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

Wingblade has had buildings collapse on her before, and it's never pleasant. This time, at least, there was a jelly donut right next to her face. If it took a long time for rescue crews to pull her out, she could enjoy a snack while she waited.

But Mercy lifted the roof off of her right away, like Wingblade expected. "Thanks," she says to her teammate after slipping out from under the rubble.

She nods in agreement when he tells her to keep Chitin from getting away. "Okay, but let's try a little teamwork. I'll keep him focused on me; you come up from behind and get him on his back. That'll make him vulnerable."

She takes to the air and follows the trail the buglike villain left, then circles over him. She angles her wings to reflect the sun into his eyes before landing in front of him.

"You had your snack, so now it's naptime. Get down, stay down."

Directly Engage: 2d6 + 2 ⇒ (4, 1) + 2 = 7
Creating an opening for Mercy

Chitin again attempts to flatten Wingblade, who dodges and weaves out of the way as best she can.

TaPB: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 3) = 8
Taking Angry and Insecure

Wingblade takes a beating, receiving a massive blow that she only partially manages to deflect with her wings, and a sharp tine on Chitin's armor stabs her in the gut as she tried to twist away. She manages to keep the giant bug's attention on her, though.

>Cough< "That all you got?" she spits defiantly at the villain, sensing Mercy coming up behind him.


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)

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

Unsure if 'created opportunity' would add a bonus here to succeed, but if so, Mercy will resist blows...

Mercy waited for the perfect opportunity. Eventually, when Chitin was cornering Wingblade, they saw it and did as she asked. They leapt forward and hooked their arms around the vermin's massive neck, keeping a lock and holding on for dear life.

Though seeing Wingblade was worse off than Mercy had expected, perhaps they should have adjusted their grip to try a chokehold? They locked their knees against Chitin's sides to apply more pressure, hoping this distraction would get him off of their friend.


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

Well, one of the opportunities adds a Team to the pool, which I'll spend to kick your roll up to a success.

Mercy's strength was on full display when they grabbed the monstrous Chitin and put their arms around his neck. The villain reaches behind and tries to grab at them, which exposes his softer underbelly to Wingblade.

She steps forward and stabs upward, jabbing at the joints and gaps in his natural armor. With the two heroes now working in tandem -- Mercy cutting off his air and Wingblade disrupting his efforts to throw them off -- fear shows in Chitin's beady eyes.

He rolls into a defensive ball, folding up and tucking his limbs inside his armored shell. Mercy loses their grip on the head as Chitin closes up like a pill bug, but now has the whole villain in his grasp.

Wingblade stops her attacks, now that her wings are just glancing off the armored shell. In between pants to catch her breath, she chuckles. "It's about time! Whew!" She touches her mask's communicator. "Chitin's rolled himself up. Get a containment unit here ASAP."

She winces as she checks her stab wound, noting that it was healing. Turning to Mercy, she points to the giant ball of villain they're holding. "So, yeah, keep him up off the ground like you're doing. Maybe give him a shake or two until we get him contained."

Viewing the wake of destruction left by the battle, she gulps. "What a mess."

The SCA heavy-duty truck arrives quickly, taking the dormant Chitin in its heavily-reinforced storage unit.


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

It was late by the time Kaoru and Chloe had gotten done with their day's activities. In retrospect, Kaoru had perhaps been a little too aggressive about trying to cram as much into Chloe's last full day in Halcyon as possible. Between waking up and sneaking out of bed early to cook all the food while his friend slept, exploring what felt like half of the city, and then insisting upon buying (and then carrying) pretty much any trinket that seemed to catch the redhead's gaze. Still, it had been worth it to see her so happy. Not that he hadn't enjoyed it almost as much. His face still hurt from all the smiling and laughing.

It was nice to get away from all the drama that seemed to come with heroing. The responsibility. The high stakes. Constantly needing to be on guard and careful about everything he had to say. It was nice just being himself. Chloe didn't seem to treat him any differently than she had back in Sioux Falls, and it was comforting to see how quickly they fell back into their usual patterns. They had even found a really nice, slightly hard to get to, secluded area in the park. Definitely a place he was going to check out again. Hopefully this time without falling down a hill.

"Here, let me grab the door for you." Hidden from behind numerous bags, he grinned as he felt Chloe fish his keys out of his pocket and heard the door being unlocked and opened for him. He then felt her warms hands slide over his as she relieved him of his burden. "I'll take these upstairs while you feed Shadow, 'k, Kay?"

He grinned at the playful tone in her voice. "As you wish."

"Have fun stormin' the castle!"

He headed to the kitchen, clicking his tongue against his teeth in an attempt to summon Shadow as he opened a fresh can of cat food. Normally this was unnecessary, but they were late enough that he had probably gone to sleep in some remote corner of the house. Or he was just sulking. Once the food dish was down, he started walking around the ground floor in an attempt to summon his furry companion. He didn't seem to be in any of his usual spots.

"Hey Chlo, do you see Shadow anywhere up there?"

"I don't think so. Or at least, I don't see him."

That wasn't that surprising. He was still learning all of Shadow's new hiding places.

"Oh, Kay, don't forget to clean those scrapes you got in the park with disinfectant."

"Yes mom." He rolled his eyes good-naturedly as he started moving in the direction of the downstairs bathroom, making note of the fact that the check he had left out for the handyman was gone. As he pushed the bathroom door fully open, his gaze turned up to examine the ceiling. It looked repaired. Or at least, it had been re-done. He'd have to wait a week or so to make sure the leaky pipe that had created the original water stain had also been fixed.

He shivered slightly. Why was it so cold in here? He lowered his gaze, quickly scanning the small area and froze. The bathroom window was wide open. Another chill unrelated to the temperature went down his spine. He couldn't find Shadow and the window was open.


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)

Perhaps Mercy should have felt amused by containing the massive Chitin by forcing them to curl up like some kind of pill bug. Especially when they were tossing him up and catching him to keep the villain on the defensive. When the containment arrived, Mercy tossed him inside, turning around to face Wingblade.

Wingblade was looking at the damage that the fight had caused. That Mercy had contributed towards. They felt conflicted, looking at the wreckage and the collapsed building. Something tickled at the back of their mind. Some tidbit of trivia about Halcyon's policies on hero fights and property damage.

"Do I...have to pay for this?" They asked Wingblade, stepping up next to her. "...At least no one was hurt." They hoped that no one was hurt, because they still remembered what happened to that poor man in the park.

"...should we keep patrolling or do we need to make a report? Maybe to K- um, Machina? If he needs to do that," Mercy asked. They looked at the several tears in Wingblade's costume from the battle.

"...Why don't you wear armor? I know we both can heal, but it's better to avoid getting hurt so you can stay in the fight," Mercy suggested. Mostly to keep up the conversation. Mostly to avoid talking about what was really bothering them, churning at the back of their mind.


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
Mercy wrote:
"Do I...have to pay for this?" They asked Wingblade, stepping up next to her.

Wingblade giggles. "Yeah, with what money?" She waves it off. "Nah, throwdowns with brutes like Chitin always cause a lot of collateral. If you can avoid it, great, but a lot of times you can't. You just gotta try and stop 'em as quick as possible."

She waves at the approaching media and people with cell cameras running. "Yeah, we should definitely report to him. You want to do that? I've got a social media thing I need to take care of. Hopefully this is all the excitement for today."

Mercy's question about armor makes her pause before she steps in front of the cameras. She looks down at the tears and blood staining her outfit. Though smeared with blood, her skin is already blemish-free. She shakes her head. "Armor slows me down. I'm not super strong, you know. I like as much movement as possible. And my wings do great as a shield."

As the press of media and onlookers arrive, she starts giving short soundbites and taking selfies with people. She waves Mercy over. "You want in on this?"

What does Mercy do??


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 groan too loudly as he woke up the next morning but his effort to remain quiet proved to be in vain: Chloe had somehow managed to wake up first and was staring at him with big, concerned blue eyes. "Don't look at me like that. I'm fine." The lie was undermined a little by the frog in his throat and a lot by the sudden wave of dizziness and nausea that accompanied his attempt to sit up. Lightning fast he was wrapped in warm, gentle arms making sure he didn't immediately fall out of bed. He was close enough he could smell the scent of her shampoo. His shampoo? It wasn't exactly doing much to lessen his light headedness. It might have been nice if it weren't for the fact that every breath he took was sending a red hot poker of pain through his torso.

"I can't just leave you like this."

"Sure you can." He made his voice as light and easy as he could muster. "Like you said last night, nothing's broken. Just bruises and maybe a fracture or two. Besides, you need to get back to Sioux Falls. You can't skip all your classes."

She pulled back just enough to examine him with pursed lips.

"I'll be fine. Really." He gave her his best grin. "I'll just take a painkiller or two-" Or, y'know, maybe the entire bottle. "- stay home, and rest." He could see her expression ease slightly at his plan.

"Maybe you could call Bronwyn? She seems like the type to help a hurt friend. Y'know, just to, like, bring you food, fluff your pillows, refill your water glass."

"Yeah, I could do that." He wasn't going to do that. Involving Bronwyn would just be...too complicated.

Chloe seemed to catch the thought as suddenly she was giving him a too wide smile and her teasing tone was a little too forced. "Or, y'know, call Alexandra. She could play doctor with you."

Damn, she really was worried if she was suggesting that. She had made it pretty clear what she thought about that relationship last night. "Chlo, don't worry. I'm on a super hero team now. I know plenty of people who can help me if things start to go down hill. I'm pretty sure we're even got access to medical gear the public doesn't." That was probably true. "But seriously, all I want to do today is take some painkillers, stay in bed, and rest. That and some time is really all I need to heal. All you'd be doing if you stayed here would be watching me sleep." He could see her resolve weakening. "I have plenty of people I can call for help. Several of whom would quickly notice if I went incommunicado on them and rush over here immediately to check on me." Ok, so maybe only one of them actually knew where he lived. And whether or not they'd actually be worried enough to contact her to check up on him was debatable. But Chloe didn't need to know that. Not when he could see his words sinking in. "Besides didn't you say you had a big test you had to be back for? If you delay much longer, you're not going to get there on time." He reached out and began running his thumb lightly across the sensitive skin on the inside of her wrist. He lowered his voice, speaking gently to her. "Chloe, you're not being a bad friend if you leave. I promise you, I'll be fine. You don't have to-"

He was interrupted by a flurry of movement and another warm embrace. "I don't want to lose you again, Kay."

