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  1. Personal Information Identity: Anastasia Anderson Nova Name: Psyche Occupation: Teenager Legal Status: United States Citizen Marital Status: Unmarried Known Relatives: None Allegiance(s): DSA Physical Traits: Weight: 85 lbs Height: 4'9" Apparent Age: early teens Age: 13 DoB: September 9, 1999 Gender: Female Ethnic Background: Caucasian Eye Color: Green Hair Color: Blonde and Brown Handedness: Left Appearance: Powers, Skills, and Personality Known Powers: Abilities/Special Skills: Personality: Background ,, Anastasia was always a smart girl she was talking way before she was supposed to. She was reading and writing at a high school level by kindegarten. Her math skills were par none. She was like a learning sponge. Her parents were poor though. They couldn't afford to send her to special classes or anything like that. So she had to deal with normal public school. Public school is horrible if you're the smartest kid in the room. You get beat up a lot and you have no friends. But Anastasia perservered. Mainly the thought of leaving and going to college was keeping her from eating a gun. Her parents got really pushy on her studies by middle school though. It wasn't their fault really. They just wanted to see her succeed. She had bee slacking off. Getting Bs in stead of straight A plusses. And in turn that wasn't her fault either. Her teachers seriously hated "the smart bitch". Downgrading her work was something they did regularly. She tried to talk to them about the grades but it was a futile thing. So she'd get yelled at by them, get yelled at by her parents and get beat up by kids. No one cared but her. She eventually blamed herself and started cutting in private. One day she was looking through her notes and found a teacher's note to another accidentally stuffed in with them. It told of her true grades and how they were pulling the wool over Anastasia's eyes. Anastasia was livid. She didn't know what to think. Her brain seemed to be overloading. She wanted to show her parents this heinous indiscretion. The last thing she saw before passing out was her mother's eyes. When she woke up it was a week later and she was in the hospital. The cops were there looking to talk to her about the murder of her parents. She didn't believe it. She demanded to see proof of this. As if like controlled automatons the police did as she asked. She got up from her bed, unhooking herself from the machines. and ran from the hospital, commanding everyone to stay away from her. They did as she said. She got a cab and rode back home. There was crime scene tape all over it. She didn't know what to do. That's when she was approached by the DSA. They told her they would take her some place safe where no one would persecute her anymore and would learn to control and use her powers. She agreed.
  2. Personal Information: Identity: Sean McCline Nova name: Chaos Occupation: teenager Legal Status: United States Citizen Marital Status: Umarried Known Relatives: Margaret McCline (deceased) Allegiance(s): DeVries Physical Traits: Weight: 153 lbs Height: 6'1" Apparent age: late teen’s Age: 15 DoB: July 1, 1998 Gender: Male Ethnic Background: Caucasian (very) Eye Color: Black and green Hair Color: Red Handedness: Right Appearance: There's a word for Sean's appearance: handsome. He could be a movie star if he wanted, though his eyes would limit his success in that field. The young man is well-built with a solid frame. He looks fairly normal, save for his eyes. He has black sclera with bright green pupil and iris. They are somewhat pretty, but their unusual appearance unsettles people, so Sean often hides them in public. It's only among trusted friends that he puts away the glasses and shows who he really is. Powers, Skills, and Personality Known Powers: Chaos is chaos – his quantum exists in a state of disorder. His node can find the pattern in his chaos and impose his will upon it. Normally, Chaos presses the limits of human strength and stamina with his base abilities. He can boost these higher with ease by reordering his quantum pattern for a time, exceeding humanity with a flex of quantum muscle. Chaos can affect the rules of physics around him at times to get what he wants. Along these same lines, he can manipulate probability itself. People sometimes have bad luck around him or really good luck. He can cause breakdowns of physics in the function of bodies and machines. This latter power is the most frightening of the ones he possesses. When applied to machines, they spark, overheat and melt. When applied to humans, their organs turn inside out, their skin peels back from their muscles and cancer spontaneously erupts on their skin. It is truly horrific, and Chaos uses the power with great reluctance. Any time Chaos activates a non-permanent power, his anima banner ignites. Abilities/Special Skills: Sean is a teen boy and has a skill set appropriate to his age. He’ll need additional training to prepare him for field work. Personality: Sean is normally a laid-back young man with a genial nature. When he’s not grieving, he's usually got a small smile on his face when hanging out with his friends, as if just being around them is a pleasure. Those who have his esteem have his staunch support, a true friend in trouble. Right now, so soon after the death of his mother, he is very moody and prone to emotional outbursts, something the DSA watches for closely. Background Sean McCline was the only son of Dr. Maggie McCline. She was a doctor at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. There was no one else, other than mother and son, creating a close bond between them. Maggie’s parents had died when Sean was two, and Sean’s father hadn’t been seen since the night Maggie conceived. Sean had a fairly normal life, growing up as the only son of a successful doctor. Sean planned to go to college as a pre-med and then to medical school. He was volunteering at the hospital in preparation for that career path. Sean had the enthusiasm but not the brains, and his mother was attempting to decide how to break that to him when it became a moot point. A gunshot victim was brought into the OR and Dr. McCline stepped up to start emergency care. The man, delirious from the pain, drew out his own gun and shot Dr. McCline. Sean heard the shot and being a young man with delusions of heroism, followed the sound. He found his mother dying on the floor, the bleeding gunman standing over her. Sean erupted with an EMP burst that fried every machine inside of a hundred yards. His next attack killed the gunman and took out a portion of the hospital, adding to the carnage. When the DSA arrived, prepared for a fight, they found Sean cradling his mother and crying. Sean was arrested for a few hours, then released into DSA care. The next day, a judge awarded guardianship of the nova to the DSA, given that he had no other relatives. Sean was moved to the DSA complex outside of Washington D.C.
  3. Legal Name: Constanta Silivasi Codename: Silvestru Residence: Bucharest Marital Status: Single Date of Birth: July 4, 1924 Date of Eruption: November 28, 1940 Sex: Female Height: 5’4” Weight: 110 lbs Physical Build/Appearance: Constanta is lean and athletic in a petite package. She isn’t a powerhouse like some Dynamics, for her skills lie in her agility and grace. She’s small and unassuming with brown hair and fair skin. Her distinguishing features are her eyes; they are a pretty hazel-green that has caught many men’s attention. Catalyst of Eruption: Constanta’s father and brother were killed in the Jilava Massacre on November 26. When she learned about their deaths, she armed herself with her hunting bow and went after Dumitru Grozea, the man who had commanded the execution squad. When she was attacked by his guards, she erupted and killed them all. Grozea escaped, but Constanta has vowed to kill him. Personality Profile / Quirks: Silvestru is filled with anger. Once a quiet Romanian Orthodox girl, she’s has since become as unyielding as any man in the Romanian Underground movement. It unnerves the men to see such a young woman being so hard. When she can be broken out of her vengeful mood, she has a wry humor and a quick smile. Distinctive Features: The most distinctive features of Silvestru are her green eyes; she’s not inhumanly beautiful like some of the Dynamics. Instead, she has a girl-next-door appearance which allows her to blend into crowds in most locations. It’s not her physical appearance that makes her stand out; she usually dresses like a boy, and her bow and quiver of arrows are ever-constant. That is what people remember about her, more than her green eyes: the bow, the arrows and her angry frown. Known Powers: Silvestru (Romanian for Sylvan) appears to have minimal powers. She’s tougher than normal and her quantum æther fuels her accuracy with the bow and arrow. She has the ability to empathize, though not command animals, and an ability to control plants. Her lesser-known ability is her above-human toughness and her ability to hide her visibility from the seeing world. General History: Constanta was born to a university professor turned political advisor and his wife. Growing up, she was something of a tomboy; she liked to hunt rabbits, which helped feed her family when times grew lean. She kept up the habit even after her father, Eugen Silivasi, became an advisor to King Carol’s Parliament. He was part of the group advocating action against the Iron Guard; then the Guard came into power, Eugen was arrested. His son, Flaviu, was also arrested for trying to defend his elderly father. His wife, Sanda, and daughter, Constanta watched in horror as the two men they loved were taken away. Eugen and Flaviu were held at the prison in Jilava with sixty-two other political prisoners. Sanda’s health took a turn for the worse and Constanta was too busy caring for her to worry about her father. Two months later on November 27th, members of the Iron Guard got tired of waiting for justice via legal means and executed all the prisoners at Jilava. Sanda and Constanta were informed the next day when their bodies were delivered to them. Sanda had a fit and lapsed into unconsciousness. Constanta cleaned the corpses and made her mother comfortable. When darkness fell, her mother breathed her last, succumbing as the last light faded from the sky. Constanta lost her last emotional anchor. The young woman prepared her mother for burial too and then collected her hunting bow and arrows. Then she went hunting, stalking the man who had commanded the execution. She might have succeeded in killing him, had Dumitru Grozea not had guards. The girl still attacked, despite the odds of her imminent death - she had nothing left to live for, in her mind. Grozea escaped as she erupted into a Dynamic and survived. After she regained her sense of self following the haze of eruption, Constanta vowed to track Grozea and kill him. Her quest was hampered by her status as an enemy of the Iron Guard, the ruling power in Romania. She hid in the woods around Jilava until she heard that Grozea had been reassigned to Bucharest, and she followed him there. While attempting to get a shot at Grozea, Constanta ran into the Romanian Resistance. They were hesitant to accept a woman, but when she showed she was a Dynamic, they allowed her in the ranks. She operated with them for a time, earning her place in their ranks. On January 20, 1941, the Iron Guard attempted a coup of the government. It failed on the 24th but the resistance attempted to assassinate Antonescu, the Grand Marshall, during the confusion. It failed; Silvestru was injured. Worse, a Dynamic who was expert at tracking got her trail and began to harry her. It wasn’t long before the hurt woman was captured. Her interrogator was Luka Prokina, a son of Russian immigrants. He was a Dynamic as well, and great at infiltration, spycraft and interrogation. Because of his black hair and his ability to get into places he wasn’t wanted, he gave himself the codename Pauka Chernaya, the Black Spider. His mission is to learn everything she knows about the Romanian Resistance.
