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  1. Xiao Lok stood up from where he’d been kneeling, the ruined corpse he’d been examining still sprawled on the ground at his feet, and turned his gaze out towards the township of Chengxiang where it lay spread out in the valley far below him and several kilometers away. His partner Gu Bolin glanced up briefly as he rose but then turned his attention back to the desiccated corpse where it sprawled on the ground at their feet. Xiao had no idea what his partner thought he was going to find there, but figured he’d leave the older man to it; he much preferred the view he was seeing now. Though getting here had been enough of a workout to make him glad – yet again – for his status as a nova. Xiao Lok was one of SASA’s newest agents. He was a nova, even if he was what the Westerners called a ‘blip’, a low-powered nova only moderately more capable than a ‘baseline’ human. Sometimes being a member of SASA thrilled him and sometimes it galled him. Before his eruption he’d worked as a member of Chongqing’s police force and had worked many a long, hard hour to earn his way up the promotion ladder, achieving Detective status at a much younger age than was the norm. Then he’d erupted and had been immediately transferred into SASA, where he’d had to undergo rigorous training of the kind that made his days back at the police academy look like a vacation. Working for SASA was far more prestigious a career than working for some local police force – even the Chongqing local police force – but he’d still gone from being one of the fastest rising stars in the municipality to being just another greenhorn in a much larger organization. Gu Bolin was his first partner in the State Administration of Super-human Affairs, and this was only their third case working together – and if events so far were any indication it was shaping up to be an unpleasant one. Granted, SASA agents didn’t generally work cases that were dull or mundane, but Xiao hadn’t yet worked any that had been quite so inconvenient to investigate yet, either. Gu had assured him this was nothing and he just needed to give the job a little more time. Xiao wasn’t sure he believed that, but knew the case was even less pleasant for his partner – one of SASA’s baseline agents – than it had been for him, so he held his tongue. For starters, the victim – one Dengfeng Sun, a Buddhist priest – had died (cause of death and motive, if any, still undetermined) at a small temple just outside of the town of Chengxiang of Wuxi county, in the far northeastern corner of the Chongqing Municipality. For Xiao and Gu, based as they were out of the city of Chongqing proper, this had meant several hours’ drive along the Hurong Expressway, followed by a few more hours’ drive on the 102 Sheng Dao up into, and then back down out of, the mountains that Chengxiang and the upper tributary of the Yangtze river it sat next to were nestled in between. Then had come even more driving as they’d gone right on through the town of Chengxiang itself, crossed the river, and ventured out into the tiny townships of the surrounding area. An hour of this had finally brought them to the end of Provincial Road 102, after which point they’d actually had to hike on foot up what had to have been at least several thousand steps (at least!) before finally reaching their destination: Yuntai Temple, perched, at more than 1200 meters above sea level, atop Yuntai Shan. The view was spectacular. Needless to say though, this had totaled out to quite the trek. For Xiao it had mostly just been tedious and, at times, annoying (though the views, as they’d ventured further up into the mountains, really had been quite lovely), but for Gu Bolin, baseline (and older than Xiao by several years, too), it had been a veritable marathon. And, having finally arrived at the temple atop its mountain, they’d been confronted with a true mystery. Dengfeng Sun had been a Buddhist priest, of advanced age and some authority, from nearby Chengxiang. He’d been at the Yuntai temple to inspect progress on work being done there. “A temple” had been at Yuntai for more than 600 years, but the current temple, as well as the nearby bell tower and the large church building on the next hill over, were all recently built and were only the tip of the iceberg. The State-run Buddhist association had big plans for Yuntai, and once all of the plans for construction were completed the temple would be a sprawling complex draping itself over much of the mountain’s northern face and covering more than 3,300 acres. But for now it was just a small temple, a bell tower, and a (admittedly large) church building, all sitting at the very top of the mountain overlooking the river and the nearby townships thousands of feet below. According to what Xiao and Gu had been told so far, the priest, Dengfeng, had come up to the temple to inspect some recent additions, had done so, and had then exited the temple building itself, gotten about 10 meters, and had then died. In a most… unusual fashion. What, precisely, ‘unusual’ was supposed to mean in this context was not something that had been made immediately clear to the SASA agents, but they’d certainly understood what it meant once they’d arrived on the scene. Dengfeng’s corpse was emaciated – almost mummified. In fact, if it weren’t for the eyewitnesses who could verify the man’s death, Xiao and Gu would not likely have believed the body on the ground in front of them had been alive anytime in recent history. But then, that was why SASA had sent them to investigate; it wasn’t everyday that they received eyewitness reports of a man dying from on-the-spot, real time mummification while others watched in horror. Xiao Lok turned from admiring the river valley below them and looked towards the small gathering of Buddhist priests gathered nearby. “What did you say he was doing just before he died?”, asked Xiao, emphasizing the ‘just before’ part of his question and looking to the young priest who’d been acting as their chief guide so far. “Inspecting the alters inside of the temple”, was the young man’s simple reply. They’d gone over this with him before, but something about the chain of events was bothering Xiao. According to the facts they’d been given, Dengfeng had performed a perfectly routine, if very thorough, examination of the interior of Yuntai temple and, having finished with this, walked outside where he’d promptly begun screaming in apparent agony and had literally shriveled up and died while the horrified Yuntai priests attending him had watched. Bearing in mind that nothing in the case made much sense yet, these facts weren’t adding up for either of the SASA agents. Something was missing. Just then Gu looked up from where he was, still crouched next to Dengfeng’s desiccated body, and said, “Xiao, take a look at this.” Xiao Lok crouched down next to his partner and allowed the older man to point out what he’d found. “Look here and here”, Gu said quietly, pointing with a pen to some easy-to-overlook abrasions on the old priest’s clawed and shriveled fingers as well as to some kind of sediment or powder dusting the robes just underneath those hands. “It looks like he was holding something, doesn’t it?” Xiao took a moment to examine Dengfeng’s fingers and robes, then looked up to meet Gu’s expectant gaze and nodded silently in agreement. He gave the man a single pat on the shoulder and stood up again, turning back to the gathered priests. Xiao took a few steps until he was standing next to their young, priestly guide and asked, in a quiet tone of confidentiality, “Was the priest carrying anything when he left the temple? His hands look as though something’s been torn from their grasp.” While Xiao had pitched his voice in a quiet and seemingly confidential tone, he’d still – intentionally – spoken just loud enough for the other priests gathered nearby to hear. He’d observed them from the corner of his eye as he’d done so and, as he hoped, his question had gotten a reaction. A few of the priests were now nudging and whispering to each other, eyes bouncing surreptitiously between Dengfeng’s corpse, the two SASA inspectors, and the temple building behind them. “Care to share with the rest of us?”, Xiao asked them. This time his voiced was edged and hard, and made it clear that it would be in their best interest not to dissemble. Gu Bolin had finally stood up by this time and was now bearing down on the enclave of whispering monks with a glower that was something of a trademark of his firmly affixed to his face. In exchange for their services and loyalty to the Party and the State, SASA agents were given broad authority with relatively little oversight and they had already developed a reputation amongst China’s population for having a rather imperious and haughty attitude. Xiao Lok was hardly an exception, but Gu Bolin could really take it to another level when he wanted to. “Out with it monk!”, snapped the older SASA agent, having apparently chosen one of the two priests in the middle of the whispering group to bear the brunt of his indignation. “What aren’t you telling us? Or is it you we should be investigating here?” “No sir!”, the young man exclaimed and somehow managed to point at the corpse and wave both hands simultaneously. “I swear to you, I had nothing to do with this!” Gu Bolin covered the remaining distance between himself and the unfortunate target of his ire and, his glower still marring his already less-than-appealing features, jabbed a pointing finger into the poor trembling monk’s chest to emphasize his words. “You, and your companions – No! Your co-conspirators! – are hiding something!”, the SASA agent shouted. Personally, Xiao thought his partner was overdoing it, but he’d learned a long time ago that while liberal Capitalists in the West might not approve of such ‘bullying’ the truth was that it got people talking. “Just tell us what you know”, Xiao demanded, backing his partner’s play (though his own tone was noticeably less imperious). “We only want to determine what caused this poor man’s death. Once we’ve solved that mystery our superiors can ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again. Helping us helps the State.” “Yes”, Gu continued, catching his partner’s cue and running with it, “and if you lie to us you work against the State. Keep it up and I can personally guarantee that you’ll lose all of your funding for your precious temple!” As previously mentioned, Yuntai temple was to be the center of a massive rebuilding effort by the State-run Buddhist association with a final estimated cost in the millions of Yuan. Work on it all had barely begun, and to have all of that funding cut would leave the priests living and ministering here with little or nothing except a mark of shame for such a monumental failure that would haunt the rest of their priestly careers. The frightened young priest that Gu Bolin had singled out was still just staring wide-eyed at his tormentor, but one of his associates was a bit quicker to take initiative. “The Hēi Long!”, he exclaimed, “Dengfeng Sun was trying to remove its effigy from the shrine inside of the temple!” “What?”, asked Gu, his tirade cut short by this unexpected revelation. “The effigy of the Black Dragon”, declared another of the monks, “Dengfeng declared it unsuitable for a place at our shrine, saying that it hadn’t been cleared or approved by our head office in Chengxiang. We told him that couldn’t be, that the effigy’s inclusion at the shrine was one of the conditions given by our largest contributor of funds for the temple’s construction, but the elder brother wouldn’t listen and insisted on removing the Black Dragon’s effigy at once. He was carrying it when he… died.” Xiao Lok thought the monk sounded as though he’d been about to say something different and had thought better of it at the last moment, but before he could ask him about it his partner interjected loudly. “He was carrying a statue when he died? In his arms?”, Gu demaned. A few of the priests nodded in the affirmative. “Then why did you remove it?! You’ve tampered with the scene of the crime! With evidence! Explain yourselves at once!” The young monk that Gu had initially targeted for his tirade appeared to have gotten his wits back again, and this time it was he who answered first. “Pardon us, sir, but we couldn’t simply leave it there!” “Of course you could!”, Gu countered angrily, “It’s easy, you just don’t pick it up! There, simple! Problem solved!” At this the gathered monks began shifting anxiously and exchanging sidelong glances of discomfort with each other. The young monk who’d answered Gu did so again, “Oh no, sir! To do so would be absolutely unacceptable.” “What nonsense are you speaking?”, Gu lamented, “It would have been the opposite of unacceptable. In fact, I’d have commended you for it, if you had. Right, Xiao?” Before Xiao could comment, the monk corrected Gu. “My pardon sir, but I did not mean you. I meant it would have been unacceptable to the Black Dragon!” The other monks were nodding at this, and it was Xiao’s turn to ask, “What?” “Isn’t it obvious, sir?”, the monk asked him, “Our venerable brother, Dengfeng Sun, was struck down by the Black Dragon for his disrespect towards its effigy and for attempting to remove it from its rightful place at the shrine.” Xiao and his partner were both stopped up short by this remark and they exchanged a long look with each other while each tried to determine where to go from here. The Chinese Communist Party had had to pull its fellow countrymen out of the mire of superstition and religious dogma by its collective bootstraps, but even so it was not terribly uncommon to hear superstitious comments in this country. Xiao’s own mother had been fond of visiting a local fortune teller to have questions of finance and home troubles answered for her. But to hear someone – even a Buddhist priest whose religious beliefs were, presumably, much stronger than those of most of his countrymen – make a claim that was as flatly outrageous as