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Project Oddity

Capetown, Texas

a part of Project Oddity, by NethanielShade.

Welcome to Capetown, Texas, the nation's 5th in population density of parahumans to humans!

NethanielShade holds sovereignty over Capetown, Texas, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
1990 readers have been here.

Capetown, Texas is a part of Project Oddity.

There are no Places in Capetown, Texas.

Some of the 28 Characters Present

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In 1979, the first parahuman, a human with "super powers", appeared. It is widely believed that they did not come out of hiding, but simply started existing then. Today, roughly 1 in 7,000 people on the planet are a "parahuman." Capetown, Texas, is the nation's 5th in population density of parahumans, these super-powered individuals, to unpowered humans.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jasmin Lehtinen (Sähkö) Character Portrait: River Riley (Zero) Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Mara Haruka Black Character Portrait: Devon Metzger(freischütz)
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  1. possible wrong location

    2017-10-02 06:36:43 by NethanielShade

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Capetown, TX. 09/17/2017, 7:08 PM. 84°F,
Partly Cloudy. Arc 1: Provenance.



Jasmin Lehtinen took a step back when she heard the growl of Wendigo's voice, a momentary feeling of trepidation passing through herself. Whether he was aware of it or not, Wendigo was pretty equiped in the intimidation department.
"This form is hard to talk in, so I'll be quick, I don't want to fight, innocent people out there. Hungry, so back off." She opened her mouth to comment, even as Wendigo began to turn away to shovel more sandwich materials into his skull, but another voice caused her to whip her head around and look towards a man and a young girl. "Hey, you. The one with lightning. The lad looks like he won't hurt anyone. Let the heroes deal with this. We don't want any violence or destruction. I would appreciate it if you cooperated. It would make things a lot easier on all of us."

Conflicting feelings passed through her, at that. On one hand, she agreed with the man. The heroes could deal with it. The PCRT might even be here, soon. She didn't want to fight. Hell, she was even pretty scared looking at the Changer behind the counter. She had no fighting experience whatsoever, and Wendigo looked to be pretty in control of his own power. However, at the same time, she enjoyed coming to this sandwich shop every other day, and now it would probably be closed for a week to restock. She also felt the urge to go against this man's definition of 'cooperation.' Who was he to tell her what to do? Maybe he was an undercover cop, waiting for backup. or maybe he was a pretentious asshole who wanted to exert authority in a moment of crisis. Maybe-

Ding!

For the second time in a two minutes, her train of thought was derailed as she whipped her head to find the source of a sound. A man, no, a PCRT officer? No, the uniform wasn't quite right. Either way, someone stood in the doorway rifle trained on the floor, wearing a trench coat, body armor, and a black helmet-mask hybrid with tinted lenses she couldn't see through. Then he spoke, his voice changed by his mask, and her heart skipped a beat as he motioned at her. Shit, he's an HLA member.
"So I'm guessing you are the changer we got those calls about. Though going by the callers it sounded like this place was to be wrecked by the time I got here. Nope, just a couple bucks worth of veggie, meat and bread getting devoured. I would like to ask you all to please leave this fine establishment for a moment. So this gentleman and I can have a couple of words without me having to worry about what any third party might be doing." She nodded, relief flooding her. He didn't recognize her as the villain who'd robbed three convenience stores. I mean, who would? In a city filled with crime and heroes, three small not even noteworthy events wouldn't be remembered.

She exited the sandwich shop with the remaining patrons, and made her way down the street with her iron shavings mask still on and hood still up, well aware that someone could get her identity if she dropped it now. They were downtown, and many office buildings had parking garages across the street, so she made her way into one, and covered her tracks.

Gotta make an EMP. Disable cameras, anyone who might have been following me. She knew it was a paranoid thought, but you never know. She erected a large magnetic field around her, and ionized air, and soon electricity was crackling around her. She pushed outwards, and it dissipated. At the same time, every car in the parking lot did a final beep-beep , and their were a few honks, as circuitry fried and batteries drained. With that, she poured her iron shavings mask back into it's flask, took off and tied her hoodie around her waist, and walked home.