  4. Yomiko looked about the ship. It's been about a week since she had a slip of judgement and caused an entire world to have an Eruption event. Her mother saw that while her solution was creative, there was a slip of ethics. So she gave her a challenge. Yomiko didn't like it, but by the way The Professor herself phrased it, where she was going she was needed. Although when Yomiko radioed ahead, nothing was going on. Was this a test? She rummaged through her things, looking for a change of look since her mother reccomended giving a new look for "The Librarian" than what she had been using... Perhaps it was time for a new moniker? "Ugh... this is frustrating... Image is just as important as content in Universe 343... Hell, Daniel's gonna find this corny as hell..." She sighed, resigning herself to putting a body-tight white vacuum-suit on, with some blue rain boots she found on her last Brittanian trip. A tactical vest she borrowed from Rebecca, and a pair of goggles. The large white rain poncho she used as a cape sort of amused her. She had only wetted her feet in her youth into the superhero culture of the Universe they were headed to, but this look... seemed too practical. Although it fit a person who jumped from universe to universe exploring the unknown. "The Explorer?... naw... The Wanderer?... hmm..."
  5. Thanksgiving Day, 2012 Outside Karrie's Lab The blaring thrum of death rock echoed from Karrie's lab, and given the ungodly amount of noise, Ross was almost about to turn and wake away for the sake of his ears. Almost. He rather preferred spending time with the playful inventor - and having someone he was reasonably close enough to get some stuff off his chest. The door slid open, and Ross walked in, choosing not to cover his ears, though his teeth gritted a bit. He had his container of stuffing with him, as a Thanksgiving gift, she was a friend, after all. When Karrie caught sight of him, she turned down the volume, and smiled. Ross smiled back. "Hey, I know you were going to be working today, so I thought I could drop by." He passed her the cornbread, apple and sausage stuffing. "Made the stuffing myself. Happy Thanksgiving, Karrie."
  6. Great Western ( SEPT 10th) Location: small town located between Ohio and south Nebraska. The Film crew has been working for over 2 weeks at the site of the new Western the brainchild of the Director Deept. The film is done completely live using all the tricks of the old timers. In fact the head of FX is none other then Peter James who help with the old John Wynn movies which put him in his 90's. Making him one of the oldest FX man working in the Biz. The Site is a rebuild Town of the 1818 in fact outside of portable generator located in one of the old homes that powered the cameras and the computers the town is powered by candles and lamps. In fact one could feel if one was out of place in time. The only problem was the hi tech building that lit up the night over the hill and the helicopters and vans that drove down the dirt road. Which cause the lost of hours of filming. The film had two major stars and they so far only were able to film the minor parts with the main stars. “ WHERE is my Negotiator “ Shouted the Deept to his aide as the copters flew across the sky again ruining anther take. characters Spoiler the filming is done with over a hundred hidden cameras so the actors can come across naturally. One take from start to finish no retakes but allows the actor to ablive to cover for each other. In fact the actors live in the town to get a feel for the time. there is a hidden coms and alarm to let the actors know when the camera roll. kitty and mech Spoiler mech and kitty can interact with each other or other npc and tell how they feel about the experiment in filming Western with outthe film crew surrounding them
  7. Name: Jessica Clark Appearance Previous to her eruption the best you could say about Jessica was that she was not BAD looking. She kept in decent shape, and had a plain but not unattractive face. Post-eruption her body has changed to a more idealized version of itself, with a shape and features only vaguely resembling her previous, and far more classically attractive. Ironically, she often has to intentionally tone that down to make herself less noticible...a skill she has become adept at. Her body's ability to freely change shape also means she can...and frequently does...imitate other people. She finds this an effective way of reducing the 'OMG' factor of her 'natural' appearance, while not necessarily being mousy and unnoticible. As such, she spends a lot of time wearing other people's faces. She can simulate clothing with her skin, but it feels weird to do so, and she only does it when she can't find appropriate attire for the shape she plans to use. On her own, she wears fairly loose clothes, that give her a range of options, and possible sizes. Because her powers often involve changing size and shape rather violently, she spends quite a bit of money on wardrobe. Personality Jessica has spent her life fighting uphill battles, and persevering. She has a strong will to suceed, but it covers a deep need to prove herself. From her time in the Army, to joining the CIA as an analyst, to her eventual fate, most of what she accomplished she did in her neverending battle with her own insecurities. Nothing ever feels like quite enough for her. It has made her a popular worker, but it sets her apart as well. She has a tendency to be rather intense, when on the job. No-nonsense and patient enough to let others goof around a bit...as long as an objective is not threatened...but rarely taking part in it. This tension often breaks at moments of catharsis...a long-awaited victory, or the moment of defeat...causing her to have a strong emotional reaction at that time. Off duty she lightens up, but she still has a hard time really relaxing. She can be social, but in general there's always part of her trying to think of ways to use her time more productively. History Jessica came from poverty; working class poor in the rural Midwest of the United States. Determined to leave this behind, she pushed herself hard from the outset, and joined the Army after graduating high school to help get money for college. There she was a communications operator, and served in Iraq both during the military operation and the occupation afterwards. Upon leaving the service, she entered college and obtained a civilian degree in Computer Science with some coursework in criminal justice, as well as quite a bit of study of Arabic. From this, and her duties in the military, she became an analyst in the CIA, doing SIGINT work, intercepting radio broadcasts, translating them, and trying to determine if they carried useful intelligence. During her years at the CIA she branched into other areas of analysis as well, but worked hard to try to qualify for actual field assignments. Her work as an analyst actually worked agaisnt her for some time...managers were predisposed not to risk an agent with her skills on dangerous field work, even when her scores might have justified it. Her big break came though when she noticed an unusual reading from satellite photos over the Sahara...a portion of the desert generally ignored since it was nothing but a sea of bare sand. There was a jitter in the thermal feed, a dip. Jessica worked to locate it, then found images of that area...and there in the desert, shielded by dunes from all sight, was a patch of green. It seemed impossible, but worse, it seemed boring. Even if there were plants or something out there, who cared? It wasn't a threat. It wasn't actionable. Jessica felt differently, but getting someone to listen was just as impossible as there being a giant oasis in the middle of nowhere, where there'd never been anything before. But sometimes the impossible happens. She got an email from her manager, citing orders from higher up, instructing her to fly out to El-Aaiún in Morroco, then procure private transport into the desert to investigate the event. Not only had she gotten someone's attention, but they were sending her out personally! It was an enormous opportunity, and she was determined to make the most of it. Naturally it was too good to be true. What she found in the depths of the Sahara was worse than anything she'd expected. A testing ground for something wondrous, and terrible, overseen by a super-powered alien mutant from another dimension. Like the script from a comic book, this read. She met her end there, as the sun set over the blood-red sands, looking up at the face of the one who killed her...but even that was taken from her, as his back was to the sun. Only a silhouette chased her down into eternal darkness. ...until she awoke, buried alive. She struggled to the surface and found the little pocket Eden gone, as if it had never been. It was a fitting metaphor for how her world had changed...she realized now that she'd been set up. The 'mission' had been a fraud. They'd known she was coming...they'd been ready for her. This had all just been part of the cleanup...eliminating the only person in the CIA who was paying any attention. And now she herself had changed too. She wasn't Jessica Clark anymore. She was a ghost...a shadow left behind by Jessica. An echo. Public Knowledge: Jessica Clark's name and past are all on record, and anyone with sufficient security clearance will have free access to any files on her from her time in the Army and at the CIA. She is listed as 'Missing in action,' as her death was never confirmed. However, Echo has not revealed herself to be related to Jessica, and is operating strictly under a codename. Being relatively newly erupted, not much is known of Echo other than that she has accepted grey and black market mercenary jobs from corporations and governments and has indicated her services are still for hire.
