Masks: A New Generation of Heroes

Game Master Cwethan

Playbooks
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Character Bible


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Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

I already ferried everyone in the apartment down to street level, I thought.

"Guys, I've already told Whippoorwill what happened to my houseguest. She's going to have some SCA analysts investigate. I'm not super worried that they'll get the wrong idea about what happened to him, but maybe just everyone lay low and let me take the heat on this one. Okay?"


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

He wanted to hide. She wanted to run away. He was angry. She was afraid.

Who am I?

Alexis shuddered and heard something - words that seemed to come through a thick fog surrounding him. Bran. She'd been talking - or he had been talking to her. Right? Bran's spear.

Oh. He'd lost it. It had been important and he had screwed something up again. The irony that focusing on such a failure was bringing him back from dissociating was in the back of his mind as he snapped to the present.

"I made things worse again," He lamented, angry with himself. "I'm sorry. I...what should I do? I don't know what I should do..." He looks at Bran's feet, focusing on the toes of his boots.


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

As Bran leads Mercy away and Silver Shield already bugged out, Wingblade returns to her apartment. She picks her way gently through the mess, taking care not to disturb the scene. She gets a beep on her earbud from her mentor.

"Hey. I'm okay. Yeah, back at the apartment. No, I'm not gonna touch anything. I might grab some clothes and crash at your place tonight. Let the SCA guys do their thing. Uh-huh.

"Oh, um. Bran lost his spear. His magic spear, yes. And I'm 99-percent sure who took it. The Triakosia. Uh-huh. I don't-- I don't know. I'm going to try to see him, see if there's anything I can-- I don't know! I just... Yeah. Okay. See you tonight."

=====================

Xiu Ying lands hard onto Yu Hiu's balcony and slips inside. Her sisters look up in unison at the intrusion. Shu Zi had been sitting on the couch playing a video game without using the controller, while Yin Ying pops out the earbuds of the music she had been listening to. Yu Hiu steps out of the kitchenette of her apartment.

<Hi. Uh, hey, do you remember that little job we did for Da-- for our client? Into that private security firm? We need to go back. We don't need to get any data this time, just an old spear-->

<We don't strike the same place twice, Xiu Ying,> Yu Hiu says firmly.

<But this is important! We just-->

<No,> the other three say in unison.

Shu Zi continues. <We'll have no surprise. They will have taken precautions. The answer is no.>

Xiu Ying gives them all a pleading look. Shu rolls her eyes and goes back to her game. Yin and Yu exchange a glance with each other. Yu sighs. <All right, supper will be ready shortly. Why don't you stay and eat, and you can tell us why this is so important?>

In short order, the food was on the table and the Daughters of the Tiger were eating together. Xiu Ying told them of the missing spear and how important it was for her to get it back.

<All right, we'll do it,> Yin Ying says when Xiu Ying finishes.

<We will?> Yu Hiu and Shu Zi both ask, surprised. Xiu Ying looks up in hope.

<On one condition. We do this, and when it's time to return to China, you come with us. No complaints.>

======================

After a long, circling flight while she thought, Wingblade finds herself sitting on her favorite statue in Monument Park. She finally brings herself to tap her communicator.

"Wingblade to Bran. You there? You, uh, want to meet?"


Danger -2 | Freak +3 | Savior +1 | Superior +3 | Mundane 0
Influence:
Influence on: Alexandra, Alexis, Bronwyn | Influenced by: Alexandra, Bronwyn
Conditions: Angry, Insecure | Potential: 1/5 | Team: 3
Bran the Blessed wrote:
"The information that it was indeed your doing, and not mere chance is quite sufficient. Abacus's continued attempts to take our lives had not convinced me of that intervention. Thank you. Now that you have shared this knowledge with us, we may take appropriate steps that might otherwise have proved perilous."

"Maybe next time don't futz up all your means of communication then. The only one I was able to get through to is your girlfriend, and I already told her all this."

Wingblade wrote:
"Guys, I've already told Whippoorwill what happened to my houseguest. She's going to have some SCA analysts investigate. I'm not super worried that they'll get the wrong idea about what happened to him, but maybe just everyone lay low and let me take the heat on this one. Okay?"

Kaoru ground his teeth in frustration. Don't do it. Don't do it. Don't do it. "No, I should take the heat as team leader." God*damn* it. Stupid fking responsibility. It was pretty much exactly what he had expected to happen: someone was going to do something dumb and then he'd be the one held responsible for it.

"You ok?"

He jerked in surprise at Chloe hovering nearby. "Yeah, just...team stuff." He rubbed his temples in an attempt to stave off his growing headache.

His hands were quickly replaced by hers. "Teamwork makes the dream work? Anyway, we can probably stop with the shopping for today since I know how much you lurveeeeee it."

He wanted to make a sarcastic comment. But he just felt so tired all of a sudden. And he really was relieved to hear that this ordeal at least was almost over. So instead he just nodded his head and started back to where they had parked.


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 1/3 Savior: 1 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Guilty, Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, The Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Apex, Hex, Wingblade, The Kilt, The Silver Shadow, Shadowboxer, Jusker

Bran placed a heavy hand on Alexis's shoulder, but did not bring his friend's gaze any higher than he wished. "Alexis, you cannot know that this is worse. Perhaps losing the Gae-Dearg will turn to our ends in time. Until then, please, trust us. You need not stand alone against all ills on our behalf. I know that even your healing takes a toll; this world would be poorer without you in it."

Comfort/Support: 2d6 + 3 ⇒ (1, 3) + 3 = 7

Kaoru wrote:
"Maybe next time don't futz up all your means of communication then. The only one I was able to get through to is your girlfriend, and I already told her all this."

"It was not by my will or action that our communications were 'futzed,' Machina. Mockery will not change that."


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill

That night
Shayera's words went unanswered for a long moment. Then Bronwyn spoke in a low voice, hushed and strained, [smaller]"Bran's not online right now. We were able to send him back, and we've patched together another way to get through to him, but... It's probably better if we don't call on him unless it's an emergency.

"Good night."


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5
Kaoru Miyamoto wrote:
Kaoru ground his teeth in frustration. Don't do it. Don't do it. Don't do it. "No, I should take the heat as team leader." God*damn* it. Stupid fking responsibility. It was pretty much exactly what he had expected to happen: someone was going to do something dumb and then he'd be the one held responsible for it.

Wingblade opens her mouth to protest, but stops herself. He's right. He is the team leader. He'll have to take point or I undermine him.

"Okay. But I'll help you out in any way I can. Do you, um, want me to brief you?"

Bronwyn Pascal wrote:

That night

Shayera's words went unanswered for a long moment. Then Bronwyn spoke in a low voice, hushed and strained, [smaller]"Bran's not online right now. We were able to send him back, and we've patched together another way to get through to him, but... It's probably better if we don't call on him unless it's an emergency.

"Good night."

Bronwyn feels a distant, full-body shock.

Shayera blinks, seeing stars, as her whole body registers pain. Her double vision coalesces to reveal the statue of the Forgotten Hero looming high above her. I-- I fell?

She gives her body a couple more minutes to recover, then she pushes herself painfully to her feet. "Ow." Then her memory comes screaming back: That was Bronwyn! She's not trapped!

A smile spreads across her face as relief rushes across her. She almost falls again, the relief is so palpable. She's back! She's back!

She remembers her comm. "Okay, um, good night." I love you.

Even the residual pain from her 35-foot fall couldn't stop her elation as she flies back to Whippoorwill's penthouse.


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill

"You okay?" Back at the Browne's kitchen table Mary-Beth reached out to steady Bronwyn as she trembled. "That ritual took a lot out of you, and I know you're still not at full- Wait, why are you laughing?"

"I think- Oh my God -I think she just flew straight into a wall!"/b] Bronwyn wheezed, [b]"Oh don't look at me like that, it's Shayera - she's fine."

Mary-Beth couldn't help but smirk. "Kinda thought you'd be more freaked out about something like that, but whatever... You're really okay though? You're feeling all... you?"

