots more than just one person at a time those homes, food, medicine, all of that. She just does also sometimes needs a, what did you call it, Deezy, a brain cleanser?" He pointed over to the drinks. "For example, the whole thing with the alcohol? It's not really about getting drunk. It's about medicine for people that can't take a Tylenol or get anesthetic now. Imagine if one of you all with superquick healing needed surgery to remove an object that got stuck in their body and healed over. Or just needed their gallbladder or appendix removed. Right now, they'd have to do that without anesthetic and with constant cuts to get it done. But Deezy's hoping her bubbles can be used to get anesthetic that will work, maybe even something that could slow down or stop the healing factor long enough to get the medical work done. Or be used for psychiatric medicine, given how much the world is looking to all of you to solve their problems and be their boogie man at the same time." He pointed up at the mech costume. "She got plans on her work desk for using variations of that to do underwater exploration, search and rescue in caves or forest fires, dangerous places. She's got some larger plans for ones that can function sorta like cranes and roofers on their own, keep people from having to climb up on roofs or beams to do construction. Those go along with these modular home designs she's been working on to use with the souped-up 3D printer idea. Trust me, she's trying to save the world. She just also takes a little bit of time to herself so she doesn't burn out before she makes good progress." "One person, one blanket, one dose of medicine, it can make all the difference to that person," Davian said with a nod to Bastion. He gave Deezy a look that had hints of both a crush and wonder in it. "She's trying to change the whole paradigm, though. Change the world on a grand scale so that there are always enough blankets, houses, medicine, presents - all of it."
  2. So, I'm upping the monthly XP to 2 XP. 8 months of activity to be able to buy at Quantum dot seems fine. I'm also giving another XP out for Peers. At this point people's XP gains should be: +2 for October +2 for November +1 + Benny from the Storm threads +2 for Peers for everyone but Steve and Kyria +1 for Close Quarts for Karrie, Steve, and Kyria +2 for Assessing Assets for Steve/Kyria +0-5 XP for Casting Call! I'm going to change the point break you get for buying a power with Transcendence. Instead of "half" - because I mucked with the costs - taking a dot of Transcendence lowers the cost of the whatever by -5 XP. This does mean that a character can flat out purchase a Mega/Quantum Edge dot with a dot of Transcendence. I'll even allow multiple tradeouts on a singe thing, like getting a dot of Quantum for "free" by taking 3 dots of Transcendence. Just be careful, this can put your character at risk of Full Transformation.
  3. "Sir! Sir!" Sebastian asked the man sobbing on the floor. "Are you alright?" The man just sat there, back to the wall, blubbering. "Dagumit..." He stepped from his room to look around at the chaos. He needed to find that voice. No one was getting eaten on his shift. Jael glanced at Zac and smirked. "Well, I think we just got called out. Wanna go see who's calling us?" "Am I the gone man or the little wolf ?" Zac shook his head. The painkillers were actually stronger than he expected... Zac slid his left hand under his armpit, feeling with a reassured sigh the grip of his Beretta M9. His left ear was ringing after what seemed to be hell through the speakers to him, but the pain was definitely gone for a moment. "I guess we could have a chat with that ourodiets screaming around..." “You’re clearly the gone man, since you only stick around for money,” Jael said with a caustic smile. She waves at her front. “Also, I am no man. C’mon, let’s go.” Together the assassins eased into the hallway. Jael hadn’t pulled her weapon yet, but Zac could see her hand hovering near it. They’d only gotten a few steps before they spotted the big kid from the crash. “Hey, hot-stuff!” Jael called, glad to see the Strong Man. “Wanna be the big damned heroes of this place?” "Reckon I would, ma'am." The big kid said with a determined nod. "You know where that voice is coming from?" "Not a clue," Jael said with almost cheerful indifference, "but I suspect it won't be hard to find him. He's a patient here." Zac almost stumbled into Jael who had stopped but managed somehow to dodge her, stumbling then into Bastion. "Hello, big boy. I... think I have a clue of where the freak is. I don't know how, but I have a rough idea. Also, we just have to follow the personnel rushing towards him..." Zac was following Jael's steps, a bit lunatic, fascinated as he was by what he felt at the moment. Something terribly... wrong was closing in on them, but further into the hospital, he could feel movement, things being drawn to a greater... thing. There was no word to fully explain it. Surprised by Jael stopping, he almost stumbled on her, dodging to instead stumble into Bastion. There was something frightening with him, though he could not explain what. "H- Hello, big boy. I- I think I have a clue of where to go. Don't ask me how, but I got a rough idea. If we get lost, we can still head towards the personnel apparently rushing to the freak's room..." The trio paced an erratic line through the hospital, eventually ending up in the main cafeteria. A wild-looking man, weirdly reminiscent of Jafar pretending to be a starving prisoner at the start of Aladdin, was lounging in a “sexy model” pose on top of one of the food-serving carts in the middle of the cafeteria; he grinned maniacally as they came through the doors. Behind him, dozens of medical machines had cordoned off about a quarter of the room, pinning in several dozen people and menacing them with various protrusions and tubes. Most of the people have a leg or arm wrapped in tubes to keep them from being able to leave. The unlucky few had needles stuck in them instead, their eyes glassy and expressions slack.
