New Year's EveAnd I have a lot of work to do. For a start I have a gang war to orchestrate. For a second I have a party to get to.I'd told Dad the truth, or at least part of the truth, the other night. I'd confessed to being Hotspur, the masked vigilante all over the news. I'd told him some of what I'd been up to. But I had left out a few select details. I didn't need him stressing out, or stressing me out with his anxious worrying. Home had been a place to ditch the mask and go back to being normal, now it was just another part of my life taken over by my costumed identity and everything that went with it.Let's start with the gang war.I have in my possession a strange alien artifact a lot of very dangerous people had spent a lot of blood and money trying to acquire. To get myself and my allies out of a no win situation I'd promised to give it over to the black site operation running experiments on prisoners afflicted by the Chicago Explosion.I'd promised a trade off at Indiana Harbor at noon on New Year's Day. Tomorrow.I'd also planned to invite the other players. The Midwest Cartel, the Outfit, Stunt Crew MC and anyone else interested, along with my own crew of para-freaks just to keep it interesting. Coming heavy to the OK Corral.It was a lot to organize, which meant meeting with various criminal sorts and setting the bait. I'd already organized a crew of para-folk, with Thunderchild's help. Now it was time to make sure the other gangs crashed the party.I yawned behind my mask. I hadn't been getting a lot of sleep, not since Scab had infiltrated my home with her blood worms. The stray cat was keeping guard on my bed, but it was hard to rest easy knowing one of those fanged worms could slither in at any moment. Thinking about it made my ears clench.>run around town and handle it myself>enlist friends to reach out to various parties
Previously on With Great Power Quest: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=With%20Great%20Power%20Quest
>>4755171>enlist friends to reach out to various partiesTime to get smart before we all die horribly.
>>4755171>enlist friends to reach out to various partiesTeamwork makes the dream work
For the nostalgia of best gang in town going out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLM4tU8qxQc
>>4755171>enlist friends to reach out to various partiesWe did just recruit a bunch of parahumans, including a teleporter.
There was no sense doing it all myself, not when I had allies better placed to do it for me. So I'd put out the word, let everyone know. The stone was going to be at Indiana Harbor, first come, first serve.The story was I was done with totting the thing, sick of the extra risk. If they wanted it, they could have it.And maybe rie up some loose ends on the way.I bounded from city block to city block, a human meteor whistling through a cold blue sky. There'd been snow the night before, leaving Chicago an icy wasteland. The city was holding its breath, waiting for the celebration to come with nightfall and the fireworks to go up when the ball dropped at midnight.A hard year behind us, a hard year ahead. I sat atop Franklin Center looking down on the winter-clad city. Polar winds made me shiver even in the day time, even in the warm embrace of my costume.Everyone thought they owned this town. The Outfit, the Cartel, the police, the government. Everyone had their piece and wanted more. They were willing to kill, to bribe, to corrupt their way into greater power, greater control. Always wanting more.But they didn't own the city. We did. We, the people. The normal, everyday folks and the paranormal together. This was our town and it wouldn't be bought and sold by a gangster, whether they had a gun or a briefcase.And it was past time each of them learned it.I watched the sun gleam on Lake Michigan, a crust of ice forming on its ancient waters, fangs of ice rising on its banks, churned by the waters. The Hawk wind howled down from the north, carrying with it all the icy sting of a dying Arctic.It was time to stake a claim.
"Never in this thing of ours has there ever been a woman made."It was the backroom of St Christopher's. Cigar smoke swirled in the darkness, cherry red light glowing around her on every puff, the only sound other than the boss."We've had women associates, with money on the street, shylocking, earning. But never made."She wore a pinstrip suit and a nervous glare."Your father was with me, your grandfather helped teach me, your great grandfather came out with Al Capone hisself to take this city. Take it from the Greeks, the Jews, the Irish. Make it what it is, and hold it. Hold it against the Polish, the Mexicans, the Russians, the Blacks.""Your blood is Old Calabrese, since your people first stepped off the boat in New York City. Your family has been loyal, a hundred years of tradition.""Never in this thing of ours has a woman been made. But never has there been a woman like you. So I give you this chance now, before oaths are made, to walk away. Walk away now because once the oaths are made it no longer becomes you but 'us', no longer I but 'we'. You become part of this, you become part of this forever, it becomes part of you.""So it's been since time immemorial."She nodded."Do you swear your loyalty to your family? To keep silent in all things, to betray no secrets to outsiders be it by pain or violence?""Yes," she said."Do you swear to obey your family? To protect it against any threat, to do as you're ordered no matter the sacrifice to yourself?""Yes," she said."Do you swear to kill for it, die for it, do what's asked of you at any time, at any place?"Yes."The boss nodded, gesturing to the table, to the knife and the gun. She picked up the knife. A quick jerk over her palm, a brief sting, and blood leaked down from her hand.The boss placed a picture of St Francis in her palm. She started the fire, with her own power."If you should ever break with us," he said, holding her by the wrists, holding her eyes with his, the intensity of his glare hotter than her fire, "If you should ever betray your family or our traditions, may you burn like this picture, and burn in hell for all eternity.""I swear," she said.Then he heleaned over her burning palm, and put a kiss on her cheek."Then welcome to the family, Gabriela," he said, "Salamander."Salamander's grin grew as the lights flicked on overhead and a roaring cheer went up from among the watching gangsters. Happy like she'd never felt, dizzy as they came up one by one, her cousins and uncles, to shake her shoulder or give her their own kiss on the cheek, congratulating her. Made men and capos, her family."Happy new year!" Carlo Vecchi said, pulling her into a hug.
Then her beloved uncle, her father's brother, shook her hand without smiling or saying a word, tears in his eyes. She hugged the old man tight like she'd want to hug her own father, and he went soft in her arms.As all this went on the boss watched, lighting a cigar, wearing his own cool smile.It's all she ever wanted.Then her boss' smile dropped as Frankie the Nose whispered something in his ear. The cigar was dropped next, in an ashtray. They went out the back, the boss and the captains, leaving Salamander with her well wishers. Something was going on.-Billy Lonegran didn't speak Spanish. He did speak shitty back talk though, in any language. And the back talk followed him in muttered Spanish no matter where he went. It didn't matter he'd switched from biker leathers to silk shirts, or had Navaja's vouch.He was a gringo. An ugly, English speaking gringo who had betrayed his own people for a job running girls for the Midwest Cartel. Beneath contempt. Even the girls didn't respect him, though he'd taught them to keep their mouths shut.How did it come to this, he thought. Sitting in a lobby like some jagoff waiting to be called on by an uptight twat while dealing with smirks from brown faces shouldn't even be in this country. They didn't even let him smoke, not in this nice corporate lounge.He waited. He was supposed to have been seen at 10:30 now it was closing on twelve.The door slid open. He swallowed at who walked out. Baby Girl had bleached her hair blonde, cut it short, but the leather pants still gripped the same, the sashaying stride hadn't changed, and neither had the press on his crotch when he saw her.Sullivan wasn't around and thank God for that.But when she saw him her usually blank face curled into a familiar smirk of contempt.Goddamn, even her. It was enough to make him spit. He thought about saying something to her, but then thought better on it. He wasn't smart but he wasn't that stupid either.Anyway, he was being called in by Rodrigo, one of Navaja's 'managers'.Finally.He found her before her shrine, in the back room. Rodrigo left them alone.Nuestra Senora de la Santa Muerte. Our Lady of the Holy Death. Incense burned beneath the grinning skull, dressed in a shawl and garlanded in flowers. Navaja, in a humble black dress, knelt before it, praying."What do you know of faith, Billy Lonegran?" she said.Billy shrugged. "I'm not much of a church goer.""That wasn't my question," she said, eyes still closed above her hands, "Faith can be in many things. A faith in God, a faith in laws, a faith in the goodness of mankind."Billy grinned. "Never had much to do with those either."She opened her eyes. "I have faith," she said, "Faith in a father's love for a child. Faith in violence. Faith in his fear, so that when I hold a knife to his child's throat, he knows I will use it, and he will do whatever he must to keep it from happening."
She put a finger to the skull, running down the dome of the skull. "Our Lady of Death came to me in a vision," she said, "Showed me the way forward."Then she looked over her shoulder at him, and he was surprised she looked sad. "They say many things about me Billy," she said, "That I was a whore, I was a gangster's mistress, I was the daughter of a big shot who stole her way to power. But I will tell you a secret, and have faith you won't spread it. Because I know you are scared of me, Billy. More scared of me than any love you have for anyone else. It's how I can trust you, in a way.""I was a nun," she said, "A school teacher in Jalisco, before I came to America, before I became Navaja."His eyebrows shot up. It was hard to believe."The Lady of Death came to me and showed me I was following the wrong path. She showed me a city, far to the north. She showed me no prayers to Christ would save me from myself. Only through her could I be granted...salvation."A look on her face, eyes wet and wide, transformed the plain faced woman to something else, the image of a stain glass martyr. Billy swallowed, more uncomfortable than ever."Your former friends have come to me, to tell me a story and ask for mercy. They've found our package, but they say it will be a fight to claim it. I mean to go take it. You will come with me. Your friends ask in return I spare their lives. Shall I do this?"He swallowed, thinking about Sully, thinking about Baby Girl. Thinking about his own hide if he gave the wrong answer."I think," he said, "You should do what you have to do."She smiled. "Very good Billy," she said, "Very good."
be back in a sec
The Old Man wiped grease from his hands, considering the question."Aren't you tired of working for someone else?"Sullivan had made a good point."With this on our hands we can run things, no more mercenary work. We can be the boss."The boy had come humbled, asking for an audience. The Old Man liked Sullivan, he'd indulged him, despite his failures. There was something in his outlaw swagger reminded him of himself at a younger time. But he didn't trust him.Still the question played over in his mind."We can rule this town."The Old Man had seen them come and go, the conquering overlords. All from other places. The Greeks, the Italians, the Mexicans, the Vietnamese. Everyone reaching for a crown over a river of blood.Paying tribute to lords of their own. The Five Families of Ney York, The Sinaloa Cartel, the Triads and Tongs of who knew where.Foreigners.And he had picked up the dregs, he and the original thirteen members of the MC. Black, Asian, Latino, White, it didn't matter. The hotheaded men who fit in no where and needed a place to go. With a simple philosophy. Everyone pays in, and everyone gets looked after. Your bike, your brothers, the road.Simple living, with money coming from working outside the law for the would-be-kings. And if any outsider tried to come and interfere, they'd be dealt with too.But to run the show..."What do you think Hyun?" he asked to his second. It was rare he asked a question.The Korean lowered his titty magazine."I think Sullivan wants back in," he said."Is he telling the truth?""He brought our brothers back," he said, "You taught me not to trust words, only actions."The Old Man nodded."We'd need everyone," he said."I'll put out the call," Hyuk said.A rumble of rumbles, the Old Man thought.Then he smiled.Why the hell not?
>>4755457oh fuck this is hugeI'm hyped
Wow, this really went to shit.
I sat with the pigeons, letting out a slow breath.Tomorrow loomed in my imagination, tonight did too.It was silly to say but I was nervous about Kemal's party. Everyone was going to be there. And tomorrow, there was never a guarantee I'd come home from tomorrow. So if tonight was all there is, and the world is over tomorrow, what was there to do?The stone was a weight against my chest.I'd prepared how I could, but I'm only fifteen and struggling to swim.I'd made mistakes this year, maybe more than I realized. Who knew what was a mistake until the consequences fell? I'd gotten people killed, maybe I'd get more killed yet. Maybe I'd be one of them.Maybe it didn't matter.I'd been in a fight, but this was a battle. Waiting for it was something else. The closest I'd felt to this was riding out with Misfit on the I-88 to take the stone in the first place, but even that had been more a plan. Stop the Stunt Crew MC, simple.What was the plan here but dive into the fight and hope we made it out the other side?Uncertainty, that was where the fear was.Fear, I'd found out, wasn't always a bad thing. Fear kept me on edge, kept me from getting too relaxed. But fear run wild just left me a mess of nerves, and was no good to anyone. And everyday it was as if my fears grew. Fear of failure, fear of my loved ones getting hurt. Fear of getting hurt.I was all Dad had left.Sitting with the pigeons, listening to them coo, the fluff of their wings. It helped a little but it didn't sort anything out.Maybe I needed to talk to someone, maybe I just needed to bounce. Maybe cracking a head would help.Either way, I was done sitting still.>go talk to someone (who?)>bounce around, look for a crime to stop>just take it easy, get ready for Kemal's party
>>4755495>go talk to someone (who?)Ivy
>>4755495>go talk to someoneKay
>>4755554>>4755499locked that in
I bounded around town before getting tired, the thoughts in my head not easy to dislodge.I needed to talk to someone. Someone who wouldn't be scared of what I had to say the way Dad would, or try to tell me what to do. I needed to talk to someone who would listen, and maybe give an opinion but not try to steer me around.I thought about everyone in my life who I could really talk to and a name came to mind.Back in my hideout I changed into my normal clothes, then caught the bus up to the north side. I fired off a text seeing if she was free.She said 'yeah'.I walk down ice-slick streets, trying not to shiver. Queit suburbs with nothing to worry about, Christmas decorations still up on some lawns, parked cars covered in frost.The Carver residence was a warm welcome compared to outside. warm enough I took my coat off and hung it up."Oh Eric, you looking for Ayesha?" her dad said, coming out of the kitchen with a cup of cocoa and a bear claw, "She's over at Kaylee's.""No, I'm looking for Ivy," I said."Upstairs, getting ready for work. Last shift of the year. Shit, I'm glad I don't have to work new year's eve anymore. Working retail, hospitality, it sucks the fun out of it."He took a bite of the bear claw."Thanks Mr Carver," I said, heading up.Some kind of up tempo britpop was playing on the speaker as I knocked on the open door.I caught her dancing, her back to me as she pulled on her shirt, the music too loud for her to hear me, or notice. I watched for a second as she rolled her head back, swaying in time to the music.I knocked again, louder.Ivy turned around quick, pulling together her half open shirt, fingers twisting the buttons into place. Little blooms of pink colored under her eyes."Hey, you got here quick," she said, turning down the music, "What's up? Sorry, I'm getting ready for work. Those grease pits won't clean themselves.""Nothing," I said.She had the guest bedroom, across from Ayesha's. A pink paintball gun sat on her dresser, photos attached to the mirror. Photos of her and Ayesha, some people I didn't know. A photo of Grace when she was healthy, feeding a horse in a stable. Nothing of her parents.Nothing of me either."So nothing's up," she said, sliding a book into her bag, "You're just here to say hi, even though we're both going to the party tonight. Yeah, that tracks.""Something then," I said."Something, okay we're getting somewhere," she said, "Slowly but surely. So what something?"'I'm going to be waging war tomorrow and I'm scared.'But my throat was tight. I didn't want to say the words."Is it school stuff or the other stuff?" she said.I swallowed. "....the other stuff," I said.A concerned look flickered over her eyes. "It must be bad," she said, "If it's got you spooked. I don't think I've ever seen you spooked, not about this stuff."
"Not...bad," I said, "Just...yeah, okay, kind of bad."Ivy sat down on her bed. "You don't have to talk about it," she said."I don't want you to be scared," I said, "I don't want anyone to worry.""There's no better way to get someone scared than to say 'don't be scared'," she said, "Something big is going down.""It's not like I'm not always in danger," I said, "It's just...more of that.""There's a fight tomorrow, a big one," I said, "The kind of fight where it's not...not impossible I don't walk away.""When do you turn sixteen?"It wasn't the question I expected from her. It shook me out of my thoughts."Uh, March 15th," I said."So not even three months away," she said, raising up two and a half fingers. She nodded to herself. "Okay here's the deal. You survive this fight so I can get you a birthday present. Something good. Don't worry, I'll think of something. Something worth living for. Shit, those are easy to find, right?""Nah, you don't have to-" I started."Yes I do," she snapped, standing up from the bed. She glared hot eyed, so hot I thought my face would start to burn. "You don't get to dump this kind of thing on someone and then say 'don't worry about it! It's cool!' You don't get to do that Eric, you selfish asshole.""Hey," I said, "What's with the hate?""What's with me?" she said, "You come here looking scared, talking scared, and the second I try to do something you're acting all chill about it. I know you're scared Eric, you don't have to front.""Ivy, look, I just don't need you-"The look flashed over her face, the sudden hurt, was a knife to my gut."To do anything!" I finished, "To do anything but listen," I said, "I just need someone to listen."I was trembling. I grabbed her arms, as much to steady myself as to stop her from drawing away."I just need you to listen," I said."I'm scared," I said, "You're right. I'm always scared. People think I'm brave but I'm the biggest coward you've ever met. And tomorrow, tomorrow is the scariest shit I've ever done. It's not just a scrap or a fight or...this is a battle. A real battle. People are going to die and I might die and if I die I'll be gone and Dad will be alone and I just don't...how can I know that and still go, Ivy? How can I do that to him? And I'm so fucking selfish because I know that's not going to stop me from going. What kind of person does that to someone they love?"Then she hugged me, she pulled me into a tight, warm hug."Jesus Christ," I whimpered into her hair, "Jesus Christ what the fuck am I doing?""It's okay," she said, "It's okay. You're okay.""Oh God Ivy," I said, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't put this on you, I shouldn't.""No," she said, "It's okay. You're okay.""I'm not okay," I said, "I'm an asshole. Putting this on you." I tried to pull away, but she pulled me back."You're fifteen," she said, "You're scared. It's okay. I'm scared too.""Don't, please, I shouldn't have-" I said.She cupped my face, smiling.
"I'm always scared too Eric," she said, "Worrying about you. I..."Her eyes widened, her breath drew back into her throat. Now she looked scared. A new kind of fear woke up inside me."I need to get ready for work," she said, pulling away from me.>let her get ready for work>pull her back (I'll be back tomorrow)
>>4755647>let her get ready for work"I'm gonna make it through tomorrow. Then I'll do what I wanted to do just now. Not in the heat of the moment or for a quick comfort but because it's the way things should have been this whole time."For me, the bond between Kay and Eric has always been more superficial than with Ivy. I think this moment could help Eric finally see that. Kay would've just told him not to do this crazy plan tomorrow. Ivy understands that we need to and won't stop even though she's scared.
>>4755647>let her get ready for work
>>4755647And this is why Ivy is a best and Kay is a shit. Also, who do we go to to unpack our baggage?
Man this is a tough situation. I think Eric should break up with Kay before going for Ivy, but breaking up with Kay the night before this crazy ass battle seems like a shitty idea. But I really do think Ivy is for us what grandma is for grandpa, which is what Eric should be looking for.
>>4755647>let her get ready for work>>4756236>But I really do think Ivy is for us what grandma is for grandpaBig disagree. Ivy is another grandpa. She needs someone to keep her sane, she can't help keep us sane.
>>4755669Support>>4756248I think the most recent update is proof that you're wrong but we can definitely agree to disagree. Maybe seeing how Kay reacts when we tell her about tomorrow will help show the difference. And if we don't tell Kay at all then that shows a pretty serious issue in the relationship.
"Okay," I said, letting her pull away.A hot worm of shame squirmed in my gut. I couldn't help but think about Kay, and what I'd felt for a moment there as a betrayal. Whatever I was feeling in the moment, it wasn't worth hurting Kay over, and it wasn't right over.But as I watched Ivy flick out her hair to tie it back in a bun, shame started surrendering to something else."Ivy," I said, "I'm going to make it through tomorrow."She looked back to me, a stray lock of blond hair falling artfully over her face."I know," she said, tucking it back."And when I'm through it I..." I paused, unsure what I wanted to say, what I wanted to tell her. "I'll see you at the party," I said, turning for the door. I stopped halfway out. "Sorry about putting this on you," I said, "I just...needed to talk to someone about it, and the only one I could think of was you."I didn't look to see how she took it but it was a minute before she replied."See you tonight, Miller," she said, picking up her bag.She went out and I went downstairs, not sure what to do now I was alone in the Carver house with only Mr Carver for company."You okay son?" Mr Carver said, clicking off the tv.I shrugged. It was a loaded question with me. How the hell was I ever doing?"You want some advice?" he said."Not really," I replied."Too bad, 'cause you need some," he said, "I got you coming in and out of my house, I figure a talk is due. Now listen. Don't go trifling around. You want to be with a girl, you be with the girl. You don't want to be with a girl, you leave the girl. And you don't go by half and play around with a girl's feelings, not when you're with someone else, or you'll get a painful lesson.""Understand?"I shrugged, but said 'Yeah.'"You're a pack of kids," he said, "You aren't set for life yet, you don't have to take it serious, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to be decent. Have fun but don't hurt anyone."He leaned back in the chair, a thoughtful look in his eyes. "I'm being a sagacious oldhead today.""You jus' wish you had a son to lecture," I joked as I was heading out, "Happy New Year Mr Carver.""Happy New Year Eric," he replied.I hit the cold blast of air outside feeling a little better about somethings and a little worse about others. One thing I did know, I was going to make it through tomorrow. The question was, with Kemal's party looming, was I going to make it through tonight?
Bass thumped the house, a pulse in the middle of the street. I'd seen the pictures already, a stack of pizzas, a couple of kegs, people already vibing in the heated jacuzzi on the back deck. Kemal- 'Za enough for everyone.Night was on and the cold was up but everyone was out anyway, heading to clubs or house parties or over to Millenium Park to watch the ball drop while listening to some live music played in the cold overlooking the half-frozen lake.Winter didn't mean shit when Chitown meant to party.Cars lined the street, classmates getting dropped off or picking out, chatting excitedly, building themselves up, sinking into the vibe. Energy coursed through the groups heading up the lawn to the big house Kemal called home.Kemal had it to himself, the elders all jetset off to Qatar for some big get together Kemal had put off joining in on. I'm not sure what Kemal's parents did for a living but he said his dad was a 'futurist', whatever the hell that meant. What it did mean was he earned big bucks flying around the world for various conferences and meetings. It was a family trade too, Kemal's uncles and aunts were all somewhat connected in a big technocratic clan of Arabian idea merchants.Whatever, it left the house free during the holidays, with Kemal mostly unsupervised.I knew the party was going to be big but it was bigger than I'd expected. When Kemal said he'd invited everyone, he hadn't been talking out his ass.There were people I expected. Rufus, Hunter, most of my friends in the basketball team, and my other pals like Dane and Zeke. But also the nerds, Chad, Ben and Annie, who I'd never seen at a party before tonight. They looked uncomfortable, Ben tugging at his collar, Chad, checking his hair. And it wasn't all nice surprises like that. Bryan Kusich and the football team were there, Bryan shotgunning a can of beer before wiping it back behind his shoulder, some narrow faced cheerleader under his arm. Last time I'd seen Bryan he'd tried to stand over me, get me to back down and roll on my belly after I'd caught his cousin Jeremy being a little turd.If Kemal had a bad habit it was looking for the best in everyone, including oversized bullfrogs like Bryan Kusich.The other Brian, Brian with an 'i', was hanging around with his arm in a cast, looking like he was holding to sell, the middle class, soft imitation of a corner boy. I wondered briefly which of the gangs supplied him with the party drugs he dealt. I doubt even Brian knew.I was thinking that right as an arm hooked through mine and a kiss struck my cheek."Hey good looking," Kay said. I looked down at her freckles, her smile, neon light reflecting over her green eyes.Ayesha waved behind her, Malcolm with his arm over her shoulder."Hey," I said, holding her hand.We walked up the rest of the way over the cold crisped grass.
"Yooooo!" Kemal came swaggering through the front door wearing oversized sunglasses and a long Hawaiian shirt. He pulled me and Kay into a hug. "You guys came! Fuck yeah, the party is starting now!"Despite the house already being full, Kemal had a way of making us feel like the center of the party. He had that gift with everyone he met."Hey Kemal," Kay said, "You're graduating in a couple of months, right? Do you know what college you're going to?""NYU baby," he said."Oh yeah? My cousin is going to Juilliard," I said, "Maybe you guys can meet up.""Juilliard, that's so fuckin' cool," he said, "I'd definitely roll with one of your cousins, even if they're only half as cool as you."Like I said, he has a way of making people feel good about themselves. I couldn't help but smile. He had a way of making you believe it."We got 'za in the kitchen, beer in the keg, and a party anywhere you look," he said, "So have fun, cut loose. Let's blow this shitty year out in style."The bass line buzzed through me as a drink found its way into my hand. Kay led the way through the mess, Ayesha and Malcolm behind us, a couple of couples naturally forming. We found our friends on the couch in the living room, Daphne, Rufus, Hunter, Zeke, with Dane coming back with a pizza box for all of us."This year suuucked," Zeke said, taking a slice."Yerp," Rufus said, taking his own."Next one is going to be dope though," Hunter said."You sure about that?" said Dane."Got to be," Rufus said, "It would really need to put the work in to be worse.""Have a little faith, Roof," Daphne said, "We made it through this one, and we've got a lot to look forward to. We've got our fine friend Kay performing in Les Miserables, we have the Winter Ball, and then, after all that we've got Spring Break.""Me, I'm looking forward to summer," Hunter said, "I'm sick of snow. Get some sun in, get on a boat. Global warming can't happen fast enough, turn Chicago into Malibu already, get some bikini babes around.""Don't joke," Ayesha said, sliding into a seat, "It's not funny. But...y'know a bit of sun couldn't hurt.""I like the cold," Dane said, "It makes me appreciate the warmth.""You would you freak," Rufus said. The word 'freak' turned the laughter awkward, the moment uncomfortable. Rufus took a long drink."Hey, did you see the nerds were here tonight?" Zeke said, elbowing Kay."Oh man, Kemal invited those guys?" Kay said, rolling her eyes."They aren't so bad," Ayesha countered."I think its cool, you know, seeing them come out," Hunter said, "If you gave them a chance maybe you'd see they aren't so bad. Ben's pretty cool, and Chad knows everything about anything. Even Annie's pretty funny when you start to get her.""Mr Hunter I'm surprised," Zeke said, "Are you becoming a geek? Are you going to be playing Yu-Gi-Oh soon? Should we put in together and buy you a body pillow?"
