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Found 210 results

  1. “And there you are.” The Hindi porter set down Olivia’s bags and turned with a smile to watch her take in the cabin. It wasn’t a small room despite their mode of travel, done in white and reds. The space was brightly lit with soft, indirect lighting. A small dining table with two chairs was placed against the back wall. A loveseat immediately to the left of the door faced two armchairs, making a small seating area. ,, The porter opened one of the two doors to show her a compact bathroom. “Here is the water closet. You have a hot tub for your use, as well as a shower. Your berth includes full use of water.” The tub filled most of the room and was large enough to fit two comfortably. ,, “Goodness, that’s… the largest tub I’ve ever seen.” Olivia stared, stunned. She was starting to feel a little overwhelmed—more overwhelmed. ,, “And this room is the bedroom.” Most of the space in the suite had been devoted to this room. The windows were large and made with thick glass; the image was slightly distorted but the golden light in the room was rich and warm. Heavy curtains could be drawn across it for night but were open right now and showing a picturesque view of Bangkok—as picturesque as that city got, anyway. Drawers and a closet had been built into the walls to create an image of space without sacrificing storage. The centerpiece of the room was the bed; it was a queen or maybe a king. The comforter on top looked as thick as a mattress, and all Olivia could think was that it was a bed made for lounging in for hours. ,, But it was the desk under the windows and across from the bed that really caught Olivia’s attention. The wood of the piece shone with a pale hue, matched by the cushioned chair in front of it. The young nurse reached out and brushed her fingers over the edge of the ætherlabe terminal. ,, “I’m afraid that you’ll not always have access to the æthersystem,” the porter said, slipping past her to turn on the screen with a flourish, “but when you do, you’ll be able to use it within the privacy of your own room.” The young man’s dark eyes glittered with dark amusement as he murmured, “And there are no restrictions to your usage.” ,, “Thank you,” Olivia said, knowing he was trying to imply something not sure what he meant. ,, The porter all-but winked as he repeated himself, “No restrictions. You can watch things you can’t find in say… a movie theatre.” ,, Olivia was still drawing a blank. “Unedited war footage?” she gamely guessed. ,, “He means pornography, darling.” James dropped his bags at the foot of the bed and dug a tip out of his pocket. “Oh, and have them bring around some champagne, glasses and a do-not disturb sign.” ,, The porter managed to tuck the money away without looking at it but it was clear he knew exactly how generous James had been. “Of course, sir.” He bowed. “Enjoy your honeymoon, Mr. and Mrs. Fleming.” ,, And with that, Olivia was alone in the cabin with James. Nervously, she spun the gold band on her left ring finger and said, “We should establish some rules. For… us. This. The… cohabiting.” She knew she was babbling, but her nerves wouldn’t let her stop.
  2. The wind blew cold and hard outside the Kauffman Center for the Arts; Midwest winters were always unfriendly. The other members of the charity committee board were straggling out in twos and threes, but Kitty was well ahead of them, moving briskly toward her rented car. She was eager to get away before Connor caught up with her. ,, It had seemed a pleasant commitment last November; a charity for cancer, featuring a nova auction. It was still in the formation stages, which meant they had a long time before this duty would be over. Before Christmas, Kitty had looked forward to it. Now the long months of planning seemed to drag on interminably. ,, It was so hard to see him and know that they weren’t together. It was harder to look at him and feel disappointment. Kitty felt tears sting her eyes. She’d lost Harley, her best friend, and now it felt like she’d lost the friend she’d made since Harley’s death. Damnit, Connor, why? I thought we knew where we were… ,, Kitty lifted her chin and blinked back tears. No. No more crying over Connor. She was done with moping over a man. It was a new day for Kitty Price.
  3. March 5th, 2013 ,, Connor had had a good weekend. God knows he needed it. It had been nonstop since the new year, as he ran around the world on DSA errands and State Department PR ops. he had seen scarce little of any of his comrades at the office, considering his highly irregular hours. He'd had the first and second of March off, for the gand opening of the new podbay in Houston something he didn't want to miss. ,, It was back to work though afterwards, as he was now In Mexico City, a guest of the President, who was seeking to improve US-Mexican relations. He'd been a real reformer so far rooting out corruption and on the whole truly helping redeem the Mexican central government's reputation in the eyes of the world. Of course, he made some enemies in this, but for the most part, his economic reforms had helped the nation, and the people were behind him. ,, Mexico boasted only three publicly known novas, Ming, Mariposa Esposita, and Juan Carlos Camacho, The man working for the Department of Agriculture. It was his work that had helped bring in record crops this past year, the old Ranch owner and vaquero was blessed with a gifted mind, but simple dreams. He had been offered far more money by the US in the early days of the DSA, but had remained in Mexico, much as Mariposa had. "I can do the most good for my people here." ,, He was in the Northwest, working there, and Ming and Mariposa were at the next stop on this goodwill tour. The Centro Medico Dalinde Hospital was the place where the petite Mariposa worked tirelessly to help diagnose treat an heal the sick in Mexico City, and She met the President and Connor's Entourage at the door. She shook hands with President Lorenzo, who kissed her knuckles lightly. When she came to Connor she seemed torn, and he extended a hand to her, which she took and then embraced him fondly. "I hear the two of you are well acquainted." ,, Connor smiled. "We are old friends on excellent terms." Mariposa blushed abit and regained her composure. "Gentlemen, please, I have many who would like to meet you, and much I wish to show you." She led them through the hospital into the non secure areas and the President shook hands with those patients they passed. It had all been cleared, and many were more impressed to see him there than Connor, until they came to the children's ward. There were two dozen beds in the largest wardroom, and the curtains were drawn back, they'd been told to expect a special visitor, not two, and certainly not Connor. ,, The eyes of two dozen children lit up upon seeing their guests, and They were ablaze with excitement. Both President Lorenzo and Connor spent time with each of them, and towards the end of the visit Connor even put on a miniature show for the them between two miniature copies of himself. ,, They lef and were outside the ward room when Connor felt the first tremble. He moved fast, faster than anyone there, to Shield the President and Mariposa, and then the main force of the quake shook the city to its foundations. There was a thunderous roar as the earth shook, and a high pitch Ringing that cased him actual pain. He went metal out of reflex even as the building was beginning to crumble. The ground shook and pitched, and For a moment his mind almost blanked. The hospital was already falling around him, and soon he and everyone there would be buried in thousands of tons of debris. ,, Across the city this was replayed. The military base, the refineries, every major building, all succumbed to the force of the 8.9 earthquake as monitoring stations all across the southwest detected the massive quake. most homes suffered great damage if not destruction, and fires raged across the slums and shantytowns of the city.The police were overwhelmed communications were knocked out, and what Emergency Response services that were on the streets at the time were largely all that remained in the city. The Death Toll in that first minute was over a hundred thousand, and would climb much higher by the time things were done. ,, Beneath 80 tons of stone Connor lay braced on the ground, covering three of Lorenzo's guards, the President, and Mariposa. They had all been knocked out in the fall, and Connor woke them with his tail in his minature Black lion form. "Connor?" ,, "There was an Earthquake a bad one, The hospital is around us, in shambles. The whole city was hit. Mariposa, we have a huge problem on our hands." ,, President Lorenzo awoke with a start.."Connor?" ,, "Yes sir. " ,, "My people?" ,, "I only see the five of you..." There was no hiding his sadness. ,, "More than we have any right to have hoped for. I've never felt one like that." Connor Nodded. "This building was one of the newest, and it was flattened. Sir, I recomend you appeal for immediate international Aid. There are people dying out there, and we have to help them." ,, The passion with which Connor spoke would have brought a lesser man to tears, he had no idea what brought out this nova's earnest desire to help strangers in a country not his own, but he was thankful to God for it, and He would do exactly as he said. "Your government?" ,, "Would need a Direct appeal from you sir." ,, "Do you have a phone?" ,, "No, it was destroyed in the fall.." ,, One of the guards held his up. "Sattelite, For emergencies." ,, "Now, sir, I will be honest. When I break us out of here, We may very well cause casualties. I will be careful, but I wish to state this now." ,, President Lorenzo shook his head. "There is nothing to be done. If the damage was this bad, then I may be the only one able to make this call and make it stick." Even Mariposa could only Nod. "I can feel Ming. after you free us help me get to her, she'll help." ,, Connor Nodded, and soon metal began to flow off of him as he shifted forms again. The metal encased them looking almost spherical for a moment but soon became a hand. Then, Amidst the rubble and ruin of the Sprawling Capital, an utterly massive Gundam Strike Freedom in it's gleaming black white blue and golden glory, two hundred and thirteen feet tall towering above everything else that remained.It held up it's hand its fingers uncurling. There was not much smoke around them, only due to the wind blowing it east. "Call quickly from my platform." The call was made, and Connor gave the right number and code to signify it was from him. It went first to Director Horst, The situation was explained, and he then used his clout to pass it directly to the President. ,, "President Carlson, I respectfully request Emergency Aid for my people. Thousands lay dead, and assuredly your people detected the quake that has ravaged my capital and nearly destroyed it. Please send all that you can, to help stave off any further loss of life. I know these aren't the proper channels, but innocent lives are in grave danger, and pride an bueracracy matter very little balanced against that." ,, Connor motioned for the phone to be directed to him. "Mr. President this is assistant Director Fontenot, I request immediate preparations to mobilize what personnel we can from the DSA to come down here and help these people. I'm already standing astride a ruined hospital, every building over the size of a house is in rubble, sir, these people need us." ,, President David Carlson looked to his Cabinet and the Secretary of Defense nodded. "I can have a Regiment in the air in 3 hours." ,, The Secretary of State nodded. "It will take time to get the red cross involved, and send our own Medical teams in." ,, "President Lorenzo, I will issue an order for a regiment of troops and Army Engineers to aid you, they'll be there in roughly 12 hours. What medical personnel and supplies I can muster, as well as Fire fighting crews, I will send as well." ,, Lorenzo shook his head. Twelve hours was a miracle but far too long. "Thank you President Carlson, for your prompt reply. God bless you and the American People." ,, He closed the phone and looked crestfallen. ,, "twelve hours, there's no telling how many of us will be dead by then." ,, Connor looked at him. "Dial the first number again, ask for Director Horst, I may have a sollution.: ,, He did so. "I can't hurry them any more Connor, even with such a tragedy..." ,, "I can." ,, "What?" "Get together all our people, Make Sure Dr. Richardson is there above everyone else. She's going to be the key in this." ,, It had been thirty minutes now since the quake and the news was starting to get out Everyone wanted to know what was happening, and after Connor's first Call, the Director had already recalled all DSA nova operatives to meet in one of the auditoriums in the compound. "Alright Connor, we'll do it your way I'm having everyone in the auditorium in ten minutes I'll see you then." ,, Horst Hung up and the Mexican president looked up at him. "What are you playing at?" ,, "I will save as many as I can, even if it costs me my job." He began shrinking down setting them on the ground safely, as he took a more manageable 8m tall form without the large wings. "Now, Mariposa, lead me to Ming."..... ,, ,,
  4. Olivia woke up crying. For a moment, she was still in the jungle; it was night and she could smell the stink of bleeding bodies and feel their touch on her. For a moment, her stomach and chest hurt from the long-healed bullet wounds of that night; the wounds in her flesh faded but the agony in her heart was still there. Stifling her sobs, Olivia glanced over at the other cot in the rude hut: Sadie Lou was still sleeping, her snores barely audible over the drone of the rain. At least she hadn’t woken her roommate this time. Olivia found this a small comfort as she dragged her pillow over her head and sobbed into its stiff white cotton cover. She wept for Sean, for her innocence and for the other two people who had died. She wept because she was still afraid—scared to be alone or in a jeep at night or just scared. She wept because she was still hurt, and she didn’t know if it would ever stop hurting. Her post-nightmare crying fit took a while to run dry. When she was done, she felt exhausted, as if she hadn’t slept at all. Another day in Burma. Once, it hadn’t been like this. After meeting Sean, she’d been hopeful and happy. That woman had been a child: she’d seen the harshness of the world and still thought there was more good than evil. That woman was no more; her optimism had been murdered in the jungle with her beau. Sniffling a little, Olivia got out of bed and tugged on her ætherfiber clothing. She’d heard that some women wearing the dynamic-created clothing went without their underclothing, or even made underclothing from their ætherfiber. To her, that felt like wearing her underwear where everyone could see it and so she had proper underclothes underneath the amazing, shifting clothing. Once dressed, Olivia grabbed her satchel and umbrella. It was a rare spring rainfall in the jungles of Burma, a reminder that the summer wet was coming. Yawning a little, she picked her way through the mud, trying to keep her galoshes from splashing dirty brown water onto her white uniform. She could clean it easily, but it was unsanitary. The mess was quiet and dry. It was the latter point that was important to Olivia as she took a seat well away from the kitchen. The three negro cooks were laboring away, getting breakfast ready for the small Red Cross camp. Olivia smiled to herself as she caught snippets of their easy banter. It drove away the sting of the nightmare and left her feeling a touch better. Normalcy. That was what she needed right now. Making sure her fingers were dry, she opened her satchel and pulled out the stationery and pen. A partially composed letter was waiting for her, and the young nurse reread what she’d written yesterday. Picking up her pen, she focused for a moment and started to write. The click of a tin cup on the wooden table caught Olivia’s attention. She looked sharply up to see Carl, one of the cooks, walking away. A steaming cup of coffee sat in front of her now; when she glanced again at Carl, he winked at her. They weren’t supposed to serve food outside of the regular mealtimes, but all the colored men were coddling her in small ways. Olivia took a sip of the coffee; it wasn’t very good but most food wasn’t very good over here. It was all so strange or had to ship so long that it was no longer flavorful. The caffeine was quite welcome, and as she set the tin back down, she realized she was stalling. The young woman sighed, hoisted her pen and heavily continued writing. Olivia stopped, her fingers shaking and tears in her eyes. She couldn’t tell her mother that she’d felt glad when the men died. She’d have to rewrite this page. The young woman breathed deeply for a moment to compose herself before starting again. Someone was shouting her name, and Olivia focused on the cry. It wasn’t anyone she knew, but she was familiar with the tone. Hastily she capped her pen and refolded her papers, putting them back in the satchel just as the British soldier burst into the mess tent. He was young, with a baby-smooth face. It was the wide eyes and pale skin that made Olivia think him young; he had that shocked look that boys get from their first taste of war. “Nurse Jennings?” “Yes?” she asked, grabbing her umbrella. The boy took two steps toward her and she recoiled reflexively. He was anxious and it was making her nervous. “Ma’am, we need you at the Army hospital. One of my mates - he’s hurt real bad.” It would be very bad if the British Army was calling on her for help. That meant it was something beyond what the surgeons could do for their man. “Then let’s go,” she said, waving for him to lead the way. If it was that dire, they didn’t have time to stand about and talk.
