Jump to content

Open Game  ·  22 members

Divine Right
The Story Guide

DR: Peers and Pressures [COMPLETE]

Recommended Posts

"Everyone relax," Deezy sighed. "We're obviously not radioactive in the normal sense of the term." She scowled at the speaker. "That was careless ''for laypeople' talk."

"Now...it IS interesting if we're radiating some kind of particle. Hey, speaker-lady! What kind of radiation? Is it localized to a particular part of the body? I'm gonna guess the BRAINZ, or maybe wherever mutations are...case by case basis...huh."

Then her eyes swiveled to give a sidelong look at Renata, who had gone rather still and quiet in the wake of the overheard conversation.

"Old man giving them trouble, you think?" Deezy asked with a little grin

Renata shot Deezy a glare and flipped her off.

Deezy giggled and shook her head, waving her hands in mock surrender.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sound of paper flipping came over the speaker. "They're not entirely sure where it's coming from. They want to take some more samples and have apparently ordered an MRI to be flown in, along with a list of a lot of other medical equipment. As for the radiation, it's the same that came with the Storm. Everyone's got some of it now, but you all have just more." She made a small sound as a thought occurred to her. "Some of you talked about having better sense or just different new ones. Can any of you sense things about each other? Or different from the soldiers at the doors? More information gets the science done faster and the quarantine lifted sooner."

Several notes to some random song sang out over the speaker and Wendy sighed. "I've got to step out for a minute, everyone. If you all think of anything else, please let me know when I get back." The speaker clicked off and this time the Latino man didn't squint it back into life. He was standing with his arms crossed, a pensive and distracted look on his face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sebastian had, for the most part remained quiet and kept his head down the entirety of his time here in quarantine.  There was no real to associate with the people here, he'd listened to them for awhile now and while they all seemed like decent enough folk, he just wanted to go home to hi family and stop being treated like a lab rat.  He could have left any time he liked and they didn't to be respecting the notion that he was cooperating with them and wasn't some juvenile delinquent.  Still he lay there quietly in his cot, arms resting behind his head and under his pillow.

He'd managed to avoid several of the invasive tests, mostly because they couldn't get through his skin without a drill.  When a technician suggested it, even in jest, Sebastian's reply of 'Yeah, you try it.  See how that works out for you.' was probably the beginning of his downward spiral of rapport with these people.  Still, he still got swabbed and did as they asked, although he did his best to lie a little here and there, like how strong he actually was.  He didn't like these people and didn't feel a strong moral obligation to help them.  Especially since they were lying to them.

"Now," he sat up finally and looked to the speaker.  "I know, at times I ain't the sharpest tack in the sock drawer... but I'm far from dumb Speaker Lady.  I know people with me here are a lot smarter than I am, so how come, if we're giving off all this radiation, you doctor folks aren't wearing those fancy radiation badges, huh?  I mean, would stand to reason if we're possibly dangerous you'd be taking the proper precautions, right?"

"You're good folk, and I get that you're trying to make sure we're not gonna hurt people.  It's nice of you to want them safe.  I can't... now, I just can't stand me a liar though.  I don't like them.  See, once a lie is told, all trust is lost.  No matter how honest you are with me from this point on, ma'am, you still have that one lie planted in the back of my mind that will always make me doubt every word you speak."  He stood and looked at the speaker.  "I'm sorry ma'am, but I believe my relationship you and your people here is done.  Let me know when I can leave please.  I'm sure my folks are missin' me."

He walked back over like massively huge sulking teenage teddy bear and laid back back down in his cot with his arms resting behind his head.

Spoiler

No mention of radiation, or radiation badges was made so it's likely made up rather than an omitted detail.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The HAZMAT suits the doctors have been wearing do have badges built into them, Mr. Stone." Wendy said. "It's how the differing level of radiation was detected initially, according to the report. I can ask for more information in it, if you would like. I have what's effectively a synopsis of what they've discovered or theorize right now. It's only been two days since the Storm - everyone's scrambling to try to figure this all out. If you'd like to write a letter to your folks, Ms. Klatta has made clipboards and pen and papers. I can get a letter taken out tomorrow morning when the shipments come in." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Ma'am, with all due respect, when I'm ready for home, I'll go there myself, not send a letter."  He said calmly.  "My courtesy to you and this place is currently as enduring as my patience.  So, you might wanna work a little faster."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deezy poked at the inside of her mouth with her tongue, then said, "You know, I could probably speed things up for everyone if you brought me on board," she suggested.

"Just need some equipment, access to whatever data you've already gathered. That, plus a little Klatta know-how and we'll be able to give everyone a clean bill of health in no time!"

"...and probably save some costs on patching up angry person-sized holes in the walls at the end of the day."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"What are you suggesting, Ms. Klatta? Making equipment inside the quarantine? Do you have any medical training?" Wendy sounded intrigued by the idea and maybe a little relieved at a suggestion that might prevent people from fleeing the base. "I'll have to run things by by Dr. Ballard, but anything that gives the CDC more data - well, I can't imaging that being seen as anything other than good."