the one that some minor god had struck a man down dead in broad daylight simply because he’d dared to move that petty god’s statue was – well, it was outrageous. “Where is the effigy now?”, asked Gu Bolin, “Back in place at the shrine, I take it?” One of the priests nodded silently. “Show us”, said Xiao. As a group the monks all turned and began walking back towards the temple building, which was not far away to begin with. As they walked Xiao fell into step next to the monk who’d suffered the brunt of his partner Gu’s wrath and who had revealed to them why it had been deemed necessary for the dragon-god’s effigy to be moved. Xiao asked him, “What did your fellow priest mean when he said that the effigy’s inclusion at your temple’s shrine was a condition of the funding you’ve received?” “Well not all of it”, answered the young man, seeming to have recovered already from his fear and now speaking in a mild tone and with a slight smile on his lips. “But the source of most of our temple’s funding was very specific in her desire that the Black Dragon have a place here at Yuntai.” Xiao nodded a little impatiently at this unnecessary clarification and asked, “And who was the source of this funding, exactly?” The monk’s eyebrows rose at the question and he seemed to hesitate momentarily, and so it was that they were passing through the temple’s doorway and the shrine and effigy in question were just coming into view as he began to answer. “It is Madam Wu herself who has provided the bulk of the funding for the building project here”, he finally answered, finishing just as the group came to a stop before the shrine. Xiao Lok stared at him. Madam Wu, he thought, well this adds a whole new dynamic to the investigation. Madam Wu, real name Wu Zhilan, frequently referred to by those who knew of her as Empress Wu, was the most powerful woman – indeed, the most powerful individual of either gender – in Chongqing’s municipality. In fact she was rapidly becoming one of the most powerful individuals in all of China, and it was rumored that one could feel her influence all the way to Beijing itself. Her husband, Wei Keung, had been the party chief of Chongqing’s municipality until his untimely demise (that some said was caused by Madam Wu herself). Wu Zhilan’s nickname, the Empress Wu, was a reference to China’s first (and, so far, only) female Emperor, Wu Zetian. It was also a reasonably accurate indication of just how powerful the woman really was, too. “The Empress” was known to have strong ties with the Communist Party’s liberal wing and had been kicking up some controversy lately because of her support for many religious activities, shrines, and temples. (This was to say, rather, that she had been kicking up more controversy than normal, as the simple fact of her being a woman who wielded great amounts of power within the traditionally male-dominated Communist Party made her the center of an ongoing controversy as it was.) Personally, Xiao admired the woman for her savvy in providing such support. The truth was that religion and superstition – in a variety of forms – was making a comeback in China. In some of the more backwater portions of the country it was more accurate to say that the Party was in retreat in the face of this religious resurgence. Madam Wu was very effectively forestalling any such occurrence in Chongqing by doing what most of the Party was too afraid to do, except in the most half-hearted of ways, and her own power and policies were now inextricably intertwined with religious and superstitious belief in the municipality. And that was all well and good, but now Xiao Lok found himself caught in the middle of what had suddenly become a very delicate situation. They would need to examine this “Black Dragon’s” effigy, and to run some tests on it as well in order to properly conduct their investigation, but doing so would make it difficult for the priests here and could potentially be seen by the Empress as a challenge to her power. And speaking of that; if rumors started to spread that a man had been struck dead on the spot simply for removing one of the Empress’s favored deities from a shrine of her choosing, the entire situation could quickly get out of hand. Gu Bolin had not heard the conversation between his partner and the monk, and so he remained completely ignorant of the Black Dragon’s exalted status as one of Madam Wu’s favored little gods. He stopped before the temple’s shrine and, his frown still very firmly fixed in place, demanded loudly to know which of the effigies before him was the Black Dragon. One of the monks pointed and Gu found himself regarding the statue of man seated, and dressed, in a manner fairly typical for such “honored ancestor”-style statues. As was typically the case for Chinese dragon deities, the “Black Dragon” was here represented as a human being, dressed in appropriately regal robes and with appropriately sage-like facial hair. All in all the Black Dragon didn’t look that impressive to Gu Bolin. “This is it?”, he demanded to know, looking from priest to priest with an expression of incredulity. “I’ve seen more impressive effigies at the family shrine in my father’s home!” The gathered monks chose, wisely, not to respond to this taunt. “Well you wasted your time”, Gu declared, turning his frowning countenance back to the Dragon’s statue. Leaning forward, Gu poked at the statue with the same pen he’d used to examine Dengfeng’s corpse, eliciting small gasps of dismay and disapproval from a few of the watching Buddhist priests. The SASA agent threw them a withering glance at this but he nonetheless pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and, using that, shifted the statue this and way and that as he gave it a thorough looking over. This seemed to appall the gathered priests just the tiniest bit less than poking it with a pen had. When Gu examined its base he immediately saw more of what appeared to be the same powder that had he’d noticed on Dengfeng Sun’s robes outside; though it appeared to be just some powdered clay worn lose from the statue’s bottom, the power and the statue would still need to be analyzed properly. Gu looked back to the monks and finished his sentence from a moment before, “we’re just going to have to move it again”, he said, “and hope your meddling hasn’t hopelessly contaminated any evidence we might have pulled off of it otherwise.” “You mustn’t do that”, said the priest who Xiao Lok had been speaking with as they’d entered the temple. “That effigy was placed there and blessed by the holy woman Plum Flower Sika herself.” “Even if I knew who that was”, pronounced Gu Bolin, adding quickly, “and I don’t – it still wouldn’t make a difference. I promise you that your statue will be returned to you as soon as our people are done analyzing it.” “Please”, entreated the young monk, “you cannot do this. The Black Dragon’s presence here brings our temple great good fortune, and if you remove it you can only bring calamity on yourself.” “Are you threatening me?”, demanded Xiao’s partner. To this the young priest could only shake his head in the negative and, bowing at the waste, say that he begged the inspector’s forgiveness for his rudeness. Gu was looking appropriately huffy about all of this, but was somewhat distracted now, as he had his cell phone in his hand and was regarding its display with a look of disapproval. “Reception up here is lousy”, he muttered. Turning his attention back to the priest before him he said, “You and I aren’t done yet. I’m going to step outside and, assuming I can get any reception on top of this mountain, I’m going to find out what’s taking our forensics group so long to get out here. Once they get here we will tear this place apart and you’ll wish it were just a ‘divine’ calamity you were dealing with. Then we’ll see how uncooperative you all are.” Gu Bolin threw one more disparaging look at the Buddhist priests before him and then he turned and walked out of the temple. Xiao Lok watched him go while debating within himself. He knew that his partner might not be so eager to mistreat the priests or their idols if he knew that it was Wu Zhilan herself who’d installed them all here, but he also knew that Gu was right about needing to go over everything forensically, and that that would mean moving the Black Dragon’s effigy – and probably carting it off to a lab somewhere for at least a few weeks, too. This was one apple cart that was going to be disturbed no matter what, and if Gu wanted to be the one doing the disturbing then so much the better. A part of Xiao wanted to tell his partner what was at stake here on Yuntai mountain, but the other (larger) part of him saw an opportunity to navigate a tricky situation with his career still intact and, frankly, he was inclined to take advantage of that opportunity now that he’d seen it. These thoughts were still passing through Xiao’s head when the screaming started.
  2. 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.
  3. Lance Kensington Personal Information Birth Name: Woodrow Lancelot Kensington V Nicknames: Lance Occupation: Wealthy Playboy (It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it!) Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record. Marital Status: Single (and loving it!) Known Relatives: Emily Harris-Kensington (Mother), Woodrow Kensington IV (Father) Physical Traits Weight: Height: 6’ 6” Apparent Age: mid 20’s Gender: Male Ethnic Background: Caucasian Eye Color: Blue Hair Color: Brown DOB: May 24, 1987 Appearance: Hot, athletic, see picture. Always dressed in the latest fashion, but can make anything look good. Always impeccably groomed but again, looks good even just out of bed, after a 48 hour binge party, or getting covered in mud. Powers & Skills Known Powers: Lance is primarily known for his incredible good looks and his ability to manipulate social situations. He is also super humanly intelligent and quick witted. Rumors in the tabloid persist of his ability “perform” for days and of his flexibility in the bedroom, leading many to believe he has some sort of superhuman physical attributes but so far, he has yet to display such traits publicly. Skills/Special Training: While Lance is best known for his social skills, it has been observed that he has an incredibly broad knowledge base on a very large number of topics; apparently being very well read. It is known that he went to Yale for business and he was an athlete in school. He also speaks multiple languages. Background: Lance grew up in a life of privilege. His family comes from old money and his father is one of those men who does not just run a business, but a financial empire. His family had everything; Penthouse condo in New York, House in the Hamptons, cars, jewels, you name it. They had all the right friends, and attended all the right social events. While Lance did his best to live up to the family expectations, he had several difficulties while growing up. First off he was mouthy. He never let a barb or insult go unanswered. The second was his homosexuality. The two combined to a troubled adolescence and the attendance of several different private schools. Despite his troubles, Lance’s parents tried to remain as supportive as rich, conservative east coast parents could be and eventually Lance was accepted into Yale when he was 18. 2 years later the arrival of the Refugees happened and the world was changed forever. When Lance came home for March break that year, his parents noticed he was different. When he declared that he would not be going back to school they naturally became upset and there was a big fight. Lance decided that it was time from him to walk the world to see what he could see and experience everything he could. At first this mostly consisted of him traveling around the country to various parties and Gay Pride events and naturally he ended up in the tabloid media much to his family’s chagrin. Eventually though, Lance branched out and over the next 5 years he traveled the world several times over. It quickly became evident in the early years of his walkabout that Lance had erupted, although exactly when remains a mystery he has not seen fit to answer. This period has also been very busy for the young man. He’s been seen in the company of a staggering variety of people, from European royalty to criminals and every sort in between which has caused no end of rumors and gossip with those that follow tabloid media. Most recently, Lance has accepted a position the America’s DSA although just what his role will be with the organization is currently unknown.
  4. 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!
  5. Tokyo, Japan Morning Naomi dressed as best she could. This was a formal occasion, and The Great Cat Detective had to deliver the appearance of Department 0's premiere Nova. Already her action figures were selling like hotcakes, the proceeds for her "S&R Gear Naomi" going to disaster relief and towards improving Japan's Search and Rescue efforts. And the first Manga about her exploits was being penned. She was still considering a call from the BBC, seems that they want her to star in a episode of Doctor Who as one of the cat people they introduced during the 10th Doctor's Run. She looked puzzled as she tried to decide on wearing a navy blazer or a simple brown waistcoat with her signature light tan raincoat with a brown epaulet-like collar and trim on the cuffs. She decides to stick with the vest. "Okay Naomi... calm down... it is just one of the greatest stars of one of the legendary Mecha franchises ever... some days I wish I was a kid again... I would be just... squealing." She meowed in delight as she stepped out of her apartment in Jinbocho down to her electric car plugged into a recharging stand. The stand itself powered by some solar panels on the roof of the converted office building she purchased. When she pulled up to the Hotel, she stood outside her car, waiting for Connor to step out of his Hotel. "Remember, he's American... think American..." She thought as her tail flicked nervously.
