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~One~ ,, "Mayday, mayday, mayday, this is the HMS Thunder Bay - " ,, There was a spark, and the smell of ozone, and the young man swore, pulling his fingers back from the radio. They tingled as he sucked on them. "Damn seawater - " He left his chair, stepping carefully on the wet floor of the radio room, as it started to tilt uneasily. He grabbed a raincoat off the wall, using the rubber to insulate his hand as he reached for the radio again. ,, "I say again, mayday, mayday, mayday, this is the HMS Thunder Bay requesting immediate assistance! Our escort suffered fuel loss and had to turn back and we have already launched our Hurricat. We are not under active fire but we have suffered a breach and an engine failure and have taken on water! I say again, mayday - " ,, The man paused, and started to stand again, as the captain of the vessel entered. "Sir - " ,, "Don't salute me, Fitzgerald, get back on the damn radio!" ,, "Sir, yes Captain Wells, sir!" ,, Fitzgerald leaned close to the microphone and repeated his message, exchanging a quick glance with the man running the sonar station. Captain Wells just looked out the window, and sighed. "At least the Hurricat chased off the bombers. Small mercy, but I'll take it." ,, "Mayday, mayday, mayday, this is the HMS Thunder Bay, requesting immediate assistance - " Fitzgerald paused, as the man at the sonar station slowly stood. ,, "Sir." He cleared his throat, his voice cracking. "Sonar contact, sir. It… it fits the signature of a U-boat." The captain closed his eyes. "I see." He cast his gaze out the window once more. "Well, they'll surely sink the boat. But they may leave us alone if we get into the lifeboats…" ,, The sonar operator and the radio operator exchanged glances. Captain Wells just smiled. "We gave it a shot. Just in case they don't sink the boat, I'll be staying behind to make sure it goes down properly." ,, "Sir - " ,, "Head to the lifeboats, Fitzgerald. That is an - hmmm." ,, Captain Wells leaned towards the sonar screen, tapping it, examining the pale green afterimage. "Hornby. Is that boat surfacing? ,, "I - yes. Yes, it appears to be." ,, "Why? They have us dead to rights down there. Why surface when they can get in range of the deck gun?" Wells then thought for a moment, and nodded. "They may intend to take the boat. If that's true then we have a chance to take a few of them with us. Get the lifeboats ready, but do not abandon ship. Ready the deck guns. We'll just see if… they are surfacing rather quickly, aren't they?" ,, He kept an eye on the sonar screen, which didn't lie - every sweep brought the ship closer to the surface. "Someone's in a hurry. Keep transmitting! Keep an eye on the sonar! If you see anything unusual, tell me immediately!" ,, The captain hustled out onto the deck. When he emerged, he shouted orders, and the men's training took over, loading the machineguns with a fresh barrel and a fresh belt of ammunition. "They'll be surfacing at 4 o'clock! Get ready!" ,, The men obeyed. The captain waited. Indifferent as always, the seawater swept by. ,, After a tense minute, the spotter found the shape of the boat, seconds before it breached the surface. It rose to level, and then above sea level, and then - in front of four dozen disbelieving pair of eyes, the submarine lifted clean out of the water. ,, "What the hell?" The captain pulled out a spyglass, peering through it. His eyebrows shot up at something, and then he smiled. ,, "Captain…?" ,, "Keep the guns hot. But… we might just be okay." ,, The submarine descended back into the water, and then a small human form rose from the water - floating, heedless of gravity, in a red, white and black caped uniform. No one could get a close enough look, but the captain could see clearly through his spyglass, and it was enough to momentarily shake his disbelief in the almighty. ,, The person - clearly a woman, very clearly even at this range - floated down to the top hatch, and incredibly, knocked on it. After a few moments, a person's head popped out of it. For a tense few minutes they appeared to have an argument, then the hatch closed, and the woman dove back beneath the waves. ,, Someone came running in from the sonar room, shouting something about how the boat was retreating. The captain just nodded, waiting - and sure enough, the woman returned. ,, She floated through the air, stopping over - but not on - the deck. Water ran down her body, dribbling on the deck. Everyone looked towards her. It was difficult not to. She coughed. ,, "Okay, I had a chat with the only person on that boat who spoke English. I need to learn German. Anyways, ah, I tied all their guns in knots and threw out all their torpedoes and they say they're going to go back to Germany on account of all that, so you're okay. I see that you're taking on water so I guess you need a tow?" ,, Someone whistled. She flinched at the sound. The captain looked askance over his shoulder, and the offending whistler coughed. "Sir, sorry, sir." ,, "No way to treat a lady, Private. Especially one that just saved our lives. If you're waiting for permission to come aboard - " He looked at the space between the deck and her feet. "You have it." ,, She landed, gracefully. "Thank you. You're not far from ACE Base Atlantic. I can tow you there." ,, "When we get there, who should I credit with saving the lives of everyone on this ship as well as several hundred pounds of aetherfiber?" ,, "No one important." She ran her fingers through long blonde hair. "Honest."
