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  1. October 31 The Refuge had settled in for their first Halloween. The few kids around were particularly excited; there had been few celebrations of any kind, but Fox had ordered this one to be thrown. It was partially a declaration of normalcy; partially a celebration of life and partially a festival to unite the two cultures. There had been some friction between the two: they were two very different people forced together. Fox had done everything he could to smooth things over, but part of the issue was that he’d brought a number of supers with him. It was a huge power imbalance. It was always rough to get people to come into one. Hopefully, the party would help. The cafeteria had food from the stores and decorations, looted from a warehouse in Texas. Several people, particularly those lucky enough to be parents, had put together simple games – ones which the adults were starting to enjoy, too. Candy had been donated from Fox’s private store; he’d gathered it once figuring that it was close enough to food. He was proud that his group had come far enough that he didn’t feel the need or horde candy for sheer survival. The other thing he was proud of was cementing relations with Gabby's group. At the time, the split had been over leadership issues, but he was glad they were moving beyond those. The angelic leader had agreed to a trial run - her people would come and stay the night, participate in both celebrations and see if they meshed again. He didn't like all of her religious stuff, but she had taken some very skilled folks with her and Fox would be happy to see them return. And he was happy that there had been a priest among the locals, so that her people could get their spiritual needs met, too. All in all, a re-merger would a good thing for all involved. The locals had been explained the traditions but where hesitant to join. Tomorrow was a Catholic holiday, and they’d be hosting that. Fox was looking forward to it, even with the religious overtones. He wouldn’t be at the service – which was fine, according to Martin – but he was going to come to the feast, and knew several other supers would show. Ger and Markham would come, too. All in all, he was looking forward to it. Satisfied, the leader of the large island enclave leaned against a wall and watched the party get rolling.
  2. The bus had been quiet since the attack. The wind blew in through the shattered windows as the bus drove along the mountain highways towards Denver. Some of the refugees talked quietly, but most of them just huddled together, or sat alone with their thoughts, looking out of the windows and at the skies. Martin sat beside his mother, now and then persuading her to eat or drink, which she did mechanically and without real appetite. She wasn't really seeing him, he knew. The scar tissue of the emotional trauma she'd suffered over the last month had culminated in the horrible events of... was it really yesterday? Martin wiped a hand over his face. It was, wasn't it? It seemed so long ago now since his father had died, and he'd become... well, whatever the hell he was. Not a god, that was for certain. Or if he was, he wasn't the Olympus type of god. Never like one of them. Three down. he mused to himself. Three gods dead, and plenty more to go. He looked at his mother again, listlessly staring out of the window at the passing landscapes. He should have felt sadness with his concern, should be grieving. But all he felt was white-hot wrath, chained deep for now and waiting, always waiting for him to call on it. Fiona moved up, finishing the cleaning of her hands with antiseptic wipes and surgical alcohol they'd found. Martin looked over at her, his blankly glowing white eyes illegible but a question in the tilt of his head. The young woman smiled tiredly. "He'll live. We need more and better supplies soon though, or he might get an infection. Scratch that - he will get one. We've got some antibiotics from the pharmacy back in that town, but no telling how long they'll last." She gave Martin a bright smile. "On the upside, we have lots of bandages, antiseptic, needles, gauze and stuff. I made sure Dallas grabbed those." "Good." Martin told her with a nod. She'd cleaned up some, washed the dirt and blood off her face and arms. She was pretty, he abstractly noted. Girl-next-door pretty. And older than him by at least five years. He felt that he should say something more, and managed a smile. "Good thing you're with us. You a nurse?" "EMT for a few months. Working my way through vet school." she replied with a tired yawn, covering her mouth. "Sorry!" she said abashedly. "It's fine." Martin said with another smile, this one not so conscious. He felt warmer inside - not the caged fire of his Godrage that had burned since his change, but the warmth of personal contact. Simple, humanising. "We're all tired. You should sleep if you can." "In a moment." she said firmly, reaching for him. His eyes widened and his heart jumped, but she was merely taking hold of his wounded hand, the one he'd cut at Riley's cairn. "You should be careful, cutting yourself like that. We don't want you getting your bow-hand infected." She admonished him softly, smiling. Her hands were warm and gentle. Martin felt hyper-aware of her touch, watching her hazel eyes as she turned his hand over and unwrapped the bandage, peering at his palm. "The bleeding's stopped, at least. I should clean it to be sure." "The gods don't get sick." It was another woman who'd spoken: Marilyn. The shy housewife from Nebraska. She was awake, her head resting against the side of the bus as she regarded Martin and Fiona. The younger woman frowned, looking back at the already-sealed cut. "What, never?" "No. I was... I served them a little, before I... rebelled." she said quietly. "I didn't mind the cooking and cleaning, but not the... You know." Others nearby, listening in, nodded reflexively, as did Martin and Fiona. They knew, alright. All of them did. "Anyway, they don't get sick at all. No infections, no colds, no aches and pains the way we get them from sitting wrong or sleeping on the floor. At first I kind of believed in them. They were so powerful and perfect: I thought that perhaps they really were gods, or more likely angels." Her pretty but careworn face creased in a sad frown. "If they are, they're all twisted up, though. I used to think about why - why would angels be so willful cruel." "They're not angels, Marilyn." Fiona told her gently. "They're altered people, same as Martin here." Marilyn shook her head stubbornly. "I don't think that's right. I believe that those Olympus people are devils - fallen angels led astray and become evil. And Martin here, Phobos..." she looked at him with a smile. "He's the real deal. He's the lowly that's been raised up. He's like Moses and the angel Michael in one, come to save us and smite the evil." "I don't feel like an angel, Marilyn." Martin told her, aware that Fiona was still holding his hand and poking around the edges of the wound. It wasn't true, of course. He felt different, emotionally remote yet incredibly connected to the Now. He'd never taken human life before today, and had killed three gods and who-knows who else in the explosions he'd set. And all he could think was that it was a good start. A messenger of wrath and vengeance. Sounds like an angel to me. "Maybe you don't." Marilyn said. "I'm not going to say I'm right, but I think you're our angel, Martin." There were some murmurs of agreement and smiles. Dallas grinned at him. "Martin the Godslayer." the older man said, half-joking, then shrugged when the others looked at him. "What? It's like bein' a dragonslayer from those fantasy films. Anyone ever seen that one? Dragonslayer?" The discussion turned neatly to movies people remembered from the old world they'd shared before it'd gone to hell. Martin relaxed a little and closed his eyes, aware of Fiona's fingers as she cleaned and re-bandaged his hand. "Make sure Pammy gets to take a break from driving." he said in a tired voice as he drew his father's well-worn leather jacket - still too big for him but his, dammit - around his shoulders. "Watch the skies, and wake me when we get to Denver." "We will, kid." Dallas said quietly under the soft babble of animated discussion. "You get some well-earned shuteye. You did a man's work today." The last words were lost on Martin, who'd already fallen asleep, sinking into dark, bloodsoaked dreams that didn't scare him...
  3. October 31 Olympus James smiled at the excitement that permeated the entire complex. It was hard not to smile at the bands of roving kids that we running around in homemade costumes demanding treats so they didn’t trick you. It was almost like being back before Z-day and he was sure some of the girls were thinking the same. “Hard to believe it’s almost been a year,” Jo said, leaning against James. He had his arm around the woman who was still his first girl, and had been ever since that hospital. “This time last year I was wondering which SCA garb to use for my costume, and this year I’m just happy to see that anyone’s feeling safe enough to trick or treat.” James nodded as Nashwa and Pat approached; behind them hovered Ayanna, an inner-city girl that Han had found on a raid to Denver. She’d been assigned to tend to Nash throughout her pregnancy, but it was clear she had designs on joining James’s harem. To date, she hadn’t managed to score an invite, but the dark-skinned teen was pretty enough to make James wonder whether he should ask the others about including her. She was a nice girl, and already friends with Nash, Pat and Jo. And of course, if he really wanted to expand, it wasn’t like Ayanna was his only choice, either. Nashwa was showing and glowed with peace and contentment. “Venus may join us later,” Nash told James with a smile, “but I believe she and some of the others had an adult’s only party planned.” “Fun, fun,” Jo laughed, shaking her head. “I know, right?” Nash giggled. “I’m barely able to get through the day without two naps and constant help. She’s managing orgies.” “She does have six helpers,” Pat pointed out, smoothing some of Nash’s hair back and fussing it back into her braid. “You have one.” “And she fucks every one of those six,” Jan said, her tone disapproving. “Daily, to hear them talk.” “Is that true, Anna?” Nash asked. The girl shrugged. “They say it is, but they might be lying. Getting chosen by one of the gods reborn is an honor, even if you’re just a sex-toy.” Her dark eyes caught James’s. “To get chosen for more is the greatest honor.” “We have a party to get to, right?” Helen asked, cutting into the moment with forced cheer. There was a general party, where food, drinks and games for all would be served; the family had agreed to go when it was first announced. “We should go.”
