You are Delphi Brooks; American (specifically a Michigander, though just now you're on the West Coast) by birth, Greek by fatherly insistence and motherly bloodline (technically you are also Irish, French, German, and English, that last the source of the surname you've ended up with that gets you all the 'that doesn't sound Greek' lines from people), college dropout (it's not your fault), amateur bank robber (really it's not your fault), pistol enthusiast (that one's your fault), and...Half-god on Mom's side.Yeah.You know a Turkish guy who makes coffee out of a small cart even this early in the morning. You used to drink the stuff when you were mortal; now that you're New Game Plus it's the only coffee where one cup can still give you kick, so you've got three of the biggest you could buy in a drink holder and a fourth in your hand. The late September air drags more steam out of your drink than you might like, but even if it goes cold it'll still do its job, thank Go-The go-Your go-Mom. Thank Mom. Let's go with that.You arrive at your destination, a Four Seasons just like any other Four Seasons all over the United States, with a duffel bag slung over your shoulder and your pistol strapped to your left side, just beneath the skirt of your dress. The outfit is designed to look like a flower, with slits to help create the petals and blow in the breeze when it's not fogged to fuck outside, but those same slits let you get at your gun (her name's Kore) and ammo, as well as a brace of knives (nameless for now). Other aspects of the outfit only mean things to you. The two drachma on your necklace look like greasy antiques to most people but to you they're the gift from Mom that lets you tap the bit inside that's Death, which right now is great for seeing ghosts and playing Sherlock Holmes and not a lot else. Likewise the big-ass fur-lined boots that keep you the perfect temperature no matter what it is outside? Unfashionable, yes. Clashing with your outfit, certainly. Only memento of a dead coulda-been boyfriend, Herman Odson, son of and delivery boy for Odin? Also yes. Their power lets you travel, makes you a lesser Psychopomp in some ways. You've done a lot of walking through walls since Herman gave them to you.In your first play-through at Being An Adult all this weird introspective reminiscing would mean you walked into the hotel without realizing it, blundered through the lobby, and made the receptionist all annoyed. New Game Plus Delphi just managed to do that inventory of her current status instead of confronting her emotional problems in the time it took to push open the door. The receptionist is so white that albino people probably submit legal complaints about hate speech, and has an Eye of Horus tattoo around his eye, which, sure, let's go with that. You cut off his rising 'can I help you'."I'm here for the Pluto meeting," you tell him, with an apologetic smile. The boy melts. "Running a bit late, could you -"
>>2675038Directions are gabbled, and you follow them not up but down, into a basement, through a maze of maintenance passageways, laundry rooms, and other logistical needs, and to a suite that probably didn't exist before you were called to come here.Gods.The door opens easily enough, when you push. You are unsurprised to see that it's not Mom on the other side, sitting at a table by themselves. Let down, but unsurprised. More surprising is that it's Hades. Stepdad. He's in mortal guise, of course, but the long lines of worry in his face, grave but dignified expression, and seeming inability to blink always give away the King of the Underworld in your experience. You shut the door behind you and go to kneel."There is no need for such gestures," Hades interrupts in a deep voice. "Please, be seated. Am I to understand that your mission was a success?"You take a deep breath, take a seat, and set your duffel bag on the table so that you can unzip it. The light in the room splashes off of what's inside, turning the room a buttery yellow color."The Golden Fleece," you tell Hades. "I got separated from the others. They...stayed behind. Are they -""I could not tell you," Hades interrupts, something sad and distant in his eyes. "All is chaos in the Underworld still. I am sorry, Delphi. Truly."You take a deep breath and nod. Travis, Victor, and Maria were your third Band. You're oh for three on groups of fellow Scions that survive your friendship."What's next?" you ask, all business."Are you certain that you are -""What's. Next." You hear the harsh tones in your own voice and wince, adding a "Lord Hades," to the end to try and soften it. That doesn't work even a little, but somehow he's not mad."The Fleece must be delivered to safekeeping," the Lord of the Underworld tells you. "You will travel with a Band of volunteers, safeguarding it on its journey to New York City. There you will give it to its new keeper, one Moira Castle, a daughter of the Morrigan. There will be others that want it.""There always are," you agree.> Where's Mom?> I prefer to work alone> When do I meet the others?> Any news from the front lines of the War?
>Any news from the front lines of the War?Yeeees
>Any news from the front lines of the War?He’s Back!... and despite the “mortal guise” bit, I always seem to picture the Disney version of Hades in these scenes.