  6. The Professor almost felt like everything was returning to the Paradigm she was used to. Sarah was now the Empress of the entire Earth in the Brittanian Universe. Mary left back for the Phoenix Universe to find herself again. Yomiko, Sakurako's daughter was taking over Sarah's duties with a deft command of the ship. Even Three was enjoying Yomiko's company. After all they grew up together. Sakurako walked into Chris' quarters. Perhaps this part of her paradigm was the one she enjoyed most. "Chris-sama! I'm home!" Sakurako said, her tone one of anticipation. Of course she was home... the Hikari Maru always is home. No matter what properties she owns in the Phoenix or Brittanian universes. "We've been working our butts off the past year... up for something I promised you?"
  7. Naomi Minami Department 0 Consulting Detective Status: Deceased Background History Not every Nova on the planet has a average eruption, nor a peaceful one. None exemplify this than Naomi Minami. A former Schoolteacher, 35 years of age and a fan of detective novels. She grew up in the Japanese ocean town of Ukedo, a shipping and fishing port on the northeastern coast of the main island. She wanted to be a schoolteacher like her English father and Japanese mother. And she did well enough to finally achieve that dream. She taught at Ukedo Elementary School for 10 years as a Math Teacher. Two years prior to her eruption, she adopted a cat named Shiro. A Calico kitten who grew to be an inquisitive, intrepid soul. Naomi loved him greatly, and when she could, she took Shiro everywhere. On March 11, 2011 though, everything changed. For her town, and for her. When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, she was at School, preparing for her lessons. She knew from some of the physics she knew, that a Tsunami could happen, and fast. So unlike everyone who went for a higher level of the school, Naomi rushed to her home to save her Cat. The school wasn't too far of a trip, and most people were heading inland to avoid the coming wave. But Naomi after finding her scared cat stepped outside and saw the rushing water of the Tsunami about to crash into her. She held onto Shiro and said. "I'm sorry... don't hold your breath... it'll just prolong the inevitable." The wave hit and Naomi's world went black. She came to in the ocean, she was swept out to sea with her town's wrecakge. She scampered on to a fishing boat that somehow miraculously got washed out. It was starting to sink from it's hull damage though. But the radio had power. When she tried to speak though she felt her lips were strangely shaped, it was harder to talk. She thought she was injured severely, so she immediately found a mirror and looked... She looked... like herself and Shiro! She ran up to the radio again after grabbing a life vest that was still on board and tried radioing shore again. It was a day before a JMSDF helicopter arrived. The boat had already sunk and she was holding on to a piece of driftwood while floating by the life vest she found. The bewildered look of the crew onboard was muted when a woman peeked from behind the hoist operator. A odd woman with dull pink hair and wearing a white labcoat under her life preserver vest. "I'm Aiko Nakamura. Head of Department 0, and Nippontai, a emergency team currently operating in the area... Are you alright, dear? Although I wish this was on better circumstances, welcome to a new world." Naomi fainted. When she came to the next day she was wearing a comfortable, loose-fitting full-body suit. She looked in the mirror and saw her tail, and wondered what happened. Then the memories came... and she could only think of one thing her father taught. Something in regards to Quantum Physics where two objects cannot be in the same place and time in Time-Space. Whatever happened... violated that rule and now she is here... changed. When she realized that she somehow understood completely what happened she had no choice but to accept Aiko's offer to train in the use of her new gifts, study her body's changes, and to adapt. What she discovered is that she has a natural aptitude and innate understanding of the process of being a Detective. In a matter of a year, she was ready for her first assignment. ,, Cause of Death Death after Child Birth complications.
  8. Personal Information: Identity: Katrina Ralene Price Names: Kitty Occupation: Actress/Humanitarian Legal Status: American National by birth Marital Status: Umarried Known Relatives: Jacob Forester (father), Jenna Price (mother), Harley Price (sister) Allegiance(s): Family, Career Physical Traits: Weight: 121 lbs Height: 5’10” Apparent age: early 20's Gender: Female Ethnic Background: Caucasian (very) Eye Color: Blue Hair Color: Blonde Handedness: Ombidextrous Appearance: Gorgeous. Stylish. Sexy. These words and more have been used to describe Kitty Price. Other words include: heart-breakingly beautiful and impossibly perfect. More than one journalist has refused to even try to describe her. Kitty is, in the simplest terms, a blonde bombshell with curves in all the right places and glorious blue eyes. If one isn’t into blondes, this is not a problem; Kitty can look like any woman, so long as that woman is impossibly attractive. Powers, Skills, and Personality: Known Powers: Feline modifications, being gorgeous and a great actress Abilities/Special Skills: Acting is Kitty’s forte, the one skill that she has that sets her above the rest. She’s won awards for her acting that have put her above the rest, making it impossible to claim she only gets jobs for her pretty face. Though she’s not had as much chance to show this off, Kitty is an incredible dance. She was a dancer before her eruption and tried to break into acting. Her desire for this shaped her eruption and gave her many gifts that helped her in Hollywood. Personality: Kitty is nice. There’s no other way to describe her; she’s a gentle-hearted woman who wants to see the world smiling. She can have moments of jealousy or bitterness, but they are generally reserved for mean people. Due to her kind nature, she’s made friends out of women who would otherwise utterly hate her, and can turn men down so tenderly they don’t mind. Background: Kitty was born to a single mother, Jenna Price. Jenna worked as a waitress at a roadside diner in Sitka Alaska. Her father wasn’t around much; he worked as an ice road trucker and was gone often. Her parents never married, feeling it wasn’t necessary. Instead they lived as a common-law couple until their breakup after her sister Harley was born. For a long time, Kitty blamed her sister, though that childlessness passed before Kitty left for Hollywood. The young girl, already a looker, grew up in her little town, learning to boat and fly, as they were the only ways to leave Sitka. She also learned to ski and how to use a dogsled. It was obvious that her first and greatest was acting, and she starred in her high-school play twice. Her sister was the dance-fanatic, but Kitty took classes too. The sisters gained a minor reputation for their dancing in Sitka. At eighteen, Kitty left Sitka for Hollywood. Her sister Harley felt betrayed and didn’t talk to her for two years; the two reconciled when Harley joined her in L.A. In a twist of fate, Harley got a role on a minor cable show and Kitty was making her rent by dancing, mostly backup and in music videos. Though the two wanted to swap, they were stuck. When the Refugees passed through, the sisters were together. Harley could only watch in shock as Kitty underwent an incredible change. When she was done, Kitty was the hottest woman in the world. There was again a period of adjustment for Harley, but gradually Kitty was forgiven. Watching her sister struggle with having a cat’s tail made it even easier for Harley. Despite her tail, Kitty leveraged her new beauty and acting skills into a supporting role in a movie. She utterly stole the production, to the point where the main actress stormed off the set and refused to shoot anymore. Kitty talked her into returning through sheer niceness and did everything she could to make the other actress shine. That reputation made her desired by directors tired of divas. In combination with her beauty, which would have gotten her work anyway, Kitty’s team-player attitude made her highly sought-after. A brief relationship with Connor Fortenot ended with them remaining friends. Kitty has everything she’s ever wanted, save perhaps Connor – in short, her life is perfect.
  9. There were many things that Karrie despised. A lack of a sense of humor was one thing. A lack of justice was another. And of course, her boss would add a lack of respect for authority to that list. The truth was that Coyote generally didn’t actually hate these things; rather, she loved their opposites too much to tolerate those things. There were forms and procedures and generally a lot of useless work involved in getting to see novas who were currently at the Ramillies Nova Centre. Karrie really didn’t feel like messing with all of that nonsense so in typical Karrie fashion, she didn’t. They would have denied her anyway, so why bother? The Common Tern sailed over the walls of the Ramillies Centre, banking once on three-foot wings. The large white wings twisted in the wing, the bright orange bill catching the sun. Karrie saw that her quarry was alone, her bird-eyes picking out the silver hair and lithe build. Another twist of her wings, and she was settling down in the garden, some distance away from her target. Vysarian was sitting alone still when she approached. She’s never seen him but he’d been described in the article she read. There was no mistaking the androgynous features, pale hair and, of course, the pointed ears. Still, Karrie straightened out her denim skirt and t-shirt. The shirt advertised for Montoya’s School of Fencing and displayed two men with crossed swords on the front. In honor of this visit, Karrie had even added some make up to her face, accenting her eyes and trying to downplay her jaw and nose. “Hi,” she said as she took the bench across from him. Her eyes met his and she paused, startled by his eyes. “Hot damn, but you have pretty eyes.” Then she waved her hands in dismissal. “Sorry, that’s not what I meant to say. Lemme start over. Are you Vysarian Araseal and/or Amaranth Marie?”