Hunter wriggled uncomfortably. "I'm maybe putting together a Magic deck," he admitted, "I had a lot of time doing nothing with my busted arm." "It's cool you're seeing past the high school cliques," Malcolm said, "It's all bullshit. When you're at college you'll see it never meant anything. Hell my room mate at U of C, he's my best friend now but in senior year I wouldn't even have talked to him.""I guess maybe we should give them a chance," Kay said. "And you know this year hasn't all been bad. We've got real, actual super heroes now. It's so cool!""And super villains," I muttered."And we've got Eric," Ayesha said, clapping my shoulder, "Blown in on the hawk and we're glad he did."I took a long drink to hide my blush."So what do you think Eric," Zeke said, "Good year or bad?">good>bad>shrug
>>4757171>I'll make it better
>>4757171>goodPractice that optimism we preachDefinitely had some bad moments but we also saw a lot of good ones
>>4757171>badbut I think bad years are when you learn the most about yourself so I'll take it
>>4757177I'm sure you didn't mean it this way but I got a real sultry sexual proposition vibe from this write in
>>4757171>>4757177>Good>I'll make it better
>>4757171>shrug It’s certainly more eventful
>>4757190also what do you mean by I'll make it better? the years over
>>4757198For the next one, or you know, not dying painfully tomorrow.
>>4757198They could mean they'll make it a really good next few hours? I assume the ball hasn't dropped yet.
>>4757171>shrugLots of good and bad, but it's definitely a crazy time to be alive
>>4757209Eric isn't really known to be the life of the party
>>4757218Hey man I'm just guessing, I didn't vote for it
Party crash moment when?
>>4757281>>4757190>>4757179locked in with 'good'
I mulled over the question as I considered the beer in my cup."It's been a rough year," I said, "Moving to Chicago, losing Mom." Getting beat up and put in the hospital, seeing more death and murder in a few short months than most saw in a life time. Running up against psychopaths and villains who haunted my nights. "But there's been a lot of good too," I said. Getting my powers, saving people, taking down bad guys. "I didn't have a lot of friends back in Indiana, not real ones. I didn't really have much going on. But now I've got basketball, I got the team, I got you guys.""Aww," Kay fawned, squeezing my hand."We've been through some real rough times," I said, "But there's been good times too. Just kicking it in the Loop or goofing off after school, parties like this with good people. We've got a lot to be happy about.""It's true," Rufus said."And you know, the super hero stuff is pretty cool," I said. Being one was, at least. I couldn't pretend there wasn't a core of joy to it even under all the darkness. Leaping through the sky with the wind whistling down, the feeling of having stopped something awful in its tracks, and standing over a bad guy beaten down."Super heroes now, monsters tomorrow," Hunter said, "You be careful about that.""Man, cool it with that," Rufus said, pushing Hunter with a self-concious look to Dane."I'm not saying they're all bad," Hunter said, "But I heard stories about compounds of para-freak communities in the south side, building up for something. I mean, you'd tell us if they were planning something, right?"For a second I thought Hunter was talking to me, but he was looking to Dane.Dane rolled his eyes. "Sure Hunter, I'll let you in on the master plan for humanity's overthrow," he said, "Dude, I don't even know any other para-folk, not in real life anyway. There's a discord server I'm part of, but I'm not sure if they're legit or just roleplayers.""Roleplayers?" Ayesha said."Yeah, people who go online pretending to be paras for clout," Dane said, "It's all kinds of shitty. You can get a real following faking powers online. You learn how to spot them though, or I have anyway. But you know, I'm up late." He had a self-recriminating smile.It was interesting. I hadn't thought on it, but I was kind of disconnected from the para-community. Until I met Thunderchild I didn't even know there was one. Separating out my para-self from my normal self, I guess it meant I 'passed'. It was a weird feeling."Anyway," I said, "This year wasn't all bad, let's make sure next year is better.""I'll drink to that," Ayesha said, raising a toast.
The night thumped on toward midnight. There was a splash of bodies slipping into the heated jacuzzi, laughter winding its way through the music. Last I saw of Ayesha she had Malcolm's tongue in her mouth all pressed up on the couch, while Hunter peeled off to hang out with the nerds, make sure they were comfortable.Me, I stood in the kitchen eating pizza, listening to Daphne go on about nothing with one of her girlfriends.It was a good night so far. It didn't make me forget about tomorrow though.>look for Kay for a private talk>just enjoy the vibe of the party>cut loose, I might die tomorrow
>>4757331>look for Kay for a private talk>Then let our other friends know before we go homeIf we go down, our face and they're narrative will be out there first thing.
>>4757331>just enjoy the vibe of the partyI would much prefer a victory AFTER party with our other friends
>>4757331>look for Kay for a private talkWouldn't be right to just tell Ivy. And it's time to see her reaction to us prepping to die.
>>4757331>look for Kay for a private talk
>>4757336I don't think telling anyone other than Kay is a good idea. Honestly I'm even worried about telling Kay, she might be desperate enough to stop tomorrow from happening that she could do something dumb
>>4757424Well, we'll find out.
>>4757331>just enjoy the vibe of the party
sorry got caught up with something
still catching up with something!got a really long, rambling call from a family member
finally wrapped that upyou ever get into one of those calls where they don't know when to stop talking?either way back to it
>>4757609It's the worst when you make it clear that you're trying to escape the conversation without being impolite and they just keep goin
I went looking for Kay and found her talking with Peyton, the two cheerleaders talking about something or other. I wasn't really listening, my focus was more on talking to her. She needed to know about tomorrow. I needed her to know about tomorrow.Swallowing down the last of the beer, I took her by the arm."I need to talk to you," I said loud enough to be heard over the music."Talk?" she called back. I nodded. She waved goodbye to Peyton, following me upstairs.We went to Nasim's room, passing a couple making out on the stairs. It was unoccupied, her skateboards hung up on the wall, sneaker collection arranged underneath it.Kay moved to the bed with an excited little smile. "I wasn't expecting this until midnight," she said, running her hands over the quilt. The music thumped under our feet."It's not about that," I said, though her legs were inviting under her skirt, and the half light off her cheek and along her neck painted her in light and shadow, deepening her smile to something mature and alluring. "It's uh, it's Hotspur shit," I said."Yeah, what kind of shit?" she said, leaning forward.I coughed into my hand. "I've got a thing tomorrow," I said, "A big thing, a dangerous thing.""Yeah?" she said, blinking up at me with those large green eyes."A fight," I said, "Only a real fight, you know.""No," she said, frowning, "How is it different from the other stuff?""It's bigger, I guess," I said, "It's...it'll change things, I think.""Change, how?" she said, "I don't understand Eric.""I know," I said, "I don't talk to you about this stuff very often, uh. So I think maybe I should because...because I'm scared, Kay. About what could happen tomorrow. About me getting killed, or my friends.""Oh well that's easy then, don't go," she said with a smile, "You don't have to do this stuff. You can take off the mask whenever, right?"My fist tightened. "It isn't just about me, Kay," I said, "I have friends who...Misfit and Thunderchild are both being framed and these are the guys...""Thunderchild, the bank robber?" she said, "And Misfit, she's the murderer right?""They're innocent," I said, "Framed.""I mean yeah, that sucks," she said, "And you should help them but....but they aren't like you, Eric. You're different.""How?" I said, "How am I different? I'm a para-freak just like them, and they'll do the same to me if they can.""But no one knows," she said, "You can pass for normal. You're only Hotspur because you want to be, you can stop whenever you want.""I mean, like, you've done enough right?" she said, "And if you're scared about what's happening tomorrow, you can just sit this one out.""What?" I said. She blinked again. "No, I...this was my plan, I can't back out. I don't want to back out. I just want you to know what's going down and I want you to know that I...I'm scared, Kay. I'm always scared, but now.""Jesus Kay, I might die tomorrow."
Her brow creased in concern. "Come on Eric, you're scaring me now," she said, "Why not just...not worry about it? Come on.""I'm trying," I said, "I'm trying but I just...I can't stop thinking about Dad...about Mom. About you, and everyone else. About my friends. I could be getting them all killed, Kaylee. For sticking my nose where it didn't belong, for trying to play hero.""You are a hero," she said, her face creasing deeper, her eyes growing wet, "C-come on Eric. This isn't like you.""No," I said, "No, this is exactly like me, I just don't tell you, I don't tell anyone. The constant fear. I'm scared I'm running toward a cliff I can't see and I'll get you killed like I got Shelley killed or those people I couldn't save from Ooze or everyone else and I-I-I don't know how to stop. Even if you did I don't know if I can stop, I don't even know why I started I just....""Shit!"I was on my knees and hit the ground. The music down stairs skipped as the house shook on its foundations, my knuckle imprint left in the floorboard, glowing white. Someone downstairs yelled out.Up on the bed Kay had retreated to the corner, eyes shining with tears and fear.I didn't mean to scare her."Are you...okay?" I asked.She sniffed, wiping her eyes. "Why are you asking me that? I should be asking you," she said, "What's wrong, Eric? Why are you yelling at me?""I'm not yelling at you, I'm just yelling," I said."Well I don't like it," she said.I looked up at her and her tear stained face. Maybe this wasn't fair, maybe I shouldn't burden her with it.And if she did know, what would it change?>tell her everything>keep it to myself
>>4757673>keep it to myselfKay once again proving herself to be worst girl
>>4757682Also we should talk to Misfit about this. We've done so before and she understands this life better than most
>>4757673>keep it to myselfShe doesn't get it at all
>>4757673>keep it to myself
what else would we be telling her if we voted to do so? I feel like we already sorts spilled the beans about tomorrow
>>4757744everything with Houndmaster and all the other blood, guts and misery Eric has seen.
>>4757673>keep it to myselfKay wouldn't get it, all the terrible shit we've seen, the lines we've crossed and the ones we thought about crossing. She's a normal girl who wants a normal life, with a normal boyfriend who just plays hero on the side. She thinks Hotspur is just a thing we do instead of a part of who we are.
We need to sit alone and center ourselves before the big fight. Clearly Eric is freaking the fuck out and support from others is nice and all but some of that support has to come from himself as well.
I looked at her scared in the corner of the bed.And I locked that part of me up.She wasn't ready for the truth. Maybe she never would be."I'm sorry," I said, "I shouldn't have yelled at you.""It's okay," she said, "I get it. Why don't we go back downstairs and join the party?"I nodded. Yeah, maybe we should.Back downstairs the clock said 11:30 and everyone was getting ready for the ball to drop.Ivy had shown up, come in while we'd been upstairs, still wearing her work clothes under her purple jacket. She caught my eye and smiled.I opened my mouth to say something, but before I could Nasim was in front of me with a cup of pop."What were you doing in my room?" she said, scowling under her hijab."Nothing," I said. She tapped her foot like she didn't believe me. When I looked up Ivy was talking to our friends, Dane, Ayesha, Zeke, nodding along to something they said.I looked down to Kay, holding my hand, holding her hand, her attention fixed on nothing but looking awkward, uncomfortable.The clock was ticking to the new year.You had to kiss someone at midnight, right?I looked at Kay and felt the unspoken words churning inside me, the fear and the horror she didn't want to know. People cheered around us, laughing, talking loud over the thumping stereo.The clock ticked over. 11:45.The glow of the light seemed brither, the smells sharper, the sounds stronger on my ear drums.11:55.>Kiss Kay>Kiss Ivy>Walk away
I'll be back tomorrow
>>4757764>Walk awayI'm kinda scared Kay will snitch about our identity, but we need to find a way to end this relationship as amicably as we can. This doesn't seem too bad.
>>4757798Considering the shitshow getting ready to come tomorrow, she'll see one way or the other there isn't just a, walk away option.
>>4757764>Walk away. Shark was right in the end.
We're only 15, changing girlfriends isn't the end of the world. Also, thanks for the new thread QM, would have participated earlier but I've always get lock out with my ip
>>4757764>Walk awayNO WAY FAG
locking that in
Between Kay and Ivy I looked outside. The house was packed with people around the tv, around their phones, waiting for the ball to drop, ready to cheer and celebrate the new year.I slid out to the back porch, wanting to be away from the hot press and blanket of sound. Wanting to be alone, wanting to be cold.The midnight sky, bright with stars and the silver grin of the moon. Mist wisped from my lips as I looked up. Looking at the stars, I thought about Mom. I always did. I thought about home, and shivering in the backyard as she played with her brass telescope, teaching me the constellations, wondering at the vastness of the cosmos.I found the North Star, Polaris. Mom's voice drifted through my memory. 'The North Star, navigators have relied on it since ancient times. Even though its always moving, traveling light years at a time in the cosmos, to us it remains fixed in place. If you're ever lost, Eric, you can always look to the North Star to find your way.'If ever I felt lost it was right now, as the countdown began to the new year."Five! Four! Three!"The star shone down, one among billions, shining that little bit brighter than the rest. How many centuries of travel was it away from us? Was there another planet there, with another boy looking up, looking for answers from our star bright in their own night sky? Or was it dead, a zombie light still shining from an ancient corpse?"Two! One!"Were any of those stars still living, or were they celestial ghosts, calling out across time and space? "Happy New Year!"But it was just a star, it had nothing to say, and soon it disappeared as fireworks open across the night with distant pops, bright flowers of red, green and blue spreading out over the darkness and swallowing up the starlight. A cheer rose up behind me, music pumping up again as the party returned to full swing.I didn't need the North Star for guidance. I needed Mom. I needed her to help me figure out what I was feeling and what to do. But she was gone, like those stars above. The light still there but the star itself gone, just a memory, an imprint on the sky."Hey."I checked over my shoulder. Ayesha checked her glasses, smiling."You okay?" she said, "I saw you slip out."I didn't answer right away. I looked back out over Kemal's backyard."I'm fine," I said.She came up next to me, leaned on the railing."Do you want to know when I realized you were cool?" she said."I'm not cool," I said."It's not the sport stuff. I know plenty of jocks and they mostly suck. It wasn't even the thing with the Creep. No, I knew you were cool when you auditioned for the musical and bombed," she said, "Like, you had no business even trying out you were so bad, but you did it anyway. You gave it a shot."
"I'm not looking for a pep talk," I said, "I just want to be alone. Is that cool?""Sorry," she said, "Yeah, I can be a bit nosey. I guess I just...saw you looking lonely in a crowd, lonely with your friends, and I wanted to let you know.""Know what, that you think I'm cool?" it came out harsher than I meant it."That I see you, Eric," she said, and put her hand on my back, "And you don't need to talk or tell me how you feel, but if you ever want to be alone with company, well..." she stopped talking to demonstrate, looking up at the fire works, red light washing over her brown cheeks as her smile faded into something melancholic.And we stood quietly in the start of the new year, watching the fire works fade against the vast darkness of the night, as the party continued behind us.
New Year's Day.Indiana Harbor.East Chicago.I showed up early. Whatever riot of emotion I'd been going through the past few days had settled to a deadly stillness, kept banked by the power pulsing through me. Now my nerves were cold, all the troubles of yesterday left behind me. Cold as the fangs of ice jutting up on the Chicago shoreline from the waters of Lake Michigan.I waited, watching the half frozen waterline, watching the waters churn around the ice fangs rising out against the bank. The stone weighed in my breast pocket.Today we were going to settle a few scores. Or maybe start a few new ones.A motorbike revved in the distance. I didn't need to check to know it was Misfit."Chilaquiles," she said to the guy riding behind her. Thunderchild. "If a Mexican joint can't pull off chilaquiles, its trash.""See I was thinking nachos," he said."Chilaquiles is like nachos but even more basic," she said, "It's like, would you go to a burger joint that can't put together a decent cheeseburger?""I feel you," he said.The kind of nonsense conversation to hide their own nerves. Misfit slung off her bike, raising a hand up to me, perched on a water cooling tower. She wore her grinning skull mask, her cherry red wrench holstered at her hip. Thunderchild had evened out his stubbled hair, found a better fit of clothes. I dropped from the water tower to join them, landing in a crouch."Happy New Year," Misfit said, punching my arm, "You ready to start some shit?""I'm ready," I said.A car came down, driving slow. When it slowed to a stop Grit stepped out. He wore a red bandanna low on his eyes and the same fleeced lined coat. He didn't especially care about hiding his identity."So here we are," he said. We clasped hands at the wrist, he did the same for Thunderchild then Misfit. "This your band of brothers? We ain't the Avengers.""Waiting on a couple more people," I said."Who?" Pratfall said behind me. I jumped with a sharp 'shit!' She smiled. "Me?"I don't know when she turned up, but she was there in her red and black tights, her jester's crown jingling. She sprung a one handed hand-stand."Today shall be a day to live in infam-," she started to say, but then lost her balance, landing hard on her head, sprawling out among us, "Ow!" She sat up, bells jingling, shaking her head. She grinned blood stained teeth, a trickle of red running down her white face paint. "Alas, alay, I've already fallen this day! Sing sweetly at my funeral, fair friends, and remember me!"Grit looked from her to me, his expression flat but a mild annoyance in his eyes. "Who the fuck is this?" he said."You'll learn to filter her out," I said, as she sprung a handstand into a backflip, landing on her feet with a bow. Misfit clapped. Thunderchild swiped at her clapping hands with a discouraging frown. Don't encourage the jester.
"So we got a play?" Misfit said, "Or do we just wait for the fuckers to show up and start swinging?"She looked to me, they all did. Pratfall with bright eyes, Grit with crossed arms and a frown, Thunderchild eager and intent. Misfift waited coolly, we'd been through something like this before together.>I figure we'd just improv, play it by ear>write-in a plan of action(now is the time to figure out a plan if you want. if its a good one, it will affect bonuses. I'll leave the vote open longer to give you guys time.)
>>4759487>Jester and Grit ride together, presuming we don't have a Satalite aimed at us right now, nobody should know we are together. Baring our late arivals we add more or less to your group as needed, and you'll be the Calvery.>They know me, Thunderchild, and Misfit are together, so me and him will be in the open while Misfit keeps a flare ready to distract them.>Everyone remember a route through any and every gang infested area you can handle hiding out in to throw off the scent of any worms they sent out. Caught two in my bed the day after and got lucky, so if we gotta run, we drag them through whatever shit we can to get away.>If anyone has any ideas to add, throw them up.All I can come up with
>>4759487Start off with senses at maximum from a hidden vantage point to get an idea of where the battle lines will be drawn and where the biggest threats are. Fight as a unit by default, splitting up if necessary with Thunderchild transporting paras where they're needed, or out of the battle if they're badly wounded. We'll stay more mobile and jump in to assist as needed, taking out enemy paras and heavy hitters whenever possible. Grit can use his power to raise walls, giving us cover and controlling which of the different groups are fighting which. Weren't we gonna hit up shark? I was gonna see if he could create a massive tidal wave at a pivotal moment in the fight. Make sure everyone is aware of Salamander, Sundowner, Hound master, and Semper Fi's powers.
>>4759487>First thing first the stone, and of course decoys, if Grit can at least make them look similar. They won't stand up to any professional scrutiny but in the chaos to follow I don't think it'll matter>Speaking of Grit he and Pratfall can hide underground until things pop off>I think that pratfall and TC should be in charge of making sure the stone leaves with us, or hell if shark shows up, give it to him discreetly >Meanwhile we'll be front and center with our known associates Misfit and TC >The main idea is wait, or stall until someone volatile i.e. salamander shows up and egg her on until she blows>After that we get the hell out through the underground, head to the liquor store and have pint waiting for this to all blow over.>secondary obj make sure blood worm bitch can't track us anymore
>>4759546I think we should always have the stone on our person
it would be a good idea for you guys to try and bring your ideas together into a single option, so I know what to write
>>4759647This might be a situation where you have to take what makes sense from each option as best you can
>>4759647Ok so we have >>4759519>>4759546>Keeping Grit and Prat hidden until the fighting starts, and the rest of us front and center.>>4759533>TC teleporting our team during the fight is pretty good. We should go with that. >Grit walling off areas is a given>>4759519>As are Misfit's flares>>4759546>And as many convincing decoys as possible Everything else should be dealt with as it happensThen on getting out we haveA.>>4759519 >Go into hiding in a ghettoB.>>4759546 >Go into hiding underground Either way I really think we have to deal with the blood worms permanently in this fight.This is an ok mash up of what we have so far. I think.
>>4759647Change my vote>>4759519 so that its the same plus what ever everyone else adds too it>>4759533>>4759546>>4759611I got work in the morning, just do the common sense thing and run it together with parts that make sense. Good night ya'll, don't be pedantic about the write in votes not being one thing for no reason.
>>4759741Oh and>A or B escape plansWe do both or neither depending on who is still conscious enough to escape and guide they're respective groups.
okay, locking in the plan
"I got an idea," I said, "But first I've got to ask, Grit, can you make doubles of this?"I pulled out the stone and held it out for him."Ooh!" Pratfall said, tilting her head from side to side, "What is it?""A whole lot of bad news," Misfit said, "Me and Spur tore up a highway to keep the bad guys from getting it. Now they want it back."Grit spun the stone around in his hand, frowning. Then he tapped the ground, a thin column of cement rising up. He handed it back, cracked his knuckles, then slid his fingers into the column. Eyes closed to concentrate, he pulled his hands out, with three discs nearly identical to the stone."Give me time I could have done some polish," he said, "But they should do."I took them off him. Same weight, same size, but the duplicates had rougher surfaces. It would pass though. I hoped."They'll be coming heavy," I said, "We need an escape plan. You think you can make a tunnel or something?"Grit shrugged. "Yeah maybe," he said, "If we got to book I can make an exit. But I'm not a machine remember, I can run out of gas.""Well keep an idea of how to get out of there if things go south, but either way I want you and Pratfall out of sight until the fighting starts. Your main job will be making sure we don't get shot to death, walls and cover. Fuck anyone up as well."He thumbed his nose, then frowned at Pratfall. "We'll await your orders with baited breath!" she said with a perky salute, "Let your word be the trumpet sound to battle!" His frown deepened."Misfit, I need you waiting in the wings too. Cook up a big bang for the party.""Shit yeah, I'll light up their fuckin' night," she said."Thunderchild, you'll be with me," I said, "They'll be expecting us, but be ready to port where you're needed.""Can do," he said."And you guys be careful. They'll have their own freaks, with plenty of guns behind them. Keep an eye out for Salamander, she's a crazy chick with the Outfit with fire powers and a mean kick. There might be a guy called Sundowner too, he-""I met Sundowner," Grit said, "He muscles for the Triads sometimes, makes these copies of himself, illusions.""Yeah," I said, "Then there might be a messed up cat called Houndmaster. No powers but he's a psycho. And if they're bringing the big guns we might have to deal with Semper Fi. I fought her once and believe me, she can tie you in a knot.""Figured her for a jackboot," Misfit said."Scab's the one you need to really be careful around," Thunderchild said, "Her tracking worms aren't all she can do. She's got mind worms too, latch on to the back of your head, turns you into her puppet. Hurts like fucking hell too." He touched the back of his neck, covering a lump of scar tissue I hadn't noticed before, wincing.Shit, didn't know about those. "And yet there might be dragons more," Pratfall said, "Who can say what tricks are waiting up their voluminous sleeves?""That your word of the day?" Misfit said.
"Can't plan for what we don't know," I said, "Stay loose, guys, be ready to think on your feet.""We got you," Misfit said."Okay," I put my hand in like this was my team before a game, "What time is it?" I asked, their hands joining mine."11:30 I think," Pratfall said."11:28 but my phone could be wrong," Grit said, checking the time.I sighed. "No guys, its...its game time."Realization dawned in their eyes. "Oh," Thunderchild said, "Yeah yeah yeah, okay, game time."Great.Now all that was left was the action."Okay," I said, "Let's rock."
The meeting place was out by the water, open-ish ground. Where ever my friends had pocketed themselves I hope they hid themselves well. Thunderchild stood next to me, his coat whipping around his legs in the strong winter breeze.There was a warehouse in spitting distance, a place to dip to when things got sour.I planned to make this as sour as possible.We heard them before we saw them, the whoop of helicopter blades, three black spots on an open blue sky, coming in right when they said. And they weren't the only ones. Cars, more than should be in this area. A lot of cars coming in, parking sharp. Then over that the rev of engines, motorbikes, a lot of them, white shells gleaming in the sunlight.Baby girl and Sullivan had done their job, they'd got the word out.Italians in track suits. Mexicans in silk shirts. Bikers in motorcycle leather. And the helicopters, growing larger, starting to circle above.High noon.Frankie the Nose wore a pinstripe suit with a fedora pulled low, a red rose in his lapel. Salamander stood behind him in suspenders and pin-stripe slacks, the sleeves of her shirt rolled up, hair shaved fresh at the sides. Frankie snarled, Salamander grinned.I didn't recognize Navaja at first. She wore a nun's habit, her face painted like a sugar skull, wide white eyes rimmed in black. It was too real to be a Halloween costume, the fabric too thick. A plain silver cross hung from her neck. Beside her Sundowner smiled an awkward, bulging eyed smile, Billy Lonegran on the other side looking scared. Her men came heavy, more than a few had AKs dressed up with nickle plating.The Stunt Crew MC buzzed in to a stop. An old man I didn't know pulled off his white helmet, squinting into the sun. He was Latino, age turning his dark skin yellow. Sullivan was on his right, Baby Girl on his left, her sword close to hand. Guns, knives, pipes, a feral group ready to throw in.Then I was almost knocked back as a helicopter dropped to hover above the frozen shore, the force of its propellers rippling through the assembled gangs.Scab stepped down, foot clicking on the ground. She wore a black suit and red tie, sunglasses, stray hairs from her dark bun whipping over her face. Behind her stepped down the kind of special forces jagoffs we'd tussled with in their little black ops fortress. Next to the heavy soldiers she was almost petite. She kept a neutral expression, looking over the arrayed gangs.High Noon.And with me in the middle.