>>2675094>> Where's Mom?
>>2675038>Scion QuestAw fuck yeah!>only a one shotAw fuck.>using a gunI assume you'll be using one of the more common homebrew fixes for them, then?>>2675094>Any news from the front lines of the War?
>>2675354I'll be ignoring the majority of the mechanics yes. There's...so many...things wrong with those, so for the time being this will be primarily narrative.Gonna call and write in 20 minutes.
>>2675094>> Where's Mom?Hey Vox. Nice to see you back. I hope you had a good time.
>>2675094You half-push the drink tray of coffee towards Hades, but you're expecting his polite gesture of refusal; you down the rest of the cup in your hand (another benefit of New Game Plus: inhuman breath holding), set it on the table, and grab a new one. The thick coffee is cooling, but not fast enough; you pop the lid and take a generous gulp."Any news from the front?" you ask. Hades makes A Face. You might be turning 22 soon but you still think of that Face as the one grown-ups make when they don't want to answer a difficult question. "That bad huh?""The prison was designed to be inescapable," Hades says, a touch cagily if you're any judge (and you are). "The Titans have had nothing to do but plan. We must attend to the business of the day and keep the knowledge that these small steps aid the overall effort.""That almost sounded supportive," you comment. You take a sip of the thick Turkish coffee. "I thought you might be...""Persephone is not my Queen during the rising Spring or the falling Summer," Hades answers quietly. "Nor I her King. I do not expect you to understand. Now, I am entrusting this task to you. The command will be yours. With you will be two other children of the gods, Freddy Shipwright and Teri Amari, the children of Freyr and Sobek, respectively. It is preferred that they survive this trip.""Yeah," you whisper. "Loud and clear.""Delphi -""What's the transportation?" you interrupt sharply, dipping into your Dad's more formal tones. He got all on-point whenever he was mad, and guess what you do now?"I do not understand you," Hades says. "You look and present yourself like the daughter of Spring, and you speak as the child of the Iron Queen. Is the burden you carry so terrible?""Trade me sometime," you tell him. "Now how am I transporting the Fleece?"The God of the Dead sighs, stands, beckons towards the door.* * * *It's a fucking bus.Sure, they stripped out most of the seats, painted it oak-brown, and slapped Argo II on the side in bright gold fucking paint, but it's a fucking bus. You take one look at it (inside a young man with sandy brown hair is strapping down a big-ass Harley towards the back; the Egyptian lass in the front seat with her feet on the steering wheel has to be Teri), then look at Hades. He returns your gaze, waiting impassively while you indicate the bus with one hand in sheer outraged disbelief."Is this not a stealth sort of operation?" you ask at last."To an extent," comes the placid answer. "The Fleece will draw attention to itself. And now I must take my leave. It is my suggestion that you prepare to begin as soon as possible. A map inside the Argo II has your destination marked upon it. Commit it to memory, and then destroy the map. Enjoy your journey, stepdaughter.""Is that an order?" You realize what you just said moments after you say it. "I'm still - the - sorry."
>>2675775Hades inclines his head, and walks away. You close your eyes, count back from ten, and go get in the bus. The door's open, which is great because Teri seems preoccupied with polishing her croc-skin gloves rather than paying the fuck attention. You take a look at her ensemble on the way up (boots, tight jeans, belly shirt, croc gloves, croc jacket) and peg her as a weird club bunny.Your throw the Fleece at her on instinct and interrupt the Egyptian woman drawing a pistol on you, which you wrest out of her hand and point at her. She flashes a white smile."Hey Freddy, boss's here," Teri calls out. "You must be Dolphin.""Delphi.""Dolph - WHOA OKAY," she corrects when you thumb the hammer on her massive revolver (what the fuck is this thing, fifty cal?), "Delphi it is, I get the message. Gimmie my gun back willya?""She do that to you too?" you ask Freddy. He's impossibly handsome - smooth skin, luxurious hair, fit, tall, symmetrical, in a word: divine - which immediately has your disinterest. Ever since getting godly it's sort of lost its appeal. The smile in his eyes is interesting though, as is the spear you notice on the seat next to where he's finishing his work."Worse," Freddy answers. "Pleasure to meet you. We were just discussing our route.""I was saying we should take the long way around," Teri interjects. "See some sights, maybe do some things...""And I'd rather get this over with," Freddy admits. "Do you have a preference? And who's driving first?""Not me," Teri declares, before she pulls a wine bottle from its place on the floor, pops the cork, and starts chugging it down."That needs to not be in here by the time we drive off," you tell her. Teri gives you a wave and does not stop drinking whatsoever.> Take the scenic route> Take the direct routeAND> Drive> Ask Freddy to drive (get to know Teri)
>>2675795>> Take the scenic route> Ask Freddy to drive (get to know Teri)
>>2675795> Take the scenic route> Memorize alternate routes for if the need arises> DriveWelcome back.