"Yeah." Bronwyn reached down to her necklace where it lay on the table. It was good work, her's and Mary-Beth's. A laboriously polished bluestone set in a socket of hazel, light against the dark, purplish hues of yew's heartwood that made up the rest of the piece. Good thing I made this back when I had a budget... Don't know what I would've done without this on standby.

The back of the necklace was carefully marked; signs for memory, more for dreams, and still more that neither of them really knew that Mary-Beth had copied over from Gae-Dearg before it had been lost.

They'd filled it with memories of transformations: The first call to battle in the museum, having Bran's form stolen from her in an abandoned hospital, every simple alley-swap,
Shayera's kiss.

It had been enough.

Mary-Beth had insisted on Bronwyn trying it out both ways to make sure it wasn't a one time deal, and then after the quick, wearying transformations, because she was curious, Mary-Beth tried to do what the Dreamstone had been designed for originally, to view the memories Bronwyn had imparted to it.

But they were gone, no more than shadows.

"Honestly, probably good that it still clears the cache, Bron. You don't want to wear something that could accidentally give a whole montage of Bran's greatest hits, right?"

"Yeah... Fair... but it'll still work? Like, once I find Gae-Dearg again? 'Cause we've spent a lot of time on this thing."

Mary-Beth shrugged non-committally. "Probably? This is all kind of jury-rigged. Which we wouldn't need to do if you'd stop letting more of your Living Weapon friends chuck artifacts of power off buildings anyways!"

"It wasn't his fault," Bronwyn responded calmly, not rising to the bait. "If I'd been stronger, maybe I would have done the same thing."

Mary-Beth gave a witheringly disbelieving glare at that, but didn't press the point. "Seriously though... You need to get Gae-Dearg back right away. That's your link to Bran the Blessed - losing it for too long could mean losing your powers too! At least it was more science-types that stole it; they shouldn't be able to do anything too scary with it. I mean, imagine what Balor or Circe or whoever could do with Bran's Spear?!"

"Bronwyn," she heard the lungless whisper rumble again in her memory. "Gae-Dearg is not my spear."

"Yeah... Lucky some other magic thing was enough to transform with..."


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

Sunday morning

Shayera awoke early, mind still buzzing with relief about Bronwyn. She really wanted to see her, but remembered what day it was. She wouldn't be able to see her for several hours at the earliest. Except... I won't have to wait if I... An idea came to her and she left her mentors apartment and streaked across town in the early morning light to her own place.

Shayera decided to go with her gray skirt and matching blouse that she wore at Bronwyn's track meet. The hat and light blue scarf seemed like they would be appropriate attire at her destination. She spared one last glance at the piles of clothes that had been tried and discarded before realising she had no more time left.

She gave herself one more once-over in the mirror before activating the magic in her charm. The fashionable ensemble faded and her wings reappeared along with her flying outfit of khakis and black tank top. She then headed to her balcony and dove off.

St. Ambrose was easy to spot from the air, with its high steeple and adjacent cemetery. She circled the Catholic church once before spotting a nearby lot with high fencing crawling with ivy. She dropped out of the sky aiming for the secluded area. She stretched her senses to listen for any sign she'd been seen, then tested the wrought iron gate to make sure she could get out without using her wings. It creaked, but was otherwise functional.

A quick change aided by her magic charm later, Shayera was walking to the front steps of St. Ambrose. Her heart began thudding especially hard the moment she was spotted by the churchgoers congregating around her. Some barely acknowledged her, while others greeted her with a smile and good morning.

She smiled and politely waved back to those who spoke to her. She tilted her broad-rimmed hat back to let her senses stay on alert for signs of Bronwyn, and tried to tamp down on her rising nervousness.

She climbed the steps up to stand next to the great columns at the entrance and stood, smoothing her skirt to keep from wringing her hands. Her nervousness still was apparent, because a well-dressed elderly gentleman approached her. "Welcome and peace be with you," he said in a rich baritone.

Shayera turned with a start. "Oh! Thank you. And, um, peace with you too," she said, not used to the greeting he used and uncertain if that's the appropriate response.

The old man grinned and inclined his head. "And thank you. You're visiting for the first time, right?"

Shayera nodded her head. "Yes, but I'm... hoping to meet someone here."

"Well, you've met someone already," the man said as he extended his hand. "Salvador Alvarez."

Shayera shook it. "Li Xiu Ying. But I'm--" she stopped herself when she realized the man was playing a jest. She smiled. "Well, you got me. But I am looking for someone specifically. She goes to church here."

"Ah," Mr. Alvarez rocked back on his heels. "That's good, then. It's always nice to see members of our congregation inviting young people to church."

Shayera's smile faded somewhat. "Yeah, well, I'm not really invited. Me being here is sort of a surprise. I mean, I heard she wants me to be here, but she didn't ask me directly. So I hope it'll be a good surprise."

He chuckled. "I'm sure it will be. Who--" His easy smile waned and a glimmer of suspicion touched his eye. "Who is she?"

Shayera caught his look. "Oh, don't worry. I'll spot her," she said, turning away from him and watching the people arriving.


Danger -2 | Freak +3 | Savior +1 | Superior +3 | Mundane 0
Influence:
Influence on: Alexandra, Alexis, Bronwyn | Influenced by: Alexandra, Bronwyn
Conditions: Angry, Insecure | Potential: 1/5 | Team: 3
Wingblade wrote:
"Okay. But I'll help you out in any way I can. Do you, um, want me to brief you?"

Kaoru shrugged before remembering that Wingblade wouldn't be able to actually see that over the comms. "If you want. I can probably manage without though," he responded noncommittally. He didn't really think it was necessary. He already had an idea of how he would write up the report, and he wasn't sure he really needed any more details from her than what he already knew.


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

Alexis shifts uncomfortably under Bran's hand. "I lost something important. You have every right to be angry with me. I don't like who I am." It was becoming more and more clear the longer he was here in this form.

"I should go. Hex should be worried about me..." He said, pulling away from Bran and running for it. Before he lost himself in another panic attack.

Sunday

The bridge over the river had a spectacular view. Mercy perched himself on one of its long cables and stared out at the waters. He'd been there since around dawn. He'd gone back to Hex's only long enough to suit up before coming out.

He couldn't sleep with his mind jarred as it was yesterday. Wearing his gear seemed to help a bit. It didn't matter much to him what he looked like inside while wearing it, nor what face was underneath the mask and helmet. It meant that he was feeling tired today, but it wasn't the first time he'd gone without sleep for a couple nights.

His stomach screamed at him, but he ignored it as much as he could. The hunger helped to focus his thoughts. Keep him from panicking too much. Today, he was going help people. Absolve himself of the awful thoughts simmering under his skin. Hopefully feel better for school tomorrow.

...Did he even want to go to school anymore? Had his feelings changed that much?

Just an open ended scene. If anyone wants to pilot an NPC for Mercy to encounter, feel free to post up.


Female Altered Human

Sunday -- Alexis

The squealing of tires snaps Mercy out of his thoughts. From his vantage point on the bridge, he sees a car weaving in and out of the slow, Sunday morning traffic. It clips a minivan as it reaches the bridge, not stopping even when it caromes into the oncoming lane!

What does he do??


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill
Church Scene wrote:

Shayera's smile faded somewhat. "Yeah, well, I'm not really invited. Me being here is sort of a surprise. I mean, I heard she wants me to be here, but she didn't ask me directly. So I hope it'll be a good surprise."

He chuckled. "I'm sure it will be. Who--" His easy smile waned and a glimmer of suspicion touched his eye. "Who is she?"

Shayera caught his look. "Oh, don't worry. I'll spot her," she said, turning away from him and watching the people arriving.

But she didn't.

The flow of parishioners began to ebb, and still no sign of Bronwyn, but Shayera did notice a pair of kids hovering near the doors, trying not to let her see them goggling at her.

Kids might not have been quite right... they were just a couple years younger than her, really. The boy had the lanky look of someone who hadn't finished growing into his limbs yet; but the girl was a couple inches taller than him anyways. They were both soberly dressed, khakis for him, a long black skirt for her, matching glasses and maroon, itchy looking sweaters for both.

Pretending not to notice them, Shayera drifted behind a column out of the pair's view for a moment. She then changed direction and looked back around to catch them in their gawking with a big wink.