  4. October 31 Abandoned Rural Hospital in Mexico Jasmine sighed as she watched out the window for the Hummer to return. James had gone scouting for supplies and gear with Simon, leaving her and Primal to watch out for the kids and Mrigesh. He was almost healed but was still regaining his strength; walking for long periods wore him out and sitting upright for more than a few hours caused him pain. It had been a long recovery, complicated by the fact that their patient had also been the one giving the medical orders. But everyone thought they would be leaving soon. That was good, as far as Jasmine was concerned. Financially, the rest hadn’t been a bust; the group had been able to scavenge the area heavily instead of the usually grab-and-go they did. As a result, they hadn’t lost money by having to sit around and wait for Mrigesh to finish healing. “Jazzy!” Pumpkin burst in the room and leapt on her bed, her face covered with a crudely drawn cat face. “Imma cat! Mreow!” “Yes, you are!” Jasmine said with a laugh, smiling at the child. She was admittedly more and more nervous as her pregnancy progressed, but she was relieved that taking care of children seemed to come easily to her. There would be some adjustments but she was mostly sure she could handle them. “You guys playing a game?” “Nuh uh! It’s Hawwoween!” October’s already over, Jasmine thought, wondering where the time had gone. “What’s Hana, Eric and Celeste going as?” “Nothin!” Hana pouted. “Eric and Hana say they’re too old, ‘n Celeste don’t get it! I wanna go trick or treating and they say I can’t!”
  5. Nov. 2 ... Location: Refuge Curacao Island There was plenty of what had been park land off the 'Weg nar Westpunt', a main road that was one of he routes into what had once been the university campus at Piscedera, on the outer edge of Willemstad. The soil was great, the growing conditions even better, and there was ample solid bedrock in more than a few spots. Fortunately, Varro in his various inhuman forms could cut and work the volcanic bedrock of the island easily. Sarah and Dan had helped him pick the spot, solid ground for building and room to expand - since a greenhouse complex like Varro could cut from rock and erect might serve a valuable agricultural purpose if expanded. Right now, he'd be building something about the size of a garden nursery ... about an acre all told. He'd seen documentaries of how Cuba had completely reworked their agri-system, and knew about permaculutre ... this place would benefit from those principles. Plus, he'd been to Cuba, recently, and he knew that all those little organic plots scattered everywhere would be a treasure trove of food and medicinal species ... and all of them should have a chance at growing, if the stories about heirloom crops and the trend with natural plants held out to be the truth. Greenhouse wasn't exactly accurate except for in a few spots either. The climate was a bit dry, but ideal for growth most of the year. Varro would simply be creating large micro-climates to nurture a wider variety of plants from this and other zones. Thank you high-school biology and thank you to whatever allowed his mind to connect most of anything he'd ever come across into his intimate knowledge of science. The civil engineering was simple - giant slabs of stone set into simple but functional walls. Often the areas would be roofless. The rock he would start to cut from the ground would be a series of deep and narrow subterranean rooms and/or cisterns covered with more than enough of the metamorphic stone - in thick lintels - to make bases strong enough to build other buildings on. He didn't have the engineering knowledge to gauge what the minimum thickness of such lintels should be, but he knew that making them a few meters thick would be incredible over-engineering. The water management with sectioned cisterns would make ancient Romans proud, but there was no arguing with their way of having done things - those systems were still working well today in some cases, and built with no moving parts out of bare stone. Somehow, Varro had been able to pull the knowledge from his ancient history classes forth for that ... his para-human mind was truly a blessing. After the morning's conversation with Dan for advice on the fine points, he had sketched out the simple yet precise plans. It looked a little like a labyrinth of walls at various heights ... and he had just been thinking on where they would pile the soil to both store and mix it. There was plenty of natural phosphate on the island, they used to mine it a century or so ago ... back when that sort of thing was profitable ... so enriching this soil and keeping it that way would be easy. Dan and Sarah had mentioned they might be able to make it out today, and Fox had been quite enthusiastic about the project too - and had suggested he get moving on it as soon as possible. Even though ground had been broken - digging a few pits and cutting some rock for testing - the soil types too would prove useful. Some of the gravel here was rich in minerals useful for glass making. Pure white beech sand and recycled glass from this dilapidated work would complete the equation, and he'd shift into a solar furnace to put on the heat required. He could cast big deck prisms to light the rooms below ground with natural light ... saving Dan the trouble of installing too much lighting. He should even be able to use this volcanic stone to cut nice crucibles for the task. Varro checked his watch ... he'd busy himself with whittling some simple bowls and pots from the stone as he waited ... Everyone is invited ... Come out to the 'barn raisin' style green house build ..
  6. Nature: Survivor Height: About 5' 11" Weight: 180 Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown (little bit of balding) Duds: Surplus army/hunting gear. Got a ratchety old Jeep running low and some foods and guns and ammo. He won't be caught off-guard again. Strength: 5 (Brawny) (Brawl 2, Might 1) Dexterity: 5 (Hand-Eye Coordinated) (Athletics 1, Drive 1, Firearms 5, Legerdemain 1, Martial Arts 2, Melee 5, Stealth 5) Stamina: 5 (Tireless) (Endurance 3, Resistance 3) Perception: 5 (Alert) (Awareness 2) Intelligence: 2 (Engineering 2/Repair Specialty, Science 1, Survival 3) Wits: 5 (Unfazeable) (Rapport 1) Charisma: 2 Manipulation: 2 (Subterfuge 1) Appearance 2 (Intimidation 1) Backgrounds: Attunement 2, Dormancy 1, Node 2, Resources 3 Mega-Atts: Mega-Dex 2 (Accuracy), Mega-Per: 1 (EM Vision), Mega-Sta: 2 (Adaptability, Tireless), Mega-Str: 1 (Lifter), Mega-Wits 2 (Enhanced Initiative) Powers: "Imaginary SMG" (Tainted): Quantum Bolt 3 (MIRV) Makes noises and smells like spent bullets for a few minutes afterwards. No bullets, though. Just results. Quantum: 2 Quantum Points: 24 Taint: 3 Willpower: 7 Init: 1d10+14/19 Speed: W 7m/ R 19m/ S 41m Soak: 5B/2L Reply Report
  7. (This takes place the day after: Visiting Gods and Demons (Mature) It was right after/during breakfast, James had arranged for the family to eat in their room, including Ayanna. This wasn’t exactly a family meeting, or maybe he was avoiding making it a family meeting. A small part inside him wondered if he was easing her into a new role. James cleared his voice and said, “Yesterday I had a dust up with V. I wanted her help dealing with Vulcan …and… I didn’t get it. I was being too clever; my life would be simpler if those two hit it off. And all that is a distraction from the real topic which is I’m hoping Vulcan can help me kill someone.” The room looked surprised and a little alarmed at that and James sighed and said, “Open mouth, insert foot. Let’s start over.” James nodded at Pat and said, “Pat, I wanted to investigate more before telling you, to be sure, but it’s unfair to wait any longer. I'm convinced the destruction of Norman wasn’t your fault. I don’t mean it was an accident or you couldn’t have known. I mean it wasn’t an accident. Someone deliberately killed the city, but they sadistically let you take credit.” James held up a hand to forestall questions and said, “Norman has a death field, zombies run away from it, the field slowly inflicts injuries only Myf can see. The field is unstable and the zombies act odd in other ways. That's what we know.” James continued, “A few days ago I realized ‘unstable’ is another word for ‘moves around’. Then I wondered what could be in the middle of the field and I finally connected the dots. Norman was the first time we'd seen anything like this, but since then we've seen similar things.” James gestured at the world and said, “The super zombie in Vegas was smart. It could talk, plan, and was a smart sadistic monster instead of a dumb one. It herded lesser zombies around and used them like pawns. Zombies ran from the zombie blob. At the time I thought they were scared, but zombies don't get scared. Weeks later Myf told me it left injuries only she could see. Any of that sound familiar? Norman’s death field is bigger and weaker than the blob’s but that’s what is going on. There’s a super zombie. It’s making the field, the other zombies aren't acting odd, they're being guided.” James paused to see how Pat was taking this.