>>2675795>Take the direct route>Drive
>take the direct routeAlthough I'm sure it won't stay the direct route>Ask Freddy to drive (get to know Teri)
>>2675795>> Take the direct route>> Drive
>>2675795>> Take the direct route> Drive
Woo I'm awake. Called, writing.
>>2676233Or I have shit to do before work and I lied.Gonna leave this open until I get home tonight. That in mind I'm down to field questions and discussion.
>>2675795>> Take the scenic route>> Ask Freddy to drive (get to know Teri)
>>2675795> Take the direct route> DriveI do not get the impression that we are the type—or in the mood—to either faff around on the way, or give up control immediately.
NOW we're called and writing. Thank you for your patience.
>>2675795You wave vaguely to the back of the bus; Teri gets up, still chugging, and takes a second bottle back there with her. You peer at her, at least until she whips the bottle she's just finished out the window."Party bus!""No," you and Freddy say at the same time."Still a party if it's just me," Teri rejoins; she flops into a seat, pops her second bottle, and takes a more sedate sip. You sigh and get into the driver's seat while Freddy finishes the last checks on the straps holding his gold-colored Harley -It's a golden hog, of course! -Down in the back of the Argo II. You check out what's about to be your work station, find the promised map in a cubby hole near the wheel, and take it out. There's two routes marked, longer of which has notes about activities marked in shockingly beautiful handwriting. You turn your head and give Teri a suspicious look."Die mad about it," she says with a cheery grin. "I can teach you sometime if you like, but you'll need a fountain pen.""...I'll remember that," you answer after a moment to think. "But we're taking the shorter route. We can't dodge trouble, but we can at least try and get through it faster. Who knows what might want the Fleece. Everyone ready?"After a "yes ma'am" and a "boo, hiss" (Teri's deadpan tone is just the tiniest bit undercut by the way she's slurring with wine), you get the keys into the ignition, start the bus, and close the doors. The radio is already on, and you catch Freddy's look of vague disbelief as he's coming up to the seat behind you when he hears the song that's on.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cMVkwtLfMM"You'll want to get used to that," you tell him, and then you start the ride. The other two are blessedly silent as you grapple with the bus, getting used to how she handles and how to direct her in the flow of traffic, to say nothing of managing to escape San Francisco in her. Teri tosses her empty second bottle into a trash can while you're passing it (the thing lands neat as you please, right down the throat of it) and then closes her eyes to go to sleep. Freddy, for his part, half-stands in his seat to look out the front of the bus with you."So...Dad says you're sort of a senior Scion," he begins, when you hit a long straightaway on this side of the mountains. "Been at this for a year or so, since just before the War started. What's it been like?""All of my friends are dead," you answer. You feel, rather than see, him flinch away from your harsh tone, and immediately you regret it. "...It's been rough," you admit. "The first attacks caught us all by surprise, and now we're scrambling just to find our feet. I haven't seen Mom since...last Autumn? Wish she hadn't sent Hades instead, meaning no offense.""Hades was the only God everyone trusted to - wait, he's not your divine parent?""Persephone," you answer. "What about you, how long you been at this?"The young man coughs. "Three months?"