  4. October 26 - 27th, 2019 Marama, Cook Islands The suggestion of a Stormer get-together had been an off-the-cuff remark by Davian in a meeting about how to market Nova Solutions as a corporation to work for. Ideas were bandied around and finally Davian laughed and threw out, "Well, it's October. We could throw a Halloween Stormers party." He should have known better. Ryan should have stopped him - teleported him out of the room or to another continent before the words escaped his lips. But he didn't and Deezy heard them and now Davian was making invitations and arrangements after convincing his father to let him use the private island they owned in the Cook Islands. Deezy and Ryan were responsible for getting the physical invites out, but Nova Solutions also made a press release (using Layton Industries media arm for now) inviting "all Stormers, regardless of nationality" to the Nova Solutions Halloween Storm Bash on October 26th and 27th. The island was in three parts, with the largest speck of land hosting an amazing stretch of beach with the sprawling beach house nestled just under the canopy of palm trees towards the center of the island. Cabana were set up along the beach along with a large tent home to a massive buffet. Everything was festooned in Halloween - spiders, skeletons, witches, zombies, and ghosts peaking out from every corner; candy apples, mummied sausages, and smoking punch bowls with witch's brew were tucked in with dozens of other Halloween'd gourmet foods. Inside the house, bowls of candy were scattered around, cobwebs dripped over the ornate surfaces and the servants were dressed like dancers from Michael Jackson's Thriller. Davian was dressed in sandals, a simple Grecian toga with gold braiding, and a laurel crown around his head; he looked every inch the young godling he was honestly raised to be. We've got real gods, now, he though ruefully to himself and chuckled. No more pretend. As the first guests began arriving through Ryan's portals, he effortlessly took up the duties of host, greeting and making people feel at ease while also making a mental list of just who all actually did decide to show up. "Welcome, everyone! Happy Halloween!"
  5. Max, can you edit a date in on Mergers and Acquisitions? I'm updating that calendar and that's the only one I can't pin to a day.
  6. There was a scramble at the base as the shockwave hit, soldiers diving to pull down the civilians and try to shield them from the blast of sand, sound, and force. The more aware ones did their best to drag people behind Deezy's shell instead of letting their clothes take the brunt of the mini sandstorm. Lucia popped her head up at Deezy's comment, eyes wide. "No shit. And I thought my stuff was scary. Guy could set off an earthquake." "Kid is an earthquake," Leo, the shipwright from Connecticut, muttered as he peeled a soldier that had rather laughably attempted to keep the much larger man from being scoured by the sand off from him with a grunt. Dr. Ballard was off to the side, conferring with several people and checking the feeds from drones that were little more than scrap metal and plastic now. The Colonel called over, "Get what you need, doctor? 'Cause I think that boy needs to get home before he takes out half the state." "Yeah," Ballard waved the soldier off. "We've got the readings. Some weird spikes, but nothing that looks like it's going to mutate the public. I want him to have some follow-ups with his PPC, make sure he's not having more weird side effects. We're going to need more drones if everyone else is going to show off like that." His tone was pretty neutral, just recounting a fact and not giving an opinion on such overwhelming use of power. Next to him, Wendy was more wide-eyed, quickly scribbling notes down a tablet and and blinking sand out of her eyes still. Several soldiers jogged into the yard, meeting with the Colonel and getting reassurance that things were indeed okay and the sandblast wasn't Storm Round 2. They disappeared back around the building, going over to the larger second group Ryan had caught sight of in his short flight earlier. The others with them in quarantine gave their own performances: Chula Mercier from the bayou who could warp and stretch her body, playing at being a marionette on invisible strings. Sora Matsuda, who healed those with cuts and sand burns with a touch and seemed to awe the soldiers perhaps even more than the flamboyant shows the others were putting on. Vanessa Carmichal, the Mean Girl from the west coast who spent the whole time trying on different glam faces and bodies, watching the soldiers to see who was watching her like they should be. Alejandro Juarez, the Latino dancer that played with the drones, sending them spinning around him in their own intricate dance without ever touching them or their controllers. Deliah Palmer, the middle-aged Black woman with kids to get home to, stood with a flame dancing over her palm and dared anyone to ask her to do something flashy just for the amusement of their military captors. Cynthia Richardson, who was grinning the entire time others were doing their bit, waiting to see when people would notice there were a dozen of her spectating around the yard - and one more sneaking around the side of the building to see what was going on on the other side. Leo Walker the shipwright shrunk down to child-size and then grew until even Sebastian and Emily could see him towering over the yard as they trekked back from their desert jaunt. As Balard cleared each person, the Colonel sent a soldier to show them back into the base. There a team of bureaucrats were waiting with paperwork, a recap of the world over the past four days, and an offer. They went over each person's current state of fame and what life back home was likely to be like, and then offered for them to go home and deal with that or go into WitSec until the world recovered and adjusted to the new status quo. Ryan was also requested to ferry those people that wanted to just go home all over the country - otherwise a plane trip to Tuscon later that day would get them started on the journey, and plane or train tickets would be provided to get them the rest of the way. Quarantine was over; now they just had to face the rest of the world.