The boy's eyes widened, though his complexion was too dark to show his blush easily, but the girl just beamed, whispering to her brother, "Did you see what she did! I told you it was her!"


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

"And who am I supposed to be, exactly?" Shayera asks with mock suspicion.

They both came closer, though the boy was leaning back while the girl ducked down slightly to whisper, "You're- you're Wingblade! You're Whippoorwill's sidekick! You took out Chicle! And you're the leader of the Young Defenders!"

"She isn't anymore she-" He ducked his head again, "Sorry. I mean, umm, you'd know, right?"

Shayera checks over her shoulder for her wings. Not seeing them, she turns back to the kids. "If I'm her, aren't I missing something?"

The girl's smile vanished as she rolled her eyes, "Well not if you're in disguise." The boy nudged her and she nudged him back harder in place of the apology he was trying to solicit.

"She's just excited. You're her favorite hero."
"Shut up!"

Shayera grins in spite of herself. "Well, that's sweet. If I was her, then I'd be very flattered."

"Oh come on! I'm not even asking for a selfie or anything. But your picture is everywhere!" She held up her phone, already open to a pinned glam-shot of Wingblade at the gala before thumbing it over to older crime-fighting candids. "You don't even always wear a mask!"

"¡Apacíguate Camila!"

"Fine."
"Sorry" "Sorry."

"You're not here because some supervillain's going to attack the church though, right?"

Shayera's mouth twists. "I'm not-- Look, no one's going to attack a church. Geez." She looks around then leans in conspiratorially. "Keep the W-B on the downlow. Not everyone's as keen eyed as you."

They both nodded very quickly and earnestly, then gave each other a quick glance before Camila offered, "So do you want to sit with us?"
"I mean, it's just that we haven't seen you here before, and you might not know anyone else..."

"And with the three of us-" "It's four; Noe's there too" "She's just a kid, she doesn't count. -With the three of us together you won't stand out as much with the whole..." She waved her hand vaguely at Shayera's haute couture.
"Oh, what should we call you anyways? I'm Lucas and she's Camila." He pursed his lips, "It doesn't have to be, like, your Secret Identity or anything..."

Shayera glances around. "I'm meeting someone who goes to this church, but I guess she's not coming today." She turns back to Lucas and Camila, trying to keep the uncertainty off her face. What should she tell them? She hoped to pass this off as just humoring the kids, but it could turn complicated real fast. "I guess I could sit with you. I'm, uh, Shu Zi. Liang Shu Zi. It's Chinese."

Camila's eyes widened "Who are you meeti-" "Cami!"
"I'm just asking! ... It's okay if it's a secret." Camila eventually offered.

Shayera shakes her head. "It's not a secret. But, um, you come to church to meet Jesus, I guess, and not super heroes. So that's the big secret you need to keep. Even from my friend, okay? Can you do that?"

"Why would that be a secret? Does your friend not like Christians? Why would she meet you here then?"

She runs a hand through her hair. "No, my secret! You need to keep that! Promise?"

"Yeah, of course we promise"

The notes of the organ rolled out "Oh geez! We've gotta get in - come on Shuzi!"

With one more longing glance to the walk leading up to the church, Shayera allows herself to be led inside.

Camila held Shayera's hand tightly as they squeezed through the press. "Is Noe-?" "Yeah, she's already there." before quickly filing into their pews next to a little girl in a very floofy dress, who sat between them and their parents, a man and woman in neat, sober clothing, the mother idly paging through her hymnal; the father gave a slightly quizzical look at Shayera's appearance, but after a quick glance at the width of the empty space next to his wife shrugged minutely and scooted down a little.

Shayera gives them a polite smile, but a creeping sense of recognition settles heavily on her mind. Memories of the pictures in Bronwyn's room of her older siblings flash across her vision and superimpose over the family sitting in the pew with her. That's Bronwyn's... sister? Oh, man. Am I making a mistake? Maybe I should just excuse myself and come back another week. She starts to rise just as the priest steps up to begin the service. She freezes for a moment and sits back down, deciding not to walk out while everyone was watching.

Shayera settles in her pew and takes in the spectacle of the religious service. She'd never attended church before. She glances around at the people seated, facing forward, as the service and rituals begin. She knew each element had some sort of meaning attached, but she lacked the connection or significance.

After a while, she gave up trying to make sense of it all. Her mind wandered, recalling a conversation long ago, when it had just been her and Whippoorwill.

They had just finished defending the city against the evil AI M-ENIAC. Wingblade was flush with excitement at being able to cut loose against the robotic drones.
"You did good out there. Even kept the Red at bay," her mentor said. "Though, the real hero was Matrix. God help us if that program made it into the Internet."
"Who would help us?"
Whippoorwill paused, looking stunned. "Damn. They didn't even-- Well, I shouldn't be surprised. >Sigh< Okay, sit down. This isnt going to be easy."
Wingblade sits, curious about what would make her mentor so uncertain.
Whippoorwill begins, "Well, many people believe that there's a God, a being who made the whole Earth, or universe, even. And He's active in our lives, trying to guide us, to make us be good to each other. But we can't see Him, only, um, feel Him. In our conscience, that inward voice we have that tells us what's good and bad."
Wingblade thought on that. "You said some people believe. You mean some people don't?"
Whippoorwill nodded. "Yes. A lot of what we know, or think, comes from really old stories about when God was more 'hands on,' so to speak. He would perform miracles through His prophets and his Son. Some people think that they're just stories, or lies, or stories about people with powers like us, that the people back then thought were gods."
Wingblade sat quiet for a moment, digesting that. "So who's right?"
Chuckling, Whippoorwill shrugged. "I don't know. There's no empirical evidence, but that doesn't stop people from believing. That's called faith, that this world and what we do in it matters, and that doing good is worth it."


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

This was trouble that seemed pretty easy to solve.

A car swerving erratically, going into oncoming traffic. If he didn't stop it, it would hit other cars and perhaps cause a fatality. He set himself up before leaping with the right amount of strength to land ahead of the vehicle.

Defend Traffic From Reckless Driver (Insecure): 2d6 + 0 - 2 ⇒ (6, 6) + 0 - 2 = 10

He'd practiced this, he remembered vaguely. Crouch and keep his shoulder into the oncoming car. Then just before contact, scoop up to lift the front wheels and bleed off its momentum. Only the front tires had drive, so it was easily stopped.

I'm better at helping than I thought. A bright thought to his dark mood, as he pulled the car over carefully. What would Shayera do next?

"If you are able, please turn off the car and exit." He intoned through the helmet speakers, setting it down and keeping a hand on the grill to keep it from speeding off. He looked into the car to check on the driver and see if they might be in need of any help.

Gonna clear Insecure for that surprisingly awesome roll.


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill

Shayera blinked back to the present, glancing up at the hanging figure of Jesus on the cross. She'd leaned a lot more since then, but had preferred her mentor's approach: keep your mind open but not dwell on it too much. As she starts to think about Bronwyn's belief and how much of a part of her life it is and wondering if she was capable of such devotion to an ethereal figure, her ears perked up as she was dragged out of her reverie.

"Sorry-sorry-sorry." The first scent that hit Shayera's nostrils was burnt oil, but beneath that was a scent that was unmistakably Bronwyn. "I know we're late, Anna, but Mrs. Browne's car broke down and-

"...Shayera?"

She froze, suddenly uncertain about her surprise. "I... wanted to, um... I mean, hi?"

[smaller]Shh!" Anna hissed, "Bronwyn, this is not the time for your- Just take your seat!"

Shayera's cheeks burned, but she scooted over to try to give some space for Bronwyn. Bronwyn sat on the other sidethough, leaving a long stretch of her family between them; Noe was blissfully unaware, but that didn't stop Camila and Lucas's gazes were burning into both Bronwyn and Shayera.

***

Shayera tried to follow along with the remainder of the service, the roil of Bronwyn's scent lurking just close enough to be distracting. When everyone stood to get in line to receive a small white wafer, she joined them, but Bronwyn looked back at her, eyes hot with irritation as she bobbed her head sharply back at the pews.