"So," Scab said, standing before the military chopper, "This wasn't the deal."A heavy gun dipped and fell in the carriage of the chopper behind her. Heavy fucking gear.Fire inside me kept my legs from trembling.I forced myself to grin, though she couldn't see it under my mask maybe she'd hear it in my voice. "I only said I'd bring the stone," I said, "Never said I'd make it easy for you.""Commander Xenia, we have a bead on Hotspur," the lead soldier said, his rifle raised up. Scab raised a hand, turning her head to the arrayed gangsters. "Easy Lt Grove," she said. She stepped forward. "Did you kill my blood worms?" she asked.I nodded.A slight tick in her cheek was her only expression. "And you stole my favorite playmate. Hello Shabaz, good to see you.""Fuck you Scab," he said."I don't know what you hope to achieve here," she said, "But Dr Auken expects me to return with the stone."I pulled it out of my pocket. "You mean this one?" I said, "Or this one?"I pulled one of the fakes out of another pocket. Thunderchild smiled and pulled out another fake. I couldn't see her eyes through the sunglasses, but new a glare was hiding behind them."Well if you're going to get it," I said, starting to back away toward the gathered gangs. Then I turned around, holding it up. I could see the hunger on their faces, the pent up violence waiting for a trigger to unleash. The wind of the helicopter blew a gale through us, chilling even a winter day. "If any of you want it, come and get it! It's up for grabs!"I threw the stones up into the air."Now!" Xenia barked.And then the shooting started.>roll 3 x 1d100+25 dc 80
Rolled 100 + 25 (1d100 + 25)>>4759820let's fucking gooooo
Rolled 10 + 25 (1d100 + 25)>>4759820Fingers crossed
>>4759829holy shitof all the times to crit
crit successes trump crit fails too
local superhero is fucking invincible
Rolled 75 (1d100)>>4759820Rolling for the fun of it
sorry, I'm trying to plot this out around the crit-successcrit-successes do more than just have Eric succeedso this is going to be a minute
>>4759829LET'S FUCKING GOOOOOOO
>>4759829Fuck yesWe're gonna live forever!
The barrel of the heavy gun rose on the helicopter, putting the fear of god in me. The fears I'd been holding in crashing out of where they'd been kept.Faces flashed before my eyes.My friends, my family. Everyone I loved. Dad. Mom.The gunner slid back the bolt, the grin under his reflective lenses telling me all I needed to know as he found me in his sites.Fire flooded through me. The pulsing hot flame, a torrent pounding through my body, blinding white. I touched the edge of something I'd last felt on the roof tops of downtown Chicago, battling Houndmaster and his drones. I took a step forward.Thunderchild grabbed me as the gun ripped open. The world sucked in around us, then exploded outward in an earth shaking boom as we appeared overhead. The machine gun roared, tearing up cement chunks from the dockside quay.We floated in the air for a held moment as chaos broke out beneath us. Outfit goons and cartel thugs exchanged fire with each other and the special ops team. The other two helicopters circled overhead, looking for a place to intrude. Gunfire swallowed angry shouts, with the rev of engines over it all as the Stunt Crew MC threw in. Sundowner split into triplets, a shimmer in each duplicate as they began to split away. Baby Girl's sword gleamed as it slid from its scabbard. Fire began to envelop Salamander's hands.All for the scattered stones across the dockside.Except for the one still in my breast pocket, glowing white hot against my chest.I could feel it, a beat inside it, beating in time to my own. Not to my heart beat but to the drumming beat of my power galloping through my veins.And as it did the fire in my mind took hold, a blinding white inferno.The world beneath us slowed to a crawl, the guns raised, the words half shouted. Thunderchild drifted down beside me, his coat rippling back with a languid, unnatural slowness, his eyes wide and a word half said forming on his lips, the vowel long escaping from his throat.Under us the ground shook, stone walls rising from the ground as hot flares of light bloomed in the chaos. Misfit rode out from the warehouse, front wheel of her motorcycle raised, fingers slowly clicking in front of her with points of light beginning to flare from pinpricks around her fingers. Pratfall tumbling beside Grit with a cheshire cat grin, Grit swinging his stone hammer in both hands, shouting a wordless battlecry.I saw the helicopter suspended above the waters, the haevy gun chewing up the earth, Scab adjusting her red tie before it.And I moved. A meteor blazing, kicking off from Thunderchild's momentum.Steel crashed around me screaming as I shot through the helicopter, then the hard stinging slap as I shot through the thin icy crust on the waters. It closed in around me, closing me into an icy darkness, as above my head an explosion boomed. And with the slap of ice water the world sped up once more.
Helicopter parts shot through the dark water around me, with the dark clad shapes of men.I blew out the air in my lungs as I kicked for the surface, and burst up, out, gasping. I slithered up onto the wet dock, flame licked metal scattered across it.Scab's glasses had come askew. She stared at me with one bared eye. Then the flesh on her hand opened up, and a long slug slid out.It wasn't a blood worm. It was wet and glistened, its back ridged as if with steel plates. She whipped it over head, then lashed it down at me.I bent back, feeling the rush of it swing by, then bent forward on its return, boxing training heightened by the terrifying power taking hold of me. The stink wafting off her, acid and rot. The worm-whip sliced for my head and I ducked under it. It struck Lt Grove instead, sliced through his shoulder into his chest. It caught on his rib cage. He spat up blood, moaning in horror hands shaking at his body split open.Scab frowned, then with a jerk of her arm ripped the steel worm through the rest of him, slicing him in half. What slopped out at the feet of his comrades had them scatter back swearing. Scab kept her attention on me.I danced around her whip, stepping in, closing her reach. Then, when I was near, I caught the base length of her steel worm, the length of it whipping around my arm, cutting in with a stinging bite."No," she gasped as I pulled her forward. I grabbed her wrist. She punched at my head with her free hand. Then with a grip on her worm and a grip on the hand it grew from, I pulled.The scream of agony from her throat as I ripped it out of her body caused a second's pause in the fight. It ripped out with a spray of blood and ichor, the worm limp in my grip. She shuddered, color gone from her face, vomit welling in the back of her mouth. I kicked her away, tossing the dead worm to the ground, crushing it under my boot heel. She clutched her arm to her side, moaning, unable to get her feet under her.I stalked toward her."Take a message to your masters," I said, kicking her over, "Chicago is under my protection. No more blood worms. If I see one, if I even think there's one, I'll come back to your hole in the ground, and this time I won't leave until the job is done. Understand?"I looked down on her, this creature who had turned her gift to wicked use.On her knees she nodded, tears and snot streaming down her face, wounded arm shaking under her.She was done.But the fight wasn't over.A jaw distended against the blow of Grit's hammer, then an arm, then a leg. It seemed to have no weight in his hands until it met a target, with nasty results. Until it swung, and shattered on Salamander's returning punch. Cement dust coated his face, then blood when Salamander's fist took him in the nose, staggering him back. She sliced an axe kick down on his head. He stomped the ground, a pillar rising to intercept, but her foot smashed through it with a gust of flames. A vicious smile chased him back.
Thunderchild grabbed him by the fleece collar and Salamander's fist drove through nothing, flames bursting around her arm as the boomed rolled over her. They reappeared among the cartel thugs, Grit snorting out blood before stomping up another hammer, swinging it along the ground to swirl up a ring of stone fangs, driving up into the cartel gun-thugs, bullets cracking off the cement now covering him.A melee swirled around the fake stones, a fake Sundowner cut down by Baby Girl's sword. She ducked the bullet of the real one, rolling low to thrust her blade through a cartel chest, Sundowner himself dipping back before splitting in three, then four, then five, bullets coming from all around.I looked for Pratfall.Stunt Crew MC Had her in a circle, kicking her one way, punching her the other, sending her spiralling and flopping around, the bells on her crown jingling. She was a ragdoll in the grips of a shark. I moved for her as Thunderchild appeared, but when he grabbed her she pushed him off with a mean little smile."Now for my jape to play," she said through bloody teeth, and sucked in a breath, beinging her hands together in a loud clap.The kinetic shockwave burst over the dock. Stunt Crew were flung away, bouncing off hard stone the way a body shouldn't. It stopped me dead, braced against the impact, almost bowling me off my feet too.She bounded with a laugh, her stinging slap on a Stunt Crew cheek hitting harder than Grit's hammer. A childish stomp on a man's toe crushed his foot inside his leather boots. She back flipped away from a swung pipe then flipped back forward, kicking him in the chest with both feet and firing him through the battle to smash through distant Lake Michigan ice."Remind me not to fuck with Pratfall!" Grit yelled, swing his way toward me.There were gangsters around us, and still two helicopters up overhead, circling, military vultures waiting to pick over the carcass of the battle.I pointed to one and Grit nodded. Stomping the ground he grew a pillar, then with his hammer swatted chunks of stone toward them. It caught the rear propeller, smashing it off, then the next cut through its tail, and the chopper began to spiral."Misfit!" I yelled, pointing at the last one.She nodded, rubbing her hands together, a light bomb growing between her palms. Thunderchild grabbed her by the collar and in a boom they were gone. I scanned for them in the sky, and caught sight of the bright orb just as it hit the front of the last chopper.A blinding flash lit up the sky, so loud it swallowed all other sound, light so bright I tucked my head even with my goggles. Then, with an awful drum roll, sound returned with sight, and there was nothing left of the chopper but falling parts.Fuck. She really could do some damage if she wanted to.Gun fire burst around my shoulders.
One of the black ops soldiers held a gun in a single fist, barrel unsteady but thrust toward me, water pouring off him. The gunner from the chopper, he sneered as he shook."Para-freak," he snarled. I tensed, ready to move.A spray of water was his only warning, then a strangled shout silenced by crushing jaws closing around his head.Shark reared up, the head going with him as the body dropped the other way. He grabbed a fleeing soldier, and as the man screamed casually tore him in half."Fire-bearer," he said, gore staining his teeth, "Evil's scent drew me here.""What the fuck is that?" Grit yelled pointing with his hammer, ready to start swinging."An ally," I said, pushing his hammer down.I looked back over the roaring battle, the chaos, the death. Navaja in her nun's habit, directing her men's fire. Frankie the Nose hiding behind a car while a bodyguard fired over the hood. The old man clutched in Sullivan's lap, gasping for air over a bloody white jacket, tears in Sullivan's eyes as he cradled him.There was still plenty of fighting left. The stone burned hot against my chest, throbbing in time with my own hot thoughts, a war drum calling me to fight.>we've won, let's get out of here>the battle isn't over, let's finish this
>>4759998>the battle isn't over, let's finish thisWith new heights come new enemies. Let them know the name: Hotspur
>>4759998Damn, we just human missile'd a helicopter. Did we ever give Grant a heads up about this crazy ass plan? Was she going to try to make any arrests?
>>4759998>the battle isn't over, let's finish thisNavaja seem a bit untouched, salamander could be taken down a peg or two. The choppers could still be a problem
>>4759998>we've won, let's get out of hereWe've had no para casualties and our message has been heard loud and clear. Let the gangs keep going at it if they want. We can't exactly take anyone prisoner, and even if we did they'd just be replaced. I double checked the last thread and Ms. Grant doesn't know shit about this operation.
>>4759998>we've won, let's get out of here
>>4759829Jesus tap-dancing Christ to crit where it was needed most
>>4759998>the battle isn't over, let's finish this
>>4759998>>the battle isn't over, let's finish this
>>4759998>We won, let's skedaddle
I've been trying to shake this cold all day but its just getting worse, so no game today.I'll hopefully be well enough tomorrow
>>4761495Get well soon then. Have some funny Egypt mom.
>>4761495Take all the time you need
"We should book," Thunderchild said, taking a knee.They were tired. Grit panted, his chin covered in a crust of blood, Pratfall nursed a swelling black eye, Misfit breathed hard. Only Shark, newly arrived, was still fresh.But the fighting wasn't over."No," I said. There were too many cartel gun-thugs still standing for my taste.Clusters of fighting litered the dockyard. Cartel and Outfit goons exchanging gunfire from behind the cover of their cars, Salamander brawling with Stunt Crew soldiers, and still a fight over the fake stones.Sundowner picked one up, the stone crumbling in his hands, and threw away the rest as crumbling dust. Baby Girl ran up on him, sword low at her side, and when she sliced he ducked his head, dividing into two, one of him lunging left, the other right. Baby Gurl turned and cut down the fake Sundowner, the one left now running for Cartel safety, splitting into two, then three, then five, gun shots slicing through a fake."The fight isn't over," I said.The hot stone burned against my chest. I looked out over the battlefield, seeing with different eyes. A dark mist choked this place, swarmed it with growing, lashing limbs with every scream of pain or dying gasp. It grew from the criminals as they brawled, pulsing, feeding on the hatred, the terror, the violence. Silver light speckled in the darkness, fading in the black mist.I stepped forward, the icy lake behind me.When I did the attention of a gun turned my way. The rifle roared, the bullet meant for me. It cut through the air but seemed slow, slow enough I ducked aside. Behind me Grit raised a concrete wall, the bullet puffing against the cement. I strode toward the cartel, and their guns turned from Outfit muscle toward me.A spray of bullets but my eyes were wide, body jolting with the blissful fire roaring through me. I ducked under, stepped around, weaving through it. Knowing where the deadly flecks of metal would be, knowing where not to be by unnatural instinct. I weaved through the hail. A puff at my sleeve saw a bullet clip my suit, another through the leg of my pants, but my flesh was untouched.I closed in on frightened men frustrated with their guns as they tried to reload, Navaja behind them, hissing in her face paint.The words tumbling from her lips weren't English. I didn't understand Spanish.But somehow I knew what she was saying."Kill him, shoot straight you idiots. Give me the gun."She snatched a nickle plated AK from a fumbling Billy Lonegran, cleared the empty magazine, slammed in a new one, drew back the bolt and brought the barrel down. Right against my chest.
Hesitation, the moment of doubt to cross her face, was the time I needed to knock the barrel aside. Muzzle flash and the barrel bucked in my fist as it spewed bullets into her own men, then I squeeze. Metal groaned as the barrel twisted in my fist. I yanked it from her hand, tossing it over my shoulder."You are a dead man, Hotspur," she said, "The Lady of Death is smiling on you."There were serpents in her words. I don't know why I thought that.One of her men came for me with a knife, one of those broad, inward curving knives, screaming loud.A single fist drove him into a car door, denting it. He collapsed with a moan.I looked back to their boss. Her smile was a cat's hiss, a knife of her own in her hand, blade flicking out from a horn handle. She sliced for my throat. I dipped back. She sliced for my eyes. I grabbed her wrist. I drove a fist down on her cheek just as someone leapt on my back, trying to lock me into a chokehold. Navaja crumpled as I staggered back.Billy Lonegran wheezed into my ear as he tried to lock a beefy arm around my neck."Motherfucker," he panted, "This is all your fucking fault. You did this. Broke up the crew."I bent forward, grabbing his arm, and then with a surge of power flipped over, landing hard on my back, slamming Billy into the cement. His grip loosened with a moan. I rolled off him, looked down. He was putrid, the silver light inside him weak, growing weaker. Weak from shame, hate, cowardice.Contempt wrinkled my face."Hold yourself to account," I told him, "For your deeds, your words. It's your only hope. I'm just a messenger."He tried to get up, then gave up.Gun-thugs readied their weapons, then under them the earth rose, throwing them up in the explosion. Grit lowered his hand, sweating despite the cold. Explosions of white light opened over cars and motorbikes, busting the engines, sending them flipping over. But the next explosion was just sound and light, barely rocking a car on its carriage. Misfit lowered a slack arm. They were getting tired.My hearing, refined to an edge, heard the distant scream of police sirens. There was no way a battle like this would have gone unnoticed."Woop-woop, that's the sound of the beast!" Thunderchild said, grabbing me, "Now we do got to go."We weren't the only ones quitting the field. Salamander pulled her men back, Frankie slung over her shoulder, while Cartel goons helped Navaja to her feet, blood running through her face paint. Sullivan slung his dead boss over the back of the bike, revving the engine.Red and blue lights flashed, the scream of dozens of sirens. It must be every cop in East Chicago coming. The biggest gang in town.
I looked to my allies and flinched. They burned with silver light in the grasping dark mist. It hated them, flinching away, recoiling at the light."Come on, you there Spur?" Thunderchild said."I'm...yeah," I said. The fire in my mind made it hard to think. At least, to think outside the fight."We got to go," Thunderchild said, ushering everyone close.Shark stepped back. "We part ways now fire-bearer," he said, "Good luck to you and your comrades."Dumbly I nodded as Shark dove back for the water. The rest grabbed on to some part of Thunderchild's clothing, as Thunderchild grabbed on to me.And then we were gone in a thunderclap.
Thunderchild's power had a limit, he could only teleport where he could see, so it took him three ports before we were clear of the battle. By the time we were he was shuddering with exhaustion. I wasn't much better.I pulled down my face mask to vomit.We were out in some lost part of south Chicago, in an empty park.I emptied my guts onto the dead grass. The stone still burned hot against my chest.Misfit let out a long, groaning 'fuuuuuck me' while Grit untied his bandanna to clean the blood off his face."So that went well!" Pratfall said with a bright smile, "A thrust at the heart of evil, a battle won, a song to sing!""If you start singing Imma drum your head off the ground," Grit said, spitting blood.Pratfall fell into an olde timey boxing stance, bouncing from foot to foot."Ain't you sore?" Thunderchild said, "You took a whooping.""My ribs do ache, but I find myself in good spirits," she said, "Why not? We've shown the villainy of Chicago our mettle, and I doubt they liked the taste."I knelt in the grass, spitting up a little more. The glow in the stone began to fade, its heat retreating, and as it did so did the fire in my mind, leaving it a haze, and leaving me with a gut clenching hunger. I buckled over moaning, grabbing my stomach."You okay Spur?" Misfit said, arm around my shoulder. The smell of her invaded my nose, leather, motor oil and sweat.I nodded. The haze in my mind was hard to talk through. "Hungry," I managed."Man, you're crazy," Grit said, "That was some wild shit back there.""You sure you're okay?" Misfit said, "You don't seem okay."I nodded again. "I'm...empty tank is all," I said. I had the shakes. My memory was getting fuzzy. It came in flits of images. Ripping the worm from Scab's arm, spearing the helicopter, fighting Navaja. But was that the way it happened? The frozen waters of Lake Michigan, dark bodies sinking around me. I looked to Misfit. Silver light danced in her eyes, but they faded to white spots until those spots were blinked away. Misfit rubbed my back.Something did happen, something that had happened only once before. When I'd fought Houndmaster and his drones. And if it was the same as that I was in for a rough couple of days."I need a beer," Grit said."We should celebrate," Pratfall said, walking on her hands, "Victory! Good has triumphed, evil has been vanquished!" She balanced on one palm, wobbled, then collapsed. She rolled to sit upright with a grin."Beer," Grit said, lying back in the winter grass."What do you say to some chilaquiles?" Thunderchild said, "You know a good Mexican place, 'Fit?""Shit I can cook us up some if you want," she said, "What do you say, Spur. Victory party? I can whip us up a feast.">after all that a feast sounds good>I need to get home, get sleep
>>4763522>after all that a feast sounds good
>>4763487This is awesome.
>>4763522We missed a party for this party. Let's rest and refule.>after all that a feast sounds good
>>4763522>after all that a feast sounds goodI think we've been holding on to the stone for too long
>>4763551If its a buff or some kind of soulstone thing, we are probably the best bet for it.
>>4763522>after all that a feast sounds goodPreferably somewhere private where we don't have to reveal ourselves to the public (or take off our mask, we fought with them but we need to get to know them better to reveal ourselves)
>>4763557They fought a gang war with us, half of the gang already know, there is no reason not to let the mask down.
>>4763522>I need to get home, get sleepI feel like we need to check in with our loved ones, I'm sure they're worried about us
Did any reporters get a view of our epic battle, will our team show up on Youtube? Well, before the spooks delete them until people put it up on 4chan?
Food. My belly groaned."I could eat," I said.Misfit looked over her shoulder. "You got enough juice to get us back to the safehouse, 'Child?"He let out a sigh, rubbing his face."Yeah, should do," he said.We gathered up, me leaning on Misfit, clutching my stomach."Okay," he said, "Let's go."
Did we actually kill people this time?
I crashed out on Julie Adams' couch. I was in and out of sleep, the only thing keeping me awake was the hiss of a shower and the thock of a knife on a cutting board. Then the smell of food cooking got me sitting up.I've been drunk twice in my life and had a hangover both times. It was the only feeling I could relate to the hammers ringing in my head.Someone had pulled off my shoes and loosened my jacket, but they hadn't touched my mask. Good, I still wasn't sure if I was comfortable showing my face to everyone here. Grit was sitting on the floor in front of the couch, watching TV with a beer in his lap, flipping through. He had cleaned up, wearing a loose tank top, the bristles on his head a little darker than when we'd first met. So not bald, just liked to keep it short.He flicked over to a news station.Priscilla Takanawa stood on the East Chicago docks."-scene of mass casualties. Police are calling for any witnesses into what some are already calling the 'New Year's Day War', the sight of a massive gun battle between Chicago's largest criminal organizations. We still don't have an accurate figure on casualties but the number could be as high as several dozen. Adding to the confusion around the issue is rumors of para-freak activity, with the vigilante Hotspur and other costumed companions spotted near the site of the carnage. The mayor is calling for calm in the coming days, and is promising a crack down on-"Grit flicked it over to cartoons."Fuck that noise," he said, draining his beer, "I know what happened."He glanced back to see me sitting up. "You awake?" he said."I'm not dreaming," I said."Here," he handed me a beer. I pulled down my mask just enough to drink. It felt good going down, crisp and a little bitter, but not overwhelming.If I had to sum up how I felt it would be 'hollow'. Not just physically but emotionally. All the anxiety and fear was drained out of me, and the relief too was gone. The sweet relief of having made it through danger, which usually left me buzzing, just wasn't there today. Mostly I was hungry. I finished the beer before I realized it, fishing for another. It was good to be alive.That's about all I felt. That and hungry from the smell wafting from the kitchen.We were in Julie Adams' comfortable middle class house, in her comfortable middle class neighborhood in Chicago's deep north. It was as far as you could get from where we'd been without leaving the country.Some kind of metal was playing in the kitchen. Misfit's music. I didn't recognize the band but I'm no metal head."Where are the others?" I said.Grit shrugged. "Thunderchild is taking a nap, Pratfall is having a shower."At that the shower stopped, the pipes groaning.She came down drying her hair wearing blue jeans and a loose blouse. A straight faced Chinese girl with small glasses. It took me a second. She looked more like a pharmacist than a superhero.
"Pratfall?" I said.She looked at me with a blank face, adjusting her glasses then pulled her hair back into a bun."The food smells good," she said, voice barely over a monotone. She went to the table, quietly waiting with her hands folded in her lap.Grit stared, beer spilling down his chin onto his shirt.Thunderchild came in yawning just as Misfit came out of the kitchen with a pot of food in either hand. One was some kind of stripped chicken loaded with spices, the other was a beans and rice mix. She came back with tortillas and bowls of fresh made guacamole and salsa."Hope you guys like Mexican," she said.She was out of her costume too, such as it was, barefoot with her jacket hanging off a hook."Damn, smells good," Grit said, taking a seat. Thunderchild sat next to him, ladling out food onto a plate."You joining in, 'Spur?" Misfit asked.I became aware of my mask, and the maskless faces at the table.>eat alone>take off the mask and join in
>>4763655>take off the mask and join in
>>4763655>take off the mask and join inIf Thunderchild wakes up while we're eating rib him for using powers to win high school basketball games.
Fuck it.I pulled down my mask and pulled off my goggles."So the prince shows his face," Misfit teased as I pulled up a chair, handing me a plate."Good, hate talkin' to people wearing masks," Grit said.I scooped some beans onto a tortilla and doused it in hot sauce. Thunderchild frowned at me as he ate, then gave a loud 'Oh shit!'"You're the guy," he said, "From the north side team, the basketball player.""Yeah," I said with a grin, "Guess I figured my powers were good for more than winning ball games."He toasted me with a beer than knocked it back. I just kept my head down eating. Misfit could cook, and I was more than hungry. It got to the point I was sucking on limes, there was nothing else to eat. It was all it took not to lick the plate."Watching you eat stresses me out," Misfit said. I belched."So what was this all about anyway?" Grit asked.Still chewing a tortilla, I pulled the stone out of my breast pocket. It was warm to the touch, a faint glow still on its surface. I dropped it on the table where it landed ith a sharp click."Me and Misfit," I said, swallowing the last bit of cud, "We swiped this a few months back from the black ops guys. It's some kind of extra-terrestrial artifact, and part of what caused the Chicago Explosion. A lot of guys are trying to get it, mostly for other people. Ixion is the main one.""The gas company?" Thunderchild said."Far more than a gas company."It was Pratfall said it. We looked to her as she corrected her glasses."Ixion's main business is energy," she said, "But they also have an interest in pharmaceuticals, agriculture and weapons development. They're something we refer to as a 'four horsemen' company. Weapons, drugs, fuel, and food.""We?" Misfit said.Pratfall sighed. "I'm a student at DePaul," she said, "Majoring in mathematical sciences. I'm actually there on an Ixion scholarship." Outside her costume she had a voice so flat it was hard to pick where she was from. It was hard to believe she even was the tumbling, fumbling jester."Fancy shit," Grit said."Hardly, Ixion hands out a great many scholarships and internships. It gives them a select field of recruits to draw on for their various subsidiaries and projects.""And you're one of those recruits?" I said."In theory," she said, "But I've been disturbed by my own investigations into the company. Suffice to say I'm happy you've frustrated their efforts to acquire the stone."Thunderchild stared at her for a second. "Are you absolutely sure you're Pratfall?" he said."You can call me Xiang if you prefer," she said."Jang," Grit replied."No, Xiang," she said, the first flash of emotion on her face a tick in her eyebrow. "It suits my purposes to affect a certain persona when I'm in costume, it helps people draw false assumptions about my civilian identity which lead them off my scent."Then, after a long silence she mumbled to her plate, "And I always wanted to be a clown."