  8. Image Credit: Sue-Chan.com Appearance: There's simply no getting around the fact that Roxanne is one of the most physically distinctive novas on the planet, a mixture of woman and fox. She is covered head to toe with orange, black or white fur; has short, stubby (and mostly harmless) claws; a muzzle, sharp teeth, and a pair of fox tails. She has head hair, which is white, and green eyes. Despite these extreme physical changes, Roxanne shows no signs of excess 'taint,' implying that this appearance is a subset of her powers rather than an aberration. Regardless, people tend to stare, and they take a while to get used to her - and some never do. When copying a nova's powers, Roxanne sprouts an additional tail. Any physical nova-related changes are also transferred, causing her to resemble a hybrid of herself and the other nova's nova-specific physicality. When transferring these powers, the second tail disappears. Sometimes the subject who is given the abilities gains the tail, along with all the other physical nova-specific traits Vixen has (fur, muzzle, etc) - and sometimes they simply gain the powers. It appears to be random, and thus far, a puzzle Roxanne has yet to solve. OOC Essentially, whether a recipient of a transfer from Vixen winds up resembling her is up to the character's player. This is to prevent her from causing mass outbreaks of fuzzy lunacy unless people want that. Personality: One might initially mistake Roxanne for a hedonist, but a more accurate description would be of someone who just climbed out of a 30 year long full body cast. She loves trying new things and having new experiences. Unlike many novas who find their powers isolating, Roxanne finds that her understanding of and ability to empathize with people has only gotten greater. She could be described as super-smart about people, and this ability to sympathize often goes a long way when it comes to getting people past her physical appearance. When doing a psychological evaluation or in sessions with a patient, Roxanne is pleasant, but professional. If testing powers, she is meticulous in her documentation, though you'd never know it watching her fly around like a hornet on amphetamines. Roxanne thinks very quickly and is tough to surprise or shock, so what seems like goofing around to others is her enjoying the powers of a nova after she's done initial evaluation in her head. History:Roxanne has been disabled ever since a car accident as a teenager; complications from the accident took the life of her father not long afterwards. Despite losing all feeling in her legs and most of her right arm, Roxanne became a respected biologist, making her home in Seattle. The arrival of novas to the world turned her profession upside down, and Roxanne's fondest wish was to get to study the biology of novas firsthand - however, much of her focus was on the animal kingdom, and studying took time. So she contented herself with it being a far-off goal, until opportunity landed in her lap. The animal was found atop a rocky outcropping in the middle of a Japanese national park; it was a red fox with two tails, and quantum detection equipment picked up the presence of a considerable amount of the radiation found in the aftermath of nova power usage. Its biology was inexplicable, defying known science; with her unique crossover talents in both quantum-based life sciences and animal biology, Roxanne turned out to be a natural candidate to study it. As the months wore on, Roxanne grew frustrated. The animal was clearly highly intelligent, but aside from that she couldn't make any decent headway. It was a one of a kind specimen, so any kind of vivisection was out of the question, not that she'd do such a thing; without invasive testing, Roxanne's speculations remained unfocused. Was it the first of a wave of quantum-powered animals - would they have to content with super-strong paramecia soon? Or was it some kind of quantum construct, a created thing made with nova powers? The implications were staggering, if true... One night, late in the lab, her frustrations reached a fever pitch. She wheeled her wheelchair closer to the specimen cage and stared the creature straight in the eye. "What I want more than anything in this world, right now? I want to understand you. I want to understand why everything I know about biology, genetics, physics and the properties of matter turns into flubber when something like you is around. I want to understand how that's possible. I wish I could just see first hand how something like you does the things that it does - " Then Roxanne blacked out from a sudden, stabbing headache. When she awoke, her headache was gone, and she found herself feeling better than she'd felt in decades. She discovered the three reasons why in fairly short order. First, the fox had vanished. A review of security footage - which is currently classified highest top secret since it is one of the few known instances of an eruption captured on camera - shows that as Roxanne collapsed from her headache and fell out of her chair, the creature seemed to dissolve into a stream of energy that seeped through the walls of the cage, flowing into Roxanne. Secondly, Roxanne changed, becoming a physical hybrid of both herself and the fox. In addition to the obvious changes, Roxanne's nerve damage and spine was repaired, and when she woke up, witnesses say she did a dance. She did a dance because post-eruption, Roxanne processes new information very quickly and efficiently. "Oh, I freaked out. I had a panic attack for what felt like an hour, and to everyone else it was just a couple of seconds. Then I realized what it meant, and - look, if you were sitting down for three decades and suddenly you could dance a jig, you would too." In addition to her sharpened mind, which understands the biology and psychology of eruption better than most, Roxanne now possesses "meta-quantum powers" - she can shut down a nova's abilities, copy them, and even impart them on others. Roxanne understood that the key to understanding nova powers is to understand nova psychology - so Roxanne has, in the months since her eruption, dedicated herself to the study of the human mind. She's obtained a new doctorate and has secured backing to begin a new career - field researcher of nova powers, as well as a helpful hand to novas who have... issues. Character Stats Code Name: Vixen Real Name: Doctor Roxanne Richardson Height: 5 ft 2 inches Weight: 141 lbs Age: 44 Nature: Explorer Cause of Eruption: Intense Curiosity/Frustration Theme: Meta-Quantum Manipulation (Understanding and Manipulating Quantum Powers) Series: Cosmos Nova Experience: Player's Name: Mike OOC Attributes Strength •• Dexterity •• Stamina •• Intelligence ••••/••• (Rational) Wits •••/••• Perception •••/••• Appearance ••• Manipulation •• Charisma ••• Abilities Awareness ••• Investigation •• Academics •• Computer •• Linguistics •• Medicine ••• Science •••• Rapport ••• Etiquette ••• Backgrounds Backing ••• Influence •• Resources •••• Willpower: 3 Willpower Pool: Bonus Point Allocation: Science +1: 2 Specialty: Biology, Quantum Theory, Psychological Profile: 3 Influence 2: 2 Analysis 4: 8 Theme: Meta-Quantum Specialist Quantum: 5 Quantum Pool: 50 (4np) Mega-Attributes: (27np) (Considered Out of Theme)Mega-Perception ••• (Bloodhound, Quantum Attunement) Mega-Intelligence ••• (Linguistic Genius, Medical Prodigy) Mega-Wits ••• (Natural Empath, Human Nature) Quantum Powers: (49np) (In Theme) [*]Body Modification (Humanoid Fox Person) (0np) [*]Disrupt ••• [*]Quantum Imprint •••• [*]Nova Proxy •••• Taint: Aberrations: Nova Point Allocation: See above Experience Point Allocation:
  9. 0800, Japan Standard Time December 10, 2012 Tokyo, Japan Sunny, 41 F/5 C Naomi started her day like any other, by yawning and stretching. Her larger belly only showed that she was indeed carrying cargo. At this point if it was just one or two children there wouldn't be that noticeable of a bump, but this was 5 children, and Naomi's body had adapted itself to accommodate the passengers. She lazily opened her right eye, looking at the clock. "Connor should be here soon." She thought. "I'd bet he'd never believe this." She said quietly to herself, caressing her stomach. She gets up from her gel-filled mattress that she sleeps on like a cat would their bed, it's design purposely for a felinoid. She gets a sailor-collared maternity dress and puts it on. It was a cute outfit as is... she could wear it after her pregnancy even as it was designed to be used even after the pregnancy. "Could wear this boating next summer. I'll have to do that before I unload." She felt like she needed to, so she laid back down to wait for an old friend.
  10. Name: Sasha Mewes Nova Identity: Ms Muse Age: 24 (April 11, 1989) Height: 5'5" (1.65m) Weight: 120 pounds (54kg) BWH: 34-23-40 (86-58-102) Ethnicity: Nicaraguan Eyes: amber Hair: black Early Life Sasha's family had all the right connections. Her mother and father had deep political connections and doted on their child. Though the one thing they couldn't het her was some self-esteem. Sasha was a shy girl. She never made friends. She never even talked to people unless she was spoken to. And even then it was very quiet and short speaking. What she focused her energy and time into was art, drawing to be exact. she loved to draw imaginary people doing imaginary things. Her influence was American comics she found online. She loved the idea of villians. What made them tick? Why were they so outgoing. Her art included badguys beating good guys. That, and when she found out what fanfiction was, she threw her self into that wholeheartedly. It was fanfiction that got her interactive with the world. She didn't have to be herself, she was The Mistress of Mayhem. She could say anything she wanted and no one would know her true identity. Time passed and she eventually needed a job to earn her own money. So she took what she loved and made it a job. She made her own comics and characters. Ones where the bad guys were running the show. She eventually cought the eye of the big two, Marvel and DC. They contacted her to work on some pieces. She went under her pen name publically, but the checks came to Sasha Mewes. It was when she started her blog that The Mistress of Mayhem truly took off. She would craft tales of her adventures and draw them all. There was, of course, a premium section where subscribers could pay for the privilege of knowing about the "real" her. And people ate it up like hotcakes. The Mistress of Mayhem was a large success. Still, mousy little Sasha, physically and mentally, was a small person. She couldn't do anything on her own. It was The Mistress of Mayhem. And she was no The Mistress of Mayhem. Well, until one day... Eruption Sasha received a gift from a fan. It wasn't the first time she received such, but nothing THIS extravagant. A plane ticket to the Bahamas. Attached was directions to a private beach. She knew this was some kind of set up. Her lizard brain told her to stay put. Her primal brain, for the first time in 21 years, won over that instinct. She didn't have to go to the private beach. She could just enjoy the trip by herself. When Sasha got to the Bahamas, her lizard brain kicked in again. It told her that this was a bad idea, but for some reason her primal brain seemed to want that lizard brain to die. While Sasha was her normal meek self, she actually made to get out and do things while there. Of course, she wasn't going by the name Sasha Mewes while there. She was Ms Muse. Whatever Ms Muse did, she told herself, was not reflected on herself. She wasn't a curvy hard-bodied bombshell, she wasn't Sasha Mewes. Everything she did could be tagged as, 'Wasn't Me.' A day later she started having killer headaches. Like everything she had done was coming to bear on her mind. Either that or it was a hangover from the night before. She wasn't going to let this ruin her fun though! She had done too much to go back now. She popped some over the counter headache pills and she was fine, forgetting everything. It was later on that night, when she was at a beach party, that they kicked in again. Though this time they didn't seem so overpowering. She dealt with them and had fun. She actually talked to other people. And it was this time when Fate seemed to step in. The party was brought to an abrupt halt when masked bandits arrived. They demanded everyone get on the ground and start pulling wallets, jewelry and other valuables or else people would start dying. To make sure they were understood one of the bandits shot the DJ, killing him. Sasha's lizard brain was in tears, but that's the last time she heard from it. No more whining, she had to do something. Sasha picked herself up, she noticed that her clothes fit a little tight and that her skin was a darker brown. That didn't matter to Sasha, she felt like she could take down the bandits herself. She called out to them harshly, catching all of their attention at once. She noticed her voice had changed too. Had everything changed about her? She scolded them all harshly and told them to lay down their guns. And they obeyed her every word like her puppets. This would have seemed awkward to her any other time, but she had control of their minds and she was going to use the time to play with them like the villain in her comics. This would be fun. She ordered them to run into the sea and swim until they got tired. That was the last seen of the bandits. The crowd applauded Ms Muse like it was some kind of nova show. Though when they realized the DJ was actually dead, the party ended early. Sasha's inhibitions seemed dead to her for the rest of the weekend. For the rest of forever! She was not Sasha Mewes anymore. she technically never had to be again. Her mind and body morphed into everything the The Mistress of Mayhem character she made. Her primal brain had won the war and her lizard brain had all but died. Turning Point The next two years were a blur of debauchery for her. Whatever she wanted she got. If not from her amazing new attitude and appearance, then from her ability to twist people's wills against them. All of her 'adventures' were covered on her website. She carried a camera everywhere. And there was no shortage of others with cameras around her. Life was imitating art. She had crushed Sasha Mewes's identity under her primal brain's heel. Ms Muse, the Mistress of Mayhem was all that seemed to be left. The Mistress of Mayhem was still a hedonistic thrillseeker, but her 'adventures' were less beat up the good guy and more about how she used her wiles to get things done in her favor. She appealed to her old fanbase also, but the new people were coming to see her for other things that superhero stuff. She was glad to facilitate both and collect a nice fee. One night the whole thing came to bear. Ms Muse was at an end of summer party in the States. One girl, Amanda, had been hanging around her all night. Well, more than any usual person. Amanda was cute for a baseline. And eventually the two struck up a conversation. Amanda was a fan of The Mistress of Mayhem since the beginning. She had always wanted to meet her in person and this was such an honor for her. Ms Muse was impressed with her knowledge and, well, her looks. She eventually excused herself and took Amanda back to her place. Amanda was thrilled that Ms Muse had chosen her out of all the guys and girls there. She saw it as a blessing from her goddess. A night of pleasure later, Amanda told Ms Muse of her devotion to her. She told her that she had been following her adventures personally for the past few months and had the pictures to prove it. She told her of how her husband and child (who she had named after Ms Muse) were stepping in between she and her love. Sasha's lizard brain perked up again. It was not as skittish before, but it told her that this needed to end this right now. Sasha agreed with her instinct for the first time in two years. She was a bit scared, something she hadn't been in a while. She waited for Amanda to fall asleep and then left. Sasha went back home and thought about things. How she was perceived by the public. How she was affecting people. She damn sure wasn't a role model. She never asked to be. Her brains were conflicted on what she wanted to do and what she needed to do.