  5. This fiction contains scene of violence, sex and sexual violence. You have been warned. Oberleutnant Otis Huber had a problem. Soldat Ralf Kappel was the third man to go AWOL this month. It wasn’t like these men were on the front lines. This was training post, in the heart of Berlin, and these men weren’t lazy or prone to delinquent behavior. Yet they had disappeared and he had the bad feeling that they weren’t the last. Fahnenjunker Koch entered the room, carrying a clipboard. “I asked the men about Kappel.” The little officious man adjusted his glasses and peered at his notes. “He did not draw duty last night—” “I am aware of the duty roster, Fahnenjunker.” It was a sign of his agitation that he cut Koch off. Normally, Huber was far more indulgent of his men; treating them without respect was a sure way to sow dissent. He softened his voice as he added, “I’m sure you have discovered something else.” Koch was many things, the foremost of which was efficient. “Of course, sir. Kappel and six other men had permission to leave the barracks and go into Berlin proper. The seven of them went to dinner and then a theatre show. Our men ran into a group from Training Division Kurland at the bar after the movie. Kappel and another soldat named Niklas Fleischer decided to leave for…” Koch paused and twitched his lips in distaste. “A house of ill repute.” “Soldiers will be soldiers,” Huber replied, taking a sip of his tea. In truth, the thought disgusted him, but he had been a young man once. It would be better for the troops to frequent brothels than for their manly pressures to build until they were tempted into viler activities. “Yes, sir.” The repugnance hadn’t left Koch’s face. “I took the liberty of visiting Kurland.” This is why Koch was his assistant; he would not only take initiative, but he knew when to do so and when to refrain. Huber allowed Koch to see his pleasure as he asked, “Anything of note?” “Yes, Oberleutnant. I learned that Soldat Fleischer is missing as well.” Koch’s smugness seemed out of proportion until he added, “I have a friend in the Personnel department and learned that there are many disappearances within the ranks.” Huber’s eyes narrowed. When he spoke again, his words were enunciated precisely enough to cut. “How many disappearances?” “Ten men in twelve nights.” Huber inhaled slightly, dread easing into his bones. Ten was not so many… but ten was the start of an avalanche, in his opinion. Ten men abandoning their posts on the front lines during a losing battle was expected. That many in the heart of the Reich while on training was too many. Personnel should have seen these losses—only Fleischer and Kappel hadn’t been reported. Eight was better than ten; perhaps the head of Personnel had told himself one more and I report. Perhaps he had already reported. Huber snatched up his phone. Regardless of what the head of personnel had done, Huber was about to report this trend. His superior, Hauptmann Schneider, valued men who were reactionary rather than passive. And while Schneider hated to be bothered with needless details, Huber’s instincts were telling him that this was important.
  6. With all due respect to Mala, I've noticed that suddenly Sanctum Sanctorum has become a discussion point among CN players. As the conversation in regards to Quantum 6 has been mixed up with discussion on Sanctum Sanctorum, I feel that it may be a good idea to discuss how to fix/improve Sanctum/Sanctum Sanctorum as a feature in Cosmos Nova. I know something got posted in the Q6 discussion, I would like to offer something as well. I will post it in the next post for ease of reference.
  7. Prologue 0030, April 1, 1940 Miami, Florida; US Coast Guard Base It was quiet. A early spring morning, and it is a bit warm for the time of year for the night. It was a smooth 65 degrees, although it was forecast to hit the mid eighties that afternoon. Not that the weather was of particular concern to a individual walking where they shouldn't. She had gotten into the marina with skill. Her suit the hallmark of Nazi German engineering. Allowing her to breathe water, giving the woman a chance to use her dynamic talent for swimming faster than a torpedo while remaining undetected. She snuck around to a side door leading to an open area in the marina, large enough for a heavy seaplane to move in, just what the stalker was looking for. A spotlight swung around and she with one hand gracefully gets under the dock, where she would plant part one of her device. A odd black box, attached under the dock pointing out, right where the main mooring would be for a seaplane. Then she sunk into the water and once she hit bottom, she planted her second device, seeing the searchlight in vain looking in it's usual pattern. The second device was also black, but it had a bobber that popped up. She reeled a crank letting the bobber float higher and higher until it was about a foot from the surface, the bobber colored the same as the surrounding water. She moved some seaweed about, making sure the box the bobber was attached to wouldn't be spotted. Then as quick as she came she started off, heading into the dark depths like a ghost from the depths. No more that 30 minutes later she arrived where a German U-Boat sat, awaiting her arrival. Sitting some 400 miles off the coast. She crawled into the escape hatch and closed the hatch above her and let the chamber she was in vent it's water before a submariner opened the door leading into the sub. A man in a black SS uniform nodded to her. "Captain Alexa, report." He was her commanding officer, and he was eager to hear of her success. "It was like taking candy from a baby, Colonel. The first device, the one with the bobber, was set to the proper depth so the self-attaching magnetic coupling would properly contact and trigger. The other box is tuned to the assigned frequency as you asked." "Excellent." "Once the seaplane they are going to use arrives to pick up the girl and her little toy, the Americans will regret interfering with the Fatherland." "When is the Navy set to arrive in Miami?" "Last I heard, while observing a couple stupid sailors standing around their patrol boat, by 3pm Today." "Good, I guess their little advice of loose lips sink ships doesn't get heeded as much as it should." The woman pulled back the clear facemask that lead to a complex backpack that was her air-supply when underwater. Her stunning blue eyes were compounded by the scars on her face from several battles with "Aces" from France, Poland, and England. She loved drowing every one. Hence her name "Sea Witch", when translated to English. "The Americans should listen to their own advice. The less advangages they have to give to Britain when we strangle them, the better. The honor of killing the little prodigy Dynamic Britain sent will be a bonus. She's smart, but just as mortal as the pilots that will share her fate." "Although when the device they're testing fails, the crewmen will be quite dead before she meets her watery grave." The SS officer mused. "All in due time... all we have to do is wait. Once the seaplane, a Catalina, has sunk, all we have to do is collect the device." "But what will keep them from getting it?" "The sabotage device will put off a strong X-Frequency Aetheric Wave, from the interferance the two devices will create in harmony with the experiment, once the little girl's experiment is turned on. Actually, about 10 minutes into it's operation." The SS officer knew what a X-Frequency Aetheric Wave would do to the human brain. It would send such an electrical shock through the nervous system that it would fry the brain while every blood vessel burst around it. That and there would be lingering effects for hours afterward. Only a Dynamic would withstand such energy and the ambient after-glow. "Excellent. You've shown yourself to be a credit to the Fatherland, Katarina." Katarina pulled out a mauser, and almost on the same reflex parked three bullets into his brain. "Yes... I am... unfortunately a traitor like you, Herr Shwarzstadt, will no longer be tolerated." She waved to a couple seamen that burst through the door. "Sailors, take this refuse to torpedo tube number 4 and launch it into the sea. This spy for the British will no longer be causing us trouble." They nodded and did as she ordered. "The British will soon pay for soiling the uniform of the Shustaffel! Soon indeed..." She knew that the crew of the boat now could be compromised. She sighed, her Ubermenshen training kicking in. She reached into a foot locker near her and flipped a switch on a black box, then grabbed what looked like a yellow bag that looked too bulky to be just her personal effects. She then ran into the same escape tube as before. Then flooded the compartment as she pulled her facemask back down again, as a couple sailors ran to the door with confused faces. She kept a count in her head. There was a sonic device that she had placed in her foot locker that would wreck the integrety of the hull by popping every rivet around it. It would be hapening in one minute. Once she opened the hatch outside she heard the sonic weapon activate, and on queue the hull split dead-center, a burst of air and fuel entered the water. Once she hit the surface she turned a knob that was attached to a gas bottle on the bag she carried and it deployed into a single-person raft. Her bag with her personal effects and her SS uniform was sitting dry as a bone in a clear bag made of aetherfiber. She wasn't left in the water long as a black flying-wing aircraft landed nearby her, it's pontoons unfolding from it's wings. Then it opened a hatch. She climbed in as a luftwaffe pilot saluted her. "Was the mission a success?" "Yes, unfortunately those onboard U-555 needed to be terminated as the crew was found to be harboring a British spy masquerading as a SS officer. They were showing signs of defection." "Unfortunate." The pilot said turning the flying-wing aircraft around. "We don't have much fuel, but we will be rendevousing with the Graf Zepplin near the agreed point. It will refuel us and allow us to return to Berlin." She nodded taking her seat. "I do love technology... it makes my job so much easier." That Morning 0830, Pensacola Naval Base A group of Navy Airmen, all mixed ranks were sitting at their table enjoying Breakfast. They were stationed there for rescue duty as pilots trained in using fighters for carrier flight. They were supposed to be on duty, but their captain was grounded with an intestinal infection and they were pulled from the active roster for the next week as a precaution. Commander Peter Trenton, sat eating his scrambled eggs, looking over his compatriots. Bored out of his mind. "Shit... Why you think they pulled us for whatever the Captain caught?" Lieutenant Alex Aceworth, son of the American Aetherfiber Tycoon Alex Aceworth Senior, Drank some Orange Juice, smiling. "Ever thought that we might have whatever is ailing our captain in our guts too? I mean, we don't stray very far from each other as we're practically on duty every hour, sir." "Nugget, we're off duty... we can speak freely." Everyone here that was a pilot had some form of combat experience except for Alex. Pete got sent back stateside from his time as a Flying Tiger with the Captain, he was a bit unhinged after a couple of his men were captured by Japanese and sent to a labor camp. The Captain himself was discharged, but he ended up re-assigned to Pensacola's training facility to help train new pilots in carrier warfare. The name Nugget annoyed him. Ensign Thomas Allen, on the other hand, accomplished rescue swimmer and medic sat with his elbows on the table absentmindedly looking outside. "Whatever... that just means the best team isn't on the field." He said, looking at the baseball report. "Well... they're saying the Washington Senators would be the team to beat." Alex rolled his eyes. "If Minnesota could just have a baseball team." "Don't it snow this time of the year in Siberia, Nugget?" Commander Trenton snarked as all Alex could to is stare holes into Trenton's head. A sailor sitting near the three stoot up quick and shouted "Admiral on deck!" and the three stood up out of reflex, facing the Admiral that walked in with their Captain, Captain Morris Williams dressed in his full flight gear. "Gentlemen. At Ease." Admiral David Cartwright, a 30 year veteran of the Navy, serving since the before the Great War, and becoming a Dynamic because of it put his cover under his arm. "You're having breakfast. You'll need it soon enough. I am in need of your skills today." The captain smiled. "Alex... this is going to be your first flight you're commanding. Pete's going to be with me on the ground, but Tommy's gonna be your copilot on this." Alex blinked. "Huh? Tommy isn't even a pilot." "Yah, I am. I got a commercial licence before enlisting, and I got some time on our Catalina already." Alex remembered the time when Pete was having one of his flashbacks and Tommy had to take the wheel. "Alright... but why the change?" "Risk management. I'll explain en-route to Miami." "You guys got 30 minutes, then get in gear." The Admiral said, leaving as quickly as he came in. The Captain right behind. "Well... seems Cap was in good spirits." Pete said. Alex stroked his chin. "Whatcha think is going on?" Tommy sighed, putting his last bite of breakfast in his mouth. "Don't know, don't care. All I know is I get to fly today!" He said with a grin. "Not so fast, kid... you're not flying to Miami, only when the Admiral has us doing his little errand." Pete quickly responded, feeling his status as the #2 pilot threatened by a hotshot. "Now now, let's not get hot under the collar." Alex said, standing up and finishing the last of his juice. "It's probably some sort of tour that the Admiral is giving some Congressman or something... I keep seeing that guy whenever some top brass or politician is sleazing around." Alex smiled. Knowing a good showing might put him in the running to joining up with the Flying Tigers or perhaps head to England to bolster their pilot roster. Under the table, of course. "Let's get ready, and get this handled."
  8. Simply put, it's been nearly a year, the timeline we set before we'd consider allowing Quantum 6 in this game. I personally, am against allowing it, this game is fine at the level it currently resides, and I don't really see higher quantum adding much to it. Still, this ruled by consensus, so Your thoughts, fellow players.
  9. We've been having a sudden swarm in terms of rules issues and more and more Aberrant and the Storyteller system has proven unable to fit our needs by my opinion. Therefor I am putting up a motion to change systems to something far more defined and can be more easily house-ruled where necessary. 1: We move to Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition. 2: We decide who will be a GM in said game to oversee plot. 3: We operate from where we leave off in the Aberrant plot. 4: We keep a democratic process in regards to the game. I am feeling that once we make the switch to M&M3 our path will be clearer in this game, and we might be able to stop having rules problems being a barrier to doing what we should be doing in this game; being our characters. I don't know how this proposal will be recieved, I don't have any expectation of success, but I don't want CN to get killed off because of a game system that is, quite frankly, dysfunctional for our needs.