I stared at her maybe longer than I should have. It made me wonder which was real, this sober woman, or the freewheeling acrobat."So what happens next?" Misfit said, "I figure we got the gangs off our backs for a while and maybe even the federal guys, but Thunderchild and me are still wanted for crimes we didn't commit, and those guys are going to come back eventually." "Colonel Vandieman isn't a fuck around kind of guy," Thunderchild said.I rubbed my temples. What I'd give for a break from all this."As I figure it the DPA is their public face," I said, "It's the DPA stitched you guys up then pawned you off to those guys, same as they've done with other para-folk.""They got others locked up?" Grit said. I nodded. "Well then we got to go rescue them.""Easy, Grit, we've already fought one battle," Misfit said, "There's plenty of time for more later.""Besides, we'd need more than what we got to storm their base," Thunderchild said, "Believe me, I've been there. They got shit you wouldn't believe.""Whatever they have, its a generation behind Ixion," Pratfall, Xiang, said, "Ixion is the company they buy these toys off.""So what, we sit on our hands?" Grit said, "Man, I thought you were in this fight.""I'm in it, just not in it to get killed," Thunderchild said, "Believe me, no one's got more reason to hate those fucks than me. They did all kinds of shit to us, even put a goddamn worm in my head.""There's a news story should be coming out," I said, "Blowing open the conspiracy. I don't think it'll take them down but, I don't know, I hope it helps.""In the mean time we should..."There was a turn of the lock, and I pulled my mask up fast.Julie Adams came in, Ms Grant behind her."So here you all are," Ms Grant said, her usual composure gone with a snap, "Mind telling me why I was kept in the dark about a gang war that shot up an entire city dock?"I shared a look with my comrades. "We thought it was better to keep you in the dark," I said.Her phone came up like a weapon. "Next time, think again. I just had to quash a warrant for your arrest. I argued there wasn't enough evidence to prove your direct involvement. I was lying out my ass."She looked over us and her snarl settled into a frown. "Good God, are any of you older than twenty one?"We looked uncomfortable around the table. I think Xiang or Grit were the oldest and they were maybe nineteen."Of course you're all children," she said, "Only children could think they can save the world."I looked past her to Ms Adams."What about the story, ma'am?" I said."Oh, the expose?" Adams said, "It was going to be the front page story until today. Now we're running nothing but coverage of the New Year's Day War for the next week.""So long as it gets out there," I said. I'd post it on Reddit if I had to.
"So what's next 'Spur?" Thunderchild asked.They looked to me. Misfit, Pratfall, Grit and Thunderchild, and that's when it occurred to me.They thought I was their leader."Uh..." I started, unused to the responsibility they were putting on me.>we make moves against Ixion>keep up the pressure on the gangs>keep up pressure on the federal operation>just take it easy for now, keep your heads down
I'll either be back tomorrow or the day after
>>4763821>keep up the pressure on the gangsEasiest target for now and allows us to establish ourselves as do-gooders rather than simply another gang Also get them all costumes, we NEED costumes
>>4763821>keep up pressure on the federal operationMisfit and Thunder Child are still wanted. The sooner we prove their innocence the better. And what better place to find evidence than the secret underground base.Oh and >costumes, costumes for everyone
>>4763821>keep up the pressure on the gangsWe need to improve our PR. Let's bust some gangers and get good press for it.
>>4763821>we make moves against IxionFollow the money. They're the root of all of this.
>>4763821>>keep up the pressure on the gangs
>>4763821>>costumes, costumes for everyonealso.i agree with the people saying we need better pr. it important that people trust us, besides, we are probably the first official superheros, we need to set a good precent
Organized crime is bad, I get that. The gangs are probably gonna lie low for a bit and then escalate dramatically after the ass beating they just got. But Ixion is up to some shady shit that could effect a lot more people. We need to focus on them. They're the ones working with the federal government. They're the ones who paid the gangs to get their hands on the stone. And they're the ones who sent Houndmaster and Sundowner to kill Zamani's loved ones. Hell, I bet they're behind the fire at Fermilab too. I think we're never gonna get anywhere unless we focus on them.
>>4764045of course, but if we cant get the people on our side, then we are kinda fucked, we need people to care, and liste to what we say
>>4764060I think our rep is good with people who matter. We'll probably be labeled a terrorist or some shit like that pretty soon. Getting distracted by public opinion when the stakes are this high is a huge waste of time.
>>4763821>>keep up pressure on the federal operation
>>4763816Oh no, she's adorable.
So getting back onto shipping bullshit Kay is trash Ayesha better stop trying to get out of the damn friendzone, you're like a sister to us Ivy continues to prove herself to be the best again and again and again. That being said, if we ever break up with Kay let's not just jump into something new just like that, let us be single and without relationship bullshit for a while
>>4763821>keep up the pressure on the gangsIxion will move when they want too, and the feds don't need ammo they can easily edit into proof to take us out. But shredding what's left of the gangs will help.
>>4764128And everyone else outnumber those people that matter.
>>4763821Oh yeah>>4764233Add in>costumes, costumes for everyone
>>4764060Why though? We do this for the general public but their support doesn't really change how we do things. Our enemies can control the media and we literally just started an all out gang war. Good PR is never gonna happen for us.I swear to God, PRfags will be the death of us
>>4764283Fuck off antiPRfag, bet you're a kay-fag as well with your shit taste
>>4763821>we make moves against Ixion
>>4764283Way too simplistic. Our enemies influence the media, but the United States government isn't sufficiently authoritarian to entirely control it. If we do cool shit, people on social media and rebellious independent news outlets will take notice. It's literally already happened, actually. When we beat up those cops, many people on Twitter liked it. Imagine if we save kittens or some shit.
>>4765359what does the support of the people do for us in practice though?
>>4765359Semper Fi has a kitten saving monopoly
>>4765397Because only one important cop, whom only has a get out of jail card for Hotspur, is on our side, we only have one reporter who fluffs up Hotspur because Misfit was framed for murder(still is), and Thunderchild is a glorified escaped convict(also still framed). Eric/Hotspur is literally the only one with a positive rapport with the city, and that is tenuous at best. It isn't just good PR for Hotspur, its for the rest of the crew to make the feds back up a bit from trying to nab them. If we jump straight to fighting Iaxion for example, a group largely untouched besides beating they're attack dog, but is well liked by the public, or god forbid the feds like your impatient ass wants, we would all be labeled terrorists, and then everyone will try to dogpile us.
>>4765447And Shark rescues child slaves, oh that is an idea, he's probably done more of that since we've seen him, we need to get him a reporter friend. Or maybe a Bizarre Marine Biologist.
What are we, a slimy politician? We should do what's right because it's right, not because we think the public will like us more. That's what pisses me off about the whole PR obsession.
>>4765743Honestly. At the end of the day we're a half step away from shark. We walk with fire and cast away the darkness. What people think doesn't matter.
>>4765359Corporations control the media more than the government. What is Ixion? A massive and well connected corporation.>>4765794We're nowhere near being shark. We have a code of ethics that we follow that is generally virtuous. I shouldn't even have to say this, but eating people alive is nowhere near what we do. If people like what we do, that's great. But we shouldn't base our actions off of what other people would think about them. What's our tombstone gonna say? Here lies Hotspur, he checked all the boxes and trended on twitter a whole lot and everyone liked him? If we're going to be the role model for all future superheroes, we should focus on following our own moral compass and not the fickle court of public opinion. The public doesn't know shit about what's going on with parahumans yet.
>>4765874Seems like you completely misunderstood me. I'm saying we're a half step away from Shark BECAUSE we both have a moral code, his is more skewed though. Essentially, I feel anyway, that both us and Shark operate on what we think is best; optics be damned. PR doesn't matter as long as we're doing what's right.
>>4765906Apologies fellow anti PR anon, I'm a little heated about the subject after having to argue about it in every thread
>>4765947No worries. People forget that everyone backed Spiderman no matter how much JJJ and Oscorp talked shit. The right people know we're not a menace.
>>4764031>>4764011>>4763840>>4764233locked in with the costumes write-in
"We keep the pressure on the gangs," I said, "They took a hard knock but we need to keep them down before they hit back. So we'll mess up their operations where we find them, drive their people off the street, make them too scared to show their faces.""Not just the Outfit or the Midwest Cartel, but the Triads too, and anyone else looking to make some money off the misery of the city.""I'm down for that," Grit said."I'll do what I can but I have the warrant on my head," Misfit said, "Me and 'Child are still fugitives, and they'll be tearing up the city looking for us after today.""We're working on that," Ms Grant said, "I'm building a case with Hotspur's help to prove your innocence. I may have a lead with the primary detective, but it will take some more leg work.""Actually Ms Grant, do you know if Merriweather is free for more commissions?" I said."Merriweather?" Thunderchild said."I figure these guys could use some new threads," I said, "Costumes you know.""I'll ask, but Merriweather isn't cheap," she said, "I had to play them an arm just for your suit, the leg was left on as a discount.""Thanks all the same," I said.Business was finished. Thunderchild was planning to head to the south side to crash with Queen Rat's people, make some time with his girl. Xiang, Pratfall, went with him. Before she did she went upstairs, and came tumbling down in her face paint and jester's costume."Ready to saddle up partner?" she said with a wide grin, popping to her feet before Thunderchild. Again I was surprised by how a simple costume switch seemed to transform the girl. "Boy howdy I'm beat and sure could use a reset. Do you think Boomer's cooking tonight? I'm hoping not. They call my jokes bad but his cooking is murder!"Thunderchild groaned, took her by the shoulder."Catch you guys later," Thunderchild said, and with the perky jester disappeared in a thunderous boom.Me, I had to get home. But my footsteps dragged and my head was fuzzy. I'd told Ivy I'd go see her after, which meant getting changed back into my civilian gear. I was exhausted enough I considered blowing it off and crashing here on Adams' couch, but I forced myself out after saying my goodbyes.Bounding through the sky, the city beneath me, I had no questions and no thoughts. They were drained out of me, replaced instead by an empty mind riding on autopilot. I don't think I'd ever been so tired, even after a good meal and a sleep.I changed at my hideout and kicked my way home.Dad was lying on the couch, a half empty bottle of Jack beside him, the TV on with Priscilla Takanawa still grimly reporting from the scene of the battle. Dad hadn't shaved, he hadn't washed either, and he barely seemed concious when he rolled red eyes to the door as I came in. He didn't get up but moved a feeble arm at the bottle as if he could hide it from me and I'd ignore all the rest.
The sight of him stopped me in my tracks. I hadn't seen him like this in months.Now something rose through the exhausted fog of my mind. I wasn't angry, exactly. It wasn't rage. It wasn't sharp or exploding but more a dark wave rising. A swamping feeling that dragged me down with it. Shame, maybe."Sorry," he mumbled, rolling onto his belly, face into the cushions. That's all he said, he didn't move or make another sound.I stared at him from the doorway. Stared at him lying on the couch, his face hidden, the reek of alcohol and an unwashed body wafting through the house.It was all so exhausting.>stay home and take care of Dad>get changed and go to the Carver house>ignore promises and obligations and go to bed
>>4768145>Help clean Dad up so he isn't in his mess, then head to the Carver House.Old habits die hard, and the man watched fight in a open gang war with the military and every group he was told stories about.
>>4768145>stay home and take care of Dadyeah that must have been pretty rough for him to watch
>>4768145>get changed and go to the Carver houseWe can move him to his room first at least
Dad didn't fight when I picked him up off the couch, though he made a small animal noise as I carried him through to his bed.I got him set, pulled off his shoes.But I wasn't planning on hanging around."I'll see you tonight," I said, not sure if he could even understand me.I clicked off the light then went to shower off and change.The stone went back in my desk drawer. When it did the stray cat sat up on my bed, ars perked, sniffing. It went over to the desk, scratching at it, rubbing its chin against the edge. Weird mangy thing, but after taking down a blood worm I wasn't going to shoo it out. I gave it a scratch behind the ear, distracting it enough to purr, then changed into a set of clean clothes.I'd told Ivy I'd come talk to her after today, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to tell her.Last night at the party, and now today after fighting for my life.What did I even want to tell her?How I felt about her was a confusing mess.My phone had a couple of messages, mostly new year greetings from my family. Jude, my grandparents, a few people I hadn't seen at the party last night. Nothing from Ivy or from Kay.I put my phone away, brushed my hair. Maybe Ivy would know where I'd been today, but Ayesha didn't. I got my bag then went out, the stray cat following me to the door. I really should name it. I really should get it checked for parasites too.Stop it. I was focusing on the cat to distract myself.I went out to the bus shelter. By now I knew how to get to the Carver house with my eyes closed, but on the bus it was hard to keep my eyes open, the bounce and rock of the carriage lulling me half to sleep.Long day,even if the sun was going down early. I stumbled my way onto the transfer took me into the north side, the rest of the passengers as silent and tired as I was.By the time I got to the Carver residence the sun had set and the early night sky was opening with a field of young stars, brushed over the horizon. Light glowed in their windows, fresh snow starting to fall.I hesitated at the front step, then knocked.Ayesha answered, breathless from laughter."Eric," she said, "What's up?""Is Ivy in?" I said.Ayesha's smile turned to a slight frown. "No, she's at a ballet thing. She should be back soon, Dad went to pick her up. Um, Kay is here though.""You know, your girlfriend."I swallowed, a stab of guilt in my chest."We've been watching anime," she said, "To take her mind off things.""Yeah?" I said, "What things?"Ayesha crossed her arms, leaning in the doorway. "You, mostly," she said, "She's upset about something happened last night. Or didn't happen.""Yeah," I said."Do you want to come in?" she said it like it might be a better idea for me to wait outside."Either way you should talk to her.">I'll wait outside>Go inside>Maybe I should just leave
sorry, distracted by usman v masvidal
>>4768389>Go insideShe deserves the courtesy.
>>4768406masvidal got dropped hard
>>4768396hotspur mma training when
>>4768389>Go inside>For fuck sake tell Ayasha we are Hotspur
"It's cold out," I said, snowflakes melting on my shoulders.Ayesha gave me the doorway. A nervous drum beat ran through my veins. Her mom was in the kitchen, giving the girls alone time. Kay was in the frunchroom, the tv paused on a trio of cartoon girls arguing around a table. She had a bucket of popcorn in her lap and a small expression when she saw me."Hey," I said.She picked up the bucket of popcorn, put it beside her, got up and walked into the back dining room. I looked over to Ayesha, who shrugged.I followed her back. "What's up?" I said.Kay looked over her shoulder, expression growing hot. Angry. Great."You didn't come here to see me," she said. It wasn't a question but it thrust through me anyway."No, I didn't," I admitted."Last night," she said, "I waited for you. Even if we'd had a fight I thought...its new years eve, what does it matter? But you slipped out without saying anything. You just left.""I had to clear my head," I said."Yeah, well, I think I need to clear my head too."What did that mean? It sent a crawl up my arm."Are you...are we breaking up?" I said.She looked back at me, her face now gone cold."I'll see you at school," she said. She walked by, then stopped, forcing me to look around. "You tell the...the person you actually came to see whatever you want," she said, glaring at the carpet."Kay," I started."Bye Ayesha," she said, grabbing her coat without looking back, stalking out. I almost ran after her, but Ayesha stopped me."It won't help, Eric," she said, stepping between me and the door, "Trust me, I know her. Give her some time, she's upset.""Because I didn't kiss her last night?" my voice came out tight, choked."That too," she said, "I mean, you know how it looks to her. I know it isn't what she thinks, I know you and Ivy aren't doing anything but...just think about how it looks and try to be understanding."Understanding? I closed my eyes, breathing hard. I didn't notice Ayesha had helped me sit until my eyes were open. She turned off the tv, held my hand. I was shaking and hadn't noticed. She gave me a warm little smile, then a shoulder hug."She'll come to her senses," Ayesha said, "You're a great guy Eric, she's remember that. Just let her be a little dramatic and it'll blow over.""Do you think so?" I said.Now a look of doubt crossed her face. "Maybe," she said, "Honestly, Kay can be...difficult I guess. She can really hold a grudge.""Sorry," she said, "God, this is my fault. I'm such an asshole."I frowned at her. "How?" I said."I asked you to ask her out," Ayesha said, "I...I knew she liked you, and after everything last year with Ivy I thought she needed, well...I really shouldn't have stuck my nose in."I stared ahead at nothing."I hope she comes to her senses," she said, "I'll try to talk to her if you want."I closed my eyes. This was a headache.>No Ayesha, don't put yourself to the trouble>I'd really appreciate it if you did
>>4768532>No Ayesha, don't put yourself to the troubleI have a sneaking suspicion that Kay will out us as Hots if we send Ayesha to talk to her, if anything we should spill those beans right about fucking now so Ayesha at least knows before-hand and can process this shit.Fuck Kay.
not many people around tonightI'll pick this up tomorrow
>>4768532>No Ayesha, don't put yourself to the trouble
>>4768532>No Ayesha, don't put yourself to the trouble>>4768540Yeah, she's getting pretty damn petty. She just fucking might.
>>4768540Agreed, fuck Kay she's the worst mistake our horny teenage minds ever made Why the fuck did the thread decide that Kay's puss was equal in value to not only our lives but the lives of all our loved ones and anyone close to us, fuck Kay and kayfags
>>4769203Forgot to addDON'T TELL AYESHA ANYTHING!Listen, if kay betrays us and tells ayesha or anyone else that's pretty much expected at this point, but stop revealing our biggest fucking secrets to everyone and anyone for no goddamn reason, ayesha is just a friend on equal grounds to hunter and the rest of the clique we have at school, just because she's a GIRL doesn't mean she automatically needs to know everything about our fucking lives, she's just a normal friend who happens to be a girl, let her remain normal, don't drag her into our world
>>4769215Well we obviously weren't going to do that.
>>4769203I don't understand why Ivyfags think Kay is so bad when they actively vote to sabotage the relationship and then get mad when she reacts badly. Like wow, we blow off our girlfriend to hang out with her worst enemy, and then it's her fault when she doesn't like it? You're the ones who are pushing her, and then you say anything she does is proof that Kay was a bad choice. So dishonest.>>4768532>I'd really appreciate it if you did
>>4769389>Leaving after accidentally scaring her when we tried to open up about being in a war the next day.>Not cheating on her with Ivy whom would be willing to do so>Trying to treat her with basic courtesy while she's still in the clouds about how cool it is to date a superhero.>Even almost spilling our identity at a Christmas party out of jealous spiteYou are an absolute moron.
>>4769404You're actually and literally delusional if you think not cheating on her is something worth being commended for. Get an actual girlfriend sometime, my god.
>>4769409I don't like either but Kay's a walking and breathing red-flag and you're a retard for getting us into this situation KayfagOnce you fail to uphold the 'NO WAY FAG' Mantra everything will slowly begin to crumble due to W*men and waifufags.
>>4769575You may not be as bad as the Ivyfags, but the quest would be much duller without the drama.
"You don't have to do that Ayesha, don't put yourself to the trouble," I said.She sighed. "Yeah, I've caused enough trouble, right?"That wasn't what I meant."That wasn't what I meant," I said."Okay," she said, then forced a smile.It wasn't long before a car pulled up with a hard yank on the gearshift, doors opening then clipping shut, and a rattle of a key chain."Goddamn if I have to do one more pirouette I'll kill myself," Ivy said, shedding her purple jacket.She wore her white ballet tights and a pair of pink kicks, gym bag over her shoulder. Pulling her hair loose from a bun to drop down over her shoulders with a shake of her head, she frowned, vaguely annoyed while scratching the back of her head. Then her expression lightened when she saw me on the couch with Ayesha.She sagged with relief, spots of pink on her cheeks."Hey," she said."Hey," I said, heart thumping in my chest as I stood up.She walked to the stairs. "Well you're here," she said, "But I stink so I'm going to uh, go get changed."Mr Carver came in behind her, raised his eyebrows when he saw me."You stayin' for dinner?" he asked.I shrugged.He muttered as he walked to the back of his house, muttering something about feeding stray white kids."Well I'm going to get changed to so," Ayesha said, "Maybe talk to Ivy when she's done in the shower. I think you guys have a lot to talk about."Yeah, I thought, but not what you think.I followed Ayesha up and waited for Ivy to finish getting clean. When the shower shut off she came out not fully dry and dressed in an old shirt with leggings. Her cheeks had that wet glow.She opened the door to her room, leading me in, and once we were closed the door sharp.She spun around and hugged me tight."You're safe," she whispered into my chest, "You're safe, you're safe."She hugged me tight, and it took me a second to realize from the shake in her shoulders she was crying. I had my hands up, useless in surprise, fire flickering alive in my chest."Thank you for coming back," she said. I wasn't sure who she was thanking, me or God.Slowly I wrapped my arms around her. Held her close."I told you I would," I said, "I try not to lie.""Asshole," she said, pushing me back. But she was smiling, tears drying on her already wet cheeks. "Man, I'm such an idiot, crying," she said, wiping her eyes on her sleeve."So you saw the news," I said."You'd have to try hard not to, and I tried not to," she said, "I went to ballet class just to take my mind off it but half the girls were gushing over you anyway.""Not me, just my costume," I said. That's all I was to the fangirls and fanboys I was vaguely aware of. It was still weird to me knowing I had a fanbase."That and to avoid Kaylee," she said, "Did something go on between you guys? She was acting weird when I saw her. Well, weirder.">nothing, everything there's fine>I think we kind of sort of broke up
>>4770115>I think we kind of sort of broke up
>>4770115>I think we kind of sort of broke up"It's not your fault, but rather me and my actions"Listen guys, ivy is great but let's just stay single for a good while, no need to rush from one girl to another, looks bad and is bad
>>4770115>We had a bit of a fight
>>4770172>>4770115Backing the extra part this guy said>>4770136She doesn't deserve feeling guilty.
We should try and explain to Kay at some point, but>>4770136is right, we need to stay single for awhile and just focus.
>>4770136I'm cool with that but would also still like to hang out with Ivy guilt free more now.
>>4770136>>4770119>>4770162>>4770172locked in with the write-in
"I think we sort of broke up," I said.She let out a held breath."And you're okay?" she said."Yeah," I said, but my voice cracked, "No. I don't know, it's my own fault. It's not you it's...I could have...c-could have done things better." A spike of emotion shot through me. About Kay, but also about Dad, and about what went down today. I was so tired, just so tired. And nothing was okay, and everything was wrong, and I held back on whimpering like a hurt dog.She stroked my cheek. Why'd she have to touch me like that? It put a crack in my throat.I leaned close, and she did too, our foreheads pressed together. I could smell her breath, like mint, feel if against my face. She was warm, her body, so goddamn warm."Eric," she said, and her voice got tight, "At the party last night...after you left...Dane asked me out."Something in me clenched. I didn't want to hear what was coming, I didn't want her to say it."I told him I'd give him a shot," she said, staring at me, her blue eyes all I could see, "We're going to the Winter Ball."A jealous thing clawed inside me that I tried to ignore, even as a hot surge of fire roared through my chest."Eric," she said, cupping my face, starting to draw away, "Is that...cool?">...it's fine (let her go)>it's not fine (pull her back)
>>4770260>>...it's fine (let her go)Not like we'd be starting anything right now regardless. Literally just broke up, it wouldn't be fair to anyone involved.
>>4770260>it's not fine (pull her back)It's clear we've both got the hots for each other and we have a lot more in common than with Kay. Life's short, especially as a supe so I say fuck it let's go
>>4770260>it's not fine (pull her back)
>>4770260>...it's fine (let her go)Trying to be possessive is unfair, and irresponsible.
>>4770260>...it's fine (let her go)We'd be a special kind of shit to be mad.
>>4770260>it's not fine (pull her back)Fine, fuck it, this will cause drama in our life but ivy is just too fucking precious to let go.I thought we could do this later on because Eric seems to need a bit of alone time, but it looks like QM is telling us take it now or leave it forever
>>4770326>Take it nowAre you insane? This is the future we chose, it doesn't mean she's gone forever.
>>4770260>...it's fine (let her go)We need to talk to misfit
What is with this unnecessary drama votes, this is just going to push Kay into revealing our identity if we try to date Ivy right after she stormed off. If not drive off Ivy over Eric's behavior.
>>4770335Huh, that might work out, Latina girl that can keep the furnace we call a stomach full.
>>4770372sorry, didn't check the time and closed the vote a bit early. vote is reopened for the next ten minutes
>>4770326>but it looks like QM is telling us take it now or leave it forevereh, for the benefit of clarity I don't believe in 'route locking'
Eric is an emotionally unstable 15 year old and only like 3 people really know him on a personal level, and only Ivy actually takes his suffering seriously. Doing the logical or proper thing doesn't really apply in this situation. I think Eric's headed for a very dark and lonely place if he isn't honest with Ivy here.
>>4770260>...it's fine (let her go)
let her go wins
>>4770260>...it's fine (let her go)Let's not think with our dick and be a shitty friend yea?
>>4770388The fact they're going to prom isn't the end of the world. The fact our day sucks doesn't mean we infringe on the happiness of our friends.
Going home to a drunk ass dad after all this seems like a bad idea. Let's go visit Queen Rat and ask if any of her rats have sent Houndmaster.
>>4770388Having friends is going to help, fucking up our social group isn't. The drama anons are going to fuck up our friendship with Dane in addition to making the whole Kay breakup way more disastrous. As someone who is in 12. Form and just recently has seen something like this happen in real life (minus superpowers), I can say that we will ruin over half our relations if we jump on the Ivy train right now. Besides, not having romance tism for a while will help Eric focus.
>>4770404We need sleep anon
>>4770407I think the Kay breakup is gonna give us problems with our friend group, especially if she's telling people we cheated on her with Ivy. We're friends with a lot of them through Kay.
>>4770410Yeah, that was basically what I was trying to say. Just hang out with those who stick around and do our own thing for a while. Disregard females, acquire power.