Uncertain, but at least getting the meaning of her pointed glance at the pew, Shayera slid back towards her seat, frowning, uncertain, as the congregation took Mass. Do I go at the end? Or not at all? Unfortunately, the back of Bronwyn's neck offered few clues.

"Why is Shuzi sitting back down, mama?" Noe asked in what was meant to be a whisper. "She's doing the right thing, sweetie. You're not supposed to take communion when you aren't right with God." Anna's eyes settled on Bronwyn's stiffening back. "Sometimes it can be hard to admit it, but Shu Zi's doing the right thing by sitting."


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

Overhearing the whispering, Shayera settles a bit, though she wonders what you're supposed to do to get right with God. Then a terrible thought hits her. Is it because I've killed? Is that why Bronwyn looked so upset when I stood? Her shoulders slump and she waits out the service, feeling miserable.

Bronwyn and her sister didn't return right away. Shayera spotted Bronwyn hunched down in the corner speaking with Anna in fiercely hushed tones, though the Hernandezes returned promptly. "How do you know Aunt Bronwyn?" murmured Lucas while Camila trampled over him asking, "Is Shayera your real name? We won't tell anyone!"

Shayera sits, sullen with her hands clasped in her lap. Lucas and Camila didn't help her mood. "I don't have a real name. They're all made up."

"Niños, niños, you're being so good, but you have to say quiet just a little bit longer, okay?" their father urged.

Shayera was imminently grateful for the admonishment, so she could avoid any more questions. She starts eyeing the exit, wondering if it'll be better for everybody if she slips out and pretends none of this ever happened.


Female Altered Human

On the bridge

Several cars pull off to the side to gawk while others slow up just enough for a glimpse before moving on to wherever they are headed. The driver of the minivan the car had clipped gets out, a cell phone to his ear.

The car in Mercy's grip revvs its engines uselessly, squealing its tires and causing a plume of smoke to rise from the wheels. After a moment, the door opens and the driver steps out. A woman wearing rumpled club wear wobbles on high heels and has to hold onto the door for balance. Mercy can see her eyes are glassy and slow to focus.

"Hey! Could you--" she looks around and seems to notice the oncoming traffic slowing and driving around her and Mercy. "Oh. Could you, like, get me back on the right road? I just need to get home, 'kay?"

The driver on the cell phone puts it to his chest and shouts at her, "You could have killed us, you b---!"

What does he do??


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

Intoxicated. Inebriated. Incapable of operating a vehicle due to impairment. Mercy can see how the minivan driver would be upset. He also was upset, but at least he had averted catastrophe for the moment.

He keyed on the comm channel Shayera told him to use when reporting criminal activity. "This is Mercy. I have a reckless driver on the river bridge that I stopped from causing an accident. I think I need...an ambulance? And police. The driver's inebriated and she clipped someone's van."

He keyed off to reply to the minivan driver, the bass of the speakers making him sound quite intimidating. "I have contacted emergency services, they should be here shortly. Please check on yourself and your passengers for injuries," He firmly requested, before turning to the woman. "You need to sit down and rest. You are...unwell."

Provoke civilians to comply with reasonable requests (Guilty): 2d6 + 0 - 2 ⇒ (4, 4) + 0 - 2 = 6

Well this should get interesting. Marking Potential.


Female Altered Human

Honestly, I don't think there needs to be a Move here. The bystanders sure don't need to be provoked, and the drunk driver wouldn't be susceptible to your words because of her intoxication.

The driver of the minivan nods at Mercy and steps back closer to his vehicle. "I'm on the line with 911," he shouts, then puts the phone back to his ear and continues giving his report.

Mercy hears an acknowledgement from police dispatch, and informs him that units are on their way.

The woman slowly realizes that the police are being called. "Oh, no, I'm fine, really, I'm just tired. You're a hero, right? You could fly me home? Please, I can't get another DUI!" She comes up to him, pleading. "I'll do anything, please!"

What does he do??


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

"You drove into traffic coming towards you." Mercy bluntly states to her. He points to the bystanders. "If I had not stopped your vehicle, you would have hit someone and you would no longer need to go home, because you would be dead." Mercy was feeling angry for reasons he wasn't sure he understood.

"Your life, their lives, were something you should have thought about before driving. If I let you go, you would probably do this again. The most heroic thing I can do right now is to protect others from your recklessness and selfishness," He finished.

Good, Alexis! That's exactly how a hero should sound!

He stands there unyielding, awaiting the arrival of the authorities to take control of the situation from him.


Female Altered Human

Sirens in the distance grow louder. Before long, police units and the requested ambulance arrive. While EMTs check out the people in the cars the drunk driver clipped, police officers begin a series of field sobriety tests on the woman. While that happens, one of the officers takes Mercy's statement.

She doesn't take long before they elect to arrest her for driving under the influence. While she's placed in the back of a patrol unit, she leans out and shouts, "Some hero you are! Jackass!" Her insults are muffled when the door shuts.

The officer taking Mercy's version of events chuckles. "You saved her from catching a vehicular homicide charge, if not her life. I wonder if she'll ever realize that." He takes a note of the short series of skid marks where Mercy stopped the car. "You super strong or something? Yeah, you gotta be. Damn, that had to be something to see, stopping that car like that."

He offers his hand for a shake. "Good work, this morning. You saved lives."


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill
Wingblade wrote:
She starts eyeing the exit, wondering if it'll be better for everybody if she slips out and pretends none of this ever happened.

A hand landed on Shayera's shoulder with a gentle squeeze. "Ola sobrinos. ¿Puedo hablar con mi amiga afuera por un momento?" They nodded, but Camila was already standing to join them when Bronwyn gave her a withering glare and added, [smaller]"En privado."

Shayera put a brave smile on her face and gave Camila a wink. She stood and sidestepped out of the pew. Without saying anything, she followed Bronwyn where she led.

Bronwyn's face was cloudy, and she couldn't help but scuff her nice flats against the edges of the stairs while she thought. "I didn't know that's how you felt about your names." Her voice was low, almost monotone. Shayera looked away; with a shrug, she tried to play it off, "They're just names. Shayera's fine."

"If there's something else you want me to call you, I would."

She shook her head. "No. I like it when you call me Shayera.
Look, I'm sorry about this morning. I wanted to surprise you. Abacus is offline; I figured there's no one watching. And Embee kind of mentioned... well, I guess it's not important."

"Shayera..." Bronwyn took a deep breath and marshaled her words carefully, "If you heard something today that helped you, then I'm glad. Really. And... I don't know what Mary-Beth told you, but I wanted to bring you to church. I wanted to show you what this means to me. I didn't want you to be sitting there lost and confused while I spent the whole time trying to figure out why the heck you were here in the first place!"


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

Shayera closes her eyes with a pained expression. "Dammit. I mean, sh%*. I mean, ugh." She retreats, looking guilty. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm... I'm a bad girlfriend. I know that now."

"No... This just sucks. All we've got are surprises and missed connections right now."

Shayera shakes her head. "No, I really am. Everything I've done lately has just been bad. This just proves it. I can't even go to church with you."

"It's a Sunday Mass, and you had a couple 8th graders to guide you through it. You didn't do anything bad. I just... I wish this wasn't how your first time went."

She waves her off. "Look, that's fine. I'm not going to hate church just because my first time I didn't sit next to you."

Bronwyn nodded distractedly. "So... how are things going. With Him and your sisters?"

Shayera casts her eyes down, dejected. "Um, yeah. I need to talk to you about that. You, uh, talked to Yin, huh? My sisters, they're ready to go back to China.
"And they want me to go with them."

A cold shock ran through her, but she tried to keep her voice level. "What do you want?"

"To stay. With you."


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill

Bronwyn burst into tears, body racked with sobs as she picked up her girlfriend and kissed her, arms wrapped around her with no thought to where she was.
"Well why'd you have to **HIC**[/smaller] say it like that you jerk!"[/smaller]
Her voice was far from steady, but her smile showed that she was mostly joking.

Shayera's voice caught, tears welling in her eyes. "'Cause, I'm worried that I'll just keep hurting you if I stay."