  11. Things were quiet in engineering. Rebecca was studying the functions of the D-Drive that Yomiko's mother, Sakurako constructed. It's designs seemed similar to what she was seeing in early D-Drive prototypes her father was developing, but no prototype schematic looked like this. She made sure not to upset the zero-point generator's fragile equalibrium. The D-Drive and the reactor fed off of what would best be described as a paradox of existance. Somehow a stable, safe singularity forms when the D-Drive interacts with the dimensional tuners... Rebecca was shocked she could figure this out. The technology was way more advanced than she dreamed. It was a good choice to ask to come along. Rebecca wasn't a combat pilot at heart, she was a test pilot. An Engineer. "This ship just keeps in giving us suprises, right Tetsuko?" The android Tetsuko was still getting used to life at human scale. She happily cleaned the floors in Engineering, they sorely needed it. "It is a fine ship... odd someone with this technology just left it to their daughter." "There'll be time for questions once we get to..." A slamming lurch shakes the ship and Rebecca and Tetsuko slam into one of the bulkheads. Luckily the impact cushions activated before collision. "Damn... airbags too..." Warning klaxons start ripping through the halls as Rebecca looks at the console to the main drive. "Shit... crap..." She hits a com-link icon on the console. "Uh... guys... The computer just registered a... uh... "Class Omega Anomaly" and it is advising all crew abandon ship..." = The Bridge = Yomiko decided to watch the calming effect of the eddies of time and space surge past the hull of her ship. She was eating lunch with Daniel when the ship shuttered. "What... what do you mean abandon ship?!?" Yomiko looked at her bridge display and the same warning was coming up. "Shit... no that's not good. A Class Omega Anomaly puts off a fatal amount of temporal flux. This ship is about to jump through a crack in time and space and it'll kill us in the process if we're on board." "Rebecca... this ship has automated homing system. Once it jumps into time, it'll search out the first escape pod signal it can find. Get to the escape pod deck with Tetsuko." She adjusts her coat. "Damnit... there goes our vacation." Yomiko was strangely calm for the imminent disaster bearing down on them.
  12. [Four years ago] "How old did you say this kid was?" Joe Horst flipped through the file the colonel had handed him as they waited. In the bunker, the only natural light came from the heavily-screened viewing slits the two men were standing before. Several sets of high-powered binoculars were on the ledge ready for use, and dim red light permeated the rest of the bunker as aides and technical personnel quietly intoned into various microphones. Kinda like a church, Horst mused as he turned back to the summary page and looked at the picture of the youth there. But for what religion? "Sixteen now. He was fifteen when we picked him up. Seems he popped when the Refugees first came through." The colonel tapped one of the technicians monitoring the range's sensors on the shoulder. "How long?" "Ten minutes, sir." "Let me know when it's one minute till." "Yessir." The colonel looked back at the man who, if rumor was right, was going to be the newly-appointed head of the newly-formed Department of Superhuman Affairs. Horst looked up from his reading. "Says here he killed his stepfather." the bureaucrat said levelly. "Accident." The colonel tapped an attached psych report. "The kid's really cut up about it still. It took nearly six months just to try and get him to practice his powers. And he's a long way from comfortable with it." "Hmm." was all Horst said as he looked back down at the page. Then he looked back up again. "So... magnetism?" The one-word question was loaded with all sorts of meaning. "I know, sir. But comic books aside, he's no supervillain." "It's more than magnetism!" The excitable tones of the white-coated woman nearby intruded on the calm discussion. "Our Mr Mitchell can tap into the very currents of the Earth itself." The dirty-blonde hair was piled up in loose disarray, a pencil stuck in it over the ear as she focused on the readout of one of the monitors. "Explain that to me, Doctor...?" "Yurgen. Anna Yurgen." she turned towards Horst long enough to shake his hand. "I'm the project lead on the Mitchell boy. He's quite extraordinary, which is why we've had to work to make his environment as ordinary as possible." "His environment?" "Home, school, friends. It's manipulative to a degree, but we need to keep his feelings of alienation down. Because otherwise, Mister Horst, we are looking at a supervillain." "Oh come on, Doc." the colonel started in a tone that told Horst that this discussion was an old one. "The kid's a nice guy." "Of course he is!" Dr Yurgen said defensively. "But if you try to use him for military purposes, a supersoldier, you'll take that away from him." "He'd be trained to follow orders-" "Until he decides he doesn't have to!" the doctor argued vociferously. "His mind is already faster and more powerful than a Cray supercomputer, colonel. You'll be left with a super-smart young man with the power to cause earthquakes and rip cities apart, and with military conditioning to respond to threats. Maybe you should read more comic books. That scenario never ends well." "The Department of Superhuman Affairs is not, and never will be, a military organisation." Horst said firmly. "It is the considered opinion of the White House that, as Doctor Yurgen says, novas are not suited to being soldiers. We may aid peacekeeping actions - though that's not certain yet - but we aren't in the business of fighting wars." That seemed to satisfy the doctor, and the colonel merely nodded aquiescence. "Now explain to me about the earthquakes thing, Doctor." "Mr Mitchell can manipulate gravity, electromagnetism, rock and minerals. He's not so much Magneto as the mythical figure Antaeus, who drew his strength from the Earth. Though we've been told by the Refugees that there was an Antaeus on their home world, so we're not using that codename. The best analogy we can give you is that Rob taps into the telluric currents that run through this planet - and the universe generally." "So do all novas." said the colonel curtly. "The quantum forces: they all tap into those." "In Rob's case, it's simply more direct." Dr Yurgen explained. "He can make himself stronger and more dense, or reshape metal, or raise huge walls of earth and rock. We think his mental and hand-eye acuity is due to electromagnetic enhancement of his brain and neural system. And yes, he can cause earthquakes. Or, theoretically, stop them." "And the gravity?" "He uses it to fly, and can affect the gravity of an area by either increasing or decreasing it. He's also capable of a form of telekinesis with it, altering the microgravities around an object to lift and move it. Oh, and he can shield himself with it." "Shield himself?" "Oh yes. An intensely strong gravitic forcefield. We've scanned him when he's shielding at full strength, and it even distorts our sensors. EM energy, gravitic anomalies... it's fascinating." "You'll get to see that in action, sir." the colonel supplied. "Wait. Are we going to be shooting at a sixteen year old boy?" Horst demanded, looking from doctor to soldier incredulously. "Oh, don't fret Mr Horst." Dr Yurgen said with a laugh. "He enjoys it." * * * * * [A little over one year ago] "This sucks." The young man in the chair with his sandaled feet up on the table said with brutal honesty, as he levitated the last doughnut over to his hand. The Director scowled at him, and the various technicians, doctors and other officials wore expressions varying between annoyance and sympathy as they glanced down to the end of the table where Telluris sat. "I mean, seriously guys. Novas aren't a big damn secret. But you've got me running around doing sneaky disaster relief, for crying out loud. C'mon, Director! When are we gonna unleash Telluris on the world stage?" "You've been 'unleashed' enough." Horst growled at him, waving a large photograph of the naked rear-end of Rob as he flew off into the sky. "We told you to keep the speeds down below two hundred, but you had to go faster, didn't you?" "So get me a new supersuit." Rob shrugged and bit into the doughnut, wolfing it down in three bites. "What about that new inventor-brain you guys are bringing in? Karrie Diner." "Dineh. And yes, one of the first things we will be getting Ms Dineh to design is something that allows public decency laws to be observed by supersonic idiots." Horst said acidly. "'Gee, thanks for saving that Airbus, Telluris.' 'I don't know what we'd have done if the plane had crashed, Telluris'." Rob said in an affected growl, then smiled at Horst. "See, that's what it sounds like when people appreciate me speeding to the rescue. Those folks on the plane didn't care that my ass was bare." "Oh, judging by the number of snaps on the Internet, they did." said an official, trying not to smile. Rob grinned. "Okay, so there's some publicity. So let's counter it with awesome publicity. Take me off the bench, coach." he told Horst. "You are staying benched until your clothes stay on, and that's final." Horst scowled. "Now lets move on to the training review." "Boring..." Rob sighed, slumping down more in the chair.
  13. Yomiko Hino "The Traveler" Yomiko is the daughter of Sakurako Hino and the mysterious Nova known simply as Chris. Her childhood was short, only a year, and soon after that, her life changed further when she inherited the Hikari Maru on her Parents leaving the continuum. Yomiko now wanders on in her Mother's stead, continuing her efforts in protecting the Continuum. Appearance and Personality: Yomiko appears as a 20 year old asian decent woman. She has long black hair, blue eyes which is strange for her lineage, and an almost razor sharp understanding of the world around her that shines forth in her demeanor and insatiable curiosity.
  14. November 30, 2012 Hideyoshi Residence Morning Naomi rested lazily on her mattress, curled up as best she could with her stomach showing more and more of her new passengers. The Quint litter was coming along nicely, and already it comforted Naomi that the gestation pattern seemed to match the Human baseline in development. It's been 3 months since their conception, and the well wishers from Department 0 have been showing up from time to time. But something was of dread in her life. Naomi slipped up. She snuck out last month to get some snacks from a local convenience store and a paparazzi got a photo of her and it was evident she was starting to show a "baby bump". The press has been on fire. Department Zero has, of course, been doing damage control. Congratulating the new family, assuring the public that everything was perfectly fine and deflecting conspiracy theories and outright crackpot assumptions. In a way, Naomi felt guilty she foisted this on the people of Japan. She felt she should have at least said something to the people... to give more transparency... but with her now on 24 hour surveillance and being practically on house arrest... that seems a distant wish long gone. She heard Ryu stepping about, training, cooking, and generally being his tiger self... she would have it no other way, but she felt she was taking him for granted. Ryu was the light of her life yet... She heard Ryu was in a nearby room or hallway. She opened a eye from her restful stupor and with a ear drooping she mewed. "Ryu-saaaaaan.... What's going onnn..."