His throat tightened at the emotion in her voice. He could practically hear her blaming herself. But how could she? He had been the stupid one. The one that had cut her out of his life. The one that had refused to talk about it. He desperately blinked back tears of his own as he wrapped her in a tight embrace, ignoring the spike of pain that ran through his torso in protest. "You're not going to lose me. I promise. 約束する。" He held on long enough to get his emotions back in check before clearing his throat. "Now uhhh, how about you get me some painkillers. Then you can be on your merry way, and I'll go back to bed and rest. Okay?"

Reluctantly Chloe pulled back. She gave him a watery smile before nodding and getting up to head to the bathroom.


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 let Wingblade deal with the media. They didn't want to cause any problems by saying the wrong things again. Instead they did as she suggested and keyed into the comm frequency to try and contact Kaoru, report the incident.

"This is Mercy calling Machina. I wanted to give an action report from our patrol. We engaged an escaped villain named Chitin. We is Wingblade and I." They listened for a moment, before continuing. "Chitin is contained, and no one is hurt. So I think it was successful."


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

Earlier on Sunday
Kaoru groaned as Alexis interrupted his sunbathing in the park. His feet hurt and his belly was full and he just wanted to enjoy a well-deserved rest before he took Chloe on the next part of the whirlwind tour of Halcyon for her last day. Nevertheless, he responded. "That's not a team thing. You don't need to report it to me." He paused. He should probably say something encouraging. "But good work." He then went back to enjoying the warmth of the sun's rays.


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

Wingblade looks a little crestfallen when Mercy elects not to talk to the media or interact with the crowds. She chats some more with the throngs, promising to be on hand during the grand re-opening of the donut shop by way of thanks -- since the sweet treats managed to distract the bad guy long enough for the two of them to recover and finish taking him down. Then she launches herself into the air and heads back towards the Tower District.

=======================
Office of J.P. Phat, promoter

The office was little more than a few dingy rooms that smelled of ancient cigar smoke and coffee. But Phat had a nice computer and a wall with pictures of some of the various personages that he had managed over the years.

He reacts with a start when Wingblade slips into his office through his window, likely because it was on the twenty-third floor. "Hey. So how goes the social media empire?" she asks him while he clutches his chest and gulps in air.

He wags his finger at her. "A little warning would be nice." Then he tilts his monitor so she could see. "You're trending nicely, especially among females 12 to 25. Once you turn eighteen, I think your numbers will surge among males." He gives her a shrug. "Nature of the biz, ma'am. I don't make the rules."

Wingblade looks at him blankly. "I don't get it. Why would they-- Oh!" She blushes under her domino mask. "Nevermind."

He chuckles. "All right. So, today's fight was good. No injuries, some property damage but it'll all be blamed on the bug guy or that armored kid you're working with, and there were some good images. Problem is, we don't own any of 'em. You should have set up your phone first."

Her mouth twists. "Had a little 'incident' yesterday at my HQ. My phone's dead."

Phat sighs and rolls his eyes. "Then you shoulda let me know first thing." He fishes into a desk drawer and pulls out an old phone. "Here. Next fight, you give me a call and I'll have a photographer on their way."

Wingblade accepts the phone with a nod. "Gotcha."

"And post something on your sites. You gotta keep your presence up."

She sounds less enthusiastic. "'Kay." She puts one foot out of the window. "And thanks."

She takes off.

=======================
Sunday evening

She'd been cleared to go back to her apartment, so that's where she was. It felt empty, and now a little creepy having been ground-zero for an attack by Balor. But Abacus was offline, so she didn't have to worry that the computer would go haywire again. And the mystical investigators gave the apartment a clean bill of health, so there was that.

Still, she was glad when she was in her cavernous bedroom and the door was locked. After taking a shower and getting ready for bed, she pulled out the Dreamstone and studied it for a while. Then she pulled off her magical pendant which hid her outfits and wings and set it on the nightstand next to the lacquered wooden box that contained her tiger mask.

Wondering anxiously what sort of dreams Bronwyn's charm would dredge up, Shayera finally drifts off to sleep.


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

Monday morning again.
Kaoru looked out his window as Chloe backed her old, beat-up sedan out of the driveway. He had given her the USB with the report and a scrap of paper with a password on it and instructions about where to drop it off before she left the city. He almost couldn't believe he had talked her into leaving. Not because he didn't believe he had the skill but because he didn't want her to go. Watching her leave and knowing that it would likely be a minimum of months before he saw her again made him feel, for lack of a better word, homesick. Everything just felt easy and safe around her. He watched until the car was out of sight and then remained a moment longer. He took in a deep, shaky breath and almost keeled over in pain as dots suddenly spotted his vision. The painkillers had taken the edge off but sadly, the pain was still far from killed.

He limped back to bed, tentatively pulling his shirt up to examine the damage as he went. It wasn't a pretty sight. His sides and what little he could see of his back were pretty much covered in dark purple bruises. A few places almost looked black. It was a stark contrast to the pale color of his stomach. He didn't check, but he was pretty sure the sides of his hips and upper legs, as well as parts of his arms, matched. Could you call it defensive wounds if you didn't actually put up a fight?

He gingerly climbed into bed, trying to keep his breathing as shallow as possible. Each inhale felt like he was sending small tendrils of fire throughout his chest. He had already used his voice synthesizer to have his "mom" call him in sick for the day. Should he text someone to ask them to pick up his homework. No...then he'd have to explain. It would be better if he kept them in the dark. At least for now. He could tell Alexandra about it later. He glanced at the clock next to his bed with the pitcher of water and the bottle of over-the-counter pills. It was probably too soon to try taking more according to their prescribed dosage, but he was pretty sure that was a very conservative dosage. He reached over to pop the cap and take a couple more. At what point did he have to worry about accidentally over-dosing? He tried to do the math in his head but found he was having trouble concentrating.

He finally gave up when a very happy, and thanks to Chloe well-fed, Shadow jumped up to join him. He immediately regretted the sharp intake of breath as he tried to tell himself the jolt of pain was the only reason for the burning behind his eyes. He wrapped his arms around the kitty and tried to focus on the happy purring that almost immediately started up as Shadow settled down for his post-breakfast nap. It's ok. *He's* ok. He's here. He's fine. Nothing happened. He probably doesn't even remember it.

*****

The previous night
Kaoru had searched every inch of the house, his panic rising at least empty hiding spot as he shook the bag of treats more and more desperately. Eventually, he had to admit that Shadow had escaped out into the night. We haven't been here long. What if he can't find his way back? And we're in the city now; there are all those cars! What if he gets hit? Oh god, I have to find him!

Chloe stopped him from rushing out of the door just long enough to thrust a jacket into his arms. He nodded absently at her even as he pulled it on. "Ok, you go to the left, I'll go to the right."

"I don't think we should split up, Kay."

"No, we have to! We need to cover more ground! We have to find him!" His voice came out as a desperate whine.

Chloe spun him around to look at her. "We will find him. You hear me? Yaki-sohku sue-ru." Her eyes blazed with fierce determination that he found weirdly comforting. Even if she had butchered the Japanese.

"You can't know that. What if-"

She pressed a finger to his lips, expression unwavering. "We're in a city of heroes. Of course we'll find him! Rescuing cats from trees is, like, the first thing they teach you in hero school!" He swallowed hard but nodded. She flashed a tight-lipped smile. "Ok, we'll split up to cover more ground. But be careful. You won't be able to keep searching for him if you do something silly and get hurt."

With that, they parted ways. Each rattling a bag of cat treats and calling for the lost cat.

Kaoru's eyes darted everywhere, desperate to catch any glimpse of Shadow. His mind turned every shapeless lump into a lifeless body, every surface that caught a stray beam from his flashlight into the glinting of eyes. He ducked down to look under cars. Scaled walls to check on the other side. His ears strained for the slightest hint of a meow as he circled further and further from his house.

Finally, he thought he heard something. He headed in that direction at a brisk trot. Yes, that was definitely a very plaintive mew, followed quickly by a number of male voices.

"Grab it!"
"It's over there!"
"I've got the bottle rocket!!"

His blood ran cold as his trot turned into an all-out sprint.


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

Monday morning, at school.
Shayera intercepts Bronwyn before she reaches the school grounds. Her face is troubled, an ashen mix of guilt and trepidation. "Is there a way to erase this thing?" she blurts out. She holds up the Dreamstone, but makes no move to hand it to her.

Breaking it, but I kind of need that right now... "Normally just by playing it out for someone. Do we need to find a different way?" She quickly looked around, "And should we be doing this now?"

Shayera shrugs. "I don't really care about that right now. I just-- you can't watch this."

"Why?"

Shayera falters a step, worry bordering on panic all over her face. She shakes her head tightly. "I don't... I mean, you shouldn't see this. It's bad. You'll hate me. I never should have tried this."

"I don't have to watch it, but... I wouldn't hate you."

A glimmer of relief crosses her features. "Maybe not hate, but you'd never look at me the same." She drops her gaze, staring at Bronwyn's feet.

"Did you dream about the things they used to make you do?"

Her shoulders shake, rising her head in the barest imitation of a nod. She doesn't look up.

"I don't have to see it Shayera. Did it help at least? Did you see any memories of... I'm sorry, we can talk about it later..." She stretched out her hand for the stone, but faltered when Shayera instinctively drew back. "Do you want to give it to Mary-Beth instead? I bet she could erase it or something."

Shayera looks up, meeting her eyes. Her mouth is twisted in guilt and a current of fear, but she forces it aside with effort. "No, I, um, I trust you." She slowly holds it up. "You really won't look? At all?"

"It's okay, Shayera. I promise."

Shayera hands over the charm with a hopeful smile. "I believe you."


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)

Sunday Afternoon

"Thank you," Mercy said to Kaoru. "Please let me know if I can help you with anything." Anything to help them stop their whirlwind of thoughts.

