Locksmith

Tarren the Dungeon Master's page

10,970 posts. Alias of Tarren Dei (RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8).


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The Olympian wrote:
"L.C.? How much are we allowed to discuss with Pah concerning what happened today?" Theo asked the agency head.

"How well do you know Pah?" asks L.C. "WE didn't invite him to this meeting; the Committee on Timeline Continuity or whatever it is called did."


The helicar arrives at Boston Theoretical. EIG, or Phade as she is now calling herself, is happy to see Teleporting Boy. He remains standoffish with most of you, having been partially programmed to dislike you, but the Supe Factory forgot about EIG, as everyone does. He has no reservations about her and she seems to be the only person he still trusts. Once he explains that he didn't ghost her but was arrested she forgives him.

The big meeting is tomorrow. Unless someone has something they want to RP, tell us how you spend the evening tonight or morning tomorrow. Nissa had said the meeting wouldn't be until noon as she was going to bed late tonight.

L.C. does let slip that Pah will be attending the meeting as well for some reason. Pah's ship is in the harbour and you have standing invitations to party with him if you want, but he isn't necessarily expecting you.


The Olympian wrote:

"I believe you, L.C.", Theo reassures. "Any new news on Boston after the monkey attack? What do the newsfeeds say?"

[dice=Diplomacy]1d20 + 16

Ron responds, "Ron here. The First Responders and their fans are pushing feeds that show them chasing the flying monkeys. Did they even hit one of them? They're pieced together so that it looks like the FR saved the day, but you don't actually see them do much other than pose."

"Which makes them, what? Posers. That's right. Great big posers," says EIG. She then asks, "So, Teleporting Boy is with you? He's coming back here?"

"Also," says Ron "There are shots of you all there which probably is stealing some of their thunder."

"And," interrupts EIG, "Nobody cares about flying monkeys right now because they're all talking about how fish are raining down on a soup factory in Jersey and ONLY on the soup factory."


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

Nissa turns to Theo. ”It didn’t go that badly.” She says this, then becomes humanish long enough to get her comm out… she places the phone in the glove box then becomes a fairy again.

Her fairy form slips inside the glove box.

** spoiler omitted **

Nissa:
"Because you know it's my favorite color on you ... or off you?" laugh L.C. "No, I got it. Scarlett will be there. So will Pah, for other reasons."

L.C. speaks through your comms, "I want you all to know, I didn't know about any of this. I've read the proposals, but I had no idea that this one had caught the interest of the President's Bipartisan Committee on Timeline Preservation. If you have any questions, ask, otherwise you'll hear more about the President's plan tomorrow. Again, I'm sorry."


Congrats on the new job. This PbP was designed to allow people to drop in and out, so you can always come back.


The congressman accepts the help down, but seems ticked. He's looking around hoping no hovercameras are around. Of course, the localized storm phenomenon has attracted some. They're still somewhat distant and may not have captured the congressman getting helped down from the sign.

He brushes himself off and says, "Thank you. I will see you tomorrow."

Teleporting Boy and Henri grab the helicar and pick up the team.

Heading back to Boston?


Charles Wilde wrote:


"You seem to be having a bit of trouble, Representative Milles. Allow us to lend a paw!" they shout above the storm as they climb.

"Get away from me-" shouts representative Charlie Milles. A blast of wind hits him pushing him back against the billboard hard and almost causing him to fall. A minnow ends up in his hair. He changes his tune. "Get me down from here!"


Do you help the Congressman down from the billboard before taking off in the helicar for Boston?


Henri Patineur wrote:


"Oof, do you think a person gets used to that?"

After everyone is up, Henri gives them all a once-over to make sure no one looks like they are in additional distress beyond the nausea. He nods to Teleportation Boy, "Thank you. What sort of range do you have with that? Can you carry things or just a single person? So many questions..."

"EIG, ... I mean, Phade got used to it. We were a team. I'd jump her in someplace and leave and no one would even know she was there ... But, sometimes I'd forget she was there."

He looks like he has a guilty conscience.

"Boston Theoretical was going to help me safely test my powers, but there was problem with the parental consent forms and since I'm under 18 ..." TB shrugs.

Henri Patineur wrote:

"George! How are you feeling after that dimensional jump? It's rather put me off a bit."

At the reveal of where the congressman landed, Henri can only nod his approval. "Perfect. I was going to suggest inconvenience, not death. I think that's qualifies."

"F#@! me!" says George, wretching but holding down his lunch nonetheless.

Henri Patineur wrote:


Is the doctor among our group of refugees?

The doctor is among the group of refugees as are the other Supe Factory flunkees. TB confirms the complex is clear. He says that water was pouring out of the elevator and into the lobby on his last jump.


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

Nissa says to TB, ”It’s tempting, but I still carry the weight of killing four men, despite it being accidental and despite my hasty action being ‘justified’ by the lives I saved.

