If you want to see Chicago in all its urban glory you need a good view, and the best view of the city was the top of Sears Tower. I went in costume, bounding up its heights until I stood atop the skyscraper. There were plenty of tall buildings in the city but if any deserve to be called a skyscraper its this one. Third tallest building in America, one of the tallest in the world, standing on top of it was to stand in another world altogether, looking down on the city, looking over the glistening sea of Lake Michigan.The last time I'd been up here had been with Ivy, after her sister died. I'd watched her dance, perform half remembered ballet routines, worried she was thinking the unthinkable. Now I thought about her again, the memory of her dancing playing out before me.But I wasn't here to reminisce.I looked out over the dense urban sprawl of the City. The traffic congested and polluted streets of the city, the blue snake of the Chicago river winding through it, the tight corridors between the looming heights of the towering buildings packed with life, and the city itself flattening out as it moved into the west neighborhoods. I was too high for the sounds of the city to reach me, all I heard was the whipping wind cutting against my body.My town.The fire inside me thumped with a protective beat. The cold wind dulled by my powers.I closed my eyes and stretched out my arms.I wasn't here for the view either.There was something wrong with the city. A sickness infecting the people. The source might be mystical. I was working with an ally, James Green, to fix the problem.He was the Red Wizard, the latest in a long line stretching back through the centuries. Unfortunately he was also a kid, only a couple years older than me, his road map to his powers a series of pulp novels left by his grandpa. We were barely equipped with experience or knowledge.But we were all the city had, so we'd make do.Me, I was trying to get a better read on the city by tapping into my powers and opening my 'sight'. Last time I'd done it I'd had the help of the Stone, but I'd done something like it the other day, that time with the help of a burning fire in a sacred Zoroastrian temple.Now I had to see if I could do it on my own.>roll 3 x 1d100+10 dc 90
Previously on With Great Power Quest: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=With%20Great%20Power%20Quest
Rolled 55 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4944490Ohrmazd give us strength
Rolled 38 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4944490inb4 critfail and we fall off the tower
Rolled 43 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4944490
I reached for the fire within me. Grew it, fed it my raw emotion and concious thought, reached for the place where the fire touched something beyond. Reached for the place beyond thought and sensation, where my mind became silver glass and the other face of the world was revealed.When I opened my eyes and looked down upon the city, I saw the dark veins wrapping the towers, the swollen red vines choking the street. The sky went from blue to a purple smear, and the sun dulled to a colorless blot. Sears Tower itself was enveloped in the dark, bulging vines, throbbing with an unnatural pulse.But this wasn't the heightened place I had been seeking. I looked from the north to the west to the south and saw the same picture, the city enveloped in the alien kudzu vine. It seemed to have no source or point of origin, but sprung up from the ground itself.Lake Michigan itself was sparkling clear, and the blueribbon of the Chicago River was a silver band through the dark wilderness, the ugly bloated things staying away from its waters.Maybe that was something at least.But it wasn't the help I was hoping for. I had hoped an eagle-eyed view of the city could have shown me the source of the outbreak.I let the vision fade, and the material world return to view, sweating hard under my jacket. As usual it took more out of me than I expected. I shivered on the top of Sears Tower, waiting to regain my energy before heading down. Physical stuff had become easy at this point, but the spiritual side of things was a struggle.I camped my ass on the side of the building, blowing into the cup of my hands.The world was a lot more complicated than I'd thought. I'd put on this costume to help people without any awareness of who I was or where my powers came from. What I'd discovered was a connection to something else, an invisible war between good and evil. Maybe the Zoroastrian stories were true, of Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu and their eternal conflict, or maybe they were an echo of the truth. Whatever it was, it wasn't why I'd started calling myself Hotspur or put myself out there night after night taking down gangsters and corrupt cops.All I knew was that magic and the spiritual world were real, as real as a bullet from a .45 and possibly more deadly.When my strength was back I headed down.I'd told Jimmy Green we'd meet up, figure out a fix for the problem our city was facing. He was the Red Wizard and I was his sworn boon. Another thing I'd never imagined I'd be after getting my powers.There was still a question of what we were going to check out. He had his lead, I had mine.What we really lacked was knowledge.>investigate the HH Holmes site>investigate the DeKoven street lead
>>4944547>investigate the DeKoven street leadMight as well go big
>>4944547>investigate the DeKoven street lead
>>4944547>investigate the DeKoven street leadJimmy Jimmy doo, where are you, we have an ancient evil to work now
>>4944598Bring him donuts, just because he may piss off by it >;)
I met Jimmy down the Loop. As Eric, because snooping around in broad daylight in a superhero outfit with a guy in second-hand jordans would kind of stand out."You ever going to get a hair cut?" Jimmy asked as I jogged up. He was waiting for me outside the L-station, checking his phone. We were heading south in his beat up car.I was getting shaggy on top.Not that Jimmy was anyone to critique someone's fashion. The big doughy nerd dressed like a librarian, I was surprised he didn't wear a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows. He didn't look like anyone's idea of a great sorceror, not only because of the belly hanging past his waistline but because of the inward curl of his shoulders and self-concious attitude, like a dog waiting for a kick to come flying from any direction. Dude needed to lift or something, straighten out his spine, because at six four he could be doing a lot better.We walked and talked."You ever going to put down the jelly donuts?" I said.He scowled but didn't return fire."DeKoven street," he showed me it on google maps, "Nowadays its called the Chicago Fire Academy. They say its where the Great Chicago Fire started, when a cow kicked over a lamp starting an inferno that burned down the city and killed about three hundred people.""We've got a sense of irony in Chicago town," I said, getting into the passenger side of his car."The story is probably bullshit," he said, "But everyone loves a good legend, right? Still, I was doing some research and I think there's more to the fire than people want to believe. As in, it was no accident.""The Company?" I said.Jimmy nodded. "Burn down the city and remake it in your image, why not?" he said, "And if a few people die in the process, what's it matter? It seems like their MO.""You got any proof other than a hunch?" I said."Only in the people given the job of rebuilding the city. Land grabbers who turned it into an exercise in fortune building while a bunch of ordinary folks were left homeless in the rubble," he said, "Might be coincidence but after all I've read I don't believe as much in coincidences.""Anyone ready to turn a tragedy into personal profits is a scumbag in my book," I said.We drove south, down to a red brick building with a bunch of fire trucks parked out the front. By deductive genius I figured out we'd arrived."Just because someone is a greedy son of a bitch though doesn't mean they work for the Company," I said."Maybe every greedy son of a bitch works for the Company, they just don't know it," he countered."A bit tin foil hat," I said, though I didn't inherently disagree. We were in a different world now, who knew what could be true.For an academy dedicated to training Chicago's first defenders, the building was surprisingly humble. There was a modern art piece out in front of the entrance. Took me a second to realize it was a stylized flame. Staring at it, I put a hand to my belly, feeling a flicker of recognition.
"Real horse shit stuff is all I'm saying," a guy said, walking out chatting with a tall, muscular woman. I knew him, Chuck Hayward, and nearly said 'hello'. She nodded to what he was saying, but neither her nor Chuck Hayward stopped for a couple of kids.Now we were here, I didn't know what we were supposed to do."Are you sure this is even the right place?" I said."No," Jimmy said, "That's why we're here, to figure it out. I need you to get me some privacy while I do some magic. Make sure no one interrupts."Kind of difficult in the late afternoon with people still around. There was an empty lot beside the academy. Maybe they were going to building something there but for now it was abandoned. Jimmy found an opening in the wire fence, squeezed his bulk through.So that's all he wanted. Me playing guard dog.While I guess that's what a boon is for, it still wasn't cool, and he could have asked nicer.>keep an eye on him as he works, he doesn't know everything>do what he asked and keep an eye out, trust the Red Wizard
>>4944681>do what he asked and keep an eye out, trust the Red WizardAnd hope he won't go full daemonhost
>>4944681>do what he asked and keep an eye out, trust the Red Wizard
>>4944681>do what he asked and keep an eye out, trust the Red Wizardso boon basically just means bitch right
>>4944706From what Mr. Green said, it's supposed to be a defender. But we didn't have many occasions for that. Yet.
>>4944706It means something is going to try to stop him and we gotta defend him, also we're allies so even if we don't personally like one another our goals align and we can atleast trust each other
>>4944681>do what he asked and keep an eye out, trust the Red WizardDo your thing Harry.We really need to have a talk with him for things we should keep an eye out.
>>4944751Realizing this is an Rpg defend the point mission.
Okay he needed me to keep a look out, I'd keep a look out.Stuffing my hands in my pockets I leaned back against the fence. I don't smoke but in that moment I felt like I should. Playing nonchalant isn't a strength. 'Act natural'.Whatever Jim was doing I figured it might take a while. I pulled out my phone, scrolling through twitter, checking on the group chats. People came in and out of the firefighter academy, people strolled by, as the sun started to set. Sunsets were coming later in the day as the seasons turned from winter to spring, but news had it spring would still be cold.I liked a picture of Ayesha standing with a tray of vegan cupcakes she'd baked, and watched a video clip posted by Kemal of his cousin Nasim pulling off a kick flip into a grind down at the skate park, her niqab flapping around her kicks. Then watched another Zeke had cut together of game highlights, mostly of Rufus and Hunter but also a couple of my dunks mixed in, all recorded off various phone cameras.We hadn't hung out in a while. Maybe I should change that.I got a text from Ivy.Ivy - Can I send you something? Need an opinion.Me - What like a picture?Ivy - its dumb, its the outfit I'm wearing for the gig.Me - Go ahead.The phone pinged.And my first thought was I shouldn't be looking at this in public.She stood in front of a full length mirror. In a black leather bikini top, tight black vinyl leggings with hip holes, her hair caught back in a pair of short braids. It sure showed a lot. Her belly...But her expression was a thinking pout, like she wasn't sure. Behind her was a guy, a little blurred out, sitting in a chair with a guitar in his lap. I vaguely recognized him from the school gig. I didn't know how to reply. My silence was filled by another ping.Ivy - a bit too 'sexy'?Ivy - the boys like it but...Ivy - and there's this head piece thing too. hold up.'The boys' being her band, I guess.Before I could check the next picture my attention turned up. A weird pulse in the back of my head. Someone was walking down the street. Just a guy in a hoodie. Normal looking, a plain pale face in a relaxed expression. But the pulse quickened in the back of my head.No one was that ordinary looking, not in Chicago.He slowed as he walked by."Kid," he said with a nod. He walked on, then stopped.He turned back. Started back toward me."You know that's private property," he said."Yeah?" I said."Your friend is trespassing," he said it so plain it didn't sound like a threat.I looked into his eyes.Black pupils. A black fleck rose from the pupil, disappearing up under the eyelid. I might have thought I'd imagined it, if I didn't know better."Trespassers beware," he said, a smile starting on his cold pale face.>play it cool, laugh him off>slug him in the gut
>>4944788>play cool, be ready to deck him the moment he twitches oddlyAlso, did you mean "black irises"? Pupils are always black.
>>4944788>play it cool, laugh him offGuard up, Guard up!Prepare for counterattack right the fuck now, evil wizard minion is here!
>>4944788tell him to fuck off. if he doesn't then>slug him in the gut
>>4944788And for something completely different:>black leather bikini top, tight black vinyl leggings with hip holesNeeds a short leather jacket over it, probably worn open.
locking all that in
I laughed, bunching up my fist in my pocket, slipping away my phone."Whatever man," I said, "I'm just waiting for a friend.""You're a bad liar," he said, "And trying to decieve a deciever is never a good idea."He stepped closer. My instinct was to push him off, but I was pretending to be normal so I stepped back."Hey now who's trespassing? Getting in my personal space," I said, "Leave me alone man.""We can get far more personal," he said, and tried to catch my eyes with his gaze.An alarm bell went off in my head. I kicked off from the fence, hands up ready to throw down."Step the fuck off," I said, open palms pushing him back.He stumbled back but didn't stop smiling, bobbing his head to look me in the eyes. I wasn't some punk though, and pulled my arm up, for a second blocking his stare. I saw the smile die."So you're only half ignorant," he said."And I'll have half your teeth down your throat if you don't back the fuck off," I said, fire rising inside me."I can take your mind apart and put it back together," he said, "Rewrite your soul until you don't remember who you were. And your friend won't be able to put you back together again.""Asshole," I said.He backed away. "We'll see you both soon," he said, smile growing. He turned and started to jog the other way, becoming another figure in the crowd, his footfalls fading.I spat in the gutter.Whoever that guy was if I saw him again things would go different.My phone pinged.A picture from Ivy.This time she was wearing what I could only describe as a crown of horns, pulling a face with her tongue stuck out.Ivy - Heavy Metal Barbie now with Dark Fantasy accessories.Wow, what a bad time to send me a picture like this.I sent back.Me - Maybe add a crop jacket or something, worn open.She replied.Ivy - yeah that'll preserve my modesty ;)I blushed, put away my phone. I couldn't be distracted with pictures like that right now.There was a grunt from the other side of the fence. I turned, alarmed, and hiked up it to look over.Jim knelt in the middle of the empty construction yard, holding his arm to his chest. A stick of incense had burned down to a nub in a holder. Sweat glistened on his cheeks and he shook with a fever. Turning to the side he retched, spat up a glob of phlegm.When he saw me peering over he got up, stuffing a book in his back pocket, limping toward me."It's started," he said, "Half the spell. But we need to come back tonight to finish it, at three in the morning."3AM on a school night, great.But if it was how it had to be, it was how it had to be."What did you find?" I asked."Someone woke up the sleeping dead," he said, "Memories put to rest have been disturbed.""Yeah, I had a guy come up to me talking some spooky nonsense," I said, "So what are we talking about, zombies or something?"His scorn was obvious. "It isn't like that," he said.>you know, you could be a lot nicer about this>let his digs slide, it was no big deal
I'll be back tomorrow
>>4944845>dude, I'm just trying to help. And that guy that came up certainly looked like a fresh corpse walking
>>4944846>tomorrowThanks for running
>>4944845>listen, you don't have to like me and I don't have to like you, but against this eldritch darkness bullshit we're the only allies we have, so let's treat one another with some respect and courtesy please?Atleast enough that we don't strangle one another while also having to deal with horrors from the beyond
>>4944845Both of these>>4944848>>4944853
>look dude we don't have to like each other but can we at least be professional?there's information I need to do my job, which is to keep you safe, am I gonna have to fight zombies, ghosts or possessed humans? cause that'll effect the way I fight
>>4944853>>4944845SupportJimmy Jimmy Jim, we in this for the long game my man, cheer up would you?
"Hey man, you don't have to like me but I'm just trying to help. In case you didn't notice we're in this fight against the eldritch darkness together, so let's treat each other with some respect and courtesy, okay?""So if you can tell me what I need to know to do my job, which is to keep you safe by the way, can you do it without making me want to strangle you?"He had enough grace to look guilty."Now, is it zombies, evil spirits or what? because I just had a creep come up and boy did he look like a walking corpse."Jim sighed."Sorry," he offered, the most tooth pulled sorry I'd ever heard, "Truth is I'm not sure what to expect, but zombies aren't on the menu. Not if you mean Walking Dead style walkers or whatever. What I'm going to do is try to calm the memory of the dead with a chant, but its easier done at 3AM. The Devil's Hour."Well there's a reassuring name."There's an ebb and flow to the spiritual world," he said, "Like the tide at the beach. Our world is the beach, the spiritual world is the ocean. Time of day, day of the week, the month and the season, all have an affect on that tide. Even the balance of the solar system, the position of the stars, astrological bullshit all have a part to play. They tell me whether we're looking at a normal tide or a full blown flood.""And where are we right now?"He shrugged. "I'm still pretty new to this," he said.I hoped down from the top of the gate. Jimmy pushed his way out. He looked hurt but I don't think it was physical."You said the memory of the dead," I said.He nodded as we walked. "When something bad happens it leaves a thumb print on the world," he said, "I wouldn't go so far as to say its the souls of the dead themselves, but the memory of their passing lingers. A good wizard makes sure the memory is laid to rest, but a bad one could stir them up, unleash their sorrow on others. It's necromancy I suppose, but not in the corpse raising sense.""Keep in mind Eric, this is all a lot more esoteric than physical," he said, "Don't think I'll be whipping out fire balls or whatever."We got into his car. He put on some music, prog-rock, a British voice singing.'The rusted chains of prison moonsAre shattered by the sunI walk a road, horizons changeThe tournament's begunThe purple piper plays his tuneThe choir softly singThree lullabies in an ancient tongueFor the court of the crimson-''I frowned at the stereo. Raised an eyebrow at Jim."Fuck you, I like King Crimson," he said."So the plan is come back at 3AM and try again?" I said.He nodded. "There's something going on here, someone's stirred up a hornet's nest of anguish," he said, "The sickness in Chicago is deeper than one thing like this, but it isn't helping. Think of it like Chicago has a general baseline of misery, and this is a depressive spike. I don't think this is responsible for everything going on, but if we quiet the dead it should buy us time to close the gap."
Buying time was about all I seemed to get.We drove through the city streets, the prog-rock sounds grooving in psychadelic strains with poetic lyrics tripping over each other in fairy tale rhyme.I guess it wasn't too bad. Problem was I always associated it with Dad and Carmen banging, prog-rock pumping from their room to mask their sounds.He dropped me off in the front of mine. I'd see him again at 3AM.Until then I had somewhere to be. A Jiu Jitsu lesson.The class was above a dance studio, mats set out on the ground where a bunch of guys in blue gis were rolling around, trying to lock each other up. I stood in the doorway in my busted sneakers and gym clothes, not sure who to talk to.I was saved though by Ayesha bouncing up. She wore a blue gi with a white belt and a bright smile, barefoot."Eric, you came," she said."Yeah, figured it was time to get serious," I said, "Can't keep getting my ass kicked in your back yard."She grabbed my arm. "Let me introduce you to the professor," she said.Looking around it seemed Ayesha was the only girl in the class, and the only one under six foot other than me. One guy came up, eager to see if she wanted to 'roll'."Later Diego," she said, waving him off.She pulled me in front of a tall Brazilian looking dude with pepper in his hair and a build made me think he could take on Yeti, but he shook my hand with a friendly grin. His black belt had a red stripe."Nice to meet you Eric. So have you come to learn how to fight?" he said.I shrugged. "I know how to fight," I said, "Just looking to round out my education is all."His expression went up like I was some kind of trash talking hot head."Well there's more to fighting than school brawling," he said, "And more to learning how than being aggressive. Better you leave the ego at the door.""Sorry," I said. I wasn't trying to flex."Eric trains in boxing with my uncle," Ayesha said, "He's already had a few amateur matches."His smile returned. "Oh so you do know how to fight, sorry," he said, "We get a lot of young men come in here with big egos. This isn't that kind of place. What works for you in boxing won't work for you here.""I can adapt," I said."Good," he said, "Let's get you started with Nicky. Nicky!"Nicky was a tall, gangly red head with pimples up her neck. I had thought she was a boy from the outside because she was flat as a post and had a big chin. She kept her hair from her face in a loose knot behind her neck. She wore a blue belt."Hey I'm Nicky," she said, shaking my hand, "You're Eric, right? I've heard about you." She glanced at Ayesha when she said that. "So, do you know anything about BJJ?""Only what Ayesha's shown me," I said."Right," Nicky nodded in an overly knowing way, "Well I'll take you through the basics. Are you ready?">sure let's go (train normal)>sure let's go (train with a little power)>I think I'd rather learn from someone more experienced
>>4945945>sure let's go (train normal)
>>4945945>sure let's go (train normal)If we're better than her we'll ask someone more experienced, but she's great for seeing where our ability lies atleast
>>4945953I think it's very safe to say she'll throw us on our ass, grappling is way out of our area of expertise
>>4945945>sure let's go (train with a little power)Sometimes I wonder if using a bit of power during training would be better since it's closer to the actual use scenario.
>>4945980It honestly seems like a swinging your balls around option unless power use actually improves our training efficiency.
>>4945980Our power seems exponential, anything we can do in base state we can do better in our flame state That's why working on our base is better and gives more gains than simply using our power all the time
>>4945980>>4945955>>4945953>>4945950locked that in
"Sure, unless I need to change into a gi," I said."It won't be a problem," she said, putting up her hands, "Let's go through this easy and slow."Easy and slow suits me fine. I put myself into Nicky's reliable hands.For what it's worth it wasn't as fun as tussling in Ayesha's backyard in sweaty gym clothes, going to the mat, and I understood pretty quickly why they called it 'rolling'. The room was loud with thumping sweaty body and rough grunts as each pair worked the angles to get a lock on their opponent. It was a language of fighting I only half understood, and I let myself sink into the lesson.Some guys got a real chip on their shoulder about how good they were at fighting in one style or another. I didn't have that luxury. I wasn't training for fun or competition, or even for 'self-defense'. I was doing it for the edge I'd need in brutal life or death fights with the worst scum this city could muster, and Chicago could muster a lot. That wasn't including opponents both super powered and supernatural. If it meant putting myself in the posotion of kid who didn't know anything, it was all good. There was nothing gained in pride.All though I wasn't completely clueless, and managed to escape more than a few of Nicky's attempted locks until she finally caught me in a triangle.The grapple game means if you stay in it long enough you'd get caught in something eventually, if the other guy knew more than you."The important thing about practice is its about feeling out technique, learning the danger zones in a safe environment so when things aren't safe, you know what to do," she said, helping me up."Right," I said."It won't take you long to pick up the basics or get decent with them," she said, "But BJJ is a deep pool, there's always more to learn about the art and yourself in the art. Keep an open mind and leave ego at the door.""Right," I said."The more you train, the more you roll and the more people you roll with, the better you'll be," she said, slaping my arm.Before I knew it the lesson was over. I'd barely felt like I'd had a work out. The same wasn't true for others. Ayesha came over, huffing and sweaty, having just rolled with the lanky guy, Diego. She was puffed but grinning."So what do you think?""Useful," I said.Ayesha rolled her eyes."You should sign up," she said, "It'll be good for you, and I'm running out of stuff to teach you.""How much does it cost?"She said and my eyes went wide."Yo," I said, patting at my pockets, "I don't have that kind of bread.""Maybe I can cover you," she said."No way, I can't ask-""I'm offering," she interjected, "If it'll help you do...what you need to do, I want to.""And you know, Ivy has her ballet lessons downstairs," Ayesha said, "It would make it easier for us to hang out.">let me think about it>no way Ayesha, you do enough for me>fine, and you're right it will help
>>4946024>let me think about itIt's not just pride ( though that's a big part of it)It's commitment Are we going to continue with the boxing or are we going to do this now ,between school/crime/magic/para community we don't have enough time to take on more than one style So is bjj our new style or do we stick to boxing? Maybe even something else like muai thai?
>>4946024>let me think about itProblem is, if Ayesha is going to pay for Eric, her parents will catch wind of it real soon. We might have to get a part time job in addition to all the other bullshit.
>>4946024>let me think about itGotta win this boxing match and look for more money fights
>>4946027Eric might be able to do both, though maybe not to the full extent. And we need to round out our fighting skills so there's fewer chances someone's going to catch Eric with his pants down.Later it might even be a good idea to talk to Kemal, he said he trains some sort of martial art, Kyokushin or Shotokan I think. That might improve our legwork.
>>4946027We can use aspects of each fighting style, we don't have to commit to one.
"Let me think about it," I said."What's there to think about?" she said as we went down the stairs, "It would be good for you, don't get all proud macho-man about it."I didn't want to say my pride was part of it, but it was. And there was the training regime. Was I going to switch fully from boxing to BJJ or carve more time out of my life to train both? And the money...Ayesha didn't have a job. Her money was her parents' money, and they'd fiure out something was up when they found out Ayesha was paying for my BJJ lessons.Maybe what I needed was a part time job or something.Down at the bottom of the stairs Ivy came out of the dance studio, waving to someone inside. She wore her jacket over ballet tights with a pair of sneakers, ballet shoes tied over her shoulder. She saw us coming down together and smiled."What's up?" she said."Oh just trying to convince this guy to let me help him out," Ayesha said, "But he's being stubborn."Ivy's eyes glittered in agreement.I frowned a 'not you too' kind of frown.'Then be less obvious' was her returning smirk."You've got work later?" Ayesha asked."Not tonight, tonight I'm free," Ivy said, stretching out as we left together, walking down the street to a pizza joint on the corner."So anyway, you never told me what you thought about the costume for the gig," Ivy said, not to me but to Ayesha."Oh please, that thing?" Ayesha said, "They've got you dressing up like a nerd's wet dream. They shouldn't be pressuring you into those sorts of outfits. It's seedy, you're not even sixteen yet.""Guys like a little jailbait," Ivy said in a way I didn't like. "And you know, maybe I like the attention. Dressing up, strutting my stuff in a hot outfit for a cheering crowd. Or are you going to pretend it isn't a hot look?""I never said it wasn't hot," Ayesha said with an awkward blush, "But you don't have to go out there like that.""You're right, I don't have to do anything," Ivy said with a chip of ice in her voice.I kept a cautious distance from the edge of the conversation as we took a booth.Unfortunately, Ivy wasn't letting me stay out of it."Eric liked it," she said with a smirk. I buried my face in a glass of water. Ayesha looked as awkward, examining the menu for vegan friendly options."You can do what you want," Ayesha said, "I'll be there for your gig, you know I'll support you, just don't let the guys in your band push you around. You act like you've got everything figured out Ivy, but I know you better than that.""Whatever," Ivy said, crossing her arms. But I knew she knew Ayesha was right, and it was her turn to give me an annoyed 'don't you start either' look.