  7. I don't know that Sprockets even checks here anymore. Again, this project has been defunct for years.
  8. For clarification of those in Peers & Pressures: You guys will be let out of quarantine just a little bit after where Peers is now. Literally a meeting with a bureaucrat that'll boil down to "Here's what we were able to do to preserve your privacy while you were here. If you go back to your life you will/won't be able to hide that you're a Stormer. Do you want to go into Witness Protection instead?" Ryan will be asked if he's up for 'porting people home, otherwise it'll be a little time waiting for mundane transport to Tuscon and then wherever else.
  9. So far as I know, this project has been dead in the water for *years*. With the new Aberrant in the process of coming out, there might be some renewed interest using that system.
  10. In the months after the Storm event on September 19th, 2019 Once the first tallies were made in the weeks following the Storm, the world had lost roughly ten percent of its population. Losses ranged from barely-hit areas mostly dealing with odd phenomenon that caused a bit of damage and a lot of panic, to entire cities wiped away to the last person and building. The new celebrities and real life superheroes of the world, dubbed Stormers in the media, have become social focal points of both hope and cautious awe. The appearance of such people in the Storm seems fairly evenly distributed around the planet in pockets. Firm numbers have been impossible to come by, but it’s suspected that there’s somewhere between two and four thousand Stormers total. Monsters are still a problem around the world, though most have been either destroyed or herded away from population centers and pinned in by military barricades that can’t seem to kill them but can keep them in place. Terrifyingly, new monsters have appeared since the Storm - as have a post-Storm supers. The rate of both has, thankfully for a bruised and battered world, been incredibly low. In the US Congress has passed a law affirming the rights of Stormers as private citizens and putting in place governmental support systems to protect the privacy of Stormers that do not wish to be ‘outed’ on their status. There are new bills making their way through both chambers currently in support or fear of Stormers. On the side of fear there are calls to expel Stormers from the country based on their assumed monstrousness, outlaw the use of Stormer powers on American soil, or requiring Stormers to be put on a public registry for ‘public’ safety. On the side of those that support Stormers laws are being proposed that would give incentives for foreign Stormers to immigrate to the US and would set up a separate Department of Supernaturally Gifted Public Service for Stormers to serve the government under in whatever manner their gifts would benefit the country. One law is sitting before the President that would fund a public initiative to study the Stormer phenomenon by creating a national Center of Nova & Psi Radiation Study. Across the Pond, Britain has taken the turning point in history to commit fully to Brexit, negotiating a leave that still puts Northern Ireland in a legally complicated position that neither side is totally happy with - a sure sign of a good political compromise. The island nation has been busy negotiating new trade deals; the Storm and the massive damage done has thrown the world economies into chaos and Britain hopes that securing new trade deals will help ensure the flow of resources now and a stronger place on the world stage once everything settles out into the new normal. Having only a dozen Stormers, the nation hasn’t yet put any new legislation in place regarding those individuals or their supernatural abilities, though many of the Stormers have been invited to speak in Parliament on their experiences. The two most well-known Stormers, now known in the media by their leaked code names of Einherjar and Valkyrie, are two of the most loved celebrities in the nation and Britain has fully embrace a world with superheroes in it. Britain is on the leading front of actively recruiting Stormers to the country, with occasionally mostly-friendly swipes at the US for “stealing” one of their Stormers.
  11. The Colonel shook his head. "No, you don't have to. You're...Hodges, right? When you're done here, there's a case manager waiting to talk to you. I know your video got around, but you're pretty much the one person on video that had the sense to cover your face." He smiled, lines crinkling along his face. "So, you can likely step back into your life without too much of an issue so long as you keep your abilities under wraps. Your father is, of course, aware of your situation. Given his profession and standing, I don't know that you can expect your abilities to stay secret forever." Next to them, Ballard gave a sigh and a small glare at the military man. The colonel arched a brow at him, then rolled his eyes. "Oh, good lord doctor. I didn't peek at her medical records. She looks like one of the senators that's been breathin' down my neck for the past five days." Next to them, Wendy was watching the power displays with rapt attention. "It really is something," she breathed softly to herself in wonder.
  12. Okay, I'm getting a bit better of a timeline for our move and just life in general. I'm going to leave Peers & Pressures open for player input until November 3. The thread will lock at 9 AM CST on November 4 and I'll put up a final post as to how it all wraps up - unless the PCs are done with it beforehand, in which case I'll try to do the final NPC/ST post before then. I'll have the State of World thread up by then for what happened during the Storm and the immediate time while you all were in quarantine and few weeks after that. I'll update the State of World as people do things in personal plot threads that would have ripples or splashes on the larger stage. After that, I'm going to have the game on personal plot threads until the New Year. You guys will ICly have until Valentine's Day to write about. While I won't be putting up a next plot thread until then, this doesn't mean that I'm not available to run NPCs or for your PCs to do things that affect the game world - just that next ST-driven plot won't start up until early January.