Then ,, "Daniel, are you home?" ,, Carol frown at the living room of her dorm. The lights were all turned down low - unusual for mid-morning on a Sunday – but she could see Daniel framed by the window, sitting in the easy chair. She flipped the light switch, and caught Daniel's expression, and gently set her pack down. ,, "What's wrong?" ,, "Nothing. I'm fine." ,, Daniel didn't look fine. Beyond the soot and ash that everyone regularly seemed to wear since the attack, he clearly looked downcast, staring into the middle distance with a fretful expression on his face. Everything on the outside had changed with Daniel, to the point it rendered him unrecognizable, but Carol could still read his mood. She knew he was upset. ,, "Daniel..." She walked towards him. "C'mon." ,, "It's no big deal. Nothing worth getting upset over." ,, "Mmm." Carol nodded. She went into the kitchen, pouring herself and Daniel a glass or orange juice. She came back out and set the glasses down on the table, then took a seat on the couch. ,, "Well, tell me about it anyways. I like talking to you." It was true, of course. Carol did like talking to Daniel. She wasn't sure if she liked doing more than talking, but right now, talking was good. ,, "If you really want to know..." She sighed. "It's so petty." ,, "Tell me anyways." ,, "Someone groped me today." ,, Carol blinked. "What? Who?" ,, "Just some man. I pulled him out from the rubble and I checked him out and he had a broken leg, so I set him on a table and got ready for takeoff and that's when I felt his hand on my boob." Daniel shifted in his seat. "Granted, they're hard to miss..." ,, "Don't. Don't you dare blame yourself." ,, Daniel sighed. "Wanted to throw him through a wall, but he was dying. I got him to the hospital anyways. But dammit, I felt so..." He shook his head. ,, "You thought this was petty? You didn't want to talk about it?" ,, "Like I said, I could throw him through a wall. It's not like he could really hurt me. I have superpowers! I don't know anyone who has superpowers. It feels so small of me to whine about that when I'm not even hurt..." ,, "You're upset. You're allowed to be upset, even if you can fly. I mean, look what you did with that gift – you stopped a rocket attack and you're out there every day finding people who need help. I think you're allowed to get upset when someone pays you back like that." ,, "Even if that's the case, it's not anything women don't go through every day." ,, Carol leaned back in the couch, frowning. She sighed. "Well, you're right about that." ,, "I think I just sound like some... some privileged snob, whenever I complain about what you and Jenny go through. I mean, I can fly. Even if I'm a woman now, all that means is I go through what you were going through while I was too dumb to see. What do I have to complain about?" ,, "Well, when it happens to me? I complain. I vent. I talk about it with Jenny and we cuss that asshole out behind his back because we'd probably taste the back of his hand if we did it to his face and once I've cussed him out I feel better and it's a little easier. I don't tell myself that I'm lucky because there are starving war orphans in Europe, even if it's true. I just vent and I let off steam and I feel better." ,, "Have you ever cussed me out?" ,, "Not too often. I mean, there's the one time recently, before, you know..." She waved towards Daniel's body. "All this." ,, "Yeah. All this." Daniel closed his eyes. "Carol, today's the first day since the lab accident that I wished that 'all this' hadn't happened." ,, "Ah." Carol nodded. She took a drink of her orange juice. "You didn't before?" ,, "Well, I've been kind of busy..." ,, "Yeah, but I know you've had some quiet moments since then. I know you think faster. I'd have figured, well... well, if it had happened to me, I'd be freaking out." ,, "You'd freak out if you had bigger boo - " ,, "Not that way! If I was a super-powered guy." Carol rolled her eyes. "Thanks for reminding me how jealous I am, by the way." ,, "Any time." Daniel managed a smile. "No, I freaked out, but people needed help, and I put it aside and did what I could. And when I got some quiet moments, I went back over everything that happened and I realized that I was mostly