  15. Yomiko was dismayed. "Three! This is unacceptible!" "I'm sorry... The drones need maintenance..." "I've had three different technical teams in here upgrading every aspect of the ship from three different universes and all you can say is you need maintenance?" She crosses her arms. "What am I going to do with you?" Three blushed as The Librarian... the new captain of the Hikari Maru made her way through Trans-Dimensional space. "I don't know, Ma'am." The Librarian quirked an eyebrow. "You... didn't call me mistress..." Smiling she nodded. "Looks like I'll get to work on that hard-light projector drone for you then." Three blinked. "Really?" "Just one thing, Three, have you picked an actual name yet?" "Sanko... Sanko Hino." Yomiko nodded. "Good... you're ready then, Sanko... right now though we need to get to the bridge. I'm sure Daniel will be waiting there. We'll be..." Yomiko seemed to pause in a fugue. "Scratch that... I think something is up... you feel that? The ship? It's moved off course... just slightly..." Sanko nodded. "That is correct, we are off by exactly 3.141592653589793..." Yomiko blinked. "Sanko, That is PI... that is a artificial course correction... Secure the ship and go to condition yellow. Meet you up at the Bridge." Yomiko burst out of engineering, her labcoat all dusty from trying to clean. The ship had been in storage on Brittanian Earth for 3 months. She bursts on to the bridge, with Sanko appearing beside her in a white bodysuit with blue trim on the "seams" with her bespoke pointed ears. "Daniel!"
  16. Note This portion of the fiction takes place 1 day before Undernight Morning, Department 0 Headquarters Dr. Miyako Hitomi's office The good doctor was sitting in her office, looking over her case notes on Naomi Minami. She was a complicated individual, but one who has been through an extraordinary circumstance. Naomi had many feline quirks that had to be dealt with one at a time so that she could interact with people In a more positive way. Also if she ever had to interrogate, she would have to start learning to recognize her tells with her body language. Would be key in negotiations as well to hide emotional quirks. She also was worried that the woman who became "The Great Cat Detective" has lingering traumas over the disaster. In particular the loss of her Fiancee and the traumatic experience of her eruption. She understood most novas in Department 0 were more adjusted since they had been around for a while but Naomi was almost like the child of the group. She was 35, but Naomi has taken on some child-like behaviors after her eruption. Perhaps it was a defensive measure? She straightened her labcoat, emblazoned with a gold badge showing her as a member of the Japan branch of Psi-Corps, and then adjusts her white rubber gloves as Naomi walked in. "Doctor Hitomi... Nice to see you again." She said, seemingly semi serious as her tail flicked. "Sit down, Minami-Sensei. I'm glad you arrived." She said, gesturing to her couch. "How has the journal been coming along?" "I... I've not written in it yet." "I understand it's been busy, Naomi, but there is reason for my asking you keep one." Naomi sighed. "I'm... sorry." "No need to be, all of my patients before I joined with the department had a hard time starting off... that was until I gave them this..." She hands over what looked like a thick diary-like journal. It's covers were synthetic leather, it also had a lock on the cover and inlaid in perfect Kanji was "Naomi's Journal", stenciled with gold leaf. "I... Thank you... it's beautiful." "It's a start... when you begin, you must remember this isn't to be judged. Instead this is to understand yourself as much as it is for me to understand you." "What is there to understand, Doctor?" "More than you realize. You still have those Feline tics that happen every once in a while?" Naomi mewed. Her ears lowered. "Ah... Shiro coming out again. What if I told you that there is the possibility that what got stamped on your otherwise human brain was the memories, behaviors, and instinct of Shiro? He's not a part of you, you placed that on your experience. You loved that cat so dearly that it perhaps altered your development as a Nova." "Is there... anything wrong with loving something so innocent?" "No... we all love our pets, Minami-Sensei. And is it so wrong to consider that possibly you loved Shiro so much you became a bit like him?" Naomi blinked. "Naomi... you have to learn to let go of him... start coming to grips." Naomi looked away, thinking of her next response. "Naomi... what about Kyoji?" Naomi hissed and lashed out verbally. "What about him?" Dr. Hitomi nodded. "I see... Ever considered you hold on to Shiro in the belief you two merged as a coping mechanism?" She growled like a scorned cat. "I see I struck a nerve... Let me break this down..." She turns to the window and opens the shade. "When we walk outside every day we choose a mask. A facade. Something that is like a shield between us and the strangers around us. You have a second facade. This character you created. The Nekojin. I don't blame you, your abilities and skill only re-enforces your primary barrier. It doesn't help that the so-called "Quantum Template" that you developed caused such a dramatic mutation." She turns back to Naomi, her glasses glinting in the light while she was silhouetted by the light pouring in. "If you want to come to terms with yourself, you must start coming to terms with what you have lost. I can't even begin to unravel the complexes you have from the destruction of your home town." Naomi lowers her ears down, looking repentant. "If you want to start down this road, Naomi... you are going to have to unlearn what you have learned about who you are... even before your eruption. This is the future you have to build for. We can do this together. One with out baggage." She smiled and walked over putting a hand on Naomi's shoulder. "Let's travel this road, Naomi. We're both human."
  17. Through means that might justifiably labeled Sith, Nate had acquired a home. He wasn't proud of it, but neither was he ashamed of his actions. The previous owners of the old Airship hanger had been running their business into the ground and were poised to take a lot of people to the cleaners in the process. He had discovered it when he was looking for locations big enough to build his spaceship, and when he had realized what they were doing he had gone to the bank that was their major funding source and had cut a deal. He made the bank manager an offer he couldn't refuse; in exchange for cutting Nate a very good deal on a property that he had his eye on that be bank owned, he would provide information that would save the bank millions and save the bank's reputation from taking a negative hit for allowing a big investment to go bad. The man had been intrigued and agreed to consider making a deal, so Nate had laid out how a business venture was about to go bust and he gave some scary details, but he had withheld the name and any specifics necessary to identify the business. After seeing the finances outlined the manager had been impressed with the seriousness of the situation and so had agreed to Nate's terms, which had been a hell of a bargain to be sure, but compared to losing millions on the bad investment had seemed like the best option to the bank. In the end he had picked up the entire facility including it's inventory for just over a million dollars. The bank had lost money on the deal, but it was a much smaller loss than it could have been without Nate's warning. It was a win for the bank manager who earned a promotion for 'discovering' the potential fraud and nipping it in the bud. With his work at the DSA and potential patent licensing revenues that he was likely to be generating soon he thought he would have that million paid off inside of three years, and that was not even including money he might be making off the governments of the world for hauling their space junk around the solar system and dropping off deep space science modules. He smiled considering it. Sure there were novas that could jump to nearby stars and drop off small sensor packages and things, but there wasn't a nova that he knew of that could transport a entire space station sized habitat module into orbit around Saturn, or Alpha-centuari for that matter. Not that he could either yet, but he had the vision, and he had the skills; it was just a matter of time. And now he had the facilities with which to put his plan into action.
  18. This thread is for any technology that our brainiacs can come up with as well as some ideas that make it through approval that I might come up with. I'm going to list stuff for right now as Gadgets, but these gadgets would be something that is expected at the current tech level plus a couple years. In regards to tech advancement, Anything that would exist in CN that doesn't exist in real life is probably something that is currently in the R&D phase that a nova with a couple years and the budget that comes with him or her can create. People can also list as they develop it things like new materials or alloys. One note, with the reconfigured gadget rules, you will have to rebuild your gadgets accordingly.
  19. It had been a month and a half since he had gotten out of prison. Just under a month and a half since he and Kei had taken her weather balloon rig up to the edge of the atmosphere and parachuted back down. That had been a exciting ride, one he wouldn't soon forget. At the time he was still in the process of making a deal with the bank to buy the old airship hanger, but he had invited her out to do some work on her rig. It had been fun for sure, but the balloon's gondola could use some updating, they had come up with half a dozen improvements to her rig right there on the spot. He could just imagine what they might be able to do with some planning and the tools and facilities he had now. That was why it was it was time to give Kei a call and see if she still wanted to get together. He'd spent the last couple weeks cleaning out and organizing the facilities and he thought it was presentable finally. "Computer, call Kei." His belt worn computer could take voice commands as easily and correctly as it did keyboard input. After a moment there was a ring and May answered. "Konichi-wa." Even two weeks ago he would have been stymied. He had been as awkward as they come when it came to speaking with women, but his little trip to Vegas had cured him of that, or at least given him a start on some badly needed confidence. He remembered the lesson he had learned and projected the confidence he didn't entirely feel. "Hi May, this is Nate. How have you been since the cruise?" "Good." She seemed a bit surprised whether it was because he was speaking to her with confidence, or from the fact that he was asking how she was doing instead of asking to speak with Kei he wasn't sure. "I am well. Is there something I can help you with?" Business-like as always. He smiled though she couldn't see it, "Listen, I was trying to get ahold of Kei, is she available?" "One moment, I will see if she can speak with you." A silence followed and despite his new confidence there was a slight twisting in his gut as he waited.