"It's fine," I lied, letting her slip away.It wasn't fair to her, or fair to Kay, no matter how I was yearning, no matter how wrong things seemed to be going.I felt like I was winning the fights but losing the war.Maybe some time without romance drama would be good, help me clear my head.There was doubt in Ivy's eyes, but the doubt slowly turned into a smile. She came back toward me."I'll be there, Eric," she said, "If you need me.""Same," I said, "Always."She cupped my chin and kissed my cheek, and the thing inside me whimpered again, but I let her go."Dane's a good guy," I said."Yeah," she said."And if he turns out to be a bad guy, say the word and I'll run him through a brick wall."She snorted. "Please," she said, "The last person I broke up with changed their name. I can handle a bad date."I stepped out of her room, trying to shake the lost feeling inside me. Ayesha came out of her room, cleaned up, hair bunched back in a knot, wearing a pink heart t-shirt."You okay?" she said. I shrugged."Dinner's ready!" Mrs Carver's voice rose from downstairs, "Eric are you staying?""He's staying!" Ayesha called back for me. She wasn't just going to let me slip away feeling sorry for myself. "Come on, Mom made fish, wild caught. I'll be having a tofu stirfry so there's plenty to go around."With Dad passed out drunk at home there wasn't much chance of dinner waiting for me, and my belly was gurgling again, always needing food. It did smell great.They'd set a dinner table with fine china and cutlery, a soft light overhead. Mrs Carver set a place for me next to Ayesha, across from Ivy. A large grilled fish made a centerpiece, on a bed of greens. Ayesha had her own little plate of fried tofu and vegetables, while Mr Carver portioned out the large fish between our plates.Conversation was murmurred, Mr and Mrs Carver smiling at each other over the table."So how was ballet class?" Mrs Carver asked Ivy, "You know I was a dancer when I was young. It takes real commitment to get good.""Mhmm, you were in that Ice Cube video back in the day," Mr Carver said with sly appreciation. Mrs Carver blushed around a forkful of flaked white fish meat."Good," Ivy said, "The teacher is kind of a hard ass, but I like that.""You should think about going to jiu jitsu class with Ayesha," she said, "It can't hurt for a young woman to know how to defend herself.""You're learning jiu jitsu?" I said."Started right after Christmas," Ayesha said, "And it's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, BJJ. It's a lot more fun than I was expecting.""I don't know if I like you rolling around those mats with sweaty boys," Mr Carver said."You're not worried about the sweaty girls?" Ivy suggested with feigned innocence, delicately taking a bite of the fish.Now it was Mr Carver's turn to blush, and Ayesha too."Kids these days with their orientations and genders," Mr Carver shook his head, "It's not like when I was growing up."
"Please Dad, don't be such an oldhead," Ayesha said."I think its a good thing to figure yourself out," Mrs Carver said, "And we'll support you Ayesha, whatever you decide you are.""Well for a start I have a boyfriend, so yeah," Ayesha said, and shot a mean look at Ivy, who just smiled."What about you Eric," Mr Carver said, "How are you doin' with the Whitman girl?"I coughed. "Kind of taking a break sir," I said, "From you know, that kind of stuff."Mr Carver nodded. Ayesha frowned in sympathy while Ivy kept her attention on her plate."Focus on school," Mrs Carver said, "Ayesha says you're a bright boy, focus on school, get to college, everything else will sort itself out.""My birthday's next week," Ayesha said, "You better be there even if you and Kay aren't a thing.""Sure," I said, though I wasn't sure it was a good idea. I actually wasn't sure what was going to happen when we were back at school tomorrow, what the fallout would be. It tied an anxious knot in my gut. Maybe we wouldn't even be friends anymore by the end of the week."Sweet sixteen," Ivy sang.When dinner was finished Mr Carver offered to drive me home. I was too tired to say no. I nodded off on the drive home, jerking in and out of wakefulness. I was exhausted and not only physically.I slumped my way up the stairs, waving to Mrs Valdez's daughter as she left for the night shift at the hospital.Pushing in the door I staggered over to my bedroom. The stray cat hopped down from me bed, rubbing itself against my shoe with a perky meow. I scratched behind its ear, sitting on my bed.Sleep. It was a welcoming thought in a brain too tired to think.My only hope was I didn't dream.
taking a short break
This shit is depressing, Eric's life is really backsliding. The superheroics put too much stress on people close to him and PTSD combined with the stones fuckery is like non-stop repeated gut punches to his humanity and his normal life
Mangy, I will name the Cat Mangy
>>4770438That's why is important to make him take some social/school break after Super stuff, hopefully our boy can take it
>>4770430Mark my words though, things are gonna get way messier because we weren't honest with her about our feelings. There's gonna be yet another dramatic love triangle with Dane involved. I'm not really objective here as an Ivyfag but this was a huge mistake, sabotaging one of our few shots at a good normal life is gonna bite us in the ass when we have a complete breakdown
School.It felt good to be going back. I hitched my bag up on my shoulder, ready to dust off the week long Christmas/New Year break.Sleep had done me a world of good, though I wasn't in perfect shape. The thought of seeing Kay left me anxious. The thought of dealing with our break up with our friends was an unpleasant unknown.But it was nice to be out of the house and not off to risk my neck fighting the scum and villainy of Chicago. The news was still running reports of the New Year's Day War, with talking heads giving their 'expert' opinions. In the middle of it, the Tribune slid out my expose with all the allegations in tact, but had so far not been picked up in the more dramatic narrative of Chicago's biggest gangs fighting a shooting war with a bunch of para-freaks wrapped up in it.Which created an unexpected problem."What this shows is a growing militancy in the para-community," an old man on the news had said, "Like other outsider groups, the Italians, Eastern Europeans, and the Chinese, we're seeing the rise of a para-based gang which is involving itself in inter-gang warfare, headed by this 'vigilante' Hotspur.""Are you suggesting Hotspur is becoming involved in direct criminal activity?" Priscilla Takanawa had asked, leaning thoughtfully on her chin."What I'm saying is its a short step for these gangs to go from being about self-protection to becoming the dominate criminal element in their community. It happened with MS-13, with many African-American gangs, even the Italian mafia started as a-"I'd stopped listening there and made my way to school, giving Mangy a pat on the way out. Dad hadn't got up, but I knew he was breathing from his hung over groans.But getting off the bus and stepping down I knew it wasn't going to end there, not with patrol cars out the front of the school.I kept my head down."What's going on?" I asked Rufus."DPA," he said, "They haven't questioned anyone yet, but..."Dane came up looking worried. I clamped down on the hot surge of jealousy came boiling up when I saw him."You think someone told?" Dane asked, looking frightened. I didn't blame him, not after seeing the inside of the black ops facility."Get lost and I'll cover for you," Rufus said. Dane nodded, turning the other way. Rufus glanced at me. "You think someone snitched?"A warm feeling spread through my palm. Something in it told me this was nothing to do with Dane, the strange oath we'd made would have told me so, I think.But I just shrugged.Zeke swung in. "What's up boys?" he said, wrapping arms around our shoulders, sunglasses on with a wide grin, snow tanned."Back from Amish country?" Rufus said, pushing him off playfully."What's up with the fuzz?" he said, pointing with his chin to the donut eaters hanging by the entrance."DPA shit," I said. Zeke's smile evaporated.We went in as a trio, off to our first class back with Ms Flores. It was going to be rough seeing Ms Flores too, after her and Dad had broke up.
When I did see her though she just had a kind smile which I couldn't help but smile back to. As well as tight leggings and a tank top."Ready for the new term boys?" she said, books against her belly, smile bright."Yes Ms Flores," we sang in unison, forgetting in a hungry second my heart break.The class gathered, taking our seats. When Kay turned up she did it with a smile too, one that swept past me as if I didn't exist. She sat with Daphne up the front, close enough I could smell her perfume, if I wanted to reach out I could touch her hair. The smell of her, the sight of her, and her nearness pumped a flush of hormones through me that just heightened the twisted upset feeling that flushed out when I saw her.She looked good. Too good.Ms Flores started writing up on the white board as we got our books."Now we'll be reading 'Wuthering Heights', its an old book and some sections will be difficult, but if you stick with it you'll find it rewarding," she said, "Kay, if you could start us off.""If you don't mind Ms, I'm going by Kaylee now," Kay said. Kaylee said, whatever."Of course, Kaylee, if you could-"But before she could the door slammed open.Agent Penderose stalked in, eyes wild in his pale face, fists shoved into his oversized dark coat."You."His voice was a saw teethed with rage. His finger speared for my chest."Outside.""Now."Ms Flores and most of the class stared in shock. My belly went cold."Excuse me but," Ms Flores started."Shut your mouth before I have you packed up and sent back to whatever Latin shithole you spawned from," Agent Penderose snarled, then he stalked for the door. "Now," he snarled.Ms Flores' mouth opened and closed in dumb founded shock. The class seemed just as bewildered.I slid back my chair, picked up my books, and followed the federal agent out.He took me to an empty class room, where Detective Bohauer was waiting, thumbing through a notebook."Can I help you?" I said."Cut the smart ass shit," Penderose said, "You think you're really fucking clever breaking into a government facility, freeing a fugitive, then dragging US military personel into a little gang war of your own concoction. Did you think crying to a newspaper would achieve anything? Do you think we give a shit?"I kept my face blank."I know you're Hotspur, Miller," he said, "I goddamn know, so don't try playing any clever games with me."I was silent."You fucked up freeing Shabaz and only Shabaz," he said, "I suspected it was you already, but when you freed him? You, with a known connection to the fugitive? You fucked up."I grit my teeth.>I don't know what you're talking about sir>yeah, so what, prove it
>>4770499>I don't know what you're talking about sirA bit of a jump for a guy that the whole gymnasium saw once.
>>4770499>I don't know what you're talking about sirShabaz? Doesn't ring a bell.Why would the US military engage in combat on American soil against US citizens? You're losing it Penderose. What's your deal anyway? Are you like the DPA equivalent of a school resource officer? I thought that was where the guys who couldn't do real police work ended up.
>>4770499>I don't know what you're talking about sir
I don't think we're gonna have a civilian life for much longer fellas
>>4770499>I don't know what you're talking about sirFirst of all, who is Shabaz? Unironically, does Eric even remember that name?Pendy does seem pretty mad about the whole gang war thing though, which is weird because he and Semper Fi weren't even there. Don't self incriminate by saying that last bit.
>>4770513Thunderchild is Shabaz. He's mad about it because DPA and that black site we found are deeply linked
So does the DPA know about the stone? If he's sure it's us then our apartment is about to be searched and they'll find it in our drawer. Unless we have it on us right now.
>>4770517I got that from the inference, just saying that Eric might not even know, since Thunderchild doesn't go by that name at all anymore.
locking all that in
"Agent Penderose, that's such a massive leap I think you should sign up for the Olypmics," I said, "But then again I really wouldn't want to see you in a unitard."Detective Bohauer snorted with laughter. Penderose's eye twitched."Whose Shabaz?" I said."His preferred name is Thunderchild," Bohauer said, "You played against him in-""He knows," Penderose snapped at his partner, "He's playing stupid. He thinks we're idiots, but the only stupid thing he did was steal from the federal government then attack a government facility."Penderose leaned over the desk."I know it was you on the island who helped Shark. Helped him escape so he could murder patriotic soldiers in the line of duty weeks later. I'm going to prove it, and when I do I'm going to nail you, Miller. Nail your hands to the senate door. And until I do I'll be keeping a close eye on you.""Agent Penderose, I don't think its this healthy to be obsessed with a teenage boy," I said, "Maybe you need to be on some kind of watch list. Maybe you should take a seat right over there."Bohauer shook her head with laughter. "This kid, Rosey, he cuts me up," she said, jowls shaking."Maybe his jokes won't be so funny when his father is out of a job," Penderose said, "When the power gets turned off at his apartment and they're forced on the street. Maybe the jokes won't come so quick when you're camped in a homeless shelter in mid-winter hoping the bad men don't slip into your room at night."Now Bohauer's laughter stop, and she gave her partner a disturbed glance."When they creep into your room, hands crawling all over you," Penderose said, leaning closer, "What are you going to do when the other choice is going hungry in the cold?""You're losing it, Penderose," I said through clamped teeth, "Don't you have better things to do than harass teenagers?"His smile was feral. He backed away."We're watching, Miller," he said, then with a sweep of his dark cloak he left.Bohauer lingered with a troubled look on her face. "Hey kid, what he said? It ain't going to be like that," she said, "Whether you're Hotspur or whatever. I'm not going to put a kid out of his home in midwinter.""Thanks," I said, "Can I get back to class?""Sure," she said, "But before you do," she flicked out her card. "If you do see Thunderchild, call this number. It don't have to go down the way Penderose wants."I took the card more out of courtesy."Keep up the wisecracks," she said, swaggering out.I slid her card into my back pocket.
When I got back to class no one looked me in the eye. When I took my seat there was a knock on the door. Penderose again, looking awkward. Ms Flores moved to shield her class from the federal agent."This is harassment," Ms Flores said."Yes, uh, I mean to apologize, miss," he said, "To you. I snapped at you earlier, and said some uncouth things. You have my deepest and most sincere regrets."Her expression hardened more.Penderose threw me a last glare before departing."What was that about?" Chad asked up the back. I looked back to him but saw Kaylee staring back, looking pale and frightened.She gave me a nod like she was trying to tell me something. I just frowned and looked back to the front of the class.It had nothing to do with me.I opened my book to the start, and focused on the reading.'I have just returned from a visit to my landlord - the solitary neighbor that I shall be troubled with...'
(I'll be back in a couple of days)
>>4770588See ya later
>>4770668He's cracking trying to get proof.
>>4770716Probably under pressure from the higher ups who want Hotspurs head on a pike. The fact that he was autistic enough to mention the attack on the hidden installation shows that he is sure we are Hotspur, unless that is also public knowledge at this point?
>>4770774Not a chance. Probably the bosses being absolutely livid that we were personally responsible for trashing 3 copters and they're black ops squads. Though I am more interested in what he means by Shark eating soldiers. Far as I remember he didn't eat anyone till today involved in the military.
>>4770497>"Are you suggesting Hotspur is becoming involved in direct criminal activity?" Priscilla Takanawa had asked, leaning thoughtfully on her chin.Now I need a what if interlude with bad end adult Hotspur as a para gang crime boss
I'll be running tomorrowhope to see you guys there
>>4774444Yes yes yes
Lunch was awkward.Awkward for being pulled out of class by the DPA, awkward because when I grabbed my lunch tray and went to sit with my friends, a tense look between them gave me pause, each of them glancing toward Kay.Kaylee.Whatever.It was Ayesha sighed, pushed a chair out with her foot and said, "Be mature."I took the seat. Daphne glared daggers my way, the boys kept their heads down, while Kaylee gave me the cold shoulder. I ate without talking. If they wanted me to leave they could say so."Weird day," Ayesha said, spearing her salad with a fork."You guys saw the news, right?" Zeke said, "About the gang war?""We have ears and eyes don't we," Kaylee said, crossing her legs. Zeke wilted."Things are heating up," Rufus said, "Chicago is getting wild.""I know I'm careful walking home," Zeke said."Yo what was up with you getting pulled out of class?" Hunter said, never minding the other conversation. Kaylee's eyes flickered to me with a quick shot, then flickered away.I put down my half eaten sandwich, rubbed my face."The DPA guy has had a hard on for Eric since Halloween," Ayesha said.Hunter didn't look convinced."It's pretty scary," Daphne said, "The gang war stuff, and with the para-freaks, uh, para-people involved, its just really freaky. It's hard to feel safe.""I heard on the news Hotspur is forming his own gang," Rufus said."Yeah, he ask you to join yet Dane?" Zeke said."Shut up man!" Rufus hissed, looking around.Dane shrugged. "It's nothing to do with me," he said, "Don't do anything wrong and they've got no reason to bother you, right?"Rufus' laugh was bitter and sarcastic. "Keep telling yourself that, brother," he said.It was hard to eat with everyone talking about me without actually talking about me. Harder for how cold and silent Kay was being. Kaylee was being. Whatever.Though all the talk of 'Hotspur' and his 'gang' did draw her attention."I think," Kaylee said, "You should stay as far away from Hotspur as you can."Dane smiled. "Hey, I'm trying," he said, then elbowed me, "Could you imagine me running around in a costume? Fighting evil?"I struggled to smile back."I thought Ayesha had you all signed up for the Hotspur fan club," Zeke said to Kaylee, "What changed?""Punching out robbers and rescuing kittens is one thing," she said, "Starting a gang war and getting a lot of people killed is another. It's not so fun anymore, right?""I guess you're right," Zeke said, "What about the rest of you, opinions changed or what?"There was awkward muttering, no one could look anyone else in the eye. No one wanted to disagree or voice a strong opinion. Not with everything so weirdly tense.>mutter something non-commital>Hotspur is a violent lunatic who'll get innocent people killed>Hotspur is doing what needs to be done
>>4776269I don't think any one of us has any clue what's really going on behind the scenes with gangs and paras and the DPA. How could we? I won't pass judgement before seeing how things play out.
>>4776269>>4776303This plus bring up the article about the black site and say maybe that's what raised the stakes for Hotspur. Things aren't black and white anymore. Maybe they never were.
>>4776309Yeah, why is no one talking about that, I get that the gang war is more interesting but there should be some whispers or news about it
https://youtu.be/kYFRIl67AFgThis is kay
"I don't know, there's some weird shit going on," I said, "Did any of you guys see the thing in the Tribune? Some kind of military black site stuff involving kidnapped para-folk, scary stuff. I won't judge before seeing how things play out, and won't blame Hotspur for escalating things if that's going on.""The Tribune, what, the newspaper?" Rufus said, "Nobody reads newspapers anymore.""I do," Ayesha said, "And yeah, I saw that. So creepy. I want to say I'm surprised but, do you guys remember from a few years back when Chicago PD had an illegal detention center, holding guys without charge?""I'm just saying its all messed up, who knows what's going on," I said. I wasn't lying exactly, even if I was leaving things out. I didn't know what was going on and I was knee deep in it. "Things aren't black and white, maybe they never were.""Maybe," Zeke said with a shrug.If things had been awkward before now things were tense."So Mommy and Daddy got a divorce," Zeke said, looking from me to Kaylee, "It's all over the group chat. Am I going to have to spend every other weekend on the coast?"Kaylee scoffed, rolled her eyes. Rufus elbowed Zeke in the side while Daphne glared."What? Someone had to bring it up," he said, "This isn't going to be some dragged out on and off thing right? Because tell me now so I can transfer to a different school."Kaylee eyed me over the table, angry, but hurt too. Then she got up."I have rehearsals," she said.Hunter clapped Zeke over the back of the head."What?" he said, "I'm just saying like, if this is some big thing let me know now."I closed my eyes, hands clenched together. I hadn't really had time to process it. Breaking up with Kay. I still hadn't. And I wasn't going to do it now."You're a nice guy Eric," Dane said, "But I've been friends with Kaylee since elementary school. So if she thinks its got to be, you know, you or her...""I get it," I said, "Any of you guys feel the same way?"They didn't say it, except they did when they couldn't look me in the eye. It hurt almost as bad as the break up. Everyone except Ayesha, that is. She had a kind of half-sneer at the suggestion."Please, she's not going to pull that," she said, more confidently than I believed. "And even if she did, she's not the boss of me.""That's a change," Zeke said, "You used to be Kay's little puppy dog, following her around, doing what she wanted.""That was then," Ayesha said, "A lot's changed. And besides, Eric is like a brother to me.""When you say a brother, do you mean a 'brother' or a 'brotha'," Zeke said. Ayesha threw her fork at him.
"Thanks Ayesha," I said. It did mean something. It was a funny thing to worry about, but I'd never had real friends before, and losing them would hurt as much as losing Kay."I got you," she said with a grin."You're on the team," Hunter said, "It counts for something.""Okay, okay," I said, starting to blush, "Cool, don't make a big deal."By the time school rang out I was feeling a little better about things, but I could feel the knot in the back of my head.I kicked it to the bus stop.The new year was cold and bright, snow frosting the sidewalk. What I really wanted was to hit something.>pick a primary and seconday focus for the week:>school work, get up my grades and my basketball skills>crime fighting, investigate while cleaning up the streets>training my powers, work on my boxing and my super powers>social life, keep in touch with my friends and keep my head down>write-in
>>4776406Primary: Work on finding Houndmaster before he finds us and those we care about, offer to exchange a favor for Queen Rat to keep her eyes out for him.Secondary:>training my powers, work on my boxing and my super powersInvestigate our power's link to the stone, does it just boost existing powers or give us new ones? Because a weaker version of that weird sight might be useful, as well as that super enhanced reaction time.
>>4776406Primary:>crime fighting, investigate while cleaning up the streetsSecondary:>training my powers, work on my boxing and my super powersI feel like we gotta dig into Misfit and Thunderchild’s cases before they become cold cases.
>>4776406Primary:>social life, keep in touch with my friends and keep my head downPenderose is watching us, would be a real good time to appear non sus. Plus we should talk to Kaylee.Secondary:>crime fighting, investigate while cleaning up the streets
>>47764061>crime fighting, investigate while cleaning up the streets2>training my powers, work on my boxing and my super powersWe should really start looting the gangs for thier cash if we plan on paying for costumes and stuff
Non-game post: I feel I need to talk to you guys a little about where I'm at. I've been in kind of a rough place lately, its why the game has been starting late or skipping days. Nothing to do with the quest itself, though its put me in a frame of mind where it has me feeling bad about the quest too.Silently grinding away at the quest while outside of it I'm feeling all kinds of fucked up isn't helping.I'm not announcing a hiatus or whatever (yet), just giving you guys a heads up if I'm not around as much or my energy seems on the low side.
>>4776444We can't take that money anon, that makes us a real criminal
>>4776469You've been running more consistently than pretty much any other QM on the board man, you've got nothing to feel bad about. Real life comes first.Sidenote is nobody else worried about Houndmaster? He's really not something we can just ignore. It's a matter of time before he or someone else figures out our identity and then someone we love is gonna die.
>>4776469Don’t feel bad about taking a break if you need to man
>>4776469That's no bueno senpai. You should take a break if the quest starts to feel like a chore. Lot of great quests died going that way, and while this quest isn't perfect it's enjoyable and I'm invested. I'd be a damn shame if you left for good
>>4776406>crime fighting, investigate while cleaning up the streets>training my powers, work on my boxing and my super powers
so primary is crime fightingsecondary is trainingI'll be back tomorrow
>>4776469This is easily my favorite quest in a while, we appreciate all the updates and a hiatus would suck but I think we'd all understand. Hang in there.
>>4776495There's worry, sure, I just don't think Queen Rat can find him. If we do find him instead of him finding us I feel like it'll be because we pushed hard enough on Ixion that we got to whoever was hiring him.
>>4776592Rats are everywhere man. And a man with metal limbs tends to stand out. It's worth a shot.
>>4776604That's why I think she won't find him, he would have been found by normal people already if he was staying in the city. I'd be surprised if he isn't living out of another black site.
>>4776656Rats go places that normal people don't
>>4776679Ok but unless these rats are travelling miles out of the city regularly I don't think they're gonna see him.
>>4776692Right but you don't really know that either. All I'm saying is it's worth a shot.
>>4776692I have a pretty strong suspicion that the assassin with robot limbs isn't living a normal life in Chicago in between jobs. I don't have any objection to bringing it up offhand if we're already seeing Queen, but I don't want to take time out of our busy schedule to make it our primary priority.
>>4776794What, do you think he returns to a stasis chamber and just waits for his next job? Any intel we can get on this guy is good intel. Rats could track his movements as he returns home from a job in the area. You're trying really hard to make my idea sound stupid and I don't really get why.
>>4777230I think you're taking this a little too personally. I'm not trying to make your idea sound stupid. I'm saying that in your vote, you chose to make this our top priority. When no one backed you on this, you asked if no one else was worried about Houndmaster. I answered that yes, people are worried, but I at the very least don't think that efforts in this direction will be fruitful. Therefore I am not willing to expend some of our very limited time on a task that in my view has little to no chance of getting us anywhere. You said here >>4776717 that it was worth a shot. In my reply, I said I was willing to try if it didn't take time out of our week, but I can't justify taking that time. The only way I see this plan working is if Houndmaster is staying in Chicago. I think it's significantly more likely given his status and the state of his body that he's being put up at a black ops site like the one we raided, and comes into the city when a job requires him. Given the size of Chicago, to remain black such a site would have to be too distant for Queen to get intel on with rats. Please understand that I'm not trying to make fun of you or your idea. I'm just trying to explain why I'm not backing it.
Are we still trying to prove Misfit and Thunderchild's innocence? I don't think having them help us start a gang war where dozens of people died is really gonna help with that. Might have to put that project on the back burner
>>4777820On the contrary, I think that if we can prove the initial charges were fabricated everything else they're accused of will be doubted as another set up, even if it clearly wasn't.
Hitting the streets would do me some good. I slipped away in the afternoons, pulling on my costume, and took to the city rooftops, surveying the streets for signs of trouble.At least it would take my mind off things.I started my night breaking up a carjacking, some desperate guy trying to pull a mother out of her car while her kid was crying in the backseat. To his credit he didn't put up a fight. He let off a shot above my head but when I took a swing he went down and stayed down.The woman was shook up, who wouldn't be? She sat waiting for the cops, trying to drink coffee in a little carry mug but her hands were too shaky. I waited with her until I heard the sirens, then booked. The cops and I, we weren't exactly on great terms.Most nights I spent, well, I don't like to call it 'patrolling', I'm not a cop. I prefer to think of it as keeping an eye on things. Truth be told it was pretty quiet since the new year's day rumble. The big gangs were keeping their head down, and where they popped up it wasn't just me anymore waiting to knock them down.Stories came out of New Chinatown, of Grit busting heads, breaking up a Triad meth lab, busting heroin shipments, stuff like that. A bank robbery had been broken up by 'some kind of annoying clown' in the near south-side, which must have been Pratfall. They were doing like I'd asked, and keeping pressure on the gangs.A bounty had gone out on all of us but no one had the nerve to try to collect. Not yet.One night I was down near Englewood. It was cold out, they were saying we might keep getting snow until April. So it was the kind of night people shouldn't be out, which was curious when I saw a van roll up on a corner, bunch of boys on the side eyeing it up like they knew what was coming.The van door slid open with a machine gun burst. Guys started shouting, running for cover, their guns drawn and blasting back, lighting up the neighborhood.I swung in, what else could I do?The van sped up, the door sliding open and shut as it juddered forward. Not fast enough when I slammed down on its roof, driving a dent into the surface.Bullets ripped up out of the van. Would have turned me into swiss chese if I hadn't leapt back, landing on the road in front of it. A wild eyed driver, bugged out on crank, glared at me over the steering wheel. The van screamed as it charged toward me, hoping to turn me into paste.I charged, leaping for it. The front window shattered around my arms and I slammed into the driver, slamming him back into the car seat. The steering wheel tangled up my legs for half a second before I tore them free, ripping the steering wheel off the dash in the same motion. The guy riding shotgun tried blasting me with the shotgun he had but I slapped it away in time, buckshot tearing out the window. A back fist put his lights out.