  10. Name: Kevin Cooper Nova Name: Taehlyri'salatria Duirsar, Taeli for short Concept: Accidental Elven Bladesinger Nature: Allegiance: Unsure at the moment. Theme: RPG Character for real. HT: 1.65 m/5'5'' WT: 48.2 kg/111 lbs Hair: Long, luxurious, rich purple, often pinned up Eyes: large, canted, almond shaped eyes of intense cyan, ringed by a thin band of shifting, prismatic colours Age: 17 (Born 07/01/1996) Attributes STR: 5 (Well-Built) Mega 1 *DEX: 5(Rhythmic) Mega 5 *STA: 5 (Energetic) Mega 3 *PER: 5 (Keen Eye) Mega 3 INT: 4 (Bright) *WIT: 5 (Creative) Mega 3 *APP: 5 (Exotic) Mega 4 MAN: 3 *CHA: 5 (Fey) Mega 4 Enhancements Witch's Might (M-Str: Precision) Expeditious Retreat (M-Dex: Enhanced Movement) Elven Grace (M-Dex: Cat-footed, Perfect Balance) Bladesinger's Dance (M-Dex: Physical Prodigy) Elven Lifespan (M-Sta: Unaging) Elven Resistance (M-Sta: Health) Elven Sight (M-Per: Electromagnetic Vision) Detect Magic (M-Per: Quantum Attunement) Song of Celerity (M-Wits: Multitasking) Bladesong (M-Wits: Combat Awareness) Arcane Mind (M-Wits: Taint Resistance) Blinding Beauty (M-App: Obscurement) Fey Glamour (M-App: Awe-Inspiring) Regal Hauteur (M-App: Unattainable) Voice of Art (M-Cha: The Voice) Animal Friendship (M-Cha: Bestial Rapport) Swordswoman's Stare (M-Cha: Disconcerting) Abilities: Physical - Archery: 3 Athletics: 5 Martial Arts: 3 Melee: 6 (Bladesong - Variant Fencing x3, Variant T'ai Chi Chuan x2) Ride: 2 Stealth: 3 Channel: 5 Endurance: 3 Resistance: 3 Mental- Awareness: 3 Academics: 2 Computer: 1 Linguistics: 3 Medicine: 1 Science: 1 Survival: 3 Arts: 3 (Drawing) Meditation: 5 Modulate: 5 Rapport: 2 Tactics: 2 Social - Intimidation: 3 Style: 3 Subterfuge: 1 Animal Training: 1 Carousing: 2 Etiquette: 2 Perform: 6 (Dancing, Singing, Moonblade-Flute) Backgrounds: Allies: 2 (the rest of her gaming group - Alan MacAvoy, Connor Donovan, ) Attunement: 5 Gadgets: 5 (Moonblade) Influence: Node: 5 Resources: 2 Reputation: Sanctum: 5 (Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion spell, write-up forthcoming) Adversarial Backgrounds: Fan Club: 1/1 Media Exposure: 1 Suitors: 1 (The other three in her gaming group, Alan MacAvoy, Liam Meath, Connor Donovan) Quantum: 5 Quantum Pool: 75 Temporary Taint: 0 Permanent Taint: 0 Willpower: 10 Initiative: 18 Powers Elven Attributes (2np) Ability Score and Skill Bonuses (Body Mod: Improved Attributes - Dexterity, Perception, Appearance) Resistance to Enchantment Spells and Effects 2 (L1 Psychic Shield) Bladesinger Qualities (2np) Warrior and Sorceress (Body Mod: Improved Attributes - Stamina, Wits, Charisma) Good Hit Points (Body Mod: Extra Health Levels - +2 Bruised Levels, +2 Maimed Levels) ,, Personal Bag of Holding 5 (L2 Extra-Dimensional Pocket w/Deep Pockets) Uncanny Senses 4 (L1 Intuition) ,, Telmiirkara Neshyrr - The Rite of Transformation (Out Of Theme) Mystic Fortitude 3 (L2 Armor) Witch's Might 1 (Mega-Strength) Arcane Flesh (Body Mod: Augmented Blood, Improved Skeletal Muscles) Spells (16.5np) Magic Missile 5 (L2 Quantum Bolt [bashing] w/Homing [Autofire, Strafing]; Weaknesses: -4 range (4pts), Cannot use the Targeting maneuver (1pt); Strength: Reduce Level of Power by 1(5pts)) Haste 5 (L2 Time Acceleration Technique) Bull's Strength 1 (L2 Boost-Strength) Mage Armor 1 (L3 Force Field w/Impervious; Charisma-based) Dimension Door 1 (L1 Teleport w/Combat Teleport; Weaknesses: No long range Teleport (-3pts), Only Auto-Successes for determining Range (-5pts), -2 Auto-Successes for Range (-2pts); Strengths: Reduce Power Level by 2 (10pts)) Greater Invisibility 1 (L3 Invisibility w/Enhanced Effect) Light 1 (L1 Bioluminescence; Can only be used on inanimate objects; no flashlight effect) Mage Hand 1 (L1 Telekinesis w/Reduced Quantum Cost; Weaknesses: Only Auto-Successes to determine Weight (-5pts), -5 Range [range 10m] (-5pts); Strengths: Reduce Power Level by 2 (10pts)) Devices (8.5np) ,, Ithilhyanda en Duirsar (Quantum 3, Quantum Pool: 21; Cost: 8.5np) Sharpness 1 (L2 Claws w/Kinetic Discharge and Armor Piercing; Weaknesses: Only enhances the Moonblade (3pts), Powered only by user's Quantum Pool (2pt), -1 Damage Die (1pt); Strengths: Reduce Level by 1 (5pts), Increase Duration to 1 scene (1pt)) Ancestors in the Blade 5 (L1 Combat Sense; Can only be used in conjunction with Claws (2pts), Powered only by user's Quantum Pool (2pt), Sensory Basis: Sound - user must be able to hear the singing of the blade (2pt); Strengths: Reduce Level by 1 (5pts), Increase Duration to 1 scene (1pt)) Sword of Dancing: Empty Force enhancement Combined with a Gadget (Uses Whipsword as a base, +3 Accuracy [6op], +[3] Damage [9op], Can be used as an instrument - as a type of a flute - by cutting the air [2op], +1 Difficulty to defend against attack made with the blade [3op] Locked to Taehlyri'salatria The Moonblade of the Duirsars is more a singular piece of artwork than a weapon, the double-edged blade long and tapering, the crossguard elegant and deceptively strong, the pommel backed by another, shorter blade. Three runes of arcane Elvish are inscribed artfully on each side of the blade. It is fashioned of the clearest glassteel with a faint, everbright sheen to the surface and permeating it - by some angles and light, the blade is nearly invisible, by others, it's as bright as a mirror reflecting sunlight. Infinitesimal perforations line the edges of the blade, making the Moonblade whisper and sing as it passes through the air, and for those experienced with its use, the weapon may be used as sort of versatile flute. ,, Former Devices Luckstone This luckstone is crafted with a roguestone, a scintillating gemstone unique to Faerun, with nearly infinite facets, whose rainbow colors shift as if in liquid, slowly swirling iridescently, when exposed to sunlight. It is supported by a close-fitting choker made of fine, interwoven chains of sable mithril. Chance seems to favour the possessor of the Luckstone, which also throbs and grows warm to warn of danger Tasmia's Heart Crafted for a vain, self-indulgent, and astonishingly beautiful elf maiden during the height of Myth Drannan decadence, Tasmia's Heart is a revealing, backless bustier of the supplest, softest leather with a pair of matching, fingerless, shoulder length gloves. The set is coloured the deepest blue, with fine, gold filigree. Tasmia desired something that would protect as well as showcase her abundant curves, prompting others to name the outfit, Tasmia's Heart, since it was practically on display. Boots of the Decadent Maiden These stylish thigh-high boots with a pronounced heel match Tasmia's Heart, and were crafted for the same woman. Tasmia never went without her heels, yet so many places in a Elven Realm weren't conducive to the demands of fashion. ,, ,, Merits & Flaws Acute Hearing: 1pt Acute Sight: 1pt Enchanting Voice: 1pt Exceptional Talent (Melee): 5pt Light Sleeper (Elven Meditation): 2pt Quantum Regeneration 3: 3pts Sexy: 1pt Signature Weapon (Longsword): 2pts Minority (1pt): Many people make assumptions about Taehlyri'salatria because she erupted from a man into a female elf. Aberrant Ears (1pt): Long, pointed elf ears. Aberrant Eyes (1pt): Intense electric cyan, ringed with a thin band of scintillating, iridescently shifting prismatic colour Aberrant Hair (1pt): Rich, vibrant purple on head and brows only. Distinctive Looks (1pt): She's a Goddamned bloody Moon Elf! Currently there's only one other, and unlike him, there is no mistaking her gender Quantum Beacon (1pt): Taeli is locked into her Nova form, unable to develop Dormancy or the Ms. Nobody Enhancement, and the seething quantum forces contained inside her makes her more-than-human nature obvious. Sex Object (1pt): The living fantasy of rpg'ers, MMOers, and otaku world-wide, Taeli is often a hot elf babe first and a person second. Surreality (1pt): Much the same as Sex Object, most people find a "real life elf" just too interesting; those that don't care about the elf bit are usually caught by the gender change or gorgeous looks. Bladesinger (3pt): To activate most of her powers and many Enhancements, Taeli must be able to speak and gesture freely, though the gestures can also be done with a sword in hand. This is a variant of the Compulsion Flaw and the Dumbo Effect Aberration. Known Languages Native: Elven Others: English, Gaelic, Deus Vox (as Language of Magic) Movements Walk: 5m, Run: 8m, Sprint: 32m Soaks Base Soak: 8B/4L Armor: +9B/+9L Total: 17B/13L Healing Rate: Health Levels: Bruised x4 Unhurt Hurt Injured Wounded Maimed x3 Crippled Incapacitated Dead Creation Log Attributes: 6np Mega-Atts: 36np Elven Attributes: 2np Bladesinger Qualities: 2np Personal Bag of Holding: 5np Uncanny Dodge: 2np Telmiirkara Neshyrr: Spells: 16.5np Devices: 8.5np Skills: 10np Skill Mastery x2: 2np Backgrounds: 3np +25 Quantum Pool: 5np Total: 98np Bonus Points Merits: 16bp Willpower +7: 14bp Flaws: -11bp Adversarial Backgrounds: -4bp Total: 15bp XP Log Earned XP XP earned for April: 25xp XP earned for May: 25xp XP earned for June: 25xp 2nd Anniversary of IE: 25xp XP earned for July: 25xp XP earned for August: 25xp XP earned for December: 25xp XP earned for January: 25xp XP earned for February Birthday: 25xp XP earned for Two Elves: 5xp XP earned for Convention Crawl: 15xp Spent XP Mega-Appearance 4: -9xp Mega-Charisma 4: -9xp Mystic Fortitude 1-3: -21xp Witch's Might 1: -6xp Mega-Stamina 2-3: -9xp Resources 1-2: -4xp Fey Flesh: -10xp 4 Enhancements: -12xp XP Balance: 165xp XP Total: 245xp
  11. For Connor this project was a dream. it was the first movie he did virtually pro-bono, having insisted that what pay reserved for him aside living expenses go to procuring the original cast for the movie where possible. The Producers happily agreed, and when told of his request, all of the cast who were alive agreed to reprise their roles. Years before Michael Bay had made the Transformers trilogy, and while a box office smash, it left a bad taste in the mouths of many die hard fans, Connor included. Using some of his own money, and his free time he pitched this idea to Dreamworks, to get the rights, and they'd remake shot for shot, a live action version of the Original Transformers movie. They'd already shot a number of the less actiony scenes, and today was the day Connor really was excited about. They were going to shoot the big fight with optimus and Megatron, in the ruins of autbot city. He had taken care to Invite Karrie, after their talks on the yacht, knowing she'd get a real kick out of this, and it was his intention to introduce her to the various actors behind the voices. It was surprising that they all wanted to be there for the shooting, Connor guessed that actually seeing real robots do what had been possible in animation brought them out, to see their characters in real life. He'd already spoken with Leonard Nemoy, a man he knew was a cult favorite in many genres, and of course, Frank Welker and Peter Cullen were there. Connor held his own inner fanboy in check, and truly he didn't mind that he wouldn't be giving voice to many of them, he smiled in fact, knowing the fans would love this movie. He was waiting for karrie now, as they were between takes. It took about five hours for connor to recharge after expending his power, something it took minutes to do, or less depending on how much was going on.