  10. ~One~ ,, "Mayday, mayday, mayday, this is the HMS Thunder Bay - " ,, There was a spark, and the smell of ozone, and the young man swore, pulling his fingers back from the radio. They tingled as he sucked on them. "Damn seawater - " He left his chair, stepping carefully on the wet floor of the radio room, as it started to tilt uneasily. He grabbed a raincoat off the wall, using the rubber to insulate his hand as he reached for the radio again. ,, "I say again, mayday, mayday, mayday, this is the HMS Thunder Bay requesting immediate assistance! Our escort suffered fuel loss and had to turn back and we have already launched our Hurricat. We are not under active fire but we have suffered a breach and an engine failure and have taken on water! I say again, mayday - " ,, The man paused, and started to stand again, as the captain of the vessel entered. "Sir - " ,, "Don't salute me, Fitzgerald, get back on the damn radio!" ,, "Sir, yes Captain Wells, sir!" ,, Fitzgerald leaned close to the microphone and repeated his message, exchanging a quick glance with the man running the sonar station. Captain Wells just looked out the window, and sighed. "At least the Hurricat chased off the bombers. Small mercy, but I'll take it." ,, "Mayday, mayday, mayday, this is the HMS Thunder Bay, requesting immediate assistance - " Fitzgerald paused, as the man at the sonar station slowly stood. ,, "Sir." He cleared his throat, his voice cracking. "Sonar contact, sir. It… it fits the signature of a U-boat." The captain closed his eyes. "I see." He cast his gaze out the window once more. "Well, they'll surely sink the boat. But they may leave us alone if we get into the lifeboats…" ,, The sonar operator and the radio operator exchanged glances. Captain Wells just smiled. "We gave it a shot. Just in case they don't sink the boat, I'll be staying behind to make sure it goes down properly." ,, "Sir - " ,, "Head to the lifeboats, Fitzgerald. That is an - hmmm." ,, Captain Wells leaned towards the sonar screen, tapping it, examining the pale green afterimage. "Hornby. Is that boat surfacing? ,, "I - yes. Yes, it appears to be." ,, "Why? They have us dead to rights down there. Why surface when they can get in range of the deck gun?" Wells then thought for a moment, and nodded. "They may intend to take the boat. If that's true then we have a chance to take a few of them with us. Get the lifeboats ready, but do not abandon ship. Ready the deck guns. We'll just see if… they are surfacing rather quickly, aren't they?" ,, He kept an eye on the sonar screen, which didn't lie - every sweep brought the ship closer to the surface. "Someone's in a hurry. Keep transmitting! Keep an eye on the sonar! If you see anything unusual, tell me immediately!" ,, The captain hustled out onto the deck. When he emerged, he shouted orders, and the men's training took over, loading the machineguns with a fresh barrel and a fresh belt of ammunition. "They'll be surfacing at 4 o'clock! Get ready!" ,, The men obeyed. The captain waited. Indifferent as always, the seawater swept by. ,, After a tense minute, the spotter found the shape of the boat, seconds before it breached the surface. It rose to level, and then above sea level, and then - in front of four dozen disbelieving pair of eyes, the submarine lifted clean out of the water. ,, "What the hell?" The captain pulled out a spyglass, peering through it. His eyebrows shot up at something, and then he smiled. ,, "Captain…?" ,, "Keep the guns hot. But… we might just be okay." ,, The submarine descended back into the water, and then a small human form rose from the water - floating, heedless of gravity, in a red, white and black caped uniform. No one could get a close enough look, but the captain could see clearly through his spyglass, and it was enough to momentarily shake his disbelief in the almighty. ,, The person - clearly a woman, very clearly even at this range - floated down to the top hatch, and incredibly, knocked on it. After a few moments, a person's head popped out of it. For a tense few minutes they appeared to have an argument, then the hatch closed, and the woman dove back beneath the waves. ,, Someone came running in from the sonar room, shouting something about how the boat was retreating. The captain just nodded, waiting - and sure enough, the woman returned. ,, She floated through the air, stopping over - but not on - the deck. Water ran down her body, dribbling on the deck. Everyone looked towards her. It was difficult not to. She coughed. ,, "Okay, I had a chat with the only person on that boat who spoke English. I need to learn German. Anyways, ah, I tied all their guns in knots and threw out all their torpedoes and they say they're going to go back to Germany on account of all that, so you're okay. I see that you're taking on water so I guess you need a tow?" ,, Someone whistled. She flinched at the sound. The captain looked askance over his shoulder, and the offending whistler coughed. "Sir, sorry, sir." ,, "No way to treat a lady, Private. Especially one that just saved our lives. If you're waiting for permission to come aboard - " He looked at the space between the deck and her feet. "You have it." ,, She landed, gracefully. "Thank you. You're not far from ACE Base Atlantic. I can tow you there." ,, "When we get there, who should I credit with saving the lives of everyone on this ship as well as several hundred pounds of aetherfiber?" ,, "No one important." She ran her fingers through long blonde hair. "Honest."
  11. Date: April, 1941 Location: Near the Burmese / Chinese Border ,, The jeep rolled to a stop at the checkpoint, the red mud-slicked sides testament to the quality of the roads along which it had traveled. In the back were bundles and sacks under the waterproof tarpaulin covering, and in the front was an unshaven man wearing a beaten and battered bush hat. From behind the dirty windshield, the man watched the uniformed soldiers manning the checkpoint as they not-quite-pointed their guns at the jeep. An officer marched to the driver's side, impassive Oriental features locked in what the young man probably thought was a stern poker face, the driver mused. He'd have to work better at it - the combination of wariness and officious hostility was all too evident to one who knew how to see them. ,, "Who are you?" the officer demanded in decent English, at least. The man in the jeep smiled up at him, tipping back the bush hat. ,, "I work for Pok Ma Ting." he said easily, a touch of some European accent in his voice. The officer shifted his footing at the name, but that was to be expected considering that Pok Ma Ting was chief of the local bandits and nominally an ally of the Japanese. He also had a nasty habit of mounting the heads of men who displeased him on wooden stakes... with their genitals in their mouths. The officer narrowed his eyes. ,, "You work for him?" he demanded, trying to sound incredulous. Though the man in the jeep was scruffy enough, he seemed a cut above Pok's run of the mill scum - deserters, bandits, murderers, opium fiends and rapists. ,, "Hard to believe, ja? I am a geologist, Herr. I look for gold... for Pok Ma Ting." ,, "You are German?" ,, "Ja. My name is Herman Klumperbum." the man lied. "I am a graduate of the university of Dusseldorf, and I-" he was cut off by the officer waving a peremptory hand. ,, "If you work for Mister Ting, you have papers!" The officer held out a hand, but the driver shook his head. ,, "So sorry, mein freund, but Mister Ting... he does not want people to know that I work for him, you see. In fact..." And the man leaned closer in a conspiratorial way, his manner prompting the Japanese officer to likewise lean forward. "He would be very unhappy if he knew that you knew. So it is best to forget I told you this, Herr. We are allies, Japan and Deutschland. I would hate for some mongrel Burmese to bring harm to an ally." The officer looked nervous. Tokyo was a long way away, out here in the jungle. ,, "You shall pass. But please, ask Mister Ting to provide papers for you. Other officers man this checkpoint..." ,, "And they may not be as wise. I understand." The German nodded. The Japanese officer nodded in turn and stepped back, waving a hand to his men to raise the checkpoint barrier. ,, "Danke." the German said with a smile as he started off again, passing the checkpoint into the small border town of Wan-Ting. ,, It was a trade post grown large over the years, situated on the Burma Road and swollen with the constant traffic back and forth. In recent years, though, the traffic was lessened, the constant trade along the route drying up since the Japanese occupation of China. The legitimate trade, anyway. The trade in opium, slaves and weapons was brisker than ever, and Pok Ma Ting owned most of it. And he would probably decorated a stake with the driver's own head and genitals, the driver reflected as he turned a corner onto the main market street of Wan-Ting and looked for a likely place to park. The fact that he knew Pok would probably only make the process slower and more drawn-out. ,, How did I get into this? James LaHaye, Capt, DCM, DFC, AFC, thought to himself as he pulled the jeep in behind a ramshackle looking hotel, now turned into a bar and probably a knocking-shop as well. He grabbed his kitbag from amidst the clutter in the back of the jeep and headed inside. Oh yes, I remember. He looked around the dank, smoke-stinking, gloomy interior of the bar and ,, Family. That's how. ,, * * * * * * The girl was really skilled, her brown skin gleaming in the lamplight as she smiled and swayed above him, and LaHaye was just laying back (but hardly thinking of England) and admiring the way her gyrations caused all sorts of pleasant sensations when the door shuddered under a heavy knock. ,, "Go away!" he called. ,, "Captain LaHaye? My name is Major Justin Tunbridge." an educated voice called through the door over the delicate moans of the girl. ,, "My apologies. Go away, sir!" LaHaye called back. Typical, a man was on his vinegar strokes and that was when someone had to try and- The door was kicked in by a booted foot. The girl screamed, but LaHaye's arm kept her from rolling off him. Instead, he rolled with her and came up onto his feet, pistol in hand and leveled at the doorway. The sergeant who had kicked in the door goggled at the sight of the female flesh and then double-goggled at the sight of a .45 automatic pointing at his face. ,, "Captain!" A slim figure, immaculately dressed and turned-out and wearing an officer's cap. "Lower your weapon." He paused. "Both of them, if you please." ,, "The last time someone kicked the door in on me, you must appreciate that they did not mean me well." LaHaye said calmly as he dropped the pistol onto the bed, shielding the girl's body with his own as he snatched up a sheet to wrap her in. "Ka mya, Thiri." he told her gently as he made sure she was decent. "Shin ne-kaùn-yéh-là?" ,, "Ne-kaùn-ba-deh." she replied, smiling shyly at him before throwing a distrustful look to the soldiers and grabbing her clothes. "Kan kaung ba zay." she murmured to him before giving him a last smile and slipping from the room. The major and sergeant stepped aside politely for her, then turned back to LaHaye as he pulled his clothes on. ,, "You speak the language like a native." Tunbridge noted with a trace of admiration as he crossed to the window. Outside, the courtyard of the rundown colonial house that was now a whorehouse was overrun with half-naked children and their mothers. "Any of those yours?" he asked as he looked back over his shoulder at LaHaye. ,, "Who knows?" the Dynamic shrugged into his shirt and buttoned it with deft motions. He moved with eerily precise, flowing grace, the entire act of dressing taking maybe thirty seconds. "The women here know of a certain root. Supposedly, they only have children if they want to... Or if the tea they make isn't strong enough." He came over to the window and joined the major in looking at the spectacle beyond. "Maybe that one." he pointed to a paler-skinned child. "But then, he could be anyone's. Mostly, though, they are their mothers children, not the various father's." ,, "Curious attitude." the Major observed. ,, "I'm a curious person, but then I'm sure the file tells all." LaHaye smirked sardonically. "Sir, I'm likely to live out the century, or beyond, barring accidents. I will still be this young-seeming when your grandchildren, and may you have many of them, are dead. If I have children, I'll likely outlive them too. As yet, I'm not sure how to handle that thought, so I don't think about it." ,, "Practical, one supposes. Well, I see the tales were not exaggerated." Tunbridge nodded as though satisfied. "His Majesty's government has an assignment for you, Captain. A hunting expedition." ,, "Go on." LaHaye said as he pulled on his boots and fished a cigarillo out from a case. He offered one to Tunbridge, who declined, and lit it with a match struck from his boot. ,, "Three men, British soldiers. Deserters, actually. They faced the death sentence recently after a court martial." ,, "That nasty business over the American nurse, wasn't it?" LaHaye said as he blew a smoke ring. "Filthy buggers. So some rabbited?" ,, "Yes, but that isn't enough alone to warrant calling on your services." ,, "Of course not." LaHaye said, one corner of his mouth turned up in a cynical smirk. "After all, she was only a negro, correct?" Tunbridge opened his mouth to protest, but LaHaye waved a hand at him. "On with it, sir." he said, an expression of profound world-weariness settling on him. ,, "We would have organised a hunt for them regardless." Tunbridge retorted stiffly. "However one of the men was a sergeant in the quartermaster's office. And we believe they took with them some valuable paperwork regarding our troop deployments and supply dumps. And they ran straight for the border to China." ,, "Lovely. Rapists, cowards and traitors." James snorted blue smoke. "What makes them think the Japanese won't simply take the information then snickersnee their heads off. They have a strange but strict definition of honor, that lot." ,, "Our local sources tell us that they've ingratiated themselves with local bandits, who will probably act as brokers in this deal. The Japanese forces in that area liaise heavily with elements that the Chinese government previously suppressed." ,, "That means Pok Ma Ting." LaHaye said with a sigh. "I can't believe nobody has slit that fiendish little brown swine's throat yet. He's got to be eighty years old now." ,, "You know him." The major looked astonished. ,, "Oh yes." ,, "Well wonderful. You can maybe negotiate-" LaHaye shook his head slowly, but definitely. ,, "He wants to use my privy parts for an ornament." he said, then added. "And he won't be slow about removing them." ,, "Ah." ,, "There was a woman involved. His fifth wife." ,, "Aaah. But that was a while ago?" the officer asked hopefully. ,, "Well, fifteen years or so. But there was also an opium shipment..." ,, "So negotiation is out." ,, "Quite." LaHaye stood and stretched. "But that's alright. I dislike him almost as much. He's a slaver, and I can't abide slavery." ,, "So you have a plan?" The major asked as the Dynamic strode towards the doorway. ,, "Yes. I plan to go and find Thiri and take up where we were interrupted." ,, "I meant about the plans." The major said with a hint of exasperation. LaHaye shot him a grin. ,, "Yes. I plan to make it up as I go along." He gave the officer a jaunty wave. "Toodles." ,, * * * * * * "Can I help you?" The wizened old lady asked the European in the local bastardisation of Burmese and Chinese. ,, "A room please." James answered in the same tongue, and gently caught her hand as she turned back with the key. "Is Pok Ma Ting still king of Four Dragons Street?" ,, "Pok Ma Ting always king of Four Dragons Street." she answered sourly. "And he does not like white men." Her sour manner brightened when LaHaye placed a silver coin on the counter. ,, "Pok Ma Ting likes nobody." James said with a smile. She nodded. ,, "This is true, except if they make him rich. Then he likes them plenty, for awhile." she turned and shuffled out from behind the counter. "Come, I show you room. You want girl? Boy? Pipe?" ,, "No to the second two, but maybe a girl. Later." he replied as he followed her upstairs.