"I love you Shayera. I know you're not perfect, and I'm not..." Her voice failed and she buried her head in Shayera's neck. "We're learning. This... this is all really hard, for both of us. You were trying to do something... So sweet! And lovely, and loving, and... I just miss talking to you! As long as we're talking we..." She kissed her again, leaning her forehead to rest against Shayera's while the words wouldn't come.

"Did that make any sense?"

The tears fell down her cheeks. Her lower lip trembled. "Yeah, I think so. But it hurts so much when I mess these things up. I feel like, maybe it'd be better if... well, nevermind. Let's just enjoy a few days without Dad looking over my shoulder. Right?"

"It'd be better if what, Shayera?"

She froze. "Um. I..." She meets Bronwyn's eyes, searching. "I was going to ask if it would be easier if I just went away. Hard at first, but, you know, better in the long run."

Bronwyn gave a small, sad smile. "Thank you for telling me." She leaned in and kissed Shayera's forehead. "You're a good thing in my life, Shayera, a great thing. You deserve this too."

Shayera's knees gave out and she let herself be fully supported in Bronwyn's arms. "What can I do? How do I stop messing up?"

"Well.... I'm not saying never again. But every fight we've had has been because of a, uh, surprise. Or because you thought I was unfairly maligning your... Well... Mostly it's been surprises. So maybe... Just while we don't get to talk like normal girlfriends?" Her smile turned... reminiscent. "But then things like surprise concerts and everything are absolutely back on the table.."

Shayera looked uncertain. "But, you were mad when Dad needed me to..." She squeezed her eyes shut and put a hand on her temple. "I'm a good daughter. I'm a good daughter." She opened her eyes to look at Bronwyn, her expression desperate; her voice dropped to a low whisper. "I think something's wrong with my head."


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

Bronwyn's voice is steady. "I know. What he put in there isn't real, but it's stuck in there good. I have some ideas but... I don't want you to be hurt any more... Well, any more than we'll need to."

Shayera squeezes her eyes shut. "I just... it's normal, right? To want to be a good daughter? To make him proud? Why's that bad?"

"Shayera, even if he weren't a literal evil scientist who had been responsible for tinkering around with your memories, I would still want you to get help if you had a panic attack at the idea of disappointing him."

Her eyes snap open, blazing. "Stop it! Quit saying he's evil! You don't know! You--" Her whole body trembles and she has to turn away and take several deep breaths. "I'm sorry. I'm not mad at you. I just--" A shudder passes through her and she shakes her head clear.

"I know. It's hard."

Shayera puts a hand to her temple. "I'm a good daughter. I'm a good daughter."

"You know he's hurting himself by doing this, right?" Bronwyn asks. "Using you as a shield, as currency? It takes a toll. I'm sure that doing things like this makes it impossible for him to have real human connections."

"But... he's my father."

"You know he's not."

A look bordering on heartbreak is in her eyes. "Stop it."

"Okay. For now."

Shayera radiates distress, but she calms down as Bronwyn backs off. After a while, she looks up into her girlfriend's eyes with a half-grin. "Oh, I think your niece and nephew know I'm a super hero."


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)
Whippoorwill wrote:

Sirens in the distance grow louder. Before long, police units and the requested ambulance arrive. While EMTs check out the people in the cars the drunk driver clipped, police officers begin a series of field sobriety tests on the woman. While that happens, one of the officers takes Mercy's statement.

She doesn't take long before they elect to arrest her for driving under the influence. While she's placed in the back of a patrol unit, she leans out and shouts, "Some hero you are! Jackass!" Her insults are muffled when the door shuts.

The officer taking Mercy's version of events chuckles. "You saved her from catching a vehicular homicide charge, if not her life. I wonder if she'll ever realize that." He takes a note of the short series of skid marks where Mercy stopped the car. "You super strong or something? Yeah, you gotta be. Damn, that had to be something to see, stopping that car like that."

He offers his hand for a shake. "Good work, this morning. You saved lives."

"It was fortunate that I was here. I hope that when she can think clearly she will realize her errors." Mercy intones to the officer, before taking his hand and shaking it. It felt...it felt...

He was too tall.

The officer should be standing over her. Standing over him. Her? Mercy froze briefly before letting the man's hand go. "I should...get back to patrolling. Thanks for your assistance," She - no, he - said before turning, and jumping up to the bridge cable, scaling and then taking off.

He stopped only after he'd crossed the whole bridge that way, hopped off of a fast food sign and stopped on the roof of a old tenement building, collapsing onto his back and staring up at the sky.

It was so strange. Mercy was supposed to feel happy. Instead there was this gnawing desire to be something more. Or rather, to return to how he had been as her. It was confusing and he didn't know who to talk to about it. Hex was busy, Kilt seemed to have gone off the grid...

He keyed in Whippoorwill's frequency, speaking quietly. "I think I need to see the doctor again."


Female Altered Human

After a short delay, Whippoorwill's voice comes on. "Mercy? Okay, look -- Dr. Brighthop doesn't work on Sundays. I can try to see if she'll see you tomorrow, but I don't know her schedule. But if you need to be with someone now, I'm at Wingblade's apartment. Can you come here? Or if you like, you can go to Defender HQ and have Matrix run another scan. Up to you."

What does Mercy do?


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

Wingblade's penthouse apartment had probably seen better days. The scars of Balor's agent's corruption were still apparent even after he had self-immolated. Lucky for Mercy that the elevator was working again, because scaling the side of the building would have been daunting, even for his(her) strength.

He wanders briefly, before unlatching the helmet and pulling it off, setting it down and sitting on the ruined couch. It creaks ominously underneath his weight and that of his armor. Her armor. Their armor?

"Am I a boy...or a girl?" Mercy pondered. The answer had been clearer in the barracks. They hadn't been anything but a soldier and a comrade. They hadn't needed to think about these things, only about completing their training and being selected for missions and having fun with their comrades-in-arms.

"...I want to be free." That was the thought. That was what spurred Alexis all those months ago, to break away and do something more. It was earnest desire, the need to break away from the box confining them. Now looking at where they were, they saw that there was still a box - perhaps bigger and wider and roomier, but still with the walls that bound them up. They wanted to free of it all.

They had freed themselves before. Alexis' eyes wandered to the balcony, and stood up, leaving the helmet behind. They stepped out to the railing and looked over the edge. Gauging the height. Doing the visual calculus in their head.


Female Altered Human

Wingblade's apartment was abuzz with activity when Mercy arrived. Mystical forensic specialists were focusing on the spot where Dane Giras died, laying down crystals and arcane runes in concentric circles. A group of computer technicians had partially dismantled the main Abacus workstation and was in the process of inspecting the various components. And a pair of SCA investigators were picking through the general mess that was Shayera's apartment.

Whippoorwill stood overlooking the work from the uppermost level, giving occasional instructions but otherwise watching in silence.

She watches Mercy move through the apartment and head out to the balcony. Somewhat surprised he doesn't go up to where she was, she watches for a few moments then glides down to the balcony level and steps outside to join him.

She leans on the railing next to him, staring out over the city. "I'm no doctor, but I can listen."


Labels: Danger: 0 Freak: 1 Savior: -2 Superior: 2 Mundane: 3 | Condition(s):None|Potential 0/5
Influence:
no-one

Kay has a text:
>Hey, so heads up
>Kinda got tagged in the fight with the Balorette
No big damage but, my hair got pretty singed, and I had to cut it before whatever was happening to it reached my scalp.
>Had to cut it more to make it look remotely like it wasn't the battlefield amputation of haircuts.
>Dad and Gill have both independently called me Sinead. that's how bad it got.

Alexandra puts her phone away as foresight as she steps into the booth.

[/ooc]I don't think I made it explicit last time, but the priest she's talking to is B's, so, I figured this might be a You scene, Cwethan.[/ooc]


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

Alexis is silent for a few moments as they stare into the abyss. Nothing felt right. They weren't right. It hadn't even begun to feel that way yesterday, but for a while since they were reborn. They let Whippoorwill settle next to them while considering their options.

"...I don't like this." Alexis started to speak. They looked at their hands. "It's wrong. I keep feeling that it's all wrong." They turned to look where Alexis' blood was where the shutters would have been. "This is not my body. I don't feel right in it. I tried wearing nice clothes and going back to school, but...I feel angry. I'm angry that I don't know if I'm supposed to be a girl or a boy. I want to change again...but I don't want to die to do it."