  12. New Gadgets Background HERE In this thread discuss any additions or changes to this new version of the background.
  13. Reputation: Dots in reputation may be die bonuses or penalties in social interactions depending on the Reputation and the interaction. Legend Regardless of the character’s other traits, he has imitators of one kind or another. An Elite gets credit for fights he’s never been in and slapped with lawsuits when baseline kids try to stop a bus while dressed up in their outfit/mask. A brainiac is assumed to have been the mind behind the latest gadgets or ideas in their area of expertise, even if they’ve been vacationing in Nice for the past year; they also get stalked by Japanese high-schoolers trying to figure out how to become them. The charismatic and beautiful hardly every pay for anything and never wait in line, but they’re stalked by would-be lovers and jealous spouses. Everyone – and I do mean everyone – knows who you are and has a story or two about you that just has to be true. You have no anonymity without Cipher, and even then it’s starting to get dicey. As a positive background, Legend gets you what you want from baselines and even impressionable novas with little or no effort. The negative of this background/Enhancement is Media Attention/Front Page Darling. As with Media Attention, you allocate the five points of Reputation before Legend to those that share in your Legend; or the ST does for those that share your notoriety. Resources: Expendable income is 1% of total liquidated assets for each level of Resources and may be saved for a large purchase or “borrowed” forward. Borrowing forward reduces the available Resources rating in future month by one dot or month per multiplier. A character may not reduce their available Resources below 1 through borrowing forward, nor may they borrow more than twelve months in advance; if they require more money immediately it will cost them one permanent dot of Resources. This means that those with Resources 1 or less may not borrow forward; Resources 2 may borrow forward a max of $30,000; Resources 3, $150k; Resources 4, $600k, Resources 5, $6m; WBA $30b. Example: Eurphyosyne needs $100,000 to purchase a blacktech device to protect her from motherhunters; she has resources 4. Her monthly expendable income is $10,000. She needs 10x her monthly expendable income. She has not been setting money aside, so she borrows forward two dots of Resources for five months, reducing her effective resources rating to Resources 2 for those five months – this starts the month she purchases the device. Wealth Beyond Avarice Liquidated assets would garner $5 billion, expendable monthly income is $50m. Expendable income may be saved for a large purchase or “borrowed” forward. Borrowing forward reduces the available Resources rating in future month by one dot or month per multiplier. A character may not reduce their available Resources below 1 through borrowing forward, nor may they borrow more than twelve months in advance; if they require more money immediately it will cost them one permanent dot of Resources. This means that those with Resources 1 or less may not borrow forward; Resources 2 may borrow forward a max of $30,000; Resources 3, $150k; Resources 4, $600k, Resources 5, $6m; WBA $3.6b.Example: Eurphyosyne needs $10 billion to purchase a blacktech device to protect her from motherhunters. She needs 20x her monthly expendable income, she borrows forward for five months, reducing her effective resources rating to Resources 2 (4 points) for those five months – this starts the month she purchases the device. Sanctum: Sanctums are places of refuge and respite for a character. Each dot allows a number of features equal to the dot bought to be purchased to add to the base Sanctum; Sanctum Sanctorum allows one Enhanced Feature. These features are inherent to the Sanctum; more may be added by the purchase of other backgrounds and placed at the Sanctum. Base Sanctum: Bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, basic workroom. Cipher rating 1 for the Sanctum itself. Features:Well Hidden (+2 to Cipher, may be bought twice and the effects stack on the base Cipher rating.) Igors (+4 Followers that are bound to the Sanctum, may be bought multiple times but the effects do not stack. Igors are not novas, though they may be altered with bodymods pending ST approval.) Host (May accommodate up to four guests indefinitely or up to 16 guests for one month, with each fewer guest adding a month to the timeframe until only four are left. May be taken multiple times, effects stack. Igors do not count towards this cap.) Posh (Amenities are high class; this confers no mechanical benefits, it just means that the Sanctum is well appointed and has excellent food. The purchases for this high lifestyle are untraceable and always present if procured through Posh instead of the character’s Resources rating.) Professional (Adds the necessary space and tools to practice a profession. For medicine, this means a small hospital set-up (which can accommodate per the Host rating, 0 Host is a one-person facility). For inventors, this is a workshop for their particular type of inventions, for a computer programmer this is a state-of-the art tech set-up. Mechanically, this provides a +2 die bonus to the profession being practiced within the Sanctum. This may be bough multiple times for different professions or to stack on a single profession. Note for Invention: Instead of adding +2 dice for gadgeteering, the character may reduce the time per success to thirty minutes for one die or fifteen for both dice; alternately the character may reduce the time between rolls to twelve or six hours respectively. Any combination of bonus dice, success time reduction, or roll spacing reduction may be used.) Security (Each purchase must be designated Defensive or Offensive, the fluff of what this actually is is up to the player and will affect how the security system may be disabled. All systems must have some manner in which they can be overcome, though that doesn’t mean it should be easy.) Defensive: Imposes penalties on intruders or attacks on the Sanctum. Each purchase imposes a -1 penalty to infiltration rolls (including powers being used to circumnavigate the defenses) and provides 1 [2] soak/armor and +2 Health Levels to the sanctum itself. It can only be bought the as many times equal to the total Sanctum rating. Offensive: The Sanctum may attack intruders/attackers with a 6d10B or L (determined when bought) attack with a range of 50 meters outside of the Sanctum (internal security is considered to cover all areas unless specifically noted by the player) and a RoF of 1. One more purchase point adds +1d10 damage or doubles the range or adds one to the Rate of Fire. Two points of purchase add +[1]; automatic damage cannot exceed the number of dice of attack. Note: Damage that actually misses a target “hits” the Sanctum instead if the attack is made inside the Sanctum. It can’t dodge itself. [*]Mobile The Sanctum is mobile. For one purchase this means the Sanctum is either wheeled or a boat; for two the Sanctum is capable of flight, for three it is space (and submersion)-worthy for the number of people per the Host rating. Each movement type must be bought separately. Land speed: 200 kph base, + 50 kph for each additional purchase point in land mobility; Flight speed: 500 kph base, +500 kph for each additional purchase point in flight mobility, Space: 50 million kph base, +50 million kph per each additional purchase point. Space flight works only in microgravity; if the sanctum is planet-side at some point it must have its own way of getting back out into space before it can use the Space mobility speed again. [*]Sensors A sanctum may be outfitted with a number of sensors. Standard cameras (both internal and external) are one purchase. Ultraviolet, Infrared, Sonar, X-Ray, and Quantum scanners each cost another purchase point to be added. The interior of the Sanctum is considered always in range; base range is 200 meters, purchases may also be made to double the range of the sensor system. [*]Remote Access The sanctum has a remote access ability, like the Teleport power. The sanctum creates a number of remote access keys equal to the number of sanctum owners plus one for each additional feature point put into Remote Access. Each Sanctum with Remote Access creates it own particular kind of key, but all keys must be physical and removable. The remotes allow the user to 'port to the Sanctum and returns the user to the location they 'ported from (or the nearest location deemed safe for the user). There is no security on the keys; anyone in possession of one can access the Sanctum if they are in control of a key. Once in the Sanctum, however, they may have security, Igors, and unhappy sanctum owners to deal with. Sanctum Sanctorum Enhanced Features: [*]Tricked Out: +40 Feature points. [*]Unassailable Security: Security cannot be shut down. +10 feature purchases in Security only. Also, three new options are available: [*]Defensive: [*]Self-Healing allows the Sanctum to heal one level of damage per hour. Further purchases may reduce the healing time by half or add another level of health per period. [*]Offensive: [*]Aggravated allows the Sanctum to be outfitted with weapons that do aggravated damage. Remember that attacks that miss targets do damage to the Sanctum itself. [*]Difficulty Levels allows the Sanctum to switch between damage types. If multiple weapons systems have been installed previously to taking this, they are combined into one highly effective single system. It takes the system one turn to switch between damage types, but this may be done room by room or for the system as a whole. [*]Have fun running through the kill zone. [*]Micronation: Legion followers, In Charge backing. The Sanctum may also Host any number of people indefinitely. Per In Charge, the character may “borrow” backgrounds from the Sanctum up to no more than three dots in Allies, Contacts, Gadget (heavily monitored by the ST, should make sense with the kind of Igors running about and the theme of the Sanctum), Followers (only that many of the Legion may leave the Sanctum at any point), Mentor (ditto Gadget), Resources. Only six points of “borrowed” backgrounds may be active at a time. If Mentor is dropped before the skill is learned (max skill level to be mentored is 3), the time is considered lost and must be restarted when Mentor is again activated. [*]Traveller: Space mobility, Warp engine that allows the Sanctum Sanctorum to warp. The warp engine may warp up to one light-year per jump. The Sanctum has 30 qp that recovers at the rate of 1 qp per hour. If a nova is in direct physical contact with the engine they may transfer qp per Quantum Conversion or Quantum Leech. The engine has no resistance. [*]Uknowable: The Sanctum benefits from the effect of the Enigma Enhancement, Psychic Shield (+6 auto successes; as a shell only, Telepathy inside the Sanctum is unaffected), Blank 5, and Invisibility (flat 10 permanent successes; all senses, people instinctively move around the Uknowable Sanctum). [*]Lyceum: The Sanctum contains all the necessary tools, space, and even raw materials for nearly any profession or pursuit imaginable. The Sanctum functions as if it is the teacher, automatically succeeds at “instruction” rolls, and has the Pedagogue Enhancement. The Lyceum is considered to have a 5 in all skills. Any skill check has one automatic success if the roll does not botch and botches are considered simple failures (this includes gadgeteering rolls). [*]Nexus: The Sanctum has the Warp power in a very specialized manner. All warps will either originate from the Sanctum or connect to it if activated by an authorized user of the Nexus system. There are a number of remotes available per the Host rating. Distance from the Sanctum does not matter when activating a warp to the Sanctum, warping from the Nexus requires the Sanctum to have the location available through sensors or logged in the ship’s memory. For security reasons, the ship will not open a warp to a blind location, but authorized users act as always active sensors to record all locations that they have been. [*]The Thousand Eyes: All Sensor options are installed and the range is moved to kilometers instead of meters. Remotes (number determined by the Host rating) act as extra points of origin for the sensors of the Sanctum. If the Sanctum or a remote is in sensory range of a computer system or information stream, the Sanctum may attempt to copy the information on the system or being transmitted with a static 5 successes. If a nova with Cyberkinesis is using the Sanctum’s sensory system, they suffer no distance difficulty to affect any computer or system within the Sanctum’s sensory range. Difficulty appliers accrue from the edge of the Sanctum’s sensory range. Multiple Sanctums: A character may purchase multiple Sanctums. Multiple Sanctum Sanctorums must be approved by the STs and have some great backstory and plot hooks along with it. Improving on a Sanctum Sanctorum: Also requiring ST approval and extensive in-game support, a Sanctum Sanctorum may be improved by buying a second rating of Sanctum, moving up the points just as the original Sanctum points were bought. However, the cost is 3 for the first dot and current rating x3 for each dot after. A second Sanctorum rating costs 18 xp. A third run through would cost 5 and x5, with another Enhance Feature costing 30 xp. You could continue up...but really, you've just got too much xp floating around at that point. Shared Sanctums: Each player in a shared Sanctum buys the points they are contributing separately, including Sanctorum ratings. This does allow for incredibly impressive Sanctorums, but requires players to share. If a character is killed in the course of gameplay, the ST may either require the remaining (or possibly new) players to pay for the “lost” dots or damage the part of the Sanctum that was attributed to the dead player. They may also rule that those points have been bequeathed to the players (usually the result of great gameplay and an awesome death scene). If a player simply wants to "take their dots elsewhere" this is only possible for things that can actually move. Use common sense, please.