  12. The path up the mountain stretched above her, but Kitty didn’t mind the coming climb. She’d done three like it already, traversing other peaks in the looming mountain range. The beautiful American drew the cowl of her hoodie a little lower over her forehead, concealing more of her features. Most of her traveling companions already had seen her, and those who didn’t know who she was had been told by the others. They were giving her privacy, trying to covertly take pictures of her rather than overtly like they had done on Mt. Fuji. Kitty was grateful for the privacy, even if it was false. The Jade Spring Temple was their starting point for the difficult climb, and Kitty and the twenty other climbers fell into step behind the tour guides. Another two natives brought up the rear, ready to assist those who lagged behind. At first, the tourists were talkative, chattering in Chinese with the companions, while Kitty walked in silence. When the climb began to take its toll, quiet descended on the whole group. The only sounds were the steps and pants of her companions and guides. Kitty lasted longer, but even she started to breathe hard after a while. If I had Connor’s stamina… The thought of her ex brought a small smile to her face, but it didn’t last long. This was not the place to think about Connor. This was Harley’s trip. Harley had planned it out before her death; after the movie, she wanted to see some of the Taoist monasteries in China. Her sister had been dabbling in Taoism a bit, nothing serious. But she’d said that the monasteries were worth visiting, regardless of one’s devotion or lack. So they’d decided to go after the shoot. It wasn’t until the travel notice had come from the travel agency that Kitty had remembered. She’d almost cancelled but the moment she’d considered it, she dropped the idea. Harley couldn’t go, but she’d wanted to, so Kitty went for both of them. There was a place at one of the monasteries, she recalled, where you could buy a golden padlock and fasten it to an iron chain. You could then pray for health and safety for family and friends. It sounded stupid, but Kitty admitted deep inside herself that those small gestures meant more to the ones making them than to the receiver. Harley would understand. It was still dark when they left the hotel; the guides assured them that they would reach the summit by dawn and be treated with the most beautiful vista of the rising sun. Kitty hoped so; the climb was killing her. Her legs were starting to hurt by the time they finished climbing the three hundred and seventy steps called Qianchi Zhuang. She might have turned back at that point, but they were almost there and so they all pushed onward. The cable car met them at the top, its passengers eyeing them with a mixture of pity and adminiration. Kitty didn’t care. Harley would have wanted to climb it, just as she would have wanted to see the sunrise. The riders and walkers met together to walk into the temple and cluster together at the spot to watch the rising sun. Kitty smiled sadly as the golden light slowly suffused the mountains around them, knowing that her sister would be boasting about being right. The climb totally was worth it. When the sun had risen and the show was over, the tourists proceeded to the next stop on the circuit: the Guo Dixian’s altar. Kitty watched them go, lingering at the back of the group until she was sure they were busy with the altar and Rootless Tree and their prayers. Then she slipped away from the others, trying to find a quiet place to be alone. That proved difficult: this was a working monastery, its space limited by the impositions of the mountain it perched upon and the number of monks in residence. Some of them were very young boys but as Kitty walked around, she quickly realized they were all in supreme physical health. She wasn’t surprised when she wandered into the training area. She kept expecting them to stop her, but beyond some wide-eyed staring, no one impeded her. Leaning against the wall, she watched a middle-aged man without an ounce of fat on him instruct the boys. She was about to wander on when a nova entered the room. His status was unmistakable; no human could sustain musculature like that, nor did they have purple skin, white hair, pointed ears or a face that could have doubled for Victor’s in the 1980’s TV show Beauty and the Beast. Kitty thought about leaving, but that would just be rude. Besides, she was curious if he was instructor or student, so she remained where she was, her painfully beautiful body slouching with casual elegance against the stone wall.
  13. Name: Uncertain, suspected as Ksenija Davidova Aliases Used: Lilya Roman, Li Yuming, Lee, la Fille Mécanique, The Machine Girl SOE Operational Codename: The Machine Girl D.O.B.: Unknown (appears to be in her mid- to late twenties) Place of Birth: Unknown Gender: Female Color Eyes: Green Color Hair: Brown Height: 171cm Weight: 108kg Race: Caucasian Marital Status: Not married Citizenship: As required for the current operation ,, Appearance & Distinctive Features: While Lee’s fashion model good looks and significantly above-average height (for a woman in 1941) are both very eye-catching, her most distinctive features are, without a doubt, her arms, which are seemingly mechanical (though very life-like) and apparently made entirely out of a steel-like, gunmetal-colored substance that has so far defied scientific analysis. Also of note are her brilliant green eyes, for which she earned her first nickname, “Li Yuming”, or “bright jade”. ,, Personality: Lee has an aggressive personality, even by male standards, and has been described many times as “volatile”. She has the hard-living, intense and blunt attitude of a career soldier, making her well-suited to the military culture she so often finds herself interacting with in these times of war. ,, Known Powers: Lee is very strong, very tough, and very fast. She can disable main battle tanks with her bare hands and survive direct hits from most medium tanks and some heavy ones as well. Most notable, however, are her “biometallic” arms, which are capable of undergoing some startling transformations to aid Machine Girl in a wide variety of tasks, making her both versatile and unpredictable in the field and in combat. ,, Verifiable History: The woman now going by the name of Lilya Roman does not remember her life before 1924. She was discovered in the rubble of a devastated scientific facility located in the far northern wastes of the Xinjiang province in China, alive and unharmed, but catatonic and covered in blood, and surrounded by the bodies of those who had staffed the facility before its devastation. The men who discovered her, Thomas “Long Tom” Rudwick, a prominent member of the Anesidora Society of Adventurers, and James Smith, a man of mystery sometimes referred to as “the Operative”, had met and joined forces during the course of separate investigations into the activities of a Chinese doctor, scientific genius, and sociopathic criminal by the name of Fu Yen. ,, Their joint investigation had led them into the wastes of Xinjiang, and the facility where Ms. Roman was discovered. It was immediately apparent that she was a dynamic, and the two men also quickly determined that she had been the subject of experiments there – experiments on both her body and her mind – though the true nature or full scope of those experiments has never been determined. Rudwick and Smith had arrived at Yen’s facilities too late to stop whatever it was he’d been doing there and , as well, they’d arrived too late to confront or capture Yen himself, as neither he nor his body were to be found anywhere on the premises. ,, As for Ms. Roman, the young woman turned out to be a blank slate – she could speak (once recovered from her catatonia), walk, care for herself, and perform most any other task that adult humans are expected to be able to perform – but she remembered absolutely nothing of her origins or past. Attempts by Rudwick and Smith to discover those origins through investigative means proved fruitless. In the end, the young woman, whom Rudwick christened “Li Yuming” (meaning “bright jade” in Cantonese, for her striking green eyes), traveled with her rescuers back to the Western world and Civilization, journeying through Tibet, then into India, and finally travelling by boat to England, and after to America. ,, In both England and America, elements of each country’s governments received them with great interest, and Li Yuming spent some months in the care of each. In both cases the young woman was studied extensively as her hosts attempted to understand just what exactly had been done to her at the ruined laboratory in Xinjiang. While little real progress was ever made on this front, the research did lead to some important insights that would later play their part, both in the development of certain varieties of aetherfiber, as well as in the development of certain aspects of aetherlabe technology. ,, Afterwards, the young woman was welcomed into the company of Rudwick’s associates of the Anesidora Society of Adventurers. The Anesidorans were at the forefront, and were the best-connected, out of a handful of similar, all- or mostly-dynamic “societies” and “leagues” that rose to prominence during the first and second decades of the 20th century, after the earliest appearances of dynamics around the world. While the majority of these groups were little more than social clubs for those who were “more than human” (or, in the worst cases, those who simply believed they were superior to humans), the Anesidora Society, originally founded in 1849 by a group of extraordinary, but non-dynamic, individuals, had managed to attract members who were genuinely interested in bettering the world around them. By 1924 the Anesidorans were generally well-regarded by most of the Allied Powers and, in later years, many of their members would go on to join various political, intelligence, and military branches of several of those countries. More than a few of them are still alive and serving in these times of war. ,, For her part, Lee – as the Anesidorans took to calling her, after the Cantonese name Rudwick had given her proved too exotic (and too difficult to pronounce) for most Westerners – proved herself a valuable member of the Society and a useful freelance dynamic agent of more than one Allied government. For thirteen years, from mid-1924 through early 1938, Lee traveled extensively on behalf of the Society, undertaking many adventures, solving many puzzles and mysteries, exploring lost ruins and strange, far-off lands, and getting involved in more than one incident of international significance. During these formative years of Lee’s post-amnesia life she formed contacts with many groups and individuals all over the world – contacts that have stood her in good stead in recent years – made many friends, and almost as many enemies, and even managed to uncover a few facts about herself and her old life along the way. ,, In late 1938 the Anesidora Society for Adventurers finally disbanded, closing its doors for good. Its members had all agreed that the world had both grown and, paradoxically, shrunk, and that it had changed dramatically in the decades since the Society’s founding, and that, with threats of war looming on every horizon, the time had passed for groups like the Anesidorans. Some of its members simply retired from the adventuring lifestyle, as they were already old even by dynamic standards, while others ventured out into the world and took their places within the governmental or military agencies of various governments as they prepared for inevitable war. ,, “Long Tom” Rudwick traveled to Africa as part of a cartographic venture into Saharan Africa that just happened to give them a great many opportunities to observe activities within Italian Libya. Meanwhile, Lee, now going by her current alias of Lilya Roman, traveled to Europe with James Smith and another Anesidoran, a British aristocrat and expatriate named Sir Oliver Ripley, where they joined up with certain intelligence initiatives of the British and French governments. Lee took a position as a forward observer of Soviet Russia’s movements in the Balkans, and as an “agent of unrest”, moving between Poland and Lithuania until mere weeks before Germany’s invasion of the former nation and the official start of the Second World War. ,, At the orders of her superiors, Lee withdrew from Poland and the Baltic States region, traveling south-southeast and entering Germany near Breslau and, as German troops entered Poland, engaged in activities of sabotage as she continued to make her way southwards. Crossing the German border again, Lee entered Moravia near Olmütz and cut eastwards, passing through Bohemia and using the cover of the Böhmerwald to enter the heart of Nazi Germany proper. Through many dangers and narrow escapes, she passed directly through Munich and Innsbruck, finally entering Switzerland through Leichtenstein via the Inn river. Through Switzerland, Lee passed into France without incident, entering the country mere months before its invasion by Germany. ,, Lee’s contacts in British intelligence had her officially assigned to the British army forces present during the invasion, and she fought in several battles during the Fall of France. Her participation in the utter failure of the French, British, and Belgian Forces to repel the German invaders from France comprises perhaps the greatest failure in Lee’s career, and memories of that time still haunt her today. In the end, Lee was evacuated on one of the last boats to leave Dunkirk during Operation Dynamo. ,, Upon returning to England from Dunkirk Lee was offered, and accepted, a position with the Special Operations Executive as one of their field agents and given the operational codename “The Machine Girl” (taken from a nickname, la Fille Mécanique, given to her by French forces during her recent battles). Not long after accepting this assignment, Lee was sent to Africa, possibly to join Rudwick and his team, though her precise whereabouts between August and late November of 1940 are difficult to determine. She resurfaced with a vengeance in December, however, attached to the 7th Armoured Division of the Western Desert Force at the start of Operation Compass. During her time with the 7th, Lee participated in the battles of Sidi Barrani, Bardia, Derna, and Beda Fomm. ,, With the destruction of the Italian Tenth Army, Lee’s superiors in the SRO pulled her from frontline combat duty once again and reassigned her elsewhere… ,, Suspected History: In the years since her discovery in the northern wastes of Xinjiang, Lee and her associates in the Anesidora