When Wingblade left without further comment, Mercy decided to keep patrolling. Nothing said that they had to stop, right? Anything to spend the time until they could speak to the doctor again.

Monday Morning

Mercy cracked open one eye, then the other. They reached up and turned off the helmet's blinder and baffler, getting back the view of city from the alcove they had slept in.

It occurred to them they were late for school. But then again, they didn't feel up to going to school right now. Maybe more patrolling until their appointment would be a good idea. Though their stomach was twisted in hunger. They should probably eat. Except they didn't have money right now.

They could wait a little while longer. Sneak back into school at lunchtime and fill up then. Mercy unfolded to their full height, setting out over the rooftops. They glanced towards the commercial district, noticing erratic patterns of light. Seemed like something was going on with those electronic billboards. Nothing they needed to involve themselves in right now.


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

Monday morning
This isn't working. As much as he tried to focus on the comfortingly warm, soft bundle sleeping next to him, his thoughts kept drifting to bad places. His throat kept closing as he tried not to burst into tears. Not that there was anyone here to see him, but the few shaky sobs that had escaped had been almost literal hell to his torso. Besides, he had already cried enough.

He glanced around for something to distract him. He still hadn't actually read whatever it was Wingblade had written about the team.... Should he though? If it had been Alexandra's files, he almost certainly wouldn't have looked. After all, despite his stunt on Saturday, he still wasn't quite sure she trusted him, and he really wanted to prove to her that he could be trusted. It was a necessary prerequisite if he wanted to be the one she turned to in her times of need. The one she relied on.

WIngblade on the other hand, well, he didn't really care as much what she thought. After all, she lived in an apartment that was constantly listening to everything she said. Not to mention she had let a group of boys take her skirt off out in the open. Neither of these things really pointed to privacy being at the top of the list of things she cared about. And he could really use a distraction.

With a grimace, he reached over and pulled up his computer, opening up the file to begin reading.

*****

Sunday Night
Kaoru came skidding to a halt to the opening of a small alley, his urgency and momentum almost causing him to fall. The scene was pretty much as he feared: two guys trying to corner and catch Shadow while a third stalked forward with a fistful of small fireworks. The ally was a dead end and though he had managed to evade capture thus far, Shadow was starting to run out of places to run. He was puffed up to twice his normal size and looked so scared. He had to get to him! He had to protect him!

He started picking up whatever he could find around him -- loose rocks, bits of brick, the odd piece of trash -- and hurling them with all his might at the bullies. He ignored their yelps of pain followed quickly by angry growls and threats. When the change direction and moved to stalk towards him, he took his chance, quickly zipping past them and into the alley to where Shadow was crouched in a corner, shaking. He moved to scoop him up, but in his terror, Shadow hissed and lashed out at him. Kaoru grimaced as the sharp claws caught flesh but didn't back away. He glanced over his shoulder. The bullies were already turning, malicious grins on their faces as the moved to corner him. His window for escape was quickly closing, but he wasn't sure Shadow would let him pick him up to flee. Making a split-second decision, he threw his body protectively over his pet, desperately trying to whisper calming words to his companion to still the razor-sharp claws from doing too much damage. He was able to angle their bodies so Shadow's paws were against the wall, unable to scratch him when he felt the first kick land.

With a grimace, he curled up as much as he could, trying to keep himself between their shoes and Shadow's small form. His head and stomach were protected but his back and sides were all completely exposed. Soon he was unable to contain his sharp yelps of pain though thankfully, the three seemed more than happy to just take out their frustrations on him rather than try to pry Shadow from him for whatever torture they had in mind.

His hand hovered by his ear where his communicator was position. He should pull it out. He should activate the emergency signal. But...was this important enough for that? The city wasn't in danger. These weren't supervillains. He couldn't even really say that his life was truly in danger. But maybe he could still call someone? Alexandra? No, this would all be over with by the time she got here. And what of man would he be if he had to call her to rescue him from thugs? They didn't even have superpowers. He couldn't have her think of him like that. As weak. So then how about Alexis? No, he didn't have any control. He'd probably just overreact and end up putting them through a building. And then bring the building down on top of them all. And it would somehow all be blamed on him. Wingblade? That was...a possibility. He started to reach for his communicator but hesitated. She was probably in the middle of something actually important. Like patrolling with Whippoorwill. Possibly in the middle of her own fight. She wouldn't have time to detour to save her poor, pathetic-excuse for a "leader." So then, Bran? If he were in less pain, he would have laughed. Yeah, like he'd even bother to show.

No, he was alone. Completely and utterly alone. All he could do was hope that the trio would get bored before doing any permanent damage.


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

Quote:

"You really won't look? At all?"

"It's okay, Shayera. I promise."

First break

"So you want me to look and tell you about it."

Mary-Beth's expression was Very smug; Bronwyn's was aghast.

"That is Not what I said!"

Mary-Beth nodded along gamely until it became clear that Bronwyn wasn't kidding. "...Seriously? The whole point of this was airing her... She's not gonna show it to you?! Or anyone?! Or talk to anyone?! Jesus, Bronwyn, why'd you even give the thing to her?!"

Bronwyn tried to reply calmly, but her jaw was set, and her eyes flashing. "The point of this was for her to get a clearer look back at her life, so she could see what real memories looked like! Besides... I'd never ask you to look at something like... No one needs to see that. If I could make it so Shayera didn't have to have those memories either, I'd just make them all disappear!
...If it wouldn't change who she was I mean..."

Mary-Beth sighed. "So really-really just reformat this thing?"

"Yes. Really. Really-really even." Bronwyn's face turned worried, "I'll still be able to use it to change to Bran though, right?"

"Yeah, I'll be careful. I'm gonna cut at lunch to get to work on it, should I leave you some cash for the cafeteria?"

Bronwyn grimaced, but didn't chide her friend while she was doing her a big favor **another** big favor. "Nah, I'm sure Kaoru's got something tasty whipped up; I'll be fine."

Mary-Beth gave her a careful look to make sure she wasn't just playing the martyr, but nodded as she gathered her books back up. "K, I'll try to have the Dreamstone ready by the time you're through with practice."


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

Another journal entry, dated after the Encantado mission:

"Well, I'm not leader anymore. Am I bothered by that? Well, heck yeah. Who wouldn't? Especially since it's not my fault. We actually came together and did pretty good, all things considered. >sigh< Aw, who am I kidding? Mercy jumps the gun, smashes into the target and injures a bunch of bystanders. So Kilt and Machina have to waste time helping the injured -- well, it's not wasting time, but I mean... I know what I meant.
"Anyway, Br-- Acolyte goes missing thanks to a street magician -- what is up with that?? And Shadow thinks I'm too much of a loose cannon to know. Ugh. I mean, does she really think I'll go all... what? 'Okay, everyone! Mission's over, let's go look for my girlfriend.' Dammit. Trying real hard not to be pissed here.
"So, back to the mission. Bad guys out of the woodwork. SCA comms compromised. Worse, they manage to commandeer a van and nearly abduct the target! How is any of that my fault? It's not! But nooo, Innis said I turned him over to them, like I'm supposed to expect that their vans are stolen.
"...
"...
"I'm not going to talk about Mercy.
"...
"Anyway, Machina is the new leader. I don't know if Innis thinks he's the weak link, or he'll be easily controlled, or what. Whip says it's calculated. He's thinking that I'll resent being removed from being leader and make things tougher on Machina.
"Dammit, that's not fair to him. But I think she's right. So, I need to be the best teammate for Machina. Only, I don't know how. He shut down so hard when he heard about Alexis. Silver Shield probably is still assuming the worst about me. And I'm worried that Machina probably thinks the same.
"I really wish I knew what to do here."

==========================
Monday morning, at school

Shayera managed to keep it together until the end of the first period. Her dreams had lingered even after she woke up that morning. Her morning routine kept getting interrupted by flashes of memories, but she fought through them and even managed to get to school early enough to intercept Bronwyn. She had hoped that by giving her back the pendant that the snippits of dreams would cease.

Then the images started flashing again in front of her eyes as soon as she bumps into Portia and the fashionistas in the hallway between classes.

"Like your outfit! Is that a Steig Sarazen jacket?"

She shakes her head, blinking. "No. Sig-Saur 516 with jacketed rounds. Paolo Arellano's men had 'em. Had to--" She rubs her eyes. "Wait, sorry. What were we talking about?"

Portia scoffs. "Uh, your jacket? At least, that's what I was talking about."

Shayera forces a laugh. "Sorry! Fell asleep last night watching some dumb action movie. Gave me weird dreams. Heh."

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

She was standing at attention with her sisters. At a signal from the Empress, she pulled her mask down in unison with all the others. Her consciousness blended with all hundred of her sisters and they moved as one.

Their first test was the Dance of a Thousand Spears. A column of men with long spears advanced. She drew a crimson ribbon from her sash and coiled it around one arm. Then she waited as the spears approached. In impossible precision, the Daughters coiled their ribbons around the spears as the men thrust them forward. Then they twisted their bodies, spinning around the points of the spears. She passed her ribbon to her next sister while taking hold of the one on her other side, as smoothly as one hand passing an object to the other. The spearmen reacted haphazardly. Some pulled back while others tried to thrust. The Daughters worked in unison, binding the spears together in their ribbons. With the spears out of the way, it took no time to set the men retreating.

The next test was the Rain of a Thousand Arrows. Archers moved into position and drew back their bows, aiming high into the air. She and her sisters drew their swords and shifted into a side stance. The arrows were loosed. She spun her sword in a blur, moving in perfect tandem with her sisters next to her. The arrows struck the spinning swords, glancing off and being sent off in random directions.

A hard-blown whistle wakes Shayera out of her waking memory. The gym coach, whistle still in her mouth, is staring astonished at her. Shayera looks around and sees other students also gawking.

Oh, yeah. Dodgeball.

The students on the other side were all getting up and moving off of the playing area, rubbing spots where the dodge balls had struck them.

"Just in the zone, I guess," Shayera weakly smiles and heads toward the locker rooms.