Alexis scowls, and grips the railing tight enough to indent the steel. "I never thought about these things before. I...I've had many forms. I remember them all mostly like a dream. But some feel more real than others. The Alexis I was before burning...that Alexis felt real. This one...feels fake. Hollow and worthless. Even when I do everything right, when people call me hero..."

They grimace, painfully aware of their surroundings now. "I wanted to be free. But the box is just bigger than the one I left. I'm still trapped inside."


Female Altered Human

Whippoorwill's face is full of sympathy as she regards the youth next to her. "I'm sorry," she says after a quiet moment.

She didn't know what else to say. She knew the business of superheroing. Her mentoring of Shayera had given her a crash course in teenaged drama that she had once thought was well behind her, but Alexis's existential crisis was uncharted territory.

"I want to help. But I don't know how. I don't have the words that will make everything make sense. I don't have the powers that can help you feel right."

She stops herself from saying more, from attempting to offer reassurances that he'll figure it out, or that it'll get better, or -- God forbid -- that he should get over it. She hated feeling powerless, but that's exactly what she was here.

Whippoorwill looks back out over the city. "You're not alone, you know. I don't know if that's comforting, but you're not the only person who feels uncomfortable in their own body. There's support out there, if you want to reach out and find it."

Help him connect to the people who can do something. That's about all I can do.


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

"I feel alone." That was easy to articulate. "Shayera was kind to take me in and help me. I like Kaoru, but he hates me. Hex took me in, but she is uncomfortable with this new body of mine. Shadow treats me like I'm still Triakosia. I don't know how to tell them how I feel. I don't know if they would listen."

They knelt their head down to the railing, feeling the cool metal on their forehead. "I lost Bran's spear. He says not to worry, but it's important. He was upset when I broke off my hands to get free too. I don't think he likes me very much."

"I don't like myself very much right now." They pulled themselves back up, staring once again at the street below. How many seconds would it take to reach it from here at terminal velocity? "Maybe I should just leave."

Except...well. She had offered them help to find others like themselves?

Perhaps that would be worth a try.

"Who would I see about support?" Alexis asked.


Female Altered Human

"Well, Dr. Brighthop will have resources. Support groups, literature, that sort of thing. Though, I'm not going to lie; most if not all of it is for people who don't have powers. So, you know, people who feel like they were born into the wrong body, rather than, well, reborn as a result of a super power."

Whippoorwill shifts a step to look him up and down. "I'm sorry you're having trouble with your teammates, but for better or worse, they're your peers. I don't believe it's as bad as you think with them. Wing's been going through a lot, and I'll tell her to make time for you. Like you, she's died and come back. That changes a person, even if it's not so obvious as it is with you.

"You may not realize this, but you helped her, just as much if not more than she helped you. And I think she's going to need your help really soon." She gives Mercy an encouraging smile.


Danger -2 | Freak +3 | Savior +1 | Superior +3 | Mundane 0
Influence:
Influence on: Alexandra, Alexis, Bronwyn | Influenced by: Alexandra, Bronwyn
Conditions: Angry, Insecure | Potential: 1/5 | Team: 3

The drive back to his house was fairly uneventful. On his way up to his room, his mother stopped him to let him know she'd be leaving a little earlier than expected for her business trip. That night on a red-eye in fact. Somehow he managed not to roll her eyes when she told him to remember that a handyman would be coming the following afternoon to patch a water stain in the downstair's bathroom. He was, after all, the person who had noticed the stain and hired the handyman. Did she think that her presence here somehow meant she was the home owner in more than just name? He had been the one looking after the house pretty much ever since Father had died. She had been too busy with work to do it. Nevertheless, he wordlessly accepted the check meant as the handyman's payment. He supposed it was nice he wouldn't have to forge her signature for it this time. Though after the first dozen or so times, he could sign her name as easily as his.

The rest of the day was spent goofing off with Chloe. They played games, planned what activities they could do together on Sunday, and talked. He made dinner for them. She tried to talk him into letting her pick what he made tomorrow. He pretended to resist her pleas even though as soon as she had asked he had already started taking a mental catalogue of what they'd need to buy to make it. It was almost like they had never been apart or fought in the first place.

He hadn't realized how much he missed someone who knew him this well. He hadn't exactly gone out of his way to make friends at school, assuming that it would be better if he was alone. Bronwyn was nice enough, but she already had a host of other friends, not to mention a mess of her own personal drama to deal with. Plus track. And apparently making armor for a jerk who didn't appreciate her. Busy people weren't exactly the easiest to make friends with, especially when they already had all the help they needed. And Alexandra was...well...

He felt his heart speed up slightly with a mix of nerves and tentative excitement. It seemed like they were on good terms, so her promise would still hold wouldn't it? What time was it anyway? He grabbed his phone to check and noticed a series of messages from her that he had missed. He quickly typed out a reply.

> Oh, well, I'm glad you at least weren't hurt.
> And hair grows back anyway.
> I mean, if you want to grow it out again.

He paused, fingers hovering over the soft keyboard. It was 1:02am. He had done it once, he could do it again.

> Also, it's been 24 hours, so...
> Do you want to go out with me?
> I don't really care where.
> And, you don't actually _have_ to say yes, if you don't want to.

He pushed his phone away, trying to ignore the little spikes of panic and anxiety he felt. She's probably asleep anyway. You won't get a response until the morning. Ignore it and keep working. He glanced at Chloe's sleeping form next to him before turning back to the first draft of his SCA report.


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill
Wingblade wrote:
Shayera radiates distress, but she calms down as Bronwyn backs off. After a while, she looks up into her girlfriend's eyes with a half-grin. "Oh, I think your niece and nephew know I'm a super hero."

Bronwyn's face turned from grave stillness to an embarrassed grin in a flash. "Yeah... you're kinda Camila's favorite"

"...And I would've warned you about that, if I'd known you were coming today!" she teased.

Shayera gets a cheeky grin. "And it would have been a great surprise if you were on time!"

A pained look flashed across Bronwyn's face. "Ugh, yeah. You don't know anything about carburetors do you? 'Cause that's my next project..."

"You want me to talk to Whetstone?"

"For a Volvo?"

Shayera shrugs. "It couldn't hurt. And there's a better than even chance that you might get a rocket launcher installed."

"Ah geez-" **cough** "-Ixnay on the ordnance-ay in the ivilian-say ar-cay"

Shayera giggles. "Come on! It'll make the morning commutes a lot more interesting!"

Bronwyn grinned, "Okay, there's about to be a flood of people leaving church on time, and even with Abacus down I'm not sure how much we should be seen. But we'll talk more about the memories, okay?"

Shayera nods, her earlier mirth fading. "Okay."

Bronwyn thought for a moment before reaching into her pocket.
She withdrew a handcrafted necklace on a leather thong and pressed in into Shayera's hand with a little extra force to cover for her hesitation. "Wear this while you sleep tonight, okay? Maybe it'll help stir some things up."

***

St. Ambrose, earlier

Alexandra wrote:
"Bless me father, for I have sinned."

"Welcome, daughter. You sound very troubled. How long as it been since your last confession?"


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

Shayera looks at the charm in her hand, and then back at Bronwyn. "What's this?

"It's a Dreamstone. Mary-Beth and I made it back when I was trying to figure out how to talk to you about Scythe and... It's supposed to heighten your memories, make them easier to sort through, even show to other people, kind of. It knocked loose a bunch of weird stuff from Bran's memories."

"Show them? Really? How would I do that?" Shayera gets a slight touch of excitement at the prospect of Bronwyn staying with her overnight to share dreams. "Um, so you'd need to come over tonight?"

"I could for a little while, but I'd have to be gone before you went to sleep."

Shayera frowns. "Then how do I share? I'm supposed to sleep with this on while you watch, right? Or, does distance not count?"

"Sharing happens later, for now it just stores them up. And if I'm there... It's even more likely we'll get... interference"

"So I sleep, it records, and you watch them later?"

"We go through them later.