okay with it. I mean, yeah, fine, it's a big, big change. But it's a good one in a lot of ways. I think more clearly now. I see things differently. And flying? My God, Carol, we should go do that sometime. When I'm up there I feel more free than I ever did in my life. Compared to that, most of the time, being a woman now is nothing more than humbling. I can handle a little humbling. Most days." ,, "Just not today." ,, "Nope." ,, Carol nodded. "I'm sorry he did that to you. He's a pig." ,, "He was." Daniel looked out the window. "Didn't deserve to die in a rocket attack, though." ,, "Nope." ,, "You said that this happened to you?" ,, "Oh! Yeah. It was before we met. A cop chased me. Grabbed me right here." She pointed to her left breast. "I didn't say a word. I just cried, and everyone thought I was crying because I felt guilty about stealing a candy bar." ,, "... wait, is this the story you told me about how you stole a candy bar?" ,, "Yeah, but I think a cop grabbing my boob is worse than me stealing an Aero." ,, "Now I remember. This was just after you moved here from the U.S., right? You were addicted to Aero bars and didn't have any pocket money left." ,, "You ever had an American candy bar? Aeros are like an orgasm in your - " Carol laughed as Daniel turned beet red. "I'm glad I can still do that to you, at least." ,, "Yeah, I'm not really ready to talk about orgasms yet." Daniel loosened his shirt a bit. "I feel a little better. Thanks." ,, "You know, I was about to head to church. You should join me. You might like it." ,, Daniel refrained from rolling his eyes. "C'mon, Carol, you know I don't go in for that stuff..." ,, "They're doing a service for the people who were hurt in the attack." ,, "I'm glad. I really am. I just don't do the whole church thing. I'm agnostic." ,, "I know, I know. Come with me anyways. Do that thing with the glasses. I'll lend you some nicer clothes. You should meet more people than just me, Jenny, Conrad and Doctor Neufeld." ,, Daniel pursed his lips, then dug around in his pocket for his glasses. "Okay. Because you asked, and because you listened to me whine about being a woman. I'll go." ,, * * * ,, So Daniel put on his glasses, and pulled in on himself, and Carol went with "Danielle" to Knox United Church, in the downtown core of Calgary. ,, There was a collection plate, the totality of which was going towards the victims of the rocket attack, and Daniel found himself putting his last forty dollars in the plate. He didn't really need to eat any more, and other people did, and that was all there was to it. ,, Then the priest – or pastor, the man of the cloth, Daniel could never keep the nomenclature straight – asked everyone to bow their heads in prayer, and give thanks unto the Lord. Because Daniel didn't want to stand out like a sore thumb, Daniel lowered his head, closed his eyes, and spent the time thinking. ,, Okay, all right. What are you thankful for, Daniel Finn? ,, The prayer commenced, and Daniel mouthed along, while his thoughts turned to other matters. Well, I'm grateful for the few years I was allowed to be openly agnostic without everyone whispering about I was a godless slut. I guess I'm thankful for that. No, I'm actually thankful that Carol doesn't drag me to these things most of the time and is fine with me not being sure about God. ,, Also, I'm thankful that I was able to save her. And Conrad. And Jenny. And everyone else, really. ,, I'm also thankful that I can fly. I'm thankful that I can lift a car. I'm thankful that I can see so much more of what something is, just by looking at it. I'm thankful of how wonderful the world looks to me now. I'm thankful that I can go up far enough to see the curvature of the Earth. ,, And I'm thankful for... Daniel paused, unsure of the confession, even to himself. ,, Well, I don't know if I'm thankful for being a woman. But I'm thankful for a chance to learn what it's like to be one. I'm thankful for the past ten days and how eye-opening they've been. I'm thankful that I can look back on who I was and wince in embarrassment because I think it means I'm better than that now. I'm thankful I lived through the accident. I'm glad I got a chance to be a better person. I'm glad that Carol thinks I've grown. Maybe it means I actually have. ,, The prayer concluded. Eyes opened, and backs straightened, and a few minutes later, the service concluded. ,, "Feel better?" asked Carol, as they struggled into their winter coats. ,, "Yeah. Actually, I do. Thanks." ,, "Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ as your – just kidding." Carol held her hands up as Daniel raised a finger, ready to pontificate. "I'm glad you came anyways." ,, "Me too. Ah. Carol...?" ,, "Yes, Danielle?" ,, "What're you doing tonight?" ,, ,, * * ,, ,, Now ,, "What are you doing?" ,, She looked up at the sound. The man was a little bruised and bloody, but conscious, in contrast