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 also notices that there are three deleted files in the data dump he pulled from Abacus. Usually, recovering a deleted file is child's play for a computer expert like him, but the supercomputer did an extremely good job of wiping the files. Recovering these files would take all of his skills.

To attempt to recreate these deleted files, roll Unleash. On a 10+, you've reconstructed them all. On a 7-9, you can reconstruct one of your choice, and may reconstruct one additional file if you take a condition. On a miss, they're hopelessly lost.

The three files are, "Bran's Acolyte," "My Sisters," and "Ace."


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)

Lunchtime

Alexis hadn't been this hungry since before starting to live with Shayera. A whole day and night and morning of patrolling without giving themselves a break was really pushing it for them. Alexis was pretty sure that if a horse fell over dead in front of them, they would had stripped it to the bones in an hour.

Thankfully, they were saved the need to scavenge thanks to the meal card and account at the school. Though technically they should be attending classes, Alexis didn't think that the school faculty would notice if they slipped in to grab food and then slip out.

The problem was their armor. Having to leave it hidden meant that they were coming onto the campus in just the athletics they had worn underneath. They weren't particularly heroic or emblemed, but that was their least worry. No, the worry was the sudden heightened sense of people perceiving them.

"That's going to be it, brother?" The gruff kitchen assistant asked Alexis as they brought up the piled on tray of food. They looked at him, feeling uneasy. "I...yes."

"Healthy appetite. Boys gotta eat meat," the man chuckled, and that same feeling gnawed at Alexis' insides. Maybe it was just hunger pangs. They nodded and smiled and swiped their card before powerwalking away, taking the tray out of the cafeteria and slowly working their way back to the bathroom where they had stowed the armor.

Even in their anguished state of thought, Alexis still wasn't blind to the signs. The European brand of cigarettes that Ava enjoyed scattered where the rest of the burnouts smoked. That and the sticks from the candy pops Char liked meant they were around the campus. Alexis was at least hopeful that they still didn't know their face. If one pair was here, then they could surmise there was at least one other pair on standby as backup.

Well, they hadn't tried to do anything yet. It was probable they wouldn't do anything now either. They could take it easy, wolf down their food in the bathroom, then suit up and go back on patrol.


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

Monday morning
It was much sooner than he would have liked that Kaoru found himself done reading the reports. Though 'report' was a very generous term; they read more like journal entries. He had to wonder why he even bothered saving them. The only thing remotely incriminating on them was the accidental use of that dumb codeword Delphi had insisted on, and given the complete lack of computer knowledge demonstrated, they wouldn't have the slightest idea what to even do with it.

...okay, maybe the painkillers' lack of effectiveness was making him kind of cranky. There wasn't a whole lot of actionable intel on them, but it at least gave broad strokes about their areas of expertise. Which to an enemy would be better than nothing. Certainly enough to at least put counter-measures in place. And because Wingblade had apparently decided dictating the reports and never editing was a good idea, there were plenty of dumb slip-ups in there. Slip ups that a savvy enemy would definitely have known how to exploit. Weaknesses in the team structure.

But if this was how she wrote her reports, he almost wasn't surprised she had gotten the boot as leader. Had no one really ever taught her how to write papers? Not that his report was any better. ...no, that was wrong. His report was better. And worse. And probably all the more believable now that he was getting a look into the original reports' writing style. He couldn't quite repress his grin. It was a little too bad he couldn't have been working on it right now. Who knows what other "improvements" he could have made?

He did think it was a little odd that Wingblade hadn't seen fit to give her own girlfriend a team profile. It couldn't be because of the break up since the files were dated well before. As if in answer to his question, a program he had had running in the background that he had forgotten to kill gave a little 'ding' to announce an update. It had recovered a deleted file "Bran's Acolyte.docx".

Unleash: 2d6 + 3 ⇒ (5, 1) + 3 = 9

*****

Sunday night
They had finally gotten bored and left. He was reasonably certain the only reason he hadn't passed out or that he could move was due to some release of chemicals. Adrenaline? He couldn't remember. It didn't matter. He had managed to get out a text to Chloe about...something. That he had found Shadow? That was good. At least he wasn't freaking out. He was letting him carry him home.

Things felt hazy. He missed whatever Chloe had said when she had seen him. It had been shrill and kind of hurt his ears, but he let her lead him back into the house where she coaxed him into putting Shadow down. The cat slinked uncharacteristically underneath a cabinet. A sudden flood of pain expanded from his chest outwards, making him horribly aware of the rest of his body as tears started to stream down his face. He looked up, meeting Chloe's gaze. "How could someone do that?" His breath caught in an agonizing sob. "How could someone want to hurt such a poor, innocent animal? They don't- He's never done anything to anyone. What kind of a monster would take something so much smaller than them and try to hurt it? He just wants to be loved."

It was what his father had told him when he brought the young cat home. The latest of his family projects. He had found him behind an apartment building, almost wild and ornery as hell. Based on some tufts of fur that were missing, it seemed like he had had a rough time. After a couple of hours of patient stalking, Hideo had finally managed to lure him into a cardboard box that he had then closed and taken with him. A trip to the vet showed that he was already chipped and the property of a family that had lived in the building a few months before. Apparently when they had decided to move, they couldn't be bothered to take their cat with them. So Hideo had brought him home. Kaoru had initially been ecstatic at the newest addition, but her excitement had quickly cooled when her attempts to pet him had been met with excessive hissing and more than a few scratches. She had wanted to take him back and get a nicer pet. You'll have to be patient with him. He's spent a long time being very alone and very scared. He needs someone to show him he won't be abandoned again. Can you do that for him Ka-chan? Like most creatures, he just wants to be loved. It had taken half a year to get Shadow to warm up enough to allow himself to be petted. A few weeks later Hideo was checking himself into the hospital.

Chloe gently wrapped him in her arms, voice soft but fierce. "There's a special place in hell for those who abuse animals." She let him cry for a while before guiding him over to sit on the coach. She got up briefly to grab a first aid kit before she started unbuttoning his shirt. He weakly pushed her hands away, unable to muster up the energy to give the act the effort it deserved. She breeze past his efforts. "I have to see how badly hurt you are, Kay." Oh right, family of doctors.

She gently pushed and tested flesh that was already turning a deep purple. He was too tired to care at how pathetic his whines and whimpers of pain were. She shone a light in his eyes, examined his arms, even managed to get him to take off his pants, so she could take a look at his legs. Finally, she sighed, "Well, somehow, I think you managed to avoid breaking anything. Possibly from fractures. Hopefully no internal bleeding, but I'll feel better after I've had some time to observe you. For now, let's get that binding off of your chest and get you into some PJs. After that, you're telling me what the hell happened."


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

Just so we're clear, those files are raw, voice-to-text files of Shayera musing about her teammates. Those are not the final reports to Overseer Innis (which are on file with the SCA). So Kaoru can still believe that those files are what she's sent over, but they're not.

Bran's Acolyte:

"So, this is going to be awkward.
"I mean, she's superhero support! She shouldn't be a card-carrying member. She's Bran--'s gal in the chair.
"What should I say here? 'Dear Director Innis. Please excuse Bronwyn from being a member of the team, and *don't* tell her parents since they'll freak.'
"Dammit, I used her name. Abacus, delete-- Er, well, since I'm gonna delete this anyway, might as well talk a bit more freely.
"Um, she's my girlfriend. My girlfriend. I have a girlfriend. Bronwyn Pascal and Shayera Li.

"Shayera Pascal. >giggle<

"Omigosh, my face is so hot right now.

"So, like, everyone likes her. Thor Girl fell in love with her just by, I dunno, looking at her. A goddess. Then there was Marco, and who knows how many others. I even think that Elijah had a thing for her. And of course, there was us. BFFs. Besties.
"I was fine with that, but then it turns out she's gay, and she loves me... and...

"And I'm not gay.

"But I love her back. And I hope that's enough?"


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

She didn't even know what was going on with Shayera. Church and before-school aside, even with Abacus down, if they weren't together-together, lunch was probably still out...

MB's off doing magic tinkering too, and Kaoru's- Her stomach grumbled. Kaoru's someone I should have checked on before brushing her off about lunch

She fished out her phone as she leaned up against a wall, trying not to be too obvious as she tried to scope out a drama-free place to sit - ideally without sitting anywhere someone would ask about her lack of lunch.

Bronwyn: And I've tried way too hard to have real conversations via text lately :-x
Ugh, what a non sequitur, whatever
Bronwyn: u ok K?
Bronwyn: ah needz mah sushi and ur not here!!!
Bronwyn: (but seriously, you ok?)

Oh hey - there goes the other truant, and with **way** more food than really any one person needs, right?

...unless they're in a regenerative fugue... Okay no eating his food.

"Hey! Alexis! You wanna grab a table or something? There's gotta be somewhere cleaner than the bathroom, right?"


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

Monday
Kaoru wondered briefly is he should offer to give Wingblade a copy of her files. It probably wouldn't be worthwhile; none of they really said that much. Certainly nothing that she needed to have a record of. With a sigh, he ran the files through a training algorithm in case he needed it and then just deleted all the files. It would be no good if he had saved them from one enemy just to let them fall into another's hands. Without nothing else left to distract him, he closed his computer and did his best to try to get some sleep despite the pain.

He had just managed to doze off when he was startled awake by a buzzing sound. A small yelp managed to escape him as his body protested the sudden movement. He shot a death glare at the phone before finally looking at the notifications he had received. His jaw clenched as he barely suppressed his urge to send back a sarcastic comment about how he wasn't Bronwyn's damn cook when he stopped himself. He had just found solid proof her ex had never really been into her, so he should at least try not to bite her head off.

> You basically said no when I asked if you wanted me to make lunch
> And then I was busy with Chloe leaving
> I was fine for months without her, I'll survive until summer
> I'll make you lunch tomorrow though

With a groan, he settled back down with his arms around a pillow to see if he could reclaim any of the sleep he so desperately wanted.

*****

Sunday night
As Chloe had finished checking him out and started rubbing some kind of balm lightly over his bruises, Kaoru had finished giving her the broad-strokes explanation of what had happened.

"Why didn't you call anyone?"