>>2678587You look up at the rearview mirror and give him a smile. "Started rough, right? Three months is a good stretch in this War. Let's get you at least nine more."The divine beauty in Freddy's perfect face might not have any appeal, but the way he blushes behind a crop of freckles is certainly cute. You slide the duffel that contains the Fleece back to him with a kick of your boot, and he pulls it into the seat with him. "What's this do?" he asks."Nothing," you answer simply. There's your exit; you signal, then get onto it. "It can't do nothing," Freddy frowns at you."And yet, it does. The Golden Fleece has basically no inherent powers. It's great as a conduit for us, but mostly...mostly it's got Legend. Momentous things happen around it, or with it. It might be incredible to make something out of, or as the mantle of a powerful Scion or Demigod, but by itself it does nothing. If you or I claimed it, it would 'do' some of the stuff we do, as long as we own it but someone else has it, but it's not there to do stuff. It's there to be the Golden Fleece."Freddy opens his mouth, then closes it. You're coming up on the mountains now, and you stop the bus to get gas and top up on caffeine and snacks. 'No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn' plays inside of here too.The rainbow-haired attendant looks familiar, but if she's who you think she is you have no time for her bullshit today."These things have a logic to them," you tell Freddy when the two of you get back on the bus. "You'll learn it in time, if you pay attention."You frown as something catches your eye. There's a man on the other side of the gas station, dressed in bronze armor, with short-cut brown hair and an expression of intense focus in his eyes. You meet his gaze, wondering what he might want, when he fades away."Great," you mutter to yourself. "Keep eyes up. And wake Teri up, will you?"> Cut through Vegas on the other side of the mountains (Collateral Damage)> Keep to the roads through the high desert (Do The Worm)
>>2678651>Keep to the roads through the high desert (Do The Worm)
>Cut through Vegas on the other side of the mountains (Collateral Damage)
>>2678651> Keep to the roads through the high desert (Do The Worm)
>>2678651>> Keep to the roads through the high desert (Do The Worm)
>>2678651>> Cut through Vegas on the other side of the mountains (Collateral Damage)
Aight, called, writing.
>>2678651Freddy gets Teri awake as you guide the Argo II over the mountains. Blessedly, she has the sense or the compassion to keep her over-enthusiastic brand in check while you're driving on these roads; godly reflexes and wits are a hell of a drug, but so is being a first-time bus driver on narrow mountain roads. Everyone keeps an eye out of the windows, expecting an attack here where you're most vulnerable, but either Fate is with you or the enemy hasn't caught up yet.(Haven't they though? That ghost in the armor...)You pull into a truck stop, heeding a sign's warning that the next stop won't be for Some Fucking Time. Everyone walks out to stretch their legs and secure some supplies. For your part you buy some small packs of pomegranate seeds and spend a few minutes opening up the actual pomegranates you brought with you; the seeds all go into a small cooler full of ice, which you hang from the edge of the driver's seat."You gonna make me ask?" Teri says, all curiosity, when she gets back on the bus."Ammo," you answer. You pull Kore from her holster and snap her open so you can double-check that she's loaded; what looks like a revolver chamber is actually a hollow full of pomegranate seeds, kept as cold as the Underworld and still packed to the brim. You snap your pistol shut and set her on the dash."Nice," Teri compliments; she ruffles your hair as she passes back towards her seat, on her way to a date with a sandwich.You look at the station to see what's taking Freddy so long and see him holding his hands up with a polite expression, trying to escape conversation with a pair of young blonde women who are laying the moves on pretty hard. He backs up slowly towards the restroom, smiling, talking. You're trying to decide if you should let this happen or go in there and shoot him in the knee when he opens the door to the men's restroom and gestures for the young women. When they go in, he slams it shut and high-tails it out the door, throwing the drinks he meant to buy on the shelf as he flees hell-bent for election onto the bus."Drive!" is how he greets you, and you close the door behind him and get the hell out of there.You ask the question Teri can't since her mouth is full: "What was that about?""Dad's - I'm - my life is a porn okay," Freddy's face is red enough to cook on. "It was great for the first week and now it's just annoying. Just drive."The radio changes over mid-song when the three of you cross into the desert, prompting groans from Teri and Freddy.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSAJ0l4OBHM"What station is this even on?" Teri complains. "This soundtrack doesn't make any sense."You tap the empty spot on the dash where a radio goes and chuckle to yourself when the other two repeat their exasperated groans."Could you stop the bus?" Freddy asks. "I'd like to ride."