  14. Name: Her Royal Highness Amaranth Helena Silvia Marie, Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Uppland Nova Name: Vysarian Arasael Concept: Accidental Elf Nature: Caregiver Allegiance: Vysarian - Taehlyri'salatria Duirsar. Amaranth - Unsure at the moment. Nominally her family, but things are awkward all around. Evolution: - Theme: RPG Character for real. HT: 1.83 m/6'0" WT: 56.7 kg/125 lbs Hair: Long, fine, silvery-white. Eyes: Sapphire-blue with gold flecks. Age: Born January 17th,1996, currently 17. Attributes STR: ●●● *DEX: ●●●●●(Agile) Mega ● STA: ●●● *PER: ●●●●● (Observant) Mega ● *INT: ●●●●● (Clever) Mega ● *WIT: ●●●●● (Creative) Mega ● *APP: ●●●●● (Exotic) Mega ● MAN: ●●●●● (Diplomatic) CHA: ●●●●● (Elegant) Enhancements Elven Archery (M-Dex: Artimis' Bow) Elven Lifespan (M-Sta: Unaging) Elven Vision (M-Per: Electromagnetic Vision) Gift of Tongues (M-Int: Linguistic Genius) Maker’s Soul (M-Wit: Artistic Genius) Double Life (M-App: Costume) Abilities: Physical - Brawl: Might: Throwing: Archery: ● Athletics: ● Drive: Firearms: Gunnery: Heavy Weapons: Legerdemain: Martial Arts: ● Melee: ●●● Pilot: Ride: ● Stealth: ● Channel: Endurance: ●●● Resistance: ●●● Mental- Artillery: Awareness: ●●●●● Investigation: Navigation: Academics: ●● Analysis: Bureaucracy: ● Computer: ● Demolitions: Engineering: Intrusion: Gambling: Linguistics: ●●●● Medicine: ● Science: Survival: Tradeskill: Arts: ●●●●● Biz: Mediation: Modulate: Rapport: Shadowing: Tactics: ●●● Weave: Social - Disguise: ● Intimidation: Style: ●● Diplomacy: Hypnosis: Interrogation: Seduction: Streetwise: Subterfuge: ●● Animal Training: Carousing: Command: Etiquette: ●●● Instruction: Perform: ● Backgrounds: Allies: ●●●●● (King Carl Gustaf & Queen Silvia) Attunement: ● Backing: ●●●● (Sweden) Cipher: Contacts: Dormancy: ●●●●● Equipment: Eufiber: Favors: Followers: Gadgets: Influence: ● (Gaming/Fantasy communities) Mentor: Node: ● Rank: Resources: ●●●●● Reputation: ● (Royal Prince/ss of Sweden, erupted playing D&D into the moon elf Vyserian Arasael) Sanctum: ●●●●● (Moderkainen's Magnificant Mansion spell, write-up forthcoming) Adversarial Backgrounds: Vyserian Arasael Fan Club: size ● / devotion ● Media Exposure: ●●●●● Suitors: ● Quantum: ● Quantum Pool: 10 Taint: - Temporary, - Permanent Chrysalis: - Temporary, - Permanent Archetype: - Willpower: ●●●●● Initiative: 9 Powers (Level 1: Violet, Level 2: Blue, Level 3: Green, Level 4: Yellow, Level 5: Orange, Level 6: Red - In Theme BOLD) Devices The Stars of Mystra – 14 NP Description: A silver necklace with a delicate woven chain connecting seven stars. Quantum: 25 Enhancement: Health, Quantum Attunement Mega-Attributes: Perception 2, Intelligence 2 Powers: Teleport 1, Invulnerability w/Broad – Physical 1, Invulnerability w/Broad – Energy 1, Invulnerability w/Broad – Mental/Psychic 1 Locked to Vysarian: The Stars of Mystra was given to Vysarian by Mystra herself, created uniquely for him as a reward for his dedication to Her and the magic of Toril. Ithilhyanda en Arasael (Moonblade of the Line of Arasael) – 8 NP Description: An ornate sword inscribed with runes. The scabbard and belt are decorated in similar style with runic inscriptions and embedded with precious gems. Quantum: 3 Quantum Pool: 21 (3 pts are permanently dedicated to Combat Awareness, which is always active) Enhancements: Combat Awareness Mega-Attributes: Dexterity 2, Wits 2 Powers:Quantum Weapon 1 (Weakness: Limited - Only augments the Moonblade; Linked w/Accelerate Time. Strengths: Level dropped to 1) Accelerate Time 2 (Weakness: Range - self only; Limited - Can only be activated as the linked power of Quantum Weapon or Mental Blast, not independently. Strength: Level dropped to 1.) Mental Blast 1 (Weakness: Target Restriction - Only targets that have resistance to or cannot be harmed by physical damage when attacked (such as Density Decrease 3 or above); Range - Sword attack; Linked w/Accelerate Time. Strengths: Level dropped to 1, Aggravated Extra) Locked to Vysarian: The blade is mystically bound to Vyserian's family. In the hands of anyone else it is only a normal ornate longsword. When Vysarian dies the blade will pick one of his family members to pass to (this now includes Amaranth's family). However, the blade must pass to an elf or half-elf, so more than likely only one of his children (should he sire any) would be able to claim it. Should he die without and elven (or half-elven) heir, another elf may attempt to awaken the blade to their bloodline by performing a ritual and attuning the blade to themself. For this particular blade, the ritual involves holding a vigil in the name of Mystra in a place sanctified to Her, swearing an oath to the service of the goddess and the preservation and advancement of magic and arcane knowledge. Merits & Flaws Acute Hearing: 1 Acute Sight: 1 Light Sleeper (Elven Meditation): 2 Photographic Memory: 3 Quantum Sensitivite: 2 Sexy: 1 Signature Weapon (Longsword): 2 Taint Resistance: 5 Minority: 1 Many people make assumptions about Vyserian because he erupted from a girl into a male elf. Of Two Hearts: 5 Vysarian finds himself unable to access the power he once had. His spellbook is lost to him in this new world and between his removal from the universe that Mystra holds power in (including his separation from the Weave) and Amaranth's utter lack of of faith that his goddess is even real, he finds himself almost entirely powerless. Only the fact that his ancestral blade and the gift from Mystra Herself still function at all (though Her gift is no where near as potent) gives him any hope that he will one day regain his own abilities and perhaps find his way home. Until he can reconnect with his goddess and recreate his spellbook, though, he is unable to cast spells, which this world calls "inherent quantum capabilities". Aberrations (Low: Violet, Medium: Blue, Severe: Green) Aberrant Ears: Pointed elf ears. Aberrant Eyes: Sapphire blue with gold flecks. Aberrant Hair: Silvery-white and only on brows/head. Distinctive Looks: After the media coverage, Vyserian is only ever mistaken for one other person: Kevin, but only when someone mistakes his gender. Sex Object: The living fantasy of rpg'ers, MMOers, and otaku world-wide, Vyserian is often a hot elf first and a person second. Surreality: Much the same as Sex Object, most people find a "real life elf" just too interesting; those that don't care about the elf bit are usually caught by the gender change or the royal pedigree. Fragile: Vyserian's constitution is much weaker as an elf. Known Languages Native: Elven Others: Fearun Language Family, Romance, Deus Vox (as the language of magic) Movements Walk: 5m, Run: 11m, Sprint: 38m Soaks Base Soak: 3B/1L Healing Rate: x2 Health Levels: Unhurt Hurt Injured Wounded Maimed Crippled Incapacitated Dead Creation/Apotheosis Log Baseline - Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 4, Stamina 1, Perception 3, Intelligence 4, Wits 3, Appearance 2, Manipulation 3, Charisma 3 Abilities: Archery 1, Martial Arts 1, Ride 1, Stealth 1, Endurance 3, Resistance 3, Awareness 3, Academics 1, Bureaucracy 1, Computer 1, Linguistics 1, Medicine 1, Arts 3, Disguise 1, Style 2, Diplomacy 1, Subterfuge 2, Etiquette 3, Perform 1 Backgrounds: Allies 5, Backing 2 NP Expenditures Available while Dormed: All skills. Resources 5 -Note: Dormed Appearance Eyes: Brown Hair: Dark Brown Height: 5 ft. 2 in. Weight: 110 lbs. Picture to be added. Nova - 44 of 100 NP Spent 5 NP Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 5, Stamina 3, Perception 4 & 5, Intelligence 5, Wits 4 & 5, Appearance 3 - 5, Charisma 4 & 5 10 NP Megas: Dexterity 1, Wits 1, Perception 1, Intelligence 1, Appearance 1 2 NP Enhancements: Artimis' Bow (free), Artistic Genius (free), Electromagnetic Vision(free), Linguistic Genius (free), Unaging 3 NP Abilities: Athletics 1, Melee 1-3, Awareness 4 & 5, Academics 2, Linguistics 2-4, Survival 1, Arts 2-5, Tactics 3 26 NP Backgrounds: Attunement 1, Dormancy 5, Node 1, Resources 3 - 5, Sanctum 5, Gadgets 23 NP 0 NP Powers: None 0 NP Willpower: 0 NP Quantum: 0 NP Quantum Pool: Freebie Points - 15 + 8 + 14 + 1 = 38 pts Adversarial Backgrounds: Fanclub (1/1) -2 Media Exposure -5 Suitors -1 Aberrations:Aberrant Ears - Pointed -1 Aberrant Eyes - Sapphire blue with gold flecks -1 Aberrant Hair - Silver-white and brows/head only -1 Androgynous -1 Distinctive Looks -1 Sex Object -1 Surreality -1 Fragile -3 Flaws: [*]Minority - He's a elf, used to be a she, is still Eurpean royalty, and doesn't know if he's straight, bi, or gay now. -1 [*]Of Two Hearts - Vysarian finds himself unable to access the power he once had. His spellbook is lost to him in this new world and between his removal from the universe that Mystra holds power in (including his separation from the Weave) and Amaranth's utter lack of of faith that his goddess is even real, he finds himself almost entirely powerless. Only the tokens that his ancestral blade and the gift from Mystra Herself still function at all (though Her gift is no where near as potent) gives him any hope that he will one day regain his own abilities and perhaps find his way home. Until he can reconnect with his goddess and recreate his spellbook, though, he is unable to cast spells, which this world calls "inherent quantum capabilities". -5 Merits: [*]Acute Hearing +1 [*]Acute Sight +1 [*]Concentration +1 [*]Devotion: As a cleric of Mystra, it is Vysarian's imperative to preserve knowledge of magic, spread it's use and understanding, and create magical items. He loves his goddess deeply and cannot be swayed from his belief in Her - and the truth of his own past and universe. +2 [*]Light Sleeper (Elven Meditation) +2 [*]Photographic Memory +3 [*]Quantum Integrity +5 [*]Quantum Recovery 3 +3 [*]Quantum Sensitivity +2 [*]Sexy +1 [*]Signature Weapon (Longsword) +2 [*]Taint Resistance +5 Backgounds: Backing 3 - 5, Resources 1 & 2 +5 Willpower 4 - 6 +6 XP Log 05/01/2012 +25 (25), May XP 06/01/2012 +25 (50), June XP 07/01/2012 +50 (100) July XP and Anniversary XP