Deliah, Emily's roommate in quarantine, piped up with, "I'm not a doctor, but I know my way around most medical equipment. I'm all for whatever will get us out of here faster." She gave Bastion a glance that said yeah, I don't believe her either. "I've got kids to get home to."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan nodded.  "Any help I can be in transporting equipment here, I'll gladly give.   No one wants to extend this quarantine, and if you'll trust us as much as you want us to trust you, then we can all be out of here faster, and get on with our lives."  The Former Air Force pilot nodded.   He understood how the others felt, the desire to leave, but he knew the government would only let them go when they were certain they weren't an immediate danger to those around them.   He also understood, that no matter what, from now on that they'd be watched and scrutinized quite closely, because of their new abilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Do you have the doc on speed dial?" Donald asked Wendy. "You probably should." Honestly, it wasn't like he had any way to know for sure if the CDC was spewing nonsense or just jargon nobody save perhaps Deezy here understood. Donald felt he could afford to be patient about it, at least for a little bit longer. What mattered was that others weren't so patient, and everyone here knew there was no way to stop them.

"Actually, maybe you can lend a copy of that report to Deezy now?" Donald suggested. If Deezy read it and agreed there was something legit, well, that might help tempers a little. If not, or they refused. "Might help speed things up even more since you're waiting for the equipment anyway." His tone suggested great care should be taken before saying no.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Medical training? No. But that's not what you really NEED right now. If someone can explain what a machine needs to do, I can figure out a way to make something that'll do it. Might not work exactly the same as the original, but it'll get the job done! As for interpreting the results, again, all you have to do is tell me what to look for. The radiation part, I can handle. The effect of it on living tissue I can probably figure out on my own, but worst comes to worst I can rig it so it sends information to you guys too."

"I get that it's a bit of a leap of faith for you guys to take help from one of the 'infected'," she makes scare quotes around the last word, "but remember I chose to come here. I'm on you guys' side. I just want to get to the bottom of this, and I knew this was as close as I'd be able to get for awhile."

"Shoot me some info and either wheel down some equipment or tell me what I need to make, and we'll get this science-party STARTED!"

She then tapped her bare wrist.

"Or, you know, tick tock tick tock, superfriends getting antsy and who can blame 'em really?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Careful," Wendy said with an amused tease. "Jensen - our rather cheeky pathologist - has already started giving all of you codenames. Give me a minute to get ahold of Dr. Ballard." After that, things moved quickly. Deezy was asked first to duplicate HIPPA releases for everyone so that medical information could be collected by those in quarantine, and then she was sent the specs for nearly a dozen different pieces of medical equipment. The large barracks room went from 'socializing space' to 'medical lab'. Samples were taken from everyone but Sebastion - they just couldn't figure out how for anything beyond hair and nail clippings and weren't willing to try anything too likely to actually injure him. Machines hummed and whirred and eventually spit out gigs of information for the CDC scientists to pour over. The poking and prodding had eaten up most of the day and the group eventually dispersed back to their rooms for sleep. Which again Sebastian noted he didn't seem to really need as much anymore. Not that the squints needed to know that. 

The next morning medical reports were handed through the airlock, along with a massive food shipment that included the requested food. Even a bag of blue-only M&Ms. The medical reports were detailed on each person's current general health, observed abilities, and a score next to a listing that was marked "Radiation ν" or "Radiation ψ". Over the speaker Wendy said, "The good news is that the tests we did yesterday have given us more information on the changes with you all and it appears that everyone's radiation levels are dropping steadily. We've manage to differentiate the radiation out into two kinds, which also seems linked to some shared changes between around one half of the group or the other. Those of you with the n-radiation also have cell clusters throughout your body that seems to interact with the n-radiation. Like process it instead of being harmed by it. Those of you with the psi-radiation instead, well, your brain is different. Just a small part of it, but like with the others it seems to process the psi-radiation. We're not sure why there's this split. These tests are what showed us that there were two distinctly different energies at play. Before that it was just considered all one new type of radiation. Anyways, if the radiation drop-off continues, you guys will be down to the new background level of this radiation in four or five days. At that point we'll want to take some measurements why you're actively using your abilities, just to check for spikes and make sure the use of the abilities aren't cause your body or mind problems. That will probably only take a few days itself. If everything checks out fine, the CDC will have no reason to continue the quarantine at that point."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Two things," Deezy said, munching avidly on M&Ms.

"First, I was kidding about the M&Ms, but that was really cool of you, thanks! Second, how about sending in some human analogues, like monkeys or pigs or...wait, those are loud and big and annoying...I don't know, mice? Basically, lets find out if this radiation even affects creatures that don't have the cell changes to interact with it. Because if it doesn't, we don't have to stay in here another few days. Lots of things emit radiation, but most of it's harmless. This 'n' and 'psi' radiation isn't ionizing, so it shouldn't damage cells or anything."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"God, yes, please," Renata chimed in from farther away, where she was levitating pens and little empty food boxes around in increasingly complicated orbits in the air...a game she'd started playing when bored. It was getting more and more common a sight. "If there's a way to not have to spend an entire week here, I'm for it. I have classes, you know? I have a life...more or less...and it's not just on hold waiting for me."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"We don't really have an animal to do that with. I can see if we have any volunteers, but there's also just a monitoring period that's going to have to pass before they give an all-clear." There was a pause and Wendy came back with, "I mean, unless one of you could make an animal? That might work and then we could also test the animal to see if it has higher levels of the radiation." 

There were several more rounds of brainstorming between Deezy, Wendy and several of the other people sitting bored in quarantine. Eventually she called it for the day and promised to ask if a test animal could be procured. The next day the group was endowed with a miniature pig and asked to keep their ability-usage to a minimum, preferably none at all. At lunch, the pig was removed and tested for radiation levels, then returned to the quarantine area - this time the group was asked to use their powers in some way while the pig wandered around curiously around them. At dinner it was taken again; Wendy got back on the speaker a little after 9. 