It was said mildly, but that was typically his first indication that he was getting into dangerous waters. It probably didn't help that she definitely felt him freeze at the question. "You saying you wanted me to pull out my phone in the middle of the beating to make a call?"

"I know you have some kind of communicator thing. I saw you use it earlier."

G$%+!#nit Alexis! Thanks a whole fking lot. He gave the tiniest of shrugs. "They wouldn't have gotten there in time."

"So then before the beating, why didn't you contact them? And then stall the a!*#!*~s for as long as you could until help arrived?" Her gaze was still focused on the task at hand.

He blinked. "I...didn't think of that."

"Damnit Kay. You're part of a freaking superhero team and your first impulse when you get in over your head isn't to call them for backup? What the hell's the point in having a team if you're not going to use them?" She finally looked up, eyes flashing.

He pulled back slightly. "Gee, I'm sorry I was a little pre-occupied with saving my cat to think logically!"

"It didn't even occur to you to call Alexandra? Y'know, the girl you want to date?"

His expression turned guilty. Only for an instant, but she caught it.

"You did think of calling her. Why didn't you?"

He looked away making a non-committal noise.

There was a moment of silence as Chloe studied him. "You didn't want her to see you like that."

It wasn't a question, but he was pretty sure his expression answered her anyway.

"How do you think that relationship is going to work if you don't trust her enough to be vulnerable around her?"

His head snapped back around her. "I trust her! She knows more about me than anybody else here! Hell, she's even seen me cry. Geez, I'm sorry if I want to get her to like me better before I show her all the reasons she shouldn't want to be with me. We've known each other three fking weeks! I'm still pretty sure she has a thing for Bran. I just want her to think that maybe I'm a better choice than him before I go and prove her wrong all over the place! I'm sorry if I'm trying to make up for the fact that I'm not her type by putting my best foot forward! By showing her that I can be the person she wants!"

"And what if the person she wants isn't who are? Huh? What then? What if who she wants is some simpering sidekick who she can lie to and manipulate and lead 'round by the nose? I talked to her, Kay! She was utterly convinced going around behind your back was the correct choice! That's not the way someone treats a partner and equal. That's how you treat someone that you believe yourself better than!"

"Well maybe she is better than me! She's a g$%@@!n superhero with years of training and psychic powers to boot! Who the fk am I? Some nobody who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got dragged into this whole mess. Maybe I just haven't earned the right to be treated as an equal yet."

"...you're not a nobody, Kay. You're my best friend and one of the best people I know."

Oh s@~&, when had Chloe started crying? He immediately tried to backpedal. "Ahh, I'm sorry, Chlo. I didn't mean it! I-I'm sorry!" He ignored the burning in his chest and wrapped her in a tight hug. He wasn't sure what else he was supposed to say; it was hard to apologize when he wasn't sure what had upset her so badly.

She gave a soft hiccup as she returned the embrace, still speaking softly. "Kay, you deserve to be with someone who sees you for who you are. Who sees you like I see you."

Oh. This again. He didn't really feel like hashing out old territory, and he didn't have anything new to add. So he stayed quiet as he rubbed small circles in her back until eventually her shaking stopped. "Hey, it's pretty late. I think we should head to bed. We've got an early morning tomorrow." It was a testament to how tired Chloe must have been as well that she didn't protest or insist on a lecturing him further. Instead he half-lead, half-was-lead-and-supported up the stairs where he could put on some PJs and they could cuddle in bed. They did their best to push their argument to the back of their minds and just enjoy their last night together. The last night they'd likely have for several months. It wasn't long before the hour and the emotions and the day's activities caught up to them, and sleep was tugging at their eyelids.

I'm sorry, Chlo, but you're wrong. You're just wrong.


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 flinched and turned towards Bronwyn. She was looking at them. Immediately they felt something well up uncomfortably inside of them. The panic of her seeing him and not them.

Them? Or not her? Or both? It was still confusing and uncertain.

"I...left my suit in the bathroom," Alexis explains to Bronwyn. "Don't want someone to discover it. But I got hungry, so I had to come for food. I don't want to dumpster dive."

They balanced the tray on one hand, looking at Bronwyn. Maybe they could try to focus on something else here...ah. "Um, I'm pretty sure the Triakosia is watching this place," They informed her. "I've seen signs that Ava and Char specifically have been looking around. It makes sense, since they're the youngest right now, so they can fit in better."

Their stomach gurgled in protest - was it only their imagination that they heard sympathetic sounds from Bronwyn? "I'm not sure I can eat all of this...do you want any of it? I don't want to waste anything..."


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

Monday. Lunchtime

Shayera had no flashbacks during Arabic, so she was hopeful that the episodes were tapering off. Though, after her vision during PE, she found herself looking forward to talking with her sisters. How was it that she was getting flashes of memory back from when the Daughters of the Tiger were at full strength? She wanted to ask if the other three had ever had similar recollections.

She went through the line, collected her food, and stepped into the cafeteria. She scanned the tables, looking for her sisters.

She saw her, sitting off alone at a table in the far corner. Her heart broke once more seeing her so withdrawn. She looked over at the people at her usual table, where they caught the expression on her face. They didn't look surprised, since this had happened for the last few days.

She sat down across from Shayera, who didn't look up. "So, I'm going to assume that you didn't get to fly last night? It still hurt too much?"

Shayera lifted a shoulder into a halfhearted shrug while pushing pieces of food around her tray. "You'll get better. You always do."

Her head lifted, and they make eye contact. Her eyes are haunted. "What if I don't?"

Her voice was firm. "You will."

They ate in silence for a time. She tried to think of something to say, but came up empty. After a while, Shayera surprised her by speaking. "I'm going to fly tonight. I have to fly."

She smiled sympathetically. "I'm sure you will. Just, you know, pace yourself. In track, or any sport, if you try to do too much before you're ready, you'll only slow down the healing. So promise me, if it hurts too much, you'll stop."

Shayera's eyes narrowed. "I don't care how much it hurts. I've had worse at the lab. Open surgeries, no anesthesia, wide awake... This is nothing." She was obviously lying, but she was trying to convince herself.

Her heart broke all over again. She reached across the table and took Shayera's hand in hers. Her mind tried to imagine the kind of agony that she went through, then recoiled from those thoughts. "Chula, we both know it's not nothing. But, what... how did you cope? What got you through?"

Shayera looked away. "Well, I could scream."

Shayera blinks away the morose image of herself sitting in front of her. The hell??? She realizes she's sitting across from an emo student, dressed in dark clothes and with heavy makeup, glowering at her.

"Look, princess, I'm not your 'chula.' And I don't appreciate you assuming I had some sort of trauma that I had to cope with. So just... piss off." She stands, sticks some earbuds in her ears and leaves a stunned Shayera to wonder what sort of conversation she had with the girl.


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

A priest shouldn't have helped. But she needed anything. data on how B sees the world, if nothing else.

<Though since you like coffee so much, I thought you might like a place with lots of different samples?

fun fact, that trait started as a PG13 representation of your average noir detectives drinking.

>I think... well, we've already done dinner, or a movie. How about something a little more... Quiet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Alexandra needed to be a hero. Not a superhero, not a team member, just... she needed to do some damned good, to justify her own existence.

The Girl in Black, with red handwraps and a white Venetian mask Prowled up the fire escape. The woman had sat at the bus station, a forming set of bruises under her collar. The Girl in Black had spoken only two words to the woman. [b]Who. Where.. Life was hard, but this was simple. a name, an apartment. A strong reminder of gentlemanly behavior

Directly engage: 2d6 + 0 ⇒ (3, 2) + 0 = 5

Three minutes later, the fight had been a little more... enthusiastic than expected. he was another minor super, strong enough to put a s*@+ty microwave through an exterior wall... She couldn't use her distinctive weaponry, this was technically vigilantism, and She ahd no reason to call it super-oriented, so it fell outside her jurisdiction. the SCA were racing up the stairs as she headed out the window, having left a 5-fracture reminder of proper behavior on the man. An NLCM (nonlethal Countermeasure) weapon blast numbs her arm temporarily as a few members try to capture her. Okay, SCA is gonna spend the next while hunting me. good heroism, Xan, very validating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Monday morning~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At some point during the morning, Wingblade and Kaoru receive notifications that an SCA van that had last been in pursuit of a black clad figure with red hand-wraps had been found badly damaged, and the crew, two agents, were missing.


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

Early Sunday morning
< I think... well, we've already done dinner, or a movie. How about something a little more... Quiet.
> Did you have something in mind?


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

"I can have whatever you don't finish. I've seen Shayera take some pretty big hits so I know healing up is hungry work, but yeah, I'll make sure any extra doesn't go to waste," Bronwyn replied amiably.

Should I have seemed sadder about that? We're still broken up, right? Whatever, brush past it - you can always be awkward about it later.

"So uh... if you stashed your armor, does that mean you were planning on wearing it to leave? Wouldn't that make you... stand out more? Just, I mean if Ava and Char are watching, we don't want to give them extra chances to grab you or something.

"Are you up for going to classes today? Or if not..." she chewed at her bottom lip, "I could probably work up some kind of independent study deal or... I dunno - any of that sound good? I'd just worried about you going off alone."

Her phone buzzed. "Gah, sorry."

Wait what?! I was **clearly** joking - plus should I pretend he didn't bring lunch for me practically the whole week anyways?!

Kaoru (Phone Savior): I was fine for months without her, I'll survive until summer
Kaoru (Phone Savior): I'll make you lunch tomorrow though
Bronwyn: oh thanks
Bronwyn: wasn't really talking about the food
Bronwyn: ru sick or something?
Bronwyn: haven't seen you around
Bronywn: (the food is delicious and you're wonderful though)
Bronwyn: (sorry if that wasn't clear)

***

Along with the notification about the van and missing?! agents, both Wingblade and The Silver Shadow get a very cross message from Innis informing them that he expects to see representatives from the Team at his office directly after school'And that Machina's report had better be logged by then!'


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

She was getting stares.

Word had apparently spread through the school about her going nuts in gym and spacing out at lunch. The girl she had intruded on was named Amelia, and there had been a few rumors circulating around her. Those now fed the mill surrounding Shayera, which resulted in the stares.