  15. location: Atsugi japan (4 years ago) "You got to me kidding for FREE?” One Japanese business man raised his voice. “Dr. Hitosh you are not going to agreed to this are you?” asked the second Japanese man. “Just wait Nomoto and listen to him,” DR. Hitosh replied. Nomoto was furious. He thought, I traveled from Tokyo to listen and all I find is this trash. “He is not even Japanese he is a gin-jin!” Nomoto declared. At that moment he was distracted by the Stranger that walked toward him. “That is true honorable sir,” Supreme said while bowing to him. Dr. Hitosh Enjoyed the reaction of others meeting Supreme for the first time. “Mr. Nomoto my I introduce Supreme” Spoke DR. Hitosh. it was entertaining as Mr. Nomoto tried to make sure he heard the name correctly. Supreme spoke up “ Sorry sir you must forgive the location but I want to do this outside the boardroom.” “The Agreement is Simple you will provide these machines in the following hospital and qualified doctors to run them” Supreme looked into Nomoto eyes as he said it. “ Yes it will cost Millions” supreme answer before Mr. Nomoto could voice it. “ But in return You will have the sole Rights to produce, Marketed it as you See fit for the next 10 yrs” Supreme told him “ That is all good and nice but what does my good Doctor and Professor here get” Asked Mr. Nomoto trying to clear his head. It sound too good to be true but at the same time it made perfect sense after listening to Supreme. “I get to be the first Doctor to show off the procedure to the media and the board” calmly Reply Dr. Hitosh Mr. Nomoto thought about it. the doctor would become famous overnight. He then turn to look at the Professor. The man sat on the Medical board and Tokyo University. Professor looked at Mr. Nomoto “ all the Doctors will go thru me to learn this Procedure, this will Keep the Procedure with in japan” “ Machine will put a end to most surgery that cuts into the body. Allowing a doctor to preform surgery that would not be possible otherwise. But it will take highly skilled doctors to handle the equipment.As they must deal with dozens of variants at once. So I will train the First Dozen to handle it. Then Prof. Hidero here will screen and train the others “ explained Supreme. Mr. Nomoto looked at the information then back at Supreme “it will take years to build them” Mr. Nomoto Said as the finial obstacle to his agreement. “5 years to be correct” Supreme reply. “ But do not worry I have a working model that the good doctor was taught on,” “ you can use that to show your board and investor. The Good Doctor has agreed to preform all Surgery using it.” Supreme told Mr. Nomoto. Supreme watch as all doubt left Mr. Nomoto. Supreme finish up “ I will leave the Detains to your company to handle” At the end of the golf game. After every one left. Dr. Hitosh stayed back “ you know you gave up a lot of money and fame over this” “ I do not care about that, we have a duty to the human race and I for one will pull us up by the shorts if I have to. The current infrastructure won’t support my designs so I will change it so it will” Supreme told the Dr. with full conviction. “ why not America instead of Japan” inquired Dr. Hitosh. “ Simple America is a great land but the current political climate is not ideal for me.” Supreme said Dr. Hitosh Said goodby to Supreme and drove home. After he arrived home. Dr. Hitosh sat down in his chair and closed his eyes. he was exhausted .Dealing with Supreme was tiring to the Extreme. He laugh at that thought. “ In a good mood Doctor” Said a Pink hair Japanese women who was waiting for him. “ So what is going on in T.C.R.I they contacted you nearly 6 month ago. “ asked the woman. “ You were Right, Director Nishimura there was a Nova involved.” Dr. Hitosh told the Director. Director Nishimura waited as the Doctor gather his thoughts. “ we should be careful dealing with him, with the right influence Japan can be leading in medical technology and more.” responded Dr. Hitosh. “ He just convince the CEO of Kyocera Corporation to fully fund his project” “ What project” inquired Director Nishimura “ It is next generation of operation and therapy. I can not tell you more because he will find out” Dr. Hitosh said as he close his eyes. The Dirctor quietly left the house. Meanwhile outside a young man came up to the Director. “ mam should we put a detail on him or send someone to bring him in” the aide asked. Director read the note that Doctor handed to her as she left “ No we will leave him alone for now. But I want a agent at this place now and it must me a local” “What is the agent assignment mam” the aide asked in confusion. This was not normal policy in handling Nova's. Director Nishimura was lost in though, yes let this Nova build deeper ties to Japan. It will make it easier to deal with him latter. " Find a Girl that can cosply if possible and she will do nothing but give detail report of her daily activity." " See about arranging a Anime expo in the area some place near there." Director Nishimura told her aide. she though there are many ways to handle this, but first she needs more information to go on.
  16. Nova name: Supreme birth name: James t Cross Nature: survivor Demeanor: visionary Theme: Perfect man. Str:(well built) 5 Dex:(catlike) 5 Sta ( resilient) 5 Per:(insightful) 5 Int:(bright) 5 Wits:(creative) 5 App:(alluring) 5 Man:(persuasive) 5 Chr:(polite) 5 Athletics:1 Martial arts: 1 Melee:4 Stealth 1 Endurance 5 Resistance 5 Awareness 1 Academics 3 Bureaucracy 3 Computers 5 Engineering 5 Linguistics:1 Medicine: 5 Advance Medicine: 5 Science: 5 Arts:1 Biz:5 Rapport:1 Intimidation:1 Style:1 Subterfuge:1 Command:1 Etiquette:1 Perform:3 Background: Node 5 , N-stage node 1(7th star), Resources:5, Cipher:3, Backing 5(T.C.R.I) contacts 5( business), allies:1 (department 0), allies 2(anime company) gadgets 5( wrist comp ), influence 3 ( anime ), influence 5 (medical),Gadgets: 5( "kitten" computer agent"), Allies 3 ( local Town folks- japan), influence 2( board of education ) Allies 1 (Us black ops) followers 2 (maids), influence 3 (japanse gov't) Gadget 5( epic masterwork katana) contacts 2 ( chairities) Willpower:3 Taint 0 Quantum:5 Quantum Pool: 50( spend 25/turn) Mstr: 4 lifter, unbreakable Mdex: 4 Fast task,enhances movement Msta: 5 Fertility,regen,Resiliencex2,adaptability,bio-energy buffer,convalescence,Health,unaging,Vitality Mper: 4 Electromagnetic vision,holographic awareness Mint: 4 taint resistance, Fast learner, mental prodigy(medicine,administration, finanicial,computer), inventive Genius, Providencex4,Project Coordination,editic memory, speed reading Mwit: 4 artistic genius,synergy,Hypercognition, Unpredictable Mapp: 4 seductive looks, almost alive Mman: 4 the voice,subtle Mchr: 4 seductive, pedagogue, Drill Sergeant Powers: Time manipulation 1(age alteration) Molecular manipulation 1( molecular alteration) Gravity control 1( flight) Healing 5 Invunerablity 3 (physical) Invunerablity 3 (energy) Warp 2 Body modification: Augmented Blood Combat Style:Kenjutsu 3 rd specialty: +2 acc. +1 damage Syle Maneuvers: Dodge, sweep weapon form(Katana), disarm, weapon bind Advance Technique: Iaijutsu( +3 int, +1dmg), Kiaijutsu(+1auto sux), Merits: taint resistance , Flaws: Obsession( mastering his Mega attributes and the nature of what is quantum energy) Intolerance( Priests )-due to being called spawn of satin in front of hundreds of people Obsession( anime collector) now as a nova he is thousand times worst. but no one cares He can not develop dormancy due to his dislike of his old self. height 6'6 ( James 5'9) weight 250 lbs (James 245 not muscle) hair: silver long flowing ( short uncombed) eyes: deep green ( blue) Age:20ish (40ish) break down Attributes (7 np) abilities(4 np) mega attributes( theme 27x2=54. 3 enhancement 2x3= 6) powers ( out of theme 3 level3 3x5=15, theme 1 level 3 1x2= 2) background(7 nova=35) Freebie points( . backgrounds+15 =15fp) Quantum 5 ( started with 5 free) Theme ( all mega. healing( due to death of his family)) Experience xp: earned:280 5/1/2012 - 25xp - Month of April Participation 6/1/2012 - 25xp - Month of May Participation 6/28/2012 -5xp- prequal 6/30/2012-25xp CN 2nd birthday 7/1/2012 - 25xp - Month of june Participation 8/1/2012 - 25xp - Month of july Participation 9/1/2012 - 25xp - Month of aug Participation 10/1/2012-25xp- month of Sept participation 11/1/2012-25xp- month of Oct participation 12/1/2012-25xp- month of nov participation 01/1/2013-25xp- month of dec participation 12/23/2013-25xp -xmis xp: spend:Theme 3xp Heath enhancement 2 xp BM: Augmented Blood 12 xp Providence x4 3 xp Fast learner 11xp Advanced medicine 5 3 xp project coordination 3 xp Hypercognition 5 xp healing to 2 3 xp Drill Sergeant 6 xp Invulnerablity to physical and energy 4 xp combat style: Kenjutsu 2 xp Allies ( US black ops) 1 4 xp Followers ( maids) 2 3 xp eidetic memory 3 xp Speed reading 3 xp mp: financial 3 xp unaging 3 xp Vitality 6 xp adv tech 3 xp Computer 3 xp unpredictable 6 xp N-stage Node 1 2 xp conection 1=2 2 xp influence 1=2 72 xp mega 3 to 4( all) 9 xp out of theme WARP 1 45xp healing to 3 to 4 to 5 30xp invul(both) to 2 to 3 7xp warp to 2 2xp acad to 3 2xp bur to 3 4xp biz to 5 6xp influl to 3 XP spent 269 Initiative: 16 Movement: walk: 7m Run: 21m (x5=105m enhanced movement-125 kph) Sprint: 95m (x5=475m enhanced movement-565 kph) Soak: Bashing: 38 (5 for stamina, 5 from mega, x2 resilient(both), invulnerablity) Lethal: 28 (2 for stamina, 3 from mega, x2 resilient(both) , invulnerablity) Health levels Bruised x4 Hurt x1 Injured x1 Wounded x1 Maimed x1 Crippled x1 Incapacitated Dead
  17. [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.