  8. "What is it in Man, that would drive them to madness? How is it that those who become marked, whose flesh becomes tainted, are always the ones to go first?" Benedict often wondered about such things, and tonight was no exception. The chilly nightwind shared with him its caress, sending shivers down his spine. He readjusted himself, evoking a creaking noise from the lawnchair on which he sat, its chipped paint and rusted nails a fitting entourage to the beat-up minivan behind him that housed his kitchen and his home. He knew a thing or two about madness, that's for sure. And flesh - he knew about that too. Some strange gift that had been sneaking its way into people's minds and bodies, making them more than Human and less than Gods. And driving them to insanity. And for each gifted with such wonders, a thousand more turned to nothing more than a gibberous, fleshy effigy. Nothing more than a shambling tombstone reading "here was once a Human being". He worried about himself too, sometimes. All cheer and smiles he seemed, laid-back like one of he beach boys. But he knew of flesh and minds, and he knew his wasn't infallible. That's why he camped outside sometimes, taking moonlit strolls and keeping an eye out for incursions of Zombie hordes or worse. Because sometimes, just every now and then, he'd worry about what might happen if he'd gone off the deep end. He'd been staring down that hole a long time before he decided to turn its back, and you never know what might be sneaking up on him. Benedict got off the chair, another strangled response followed. He set himself in motion, every once in a while breathing in the thick night air, tasting it on his tongue. Sometimes a scent was familiar, made him think back. Sometimes he'd smell food and he greedily ran his mind along its ingredient. Sometimes the smell'd be somewhat more...raunchy, and he'd smile that Glasgow smile of his that hid teeth that would make Jaws cringe. But not this time. This time, he smelled death. His brow furrowed, and he tucked his chef's hat under the waistband that fastened his apron - this might get dodgy. With a speed and silence hard to achieve for one so big as he, Benedict set off towards a nearby set of sandy dunes, a while off the quickly deteriorating road that led to the compound.
  9. Martin was still a little shocked by the union of their two camps. But he couldn’t deny that the life of the islanders was improving. The first thing that Fox did was patrol the island, seeking the rogue. He hadn’t found it, but the attacks had stopped. Fox had his suspicions on the matter, but kept them quiet. The next thing had been to sweep the island for zombies. There were still a few around and Martin’s people had been hesitantly slaying them. It was still perilous for them, but Fox, Dan and Draygo could kill zombies all day without even touching the ground. Once the zombies were clear, Fox had moved over the first of the supplies: half the food and medicine and all of the non-essential supplies. Men and women to renovate the buildings came with, and soon the university was a mini-village. As rooms were prepared, Fox brought people over, carefully shifting supplies to make sure that neither side went without needed food. Those people came over ready to work and started improvements. These went beyond the renovations that were required for basic living. They started to add the creature comforts. The women of the Red Tent took over a building, painted the door red, and went back to business. The rabbit breeder built a dozen new hutches for his new litters he planned for the spring. A woman set up her loom and started to make cloth. On and on it went; with sturdy buildings available, people were starting to relax and get comfortable. It was that last part that won over the native people of the island. Before, they’d been surviving. Now they were living and seeing that they might be thriving. In return, some of them agreed to help clean out the weird facility that the doctor had found. It was a way of giving back. Fox had also been careful to co-mingle the groups. He wanted a true community and for that, people needed to live together as one group. For that reason, he forced people to be neighbors. It didn’t make him any friends, but he hoped that would change when people made friends with their new neighbors. Building something worthwhile takes time, Fox thought, watching a group of kids approach each other carefully before starting to play.
  10. The road continued rolling south. They planned to stop in Carlsbad – avoiding Roswell – to stock up, but as they drew closer, they met a disturbing sign: a long streak of blackened earth. Bond called a halt to investigate. They parked a safe distance away and he advanced. Before he reached the black scar, he turned and waved them forward. “Grass fire!” he shouted when they got closer. “Is it still hot?” Mrigesh asked. “No, this is several days old,” Bond said, reaching down to touch a thin green shoot. It was smaller than his pinky nail, but a sign of new growth. “Maybe weeks.” It only took the adults a moment to realize the possibilities. With a heavy heart, they got started again. Before they’d gone more than two miles, they found the edge of the main burn. From horizon to horizon, the scrubs of southern New Mexico were ash wastelands. “There was nothing to stop them,” Mrigesh murmured. “Let’s see how far,” Bond said simply to get them rolling again. They’d just stocked up on water and food; they had enough gas to get well into Mexico. This couldn’t be that big. Hopefully, they’d find Carlsbad unscathed. Such was not their luck. When the town came into view, it was a black skeleton of abandoned buildings and gutted cars. A large crater marked a former above-ground propane tank. Worse were the actual skeletons; animals trapped by the fire – and the jumble of charred bones that were human. “I don’t think we’re shopping here,” Bond said casually, but his voice was tight. They did find a gas station with part of the pump left and were able to get some of the fuel out. It was clear that someone else had been using it; they only extracted five gallons or so before it ran dry. Then it was back to the road, heading south. Pecos was the same way, and Sanderson, and then they rolled across the Rio Grande. Once, the river might have stopped the fire, but the river will hadn’t recovered from man’s alteration to it, and the shadow of its former glory couldn’t even stop their trucks, much less a raging fire. Onward toward Mexico City they traveled, until even the most optimistic of them was privately sure they’d find it gutted and ruined too. The black gave way to green as they entered the upper reaches of the Sierra Madre Oriental, one of Mexico’s more eastern mountain ranges. The occupants of the two cars relaxed as they found proof that the fire hadn’t wiped out any chance they had of finding something. “It’ll be dark soon,” Bond said, looking up from his map. “Monclova is just ahead. I think that would be a good place to assess the local climate. Plus they might have goods for trade or acquistition there.”
  11. July 12, 2007 The sun and July heat was merciless, even this far north. All the windows were down, but it was still pretty miserable in the car. Thankfully, sunset was coming soon, in less than an hour. Ira had been following his gut, driving ever north. At first it was just Ira’s instincts; then they began to see signs for the Devil’s Tower. It was only miles ahead. Nervously, Ira proceeded. The call was pulling him forward; his fear for his ladies held him back. Things had been tense anyway since leaving the idiots in Walmart. Ira had, after his need for solitude had passed, explained what he knew of it to ‘Licia, but Cassie had been less than forthcoming about what she knew. Part of it was her messed-up tongue but Ira knew she was avoiding the subject. “The Lord of the Dead comes to deal with the King,” Cassie said suddenly. Ira jumped at her words. “What, babe?” “The Lord of the Dead? Is that the ‘Death’ guy you’ve talked about?” Felicia had doggedly refused to accept that Cassie meant the personification of Death. Ira didn’t know; Cassie talked about him like he was able to kill easily, at the least. Cassie shook her head. “Lord of the Dead, the caretaker of the sickened souls,” she said softly, as if that explained it all. “He seeks his King, just as Love seeks hers.” Cassie moaned, putting her head in her hands. “It is all coming to Death. He smiles with his Deathhead, and she cannot see it. He hides his corpses under a sheen of beauty.” “Right,” Felicia said, looking to Ira. Her gaze was clearly hoping for a translation.
  12. They got everyone settled for the night, each group providing their own security. Gabrielle returned to find her crew a bit tense from all the watchfulness, but none were so tense as Caleb and Jacobs. Both men were clearly on high alert, in direct comparison to Jack, who merely seemed tired. “They’ve been at it all night,” he hissed dramatically to Gabrielle. “We need to make sure the group is safe,” Jacobs pointed out. Caleb shut his mouth and cut off whatever he was going to say. It was, from the dark look on his face, exactly what Jacobs had been about to say. George found his group in a little better shape; while tense, they were a little less wound up than Gabby’s guardians. Cherry had walked over with them, but Colin had insisted that she not stay. With a last smile at George, she left, going back to her enclave for the evening. Click to reveal.. I am leaving this open for RP, if you wish, otherwise, I’ll edit to move it right into the next morning.