“You’ll always look back knowing that, no matter how much the congressman may deserve it, your choice was the difference between him living or dying.”
[/b]

TB, listens to Nissa and nods, and then disappears again. With the loyalty programming partially in place, he couldn't help himself anyway. He had to save the congressman. When he reappears, the congressman is not with him. Seeing your faces he points to the "Soup for Your Family" billboard. The congressman is clinging to it, whipped by the rain of the hurricane.

The Olympian wrote:


The Olympian couldn't help but stare up at the unique spectacle before him. "Lord Poseidon, I freely admit, that is one of the most impressive sights my mortal eyes have seen in a long time. And your consideration for the other nearby mortals is ..regal, admirable. Focused Divine Wraith without destroying the entire seaboard. Magnificent. What do you think, 'cousin'?" Theo asked the android head in his arms.

"Truly magnificent," says the android head, "particularly given how far we are from the ocean, 'cousin.'"

The sound of the rain changes as fish begin to fall from the sky. The congressman is pelted with them as he climbs down from the billboard.

Time to go home.


Soon, TB has teleported everyone to the surface except the Congressman.

Everyone make DC 15 Fort saves if you haven't already.

He looks around at the Soup Factory behind him. He looks at a billboard that displays the factory's slogan, "Soup For Your Family!". It's not a digital billboard, but an old-fashioned one. They're going for a nostalgic vibe.

The storm continues to pour down over the factory, but not a block away. The water that whips in the wind is salty.

"Did the congressman really try to have me 'reprogrammed'? Is that for real?" he asks. "Should I let him find his own way out?"


Henri Patineur wrote:
Tarren the Dungeon Master wrote:
Henri Patineur wrote:

Turning to the lad, Henri puts his hands up in a “come in peace” gesture and says, ”I’m a doctor. Did you have any problems getting out of the pod? You know, Z stopped the process because it looked like it was messing with your mind. Do you feel confused, like you know one thing and feel something else? That might be the incomplete programming. Ugly stuff, but your mind should sort it out given time. Trust the memories, not the emotions emotions are easier to alter with artificial chemicals. But you are all right otherwise, right?”

"I don't think I know you," says TB, less defensively. "I woke up when the programming stopped. One minute, I was sitting in my mind palace learning Japanese and then silence and darkness, so I teleported out of there. I don't really know if I'm alright."

Replying to TB, Henri shakes his head, "No, you could truthfully say I'm new here. We haven't met. So you know Japanese? I've always been fascinated with other languages. When we get out of here, maybe you can teach me some phrases. For now, let me look you over. I was serious about being a doctor." Henri continues to ignore the talkers and focuses on giving TB a very quick physical, walking triage style, looking for signs of trauma, concussion, or bleeding from injection points since he's not sure what the equipment involved in this process would have done to introduce the programming.

Under his breath as he works, he adds, "Look, I don't know the story between you and the others, but I can tell you this - the BT team has been crazy busy and Firefly - I mean Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell - I don't think she's capable of abandoning anyone she's ever met. If she didn't come to your aid, it's because she didn't know you needed it. I think the congressman and the doctor are using the programming to make you think they ghosted you. And you'd better find a way to apologize to Phade - she's not going to let you...

TB decides to take Henri next, "I didn't ghost her. I forgot about her a little. I tried but you know her powers. And, then I got arrested. I'll apologize."

He grabs Henri's shoulder and says, "Iki masho yo." and then pops him to the surface beside Theo.

DC 15 Fort save or toss your cookies, speedster.


Henri Patineur wrote:

Cool.

Spanish
French
...
an indigenous language from the Southwest US? Would Navajo be a thing?

Navajo would definitely be a thing. When things fell apart, people looked for new ways of living and a lot of communes/tribes formed around indigenous leaders. There would have been a generation in which most of the people speaking it were white people who learned it as adults, but over the next 100 years a version of Navajo would have stabilized among the largely white community that claim 'New Navajo' ancestry.


Henri should definitely pick up some languages. With Mexico doing aid work in what used to be Texas and Arizona, Henri would have come across Spanish. Also, as large-scale society crumbled, smaller local groups formed. The language spoken by the founders would become the group's language, so anything is possible. If Henri spent time on a commune founded by someone who spoke a language other than English, he could have learned that group's language.


Henri Patineur wrote:
Tarren the Dungeon Master wrote:
Henri Patineur wrote:
Satisfied that the ape is remarkable but unharmed (?), ”I don’t know, I just got here. But I think you and I have the same suspicions. How should I address you?”
The winged ape thinks for a minute, "You know, it's funny. They've been pumping my brain full of useless information, but haven't given me a name. I could recite the names of all of the Presidents of the USA in order, but I don't know my own name. I might need some help with that."
The speedy young doctor nods thoughtfully, "Well, I do have a suggestion. You are certainly a first as far as I know and you are familiar with a famous American first that I recall from my studies. And I remember many fond hours reading about a particularly intelligent primate when I was a child. Both are named George, so what do you think about being called George? Until you remember or discover something that you feel fits better?"

"George," he ponders. "There are a number of famous human people named George. If you don't think any of them would mind, I see no problem with it."