Society have managed to uncover several traces of her origins, though few of them can be proven to any degree of certainty. Aside from the general paucity of information, what has been uncovered honestly makes Lee reluctant to search any further. The history of her former self does not appear to have been a flattering one at all. ,, Evidence so far gathered seems to point to her having been the daughter of a woman named Alexandra Davidova who was a Russian immigrant and prostitute living in Shanghai, China during the latter years of the 19th century. Lee’s actual date of birth (and thus her true age) have yet to be determined, but it is reasonable to assume that she is between 40 and 55 years of age. The precise year – let alone month or day – of Alexandra’s death is still uncertain, as is the nature of her relationship with her daughter. Lee’s real name appears to have been Ksenija Davidova. ,, It seems that Lee may have been a dynamic from an early age, as “Ksenija”, by all accounts, was a well-known and notorious enforcer, bodyguard, and “companion” of various local crimelords during a period between 1910 and the first years of the 1920’s. There are hints that she may possibly have been active in a similar capacity during the years leading up to 1910 as well. Her whereabouts from about 1922 or 1923, until her discovery by Rudwick and Smith in Fu Yen’s compound – or what her relationship, if any, with Yen was – have yet to be determined. ,, The true nature and full scope of the experimental procedures performed on Lee in 1924 have never been determined to anyone’s satisfaction. Presumably Yen could explain them, but he has yet to be apprehended and has not volunteered any information in the interim. What has been determined is that Lee was implanted with “super science” technology of dynamic origin and design (probably Yen’s). Her arms and, indeed, much of her internal structure, are comprised of a material variously designated as either “hypermetal” or “aethermetal” by those who have studied it that shares a number of characteristics with aetherfiber. In point of fact, studies on the material by British and American scientists led to breakthroughs in the designs of some of the earlier varieties of aetherfiber, and observations of the way the material responds to Lee’s neural signals led to significant improvements in aetherlabe technology’s data transmission rates as well. ,, Allies: · Thomas “Long Tom” Rudwick: One of the leading members of the Anesidora Society during its heyday in the 1920’s, Long Tom Rudwick is a cartographer and geologist by trade, and an adventurer extraordinaire by inclination. In addition to his skills as a map-maker and geologist, Rudwick is also a noted expert on several Near and Far Eastern cultures, and is a highly regarded linguist as well. Rudwick was, by far, the most far-ranging, well-traveled, and field-experienced of the Society’s adventurers. Presumably his friends know the answer, but the continued rumors as to his being a dynamic remain unanswered at present. · The Operative: Though he is known as “James Smith” to his friends and close associates, this is clearly an alias of the man sometimes referred to as “the Operative” – and only one of dozens they have known him to use. While it is possible that, at the highest levels of the world’s most powerful governments, there are those who know who Smith really is or who he really works for, neither Lee nor anyone Lee knows has ever met any of these people. As far as most can tell, the Operative works for whomever he needs to be working for at the moment in order to gain the necessary degree of authority and resources to achieve his objectives, which are rarely obvious or easy to fathom. He is a dynamic with psychic abilities. · Dash “The Black Death” Cody: Born in Wilmington, NC, Dash Cody was one of the first black combat pilots in history. Known as “The Black Death”, he flew for the French during WWI and racked up one of the highest kill counts in the war. After the Armistice he found his way back to America and was accepted into the Anesidora Society where he became their go-to pilot. Cody is also a highly proficient mechanic, capable of repairing, modifying, and improving nearly anything with an engine in it. He is currently enlisted in the United States Air Corps (which will become the U.S. Air Force on 20 June 1941), where he is lending his expertise both in the training of the Air Corps’ first African American troops, and in designing and implementing innovations and improvements in military aircraft. · “Ethereal” Ruby St. Dennis: Miss St. Dennis has been a fixture of the New York social scene since before many younger folks can remember; like many dynamics, she has aged very well, and shows no signs of slowing – or settling – down. Known for her ability to turn invisible (thus her sobriquet), her sharp tongue and quick wit, her keen intelligence, and her great beauty (the other reason she is described as “ethereal”). She is not merely known, but renowned for her talents as a freelance reporter and sleuth, and for an ability to get herself into trouble that is only outmatched by her ability to cause trouble for her enemies (and all too often, it must be admitted, her friends as well). ,, Noteworthy Contacts · The Anesidora Society: Though now disbanded, many of its members are still active in the world, and are always willing to lend what aid they can to one of their own. o Lamont Mason: The President of the Anesidora Society from 1920 until its final year of operation in 1938, Mason is an industrialist, a millionaire, a dynamic, and a well-known philanthropist, as well as one of the Society’s foremost adventurers and detectives. These days, he is mostly active as a maker and provider of military and industrial equipment to the Allied forces in the War, but he is also known – by those who make it their business to know such things – as a reliable source of intelligence on various industrial enterprises going on behind enemy lines in both Europe and Asia. o Sir Oliver Ripley: Sir Ripley is a British expatriate and aristocrat, who was living in New York at the time of Lee’s introduction to the Anesidora Society. At present he is acting as a double-agent for British intelligence agencies disguised as a member of the Vichy French government. Though somewhat older, and with a rather more staid reputation, he is sometimes compared with his fellow member of the aristocracy, James LaHaye, due to his reputation for being charming and suave in manners, yet engaging in some very “course” behaviors, much to his family’s chagrin. Also like LaHaye, while Ripley is known to be a dynamic, the precise natures of his abilities are not readily apparent to most. ,, Enemies: · Dr. Fu Yen: A dynamic – probably one of the earliest – and a genius. Also a criminal mastermind, and a sociopath and sadist of the first order. Yen’s criminal enterprises are some of the largest, best connected, and most dangerous in all of the Far East, and since the early 30’s he has been gaining footholds in the Near East, and in a few locations in the West. Yen never took losing Lee very well, and he’s taken all of the damage that she and her associates in the Anesidora Society have caused his operations over the years even worse. He is Lee’s oldest – and by far her most dangerous – enemy, and he has the very unpleasant tendency of showing up (or rather, of having small armies of his thugs show up – Dr. Yen is not much of a fighter) where she least expects him to and at the most inopportune times. · Dr. Blake Ironheart: A former Anesidoran, like Lee, Dr. Ironheart is a dynamic who is everything a normal human is not. He is stronger, faster, tougher, smarter, more perceptive, better looking, and more emotionally aware than any normal man or woman. And he is a monster. Ironheart was expelled from the Society several years after Lee’s acceptance for performing experimental brain surgeries on captured criminals, attempting to “rehabilitate” them through medical science. The results were… troubling. After his expulsion, the doctor’s ethical standards quickly degenerated, and today he finds work in Nazi Germany – in large part because he is wanted for crimes committed in nearly every other Western nation. For reasons that Lee doesn’t fully understand, Ironheart has a personal vendetta against her and has made it clear that he will kill her if given the chance. Jan Silbermond: Also a dynamic, Silbermond is a German arms dealer and one of the most amoral criminals in that business. Though his extreme narcissism and almost complete lack of empathy can make the man seem one-dimensional at times, he is nonetheless a highly competent individual, with an enhanced intellect and a profound ability to “think on his feet” that together form a powerful complement to his generally superhuman physical abilities. Silbermond has been making a bad habit lately of selling weapons to any and all sides, however, and this practice may soon come back to bite him.
  14. Rebecca's "casual" and uniform outfits Rebecca Shirasu Rathbone Age: 13 Nationality: American (Japanese and British Decent) Height: 5'0" Weight: 100 pds Hair: Black (Nova Mode has a purplish tone) Eyes: Brown (Nova mode has violet eyes) Pre-Eruption Childhood Rebecca is the Daughter of Thaddeus and Akiko Rathbone, born in Boston, Massachussets on January 8, 2000. Rebecca always loved being the center of attention in her parent's lives, and enjoyed occasionally visiting her father or mother at MIT as they did their work. Her Father, a Quantum Physicist, and Mother a Doctor of Neuroscience. Rebecca shared her parent's curiosity, but she just thought her Parents were mad scientists of one sort or another. She loved it none the less as everything seemed like some new puzzle. Eruption On Halloween 2012, She was walking with her friends doing some trick or treating in Boston. She was dressed as a Student from Hogwarts (Ravenclaw House) and her other friends were also similarly dressed. Of course as nerdy kids go, they will roleplay, and Rebecca decided to cast "Leviosa" out of jest, only to somehow cause her friend to fly up into the air 100 feet! She panicked and managed to stop her friend just inches from the ground without her wand. Everyone was dumbstruck. Rebecca had a bit of a headache earlier that day but chalked it up to her sinuses. Over the course of the next couple months, She was looked at by DSA doctors and when it was eventually realized she was a Nova with the ability to control time and space... there were many curious, puzzled, and slightly concerned faces. Rebecca on the other hand was happy to have the DSA help her understand what has been happening with her, and was proud to have been offered a chance to be in their new initiative for training young novas. Now if people would just get her to come down from flying around, perhaps she could actually attend her classes. Appearance, Personality, and Quirks Rebecca is obviously Asian. She stands at a cute 5 feet solid, and perferrs to dress in Jumpsuits (as they're her thing, and to her they look good on her when she flies). She has been considering getting a "DSA Uniform" made for herself based on the Devilion and a Cormorant vest for when she might go on important missions. She's just not sure on what colors to have for her particular suit... she's always had a hard time with that. She is a worldly girl, knowing several languages, and speaks English with a British accent. She is a happy girl, irrepressible at times, and is a habitual Doctor Who, Anime, and Science Fiction watcher. ,, Her latest idea in terms of look is going for a simple formal suit ensemble. Although her penchant for skewing towards black is noticeable when she's not "on duty".
  15. The snowy field to the east of Metz was packed with two kinds of people: various civilians, men, women, children. They wore what winter clothing they had, and were being driven in a mass and made to kneel in the snow. Fear and terrible uncertainty gripped the people - children cried, but quietly, and they huddled as much in the hopes that this mass nightmare would disappear. And soldiers of the German 29th Infantry division in overcoats and armed with rifles and under the guns of two nearby Panzers drove them, prodded and struck with their weapon's stocks, with as much compassion and regard as cowherds with little care for their stock. Oberst Frederic Van Klamp waited the whole procession and assembly with little more with a sardonic hint of amusement. It was amazing to hear - as he did from talk when messages came from back home, and news reported on the few portable aetherlabes, one he had (privileges of a connected officer) - about the Judenrats and how they pleaded a little and gave up more. Idiots, the lot of them. ,, The whole lot of them were going to die in time. As was this group of French Jews, all identified and confirmed by scared neighbors and rewarded informers. Nothing official, of course, but Van Klamp knew about the word trickling down all the way from the top. It would only stand him in good stead towards career advancement. ,, The grizzled Oberst was a Nazi Party member, naturally (you really had to be one to get anywhere), but he didn't believe all of the Fuhrer's ranting about the Jews being responsible for the Fatherland's ills. Nor did he believe what was going to be reported officially, this an execution of rebellious (against the Vichy regime) partisans. It didn't matter, truth be told, he didn't like Kikes anyway, and it would send a message to actual rebels. ,, He dropped his cigar and smashed it into bits with his boot. Time to signal the firing squad, all conveniently behind the masses, weapons ready. The Jews started to realize this too, causing an upsurge of wailing and prayers. ,, Just like Ciepielów. Van Klamp smiled, then a sudden shout drew his attention - as from the sky descended a form... which just before impacting with one of the Panzers - incidentally caving in the top hull and crushing the crew inside - showed the visage of a literally stony man (not man - it was twice the size of a human). ,, The Oberst's blood ran cold as the weather now, and his men were already turning to react... the tales, "Mein Gott!" In a (relatively) smaller bound, that man of rock came out of the totaled Panzer and let out a deafening bellow. ,, Der Golem had arrived. Terms Oberst = Colonel Mein Gott = My God