Neither of them asked me about the obvious stuff. We talked about school, our friends, general things. It was good to hang with them without the sword of my other life hanging over our heads. And now Ayesha had a car we didn't need Mr Carver porting us around.But as it got darker and darker, and the hours ticked over, I felt my responsibility loom outside the warm circle of their friendship."So your birthday," Ayesha said.Ivy groaned. "Please don't talk about it.""Sixteen is important!" Ayesha said, "We should do something. Especially if you're moving out.""I don't want to think about it," she said, "It's way from my mind. Can't we talk about I don't know, the failing school systems or police reform or whatever bug you have up your butt today?""Come on Ivy," Ayesha said, "Pretend you're excited."Ivy rolled her eyes. "Okay, 'yipee guys, I'm sixteen!'" she twirled her hands in mock excitement, "Let's have cake and pop, maybe Daddy will buy me a porsche!""You know what I want to do?" she said, "Nothing. Nothing would be great. I don't get enough nothing in my life these days."Ayesha sighed, rolled her eyes. She checked her phone."Well either way, we should go home," she said, "It's getting late and I can't drive out past ten. Or have two passengers. Are you okay getting yourself home Eric?""Yeah I'm cool," I said.They left with a wave out on the street.I scuffed my feet down the sidewalk, thinking. About Ivy and Ayesha, about what I had to do later tonight. About lots of things, few of them good.The weight of everything could get heavy.It felt a long, tiring time until 3AM.>meet up with Jimmy as Hotspur>Hotspur was a super hero, Eric was the boon
>>4946112>meet up with Jimmy as HotspurShits gonna get heavy tonight guaranteed
>>4946112>meet up with Jimmy as masked ski goggle and hoodie guy Don't want Hotspur connected to this and we should bring a mask for Jimmy as well, he needs to protect his identity from these necrofucks
>>4946129If we're expecting heavy fighting then our fighting style will be recognized as hotspurs. Might as well dress the part.
>>4946165It might be recognized as Hotspur's but we'll attract less attention outside of the fight. Don't forget about the cameras too.
>>4946165>fighting style Your brain is fried by anime, in real life unless you're a hard-core mma fighter who has fought this one specific dude multiple times no one is going to recognize shit about how we fight Apart from that our power in combat is super strength and speed, pretty generic as far as paras go
>>4946174I just remember when we were recognized while disguised when we busted Thunderchild out. Because of our fighting style. Man I don't even watch anime.
>>4946198By people whose job is to watch psras
Hotspur had enough enemies, and I didn't need them going after Jimmy because they got it in their head the Red Wizard was some kind of crime fighter. Still, going with my face uncovered was a bad idea, time to go back to the hoodie and ski goggles routine, Hotspur classic edition.Getting home late for dinner, I went to bed early, getting a nap in before the work. It never hurt to get sleep where you could.At around 2, when Dad and Carmen had long been asleep, I slipped out of bed and made ready to go, dressing the part.Wawtching me from the corner of my room was trhe cat Mangy, her tail swishing. She gave me a slow blink, a cat smile.If Mangy even was a cat. There had been something, a voice in my head, and a dream later, and all of it was connected to the stray on some level. But staring at the fluffy white cat, all I got was cat energy back. If there was more to her than I thought...Well, I had other shit on my mind.I slipped out onto the fire escape and shot up to the neighbor's roof. Runing and jumping, I made my way back to DeKoven street and the Chicago Firefighter Academy.Crashing through the night, the city was quiet under me. A story was going around if you heard a hard bang on your roof on a quiet night, you should relax. It meant Hotspur was out looking for trouble. Hoped that helped people sleep when I landed on their roof before rocketing off for the next one. Hoped I never heard any hard bangs on my roof.Landing on the roof of the academy, I watched Jim's car pull up to the curb. The exhaust gave a rude cough as it rumbled to a stop, the Red Wizard pulling out his bulk. He wasn't alone. I frowned.I knew the girl, Ashe Givens. She was on the co-ed basketball team and was Jim's lab partner. Last I'd heard he wanted to keep her out of this stuff, which I had figured for a good idea. Why he'd brought her...I landed in DeKoven street and walked out to meet them. Ashe was paler than usual, and she was pretty pale, her black hair almost buzzed off."Yo, if I knew you were bringing a date I'd have brought one too," I teased.He frowned. "It isn't like that," he said, "She invited herself.""Hey," she offered me her hand, nervous. I shook it. "You think I haven't noticed you guys are up to weird stuff? I'm not letting my best friend get into trouble without being right there next to him.""Cute," I said. Pink blots lit her cheeks. "Stupid though," I added. "You told her what's up or what?" I asked Jim."I've told her enough," he said, "You think you can keep an eye on her?""Oh frick off," she said, "I'm right here, don't talk over my head.""I'm the Red Wizard's boon," I said, "I'm supposed to watch your back."Not that I'm going to leave someone i danger, but it had to be said."Boon?" Ashe asked.
Jimmy got a constipated look."It's like a bodyguard," he said, "Eric's job is to make sure I don't get hurt.""Oh so he's stealing my job now," she said, "So can you have more than one boon?"Jimmy clenched his eyes shut."Yeah, but-""So I'll be your boon too," she said, "Or don't you trust me?""This isn't a game, Ashe," Jimmy said, looking to me for help.I hid my grin, enjoying his discomfort a little.>the Red Wizard is right, she should stay out of it>Maybe another boon could help>let them sort out their lover's quarrel
>>4946202If you didn't want her involved then you should've stopped her from coming. In the meantime I'll watch both of your backs and anything else is up to Jimbo.
>>4946202>let them sort out their lover's quarrelBodyguard job might be a bit too much for her, but she'd make a fine associate with her athleticism and giant brain. And it's not like we have time to drive her back.
>>4946202>the Red Wizard is right, she should stay out of itWe are not bringing some girl with no super-powers, no magic spark, and not even a fucking gun into this game we play, she's not supposed to be here and she's not going to be here >let them sort out their lover's quarrel LATERI don't mind if she's on lookout on some nearby rooftop but she can't be fucking here, and the red wizard needs boons who can protect him ,not be a constant source of stress and worry
if I had the time and energy I would absolutely be running a Red Wizard spin off
>>4946231Well, I don't think that we would mind playing as the red wizard for a bit, have a vote for what Eric does in the background and in the meantime we play as the red wizard for a session or two, lots of quests with multiple protags do this all the time, it's a good way to advance the plot and see the world from a different perspective from what we are used to
>>4946231Well, you said you have an idea where this is going, so why not after Eric's story ends?
>>4946202>>let them sort out their lover's quarrelas long as it doesn't mess with the mission, Boons are The Red Wizard's decision
>>4946202>let them sort out their lover's quarrel
>>4946202>let them sort out their lover's quarrel>>4946231I wouldn't mind if we ended controllling the Red Wizard for an thread or two, it'd be a nice change of pace
>>4946202>"Hello? We got a restless dead concert fucking up the city to shutdown here. Do your concerned couple skit at home when we aren't in danger of soul rending death, I don't know when the deadman will come back, or if he's bringing friends.">"Plus I'd like to make sure this shit isn't turning my school into a battle royal cage match."
>>4946396>deadmanHe's likely not actually a dead man. It's probably a guy worn as a suit by a demon (or however you want to call a part of the druj)
>>4946024>let me think about itMaybe we can get serious about our boxing matches and use that money for this? Sounds like a plan. Not saying we would win everytime but when we don't ayesha would cover for us, BJJ looks like it would cover some mental training too so looks cool.
>>4946202>let them sort out their lover's quarrel"I have people that help me in many ways, but I don't take them to the field, maybe next time you can Help Jimbo this way"(After this maybe tell Jimmy to teach her some basic magic or ways to deal around this stuff)>>4946414I am retarded
>>4946426You don't get magic by being a normie, takes a special kind of person to do it or else their soul shatters It's what gramps told us, and she doesn't seem to have that calm soul it needs
>>4946202>let them sort out their lover's quarrelStress that she can't actually fight what's out there though, she can support him in other ways by being someone to lean on and staying the hell away from the action
>>4946490Frankly, there's no guarantee even Eric can fight the demon dudes
>>4946202>the Red Wizard is right, she should stay out of itAs funny as it is now, she could get seriously hurt later.
>>4946552That's what I'm saying man, we don't let ivy or Ayesha come on our missions because they're just normal girls who will die, why is everyone voting to let this normal girl who will die come with us?I know that it's ultimately Jimmy's call but we gotta atleast point out she brings nothing truly useful to the table, and boons are limited and must be carefully chosen
>>4946577>why is everyone voting to let this normal girl who will die come with usNo one does that. Unless I missed something, just about every vote is "it's up to you two, but Ashe shouldn't be anywhere near the possible fight. She might help later"
Whatever was going on between them ultimately wasn't my problem."If you guys are going to make out can you do it after the exorcism?" I said.Their bickering shut off in an embarassed silence."Either make her a boon or have her wait in the car, but make a decision Jim, we've got work to do."He nodded. "Yeah, okay," he looked down at Ashe, "You don't know how dangerous this is, and I don't know if we can protect you. So I need you to stay in the car. I can't do what I need to do if I'm worrying about you.""Stay in the car?" she said, "Damn, Jim, you going to tell me to stay in the kitchen next?""That's not what I mean," he said, grabbing her shoulders, "Whatever's going to happen tonight, its going to be dangerous. This isn't Harry Potter. Whatever happens, whatever you see, I need you to stay in the car. Get out of here without us if you need to.""Well that last part isn't happening," she said, rubbing her arm."Please Ashe," he said.Finally she sighed. "Fine," then when getting in the car pointed at me, "You better not let him get hurt.""Yes ma'am," I said with a salute.Jim looked uncomfortable. Couldn't blame him, I'd be uncomfortable too in his position. It isn't easy being the Red Wizard."What do you need me to do?" I said.He looked down the street. "Wait," he said.He got a piece of chalk out of his pocket, hunkered down and started marking lines in the middle of the road. It was a pentagram or something, but not like you'd see in a cartoon. When he was done I got the impression of a blazing sun from the sketchy lines, arrow marks made on the inside of the lines. Cuneiform, I think it was called. The old writing style of the ancient Middle East.Come to think of it, another word for the middle east could as easily be 'the middle of the world'. A crossroad joining Europe, Africa and Asia. Only America was left out. The thought didn't mean much, but I didn't have anything else to do but wait, watching the cold dark around us, the big dead windows of the surrounding buildings, standing in a bathing pool of electric street light. At least Ashe could listen to music. All I had to fight the chill was a thin hoodie and my own internal fire.But I'm a patient guy. I could wait and I could watch, until dawn came. I'd done it before.Though even at 3AM it felt like dawn was a long way off. As if the city had never known the sun and we stood now in a world of twilight, the stars robbed from the night sky by the city's own polluting light. A skitter in the grass might have been a rat. A swoop overhead a bat of some kind. Or it could have been something else.The other world, the world of the gaps, had a shifting tide and to me it felt as if the tide was coming in. Jimmy continued to scratch chalk marks into the ground, beginning to mumble a chant.
Was it getting colder? Breath wisped visible from between my lips. The numbness in my fingers I washed out with fire.Was it getting darker? The electric light overhead, its constant buzz, seemed to dull.A soft 'wump' from around me.I checked on Jimmy. The Red Wizard knelt in his chalk array, hands pressed together, bowing forward and mumbling as if in prayer.Another 'wump'.The sound of gas catching fire.I sniffed, rubbed my nose. Checked the dark.The light flickered off overhead.And then they came.They appeared without sound. Spindly gray figures, match-stick arms contorted, jaws hanging loose. No sound at all, they appeared in a flicker, standing there on match-stick legs around us. A cold jolt shot up my spine. Black pits where eyes should be, lipless faces shown blackened teeth, caverns where there should have been noses. They were all sizes, some no bigger than knee high. A few worked their jaws as if to speak but they said nothing.Flecks of gray rose from their shoulders, rising up.They stood around us, surrounding us, all down the street. Hundreds maybe, I didn't try to count.They didn't move but stood with palpable menace.The memory of the dead.Whatever he was going to do, I hoped Jim did it soon."You were warned about trespassing."He stood in the shadow of the Chicago Fire Academy, as ordinary as ever, pale and bright in dark blue. He smiled.Now the dead moved, and when they did they glowed with smouldering amber light in the pit of their eyes and the gaps of their mouths.A hand reached for me, fingers little more than charred bone, spindly and raking. I swung back from the reaching grasp, the burned face behind the hand long and mournful. It opened its mouth to speak but gushed a wave of blistering heat, a fire burning at the back of its throat."Soldier at the end of time," the man, the necromancer, said, "Aren't you tired?"I stepped back toward Jim's circle."Tired of the battles fought and yet to be fought," he said, "Tired of life. Standing at the end of time."He spread his arms. "We are the victims of Truth, here at the end of time.""Aren't you tired?"My arms sagged before me."Life screams for a champion to be sacrificed at life's altar," he said, "Be another of a thousand victims of the Truth.""Here at the end of time."The burned corpses stared at me, reached for me. Reached beyond me for the figure kneeling in the chalk circle."Die again and again," he said, "Until death at last ends."I shook my head. Heavy in my head. Stiff and heavy."Stand aside," the necromancer said, "And let the battle end."
Never.The heaviness eased, my arms picked up.Talking was hard, my voice caught tight in my throat."The battle," I said, the words stiff through clenched teeth, "Hasn't even started."The necromancer smiled. "The battle ended long ago."Then around me the corpses burst into flame, and the soundless agony on their faces grew as they reached for me and past me, the night alive with their unnatural fire.>protect Jimmy, focus on the fire ghosts>go for the necromancer, the real threat
>>4947166>throw a rock or something similar at the necrobastard>protect Jimmy, focus on the fire ghosts
>>4947166>protect Jimmy, focus on the fire ghosts
>>4947166>protect Jimmy, focus on the fire ghostsIf we get a chance throw something at him, but protect Jimmy We should start carrying some big marbles or something, we need a bit of range for our power, and with our super strength anything we throw is dangerous
>>4947183Aren't bearing balls sold by the pound and cheap?
>>4947177>>4947178>>4947183>>4947238>>4947242fighting the ghosts is locked in
What if we've been looking at training the wrong way this whole time?We need a trainer who's also a para. One who we can openly use our abilities with and train them directly instead of training normal fighting and adapting it for our powers. Just a thought. Also Hotspur really needs a para mentor so it's a win-win
>>4947260But we're basically the first para as far as anyone is concerned, who other than us has more experience in using our own powers?
I was a wizard's boon. My job was to defend Jimmy.I drove a fist toward the nearest specter. It shot through the body as if it were mist, and pain burned up my arm, a fire sweeping across the skin burning through my nerves. The smell of smoke and cooking flesh rose to my nostrils, choking me, punching a harsh cough out of my throat.I sputtered and gagged, stepping back, coughing and trying to clear my lungs as my head swam and my arm continued to blaze with hot pain.But there was no fire, there was no smoke. My flesh didn't burn despite the pain.The necromancer stood watching, smiling in the shadows.The fire ghosts twitched and turned their focus toward me, ash gray bodies flickering with silent fire, the unearthly light growing. They reached for me in the hundreds with burned hands, charred finger bones claw like in their grasping reach.Fear ground my feet beneath me, a numb terror taking physical hold, a chill in my legs and stomach. My heart was the only sound in the street, louder than Jimmy's mumbled chant. Beating hard.I forced a step back, legs resisting. The anguished burned faces of the dead surged toward me, slack jaws open in soundless grief.My foot slid on a bottle, I fell back. My hand closed around the cold glass.However I was meant to fight these spirits, I knew the necromancer was flesh and blood. With fire pumping through me, forcing back the fear, I hurled the glass bottle at his head.It broke on the tall fire statue beside him, glass crinkling down.Fuck him. I kicked up to my feet as the ghosts of the unquiet dead pushed toward me.There had to be a way...I closed my eyes. The heat of their breath, the smell of smoke and cooking meat, rolled over me. The burning of a whole city manifesting around me.I couldn't hit them with my fist but...I focused my fire into my fists. The sacred flame against the dark.I opened my eyes, and when I swung, the pain which lanced my arm was dull, and the spirit shifted, turning away. It staggered away from Jimmy, away down DeKoven Street back into the shifting mass of the great Fire's victims."Okay," I muttered, "Okay I can do this.">roll 3 x 1d100+15 dc 80
Rolled 19 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4947265
Rolled 61 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4947265go flame gohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P65Y-q-ht4
Rolled 42 (1d100)>>4947265Pls
our rolls are so consistently bad, really diminishes some of the fun of combat
>>4947272Bad luck. Our actual chance of success was 72%
>>4947275yeah our luck is absurdly bad
>>4947279Not at all, we pass a lot of the time and have 2-3 crit successes with no crit fails. This is a very lucky quest relative to the rest.
Time for some ghost scars
Ok new plan, rush the magician, no mercy just full blitz on him, can't afford to let the ghosts get close to Jimmy
I swung for the next one, and felt a solid connection. The pain raced through me but I ignored it. The fire ghost turned, joining the other in retreating.But there were others, hundreds of others, filling the street, flooding it, the fire burning, crackling through them, joined in a century long anguish. The roasting stink of flesh and wood was over powering, and sound now, the sound of crackling and the distant high pitched screaming of people caught in the flames.No fire burned but the heat and smoke stung my eyes. I squinted through a growing pain, trying to coach my lungs into breathing. There was no smoke to choke on. There was no fire to burn me. It wasn't real.But the gap between world's was narrow, and through the haze I saw the necromancer smile."Ashavan?" he said, "Interesting."They liked to talk, bad guys. I swung blind, feeling my fist connected with something fragile. Ash burst around my knuckles. I cough as they stung my eyes, fire wrapping the sleeve of my hoodie, racing up its length. All too real fire. I slapped at the flames, stepping back, but they were around me, surrounding me.The best I could say is they weren't interested in Jimmy. Their focus was on me."An untrained wizard and a half-trained ashavan, fighting side by side," the necromancer said, pacing at the outskirts of the conjured spirits, "All the pawns cruel Truth has left. Pathetic."Ashavan. Another word I didn't know.Burned hands grabbed my shoulders, an ash face dragging itself toward me, slack jaw open and steaming with internal fire. It reached to bite, or to kiss, either way I drove my forehead against its blackened skull and felt it crack, all too physical.Tainted fire burst from its lipless mouth, around the charred stumps of its teeth as it reeled back. But claws sunk into my back, slicing into my hoodie, down into my back. The tainted fire burst across my back, burning up my spine to the base of my skull. I couldn't keep the agonized scream from exploding out of me. It dragged me into the arms of the other spirits, fingers digging into my flesh, tearing into me. Hot tears poured as terrified sobs of pain burst from my lips as their fingers burrowed into my skin, as teeth sunk into me. The unnatural fire racing through me, blinding with pain.God, I thought. Dad. Mom. Mom. God.I wheeled in their grip."Be another sacrifice on Truth's altar!" the necromancer cried, delighted.A car revved, headlights turned on. A song pounding from the speakers as tyres screamed against the street.'If you like to gamble, I tell you I'm your man,You win some, lose some, it's all the same to me,'The car thundered into high gear, bearing down on the necromancer.'The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say,I don't share your greed, the only card I need isThe Ace Of Spades'
The look on his face as Jimmy's shitbox slammed into him, I could almost enjoy it through the pain. He raised his hands and had time to say."Oh fuck."The front of the car collapsed in against the fire statue, Ashe behind the wheel thrown forward in the seat to slam against the steering wheel. The spirits released me and I dropped to my knees.I hadn't been torn apart. There were no wounds on me, not physical anyway. But I shook hard, and puked over the ground.The spirits stared at the crumpled front of the car. Smoke rose from under the hood. They stood watching, alert hounds, waiting a master's call.From the circle Jimmy rose, a hand raised to the heavens.A word of power burst from his lips, bloody tongue lashing and spritzing droplets of blood. Above us the clouds and the gloom parted to show the bright field of stars hidden away.The spirits turned, turned to look up at the hole in the sky.Jimmy called at them in words of magic, face strained beyond his age.Slowly the unnatural fire within the burned spirits began to die, and the field of blackened corpses began to relax, a soundless sigh of relief passing through them. They tumbled toward the earth, their bodies for a moment turning from twisted, anguished wrecks to something else. To men, women and children, as they had been in the color of life, in workmen's clothes and happy bearing. Returning to the earth, to better memories than their final moments.And when it was done Jimmy collapsed in his chalk circle, heaving, blood dribbling down his chin, the mark on his tongue ember bright as blood sizzled against it.The car door clicked and Ashe slumped out. Blood caked her face, her eyes dull with shock.Shivering I got to my feet.By every right the necromancer should have been pinned between the car and the statue, but there was nothing there except a scattering of dark ashes.Ashe took a step and dropped, looking sick.Behind me Jimmy gagged, coughing up bloody phlegm.Whatever had happened, the night no longer seemed as dark. Maybe the spirits were at rest.>check on Ashe>check on Jimmy>check myself, I'm not okay
>>4947315>check on Jimmy
>>4947315>check on AsheHope for no possession
>>4947315>check on AsheJimmy is going to have to do this multiple times, ashe just got into a car crash, and we're never ok, it's our default state at this point
>>4947315>check on Jimmybros before hoes
>>4947315>check on Jimmyhe's the only one who can actually stop this magic shit
>>4947315>check on Jimmy(Really tempted to check on Ashe first, but kinda scared of the Bon)Start calling the doc while checking, we bringing these two to him
>>4947315>check on Ashechanging my vote, there's a good chance she got mindfucked or possessed by that necromancer. this shit happens to Jimmy every time so I'm not real concerned
"Jimmy," I limped over to the Red Wizard, helping him gain his feet.He groaned, tears of pain glazing his eyes. I checked him for injury but all I saw was hurt. Soul wounds and the physical strain of magic. I was feeling a little of the same hurt, my nerves still flickering with pain."You okay?" I said."It's done," he managed, sucking back spit. "What about you? You don't look so good.""I'm used to it," I said, though truth was this was a different kind of pain.Then he saw his car smashed up against the statue. "Ashe!" he pushed me back, starting into a limping run over to his friend. She sat staring at nothing next to the open door of the car, smoke rising behind her. When he went to his knees next to her he looked scared to touch her, gingerly carresing her shoulders.She turned a dizzy smile up at him."Hey buddy," she said, "Wow that was a real trip.""Are you okay, do you have a concussion?""Probably!" she said. The blood dried on her face."What happened?" he said."Nothing," she said, "Uh, your weird friend stood there while you did whatever, and then he started howling in pain. Freaked me out. Then I saw a guy and I uh, I guess instinct took over and I floored it. Is he okay, did I...did I kill him?""Who?" Jimmy asked, looking to me."A necromancer or something," I said, "Some kind of dark wizard. I think he summoned the spirits. If it wasn't for Ashe they could have killed me.""Dark wizard?" he said, "No, those assholes aren't wizards. The people on the left-hand path, necromancer is a good term for them. They're parasites who steal power, corrupt arta and turn it to their own ends. Everything they have they got from those who dwell in the gaps.""Demons you mean," I said.Jimmy didn't like the word 'demon'."Either way, your girl saved my bacon," I said, "So you really didn't see anything? Not the fire ghosts or..."Ashe shook her head, then thought about it. "Maybe there was like, this smudgy feeling," she said, "I thought Jim just needed to clean his windows. You say there were ghosts?"A hard head knock like that would leave an impact.A siren started in the distance, police lights flashing. Coming our way, probably from the sound of the crash and my screaming."Speaking of bacon," I said.Jimmy didn't like that either.His car wasn't going anywhere, so if we were going to run we'd need to do it on foot. But Jimmy's car was registered to him, when the cops checked the plates they'd know who to call.>wait for the cops to arrive and play dumb, it was an accident, there was nothing to hide>book, and when the cops asked tell Jimmy to lie and say his car had been stolen
I'll be back either tomorrow or next week. I'll let you guys know
>>4947385>book, and when the cops asked tell Jimmy to lie and say his car had been stolenThis might get him in trouble with his parents but I'm extremely unsure of what to do Anyone that can give a good idea or argument for what to do I'll support
>>4947385>>wait for the cops to arrive and play dumb, it was an accident, there was nothing to hideWe're all probably on cameras
>book, and when the cops asked tell Jimmy to lie and say his car had been stolenMore worried about ashe Head right know and get her a quick check out, don't know if we stay here the cops could help her out or just be paranoid and call the dpa.I'll vote for just booking it but looking for what yall have to said to change it if not
>>4947390>>4947398If we do skedaddle, we might rip off the number plates. The car would still be recognizable by numbers of parts but it's a bit of a pain in the ass and Jimmy will have some time to recover. Or maybe it's not a good idea.
>>4947260Works in most cape settings, but not in this one. We are one of the most experienced para fighters in the world. The only para I can think of who could actually train us is Semper Fi. And maybe Salamander. >>4947385>book, and when the cops asked tell Jimmy to lie and say his car had been stolenI hate to pull this card, but Jimmy is fucking black. No way this turns out good if the cops see him. Take them home and have Jimmy call the cops to report his car stolen.
>>4947385>wait for the cops to arrive and play dumb, it was an accident, there was nothing to hideI think lying about the steal isn't going to fool the people it's meant to fool.