Her com beeps, so she was glad for the distraction. "Hey, boss."

"Give Machina a heads up. Innis wants to see the Team after school, and wants a report. Did you prep one?"

"No, I offered, but he said he'll take point. I'll let him know about the meeting, though."

She pulls her phone out to make the call, or text, then freezes as she looks at it. Crap. This isn't Abacus' device, this is what J.P. gave me." She thinks hard, but comes up empty when trying to recall Kaoru's number.

Let the rumors fly, she thinks as she heads to where she knows Bronwyn will be at this period.

"Team meeting after school. K needs his report by then. Can you call him?" she whispers when she finds Bronwyn.


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

<Did you have something in mind?
>In mind is the wrong word...
>But... well, the coffee idea was sweet, but that's mostly for me. how about, like a museum or the Aquarium.
>The Aquarium is guaranteed supervillain free since they put The Great Dolphini away.

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

Alexandra groans as she sees the report... this could be sub-ideal. but the guys were gone, and when they got back, they'd likely barely even remember... not the time.

she gets out her phone. >Kay, I'm not opposed to going rogue, but a little warning.
>Cause Innis is going to bite our heads off, RE: the report
>Where are you, I haven't seen you today?


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

Alexandra
< In mind is the wrong word...
< But... well, the coffee idea was sweet, but that's mostly for me. how about, like a museum or the Aquarium.
< The Aquarium is guaranteed supervillain free since they put The Great Dolphini away.

> No, I'm pretty sure coffee is bitter, not sweet.
> I just wanted to pick something you'd like though.
> So if you want to do the aquarium, that's fine too

***

< Kay, I'm not opposed to going rogue, but a little warning.
< Cause Innis is going to bite our heads off, RE: the report
< Where are you, I haven't seen you today?

> What do you mean? I turned it in this morning
> If they haven't gotten it, it's not my fault. It's probably lost in their bureaucracy somewhere ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
> And I'm 'out sick' today. Probably tomorrow as well.

*****

Bronwyn
< oh thanks
< wasn't really talking about the food
< ru sick or something?
< haven't seen you around
< (the food is delicious and you're wonderful though)
< (sorry if that wasn't clear)

> Yes because clearly we have oh so many classes together, so of course you would notice if I were at school or not
> It's not at all like we attend a public school in a major metropolitan area with at least hundreds of students
> -_-

There was a several minutes long pause before the final two messages showed up
> If you _must_ know, I'm being anti-social
> As such, I'm turning off my phone now


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 heal even when I don't eat," Alexis informed Bronwyn. They looked at their plate of food, before setting it down and offering the girl one of the hamburgers on a white bun. There was three of them, but they didn't think it was necessary to eat all of them.

"...I don't want to go to school anymore." The admission came out without preparation, and even Alexis looked surprised as they said it. "...I shouldn't be telling you this."

Bronwyn is now Alexis' Rival. Please take Influence over her.

"I'd rather wear the armor. I'm protected wearing it," They tell her. They rub their upper arm, making the mistake of glancing at the mirror before averting their gaze. They focus on Bronwyn instead. Observing her.

Pierce the Mask (Angry): 2d6 + 0 - 2 ⇒ (6, 3) + 0 - 2 = 7

Listener:When you pierce the mask of your
love or rival, you can always let them ask you a
question to ask them an additional question in
turn, even on a miss. These additional questions
do not have to be on the list.

What do you intend to do?
Why do you care so much about Alexis?


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

Huh. I feel like there's some sorta conservation of mass issue with healing like that. Does he photosynthesize or something? Whatever, unimportant. If his powers every go on the fritz we can look into it.

Bronwyn nodded slowly, brows drawn together in concern. "Oh. Okay. Why shouldn't you be telling me this Alexis? I'm your friend, right? I made sure you could have your armor, when it was broken, remember?"

What do you intend to do?: Bronwyn intends to talk to Alexis until she has a better sense of what's going on with [them].
Why does she care so much about Alexis?: Bronwyn cares so much about Alexis because she knows [them] and knows that they have no one. She cares about Alexis **so** much because [they] remind her of people that she cares about deeply.
In return: Why do you consider Bronwyn your Rival?

"Of course you want to stay safe and protected, do you think you could do that around school? Like, there's no shop classes after lunch on Mondays, and I've got a key. If you needed somewhere safe to hang out but still be in your armor..? I just, everything I know about the Triakosia says to take them seriously."

Provoke: 2d6 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (4, 2) + 1 + 1 = 8

***

Well yeah, but 'my friend Kyle the office aide keeps an eye out for a few people's absences for me' makes it sound bad. And did I just wake him up or something?! 'Cause rude.

Kaoru (Phone Savior): As such, I'm turning off my phone now
Bronwyn: Okay.
Bronwyn: Feel better.

***

Bronwyn tensed, eyes scanning Shayera's face and the people around her. "I don't think so. He's out sick or something, turned off his phone. Is this like a Team Meeting-team meeting? I was kinda hoping to ever go to an afternoon practice again."


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 scrunches her face in thought for a moment. "Nah, you can go to practice. We just need a few to represent the team. Innis is on a rampage, apparently. >sigh< Guess I gotta find Kay then." She leans in reflexively for a kiss and stops herself abruptly. "Oops. Um, later."

She spins and walks away, cheeks coloring. She taps her communicator once she's down the hall and puts her borrowed phone against her ear. "Hey, boss. M's not at school today and turned off his phone. Could you give me his home address and I'll go deliver the message in person? It never came up. No, I respected his privacy. Well, I could ask Shadow, I guess, if it's that-- Okay, thanks."

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

Wingblade drops out of the sky into an alley in Kaoru's neighborhood and quickly activates her charm to dispel her outfit and wings. She steps out onto the sidewalk and walks the block until she finds what she's certain is Kaoru's place. Not only did it smell like him, but she could detect the source of the cat scent that always clung to his clothes.

I'm probably the last person he wants to see, but this is important. I hope he understands." She knocks loudly. "Um, Kaoru? It's Shayera."


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 thinks of Bronwyn as a Rival because she's normal, and Alexis is not. Alexis wants to be normal, and sees Bronwyn as someone to try and match in normality.

Alexis was quiet as they chewed on a bite of food, before putting the tray to the side. "...If I have the armor on, I should be doing something with it. I should be showing that I'm not afraid. If you hide, then the enemy may consider you vulnerable. It can be a useful strategy to fake vulnerability to draw out the enemy, but..." Alexis paused, tilting their head. They seemed to have drawn those words from something learned long ago.

"...Fine." They relented. "I'll stay in the shop. Until school is over." At the very least it would make Bronwyn happy, and what made Bronwyn happy made Shayera happy at least. "But you'll have to show me where it is. I haven't been there before."


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

Forgot to say, but (@Anon) Team for the Provoke

Bronwyn nodded with just a touch of hesitation, and inhaled the extra burger. "I mean, that makes sense. But it's not good for you for fighting to be all that you do. Going to highschool doesn't have to be the path you choose for your own, but what else do you want to do?"

As they both finished Alexis's lunch, Bronwyn suppressed a wince at the sound of the next period's bell. Fine. It'll just make it easier to cross campus without getting spotted.. She gathered her things and helped Alexis subtly secure their armor for the quick campus jaunt. "'Cause, you know, you're smart; you pick things up really fast, even when they're things you hadn't been educated in, and I know how much you care about making connections with other people... Is there somewhere else you want to make those connections?" She frowned a bit as she said the last, glancing discretely at the man who was staring at them from across the quad.

"Hey, the other Triakosia types, none of them would look like a creepy pedo-stache guy in his early 30's, right? Trying to figure out if I should chase off that guy for peeping at highschoolers, or if that would be a profoundly bad idea."

***

Despite the loud knock, Shayera hears no response from inside.


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

Unleash: 2d6 + 2 ⇒ (4, 5) + 2 = 11
Shayera closes her eyes and lets her other senses work. After a short while, she feels confident that Kaoru or someone very much like him is still within. She pounds on the door a couple more times as her frustration rises.

Maybe he's-- naah. But I could check. Just to be sure. She starts to circle the residence cautiously and alert. When she's certain she has identified Kaoru's window, she starts to climb up to give it a soft rap.

**Tap tap**
There was a gentle rap at the window, and Bronwyn's eyes snapped open. It was dark, still the middle of the night, but she could just make out something by her window.
She rose, tugging her sleep shirt back down as she walked over.
What the hell? "Shayera?"
"Well,"
she smiled, "you gonna invite me in?"
Bronwyn hesitated; it felt like there was some reason she shouldn't, but there was something in Shayera's eyes she couldn't refuse...
"Oh, sure!" She shook her head to clear it,
Why am I so spacey? Of course she can come in.
But when Shayera did, she just stared at Bronwyn for a long moment, that same compelling look in he eyes, until Bronwyn finally broke eye contact with a shiver.
"So it's good to see you Shayera,"
Why does it feel like it's been a while? "but, uh, what brings you by so late?"
"Fly with me."
"Right now? It's the middle of the night!"
"Now."
Maybe I should. She's been through... What's she been through? Well a lot anyways... "Sure," she turned towards her closet, "just give me moment to get dressed, okay?"
"No." Shayera's hand was suddenly digging into her hip. "Now."
Bronwyn reddened, "Shayera, I'm not really ready," her voice sharpened by annoyance.
"Why should that matter?"
"What?"
"You didn't ask if
I was ready. You just told me to 'Get back up there.' We're going now."
Bronwyn twisted away from Shayera's grasp, backing up out of her reach. "I think you should go."
"C'mon Bronwyn," her tone was playful but her eyes were cold as she stalked forward, backing Bronwyn up until she fell back onto her bed, "I'll be insulted if I don't make you scream."
What is she doing? This isn't her - this isn't her!
Shayera's features were sharper now, and as she smiled slowly, even her teeth were longer, sharper as well. "Don't worry Bronwyn. It'll only hurt for a moment, and I promise," her smile stretched further as her fangs extended, "I'll really enjoy it."
"You're not her. Oh my God, you're not Shayera!"
Her voice took on an almost singsong quality, "Of course I am Bronwyn. I'm the same girl I've always been. The same girl I've been since long before you met me. But maybe you'll recognize me if I take off my mask."
Her wings curled in tight around herself, delicately cutting at the edges of her face, until with a final flick, she tore it free, leaving only jet black eyes and featureless porcelain slowly staining in the red ruin that had been her face.
"See? It's still me."