He begins to hum Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) by Parliament led by George Clinton. "I'm afraid that my musical culture lessons had only reached the 1979 when you pulled the plug."


The Olympian wrote:
"The water is rising. We can talk about this later. We need to GO NOW!" [dice=Diplomacy]1d20 + 16

"He's right," says the Congressman. "It's time to get me out of here."

"Are they right about the brainwashing?" asks TB.

"Are you taking them seriously? That one thinks he's a god and called down the wrath of Poseidon on a factory in Hackensack, New Jersey. We're miles from even the Hudson River ..."

"Congressman Milles," says the AI, "I can confirm that the water filling the elevator shaft is salt water. I will be uploading my neural simulacrum to another network. Exiting the building in ten. Good luck to all. Please turn the lights out when you go. ...four...three...two...one...."

The AI's face disappears from the walls and a number of devices she was running stop functioning. The alarms fall silent. EIG's face disappears from the big screen. You can hear the water pouring into the elevator shaft.

Teleporting Boy scowls as he grabs Theo and disappears.

Theo:
He sets you down in the parking lot outside the Soup Factory, but a hurricane is pouring water down on the building. He jumps again with you, this time placing you just outside of the parking lot. The hurricane is entirely focused on the building. Beyond the parking lot, the streets are dry and the sky is clear. His teleportation isn't a lot of fun. Fortitude DC 15 to keep your lunch down.

He pops back into view without Theo about two seconds later. "Who's next?"


Charles Wilde wrote:
Charles nods at Teleporting Boy. "Zellgato was poking around their systems and found that they were running a 'loyalty program' on you. That's probably why things seem so confusing."

"Is this true?" Teleporting Boy asks the Congressman.

Bluff: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23

"Son, I've been trying to help you since I first heard about your legal difficulties," says the Congressman, not quite answering the question.

Anyone want to be more persuasive than the Congressman? Beat his Bluff check with some other Charisma based check to get TB on your side.

Charles Wilde wrote:

"Also another reason we hate you," he snarls, looking at both the doctor and the congressman.

"As you might imagine, we're a bit... touchy about messing with people's minds," he adds. "Now, we can wait until last to get out of here. We have gills, so the only threats to us from water getting in here are electrocution and crushing, roughly. I assume the AI's hardware is somewhere watertight?"

He looks over to the flying monkey. "The 'failures' might be the ones he had out harrassing people. We saved some of them from their mind control helmets, but I think the others were killed."

"Harrassing people?" ponders the winged ape. "Was I created to be a weapon? That might explain all the martial arts programs they pumped into my brain."


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

[xx=Supermodel]d20+16

Nissa reverts to humanish form in a stunning scarlet dress.
(Like Jessica Rabbit, but Nissa is petite.)

She makes sure she’s on camera where L.C. can see her as she gets the room’s attention.

”I can become subatomic and weave between atoms, so drowning isn’t a danger to me. But, Teleport Boy, your opportunity to be the hero is now. There simply isn’t time to convince you that none of us abandoned you, nor does it do any of us good to jump to conclusions now.”

To her boss/GF, ”Let’s set up a meeting. Boston Theoretical will choose the secure location.”

"Excellent, our people will get in touch with Lacey," says the Congressman.

"It's L.C., Congressman," says L.C. a bit touchily. "Nice dress, Nissa."

EIG pushes her way onto the screen. "Did you say Teleporting Boy was there?"

"EIG!?" says Teleporting Boy, surprised. "What are you doing there?"

"I go by Phade now," says EIG. "These are my friends. Like you were before you ghosted me!"

Teleporting Boy blushes.


Henri Patineur wrote:
Satisfied that the ape is remarkable but unharmed (?), ”I don’t know, I just got here. But I think you and I have the same suspicions. How should I address you?”

The winged ape thinks for a minute, "You know, it's funny. They've been pumping my brain full of useless information, but haven't given me a name. I could recite the names of all of the Presidents of the USA in order, but I don't know my own name. I might need some help with that."

Henri Patineur wrote:

Turning to the lad, Henri puts his hands up in a “come in peace” gesture and says, ”I’m a doctor. Did you have any problems getting out of the pod? You know, Z stopped the process because it looked like it was messing with your mind. Do you feel confused, like you know one thing and feel something else? That might be the incomplete programming. Ugly stuff, but your mind should sort it out given time. Trust the memories, not the emotions emotions are easier to alter with artificial chemicals. But you are all right otherwise, right?”

"I don't think I know you," says TB, less defensively. "I woke up when the programming stopped. One minute, I was sitting in my mind palace learning Japanese and then silence and darkness, so I teleported out of there. I don't really know if I'm alright."


Henri Patineur wrote:

Henri is struggling to keep up. He's obviously convinced that anything coming out of the Congressman's mouth should be considered false, but he doesn't not know how much.

On the other hand, the speaking monkey and the boy with the power of teleportation fascinate him and the doctor in him comes to the fore. He moves over to them, "Hey, I'm Henri, did you have any trouble getting loose from the medical equipment?" He's looking for signs of IVs pulled improperly and such.