to the other dozen men lying around the makeshift base. The woman held in her hands an assault rifle, pointed at no one. Moonlight was the only illumination left, and it shone through a window. He'd pulled himself into a sitting position, but wasn't about to risk more than that. ,, "I didn't know you spoke English." She pressed her hands together, crumpling the gun into so much scrap. She tossed it on the pile, then picked up another. ,, "I speak a little." The man wore a German army uniform. He admired her as she moved - she had a body perfect in every way, including blonde hair and blue eyes – popular features where he came from. He was far from home, out in the countryside, away from all the pretty girls he'd never see again. Despite knowing he was about to die, the soldier couldn't bring himself to hate this angel of destruction. She smiled a lot. ,, She crushed another gun into a paperweight. "You should have spoken up. You could have surrendered." ,, "Did not think you would take me alive." ,, "Well, good news is you were wrong." ,, "How did you find us?" ,, "By accident, believe it or not. I saw the tank treads from the air. I was on my way somewhere else." ,, "Where?" ,, "You know I can't tell you." She crushed the last of their rifles, then started in on the pile of guns. ,, "What is with this pile of scrap you are making our guns into?" ,, "Well, I can't let you just walk out of here with your guns and going back to killing Allied soldiers, can I? And I'm a little too busy to haul you all back with me to a POW camp like I'd normally do. So I'm going to leave you with this - " She pulled a bayonet off one rifle, and set it on the ground. "And you're going to head back that way. You have enough rations in what's left of the tank - " ,, "What's left of the tank?" ,, "I kind of tied it in a knot. But if you need more you can hunt with that. You head back the way you came. You can lay low until the war's over. Or you can re-enlist and hope the next Allied company doesn't kill you before you kill them." ,, "You are joking. You'll kill us while we sleep." ,, Danielle shook her head. "No." ,, "You'll kill us while we walk, or starve us out - " ,, "No." Her voice was firm. "I don't joke about something this serious. You have a second chance here. I would hate for you to waste it, because you successfully lied to yourself about my intentions." ,, "If I was an ubermenschen I can tell you, I would kill you." ,, "Well. Hopefully someday you'll change your mind about that." ,, "Why are you doing this? At least tell me that." ,, Danielle thought for a long moment. She stole a glance out the window, looking out at the gorgeous moonlit night, and remembered another one like it, not too long ago. Danielle – well, still calling herself Daniel, and still thinking of herself as himself – and Carol, the latter in all her warmest clothes, flying high enough to kiss the clouds. She thought of what she'd been thankful for on the day leading into that perfect Sunday evening. ,, "Take it from me." She knelt, meeting him at eye level. "There's nothing more precious than a chance to change your mind. If you're dead? Then that's it. No more chances. And call me a softie, but I don't like taking that away from anyone." ,, "You are a softie." He chuckled, his gaze drifting downwards. "Very softie from where I'm standing." ,, "One chance." She held up her finger. "Nothing more than a chance to be better. That's all I can spare tonight. When I come back this way, I'm going to take anyone still left behind into a POW camp. I'll remember your faces, don't worry about that. If I see you again and you still have that uniform on, I'll have no sympathy left at all. It's just a uniform. It's not you." ,, Knockout stood up. She picked up the pile of guns-turned-scrap. "Going to go throw these in the ocean. Don't be here when I get back." She turned towards the window, and without a further word, flew through it. ,, The man stared at the open window for a long time afterwards, waiting for her to come back. He thought of what he'd say to the men when they awoke, of what they would do next. He compiled a list of who would opt to keep their heads down and who would go back out to the front. He wondered with weird fascination just what a Tiger tank would look like tied into a knot. ,, But mostly he thought of smiling faces, and realized just how much he wanted to see them again. ,, (EDIT: References to Danielle's codename edited out.)