The van veered off, running up the curb. It tiled, then slid into a crash into a patch of empty prairie, sliding sideways across the dirt, bouncing us around the inside of the tin can. Whe it came to a stop and I had a second to breathe, I kicked my way out the driver's door, dragging him with me.Coming up the block were some of the guys they'd shot at, some with pistols, one with something heavier, one of those snub-machine gun uzi things. They didn't look like they'd come to play."Put the guns down," I said, throwing down the driver."They got Beadie and Ayo," the guy with the uzi said, face taut with emotion, "Fuck that, fuck them, fuck you if you don' step aside Hotspur."The lights went off in nearby houses. I hoped the people inside had taken cover."Two dead is enough killing for one night," I said."Two de-," he gaped, "Those are our motherfuckin' friends you talkin' about. And these motherfuckers is with the Haitian. He'll jus' send another crew up tomorrow if we don' send a message tonight."The Haitian, that was a name I'd been hearing a lot more often lately."You get to bounce out of here," the guy with the uzi said, "Its us got to stay.">if they won't back down, take them down too>I feel you, but let me handle the Haitian>...I guess they've got to do what they've got to do
>>4778139>I feel you, but let me handle the Haitian
>>4778139>I feel you, but let me handle the HaitianGot a shower and ready for bed to work in the morning.
>>4778139"1-i'll deal with the hatian when I get my hands on him. 2-you all know that you don't really stand a chance against me even with all your little toys 3-im going through a bit of a stressful time so if you don't stand down the following ass wooping will be carried out with extreme prejudice!ARE. WE. UNDERSTOOD!
>>4778197Lets not be dicks, these were apparently friends of them.
>>4778194>>4778192>>4778197locking those in, but going with a soft approach
"I feel you," I said, "But let me handle the Haitian. You guys get in out of the cold."He looked ready to spit. Instead he did the smart thing, shook his head and walked away.I let out a held breath. There was enough killing. I kicked the driver at my feet."Yo," I said, "You up?""Fuck you," he spat through a busted lip."That's no way to talk, I just saved your life," I said, "Where's your boss at? Maybe its time I had a talk with him.""Eat shit, cracker," he said."Hey man, there's no need for the hard r," I said, pulling him up. He didn't have his feet under him. His friends climbed out of the van groaning. Hopefully none of them were stupid enough to start anything.Again the familiar whine of sirens came over the city night, blue and red flashing in the darkness."The Haitian's got to have an HQ or someone who knows where he is," I said, "Come on, I just want a friendly chat.""Avalon Park," one of the guys getting out of the car said, "You can find his boys at the tattoo shop.""Yo shut the fuck up!" the driver said."Nah man, I think I got a concussion an' I want to get home before those niggas come back to finish the job," he said, clutching his head."Avalon Park," I said.Avalon Park was one of the nicer parts of the south side, so not where I'd expect to find a hard banger like the Haitian. It was no Bronzeville, home of the historic black elite of the city, but it was a big step up from Englewood. I dropped the driver."You guys better scram before they come back," I said. They weren't waiting, pulling each other out of the van and limping away.I took a step in the same direction, then leapt up into the cold night, leaving them behind me on the patch of empty grass between two homes.Tattoos huh? A quick Google search gave me an idea, and I landed near the Skyway toll road.It looked like the right place, with a tricked out Dodge Charger out the front.A couple of black guys hung out the front, not minding the cold even as they breathed out mist and sniffed back hard, eyes out for trouble.Like a lot of people they forgot to look up."Excuse me," I called down from above their heads, "I'm looking for a Mr Haitian."They spun about, a gun was drawn.I rolled my eyes and dropped down on him hard, driving him into the cement."I got no beef with you guys," I said to the other guard, "I just want to see your boss.""Fuck you," was all he said as he unsheathed his pistol.I dropped him with a snap jab, not much power."Helpful," I said."I'll help you," a new voice growled.I turned in time to see the fist rock the side of my head, coming down from a looming shadow.Lights burst in white spots across my field of vision, head rung numb for a second as thought tumbled worthless in my mind.He'd stepped out of the alleyway, bigger than me by a foot or more.I found my feet.
At first I thought he was just one of your garden variety oversized assholes. Then I noticed the weird shape to his skull, the face pointing out to a muzzle, the large wet eyes. A twisted mix of man and horse, with a horse's mane like a mohawk swept back from his face.He wore a dark fringe jacket, blue jeans and a pair of timbs."You the...Haitian?" I said around a numb tongue.Shit he hit hard.Even on his mutant face I could see the scorn."Motherfucker do I look Haitian to you?" he said, his voice surprisingly light, "They call me Stallion."Then he moved, his movement a blur, and I stepped aside just in time to avoid another head rocking blow."Okay," I said, shaking my head clear. I put up my fists, "Let's go.">roll 3 x 1d100+15 dc 75
Rolled 2 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4778290
Rolled 59 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4778290we really dodged a bullet by still looking human as a para lmao
Rolled 88 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4778290
>>4778297Too close!>>4778301Thank you anon, very cool
He launched a kick and I caught it on my arms. The same way I caught the car on my back, driven into it by the strength and power of the kick. The car alarm screeched as the glass crunched around my shoulders, the door crumpled in."You're as strong as you are ugly," I said, forearms throbbing, shaking my hands out.He let out a horse-like snort, then threw another kick for my head. I ducked around it, the foot driving through the crunched glass, bursting it over the front seats. Whoever owned the car was going to have a hell of an insurance claimed.Power spurred me forward. I threw a combination to the body, circling around."Fast too," he snorted, swinging a back fist. I caught it on a boxer's guard.He was fast, too fast. Not quite the Flash but I wouldn't want to race him. He took a step and became a blur, hard to follow, but I felt the whistle on the wind of my power heightened senses. I spun out, turning. He'd gotten behind me, his fist trying to dunk down on my skull. It hit concrete instead, shattering the ground and splitting the skin on his knuckles."I'm fast too," I said. I landed a left hook on his mutated face, coming in with an overhand right in a classic one-two. Spit flew from his muzzle, putting him back a step. But this guy was hard."Shit you gettin' me all worked up," Stallion said, flexing his hand to crack his knuckles."Don't worry, I'm trying to put you down," I said."Enough wise-cracks," he flew in, mane whipping behind him, something like a neigh in his shout.It took all my footwork to keep from getting pummeled, slipping a bunch, voiding out from a kick. I threw a couple punches back, enough to slow him, then with a strong left stopped him, sent him stepping back, snatching the momentum for myself.We weaved under the neon shop sign, sweat, spit and blood whipping off us as we traded blows, the car alarm screeching around us.I saw no opening. So I made one.A feint with my left jab was enough for me. I lunged in with a superman punch, throwing all my blazing fire behind it. It rocked his jaw and he came off his feet, tensing up mid-air in a way you can't fake before crashing down. Knocked out, but not for long. He twitched up, big hand topped with cloven fingers pressing on the ground, pressing him up even as he shook. I huffed, ready to keep going, bouncing from foot to foot.The car alarm clicked off."You messed up my ride," A smooth voice came from the tattoo shop door.A black man stood in a turtle neck and blazer, a smooth old cat with an easy smile. The goons sat either side of him, barely concious after their ass kicking.Stallion drew back, glaring at me."You're the Haitian?" I said."No, but I'm with him," he said, "Call me middle management.""Is that your name or...?" I said, "It's just these days you get all kinds of weird names."He laughed. "I feel you, call me LeSean," he said.
"You know we've been expecting you to come visit us eventually, the Haitian's been looking forward to it," he said, "And then it just comes up out of the blue. Life's like that.""I can take him Boss," Stallion said, snorting and huffing, blood leaking out of his nostrils."Ease up Stallion," LeSean said, "Hotspur is our guest. You just came to talk, right?""About your boys shooting up city blocks, yeah," I said.LeSean frowned and raised a finger. "About our 'men' shooting up city blocks. A man makes a choice to pick up a gun and fight for his people, he's not a boy anymore.""Whatever," I said.>take this message to your boss, back off or I'll be in his shit>I'm not here to talk to a flunky, tell me where your boss is
>>4778360>I'm not here to talk to a flunky, tell me where your boss is
>>4778360>Most "men" think they're big with guns, and they're still dumber than most kids.>I'm not here to talk to a flunky, tell me where your boss is
>>4778360>I'm not here to talk to a flunky, tell me where your boss isShooting up the streets doesn't make you a man, it makes you just another dumbass with some broken bones courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Hotspur. Now let me meet the Haitian before I stop feeling neighborly.
Okay so I'm gonna throw a stupid idea out there:underground para boxing league
"I'm not here to trade politics with a flunky," I said, "Tell me where your boss is.""Flunky, man, that's some disrespect," LeSean said, adjusting his lapel, "What, you think you can just slide into his DMs and expected an invite.""I can crack your skull open like I did your 'men' earlier," I said, "Every asshole with a gun thinks they're a big man 'til they run into the friendly neighborhood Hotspur. Shooting up the street just makes you another dumbass in my book.""Must be a long book," LeSean said."Yeah, now let me meet the Haitian before I stop feeling neighborly."His smile stayed cool. "What can I tell you, Hotspur, the boss is out of town. I'm running things in-absentia, his proxy if you want. You're welcome to come in and check...""When will he be back?" I said."A week, maybe two," he said, "Went back to the old country for a spell, didn't say why. He's not a man who explains himself all that often. But I'll tell him you dropped by." There was no lie in his words, which just stoked my frustration."Tell him I'll be seeing him," I said, "And keeping an eye on you.""Oh I'll be keeping my eyes wide open," he said, "Do come around anytime. Stallion will be waiting."The horse-man snorted, running his thumb down the side of his neck."Have a good night now," LeSean said as I bounded out of there, waving farewell after me.Anger knotted my chest, snarling behind my mask. If there was one thing that always stuck in my teeth it was the faux-politeness of these gangsters, acting like they were untouchable, removed, above it all. Superior, as if they were better than ordinary folks and the rest of us were just suckers waiting to be scammed.But now I knew the Haitian had at least one para on his payroll. Stallion, horse-faced, faster than me and maybe as strong. And I had a name for his number two, or one of them anyway. LeSean. Information I could pass on to Ms Grant.But if fighting gangsters was my only worry my week would be set. The second I got home and crawled into bed, the stray cat curling up with me, my thoughts turned to Kay.It's not that I was going to cry. I loved her, I thought I'd loved her, I thought she'd loved me. It's not that I wanted to think about her. But when I lay in bed feeling raw bruises swelling over my body, the rumble of the cat against my chest as I traced around its ears, all I could think about was her. Feel her next to me, gently breathing, the smell of her feeling the room. And I didn't cry but swallowed down a lump, trying not to think about it as I fought for sleep.When I wasn't busting heads I was in the gym. I was doing pad work with Kobi, the smaller boy hitting the pads, when Coach Jackson found me."You seen Stink?" he asked.I shrugged. "No sir," I said.He frowned. Coach Jackson had a catalogue of frowns. This one was disturbed."He missed the last few lessons," he said. It wasn't like Stink to miss practice.
"Also," he said, "I heard you've been teaching my little niece how to fight."I lowered the pads. "Yeah, she asked," I said, "She's been like that since the thing with the invisible dude."As we spoke Ayesha was at the squat rack with her own PT Diana, taking the weight on her shoulders and dropping down, sweating. Too far away to hear what we were talking about."You make sure she doesn't get any ideas in her head," he said, "I don't need her mother getting in my ear because her baby got a broken nose. And I won't like it much either, feel me?""I feel you," I said."Good," he said, "Now strap on some gloves and get in the ring."Coach Jackson didn't spar with his students often, so this was a rare thing. I laced up, facing off with him on the canvas. He was bigger than me, older, with a good amateur record and a couple pro fights. So watching him move was a masterclass. I hoped I could move as smoothly, as efficient as he did. Moving around, repositioning, he put me through my paces. Every time I thought I had his measure he had some other trick. The proudest I could be is I didn't let him pull any goofy shit on me, the stuff experienced boxers pulled on casuals they couldn't get away with doing on anyone good.If he was happy with my development he didn't say it. I was sweating, panting, gasping for water. He handed me his bottle. That was all the praise I was getting. I took the stool, pushed to my natural limit with the start of the shakes."I might have something for you, if you're interested," he said, "Another match. What do you think?""Who against?" I asked."A kid from a Gold Coast gym, real rich brat looking to pretend he's a boxer," he said, "There's some money in it too.""How much?""About a grand."A grand? Shit, I've never even held a thousand dollars before."You interested?" he said.>hell yeah>thanks but I think I'll pass
you guys don't know but this quest is actually a basketball x boxing sports drama now.
>>4778579>hell yeah!We need money to eat and fight crime, as long as it's done without using our powers than there shouldn't be any problems
>>4778579>hell yeahmight as well help contribute, we're poor as fuck
>>4778589I'm down for some hajime no ippo shitI've been thinking for a while about learning some new fighting styles to use with a different costume and supe persona for stuff we don't want traced back to Hotspur. What do you guys think?
>>4778579>hell yeahdamn bro is there really this kind of money in boxing? and here I thought we'd be aiming for the NBA
Let's tell him we wanna double down on training before the fight, really throw ourselves into boxing to overcome tfw no gf. Maybe we can even find a new love interest through gymrat shit. And offer to check up on Stink. I feel like boxing is a real positive thing in Erics normie life that sort of bridges the gap between both parts of his life.
I wanna find the magic old blackmans grandson, and stay the hell away from all romance stuff for a while
>>4778698I agree on the first point but have no idea where to start. I sort of agree on the second but I think Eric needs to have some kind of social life with some fresh faces, and some light romance to keep his mind off of Kaylee without screwing things up with the one true best girl Ivy
It's too bad we went for a tough guy jock Eric instead of mild mannered smarter Eric through our choices so far, maybe we could've gotten an in with Ixion as a nerd. I like how he's turned out though, too many quest MCs go for diplomatic INT "builds".
It's the money made up my mind. With Dad back in the bottle someone had to keep the lights on."Hell yeah," I said, "Sign me up, coach.""Good. His name's Paul Danvers," Coach Jackson said, "Rich, private school white boy training above his level 'cause his daddy can afford it. If you said no I was going to ask Stink but he's been a no show.""I'll keep an eye out for him," I said."For now shower off," he said, "The fight is the end of the month. Knuckle down until then, I want you to put this punk in the ground."I punched my chest. He'd get my best.In the lockers I found the guys around a table, all looking hungry at it. One of them bit his knuckle like he was going to squeal."What's the deal?" I said."Yo check this," Kobi said, holding it up.It was a webm from an old hip hop video. A real bad black chick dancing hot to a hard beat, wearing not much but a gold thong, hair in gold capped braids. You didn't see a chick that bad too often. Damn. This was one of those 'save to special folder' kind of webms. Still, hot as it was on loop I didn't get why it had the boys all built up."That's Coach Jackson's sister," Kobi said.I pushed the tablet back as a blush broke out on my face while Kobi burst with laughter. No way. I knew Mrs Carver had been a model but...no way."You guys should maybe be careful," I said, voice tight, "Coach might not like that."Or Ayesha, knowing guys were looking at old videos of her Mom. I tried to pretend I hadn't seen it as I showered off, setting it on 'cold'.I had other shit to think about anyway. Like my powers, and how they related to the Stone. Back at the battle the stone had lit up, when I'd tapped into something. I'd moved faster, hit harder, and could see....I don't know. It was hard to understand. Thinking about it was like thinking someone else's memories, trying to snatch back a dying dream. Silver lights in darkness. Like the silver light of falling water in the shower, here then gone.I changed into a thick hoodie. It was cold out, sun going down early. We were passed the winter solstice but the sun still dropped earlier than I liked.The night was when the wolves came out.But then, the night was when I walked out too.The stone weighed on my mind as I walked to the bus shelter. It was currently in my bag. I kept it close. No way I was leaving it somewhere with Scabs' blood worms sniffing around.I had a lot to worry about, all thanks to this little rock from out of space. Houndmaster was still out there, the federals would be back. I don't know how much time my gag with the battle had bought, or what impact the Tribune's story had. It had brought the DPA around but so far no jackboots had stormed our apartment.When I got back to the neighborhood, I sat on the matress and tried not to think about the impression Kay and I had made in it. I put the stone on my lap.Maybe if I meditated on it, maybe if I stared at it, its secrets would be revealed.>roll 3 x 1d100 dc 90
Rolled 46 (1d100)>>4778756inb4 critfail and the stone assumes direct control
Rolled 77 (1d100)>>4778756Still salty that Zamani only learned that the stone was evil or whatever
Rolled 96 (1d100)>>4778756Pls
>>4778774niceif it had been a crit you'd have got something really wacky
>>4778774FUCK YES, I'M AWESOME Also what are you guys talking about with the rock being evil?
>>4778778Zamani said something real vague about finding evil instead of just the energy he expected when analyzing the stone, unless I misunderstood
>>4778774gotta love the clutch third roll, good shit anon
I sat with the stone, staring at it.Staring. Staring.It sat there, a lump of moon rock.Okay. I closed my eyes. Dr Zamani had said something about it being sinister, something about the energy of the stone had freaked him out. I didn't understand what he meant by that.I cupped the stone in the palm of my hands and focused. Drawing on the fire inside me. Drawing deep, stoking it until my body burned. I fed it my concentration, my emotion, my thoughts and dreams. Sweat crawled down my neck despite the winter. Soaked through my shirt.I breathed in, breathed out. Sitting without thinking, that's what I tried, and any thought that did rise I burned away, trying to achieve the same state I did in my battle with Houndmaster, in the New Year's Day War.Kaylee rose in my mind. Gasping in hot pleasure, glaring in hot fury, crying in fear. The image of her burned away. Dad, slack on the couch with a bottle of beer in his lap, barely holding it together at Mom's funeral. Mom, kneeling by her telescope showing me the stars, withered in her hopital bed among a nest of tubes. Shelley cut open. Ayesha smiling. Hunter making the three point shot after a pass, Rufus hollering in my ear as it won the game.Misfit, Thunderchild, Grit and Pratfall eating together around the dinner table.Ivy playing music on a hospital bed, singing to her little sister.It all went into the fire. It roared into an inferno.The stone glowed hot in my lap. I opened my eyes, trying to hold it as I looked down at the stone.A ribbon of light danced off the stone, lighting the dark of my hideout. It sang like a steel handpan, no melody I could repeat. A melody which made no sense but was clear for half a moment. It was beautiful.Then I gasped, letting it spin free, the inferno to hot to hold.It flickered out leaving a burned pit in my gut, a hungry void. The song faded with the light, the stone was just a stone again.Evil, Zamani had said.I couldn't call whatever that had been 'evil'.I tried to get up then sat back down again, hitting the mattress hard. It took me three tries, the stone in my back pocket. I checked the time.Then checked it again.Shit, I'd been sitting there for four hours. No way, that couldn't be right.I stumbled my way home through the dark, the cold cutting into my skin, no fire to draw on to cast it out. The shadows seemed deeper, haunted, as I navigated the streets with a feeble body. Pits of darkness held any manner of evil. What secrets were lurking in the night?But I wasn't frightened.
When I came home I found a note from Dad. He'd be out with some work buddies. He'd left me a frozen dinner in the sink. I didn't wait to cook it, my body didn't care. I scooped up the half frozen potato and choked it down with frozen carrots and peas, same odd meat patty. Chased it with a pint of milk. It was revolting but I didn't care. I gorged on a stale loaf of bread until the howling inside me was somewhat settled.Something brushed up against my leg. The cat, Mangy, purred up at me.I wasn't so hungry I'd eat a cat. I gave him a scratch behind the ear. He rubbed against my calf, toyed with the laces on my shoe.When I pulled out the stone he perked right up, rising onto his hind legs to sniff it."You like it?" I said.The cat made agreeable chirps, little nostrils flaring as he sniffed it. Then he bit at the stone."Hey!" I said, pulling the stone back. Mangy dropped down to his four legs.I really should take him to the vet. Mangy meowed, then rolled onto his belly.Dare I touch the fluff?Okay, I thought. Then as I rolled my hands through Mangy's belly fur I discovered he was a she."Sorry for the misgender, buddy," I said. Mangy didn't seem to care.My phone buzzed.Ivy - so what did you get her?I frowned.Me - Who?Ivy - Yesha. Her bday is tomorrow? Oh, you forgot.I stared at nothing.Me - I didn't forget.Ivy - liar. so what did you get her? Sweet 16 and all.I stared at the phone.>something cool (go panic buy something)>okay, I forgot. Can you cover for me?
>>4778841>okay, I forgot. Can you cover for me?Go buy something?With what money!?We're poor and ayesha is a good FRIEND (almost like a sister) she'll understand
>>4778841>something cool (go panic buy something)What do you get the nicest person you know? Ask Ivy for help with ideas at least
>>4778841>okay, I forgot. Can you cover for me?Would like a suggestion
Okay I have an idea. Ayesha is the sentimental type. She knows we're broke. Make a handwritten heartfelt note thanking her for all she's done for us, and how we'd never had a sister and haven't had a stable family for a long time now, and that she's helped us recapture that feeling or something. We'll always have her back and we know that she'll always have ours.
>>4778876Also promise to get her a real gift once we win our prize money from the fight maybe?
>>4778841>okay, I forgot. Can you cover for me?We gotta start robbing gang hideouts or something.
>>4778876I actually really like this idea, we should do this regardless of whether we get her another gift or not
>>4778881Hell no. We're a superhero anon. The bills are probably marked anyway. We can make our own money legitimately.
>>4778881>>4778876>>4778874>>4778852I'm including the write-in as a side present since I like the idea
Me - okay I forgot. Fuck you I'm poor.Ivy - hey I work for my money these days. but I could maybe cover you.Me - I'd owe you one.Ivy - oh more than one, but we'll figure something out.Then a smiling wink emoji.Ayesha's birthday. Shit. I'd been distracting myself so much from the bad stuff I'd forgotten the other stuff too. She's the nicest person I know, always helping people out. And I'd just straight up forgotten about it.God, I'm a real jerk.Maybe tell her how you feel.How I feel? Maybe.Write her a poem. Words of truth and beauty.Huh. A poem.Handwritten, calligraphy is a fine art.Yeah, she's sentimental, and hand writing is more personal.Intimate.Yeah.I pulled out an old exercise book, carefully tore out a sheet of paper, fished around for a pen. No, a pencil, do it in pencil first then go over it in pen, make sure it looks nice. That's a great idea, I thought as I started writing it out. Mom had been into calligraphy.Mangy rubbed against me, wrapping her tail around my leg.'Ayesha.'Starting with her name seemed smart. What came next though took its time coming. I'm no wordsmith. Poetry or writing, its not something I do a lot of or particularly like doing. I don't hate it, its just not my thing.'Ayesha. You're really great.'I scratched it out.'Ayesha.Ever since I moved to Chicago.'No.'Ayesha.'This is kind of sappy'Istared at the page. Then kept writing.'but when Dad moved us to Chicago, it was to try to save our family. Mom was sick and not getting better. He moved us here out of hope. Hope that things would change, her condition would improve.'I chewed on the end of the pencil.'But it only grew worse until it-'No, I scratched out the last line.'He tried so hard but there wasn't any hope for Mom. For us. When we lost Mom we became lost. It was a bad time.'I stared at the paper. Was this cringy?Keep going.'Then I met you guys. A group of friends who made me feel cool, made me feel accepted. I never had many friends back home. And I want to say it was all of you guys but it really was you Ayesha. You gave me your friendship. You brought me into your home, into your family. I don't have any siblings but if I did, I'd want a sister like you. Someone brave and generous. Someone always reaching out with kindness rather than drawing away. More than anyone else you make me feel part of this city, connected to it, belonging to it. Not just some hick from Indiana but a proper Chicagoan. Part of a family. You make me feel like I'm from somewhere. You gave me back some hope.''You've always had my back, Ayesha. I'll always have yours.'I hesitated on the last line. It was right but it could be read wrong.Fuck it.'I love you.'- EricI set down my pencil, swallowed. I wasn't an 'express my emotions' kind of guy. Reading it back I winced, considered crumpling it up and throwing it away.But then I thought about it.And I started inking it in.
I'll be back either tomorrow or the day after
Ayesha has been officially sisterzoned, hopefully this will ease the strain on Eric's romantic life by atleast closing a part of it. Ayesha is too precious
>>4778979Jesus Christ this reads like a love letter.
Am I the only one who reads the last update like Eric is talking to his internal alien warrior-king???
Ok so it’s been at least two fucking months since I’ve been able to post, and as the first post since then I say that this response is incredibly feasible, look I’m not going to friend zone Ayesha, but she’s also been summarily the greatest Comrade we’ve had and she deserves an absolutely great present.Pour it out, try and tell her everything we can without telling without Hotspur.
>>4780555That's what sucks, she thinks we're a great person without knowing that we're Hotspur and I don't wanna ruin that but she also deserves to know.
Honestly? Eric is a better person than most people, being Hotspur and fighting against the police won’t make us worse in her eyes, I’m not saying to tell her I just want to let her know that at this point she’s basically the closest thing we’d have to a best friend, despite how awkward i actually is she’s still our friend.
>>4779417Yes, it didn't read like the stone influence at all.
>>4780665To me it read like the guy who we dreamed that we were with Ivy, Ayesha, and Kay standing in as his wives. Who was likely an alien warrior-king.
>>4780746What crack are you smoking?
>>4780783I think para powers come from an alien galaxy whose sun died, and ours specifically come from an alien who was a warrior with several wives. Maybe that was normal in that culture. I'm basing this off the dream we had the night we were attacked by the blood worms.
>>4780814So you think it comes from alien souls? Not a bad idea if it wasn't for the fact the rocks seem to function based on what the target was doing and feeling emotionally the time. You not paying attention to what peoples powers are and misinterpreting not withstanding. Pulling out an intelligent entity is fucking retarded.
>>4780819The alien souls might have chosen hosts that were doing things that they might have done themselves at the time of the explosion. Or I could be totally off base and the stone is the source of the alien entity, not specifically its interaction with our powers... Just throwing theories out there.