The others can figure out the political puzzle. And if I have to swim, well, that's all I can do.

"I woke up when things got quiet," says the monkey. Pointing at the congressman, he asks Henri, "So, what was that a%&~#~~ saying about a dozen failures? What happened to the others?"


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

I’ll let someone with SM confirm the BS. I can’t roll a 23 without a 22-sided die.

Nissa says, ”If I hadn’t already called you out, you might convince me. Care to convince Theo’s uncle to stop flooding the place?”

"I'm afraid that I have no pull with imaginary Greek Gods. I leave that to Theo," he turns to Teleporting Boy and stretches his arms out, as if for a hug, "Okay, son, I think it's time we leave. You can come back for the others."

Charles Wilde wrote:

"Somehow I doubt sheltering in place will work well for us,"Charles comments.

At the same he looks over to TB. "Nissa's telling the truth, we never heard about what happened to you. It's almost as if someone were intercepting the information..."

He glares at Representative Milles.

"I don't believe you," say TB. "I know you ... I mean, I feel ..."

He seems distressed as if his feelings and his facts don't align.

The Olympian wrote:


"Well, I commend you all for doing a great job of not doing what I told you to do!" Theo ranted. "The God of the Ocean is outside, pissed off, and now we have no escape other than Teleport Boy here."
Looking to the young man, the godling says, "Today you decide if your a hero or a villain. A boy or a man. I sure as sh|t can't save them all by myself. Not now. I've never had to survive divine wraith before. Odds aren't good!"

"I don't need you to tell me who I am 'Godling,'" TB snaps angrily. "I helped you guys and you abandoned me! ... Didn't you?"

He seems genuinely uncertain. He thinks the worst of you all but isn't sure why.


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

Nissa is genuinely shocked. ”This is the first I heard of it!”

She turns to the congressman. ”And you call him son because…”

She flutters close, her little fairy eyes studying the politician’s face, as if she can see into his wicked soul.
[=Completely BuIIshit the Guy]d20+15+d6

”I can see it in your microexpressions. You know who had the boy arrested. Him, Doc Gravity, Speedfreak… you make sure these supers have records and make a deal, act like their friend.

“You birthday-ruining asshoIe! He’s a kid—he helped me!!”

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21

The congressman seems startled. He runs through what he knows about Nissa trying to recall any mention of super-empathy or mind-reading. He can't recall, but that's the problem with these supers ... they're unregistered and who knows what they can do. Nissa seems to see through him. He decides to maintain the ruse and keep the boy on his side.

Bluff: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23

"Look, Nita, a lot of powered individuals end up being arrested. You should know; you've arrested some. I was there for TB when he needed me. I got him into the Rapid Rehabilitation Program so he didn't have to spend years in detention. And now he's thinking about joining one of our new super teams, maybe the All-American Youth Patrol or The Mavericks. And, we can use his help and we would never abandon him to the system," says the man who practically runs the system.

The AI receptionist's giant face announces, "Water detected in the elevator shaft. Sealing elevator shaft. Elevator shaft sealed. Remain sheltered in place."


The Olympian wrote:
POSEIDON IS ANGRY!!!

You invited me to bring the wrath of Poseidon down on an underground bunker. Too bad Teleporting Boy isn't on your side right now.


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

”What do you mean? What happened?” she asks TB.

The bursting pipes are unsettling…

"I went to juvie for a stupid prank and Boston Theoretical didn't even do anything. I helped you! I was there when you all came back from Smallville! I helped stop Portly. But, you just forgot about me," Teleporting Boy is quivering with anger. "If it wasn't for Charlie, I'd still be in that stupid special cell at the stupid detention center."

"I'll always be there for you, son," says the congressman.


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

Nissa zips over to Teleport Boy in fairy form. ”Hey, great to see you! What’s up?”

[dice=DC20 Secret Message to TB]d20+15+d6
Nissa suspects L.C. sent him. TB take Nissa in his hand, teleport her, and pass the message if it’s not safe to talk here.

Teleporting Boy pulls his hand back from Nissa. "As if you'd care!" he says. "Like you were there for me when I got in trouble."

It doesn't take a Sense Motive check to tell he's angry.

He's dressed in a hospital onesie, as, oddly enough, is the winged ape. There are two open pods in the 'Personality Enhancement' chamber.

The walls light up with the AI receptionist's face. "Several pipes have burst in the factory up above. It could be some form of attack. Please remain calm until help can arrive."


Charles Wilde wrote:

"Yes, programming. Because everyone should think the right way too, hm, Doctor, Representative?" Charles asks sarcastically.

They start trotting towards the chamber the monkey came out of.

The winged ape is hooting and babbling as it clambers up the wall and flutters down and back up again. It seems frightened, but also curious. It examines light fixtures, drone ports, door keypads, giving no more than a second to each as it bounces around.

"Don't hurt him!" says Dr. Johansen as Charles clambers towards him, "After two dozen failures, I finally found the right gene sequence. He's very valuable."