"Good news, guys! There was no higher radiation levels detected at either time today. No one on the base has tested for higher radiation levels this entire time, either, so tomorrow we're going to take down the bubble and do some larger power tests outside. Dr. Ballard still wants 72 hours with regular blood draws from those of us that are going to be around you before he'll give a clear call. If it all goes well, though, you'll be completely out of CDC quarantine at that point." 

True to her word, the next morning after breakfast the group was ushered out of the rooms, with soldiers going in after them to start pulling the plastic shell down. The super-powered people were pulled outside into dazzling sunlight; they were in a large fenced off area that had tire tracks in the sand all over it - likely what they usually used for a parking lot. Soldiers were strung out along the edges of the field watching the group with interest and a touch of fear from at least a few of them. Two older men, one in a lab coat and one in fatigues with an air of tense disapproval, stood with a woman in a wide-brimmed hat and pantsuit; she waved them over, calling out in Wendy's voice. "Good morning everyone! I hope you slept well. Who wants to go first?"
 

 
 
 
1
Spoiler

Alrighty, this is a chance for everyone to show off their abilities. I'll post for some of the NPCs that have been silently hanging out with you in quarantine as well. I'll give this thread probably four or five days for posts before giving the final wrap-up post. Also, we'll be doing a timeskip for the next plot thread to Valentine's Day of 2020. Feel free to start personal threads of your characters dealing with trying to settle back into life or whatever they're doing in that time that you want to write out. Catch me on Discord or site PM if you'd like me to write for NPCs in those threads. I'll also be putting up a "State of the World" thread during this time that will let you know the big things that are happening/have happened so your characters can react and reference these changes. I'll likely start the next plot thread after we've moved into the new house, which will be probably the first week in November. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"As I recall," Sebastian stepped forward.  "We were told the best doctors were here to help this whole process go smoothly and get us all home home to our family's.  Those doctors told us we were all sweating high levels of radiation and needed to be kept in our little cages longer.  As it turns out, there was no radiation.  Which leads me to believe that we were one, lied to.  Or two, you people are incompetent, which ruins all credibility.  Now you want us to stand out here and put on a puppet show for you while we're surrounded by a horde of soldiers ready to put us down if something freaks them, or you, out?  Y'all just keep betting better..." He chuckled.

He turned to face the group of his fellow freaks and Stormers.  "All they're doing is cataloguing and recording all that you can do so they can exploit you.  These people done already lied to you.  You've given them enough, heck, you even helped them solve the medical research they couldn't seem to do on their own.  These aren't good people, they're opportunists.  They wanna know who you are, what you can do, and your name in a database so they can call you up whenever they need you and your abilities, whatever those might be.  You're co-signing their deception.  You're telling them it's okay to operate and treat people the way they have and still get results from it."

The Goliath of a teen shrugged.  "Now, I can't tell you all how to run your lives, but near as I can tell you've already done your part.  We've been honest, helpful and cooperative and have been shown none of those courtesies in return.  You don't owe these guys nothin'.  These gifts are yours.  You're not a sideshow, you're not a tool to be inventoried and kept on call."  He turned and faced the Doctor and the woman in the wide brimmed hat.  "Now, I do appreciate the hospitality, such as it was, sir, ma'am.  I think though I'm just gonna go wait over there and if you'd be so kind as to let me know when the paperwork for me to go home will be done, it'd be appreciated."

Spoiler

It's hard to maintain a secret identity when the whole CDC and military know who you are.  Sebastian is going to keep his powers to himself for now.  They know he has thick skin and they can't draw blood.  That's about all they need to know.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deezy was more than a little taken aback by Sebastian's words. She looked at the others, then at the troubled teen.

"I mean...there is radiation. We are emitting radiation. It's just not dangerous. These guys," she indicated the CDC personnel, "haven't been dishonest. They were just ignorant. Can't blame 'em for that, this is completely new! It took time and tests to make sure we wouldn't give our families and friends cancer or leukemia or anything like that."

She nodded. "As for the power demonstrations, that's purely optional. I expect some of it at least would fall under privacy laws, but we haven't signed anything that says they can't record it so...it's possible. If that's an issue, we should probably clear that up."

Then Deezy went over to Sebastian, and took a gentle tone. "Hey. I know it's sucked being cooped up in here, and it's easy not to trust the big faceless government...and that's okay. You don't have to trust them." She scratched the back of her head, and finally concluded, "I'm just...thanks for sticking it out, okay? I know you didn't have to."

She offered a hand to shake.

"So thanks for helping us get through this faster. No hard feelings that this is where you check out."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Renata on the other hand, frowned and gave the CDC personnel a suspicious look.

"It's a good question though," she says. "How IS this information going to be used? Who's going to get to see it? I'm all right with helping scientists, but...I don't want this to be my whole life."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The older man in a lab coat - Dr. Ballor, most likely - said, "This falls under your medical privacy. You signed waivers earlier that essentially just give you all enough access to each other's records during this time to have done the tests earlier and this one now. This isn't about making you perform like a circus dog. It's about taking measurements when each of you actively use your para-human abilities and making sure that doing so doesn't release bursts of radiation that could be harmful to yourselves, your loved ones, and the general population. It is the final set of tests before lifting the quarantine as we must determine that medically you are safe to reintroduce to the general population."