  16. Age: 29 (born April 1, 1984) Height: 12 inches (was 4'8") Weight: 1 pound (was 98 pounds) Concept: Artist Nature: Gallant Allegiance: ? Human Form Strength ●●Brawl Might ,,Dexterity ●●●●● Athletics ●●● Drive Firearms Legerdemain Martial Arts ●●● Melee Pilot Stealth ,,Stamina ●●● Endurance ●●● Resistance ●●● ,,Perception ●●● Awareness ●●● Investigation ,,Intelligence ●● Academics ● Bureaucracy Computer Engineering Intrusion Linguistics Medicine Science Survival ,,Wits ●●● Arts Biz ●●● Rapport ●●● ,,Appearance ●● Intimidation Style ●● ,,Manipulation ●● Interrogation Streetwise Subterfuge ●●● ,,Charisma ●● Command ●● Etiquette ●● Perform ●●● (Gymnastics) ,,Backgrounds Contacts ●● Reputation ●● Resources ●●● ,,Willpower ●●●●● ,,Quantum ●●●●● ,,Initiative 8 ,,Movement Walk 7m Run 17m Sprint 35m ,,Bonus Points Willpower 2 (4BP) Ability 5 (10BP) Specialty 1 (1BP)
  17. Real Name: James LaHaye Nicknames: Jim; Jimmy Occupations: Gentleman adventurer turned Allied agent. Legal Status: Technically a captain in the RAF. Aliases: "You asshole limey bastard!", "Get him!", "Die, schweinhund!" Place of birth: Oxford, England Born: 01/01/1900 Age: 41 Marital Status: Single Known Relatives: The extended la Haye family. Affiliation: Allies, himself. Height: 6 feet 1 inches Weight: 175 lbs. Eyes: Light Brown Hair: Brown Distinguishing Marks: None. Known Strength Level: Strong and powerful, but within human limits Known Quantum Powers: A preternatural athlete, LaHaye combines inhuman coodination with innate skill to pull off some truly amazing feats of derring-do. His mind is as sharp as as his reflexes, capable of cool decision-taking and seemingly impossible to faze or fluster - no matter what the world throws at him, laHaye meets it with that same devil-may care smile on his face. His intelligence is off the human scale, manifesting most keenly in his incredible ability to design and tinker. He exhibits a definite gift for people, though it's hard to tell whether it's natural human charm and smooth manners or Dynamic-level social abilities, and usually seems to get the best of people whether at bargaining, cards or in the lists of love. Abilities/Special Skills: A crack shot, he can sign his name with pistol or rifle. His skill behind the controls of an aircraft is only slightly less impressive. In addition, he has a wide base of knowledge and practical know-how that he's picked up in his years of wandering. Weapons Used: Guns, fists, knees, elbows, and whatever else is to hand. Despite the cool laid back air, when the chips are down LaHaye fights to win at all costs. Personality: Smooth, sophisticated, witty, good-humored and as sharp as a scalpel, he also possesses a wild streak a mile wide when there's something dangerous at hand. Whether working or playing, he makes quips, coolly assesses those around him, and leaves others astounded at how easy he makes tricky situations look. Personal Interests: Travelling, meeting new people, having new experiences and trying not to get bored. He doesn't mind responsibility, but he hates the idea he's supposed to marry and settle down like a respectable pillar of society. La Haye is a skirt-chaser of the highest order. The more inaccessible or ill-advised the conquest, the more he will enjoy the chase. This has already made him one enemy who won't forget being cuckolded, and is likely to make him more. He is not, however, a total pig. Vulnerable women, rape victims, and those that need protection tend to bring out his chivalrous side, usually leading to more trouble for him Background: James la Haye was born into the wealthy and aristocratic LaHaye family, one of those rare types of English nobility who not just adapted to the modern world, they thrived in it. Managing the waters of business and politics, and earning glory and honor in service to the Army, Navy and, as recently as World War 1, the Royal Flying Corps, the family has gone from strength to strength. Like all families, however, they have their black sheep... ,, It was in the Royal Flying Corps that James LaHaye, second son and one of the most brilliant pilots of the early twentieth century, first made a name for himself as one of the great Aces of the first air war. In truth, he had been a Dynamic since birth, his uncanny reflexes and more than human intuition and intelligence serving him well, but his family decided that it was not in their interests for it to be widely known. The ‘Dynamics’, as they were known, were attracting too much hysteria and hype and one thing any long-surviving aristocratic family, with roots going back to pre-Revolutionary France, knows is to avoid hysteria and hype. ,, James developed a keen interest in machines of all kinds, from the internal combustion engine to the Lewis machine gun, and loved to fly from early adolescence, so when he decided to enlist in the Royal Flying Corps and serve his country, none in his family were particularly surprised. He made ace (shot down 5 enemy planes) in his first three sorties, and gained a reputation for handling his biplane with the precision and dash of a master fencer. ,, Nobody knows why, and James doesn’t talk about it, but after the War he had changed. Perhaps it was that the taste of action had left him unfit for peace, perhaps the horrors of war, perhaps it was simple burning out, but the young man was ill at ease in the clubs and salons of post-war London. He gambled, drank, womanised and generally disgraced his family name through scandals and outbursts of inappropriate behaviour. More than once, his long-suffering brother, Carlton LaHaye, would have to bail James out from a night in the cells, which he invariably landed in through his binges of opium and alcohol. His Dynamic abilities became public knowledge, and the mix of hero worship and scrutiny seemed to only fan the flames of the younger LaHaye’s self-destructive behaviour. He picked fights, slept with the young and beautiful wives of important men, and raced his car down winding country lanes at breakneck speed. It was a wonder no-one was killed, most of all James himself. ,, Then one morning, a year after the signing of the Armistice, James LaHaye vanished from a prison cell. His latest escapade, involving breaking into the Tower of London to, as he put it, ‘make the beast with two backs’ on Execution Green with a member of the Royal household, was kept out of the papers only through the exertion of influence and great expense to his brother. Rumors circulated in upper-crust society but were never confirmed that the Earl LaHay, his father, had disowned him, leaving him this time to the tender mercies of the Crown’s Justice to learn his lesson. Sentenced to 5 years, the young nobleman obviously had other plans, and disappeared from England’s shores. ,, The world is a big place, and he lost himself in it. A talent for passing unnoticed when he chose to served the rakish youth well, and by his twentieth birthday he was a seaman aboard a British merchantman, steaming through the Suez Canal to India. He spent many years this way, travelling by land and sea, criss-crossing the subcontinent and the Far East. Restless, always restless, he filled his hungry mind with experiences: studying at Buddhist temples in China, fighting in skirmishes between nomads in Afghanistan, studying and assisting some of the finest minds in the world, hunting man-eating tigers and lions, even pursuing rumors of the elusive Yeti in the Himalayas. He also smuggled opium and alcohol, stole, gambled, whored, and generally tried to lose himself in dissipation. He craved excitement, and when it was not forthcoming he spiralled into self-destruction. Until one day, in the summer of 1938, his brother came to him, finding him in a fleapit whorehouse in Bombay. ,, Their father had died, his final wish to be reconciled with his youngest son. He had written James back into the will, and Carlton had come personally to tell his younger brother the news. And to let him know that there were family members who still cared whether or not the Dynamic was alive and well... and to deliver a message from His Majesty’s Government. Carlton was heavily involved in government service, working for the SIS, and had thought of his brother during dark hours. ,, There were rumbles of war in Europe and Asia, rumbles of another huge conflict that would span nations. The Crown would pardon James LaHaye of all prior offences if he would take up his old rank and act again to defend King and Country. James refused at first, not wanting any part of another meaningless squabble between fat European politicians, but as Carlton explained what was going on in Europe, the real danger that Hitler and his followers presented, and that England would likely stand alone as the only nation taking the ‘funny little man’ seriously, James slowly experienced a change of heart. He grudgingly agreed to help, but declined to put on a uniform again. His brother had anticipated this, and told James that the rank would still be honoured. Technically, he would be a Captain in the RAF, but his actual orders would be delivered straight from Number 10, Downing Street. Or at least, somewhere close to that august address. In essence, he would be a spy, saboteur, and agent provocateur for the British government... and with that in mind, his first assignment was Burma. The Japanese had overrun China, and though not yet at war with Britain, quiet voices in Whitehall felt that it was only a matter of time before Germany’s ally made a move against the Western powers in the Pacific region. James, with his gift for languages and knowledge of Asia, was a perfect watchman. Most Notable Power: A smooth British accent and dangerous charm Nature: Thrillseeker ATTRIBUTES Physical STR ●●●● (Powerful) DEX ●●●●● (Steady Hand) STA ●●●● (Tenacious) Mental PER ●●●● (Alert) INT ●●●● (Pragmatic) WIT ●●●●● (Unfazeable) Social APP ●●●● (Roguish) MAN ●●●● (Smooth) CHA ●●●● (Charming) - ( 4 NP spent) Brawl: Might: ● Athletics: ●●●● Drive: ●●●● Firearms: ●●●●● Legerdemain: ●● Martial Arts: ●●● Melee: ●●● Pilot: ●●●●● Stealth: ● Endurance: ●●● Resistance: ●●● Awareness: ●●●● Investigation: ● Navigation: ●●● Academics: ●● Bureaucracy:● Computer: Engineering: ●●●●● Intrusion: ●● Linguistics: ●●●● Medicine: ●● Science: ●● Survival: ●● Arts: Biz: Rapport: ●●● Intimidation: ● Style: ●● Diplomacy: Interrogation: Streetwise: ●●● Subterfuge: ●● Carousing: ●● Command: ● Etiquette: ● Perform: - (8 NP) Merits: Ambidextrous - 1 Sexy - 1 - (2 BP Spent) Flaws Lusty - 1 Addiction: Cigarillos or cigars – 2 Overconfidence -1 Enemy - 3 (A Nazi Dynamic, Doctor Von Krabbs. He is obsessed with the Piecemaker, seeing it as his work, not LaHaye’s. They worked together for a couple of short years, before parting ways explosively.) Enemy - 3 (Rodney Harrington. A cuckolded man, wants to ruin/break LaHaye. Has some influence and power in the British government) - (10 BP gained) Net = 8 BP up. Backgrounds: Node ●● Resources ●●● (His share of the family fortune, administered in trust by his brother) Reputation ●●●● (He is James LaHaye, flying ace, British Dynamic, and scoundrel extraordinaire) Contacts ●●●●● (He knows a lot of people, especially in places best described as ‘far flung and seedy’. Yes, this also describes some parts of London, New York, Berlin and Paris ) Gadget ●●●●● (A massive ‘pistol’ called The Piecemaker: see below) Backing ●●● (An agent of the SIS, the precursor to MI:6, he has the equivalent military rank of Captain) - (3 NP spent) Quantum: ●●● Quantum Pool: 40 Willpower: 6 (6 BP spent) Taint: 4 (4 from tainted powers) - Aberrations: Inhuman Grace Mega-Attributes: - Mega Strength ● (Precision) - Mega-Dexterity ●● (Ace Pilot) - Mega-Stamina ● (Unaging) - Mega-Perception - Mega-Intelligence ● (Engineering Prodigy, Linguistic Genius) - Mega-Wits ● (Multi-tasking) - Mega-Manipulation - Mega-Charisma - (21 NP spent) ,, Powers: Intuition: ●●●● Luck: ●●●● 4 NP Spent (4 Intuition and 4 Luck Tainted) Combat Stats: Init: 13 Soak: 5B / 3L Combat Style Bonuses & Maneuvers: Golden Gunplay, 3 Levels: LaHaye has spent a lot of time perfecting the use of his Dynamic reflexes and agility in order to create a system of combat that uses the Zen focus of the Buddhist masters in combination with the flash and thunder of firearms. Style Bonuses: +2 bonus dice to hit with Style Maneuvers and Form Weapons, + 1 Damage with Firearm attacks Style Maneuvers: Aiming, Dodge, Parry, Strafing, Two Weapons, Weapon Forms: Pistol/Revolver, Shotgun, Rifle; Combat Reload, Weapon Strike Advanced Techniques: Trajectory Twist, Threading the Needle, Whirlwind Barrage, Stop Hit (18 BPs spent: 6 on Specialisation, 12 on Advanced Techniques) ,, ,, Equipment: Brown leather pilot’s jacket, khaki pants, jungle boots. Parang (machete) +3d10L. Pair of smoothbore .45 automatic pistols: 5d10L ,, Gadget: The Piecemaker- 5 dot Gadget, 15 option Advancement. A huge pistol of LaHaye’s design, whatever Von Krabbs says. Designed around the cut-down frame of a .600 Nitro Express, LaHaye built the pistol out of super-strong, yet light alloys (those were the doctor’s work) and ended up with something roughly the size of a pump shotgun, but capable of firing .666 caliber slugs of his own design, again designed on the Nitro Express model, but shorter and thus with less overall range. Not that it matters: 65 grammes of high-density metal travelling at speed will ruin anyone’s day. For a field test, LaHaye brought down a rogue elephant with one shot – there wasn’t much left of the head. ,, Drawback: The Piecemaker can only be accurately fired by someone with Mega-Strength and Mega-Dexterity of 1. Without the M-Strength, the weapon will do its base damage dice in Bashing to the shooter, with even a single unsoaked level causing knockdown. Without the M-Dex, the shooter suffers a -5 penalty to hit. ,, Piecemaker: Acc: +3 (or -5: modifiers don’t stack) Damage: 13d10; Range: 200m; RoF: 1; Conc: T; Cap: 4 Str Min.: Mega 1; Made with light, yet ultra strong alloys, the weapon weighs about 10 lbs. LaHaye carries it in a special holster, with the ammunition worn in a twin-strap bandolier arrangement. It reloads like a revolver, albeit a huge one. Alternate Ammunition: Grappling round - 30 metre high-tensile cord, the other end of which remains fixed in the Piecemaker, but can be removed easily. It's worth noting that as long as the Piecemaker is holding onto the other end of the line, it can't be used for further shooting. Alternate Ammunition: Explosive round - functions as a concussion grenade: 6d10 B damage to 3m radius, 3d10 from 3-6m. Any unsoaked damage will lead to temporary deafness. Alternate Ammunition: Flash Round - 2d10 B, also functions as Strobe with a dice pool of 8, affects sight. 20m effective radius. Alternate Ammunition: Phosphorous Round. Based on the Buckingham ammunition first developed in WW1, this round sets fire to anything flammable it passes through, burns hot enough to melt steel, and causes the damage of the shot to be considered Energy rather than Physical damage.