  13. "Ready?" Dan called. His voice echoed eerily up the dark, still halls of the old medical complex. Myfwany nodded, out of reflex, then yelled back, "Yeah! Hit it!" There was a loud clunk, and the overhead lights started to flicker on. Then a buzz started, and one of the panels exploded in a shower of sparks. Everything went dark again. Myf tried hard not to let her heart sink. The complex was in terrible shape...examination of the walls had shown many of them perforated by small holes. The 'leech' creatures Jon created seemed to exude an acid that dissolved the metal and sheet rock. They'd been responsible for all the collapses in the lower levels...to the point where those levels were simply structurally unsafe to move within. Fortunately Jon had retained enough sanity not to let them munch at the main load-bearing struts that held the floors up...or they'd all be sitting in a giant pit full of rubble right now. But even the first floor could be invaluable if the power could be fixed. If not though, it was good only for stripping of supplies. And supplies weren't what she needed. Well, weren't all she needed. What she needed most was space. Space away from settlements; secure space for the experiments that needed to happen. This would be a good place. If the goddamn power worked. "What happened?" she shouted. Dan's swear echoed up, then he said, "There was a short...tripped a breaker. I'm on it." Myf's big fear was that the leeches had holed the cables somewhere so remote...or so many times...that they'd never find all the gaps. Still...the lights HAD come on this time. Power had flowed. That was definitely a step forward. Almost all the debris and rubble had been moved out. Sarah and Kristin had handled the big stuff, and a horde of normal folks that Myf had never seen before, but who apparently owed Fox a favor, cleared out the garbage and smaller rocks and crushed office supplies. The bodies were taken out by Sarah, just to make sure no one 'caught' Z from them. Myf didn't think Jon would be contagious, but it paid not to take chances. There were still a few desks and chairs, and the few computers they'd found which weren't obviously too damaged to function. File cabinets, folders and notebooks...everything legible was gathered in the large room Myf was in. It had been a lab once, and God willing, it would be again. "Okay! One more time!" Dan shouted. The thick electric buzz again...but this time it didn't suddenly stop with a clunk and an explosion. Lights came flickering to life. Oh, it was dim...half the bulbs had been broken...and it had the sallow bluish tinge that cheap fluorescents had...but it was glorious. Most of the sockets still worked. New bulbs could be gotten. It could work. It could come back to life! Dan whooped and a moment later came into the lab. Myf felt like running over and hugging him, but remembered hearing he was in a relationship again (and with a sane woman this time), so she restrained herself. Not that it would have been a sexual gesture, but she didn't want to embarrass him. Or herself. She couldn't help grinning at him though as she came over. This tangible step was the biggest, best thing she'd done since joining the Refuge. Already her brain seethed with ideas for things to do. There was still a lot of work though. "This is awesome, Dan, I can't thank you enough. Do you have to run right away, or...well, I wanted to go over the plans for the zombie pen with you and start looking for where we can put it if you have time." Dan grinned his 'aw shucks' grin and rubbed the back of his head. "That sounds good, but...well, I should be checking back in. What about tomorrow?" Myfwany nodded. "Tomorrow's fine. And I have these computers and files and...all that to go over. Try to find out what happened to Jon and all. Yeah, tomorrow's actually better. Tomorrow then." "You'll be all right here tonight?" She nodded. "I'm fine. Way out of college and this is no haunted house." Dan looked around. "Maybe not, but it's still pretty freaky. Especially after what we saw in here." "If worst comes to worst I can fly back to the Refuge. Or call on the shortwave. I'll be fine." "Alright then, doctor. See you tomorrow." Myf waved as Dan ambled back out. "Seeya." She heard the security door open, and close with a resounding, thunderous clang. All alone now, in the belly of the beast. Very deliberately she didn't look at the wall. The blood smear had long since been wiped clean, but she still remembered it. She plugged in a laptop, and turned it on.
  14. Ali Badren Personal Information: Birth Name: Ali Badren Identity: Ali Badren Occupation: Refugee Legal Status: N/A Marital Status: Single Known Relatives: Moira Badren (Mother, deceased), Leyla Badren (Sister), Omar Badren (Father, deceased) Concept: Anti-Olympian follower of Phobos Nature: Follower Allegiance(s): Phobos, The Olympian Escapees Eruption: Hasn't occurred yet. Physical Traits: Weight: 156 lb. Height: 5'7 Age (apparent age): 20 Gender: Male Ethnic Background: Lebanese/White Nationality (place of origin): USA Eye Color: Brown Hair Color: Black Handedness: Right Appearance: Ali is tanned from his Lebanese heritage, taking after his father in that regard. He is of moderate height, but thinned out to a low weight for his age and body due to the confinement in Tartarus. Powers, Skills, and Personality: Known Powers: None. Abilities/Special Skills: By necessity, Ali was forced by Z-Day to pick up through hard experience and close calls survival skills, basic proficency with weapons, improved driving skills and other areas required to ensure a daily survival in the new world. His father gave him a skilled grounding in medicine and first aid, and the fleeing group from Olympus needs his medical knowledge. Personality: Ali excels at obedience, but ultimately that was through his upbringing, and more important than ever, as he is best a team member. He would have faltered on his own, to fatal consequences. Still, mixed with these traits are loyalty and firm steadfastness. Incidentally, he hates Olympus bitterly. Background: Ali Badren, prior to Z-Day, lived on the East Coast with his father, a Lebanese doctor who had immigrated to the United States and married Moira, Ali's Catholic mother, having two kids, the younger Ali and the older Leyla. A relatively normal teenage-hood with some medical training insisted by his father (though Ali had no interest in being a doctor) went through... then Z-Day hit. Given the high population density of the Washington suburb, the low gun count and the like, it was a miracle that the Badrens managed to make it out of the neighborhood and hook up with other survivors who had the sense to vacate the region. It was a long hard shift in life, where Ali had to learn to fire guns, and eat things his father would never have allowed before. Of course, his father could recognize necessity, and pressed his family for their sakes as well. They pushed west, and over several months, a vehicular convoy of travelers gathered together for protection and support, called the Bradford Caravan, after Jonah Bradford, the leader. Unfortunately, one day a surprisingly large force of zombies converged on the Bradford Caravan, including a pair of super-Zeds. Bradford was killed, and the Caravan had been facing annihilation when Han and compatriots arrived from Olympus and drove off the Zeds. Under the situation, Han offered shelter and succor at Olympus, and the battered remainder of the Caravan, the Badrens included, accepted. It was a terrible mistake. Upon arrival, it became clear that succor and shelter were not free, and the price was obedience, worhsip and integration. One of the first and most vociferous to object was Moira Badren, ever pious, followed by Omar. They were the first two to die in the second, but much briefer fight that erupted. Leyla, Ali and a few still alive were cast into Tartarus in short order, there at the mercies (or lack thereof) of the crueler gods. It was when Martin erupted into Phobos that he urged his sister, and the siblings followed Martin in the breakout from Olympus, and remain with him unscathed so far.
  15. Sarah lifted up a beer can, a budwieser by it's label, and stared at it as if it was doing something to personally wrong her. She could hear the chaotic bustle of the Refuge being stripped of valuables outside in the middle of the day, knew she could be helping with that work, but... It didn't seem nearly as important as the performance, or rather lack of performance, of the fluid formerly contained in the can she was examining. "'You have failed me for the last time'," she quoted gravely, soberly, "'Perhaps your replacement will not be so incompetant.'" The container was set down next to a half dozen equally empty others before the blonde megamorph even as an eighth was removed from a twelve pack box. She sighed and opened the new container, noting the flatness of the warm beer even as she began consuming it. Eighth time the charm, right? Of course, the fifth, sixth, and seventh times were supposed to be the charm, too. She had traded a whole box of shotgun shells for these drinks from that merchant, 'the best he had' she said, and... "God damn it," she intoned after a gulp of beer, only half the can left now, and still nothing.
  16. *Marion, Indiana. Two weeks after the purging of Jon's laboratory* Fox's warp opened to the intersection of two roads heading out of the south-west side of the city, between what appeared to be an airport and the city proper. The roads had the usual scattering of abandoned cars, weeds and grass working in from the roadsides and out into now fallow fields. A river burbled to the east of their location, and the scene was for the most part still and quiet in the noonday light. Sarah, for weeks now her rock-steady composure weathering from within due to the stress of Myf's revelation about the other side of their gifts even as they helped set up the Doctor's new enclave, sighed in relief and pointed northeast towards the city over a park going wild by inches, specifically a fence enclosing a large cluster of buildings about a mile or so away. "Indiana Weslyan University," she announced happily, blonde hair catching the sun and the blade sheathed on her back under a pack full of sample trade goods, "Home of Morgan Fox's Enclave and the place I found the hope I needed to live again. Everything looks okay from here, and I'm sure Mr. Morgan will arrange for one of us to leave quarantine in time to tell the Captain everything's good for us to continue for the next few days." Those words seemed to buoy up her smile further and she looked down at Dan with an eager 'shall we go now?' look.