  13. The older man in a lab coat - Dr. Ballor, most likely - said, "This falls under your medical privacy. You signed waivers earlier that essentially just give you all enough access to each other's records during this time to have done the tests earlier and this one now. This isn't about making you perform like a circus dog. It's about taking measurements when each of you actively use your para-human abilities and making sure that doing so doesn't release bursts of radiation that could be harmful to yourselves, your loved ones, and the general population. It is the final set of tests before lifting the quarantine as we must determine that medically you are safe to reintroduce to the general population." The man in fatigues, weathered where Ballor was polished, spoke up; his voice was gruff and had a Southern twang to it. "This is the United States, ladies and gentlemen. We don't press-gang citizens into service. You want to sign up? There's not a recruiter across the services who wouldn't want that feather in their cap, but it's always going to be your decision. Personally, I'd be just as happy if you never used these.....abilities....ever again. They're dangerous and they'll throw the whole world out of balance, but they're here so that's just what it is. As for names in a database, that ship has already set sail in Congress thanks to the fathers of two of you here. It's not to put you on-call, though," he said with a nod towards Sebastian, "it's to give you a chance of having a life outside of all of this if that's what you want. Pretty much all of you were seen using these abilities during the Storm. If you weren't caught on video, you have friends and family that saw what you did. We've been trying to keep things as quiet as possible, but in this day and age that's almost impossible. Once you're out of quarantine, there's a line of civil servants waintin' for you all to tell you what your options are goin' forward." He held up his hands, "Not what you're allowed to do, before you all start screamin' at me. What we've manage to contain and what you can expect if you go home or if you choose to go into WitSec."
  14. "We don't really have an animal to do that with. I can see if we have any volunteers, but there's also just a monitoring period that's going to have to pass before they give an all-clear." There was a pause and Wendy came back with, "I mean, unless one of you could make an animal? That might work and then we could also test the animal to see if it has higher levels of the radiation." There were several more rounds of brainstorming between Deezy, Wendy and several of the other people sitting bored in quarantine. Eventually she called it for the day and promised to ask if a test animal could be procured. The next day the group was endowed with a miniature pig and asked to keep their ability-usage to a minimum, preferably none at all. At lunch, the pig was removed and tested for radiation levels, then returned to the quarantine area - this time the group was asked to use their powers in some way while the pig wandered around curiously around them. At dinner it was taken again; Wendy got back on the speaker a little after 9. "Good news, guys! There was no higher radiation levels detected at either time today. No one on the base has tested for higher radiation levels this entire time, either, so tomorrow we're going to take down the bubble and do some larger power tests outside. Dr. Ballard still wants 72 hours with regular blood draws from those of us that are going to be around you before he'll give a clear call. If it all goes well, though, you'll be completely out of CDC quarantine at that point." True to her word, the next morning after breakfast the group was ushered out of the rooms, with soldiers going in after them to start pulling the plastic shell down. The super-powered people were pulled outside into dazzling sunlight; they were in a large fenced off area that had tire tracks in the sand all over it - likely what they usually used for a parking lot. Soldiers were strung out along the edges of the field watching the group with interest and a touch of fear from at least a few of them. Two older men, one in a lab coat and one in fatigues with an air of tense disapproval, stood with a woman in a wide-brimmed hat and pantsuit; she waved them over, calling out in Wendy's voice. "Good morning everyone! I hope you slept well. Who wants to go first?"
  15. Good training and the warning they'd gotten before the 'copter landed kept the soldiers moving on their assigned tasks, but few could keep from openly staring at the pair. Kyria received the lion's share of heated gazes while the response to Steve was one of complete hero worship by those lucky enough to actually get to be near him. Amongst the soldiers heroism certainly carried more weight than just the inhuman beauty of the mercurial red squirrel, as Steve had dubbed her. A steel-haired woman in warm pants and a plush sweater stepped forward; she held a hand out to the pair and introduced herself: "Dr. Grace Jordan. I'm leading the team out here and will be coordinating the tests we're doing here." "Doctor." Steve said formally as he took her hand for a brief shake. Though a little discomfited by the attention and plainly unused to celebrity, the large Marine handled it well, his demeanour businesslike and focused. He missed being 'one of the lads', though the relaxed authoritative manner the Colonel displayed towards him, as well as the PT instructor's humorous 'punishment' were somewhat reassuring that he was still considered a soldier, at least. It had only hit him recently how important that was to his sense of self. He gestured to the slender beauty beside him as the handshake ended. "This is Kyria." he said by way of polite introduction. Dr. Jordan gave Kyria a clinical once-over, impressing Colonel Hatcher with her ability to completely ignore Kyria's heightened appearance. The woman nodded to her and then gestured over to the Nant Ddu Lodge. "We have the Lodge and the soldiers are over in the campgrounds. There's a bedroom put aside for you in the Lodge if you don't mind that we'll all be discussing the two of you and your abilities over breakfast like coffee-fueled high-schoolers with a new crush. Otherwise, the soldiers are bunking in at the Coed Owen Bunkhouse." Her expression was bland as she offered their choices, but the two could feel the keen intellect behind her warm brown eyes. Even this was a data-point to be collected and added to their files. Kyria arched a brow at Steve, a small smirk on lips. "Well..." Steve collected his thoughts, wondering what an 'Einherjar' was (it was familiar, but he couldn't remember what it meant) and why someone had labelled him that. Unless he was the 'Valkyrie', but even with his hazy grasp on Norse mythology he was pretty sure that was Kyria. It even kind of fit, name-wise. "I'm