As Charles pads into view, the winged ape stops bouncing off the walls of the corridor to gawk at him. He's stopped hooting and hollaring. His mouth hangs open a bit. Very slowly his lips form the words, "What the f!@!..."

Teleporting boy appears beside the winged ape startling him. More quickly this time, the startled ape says again, "What the f~$*?!"

"He speaks!" shouts the Doctor, "Success!"


The Congressman ignores Charles and isn't sure whether to believe Charles.

He smiles at Nissa's acquiescence but then checks his schedule.

"Ah, well, I guess I can move a few things around ... and be there at noon," says the Congressman who is quietly annoyed that Nissa's sleep is going to f~+* with his day. "I'm glad we could agree to continue this---"

He pauses as something in the corridor catches his eye. A winged monkey is running up and down the corridor just outside the Personality Enhancement lab.

"That's not so good," says Dr. Johansen, "His programming wasn't finished yet."

The monkey is bouncing off walls, freaking out a little.


Charles Wilde wrote:

"If we didn't do it, then someone else would? How many lives have been sacrificed on *that* altar?" Charles comments.

"So, what now? We just walk out of here and forget this happened?"

Charles growls, unhappy with the idea, but the reality is anything he wants to say now he doesn't want to say in front of the politician.

The Congressman seems a little annoyed at your lack of immediate unwavering enthusiasm, "You're upset because a few flying monkeys harassed some joggers? It was a photo op that got out of hand. Your government is inviting you to play a key role in ensuring the continued hegemony of the United States of America. We're asking you to protect this timeline, the one you know and love. The only way you can do that is by stepping outside of it and standing guard. 30 years ago, Professor Harbringer speculated that would be necessary. Now, thanks to this Wand, we can do it. It's only been a couple weeks since this Wand came to light, but remember, you found it while working for us. It belongs to the American government. You're just holding onto it for now. Theo, you don't want to do it forever? Do it for a few years and when you're done I'll get you a job with one of my friends in the private sector. Nissa, who WOULD you trust to protect the timeline more than yourself and your team? We love this timeline ... America has been the main superpower for 3 successive centuries. We don't want to change things, Nissa; we're winning just the way things are. Why don't you go home and sleep on it. I'll be there in the morning to hear your response."


Charles Wilde wrote:


"Good. Keep an eye on the rest of the team," Charles replies, though their eyes remain focused on the Representative.

Doc Gravity nods.

Charles Wilde wrote:
"From what you're saying this Deck is complete, or nearly so? How is that possible? And it must have taken some time to construct, why not inform us sooner?"

Congressman Charlie Milles smiles sheepishly and says, "Because, if you don't agree we will need to take the Wand from you and it took us a while to figure out how to do that."

Charles Wilde wrote:
"And why work with him?" Charles waves a paw at Doctor Johansen.

The Congressman shrugs, "Doctor Johansen has supplied genetically altered soldiers to most of the world's militaries. We'd much rather have him on our side then selling to a rogue state like Canada."

Dr. Hansen Johansen nods.


Charles Wilde wrote:
Charles are quiet for a long moment. After a long moment he asks, "I agree with the worries about our replacements." "And your rudeness." "But one question about this plan--what if we like a new timeline better?"

Congressman Charlie Milles responds, "The Timeline Continuity Community wants you for this because we know you are committed to timeline integrity. We've read your mission reports. We know what you all think on the matter."


The Olympian wrote:
The godling grumbles. "To be stuck outside our timeline?! But no one will know of our heroic deeds! We'll just be..part of the Grand Celestial Scenery. Hades, I don't even know if The Gods will be able to see my deeds. Your asking A LOT, MILLES! Forgoing my life as a superhero/celebrity/sex symbol for the Greater Good!" Theo sat down at the table and sulked, resting his head on his 'cousin'. "What about 'Downtime'? Time off? No pun included. A SIGNIFICANT raise in pay!! Of, and this guy gets a body that fits." Theo said gesturing to the android head, his irritation is palpable.

The congressman smiles, identifying with Theo's concerns, "I get you. You can party on other dimensions or we can send some, umm, party favours, into the Shuffle for down time recreation. We can make this work."


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

Nissa says to the congressman, ”This all sounds dandy, but the First Responders are still murderers. Redemption is a beautiful goal, and I feel for the twins’ lack of a childhood… but that barrel of monkeys you dumped on the public led to actual deaths! Yes, just monkeys… but monkeys that could easily be tamed.

“Don’t you get that?! Flora is a killer. If she honestly believes she kills for justice, she’ll be no different than the Atlantean!” She turns to the head on Theo’s belt. ”Not you. I mean Prince Fishdicks.”

"Look, I'll admit I wasn't the best father, but now that I'm back in my children's lives, I think they'll be significantly less murderous."

"Fishdicks?" asks the head on Theo's belt.

Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

To the congressman: ”I so want to go to that station! So very very very badly! But… locking murderers in a boring video game doesn’t redeem a sociopath. If anything, it probably reinforces ideas like ‘I’m the center of the universe’ and ‘I can literally get away with murder.’ Seriously. 137 additional years of being young is a reward! Anyone surprised the twins feel so entitled?”