Shayera shrieks and falls to the ground beneath Kaoru's window, panting for breath.


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)

"No..." Alexis said, before taking a moment to consider. "But they may be a hoplite. I don't think that they would have one monitor the school so openly though." Of course, Alexis hadn't been in the loop of the structure of things for over half a year now. It was possible things had changed.

They decided to speak to Bronwyn about something else instead, figuring that it would drive the conversation somewhere they were more comfortable speaking. "I am talking to this doctor that Whippoorwill introduced me. She has been talking to me to try and understand why I am wrong here," They pointed to their head. "I am supposed to see her again today in the afternoon. Whippoorwill said I should ask her about joining support groups. For people like myself."

Alexis shifted the large duffel with their armor inside of it. "...What I want isn't important. It's more important to serve as a hero and protect the public," They replied to Bronwyn's question. "I can't...have what I want anymore."


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

A moment later an older gentleman came rushing up to Wingblade, pulling off thick gardening gloves and brushing fresh dirt from his overalls. "Lass, are you ok? I heard a scream. Did you fall? I've had to patch up my fair share of injuries back in the day. Show ol' Reggie where it hurts now."

*****

Who He Is and Who He Is Not: Practical Events and Their Affect in the Modern World; a Treatise on Cultural and Biological Forces: An Exploration of the World As Seen Through The Eyes of Dane Giras:
The report was a little over 30 pages in length (excluding the several pages consisting of the bibliography, of course). It started off with a biography of everything Kaoru had managed to find about Dane Giras through public records with each sentence containing the proper citation for where that particular detail had been found. The mini-biography did not seem to be in any particular order (certainly not chronological order) but somewhat impressively, Kaoru had managed to avoid having two sentences from the same source next to each other. Sprinkled within the biography were quotes and commentary taken from various psychology papers aimed at creating a "psychological profile" of Dane. Buried deep in the middle of debating researchers was the odd sentence describing how Wingblade had tracked down and found Dane in the first place. Often it was a partial sentence squeezed between a dependent clause on some banal details about Dane's childhood and a semi-relevant quote from a research paper. There were also a number of lines that, in conjunction with the fact the entire report was written entirely in an all-caps style font, seemed almost designed to make the reader infinite loop and read the same sentence over multiple times. Which also wasn't helped by the fact that in one or two places, the same sentence was repeated twice.

Once that segment was complete, Kaoru transitioned abruptly to the corruption of Abacus by Balor. This thankfully managed to more or less stay on one topic at a time. Unfortunately, Kaoru had written a tremendous amount of technical details on the physical effects the corruption had taken with absolutely no attempt made to explain anything to a lay person or really anybody who wasn't as technically proficient as he was. This was followed by an equally detailed discussion about the implications and ramifications on modern technology and computer security. At one point it appears as though he is referencing a graph, however, instead of putting the graph in the report, he used functional decomposition to mathematically describe what the graph would look like in a long equation that took up about half a page. There were also numerous code snippets in Perl* that, based on context at least, seemed to be illustrating various security flaws or potential countermeasures. If one cared to look closely enough at this section, they might be able to find some details about the interrogation, though the transition between the interrogation and Balor's corruption was far from clear (not that Kaoru could have really made it clear even if he had wanted to).

*Perl is jokingly referred to as a "write only" language because of how difficult it tends to be to read/understand what the code is doing.

All this, of course, assumed one's ability to actually read the report. The only way it could be accessed was by physically plugging the USB into a computer. Both copying the report to any other device or attempting to print it resulted in a gibberish file or printed out incomprehensible symbols. Once plugged into a computer, a 24 digit randomly created password had to be entered in order to open the file. The password had been printed out on a piece of paper that had been submitted with the USB. Unfortunately, it was printed in a sans serif font and had an usual number of zeros, capital o's, capital i's, lowercase L's, and ones in it, making it quite easy to incorrectly input (or read) the password. After 3 failed attempts, the file would lock for an hour and an email would be sent to every publicly available SCA email address Kaoru had been able to find, informing them of an "unauthorized" attempt to access private SCA materials with a given IP address, so the "perpetrator" could be found. Once opened, the mouse would disappear for as long as the file had focus as one of the measures to prevent people from trying to copy-paste the report. If at any point the file lost focus or if the invisible mouse hadn't been moved in at least a minute, the file would automatically close without warning due to "inactivity," forcing the user to once again enter the password to view its contents.

In case the description of the report's confusingness isn't sufficent...:
Are you watching closely: 2d6 + 3 ⇒ (4, 5) + 3 = 12
- You expose a weakness or flaw.
- You confuse them for some time. <======
- You avoid further entanglement.

Current Team: 3


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 stares into the air, wide-eyed, residual images from the vision dancing in front of her face. When the visage of Scythe is replaced by the old man, she eeps once more and sits up.

"I'm okay," she says. She holds up her elbow showing a red and angry scrape, then immediately slaps her other hand over it before the old man gets a view of it healing before his eyes. "Yeah, just a scratch; nothing broken," she quickly adds as she struggles to her feet.


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 man reached out to help Wingblade to her feet. "You sure, lass? You look like you've had a bit of a fright there. Would you like me to make you a nice cuppa to calm your nerves? Or is there someone I could call?" He reached into a pocket to retrieve an outdated flip-phone.


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 shakes her head while still cradling her scraped-up arm. "No, you're too kind. But I'm fine. I just need to go on a run -- um, need to walk it off. And I've got a phone, thanks."

She starts striding purposefully away from Reggie, hoping to show in her gait that she was fine. After she walks about a block, she checks behind her to make sure he wasn't following. Confirming her scrape was healed, she digs out her borrowed phone and punches in Bronwyn's number. She may have it off because of practice, but I gotta talk to her.

"Hey, it's me. I gotta ask: When's that Dreamstone supposed to wear off? I'm getting these weird flashes. At first it was my old memories, but I think I'm getting some of your memories too. I just had one with Scythe coming through your window and I feel really weird now."


Female Altered Human

Innis growled behind the laptop, the hapless IT standing at the ready. Whippoorwill was in front of Innis' desk, stoically observing and very carefully not showing any amusement in the overseer's plight.

"Now where's the cursor?" he complains.

"It's invisible, but it's there. Just use the page up and down keys," the IT kid says.

"Can't you just print it out?"

"We stopped trying when you said you wanted it now."

Innis glares at the IT for a moment, then turns back to the screen. "Wait. 'Inactive'?"

The IT sighs and starts typing in the password again. "You gotta keep moving the mouse."

Keeping her face entirely neutral, Whippoorwill offers, "I could come back..."

"No!" Innis snaps. "This... this juvenile attempt to deliberately waste my time is not going to avoid the consequences of your little team's actions. A man is dead! Dead while in your protégé's custody!"

Whippoorwill looks at the overseer evenly. "Are you passing judgment without reading the report?"

Innis looks back down at the laptop that has been slid back in front of him. Lips pressed tight, he begins reading through the report. After a while he starts rubbing his temples. His scowl intensifies as the painfully-written report does its job.

Eventually he pushes the laptop aside. "Gibberish. Gibberish and nonsense. Deliberately obtuse. This is your team's leader?"

"You appointed him, if memory serves."

Innis' glower becomes more severe. "Where are they? I required their presence, and I don't see th--"

Whippoorwill cuts him off. "It's a school day. They'll just be getting out. I can have Wingblade here shortly, but I understand that Machina was out sick today."

An oily smile replaces Innis' scowl after a moment's pause. "Fine. Have Miss Wingblade here immediately. After all, she's the one who kidnapped Mr. Giras, correct?"

Whippoorwill tries to stay calm as she steps outside and touches her communicator.


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

Alexis

Bronwyn gave Alexis a hug, not a sudden burst of enthusiasm, keeping easily in their shared view so that Alexis could easily withdraw, or she could notice him stiffen in discomfort.

"I'm really glad you've found someone who it helps to talk to. And if there's something that I can do to help with what you want, please just tell me, even if you think it can't happen." She grinned, though there was a tinge of sadness behind it. "At this point I try not to write off much as impossible."

She opened up the shop and ushered Alexis in. "You can change here if you like, and its somewhere secure for you to hang out in case the Triakosia really are around - I'll come get you next period, okay? Until then, you've got supplies, here's my phone if you want to browse some stuff, or just catch up on any of the reading for your classes - even if you don't go back to them, there's still things worth learning. Just uh, don't answer any calls, okay?"

***

@ The SCA

Innis was fuming. A wide dustless-area of his desk showed where his desktop and monitor were supposed to be, but for now he seemed to be back to pen and paper. A recorder sat menacingly in front of him, though it wasn't yet flicked on.

"So Machina is 'sick.' How lucky for us all that he has two such talented, responsible deputies.

"Now I may not have many of the details of your-" a vein twitched next to his left eye, "-report, but some facts are clear."

He jabbed a blunt finger at Wingblade. "A man is dead because of you."

"You," he swung the accusing digit to the Silver Shadow, "somehow didn't see this preposterous trap coming."

"And you expect us to believe that this, 'Balor,' who is supposed to be some millennias old ghost, somehow outhacked your supercomputer? The only hacker I'm seeing is your own leader, despite being so conveniently 'sick'.

"I wrote a report too, you see. And it has quite a story. Incompetence, murder, and then sorcery from Circe's daughter, and Machina's b&~&!&*% to cover it up!"

"So go on," he leaned forward and picked up the recorder, "prove me wrong. And try to bring at least as much finesse and care to it as you do to your hair." His sneer somehow encapsulated both Shayera's expertly maintained locks and Alexandra's emergency hack-job.

**click**

Aside from where you might want to go forward, Innis is attempting to shift your Danger up and your Savior down Shayera. Alexandra, he's shifting up your Freak and down your Superior.