tougher. More tireless, less prone to fatigue and pain. It seems to take a scalpel and a bit of pushing to get through my skin." He reported, thinking as he spoke. "The toughness isn't just skin deep, either. Going by the evidence, I think it goes all the way to the bones and internal organs." The evidence was the fact that Kyria's grip was, in the throes of climax, sufficient to splinter wood and bend metal, and yet her legs squeezing around his midsection did not pulp his internals or bruise him. He declined to explain the source of that finding, though. "Also sharper. My senses are all better. My manual dexterity and balance are better, as is my running speed. I don't know if I could race a car on a flat surface, but I was able to outrun the SAS troopers at morning PT." He took a deep breath as he came to the last 'detail'. "I can manipulate the weather. Not sure how, or to what extent. During the fight with the ice giant I was able to fly - rudimentarily - though manipulating the wind. I also called down lightning, like I was taking energy from the Storm and hitting the thing with it. Finally I was able to cause a tornado, with updrafts strong enough to lift the thing from the ground so Kyria and I could slam it back down and shatter it." "The other stuff, it's pretty straightforward, at least to me. The only ability I've not had cause to use while in quarantine was the weather control." he looked over the banks of screens, then back at the Doctor. "Guess that's what we're here for today?" She nodded. "That's what the array of monitors on the peaks are for." She quirked a brow at Kyria, waiting for the flame-haired woman to give her own self-report. "I can fly," she said with an uncomfortable shrug. It was strange to Steve - he'd not actually seen her uncomfortable before. Bored, horned, manic, and utterly stir crazy, but never self-conscious before. "I break things easily." Another uneasy shrug and she finished with, "That's it, as far as I know, as far as powers." Dr. Jordan kept her eyes on the woman for a few beats longer, impassive expression giving no impression of the reason for the pause. "Alright," she finally said, "on to the tests, then. The tests they did in quarantine gave us a physiological baseline, so this set is meant to be of your more energetic expressions, shall we say. Kyria, we would like to take some footage and readings of you flying first. Then, Mr. Nord, we would like to see your control of the weather. Depending on how that goes, we may ask for examples of your lightning control and tornado creation, but we'll be going a bit slowly to make sure we're not starting a heatwave in London or somesuch. Understood?" The two nodded. Kyria was fitted with an armband that would measure heart-rate, body temperature and surely a dozen other things, and then sent to fly up and down the road at varying heights and speeds for the next hour. She was calm and focused, something Steve hadn't been sure she could do for extended periods of time, but her smile was missing, too. Finally she touched back down after the last "run;" she was waved to chair while the crew of scientists finished collating data and printing off summaries to tuck into the "Valkyrie" file. Dr. Jordan had fitted Steve with another armband during Kyria's last run; now she motioned to the sky. "Mr. Nord, call us a storm, please." He nodded at the doctor, then excused himself for a moment and went to crouch by Kyria's chair, his expression one of concern. He knew there was more to her than her strength and flying - and knew that she knew that too. But he'd kept quiet on the matter, figuring that it wasn't his choice what to say about Kyria abilities unless ordered to give a report on what he knew - at which point he knew he'd find his loyalties tested. Whatever reason she'd had for concealment, she was a private citizen and therefore had the right to do so. "You okay, love?" he asked quietly, pitching his voice below the hum and chatter of the scientists and their radios as they told the various listening posts to stand by. He cupped her cheek in his palm, reassured when she nestled against his touch and met his eyes. It wasn't fair, he realized, for her to be put through this rigmarole. He had signed up for - well, not this, but to be considered subject to the Crown and it's duly appointed officers. "You just relax now, duck. You don't have to do anything else unless you want to." He told her calmly. "We'll go for a walk once I've given the eggheads plenty of numbers to crunch, right?" She gave him a little smile, turning her head and kissing his palm. Whatever was causing her smile to vanish was still there, he saw, but her spirits seemed somewhat buoyed. "Mr Nord?" Dr. Jordan called. "We're ready for the test now." She was polite enough, but the subtext was clear. 'Time to perform'. Steve gave Kyria a solemn wink and straightened up, turning to regard the scientists with eyes that glowed a steady electric blue. "Mr Nord is my dad, Doc." he said as he moved towards the entrance to the pavilion. Sparks started to dance between his teeth as he spoke, lightning crawling across his exposed arms as he shucked his fleece jersey, revealing a t-shirt beneath. From overhead, there was a rumble that came in time with his words. Steve was annoyed - not for himself but for Kyria. They had bonded in more than one way over the last week or two, and he was so used to her smile that it's absence seemed to indicate a wrongness in the world. "It's Colour Sergeant Nord." his voice rumbled - or was it the thunder overhead speaking? The scientists looked at him, at the lightning now coruscating over his form as he strode out of the pavilion, then looked at their monitors. The storm rolled in from all points of the compass, the leading edges surging over the monitoring posts. Satellite imaging saw the Brecon National Park and a large part of Wales and the West Midlands quickly become covered in thick impenetrable cloud. Standing on the edge of the reservoir, wreathed in lightning and looking up at the sky, Steve could feel the clouds struggling, like horses tugging futilely at reins being held by a giant - him. He could feel the winds driving the clouds whipping at the surface of the reservoir, causing white foam to form in tiny crests. It felt good. He laughed, the sound echoed by a crash of thunder from overheard, and raised a hand to the sky as if bidding the clouds to halt their roiling, surging struggle. They did, building up into layers as the outlying area of the stormfront shrank, contracting so that just the National Park now lay under thick, slow-moving thunderclouds. They wanted a storm. He narrowed his incandescent blue eyes. The next roll of thunder split the sky as the ripping tear of lightning danced in the clouds so brightly that even inside the pavilion the colour was leached from everything for a second. The