The man in fatigues, weathered where Ballor was polished, spoke up; his voice was gruff and had a Southern twang to it. "This is the United States, ladies and gentlemen. We don't press-gang citizens into service. You want to sign up? There's not a recruiter across the services who wouldn't want that feather in their cap, but it's always going to be your decision. Personally, I'd be just as happy if you never used these.....abilities....ever again. They're dangerous and they'll throw the whole world out of balance, but they're here so that's just what it is. As for names in a database, that ship has already set sail in Congress thanks to the fathers of two of you here. It's not to put you on-call, though," he said with a nod towards Sebastian, "it's to give you a chance of having a life outside of all of this if that's what you want. Pretty much all of you were seen using these abilities during the Storm. If you weren't caught on video, you have friends and family that saw what you did. We've been trying to keep things as quiet as possible, but in this day and age that's almost impossible. Once you're out of quarantine, there's a line of civil servants waintin' for you all to tell you what your options are goin' forward." He held up his hands, "Not what you're allowed to do, before you all start screamin' at me. What we've manage to contain and what you can expect if you go home or if you choose to go into WitSec."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Yeah, I'm going home now."  Sebastian said calmly.  "Look we're not a hazard to people, the lovely Miss Deezy was kind enough to point out.  So there's no more reason to stay.  If someone would be so kind as to show me to my personal effects, I'd be much appreciative.  All I did was not catch on fire.  So unless there is a sudden rash of freak fires throughout our small town, I highly doubt I'll have much to worry about."

"So, have fun, I wish you all the best of luck, but I don't see any more reason for me to stay.  The staff here are not the best of people, we're surrounded by soldiers, and the food, frankly is not so great.  My mom's fried chicken is calling my name, and I'd really like to get home to it."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"You know what? Just shut up and stop being a brat." Donald probably wouldn't have spoken like this, if it weren't for Sebastian's comments about freak fires. It triggered images of Zombie Dude, all the screaming, the biting, and the people that weren't back to normal, were dead even after he'd been knocked out and then summarily executed. The heat was building behind Donald's eyes.

"So you didn't catch on fire, nobody who got powers did. Most of them just went crazy and hurting innocent people. You're lucky nobody went on the rampage in Podunkville, squashing your mama and her fried chicken. They made sure the radiation wasn't going to drive us delayed action crazy or poison anyone around us. They said at first it was going to take a week, then listened when Deezy offered suggestions and now they've cut it down by half. And yeah, being stuck here sucks, but it's nearly over. Grow up."

Anyone knowing Donald for a while might argue he was one to talk, but Donald hotly meant it. Everyone here needed an example. Guess it would have to be him. "I'll start things off." There were elements of an obstacle course. Good enough to get started. Donald stepped forward and crouched in a runner's starting stance for a second, before charging forward. After some initial motion, he mentally flexed and leaped into the air, performing the full in triple pike somersault before sticking the landing on the rock wall.

As in, literally landing and standing sideways in the air. Thus began an exotic performance that would make the Cirque d'Soleil melt with envy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan had been about to say something to Sebastian, but instead, Donald beat him to the punch, and did so with more eloquence than he had planned.   

"Your efforts are appreciated by some, if not most of us, as is the reduced length quarantine.   I know things are moving fast, and that you're just doing your jobs.   That said, I'm glad you've seen it our way."  he gave a little nod.  "The powers could be dangerous, I think that's established, but all the same, we are still all people, Citizens, with certain rights."   He knew the score better than most after so long in the service, but even he'd become annoyed.   

"I'm going to fly around abit.   I won't go up high or anything, but I would like it known and recorded that I have informed you of this, before I do so.  I'd rather not get shot."  Once they nodded, understanding that he didn't want it to seem that he was trying to escape,  Ryan simply rose from the ground about a foot, and began to move around still "standing" upright, but his legs didn't move nor did his feet touch the ground.   

He paused to smile at the others like him, and then moved on.   He stayed in the general area, before dropping to the ground and nodding.  "I guess i should use the one you probably want to see more too."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"That's kind of my point, Mr. Hawke," Sebastian said calmly.  "You shouldn't have to clarify you're going to use your abilities under the fear of being shot.  I mean, what kind of 'medical privacy' involves armed enlisted ready to put us down if the guy in charge, who doesn't really seem to like us to begin with because we have these gifts, raises his hand and gives the command?"

"I mean, really?  Sir," he looked at the man in uniform.  "Fire didn't burn me.  Needles broke on my skin, and chances are a bullet isn't going to stop me.  For all my bellyaching, I'm still here of my own free will because we both know if I left, nothing you have could bring me back.  All I've asked for is to talk to my folks and the best that smug voice in the wall could offer me was a note pad and a pen to write them a letter?  Really?  You expect me to be happy and cooperative after that?  I am showing to you the very same level of courtesy that I have been shown."

He gestured to the others. "Now, I wasn't raised like them, if they're good with this level of treatment, well, that's on them, but you mean to tell me you managed to remember to bring the guns, fancy medical equipment, and ammunition to put us down with, but none of you brought a phone?  No one, not a single one of you, could have walked up to me and offered me up a phone call so I could talk to my folks?  Just a minute to say 'Hi ma, I'm fine, these people aren't so bad, be home soon'?  No Skype?  Couldn't even hold a lap top to the door of our cells and let me wave?  No?  Of course not, because you don't care if we're okay.  You care if you'll be be okay, and how much you can profit from us our abilities."

"So I'll show you what I got," he looked over the uniformed man's shoulder at the enlisted soldiers.  "And down on the ranch we don't point a gun at anything we don't intend to kill.  So if your boys point anything at me, be it a gun or a finger, then you an me is settlin' up, Sir."