>>2679820You shrug and pull over (you get a heartfelt "thanks" from Freddy) and help him unstrap and unload his bike out the back door while Teri opens all the windows. You get a vague guilty feeling about that one; the nonexistent radio might work, but the AC sure as fuck doesn't, and Teri doesn't have magic boots. In a couple of minutes you're all back on the road again; Freddy has the route you're taking, and he stays near the Argo II, riding ahead to keep an eye on the lay of the land.There's a beauty to the high desert that you've enjoyed before on your trips through it. Later, when all this blows over, you should grow some desert flowers. Sure, people will say you got that from Persephone, but on the other hand, fuck those people. Flowers are nice.The music changes over, and you frown in puzzlement.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uF_IDYmkZsTeri has a similarly puzzled expression, but then realization hits her. "We're about to get jumped," she yells; the Egyptian woman lunges for the back of the bus, pulling her hand cannon as she goes. You look at the rearview mirror just in time to see three huge, fleshy worms burst from the ground like sharks out of the water. You can't see all of their bodies at the same time, but if experience is any teacher they're fifty feet long or more.Lindwurms. Great."They're not smart," you call back to Teri. "But they can take a whole lot of killing.""Can they hurt us?" Teri asks."I dunno. They're a little below my pay grade but that's not what I'm worried about. They'll wreck the fucking bus. I'm gonna floor it!"You honk the horn and then put the pedal to the metal. Freddy gets over in the other lane, pulls his spear from its sheath on the side of his bike, and looks to you for a signal.> Tell Freddy to keep with the bus> Signal him to fight the lindwurmsAND> Eyes on the road. Who says there's only three wurms?> Grab Kore and shoot some fucking wormsScion is a high-flying action setting. Please, feel free to embrace this. Jump the bus over things. Blow shit up. Do backflips off of skyscrapers. You're the daughter of a god, you can do some godly-ass shit.
>>2679877>Tell Freddy to keep with the bus>Grab Kore and shoot some fucking wormsCrank the handbrake momentarily to swing the ass end of the bus out to the right in a powerslide, giving us a clear shot out the driver's window at the worms, then light 'em up.
>>2679877>> Tell Freddy to keep with the bus>> Grab Kore and shoot some fucking worms
>>2679877>> Tell Freddy to keep with the bus> Eyes on the road. Who says there's only three wurms?
Hittin' work. Will call and write sometime in the early hours of the morning.
>Signal him to fight the lindwurmsAnd>Eyes on the road. Who says there's only three wurms?
Called, tallying, writing.
>>2681400Actually you know what I lied. I've got extra time before work tomorrow. I'll update then.My definition of one-shot continues to be odd in comparison to the normal one.
>>2679877You point at the road ahead, hoping Freddy will understand, and thankfully he does; though the son of Freyr keeps an eye on the advancing wurms behind you, he stays alongside the Argo II. The bus accelerates, but god-bus or no god-bus it's still a fucking bus, the damn thing goes 0-60 in Eventually, Don't Rush Me Man.Teri wrenches open the back door and holds onto it; she swings out of the back of the bus, raising that massive hand cannon of hers with a wild yell that's less 'battle cry' and more 'teenage girl at a boy band concert'.Then her gun speaks, releasing a deafening wall of sound that catches you by surprise. You fight with the wheel to stay on the road, ears ringing, and manage to not jolt when Teri fires again. You look in the rearview mirror to see what the hell is going on and see the road rippling and cracking, buckling into rubble that slows down the lindwurms. Teri fires again (that massive sound, holy fuck!), and the slug sends a third shockwave where it hits."That cannot be good for the road," you call back."Ask me if I care!" Teri yells, the good cheer still in her voice. "These things tough on the inside?""I never tried it!"Something is winging in from the distance ahead. You lean out of the bus window with Kore in hand, draw a bead, and fire. The shot feels right, and you're rewarded with the thing you hit going hurtling towards the desert earth with a dead tree already growing out of it.No, her. They're harpies."This isn't random," you yell. "Someone's after the Fleece! We can't let those harpies near the bus. Teri -"> Make a ramp for Freddy to jump!> You think you can throw one of those worms?> Take the wheel!> Write-in?
>>2682398>> Take the wheel!
>>2682398>> You think you can throw one of those worms?
>>2682398>> Make a ramp for Freddy to jump!
>>2682398before making a decision, can I ask a little about our character? Does she have any skills or specialties when it comes to this situation? is she a particularly good driver or shot?
>>2682588Following in her mother's footsteps, Delphi has a talent for Epic Dexterity (the referenced 'godly reflexes') that helps her make impossible shots and acrobatics as well as assisting with the driving, and for Epic Wits (the referenced 'thinking fast'), which also assists with the driving, with not being caught by surprise, and in any situation in which speed of thought is more important than power of thought. Like many Scions, Delphi is supernaturally tough, and has also developed divine beauty (Epic Charisma).Your drachma let you see ghosts and determine the cause of death of a corpse. Your boots let you walk through doors and windows & provide an unerring sense of direction. Kore, your pistol, harms the living dead including ghosts. Sometimes the things she kills fruit with pomegranates whose seeds heal wounds.