Realizing she is kinda making two points at once, she summarizes, ”Basically I’m at Yay Shuffle, Boo AsshoIes Replacing Us.”

"I hear your concerns," says the Congressman. "And it was the Republican Democrats that passed the Rapid Rehabilitation program; we're just trying to make sure it works for the benefit of the average Joe and Joanne who want to be protected. We'll take your perspective into account moving forward, however. Note to self: Use fewer criminals in new superhero initiative. Got it."

Doc Gravity, who doesn't really belong in this meeting, interjects, "Guys, I'm gonna be on the team too and I only killed people by accident. I accidentally crushed a bus that skipped my stop. Now that I've got control of my power, I can think of lots of ways to fight crime and stuff. Like, I can make weapons really heavy so people have to drop them."


The big guy who calls himself Doc Gravity puts his hands up, "I agree with you. No messing with timelines."

Dr. Hansen Johansen shrugs as well.

The congressman smiles, "You misunderstand me. I don't want to change the timeline. I want to protect it. Or, rather, YOUR government wants YOU to protect it. And, as you've all already pointed out, you can't do that from inside of it. AI, show them The Deck please."

A 3D model of what looks like a space station appears on the screen. The model spins and the viewpoint gets closer and then flies through its corridors. You see game rooms, a kitchen, gym equipment, and bedrooms.

He continues pontificating, "The Deck will exist in the Shuffle, the space between dimensions. The only way that you can protect us from incursions into our timeline is if you step outside of it. If transdimensional invaders hit any part of our timeline, from Ancient Egypt to the far future, you'll be able to see it and stop them. If anyone tries going back in time and changing the timeline for their own profit, you'll be able to detect the change and fight to restore the original timeline. This is your new home if you accept this mission. I'm hoping you do. The President is hoping you do. Your country is ... well, they won't know about it but if they did, they'd want you to accept it as well."


Henri Patineur wrote:

"On the contrary, they weren't the ones saying things in the field. The one that thinks he's the leader was definitely not sounding like a teammate of any kind - he was a usurper, seeking to damage this team as much as possible while inflating his ego and his reputation. I doubt he cares one bit for the twins, either."

The congressman adopts a friendly, teasing tone, "Hey, Lacey, don't you find the hardest part about dealing with superheroes is the way they let their egos get in the way. Don't worry about The Patriot; you'll get along fine once you get to know him."

L.C. begins to talk "Well, I don't actually think that's what ..."

The congressman waves away her reply and puts his question to Charles.

Charles Wilde wrote:


He nods at Zellgato. "Perhaps the way I would put it is, the life you've lived is the one you remember, and what does it matter if there are others?"

"The problem comes if someone goes and keeps messing with it. You might think you know how to make a timeline better, but better for whom? I think we've seen how dangerous it can be to mess with it."

"Well that's just it, isn't it. People can mess with the timeline, and how would you know?" says the Congressman. He turns to Doc Gravity and asks, "Okay, Mr. Science Guy, can you explain to these guys what the Harbringer Paradox is?"

Doc Gravity nods and recites, "Those living their lives within a timeline are the least likely to know if it has been altered."

"Exactly," says the Congressman. He turns back to the TAROT gang, "Now, do you see what I'm getting at?"


Tarren the Dungeon Master wrote:
Charles Wilde wrote:
Tarren the Dungeon Master wrote:
"...So, we needed to threaten them in order to make them feel safe. Make sense? Good."

"No," Charles instantly responds.

"This is sounding suspiciously close to 'the American people don't think what they should think, so I need to think for them', which is... a rather anti-democratic thought, don't you think?" Charles grins toothily again.

"It *also* doesn't explain why the blame for the attack was going to be pinned on us," he adds, glaring at this 'Representative Milles'. Then he looks up at L.C. "Did we tell you about that part yet?"

"I'm just hearing this for the first time," says L.C. "But the President's chief of staff wants me to call her after so I'm afraid plans have been made for all of you."

"Look, tweaking your nose during the operation was Flora and Fauna's idea. I'm not going to get involved in your little superhero rivalry, but I hope both sides can set it aside as you prepare to do your duty for this great and enduring nation of ours," replies Congressman Charlie Milles.

"Now, let me ask you all a question," says the congressman, folding his hands in front of him. "Is this timeline that we are in the original timeline? How would you know if it is or isn't?"


Charles Wilde wrote:
Tarren the Dungeon Master wrote:
"...So, we needed to threaten them in order to make them feel safe. Make sense? Good."

"No," Charles instantly responds.

"This is sounding suspiciously close to 'the American people don't think what they should think, so I need to think for them', which is... a rather anti-democratic thought, don't you think?" Charles grins toothily again.

"It *also* doesn't explain why the blame for the attack was going to be pinned on us," he adds, glaring at this 'Representative Milles'. Then he looks up at L.C. "Did we tell you about that part yet?"