I'll be running tomorrow
>>4780901The meteor literally exploded and crash/infected people at random. There was no influence "choosing" hosts, a literal shark in the ocean got hit, and because sharks are based as fuck, he became based as fuck warrior of the sea who rescues orphans. The stone seems to be some kind of equivalent to a Stand Arrow, relatively speaking. As it was stated to give off a malevolent feeing by the ones who observed it last, most of which aren't good people, which makes sense as it seems the meteors turn whoever is hit emotions up too an eleven in stressful situations. The odd powers it grants also being given in a relatively uniform manner to fit peoples personalities. It isn't some warrior king, its just Eric being "pure" Eric, or, in simple terms, the lizard brain in him, being brought to the forefront, the fact we carry the rock around all the time "likely" bled into it. Attuning to it if you will, such as his super mode going off. The meteor fragments clearly have some effect on the soul, as the DPA pay close attention too people personalities, and the extremes those space rocks expand on it. Invisible dude felt invisible to the world around him and wanted to get laid, but was too cowardly to try and talk face to face. Ergo, got invisibility, and decided to become a molester. Eric was feeling weak, trapped in a dark place, and wanted to help others even after helping his neighbor from the local crackhead. Now he has his abilities. Ooze was a hungry motherfucker apparently from what little we heard of him, now he became the ultimate eater. The one stickout is Scab, but given what Thunderchild told us her worms did, I quiet frankly don't want to know what fucked basket that is, since she quiet clearly, if one sided insofar as we've seen, seems to think Para's as family even as she tortures them. What the fuck happened when she got hit with a meteor to get the abilities she has, would have....disturbing implications.
>>4780920Based by the way
>>4780966You seem awfully certain I'm wrong and you're right without any evidence, I'm just taking evidence and saying what it might mean without any certainty. Just let me give ideas without shitting on them man. We're all here to have fun.
>>4780981Your talking about alien entities when there are no personalities experienced by anyone else, and arguably Eric as well. If you want to ignore basic commonalities of everyone so far, in favor of random ideas for fun. Fine, but don't pretend that yours has any ground to stand on with even less evidence, because that extreme misunderstanding in a vote WILL cause problems. You can be stupid if you know your just being, but if you have no comeback but, muh delusions aren't dumb, then kindly shut up.
>>4780988If I'm clearly being delusional then the other players won't take me seriously and it won't cause any problems. For real, I'm just having fun here and trying to promote discussion without being called stupid. I think if you read more carefully then you might see my point. Our powers fit that warrior king persona to a T. Good fighting skills, regen, some weird oathkeeping power, the ability to discern truth from lies, and when we're juiced up on the stones power we can literally see the content of someone's character.It's true that the other paras haven't shown such clear evidence of other personalities influencing them with a specific theme to their powers, but we haven't really asked if someone has had similar experiences to us either. There's no need to shit on me for innocent speculation when we don't have all the answers.
>>4780988To be clear, I'm glad to have someone discussing shit with me but the insults and generally aggressive tone are unnecessary and don't really help your argument either
>>4781046Then you projecting some alien personality as the reason for our abilities when its a demonstrable link to something else is just fun is fine. But don't get offended when barely any effort is required to poke holes through it.>>4781050My tolerance for stupid when we have archives is the reason I am insulting you, it happens to be convenient as I haven't noticed anyone else make the connections just yet is icing on my cake. As this can't be an argument, if you can't prove anything, can't defend yourself, and are actually just doing it for fun. If that's the case, do something more useful, like speculate how to evacuate the kids with Queen Rat when our new stalker follows us around.
>>4781054Stfu you ass, I far prefer his alien theory to your bitching, his was a fun little theory, reading your posts I bet you were that little piss who thought he was cool by being logical and emotionless when you were a kid, and then never grew out of it
>>4781073I appreciate you coming to my defense or whatever but Bullpen and this quest overall deserves more discussion about the quest itself. It'd be better to get it started together without throwing out even more insults at other players who love this great quest right? There's plenty of mysterious stuff to figure out and a lot of other clues scattered around. I'll comb through the archives for more info about the nature of our powers instead of engaging in counterproductive arguments, we should all do the same!
>>4781124Sounds good, rereading it is pretty good way to pass the time.
>>4781141I'm also unfamiliar with the play that Hotspur is a character in. Might be worth looking into as well.
>>4781144Never been a Play guy myself, but it will be interesting to hear the results.
>>4781156http://www.shakespeareandhistory.com/henry-hotspur-percy.phpIf we're following in this guys footsteps we can expect a betrayal and our own death before too long. I'm slightly worried that we didn't vet out para allies for the gang war enough before showing them our face. One or more of them could be a plant by our enemies.
>>4781176I don't think our Para allies are going to be the ones too do it. Thunderchild because he had the worms on him so much might be a unknowing traitor. But Penderose knows Eric is Hotspur, can't prove anything, but he knows. So Penderose is probably going to be the cause for someone turning us in, likely by pressuring anyone we know one by one. Probably outside of school too by threatening or bribing them for info on us off school grounds. Not cheating or trying to make Ivy date us is probably going to give us a big bonus for holding it off. But I suppose Queen Rat could be threatened to give up information if she's found. Who do we know that we haven't seen in awhile?
>>4781651Good thing we haven't slighted anyone we know prone to emotional outbursts and holding grudges. It's especially lucky that we don't know anyone like that who also happens to have a easily exploitable/blackmailable family crisis that a powerful government agency could easily make disappear or worsen.
>>4781673To be fair, it wasn't made any worse, its just typical High School Ex pissyness. The bigger question is, Kay doesn't know her dad was a crook, and since we got him caught, Would Penderose even waste his breath asking for that, or would he focus on Kay at all, because he might assume we broke up with her without saying anything about our hero duties. Pressuring her might get nothing for Penderose, he still look into her, but unless something pops up, he might go over her head and bug someone else.
>>4781682>To be fair, it wasn't made any worse, its just typical High School Ex pissynessI agree.> The bigger question is, Kay doesn't know her dad was a crookPretty sure she knows by now considering that gangsters entered the hause on at least two occasions that we were present for to threaten him. And even if she doesn't already know Pendrose could just tell her to get the leverage he wants. He would be stupid, which we know he isn't to not at the very least try to get our ex to rat on us, especially since it's teens are notoriously stupid when break ups are involved. Even if he assumes she doesn't know it would be a fair assumption she would have noticed some suspicious things about us.
>>4781673Kay was fuckin mortified when she thought Penderose was arresting us at school for being Hotspur. Give her a little credit, she's not gonna rat us out.
>>4781691We likely disappeared alot, but Penderose wouldn't be able to do much with it. And we didn't make a singular spot our little area to patrol. For safety we should maybe move our hideout, and check the rooftop and ally's near our house for spy equipment.
>>4781651Do remember that we made that oath with the friend group which seemed to have some magical power.
>>4782343Maybe something with they're soul, or possibly a light mind reading effect. Though whether or not that is with the Stone or a natural effect of our abilities is something we need too know. Although that Oath is rather Moot as its only for covering Dane's ass, only Ivy and Kay know about us.
The Carvers had rented out a small community center for Ayesha's birthday. The party wasn't supposed to start until noon, but a bunch of cars were already in the lot, with guests starting to make their way in doors. I kept the letter in my back pocket, still not sure if I was going to give it to her or not. It was kind of embarassing.Most of the people already here I didn't know. Older black folks, I'd guess Ayesha's extended family, aunties and uncles come from around the city. A heavy set woman waddled through on a cane with the largest hat on I'd ever seen, garlanded with flowers. A younger guy in his early twenties walked behind her, keeping an eye out, wearing a long beard ending in a point. Little kids raced each other around the car park, squealing with laughter.It looked like people had come from all over.When I saw Ivy I relaxed a little. Someone I knew. She was waiting out the front with Malcolm, Ayesha's boyfriend. He talked while she smoked, flicking ash from her cigarette."Hey kid, what's up?" Malcolm said as I walked on up. "We're just taking a break from setting up decorations.""Yeah?" I looked past them inside.What had been a basketball court now had a couple of long tables set up, chairs set, another up the back with presents and a cake. Streamers and a banner hung from the wall. 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY AYESHA!' The cake was tall, three layers, and there was a DJ setting up a turn table.It was the kind of effort put on I didn't think really fit the birthday girl. The size of some of those gifts made me doubt the letter I'd written."I got you covered," Ivy said with a wink, knowing what I was thinking. I blushed"Is the birthday girl in yet?" I asked."Her parents are bringing her over, she spent the morning with Kaylee," Malcolm said, "That isn't going to be awkward for you, right?"Kaylee and Ayesha were best friends. It was something I'd have to get comfortable with, or never see either of them again. Be cool, I thought."It's fine," I said."Look at this sorry punk," a gruff voice from behind me and I turned to face Coach Jackson, a little black woman on his arm, the woman carrying a present."Sir," I said."One of my troubled kids," Mr Jackson explained to his date, "You training hard for the fight?""Yes sir," I said."All right, don't eat too much cake," he said, then went on in.When they passed, Malcolm whistled. "Only cake I'm seeing is on that lady, damn."Ivy nodded approvingly, flicking away her finished smoke."Cake?" I said."Ass," Ivy explained. I blushed."Anyone else coming?" I said, wanting to change the subject.Ivy pointed with her chin.
Zeke and Rufus got out of the same car, waving goodbye to the woman in the front, and it wasn't long before Dane, Hunter, and Daphne showed up, each on their own. The weirdest arrival though, and the one which threw me for a loop, was the nerds. Annie Wang, Ben and Chad, the pimple faced, sun deprived trio. I shouldn't have been so surprised though, Ayesha was friends with everyone."Como estas, bitches," Zeke said, waggling his shades. Then he raised them. "What happened to you?"It took me a second to realize he meant the bruise on my face. Mementos from Stallion, the dark bruises were starting to turn a vicious yellow. If I was being honest I didn't notice them.I shrugged. "Boxing," Ivy said."You know I heard the trick to being a good boxer is to not lead with your face," Zeke said."Sup Eric," Rufus said.Both of the boys were ignoring Malcolm, who had a cool smile like he knew why."Presents up the back," Ivy said, jerking her thumb over her shoulder, "The birthday girl should be here soon."The boys hustled in.>drop the letter off on the table>wait to give it to Ayesha directly
>>4783025>wait to give it to Ayesha directly
If we get more of this inner voice power thing we going to be like Deadpool but more sane
>>4783129Naaah, it isn't a crazy voice telling us were just comic characters.
>>4783139Yet! (Jk jk)
>>4783147Yeah...yeah, its fine.
>>4783025>wait to give it to Ayesha directlyWhat do we do about Malcom
>>4783213Just make sure she really likes the guy after telling her more about what he said that night after dinner
The letter stayed in my back pocket. It felt kind of dumb putting it on the table with all the real gifts. I'd hand it to her when I had the opportunity.The guests didn't just bring gifts, they brought food too. Pots and platters, all kinds of stuff. None of it looked particularly vegan friendly, a lot of it was fried, all of it smelled good. My stomach churned with hunger. There hadn't been anything much in the fridge for breakfast.A car horn honked. Mr Carver idled up on the corner, Ayesha and Kay getting out of the backseat. Ayesha was flushed, a bright grin on her face. She was wearing one of those Asian style bomber jackets. It looked brand new, black and gold with tigers snarling down the sleeves. Her birthday must be going pretty well so far. Even Kay was smiling so wide the sight of me didn't wipe it off.Seeing her didn't help the knot in my chest, but I ignored it. We could put our shit aside."You made it," Ayesha said, hopping up in front of me. She looked around. "Wow, this is way too much."I covered my smile with a hand. "Yeah I was thinking the same thing," I said."Nothing's too much for you," Malcolm said, "With the year you've been having, you deserve more."Ayesha blushed, then popped on her toes, giving him a kiss."The others are inside," Ivy said.Before I could say 'happy birthday' Ayesha was swept up by a stream of relatives pulling her away. She looked back to say something, but then just smiled and waved as the aunties pulled her aside to fawn and lecture over the birthday girl. Malcolm went with her, and when the aunties saw him it all got a little warmer."Oh my now who is this?" I heard the woman in the wide hat say, her smile a little suggestive."Me I'm just the boyfriend," he replied, "I got to say auntie, that's a fine crown you're wearing.""Oh bless this boy," she said, laugh like a cluck in her throat.If there were any looks thrown my way they were suspicious. I didn't want to say it was because I'm white, it probably had more to do with the fact I looked as if I'd fought my way out of a Turkish prison."Rough week?" Ivy said, drawing my attention away from the cluster of clucking tongues surrounding Ayesha."I've had rougher," I said, rolling my shoulder."I'll get you a pop, you can put it on your cheek," she said, taking me by the arm and leading me inside.The DJ started up a playlist, which seemed to be a lot of the Weeknd and John Legend. Not really my kind of music. Stuff you could dance too, though the dancing hadn't started yet. The DJ was familiar but it took me a long moment to place him.The Cindy Crawford. He'd been playing the night I'd busted Nicky Bellavanche. A big step down playing teenage birthdays after putting on a light show for the smuggling king of the Great Lakes. Still, a dollar was a dollar and he didn't seem to mind.
I must have been staring, the crack of a coke can broke my focus. Ivy handed it over. I took a long drink, kind of wishing it was something harder.Mr Carver came up through the tables, munching on a piece of chicken, a mound of potato salad on his plate."Eric, my favorite white boy," he said, "Got a shiner?"I touched my cheek. "Got caught slipping," I said."It'll happen," he said."Eddie!" a voice behind him and he turned to get pulled into a hug by a man looked nearly his twin, if a few pounds lighter."Henry," he said."Brother we just got in from Minneapolis, you know we saw Semper Fi fly overhead? Crazy sh...stuff," Henry said, noticing us. "These kids belong to you?" he said."The girl is the one living with us," Mr Carver said, "The boy is just a stray wanders in to eat our food.""So you're Ivy, yeah, nice to meet you," he said, holding out his hand, "My sympathies for living with my little brother. I lived with him for twenty years and I'd never do it again. You can call me Uncle Henry.""How's the wife?" Mr Carver said."Nice to meet you Uncle Henry," Ivy said."Which one?" Uncle Henry said.Mr Carver raised his eyebrows. "Another divorce?" he said, "You go through wives like a pack of oreos.""You'd know about oreos wouldn't you Eddie?" Uncle Henry laughed a little too hard when he poked his brother's belly., "Eddie here thinks a diet is eating normal oreos instead of the double stuffed kind."Mr Carver rolled his eyes."Meet my new girl, hey honey, come meet my brother!"A small Asian woman came over, looking lost. When she saw Henry she smiled, shaking Mr Carver's hand."You seen Raymond anywhere?" Uncle Henry said, hooking an arm around his little lady."Ray-Ray said he'd be late, had his boy at the dentist," he said. "My other brother," he explained to us.I wasn't sure how the rest were related. Some of the aunties and uncles were more cousins of Mr and Mrs Carver, with their own kids being I guess what I'd call second or third cousins. It seemed all the same to the Carvers though, and made for a large family clan.Overlooking it all were the elders, the grandparents and great aunts and uncles, all attended by this cousin or another, keeping to themselves in the corner waiting for the younger generations to come pay tribute.It wasn't like the family gatherings I was used to, but maybe that was a good thing.It's funny though. Outside of Coach Jackson nearly everyone was from Mr Carver's side of the family, and the other members of the Jackson clan, a couple of distant cousins, kept back and away in their own little pocket, feeling as out of place as I did.Through this all Malcolm escorted Ayesha. The Carver clan sure did seem to like him, the older women in particular. I guess he was a charismatic guy, in his way."You guys going to eat?" Zeke asked, coming over with a plate, "The eating is good."
My belly squelched. I didn't put it off. Zeke was right too, the food was good. I ate one place, then a second, and when going in for thirds an uncle laughed and said 'Whose been feeding this boy?'I blushed and didn't get thirds.Some people sat to eat but most people stood around, with more food coming in from a backroom kitchen.The one group absolutely out of place though was the nerds. The trio stood rooted to the ground, Annie wouldn't let either of the boys go far without her, uncomfortable with the bright smiles and laughter around them.I found my way over to my friends."So do you guys know anyone here other than Ayesha?" I asked."Nope," Rufus said.'I'm a muthafuckin' Starboy' boomed from the speakers."I met her cousin uh Mike I think, a couple years ago," Dane said, "Camp trip. Been a minute though."Daphne stirred her drink, trying to pretend she wasn't uncomfortable."I'm getting another drink," I said, "You guys want anything?"I took a list of orders over to the ice box. I scooped out a pop."I hate these people."I turned around to see Mrs Carver glaring over the crowd. She wore her hair in braids, which made me remember the video from the other day. I tried not to think about it. She was drinking some kind of liquor, no ice."Sorry," I said.She shook her head. "You ever feel like white trash?" she asked me."Sometimes," I said."Yeah, these people make me feel like black trash," she said, "Some of them smile nice but they still see a hood rat. Thinking Eddie married under." There was a rough edge to her voice I hadn't heard before, her proper way of speaking starting to slip back into the gutter accent of South Chicago. "Oh lord," she sighed, pressing her glass to her forehead. "You'd think after nineteen years they'd get over it."I cracked the can and took a long drink.One of those many Carvers came up, and Mrs Carver's scowl transformed into a pleasant smile. "Malika, so nice to see you," she said, kissing the woman on the cheek. Her eyes narrowed when she passed though. She threw back her drink."Don't mind me," she sighed, "Anyway, it's time for presents."So that was why they'd gone all out. Impressing the in-laws. I guess some stuff stayed the same. Whatever they thought of her Mom though, everyone seemed to have nothing but love for Ayesha, to the point she started looking besieged. They towed her toward the present table, each wanting to see her react to their gift. Of course it didn't matter what it was, Ayesha was grateful, giving whoever a hug and kiss. The pile whittled down, wrapping paper gathering under our feet, a second mound of gifts growing.It was everything from shoes to video games. One great auntie even went hard on a PS5."This one's from Eric," Uncle Henry said, "Who Eric?"I put up my hand and was shuffled forward by a cousin. This was the gift Ivy had put down in my name. Ayesha's face was bright as she unwrapped it.
"Oh!" she said. It was an orange sweater with a smiling cat face. "This is really nice, Eric, thanks."My throat closed, emotions stronger than I expected squeezing my chest. "I uh, got you something else too," I said, pulling the letter from my back pocket. I held it out to her."A couple dollars ain't bad," Malcolm said, squeezing Ayesha's shoulder with a grin."You don't need to read it now," I said as she started to unfold it. "Actually, you know, don't read it, uh, its dumb," I said, trying to pull it back.But her eyes were already scanning the paper, smiling.Then the smile started to drop, drop until it was gone as she smoothed out the paper, scanning over my inked out hand writing. Her lip quirked and I burned.Oh God I'm an idiot. Watching her silently read the letter was the most excrutiating thing I'd been through, with all the muttered attention of the extended Carver family on her and me, like a muttering spotlight set to a high beam.She drew back an uneven breath, staring at the paper. Her bottom lip trembled.Shit."What's it say?" Malcolm asked, reaching for the paper."No," Ayesha said, pulling it away from his searching fingers. Her eyes were wet. She sniffed, folded it up.She looked at me and I backed up a step."I..." she said, then got up. "Excuse me!"She hopped up and well...fled, pushing her way through a confused crowd.Ah shit. It certainly left the family unhappy, and Malcolm glared at me."What the fuck was that?" Zeke asked, too loud.Furrowed brows found me, the suspicious glares of several dozen black faces.>slink away>go after her
>>4783404>go after her
>>4783404>go after her>>4783413chucky is good
>>4783404God damn idiots, thinks its a love letter because its written like one.>go after her
>>4783404>go after herHeartbreaker EricJesus Christ I wish my teenage years were this lively
>>4783404>go after herYes yes yes Casa Nova Eric back again
>>4783476Eric makes the girls wet (with tears)
Idk guys I think something else is going on, we called her our sister so it wasn't really a romantic kind of love.
This is a fuckin mess, we should've gone for Misfit
>>4783404>go after herkanye move over, we're the better wordsmith
Can't mostly post cus I'm busy but as always thanks for the quest QM. Wanted to share some sketches of the girls and hotspur but they're very low quality (doesn't stop me from sharing) dont know what people use for img sharing so just used imgur for this, so I dont spam the thread with ithttps://imgur.com/gallery/CeSUD9r
"Wait," I said, starting after her, a spike of panic.Did she get the wrong idea? I knew the last line was a mistake. Goddamn it"Oh lord," Daphne said, hiding her face.No one got in my way exactly but angry looks followed me as I pushed after her.The door to the bathroom swung shut behind her. I didn't mind the 'girls' sign and went right in.Ayesha stood at a basin, blinking at tears, face scrunched up. A soft little heart tugging sound hiccuped out of her."Sorry," I said, back to the door, awkward.She looked up, my letter in her fist. "N-no," she said, "No, I'm sorry I...just don't like getting emotional in front of...and I..."She covered her face with the letter. "Sorry," she said.I smiled awkwardly. "We're both sorry I guess," I said, taking a hesitant step closer. "With the letter you know I said..." I stopped, choking on the word, "When I said it I didn't mean...""No, I know," she said. She rubbed at her eyes. "I know its..." she turned around, brushing a coily lock back from her face. "I've got a lot of relatives here," she said, "But Eric...you're the one who feels most like family."Her lip wobbled. She bit it to keep herself in check. Then she let it go."I love you Eric," she said.And the knot of panic and embarasment melted. It became a golden glow, matched by a blush I didn't mind.She came over, and fell into a hug, holding me tight, holding herself tight to me."I didn't mean to make you cry," I said, stroking the back of her neck."They're good tears," she sniffed. She pulled back, and she was smiling through wet cheeks. She kissed my cheek.To love someone and to be loved back. It's hard to believe I could ever forget what it feels like."It's good to cry when someone makes you feel a kind of way," she said, smile growing into a bright grin, "And anyway, its my birthday, I can cry if I want to." She folded up my letter, slipped it into her wallet."I love you," I said."I love you too."A toilet flushed in one of the stalls. We both tensed up. Annie came out red cheeked, looking dead straight at the wash basin, trying hard not to acknowledge us and making us more painfully aware of it.Then Ayesha burst out laughing, snorting into my shoulder, and I bent over wheezing, hugging her again."Come on, let's go before Malcolm gets the wrong idea," she said, taking me by the hand and pushing out the door.I don't know if holding hands would give them the right idea exactly, but when Malcolm came over looking suspicious, Ayesha let go and wrapped her arms around his neck, rising up to give him a kiss."You okay?" he asked, squeezing her arm."Oof," she said, "Yeah, just a little over-emotional. Sorry, sorry everyone.""What did he say?" Malcolm asked.
"Something very sweet, very private, and nothing for you to worry about," she said, tapping his nose. He settled down a little, but still shot me an untrusting look. "Back to the show everyone!" Ayesha declared, "Sorry about the drama."The music kicked up and everything gradually settled back to normal."Wow John Keats, hope you never write me anything," Ivy said, coming up to join me, "I might get all weak in the knees."Ayesha rejoined her relatives. I smiled as I watched her laugh, handed a present by a shy little cousin. Kaylee leaned next to her, then looked up and locked eyes with me. In the half-second Kaylee said more with the glance than she had before, at first jealous but then grateful. She put a hand on Ayesha's shoulder and smiled.Ivy checked the time. "Dane and I are going out for a movie after this," she said, "See you around?""I thought you guys were just going to the ball?" I said."Sure we are, but I'm not going to not try him out before hand," she said, then seeing my look thrust my chest with a finger, "Not like that you perv," she said, "I meant to make sure he isn't boring.""He's a nice guy," I said."Yeah, and he better be more than that," she said, "If all he is is nice I'll blow my brains out. Nice guys are fine, but a girl needs a little something extra too."She was going to eat him alive. I shouldn't have been happy about it."What are you doing after this anyway?" she asked, folding back blonde hair behind her ear.I shrugged, hadn't really thought about it.>probably take it easy>I might put some 'work' in
>>4783555>I might put some 'work' inNo rest for the wicked, nor us.
>>4783555>I might put some 'work' inNo rest for the wicked >>4783536Nice anon
>>4783555>I might put some 'work' in
>>4783555>I might put some 'work' inThis was niceGlad she took it well - wholesome Eric ftw
>>4783536thanks, I really appreciate itkeep up the art and don't worry, just remember you'll get good with time and effort.
>>4783536Nice stuff, wips are solid looking.
>>4783555>I might put some 'work' insure as shit not going home with dad either drunk at home or out drinking somewhere else
We should tell her about the upcoming boxing match too. I'm noticing that all Eric really lives for is fighting right now and theres worse ways to deal with breakups I guess but we need to find a way to cope thats less destructive at some point too.
>>4783555>I might put some 'work' inWe got our little break time to hit.... whatever needs to be hitting. Also glad to see our supe friends are helping the streets, it take a load out of eric, if we can solve misftive and the other guy incrimination it will make our life even more easier
"Might, you know, go to work," I said."You've been doing that a lot lately," Ivy said, "It feels like we barely see you.""What can I say, there's lots of work to do," I said. The wicked don't rest and neither do I. Not like there was anything waiting for me at home, not with Dad backsliding.Take one step forward, another step back, and you just end up in the same place you started."Do what you got to do," she said, "Just remember there's more to life than fighting.""I know," I said.She waved as she went to join our friends, hooking in with Dane. I leaned back against the wall, closed my eyes.It was good not to have the focus on me anymore. Just part of the crowd. The party started winding down, family making their farewells before heading out. Elders were helped into cars to be escorted back to nursing homes and aged care. Aunties and uncles herded out their kids. Everyone took some food, packed away. Everyone had some cake.It was a good day."Hey."Ayesha came out."I saved a piece for you," she said, offering me a slice."Thanks," I said."Malcolm's taking me out to a spot he knows," she said, "I'll see you at school."The cake was dry, vegan chocolate a little too sweet.She smiled, then squeezed my arm and darted a kiss on my cheek."Bye," she said, kind of shy as Malcolm came up, took her around the shoulder."See you Eric," he said, guiding her out. Away from me with a jealous kind of stink.I shot an open palm wave. Whatever dude.Then it was time to go. I said goodbye to the others, including Kaylee. She was still half-ignoring me.Whatever to her too.It was cold out, sun was going down. I hiked my way to the bus stop, took myself back to the neighborhood.Then I suited up, and hit the night.Time to work.