winds struck next, howling down the mountain passes, whipping the surface of the reservoir into a frenzy and whistling eerily as it made the pavilion's guy-ropes hum. Then came the rains, a torrent driven by gale-force winds strong enough to make grown men stagger and seek shelter. But not him. The winds ruffled his hair and clothing, but did not cause him to stagger. The rain soaked him, but he did not care, nor did the drops sting on his face. He felt the storm leap and bound, obedient to his wishes, and knew that if he wished he could blow the pavilion away, cause lightning to dance among the peaks of the Beacons, uproot trees and topple buildings... If he wished. He laughed again, sparks jumping from his tongue to his teeth, and the thunder crashed once more like the percussion of an angry god. He wryly wondered if the scientists were getting the data they needed. Inside the tent there was a mad scramble to lower the clear plastic walls as the storm came in quick and heavy. They'd prepared for something like this, but actually experiencing had the room buzzing with amazed excitement; as the storm kept intensifying the chatter died down as they by turns watched readouts or stared at the monitors showing the sheer size of the weather alteration. Even Dr. Jordan finally succumbed to frighten awe, crossing herself and muttering, "Good Lord, that's covering half the country." Kyria chuckled at that and pushed open the tent walls at a corner. She pushed through the wind and wet, grinning now at the effort he had to put into just walking forward. When she finally made it to him she threw her arms around him and clung to him; she laid her cheek against his so she could speak directly into his ear - it was the only way to be heard over the roar of thunder and rain. "That all you have, 'Einherjar'?" she teased, back to the Kyria he'd known for the past two weeks. She glanced back at the pavilion where Dr. Jordan was peering out with a dozen people crowded behind her. "She said it was only half the island." "Oh, is that how it is?" he laughed, the thunder rumbling in sympathetic amusement. "Considered going all-out, but I contracted the storm to just fairly local right now - don't want to ground air traffic or cause accidents. This-" he gestured at the sky. "Is the dial set to 'four'." He glanced at the tent, looping an arm around Kyria and holding her close, kissing her rain-soaked cheek. She giggled and looped her strong little arms around his neck. "More!" she laughed. "Alright. Let's see what we can do..." Steve's eyes flickered, the storm abating suddenly, the clouds ceasing their dark roiling motion. The rain continued to fall, but as more of a steady downpour without the driving winds which, in turn, slackened to a drizzle. The air grew cooler, causing the scientists to huddle in their fleeces and parkas and Kyria to press tightly against Steve - as the mist began to rise, coalescing and thickening, becoming a fog that deadened sound. The temperature dropped further, creating freezing fog, ice crystals starting to form on the wet pavilions, sparkling on the stonework of the reservoir and creating tiny diamonds on Kyria's lashes. The sensors monitoring Steve's energies registered a surge, a strain of his energy matrices as the radiation he was tapping into spiked along with the power output. He felt the strain, but pushed on through it as if it were an exercise burn or crippling fatigue -something to be overcome through force of will. . The scientists watched their instruments, unable to see more than a dim flickering light of Colour Sergeant Nord's aura outside. Satellite imagery showed the fogbank roiling outward from the Brecon Park at speed, but also rising in other places and likewise spreading like ink dropped into water. "London. Plymouth. Aberdeen." One scientist pointed where other fogbanks were rising. "Southampton, Dover. It's moving out across the Channel." There was a shocked silence as they watched the British Isles become blotted out in freezing fog on the thermal imagery. "Ireland is covered. The Orkneys and Shetland islands. Jersey. Holy shit. The lower edge is brushing the French coast." "Chatter from DoT. All aircraft have been grounded across Europe." another scientist reported, holding a phone to his ear. "Governments are issuing emergency broadcasts to all drivers and shutting down motorways. The media is going berserk." "Calais now, heading into the continental mainland." The satellite technician said, fascinated by the expanding circle on his display. "The fog is heading out over the North Sea and the Atlantic." "Doctor, perhaps it is a good time to abort the test?" suggested a civil servant, his face pale. "A case could be made that Colour Sergeant Nord is invading sovereign French territory." Dr. Jordan snorted and shrugged. "There are no laws governing the movement of weather," she pointed out. "Welcome to a new world. Let's see how far he can push this before the politicians write those laws." Colonel Hatcher narrowed his eyes at Jordan. "International incident isn't the only concern here, doctor. That's dangerous weather out there. People could get injured or die. The panic from the public is going to be real and justified. He can stretch his powers after we've posted a general warning and coordinated with any countries that are likely to be affected by it. At this point, we don't know if he's just knocked the entire planet's weather system out of whack. Shut it down." The doctor gestured to the tent wall, indicating the fog. "You're welcome to go tell him to stop. I'd recommend locating some infrared goggles first." She snorted at his deadpan look. "Didn't bring any, eh? Well, pity - next time, then. We're at his mercy right now. I would get used to it, that's functionally going to be the truth from now, if he's an indication of what the affected people can do." "A bit of good news," a timid meteorologist cut in, knowing Dr. Jordan enough by reputation to want to diffuse the confrontation. "Everywhere the storm wasn't, the weather didn't react. The way it would next to a supercell like that. We should have seen some reactions on the satellites - other clouds getting pushed around, for one. There's been nothing. It's like to the planet, the storm doesn't actually exist." "Fog?" Kyria peered at the dim shape of her storm god, aware that even hugging him and feeling his body's warmth could not completely ameliorate the odd sensation of not being able to see him clearly. Even her words came forth flat in the oppressive blanket of swirling vapour. "Freezing fog." Einherjar (and didn't that name seem somehow more appropriate to her now) glanced down at her, his eyes twin orbs of electric blue radiance that matched the dance of ghostly lightning in his aura that didn't seem to hurt her as she embraced him. "A huge bank of it, rolling over the world. Extending thousands