  18. Daniel "Ogre" Karnack DOB: 15-May-1921 Right Handed Hair: Black Eyes: Brown Ht: 6' 8" Wt: 300 lbs. Birthplace: Sullen Hollow, WV, USA Blood Type: O Chargen Concept: One-Man Brute Squad, Super-soldier Experiment Gone Off the Rails Nature: Critic Allegiance: U. S. M. C. Str: 2/5 (Brutish) M-Str: 5 (Lifter) Brawl 5 , Might 5, Throw 5 Dex: 2/5 (Fast) M-Dex: 1 (Fast Tasks) Athletics 1, Drive 2, Firearms 2, Melee 2, Stealth 2 Sta: 2/5 (Tough) M-Sta: 3 (Durability, Resiliency x2) Endurance 4, Resistance 4 Per: 3 Awareness 3 Int: 3 Academics 2, Bureaucracy 1, Engineering 2, Intrusion 1, Linguistics 3, Medicine 1, Survival 1 Wits: 4/5 (Iron Nerves) Cha: 2 Man: 4 (Domineering) App: 2/4 (Imposing) Intimidation 3 Backgrounds: Attunement 2, Mentor 1, Contacts 2, Node 2 Quantum 4, QP: 26, Taint:, Willpower 3/5 W/R/S: 7/18/38 Initiative: +11 Soak: 10B/4L for Stamina + 6B/4L for M-Sta +2B Huge Size = 18B/8L Bruised (x3), Hurt, Injured, Wounded, Maimed, Crippled, Incapacitated, Dead 15 BP: 4 for 2 Willpower, 4 for Huge Size, 7 for 1 Quantum 40 NP: 4 for 12 Attributes, 15 for Mega-Strength 5 (Lifter), 9 for Mega-Stamina 3 (Resilient), 6 for Resiliency (x2) and Durability, 3 for Mega-Dexterity 1 (Fast Tasks) and 3 for 18 Abilities
  19. "Well, I can tell you you certainly are not a 36DD." ,, I eyed the Nordstrom Sales Associate - Cecilia according to the tag on her smart skirt-suit - reflected in the mirror of the dressing room, then at myself, my torso bare save for my black bra, contrasting sharply with my milky complexion. I arched a single brow - I could do that now. ,, "Are you sure?" I asked doubtfully. So much else was exactly as I had described my character - sometimes to my regret or embarrassment - I didn't see why they weren't as well. "I wrote down Tae - I mean, I have good reason to believe I'm a double-dee." ,, "Trust me, miss, I have almost twenty years selling women's intimates and even longer wearing them, and a 36DD isn't even close to a proper size for you." The pleasant - and tall, I couldn't help noticing - woman clucked her tongue and I suppressed a flinch as her fingers brushed my skin while she demonstrated on my bra. "The band shouldn't be riding up like this in the back, but sitting level. You shouldn't be spilling out the sides or showing any quadboob." ,, "Pardon me? Quadboob?" I thought I had overhead the term before, but hadn't dared ask. ,, "The way your breasts are bulging over the top of the cups, dear. Nor should the shoulder straps be digging in so much and the center gore of the bra should sit flush with your sternum, rather than away from your skin. Despite what Victoria's Secret may believe. And I'm guessing the underwire is digging in some?" ,, I nodded. It was all true. I'd just figured brassieres were supposed to fit that way and couldn't bring myself to ask anyone. Torturous, but better than bouncing around everywhere. ,, Cecilia took a step back, a finger tapping her lips musingly. ,, STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  20. In the western outskirts of Berlin, surrounded by barbed wire-tipped fences, guard towers and large garrison military base, is a place called Justizvollzugsanstalt Plötzensee. Built in the late 1800's on the estates of Plötzensee Manor, it was designed as a place where criminals deserving of execution were sent for their final days on Earth. It is an imposing place, a place of despair and death, and the miasma of half a century of it's grim purpose hangs over the stone-built compound like a cloud. Though so much changed in Germany since the rise of the Third Reich, for Plötzensee it is business as usual. Men are still sent here to die at the hands of the state, only now political as well as criminal inmates populate the bleak grey cells. ,, But there is another side to the prison, an underside. For the cellars of the manor itself have been extended, and deepened, and turned into a second prison beneath the ground. Here are kept prisoners that the Reich wants no-one to know about. Above ground, inmates are examples: do not stray from the path or you will end up here. Down below, one simply disappears. No one ever hears about them again. No one will see them be executed, or visit them in your cell. In fact, people who were believed to be executed in the prison above have re-appeared down below, as they are simply too valuable to lose permanently... for now. A quick trial and execution for the Very Important Prisoner above, then a long, drawn out series of sessions with the Gestapo's finest in Plötzensee Below. ,, But past the cells, past the well-lit interrogation rooms with the drains in the middle of the floors, past the guards with the Dobermans and Schmiesser machineguns, at the end of the main arterial 'road' through Plötzensee Below, is a special cell. ,, It is divided into two parts. The first is a security station, a small room barely eight feet across. Triple-paned, impact resistant glass, a product of the finest Dynamic minds of the Reich, forms a window along one wall, that starts at waist height and stops short of the airlock system at the far end. This door is the only entrance to the second half of the cell - and it's occupant. The second half of the cell is worthy of note for its unusual composition. A room fully 15 feet cubed, it is flooded, a sealed tank of ice cold water. A drain on the floor is currently closed, and the only other fixture to the cell is the triple-tubing, flexible and strong, that runs down from the cell's ceiling and into the diving suit that contains the cell's inmate. In the watch-room, two guards are on duty all the time. Monitor dials on the wall give readings on the water's temperature, and a pair of wheels controls the drain in the floor, which is also the means by which the room is flooded. The guards, actually Gestapo, watch the prisoner carefully, making notes on any action he takes, however insignificant it seems. The room is only drained once a day, under heavy supervision by two Dynamics stationed here for that purpose. Then the young man inside the suit is allowed out, allowed to stretch and shower before once again clambering back into the cleaned suit and resuming his imprisonment. ,, Right now, he watches the men beyond the glass, his softly-glowing eyes two sparks of molten flame behind the thick glass of his diving helmet. He has been here for three years, though in truth he is not too sure of that. He knows he must have been here awhile, as he was only a boy when they locked him in the suit, and he has grown since. The captivity doesn't seem to have slowed down his growth or his development, but that is hardly surprising to the youth. After all, he is one of the ubermenschen, the Dynamics. That is why he is here, that is why they do not kill him out of hand when there is a chance of breaking him. Of course, there is no chance of that, the youth knows in his heart. He is as temperamental as the element he commands, as destructive as any wildfire. But he does not bother to disabuse the facists of their plan - after all, it gives him time. ,, Time is what he plays for. Time is why he chokes down the rising panic he feels every time the water rises over his head and he is again trapped. Time is his ally. With enough time, those he cares about will be dead, or the Nazis will make a fatal mistake, and he will again be free. And once he is free... ,, Some men, when imprisoned, care for birds or small creatures. Others compose music in their heads, or write novels and poems, or construct palaces in dreams. The Dynamic who is still mostly a young man called Valentin has no such... creative urges. He watches the pallid, corpselike men beyond the thick glass and dreams of seeing their flesh roasting, of smelling the smoke of this whole foul prison in flames. He dreams elaborate dreams of destruction and divine retribution. He wants to release the hate and anger and rage he feels in his breast, a smoldering ember needing just a breath of air to surge into being. He dreams of the freedom to live, to dance... ,, To burn. ,, To burn everything.
  21. Name: Bǣl Real Name: Valentin Brandt Nature: Rebel Date of Birth: 1924 Sex: Male Apparent Age: late-teens. Height: 5'11" Weight: 167lbs Known Appearance: A beautiful young man with red-gold hair, molten gold eyes and sharp features. Known Powers: A manipulator of fire, Bǣl can perform a wide range of effects with his element. Visible Aberrations: Unearthly Beauty, Distinctive Appearance, Anima Banner (green flames) History: Claude and Lotte Brandt were lucky, blessed even. The two Dynamics were heroes of Germany during the Great War, they parlayed their fame into fortune and did well even during the hard years following the Treaty of Verdun. They had a son, whom they called Valentin, and life was good. Theirs was a happy household. ,, Then came the rise of the Nazis, and the widespread belief that the ubermenchen would catapult Germany back into worldwide prominence. The Brandt’s saw this dangerous movement and began to speak out against it, pointing to the follies of the prior war and warning against militarism. Their words, as Dynamic heroes of the nation, had a lot of impact, and people were swayed. Other people saw, and heard, and elected to do something about it. The Brandts were killed in a mysterious automobile accident – a very mysterious accident indeed, considering that both Dynamics were inhumanly resistant to damage. Valentin, at the age of 7, was especially confused: he was sure that his parents did not even own an automobile. Lies were told, close family members were persuaded by the evidence, and Valentin went to live with his grandparents in Heidelburg. ,, On his 12th birthday, Valentin’s talent expressed itself. A book-burning was taking place, and one of his cousins – a member of the Hitler Youth – decided that the small collection of American comic books that Valentin hoarded was a perfect gift to the flames. Valentin struggled, but his cousin was bigger and heavier, and held the young boy away while tossing the comics into the roaring fire. Valentin was furious beyond measure. Those comics had been gifts, every single one, from his parents, and this fat pig had destroyed them to appease a funny little man who shouted and now somehow ruled the country. ,, He walked into the flames to get his verdammt comics back. The flames swirled around him, but didn’t touch his skin, their color changing to a verdant green hue that illuminated the terrified faces of the townsfolk, and as he stood on the emerald pyre and looked at the scorched remnants of all the books, his own included, Valentin quietly decided he would have no part of such blighted stupidity. The flames winked out, leaving the market square in darkness. ,, The Waffen SS arrived the next day, with their own Dynamics. They wanted to test the boy, and his grandparents, already old, dared not resist the superhuman presence of the SS ubermencsh who made the demand. So the Nazis took Valentin away – he didn’t want to fight them on his grandparents doorstep, after all. They took him to a camp, but he refused to use his powers. They cajoled him, and he refused. They threatened him, and he refused. Politely, he explained that he didn’t want to be a super soldier for the Fatherland. He wanted to go to school, and then to university in Vienna. He wanted to study the works of the philosophers and work to help all humanity, not just the Nazi party. To his keepers, this sounded like treason, and they couldn’t risk even a single ubermensch working against the Reich. ,, So they imprisoned him, and he escaped. They caught him, and built another prison. This one he also escaped from after a couple of years, causing the deaths of five guards and one Dynamic in the process. His powers had grown in captivity. The effort, however, drained the young man, and he was unable to resist capture a third time. This time, the Nazis did it right: they moved him to a fortified prison on the outskirts of Berlin. His cell was a hundred feet below ground and flooded: a stone box of water. Valentin was strapped into a diving suit and left there, kept alive through means of an air hose from the ceiling. Two smaller tubes also carried his meals (baby mush) and water. Once per day, under guard, his cell was drained and he was allowed to relieve himself and exercise while his suit was cleaned. The rest of the time, he was alone in the dark waters of his prison. He has been told that, should he attempt escape again, his grandparents will be killed in horrible ways. So he does not struggle, and does not complain. ,, And he remains there to this day. Thinking... planning... hating. The solitude and utter isolation, rather than breaking the young man, have hardened his soul to diamond-toughness. He has nothing to sustain him except his anger, which burns hotter with every passing moment. The irony is not lost on him – the Nazis wanted him to be a weapon, and he will be. Just not in their hands. Not in anyone’s hands but his own. Valentin has actually started to hope that his grandparents die soon – and he hates himself for that hope. If he were strong enough, he could reach his grandparents before the Reich can punish them, and spirit them away somewhere. But where? He has been kept isolated – where is safe from the Nazis now? Russia? Norway? One thing is certain, the Reich is going to regret ever having heard the name of Valentin Brandt. Or Bǣl, as he calls himself now. Bǣl, the fire of the funeral pyre. ,, The flame of destruction. (40NP build) ATTRIBUTES Physical (Tertiary) STR: ●●● () DEX: ●●●● (Agile) STA: ●●● () Mental (Secondary) PER: ●●●● (Intuitive) INT: ●●●● (Bright) WIT: ●●●● (Quick) Social (Primary) APP: ●●●● (Stunning) MAN: ●●● () CHA: ●●●● (Arresting) - ( 3 NP spent) Abilities: Brawl: Might: Athletics: ●● Drive: Firearms: Legerdemain: Martial Arts: ● Melee: Pilot: Stealth: ● Endurance: ●●● Resistance: ●●● Awareness: ●●● Investigation: ● Navigation: ●● Academics: ●● Bureaucracy: Computer: Engineering: ● Intrusion: Linguistics: ● Medicine: Science: ●● Survival: ● Arts: Biz: Rapport: ● Intimidation: ●● Style: Diplomacy: Interrogation: Streetwise: Subterfuge: Carousing: Command: Etiquette: ● Perform: Modulate: ●●● (2 BPs spent) Backgrounds: Node ●●●●● Attunement ●●●●● (3 BPs spent, ) Merits: Iron Will - 6 Quantum Recovery - 1 Flaws: Vengeful - 2 Lusty - 1 Dependant - 4 (His grandparents) Phobia: Claustrophobic - 2 Aberration - 2 Unearthly Beauty Quantum: ●●●●● (14 BPs spent) Quantum Pool: 40 Willpower: ●●●●● Taint: 7 - Aberrations: -Taint based: Minor: Anima Banner: Emerald green flame dances around Valentin when he manifests his power. Distinctive Appearance Moderate: Uncontrollable Power: Elemental Mastery Hormonal Imbalance: Rage Special Effect: All of Valentin's fire-based effects manifest as emerald green flame. Mega-Attributes Mega-Strength Mega-Dexterity ● (Quickness) Mega-Stamina ● (Hardbody) Mega-Perception Mega-Intelligence Mega-Wits ● (Multi-tasking) Mega-Appearance ● (Awe-Inspiring) Mega-Manipulation Mega-Charisma ● (Autonomy) - (9 NP spent ) Quantum Powers Bright Viridian Sword - Quantum Bolt Lvl 3 (Extra: Armor Piercing) ●● Prince of the Emerald Sun - Elemental Mastery: Fire Lvl 3 ●●●● (Imprison, Enhance/Diminish, Shield, Storm) Jade Gates - Transmit: Fire (Extra: Incontiguous) - ●● No Power But Mine - Invulnerability: Fire - ●● - (3 NP spent clean, 20 NP spent on Tainted dots) Combat Stats Base Soak: 4 Bashing / 2 Lethal Health Levels: Bruised x1, Hurt x1, Wounded x1, Injured x1, Crippled x1, Incapacitated x1 Initiative: 9 (1 BP spent) ,,