  17. This one has been in my head for a while so I thought I'd try to put it out here (obviously in pieces). Fair warning, Adult situations, Adult context, and we've got a zombie holocaust coming up so there's going to be a lot of friends and loved ones eating each other. Parts of this will be dark. Saturday November 11th, 2006, Two Days to Z-Day 10:00 am. Suburb of Fort Worth, Texas. JoAnna & Jillian JoAnna drove up the driveway at the house and parked, then nervously checked herself in the mirror. She'd spent two hours yesterday deciding what to wear, this meeting was a big deal. It'd been almost a year since she'd actually seen her sister Jill in person and they'd both gone through changes and kept secrets. About nine months ago Jillian had hooked up with a married "friend" named Chris who was trapped in an abusive marriage with Jackie. Supposedly Jill was helping Chris deal with his two young children as well as living and sleeping with him. Where it got somewhat Springer-ish was for three months Jill didn't tell anyone that Chris was a woman and Jackie was a man. Jo had disliked being lied to but had always suspected Jill might swing that way, the two had made up the next day over the phone. Jill's parents had taken the news less well and still hadn't reconciled. They were still barely on speaking terms with Jill and their view of Chris didn't bear repeating. Making matters worse they knew Jack's parents. JoAnna had briefly talked to Chris several times on the phone but had never met her, so this was first impressions time. That also meant that Jo's secret was about to come out. Jo looked in the mirror one last time. Makeup good but understated, clothes casual but well done. It was going to be interesting to see how long it took Jill to notice.
  18. July 18th Kristin woke up late, eyes grainy from sleeping poorly. Finding the baby in the super-zomb's laboratory had reawakened her nightmares. She was tense and sore, the images that had flashed through her head filling her with dread. ... There was a terrible, high-pitched squealing ringing in her ears, her belly swelling under a horrible, roiling pressure, the leech-man and the leech-woman pinning her down with inexorably strength as their slimy, wriggling progeny slithered from between her muscled thighs in an unending stream, far more than her engorged womb should have been able to contain, a flood of monstrous leeches turning on their mother, drinking her blood like vampires, and she screamed and screamed and... Kristin sat up on her bed, shuddering and holding her head in her hands. Ashley was already gone. Preparations were already beginning to move the Refuge to the island, and though she would help, right now, she couldn't stay here, not in the same enclave as the baby. And anyway, even though most people were moving to the new location, Kristin was planning on staying as part of the skeleton crew maintaining the old place. She felt safe here and the last time she had left what she thought of as a safe place, she and Ashley had ended up in Paradise. She needed something to do beyond puttering around the Refuge and dwelling on the baby developing inside her, needed something to make this more of a home, so she was planning on starting some crops in her own field. Talking with some of the other farmers - the ones who weren't too wary around her - they had come to the conclusion that only heritage plants and seeds - those that hadn't been genetically modified - were growing with any reliability. Most of the seeds that she and Ashley had were going to the island, but she kept a variety of the heritage seeds they had for their own plot. The brawny girl stood up and stretched, frowning at the way her ever swelling breasts and belly protruded, then got dressed, jeans and a white tank-top. With the additional height and dense muscle she had gained from the manifestation of a new power, some of Kristin's clothes no longer fit, but most of it still did, if now tighter, and she had added some more from the surplus she had in her and Ashley's storage shed. Kristin ate a quick breakfast of canned peaches and pears, then left her room in Violet's, walking across the compound to where her truck was parked. People, especially men, gave her a wider berth than usual. Three more inches of height and some sleek muscle added to her already powerful physique made her seem just a bit more formidable, intimidating, despite a sheath of softness from her progressing pregnancy. The wariness in her eyes when she was in the presence of men was replaced by a harder, daringly challenging light. She checked that the bed of her truck was still packed with her farming supplies, especially the hand-plow she had traded for from another farmer. It was meant to be pulled by a horse or an ox, but it was in perfect condition and she was far stronger and healthier than any animal. She wouldn't even have been taking her truck, to save on the gas, but she was still looking for a good field near the Refuge. The closest, suitable places were already claimed, but anywhere within a few miles was still in jogging distance for her. Plus, she had promised Ashley she'd look around for any sign of Doug, someone she knew from Tent City. He and some of his friends hadn't been seen since they had gone on a salvage operation several days ago. She wasn't the best tracker or anything, but she didn't have to worry about zombs either. Satisfied with her truck, Kristin climbed up behind the wheel and drove out of the Refuge, roiling like a kicked ant hill in the frenzy of packing, heading North-East. That had been the basic direction the salvage party had headed, so was as good a place as any to look for an unclaimed field and signs of what had happened to Ashley's friend.
  19. What Alignment do you see your character as? What (Greek or other) god would your character be descended from? Starting off with James: Alignment: I'm not entirely sure. When I created him I was aiming for Neutral Good but in play he's been more Chaotic Neutral. Parent: Ares (While I'm at it I'll make his astrology symbol Aries the Ram)
  20. … Doctor Varroxxian ... … Z-Day ... Luke was a looser, and he knew it. A dropout who had probably wasted his chances, who had been disowned by his family for the debacle at college – and for the expulsion … or was it for the narrowly averted stint in prison for all that pot? Pre-med, brilliant … basketball centre, captain of the wrestling team … Harvard scholarship ... all flushed down the toilet. All for nothing, and no real school would have him darken their door ... ever. He would never ... ever ... be a doctor. So how did he end up here? Trying not to think any more about the 'this point in my low-life life' here and considering his surroundings Luke had no choice but to get another drink. It was a cruise in the Caribbean, and he was there with Samantha - a sex in the city sort of woman, more than twice his age. She wasn't bad looking, not great either - but she liked his physical gifts. She wanted it three times a day minimum and liked that her social circle saw him on her arm. He was up for it because it came with a nice place to crash, and perks like the cruise. In fact they had travelled the world in these last seventeen months. He tried not to think about the downsides, like how all of his clothes belonged to her except a few T-shirts and jeans. He wanted to forget about how one long six month party had blown his college fund and got him expelled - about how he knew his real gifts were wasted. He laughed, and smiled, and made sure his six pack showed through this open shirt as he sipped campaign at Samantha's side. He tried not to think how he hated this 'soiree'. Samantha had been under the weather, in fact the whole ship seemed to have come down with something - nasty flu maybe. He'd read about that happening, close quarters and all - cruise liner disaster. Still, people had come out for the night's festivities even though they dragged themselves around like they should be in bed. Then the screams came, the confusion ... Mrs. Hillweather just bit someone's ear off! For f**Ks sake what is going on?!? People look half dead! He was fine though, aside from being bitten by old man Jimson. His head was swimming with too much booze, and he was locked in an electrical service room, alone, no water. There were screams outside, fighting - thank God they had run those lines from these panels to the sound system in a half-assed way. Otherwise this door would have been locked, and the old people would ... have ... eaten him alive? It was hard to even think about, and his hand really hurt. The old fella had tried to take a bite out of him as he was pulling cables to get the door shut. Defensive wound though, not too bad. He really hoped that he wouldn't have to drink his own piss to survive this. He began to fall asleep on a pile of boxes with the world going to hell outside his door ... his watch read 1:06 AM. It had been seven hours in here, and he had to crap in a bucket, but at least the screaming and fighting outside had subsided. He began to fall asleep as he wept for the first time in years. To dream of floating in a cloud, like a nebula might look on the inside but warm. He was calm until he realized he wasn't breathing - he was drowning in some sort of smoke or vapour and his lungs tingled. The panic subsided as he drew a deep breath and realized that everything was just a bit numb, tingling inside and out. He was unusually lucid though, he could remember pi to fourteen digits. In fact, he was feeling better than he had in a long time. Unable to move relative to anything in this shimmering void - just floating, he began to notice strange and intricate patterns in the substance that surrounded him. He began to notice his own body was - different - made up of folds and strange shapes he could not name. Shapes he could not draw, but could somehow see mirrored in the void. It was as if he were in his own reality, and he could move relative to the patters of light, even shifting his perspective relative to his own body. "OK", he thought "I've taken something - Samantha has slipped me something and I am tripping or something. Tibetan sex powders or some shite". Clearly he had just started off with a bit of a bad trip, but this was some stuff she had found. Like that time in Osaka, or the stuff they almost got busted for in Cape Town ... oh man, there had been good times with this lady. This stuff was hitting him hard - harder