>>2682610Epic Appearance, not Epic Charisma.McFucking shoot me
>>2682398> Take the wheel!
>>2682398>> Take the wheel!With harpies coming at us, it seems like we need more precision (pomegranate-shot) and less raw firepower (hand cannon).
>>2682398> Make a ramp for Freddy to jump!
> Take the wheel!
>>2682398> You think you can throw one of those worms?
>>2684707...You know what, I'll count it just for the sheer ??? of how this happened at all.
>>2684715That I won't though. We're CALLED, folks, let a man write!
"Teri, take the wheel!" you order. You almost expect her to argue - you've fought beside party girls and rebellious kids with an axe to grind about God-Dad before - and are surprised to see her swing into the bus with nothing more than a nod. You hop out of the driver's seat and run across the back of the bus seats towards the Argo II's emergency exit in the ceiling, while Teri goes right down the center aisle.You have just enough time to groan when you hear the song on the radio change - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lydBPm2KRaU- and then you're wrenching the handle, up, and out. You rise, bringing Kore up and aiming for the briefest of moments, and then fire. A second harpy goes down hard, but there's a dozen more coming."Where'd they come from?" Freddy yells over the roar of his bike and the bus's engines. "We're in the middle of a fucking desert! It's nothing but clear sightlines for miles!""Not important right now," you answer. You turn and snap off shots, one-two-three, into the mouths of the lindwurms. It won't kill them, but their relentless advance fouls up as trees start growing inside of their maws, making them thrash and screech and flop pathetically after the bus.They're still going much too fast, but it's breathing room."They're holding something," Freddy warns. "I don't wanna find out what it is."You flick your eyes down and watch him fucking golf-swing on a rock beside the road. It goes up in a smooth, clean arc and turns a harpy into a fine red mist, but they're coming fast, and you're coming to them fast. Are you gonna make it?How much do you trust Teri's driving?> Bait the harpies, then try to jump the bus over whatever they try> Fan the hammer. You can beat this.
>>2684877>> Bait the harpies, then try to jump the bus over whatever they try
>>2684877> Bait the harpies, then try to jump the bus over whatever they try
>>2684877>> Bait the harpies, then try to jump the bus over whatever they try> But give her a heads-up first
> Bait the harpies, then try to jump the bus over whatever they try
Aight so: as usual for a Thursday I need to go pay my bills and Prevent Homelessness. This will take me some time. When I return I'll call and write.
Aight, it is done. Called, writing, thank ya for your patience.
>>2684877You trust Teri's driving quite a bit. You have no reason to, not from experience or from knowing her, because you don't, but because it's as simple as this: you can begin this relationship with distrust and disdain, or you can have faith that your fellow Scion got her Visitation for a reason and that she's every bit the Hero that you are.You stomp on the top of Argo II and raise your voice so the other two will hear you: "We're gonna jump the bus over whatever they're dropping. Freddy, I need you to swat stuff away from it, I'll be shooting.""I can cushion the landing," Teri yells back. "Let me reload and we'll fucking DO THIS!"A pile of shells and one unfired round go right out the bus's window; you aim, fire, aim, and fire again, but now the harpies are moving to evade and the combination of speed, distance, and the desert wind is making this a bit of a bitch. You swear under your breath in Greek, turn, and unload into the fucking lindwurms. This at least is a problem you might be able to solve.By fucking Mom though they take so much killing. You put a solid eight shots into the one in the lead before it finally flops to the ground, growing enough trees to start your own orchard. Carrie Underwood goes into her chorus beneath you (all the things you can't hear over the rest of the sounds and the radio is crystal-clear, go figure) while you throw a look over your shoulder."Loaded!" Teri yells. "On three?""ONE!" you yell. Freddy guns his engine, pushing that golden hog of his as hard as he can push it."TWO!" Teri's hand comes out of the window; her gun has changed, just a little, developed etchings that make it seem like a massive croc is holding the barrel.You're close enough to make out the sacks of grenades the harpies are holding, wound to their legs with cables that hook into the pins. Ain't that some shit.You slide back towards the hatch in the roof of the Argo II so you can drop in if things get hairy, then give the signal: "THREE!"Teri's gun speaks with that bone-shaking sound ("Jesus take the wheeeeeeeel..."), and the center of the road ahead cracks, buckles, and shoots up a chunk of earth that raises a ramp.Physics were penned by the Gods. What's the line? Screw the rules, I make them.The bus goes sailing into the sky at the moment the flock of harpies starts dropping its deadly payload.