We walked away to the boundry of the compound.  To the fence line where he tore through the links like they were paper mache.  "Y'all keep doing your thing.  I'm gonna need some room, an don't worry, I ain't going too far... just, far enough.  I hope.  I mean, my math ain't good, so I hope your insurance is paid up."

He walked out the hole he'd made and continued on through the desert at a rather slow space.  "I'll whistle when I'm ready!"  He yelled back, waving his hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Emily had been slowly simmering, She had obligations to the government, she knew that. but for Christs sake she had saved the lives of the crew and the freaking ship and still they were being treated like refugees at the freaking border. The only one getting any leeway was the ditzy genius and if no one else could see it Emily could, they were treating her differently because her power was more useful to them.

She watched as the superboy walked off into the desert. "He's right," she glanced at Ryan floating a few feet away and above, "You could have gotten all of us out where we could have had an advantage dealing with them for a place of our choosing. We saved their ship and my crew. I don't owe them anything else."

She started off after Bastion at a jog, "Hey, superboy, wait up, "she called after Bastion, "its a desert your gonna needs some water."

Spoiler

she is going with Bastion

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Karrie blinked and stared at Emily. “Uh, was she not paying attention just now?” she asked the group, frowning. “Because he’s not leaving. And she could leave if she’d just comply--”

Cutting herself off with a shake of her head, Karrie turned to Dr. Ballard. “So I can’t show you what you want unless someone is willing to allow me to shut them down.” Even she wondered if they’d ask her to go after Emily, she glanced at the others assembled. “Can I have a volunteer?”

“I’ll offer,” Delia said, stepping forward while keeping an eye on the scientists. The middle-aged woman had been very quiet until now and this was the first time she’d volunteered. “Just give me a moment to dance through the hoop myself, then you can turn them off.”

Karrie nodded and focused on the other woman’s lights, watching as they flared brightly as flames burst to life on her hands. Idly, Karrie wondered if she’d ever reach the point where people became little more than lights to her, their uniqueness turned into classifications of power. It was too easy for people to turn others into numbers or labels, and Karrie knew she was just as susceptible to that as anyone else.

After watching the fires dance on Delia’s fingers, Karrie said, “I’m doing it now,” and snuffed out the lights.

“I don’t like that,” Delia said sharply, her eyes narrowing in concentration. No more flames appeared and she glared at Karrie. “I think you’ve made your point.”

Raising her hands in a ‘no harm meant’ gesture, Karrie asked Dr. Ballard, “Are we good here?”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/23/2019 at 4:58 PM, Emily Thompson said:

She started off after Bastion at a jog, "Hey, superboy, wait up, "she called after Bastion, "its a desert your gonna needs some water."

"Well, ma'am, yer welcome to follow me, but I'm not going very far,"  Sebastian said.  "They want a show, well, I'm going to give them a show.  Then I'm going home to my folks.  Maybe then these gun and medal types will be careful what they wish for.  Now, I don't know about the rest of them folks, I ain't them.  I know I'm not the smartest tool in the marble drawer, but I'd much rather think for myself than walk around thinking I sound smart when, well... I don't."

He continued to walk, his pace quickening.  "I'm honestly mad, ma'am.  You know I ain't been mad since I was six and my best friend Cassandra, she's this girl that lives down the road, y'see... well we got to playing and she totally was jealous of my mud castle.  Had two floors, a patio with a hot tub.  It wasn't a real hot tub, mind," he felt that was a very important point to be made, apparently.  "It was a wide bleach cap and I'd set it in there and built around it then put some after in it.  It looked very cool.  I did make a mighty fine mud castle back in the day, ma'am, well, she didn't like it so she stomped all over it.  Boy, I was so mad, I tell you what.  I went crying home to my mom and I didn't talk to her for close to a week.  This?  This here is like that.  These people don't care about us, they don't respect us, yet they stand about expecting something from us that one, they don't give, and two, they ain't earned.  Buncha son's of biscuits.  All of em', oh uh, pardon my language, ma'am.  Look at that... so mad they got me cussin'."  He sighed in disgust with himself, shook his head and continued on.

Spoiler

Sebastian will go last, after everyone has had their chance to show off.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Renata watched the displays, but her head was stuck on the last thing she'd heard from the 'science guys' that were recording everything. It kept spinning around in there until finally she had to just get it out.

"Excuse me, hey," she said, going over to the Southern gentleman in fatigues, "You mentioned going into WitSec. Is that...I mean, look, hardly anyone saw my face. Is that something I'm going to have to do? Don't get me wrong, part of me maybe wouldn't mind just disappearing, but I don't think it'd be that easy for me."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Colonel shook his head. "No, you don't have to. You're...Hodges, right? When you're done here, there's a case manager waiting to talk to you. I know your video got around, but you're pretty much the one person on video that had the sense to cover your face." He smiled, lines crinkling along his face. "So, you can likely step back into your life without too much of an issue so long as you keep your abilities under wraps. Your father is, of course, aware of your situation. Given his profession and standing, I don't know that you can expect your abilities to stay secret forever."

Next to them, Ballard gave a sigh and a small glare at the military man. The colonel arched a brow at him, then rolled his eyes. "Oh, good lord doctor. I didn't peek at her medical records. She looks like one of the senators that's been breathin' down my neck for the past five days."