of kilometers in every direction. It will be covering Europe, reaching most of the way to Moscow. It will be in North Africa. It will be coming close to the United States' east coast." His deep voice seemed to carry through the fog, thrumming through their touching forms. "I could blanket the world in it. Or a polar storm. Or a hurricane, or something like the Storm that made me this way..." He raised a hand and waved it abruptly - and the fog lifted with such suddenness that the radiance of unfiltered daylight was momentarily dazzling. One moment a stifling, freezing blanket of mist, the next moment tattered wisps remained that dissipated before their very eyes. "This is way too much power for a man to have." Steve breathed, the glow of his eyes subsiding and the flicker of his aura fading out. The god receded, the man emerged. He blinked, looking at Kyria, then back at the tent. "Shit, this is too much power for anyone to have." Colonel Hatcher stepped outside the tent, looking fit to chew nails. His expression shifted into something more neutral when he took in Steve's contemplative look. "Sergeant," he said, his tone serious, "no more testing that particular power today. In fact, I think we're done completely for the day. Why don't the two of you head back to Nant Ddu and spend the evening in the spa? There isn't staff, but the pool and hot tub are available." He motioned the two of them to one of the Humvee's that had brought them there and gestured at a few soldiers to accompany them back. It might have been phrased as a suggestion, but Steve knew an order when heard one. "Sir." he saluted, one arm still around Kyria, and headed for the jeep. Hatcher watched them go, a considering look in his eyes, then turned back to regard Dr. Jordan as she emerged from the tent, looking askance at the two enhanced as they left. "Where are they going? We've got more tests to-" "Doctor." Colonel Hatcher's voice was calm, but underscored with years of authority. "You've got plenty of data to crunch. I, on the other hand, as the ranking officer here have to manage the morale of a man, not a test monkey. A good man, might I add. A decorated soldier who is bright enough to know that what he did today has global ramifications. No more tests until further notice, which will be when I decide it's wise. Let them relax for the rest of the day. We're not in a rush." Jordan drew herself up, clearly aggravated at being balked at. Her jaw twitched as she weighed the cost and benefit of having this power struggle out with the Colonel here and now. Coming to a decision, she shrugged. "That'll be up to Parliament, no doubt," she said with the air of someone commiserating over a sad state of affairs. She ducked back into the tent without another word. Hatcher could hear her giving orders like the best of drill sergeants with unruly recruits. For today at least, she was packing up as directed. There would be other days. Other tests. Either under her purview or because the only thing this world would deny it's new demigods would be an unremarkable life.
  16. In Sebastian's ER room the nurse shook his head, still looking pale and quite freaked out. "He's been doing things," he said in a scared whisper. "Things that aren't possible. He won't stop. We can't sedate him. He just....just...." The young man slid down to the floor, his back to the wall. He was shuddering and tears started rolling down his cheeks. The sound coming across the speakers wailed louder and Jael and Zac could hear rushing steps outside the ER doors. Dr. Foster frowned and said in a clipped voice, "One of our other patients. We're not sure how he's doing it. Now, please stay here." As she pushed open the doors out into the hospital, the howling on the speakers lowered down to a background static and a chorus of voices spoke over it. "Come to meeeee. I can feeeeeeel you. I know you're heeeeeere. Strong man, gone man, little wolf. Come to meeeeeee-" Abruptly the chorus cut out except for one man's voice, shrill and clearly insane, "Or I'll eat them all! Hahahaha! So little, so fragile, so base. They're nothing at all!"
  17. "Careful," Wendy said with an amused tease. "Jensen - our rather cheeky pathologist - has already started giving all of you codenames. Give me a minute to get ahold of Dr. Ballard." After that, things moved quickly. Deezy was asked first to duplicate HIPPA releases for everyone so that medical information could be collected by those in quarantine, and then she was sent the specs for nearly a dozen different pieces of medical equipment. The large barracks room went from 'socializing space' to 'medical lab'. Samples were taken from everyone but Sebastion - they just couldn't figure out how for anything beyond hair and nail clippings and weren't willing to try anything too likely to actually injure him. Machines hummed and whirred and eventually spit out gigs of information for the CDC scientists to pour over. The poking and prodding had eaten up most of the day and the group eventually dispersed back to their rooms for sleep. Which again Sebastian noted he didn't seem to really need as much anymore. Not that the squints needed to know that. The next morning medical reports were handed through the airlock, along with a massive food shipment that included the requested food. Even a bag of blue-only M&Ms. The medical reports were detailed on each person's current general health, observed abilities, and a score next to a listing that was marked "Radiation ν" or "Radiation ψ". Over the speaker Wendy said, "The good news is that the tests we did yesterday have given us more information on the changes with you all and it appears that everyone's radiation levels are dropping steadily. We've manage to differentiate the radiation out into two kinds, which also seems linked to some shared changes between around one half of the group or the other. Those of you with the n-radiation also have cell clusters throughout your body that seems to interact with the n-radiation. Like process it instead of being harmed by it. Those of you with the psi-radiation instead, well, your brain is different. Just a small part of it, but like with the others it seems to process the psi-radiation. We're not sure why there's this split. These tests are what showed us that there were two distinctly different energies at play. Before that it was just considered all one new type of radiation. Anyways, if the radiation drop-off continues, you guys will be down to the new background level of this radiation in four or five days. At that point we'll want to take some measurements why you're actively using your abilities, just to check for spikes and make sure the use of the abilities aren't cause your body or mind problems. That will probably only take a few days itself. If everything checks out fine, the CDC will have no reason to continue the quarantine at that point."