than anything they tried in Amsterdam ... and that was a crazy week of resorts and white powder. Making the most of it, he imagined his arms as tentacles, he learned to swim in the void, and he reveled in deep thoughts ... all in what seemed like a timeless state, an eternity in some reality outside (underneath?) the regular world. He relived his life, or so it seemed - and he could recall so much. Every gong-fu movie fest, every class that he had half slept through, every insanely dull book that he had edited before quitting McGraw-Hill - an amazing wealth of self-knowledge and its context. It was as if he lived in his own reality, but he was utterly alone - a true master of his own form. He became exceedingly lonely. With great effort he could 'swim' or rather kind of slither, flow, shift ... through the nebula void. Once he even thought he saw someone else and he willed himself toward the other. It turned out to be some sort of refection, but also a part of him. As if he was a plant and had shot off a rhizome that grew into a copy ... and then was gone. That was a bit disturbing, but nothing like coming to the edge of the nebula and facing howling madness. The void had been familiar, more or less - sometimes more. In places, as he moved, he thought he could almost feel places he recognized but the stark void was chaos. He had never considered what chaos was, but it was terrible to behold, almost impossible to comprehend. Shapes that were painful, patterns that were not warm but suddenly hot. He had accidentally strayed into the chaos, and felt like he had stepped one foot off a thousand foot cliff. In reflex he retreated, recoiled from the horror and found himself in a cooler place. … Day 2 ... Not only was it cooler, but he felt different and he could see (feel? sense?) the electrical room. Then he was ‘back’. The emergency lights had run down to a dim red, barely enough to see by. It was warm, and the air was stale. The HVAC had gone out. Well at least he wasn't in a sealed space - just stuffy. He was hungry though, monster hangover hungry. He had to leave the safety of his hidey-hole ... so he undoogged the heavy watertight hatch and stepped out. The deck wasn't right ... the ship was about four degrees listing starboard and it was deathly quiet. Sunlight was streaming into the ballroom and the carnage was incredible. As he went to the buffet tables and overturned dim-sum carts he surveyed the gore. Folding the tablecloths into a Edo era Samurai style backpack he remembered from a movie in his high-school Japanese class he methodically gathered up everything that wasn't spattered with gore - passing on anything with a moisture content that might be more prone to some sort of bacterial contamination, everything from the bottom layers of the chafing dishes ... and some of the bottled drinks. He ate and drank like a starving man, so hungry that the sight of his fellow passengers mauled on the floor did not upset his stomach in the slightest. Making his way out onto the deck he saw that the ship had run aground on a small island, ten or twelve square miles by his estimate - and probably no real water because there was no settlement. The ship was firmly planted atop a reef in the shallow lagoon off what would have been a splendid beach in less f**ked up circumstances. This ship had sailed her last, even a typhoon couldn't unseat her from this. Suddenly he heard a shout "You! What are you doing! Run man run!" Looking around Luke saw the officer calling to him from the bridge deck, and then spotted the shambling horde that was approaching from the shuffleboard courts. They were a horrid semblance of life - not rotten but starting to bloat slightly like corpse in tropical heat. Here and there limbs hung at wrong angles, a steward had no jaw - ripped off. Some of them had been partially eaten ... it was like Night of the Living dead with a much better budget. Running like hell - but with some sort of (drug?) flashback to that dream ... he was somehow in is cabin. Poor Samantha, he though as he saw several sets of her shoes. He had tried not to look, not to think about her broken form in the once-grand ball room. He set down his backpack and just sat down on the bed. Then he - well the other him - rushed in through their room door and they faced each other. Then the screaming in horror came, which also subsided as the two ... hims ... realized that they were just as afraid of each other as, well it was confusing. So was the exploratory touching of hands - like coming up to a mirror to touch your own reflection but realizing its real. Even crazier was the re-absorption, and the flood of knowledge, of experience. As it turned out, the other him had been in a more direct meeting with the zombies (was he really thinking the word zombies?). Yeah, and the other him had changed into grizzly bear - the same grizzly bear that had scared the heck out of him when it wandered into his boy scout camp years ago. Sitting in his room, making notes on his Palm TX PDA about what he had seen and done. Hold crud - he could shape shift, and teleport! Somehow. Sh*t - there is a zombie outbreak. Zombie swarm? What to call it? Really do hope the world isn't over. After having gathered his thoughts and made notes, he moved to drop the PDA in its charge cradle ... realizing that there was no power. He then made his notes again, in Samantha's diary. Inventorying the room, securing the valuables and supplies under the bed in fairly well hidden cache he then trashed the room. If it looks like it has been picked clean, they won't look too hard. Carrying what he couldn't hide, looking like some sort of Samurai-Ronin-Mad-Max-reject-cross-dresser with his layers of light clothes and backpack with web gear made of fine ladies handbags and purses. At least he had brought two sturdy pairs of hiking boots, a couple pair of deck shoes and his favourite hat. He had the eco-gimmick metal water bottles from their visit to the spa. Good canteens. Sandra was a smoker too, so a couple of high fashion Zippos and fluid refills meant fire. One of the ship's fire axes worked too, can't count on these powers ... Making his way out into the hall, he left the door closed and got a laundry cart. from what seemed to be a dead housekeeper - kicking her to make sure she was dead-dead, not un-dead. It seemed that there had been some fires below decks, the air was fouled in places but he found his body adapting. Many of the dead-dead had suffocated ... seems like the watertight compartments had gone airtight somehow. They had smothered to death en mass. Someone else had been picking through the rooms - and here he was. Lost a zombie fight. From the dragging, irregular footprints in his blood it seemed that the walking dead had grouped up and left by the way he had come in. The fellow had a small propane torch on him, and aluminium tape with some tools (take them). This bastard had suffocated the sick hoping they wouldn't rise some other way. Hadn't worked out exactly that way. Below decks he found similar stories ... and some of the walking dead. In his first few encounters he just ran the other way - they were slower. Until he got cornered, then the bear came out again ... sure it was a bear made of metal ... not sure where that came from but whatever ... his blade like claws and metal skin made short work of the shamblers. From a quiet lookout aft, it seemed that the horde of dead was gathered around barricades to the upper decks - the bridge and adjacent officers’ quarters had become a hold out for some survivors.. The zombies seemed to sense they were there, and with slow thudding blows seemed to be trying to break through the barricade. The metal banquet tables had been welded in place - and still the dead tried to get to fresh meat on the other side. Suddenly there was a shout, and a glancing blow on Luke's shoulder ... Again, and in rapid succession ... plink plink, he was being shot! It was just deflecting from his metal skin. He called out, but a deep roar came out. Right ... I am a big stainless steel bear. He took cover, not exactly knowing how to change back right this moment as he'd been this way since he was cornered. He had placed it though, this was from a comic book his friend had written in his first year of college. He was a robot bear death machine ... from Robot Bear Death Machine Issue 1. OK, it had never made it to print - but that was what he was. The rest of the day was spent gathering supplies, tearing zombies apart, and relocating himself to a defensible holdout. Also dodging the terrified survivors, who were - quite rightly - terrified of him too. Sometime after the moon just passed its highest point he was done - his holdout was secure, and so were the immediate decks. He managed to change his hand enough to work tools, and had welded himself a safe room. Then, after an adrenaline filled day ... twenty hours of work, stress and fighting plus a belly comfortably full of the food that would go off by tomorrow ... he fell asleep again. Then came the dreams of the shining void. … Day 4 … Over what could have been hours, or days he slept. in the void he discovered the geometry of his essential form, the shape of reality that lay under what science or language can yet describe. He folded space, and folded matter - but he could only affect himself for he was all in that realm. The rest was just brilliant shadows of reality - some recognizable as his own reality, some utterly alien. In this space he gained knowledge of himself, he gained an understanding of science and medicine by studying himself and all the permutations of himself. He learned how to move, how to shift, how to shape, and he could even mirror himself. He woke knowing he could do these things in the physical world ... he wanted to consider it the real world, but what if the nebula was actually real? Dismissing those thoughts he again ate, and used the composting toilet he'd set up. Important thing that, not having to smell your own stink in a mostly enclosed space. Checking his watch, he had been sleeping for thirty hours. He felt so alone, and he had to go to the survivors. Carefully, still not in full control, he changed his shape to human. If anyone could see, he seemed to just blink - a clean film edit in reality. The FX people in Hollywood would probably end up adding flash, but even Luke didn't have an outside perspective ... for him it was a transformation in the radiant void. A mere moment later in this reality his body was strong like the steel bear, and tough like armour plates - but looking human. He made his way to the deck and climbed up a level. From here he could see a bit of the survivors stronghold, and he waved his white-linen flag. Hundred thread count sheets waving white in the wind ... he called out. "Hello! Hello! I am Ohh Kay! Not a Zombie!", waiting for a reply and getting none he added "Don't shoot! I am coming over!" With a few of the walking dead in his way he slashed and crushed his way to the stronghold - only to discover one of the barriers had given way. They had fought tooth and nail, but there were only two survivors - the Comms officer and a cook. Both of them bitten, both of them pale. They had fallen back to the bridge, and when Luke made it clear there were no more of the dead left they let him in. For the first time in days Luke wasn't alone, but it wouldn't last. He saw they were infected with whatever this agent was. They wouldn't last the night - so he shared their last few hours and then put them out of their misery. That was the hardest thing to cope with, he had to put them down like one would a wounded animal. At they end, they even reminded him of rabid dogs - a loyal, good animal that had to be put down. Then, once again, he was alone. .... 