>>4947482Wait, Jimmy's black???Cringe, wont read this quest anymore/jkjk
>>4948279Yes, so was his grandfather
>>4947385>book, and when the cops asked tell Jimmy to lie and say his car had been stolenwe are in private property so it's better to run
"We need to go," I said, pulling Jimmy down the street, him pulling Ashe in turn."Why? We;ve done nothing wrong," Ashe said.I'll chalk that up to the concussion talking."When you get home you get on the phone to the cops and tell them your car was stolen," I said to Jimmy. We started down the street, away from the crash and the high whine of the police siren."You don't trust the cops?" Jimmy said."I don't trust anybody," I replied.We made it to the L station where we split up, the both of them heading north on the Red Line, me heading out west on the Blue. Ashe was still woozy. Being frank I wasn't much better, and sitting on the train it was a struggle not to sleep.The chunk-chunk-chunk of the train, the grinding hiss when it would pull into a stop, the soft jostle of the carriage on the tracks, was as lulling as a lullaby. I didn't carry any physical wounds but my body still ached, ghost traces of the tearing claws of the fire-ghosts waking up inside my body, and a deeper pain seeping into the back of my head. Pain might not even be the right word for the worst of it, it was a disturbing feeling like my brain wasn't properly plugged into my spine, a floating, unsettling weightlessness in my head.The train was empty. Fluroescent lights bright with a steady low hum. I huddled up on my seat, shivering.When my head dipped to my chest I forced myself up with a jolt. Falling asleep on the Blue Line would have me miss my stop and leave me out in Cicero or somewhere end of the line. And I didn't want to sleep. There was no knowing what sleep would bring.I glared tired eyes at an ad for Hamilton, playing at the Chicago Theater. Anything to stay awake.When I got out at my stop I was past pretending I wasn't hurt, or sick or scared. I slumped my way down the streets, firing up what power I could to make the jumps I needed to make it faster. Only me and the stars were out.'Do you believe in ghosts?' I'd asked. I don't remember why. Maybe I'd just watched one of the Conjuring movies. We had been standing on the back deck, she was playing with her telescope.'Of course I do,' Mom replied. It wasn't the answer I'd expected, and it must have shown on my face, because she drew me over. 'Look,' she put my eye to the telescope, 'Do you see all those stars out there? Well, they're so far away from where we are right now we barely have the words to describe it, and it takes their light so long to reach us by the time we see them, the stars themselves have long since gone out.'
'So what we're looking at in the night sky isn't the stars themselves, but the ghosts of ancient suns, so far away we can only catch a glimpse of what they used to be. Now if that isn't a ghost, I don't know what is.'She smiled and ruffled my hair, before putting me to bed with a kiss.She was right, Mom, there were ghosts. But not only in the way she thought. I dragged myself up the fire escape, pulling myself through the window to lie shivering in my bed. Spirits of fear and anguish, crying out as they reached for me. Not hate or violence within them but a terrible grief, turned against me, tearing at me, ripping me down.But Jimmy had given them peace while I'd flailed helpless against them. His magic had put them to rest. And the villain responsible, the necromancer, he was still out there. Waiting to raise more evil.We needed to be ready. I needed to be ready. But right now all I could do was lie in sleepless misery, fighting the haunted memory of the dead.-Saturday.The fight.Whatever else I had going on, as Hotspur, as a wizard's boon, I'd also agreed to a fight. I'd been offered a grand, more money than I'd ever seen before, hooked up by Coach Jackson and a rival gym. It had been a few restless nights since our encounter with the necromancer, the spirits put to rest. For what it was worth it seemed to have a real impact, tensions settling at school, things half way back to normal.But now I had a fight.It had been a long time coming.I changed in the locker room, Kobi giving me a hand. Friends and family would be watching. Kobi wrapped my fists."You ready?" the little guy said. I nodded, half-lying. "Tear his fucking head off."His name was Paul Danvers and he was a couple years older than me. I'd checked out his instagram and in between light boxing lessons a lot of it had involved him with pretty girls on a boat. There were a couple of pretty girls now in his corner, both in skimpy tight outfits, one of them with cards ready to play at being a ring girl.He wore red, white and blue trunks, a blond haze of stubble on his jaw and a cocky grin. He had muscle, real muscle, and he was a well cut 6'2. There was no way we'd ever be matched up in a real fight. He slapped his gloves together, taking a kiss from first the one girl then the other. I hated him right away."Dude, seriously?" he said back to his coach, laughing, "This ain't right, me fighting a little kid."That's when I pulled off my shirt, handing it to Kobi. A twisted scar in my belly, another in my back, with smaller scars licked around my arms and shoulders. I slapped a glove against my face, trying to wake up.I was tired.
"He's bigger than you," Coach Jackson said, "Has a longer reach and some real power. But he's cocky, arrogant, and sloppy. No real technique. get inside his reach, stay in the pocket, and don't let him find his feet.""Just 'cause he an asshole don't mean he can't fuck you up," Kobi warned.I stepped into the ring, feeling punch drunk under the bright lights.There were people in the small crowd cheering for me, but they were drowned out by a chant of 'Paul' from a coterie of frat boy types.I glared at him, he smirked down at me. The referee talked us through the rules but I barely listened.I just wanted to get this done.>take him down with a rush of power, end this quick>asshole or not, he was a regular guy. Beat him the fair way
>>4950521>asshole or not, he was a regular guy. Beat him the fair way
>>4950521>asshole or not, he was a regular guy. Beat him the fair wayIs all part of training (Hope we roll good)
However big an asshole this guy was, it didn't warrant drawing on my powers. I squared up against him, the crowd cheering.I glanced over to see my friends in a row at the front. Zeke whistled while Rufus waved over head, Ivy and Ayesha tucked together in front of them with Hunter up the back. Dad and Miss Flores watched nervously from the side."Go Eric, go!" Ayesha cheered.But they were drowned out by the gang of college boys chanting 'Paul, Paul, Paul'.We came up to the center of the ring to touch gloves."That your bitch in the crowd?" Danvers said.I don't know who he meant, Ayesha or Ivy or someone else."When I'm done with you I'll take your bitch next. Take her for a long ride in my lambo."He slammed his gloves down on mine, backing to his corner, his own ring irl holding up a first round card. The disgust on Coach Jackson's face matched my own.The bell rang and it was on. We stepped in.The first punch caught me above the eye, a long but fast jab. He grinned behind the flesh of his arm.I shook it off, trying to burn out the soul-tired drag on my body. I bobbed under the next one, dipped around a hook. Careful not to get beaned by his quick, hard jabs.>roll 3 x 1d100+10 dc 75
Rolled 35 (1d100)>>4950591Pls
Rolled 29 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4950591
one last chance
come on boysI'm so fuckin tired of failing easy rolls
Rolled 28 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4950591guess I'll roll again, gonna fail it though
Rolled 3 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4950591
>>4950615oh no, it looks like Ivy is going for a ride in his lamboI joke, I joke
Rolled 45 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4950591Shite
Rolled 89 + 10 (1d100 + 10)If I roll under 40 again the dice should be abolished or revamped in this quest
>>4950619lmao fuck me
>>4950619Thus we know it was our fate to get wrecked by Logan Paul
Rolled 15 + 10 (1d100 + 10)Our 1k (TT______ TT)I want new dices.
I came in low. His fist cut around. The hook caught me behind the ear. It was more my own exhaustion than the strength of his hit. My legs went jelly for a second and I went down. He backed off like he'd won it already, hands up, his supporters cheering.But I wasn't out. I was up, pushing up on my gloves before the ref could count past two, and I hopped on the spot, showing I was still put together. The dull ache behind my eyes was nothing to worry about.Paul Danvers frowned from his corner in a douchebag way.Anger woke me up. A step back and I rolled under his jab, landing my own in his ribs, bringing a hard right over to slam into his chest. He tap danced back. I was in the pocket now like coach wanted and I didn't let up until I'd backed him on the ropes.His crowd booed me, while Ayesha hugged Ivy, caught up on nerves. Ivy kept a cold stare on me, face pale."Get him Eric!" Zeke cried, almost falling over the girls in front.I pushed in and he grabbed me in a clinch. His forehead smacked into mine, a foot stomp snuck in for good measure, pushing me back with his superior bulk. It was a smart move but only made me madder. When he broke the clinch he snaked a punch to my liver, and in the flash of pain loosed a jab as he dipped back, giving him some distance.The ref hadn't seen the head butt or the foot stomp, and the bell rang, saving us some punishment.He might be a douchebag, he might be dirty, but he could box. With the knock down the first round was his.I went to my corner."You're doing okay. Remember the pocket, be a fist in his glove," Coach Jackson said."Yeah, stick your fist right up his ass," Kobi added."Pick your moment," coach said, ignoring Kobi's disgusting illustration.I nodded, trying not to check the crowd. In his corner Danvers nodded along to his own coach as his girls, the insta-thots, massaged his shoulders."You can do this," coach said.I got up, slapping my gloves together. Paul Danvers did the same.We met in the center."Imma make your mama squirt," he said through his mouthguard, right before he opened with another jab.When I dodged he rolled his fist and caught me, dazed enough to let him slip in the right, right on my chin, jarring my jaw up into my head. Sweat whipped from my hair with the follow up cross.I kept my feet under me, kept my hands up, catching the next flurry on my gloves and forearms. I shot a jab that bloodied his nose, put a bit more stupid in his eyes."Fucker," he snarled, and closed in for a dirty clinch again. For a second my body moved to throw him, take him to the ground BJJ style, but I held off. He pushed me back, driving a knee into my inner thigh. When the clinch broke he whipped a hook faster than I expected and caught me in the side of the face.I lost my legs again, dropping to the canvas.This time I wasn't as quick to get up...Dull voices called my name under a roar of 'Paul! Paul! Paul!'"Eric? Eric!">roll 3 x 1d100+10 dc 80
>>4950616A question for the future: could we have used our power only to flush the exhaustion out, not to empower us in any other way?
>>4950650yeah, write-ins like that are okay
Rolled 66 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4950648surely we'll pass this harder DC>>4950650I'll back this up if it gives us a bonus to get back up
Rolled 85 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4950648Rise!
Rolled 27 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4950648LETS GOOOOOO(not blaming anons if they drain or exhaustion, but Ill keep it clean)
>>4950657I love you anon
>>4950653Thank you>>4950656I'm against using it at this juncture, just asking for future fights.
My body said stay down but the rest of me said 'fuck that', especially with a girl's frightened voice in my ear.I got up and before the ref could check I drove forward at the smug boxer, back in his corner thinking he'd won.My fist rocked his jaw, waking him up, knocking the smug off his face.But the bell rang before I could do much else.Two rounds to him, but the fight wasn't over."You're all right?" Coach Jackson asked.I nodded, sniffing back on something in my nose."One more knock down like that and I'm throwing in the towel," he said.I nodded. No point arguing with him.Someone came in the back door, hanging around the entrance watching the fight. Stink. I hadn't seen him around the gym in a while. He watched, not making his presence known.I spat water in the bucket, Kobi wiping sweat from my neck, ringing out the towel. Paul Danvers was in the arms of his instathots but looking a lot less confident."You're a tough kid, Eric," Coach Jackson said, "But no one is invincible."I hopped up from the stool, ready for round three. Paul's ring girl walked out with the card but was booed away by my supporters."Come on Eric! Woo!" Miss Flores cheered, bouncing beside Dad, who was silent with white knuckle anxiety.I stared down the bigger guy, hands up and ready. I was awake now. Fuck being tired.The bell rang. I didn't rush in. I was careful. He worked his jabs but they couldn't touch me. I slipped and ducked, hands up to catch the edge of a punch on my arm. I worked in and opened a flurry. When he tried to clinch me again I dipped out, escaping with an upper cut that left him wobbling. The ref nearly stepped in but he shook himself out, finding his feet before I could close back in. He ate a punch on the arm, moving defensively.Again he might be an asshole, but he could box. I slipped under a shot for my head and caught him in the sweet spot where the ear met the jaw. He lost his feet, catching himself on the ropes, looking like he didn't know where he was.The ref started a count. The sound of numbers got him on his feet. He sprung up from the ropes, but the bell rang before we could do anything else.Two rounds to him, one to me, with three more to go."That's it, that's what you need to do," Coach Jackson said, "Watch out for his clinch, keep moving, cut him down.""You got this," Kobi said with a thumb's up.But a fight wasn't over until it was over.>roll 3 x 1d100+10 dc 70
Rolled 100 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4950677Let's gooSorry for bitching about the dice it's just a bit soul crushing sometimes
Rolled 78 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4950677Geddim boss
>>4950682Unless a 1 is rolled?
>>4950687Hope Eric won't go full ancient warrior on him
>>4950688crit success always trumps crit fail
Rolled 9 (1d100)>>4950691In that case.>>4950677
>>4950691Huh. I was under the impression it was the other way around before.
>>4950693Good to see my dice are still cursed....
>>4950694from the first thread, posted as a reminder>roll 100 you get a crit success>roll 1 you get a crit fail>crit success trump crit fails, but crit fails trump all other rolls.
>>4950697OK. I guess I misremembered it, thank you for correction. Gotta fix my calculator then.
>>4950710>"You're a tough kid, Eric," "But no one is invincible">"I know, but I'm not showing my weak side today"
>>4950710GUTS AND MORE OXYGEN IN THOSE MUSCLES
>>4950723Someone say Guts
I took a deep breath.Closed my eyes.'Keep moving, cut him down.'I opened them on my opponent. The fire inside me rose, but I smothered it down.But something took hold of me either way. I felt it, a fixed moment of clarity and unthinking awareness. The gloves in my hand became the grip on my sword.And I wasn't in the ring any more but somewhere else.On white stone under a red sky, the chirp of strange insects around us. A hot breeze kissed my face.He stood in training armor, smiling, a training blade in his hand. The rounded pauldrons, the white enamel chest plate engraved with the holy fire. I knew him better than I knew my own brothers. I knew him as only a rival could.'He raised his blade, I raised mine.''When we do this for real,' he said, 'The honor of carrying the fire will be mine. You're no prince, you don't have what it takes to be ashavan.'My guts burned, feeling the truth in his taunt.'You haven't won yet,' I said, 'And so long as I stand, I won't give up.'He smiled with the certainity that had carried him through every trial. A certainty I admired.'Then I'll have to knock you down!' he called.And he flew at me across the training yard, his sword bursting into fiery light, my own rising in answer.And in the bright clash of blades, we grinned.The bright flash before my eyes, the ring of the bell, the ring girl with the card, blinked me back to the here and now. My mind was cool and smooth, attuned to the moment. The red glove hunting for my face killed the ghost of another man's memories.But no thoughts replaced them, only a cold instinct.I dropped under his punch, firing off a jab to his gut, then stepped out before he could wrap me into a clinch and weigh me down, firing off another into the side of his face.Paul wobbled back and I took the moment, opening a combination, dancing forward as he stumbled back, rapid fire shots launched off. He got his hands up but slipped around his guard, slipped a right hook between his gloves, driving it right into his mouth. Blood and sweat both poured from him, his face puffing over, breathing hard. He stumbled back onto the ropes, catching himself, panting.He couldn't stop the haymaker, and the ropes couldn't hold him up.He fell with an arm hooked around a rope, leaving a bloody smear on the canvas. I haunched forward, breathing hard.The ref barely bothered with a count. Danvers wasn't getting up. His instathots gave the dropped boxer a disappointed look, his gang of college bros booing.But the cheers were louder. Ayesha hugged Ivy, hopping up and down, almost climbing onto her shoulders, while Ivy herself had a growing smile, eyes electric bright as she hugged Ayesha back."Get outta here!" Zeke said, "Go on and get fucked, Jake Paul looking clown!""That's how its done, that's my boy right there!" Rufus called.I looked to the back exit. Stink had slunk out.
The medics got Danvers on his feet. The look on Paul Danvers' face was hard to make out through the bruises, but when the ref held up my hand in victory he pulled away in a churlish tantrum, looking for the comfort of his ring girls. but they were already leaving with some of his frat brothers, leaving Danvers with his coach and cornerman instead.Me, when I stepped out of the ring I was mobbed."2-0, 2-0," Zeke said, shaking me, "You fucking rule dude."I barely had the energy to smile."We got to celebrate," Hunter said, "Have a kickback at mine or something, goddamn."My body groaned.>what I need right now is rest>a party is a good way to rest
>>4950739>a party is a good way to rest
>>4950739>a party is a good way to rest"Something Chill Hunter, please"
"A party sounds good," I said, "But chill, Hunter, a chill one please.""Chill, yeah," Hunter said.Everyone was down, but first I had to get checked by the medic.Coach Jackson watched while they checked my pupils."You got heart, kid," he said, passing me an envelope. The sight of a grand stuffed into it made my head dizzy.'Is this legal?' I thought as I stuffed it in my bag. "Pay out from the gym Danvers trains at," he said, "Bet they thought I'd give them a can. You did good.""Thanks coach," I mumbled through a sore jaw. I'd been beat up worse than this, and now the fight was over I wasn't shy about using my powers to help get back into some kind of shape.I hit the showers, and as the hot water poured over me the memory I'd felt, standing on the canvas, the vision of red skies and a marble arena, washed away leaving only an etched impression. I knew it couldn't have been my imagination, it had been too vivid and besides, I'm not very creative. It had to bethe memory of the presence inside me, the one hiding in the fire.It was troubling is what it was. Maybe the party would help me take my mind off it.After the shower I was pretty much fixed, feeling fresh. I pulled on a shirt when I stepped out.Dad and Miss Flores, Carmen, were waiting. Neither of them liked blood sports, but they were bright with relief and pride."I'm going out with some friends," I said, hiking up my bag, "Is that cool?""Fine by me, so long as you're home before midnight," he said."Well done," Miss Flores said, giving me a thumb's up.They let me go with my friends. Rufus grabbed me around the neck. "Badass," he said."Where we going to?" Zeke asked, "Mine's no good, the parents are in tonight.""Hunter, you said yours was cool?" Rufus said, "You live out by the Gold Coast or something, right?""My Dad does," he said, "My Mom lives in Logan Square now.""Who you living with?" Zeke asked."My Mom," he said, "Hold on let me see if she's cool with us..." he tipped away on his phone, waited for a response then nodded, "Yeah, we're good."We got to the street where the girls were waiting by a van. Ivy, Ayesha, Shonique. Sitting in the sliding door of the van was a tall Mexican guy I recognized as the bassist in Ivy's band, hair long and dark."So I've got a gig to get too," Ivy explained, stepping in where other band members were sitting, already starting to knot her hair back in a braid, "You guys have fun?""It'd be more fun with you," Ayesha said, "But you do what you've got to do.""Trust me, it beats flipping burgers at a bowling alley," Ivy said. She saw me and got a nervous look, darted a kiss on Ayesha's cheek then went in, "Got to go!"The van slid shut, engine rumbling as it took off.I frowned after it. It wasn't like her to go without saying anything.In fact it kind of hurt, a little sore point in my chest."Hey, you were great," Ayesha said, touching my arm."Huh?" I said, flicking my attention back to her, "Thanks, yeah."
"We're having a victory party at Hunter's," Rufus said, hook an arm around Shonique's neck, "You coming?""Bet," she said.I stared after the van.My phone rumbled. I checked a text.Ivy - Sorry I had to run. Congrats on the win. Always fun watching a couple of pretty boys beat the hell out of each other. ;)It didn't relax me much though. Was she avoiding me?"So we going to Hunter's or what?" Zeke said.I stared at the text.>yeah Hunter's is good, let's chill>actually, do you guys want to check out Ivy's gig?back tomorrow
>>4950812>actually, do you guys want to check out Ivy's gig?
>>4950812>>yeah Hunter's is good, let's chill I want ivy but going after her like this just reeks of desperation, let's talk to her later in a calm environment, not crash her concert
>>4950812>actually, do you guys want to check out Ivy's gig?something's up with Ivy, plus I wanna see her perform. she comes to all of our shit.
>>4950820You're right that we need to talk to her, but I don't see how being at a concert is desperate. We're just enjoying our friend's performance. If she told us about it earlier, maybe we'd go anyway.
>>4950812>yeah Hunter's is good, let's chill
>>4950812>>actually, do you guys want to check out Ivy's gig?
>>4950812>actually, do you guys want to check out Ivy's gig?Let's see where this rabbit hole is going.(Should we text her we going? )
>>4951010Let's not make her nervous ahead of time. And maybe we'll see something she's hiding.
>>4950812>actually, do you guys want to check out Ivy's gig?Something's off.
>>4950812>yeah Hunter's is good, let's chillEric won't be able to handle seeing Ivy riding in Paul's lambo
"Actually, do you guys want to check out Ivy's gig?" I said, slipping away my phone.They exchanged a look, then a shrug."Sure, why not?" Rufus said."Let's go support our girl," Ayesha said."Where's it at anyway?" Zeke said."Aces and Eights," Ayesha said, "It's a dive bar in Wicker Park.""Can we even get in?" Zeke asked but by then the uber was rolling up. We squeezed in, and Ayesha gave the driver the address. We'd be racing Ivy there. Traffic was bad though, and a late snow was falling outside the window.I checked out Aces and Eights on my phone. Finding it wasn't easy even with google street view. Hole in the wall was right, it was down an alley then down a flight of stairs. The only sign it was there was a hand of playing cards painted on the wall above the entrance, not even a name, literally a pair of aces and a pair of eights.By the time we got out it was dark and the wind was rising. Suddenly our trip felt dangerous. Wicker Park wasn't any kind of rough neighborhood, but it did have a party scene, a strip of bars and clubs that saw people lined up in the cold in all kinds of get up. Me, I'd busted a couple of frat boys this way a time or two, but the others weren't used to being out in places like this. 'Adult' spaces where you didn't know if the laughter would stay friendly or something would break out. Zeke was the most uncomfortable, and stuck close to Hunter, while Rufus tightened his grip around Shonique's shoulders.We also weren't dressed for the kind of place Aces and Eights looked like it would be. When we turned down the alley we walked on a guy in white biker leathers, Stunt Crew MC, taking a loud, public piss, beer bottle behind his feet, more lined up to enter. My back went up by instinct at the sight of the outlaw biker gang, but Ayesha's hand on my arm forced me to relax.Not everyone lined up was a biker, but tough leather jackets were a theme, with large facial hair even on some of the women. Ayesha, in a tartan skirt and orange sweater, looked better dressed for a book club meeting. The others were only a little better while I dressed like a bum in a hoodie and dirty sneakers.It wouldn't only be our age that got us turned back, but we waited in line anyway, cold creeping on but Wicker Park's night life alive and thriving despite it."Hold up," the bouncer said when we got to the door, "ID?"He had a look like he knew any ID we might have would be bullshit."18 and over, and if you aren't 21 you get the pink wrist band," he said, "Means you won't be served alcohol, got me? And there's a $10 entrance fee."We nodded. He held out his hand."So let's see those IDs."Shit.>maybe there's a back way we can sneak in>hand over the envelope of cash>ask nicely, that's bound to work
>>4951633>maybe there's a back way we can sneak inI'm kinda tempted to threaten him with Sully's displeasure but that might threaten our identity.
>>4951656>no fuckin way are we blowing 1000 bucks on thisyou can write-in a lower amount if you wantremember guys, write-ins are always open
>>4951633Throw him 400 bucks then I guess. I don't think money management is gonna be an integral part of the quest anyway
>>4951633text Ivy, see if she can get us in. we're not trying to drink, we just wanna see her play.
>>4951684Sure, let's do that, but 300. It's 50 per person, should be more than enough for a hole in the wall.
"Here, the name's Ben," I said, slipping him three hundred dollar bills.Two of them went into his pocket."Mr President," he said, getting out the wrist bands, waving us through.The others were quiet until we were half way down the stairs."Jesus," Zeke said, slapping my back, "Smooth.""Franklin was never president," Ayesha scoffed, but was impressed despite herself.We walked down into the adult club, band posters with tour dates papering the walls all the way down. Another bouncer, a big guy with a curly red beard and a pair of shades, checked our wrist bands before letting us in. We got in to loud music and a busy floor space. It was grimey but grimey by design, with low lights intercut with spots of red and yellow. It wasn't all that big, the bar area was a slice of space with standing tables, overlooking a dance floor set in front of the stage, with a wire mesh screen protecting the band.Ivy's band, the Blisters, weren't performing yet. From a flyer there were a few bands playing tonight, and first up was a band out from Aurora, the Dartboard Angels. The crowd wasn't feeling them and they didn't fit the scene, with a hipster Mumford and Sons kind of vibe, not just in how they played but how they dressed. All they had in common with the crowd was facial hair, the rest was flannel shirts, arm sleeve tattoos and big fleshy holes in their ears, with a surprisingly high pitched singer and for some reason a scratch board accompaniment.They had given up on trying to win the crowd, and were just trying to get through their set.I checked on the others. Nervous energy, a good kind of fear, as they found a corner for ourselves as more people came in. Zeke was looking everywhere, ready to hop out of himself, while Rufus tried to play it cool but wasn't able to hide his nerves. Hunter went up to the bar. Being tall as a redwood Hunter blended in better than the rest of us, and the woman behind the counter didn't bother to check his ID before serving him a beer."Well here we are," I said, pretending I didn't recognize the pair of Latin Reapers who walked by our spot."When does Ivy play?" Ayesha asked.I scanned the flyer. "First up is the Dartboard Angels," I said. They booed. "Then a band called Mudcore, then Three Degress of Warming, then the Blisters.""Sheesh, that's a wait," Hunter said, downing his beer, watching a couple of heavy metal girls walk by in tight leather."Consider it a chance to enjoy some of Chicago's premier live music scene," Ayesha said."Would be nicer if it had good music," Shonique said, "And the place didn't smell like wet dog. Can we hit a nicer club next? My uncle's played the Subterranean. He can probably get us in.""Next time," Rufus muttered, eyeing the crowd uncomfortably.