"It doesn't have enough juice to do anything more. I'm surprised it's been working as a talisman for the whole Bran thing."

Shayera looks up, wide-eyed, now figuring out how Bronwyn managed to swap back with Bran. She cradles it a bit more reverently. "Okay. I guess I'll just dream and it'll find what we need in my memories?"

"It's not an exact science - or really, you know, science - so there'll be a little bit of guesswork."

Shayera gets serious. "Could something go wrong?"

"Nothing more than weird dreams."

"I'll use old sheets, then."

"Call me if... if they get too bad. I'll be up."

"Okay."


Labels: Danger: 0 Freak: 1 Savior: -2 Superior: 2 Mundane: 3 | Condition(s):None|Potential 0/5
Influence:
no-one
Padre wrote:
"Welcome, daughter. You sound very troubled. How long as it been since your last confession?"

Alexandra hesitates. Okay, I'll level with you, I've never received confession. I just need... someone to talk to. Someone who's good at this morality thing. and someone who know some stuff about superheroes. she says

she cuts him off before he can respond. I know you won't admit that, and she's not what I'm here about anyway. Well, she's part of it, but I'm not here to ask you to break the seal of confession... oh fu-... oh, what the hey, let's start from the beginning here.

The name my parent's gave me is irrelevant to this, but you might know me under a different name. I'm the Silver Shadow, one of the young defenders. I'm also a junior in high school. once upon a time, the team I was on saved the city. Now, we mostly clean up our own messes. On good days.

But... well, my problem isn't with that. It's that our team also had a rough start. Me, Bran, and Wing were kinda the unofficial young heroes for a few months, between when Thor Girl and Jusker left, and the museum incident. it was nice. Thor girl, Wing and I slew a dragon once, but unfortunately the only video was pretty bad quality. It had been working. Alexandra has clear bitterness in her voice But, I hadn't been... well, look, there's a lot of stuff with Bran I can't work out, and I started investigating him some. Know your friends, right? I kinda... caught someone who had superpowers, but wasn't a hero. she pauses Or at least, i think she has powers. I followed her to be sure. confronted her, eventually. It wasn't nice, i thought she was lying to me, and that made me overreact. I threatened to, among other things, out her as gay, and might have thrown a dulled knife at her. she shakes her head... it had seemed logical at the time.

and, inevitably, now she and I have to work together. and the whole team, which was basically put together under duress, is kinda fractured. Mercy has a thing for my boyfriend, and won't back off, Wing, me, and Bran sometimes are all vying to be leader, which is funny cause Machina is, officially. I've had a kinda-sorta thing for Bran for a while, and I'm not sure what I would do if he reciprocated, not that Machina and I are together. I've been stockpiling countermeasures to at least 2 of our teammates, and I have theoretical plans of action to deal with the others, and I'm terrified of what happens if they find out.

and I have a power that drives me to push, and investigate, and I think I've hurt a lot of them, at least a little. B included. and I don't know how to go from here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

<And, you don't actually _have_ to say yes, if you don't want to.
>Of course.
>I just wasn't sure if you'd... want to
>Where do you want to go?


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)
Whippoorwill wrote:

"Well, Dr. Brighthop will have resources. Support groups, literature, that sort of thing. Though, I'm not going to lie; most if not all of it is for people who don't have powers. So, you know, people who feel like they were born into the wrong body, rather than, well, reborn as a result of a super power."

Whippoorwill shifts a step to look him up and down. "I'm sorry you're having trouble with your teammates, but for better or worse, they're your peers. I don't believe it's as bad as you think with them. Wing's been going through a lot, and I'll tell her to make time for you. Like you, she's died and come back. That changes a person, even if it's not so obvious as it is with you.

"You may not realize this, but you helped her, just as much if not more than she helped you. And I think she's going to need your help really soon." She gives Mercy an encouraging smile.

"...Okay." Alexis didn't think that they believed her about being helpful to Shayera, but they would trust her. They...

...They? How long had they been thinking of themselves as they?

"...I think that I'm okay now. I'm going to keep patrol," Mercy concluded, heading back inside to retrieve their helmet and fitted it back on. "If you can speak to the doctor, please let me know of any place or meeting I should go to. Thank you...for your help."

Mercy took the elevator down, before hitting the streets. Feeling better, if only marginally. They couldn't solve everything in one conversation, but talking did help a little. At least someone knew what they were going through.

They did wonder how bad it must be for those who didn't have their powers. Unable to change their body. It must hurt them all the time.

End of that scene - if anyone has anything else for Mercy to encounter on Sunday, feel free to pitch an idea.


Female Altered Human

Whippoorwill furrows her brow and adjusts her domino mask as Alexis heads off. "You're welcome."

She folds her arms, wondering what exactly she said that worked. "Huh." She touches the communicator in her ear. "Wingblade. If you're not doing anything, I think Mercy would like a partner for patrolling."

After a moment, she hears, "Uh, yeah. That sounds good. Hey, it's Whip. Patrol time. You wanna--? Okay, I'll see you tomorrow, all right? Yeah, I'm on my way."


Danger -2 | Freak +3 | Savior +1 | Superior +3 | Mundane 0
Influence:
Influence on: Alexandra, Alexis, Bronwyn | Influenced by: Alexandra, Bronwyn
Conditions: Angry, Insecure | Potential: 1/5 | Team: 3

Kaoru tried not to wake Chloe as he practically lunged for his phone when he felt it buzz. His attempt to distract himself wasn't going as planned as his approach to SCA report writing backfired and he found himself re-reading the same sentence over and over without actually processing it. Nervously, he read the response. That's a 'yes,' right?

< Of course.
< I just wasn't sure if you'd... want to
< Where do you want to go?
> Why not?
> And...I don't really mind where
> I mean, where isn't exactly the point, y'know?
> I just wanted to spend time with you.
> Though since you like coffee so much, I thought you might like a place with lots of different samples?

It was probably good Alexandra wasn't here and that Chloe was asleep because he was pretty sure he was blushing and that either would give him no amount of teasing for it. Not that that was necessarily bad exactly. It could be, especially if other people were around. But when alone, it was really just a sign of affection, wasn't it? And it wasn't exactly like attention from a cute girl was a bad thing. Plus more than once, he had managed to use her teasing to guilt Chloe into giving him a back rub or hanging out with him. He might be able to do something similar to Alexandra? Or maybe he could find a way to turn the tables? That was always fun and seemed to catch Chloe completely off guard whenever he had done it to her.

Oh s!#&, if she says yes, I need to figure out how to plan a date. Ughhh. Jack had always been the one doing all of that when they were dating, and he had never really bothered to find out what had gone into that. The internet probably knew. And Chloe. She had been on lots of dates, so maybe he could ask her about it in the morning. His fingers tapped against his laptop with a nervous energy as he tried to plan out where he was supposed to go from here.


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill

Father Rotoli's robes rustled behind the screen as he shifted.

"I would be happy to speak to you, but I must be clear. This is not a confession. Unless you embrace the church, you cannot receive true absolution from unburdening yourself in this way, nor is it protected by the confessional seal. I certainly claim no expertise in the doings of costumed heroes." Alexandra could almost hear the kindly smile through the heavy mesh between them. "However, I would be proud to do what I can to help."

He settled in his seat and quietly coughed. "You will forgive me if I am unfamiliar with the details of your heroics, even the dragon. I tend not to focus my energies on such matters, when there is so much other work to do. So, allow me to distill: You worked in partnership with two other heroes, but your curiosity, perhaps fueled by your particular nature, and certainly mixed up with your attraction towards one of them has led you to hurt your friends.

"I suppose my first recommendation would be to avoid romantic entanglements within a group that must work together with that kind of cohesion, but if that cannot be managed, then certainly not to try to treat such things casually. I would recommend against any kind of relationship with an entity that pretends to godhood in any case. That level of hubris and arrogance can only lead to disaster, particularly in a relationship with one they think of as 'merely mortal.'

"But you say you are working towards countermeasures for your teammates as well? Do you think they're untrustworthy? Or do you mistrust your instincts? Have you spoken with any of your teammates regarding these plans?