>>2687958Ahead of you, Freddy spears a harpy with a wild, joyful cry; you see him lock his legs around the bike and impossibly use the flying woman as an anchor to whirl with. His golden hog tramples four more that are too slow to scatter. You keep Kore firing, dropping bird-women before they can get brave enough to try and fling their grenades close.Gravity takes hold with a gut-wrenching lurch. Below, the explosions are starting."I REALLY HOPE YOU CAN CATCH US," you yell at Teri, because you are still mostly human, and doubt has to come up sometime. She's aiming her gun at the ground beneath the bus."US BUT NOT FREDDY," she answers."I'LL BE FINE." Freddy rights his bike so the wheels are pointed at the ground again and grits his teeth, clearly bracing for impact."HERE WE FUCKING GO!" Teri looses that wild boy-band scream and unloads, one-two-three-four-five, just before impact. There is a sound like thunder as the road cracks, probably all the way down to the bedrock - you can taste the hard snapping of stone that splits the air - and then the bus hits the shockwave of rising air. Your fall slows, almost floats for a moment, and then you hit the road at full speed. Rubber grips asphalt, and you manage to get the bus moving ahead of the widening crater formed by Teri's shots.Ahead of you, Freddy hits the ground hard. His bike flexes and groans, but it stays together. Upright is another matter; he wipes out and skids like a mother fucker down the road, rolling and swearing and yelling in pain.You drop into the hatch to see if Teri needs a hand and that fucking ghost is reaching for the bag that contains the Golden Fleece. You bring Kore up without a second thought and drop a seed right between his eyes; his head snaps back, and he fades out with a scream of outrage.Teri manages to bring the bus to a stop a mere hundred feet or so ahead of Freddy. There's no sign of the lindwurms, and the flock of harpies has long since decided that discretion is the better part of valor. You holster Kore and get out of the bus to go see if the son of Freyr is doing okay.He's in one piece, at least, though you've seen that glazed, stunned look in people's eyes before."Hey pretty lady," Freddy mumbles. "Y'like, y'like, d'ya, d'ya like speeaaaars?""You might want to just pass out," you advise."Good plan," he answers, and then he passes out.* * * *On the other side of Some Fucking Time you reach the promised rest stop. You get gas, you get food, you get first aid supplies, and most importantly you get Freddy and Teri enough candy to feed an army of five-year-olds, because you're not having booze on your bus but damn they did good. Teri takes hers in the driver's seat and offers to keep going for awhile. You sit in back with Freddy (still knocked the fuck out), near his strapped-in bike.
>>2688068The sun's starting to dip towards the horizon, and the Rockies are coming up in the distance (though how much distance is hard to say since everything between them and Cali is flat as a board), when Freddy finally groans awake. "Been pushing sleep since before this job, huh?" you greet him.He nods, tries to sit up, and immediately lays back down. You hand him Gatorade and Tylenol, and he manages to take both without sitting up."You gonna heal?" you ask."Yeah." He takes a small sip of his Gatorade, turns his head to make sure his bike is okay, and then looks back at you. His eyes are wide, and you can feel the seat shaking under the two of you. "Is...is it always like this?" he asks in a low voice (his eyes flick towards Teri, trying to see if she's listening). "This is the stuff that's beneath your pay grade?"> Not exactly. If the bus had been taken out...> Yeah. What'cha gonna do about it, son of Freyr?> It's only going to get worse, Freddy. You're thinking you're not good enough right now, and you're right.> Write-in?
>>2688079>> Yeah. What'cha gonna do about it, son of Freyr?
>>2688079>> It's only going to get worse, Freddy. You're thinking you're not good enough right now, and you're right.
> CaliOh right, she's from Michigan, they were in SF by coincidence.>>2688079> Yeah. What'cha gonna do about it, son of Freyr?
>>2688079> Yeah. What'cha gonna do about it, son of Freyr?
Called, writing shortly.
>>2689610Y'know what, no I'm not. Today did not work out.Getting back into the swing has been harder than I thought.Votes re-opened.
>> Yeah. What'cha gonna do about it, son of Freyr?