It was a rougher set, but not as rough as Rufus might have thought. I could tell the difference between an outlaw biker and a guy who liked the look, and other than a few Stunt Crew MC goons and a couple of Latin Reapers, the only danger here would be from falling over in the mosh pit. Though my friends didn't have a sense for these things.Truth is while I was acting cool, I was more used to these kinds of places in my other name. Hotspur got a path cleared for him when he made an appearance, Eric Miller had to wrestle through the crowd like anyone else."Watch it kid," some wannabe tough guy said when I squeezed past. I got a round of pop from the bar, brought it back, even though my bribe had got us the over 21 treatment.Ayesha clicked her fingers along to the song, taking a long sip."Would Malcolm like this place?" she asked. I shrugged. She got out her phone to text him."Hey guys, group selfie," Zeke said, getting out his own phone. We squeezed into frame, smiling as he took a snap. "Man this is cool," he said, looking around in wonderment at the cramped, greasy walled dive.It was a good imitation of a genuine shit hole, but it needed a certain kind of hopelessness for flavor that this place lacked. The people here were looking for a good time, not the hedonistic rush toward oblivion I'd seen in the worse places, where the hopeless went to chase some kind of sensation might make them forget how burdensome their lives were.No, got to not be Hotspur right now. I needed to enjoy the moment. I sat through the next set with a nervous clutch in my gut. I don't know why. I'd seen Ivy perform before."How'd you get the scars?" Shonique asked."Huh?" my attention snapped around to her."When you had your shirt off you had scars," she said. Shonique was the type if she had a question she'd ask it point blank, never mind good manners. "Nasty ass scars."Ayesha sat forward, as nervous as I was. Saying I got them pulling her out of an exploding building probably wasn't a smart idea."Car crash," I lied. It would do. "I don't like taking my shirt off.""Yeah, makes sense," Shonique said, clearly uncomfortable in the club. Hunter and Rufus took turns buying from the bar. At one point Rufus came back with a cocktail. "A screwdriver," he explained."Hard liqour for a kid," a smooth new voice said.Ayesha spun around in delighted surprise. "Malcolm, you came," she said."And you," he said with a smooth grin, "Are being very bad tonight. Aren't you a good girl? I thought you were straight edge all the way.""I've got layers you don't even know about," she said, flashing dimples as he took her around the waist. "And besides, I have to be here for Ivy, right?"Malcolm noticed me over Ayesha's head. "Eric," he said, oddly cold as he pulled her closer. Possessive. Ayesha didn't pick up on it."Malcolm," I said.Hunter stared, the alcohol starting to hit him, then started giggling.
The last band, Three Degrees of Warming, wrapped up with scattered applause.Ivy would be up next. We turned our attention to the stage as roadies went out to set up the equipment. We were a knot of anticipation in an unconcerned crowd. Ayesha bit her lip, bouncing. She grabbed my hand, squeezing it."She'll kick ass," I promised.The crowd must have sensed something was different with the first beat of the drum. The song opened slow, the drum on its own almost a monotone beat. Then a guitar growled in, setting off a smoke machine."Productions and everything," Shonique muttered.The band were dark shapes in the smoke, setting into their instruments. Whatever this was I didn't have it pegged for a cover."Kind of Black Sabbath huh," Malcolm said.A figure raised her arms in the smoke, a dark figure with sculpted curves. She stepped out, the smoke parting around her. She wore the crown of horns, the leather bikini top and tight vinyl pants, and had added a short crop leather jacket on top. Her bright blonde hair was twisted back into a pair of braids that curled down her shoulders, and her pale body shone in contrast to all the tight black leather. But seeing it in person was different from a photo. Seeing her step out with a dark confidence, the smoke curling off her, a wicked kind of look like some kind of evil princess, taking in the crowd as if they were a gang of peasants all beneath her.I swallowed. Ayesha swallowed a breath too, hand hot and fidgeting in mine.It was an attention grabber.Then she sang, microphone raised and foot slammed down.'Baby burn me upBurn me outBurn us both away.''Give me your fireGive me your flameI can take itI can take the pain.'The band burst hard behind her, the slow growl building faster. Ivy's voice was strong, pounding over it. Not the kind of metal growl but something different. The voice I'd first heard at her sister's bedside now roaring out as she strut behind the cage. A wicked heavy metal princess commanding the crowd, mosh pit filling up. Intense, letting it all pour out with a certain kind of viciousness.I stared.'I can see you burning,Burning away.'"Wow, okay, that's a look," Malcolm said, too cool for the music, "Lyrics are kind of middle school though."Ayesha shot him an irritated look he laughed off.The others vibed, half-caught.The song ended, and when it did so did some of Ivy's mask.She smiled with a bit of nerves, twisting a button on her tight pants."We're the Blisters," she said, "This next one is a cover. You might not like it, but fuck you all anyway."She went back and swung on a guitar."It's called Casey's Last Ride, if you guys don't dig it, keep it to yourselves."Then she struck a note.It was a dark song, it was slow, and when she sang she sang like she was mourning someone or something.
'Casey joins the hollow sound of silent people walking downThe stairway to the subway in the shadows down belowFollowing their footsteps through the neon-darkened corridorsOf silent desperation, never speakin' to a soul'The crowd didn't mind even if it was slow, but it didn't suit Ivy's look at all.When it hit the chorus and it switch so slow and sweet, Ayesha sniffed beside me, eyes starting to fill with tears.Oh!' she said, 'Casey, it's been so long since I've seen you!''Here” she said, 'just a kiss to make a body smile!''See' she said, 'I've put on new stockings just to please you!''Lord!' she said, 'Casey, can you only stay a while?'It was the furthest thing from a wild song you could get.When it wrapped up Ivy grinned into the microphone."Like I said, fuck you all. That one's by the great Kris Kristofferson. Now this next one, this one's by me."The lyrics started.'Fuck you, buy me a beer.'And continued like that for four minutes of pounding thrash.I don't know if she saw us, her attention went to her guitar, a look of bliss on her face as she shredded. Blister was a good name, she had bandaids around the tips of most her fingers, pouring with sweat by the time they were done.Ask me they were the best thing about the night. I was buzzing with an electricity I could only compare to gun fire."You guys want to sneak back stage, say hi?" Ayesha asked. She said it to everyone but was grabbing my arm. Malcolm glared behind her.>hell yeah I do, let's surprise her>maybe we can wait for her to come out
>>4951806>hell yeah I do, let's surprise herpoor malcolm. why was he even here?
>>4951806>hell yeah I do, let's surprise herTake her arm off and point her towards Malcolm, I hate the asshole but I despise cheating behavior even more, brake up with him if you're pulling this kind of Shit Ayesha!!!
>>4951806>hell yeah I do, let's surprise her
>>4951806>hell yeah I do, let's surprise herLet's be nosy
locking that in
"Hell yeah, let's surprise her," I said, squeezing Ayesha's hand.It was only in a self-concious moment, helped by Malcolm's glare, that I realized how it looked, and slid my hand out of hers. Malcolm took her by the waist, pulling her back to him."Hey, easy there," Ayesha said, grinning back at him, a little embarassed about how he was pressed against her. She peeled off from his grip. "Sorry, getting a little caught up in the moment.""Me too," he replied, with a cold touch that made Ayesha frown."Well let's go," Zeke said. Hunter stumbled drunk with us, making our way toward the back, a side door to reach the dressing rooms. There was no real sneaking through to the dressing rooms, security blocked our way."We're friends of the band, Blister?" Zeke said, "Yeah, so if you don't mind-""Easy little man," the bouncer said, a hand raised to hold Zeke back, "Staff only back here.""Hey come on," Malcolm said, putting himself in front, "You can make an exception, right?" The corner of a bill stood out on his hand. The security guard checked around, then gave a short nod, stepping aside.We went down a short dark corridor."So which one is Ivy's?" Rufus wondered, still trying to act cool in front of Shonique.Hunter stumbled and almost fell over. Malcolm caught him with Zeke's help."Before we go anywhere else I think your pal here needs the bathroom," Malcolm said, looking around for a toilet sign. They went together."You know I might need to freshen up too," Shonique said, giving Rufus a suggestive look."Cool, I'll wait for you," he said.It was her continued stare that got him to realize what she meant. He pulled at his collar."Ah yeah, okay," he said, following her off.It left me with Ayesha to find Blister's change room. It was small enough back here it didn't take long."-hot tonight," a man's voice, "Bet your boyfriend is killing himself for missing that.""Don't talk about Dane, okay?" Ivy replied. We came up on the door, stopped to exchange a look. "It did go well didn't it.""You were the hottest thing in Chicago," he kept saying, "We would be in hella trouble if they knew you're only sixteen.""Man, a kid like Dane can't handle a woman like you."The sound of tight leather."Hey, watch those hands Ramon.""You liked my hands the other night..." he was sly, "You liked a lot of things about me."Ayesha's frown deepened. She didn't like what she was hearing, I didn't either."It was a fun mistake, but it was a mistake Ram," she said, "Okay, I said watch those hands. Last warning."Ayesha pushed through the door with a fixed smile, me a step behind her.
Ivy stood in the middle of the dressing room, her bassist, a lanky Mexican guy, lounging on a seat with his guitar in his lap, reaching a lazy hand for Ivy's ass. She'd pulled away, she wasn't interested. Ivy had taken off the big ornamental crown and the short leather jacket and big leather boots. She was down to just the leather top and tight vinyl pants, hip holes cut out, skin glistening with sweat, hair untied into sweaty matted curls.When she saw us her face flooded with relief. She lunged right over."Yesha!" Ivy bounced her up into a hug, "You came, you saw?""Everything," Ayesha said.Behind them Ramon grinned and muttered, "Tease.""Girl you were lit," Ayesha said, planting a kiss on Ivy's cheek. Ivy, grinning and flush, turned her head and caught Ayesha in a lip kiss. I was surprised. Ramon was surprised too. Ayesha was the most surprised but didn't pull away, if anything leaning into it a little. It didn't last long though and Ivy beamed with a big grin."Sorry, I'm still riding the rush," Ivy said, blushing."N-no its cool," Ayesha said, checking her hair.Me I didn't know what to say. It wasn't their first kiss but..."Eric," Ivy said it like she wasn't expecting me, turning away to get something off a dresser. She pulled on a loose Cubbies jersey. "You guys enjoy the show?""It was badass," I said, but I couldn't take my mind off their kiss or the conversation I'd overheard. Truth was the conversation had killed my buzz."This is Ramon, the bassist and sometimes keyboard player," she said, "The other boys are off chasing tail. Ramon, these are my...friends, Ayesha and Eric.""Hey," he said, "Bit past your bedtime, school girl?"Ayesha rolled her eyes."Eric, the boxer, right," he said, turning his focus on me. I didn't like the way he said 'the boxer', like I had a double digit IQ and struggled with basic math. "I was wondering why we had to stop off at that gym. It's funny I never heard about you until today.""Ram, be nice," Ivy warned. He smiled but saw the cold seriousness in her eyes. Now when she looked at me her expression relaxed, almost embarassed. "I didn't think you'd come after the fight," she said, "You took a beating.""I've been hurt worse," I said, "And I won that fight, don't forget.""Still, its not a lot of fun watching you get knocked around," she said."You were badass," I said, "Seriously."She winked. "Right back at you."She was packing up her stuff like she meant to go, wiggling out of the tight vinyl pants to a black thong. It's not something I felt I should be watching and looked away, but she didn't mind. She kicked the tight vinyl away and pulled on more comfortable blue jeans. She became a completely different person to the one we'd seen on stage, back to the Ivy we knew. She flicked out her sweaty hair, took a half empty beer bottle and finished it off.
"We going out to celebrate? Pat's got a thing going on out U of C way," Ram asked, "The promoters loved us. Taz was saying we might even get a feature in Innerview Magazine.""Taz talks a load of horse shit," Ivy replied. She smiled at us. "You go do what you want, Ram, I found my party."She hooked an arm through mine and one through Ayesha's."So, where too next?" she asked, flushed with victory and alcohol.>home, rest, its been a long night>where ever you want Ivy>somewhere quiet, we should talk
>>4951944>somewhere quiet, we should talkIvy, you cheated on Dane, tell him or I willBullpen,I still love ivy despite your best efforts to dissuade me, but this girl is completely out of control!
>>4951944>where ever you want Ivy>but go ahead, I'll catch up in a moment>when they go, make it clear to Ramon that we'll feed his fingers to him, literally, if he keeps harassing Ivy
>>4951944>somewhere quiet, we should talkthis weird thing sexual tension shit between Ayesha Ivy and Eric is actually toxic as fuck, we need to address it. something's gotta change>Ivy cheating on Dane>Ayesha emotionally cheating on Malcolm with Eric>Eric having unresolved feelings for Ivy>Ayesha and Ivy being half-assed lesbians for each otherSidenote literally every girl we know is actively bisexual, bullpen wasn't kidding about his coomer urges influencing the quest
>>4951949Keeping my original vote but adding >>4951971To it, this shit has got to stop, they both have boyfriends and we gotta get this shit out in the open, Ayesha didn't do as much wrong as ivy who physically cheated on Dane, but she's still taking the steps of cheating Also if my ID changes its because I'm out shopping right now, just wanted to clarify because I don't want to be accused of samefagging
>>4951971>Sidenote literally every girl we know is actively bisexualHey now that's not true. Misfit is a lesbian.
>>4951981>You know I'm gay," she pressed her forehead to mine, "Well, most of the time."
>>4951944this>>4951971Not the part about "coomer" urges though. He's just a literal homo.>>4951981Anti relationship fags are goalpost movers. Ignore them when they show up. Case in point>>4951983>Never went anywhere
>>4951944>where ever you want Ivy> (look at Ram and then Ivy) Can we talk later tho?Let's not go full in deep with all these troubles right here at least. We should get away from this place first and get more comfortable.>>4951971People getting surprised teens are wild.Nobody really know with who they wanna ending up with, and Ivy doesn't have sexual intimacy with Dane because of his Para (fck, for all we know Dane hasn't make or tried to make contact with her), not making excuses for her, but don't wanna act like a Dad for her, we may check on her and give her our point of view.
Honestly, with the spooky shit affecting the city, it might just be bleeding over into Ivy and Ayesha.
>>4951949>Ivy, you cheated on Dane, tell him or I willBruh, nah, cant go full lawful good man, Kinda hypocritical from us and too up front.
>>4951985It's not about being a dad, it's that even though we're not that close to Dane we should still tell him no matter what ...I might just be too close to this cheating stuff, a cousin I hated was getting cheated on by his girlfriend, but everyone that knew just wanted to keep quiet because she was such a nice girl, I told him anyway and even though I was ostracized by those assholes whenever my cousin sees me now he's super grateful to me and that's why I don't regret it one bit, I just cannot condone any kind of cheating in any way
>>4951944>where ever you want Ivy
>>4951944>somewhere quiet, we should talkI know Bullpens all about the para and normie life balance but all I wanna do is fight some crime instead of dealing with the cluster fuck that Eric's love life has become. Can we just address the elephant in the room for once? If I read one more awkward near kiss with Ayesha or another bit about Eric secretly worshipping Ivy without addressing it with either of them I'm gonna lose it
>>4952003Agreed, this isn't akun and we have been playing Eric to have atleast some morals and dignity,this has got to stop
>>4951949>>4951971>>4952003>>4951984>>4951954>>4951985>>4951998locking in 'somewhere quiet'
"Somewhere quiet," I said, "We need to talk.""Oh he's being serious," Ivy teased.The fact I didn't smile back told her I was.We met the others coming the other way, helping Hunter who was almost too drunk to stand."I'll get him home, don't worry," Zeke said, "You rocked tonight, Ivy. It's pretty cool knowing a real rock star.""Thanks," Ivy said, but my serious tone had taken the wind out of her sails."I should get you home too," Malcolm said to Ayesha."Um," she hesitated, but Ivy gave her a push."It'll be fine, I'll see you later," Ivy said.She waved goodbye as Malcolm took her by the arm, towing her off.Ivy frowned after them, then sighed, resting her head on my shoulder as we walked out to the back loading area."Serious huh?" she said, smelling like sweat, perfume and spirits.It was quiet back here, I guess. I'd wanted to talk to Ayesha too, I wanted to talk to both of them about this...whatever thing was going on between us. I'd have to talk to Ayesha later. We strolled up an alley, cold wind blowing with flecks of snow dancing in the air, coming out on the corner of Milwaukee Avenue."Buy you a dessert," she offered as we passed a donut store."I heard what was going on," I said, "With you and that Ramon guy.""Eavesdropper," she said, but fell into a guilty silence. We walked a while in the cold night, the street to ourselves for now. "What do you want me to say?" she said, "Yeah, I made a mistake. We were jamming at his apartment and things got out of hand. It shouldn't have happened, I've felt guilty about it ever since." We walked on. "So are you going to say anything? Give me shit for not being pure and good? Say what you're thinking Eric.""You're going with Dane," I said."Am I?" her voice cracked, "A guy who...who doesn't want me to touch him, who doesn't want to touch me? The truth is...the truth is I was going to break it off with him until he got arrested. Now I feel if I do...he's a nice guy and going through some really awful shit, and me, I'm an evil, awful girl because I want to have sex and he can't fuck me.""Sex!" she shouted the word, "I like it, Eric. But I can't have it because if I do I'd be betraying the best behaved boy in the world and what an awful whore that would make me. But you know what's really fucked up though? I didn't feel guilty about cheating on him. I felt bad but not because of him."My heart went into an unsteady rythm.She slapped my chest and not in a friendly way."You fucking asshole," she said, tears starting to build up with her choking voice, "That's why. That look on your face. The way you're looking at me right now.""He deserves to know," I said.
"Fuck you," she said, "You're the only person Eric, the only person in the world who can make me feel like garbage with just a look.""This isn't about me," I said."Yes it goddamn is," she said, "Did you listen to those lyrics? Did you listen to me sing? They're all about you, you fucking jerk."She pulled away, glaring at me cold."How am I supposed to be with Dane when I'm in love with you?"Fuck.She stared at me, but the second I opened my mouth to answer she turned away."Don't," she said, "Don't say it back just because I said it. Don't say it because you think its the right thing to say to solve the problem. Because the fucked up thing is I'm in love with Ayesha too. I'm in love with the two best people in the world and I don't deserve either of them.""That's why I'm going you know," she said, "Moving out. To get away from both of you, so I can sort out whatever the fuck is wrong with me, the thing inside me that needs to fuck up the best stuff in my life.""I'm not good the way you think I'm good, Eric," she said, "The way you think I can be. I can't be the perfect girlfriend waiting for the hero to come home. Maybe Mom was right, maybe all I am is a self-centered slut."Anger flared up inside me, hearing her talk about herself like that. I grabbed her arm but she pulled away."Leave me alone," she said, "Don't touch me." She wasn't joking or being playful, her voice was raw.>I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfect>back off, she needs the spaceback tomorrow
>>4952041>"Ivy, you know me better than almost anyone. I won't leave someone hurting. Even if I end in pieces, you don't deserve to be alone and suffering. I'm far from perfect, but because I met you I realised that is okay.">"The three of us need to talk about this, figure it out, but we need to be honest about it if we are going to move forward."
>>4952041>I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfect>And I have a feeling that this triangle we have is mutual on all sides
>>4952041>I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfectWe hadn't been honest either. Most of the time when we were with Kay we still had a thing for Ivy. We weren't honest with her when she asked if we cared about her going out with Dane, because we felt guilty. All we have to do is be honest with each other, because we've both known how we feel about each other this whole time. We just didn't tell each other.
>>4952041>I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfectIVYFAGS THIS IS OUR CHANCE
>>4952041>I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfect>"we're all a little Fuck up" kiss her.IVYBROSRISE UP
>>4952041>then let's be honest!"Ivy ,I am actually certifiably obsessed with you, and I also am having some weird feelings for Ayesha, this shit is tearing me apart but I kept it in because the both of you had boyfriends and I'm not the kind of guy that would do that, even to Malcolm who I hate "!"Let's be honest Ivy, maybe we can make this work or maybe we can't but what I and you NEED is honesty with ALL parties involved in this mess."If someone else can have a better way of telling this then I'm going to support them, but we need to have this conversation no matter what, I'm sick and tired of this will they won't they/cheating/guilt bullshit
>>4952055>>4952057Ivybros, have some class, we're confessing our feelings but don't do anything physical yet, we need to have a real talk first, things need to get ugly before they (maybe)get better
>>4952070>the entire theme of the conversation is not denying what we want anymore>noooo kissing would be improper we can't do that!you don't have to overthink everything man
>>4952072It is when we're trying to make a point.
>>4952072>nooo (reduction of one's argument to the most pathetic interpretation possible)This isn't some Hollywood movie where with a sudden kiss everything is suddenly going to get better and we get the girl and her little friend too. This is some serious drama shit, plus we're giving her shit for cheating on Dane but suddenly we're going to join in on that train wreck too!Break up, let them have their fight let them break up, after that if you literally bend her over the freeway and rail her for all the world to see then I'm fine with that but not right the fuck now when we're having such a serious discussion about cheating and usRead my posts and know that I am obsessed with ivy, but I am also wanting Eric to have dignity and morals
>>4952041>I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfectI love you Ivy. You really think I'd tell you that just because you said it to me? It's always been you. Even when I was with Kay I came to see you before the new years war. I'm just so fucking sorry I was too much of a pussy to be honest with you about my feelings before now.
>>4952075>>4952078>confessing undying love for her when she has a boyfriend is totally fine>not kissing thoughthis is some real puritanical bullshit boys, neither is worse than the other
>>4952083We shouldn't be confessing first, getting the honest relationship part should be the top priority. Dumbass Ivyfags jumping the gun now makes us a hypocrite. There is a process to go through.
>>4952090Kissing is probably a bit much, especially before we clear the situation with Ayesha, but not even confessing the feelings is just plain counterproductive. Why would she break off with Dane and get with Eric and/or Ayesha if we keep pretending to be a stone statue?>>4952081I like this, supporting.
>>4952041>I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfectOh yeah, it's poly time
>>4952041>>I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfect
>>4952046+1Instead of hooking up with her instantly despite her having a boyfriend (litterally what we were talking about before), it would be better to have a good talk where we lay everything on the table including what Dane told us.Because right now, what she's doing is the equivalent of cheating on someone while he's deployed away with the army or something like that: when he comes back, there's no way the fallout won't be catastrophic.
I'm gonna Kiss the love deprived Heroine and there's nothing that can stop me
>>4952261The life of a hero isn't easy. But even though we may not be on the straight and narrow we have morals and lines that we won't cross Let me save you anon, let me save you from the horni
>>4952261>love deprived HeroineDoesn't look all that love deprived to me
>>4952041>I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfectWe are a girlfriendless boy right nowbut we should really have her break up with Dane before doing anything
>>4952261Your going to ruin it dumbass.
>>4952475Hot take: refusing to kiss her could very easily ruin it
>>4952623Correct take. Trying to kiss her undermines the point we're trying to make, when we have spent so long holding onto the value of cheating is bad. Dumbass.
>>4953033You missed a vote
"I'm not going anywhere," I said, my own voice raw, words half-shouted, "And I don't need perfect."She pulled back further as if I'd hit her.Snow danced around her face.My eyes burned. I scrubbed at annoying tears. This should be easier. This shouldn't be so fucked up. This wasn't how I thought it was supposed to feel. This wasn't supposed to hurt so much."I love you Ivy," I said.Snow melted in her hair and on her cheeks. She seemed to glow under the street lights."Eric," my name was a croak in her throat. Nothing had ever wounded me more. She stepped back. I stepped forward. I reached for her hand. She didn't pull away. I was never more scared.But before we could do more there was a scream overhead, a high pitched shriek. My head whipped up.In the dark a jet stream trail, a man in a black crow get up flying overhead dragging a young woman by the arm. She was thrashing in his grip so violently she might fall, and if she did the drop wouldn't leave much.Goddamn it. The Black Claw. I boosted my hearing."Would you stop struggling? You'll get yourself killed," he snapped. They were jetting east, the woman's shriek leaving as long a trail as his jetpack.Ivy watched the trail. She put a hand to my chest."Go," she said, "You have to go."Whatever else I wanted to say, whatever else I wanted to do, burned in the back of my head.>kiss her before going>just go, figure the rest out later>don't go
>>4953075>kiss her before goingHe wants her alive, otherwise Hotspur would've taken off
>>4953075>kiss her hand before going
>>4953075>kiss her before going
>>4953075>don't goCrow, not important. Only love important.
>>4953080Dude, it's a hostage. She might well die.
>>4953075>kiss her before going>Tell her us and Ayesha need to talk.This fucking bird.
>>4953075>>kiss her before goinglets FUCKING GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
So, all in favor of at least breaking one leg and one arm of the flying chicken, say aye.
>>4953085I'm willing to take that risk
>>4953078Slight explanation: it signifies basically the same thing while being mildly more appropriate in the situation where Ivy technically has a boyfriend. Also, some girls love it, though some find it odd.
>>4953091We could just kiss her cheek then.
>>4953089Isn't he invulnerable?
>>4953094Kinda? It might just be some weird tech thing unless he's just Bruce Wayning it, and he's go some kinetic resistance. But I'm pretty sure it's an invention doing it, and to my knowledge he hasn't been slapped by Semper Fi yet, so we don't know. If he ever ran into Shark, he'd be dead unless he ran the second he saw him.>>4953096I'd be down for it though, but no Ivyfag will go for it.