  18. Collin Nathan Chatham (Jedi) Strength: 5 Mega Strength: 5 Dexterity: 5 Mega Dex: 5 Athletics: 5 Drive: 1 Martial Arts: 5 Melee: 5 Stealth: 2 Pilot: 5 Stamina: 5 Mega Sta: 5 Endurance: 5 Resistance: 5 Perception: 5 Mega Per: 1 Awareness: 3 Intelligence: 5 Mega Int: 3 Computer: 5 Engineering: 5 Science: 5 Survival: 1 Wits: 5 Mega Wits: 5 Arts: 3 Biz: 2 Rapport: 3 Appearance: 5 Intimidation: 2 Style: 2 Manipulation: 3 Mega Manip: 1 Streetwise: 2 Subterfuge: 2 Charisma: 4 Mega Cha: 1 Command: 1 Etiquette: 2 Perform: 1 Soak Totals: 30/25 min +successes on FF roll. (die pool penalties reduced by 5) 5/2 Sta 5/3 Mega Sta 15/15 Armor [5]+Sta+FF successes x2 soak Force Field Health Levels: +3 bruised from Mega Sta Willpower: 10 Taint: 0 Quantum: 5 Q Pool: 50 Backgrounds: Attunement: 5 Backing: 2 (Just out of prison) Node: 2 Gadgets: 2,2,2 (Comm Unit, Sunglasses, Antenna) Followers: 4 Sanctum: 3 (Airship Hanger) Sanctum: 5 (Space Ship) Resources: 5 Powers: Claws: 5 (AP) Intuition: 1 Psychic Shield: 3 Armor: 5 Forcefield: 5 Quantum Bolt: 5 Telekinesis Suite: 5 Molecular Manipulation: 1 Luck: 5 (in theme - guided by the force) Enhancements: Mega Str: Quantum Leap Precision ? Mega Dex: Fast Tasks Omnidexterity ? Mega Sta: Adaptability Regeneration Hardbody Mega Per: Ultra-peripheral perception EM Vision Mega Int: Eidetic Memory Mental Prodigy: Engineering Mental Prodigy: Scientific Mega Wit: Quickness Quickness Artistic Genius Mega Manip: The Voice Mega Cha: ? Power Notes: Force Field: Forcefield is defined as his ability to dodge, block and deflect incoming attacks though his martial abilities and/or the use of his lightsabers, however, even if he is unable to actively defend he can still call on the 'force' to shield himself. Claws: His 'claws' are his lightsabers, and like the lightsabers in the movies, they cut through nearly anything (armor piercing), and cauterize any wounds as it creates them. Weakness - Must have a lightsaber prop in order to use his claws ability. Sanctum: Nate has purchased an Airship hanger in California to use for constructing his spaceship. Features: Host, Igors, Professional (Inventor's workshop, Computer workshop, Mechanical workshop), Posh Sanctum Sanctorum: (SpaceShip - The Star Gem) Nate has built a second sanctum, his space ship. Han had the Millennium Falcon, Lando had the Lady Luck, Mara Jade Skywalker had the Jade Shadow, which later became Luke's after her death. It only stands to reason that the only Jedi alive ought to have his own ship as well. Since there are no other space ships currently in existence (as least as far as the human race is concerned), he didn't feel it needed to be a warship, in fact he felt more that he needed a place to get away from it all, a place to live and party among the stars. So, rather than copying the Falcon or the Shadow, he looked to Lando's example and decided that a flying luxury yacht would actually be more his style. So the design of the ship is such that the upper half of the vessel is basically a posh luxury setting for great parties and comfortable living. The bottom half is where the business happens. The ship was built larger in scale than Lando's ship, and capable of doing some heavy lifting. Retractable docking clamps have been designed that will allow the Star Gem to connect to large cargo pods for delivering scientific equipment, or even habitat modules to distant planets. His goal is to use the Star Gem on a contract basis to make space deliveries for the Governments of Earth as well as for private individuals and corporations. Despite it's luxury qualities, the ship will have the ability to be upgraded with advanced weapon systems and other gear in the future as the need might arise. In a sense, for Nate it is like an old car that gets constantly tweaked and upgraded as an ongoing project, never to be totally finished. Stats: Posh, Host x3, Igors, Mobile x3, Sensors, Long Range Sensors, Gravity Generators, Shields, Professional x2 (inventor, computer), Well Hidden x2. Enhanced feature: Traveller The ship was finished on March 1st. Gadgets: 2 Lightsabers: (Always has at least 2 spares in case in case his get lost or destroyed.) (These do not actually count as gadgets in terms of point costs since the do not actually have any functional value.) These do nothing in anyone elses hands, they are just props for his Claws power, however they are more than just simple props. They do contain large high quality gemstones that Collin made himself. The tubes are a titanium alloy and in the base is a "power crystal" which is a gemstone that he created containing matrix of gold filaments as a power nexus. The inside of the tube is coated with a sheet of solid gold. They are each masterpieces of sci-fi imagineering and beautiful and elegant accessories that he constantly wears on his belt. Comm unit: (2pt Gadget) Unlike the lightsabers, his comm unit is a functional palm-sized computer and cellular device. It's is the equivalent of a high-end server, and has both wireless capabilities and jacks in order to connect via hardwire to other systems. Sunglasses: (2pt Gadget) The sunglasses works as a heads up display with adjustable opacity for his comm unit. There is high-fi surround-sound output and noise cancelation built in. They have full 3D HD capability. Wireless connection to comm unit. Antenna: (2pt Gadget) (1 Q to activate and use) A credit card sized device which contains a hair thin retractable wire that can attach to a port on a computer. When connected to a piece of metal in a building or other structure will cause the building itself to act as a massive antenna for amplifying wireless signal. It can broadcast and receive on any wireless or satellite network. Teleporter Band: (Q Pool: 19, 2 Q to activate and use.) The band is the size of a large watch and upon activation teleports the user to the desired destination. Hull Steel: Hull Steel is a transparent alloy of titanium, tungsten, and several other metals that has strength and durability 30% beyond modern steel and titanium alloys. The new alloy is capable of resisting the negative effects of space as well as surviving reentry. More importantly, because the material is completely transparent it is an ideal substance for everything from ship hulls, to replacing the glass surface of an iphone or ipad or other electronic devices. Because of it's light weight it can also be used for such purposes as replacing bulky and heavy bullet proof glass in automobiles and banks. There are literally thousands of uses for it and Nate has licensed it's manufacture at reasonable rates such that he will get more money through making a few cents off every piece instead of by gouging those who want to buy it. He knows it will be a revolutionary material and wants to share it with the world. This is also the basis of Nate's 5 dots of Resources (Complete) Quantum Capacitor: The Quantum Capacitor was designed to provide power in both quantum energy and electrical for Nate's space ship, but could be used just as easily as a power source for anything else. One Q-Capacitor could provide enough power for several standard homes. A ship like Nate's would require several capacitors to ensure adequate power at all times for all systems. (Complete) 5 Quantum 5 Q-Conversion Can be attached to both quantum powered and standard electrical devices Q-pool of 50 Gravity Engine: Fufills the function of Repulsors from the Star Wars stories. By controling the gravity in and around the ship, it enables it to lift massive loads into space without having to reach escape velocity speeds and perform reentry at slower speeds. It also provides for regular Earth gravity in and around the ship while it is in space. Ironically this means that the ship and it's occupants will be at zero G when launching into space and landing. (Complete) Sublight Drives: Anti-matter engines capable of 80% of Light. However, due to acceleration not being instant it will still take time to move around the Solar System. Engines will be based on this concept: http://www.technolog...lation-toolkit/ It will be a matter creation gadget/device coupled with engine similar to those discussed in the link. The basic idea is that the matter creation device will create a small fixed amount of anti-matter and matter each day, enough to supply the ships drives with fuel. The device will channel the fuel to the engines where it will be stored and used as needed. Because matter created is for a finite duration the fuel will be replaced as needed by the MC device. Shield Generator: Based on the Forcefield power with a fixed output of 17 lethal/bashing soak.
  19. The Professor paced on the bridge, the dark bluish smoke of trans-dimensional warp moving past in a spiral before her on the view screen. It was going to take a bit to get to Brittania. The D-Drive was still recovering and The Professor didn't want to go over half-power. "Three... status report." "We are approximately 3 hours out from Brittania, Professor." The Professor was dressed in her familiar outfit that Brittania was used to seeing. It looked like the girl's uniform for when she was teaching her children, except she had a normal white shirt and a red tie, also she wore black slacks and wore her labcoat over it all. Yomiko walks in wearing something similar, but kept the uniform blouse with the white sailor collar and bow and the skirt. She had Martin's overcoat on. "Something wrong, Professor?" Sakurako scratched her chin. "Just that signal... the nobles on Brittania agreed to name Sarah the new Empress... Something smells... it was over a year since Sarah started her overtures, but this is... too easy." "So I and Chris are going in to investigate?" Sakurako adjusts her brown vest. "No... the best show to put on with Sarah's arrival, is to have her back. Chris alone is a intimidating factor. This is gunboat diplomacy, unfortunately." Yomiko grumbled. "I don't like it." "I know... not my style." "No... this smells like a trap." The Professor turns, and hugs Yomiko with a smile. "That's why it's fun. you've learned well enough to have my sixth sense in regards to such things." Yomiko grinned. "I've read your diaries enough."
  20. 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.
  21. 21 Days after their birth... Sakurako was tired. But happy. Every hungry mouth required her attention. She was perpared. She had a schedule where two at a time could be fed by her over the course of an hour. She believed in a natural feeding, so she faithfully scheduled her day around the new lives under her care. In between she had everyone on deck. Chris handled the heavy lifting in regards to getting food and supplies. Mary helped with caring for their health, and Sarah loved cleaning and caring for them with The Professor's help. Three monitored their every heartbeat and cry as a digital Nanny. And Sakurako knew it wouldn't last. She sensed it, their Quantum was starting to surge upward. She felt their movements. She knew Yomi was already talking and some of the other babies were already expressing powers, although in very subtle ways. As she fed Kamina, it happened. He started to glow at his last feed, and he grew. The others grew one at a time soon afterward. Yomi being the last to have a growth spurt. Sakurako sighed as she noticed they were starting to grow teeth and were starting to seem they wanted semi-solid food. She wondered why their growth was like this, but she realized that their childhood wouldn't be long as she surmised. They will only be toddlers for a few months. Adolescents in the same way. It would be a year before they were full adults. She sat in her office and cried after taking a break. "I'm... going to have to enjoy every moment... aren't I?" She picks up her communication unit that looks like a antique phone on her desk. "Tokyo command, yes this is Sakurako. I'm going to have to take a year's time away... right... Yes the younglings. Oh good everything is in order? I've seen my Mother is handling her duties as the Chancellor very well. She's already dropped martial law and has started the mechanical things required for Democracy across the planet. She's more suited for it..." She sits back. "I'm... okay... Just I gotta enjoy every moment of my children now. Tell Mother when she is able thank you for everything." She hangs up and sighs. Before standing back up and stepping out. Her children are starting to figure out how to walk. And somehow with her perception... it seems even for it's evanescence it was... just right.
  22. Sometime last summer… The buzzing of her phone interrupted Karrie’s writing. “Damn it,” she growled, shoving the laptop further down the couch and kicking her feet over it. She’d really been in the grove; Shadows of the Endless Night, the latest installment of her Endless Night fanfiction series, was just reaching its emotional climax. The glance at the caller id didn’t help her mood: Mom. With a groan, the girl rolled her eyes. “‘Karen, do you have a boyfriend yet?’” she squeaked in a high falsetto. “‘Karen, are you still collecting that stupid anime?’” She punched the connect button with a sharp tap of her thumb. “Hi, Mom.” “Karen?” The sound of her mother’s voice wiped away all her anger. “Something’s happened. We need you to come home.” “What’s wrong Mom?” Karrie asked, her fingers tightening around the phone. “Is Dad okay?” Oh, please… not his heart… “Karen… Sami’s dead.” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- “You can’t catch me!” The girl scurried up the rock face, her nut-brown skin scraped and dirty. She wore ragged jean-shorts and a thread-bare hand-me-down Power Puff Girls t-shirt. “Samantha, wait!” the other girl called. She was just as dirty and brown as Sami, but where the older girl moved with grace and confidence, young Karen moved less certainly. Still, she gamely followed her cousin up the rock face, pulling herself up as rapidly as she dared. Her own t-shirt was an oversized tee that proclaimed her a diva. Like Sami, her shirt had come from the local mission. The two girls went higher and higher, the world falling away behind them. It was only twenty feet, but to two children less than four feet tall, it was as high as the world. Karen was panting by the time she’d pulled herself up onto the top, but even she had to admit that it was worth the climb. Being on top filled her with an exaltation and sense of success rare in her life. Her house was below them; other buildings dotted the area. Sami was sitting on the edge, looking out over the sparse beauty of their ancestral land. “You can see all the way to New York,” she told Karen, who believed her because Sami’s eyesight was better than hers and she had no idea how far away New York was from the Four Corners. “What’s it look like?” young Karen asked. “It shines in the sun and everyone’s smiling,” Sami said, her gaze faraway. “No one’s hungry, and everyone’s happy. The children play all the time, and adults laugh at least once a day.” Karen knew that wasn’t true, but even at that age, she understood the necessity of dreams. They were free, and that was all most on the Rez could afford.
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