Next to them, Wendy was watching the power displays with rapt attention. "It really is something," she breathed softly to herself in wonder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It just bothers me is all," Sebastian continued on.  He now had a captive audience and was venting all his frustrations out on a poor woman who, like him, just wanted to go home.  "I mean, how would they feel being all locked up, away from their folks, tellin' em' barely nuthin' until it's time to bark an order or two and make them jump.  Oh they'd fuss n' cuss all in their guts while playing along, I'm sure, just so they could stand a little taller and say they did it all well n' good with a plum... or whatever fruit it is.  On the inside though, they'd be all a manner of pee n' vinegar."

He turned around and walked backwards, facing Emily.  "That just ain't me, Mrs. Thompson.  I can't keep that inside.  These changes are happening to our bodies, y'know?  We, more than anyone else, have a right to know what's going on with them and decide when and how we think it's alright to express ourselves.  Not corralled into a parking lot like the bad herd of malnourished rejects at last years State Fair.  You hungry, Mrs. Thompson?  I am.  I'm almost always hungry lately.  Anyway, I mean it's like telling us who we can date, or kiss, or love... no one tells me those things, so I don't see why they think it's okay to parade me around and put on a show for them while a bunch of military types are waiting to put us down.  My body, my rules, you know?  Ask him, and I bet he says 'it's for your protection'.  I watch enough CW ma'am.  There was a whole season of Arrow almost like this... they're just trying to see if our abilities are useful to them so they can weaponate us.  It's like Suicide Squad all over again.  They're gonna blow our heads up, or try."

"-ize."  Was about all Emily could think to add, trying to correct the teenager on his use of the wrong wording.

"You'ze what, Mrs. Thompson?"  Sebastian spun back about and kept walking.

She allowed herself a slight grin.  "Nothing.  Never mind, Superboy."

Spoiler

Take notes.  16 year olds have it all figured out.

Walking and talking while everyone does their thing in the parking lot...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They walked on, with Superboy, turning back the right way, being silent for  minute, maybe he was gathering more thoughts. Emily was in good enough shape that she didn't have to strain to keep up.

"You know I agree with you, for the most part, they probably really did want to make sure we weren't going to turn others into,... whatever we are, but that was pretty obviously not going to happen. Almost all of our , transformations, took place in crowds. If it was something that could or would spread most, if not all of the people on, my ship would have changed.

And even so it isn't right the way they have treated us. Keep treating us. It's like we stopped being people, like all of this is our fault. And yeah, it's so obvious that what they want is how to use us.

"How else would you explain their fawning all over Miss 3D Printer, back there?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"That's how they do, ma'am.  They assume we're stupid, and when people prove they ain't, they have a doctor type there to match smarts with doctor babble and when that don't work, they have someone with a rank drop the authority hammer.  It's like being back home.  Sure, I can talk my way around dad... but mom's always there wating at the door for me tappin' her foot and waiting for me to convince her."  He shuddered.  "Moms're scary like that."

"Mrs. Klatta seems nice enough," he said more as an aside.  "She seems to genuinely want to help, which is good.  It would be a shame if they explo... eggsploi... took advantage of her."  He seemed to struggle with the word until he snapped his fingers.  "Exploit!  That's the one I was lookin' for!  But you get the idea.  I'd like to help too, don't misunderstand.  We all have a responsibility to look after our world, and each other right?  Especially if we're having super powers now.  All I ask is that they ask me, y'know?  'Hey, Sebastian, if you're not busy this weekend, we have like, a big rock to move... or a tree that needs uprooting...' heck, I'd be more than willing to help.  I even can fix fences too, my dad n' I built the one all around our ranch.  Only took a few weeks."

He finally stopped... walking and talking.  They were almost a half of a mile from the S.H.I.E.L.D. (Super Human Incarceration Exploitation Lateral Detention) (TM) Facility, and everyone there looked like little specks on the horizon.  It was amazing what the difference of twenty-five hundred feet could make to broaden one's view of how big the work was.  Before them stood a massive tower of large, mud colored colored rock that was at least 12-15 stories in height and at least a half a block in width all around, about the size of an average building might find in cities like Manhattan or Los Angeles.  Needless to say, to the two of them, it was a massive natural structure.

He turned back and looked at Emily.  "You may wanna stand back a bit ma'am.  I have no idea what's gonna happen.  I'd hate for something awful to befall ya on account of me."  Emily took a few steps back.  Sebastian pulled his shirt off and the small part of her brain reasoned that, if anything, that made it worth the walk.  He looked about then looked back to her and jogged to her.  "Would y'mind?"  He handed her his shirt and turned about and approached the massive tower of rock once more.

"Alright," he told himself.  "You can do this."

He relaxed.  He took in a few deep breaths and remembered the plane, the way the doors folded easily under the impact of his boot.  Needles couldn't pierce him, his body was now touch and dense and he felt invulnerable.  He felt powerful.  A tingle made it's way from his brain and like a shock tickled every muscle in his body as it moved it's way down.  Like a chill in autumn, every part of him flexed and was suddenly alive with power...

His eyes shed light that lit up his cheeks and temples, exposing small pink blood vessels and nerve endings like someone had turned on a flashlight behind his eyelids.  There was a thrum, a pulse of power and Emily could the sand and tiny stones all around them vibrate in place and dance about like everywhere near where sebastian stood was a silent speaker thumping with the pulse of the universe and Sebastian was currently playing DJ.

She took several more steps backwards.