>>4953093I'm Ivyfag and I approve.
>>4953075>just go, figure the rest out laterI will dissent
>>4953075>just go, figure the rest out laterWHO THE FUCK IS VOTING TO KISS HER AFTER FUCKING EVERYTHING THAT JUST HAPPENED!FUCK YOU BULLPEN AND YOUR NTR FETISH
I had to go.But not before-I darted a kiss on her cheek."We'll talk when I get back," I said.She touched the place I'd placed the kiss, and watched me as I ran.The fire inside me roared, when I leapt I felt I could take flight, cutting after the Black Claw. I didn't have my costume but I had a scarf and popped up the hood of my hoodie. It would do.The Black Claw, the fuck asshole, left a trail for me to follow across the night sky, the shrieks of his victim helping as I boosted my hearing, catching sound of her wails through the pitch of the wind as I leapt after them, my sneakers scrabbling on wet roof tops.The villain was making his way to his haunt, flying in a jerky way as he nevigated above power lines. I don't know what his game was, but I meant to stop him, maybe break a piece off him in the process.They disappeared into the top floor of a run down apartment block, the snap of a window shut cutting off her shrieks.But I had it picked out, and taking a short run, threw myself at the glass.It came into rapid view, the dirty window pane and behind it a grubby apartment carpeted in litter. I smashed through the glass, landing on old takeout. The woman had her wrists bound and was thrown on a mouldy couch, the Black Claw had his crow mask half off. He snapped it back on, twirling in a blur of feathers."Hotspur!" he declared, drawing a revolver from his belt, "You dare step into the den of the dreaded Black Claw?" The woman kicked her way up to the corner of the couch.I sniffed. The place smelled as bad as it looked.There was a thump from below."Ey keep it down up there!" a man shouted."Mind your own business, Mr Garcia!" the Black Claw yelled back, then snapped his attention back to me, eyeing me over the sights of his gun, "Your high flying heroics won't help in your most helpless hour, Hotspur, I can't be harmed! However, can you claim the same such imperviousness to mortal injury from say, a bullet?"He cocked back the hammer."Buddy," I said, "You caught me in the wrong mood.">roll 3 x 1d100+30 dc 75
Rolled 84 + 30 (1d100 + 30)>>4953154
Rolled 98 (1d100)>>4953154This guy's hilarious, only supervillain acting like a Saturday morning cartoon,but this being the "real world everything he does is actually very dangerous to people, so unfortunately for you birdbrain we're taking you to jail
Rolled 75 + 30 (1d100 + 30)>>4953154Wreck him
>>4953161>>4953163Come on, someone crit!>>4953165Whatever, clean sweep regardless.
I moved before he could pull the trigger, driving him right into the filthy wall, right through it to crash into an equally scummy bathroom. A water pipe burst hissing water out all over the place. I don't think he was going to get his deposit back.If it hurt him though he didn't show much pain, if any.So I drove my fist down into his pretty bird mask, crumpling the beak and popping the lenses."Shit!"He brought his legs under me and with the help of his jetpack kicked me off, back through the hole in his wall. He slammed head first into his soap-scum stained bath tub, cracking the porcelain, before skidding around with legs flailing, trying to get up."As super villains go, Claw," I said, stepping up, "You don't even make the C-list.""Villain?" he said, "I prefer to think of myself as an 'illegalist'.""Is that another word for asshole?" I said.He brought up his gun. "In a world where the law is immoral, the only moral thing is to break it," he said, gunshot barking, bullet gouging a hole in the wall, "If you want a villain look no further than the girl yonder, Michelle Rothburg of the Rothburg Mineral Concern. Perverse pillagers of our precious planet!""I'm a student at DuPage," she said, tears streaming down her face, "I'm studying to be a vet." She was a curly haired girl dressed for a night out, with all the menace of a terrified mouse."Yet your father controls the mineral rights to half off Chile!" he declared, "He will pay a precious ransom for his precious daughter.""No he won't," I said and swung an overhand right, catching the Black Claw on his chin. The mask burst off to show a long, gaunt face, a white man with a wispy moustache and a big nervous nose. He tried to hide his face, letting off wild shots with his revolver until it clicked empty.I darted around the gun fire to grab the young woman, swinging her off the couch."God please," she said, squeezing herself against me.I went to the hole that had been the window. It was a long drop down."I'll be right back," I promised the Black Claw as he worked to buckle on his mask.We dropped the ten storys in a fast plunge, the ground rushing up to meet us, the girl screaming in my ear. When we hit the concrete a whole body wave shock rolled up me. I dropped her to the ground. She struggled to stand on shaking legs as people started appearing out of nearby homes and apartment blocks, wondering what was going on.
Looking back up I saw the Black Claw standing in the shattered window, crumpled mask on and cape billowing in the wind dramatically. He fumbled to reload his gun.I left Michelle with a couple of locals who sat her down on a bench. Police sirens were already lighting up the night.But my attention was back on the Black Claw. My thoughts were on Ivy, and thinking about her sent a wave of fire blazing through me.I didn't leap up to the window, I ran, leaving white flashing steps behind me as I covered vertical yards to reach him. He took careful aim, let off a shot, but a hot step took me out of danger, and a hand to the windowsill launched me up and over, driving my knee into his chin and driving him back.Maybe he was impervious, but without his gun what could he do? I grabbed the hot barrel and twisted it away from my face, a gun shot barking in my ear. He might be durable but he wasn't strong. I lashed my forehead against his, squeezing the barrel until it was a crumpled, useless piece of metal.He ignited his jetpack, driving into me, bursting out into the whipping night wind."How high can you fall, Hotspur, and survive?" he said, "Shall we try the stratosphere?"And that's when I realized I was doing it all wrong. I didn't need to knock him out, I needed to put him to sleep.As he roared up into the sky I wrapped his neck and locked him in. A mid-air guillotine. He spluttered and thrashed. The Black Claw didn't know what to do as I put in fire-forged pressure. His spluttering turned into gasping, his thrashing into raking fingers, and then he went limp.Problem was his jetpack was still on. How high were we? Above the city, heading for the clouds. I yanked at his shoulders, trying to puppeteer him down toward the earth. We turned in an arc, then went racing back to the ground. It came with stunning speed, faster than I could move, and in a panic moment I imagined myself splattered over the ground. I launched off him, grabbing for a tree. He hit the ground with a ground shattering force, lying in the broken cement unmoving.I shook down from the tree branch, huffing hard, bent over my knees.Not how I wanted to end the night.Then The Black Claw groaned, starting to get up.Shit he really was impervious.A wall of sound struck him, knocking him down.While we'd been up there cop cars had turned up, with a DPA van. Now Crusader stood in his big silver gauntlets, and overhead Semper Fi's cape fluttered."We'll take it from here, Hotspur," Semper Fi said, gliding down to join Crusader above the Black Claw's crumpled form.The cops had Miss Rothburg in a blanket, Detective Bohauer taking her statement.And more than a few of those cops were starting to surround me, ready to draw.>like hell they will>there's no point fighting them
>>4953161>>4953163>>4953165lmao remember when someone said our luck was absurdly bad? funny stuff>like hell they willWe were willing to stick up for Stallion, this guy is nowhere near as bad. He's actually trying to be good in his own incredibly misguided way.
>>4953209I just want to let them take this asshole, but then he'll be wormed and dissected,tortured because glowies are sadistic assholes>like hell they will"Give me a reason to trust you with their imprisonment, show me and the world where you're keeping them and what you're doing to the paras you capture!"Seriously, where are we going to keep paras we knock down, maybe we can rehabilitate this ass but some like fire girl are too bad to not just lock up
>>4953209>like hell they willAs if
>>4953209>there's no point fighting themThey can take this one, fuck this guy. Kidnapping? Not cool.
>>4953209>like hell they will>>4953239idk anoneven if he's a piece of shit i don't think he deserves torture as a lab ratplus that shit isn't what heroes doeven if it sucks balls
>>4953209both of these>>4953213>>4953229
this dude shot a cop, kidnapped a girl, robbed peoplehe's not just trying to live his life as a para, he's got a dangerous agenda. fuck him.
>>4953209Supporting >>4953213 and >>4953229Though I don't think we stand any chance against those two
>>4953261He'd be fine to imprison if he didn't go to meat factory where he'd be made into a very good invulnerable mind controlled soldier.
>>4953261Like I said man, fuck this guy, he deserves jail time, but they're not offering jail time, they're offering torture, experimentation, mind control, and fucking worse. I just don't trust the government, because they aren't trustworthy, give us a senator actually looking out for paras, give us a prison we can see what they're actually doing to paras we capture, don't give us some blacksite bullshit where they can do whatever their glowie little hands want to anyone with impunity
>>4953261>>4953239Stallion was worse than this guy and we still tried to save him.
>>4953296We actually don't know that, we just know he's muscle for the Haitian, not what he's done
>>4953303Just being muscle for the Haitian makes him an accessory for what his gang's activities, which last time I checked included dealing drugs, prostitution, and murder. All on a scale far beyond what Crow is doing.
I put up my fists."Like hell," I said, "You aren't dragging another one of our people off to your sick little gulag.""Oh please," Semper Fi rolled her eyes."The guy's a crook who has robbed dozens of people," Crusader said, "He belongs in prison.""Yeah, but you aren't taking him to a prison," I said, "I've seen the black site, I know who's pulling the strings. Fuck that and fuck anyone connected to it. So fuck you, Crusader.""Fuck me?" his voice got hot, "Fuck you asshole. Fucking asshole piece of shit telling me to fuck myself.""Easy boys," Semper Fi said, gliding around behind me, putting me between her and Crusader, never mind the cops backing them, "You're really going to fight us both, with news cameras on the way?"I spat. "How's the leg?" I said.Her smile got pale and vicious."All right that's enough!" Detective Bohauer swung in with all her bulk, badge drawn, "Stand down Crusader, Semper Fi, that's an order!"Semper Fi didn't like it but she hovered down to the ground, feet back to earth. Crusader kept glaring at me. Detective Bohauer scrubbed her face with a fleshy hand."Jesus," she said, "You people I swear."You people?The fat detective waddled up to me."We're taking the Black Claw in for processing," she said, "But you have my word once he's processed he's going to the cops, not the other guys. Far as I can tell his powers don't make him much of a threat to the public, but he's still a criminal. I'll keep you and Ms Grant in the loop on every step of the process.""We can do that, or you and the dimwit can level a city block while Jackboot Barbie watches," she said.She held out her hand.I knew Bohauer was better than Penderose or most of who they had at the DPA."I'm giving my word here," she said, "It doesn't have to go the other way.">take her word, and seal it with an oath>her word isn't good enough
>>4953315>take her word, and seal it with an oath
>>4953315>take her word, and seal it with an oathRIP if she breaks it I guessshould we mention that?
>>4953315seal your oath with fire and warn (in a whisper) her what that means
>>4953315>take her word and ASK HER AND EXPLAIN TO HER that she can make her word truly count by sealing it with an oath, but breaking it means death by magic Or just take her word for it and constantly check in, also use our "uncle" to see if it's really him or some doppelganger taking his place I want to trust her but she needs to do so much more to earn it
>>4953315>"Ms. Bohauer, while I trust you, there really isn't much you can do if the Attack Bitch is told to drag off the saturday cartoon villain.">"But if you give me your Oath you can pull it off, then sure."
>>4953315>take her wordknowing what we know now about the oaths how could we use it again willingly? Throw a parting shot about how we'd even do the same for Crusader or Semper Fi if they were about to be taken to the blacksite. And we fucking hate them. And they're likely to go there if they ever get tired of being lapdogs for their corrupt leadership.
>>4953354Would we though...yeah sure, atleast I think Eric would
>>4953357Crusader definitely, he's just a jerk. Semper Fi I actually don't know, she's a psycho
>>4953354>>4953315SupportI trust this person and don't really wanna fuck her up or press her to do it, we do need some more allies on the police/Dpa and this could lead to that. (Trust goes both ways? And maybe we could do her some favors in the future)
>>4953327>>4953354>>4953416>>4953329>>4953326>>4953323>>4953318sealing the oath with fire wins
"You'll really go to war for a criminal like the Black Claw or a thug like Stallion?" she said."I don't decide who deserves to be saved and who doesn't," I said, "If you aren't looking out for the sinners too, who are you really looking out for?"I grabbed her offered hand. "I'd do the same for Crusader or Semper Fi, if I had to."Bohauer grinned. She thought I was a dumb kid."Swear you're telling the truth," I said, "Like you're swearing on a bible. Tell me you'll do what you said.""I swear," she said."On fire unburning," I said. The feeling seized me again, the ghost of a different voice, and fire flushed up my arm and into hers, "If you break your word, fire will have its due.""I swear," she said, grip tightening, sweat in the pool of her eyes. When my grip loosened she shot her hand back to her side, wringing it out.I stepped back. "You can take him," I said, "But I'll be checking in.""Okay," she said, then whistled for the para-agents waiting by the flanks. Crusader hauled the Black Claw onto his feet, cuffing him, wrestling the mask off his face, and with Semper Fi's help muscled him into the back of the van."You've not seen the last of me!" the Black Claw called as the van door slammed shut, "No prison can hold the Black Claw!""Jagoff," Bohauer muttered as the van sped away. She nodded to me. "Hotspur," and when walking away cradled her hand.With that done the night returned to a normal city quiet, which wasn't that quiet at all but lacked the screams of terror I was used to.I'd covered half the inner city and had been gone for a little over an hour.A different kind of panic set in and I had to sit down, my head pulsing between my hands.I'd told her. I'd told Ivy I love her. That I'm in love with her. I am in love with her.And she was in love with me. While she was dating Dane. Dane who was hiding from the law, Dane who had done nothing wrong.But I am in love with her, for I don't know how long I've been in love with her. Even with Kay...
But she said she was in love with Ayesha too, and why did I feel so guilty there, with the same hot burning rush. Ayesha, shit. Ayesha also had a boyfriend. Ayesha who was always there for me, always ready, always...why did I care what she would think if she'd heard what I said to Ivy on the street?Ayesha, who has her own boyfriend. Who...did she even like me that way? But there had been times we'd been so close to saying something, doing something...Why can't this be simple? Clark Kent loves Lois Lane. Spider-Man loves Mary Jane. But me?I don't deserve either of them, they didn't deserve to be put in this position, but all I know is whatever was going on with us burned me up but it burned me up more thinking it would be over.Fucked, I am.Selfish.Archie Andrews thinking he can have both Betty and Veronica, even when they were with other guys.I had no right to judge who deserved to be saved and who didn't, because I'm just as bad a guy where it counts.Maybe we should all get together, maybe we should talk. Or maybe I should crawl into a hole and hide.I'd told Ivy I love her when there had been hurt in her eyes. And then I'd raced off after some idiot in a costume, me being the biggest idiot of all.My phone pinged.Ayesha - Got home safe! :)I stared at the trail of dots, waiting for the next message.Ayesha - Ivy's home. Did something happen? She won't talk.I pressed to the phone to my forehead, the blue light flooding my face.What I really needed to do was hit somebody.>go after the Outfit>go after the Midwest Cartel>go after the Haitian>go after the Stunt Crew MC>go after the street gangs
this is where I disappear. see you guys next week.
>>4953442>go after the Haitian
>>4953442>send a text telling her that the 3 of us needed to talk sometime soon, but that right now we gotta beat up some bad guys to clear our head >go after the Midwest cartel They seem like the weakest player in the game who aren't the stunt crew, and we are in a not truce but unofficial stay out of each other's way kind of deal with the stunt crew, unless I got it wrong and the bikers are some other guys
>>4953442Send a text as >>4953450 saysGo after Haitian, he seems like the biggest player right now and needs to be taken down a few pegs. Especially after one of his guys spewed black goo from his mouth.Also, does anyone else have a feeling we just killed Bohauer and left DPA in Penderose's grabby mitts?
>>4953450This, not voting yet we should help out Sulivan rank at least a little bit in his evil organization thingy, always good to have contacts.>>4953443Thanks for Running!
Guys, Should we start Organizing something like a Hero Squad or something? As the visions of fire said, something big will come (bbg endgame kinda stuff) and it would be nice to have a way to stay connected to all the Heroes and people up to help. It doesn't have to be like a secret cave or whatever, it can start with a name or an umbrella where everyone can help each other with, it could take a load out of our back. Food for thought
>>4953455If she keeps her oath she's going to be a great ally, but we really should have explained to her what she's getting into
>>4953475Hotspur Pratfall Grit Misfit These 4 are the current heroes I know of, Pratfall and Misfit are more paracommunity related, Grit is kind of a free agent, and Hotspur is a superhero. Maybe we can have a grouptext where we can check in on each other and help the other out?I almost forgot about thunderchild but he's part of the para extremists now so maybe he's not to be trusted anymore, I don't know, he still looks like he wants to do the right thing but he's in with a bad crowd
>>4953442>>go after the Midwest Cartel
>>4953442This>>4953450this too>>4953475>>4953486Get ourselves a few burner phones for the group or something, and start cleaning street by street.
>>4953442>go after the HaitianHe did lose Stallion pretty recently, I doubt he's had time to find a replacement.>>4953486I'd say Misfit's a general hero like us actually, she got started the same way we did and still hits gangs frequently. Both her and us have been doing more paracommunity stuff as it's become more of an issue.
>>4953442>go after the Midwest Cartel
>>4953442>go after the Haitianthat's the group we know the least about, they've flown under the radar and have probably benefited from that compared to the other gangs
>>4953486you don't consider Shark a hero?
>>4955830I doubt he has a phone
Jimmy interlude when? I wanna see what he does as a red wizard when we're not around. Also how he sees us and why he hates us so much
>>4955830Too murdery, antihero at best
>>4955963A shark doesn't murder, a shark only kills
>>4955974Too killery, antihero at best
>>4955830He's most like Godzilla
Just a wip while the QM is resting, may do Ms Flower and atemp Eric next. have a good one guys.
>>4957629based drawfagalso do we have like a list of the heights of each character?
>>4957629Annnnd saved, been waiting for this quest to get a drawfag. Excellent work. Shows where Eric gets his fluffy hair.
>>4957629I really like this, thanks.and if everything goes right I'll be back to running tomorrow
>>4954486>>4953797>>4953455>>4953449>>4953450>>4953665>>4953839locked in going after the Haitian
>>4953442>What I really needed to do was hit somebody.That's a bit of a troubling train of thought. Beating people up should be a tool, not a goal.
>>4959491Eric's an angry and violent kid, it's not really new
The Haitian. He was swallowing the south side block by block. I hadn't had much to do with him in the past other than run off a couple of his bangers. Recently he had lost his super powered muscle, Stallion, to a DPA raid.Now was a good time as any to hit him again. This time in my costume.Thinking about beating on a gangster was a good distraction from thinking about other things, and when bullets started flying I couldn't think about anything at all. About Ivy or Ayesha or anything else.Kitted out I took to the rooftops, spending night after night harassing his men, hoping to catch his attention. Pushers, bangers, anyone who was causing trouble, breaking heads. Focusing my mind on this and nothing else. Avoiding thinking about other things. The Haitian had taken a lot of territory, from Bridgeport to South Shore, bringing together nearly every south side street gang under his dominion, but the heart of his empire was still South Chicago.The word got out quick I was looking for him.The crime families of Chicago have the complicated relationship of being both business partners and bitter rivals. The Outfit brings in the hardware, the Midwest Cartel brings in the drugs, but the Haitian bought the guns and sold the drugs, his corner boys making up the largest chunk of pushers in the city. Everyone hated each other while they made each other rich, and it was the city that bled, the foot soldiers dying while the bosses sat in their wealth enjoying the riches.Getting to the Haitian wasn't a matter of knocking on the right door though.It was about crashing through it.His right-hand man, LeSean, kept an office on Jeffrey and 75th in South Shore, next to a tattoo shop and across from a funeral home. It was a non-descript office except it had bangers coming and going, big coats for warmth and hiding their chrome, pure business. No girls, no cars out the front, no showing off. A couple of the scarier types stood out the front with detached eyes for everything going on. There were more out the back and security cameras everywhere.So I hit the roof and waved into one of them, switched to giving him the finger. I didn't like LeSean much.I rolled down from the roof, landing in front of the door security."Knock-knock," I said.One went for his gun but caught my elbow first, folding up and hitting the pavement. The other put his hands up."The boss thought you might be coming," he said.He banged on the steel door. It swung open. There were more hard-eyed killers waiting inside.I stalked down the corridor, they watched me go. All of them were sitting, heads of street crews waiting with frustrated patience for an audience with the Haitian's top man.Security stood waiting at a door down the way, hands folded in front of them, dark suits and ear pieces like they were guarding the president.I squared them up. There was nothing keeping me from kicking in the door.>bust in and say 'hi'>wait, be polite
>>4959551>wait, be polite>Tap our feet and pointedly pretend to look at a watch.
>>4959551>bust in and say 'hi'Places to be, people to hit in the face
>>4959553This. Do a small show of being willing to be civil. If they don't open in under a minute, kick the door in
>>4959551>bust in and say 'hi'does he really expect us to sit in his waiting room? fuck that.
sorry for the late start, I've been having a rougher than expected day
>>4959580It's alright, dude, you don't owe us anything and you're way more consistent than most QMs
>>4959551>bust in and say 'hi'Do we really need to be in good standing with them? Better keep them on their toes>>4959580Hey, no pressure man, you're doing a good job on the Quest. Take your time. (It gives me time to finish the drawings)
>>4959551>>wait, be politeJust because we're going to tear his entire business apart and have him thrown in jail for hopefully the rest of his natural life, doesn't mean we have to be rude about it.
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>4959612>>4959553>>4959562>>4959600>>4959569>>4959557we have a tie.I'll rolld a d21 is wait2 is kick the door in
waiting it is
>Eric is very explicitly looking for a fight>Vote for the non-fighting optionI don't get it
>>4959644Two of those "wait" votes aren't actually to wait, but to tell them "I won't go too hard on you if you cooperate"
I tapped my foot and checked an invisible watch. The hood captains shuffled away from me, some of them checking the door."You know I got a thing, got to pick up meds for my grandma," one said, getting up and going out, "Tell LeSean I'll have his numbers tomorrow."The bodyguards were unmoved, staring straight forward.Behind them the door swung open. An elder in a dark suit was shown out by a smiling LeSean. The old man had an air of respectability about him, which sat uncomfortably on his shoulders among the present company."Have a good evening alderman," LeSean said.When LeSean saw me his eyes brightened. "Hotspur, come on in."If his various underlings were unhappy with being cut in line they had the sense to keep their mouths shut, turning uncomfortable frowns at each other as I stepped in after the gangster.LeSean was as cool as I remembered, in a silk shirt under a red sports coat, a thin gold chain around his neck. He didn't carry any kind of gun I could see. He went behind a desk, clearing off some papers, offered me the seat across from it.Now it was my time to feel awkward."Sorry to keep you waiting," he said, "But I'd been putting off the meeting with Alderman Clayfeld. He's looking for investors for a new community park program and well, its always good to help the community. Speaking of which, how can we help you?"He steppled his fingers and smiled like this was everyday business."By surrendering yourself to the cops and going to prison, maybe for a start," I said.LeSean cackled. "Mercy," he said, wiping a tear from his eye, "You got jokes, Hotspur.""I've got a lot more than that, ask your men," I said."Broken jaws, split wigs, shattered knee caps," he said, "I get the reports. You've put a lot of boys out of commission for a decent chunk of time, but there's always more boys. Not everyone can run a corner but plenty want to try.""Relying on your third string to push sure must be good for business," I said, a little proud of myself."No doubt we're seeing a dip," LeSean said, "But we'll balance it out. The Haitian has more irons in the fire than just slinging product. Perfectly legal irons too.""Bet its been harder without your super powered muscle," I added.LeSean's smile dulled. "Do you kow where they're keeping Stallion?" he asked, then shook his head, "Never mind. What's happened has happened, and we have plans to make up the short falls. What I want to know is, what are you doing here? Last I heard you burned down an Outfit casino, but otherwise you've been less in our faces. Planning a grand return?""Looking for your boss," I said, "You promised an introduction."
"The boss doesn't have time for street thugging," he said, "It's why I have a job. You might have a rightous swagger to you Hotspur, but at the end of the day you're a street thug like the rest of us."Fire flared up inside me."Then I'll have to trash every Haitian joint I can find until he steps up," I snarled, leaning over his desk."What about a trade instead?" LeSean said, smile fixed, "I can point you to a real bust, something worth taking down, worth more than a couple of black kids standing on a corner. Do that then maybe we can talk.""A shipping container is coming in to the docks tomorrow night carrying precious cargo," LeSean said, "Girls, trafficked by the Triads to work at their massage parlors. You know the type. You go smash that up and save some girls from an awful fate, and maybe I can get you booked in to see the boss."I wasn't here to make deals. My knuckles itched to smash the too-cool grin off LeSean's face."Do we have a deal?" he said.>no deal, I don't work with crooks>deal, but if you don't honor it there'll be trouble
>>4959657Agree long enough to get more details about the girls, then force him to take us to the Haitian. We're not a fucking lackey. He can manipulate all these people to benefit himself but not us.
>>4959657>what's your gain from it?I have a feeling it's not just sitting in triads' soup
>>4959657this>>4959663but for a better outcome one way or the other.>"You will swear an Oath to me if you want this to work out."The mouthy ones are the best to install a det switch on.
>>4959657How about you tell me more about these girls, and introduce me to the Haitian. If you do I can give you intel on the stallion. I've been at their old black site. And I won't beat the shit out of everyone in here.