(I'll be back in a couple of days. In the mean time, decide which plotline you want to focus on and resolve.)>Clearing Thunderchild and Misfit's name with the DPA>Running down the Chicago underworld, keep fighting the war on crime>Investigating the mysteries around the stone, including Ixion Energy>Interacting with the growing para-folk community and focus on improving the public opinion toward para-folk>(write-in?)
>>4783637>Clearing Thunderchild and Misfit's name with the DPABeen putting this off too long - we need our friends with us on the street to take the strain off of us so we can focus on the other stuff. Consider it an investment
>>4783642>Clearing Thunderchild and Misfit's name with the DPAClearing our friends make they're lives, and ours by proxy, easier.
>>4783642>Clearing Thunderchild and Misfit's name with the DPAThough I am tempted to take the PRfag option, we need to finish this.
The DPA knows they're innocent. They're the ones who framed them so they could arrest them and throw them in the gulag. I don't see what proving their innocence does if it was never about innocence, it's just that they're paras who are outside of government control.
>>4783642>Clearing Thunderchild and Misfit's name with the DPA
>>4784001Its too prove to the public the DPA is full of shit, and discourage people from snitching on they're neighbors.
>>4783642>>Clearing Thunderchild and Misfit's name with the DPA
>>4783642>Clearing Thunderchild and Misfit's name with the DPAThis will go a long way towards the last option as well I feel.
>>4783642>Interacting with the growing para-folk community and focus on improving the public opinion toward para-folk>Clearing Thunderchild and Misfit's name with the DPA
>>4783642>Investigating the mysteries around the stone, including Ixion Energy
>>4785077If we get the heat off our allies we can take the time to do that.
planning on running tomorrowalso last night I realized I have a habit of giving super villains S namesSemper Fi, Scab, Stallion, Sundownerso I'll have to rename a character I was going to introduce soon.
>>4787289Don't, I didn't notice till you said something, so keep it up. Eric can make it an in universe joke.
>>4787289So no "Super Sinister Squad"?
>>4787289Semper Fi is a hero though :^)
>>4787289Can't forget Salamander
getting my head into writing mode
The Hawk howled. I knelt up on a tall building looking down on the Loop, electric light mapping the streets beneath me. The chug of the L, the gridlocked traffic, the sound of a million people moving through the early night. We were over the hump of winter but you wouldn't know it from the cold, but the cold was no barrier to the nightlife either.Music pumped from clubs, long lines shivering out the front. Ubers dumped out car loads of party goers or ferried them off. I kept my eyes wide looking for trouble.A young woman in a tight red dress and a short black jacket stumbled without her friends, heels clicking and sliding on the frosty ground. She was pretty, she was alone, she was vulnerable. She was half way to out of her head, and I don't think it was just from drinking. A couple guys followed her from out of the club down the street, elbowing each other, laughing. They had that kind of 'sensitive white guy' look, the 'play her music and write her poetry' vibe I'd come to associate with date rapers.One of them grabbed her arm. She tried to pull away. He pulled her back and she practically fell over. They laughed as they kept her upright, started herding her toward a car. No one did nothing.Well, no one but me.I plunged down, the night whistling around me. The roof of their car crumpled, shockwaves running up my legs."Yo," I said.The girl frowned, a trickle of vomit down the side of her mouth."H-hey," one of the guys said, "How's it going Hotspur?" Talking like he knew me.They looked like they'd been sprung but weren't going to admit it."My fucking car," the other guy said. He got a 'shut up' look from his friend."You know these guys?" I asked the girl."Um," she managed, then nearly fell over."Hey, this isn't what you think," he said, "We were just trying to get her home safe, right?""Right," his friend said.These guys think I'm an idiot."Well you can leave her to me," I said, "And if I see you guys out again tonight, this is going to go another way."I don't know if it was to their credit or not that they backed off. I was itching for a fight. Busting up my knuckles helped take my mind off other things, the problems I couldn't do much about. Still, it'd need to wait for another day. I hopped down from their car.The woman wore a perfume of flowers and vomit. I managed to get her to a group of still sober women out the front of a club."Hey, any of you think you can get this lady home?" I asked.They looked doubtful, but finally one nodded, and I passed her off into what I hoped was safe hands."Stay safe out there," I said before bounding off.There were a lot of little evils in the world. I couldn't be there for all of them, but I had to do something. And otherwise it was a slow night. Any kind of hard gang activity was being kept behind closed doors. We'd put a real fear in the gangs and for now they were keeping their heads down.Good.
But passing a patrol car, with a couple of cops parked out sipping coffee, reminded me I had other things to worry about.Like Misfit and Thunderchild's freedom. They were both camped out in safehouses, no good to anyone and driving themselves crazy. Misfit had been framed for murder, Thunderchild armed robbery.They'd framed Shark too, for child-murder, but I don't think Shark cared as much. Unlike us he didn't try to keep an ordinary life.The who was the Department of Paranormal Affairs, the task force put together by the various federal agencies to track, monitor, and police the para-folk community. They'd taken that to mean lock us up whenever the opportunity arose. Which also meant passing us off to some freaky off-books clandestine operation doing all kinds of wild, unethical experiments. I'd tried to tell the world about it and had been met with a collective shrug and accusations of being a liar.One 'expert', in an interview with Priscilla Takanawa, had claimed I was a Russian agent looking to subvert American democracy with 'lies and rumors'.What I needed was hard proof of their innocence. What I needed was a lead.I'd done some basic investigation. I had a strong suspicion the real culprit for the Russian gangster's murder had been Semper Fi, working on DPA orders. I just couldn't prove it.All these crimes were being investigated by a Detective Bohauer, the Chicago PD liason with the DPA.It was a different thing, running against the government. Busting a couple heads wasn't enough.>meet up with Ms Grant and ask for advice>maybe I could meet Bohauer and fish for information>talk to Thunderchild and get his story>write-in
>>4789317>maybe I could meet Bohauer and fish for information
>>4789317>talk to Thunderchild and get his storyGet all the info, then we can hit Bohauer
One thing I realized about the article is that the para community is all on the same page about what's being done to them now. That can sort of be a good thing. Or it could make some of them go full extremist or something.
I'd met Detective Bohauer a couple of times in and out of costume. I actually had her number, but I had it as Eric Miller, not as Hotspur.I found her coming out of the 9th district department, coat kept closed against the cold blast of winter wind. She was a fat, light haired woman, the kind of fat from desk work and sitting in a car munching takeout while keeping an eye on some hard case waiting for them to slip up. As a result she had a fat woman's walk, the kind of swinging gait of a human iceberg. It made her identifiable in a crowd, and dominating to the empty sidewalk she ambled down.She was a tallish woman too, making me wonder how much bulk the fat was hiding.Swinging a leg she pulled herself into a private car and talk off. I followed her across the rooftops, lunging from building to building, keeping sight of her lights as they took turns through the streets.I followed her to a nice little house out in the near west side. It was nearing eleven on a saturday night, but the lights were off inside. She got out the car with a soft grunt, the clink of keys swinging on a fat finger as she waddled up the drive.When I landed behind her she moved faster than I thought a fat woman could, spinning like a top, dropping to a knee, gun clearing its holster.But the effort made her puff for breath, the gun unsteady. It was an automatic pistol, the kind of caliber could clear out someone's dome and leave a cleaning bill behind.I put up my hands. "I don't suppose this helps," I said.The piggish look in her eye retracted. She lowered the pistol but didn't holster it. She struggled to stand, fighting her own weight."I thought you might drop in one day," she said, "You here to break my jaw, or talk?""Talk," I said, "Unless you give me a reason to break your jaw.""Might do," she said, "I read the article in the Tribune. I don't expect you'd believe me if I said I didn't know about any of it.""But you believe it," I said."Shit yes I do," she said, "When those suits come around to collect our prisoners I raised a stink with the director but it went no where. Stone walled. Penderose wasn't too happy about it either but he was willing to play ball."Director Miscampbell, the head of the DPA."And what about the frame jobs?" I said, "The ones Penderose has you cooking up to arrest para-folk to begin with?""Frame job?" she said."Thunderchild, Misfit, Shark," I said, "All innocent, part of a DPA stitch up.""Yeah, them and Ooze, the Creep, Viner, all innocent. Just like every black guy picked up for holding a dimebag. All innocent angels, not a criminal among them."I don't know if she was tell the truth or if she was deflecting.
"You think we're out here locking people up for the hell of it," she said, "You think we have some anti-para agenda, but we don't. Not all of us. Your kind are dangerous, and when they step out of line they need to be taken down hard and fast. Keep to the law and you'll have nothing to worry about.""You really believe that?" I said."It's the truth," she said, "Now I don't know why you're bugging me at this hour but I'm freezing my tits off out here. Is there a point to this?">just a friendly visit, to let you know I know where you live>I was hoping you'd let me see your case files>maybe we can keep this talk going inside
>>4789456If you and the DPA were playing it straight there'd be no problem. But you're giving paras a reason to start fighting back, and they won't just be fighting their true enemies. Aka the people doing inhuman experiments on them. Help me stop the frame jobs and the black site shit and avoid forcing every innocent para into the criminal outskirts of society. As it stands right now you're just as responsible for that shit as anyone, and I bet you'd want to change that if you got the chance. Well here's your chance.
>>4789456>I was hoping you'd let me see your case filesIf she's genuine we don't want to threaten. Plus if she's legit then she has nothing to hide.Maybe she's willing to consider Penderose is hiding things from her.
>>4789456>I was hoping you'd let me see your case files>>4789479plus this
>>4789456>I was hoping you'd let me see your case filesand this>>4789479
"I was hoping you'd let me see your case files," I said."Now why the hell would do that?" she snorted, "You're just a punk in a mask.""You're just a punk with a badge, so I figure we're even," I said. Then I sighed. "Look, if you and the DPA are playing it straight there'd be no problem, but you're giving my people a reason to start fighting back, and they won't be fighting their true enemies. We need to focus on those scumbags running the experiments. Help me stop the frame jobs and the black site shit and maybe we'll avoid every para in Chicago from ending up a pushed into being a criminal. As it stands right now, you're just as responsible for this shit as anyone, but I bet you'd want to change it if you got the chance. Well here's your chance.""And hell," I added, "Crooks is the least bad thing could end up happening. You guys push the para-community too hard we might take up arms, hit back to defend ourselves. You aren't ready for a revolution. It'd be the worst thing to happen to Chicago since the Fire. But right now no one wants a war, you don't want a war.""So let me look at your case files, detective," I said."Your word goes far with the para-freaks?" she said."Right now it does," I said, "And the term is para-folk, detective, lets not use slurs."There was something in her eyes told me she was seeing reason. Hesitantly she gave a nod."Okay," she said, "Maybe seeing the evidence will settle it. Let you know they're guilty."She unlocked her front door. In the back came a low, deep 'woof', the soft warning bark of a big dog. It padded up, a big jowly cheeked mastiff. It turned wet eyes from its master to me."Good girl," Bohauer said, scratching her head as she flicked the light on.She went to the kitchen, popped a beer from the fridge. Dirty dishes piled high in the sink, fast food wrappers littered around the bin. Big empty cans of dog food sat on the counter. She nodded I should take a seat and I did while she waddled down the hall, pulling off her coat for the heat.It looked like she lived alone, but it also looked like it wasn't always the case. There was a box with a baby toy hanging out of it in the hallway, and a picture on the wall showed a smiling bald man holding a pair of smiling kids, the kids were maybe two or three years old. Pudgy little things.Dust motes swirled under the lights. The big dog sat on her haunches, watching me, not threatening but alert. Then her tail thumped side to side, and she put her big drooling head on my lap, wet eyes hopeful for a pat.Gloved fingers scritched the base of her skull.Bohauer came back and gave her dog a disappointed look. "Damn it Razor, don't do that," she said, thumping a laptop and a stack of files on the table in front of me. The dog ignored her. "Shit guard dog," she said, "You got pets?""A cat," I said, patting the dog while I opened the first folder, "Though the cat more moved herself in."
"Yeah, never could stand cats," Bohauer said, easing into a chair, legs buckled with the experience of carrying her weight. She chugged the beer.There was a photo of a man dead in his chair, most of his skull gone, gore splattered around him. The Russian gangster. A few other photos showing it from multiple angles built a 3D image in my head. It was the same room I'd skulked through. The window was open.I looked a little closer. There wasn't any blood on the desk."Misfit's powers are like a hand grenade," I said, "Imagine biting down on a hand grenade as it goes off. Shouldn't there be blood on the desk?""Maybe it got on the perp," Bohauer said, "Maybe the force sent the spray out every other direction."Hmm. "Look kid, you tell me who else could do something like that without leaving any explosive residue?"Burns. "Were there burns on the body?" I asked.She shrugged. "No, not that I could tell. More proof it was your girl though, if you ask me."I shook my head. "You don't know how Misfit's powers work. It's light and heat. Heat, for an explosion like that should have left burns, right?"Now there was doubt in Bohauer's mind, but she wasn't convinced.I went to the next one. "Now Thunderchild robbing the bank," I said, "What proof do you have?"She smiled, doubt fading. "Now this you can't argue," she said, "Because we have witnesses, and we have a recording." She flicked on her laptop. A bank vault, empty. Then in the next second there he was, in the middle of the vault dressed in black, a mask pulled down. He grabbed what he could, then bailed.I stared."Was the door open?" I asked.She shook her head. "Nope, in and out in a way only he could," she said."And where was he before this?" I said."Standing right out the front, according to the manager of the bank."Certainty dropped with a heavy clink in my mind. She couldn't see my grin, but she heard it."Detective, Thunderchild's power has one real limit," I said, "He needs to see where he's going to port there."Her smile faded. "Bullshit," she said.I shook my head. "I'm dealing you straight," I said, "He'll even testify to it. Thunderchild didn't commit this crime."She glared off to the side, stroking her chins. "Then who did?" she said.>I don't know, but I'll find out>My money? Semper Fi
>>4789598>My money? Semper FiThere's no blood on the desk because the perp was right next to the victim when his head exploded. Know what Semper Fi said she'd do to Shark? She said she'd pop his head like a grape. They've got other paras on their side too. These people are framing paras whenever they need new test subjects.
>>4789598>My money? Semper Fi>She was pretty damn twisted when she showed up trying to ax Shark, Penderose too, but I'm pretty sure he is just an asshole like that. >Did he ever actually help the orphans Shark rescued from human traffickers by the way? I never found out what happened to them.this>>4789614tell her all about the fun shit Scab does.
>>4789598>Don't know, but I'm betting Semper Fi. There's a reason Penderose doesn't let her do anything more exciting than rescue cats from trees. While the media's watching at least.
>>4789598add this too>>4789626>>4789618
>>4789626I doubt it's actually Penderose who's pulling her strings, probably someone above both of them. Maybe though.
>>4789632In all honesty he seems the tunnel vision type to ignore unhinged coworkers. His constant reference and reverence of military personnel might make him blind.
"My money is on Semper Fi," I said.It started as a snort, then ripped into a laugh. "The barbie doll?" she said, "She spends her time rescuing kids stuck in wells and getting kittens out of trees. You expected me to believe she iced one of the biggest gangsters in the city because...because Pendy asked her to?"She wiped a tear from her eye. "Holy hell Hotspur, you know the mayor has named her the official her of Chicago, right? They're going to do a big formal event for it, give her the key to the city and everything.""That's a real thing?" I said.She nodded. "It's a big whoop-de-fucking-doo, but its a thing," she said, "You got any proof at all about it other than 'feelings'?""You might think she's a barbie doll, but me and her rumbled once and she can throw down," I said, "When Penderose went to arrest Shark she threatened to pop his head like a grape, and looked like she could do it before I got her off him."Her mirth subsided."And maybe its not just her," I said, "There's other paras they've got in their pocket. One of them called Scab, she grows these worms out of her body can do all kinds of shit. Track by smell, jack someone's brain, even be a weapon like a steel whip. I figure these frame jobs are just to send more test subjects to the black ops people, more victims to dissect.""Why though?" Bohauer said, "What are they trying to do?"I shrugged. Who knows."There's a reason Penderose keeps her on a short leash," I said.Bohauer tapped her chin. "You know, Semper Fi doesn't officially work for the DPA," she sid, "It's more a partnership. The city has her deputized, let's her work as a legal officer of the law, but she isn't an employee. All in, she's helped us out a couple of times, like when she helped us bag Thunderchild the first time. So if Penderose is having her do off the books work like this, it isn't in any official capacity. And that's a big 'if'."But I could see there was enough doubt in her mind now. I'd managed that at least."All I'm saying is don't be fooled by the optics," I said, "Semper Fi is a hot blooded psycho when the cameras are off.""You've given me shit to think about," she said, raising up her bulk, "But its the wrong side of midnight and I need sleep.""Sure," I said. I went to the front door, then stopped. "Those kids Penderose picked up from Shark's island, what happened to them?"She shrugged. "Put into foster care last I checked," she said, "Penderose is an asshole, he isn't a monster."Penderose seemed like a fanatic to me. And a fanatic could go places others would hesitate to tread.Her dog followed me to the front door, wagging her tail. I gave the dog another pat before leaping out into the night.The investigation wasn't done, but I was a step closer to answers, and like Bohauer I needed sleep too. So I swung in for home, and hoped I'd get somewhere tomorrow.
"So did you guys, you know..."I yawned at lunch as Kay, sorry 'Kaylee', hissed the question at Ayesha.Ayesha blushed. "Please Kaylee, do you have to ask it here?" she hissed back. If anyone was listening it was only me, and I didn't mean to listen in so much as I couldn't help but overhear."Not...yet," Ayesha said, "Malcolm wants to but...""But why not? He's hot, you like him, you're-""I'm just not...ready is all," Ayesha said, "We don't all think like that Kay. I have school to think about, I want to go to a good college and I'm just...not ready okay?""Okay, okay sorry, yeah," Kaylee said, "But you've done other things, right? I mean a guy like Malcolm, he might not wait around."Ayesha blushed in the black girl way, a full body cringe. I tried not to listen. "Yeah, we've done...other stuff, lots of stuff," she said, "But its...you know the next step is big.""But is it though?" Kaylee wondered, and I noticed she shot me a glance. I tried to focus on the meatloaf in front of me. "It's a lot of fun, you're missing out.""Oh God," Ayesha buried her burning face in her hands at Kaylee's teasing grin, "There's more to life you know.""Save it for the girl's bathroom," Ivy's plate dropped down next to mine, and she became a screen between the gossiping girls. She looked me over. "Late night?"I nodded. I'd busted up a couple of carjackings and an attempted rape. The rape had left it hard for me to sleep, I'd had to run her into the hospital, bleeding out of places she shouldn't have been. I'd left the guy able to crawl away, barely. But my nights were like that, and it had been a better night than others. Sometimes you got there in time to stop the bad shit going down, sometimes you came in half way through, other times the best you could do was hold together what was left.Its funny knowing what sound a guy made with a chest full of buckshot, the long wheeze as air escaped his lungs and blood rushed in to fill it. Not lunch table conversation. I chomped down on the meatloaf.I was running through the frame ups. Where to go next, what to do next.My suspect - Semper Fi. The question was proving it.Maybe I didn't need to. Maybe just proving my friends were innocent was enough.>focus on proving Misfit and Thunderchild are innocent>focus on proving Semper Fi is guilty
>>4789699>focus on proving Semper Fi is guiltyIt's almost certain she was the one to frame Misfit, but we need more leads to find unaltered video of Thunderchild's imposter. But keeping an eye on psycho Barbie and her fame hounding might yield quick results.
>>4789699>focus on proving Semper Fi is guiltyIf we can prove she's guilty it casts doubt on all the DPA has done, and the entire system that allows paras to be captured and stripped of all their rights
Eric's starting to seem more and more detached from his normal life these days. Kinda worrying.
I'll have to pick this up tomorrow, sorry guys
>>4789699>focus on proving Semper Fi is guilty
>>4789699>focus on proving Semper Fi is guiltyas other people have said, we need to prove her guilty to get the public to stop supporting the DPA. I wonder how we will get the evidence out though.Maybe at that Big formal event
>>4789699>>focus on proving Misfit and Thunderchild are innocentRight now, we don't know she's guilty of anything. We know she's probably guilty of some things, but there's nothing that ctually confirms it.Rather than chasing suspicions that might not bear out, focus on what we know.
>>4789699>>focus on proving Misfit and Thunderchild are innocent
>>4789699>focus on proving our friends innocentAll we need to do here is demonstrate their powers. Semper Fi might not have even done the frame jobs.
>>4790562How do we prove that Misfit can't make explosions without heat? How do we prove that thunder child needs line of sight to teleport? Theres no objective way to prove the specifics of magical powers.
>>4790562this>>4790704But it is easier to prove Semper Fi is a bloodthirsty bitch with a hair trigger if we push the right buttons.
>>4791206Being bloodthirsty != proof she framed Misfit and TC
>>4791308Her attempts to kill us and any victims we catch her with having similar wounds is the proof.
>>4791318I don't think we're gonna be able to pull off having our head exploded to show the similarities to Misfit's case.
Guess who seriously hurt themselves and can't run for a while
>>4791416busted my arm up something good, makes writing difficultmight take a minute to get betterthought I'd give you guys a heads upthis sucks
>>4791425Shit man, keep us posted
>>4791425The fuck happened?!
>>4791385Hence why I said, her victims we catch her with.
>>4791485I got put into a weird position while fooling around with my girl and seriously messed up my arm.
>>4791501Lucky bastard. Have best Street Fighter reference from Angry Fighterguys.
>>4791501Bastard. Really though that sucks, hope you can get healed up quick.
>>4791425suckshope you recover quickly>>4791486I don't think she just goes out and murders people regularly. If you have a plan to catch her in the act then I might back, but right now I don't see how we'll manage it.
>>4791501HahahahaahhahOh God,get well soon?
Ngl guys, dont know what's harder, to prove our friends are not guilty or to show that Fi is evil, do we even have evidence to show against Fi? She's like pretty well loved
>>4789699For now>focus on proving Misfit and Thunderchild are innocentMay change if I see a way to prove Fi is evil, and even if we do, is it guarantee that they let our friends go? If there was a way to put her on the spot with the media and let our pals go, one if not the only one weakness she have is that she cares a lot about what the public thinks of her (not saying she wouldn't pop out heads at night tho)
>>4791648If we get evidence, remeber that there is a big formal event comming up, with the major and semper fi, we can use that to show the evidence if we can get any
I'll update tomorrow
>>4793389Arm better already?
>>4793419better enough I feel okay to write, but I won't be lifting anytime soon.
>>4791648>>4790562>>4790401>>4789861>>4789817>>4789770>>4789716>>4789711okay we've got a tieroll 1d21 is prove Semper Fi guilty2 is prove our friends innocent
Rolled 1 (1d2)actually rolling might help
Just proving my friends innocence wouldn't be enough. I need to nail Semper Fi to the wall, and expose the DPA as the corrupt agency it is.But how? She kept a squeaky clean public image, she was loved by everyone who didn't know better. They were giving her the goddamn key to the city.I had my work cut out for me."Eric, yo Eric, the bell."I snapped out of my thoughts with Zeke waving his hand in front of my face. "You really don't get any sleep do you," Zeke said.I was about to answer but yawned instead. Answer enough I guess. The bell kept chiming, summoning us back to class.Whatever my plan was with Semper Fi and the DPA, it would have to wait until after English.Going through the motions of schoolwork, my real work kept ticking in my head. This wasn't the kind of problem I was used to. Frankly what I wanted was to just hit someone, over and over until I could stop thinking. The hitting people part of things was easy, the investigating, the scheming, well I was doing what I could with what I had. Going up against the government with my zero resources was going to take a bit more than some pluck and quick thinking.There had to be more people who knew the truth about Semper Fi. If she was as ruthless as I suspected, if she wasn't the girlscout the papers said, there had to be evidence out there.>check in with Ms Grant for help>hit the internet and the forums, see what turned up>try Luis to see if there were any street contacts with something to say>write-in
>>4795523>check in with Ms Grant for help
>>4795523She's almost definitely a former marine, maybe ask our grandpa if he's still in touch with any military people? If we can get a name first through Grant that would help a lot.
>>4795523>check in with Ms Grant for helpand this>>4795525Give Gramps a call, maybe he has some tips to test out on her.
maybe I'm not as 100% as I thought
I might not have much for help but I had Ms Grant.She knew her way around the system, and had contacts of her own. With her help maybe I could get this job done.And if Semper Fi was former military the way I suspected, I had other people to call on. Grampa was a Navy veteran, he knew their world. Maybe he could help with this fight too.And even if this fight was unwinnable, going up against the might of a federal agency, it was one I had to fight.Win or lose.
>>4795659I believe in you
(I'm going to archive this thread and take another couple of days to heal up and recharge. If this thread is still up when I launch the next one I'll link it here or maybe in the qtg, but keep an eye out for it)
>>4795670>>4795679Good night, fucker. You non virgin.
>>4795679Please prioritize yourself my man I don't want this quest to end but if it is then I just wanna let you know that I had fun and that this quest is really something special
Big shout out to bullpen for the rare successful OC quest. Best quest on the board right now hands down. We all appreciate it man. Take as long as you need to get back to 100% after your sexual arm bar or whatever and I guarantee we'll all be patiently waiting for the next thread.
>>4797729>>4796582if it helps I have no intention of dropping the quest
so I have a shoulder labrum tear that's kind of serious.I'm trying to avoid expensive medical bills but we'll see. hopefully physiotherapy is enough.
>>4805043Damn dude. Keep us posted
>>4805043The qm curse strikes again
Really missing this quest right now, get healed up quick Bullpen!
Fucking non virgin loser getting hurt during sex, real GMs don't have this problem. I can only reread the archive so many times.
>>4808512>>4809031I'm planning to be back next week.
>>4809371Good. Now make time go faster.
new thread tomorrow