  20. History People say you can never go home again, but in some cases, that's truer than others. In Wesley Knight's case, it's words to live by. He grew up in a tiny town called Tunnel Hill, about an hour north of Mobile, a tiny flyspeck on a map full of them. Tunnel Hill's only claim to fame was the auto parts factory, which employed about half the people in town, and drew folks in from miles away. It drew in Wesley's parents, Marlon and Marie Knight, when Wesley himself was no more than a baby. They weren't a comfortable fit in town, being just about the only people of color in a ten-mile radius, but the factory gave Marlon a job, and it was enough to support the family. Marie helped out with a garden and doing some housekeeping for the wealthier folks in town, and they got by just fine. They didn't make a lot of friends, but these were more enlightened times, even in Alabama, and they didn't have much trouble, either. As for Wesley himself, he didn't even realize he was different until he got to school. He went to daycare with the white children, played with them at the park, and if no one ever came over to his house or invited him over, well, he was too young to realize that wasn't normal. On the television, white children and black children played together like it was nothing, and that's what he came to expect. It wasn't until he reached elementary school and began spending six hours a day with white kids that he realized he was never going to really fit in. No one was especially cruel, not at first, but he was never a part of any group. At recess, he played kickball but was never picked first, after school, he walked home alone. Sometimes groups of older boys called him names and tried to goad him into fights, but that wasn't really Wesley's nature. Instead, he grew very close to his parents, and made plans for one day finding a better place than this to live. Years passed, and Wesley got used to being an outcast in school and town. He made a few friends, mainly other kids who weren't socially acceptable for one reason or another, or who wanted to rebel by being friends with someone their parents said to avoid. They had some fun times out by the old railroad tunnel or scrambling through the swamps outside of town when their parents weren't watching. They played at being superheroes, as all young boys did, saving the day with the powers they saw heroes using on television, becoming rich, famous and so beloved that everyone in town wanted desperately to be their friends. It made school a little more bearable. Wesley was a decent student, though he never tried to stand out, and he coasted pretty easily through Tunnel Hill Elementary. Things changed, though, when he went to the County Consolidated Middle School for sixth grade. There were a lot of new kids there, even a few Hispanics who'd come up to pick fruit and cotton with their families. It was a new world to navigate, with new friends and new enemies. Most importantly, though, Wesley fell in love, the way you only can at twelve. Her name was Elaine, and she was twelve like him, and beautiful. And she was white. Even at that age, both of them knew what a problem that was, but that only made it more exciting. They passed notes in the hallway and held hands when no one was looking. He gave her flowers he found out along the highway as he walked home, and even a kiss once, on the cheek because he was a gentleman. It was a very fine love affair, indeed. That spring, after they'd been "dating' for several months, Elaine invited him to come over and meet her family. There was an Easter picnic at the very small church that her father was pastor of, and it would be a lot of fun if he would come. There would be games, and plenty of good food, and she was sure that her family would like him, because he was so polite and well-spoken. Against his better judgment, which was always a little clouded when it came to Elaine, Wesley agreed to go. The moment he arrived at the Easter Picnic, dressed in his best suit and a bow tie, he knew it was a mistake. He didn't know these people, who were from a town even smaller than his own, and they all looked at him like he'd fallen out of space like the Centurion. Elaine intercepted him just as someone was coming over, undoubtedly to ask what he thought he was doing here, and guided him over to her family. Scared and uneasy, he held her hand tightly, a fact that didn't go unnoticed even for a second. Elaine scarcely had time to say "Daddy, Mama, I want you to meet my friend Wesl-" before her father was rising from his seat at the picnic table. Elaine's daddy was a tall man, and to Wesley at that moment, he looked like a giant. "Elaine, I don't believe you were allowed to invite anyone to this picnic. It's for church members only," he intoned, staring at the childrens' joined hands. They dropped hands immediately. "But Daddy," Elaine protested. "Wesley's my friend. I really like him, and I think you will..." He cut her off again. "It is not right for the unequal to be yoked together!" he boomed, loudly enough to catch the attention of everyone nearby. "One cannot come into the presence of the Lord until one has been washed clean as the snow, pure white by the blood of the Lamb! It is our faces that show our inner natures, not the clothes we wear or the folks we try and make nice with!" He stared Wesley down. "There is a Natural Order of Things, boy! We all keep to our kinds, like to like! Anyone who doesn't, is a freak of nature and should be treated as that! A freak!" He took a menacing step forward and Wesley, terrified and humiliated in equal parts, turned and bolted. He ran all the way home, tearing the shins of his best pants on a thornbush and ruining the polish on his good Sunday shoes. After that experience, it was very hard for Wesley to even show his face at school again, though pride and pragamatism forbid him from playing hooky and courting punishment at school and at home. Elaine tried to offer a stammering apology on behalf of her family, but Wesley was in no mood to hear it. She'd led him into an ambush, and hadn't even given him a warning. Besides, she'd been forbidden to speak to him anymore, and her older cousins were everywhere, keeping an eye out. The romance, and the love, was over. He told his father just a little bit about what had happened, because he had to tell someone, and he trusted his father more than anyone. Marlon reminded him that it was pain that inevitably came before strength, and that just like a sore back and blistered hands led to muscle and callouses, a hurting heart now would make him a better man later. "If you don't know pain, you can't feel compassion," he told Wesley. They finished out the lesson with apple pie and ice cream which, while not exactly a cure, made him feel a little bit better. Whether or not it made him strong, Wesley liked to think that the experience with Elaine had at least made him smarter. He avoided females and their wiles, even as all the girls in his class suddenly began growing, seemingly over the space of a single summer, into women. By concentrating on his friends and his schoolwork, he got by all right, and eventually made it through sixth, seventh and eighth grades, and into the big county high school. Here was a whole new world of people and opportunities, even if they came with new dangers and pitfalls as well. The high school was where all the sports were, for one! Wesley wasn't big enough for football, but he made the baseball and basketball teams both, and ended up starting point guard for the sophomore team when he was fifteen. His parents attended every home game, and even the people who didn't like him still cheered his name when he represented the school! A winning season for the sophomore team did a whole lot to boost his rep around the school, and even brought the girls around again. Although sorely tempted, Wesley didn't indulge. He had more important things to think about, and he wasn't about to risk his shooting or pitching arm getting beat up by someone's older brother. Wesley was riding high at the start of his junior year. Easy classes and guaranteed passing grades because of his sports prowess, and maybe even the possibility of a scholarship or two coming his way. He knew people were looking his way from some of the state colleges, but he was starting to think he could do even better. He could be on the television in two years, with a little training and luck, leading a college team instead of a backwater high school team. Heck, there he'd be in the majority, instead of the only black kid in the whole damn school! All those beautiful dreams shattered, though, on an icy night in the winter of 2006. While Wesley celebrated another victory on the bus with his team, his parents followed them back through the unusually cold night towards town. As they neared the school, a silver Chevy Cavalier hurtled through a stoplight behind the bus, plowing at near sixty miles an hour into his parents' little hatchback. Wesley didn't see it happen, but the sound of it became embedded in his brain, to play in his dreams again and again. The whole team piled out of the bus, and for once there was no thought of skin color or cultural barriers as they tried to pull Marlon and Marie from the destroyed car, but it was too late. Neither of them ever made it to the hospital. The teenager who had been driving the car, a kid named David that Wesley knew slightly, was woozy but only scratched up, and spent most of the rescue effort on his cell phone, trying to tell his parents why the crash wasn't his fault. He barely seemed to realize he'd hit anyone. What came after that was nothing but an unending nightmare for Wesley. His family was gone, his house was empty, his life seemed over. His friends on the basketball team grieved with him, but they didn't understand. They didn't know what it was like to be alone! They only stared from the sidelines, like he was some kind of curiosity in a zoo. "Watch the loneliest negro, see him cry real tears, just ten cents a look!" No one really understood him, no one really cared. His grief began to coalesce into a cold rage that needed an outlet. By the time the funerals were over, he needed a target, and there was one readily available. The day after he buried his parents, Wesley found David after school, standing in the parking lot next to his new car and talking with his friends without a care in the world. He'd only wanted to talk, Wesley would swear it later. Wanted to hear the apology, wanted to see some goddamn remorse from the man who'd destroyed his family. But by the time he'd crossed that endless expanse of parking lot, there was blood in his eyes and he wasn't thinking about any talking at all. With the speed and grace that had made him a star on the basketball court, Wesley slammed into the murderer, mercilessly driving fists into flesh and listening to the so-familiar sound of bone hitting metallic car body. The attack was so fast and unexpected, everyone around was stunned for a minute, and David never even had a chance. By the time four guys ganged up to pull Wesley off, David was on the ground, bleeding and unconscious. The sirens started wailing a minute later, an ambulance for one, a police car for the other. Rather than spend that first endless night in his empty home, Wesley spent it in jail. His parents had died without making wills, so although the house and everything would eventually be his, at the moment, Wesley didn't even have five hundred dollars to hire a bail bondsman, much less an attorney. He didn't realize until he saw the paper the next day how bad it was. David was still in the hospital, with bleeding in his brain. The doctor didn't know when he was going to wake up, or if there would be permanent damage. A lot of people in town, including David's father the mayor, were up in arms and looking to make an example of the perpetrator of violence in the schools. Some people even talked about gangs encroaching into their town, as entirely ridiculous as the idea was. Though Wesley's public defender was dedicated and competent, the public sentiment was such that the best he could do was to get Wesley an eighteen month sentence in juvenile detention. "I'm sorry," he told Wesley, "but it might be for the best. People are really angry right now, and you don't have a lot of folks on your side. It's wrong and it's not justice, but if you keep your nose clean and get your GED, you'll come out all right. I know the guy who's handling your parents' estate. He's honest and he'll do right by you. I'm damn sorry about all this, Wesley." Wesley was damn sorry too, but he could see the wisdom in his lawyer's words. He just hoped no one burned down his house while he was gone. And it wasn't like he had anything to go back to now, anyway. He'd surely be expelled from school, off the team, with no hope of scholarships anymore, and no friends. And his parents were gone, a yawning hole inside him that still ached every second. At least going to juvie meant food and a place to sleep. It wasn't easy being inside, for all that he was no longer nearly so much a minority. Most of the guys he met were a lot rougher than he was, and his normally peaceful nature didn't serve him well. He had to learn fast how to defend himself and stick up for himself. No one turned and ran here, you either defused a situation or you fought it out, because there was no place to go. He wound up with his share of bruises and stolen items before he found his place, precarious as it was, in the hierarchy of juvenile offenders. It wasn't all bad, though. He'd always had a knack for making friends in unusual places, and this was no exception. He