>>4959668This dude is not gonna swear an oath and we can't force him to, he's smart and relies on lying to people
>>4959677He doesn't know about the Oath, him being smart snd good at lying means nothing if he things swearing the Oath would get some cooperation..
>>4959679also the oath is actually pointless, it just kills people after they break the oath. they're still free to break the oath. if they don't know they die if they lie then the oath is essentially useless
>>4959668I know that it doesn't sound that bad at first, but putting an oath on someone is basically like putting a loaded gun in someone who has no idea what a gun is hands and telling them to play with it. It's basically attempted murder and I feel like it just isn't Hotspur and more importantly not Eric's thing.And before anyone brings up that we already did it to a cop so why does known scum deserve any better, I believe that was a HUGE MISTAKE and entirely out of character for Eric, I headcannon it as a moment of weakness where ancient warrior guy was influencing us because it involved a para aka "our people"
>>4959682We don't know that or have tested it, remember the PDA lady we got an Oath from after sending off the Birdman wannabe? Where are you pulling that from your ass? And even if this gangbanger dies, they won't find a competent replacement for him.
>>4959687You honestly took the words right out of my mouth
>>4959687Then we tell him, and he either does it or we tell him to shove it and report the girls to our favorite DA.
>>4959689It killed Daphne after she broke the oath about revealing that Dane is a para. Are you even reading the quest?
>>4959695Yes, that doesn't change the fact you said the Oath is useless if they don't know they die from breaking it. It doesn't matter. If they're word is good, all is well, if not, then this Haitian is going to have a real bad time,and his chief replacement won't be as subtle.
>>4959699Eric isn't a fucking murderer!Magic truth oaths that fucking kill you is still murder
>>4959710So then talking here is pointless and we call the cops on the Triads.
okay>make LeSean swear an oath>don't use Eric's oath powers
>>4959740>don't use Eric's oath powersonly one dude voted for oath, do we really need the runoff
>>4959740>don't use Eric's oath powers
>>4959749>>4959745>>4959742no powersbut I'm going to stop here for the day. It's nothing to do with you guys or the quest. I'm burned out on this job I've been working and its draining my energy, taking me longer than it should to refuel.but I'll see you tomorrow for the next session
>>4959756No worries man, get some rest
>>4959740>don't use Eric's oath powersto someone like him it's a death sentenceI'm regretting doing it to the detective
"What's your gain from it?" I said.LeSean smiled. "You might have heard but the big gangs have called a truce," he said, "We don't move against each other until certain terms are drawn up, divisions of the city and the rights to certain trades. But personally I don't like those Chinese hoods, I don't like how they do business, I don't like how they don't speak English and I don't like how their trafficked girls are cutting into our bottom line. I got a row of pimps angry their Asian rivals are squeezing them out of business, stealing all the tie and jacket crowd, the white boys with yellow fever. It's business, Hotspur.""And call me sentimental but I don't like slavery either," he said, "My people came here in chains on a boat too.""Now I can't do anything about it," he said, "But you can. You crash into meetings like an asteroid, create chaos out of order. You fuck things up, Hotspur. I dig it.""So you're going to use me as a pawn in your little gang war," I said."We're all pawns of one kind or another," he said with a shrug, "And think of this work as a step closer to becoming a player.""Where are the girls coming from?" I asked."South East Asia, you know the places. Vietnam, the Phillipines, Cambodia, the usual ring of misery. The kind of places a pretty girl will do anything to escape.""And which dock?" I said.He smiled. "Now I'm not giving more away," he said, "You either take the offer or take the door. It's up to you. Either way the Haitian won't be seeing you tonight.""What if I break your arm?" I said, "What if I snap every bone in your body, will that get me a meeting with the Haitian?"LeSean kept smiling. "Go ahead, I can't stop you," he said, leaning back in his chair without a hint of stress.We stared at each other over the desk.>take the deal>break his arm
>>4960753I fail to see why he wouldn't give which dock it is. Hotspur is busting it anyway, deal or no deal.>grab his throat>"Which dock. Now."
>>4960753>break his armIf I do this and you don't take me to the Haitian, I'll do even worse.
My reasoning is that he's playacting as a reasonable businessman when we know he's not, deep down. Well we're not always fuckin reasonable either, and we're not gonna pretend to be.
>>4960753>>4960787>>4960789combine these two, with some of this>>4960794sprinkled in as dialoguewhere is everyone tho?
okay locking that intime for Eric to get a little edgy
>>4960753>take his hand and give it a HARD SQUEEZE "Just tell me where,you know I gotta do it anyway, superhero business, but keep this "deal" business away from me,I don't negotiate with scum"Which is totally bullshit because we have negotiated with scum before but he doesn't need to know that
>>4960838Chicago is like living in a knife fight, you're gonna need a little edge to survive
>>4960838Hey, we've done worse. I'm not gonna pull my punches on a criminal just because he's a higher ranked criminal that doesn't directly take part in violence
"You sure do put on a good front Mr LeSean," I said, "You almost sound like a reasonable businessman."I kicked the desk hard with a flash of power and it slid back, driving him into the wall, pinning him against it. A look of shock flickered over LeSean's face."But underneath your cool words and thousand dollar coat is a street thug like any other."I pounced up on the desk, loomed over him."Like me I guess," I said, grabing his arm before he could pull out whatever was in the inside pocket of his sports coat. "You said it yourself, under the swagger I'm a thug too."I squeezed on the forearm in my grip, pressure building on groaning bones and straining muscles. Sweat broke over LeSean's face, cheeks flaring as he clamped his teeth done on the pain. I heard the arm pop and a deep, pained grunt come from the gangster, the man shaking, eyes wide and face sweaty, but he made no other sound even when I dropped the useless arm to the desk."Now no bullshit games," I said, "Tell me where the cargo is coming in and when, then when I'm done with that I expect a meeting with your boss. Fuck me around on it and a broken arm will be the least of your problems."He grinned through the sweat and the pain. The threat didn't seem to faze him. He whipped out his pocket square with his good hand and dabbed his forehead. "Shit Hotspur, you're a real motherfucker, you could have just said 'okay'," he said, "They're bringing in the girls tonight, down at the Port of Chicago, Iriqouis Landing. Keep an eye out for a cat named Fong, he'll be running the girls."Then LeSean pulled out a phone, hit a number in his contacts."Sweetness, get the sawbones on the line," he said while slipping off his coat, "I need some work done.""Sure thing daddy," a woman answered on speaker phone.He rolled up the sleeve of his broken arm, gingerly folding back the fabric until his crush forearm laid bare. He presented it to me with a painful chuckle, as if showing me a piece of art."Goddamn, Hotspur," he said, "That was some real petty shit."He thumbed out a smoke, pressed it to his lips, and after lighting it muttered, 'Goodluck' around the filter.Either pain didn't make him buckle or whatever I could do meant nothing next to what the Haitian could think up.I left either way, burning with rage with at least a task set in front of me. The pimps and street captains gave me space as I stalked down the corridor and out of LeSean's neat little office.
The Port of Chicago, or as it was properly called the Illinois International Port District, was on the Calumet River down in the south, right across from South Works. I'd been there a time or two, it was a key point of entry for all kinds of vice coming into the city and from the city spilling out into the Midwest as a whole. Last time I'd been there I'd tussled with the Outfit bringing in guns. Now I was running against the Triad. I hadn't had much to do with the Triad before, they stuck to Chinatown and the Asian community, which I didn't have a whole lot to do with either.In fact most of that stuff I'd left to Grit. Last I'd heard he'd busted up a heroin ring, taking down a couple of corrupt city officials with it. He was the scourge of the underworld. Busting up the street gangs who the Triads relied on for muscle.He knew his way around this work better than I did.>Maybe I should bring Grit in on this>No, do this one solo
>>4960880>Maybe I should bring Grit in on this
>>4960880>Maybe I should bring Grit in on thisIt was worth it for that look of surprise on his face. Fuckin hate that guy. I'm glad he felt the pain that his organization inflicts on others and the pain we inflict on his underlings on a regular basis. Hopefully he won't make us his errand boy again.
>>4960880>Maybe I should bring Grit in on thisAlways happy to have the help Also I think Grit is somewhere between the para and magic world, don't know but that talk where he said his said powers come from the spirit of the dirt or whatever sounds like ancient magic stuff, maybe we should ask him since we know that magic is real now
>>4960880>No, do this one soloLet's not stain him with the stench of the Haitian
>>4960924>>4960892>>4960882locking that in
something came up. I'll be back tomorrow
>>4960979noooo I just got heredamn this week
>>4960984its been a rough week. hopefully things will smooth out soon
Good to have grip but mostly to check on him and see whatup. Gotta keep in touch with the Para Pals (name pending for our hero association)
>>4960880>No, do this one solo
I'd never say no to back up.I called him on my burner, waiting high in a tree in Jackson Park.It didn't take him long to pick up."Want to bust some Triad heads?" I asked."You know it," he said with a sleepy rumble.I gave him the directions, bounding off to wait for him by the Calumet River.He arrived in a beat up cadillac, pulling up to a stop by an empty park. Getting out, he wore his fleece lined jacket and the face covering bandanna that put me in mind of a ninja turtle. Coughing into his hand, the muscular guy stomped the ground, his cement hammer bursting up into his grip. He gave it a couple of experimental swings."What's good bro?" he said when I dropped down to meet him."Triad are bringing in a shipping container full of sex slaves," I said. The news didn't shock him, Grit was hardened to the ugliness of the city, and gave a hard nod."So we bust them out," he said, "Bust some skulls. Anyone we looking out for?""According to my source, a guy named Fong," I said, "Do you know him?""Jimmy Fong, yeah," Grit said, "Must have got hisself a promotion, a step up from selling knock off hand bags. Or step down if you ask me, no one ever got hurt buying knock off Gucci.""The Triad got any para-muscle we should be worried about?" I asked as we started toward the docks, walking side by side."They've hired Sundowner a time or two, but he's too expensive for a job like this," he said, "Then there's Turtleboy and Haymaker. Turtleboy is part of the Young Ghosts Street Gang, can grow an armored shell around his body. He's been pretty eager to get in with the Triads, problem is he's an idiot and a loud mouth. Haymaker is another freelancer I've run into here and there, a hired goon. What we should expect is guns totted by dressed up street thugs pretending to be respectable."Colorful names for a band of assholes."How you been doing anyway?" Grit asked, "Been a while."I didn't want to talk about it. "I don't want to talk about it," I muttered."Girl trouble?" he said, "Boy trouble? I don't know which way you go so...""Girl trouble," I said, more to clarify than to provide an opening.Grit nodded. "Yeah, my girl just dropped a bomb in my lap yesterday. I'm going to be a dad."Damn. He sighed so I don't know if congratulations were in order. "Eighteen and already got a kid," he said."You sure you should be out here?" I said, "If you got a baby on the way..."He nodded. "Oh yeah," he flexed his grip on his hammer, "Got to get this city cleaned up in time for my kid's debut."
We stalked along the Calumet river toward the port. It was late, there wasn't a lot of traffick around, but there were ships anchored in port, long freight haulers bigger than it was hard to believe, horizontal skyscrapers towing cargo through the lakes. The movies and the pictures didn't do the lake faring titans justice, until you walked in their shadow you didn't understand how gargantuan they were. And there were ships out on the ocean even bigger than these ones. It was staggering to think about what we made and paid no mind to, miracles of steel. But my mind was more focused on the lights on in the low slung warehouses, the cars parked out near shipping containers.The thing that made me angriest was how blatant they were. Paid off port security and local cops rolling out a red carpet for the ugliest kind of vice. Heroin, guns, women.Grit wasn't much for talking. After dropping the news about having a baby he kept his mouth shut. I didn't want to talk and he respected that.Or maybe he was nervous. I was nervous, fire flaring in my gut. Didn't matter how many times I did stuff like this, there was a part of me feeling a pinch of fear. Something could go wrong. One of us could bite a bullet, someone innocent could get hurt. There was never a guarantee I was coming home tonight.We crossed a rail bridge, picking our way carefully to the other side under corrugated iron beams, hoping a train didn't whistle through and either force us into the river or splatter us across its tracks. It was the easy way in, and the Triad hadn't staked a man out on it. They were either lazy or arrogant, a dangerous combination.Once we were in the port we ducked into the shadow of a warehouse.People were talking and not in English. A couple of gangsters in suits stood sucking on cold air, guns slung over their shoulders, trying to stay warm. Neck tattoos climbed out from under collared shirts, patchy facial hair covering young, bitter faces. I don't know what language they were speaking but I shouldn't assume it was Chinese. The Triads might be Chinese run but they had all kinds as muscle, street gangs of every kind looking for a patron."Fuck the White Sox," one said, slipping into English. The other nodded in agreement.I looked to Grit, who tightened his grip on his hammer, a rough smile starting to grow on his face.>Let Grit lead the way>Charge in head first>scout out the set up first
>>4962273>scout out the set up firstWe shouldn't assume it's gonna be as simple as LeSean said it would be
>>4962273>scout out the set up firstLet's try and use our brains for once
>>4962273>scout out the set up first>>4962273
>>4962273Grit is awesome.>scout out the set up first
I put a hand up for Grit to stop. Measuring the height of the warehouse with a glance, I leapt up to catch the edge of the roof, hauling myself up quiet as I could to slid across my belly to the edge.It was a dimly lit maze of shipping containers, but I had the right spot picked out by the flare of a cigarette, cherry red end bright in the dark. Sharpening my vision, I watched a man crowbar open the container, pulling out a frightened huddle of women. They were girls from all over SEA, some Thai others looked Sri Lankan or Indian. Tall, short, pot bellied and thin, they were all scared and desperate, with haunted looks for their captors. A man held up passports, rattling off something I couldn't understand before shoving the passports in his coat pocket.A woman tried to say something and recieved a hard slap to the jaw.Rage reared its head inside me. It took real effort not to crash in among them right then and there.My ears twitched on a new sound, the slow roll of cars pulling up. Four vans pulled into the off-loading bay. More goons popped out toting guns. They started shepherding the girls toward the vans, not being nice about it.What lies or threats had brought these women to this point, what desperate circumstances had given these men power over them?I watched, waiting. Seeing if there was any para-folk among them.I looked down to check on Grit. He stood waiting for my signal, concrete hammer ready in his fist.I looked back, the girls starting in the van.And then another sound, stranger. A soft fast padding gallop, heavy panting.A harsh bark split the night. A literal high pitched dog's bark, and a pack of strays burst across the open port yard.Cigarettes were thrown down in surprise. A gun was raised but the sharp clamp of a pit bull closed on it before he could get a shot off, the deep rumbling growl of the dog an undercurrent to a high pitched scream. Gunfire burst as the dogs started in on the gangsters.A sharp yelp went up and one of the dogs, a mangy black doberman, dropped with a tongue hanging outside its head, lying in a spreading pull of its own blood.The women started screaming, pushing toward the vans, now seeking protection from their captors against this sudden canine invasion."What the fuck?" the guards beneath my perch said, stepping out with their guns, taking careful aim at the low dark shapes causing chaos among their friends.>I don't know what this was, but I'm helping>stay back, don't jump in yet
>>4962369>I don't know what this was, but I'm helping
I didn't need an invitation. I dropped down to slam my knees into the shoulder of the first goon while Grit stepped out, swinging his hammer to crack the other across the jaw. Either way they both went down.Darks snarled among the Triad gangsters, men swore and gunfire barked. The yelp of a dog spiked something inside me, a kind of distress different to if it was a person.I tagged Grit on the shoulder. "Let's go," I said.He nodded. We charged towards the vans together, towards the meelee of dogs and gangsters, the biting, yipping, snarling dogs forcing the gangsters into an awkward screaming dance where they latched on to an arm or a leg, dragging the gangsters to the ground. A Triad goon shoved the muzzle of his pistol into the fur of a snarling mongrel latched onto his knee. Before he could squeze the trigger I slammed a punch under his eye, knocking the light out of him.Grit swung low, aiming for knee caps, shattering shins. A swing of his hammer brought up a wall of cement, a quick barricade against a hail of gunfire. Then he slammed his hammer against it, sending the wall hurtling toward the gangsters, sandwiching them against the wall of a freight container.One of the dogs stood its ground between me and the women, fur bristled as it snarled, ready to lunge for me next. It launched itself forward fangs first. I raised my arm in time the jaws clamped down on my forearm, the stab proof material soaking up the force of the bite."Shit!" the mutt dangled from my arm, "We're friends, friends!"The dog snarled at me, but then the snarl faded, face going slack as it let go of my arm, dropping to its paws. Its ears stood high, alert, then it wheeled away, letting a snarl loose at another Triad member.Okay, I thought. Strange.I checked on the trafficked women. They pushed into the back of the van for shelter. One of them, a dark haired Viet woman, moaned over a red spot growing over her belly. She'd caught a stray bullet, the fog in her eyes telling me it wasn't good."E-easy, easy," I said, climbing into the back, "My name's Hotspur and we're here to rescue you. Do...do any of you speak English?""Little, little," a pot bellied brown woman said, raising a small gap between her fingers."We're going to get you out of here and get you safe, okay?" I said."Okay," she said.The gun fire rattled off outside, a gangster crying before the hard thump of Grit's hammer shut him up.I poked my head back outside."We got a hurt woman back here," I said.Grit looked up, holding a downed Triad by the collar. Some skinny geek in a thirty dollar suit."Meet Jimmy Fong," Grit said, shaking his prisoner.I looked around. The pack of stray dogs sat quiet, licking themselves, sniffing at the unconcious Triads, but keeping a ring around us."The cops will be here soon," I said. The dogs stared at me.Weird.
Then a brown pitbull, more a muscle with a mouth than a dog, padded up to me with a bloody tongue lolling from its jaw, and sniffed my pants."Are you the boss?" I asked the mutt. It quirked an eyebrow at me."N-no, we d-don't have bosses."I thought the voice had come from the dog at first, but then I saw him stumble out of the shadow of a shipping container, all jittery. He was a black guy maybe in his late twenties or early thirties, with a patchy dark beard and a greasy, dirt stained coat covered in street crust. He looked like he hadn't bathed in sometime, and had been living on the street longer. He stumbled up."We sh-shouldn't hang around," he said, "Woman's b-bleeding bad."The only way I could describe his voice was 'rusty', like he wasn't used to talking."Who the fuck are you?" Grit asked. The homeless guy stared like he didn't understand the question.Finally his eyes lit up. "They c-call me Dog Brother," he said, "These are my friends."There may have been fifteen dogs standing but there were three down. Dog Brother went to each of the downed dogs, stroking them gently, carressing their heads. One was already cold but the other two were letting out their last breaths. Tears mingled with the dirt on his cheeks."C-can't drive," Dog Brother said, "Can you?"He looked from me to Grit.>I can take the woman to a hospital, but I can't drive>Grit can drive, we can drop them all off at the hospital
>>4962465>Darks snarled among the Triad gangstersWat
>>4962471Dogs, shit that's a bad typo
>>4962469>I can take the woman to a hospital, but I can't drive
I've had some great typos lately. Another consequence of being exhausted
>>4962472Hey man, I thought it was funny the other way around, but then again my first thought was Barks and that didn't make sense.>>4962474It's all good, your not based enough to say it for real. Oh and.>Grit can drive, we can drop them all off at the hospital>Ask him first.
>>4962469>Grit can drive, we can drop them all off at the hospital
>>4962469>Grit can drive, we can drop them all off at the hospitalI don't know what's going to happen with these girls but as long as they aren't here when the triads return I'm good Also find it extremely funny we don't even roll for low level goons anymore, Eric has gotten very good at this hero business
>>4962475>>4962469Support>>4962471we have the support of the Afro american community, finaly (aight, thats my dumb edgy joke for the week)
Dogfriend could be a real boon to queen rats little community, think we should introduce them?
>>4962521Absolutely, dog messenger runners, depending on his level of control he could be a great asset that if kept in broad daylight, even if suspected by people like Semper Fi, wouldn't get away with brutalizing a dog in broad daylight.
>>4962521defetnitly, try to find a way to keep in contact with him after all this.Also, when we can spare the time, Ive being thinking about to reach out for Remix (the tech prodegy girl) to see if we can get in her good side, her ability is super usefull, we sure as hell dont want axion getting their hand, and it does break my hard thinking of this snotty brat being sick and hungry just cus is to proud to ask.
>>4962544That's going to be a long and painful process with all the shit she's been through, also psychological anon got her personality spot on so she won't respond to us just being nice to her
>>4962552any step is better than none.gotta do an unoficial notepack or something to keep track of all theses side quest
"Can you drive them to the hospital?" I asked Grit."Can't you?" he said. I shook my head. "Figures, with your powers you don't need a car. Yeah aight I can drive them.""I got a friend in the DA's office who can meet you there," I said, "Help make sure the girls don't get snapped up by ICE or the Triads.""You talking about Ms Grant? Damn, I'll be there lickety-split," he said, letting his hammer collapse back into the concrete before mounting up into the driver's side of the van. He asked a question in I think Tagalog or something and got a tentative answer back.The Sri Lankan lady shut the rear door, the hurt woman held in another woman's lab, starting to moan going all waxy in a bad way."Drive fast," I told Grit. He didn't need telling twice, and shot out of there, the carriage of the van bouncing with the force of the speed.It left me in the cement prairie of the port, with Dog Brother and his pack for company, with a bunch of downed gangsters starting to rouse up. Police sirens screamed from out in the darkness, bright red and blue lights flashing."Hey," I said to Dog Brother, "You got a phone or something I can call you on?""Fuh-phone?" he said, staring. Something I noticed was his lack of expression and round, staring eyes. I wondered how much company he kept outside the canine persuasion."You're a hero like me and Grit, right?" I said, "There are a few of us around. I'm putting together a network so we can help each other out.""Uh...uh..." he padded at his filthy coat, pulling out crumpled up junk food packets, a half eaten sandwich. He got an ancient mobile phone. Not even a smart phone or something. The kind of tech I was surprised still worked. Wondering what he was doing, the dogs padded up around them, some wagging their tails and panting. He held up the phone and said, "Phone."He'd been homeless a lot longer than he'd been a para-folk. It was clear in his staring eyes and rusty voice, never mind the strata of filth that covered him, binding his hair into dirty matted locs."Other guy asked if we could help him," Dog Brother said, "Indian guy on the news. Nemesis. Said no. Don't want a war, had enough of war. Are you fighting a war?"He stared at me with those strange round expressionless eyes.>If there's a war coming, I'll fight it>I'm trying to stop a war from starting>The war's already hereI'll be back tomorrow
>>4962487>Also find it extremely funny we don't even roll for low level goons anymore, Eric has gotten very good at this hero businessthree para-folk heroes in a fight against unpowered gangsters? a roll seemed pointless
>>4962573>I'm trying to stop a war from startingI just want to keep innocents safe, I just want to help people
>>4962573>I'm trying to stop a war from starting
>>4962573>>I'm trying to stop a war from starting
>>4962573>>I'm trying to stop a war from starting, hopefully is not already here
>>4962573>I'm trying to stop a war from startingIt's ironic that we say this after heading out with the intent to fuck people up to blow off steam but here we are
I had an idea the other day and I totally forgot to bring it up. Do you think we could get Remix to use her repurposed Houndmaster robot to locate his other robots? If they're coordinated there has to be some kind of wireless connection there. Maybe we can track him down that way.
>>4962622>people Criminals, bad guys who are a threat to everyone, sex traffickers and gangstersWe're not taking our frustration out on innocent people man
>>4963161>>4962622>>4962589>>4962586>>4962584>>4962580>>4962578locked in, sorry for the late start
"I'm trying to stop a war from starting."He continued to stare.He passed me his phone. "Put in your number," he said, "I-I'll call."I took his phone to add contacts. There weren't many. I put my number in under 'Hotspur'."If you find yourself in a jam text me and I'll come running," I said, "It's always good to have friends."He slipped the phone away. When he did a little black nose poked out from the inside of his coat. A little silver dog yawned, a single bright button eye in a fox like face. It turned its head at me. Dog Brother stroked the little terrier's nose before slipping it some kibble."This is Layla," he said, "If we h-had a boss it would be her. She's a s-silky terrier but thinks shu-she's a pitbull." The dog closed sleepy eyes against his stroking finger. Dog Brother looked up at me and attempted a smile. The Triads groaned around our feet. It was time to go. Dog Brother whistled up his pack, galloping off through the docks leaving behind their dead. Me, I took a bounding leap, whipping up into the sky and onto the train bridge crossing the Calumet River.The nearest hospital from here was the Trinity, straight west. Grit had a headstart but I wasn't locked to the streets the way they were, and while I bounded over rooftops I shot Ms Grant a text. She wouldn't like being dragged out at this hour but she wouldn't refuse either. I landed on the covered bridge connecting Trinity to the car park, hunkered down to wait.It wasn't long before the screech of tires came around the corner and Grit bounced the van out the front, bellowing for help from off duty nurses as he kicked open the back door of the van. The trafficked women worked together to carry the wounded woman out of the van but it wasn't looking good.Goddamn it.Grit leaned on the side of the van, wiping his mouth as a stretcher was raced out of the hospital to meet them. They got the woman on the cart and raced her inside, working frantically to keep her alive and abandoning the crowd of refugees out the front. The women didn't know what to do, but had a shell-shocked daze at where they found themselves, in the last of the winter cold under the dark night sky of Chicago, a whole world away from their previous lives. A nurse came out with soup for the women, Grit explaining the situation to her. Ten minutes later a cop car rolled up.A pair of uniformed officers stepped out, suspicious about what was going on."Something the problem here?" the lead officer, a guy, said as his partner, a woman, took out her note pad. "This isn't connected to the shooting over at the Port of Chicago is it?""Take a wild fucking guess," Grit said."You're one of them vigilantes, aren't ya?" he said, "I'm Officer Conway, this is Finch. You busted up a human trafficking ring? Good on ya." Finch tipped her cap at Grit, flashing close clipped ginger hair.I dived down to join them.