***
At the start of Bronwyn's Track period.
With a click the door to the shop opened again, and Bronwyn poked her head in, eyes closed in case Alexis was in a state of undress, sweatband holding her bangs out of her eyes. "You ready to head out? I'll catch up with the team once you're safely on your way!"


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)

At the start of Bronwyn's Track Period

Alexis hadn't been much for browsing Bronwyn's phone except for researching symptoms about their strange thoughts. Though the search came up with a lot of material that they didn't quite get, at least they understood that there were definitely people who felt like they did.

When Bronwyn came in though, Alexis was in the middle of using the shop facilities to maintain their armor. Just cleaning out some of the dirt and rubble from the night's previous fight, but it was better to take care of it now before it became a problem later.

"...Give me a minute to finish this." They quietly requested while brushing out the boot. "...Have you ever felt like people were looking at you, but not at you, just some image that was fake and that thinking they saw only that caused you to want to die?" Alexis asked. The question had been on their mind for several minutes already, waiting to be asked of anyone.

"...Sorry. That's probably not an appropriate question to ask."


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's eyes widened in surprise, not expecting anything like what she had just walked into, but she nodded, brow furrowed, and stepped inside.

"No it's umm, it's fine to, uh, ask that. I... I do know what it's like for people to not see the real me, to make assumptions, to treat me like something that on a deep level, in my soul, I'm really not. But... God, I'm so sorry you feel that way but dying won't-" Unless...She pursed her lips, and gradually decided to ask, "Alexis... I know that when you got burned you said... Do you wish you were a girl again? Or, uh, had your old body? I don't know quite how you see all of- Is that what you wish was different?"


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

Reject, Insecure: 2d6 - 2 ⇒ (5, 1) - 2 = 4
Miss. Marking Guilty, adjusting labels.

Wingblade eyes the recorder, its presence making her throat go dry. She turns her head slightly to look at Silver Shadow, wondering if she was going to say something first.

Innis' words rings in her head and she clenches her fists, the ghosts of an old pain shooting through her hand. Murder. Seething with murder.

She mentally shakes off the old memory before she lapses into another old vision of her memories. She tries to focus, and she meets Innis' eyes. Their prolonged silence feeding into his smug superiority.

She finds her voice. "Are you suggesting that Balor doesn't exist? That a healthy, thirty-eight year old man could just rot away in minutes?"


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 quiet for a few moments as they finish up with the cleaning, before starting to suit up in the pieces. "...A lot of my memories are muddled. But I remember every death. I don't remember why I died or where, just how it happened. I remember how I felt when I died. Many times, I think that I felt like this." They don't elaborate further on that point. It was hard to articulate just how they felt.

"I just...don't feel comfortable in this body. It feels wrong. Too big," They inform Bronwyn. "I can't have my old body back. But I know that it was more comfortable." They finish fitting on the armor, sliding the helmet on as well. "And I feel more comfortable with myself in my armor right now, too."


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

Early afternoon Monday, sometime before the end of school
Despite what he had said, Kaoru hadn't actually turned off his phone. He had just wanted Bronwyn to stop texting him, so he could go back to sleep. Or at least for her not to expect a response, so he could safely ignore it. Unfortunately, even his nap hadn't completely removed his annoyance at her, especially when he realized that even though Chloe had made him dinner, he'd now have to haul himself downstairs to make her lunch for the next day. Why did she have to be so damn nosy? She wasn't his mom; he didn't have to report to her.

With a soft whimper, he tossed back a couple more painkillers. If he were being honest, they didn't seem to be doing much to put a dent in the fire that was his chest. Skipping school had definitely been the right move. Not only would he have been unable to hide his condition, but there was no way he could have handled binding his chest. Grabbing the sandwiches Chloe had left, he nibbled on them as he gingerly made his way downstairs. It took a lot more effort than he cared to admit.

He shuffled to the kitchen, idly trying to figure out what the hell he could make that wouldn't be too much work. Something in a slow cooker would be good. One of those 'toss everything in and ignore for several hours' kind of a deal. He probably had ingredients for a ginger chicken dish. Though he wasn't looking forward to doing all that cutting. Maybe he could skip it? It'd probably turn out just as good. Though he'd still have to wash and possible peel some stuff. Sighing, he pulled open the fridge door to take stock. And then blinked as he was immediately presented with a piece of paper with his name written in Chloe's handwriting.

Kay -
I bet the day hasn't even finished and you're already ignoring my instructions to stay in bed. Your health is important and you seriously need rest!

Well, since it's too late now, I went ahead and prepared a bunch of veggies for you in case my LOVINGLY CRAFTED sandwiches weren't good enough. Please, please, please, please, PLEASE use them to make a quick meal and then GO. BACK. TO. BED. I'll know if you don't!

XOXO
Chloe

He couldn't help but shake his head slightly, smiling as he pulled the plate out. He sent Chloe a quick text of thanks before he made quick work of washing some cuts of chicken and tossing those into the pot with the veggies and the various other ingredients he needed for the sauce. He could make rice in the morning. As he let the dish start cooking on its lowest setting, he pulled out his phone to begin searching for delivery services. Finding one that would work, he placed an order for the next morning before turning his gaze back towards the stairs. He didn't exactly revel in the idea of climbing them.

Sighing, he turned around and headed to the other side of the house to the guest bedroom. The floor was a mine field of not yet opened and put away boxes, but thankfully, past him had been a genius and had already made the bed. Slowly he slipped between the sheets, shivering at how unpleasantly cool they were. Pulling the blanket up around him, he attempted to doze back off again.

He was jolted awake several hours later by a scream from the other side of the house. It was almost matched by his own as he immediately doubled over, trying to fight the urge to throw up. Since when had his neighborhood gotten so damn noisy? He spent several moments trying to breath shallowly through clenched teeth before he was able to force his body to unclench again. Whatever had woken him up seemed to have been a one-time thing as once again everything was quiet. Should he get some earplugs? Maybe then he'd be allowed some damn rest. There were probably some in one of the boxes in here. He eyed the boxes around him, trying to divine which might be the correct one of their labels as he debated if it was worth the effort of crawling out of the guest bed.


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

Reject: 2d6 ⇒ (1, 3) = 4 Marking insecure, shifting.

Alexandra almost starts to lash out. her power feeds her things.

With all due respect She begins, no respect at all in her tone we had standard dampener restraints, and before he was brought into the HQ, he was administered a class 2 rhabdoantagonist, to break any silver tongue or through another's eyes type charms. so should your teams encounter any such agents, I would advise a class 3 or 4... probably 4 to be safe.. She says. We also had a known countermeasure for magic, Bran, beside the man throughout our interrogation. along with less lethal automated countermeasures. More or less by your book, and then some. we even had the prescribed 4 man guard though more spread out.

Which, incidentally, wouyld have been a tragedy, had YOU tried to hold him, given that the orientation of the standard holding cell, and prescribed location of the guards would have been in the path of the opening salvo of his vision.. immideately fatal to the closest two, but the door ight deflect enough of it that the outer pair might get to suffer for a few hours before they perish. as she describes each of these things, she sketches a simple diagram and puts a red X over each guard as she describes the eye beams killing them.

As for our system... that is a stange but not entirely unprecedented reaction. He was before your time, but there was a villain known as Haxxor whose powers were a not dismililar interaction of magic and technology. and Matrix has also seen siilar events.

Provoke Innis+Superior: 2d6 + 1 ⇒ (4, 2) + 1 = 7


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

"Okay, armor's good then. Let's... let's just make sure you spend some comfortable time out of it too, okay? You ever done a sense-dep tank? I've heard that's a good way to get out of your body for a while - might be a good way to feel a little more... you. But um, the whole talking to someone thing is definitely more important, and you're already doing that. And I'm standing here keeping you from heading that way..."

She grimaced, "Sorry? Umm... we can go."

Comfort/Support for that conversation: 2d6 + 3 + 1 ⇒ (5, 6) + 3 + 1 = 15 I'll clear Insecure

Bronwyn set a brisk pace, moving through back alleys and other paths that were excellent at keeping powerfully built armored figures obscured and were a regular part of her routine. Before splitting off from Alexis on their route to Dr. Brighthop, she stopped and gave them a hug, much less hesitantly than before.

She pursed her lips, looking up at Alexis's visor for a long moment before swallowing whatever she had been about to say, and waving goodbye.

Would it help him or... her... or- Would it help Alexis to know that I know... I mean not **everything** they're going through, but my own part of it? Am I hurting them by keeping it away?

I know that he- they won't understand why I keep it a secret... but would Alexis be able to keep it anyways?!

Mercy: Bronwyn, clearly lost in thought, hasn't noticed anything, but before you're out of line of sight you can see the weird guy from Halcyon High, waiting just off her path with a few of his friends, one of whom is listening intently to his cell.

More concerningly, you see your old colleague Keuschheit/Chastitas tucked out of the way, but exposed enough that you're pretty sure he intends for you to see him. (See PM)

***

Innis sneers, "How odd that none of those countermeasures were detailed in this report!" But Alexandra can practically hear him think, Probably. "I'm not saying something odd didn't happen, I'm saying that someone has gone to a lot of effort to make certain that no one but you kids know exactly what! Security footage destroyed, this abomination of a report, and now you're trying to tell me that it was all done by the book?!

This is exactly why the SCA was created. You kids are the worst of it, but Matrix, Tectonic - even Whippoorwill are all too willing to place themselves above us, but you. Are. Not."

A tech shows up with his computer and a replacement monitor for his desk, "We've been able to escape Machina's report, sir, and..." she bends in to whisper in Innis's ear.

Enhanced Senses/Lipreading Only:
"Sir, we think we've been able to reconstruct some of the Abacus footage of the event. Would you like to view that now?"

"Really?" Innis responds with a cold smile on his face. The smile fades but the chill remains as he turns to Wingblade and the Silver Shadow. "I'm not finished with you two yet. Wait here, and we'll see how 'by the book' you've really been."

He storms out of the room, the tech quickly reconnecting his computer to its peripherals and leaving you both to stew.

He's overreacting to you Alexandra, gain influence over Innis, but he's also trying to drive your Mundane up, Superior down. (He's also trying to do that to Wingblade, but lacks influence over her...)
What do you both do?

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