met some people almost like himself, good guys who'd had bad luck, or who'd made one bad decision that screwed up their whole lives. One of the guys he met was Leroy, a seventeen year old tattoo apprentice from Mobile who was in for being caught with the stash of drugs his cousin had given him, all unknowing. "I was stupid to take it," Leroy acknowledged ruefully, "I knew he wasn't no good. Live and learn." They didn't have any equipment in juvie, and Leroy eschewed the rough tools of the prison tat trade, but he was more than happy to describe the business in intricate details to a fascinated Wesley. Wesley had always been a good artist, but that hadn't seemed to be a skill that would take him anywhere. Now, though, it seemed like an avenue. Good tat artists made good money, and it was a hell of a lot better than working in the auto parts factory. Soon he was drawing designs on any spare piece of paper, and ordering in books from the library system on how to be a tattoo artist. He picked up his GED, and started to feel like he might be going somewhere with his life again. As it turned out, thanks to a cut for good behavior and a sympathetic review board, Wesley got out six months early, just about the time Leroy was aging out of the system too. Leroy invited him down to Mobile, and since Wesley didn't feel ready to go home, he was happy to take him up on that. He interviewed at the shop Leroy worked at, and impressed them enough with his knowledge and drawings for them to take him on. By the end of six months, he'd progressed from sweeping the floor and dumping old needles to tattooing himself and his friends, and was just about ready to go into the business. Right about then, though, he turned eighteen, and was faced with old business to take care of. He was of age, and now all that had belonged to his family was his. He'd have to go deal with it. The guys at the shop gave him a little advice on what to do, though they weren't exactly lawyers themselves. Wesley decided to hope his PD had been telling him the truth, and that this attorney was a guy he could trust. He made arrangements to meet the estate trustee in late May, since that was the soonest he could catch a ride to Tunnel Hill. Getting back was going to be a challenge, but he figured he'd have at least some money by then, enough to buy a bus ticket. It was weird coming back into town after all this time, and seeing how very much the same it all looked. He got some double-takes and some hard looks as he walked down Main Street, but he figured that was normal. He'd been gone a long time, and he'd always been sort of a remarkable figure in town. Some of the looks didn't seem at all friendly, but he was used to that, too. He could ignore it and go about his business. Mr. Jacobson, the attorney, was a tall man in his late fifties, with a wood-paneled office and a pretty secretary in the waiting room. He pretty much looked like every lawyer Wesley had ever seen on TV. He sat Wesley down in his office and opened a thick folder of papers, then began going carefully through each one, describing exactly what it was, and exactly what it meant to the estate. As his parents' only chick and child, Wesley was the sole beneficiary of their estate, and entitled to complete ownership of the house, the bank accounts, all the contents of the house, and his father's pension plan from the factory. Even after the family debts were settled and the funeral expenses were deducted, it was more money than Wesley had ever had at once! "I also took it upon myself as trustee," Mr. Jacobson said, rather diffidently, "to settle with the family of the young man who caused the accident. There seemed certain to be legal unpleasantness, so in exchange for not filing a wrongful death action on behalf of your parents, they have refrained from filing any civil action against you for damages to their son. I realize it's not an ideal solution for anyone, but such lawsuits are costly and time consuming, and would only stir up further bad feeling in the town." "So all this is mine," Wesley asked, putting his hands on the paper, "and nobody's gonna sue me, but David just walks away without paying anything?" Mr. Jacobson winced at that choice of words. "I should have realized you haven't been keeping up with the local news," he said, somewhat apologetically. "David won't be walking anywhere. He's been in a wheelchair since the incident. The doctor doesn't believe he'll walk again." That information was enough to set Wesley back on his heels. He hadn't known. Maybe it was justice, but it didn't make him feel any better. It certainly explained some of the looks he'd been getting. Mr. Jacobson went on to offer his services in the sale of the house and its contents, for a reasonable fee of course, since his services as trustee were now completed. "In fact," he added, a little bit urgently, "as your attorney, I would advise you to allow me to handle all the details and contact you at your new address. That would be a much wiser course of action than staying in town. In fact, leaving today before dark is probably the smartest thing you could do. I don't like the whispers that have been going around town." Wesley didn't like the sound of that, either. "I don't have a car," he admitted. "I was planning on riding the Greyhound out tomorrow morning. Is that going to be dangerous?" The lawyer folded his hands thoughtfully, looking troubled. "I'll tell you what," he said. "I have a nephew going to school down at University of Mobile, and I have my old Ford Taurus that I've been planning to send down there to him. Why don't I have you deliver it to him? You'll have a way to get back home, and I'll have saved myself a chore, and there won't be any unpleasantness." He looked at the clock. "But we'd better hurry and finish all this business. I lost track of time." That idea sounded very good to Wesley, who hurriedly agreed. He had no illusions of what might happen to the only black man in a town of stirred up folks after dark. The two of them completed their business, then Mr. Jacobson closed up his shop and drove Wesley over to his place. The car was not much to look at, and it coughed a little as it started up, but it was transportation. Mr. Jacobson gave Wesley a friendly handshake and the folder of papers along with the keys, and told him to call any time with more questions. The sun was just beginning to sink behind the trees as Wesley turned his car onto the road, heading for Mobile. Part of him wanted to go home and see everything one more time, maybe pick up a few mementoes, but it wasn't worth his life. He'd left the city limits and passed the high school by the time he saw the first car in his rearview mirror. It was coming up really fast, far faster than the little Taurus could go. Before Wesley could take evasive action, it had pulled in front of him and slowed way down, pinning him in on the narrow road. More cars quickly joined it, hemming him in and forcing him to a stop. Wes's mouth went dry when he realized he couldn't see the faces of any of the drivers, because they were all wearing white hoods. He locked the doors as they approached, but one already had a Slim Jim in hand, and in a moment, he was being dragged out of the car by his legs, his head dragging in the gravel. "We been waitin' for you, boy," one of the hooded men growled, crouching next to him. "You laid hands on what you shouldn't oughta. You gonna wish you'd been in the car with your mama and daddy." Everything was a confused jumble as Wesley was dragged across road and turf off the side of the road, into a dense copse of trees. He struggled as hard as he could, which just made them laugh, at least a half-dozen men, he was sure, though he couldn't tell how many. They lifted him up and slammed him against a tree, binding his hands roughly, measuring his neck with their hands. "And lo, the good book says that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission," a deep voice intoned piously. A shock ran through Wesley as he recognized that Scripture-blaspheming voice from the past. "But if the right hand offend thee, cut it off, that it shall not lead thee to sin!" A sea of white fabric surrounded Wesley as he jerked and twisted, unable to escape the rough noose of rope as it was dropped around his neck. He felt it tighten, and felt the acid wash of fear inside his mouth. How could it all end like this? It wasn't fair, it wasn't just! They were all monsters in human form, and he wouldn't let them win! Wesley opened his mouth, even as hands pushed him up a ladder and the rope began to tighten. "NO!" he screamed. And everything began to change. At first it was something more felt than seen, a ripple through his body, down his arms, into the air. It felt... it felt horrible, malicious and spiteful, like all the rage and fear and hatred in his body had balled up and released itself in tangible form in these last moments of his life. Then the leading edge of the wave hit the first of them men, and the carnage began. The rope around Wesley's neck loosened as the man holding it doubled over and fell backwards, making choking noises under his hood and clutching at his chest. The ones pushing Wes up the ladder were in the same state, wheezing for air and falling to the ground. All around him, they ripped off their hoods, grabbing at their throats and hearts as their faces turned red, then blue. No longer were they faceless demons, but men, men he knew. Some guys he'd gone to high school with, the mayor, Elaine's father, all of them choking just as they would've done to him. He watched as the pastor turned his blue face up to heaven and collapsed, still mouthing supplications. Standing on the ladder and looking down on them was like peering into hell, and there was nothing Wesley could do about it. In minutes, it was all over. He stood alone in the sunset clearing, noose in his hand, staring at seven brand new corpses, their faces bloated, their eyes staring. He knew he'd done it, but he had no idea how. And that was almost as terrifying as the lynching party had been. When the edge of the terror faded, reality began to assert itself. He knew he couldn't be caught here, or he'd be in even worse trouble than before. He climbed down from the ladder, hauling both it and the noose into the swamp and throwing them in, likely where they'd planned to toss his body. Going back to the road, he found a pair of driving gloves in the lead car and, putting them on, he methodically parked each car just off the road, as though they'd all pulled off without any intent to block the road. Someone would find them, and people would suspect what they'd been up to, but there was no proof of anything! How could the town accuse him, without accusing itself? With his work done, he climbed into the Taurus and drove it to Mobile, shaking all the way there. Once he arrived and dropped off the car, he holed up in his apartment for days, obsessively scanning the news. A story came out of Tunnel Hill about a strange mass poisoning at a Klan meeting, but there were no suspects. Even so, he couldn't breathe easy. He made his way through the rest of his apprenticeship, working his ass off with long hours and after-work study, trying to get through a two-year apprenticeship in half the time. Wesley knew he wouldn't feel safe until he was out of Alabama. He also wouldn't feel safe until he knew more about his powers, which he explored very tentatively on weekends, far away from people he might hurt. Never again, he promised himself, would he kill someone with the strange forces he seemed able to channel. The people he'd killed were in self defense and he could live with that, but he never, ever, ever wanted to see anything like that again. At the end of his apprenticeship, he started casting around for places to go from here. One of his bosses knew a guy out in Los Angeles who had a shop with an open chair. That sounded good to Wesley. It was far away, it was someplace to work, it was a place that was out of the goddamn Deep South, finally. He was in a good position to move out. He had some money, from the sale of the house and from his folks' investments, and he had a good used car with a big trunk to hold his stuff. Maybe, if he were careful and thrifty, he could even build a rep and open his own place. It was worth a try, anyway. He packed up his car with a sleeping bag and all his worldly possessions and headed out one morning, never once looking back. Who needed home, when he had the whole world to look forward to?
  21. Naomi woke up on her airbed, rubbing the sleepers from her eyes. Her ears were down and her tail sluggishly came to life. It was 10 in the morning and the sun was shining over Ukedo. She could hear the seagulls and the ocean. It made her sad, because when her home was there, she couldn't hear the shore. The shelter tent was erected right where Naomi's home would have been. Now all that is there is bare ground, and a 5 meter square geodesic tent on that plot of land. Held up by inflated support arms and on the seams between panels. The outside skin was a easily identified yellow with orange inflated supports with "Nippontai - Department 0 Rescue Department" marked on some of the panels. A couple of clear panels let the light of the new day in, while some solar panels charged her computer equipment. Her suit was in the repair shop from the tangle back in Germany with the evil squids from hell, and she was happy this job was far more sedate. She wasn't sure if Ryu was up yet. His sleeping quarters were separate from her's. She yawned, then let off a cute, plaintive meow as she got up from her bed on the floor. "Hideyoshi-san! Are you awake?"