"Sweet Jesus and the Mary Chain!" Officer Conway said, spinning around, "Don't...don't do that, damn near gave me a heart attack!""Best place for a heart attack, Griff," Officer Finch said, nodding to the hospital door.Conway was the kind of fat of the formerly fit, somewhere north of forty. Finch was a breadstick and looked fresh out of college. Both had the vibe of the working class white, Conway old school, Finch millenial."Hotspur," Conway said, "Damn, the legend himself. You know I made a hundred bucks off of you. Everyone said you'd get yourself killed in your first month. Me, I said a year.""I've got you down for three," Finch said, flashing as many fingers.Cops don't like me much and I had no reason to like most cops, but these two weren't particularly hostile."So you got yourself a bushel of trafficked women who don't speak a lick of English and have a bunch of angry Triads after them," Conway said, "What's the next step of your plan?""I'll handle the Triads," Grit said, crossing his arms over his chest."Yeah, I heard about you Captain Property Damage," Conway said to Grit, "Don't go destroying a whole city block over it.""Whatever it takes," Grit replied."Should we call this in to the FBI?" Finch asked, hand raised to the radio on her shoulder, "It's more their department."Conway raised a hand for her to wait, glancing at me. For what, approval?>Go ahead and call the FBI>I have a friend coming who can handle it
>>4963495>I have a friend coming who can handle itLast thing we need is more suits in Chicago
>>4963495>I have a friend coming who can handle itWe called her already anyway
>>4963495>Go ahead and call the FBIMore suits is exactly what we need, they hate cooperating and rivalries are fierce. They'll interfere with and undercut the DPA
>>4963511Shit, you might actually be right. Plus the girls are being trafficked internationally. I'll switch my vote then.>>4963495>Go ahead and call the FBI
>>4963495>Go ahead and call the FBI
>>4963495>>4963511>Go ahead and call the FBIBig brain moveLet's tell Grand about our move
"You can call in the FBI," I said, "I'm not your boss."I don't like the federals I'd run into, but maybe the more the federal agencies who ran against each other the better it would be for me. Nothing like inter-agency rivalries to gum up the works.Conway nodded. "Figured I'd check, hearing about how you've been running up against federal agencies," he said, "If these girls are lucky they'll get some kind of asylum ticket, if not, well what can you do?"He had a point. We were all limited in our own way. I made sure to text Ms Grant the FBI was getting involved, hopefully she'd get it before they turned up.Hospital staff were checking on the women, some of them able to talk to a few in their native languages. The cops tried to get statements. Grit was pretty gruff with them, I didn't tell them more than they needed to know, but neither Conway or Finch were being assholes about it. I've got a philosophy building about cops and it was that they weren't all bad people, most were just doing their job, but when even the good ones would back the bad ones it was hard to trust them. But Conway got the women a round of coffee and sent Finch off to pick up some Chinese takeout, being patient even though they were scared and didn't speak his language.Headlights cut around the corner and Ms Grant pulled up, dressed as if she'd rolled out of bed in sweat pants and a sweater. She drove a hot blue Mustang Shelby, more muscle car than I expected.Conway slipped his notepad away."DSA Grant," he said, "Officer Conway, good to meet ya." He shook her hand. "One of those deputies got shot when you were kidnapped was a buddy of mine," he said, "Glad you come out it alive.""You can thank Hotspur for that," she said. She looked over the scene. "So you have Homeland Security or the FBI I on the way?" she said."That's right ma'am," Finch said, returning with the take out, "We called it in.""Well be aware I mean to represent these women as legal counsel until they can be seen by the HHS," she said."Fair enough ma'am," Conway said as Finch handed out the food, pulling off his cap to show a balding head. He scratched through the thinning hairs. "Not exactly how I planned to spend my night, but it beats checking on broken windows or running down some kid. Not with my knees anyway.""Not every day we meet super heroes either," Finch said."Speaking of superheroes, Hotspur a word," Ms Grant said, striding to the other side of the road to speak in private. I shrugged and followed. Ms Grant glared at nothing before she spoke. "I have our invitations for the private tour at Ixion," she said, "They came with the car. A gift from the corporate reptile Julian Dodd.""Hell of a gift," I said."The tour is booked for tomorrow night," she said, "Are you coming, or do I have to suffer his company alone?"Ixion. Those bastards.>I'll be there>If its all the same to you I'll pass
>>4963572>I'll be there
>>4963572>>I'll be there"Do we get an Ixion plushy or something"
>>4963572>I'll be thereKind of our fault the arrangement was made to begin with
>>4963572>>I'll be there
here's a question for you guys, what do you think a good theme song for this quest would be?
>>4963609Princes of the Universe
>>4963609https://youtu.be/0O3cts9uPLcThis seems appropriate
"Wouldn't miss it," I said.A chance to look inside Ixion wasn't something I was going to pass up. They'd been floating around the periphery of all this, ever since the Stone turned up. I wanted to know what their agenda was, both the public one and the real one."Good," she said, "Meet me outside their HQ at 6pm. The less time I have to spend in Dodd's company the better.""Also, I got a call from Detective Bohauer," she continued, "The stunt you pulled with the Black Claw worked out, he's being sent to Stateville instead of their slaughterhouse. She's kept me briefed on everything, and they're interested in getting your testimony for his trial.""I'll think about it," I said."You're a hard man to keep from being arrested though, Hotspur," she said, "You're lucky I have a few judges who owe me favors." She looked to the women huddled out the front of the hospital. "And good work with this too. What I'd give to know who the Triad are paying off to look the other way for stuff like this. Until we get the people who are supporting the gangs from behind public offices, I'm worried we'll never be able to get a serious grip on the crime problem out here.""There's a mayoral election coming up, isn't there?" I asked.Grant nodded. "The mayor is stepping down to run for governor," she said, "Now every local politician is putting up their hand for the big seat. It's bad news considering half the aldermen in the city are on the take and the other half are straight up incompetent. The mayor himself is no prize, if he wins the governorship Illinois is going to have a lot more problems to solve.""Would be nice to have some more friends in high places," I said."We'll make do," she said, "We don't really have a choice.""How is the injunction going against the detainment act?"She frowned. "Slowly. The federal government was ready for this and are using emergency health crisis laws as justification. Fighting it on those grounds is a lot harder than on terrorist laws. Terrost laws theoretically rely on the active intentions of the detained. A health crisis? The powers are a lot broader. But we aren't giving up, and with more para-folk appearing further south and up in Canada, the plan of locking them up and throwing away the key is looking a lot less tenable."It was getting late. I had school in the morning. I said goodbye to Grit before heading home.We'd done a small amount of good tonight, I'd put a dent into one crime family and bought an in with another one. It felt good to do good.Whether it was a good way to deal with my issues was another thing, because the further I got home the further my thoughts circled back to what I was avoiding.Ivy.And Ayesha.
I got in through the fire escape, burned out. I could eat in the morning. Thought of them both circled my mind then circled each other. When my head hit the pillow the memory of their kiss in the backroom of the night club played in my mind, but in the fog of my memory their kiss grew deeper, less playful, and I groaned into my pillow. I remembered kissing Ivy, on the grass at her sister's funeral, and in my memory there was more than comfort in our kiss.'How am I supposed to be with Dane when I'm in love with you?''I'm not going anywhere, and I don't need perfect.''The fucked up thing is I'm in love with Ayesha too.''I love you Ivy.'We hadn't talked. I'd tried but we hadn't talked since, with either of them. Silent moments at school, awkward glances in the classroom. Ivy had locked herself up tight.But in my thoughts...Both of them joined in my mind, thoughts I couldn't escape now except through sleep, but even exhausted I dreamed, and in those dreams they were still there, and in those dreams we were all bound up, hot bodies pressed together. Ivy, Ayesha, me, pressed together, twisting together in a hot wonderful agony that lasted forever in a hot second.When I woke up it was to sticky sheets and a deep feeling of shame, hand on my morning wood wondering what the fuck was wrong with me, trying to get thoughts of them out of my head. Thoughts like that at least. I liked to pretend that when I was taking care of myself, that thoughts of them and other girls didn't sometimes flash in my mind. More than sometimes for some of them.Wet dreams. Sticky bedsheets.Goddamn it.Even if it was only Dad here it would be bad, but with Miss Flores...I bundled up the sheets and stashed them under my bed with my sticky boxer shorts, hoping against hope no one would go looking for them.I have bigger things to worry about than wet dreams and sticky bedsheets. I'd like to think I had bigger things to be scared of than girls.But they both scared me more than any bad guy. And what could happen if it went wrong was more terifying than a bounty on my head.How stupid am I?Mangy sniffed under my bed and for a minute I thought the cat was teasing me."You're a strange feline," I told her. She purred, rubbing against my leg.Truth is it wasn't just Ivy or Ayesha who didn't want to talk. I'd talked a big game aqbout sorting this out, but actually doing it?Still, the static between us couldn't go on. It was its own torture.
And at school it followed me through every class. I tried not to stare at either of them. Ivy ignored me but I saw the color in her cheeks. Ayesha would turn, smile back and wave. But my throat was clamped tight.I don't even know what I wanted to say.It was at lunch with my head down that Ayesha poked me, sitting down beside me with her soft warm smile."You wanted to talk about something?" she said. I swallowed. "Only you said you wanted to talk last week but now I haven't heard boo out of you. Did something happen with Ivy?" I swallowed again. She bit her bottom lip, looking at the rest of the table clowning around. For some reason Rufus had Zeke in a headlock, Hunter hooting them on. "Should we talk in private, just you and me? Because there's...there's something I want to tell you.">yeah ok>no, Ivy should be there>no, there's nothing to say
>>4963667>no, Ivy should be there
>>4963667>no, Ivy should be thereI don't know what you want to tell me Ayesha, but what me you and ivy need to talk about could change our entire dynamic (I hope) and you might not want me knowing whatever it is afterwards
>>4963667>yeah okivy a ho
>>4963665>no, Ivy should be thereIt's business for the three of us, though I have a feeling she'd try to avoid the talk
I squirmed in my seat."Yeah we can talk but...Ivy should probably be there too," I said, "I don't know what you want to say but the thing we need to talk about it could...it could change things. Between us."I don't know if the nervous light in Ayesha's eyes was real or imagined, but she nodded."Okay well um...meet me in the library," she said, whisking off her seat.I watched her go, ignoring the hollering going on from my guy friends, watching her tartan skirt slip around the corner feeling a heavy thump in the back of my head.I got up, walking to the beat of the nervous thud, over to where Ivy was sitting alone."Ayesha wants to talk," I said, "In the library."Ivy looked up at me, looking cold. "Okay," she said.She got up. We didn't touch but I wanted to. The electricity inside me, it raced up my spine the closer she got. It was difficult not to, but I managed. It was easier because she pulled back from me, self-concious, walking beside me but not too close. People might not think we were walking together at all. Ivy was so cold and pale she seemed sculpted out of ice, but I knew it was hiding a ball of fear same as I was. She played it cold but she burned inside hotter than anyone I knew, the cold mask holding in the kind of passion would terrify the fuck out of most guys. It scared me sometimes soon.But only because I burned just as hot.It was with a strange guilt we walked together to the library, the rest of the school and its mundane activity dropping away. All I heard was the hard beat in the back of my head.The library was mostly empty, the librarian at the front desk. Ayesha waited down the back, by the history section, and she waved to us from the table she sat back against. Our school library was pretty big, bigger than some city libraries. Big enough we should go unnoticed.As we got closer Ivy's breathing grew more rapid. She shoved her hands into her jacket pockets. I fidgeted with mine.I don't know what she was going to say, what Ayeasha was going to say, what I was going to say. My mouth dried up. My fire was no comfort.This could all go very wrong."Sup," Ayesha said, "You guys wanted to talk?"I rubbed my throat as if it could loosen the knot in it. "Didn't you?" I said.Ayesha blushed. Ivy stared at Ayesha, stared a little too long, a little too longing."I wanted to say um...well I wanted to ask your advice," Ayesha said, "I'm thinking about...about breaking up with Malcolm. I'm wondering if I should, and I'm wondering what...you would say."I don't know if she meant me or Ivy by 'you', but neither of us answered."What did you want to talk abou-" Ayesha started."Yes," Ivy said, "Yeah, you should break up with Malcolm."Ayesha stared back at her for a long moment."You aren't in love with him," Ivy said.Ayesha looked down to her feet. "No I'm not," she said quietly."Because you're already in love with someone else," Ivy said, her voice growing hot, growing intense."Easy Ivy," I said.
Ayesha gave a nod, shoulders starting to tremble. "Yeah, I am," she whispered."And you've been in love with them for a while," Ivy's eyes grew wet as the heat in her voice grew, "But you fucked up and didn't tell them. You set them up with someone else."Ayesha brushed her fingers back behind her ears, blush turning painful, twisting away. My guts churned."Because you were trying to be the good girl and the good friend," Ivy said."Ivy," I said, more firmly, the pain playing over Ayesha more than I could bear, a hot roar in the back of my head."So you were going to pretend and suffer and be a good little martyr like always," Ivy spat, color flooding her cheeks, ice mask melting, "So go on and say it. Quit playing around.""I'm sorry," Ayesha whispered."Stop feeling sorry for yourself Ayesha and say it," Ivy grabbed at her put I pulled her back, feeling a strange protective rage flush through me."Ivy leave her alone," I said.Ivy whipped back from my grip, wrestled herself away. "I'm sick of you lying Ayesha," Ivy said, "Stop trying to spare other people's feelings. First it was Kay, now its me, are you going to stand there like a sheep when its the next girl too? Say it! Just tell him already!""Stop yelling at her!" I snapped. This wasn't how it was supposed to go."I love you!"The words blurted out of Ayesha's lips, her eyes large and watery, staring at me with the most painful anguish I'd seen on her face I'd seen."Eric," my name came out a whimper. I wasn't ready for it. "I've always been in love with you even with...with Kay when I asked you to...because I knew she liked you and she told me and...and I wanted to be a good best friend so even though I liked you...even though I was in love with you I...I told you and pretended I..."She dropped to her knees holding her face, holding back tears and a painful sob."I'm sorry," she said, "I love you Eric, and I know you're in love with Ivy, I've seen you both together, I'm not blind, but I love you and you deserve to know."Oh God.The thumping in my head only grew worse. The electricity running through me unbearable. I felt staggered harder than if I'd been hit."Ayesha," I said, but before I could say more Ivy spoke."I am in love with Eric," Ivy's voice, how could it be so cold? She stared down at Ayesha, face cold and hard but eyes bright. "I'm in love with you too Ayesha. I'm in love with both of you."Ayesha's face paled more than I thought it could, she stared straight through her knees, clutched in a ball."Eric," Ivy said, and saw the depths of the terror hidden in Ivy's eyes. Ayesha looked up, breathing hard, eyes wide and face pale. Both their eyes on me.Goddamn it.>I'm in love with you too Ayesha>I...I can't do this, I'm sorry
>>4963774>I'm in love with you too Ayesha
>>4963774>I love both of you I know that it's selfish and weird for a guy to feel this way, I feel like a selfish pervert everytime I think it, but I really am inlove with the both of you for completely different reasons Ayesha is the kindest most caring soul that I know and just being near her makes me feel that maybe I and the rest of the world is worth saving if there is anyone out there also like her And ivy, your passion, your fire, the way that you push me just makes me want to be better than I ever was before, you're like a flame at my back pushing me to be better, stronger, you make me feel like I can take on the entire world if I need to
>>4963774>>4963776seconding this too>>4963779
>>4963779This, hopefully it doesn't come across as too cringe.
>>4963797They're 15 years old. Everything they do is cringe, although I will admit that I ain't the best writer so this is cringe of the highest order
>>4963797It's a superhero story, they're supposed to be melodramatic
>>4963609https://youtu.be/d7XCQCfXQG8Too on the nose?Fck, is kinda lit tho
>>4963774>>I'm in love with you too AyeshaYeess....>>4963779YEEESSS SI SEÑOR
>>4963774>I'm in love with you too Ayeshathreesomeeeee
>>4963774>I’m in love with you too Ayesha, I’m in love with both of you.Repeat Ivy’s words, word for word.
imagine what happens when Ayesha friendzones Ivy and then we actually have to choose Ivy over her
I looked into Ayesha's eyes, her soft warm eyes now wide with fear, my breath growing tight as something rose inside me and a truth I couldn't deny anymore made itself known.God she was beautiful."I'm in love with you too Ayesha," I said, "I'm in love with both of you."I reached back, grabbing the bookcase for support, breathing hard."God, I'm sorry but I'm in love with both of you."I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to steady myself, drawing on my power to do it."Maybe that makes me some kind of selfish pervert," I said, "I feel like one everytime I think about it, but...but I can't keep lying to myself anymore. Ayesha, I'm in love with you. I don't know when it started but I...you make me feel like the world is worth saving. Being near you, being near you makes it feel like there's real good in the world. Your kindness, your...your caring soul. I love you Ayesha, and not like a brother."She clutched the front of her shirt, biting her bottom lip hard, squeezing her throat on a deep sound.I looked to Ivy, who stared away at nothing. Who was as scared as I was, as we were, but tried not to show it. Ivy, who always tried to play it cool until it became too much.But I could see through it to the scared girl there yearning to be loved and scared to love, and God I loved her.God I wish this was easier. The movies made it seem easy. The movies didn't show the hurt."I love you Ivy," I said, "You drive me. Your passion, your fire, the way you push me, you drive me to be better than I was before. Better, stronger, you make me feel like I can save the world. God you make me feel like I could burn it down.""God," I said, "Goddamn me.""Goddamn me but I love you both and I can't get you out of my head no matter what I do!"My fist slammed into the bookcase, knocking the books loose. It was said. I slackened against the bookcase, worn out. No one spoke. No one looked at each other. The silence was terrible.Ayesha moved first. She got up from the ground, picking up her bag from the table. She looked up to me, then over to Ivy. She looked as if she might say something, then a frightened light opened in her face. Her fear was a knife slid into my heart."Excuse me," she said as she ducked her head and ran.Fuck.Ivy cried quietly, staring at the wall. I went to touch her shoulder but she pulled away."Why did I yell at her?" Ivy said, voice cracking, "Why would I do that Eric? I fucked it up.""I love you both, you love us both, she loves you, but why would she ever love me?" she said, "Why would you? I don't deserve...I just fuck it all up. Kaylee's right, I just wreck everything.""I hated you Eric, when I first met you," she said, "I really, truly hated you. And sometimes I...I wish I still did. Hate's so much easier than this."She hiked up her back, turning away from me."I'm sorry Eric, I shouldn't have done this," she said, "I'm sorry."
She rushed away the same as Ayesha had, leaving me alone in the back of the library. Alone with misery. The girls I loved...what did I think was going to happen? That they'd both fall over me the second I said 'I love you' and it would all be joy and happy tears and a hot makeout session?Fuck. I'd fucked it all up.And if I chased after them now I knew I'd only make things worse, and I couldn't bring myself to move anyway even when the bell rang, but stood staring into the patterns on the carpet. And when I finally did have the strength to leave, the librarian watched me with a cool, amused smile and sighed 'teenagers.'I wanted both and now I had neither and God I just needed to hit something.But tonight I was busy.Tonight I had my meeting with Ixion,
Finally!It's sad that this happened but atleast the information is out there, I much rather prefer us being heartbroken over that incessant pining that was going on before. Hell who knows what happens now, maybe nothing and we drift apart, maybe we truly do get to have both girls, maybe we find someone else!Point is that there is a change now, and that's better than what we had before
What did you guys honestly expect to happen? Not like I'm against this, becoming a immense fuck-up of a human being is really the only long term option for Eric, it's more of a question when he reaches that point.
>>4964545I don't think anyone was really expecting a threesome to suddenly happen I personally just wanted the pining game to be over and for us to air out our feelings, let them do with it what they wish but atleast that information is out there
As an possibly former Ivyfag who was never really that into the threesome idea, I'm okay with this. Maybe Eric can move on. That said, I don't think the throuple is dead. It was just a lot to put on Ayesha when she was planning on just confessing to Eric. Either way I'm glad we cleared the air.
imo it should've been misfit, but I can work with this
The Ixion building was a pillar of glass overlooking the mouth of the Chicago river on its north bank. It wasn't alone, with skyscrapers dominating the city either side of the river and as far as the eye could seem, with smaller buildings nestled in their shade. It was the might and grandeur of corporate America, built by working hands to straddle the coast of Lake Michigan, rewriting the face of the world.I waited outside in my costume, some of the foot traffic stopping to stare, some of the bolder people asking for a picture. I wasn't in the mood for company but I try not to be a jagoff so I let them snap a couple of photos and shake my hand, feeling like a phoney. Luckily there aren't too many, this isn't exactly the social scene and as it crept closer to six the more the area cleared out.It was a long way from the bucket boys and the L stations.But it took my mind off other things.When Ms Grant arrived she was dressed no different than most of the office workers pouring out of their skyscraper hives, in a pants suit with blazer coat, hair bound back in a tight bun from her face."Hotspur," she said, meeting me outside the mouth to the lobby."Ms Grant," I said, "Ready to face the Beast?"Her face was a grim mask as if preparing for war."As ready as I can be," she said.We marched in together, ready to confront whatever was inside."Good evening!" the bright voice of a middle aged woman said, striding from the lobby desk over to meet us.The lobby was as corporate as could be expected, glass walls looking out to the window, discreet security in dark suits milling around, and works of art on the wall. A fountain bubbled in the center of the room, done up to look like a living pond with greenery flourishing around it.The woman wore a relaxed smile and narrow glasses, a suburban mom air under her own suit. She offered a hand, giving us both a quick hand pump."Welcome to Ixion, Julian will be down to see you shortly. Can I get you some refreshments?""No," Ms Grant said curtly, adjusting her sleeve."We're excited to host you both, two heroes in one places," the woman said, "I'm Julia, if you have any questions before Julian arrives don't hesitate to ask."Ms Grant kept from glaring but just barely. Julia retreated behind the lobby desk, smile fixed.We waited standing. It couldn't be fun in Ms Grant's pumps. Security kept an eye on me but not obviously.A door opened from the disabled toilets and I froze for a second as he zipped up his fly.
For a furious moment I thought it was Houndmaster, the light playing off the chrome plate on his left hand, and I was ready to move. But it turned out to be someone worse. Uncle Karl limped by, nodding to the other security guards, wearing a dark suit and a small ear piece. Uncle Tony's brother, who had lost his left arm and leg in Iraq, who I'd heard was coming to Chicago for work with Ixion but had completely forgotten about it. He'd cut his hair and dropped the weight, looking in better shape than he had at Thanksgiving.I was glad for the mask.Uncle Karl's eyes lingered on Ms Grant. Specifically on her legs, lips pursed in appreciation.A protective instinct rose inside me. Objectively I knew Ms Grant was stunning, but I'd stopped thinking about her that way ages ago. Uncle Karl's gaze switched to me, and he frowned. Maybe he sensed my glare behind the smoked lenses of my goggles, maybe not, but he went pack to his post, flesh hand folded over his prosthetic one, waiting.The elevator door opened with a chime.Unlike everyone else Julian Dodd wore a work out shirt and jeans, a pair of faux-weathered converse tennis shoes and an unzipped hoodie. He kept his hair uncombed and had a smug self-satisfied little smile that made my knuckles each, walking with a casual slouch as if he were on a college campus and not in control of one of the most powerful corporations on the planet.An assistant followed, a pretty young woman in more corporate attire."Maddie Grant," he said, strolling over, "And Hotspur. Hey, thanks for coming."Before he could do more Ms Grant threw a set of keys at him."You can keep the damn car," she said.A look of annoyance flashed over Julian Dodd's face. He handed the keys to his assistant."She's not known for her manners is she?" he said to me, trying for companionable. "Cecilia, send someone to pick up the car.""Oui," she said."This is Cecilia, she's a new intern in from Quebec," Julian said for introduction.I looked at Cecilia, and Foxtrot smiled back. I was certain of it, I'd know her even without the small domino mask, and felt a hot rush in my thighs at the sight of her. She went to deliver the keys to Julia, the lobby lady, while Dodd kept talking."Welcome to the new headquarters of Ixion Energy," Julian said, waving to the lobby, "Under one roof we manage a panoply of industries, from energy to agriculture to medicines and anything you can think of in between. This is where the future starts my friends, and whole new worlds are born. Where would you like to begin?">ask about the energy part of the business>ask about their drone and weapons programs>ask about their interest in Chicago specifically>ask about their ties to organized crime
>>4964586>ask about their interest in Chicago specificallyI think just outright asking why are you scum is a bit too blunt, even for Hotspur, we're here to gather information so I think let's leave the more social things to miss Grant whose more used to dealing with weasels
>>4964586What do you need the stone for? I'm guessing you're gonna use it as your energy source? Must be important if you're willing to use a monster like Houndmaster to get it.
>>4964595The softball questions are things we can figure out as Eric on our little student visit.
>>4964586this>>4964607Any "polite" questions can be done when we come as civilians.