1 Month ... He hadn't found any people on the island. He had cleaned up most of the ship, given the dead proper burials - even said last rites. He wasn't Catholic, but it looked good in the movies he remembered. He had managed to catch some of the cached online news and web pages on various computers hooked to the satellite feed system. The news outlets hadn't offered much but the net held out long enough to confirm that his story had played out across the world. The world had died that day, about a month ago ... but their must be survivors He thought about preparing, he even stabilized the ship (it is amazing what a few super strong clones of him can do when they cooperate). He changed into a giant bird, something like he imagined a condor to be if it were carved in titanium like animated alloys. In this way he searched the surrounding islands, but he found hordes of walking dead. The rich and well to do didn't do all that well against the locals, or each other ... no survivors in a fifty mile radius. He was alone for now, but he had plenty to do. He could shift into anything but he needed practice with the forms ... some machines were actually way easier than living things, but he didn't know as much about 'hard' tech. He explored biology to extremes though, even testing the idea that his clones and him (or others) could exist symbiotically .... the clone changes into a sort of bio-suit - does all the work while he armours up and 'pilots' inside. Fortunately his clones come from him, and he's cool with idea - so they are too. He explored body modification, and replicating the amazing systems found in nature - like the vision of an eagle. Nature used available materials but he could use whatever he imagined. Birds with exotic alloy bones, hand like claws, and composite feathers were his experiment for a while ... and he became quite practised in making incredible flying forms with phenomenal long-range-wide-spectrum vision ... biology already did so much that he could compound with science ... and when he willed it, with what he understood only as 'magic'. It was very clear to him that his knowledge base only informed his use of power, and there was much more to be learned. … 2 Months ... Luke had become quite practiced at his new-found powers. His body and mind were changing too, accelerating. He no longer needed to eat as much - or at all, except that it offered him some human comfort. He had run into a lone zombie that had almost killed him, even in his bear form ... but once he optimized his physiology for the fight that zombie was toast. Damned thing even broke off one of his blade claws... When he shifted back that equated to a missing finger, which had regrown itself in four minutes. Nifty that, very handy - though it meant shifting to a regenerative form and that might not be viable in combat. Luke had even made it to an enclave in Jamaica - where he announced himself as Dr. Varroxxian. Also from his days of helping with the comic book - why not? Plus he was becoming sort of a Doc Savage type - all web gear and cargo pants. His knowledge of science and medicine had positively blossomed - his skills with computers and engineering remained mediocre, but his incredible intelligence managed to fill in the pieces. In this world gone to hell, maybe he could call himself a doctor despite the failings of his past. Doc Varrroxx made his visits to the enclave, and made a difference there - but there were none like him. There were no others there who had gained powers ... yet it was highly improbable he was alone. Not wanting to risk falling into the "chaos zones" of the "nebula realm" he had limited his teleportation to familiar places. If he really steeled himself, he discovered that he could go anywhere he had been ... even if only having been there for a moment ... but the trip to unfamiliar physical locations took him far too close to the chaos zones. This research would take him months, and unfortunately he could only access rudimentary equipment and supplies. Even those he eventually donated to the local enclave - stripping areas of the ship to set up a decent fortified clinic. … 4 Months ... Varro, as his friends had begun to call him - sounded Spanish so he sort of let his features settle more that way - made his rounds. He flew high, a silver bird surveying the land. He returned to his old home to find New York city a ruined wasteland. Hordes of undead and buildings ravaged by fire made for a land good only for salvaging the relics of civilization past. Boston, the same ... even as far north as he could easily teleport - the Alaskan Glacier where he and Samantha had camped on the adventure package last year ... all the same. In general, he didn't visit many enclaves in North America. Watching with his telescopic lens hawk eyes he had seen there was more violence than he was used to. Maybe it was the tougher conditions up here, not like you could just go eat a palm tree, scoop some fresh crab from the shore with a simple net, or open up a coconut as a fresh beverage. Some annoying little things he discovered along the way led him to much contemplation - it seemed his teeth and nails had become fixed somewhere between the steel bear form he first assumed and human. He had no trouble talking, eating, or with manipulation ... but he had these metallic bits. That and his eye color was sometimes off, the mole on his cheek came and went, and lost track of time since he rarely slept much anymore. But his teeth and ... claws ... were the most troubling aspect. Everything else was just habitual, or from sloppy shape shifting. They teeth we're anything he could identify either, not magnetic in any way, only mildly conductive, and fairly strong (though not exceptionally so if he didn't use his juice to shift them to weapons, etc.). He learned to hide them - wearing gloves and not speaking with this mouth very wide. The nails *must* be associated somehow with his blade claws, some sort of essential part of his transformation ... but a part he could no longer bring back to 'human' norm. He learned to stabilize them, able to effect them in a partial change ... just as he had learned to summon massive strength by affecting a partial change. Yet he could not restore them ... it seemed there was some things that one could not go back on. The worst thing was that normal people sensed he was somehow different. Just a little bit, but enough to throw them off. Somehow, he felt disconnected from them ... even though they listen and even obey when he tells them too. Still it was different with his team, in school. He related to the guys back then, he was one of them ... but now there was a divide. His teeth, his claws, his change of perspective ... the inability to relate to the people at the enclave. Varro contemplated, even discussed with himself, a big question: What am I? ... 5 Months ... Gathering supplies for the enclave was fairly easy work. Varro had mastered a few handy forms that made raids against normal targets not a problem. He could manage four clones, and that sort of team had facilitated a great set-up on the island too. He had also learned to be cautious with para-humans. One notable case was a man by the name of Harris - Emperor Harris. He had gone a bit off his rocker, but he was like a drug. It had taken all the mental reserves Varro had not to go back to the fellow after he absorbed the memories of the clone scout who visited the madman. Fortunately the Emperor was insanely focused on his tiny island kingdom - convinced it was the last refuge for humanity. He also had a passive aggressive way of dealing with other para-humans ... namely pitting them against each other. They didn't seem to last too long, and his scout clone was sure he had already been slated for the gladiatorial arena by the time that him managed to teleport away. Varro shuddered at how strong the influence of even the second hand, absorbed memories were. This sort of power could mandate the irrational. Hyper-social abilities worried him, but there was little he could do except establish a policy of isolating himself from direct contact. Then he would question the scout clone extensively, have that other him write reports (according to a coded format) along the way - and not absorb the memories directly. He had begun to notice his own hyper-social capacity emerging. Was this something he had to have ethical worries about? Physical power was one thing, but social power ... was it too much for an individual to handle? … 7 Months ... Though Varro had been thinking about the cause of it all, he had been more concerned with the state of it. He had helped the Blue Valley enclave in Jamaica, but had declined any sort of leadership role. He just felt unable to really relate to these people, and the tensions really built when he broke the news that they were all infertile. He had noted the total lack of pregnancy despite lots of unprotected sex. Some still don't believe him, some blame him in an unconscious way, but he doesn't show his face there too much anymore. "Perhaps", he thought, "I am not a great community builder. Maybe I need to find one that suits people like me." Certainly he had met 