"To doubt and to question is not wrong, but to wallow in suspicion will hurt you and them. Recognizing your fault is the first step, but admitting it to a stranger cannot change anything. Beyond that there are two things you must do: You must apologize to those you have hurt; you must take action to avoid repeating this harm. What would aid you in doing this?"


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

Sunday afternoon

Wingblade drops out of the sky, landing hard on the roof next to Mercy. "Hey. Heard you were patrolling. Got room for one more?" She looks him over once, eyeing the suit of armor encasing the young hero. "I figure I could go high, you low? Sundays are slower than other days of the week, but you never know."

Wondering what sort of small talk to make while they're patrolling, Wingblade says, "So, uh, just so you know, I don't hold it against you for losing Bran's spear. It was snatched up pretty quick. So, that part's not your fault."

=================
Assuming Mercy is okay with patrolling with Wingblade...

The pair meander through the city, working their way from the central Tower District to the dense edifices of Old Town. From there, they circle south past Rustside toward the Waterfront. They were just about to turn towards the gentrified area known as Villaintown when the police bands on their communicators screeches in their ears.

Apparently, the super being known as Chitin has once again escaped confinement and is on a rampage through Verde Heights!

"That's just a few blocks from here!" Wingblade says excitedly. "He's like, a giant cockroach guy! Super strong and really durable. We can go all out!"

Wingblade encourages Mercy to help engage the armored villain. A plume of dust and the wail of sirens draw the two heroes to the site of the rampage.

Wingblade, flying on ahead, lands just outside of arms' reach of the twelve-foot-tall, buglike villain. Chitin tosses aside a cop car it had been wadding up into a ball of scrap when he sees Wingblade before him.

"Hey! They'll never let you out for real if you keep making a mess like this!" Wingblade shouts. "Why don't you--" her banter is cut off when Chitin starts swinging massive blows at her, causing her to focus on evading the crushing attacks.

Directly Engage: 2d6 + 2 ⇒ (3, 1) + 2 = 6

Initially, Wingblade is doing well until the superstrong villain slams his foot into the ground, causing a slab of concrete to jut up and smash into her from behind. That catapults her into the clutches of Chitin, who then flings her like a ragdoll against a brick wall.

What does Mercy do??


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

Mercy was unusually quiet while on patrol with Wingblade. They could keep up well enough with her despite lacking the ability to fly - though they suspected that had to do more with her holding back on their account.

Finding an actual physical brawl awaiting them felt something like a godsend. Chitin looked bizarre and gross and unwilling to simply talk things out with Wingblade. She engaged first - which made it harder to see her get blindsided and tossed to the side like that.

No words or checking on Shayera or planning needed - Mercy launched themselves forward with a battle cry! Punch Everyone in effect - Shifting Danger up and Freak down.

Directly Engage (Bull In A China Shop, Afraid): 2d6 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (3, 3) + 2 - 2 = 6

Slamming into Chitin, they knocked the villain back until they both crushed another police cruiser underneath their combined might. Chitin was tougher than they expected. Mercy narrowly avoided getting grabbed by the villain like Wingblade, trying to figure out how to take the behemoth down permanently.

Technically a failure, but with Bull in a China Shop, will avoid blows. Do I still mark potential?


Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Afraid
Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill

You still mark potential. After all, you can still expect consequences from the failed roll as well as the 'significant collateral damage' >:-)


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

^ What Bronwyn said.

TaPB: 2d6 ⇒ (4, 4) = 8
Giving ground.

Wingblade collapses after the bone-jarring impact against the wall. Stars dance in her vision and pain washes over her in waves. She manages to look up to watch Mercy barrel into Chitin to barely no effect.

Well, there's an effect all right, but it wasn't Chitin who suffered it. The police cruiser that got in the way between the two superstrong beings was sent flying by the impact. Like an errant missile, it crashes into a semi carrying a load of gasoline which causes it to erupt into a massive fireball. The plume of fire sends a wave of heat and light as it roils upwards into the air.

Chitin grunts as Mercy sidesteps his counter-attack, his chitin-encased fist whistling by the junior Defender. For a split-second, however, Mercy is distracted by the fireball next to them. Chitin quickly grabs a steel light pole and bends it around them, trapping a hero in a makeshift vise.

With Mercy restrained by the heavy-duty metal twisted around them, Chitin stomps away.

Wingblade staggers to her feet and limps over to Mercy. "Hang on. <ow> My blades should <ow> do the trick." With a couple slashes of her wings, she weakens the metal enough that Mercy is able to burst out of the bindings. "So, <ow> you ready for <ow> round two?"

Chitin hasn't gone far. He's stopped at a donut shop, where he's smashed through the front window and seems intent on gulping down the store's entire stock!

What does Mercy do?


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

Bull in a China Shop (Afraid): 2d6 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (1, 4) + 2 - 2 = 5

He was strong.

So what?

They were strong too. They weren't afraid to get physical with the cretin built like some hulking bug!

Mercy growled audibly from under their helmet, before roaring again and pushing forward. No plan, not waiting for back up. Let themself enjoy the rush of power, leaping through the broken window and bull rushing the gorging villain. Straight through the front counter, into the kitchen and breaking off every cooking appliance along the way. They throws Chitin back into the stove, cracking their knuckles underneath the gauntlets.

Trashing the donut shop's kitchen certainly seems reckless enough. In either case, Mercy's opting to avoid blows again. Marking potential.


Influence:
I have influence on: Bran the Blessed, Mercy, Kilt
Conditions: Angry, Insecure, Guilty
Labels:
Danger +3, Freak +2, Savior -1, Superior +2, Mundane +1. Potential 0/5

Remember, Bull in a China Shop says significant collateral damage.

The donut shop was probably done for the instant Chitin decided he needed a snack. The problem was, it was located in the same building as an realtor's office and a hairdresser.

Wingblade pauses before heading inside while the two super beings thrash each other. She watches as the people in the adjacent office spaces flee, giving a few ladies with foil-wrapped hair an assist.

Once her senses tell her that the building -- what's left of it -- is clear, she moves in. The two are still locked in combat, straining superstrength versus superstrength and leveling walls, kitchen equipment, standing hair dryers, and everything else in the way. Mercy is covered in flour -- or maybe it's powdered sugar. Sweetened batter is splashed all over Chitin's, well, chitin.

Directly Engage: 2d6 + 2 ⇒ (1, 5) + 2 = 8
Avoiding blows

"Hey! Mr. Lobster! Over here!" Wingblade calls his attention and makes a quick slash with her wings that scrape a furrow in his armor but little else. She dances back a few steps back into the kitchen, taunting Chitin. The villain gives Mercy a shove, then takes a step to follow Wingblade. He swings hard, trying to deal with the gnat quickly so he can better deal with the wasp.

Wingblade was ready, however, and dives out of the way. Chitin's punch strikes the vat of hot oil she had positioned herself in front of, which upends and sprays the scalding liquid all over him. He screams in rage and pain, backpedaling.

Chitin hunches up, putting up his heavy armored shell and barrels past Wingblade and Mercy in an attempt to flee from danger or difficulty. The pair of heroes are knocked flying, and when Chitin smashes through another wall, the remains of the structure give out. The two are buried under a pile of rubble.

What does Mercy do?


Labels:
Danger +3 Freak +2 Savior +0 Superior -1 Mundane -1
Influence:
Wingblade, Bronwyn, Shaun (Rival), Alexandra (Love), Cassie, Kaoru
Conditions: Angry | Potential 3/5 (4A)

Defend Shayera (Love, Defender to use +Danger, Influence): 2d6 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (2, 5) + 2 + 1 = 10

A collapsing building was a bit of a concern for them. But it was also important they didn't lose Chitin - and Wingblade was the person who would be better at keeping track of them.

Mercy grabbed her suddenly as the rubble starts, pushing her forward out of the way of the largest and heaviest pieces raining down on them. They grimace as it pounds down on top of their armored body, but they endure it. At least Wingblade can go after Chitin while they worked their way out of the rubble.

"I'm fine - keep him from escaping!" Mercy grunts. He does feel better knowing Shayera at least wasn't trapped.

Going to clear Afraid for Mercy for that Defend.

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