>>4964586>ask about their interest in Chicago specifically>ask about their ties to organized crimesoftball into hardball
>>4964595>>4964607>>4964627>>4964660I'll start with one and transition into the otherlocked in
"Why Chicago?" I asked, "Why Chicago when there's LA and New York.""You're from California, aren't you Mr Dodd?" Ms Grant added.Julian Dodd smiled. "Why Chicago? I'm glad you asked," he said, "Because its so damn real, isn't it? New York has been gentrified and LA is too fake but Chicago, Chicago is a real city."He strode over to the elevators, to a plaque set between the gold elevator doors.He read it aloud, reciting it with glee."Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler; Stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders.""They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys. And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness."He turned to us with arms wide, grinning, "Chicago!""Carl Sandburg," Ms Grant said."Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs," he said, reciting from memory now, "Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle. Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people. Laughing!"I'd seen it, in the proud swagger of the working class going to and from bars after clocking off, and the fierce pride of the corner boys planting their feet and standing down the whole world. I'd heard it in the roar of Wrigley Field and in classroom banter.But the words rung true there was something fake in Dodd's voice, an excited boy rushing to say something he thought was grand."But do you know what those words mean, Mr Dodd?" Ms Grant said, cutting to the same point.He smiled as if he didn't understand the question."You were born here, weren't you?" he said."Born and raised," Ms Grant said with a proud tilt to her chin."And what about you Hotspur?" he said."I'm from here," I said. Never mind where I was born, I'm from Chicago."I was born in Orange County," he said, "Yeah, with a silver spoon in my mouth, I'll accept that. But I never took a cent from my parents I didn't earn, and I've built this company into a juggernaut. Chicago is the place to take it higher. Chicago is the birthplace of the skyscraper and the ferris wheel, a place where the impossible was made real. It's a place where I mean to do the same."
He hit the up button under the plaque with the poetry engraved upon it. The doors slid open and we stepped inside, 'Cecelia' stepping in last and standing behind me. I looked back at her. Was it Foxtrot? She had the same lightly curled brown hair, the shape of her face was the same, but compared to the sultry thief Cecilia was a mouse, meek behind her glasses, wilting at excessive attention with inward bowing shoulders."Let's start with energy," Julian Dodd said, hitting a button for the 22nd floor, "My father was a forward looking man, so was my grandfather. When the energy crisis was looming they were the first to investigate fracking as a way to close the energy gap. Of course fracking is an ugly business, one we want to get out of. My father poured billions into nuclear fusion, and for nuclear energy we were pioneers in Generation IV nuclear reactors and were working toward making Generation V a practical reality. Nuclear energy gets a bad wrap, and its far from perfect, but if we want to divest from fossil fuels its worth the risks. Of course under my direction we've also greatly expanded our renewables industry. Wind farms in Africa and solar plants in Vietnam. But we've recently made a break through that will make all our past efforts as redundant as steam power."The elevator swept upward, Julian grinning in a self-satisfied silence."Is that what you need the stone for?" I said, "As your new energy source? Must be important if you're willing to use a monster like Houndmaster to get it."The question didn't faze him. He didn't reply at all but hummed a soft tune.The elevator stopped with a ding. The doors opened on an open floor work space. A foosball table stood next to a kitchenette, a big tv with a PS5 set in front of it. The desks set up in rows against each other, bright lights with a few tired scientists still working away. When they saw Julian Dodd step out they turned back to their work, when they noticed me with them they got nervous.We stalked after Julian Dodd across the office. He stopped to talk to a few of his employees, but was headed to the far door. Cecilia trailed behind us."If we want to answer the great problems of our generation, we need to answer the energy question," he said, going to the door, punching in a code. "The climate crisis, over population, global hunger, answering all of them is a question of energy. We can't keep living the way we're living, not with what we have available. I don't know if you know the science, but the climate crisis is starting to crash down on our heads. If you think things are bad now, wait ten years, then wait ten years more. Energy consumption will drive us off a cliff faster than we can adapt. And once the global temperatures spike above two degrees the door closes. Sea levels rise, mega-drought will be the norm, the seasons will be irreversibly crippled. We'll have less food to eat and water to drink. Our burning planet will be burned out."
He opened a door into a dark room, gesturing for us to enter, and closed the door behind us.The darkness was blinding."Do you know who Ixion was?" he said, voice coming from the dark, "Ixion was an ancient king who violated sacred rights. The gods punished him by setting him in the sky, a burning wheel of fire eternally roaring across the heavens. He became energy, an unrelenting, ceaseless source of energy."Then there was a point of light, illuminating the ground beneath Julian's feet at the center of the room."Elon Musk wants to go to Mars," he said, hands in his pockets, "The energy needed to cross this chasm, carrying colonists rather than simple robots, is enormous."Around us a hologram flickered. Between us and Julian was Earth in vibrant detail. Between Julian and the back wall was Mars.The hologram drew out, not only showing Earth and Mars but the inner belt of the solar system, with the sun rotating above Julian's head."Bezos wants to colonize the entire inner system, and then the solar system as a whole."The holographic map widened to take in Jupiter and Saturn, the great celestial bodies rotating around us, passing through us in a crackle of pixels."But with what I have in my posession," he said, "Why settle for the solar system?"In a blazing rush a billion stars swarmed around us, and before I knew it I stood on the spiral arm of the Milky Way, Julian Dodd standing in its galactic heart, grinning in the light."The stars, Hotspur," he said, "Are worth any price."He doesn't deserve the stars, a voice snarled in the back of my head, he doesn't know what lurks within their gaps.The stars spun around Julian Dodd in his hipster get up, the millenial billionaire smiling with self-satisfaction."How egalitarian," Ms Grant said, deep scorn etched into her face."We have the same goal overall," he said, "Whatever you think about me as a person or my company, we're trying to save the world too.""Why not work together?" he said, "Why not put our differences aside and do some real good?"He reached a hand toward me through the holographic stars, smiling wide."All the resources of Ixion will be open to you," he said.>take his hand>smack it away
sorry for the delay I had an unexpected visitor
>>4964766>smack it awayYou're full of shit
>>4964766>"If you think what that stone has can do that for free, your a fucking idiot that didn't pay attention to his favorite story.">Leave his hand hanging.
>>4964766>leave his handEven if he didn't sick a homicidal merc on us, and our friend it would still be a hard passrelying on a magic space rock for the answers to your problems. While we're why don't we let some chimps play around with uranium see if they can figure it out
He's so focused on the big picture and his lofty goals that he can excuse any evil shit he does as justified
>>4964805We should have brought pictures of Houndmaster's victims, shove in his face the psychotic animals he has on retainer.
I looked at the offered hand and felt disgust rear up within me. The memory of Houndmaster's victims in my mind. The memory of Ayesha bound to a bed, pumped full of terror and heroin. A girl I loved. The memory of Dr Zamani's girlfriend cut open, slaughtered in the moonlight. And this man had held Houndmaster's leash.I smacked the hand aside."You're full of shit," I said, "And if you think what the stone has can do that for free, you're a fucking idiot who didn't pay attention to his favorite story."His hand went back to his pocket, his expression turned churish. A little boy who didn't get his way."All the great heroes who dared to dream of heaven earned the scorn of gods," he said.The image of the milky way disappeared, and in the darkness dim light rose to light the room around us. We stood in a square box of a room, the walls, floor and ceiling divided into neat square panels. 'Cecilia' corrected her glasses, swiping over the screen of her tablet. A door opened behind her, not the one we'd come through.Slowly Julian's smile grew."But hey, it's a free country," he said, "I respect your independent streak, Hotspur, I do. You don't want to be owned by a big bad corporation. Got to be good with the twitter politics, right?""You can go," he said, "Cecilia will show you out. It's a shame, I had so much to share. Maybe you'll come around, but when you do you'll regret being so rude."Then he turned to Ms Grant. "But you, Ms Grant," he said, "You know how the world really works. Why not continue the tour? I have a proposition for you, and no, it isn't an indecent one I promise.""I think I've made my position with you very clear, Mr Dodd," she said."Call me Julian," he replied."Mr Dodd," she repeated more firmly.He stood in his empty room keeping a fixed smile, unblinking as he stared ahead at us."Well then okay," he said, "Keep plunging those gutters and hoping for change."Cecilia showed us the door. "Zis way," she said.We followed her out, down a back corridor past darkened windows, blocking out some kind of lab, with none of the faux friendly corporate sheen of the front office. Back to a service elevator. I stared at the tinted window, getting only the impression of shapes behind it.We loaded into the elevator. When it moved it gave a hard jolt, far less smooth than the other one, and Cecilia stumbled, catching herself against me with a 'pardon!' She straightened up and corrected her curls, seeming flustered."Asshole," Ms Grant said to the closed doors."Yep," I replied.The door opened on a concrete car park."Here," Cecilia said, holding out the keys, "Mr Dodd insists you keep ze car as a gift."With a frustrated sigh Ms Grant snatched back the keys. The door closed on Cecilia's smile."Do you want a ride?" Ms Grant asked.Before I said anything I felt the crinkle of paper in my pocket.A note.'Meet me on the roof at midnight.'- FoxtrotI frowned.>take the ride>...I'm fine, might stick around
>>4964842>...I'm fine, might stick around
>>4964842>...I'm fine, might stick aroundCan we be crazy paranoic and tell Miss Grant to not use the car? or take her home and then come back? God I swear sometimes I just cant trust evil crazy futuristic corporations
just so you guys know and I've been meaning to say, Miss Flores as a love interest was only possible in the Homeless Eric Arc that never happened
>>4964871Huh, neet to know.
>>4964871>We miss teacher waifuHero's sacrifive aint easy.....
>>4964871Eric's dad's character arc has been worth it
>>4964842>I'm fine, might stick around
Remember guys, foxtrot is for rooftop hankypanky, not relationship
>>4964870yeah definitely get that thing checked out at a shop for bugs if nothing else
Okay, not running today. I'm too tired. But I'll run either tomorrow or the day after
>>4965611Get some rest then
locking in meeting Foxtrot
"I'm fine, might stick around," I said.It would be a while until midnight but I could keep myself busy."You should have the car checked for bugs," I said."Don't worry about the car, I'll be selling it as soon as I get home," she said, "He's not the first rich asshole to try to buy their way into my affection. He might be the richest though, and the biggest asshole.""Stay safe Ms Grant," I said."Same to you Hotspur."I grinned behind the mask. "Never."Killing time until midnight meant going on patrol through the streets of the Loop, leaping from building to building keeping an eye out for trouble. Other than breaking up a fist fight between a couple of drunks and scaring a kid out of stealing a car it was a pretty chill night, figuratively and literally. I stopped to listen to a late night busker wail on a trumpet, cheeks puffed out as a he blew his horn at the entrance to the L Station.You never had to go far to find music in Chicago, whether it was in a venue or on the street. The sound of traffic and the sound of music both pumped through the street creating a soundtrack for the city that only stopped at the witching hours, a brief rest period of a few hours before they came pumping back at the crack of dawn.But I wasn't out to enjoy myself. Or I didn't think I was. I grabbed a hotdog for dinner, a loaded up Chicago style dog, before looping back around to the Ixion building.The tower of glass, of hundreds of windows shining bright in the day, became a dark tower at night, the glass playing back the street light in shifting color, giving the building a dark luster. Or maybe it was my imagination that turned it so ominous, sitting dark by the open mouth of the Chicago River.I leapt to the roof top, landing with a crunch on scattered gravel. Of course they had a helipad. I straightened up, oddly nervous and not just because I stood on the roof of a corporation with an evil agenda."Bonsoir, Monsieur 'otspur."She stepped out of the shadow of the roof top entrance. She wasn't the mousy secretary anymore. She had switched her blouse for a tight sleeveless leather body suit, zipped up to under her chin, her face partially hidden under a domino mask with a teasing smile underneath it. Her hair was a mane of artful brown curls down to her chin. But the biggest change was in her body language. A sultriness in the tilt of her hips and the easy hand resting on them, a confidence in the set of her shoulders and spark in her eyes."No 'andcuffs?" she teased, pressing her wrists together before me.I swallowed, heat assaulting my face."The night's still young," I said.Her smile grew. "Oui, and we 'ave much to talk about. You saw the little tour inside? Saw what Monsieur Dodd wanted you to see," she said, "There is much yet you should know. I thought I could give you a better tour. Much more, what is ze word, 'illuminating'.""How do I know this isn't a trap?"
She smiled. "Well, you do not," she said, "But I am not a retainer. I am more how you say, a 'mercenaire'. For 'ire only, not for employ. Understand?"I nodded. I think I did."So you're casing the joint," I said."Oui, and I thought some big strong 'eroic muscle might be welcome," she said, "Unless you think I should go into ze belly of the beast all alone?"She was good at playing innocent, with her chin tipped inward to give me the full force of her large eyes."We want ze same thing," she said, "Answers to question, but maybe not ze same questions."The offer was tempting. So was she. The cat suit she wore was tight...>All right, I'll come with you, I want answers>If I do go you better not steal anything>count me out on your b and e lady
>>4966747>All right, I'll come with you, I want answers
"I want answers," I said, "And if you can help me find them, I'll come with you.""Tes bien!" she said, punching a code into the door.She touched the middle of her domino mask, pressing a hidden button. From the domino mask a larger mask expanded across her forehead, with fox-like ears extending upward, covering the top half of her face. She pressed another button, this one in the fox ear, and I haerd a slight tiniitus like pitch."Zis will scramble the security cameras," she said, "Bleeding edge tech, thanks to my current sponsors. Stick close to me, hero."So her angle was corporate espionage. I should have guessed. She held the door open for me."Ze building is never empty," she said, "If anything past midnight ze security increases."As if in demonstration she stepped over the slumped figure of a security guard, knocked out on the stairwell. I noted the submachine gun, some kind of MP5. Foxtrot took his radio, belting it around her shoulders, humming softly as she did. I looked closer and started thinking he wasn't just knocked out."On our way!" Foxtrot said, skipping down, giving me no time to check the security guard for a pulse.She talked as she lead me down the stairs, walking with a quick, sporty bounce."Ixion 'ires from ze same pool as most PMCs," she said, "Military veterans with bloody resumes. But zey are not just security, you understand."I'd run into Houndmaster, I could guess what she meant."Monsieur Dodd spins a good speech about saving ze world," she said, swiping a card to let us through to a darkened corridor, "But he is no altruist. He will save ze world only for ze 'ighest bidder. And in ze mean time he builds weapons ze likes imagined only in science fiction. To be sold where ever there is a buyer."I'd seen some of those too. Sophisticated robots that had Boston Dynamics drooling with envy.But as much as she was spinning Dodd as a monster, I couldn't forget what she was either."And you are?" I asked."Qoui?" she asked as she toyed with a console."An altruist," I said."Non, mon ami," she said, "But I do not lie about what I am. Voluese, larron, thief. Sometimes le tueuse, killer, when it cannot be 'elped."The door opened with a click. She opened it with a smile.We stepped into a room not too diferent from the hologram room, but far larger. It must have taken up most of the floor."Zey keep much in house," she said, "Even manufacturing prototypes. When zey are ready though, zey will be mass manufactured in Detroit."
A light flicked on under what I could only call a massive suit of armor. It hung suspended in the middle of the room, each limb separated out from a heavy torso, head decapitated and hanging above its shoulders. The front chest plate stood open revealing a tight cock pit, comfortable red cushioning for the pilot to sink themselves into.Put together it would be as tall as a city bus, with shoulder mounts waiting for weapon systems to be installed."Ze next generation of armored warfare," she said, "Perfect for urban fighting and crowd control. Zey have a few already in operation, waiting for field tests. Zey need more data. Always more data."My body went cold."Worth coming for ze sneak peak?" she said, leaning over a desk and booting up the computer.I stood close behind her, kept look out while she plugged in a thumb drive. It didn't take long. I had to stick close for the benefit of the technology she claimed was hiding us from the cameras. Or it was a good excuse."But zis kind of armored combat, it is not all," she said, straightening up and backing into me. The back of her hand tapped on my chest, "Come, there are other things!"She went quickly to the door. Back to the staircase again.Before we went down she put up a hand."Gardes," she said, "Shall I 'andle them, or will you?"There was a challenge in the twinkle of her eye.>let her handle them>take down the guards
>>4966858>take down the guardswould she consider this a situation where killing cannot be helped?
got to deal with something here, be back soon
>>4966858>take down the guards
>>4966858>take down the guardsThis is where Eric has to beat up his uncle, isn't it?
I didn't wait. I swung over the railing, dropping a flight of a steps to drop on the security guard underneath. These weren't the men in discreet black suits, they wore flak vests and totted MP5s, radios clipped to shoulder rigging. More paramilitary than what I'd expected.Either way he went down and the guy next to him barely had time to spit a 'Jesus!' before a punch clocked his lights out.Lucky for me these guys were carrying handcuffs. I latched them to the handrail on the stairs, smashed their radios and twisted up their guns, then made quick gags to keep them from shouting when they woke up."Mmm, you know 'ow to restrain, tres thorough," Foxtrot said, skipping down to join me, "But 'ow good are you with knots?"I blushed under the mask, then burned hot when she whispered, "I could teach you 'ow to make a knot.""Let's get this done," I said, glad she couldn't see my blush, trying to put gruff in my voice to keep from have a pubescent squeak.She strolled to the door, ducking her head out to see if the coast was clear, then slinking out of the doorway."Keep close, monsieur," she said, "Or the cameras, they will see you."I hustled after her, bumping into her when she came to a stop. I grabbed her around the waist to keep her from falling over. She took it as invitation to lounge back against me."Handsy," she said, "Big hands."I swallowed, squeezing the tight leather, feeling the hip bone beneath. I pulled my hands back. Had to remember this was a criminal. And there was a flash of guilt too. Thoughts of Ivy and Ayesha. For her part Foxtrot seemed to enjoy it, my grip and my uncomfortable squirming."Now we see ze part that matters to us both," she said, "Ze corporation, it is doing its own studies into freaks like us."She swiped a card and punched in a code to open the next door.We stepped into something Julian Dodd would never want to be seen. Foxtrot pressed a finger against the side of her mask, and it took me a second to realize she was recording.Recording a series of tubes filled with a murky dark water. There were shapes in the water, human shapes with tubes attached all over, disappearing above their heads."Biologique," she said, "Zey have found something that let's them create their own freaks. Zey take volunteers, and pump them with ze thing that gave us our own powers."She went to a computer terminal, booted it up."Ze results have been, 'ow should I say, inconsistent."She hummed, tapping on the mouse, flipping through files.I stared at the tanks, at the figures half seen within them."Factory produced super 'eroes," she said, "All for hire. You think ze gorgeous blonde Semper Fi is bad. Imagine the skies filled with men like her, built to order, working for corporate masters."
"Or imagine still, if zey make ze process safe enough, super powers for all the rich and famous. Imagine ze Facebook creep with all ze strength of a hurricane. Imagine ze 'arvey Weinsteins able to pluck thoughts from your 'ead. Imagine what will become of the rest of us, ruled by zis super aristocracy.""As a Frenchwoman, what can I say, all I can think of is guillotines," she said, finishing what she was doing at the terminal."And your employers are any better?" I asked.Foxtrot shrugged. "Je ne sais pas," she said, "But their money is good, and the less one man controls all zis the better, non?"I don't know. Part of me wanted to burn the whole place down.I stared at a tank. Something, someone, stared back through the dark water. I could make out a face hidden by a breathing mask with one eye open, glaring, glaring with a glistened hate, then closing, closing in sleep as bubbles swirled up through the murky tank.A strange kind of goldfish, I thought."Zey are a long way from all that," she said, "Perhaps zey may never unlock ze secret to building their super soldiers. It is only a scary thought.""Whether Ixion or someone else, none of this is good," I said."Non," Foxtrot said, "But you are.""Is that why you brought me?" I said, not really believing her, "So I can tell the world what's going on here?"Her smile grew as she leaned back against the desk."Is it so 'ard to believe?" she said, "I have a contract, confidentielle. But you are not so bound.""All out of the goodness of your heart?" I said. She looked up at me with her sultry grin."Zat," she said, "But also."She swept her hand and the computer screen crashed to the ground. The frame popped, the screen splintered, and over our haeds an alarm began to scream, lights turning to a flashing red."All security personnel," a calm woman's voice spoke, "Intruder alert. All security personnel. Intruder alert. Locking down Biological Resaerch Department, Level 35."Foxtrot's laugh was wicked as she sprinted for the door."Fuck," I barked, racing after her."Can you keep up zis time 'otspur?" she said. She fell into a slide as a metal door began to drop, closing off the entrance, "Do not let zem catch you now!"Goddamn it!>roll 3 x 1d100+15 dc 80
Rolled 67 (1d100)>>4966954Fox is in need of a spanking
Is everyone asleep?Should I roll 2 more times?
>>4966982if you want. first roll is a pass but you could still get a crit
>>4966954Let's see if I remember how to do this...
Rolled 93 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4966991Ah, forgot the plus after dice.
one morealways a chance for a crit fail
Rolled 28 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4966954Nat 1
>>4966993pass!time to chase the thiefhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeCP76A3gx4
Rolled 1 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4966954Cmon dices give me something good
>>4967004oh shit, should I ignore the double roller and count the crit fail?
I did say it was okay to roll twicehmm
>>4967006God be merciful please no
okay, because I said double rolling is okay I'll ignore the critfail and keep the passyou guys got lucky
Thanks QM, Ill make it up to you somehow.(Cant believe Im the first one to roll a 1 OTL )
I dived after her, a baseball slid to safety, the door slamming shut almost catching the edge of my hood. Bounding up to my feet, I flung myself toward the thief sprinting down the corridor.A corridor soon swarming with Ixion security."It's Hotspur!" I heard someone yell.In front of me Foxtrot's curls became white stone as machine gun fire burst open. Bullets gouged the ground and the walls. I pumped hot fire, my feet freed from gravity's leash as I ran up along the wall, leaving white hot footprints behind me as I swung around to run across the cieling, the security forces beneath me struggling to get a bead on me. Doubly so when Foxtrot crashed in among them, stone leg flung out in a sweeping kick. I crashed down in front of her, dropping a guard, spinning to drop another with a haymaker. Foxtrot whipped a kick that caught another on the chin with her ankle, breaking his chin loose and spinning him to the ground.The living statue caught a driving bayonet beneath her arm pit, the tip of the long knife snapping off. She spun and put a backhand into his face, his teeth flying.She slipped under my fist as I drove a hard right into a security guard, and she ran for the stairs.The elevator chimed, opening as Foxtrot sprinted past.It filled the hall with a droaning buzz, then out of it a suit of armor took a mechanical step. It was smaller than the hulk we'd seen in the floor above, more a power suit than a mech. Around it moved more of the security guards, submachine guns ready.A caught a look at the pilot of the power armor. Uncle Karl spoke into his head set."Authorizing the activation of tactical enhancement armor! Readying heavy weapons!"A face plate dropped down, covering his face."Everyone grab your goddamn asses and hit the deck!"Uncle Karl stepped out of the elevator, hefting an arm with some kind of cannon attached to the forearm. The security guards still standing dove for the ground.When the gun opened fire, sound disappeared in a blazing white light, the black figure of the power armored soldier disappearing behind the burst of the blazing cannon. I leapt high, head buzzing deaf. Behind me the cannon churned up the corridor. Whatever Uncle Karl had tried to do, there wasn't a lot of hope hiding from a gun like that.A guard still on his knees disappeared in a chunky spray leaving an oozing pelvis behind, the bullets tearing the panelling off the walls and bursting what should have been bullet proof glass. Men who didn't get to ground fast enough had bloody holes punched through them, the stuff that made them human turned into a paste smearing the walls.I sailed over it all. Ahead of me though, Uncle Karl corrected his aim, the heavy cannon raising up. The whistle in my ear was all I could hear. The barrel mouths of the cannons all I could see.
Until I crashed into him, smashing him down. Fire burning bright, fear burning brighter, I grabbed at the arm with the cannon welded to the forearm and pushed it high. Plaster fell around our heads, the arm bucking in my hand as it spewed death above our heads, gouging a trail of distruction as we spun around. I squeezed a fist and felt the metal crumple under my hand. Then with a hard yank ripped the gun from the suit of power armor, a cable snapping, whipping off the gun with an electric hiss. I threw the crumpled up metal into one of the security guards, heard Uncle Karl scream in pain.Then spun out and away from the hard shell as his other hand scooped around trying to catch me with a fist. A blade ejected from the back of its hand, catching the front of my jacket and ripping off a button. It was faster than something so big and clunky should be, its swift cuts leaving a silver ribbon of light behind it.But I was faster. I drove a punch into its chest, buckling a panel. Two more and the dent was deep enough the panel popped off, leaving wiring visible. Ducking under Uncle Karl's looping cuts, I grabbed a fistful of wiring and yanked out its electric guts.The power armor sputtered then went slack on the spot, Uncle Karl spitting inside it.I hopped over his head, bullets bouncing off the armored figure, and ran for the stairs. Ran up the way I'd come, racing after the ghost of Foxtrot.I caught up to her on the roof, out under the night sky.Gunshots had torn holes in her suit, leaving white stone bare. Her stone face turned back to flesh and she smiled."Tres bien, you escaped!" she said, "But we are not free yet, non?"She stepped to the side of the building, hands behind her back."Wait," I said, then she stepped off, plunging straight down feet first.I ran to the side of the building. The sound of men came racing up the stairs behind me.I looked back then down.Goddamn it.>chase after Foxtrot, she wasn't getting away again>forget her, focus on getting out of here alive
>>4967050>chase after Foxtrot, she wasn't getting away againWe still need the footage she took to expose ixion!
>>4967050>chase after Foxtrot, she wasn't getting away again>>4967058that would be nice after all those bullets