  18. "What are you suggesting, Ms. Klatta? Making equipment inside the quarantine? Do you have any medical training?" Wendy sounded intrigued by the idea and maybe a little relieved at a suggestion that might prevent people from fleeing the base. "I'll have to run things by by Dr. Ballard, but anything that gives the CDC more data - well, I can't imaging that being seen as anything other than good." Deliah, Emily's roommate in quarantine, piped up with, "I'm not a doctor, but I know my way around most medical equipment. I'm all for whatever will get us out of here faster." She gave Bastion a glance that said yeah, I don't believe her either. "I've got kids to get home to."
  19. "The HAZMAT suits the doctors have been wearing do have badges built into them, Mr. Stone." Wendy said. "It's how the differing level of radiation was detected initially, according to the report. I can ask for more information in it, if you would like. I have what's effectively a synopsis of what they've discovered or theorize right now. It's only been two days since the Storm - everyone's scrambling to try to figure this all out. If you'd like to write a letter to your folks, Ms. Klatta has made clipboards and pen and papers. I can get a letter taken out tomorrow morning when the shipments come in."
  20. Hey, for those in Peers & Pressures, this first part was mostly meant to be for characters to talk with each other and start forming bonds. If people are bored at this point, I can move us forward a week to the point where the main quarantine has been lifted. There's still a "populated areas" quarantine in effect until they make sure that using your powers doesn't spike your radiation levels, make you go nuts/mutate, or the powers themselves don't cause others to go nuts/mutate. That would be montage scenes of people showing off with their powers and seeing how they work with each other. There isn't meant to be deep plot here other than some of the push-pull of people being awed by the super-humans, wanting to control them, and figuring everyone would be better off if you all just disappeared permanently. The game seems to have slowed down and I just want to make sure that's not because the social quarantine thread is just boring everyone. Let me know what you guys would prefer, because I can also just wrap up Peers & Pressures and move everyone to the three month jump so you're all loosed on the world and can go from there. For those in Angels & Demons: Do you need anything from me? I can add to my last post if there isn't enough actionable info there, or you can just tell me life's swallowed you for a bit and everything is elsewise fine. Ein: I promise, I'm getting to you!
  21. The sound of paper flipping came over the speaker. "They're not entirely sure where it's coming from. They want to take some more samples and have apparently ordered an MRI to be flown in, along with a list of a lot of other medical equipment. As for the radiation, it's the same that came with the Storm. Everyone's got some of it now, but you all have just more." She made a small sound as a thought occurred to her. "Some of you talked about having better sense or just different new ones. Can any of you sense things about each other? Or different from the soldiers at the doors? More information gets the science done faster and the quarantine lifted sooner." Several notes to some random song sang out over the speaker and Wendy sighed. "I've got to step out for a minute, everyone. If you all think of anything else, please let me know when I get back." The speaker clicked off and this time the Latino man didn't squint it back into life. He was standing with his arms crossed, a pensive and distracted look on his face.
  22. Over the speaker, Wendy's voice came again just as Emily reached the hallway down to the rooms. "The quarantine is for two reasons, Ms. Thompson. The first is that those of you here represent a very very very small number of people that have been altered by the Storm and didn't start attacking others or wreaking havoc on the landscape. We want to make sure you're going to be okay, psychologically. You all do have superhuman powers. Second to that-" There was a sound in the background, a deeper voice, interrupted her with murmuring. The speaker clicked off, but the Latino boy squinted at the speaker and it flickered back to life. Wendy's response to the intruder carried over the microphone, "Withholding medical information from them is not a good idea, Colonel. Not if you want them to trust you or stay put here when most of them certainly could leave." The male voice said something again and Wendy's voice carried over again. "Well, this is quarantine, not prison. The CDC has jurisdiction, not the military. I don't work for you. Bring it up with the Congressmen you've been complaining about. These people haven't been charged with a crime and Thompson is right, most of them are heroes. They're confused and getting angry. Understanding the situation will help them calm down and not fight their way out." They could hear the door slam and then the click of a button as Wendy though she was turning the speaker back on. "Sorry about that, everyone. As I was saying, the other reason quarantine is not 'bullshit' is because you're all still some sort of radioactive. You don't seem to be getting sick, but we need to make sure you aren't going to make others sick. So, please bear with us. I promise I will keep you updated with whatever the CDC doctors discover as I get reports from them. For now, perhaps try to get to know each other? You all belong to a rather unique and small club. Even after you leave here, I think it'd be good to keep in contact with others that can empathize with what you've been through and how your lives have changed."
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