'supers' like him. Some of them had even been OK, but they had all been little kings of their own castles. The ones who looked like they could take him he stayed away from, and he used clones whenever he could. A few times, they didn't come back - most of the time his giant metalic spider form clones, or a pack of stainless steel bears, won the day. Fortunately, there were few super combats all in all, since he tried not to fight, and even harder not to kill. Along the way he found a woman, about his age - smart as a whip and cute. Sterile like all the others so far, but she appealed to him. He was determined to afford her some safety - even luxury - in this world. He still felt distant from her, different - but he also felt love. At least something more than just physical, erotic love. She'd survived alone and so had he. She had become a scientist, and become stranded at a research station studying the flora of tiny island for cancer drugs. Varro ... he didn't even think of himself as Luke any longer ... planned to strike out from his shipboard haven. With all the easy salvage gone from the vessel it was of no real value except as a huge empty castle. He had sealed off the top castle and the small upper rec deck so that zombies (if they swam?) couldn't get in - heavy steel bulkheads double deep, no vents, no lines to the rest of the ship, no small accessible spaces for things to hide in (who knew if rats were carriers of a potential virus?) - and lots of natural light when the steel shutters weren't in place. There was enough water from rain catchment (a use for the upper swimming pool) and enough chemicals to purify years’ worth - and more than enough food stores for Weiwei to spend her time here studying. The supplies were even cached in a panic room in case someone got any ideas, but there was no one else for fifty miles. Really, the place was just for Weiwei, maybe-visitors and a little relaxation. Sometimes he just like to sit in a wing-back leather chair or sleep in a well-appointed cabin. "There will be time for that later" he said to WeiWei, "assembling a better library like we've talked of would be a great thing. Maybe using botanical and glassware level lab gear to explore some bioengineering research. First, I’ll find a place that's actually a home for us ... a community." ... They spent the last night before his trip excitedly talking about the lab she wanted to set up, strategies for scavenging remote scientific sites, and finding like minds - finding scientists out there. To himself, Varro thought about how much the powers he'd seen so far - even his own - were more like magic. He could create mass - so much energy in that mass that it would dwarf the worlds nuclear arsenal going off in one go for some of the shifts he had pulled off. He could survive without any apparent intake to supply his metabolism - even oxygen seemed moot as he had tested himself by taking extended strolls in red tide waters - with little or no dissolved oxygen there is no way he needed anything like respiration. Plus there was the teleportation, which was a direct effect of the nebula realm. He has regularly been violating the laws of physics. Even with his new-found enlightenment, an inhuman level of intelligence, he still had only the faintest idea of how to even investigate any of it. Clearly, Weiwei had sensed that he yearned to know more about himself. More than once, she had been present when some new feature of his ever evolving form became apparent. It wasn't the physical things that took him by surprise these days - it was the things that science couldn't explain. Like how we was able to sense the universe without senses ... Breakfast the next day was a happy farewell - she cooked up the last of the birds eggs along with the bao she'd made from palm flour. ... When his various selves returned from their first week of searching he found the haven empty. Tracking what might have become of Weiwei he eventually found her. On a routine trip to the coconut palms of the island for resupply she had been bitten by spiders. He hadn't been there but the venom has ravaged her - the pain must have been excruciating. Still, she had written him a farewell. For the first time in months, maybe since Z-day he had shed tears. Alone, without the help of a community she had died there in the jungle. She had died a senseless, painful death. He felt the loss, deeply - even though they had only been friends and lovers for less than six weeks. He buried her with the others, and while saying a solemn prayer ... decided to leave the place.
  21. 26th of August The Refuge was more and more abandoned. Most people were moving or had already moved and only a skeleton crew remained to look after the place. Jill still didn’t know if she should stay or go. There were too many things here that reminded her of... Violet and it hurt each time she looked back. On the other hand the thought of leaving felt wrong somehow. As if she would stop caring about the place and there was so much work they had put into building the various structures or even more simple things like tools, weapons and bolts for everyday use. It had been almost 2 months now since her becoming as James always spoke of it and she was still struggling with it. She absolutely loved the changes, especially the strength she now possessed but she wasn’t the strongest around. Still it felt amazing to lift impossible weights and simply work with metal like never before. Jill always had an affinity for her craft but having the ability to actually bend the material to her will and practically merge with it gave her entirely new and different options to work with it. She could create new compositions of metal – flexible and yet unbreakable for example – or she could make them sharp unlike any other tool or process could ever achieve. Creating simple tools and bolts for the new ‘Refuge’ was now a simple task for her and she could salvage more material with less loss. If she only had possessed these powers before then she would’ve been able created an impregnable fortress, or at least something very close to it. Jill surveyed her resources and the list of request she had received which was mostly requests from Captain Fox and Dan who were practically in charge of the move. Jill sighed as her eyes set on the huge titanium sheets Kristin had brought. They were from a plane crash site and Kristin had requested to have a sword made out of it. Kristin... even now after she had become she still envied her. While Jill looked larger and stronger than the younger woman/girl Kristin was stronger than her. At first Jill had thought that she was doing something wrong. She had no concept of how their powers really worked, she simply pushed and found herself able to do feats she was incapable of before. Yet she had believed that everyone had the same strength once you went super. Of course that was not the case – some where still stronger than others. The young woman was sitting just across and watching what Jill was doing. Their relationship was somewhat uncertain since Kristin rescued Jill from certain death and then Jill suddenly became instead of turning into a Zed. Jill tried to avoid the subject and actually did a lot to steer out of Kristin’s way which wasn’t really difficult but the two women shared a lot, more than many knew. They both were addicted to Violet and while Jill had managed to break free by seeking death she wasn’t sure how Kristin was dealing with it. And Jill wasn’t sure what would happen should she and Violet be in the same room... she’d probably lose her mind entirely and beg her to take her back. “I won’t!”, Jill spat out angrily and suddenly gasped. She looked at Kristin with an apolegetic look and swallowed hard. “I’m sorry, this wasn’t directed at you. I was just thinking about...”, she left it unspoken but maybe Kristin had enough empathy to pick up what was keeping Jill so troubled.
  22. {This is a few days after "(A)Typical Day: Jame"} It was noon. James thought about it and decided he'd thought enough. He was procrastinating. If he put it off any more then he'd have to start wondering if he was scared. No, let's be honest, he was a little scared, and not of Vulcan. He'd thought Paradise's Zombie-Blob set some upper bar for how bad a super-zom could get, but in a lot of ways the Vegas one had been worse. Vegas-zom had been smart, could copy itself, and could learn to copy other people's powers. Adam's transport power had become teleport, which probably meant that Adam could teleport but whatever. If the team hadn't dealt with the Vegas situation when it had, sooner or later that super-zom could have overrun all enclaves. He needed to go back to Norman. Far too much of that situation was explained by a super-zom around, one whose presence poisoned a city. But he'd need to be smart about the situation, and knowing his own limitations that meant he needed to get someone else to do some thinking for him. Which probably meant Vulcan... who was rumored to be a real problem to deal with, which meant he should probably bring someone to help with that. James said, "Knock, knock... V? You around? I'm thinking I should go visit Vulcan, you up for a trip?"
  23. I need inits, please. Bond - 27 Jas - 23 *Simon - 15 Eric - 12 *Carlos - 12 Hana - 11 *Villagers - 11 Celeste - 10 *Mrigesh - 9 Primal - 8 *Pumpkin - 6
  24. Here is how the Rumor Thread will work. There are two types of rumors: General, which everyone can know, and Hidden, which only certain people know. The Hidden rumors are those which are anti-establishment, so are not likely to be anyone who is associated with Fox and his men. Everyone can hear the General rumors, as they filter through the population at large. Only those who are definitely listed as having access to the Hidden rumors do. I've also added a list of people who can still have access to the Hidden rumors, if they want to make the effort to befriend the people whispering them (as you see Bond has already done). Hidden: Bond Undetermined: Ira, Walker, Albright, Wesson, Gabrielle I expect a strict OOC info barrier to be maintained on this guys. I'm posting the rumors here in one place for ease. This doesn't make them accessible to your character. Having your character know a rumor he can't know is cheating and will be treated as such. If you want access to the Hidden rumors, talk to me and we can RP your entrance into that circle of people.
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