>>2688079This is a new feeling. You sigh and look away to get half a second to think, so you can try to remember the last time someone else reached out to you for emotional comfort.Herman? He was your boyfriend, guess that counts. What about before that?You sigh again when you realize the last time this happened was years before you entered New Game Plus. What the hell.You look back at Freddy with his answer on your lips: "Yeah, it is. This was absolutely the stuff beneath my pay grade, the shit that's more annoying than threatening and wouldn't have been worth caring about if it weren't for the bus. What'cha gonna do about it, Freddy son of Freyr?""I -" Doubt. Hesitance. That's not gonna do at all."What are you gonna do about it, Freddy of the Aesir?" you demand."Get stronger!" he yells. There's that fire from earlier.You poke him right in the chest. "And?""Smite the enemies of the world!""AND?""Become a god!""God of what?" you push, and it's all you can do not to grin like an idiot at how well this is working out."Automotives!" "I don't think there's a god of that yet," you answer pleasantly. "I look forward to getting this stupid fucking bus fixed up in your divine garage. Now drink your damn Gatorade." You slide off of the seat and ruffle Freddy's hair on your way towards the front, leaving him to contemplate the future with the vague and distant expression of a dreamer. You take up the seat right behind Teri and watch impassively as she passes a semi truck."You're real cute," Teri comments after a minute or so."I'm not -""Not where I was going with that," Teri interrupts. "And besides, I've got a girl, down in New Orleans. You're just...cute. He really needed that."You rest your arms on top of the seat and look out the windshield. "I really do not get you."Teri shrugs. "Probably over-thinking it."> You love this job, don't you?> People are usually hard to over-think. Everyone's complicated.> Hell of a gun. Your dad make it?> Write-in?
>>2692186>> People are usually hard to over-think. Everyone's complicated.
>>2692186>> People are usually hard to over-think. Everyone's complicated.> You an exception?
>>2692186> You love this job, don't you?
> People are usually hard to over-think. Everyone's complicated.
>>2692186You frown slightly, and you don't stop frowning when you catch Teri looking back at you via rear-view mirror. "People are complicated, Teri. They're hard to over-think, just easy to be biased about."That grin. With the croc-skin coat and the gloves she seems like a crocodile in a human suit when you catch that grin off Teri. "If you're mining for sob stories you aren't gonna find one. Grew up with Mom and...y'know, I've been calling Sobek 'Dad' 'cause it's exciting, but I have like, a Dad Classic. Asim, swell guy, taught me how to shoot, how to dance, lotsa stuff. Mom made most of the money, mind.""Grew up poor?" you ask, curious."She's a mob lawyer.""...Huh."Teri flicks her eyes up at the mirror again, still grinning that crocodile grin. "Sobek's the god of offers you can't refuse, Delphi. Y'know, like the one you made when I tried to make fun of your name. Y'think he's gonna have a kid with someone he's got nothing in common with? Blow that. He caught me flirting with danger in college. Turned out the frat boys I was needling were some kinda werewolves. Dad wasted the fuck out of them and let me know there's a better party to raise hell at, and, well, here I am. Y'know? Or maybe you don't."Your frown deepens. "You can't just be in it for mayhem.""Nah. Saving the World is nice too, but thing is..." Teri trails off. "I'm good at mayhem. And we all like the things we're good at. Besides, I didn't get to finish raising hell at school." The mountains are looming closer, and the Argo II rumbles along towards the crossing of the Rockies. "Dad - Sobek Dad - told me that you need twenty boots in the kitchen for every two in the dust. Every king has an army. Someone has to do the legwork that makes big ideals happen. So like...so what? I don't need a grand dream. I need a grand dreamer. Freddy's sounds fun. You got one?"> ...No?> With the Underworld all torn to hell I was kinda...it's gotta get rebuilt ANYWAY, right?> I've had thoughts about having a religion. A for-real religion.> A new age of Man > Write-in?
>>2698443> With the Underworld all torn to hell I was kinda...it's gotta get rebuilt ANYWAY, right?
>>2698443>> I've had thoughts about having a religion. A for-real religion.
>>2698443>> With the Underworld all torn to hell I was kinda...it's gotta get rebuilt ANYWAY, right?
Okay so My Life Update:I've been handling some Professional Obligations. Here tomorrow night I will be having a guest in my home for a few days; I will update as I can during that time. When I get home tonight I'll start a second thread for this, but in the meantime votes remain open.Thank you for your patience.