The energy around him was like heat in the desert... it was invisible but Emily could see the the way everything around him wavered and seemed distorted.  He clenched his fists tightly and every muscle he had seemed to 'pop' and flex as if he was suddenly 0% body fat and all corded killing machine.  He snapped open his eyes and yelled aloud like guys do before they do something stupid...

His fist slammed into the stone pillar and a horrendous boom exploded around his fist just a split second before it struck the stone, only to explode again in loud massive quake of power that reverberated through the stone.  Emily covered her face, but quickly found the sonic boom had stripped her of her hearing and she covered herself to protect her person from the sheer destruction Sebastian had just lain upon nature.   The pillar tore itself apart under it's own weight as the Sebastian's blow rocketed through the stone and shattered the structure like he was a one man demolition squad.  The force of the impact toppled the great pillar away from him and Emily for the most part, but stones and boulders rained down around him.

The backblast from the impact roiled across the surface of the desert sand in a swift circular dust cloud and concussive force that swept over the others in the form of a thunderous boom and a wave of harsh winds and dust.  Everyone covered their eyes and raised their sleeves up to protect them from the violent dust storm.

The dust settled and Sebastian turned away from the rubble.  His brow was furrowed in a perpetual scowl and the energy he'd just summed up remained with him in a palpable aura of power that seemed to waver and distort around him like he was now the source of the heat.  His eyes were alight with the orangish-red glow that lit up his temples.  He approached Emily who'd been knocked over by the force of the impact.  Her ears were ringing with a drone that told her she'd not be hearing very well for the next couple of minutes.

Sebastian looked down at her, his eyes glowing, his body radiating power.  He extended his hand helped her to her feet with the gentleness of a feather.

Spoiler

Maxxing.

+6 Flux, -8 Quantum Points.

2 successes +6 Enhancements.

+2 Quantum Trait (6 Quantum)
+1 Might (Might 6)
+2 Mega Might (Mega Might 6)
+2 Destructive Tag on Punch
+1 Thunderclap (his fist easily broke the sound barrier and struck with the force of a missile)

The sudden influx of flux on Sebastian will leave him looking a bit broader and more mountainous and looking less like the sweet sixteen year old he was.  His brow is furrowed in a scowl and he looks pissed all the time (until the effect wears off).  His eyes will remain aglow like he is on the brink of blasting someone with laser vision.  Emotionally he's now more prone to look down on people less powerful than himself... namely, anyone not a nova.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Emily looked at that big hand for several seconds before grasping it and letting Superboy pull her up. Her ears were ringing and she was dusty. "My god, that was incredible" she shouted since she couldn't hear and figured he couldn't either. She stepped past him and gazed on what he had done.

After a moment she held her hand out in front of her about  eight inches apart palms facing each other and concentrated. A small bead of water appeared between them and grew into a sphere as the water was pulled, slowly from the desert air, until a six inch sphere was floating there. With a flick of her hand the sphere split in half and she placed one in front of Bastion, "Thirsty?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Wow," he chuckled.  His voice deep and Emily noticed there seemed to be no trace of his usual accent.  "That's really cool."

While Sebastian had no water control powers of his own, he was able to take the orb and hold it himself, providing Emily continued concentrating on it.  He didn't drink right away, instead deciding to hold it up and look at, and through it like it was the most interesting water he'd ever seen.  That wasn't too far of a stretch, after all, not many people have the opportunity to hold a sphere of water and watch the world waver and shift in crystal clear liquid HD.  It was amazing, and by proxy it made Emily amazing.

He unceremoniously shoved his whole face into the sphere and simply inhaled like he was drinking from a hose like he did at home.  He shook his head, like a dog shaking off the hose.  "It tastes like water from the mountains back home."

"That's because it's pure," she smiled.  "Filtered by the stones, and the sand, and the air.

Again he smiled and shook his head as he raised his hand and let the remainder of the orb drop in his head, cooling him off.  Holding her orb in one hand, she offered him back his shirt with her free one.  He pulled it over his body and now it became evident there were changes in him, slight, but there... like, his shirt was seriously tight (it was already a bit tight, he wasn't fooling anyone by wearing shirts one size too small).  He'd gained a bit of mass along with what could only be considered 'comic book bod'.

"We should get back," he expressed and it seemed weird that he no longer had his accent.  "I'd leave, I would, but, we both know it will only cause problems for my parents.  I'm a minor, they know they can't get to me, but they can get to them.  I've a responsibility to look out for them now.  To look out for everyone.  I'd be honored if you'd join me, Ms. Thompson.  I know it's not ideal, but dealing with it with a friend might make it more bearable.  I'm free, in case you forgot to pack one... I know we all left our homes in a bit of hurry."

He raised his hand in the direction of the S.H.E.I.L.D. Facility, offering to usher her back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Emily looked off into the desert and while she longed to be free, she knew Sabastion was right, all it would do was cause grief and woe. She smiled back at the Superboy, "Well I would never leave a friend to face that alone."

The unlikely pair headed back to the base.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan had silently watched as they breached the quarantine cordon, resolving to let them go, as well as refuse to assist in returning them there if that truly was their decision to leave.  It was their right, as foolish as he thought the decision was.  That said, he'd heard every word, and unconsciously breathed a sigh of relief.  His senses had drastically expanded, and he hadn't told anyone of this.   To that end, he was able to hear everything, and see everything that was happening.
 