  22. Then ,, "Daniel, are you home?" ,, Carol frown at the living room of her dorm. The lights were all turned down low - unusual for mid-morning on a Sunday – but she could see Daniel framed by the window, sitting in the easy chair. She flipped the light switch, and caught Daniel's expression, and gently set her pack down. ,, "What's wrong?" ,, "Nothing. I'm fine." ,, Daniel didn't look fine. Beyond the soot and ash that everyone regularly seemed to wear since the attack, he clearly looked downcast, staring into the middle distance with a fretful expression on his face. Everything on the outside had changed with Daniel, to the point it rendered him unrecognizable, but Carol could still read his mood. She knew he was upset. ,, "Daniel..." She walked towards him. "C'mon." ,, "It's no big deal. Nothing worth getting upset over." ,, "Mmm." Carol nodded. She went into the kitchen, pouring herself and Daniel a glass or orange juice. She came back out and set the glasses down on the table, then took a seat on the couch. ,, "Well, tell me about it anyways. I like talking to you." It was true, of course. Carol did like talking to Daniel. She wasn't sure if she liked doing more than talking, but right now, talking was good. ,, "If you really want to know..." She sighed. "It's so petty." ,, "Tell me anyways." ,, "Someone groped me today." ,, Carol blinked. "What? Who?" ,, "Just some man. I pulled him out from the rubble and I checked him out and he had a broken leg, so I set him on a table and got ready for takeoff and that's when I felt his hand on my boob." Daniel shifted in his seat. "Granted, they're hard to miss..." ,, "Don't. Don't you dare blame yourself." ,, Daniel sighed. "Wanted to throw him through a wall, but he was dying. I got him to the hospital anyways. But dammit, I felt so..." He shook his head. ,, "You thought this was petty? You didn't want to talk about it?" ,, "Like I said, I could throw him through a wall. It's not like he could really hurt me. I have superpowers! I don't know anyone who has superpowers. It feels so small of me to whine about that when I'm not even hurt..." ,, "You're upset. You're allowed to be upset, even if you can fly. I mean, look what you did with that gift – you stopped a rocket attack and you're out there every day finding people who need help. I think you're allowed to get upset when someone pays you back like that." ,, "Even if that's the case, it's not anything women don't go through every day." ,, Carol leaned back in the couch, frowning. She sighed. "Well, you're right about that." ,, "I think I just sound like some... some privileged snob, whenever I complain about what you and Jenny go through. I mean, I can fly. Even if I'm a woman now, all that means is I go through what you were going through while I was too dumb to see. What do I have to complain about?" ,, "Well, when it happens to me? I complain. I vent. I talk about it with Jenny and we cuss that asshole out behind his back because we'd probably taste the back of his hand if we did it to his face and once I've cussed him out I feel better and it's a little easier. I don't tell myself that I'm lucky because there are starving war orphans in Europe, even if it's true. I just vent and I let off steam and I feel better." ,, "Have you ever cussed me out?" ,, "Not too often. I mean, there's the one time recently, before, you know..." She waved towards Daniel's body. "All this." ,, "Yeah. All this." Daniel closed his eyes. "Carol, today's the first day since the lab accident that I wished that 'all this' hadn't happened." ,, "Ah." Carol nodded. She took a drink of her orange juice. "You didn't before?" ,, "Well, I've been kind of busy..." ,, "Yeah, but I know you've had some quiet moments since then. I know you think faster. I'd have figured, well... well, if it had happened to me, I'd be freaking out." ,, "You'd freak out if you had bigger boo - " ,, "Not that way! If I was a super-powered guy." Carol rolled her eyes. "Thanks for reminding me how jealous I am, by the way." ,, "Any time." Daniel managed a smile. "No, I freaked out, but people needed help, and I put it aside and did what I could. And when I got some quiet moments, I went back over everything that happened and I realized that I was mostly okay with it. I mean, yeah, fine, it's a big, big change. But it's a good one in a lot of ways. I think more clearly now. I see things differently. And flying? My God, Carol, we should go do that sometime. When I'm up there I feel more free than I ever did in my life. Compared to that, most of the time, being a woman now is nothing more than humbling. I can handle a little humbling. Most days." ,, "Just not today." ,, "Nope." ,, Carol nodded. "I'm sorry he did that to you. He's a pig." ,, "He was." Daniel looked out the window. "Didn't deserve to die in a rocket attack, though." ,, "Nope." ,, "You said that this happened to you?" ,, "Oh! Yeah. It was before we met. A cop chased me. Grabbed me right here." She pointed to her left breast. "I didn't say a word. I just cried, and everyone thought I was crying because I felt guilty about stealing a candy bar." ,, "... wait, is this the story you told me about how you stole a candy bar?" ,, "Yeah, but I think a cop grabbing my boob is worse than me stealing an Aero." ,, "Now I remember. This was just after you moved here from the U.S., right? You were addicted to Aero bars and didn't have any pocket money left." ,, "You ever had an American candy bar? Aeros are like an orgasm in your - " Carol laughed as Daniel turned beet red. "I'm glad I can still do that to you, at least." ,, "Yeah, I'm not really ready to talk about orgasms yet." Daniel loosened his shirt a bit. "I feel a little better. Thanks." ,, "You know, I was about to head to church. You should join me. You might like it." ,, Daniel refrained from rolling his eyes. "C'mon, Carol, you know I don't go in for that stuff..." ,, "They're doing a service for the people who were hurt in the attack." ,, "I'm glad. I really am. I just don't do the whole church thing. I'm agnostic." ,, "I know, I know. Come with me anyways. Do that thing with the glasses. I'll lend you some nicer clothes. You should meet more people than just me, Jenny, Conrad and Doctor Neufeld." ,, Daniel pursed his lips, then dug around in his pocket for his glasses. "Okay. Because you asked, and because you listened to me whine about being a woman. I'll go." ,, * * * ,, So Daniel put on his glasses, and pulled in on himself, and Carol went with "Danielle" to Knox United Church, in the downtown core of Calgary. ,, There was a collection plate, the totality of which was going towards the victims of the rocket attack, and Daniel found himself putting his last forty dollars in the plate. He didn't really need to eat any more, and other people did, and that was all there was to it. ,, Then the priest – or pastor, the man of the cloth, Daniel could never keep the nomenclature straight – asked everyone to bow their heads in prayer, and give thanks unto the Lord. Because Daniel didn't want to stand out like a sore thumb, Daniel lowered his head, closed his eyes, and spent the time thinking. ,, Okay, all right. What are you thankful for, Daniel Finn? ,, The prayer commenced, and Daniel mouthed along, while his thoughts turned to other matters. Well, I'm grateful for the few years I was allowed to be openly agnostic without everyone whispering about I was a godless slut. I guess I'm thankful for that. No, I'm actually thankful that Carol doesn't drag me to these things most of the time and is fine with me not being sure about God. ,, Also, I'm thankful that I was able to save her. And Conrad. And Jenny. And everyone else, really. ,, I'm also thankful that I can fly. I'm thankful that I can lift a car. I'm thankful that I can see so much more of what something is, just by looking at it. I'm thankful of how wonderful the world looks to me now. I'm thankful that I can go up far enough to see the curvature of the Earth. ,, And I'm thankful for... Daniel paused, unsure of the confession, even to himself. ,, Well, I don't know if I'm thankful for being a woman. But I'm thankful for a chance to learn what it's like to be one. I'm thankful for the past ten days and how eye-opening they've been. I'm thankful that I can look back on who I was and wince in embarrassment because I think it means I'm better than that now. I'm thankful I lived through the accident. I'm glad I got a chance to be a better person. I'm glad that Carol thinks I've grown. Maybe it means I actually have. ,, The prayer concluded. Eyes opened, and backs straightened, and a few minutes later, the service concluded. ,, "Feel better?" asked Carol, as they struggled into their winter coats. ,, "Yeah. Actually, I do. Thanks." ,, "Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ as your – just kidding." Carol held her hands up as Daniel raised a finger, ready to pontificate. "I'm glad you came anyways." ,, "Me too. Ah. Carol...?" ,, "Yes, Danielle?" ,, "What're you doing tonight?" ,, ,, * * ,, ,, Now ,, "What are you doing?" ,, She looked up at the sound. The man was a little bruised and bloody, but conscious, in contrast to the other dozen men lying around the makeshift base. The woman held in her hands an assault rifle, pointed at no one. Moonlight was the only illumination left, and it shone through a window. He'd pulled himself into a sitting position, but wasn't about to risk more than that. ,, "I didn't know you spoke English." She pressed her hands together, crumpling the gun into so much scrap. She tossed it on the pile, then picked up another. ,, "I speak a little." The man wore a German army uniform. He admired her as she moved - she had a body perfect in every way, including blonde hair and blue eyes – popular features where he came from. He was far from home, out in the countryside, away from all the pretty girls he'd never see again. Despite knowing he was about to die, the soldier couldn't bring himself to hate this angel of destruction. She smiled a lot. ,, She crushed another gun into a paperweight. "You should have spoken up. You could have surrendered." ,, "Did not think you would take me alive." ,, "Well, good news is you were wrong." ,, "How did you find us?" ,, "By accident, believe it or not. I saw the tank treads from the air. I was on my way somewhere else." ,, "Where?" ,, "You know I can't tell you." She crushed the last of their rifles, then started in on the pile of guns. ,, "What is with this pile of scrap you are making our guns into?" ,, "Well, I can't let you just walk out of here with your guns and going back to killing Allied soldiers, can I? And I'm a little too busy to haul you all back with me to a POW camp like I'd normally do. So I'm going to leave you with this - " She pulled a bayonet off one rifle, and set it on the ground. "And you're going to head back that way. You have enough rations in what's left of the tank - " ,, "What's left of the tank?" ,, "I kind of tied it in a knot. But if you need more you can hunt with that. You head back the way you came. You can lay low until the war's over. Or you can re-enlist and hope the next Allied company doesn't kill you before you kill them." ,, "You are joking. You'll kill us while we sleep." ,, Danielle shook her head. "No." ,, "You'll kill us while we walk, or starve us out - " ,, "No." Her voice was firm. "I don't joke about something this serious. You have a second chance here. I would hate for you to waste it, because you successfully lied to yourself about my intentions." ,, "If I was an ubermenschen I can tell you, I would kill you." ,, "Well. Hopefully someday you'll change your mind about that." ,, "Why are you doing this? At least tell me that." ,, Danielle thought for a long moment. She stole a glance out the window, looking out at the gorgeous moonlit night, and remembered another one like it, not too long ago. Danielle – well, still calling herself Daniel, and still thinking of herself as himself – and Carol, the latter in all her warmest clothes, flying high enough to kiss the clouds. She thought of what she'd been thankful for on the day leading into that perfect Sunday evening. ,, "Take it from me." She knelt, meeting him at eye level. "There's nothing more precious than a chance to change your mind. If you're dead? Then that's it. No more chances. And call me a softie, but I don't like taking that away from anyone." ,, "You are a softie." He chuckled, his gaze drifting downwards. "Very softie from where I'm standing." ,, "One chance." She held up her finger. "Nothing more than a chance to be better. That's all I can spare tonight. When I come back this way, I'm going to take anyone still left behind into a POW camp. I'll remember your faces, don't worry about that. If I see you again and you still have that uniform on, I'll have no sympathy left at all. It's just a uniform. It's not you." ,, Knockout stood up. She picked up the pile of guns-turned-scrap. "Going to go throw these in the ocean. Don't be here when I get back." She turned towards the window, and without a further word, flew through it. ,, The man stared at the open window for a long time afterwards, waiting for her to come back. He thought of what he'd say to the men when they awoke, of what they would do next. He compiled a list of who would opt to keep their heads down and who would go back out to the front. He wondered with weird fascination just what a Tiger tank would look like tied into a knot. ,, But mostly he thought of smiling faces, and realized just how much he wanted to see them again. ,, (EDIT: References to Danielle's codename edited out.)
  23. Beauport Park, Hastings, East Sussex. January 26th, 1941, 5:10 PM ,, Claire Kincaid's boots crunched through the snow as she wandered aimlessly in the chill evening air, her breathe billowing out as clouds of vapor; though the air outside was quite cold, she was perfectly comfortable in her dark blue aetherfiber coveralls. She enjoyed walking the grounds of the old country estate; it allowed her to clear her head from all the madness of the war. In the last few months she'd lost so much; her home, her family and any sort of normal life. Some nights she still woke up sweating, imagining she was still trapped under the rubble but without her new abilities; other times she dreamed she had them, but was still powerless to reach her mother and father. But now she had a sense of purpose, and it suited her well. ,, It had only been a few weeks since they'd all been transferred to Beauport Park, its somber bulk hiding the maze of tunnels and bunkers newly laid beneath its old foundations. The accommodations were vastly improved since they first arrived, with new mattresses on the bunk beds in the ladies' quarters and working oil stoves for heat, not that the Dynamics complained about the cold as much as the rest of the staff. Claire craned her neck to look up to the windows of the men's quarters on the west side of the house; some nights, if she was very lucky, she'd catch a glimpse of the strapping American as he attended to his toilet. Of course with her abilities, she could always sneak a much closer look, if she dared... ,, "Steady on now, girl," she murmured to herself with a chuckle. "That would hardly be professional now, would it?"
  24. Sean tried to look casual on the park bench, but there were a few things working against him. First, Shae was ‘getting them money or clothing’, and Sean sure as shit hadn’t asked how or where she planned to get them. He also wasn’t going to ask her when she showed back up with stuff. Second, it was late, and he was chilling in a park with two young girls. They were both thirteen—he hoped—but he knew that as the oldest and as the guy, he was getting the blame. Third, the neighborhood wasn’t the best; they’d already had some rough-looking dark-skinned people looking at them funny. Sean was no racist, but he was aware that he was a white kid alone with two white girls, with a third white girl out in the night doing something that was probably illicit (not that he was going to ask). An older black man had been watching them for some time. He was talking to a younger black man with him, but the guy kept looking over at them with a frown. Sean shifted and sat up straighter, only half-aware of Rebecca’s chatter as she gushed on about some computer game. She didn’t like any of the games he did; she liked thinking games. He’d asked her about it to distract her and then promptly tuned her words out. The two men stopped talking and headed for the three of them. Sean leaned forward as they approached, then stood when they were within talking range. He pulled his shades down and their progress faltered at the sight of his glowing, inhuman eyes. The older man didn’t stop and asked in a deep voice, “Young man, are you and your friends all right?” “What?” Sean asked, expecting another question entirely. The man stared at him evenly. “If you and your friends need shelter, my church has ties with a youth shelter. You don’t need to be out here if you have nowhere else to go.” “I, uh… no, we’re waiting on my friend.” Sean felt embarrassed by his assumption about the man’s intentions. “She should be back soon. Uh, but… thanks? For the offer. It’s nice of you.”
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