"I'm just hearing this for the first time," says L.C. "But the President's chief of staff wants me to call her after so I'm afraid plans have been made for all of you."

"Look, tweaking your nose during the attack was Flora and Fauna's idea. I'm not going to get involved in your little superhero rivalry, but I hope both sides can set it aside as you prepare to do your duty for this great and enduring nation of our," replies Congressman Charlie Milles.


"I'd like to address that right off the top," says the congressman replying to Charles and Henri.

"Representative Milles!" says L.C. as the conference call begins and the screen comes to life.

"Lacey, glad you could join us," says the congressman. "As I was saying, let's talk about the flying monkeys. The American people need to be able to trust the First Responders to keep them out of danger because when the American people don't feel safe, they become a danger to themselves. If they haven't seen the First Responders in action, how are they going to feel safe when you're off-world? So, we needed to threaten them in order to make them feel safe. Make sense? Good."


The Olympian wrote:

Angel Sword still in hand, Theo looks to the Congressman, then to the large screen, then back to the Congressman, then back at the screen. The Olympian sheaths his magical sword and removes his sword belt to free the android's head, holding it in his hand so he can see.

"Well?!" The godling barks. "Can someone technical patch L.C. onto the screen, please?" [dice=Intimidate]1d20 + 8

"L.C. is ready," says Ron after a moment. "Have someone at their end initiate the meeting."

The inadequately flirtatious AI works out the details with Ron.

The congressman tries to get everyone to sit.


The Olympian wrote:
Tarren the Dungeon Master wrote:
The big guy's eyes bug out, "Um, Theo, are you wearing the head of the Last Atlantean as a trophy? That's kind of sick, dude, and not in a good way."

"He asked to come along. Now that he knows he's not The Son of Poseidon!" Theo growled, drilling spears with his eyes at the congressman.

[dice=Intimidate]1d20 + 8

"Clearly trying to keep this new opportunity a surprise was a mistake. Why don't we bring your boss, ... what's her name Lacey? L.C.? ... let's get her on the monitor and we can discuss the big news in a calm manner, putting the country's best interests first as we do. The world's best interests even. Heck, the entire timeline's best interests. You're about to take things to the next level and the First Responders are just going to pitch in at home while you do that!" the congressman is all smiles, but you can see he's nervous. Can Charles smell the sweat?

"What do you say?" he asks hopefully, "shall we get L.C. on the screen and go from there?"


Charles Wilde wrote:

Charles rolls his eyes as they see Theo smash through the door they're headed towards. "Leave him alone for ten seconds..." he mutters.

He glances over at the 'Personality Enhancement' lab, then back at Doctor Johansen. "I'd say that some of the other things here are more socially inappropriate than just about anything a flying monkey might do," they comment.

They catch up to Theo just in time to hear "Doc Gravity's" question. They take a moment to note just what he's referring to.

"No, that's an android," Charles explains. "They were, apparently, building several copies of him here. We left another behind before coming here, following the signal controlling the flying monkeys that were 'attacking' the city."

"Oh, yeah," says Doc Gravity "I saw something about that on the way over. The First Responders really kicked some monkey butt. Good thing they were there."

Charles Wilde wrote:
"Manufactured heroism," he growls, then adds "The heroic thing to do here actually seems quite unclear. We are beginning to think there's more to this than simply a plot to discredit and replace our team. Indeed, it's reminding us uncomfortably of some of the efforts by various extradimensional actors to subvert the governments and defenses of other worlds."

The Congressman listens to Charles but looks at Theo. He seems unable to process Charles sounding so intelligent and looks to the nearest human instead, "Perhaps we are getting off on the wrong foot here. I was planning to meet with you later this week to let you know about the President's plans for you. The TAROT crew at Boston Theoretical is far too important to keep treating so shabbily. The President wants you to step up into a bigger role and the First Responders were going to try to fill your shoes in your absence. Maybe we should all sit down and discuss it."


Nissa, the boys have just passed through the lobby, headed back up the Development corridor to see the congressman. Do you follow?

Theo annihilates the glass door of the conference room at the end. The marketers are cowering behind the congressman who is hiding behind the very big guy.

"Time to be a hero, Big Man," says the congressman.

The big guy thinks for a second and says amiably, "Hi guys, I'm Doc Gravity. I have a ton of respect for you all, but I think maybe you should cool down for a minute."

"Use your powers. Crush their windpipes," hisses the congressman.

The big guy's eyes bug out, "Um, Theo, are you wearing the head of the Last Atlantean as a trophy? That's kind of sick, dude, and not in a good way."


Zellgato wrote:
In so far as he can Zellgato will stay ahead of the "good" doctor. "I don't think you have much common sense...What is your doctorate in anyway?"

"Genetic Reprogramming, generally. Specifically, trans-species genetic mutation through bundling of mobile small RNAs. Yours?" replies the doctor without hesitation or malice.


Charles Wilde wrote:

Charles steps back, letting Dr. Johansen up. "Go ahead, I'll be right behind you," he says, waving to the door with a paw.