"You wanted a demonstration, you're going to get one."  he said quietly, to no one in particular, and quickly withdrew his senses back into himself, then it happened.  The thunderous boom of a supersonic punch was louder than any he'd ever heard, and forced him to put his hands to his ears and grunt in pain.  He couldn't hear anything for over a full minute, even as his body worked to heal the damage to his eardrums.  The winds and sand buffeting everyone was an annoyance, and he knew it would be bad if things escalated.

 

Quickly reading the situation, he snatched a clipboard with paper and wrote out  "He gave you a demonstration of his powers, he's going to come back.  Signal your men to stand down. We don't need to make this an even bigger incident.  He's just a kid."   He quickly brought it over to the General, and put it in front of him so he could read knowing he likely couldn't hear, same as everyone else. They'd have to find some way to signal the troops to stand down.  Luckily they were half a mile from base, so just maybe if they walked as they had to get there, they'd be able to hear by the time they returned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At Ryan's warning, Deezy looked over to see the wall of dust and debris approaching at the speed of sound. With only a few seconds to act, she hunkered down and pressed her hands to the ground. Dust and sand drew together, were rewritten...energy exchanged with the seething vacuum energy to convert silicates and organic compounds into iron and carbon in precisely controlled concentrations and distributions.

A wall of steel rose up from the ground, curved in a kind of half-dome and encircling Deezy and anyone standing close to her. To either side of the new shield was a kind of ditch, where the mass had been taken from existing matter in the ground. The bottom edge of it was formed into spikes that anchored it into the soil.

The shockwave hit like a truck, causing the barrier to ring like a gong. This was followed by innumerable little pings and ptangs as sand and grit impacted and was shunted aside. All in all the blast shield was perhaps twenty feet in diameter, creating a sort of 'shadow' behind it where the damage was more limited. Though it did precious little to stop the noise.

Deezy peeked around the edge as the deluge ended and rubbed her ears painfully, working her jaws to try to equalize pressure.

"Sheesh. What a show off."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a scramble at the base as the shockwave hit, soldiers diving to pull down the civilians and try to shield them from the blast of sand, sound, and force. The more aware ones did their best to drag people behind Deezy's shell instead of letting their clothes take the brunt of the mini sandstorm. Lucia popped her head up at Deezy's comment, eyes wide. "No shit. And I thought my stuff was scary. Guy could set off an earthquake."

"Kid is an earthquake," Leo, the shipwright from Connecticut, muttered as he peeled a soldier that had rather laughably attempted to keep the much larger man from being scoured by the sand off from him with a grunt.  

Dr. Ballard was off to the side, conferring with several people and checking the feeds from drones that were little more than scrap metal and plastic now. The Colonel called over, "Get what you need, doctor? 'Cause I think that boy needs to get home before he takes out half the state."

"Yeah," Ballard waved the soldier off. "We've got the readings. Some weird spikes, but nothing that looks like it's going to mutate the public. I want him to have some follow-ups with his PPC, make sure he's not having more weird side effects. We're going to need more drones if everyone else is going to show off like that." His tone was pretty neutral, just recounting a fact and not giving an opinion on such overwhelming use of power. Next to him, Wendy was more wide-eyed, quickly scribbling notes down a tablet and and blinking sand out of her eyes still.

Several soldiers jogged into the yard, meeting with the Colonel and getting reassurance that things were indeed okay and the sandblast wasn't Storm Round 2. They disappeared back around the building, going over to the larger second group Ryan had caught sight of in his short flight earlier. 

The others with them in quarantine gave their own performances: Chula Mercier from the bayou who could warp and stretch her body, playing at being a marionette on invisible strings. Sora Matsuda, who healed those with cuts and sand burns with a touch and seemed to awe the soldiers perhaps even more than the flamboyant shows the others were putting on. Vanessa Carmichal, the Mean Girl from the west coast who spent the whole time trying on different glam faces and bodies, watching the soldiers to see who was watching her like they should be. Alejandro Juarez, the Latino dancer that played with the drones, sending them spinning around him in their own intricate dance without ever touching them or their controllers. Deliah Palmer, the middle-aged Black woman with kids to get home to, stood with a flame dancing over her palm and dared anyone to ask her to do something flashy just for the amusement of their military captors. Cynthia Richardson, who was grinning the entire time others were doing their bit, waiting to see when people would notice there were a dozen of her spectating around the yard - and one more sneaking around the side of the building to see what was going on on the other side. Leo Walker the shipwright shrunk down to child-size and then grew until even Sebastian and Emily could see him towering over the yard as they trekked back from their desert jaunt. 

As Balard cleared each person, the Colonel sent a soldier to show them back into the base. There a team of bureaucrats were waiting with paperwork, a recap of the world over the past four days, and an offer. They went over each person's current state of fame and what life back home was likely to be like, and then offered for them to go home and deal with that or go into WitSec until the world recovered and adjusted to the new status quo. Ryan was also requested to ferry those people that wanted to just go home all over the country - otherwise a plane trip to Tuscon later that day would get them started on the journey, and plane or train tickets would be provided to get them the rest of the way. Quarantine was over; now they just had to face the rest of the world.

 

 
 
 
 
Spoiler

Anyone that took dots of Fame (save Renata who's got her own thing going) is known and being touted by the media as a Stormer now. If you took dots of Cover, the government has been able to control the rumors and footage around your actions during the Storm and you can go home to only a small handful of people knowing the truth. If you took neither, your identity hasn't been blasted the way those with Fame has, but the government hasn't been able to really hide you either. If you want to alter your choice, lemme know and we'll get it sussed out. :)

If anyone wants to take the WitSec option, lemme know that, too.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...