  22. When I get confused about the order of fictions, it's time to make one of these. If there were no notes about the date in the first post of the thread, I just used the date it had been posted. Please let me know if I need to change anything. Pre-game Telluris: Year One Mission 0 The Enemy Way Supreme Nate’s Prison Years Current Timeline Nerds Unite! – 03MAR12 Atlantic Nights – 15MAR12 (through 16MAR) --Sunrise at 80,000 Feet [Offshoot story, same date] Thesis of a Nekojin – 06APR12 The Cat and The Mecha 31MAR12 The Undernight – 07APR12 New Beginnings – 09APR12 On the Set – 12APR12 Discovery – 12APR12 Operation Valiant Shield – 14APR12 Nate Learns a few things – 14APR12 Two Elves – 16APR12 Doing Something – 25APR12 (through 05MAR) Guo Zhenglai – 30APR12 Orientation Day – 30APR12 Dream Date – 08MAY12 At Home in the AeroDome – 04JUN12 Work or Play? – 04JUN12 No Heroes Here – 12JUN12 Convention Crawl – 16AUG12 (through 19AUG) The Great Western – 10SEP12
  23. The hot water ran down his body, sluicing through the soap and washing it away. Lance ran his hands of over his face and mentally prepared himself for the day ahead. He wasn’t really keen on joining the DSA. Being a government agent or super hero was going to be less cool and exiting than it sounded. Still, he knew if he wanted to protect what he cared about it needed to be done; at least for a little while. Once he deemed himself clean, Lance shut the water off grabbed a towel and stepped out of the tub. From the open door of the bathroom Lance could see the form of Darcy still asleep in the bed. Darcy Hollenbeck was a former marine Major, drummed out of the Army under the auspices of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ Now he was the head of a mercenary security company called Direct Action. Lance recalled their first meeting; a chance encounter in 2008 on a flight to Dubai, which lead to 3 fantastic nights locked in a hotel room, only pausing for quick bites to eat. Now nearing 50, the man was still in fantastic shape for a normal human, and still just as fun in the sack. Lance dressed quickly and quietly, so as not to disturb his exhausted friend and slipped out of the hotel bedroom. As expected, Mr. Jarvis was waiting for him, table set with breakfast. To one side were several newspapers and an iPad. “Good morning sir,” he said in a crisp and even tone with just a hint of an upper class British accent. “I trust last night meeting with Mr. Hollenbeck was… productive?” Mr. Jarvis’ ever so slightly sarcastic tone brought a smile to Lance’s face as he replied. “Oh indeed, we hammered out the details for our little arrangement all night long.” “Is that what that was Sir?” Mr. Jarvis quipped as he turned to head into the hotel suite’s kitchenette. “I though the hotel had a construction crew doing repairs in here last night.” Lance nearly snorted his coffee through his nose in amusement while Mr. Jarvis continued, “Just a reminder Sir; you have 20 minutes before you are expected. You wouldn’t want to be late for your first day of work.” “Thank you Mr. Jarvis, I’m leaving now.” “And your guest Sir?” Lance was up and moving, a piece of cantaloupe sticking out of his mouth while he put on the jacket to his hand tailored Italian suit. He cracked the door to his suite open and when his mouth was empty he turned back to his trusted manservant and said with a sarcastic smile, “Let him sleep. He’s going to need it when I get home!” With that he was gone.
  24. Sham Shui Po Park, Hong Kong Scene for Hāṅgakāṅga kī Ghaṭanā (The Hong Kong Incident) “I still feel weird about this.” Harley frowned at her tall, utterly gorgeous sister, feeling dowdy and short next to her. Which totally wasn’t fair, because Harley was smoking. Like Kat, Harley was a leggy blonde, with curves where society demanded they be and trim elsewhere. She was a dancer by desire and it showed in her well-muscled form. “I mean… I feel wrong.” Kitty rolled her eyes. “Harley, I repeat: I didn’t get you this job. I got you an audition. It was your dancing that got you this job.” Harley crossed her arms, frowning. “Yeah… but with my last name? And how much I look like you? Was it really a fair audition?” “I told Jadjit to treat you fairly.” Kitty shrugged. “It’s hardly your fault if he didn’t.” Harley groaned. “See?! I totally got this job because I’m your sister!” “Then enjoy it.” Kitty refused to rise to her sister’s drama. “Everyone gets their big break somewhere. Just because yours came from connections doesn’t mean you’re not a good dancer. You are. Believe me, even if you were my sister, Jadjit’s not risking his movie over bad casting. And dancing makes and breaks these productions. So relax.” Even though she was a newcomer to the scene, Kitty had done her research on Bollywood and knew how the industry worked. She’d wanted to do one of these movies for a long time. Indian film had a bad rap, but Kitty had seen that they could produce quality. She was eager to add her name and influence to that region. There were some that threatened that this could sink her career. Kitty was getting ready to prove them wrong. “Ugh. You just don’t get it!” “And you are overreacting.” Kitty’s critique was harsh, but her tone wasn’t. “This industry is built on who knows who. Take advantage of it, because the next dancer definitely will.” Harley pouted some more but stopped arguing. Instead, her attention settled on the dance director, Rani. The pretty Mumbai native was a veteran of Bollywood movies and had won awards for her choreography. She was also a slave-driver, demanding absolute perfection from all her dancers. Harley knew she needed to be paying attention, so that when Rani called for them, she’d be ready. “Kitty!” Both of the women turned as Jadjit, the director called her name. “Kitty, there you are.” As usual, the older Indian spoke in a mixture of Hindi and English. That wasn’t uncommon but Harley was lost as the director said, “We’re getting ready to shoot the dance scene. Are you ready?” Kitty smiled and nodded. “Let me put my face on.” She focused her internal quantum and blackness stained the golden strands of her hair. Her pale skin darkened to a cinnamon brown and her blue eyes turned hazel-green. “I’m ready.” “Beautiful as always.” Jadjit smiled at her, his brown eyes gleaming with pleasure. “Come, take your place.” Rani was yelling for the dancers, never seeming to have to lift her voice. Yet they all heard and men and women alike rushed to take their spots. Kitty was more sedate and dignified in her pace; they wouldn’t start without her, nor would anyone begrudge her for taking her time. Her co-star Harinder smiled as he took her hand and they settled into their starting positions. “Ready?” he asked. “Oh, yeah. I’ve been looking forward to this.” Kitty’s grin was excited as the music started and the director yelled, “Action!
  25. Horst was worried. He wasn’t concerned because Karrie was getting a dressing-down. She got yelled at all the time; the girl thrived on getting told to sit down and behave. She never listened – except to Rob but that was only because he was almost as crazy as her. That almost was key; even Karrie knew that when Rob was cautioning her, it was serious. Horst knew that the Navajo nova loved to push her limits. That’s why he set ones for her; so that she’d have something to rail against. But if real limits were set for her and the consequences were grave enough, he was sure she’d leave. Coyote had the option of walking; any company in the world would snap her up in a heartbeat and cater to her every whim. Horst didn’t want the DSA to lose her brain. But the president was going to try to contain the mad scientist; try to talk “reasonably” with her. Horst had already gotten his dressing-down, for not “controlling” Coyote, as if such an insane creature could be controlled. Horst liked the girl for the most part; she was funny and brilliant and did great work. She was also a good person, if not quite as obviously generous as Telluris. If one wanted the results of her insane genius, one had to accept that she was insane. The president seemed to think he could lay on the charm and convince her to “settle down”, to “play ball” and magically manage her where Horst had not. “Manage”: like she was some kind of errant child who needed to be shown the proper way to be. Horst almost wished Carlson flubbed this, just to show the President that Horst wasn’t a moron. Carlson had talked on and on about having a firm hand with her and Horst’s assertions that Coyote would not react well to that were not well-received. The President thought that Horst was being too soft on her and didn’t want anyone else to show him where he’d been wrong. This was all political, of course. The EuroZone was bitching about Karrie’s little stunt; they hadn’t stopped giving the president shit about it. Yes, she’d been trespassing. Yes, she’d technically violated EU law. However, all she’d done was talk to someone; when arrested, she’d cooperated – though he’d heard stories that she’d given them lip the entire time, which sounded like something she’d do. And yes, she should be punished for trespassing; Horst agreed with that. However, how you punished someone like Karrie and kept her working for you was the question. The president was going to lay down the law with her and it was probably only going to be a warning from him. But she’d go out and do what she was ordered not to do, just to see if the President would actually follow through on his threats. And when she was actually punished, truly disciplined, for that – because she’d have to be – she’d leave. Horst sighed and shifted in the chair, watching Karrie sitting in the Oval Office on the small camera. He was currently in the White House security office, waiting for this mess to be over so he could start damage control – or maybe just take Karrie to lunch, if she wasn’t talking about quitting. The Secret Service agent in the next chair glanced at him. His name was Carl Eastman, and he was the head of security today. Horst liked the older man; he seemed competent and respectful. “Sir, are you sure you want to stay? We can make sure that Ms. Dineh gets back to the DSA.” “No, I’ll wait.” Horst didn’t add the reason why. Horst wanted time on the drive back to convince her not to quit. He was sure she would, if she felt like she was being constrained too much. And if he couldn’t do it, he’d get Rob to work on her. Horst wasn’t sure how much influence Telluris could have on the young woman in this case, but it would be more than his. Frankly, there were times he didn’t know how he would have been able to have as much sway as he did over Karrie without Rob; the kid was a stabilizing influence on her. It had been a true boon for Horst in his dealings. Also, dealing with Rob had been great practice for dealing with Karrie. Horst was about ready to authorize Karrie for full field work. That could be a carrot I could offer to convince her to stay, he mused. Of course, then she’d think he’d done it just to keep her. In truth was something he’d been considering for a while now. She’d done well in Germany and if she had a touch more training, she’d be a good field agent. And if she were paired with Rob, he could keep her in line and watch her back. They’d be a good team; Rob was smart enough to not slow Karrie down and he could protect her – and protect others from her. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The two Secret Service agents moved through the West Wing of the White House, their steps unhurried. Though they were relatively new, having been here for less than a year, they were known to the staff. Nods were exchanged; in one case, the cuter of the two gave a pretty staff member a wink. She giggled and turned red before ducking into a room. Behind the two men trailed four more. They were wearing overalls and carrying electrical equipment; one of them pushed a cart filled with bigger tools. Their two-man escort showed them to the electrical room just behind the Roosevelt Room, following the technicians inside and shutting the door behind them. As the agents watched, the four began to set up their equipment. After five minutes of work, a box-like container had been set up by one of the men; it looked to be a cube about the size of an air conditioner. It had only a single button on it. There was no need to adjust the settings; that was already prepared for the team. Meanwhile, the other three were opening a secret panel in the box and pulling out firearms. They passed them around to everyone, including the two traitorous Secret Service agents. The technicians had removed their overalls to reveal Kevlar vests covered in various equipment; the “agents” were shedding their jackets and white shirts to reveal the same. “We ready?” the leader asked, his cold blue eyes sweeping over his team. “Is POTUS were he’s supposed to be?” “Yes. We’re ready.” Their technician reached out and pushed the button. It immediately began to hum. Moving quickly, the six men exited the room. They quickly broke into three groups; one went for the office of the Vice-President, one group went to collect the other staff and the third went to the Oval Office.
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