"Carol! Wait up, hon." ,, At the sound of his voice, the young woman stopped in mid-step, and sighed, hunching her shoulders. She pulled back the hood of her winter coat to reveal short brown hair, pale skin with freckles, and light green eyes. The man running after her across the snow-covered university grounds was equally fair skinned, as Canadians often were in the wintertime. ,, She turned around as they young man closed the distance. She folded her arms. "I have nothing to say to you, Daniel Finn." ,, "C'mon, Carol, don't be like that..." ,, "Don't be like - " Carol bit her tongue. "I have to get to class." ,, "C'mon, Carol, what'd I do wrong? It was just a joke!" ,, "A joke." ,, "Yeah! Me and the guys, we're just having fun." ,, "You made mooing noises at Jenny! She put on less than twenty pounds, in winter, and you and the rest of those jerks you pal around with still make fun of her weight! In the middle of the cafeteria, in front of everyone!" ,, "Well - well - " Now it was Daniel's turn to bite his tongue. "Come on, we didn't mean nothing by it..." ,, "Daniel, she cried all night. I got no sleep at all because I was sure she was going to kill herself. I'm pretty sure she's sticking a finger down her throat again." ,, "She – what?" Daniel turned pale. "Carol..." ,, "And I have a really tough class, so please. Drop it." ,, "I – okay. All right." Daniel blew out through his lips, and ran his fingers through greased blonde hair. "Still don't think that it's something to break up over..." ,, Carol didn't say anything. ,, "Did you really think she'd try to, you know?" ,, "She tried it once before. Her brother used to – well, she got good at covering up bruises." ,, "He what? I – that son of a bitch. Is he living here in Calgary? I'll lay him right out - " ,, "He's not. It wouldn't do anything." ,, "Why didn't she talk to her mom and pop about it? Wouldn't they, you know, put a stop to it?" ,, "She did, Daniel." Carol look at her watch, and sighed. "But it didn't do any good. So she tried to jump off a bridge." ,, "Why didn't it - " ,, "Because you know us girls, Daniel. We like to make up our little stories. We like to talk behind your back and spin little lies about where we got the bruises and why – and why we cry over nothing. She told them. They didn't believe her. Because guess what, Daniel, most of the time you put a man's word up against a woman's, people will take the man's word. They'll take him at his word and go right back to telling her she should wear her hair down more or try and lose a couple of pounds." ,, "I didn't know." Daniel involuntarily took a step back. "Carol, doll, believe me, I swear I never would have said a word if I'd known - " ,, "No, you didn't know. I know. But Daniel, you still hurt her. You can still hurt someone without even thinking about it. You know that, right?" ,, "Yeah. Carol, believe me, I really am sorry." ,, "You should apologize to her in person. And Daniel? Maybe you should think about what it's like to be a woman for just one day. Just think about it for one day. If you're serious about why you want to get into the law, then you're going to have a lot of women clients. You should think about what it's like for them if you're going to represent them. And more than that, you should just think about it more, period." ,, Daniel said nothing. Carol looked at her watch again, and sighed. "Now, I don't know if you remember, but there's a war on. I need to get to class. We need nurses out there. We need doctors too, but I was three percentage points shy of the 90% I needed on my admittance exam, so nursing it is." ,, "Can – can we talk later?" ,, "I'm still mad at you. But... we'll see." Carol sighed. "I have to go. Bye for now." ,, "See you later." Daniel watched her go, light gray parka blending into the snow-filled landscape of the college grounds. ,, He replayed the events of the cafeteria in his head all the way back to his dorm, and they didn't leave him for the rest of the day.
Magnum Opus Real Name: Daniel Finn Assumed Name: Danielle Waters Nature: Caregiver ATTRIBUTES Physical (Sec) Mental (Pri) Social (Ter) STR ••••/••• - Well-Built DEX ••/• STA •••/• PER •••/• INT •••/• WIT ••••/• - Empathic APP ••••/•• MAN •• CHA •• Abilities (23 dots) Strength: Might • Dexterity: Athletics ••, Drive •• Stamina: Endurance •••, Resistance ••• Perception: Awareness •, Navigation •• Intelligence: Academics ••• (Law, Philosophy) Linguistics • (French,) Science • Wits: Arts •, Biz ••, Rapport •• Appearance: Disguise •, Style •, Perform • Manipulation: Diplomacy •• Charisma: Etiquette • Allies •• Ætherfiber ••••• Cipher ••••• Resources •• Willpower: 6 Quantum: 3 Bonus Points: (15) Speciality: Law, Philo 2 Willpower +3: 6 Backgrounds +7 7 Quantum Powers: - Mega-Strength •••: Precision - Mega-Dexterity •: Fast Tasks - Mega-Stamina •: Adaptation - Mega-Perception •: Holographic Awareness - Mega-Intelligence •: Self-Analysis - Mega-Wits •: Natural Empath - Mega-Appearance ••: Miss Nobody - Flight • - Armor • - Quantum Bolt (Bashing; Kinetic Energy) • Nova Points: 40 Mega-Strength •••: 9 Mega-Appearance ••: 6 Mega-Dex •: 3 Mega-Stamina •: 3 Mega-Perception •: 3 Mega-Intelligence •: 3 Mega-Wits •: 3 Flight •: 3 Armor •: 3 Quantum Bolt •: 3 3 Regular Atts: 1 XP Tracker: Debut: March 4th, 2013 Signal From The Noise: April, May 2013 30 Unspent XP