"Zellgato, would you go in front?" he asks at the same time.

Dr. Johansen leads the way. As you pass the Personality Enhancement lab, lights flash inside. One of the beds is opening.

"Oh no!" says the doctor. "We were still programming that monkey. His pragmatic filters weren't installed yet....If we don't put him back in, expect a lot of socially inappropriate behaviour!"


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:
Nissa says to the AI, ”Could you instead send the elevator back up, so they are safely closer to their families?”

"I think that's a good idea," says the AI. "We work well together. What do you say? Should we send some of the hostages up, as a gesture of goodwill?"


The Olympian wrote:

Theo stomps down to the Development board room and uses the Angel Sword as a Universal Key.

[dice=Angel Sword]1d20 + 12 SPICY!!
[dice=Dmg.]1d6 + 6 + 1d6

As Theo stomps down the corridor, he passes the lab with the extra Atlantean project head. "Theo?" calls out the head. "Do me a solid and take me with you?"


Charles Wilde wrote:
Tarren the Dungeon Master wrote:
"Oh, wait, yes, you're right. I forgot that part of the plan," says Dr. Johansen. "But that's just a little friendly competition between superhero teams. Yes, you should definitely talk to the congressman. He can explain the plan much more persuasively."

"Forgot?" "Or simply didn't want to admit it to the half-ton chimera on your chest?" Charles's grins aren't nice at all.

At the same time, Charles's other head awkwardly maneuvers around the others to try to look at Zellgato. "Shut it all off. Especially that 'personality enhancement', if you can."

Charles's grin widens just a bit more, showing off his fangs. "I don't suppose the gentleman in the other room will be willing to explain that one, too? Why don't we *all* go over there, together, hm?"

"I think seeing the congressman is a good idea," says Dr. Johansen, beginning to squirm underneath Charles' weight. "I vote we go now."


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

Nissa’s eyes are flaring out of the sockets. (Fire, not eyeballs.)

”Does this mean I can’t blow anything up?! I need release!” (Fire, not… never mind.)

"Is it hot in here or it just you, Ms. Van Donk?" says the A.I. "Please do not blow up the 5 security officers coming down in the elevator. If you'd like, I could describe their family lives to you so as to play on your emotions."


Zellgato wrote:
Tarren the Dungeon Master wrote:
Who the subjects are is fairly surface level information. One is listed as Oz Subject 14: Winged Simian; enhanced intelligence; rapid education program. The other is listed as Teleporting Boy: Rapid Rehabilitation Program; Allegiance Reorientation Program.

Radioing home bass and the team, if possible. "I think they're making monkey people you enjoyed earlier. Anyone know of a Teleporting Boy? Being brainwashed and apparently loyalty programmed. Like that big box store Kevin lost? Sam's CostCompany. A loyalty program you can't cancel."

"Fade, here," says EIG over the comms. "Teleporting Boy helped Easily Ignorable Girl break into Boston Theoretical when the Flight Deck was taken over by Mr. Portly and FATE. At the time, the team was trapped in a pocket semi-fictional sub-universe known as the Superman Origin Story. Nissa managed to reach out to a number of heroes in our dimension through a Superman comic, telling the story of the team's dilemma to the readers and asking them for help. A whole generation of heroes on this earth grew up holding onto that one precious Superman comic in which Charles, Theo, Nissa, and the Team saved Superman and Nissa asked for their help. They grew up knowing that on the date specified, they would be needed. We came, we saw, we served, we slept on the couch, we never really left."

"No, that last part was just you," says L.C.

Ron then adds with a slightly recriminating tone, "This was all laid out in the briefings documents I sent you, Zellgato. With pictures."


Charles Wilde wrote:
Tarren the Dungeon Master wrote:

"I can see that you're upset," squeaks the scientist "So, no petting. Okay, ... but, really ... this plan has been approved at the highest levels. The President of your United States herself signed off on it. And, from what I heard, it wasn't to discredit you. Today's event was to give the public a chance to see what heroes the First Responders could be, now that you are moving offworld permanently in a couple of days. It's a win-win-win!"

"Then perhaps you were not informed that part of the plan was to pin blame for the 'attack' on us, perhaps as part of the reason for forcing us permanently off-world, which we would not voluntarily choose to do," Charles states in response.

"So who is your source of this information? The 'gentleman' in the other room?"

"Oh, wait, yes, you're right. I forgot that part of the plan," says Dr. Johansen. "But that's just a little friendly competition between superhero teams. Yes, you should definitely talk to the congressman. He can explain the plan much more persuasively."


Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:

☀️☀️☀️☀️

Nissa’s eyes blaze wildly, as they always do when she’s ready to blow.

”Just tell me where I can cause an explosion!”

Everywhere she moves, she leaves a trail of fire behind!

"If you need to cause an explosion, Hot Stuff, I would recommend Lab 3 or Lab 12 which are currently unoccupied and unlocked," says the AI before explaining. "I am flirting with you so that you don't blow us up."

She's really not very good at flirting.

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