Ten minutes later, she was home in her studio appartment, kicking trash on the floor, and plopping down onto her futon with her phone in her hand, logging onto ParahumansOnline, a forum website maintained by hundreds of thousands of people, complete with it's own wiki of the amalgamation of public knowledge, and first-hand observations from citizens, information about almost every cape that has a cape-name. Jasmin even had a page, but the only information on her was that she had "lightning powers" with no elaboration, and that she's a villain that's committed three convenience store robberies. A few keyword searches later, and she discovered the information she was interested in. Freischütz was the HLA member who appeared at the scene. She was mildly interested, because Capetown's HLA branch consisted of two teams of ten members each, and out of the twenty, he was one of the ones with less media interest, but lots of "Cape Geek" interest. He was popular on the ParahumansOnline forums, and there was lots of discussion about his equipment and his powers. The other bit of information was a bit harder to find. Ghoul, a Changer last seen in New Mexico, seemed to be the best fit based on the description of the power. Swirling ink, ghoulish, skeletal preferred form, but can take the form of animals, or even just change a single part of the body. There wasn't any information on his crimes, and there was a single thread that mentioned him in three posts, as two users debated whether he was a Rogue or Villain, but other than that, no more online information.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... Brrrrrr. Brrrrrr. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... Brrrrrr. Brrrrrr.

As she searched, a high-pitched emergency-alert sound emitted from her phone, and she jumped in surprise at the sound. She expected it to be an Amber Alert, but her stomach dropped when she read the notification. State Of Texas Issued Abhorrent Emergency Alert System Broadcast Test. Right, it was a test. The last Abhorrent attack had been in India, four and a half months ago. The Abhorrents usually attacked three to four months apart, so the next attack was expected to happen any day, any hour, any minute. She had read articles online about how every time an Abhorrent attack is late, the HLA and the THA are basically on 24/7 stand-by, waiting for the attack, so they can go an defend, international or not. She herself had no plans to attend any Abhorrent fight, but it got her thinking.

If Capetown was attacked, would she help defend? It wasn't technically a law that parahumans had to defend, but that was for good reason. Firstly, it didn't make it look like the PCRT wanted villains on their side. Secondly, villains were more likely to help against Abhorrent attacks because it wasn't a law. They weren't being forced to. But it was a weird and shaky balance, because people expected you to. Fighting an Abhorrent is like fighting a tornado throwing around nukes, and if you have the power to stop it or let people die, you stop it, whether you're a villain or not. There's unspoken rules between capes. If an Abhorrent attacks, you put aside Hero, Villain, Rogue, lables, and you help. If you don't have the firepower to go toe to toe with one, you help recover and save the wounded capes, you help with the evacuation of civilians, you help relay information in battle. And you never, ever, use it as an opportunity to get revenge or learn an identity. It's been an honor code stronger than the strictest laws for over forty years now, and it's only ever been broken twice. Because when adults dress up and play cops and robbers, it's just a game. But when the Abhorrents attack, the facade ends, and things get serious.

The thoughts sat wrong in her stomach, and her shoulders felt cold as she caught herself staring blankly at the wall. She couldn't help but feel that the EAS broadcast test was a bad omen. Was Capetown a likely target? It's population was just over five hundred thousand, so it wasn't a particularly big city. But it keeps to it's namesake and has a dense cape population, ranking number five in the nation. Anything's possible. She thought grimly, before laying down on her futon and dark thoughts drifted her to sleep.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: River Riley (Zero) Character Portrait: Mara Haruka Black Character Portrait: Devon Metzger(freischütz)
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Wendigo made a decision at the moment the chime of the door sounded throughout the "Wich Which". He was going to scream if it wouldn't deafen everyone in the establishment. Which it would... First it was the lightning chick with all the interestin' morals. Granted, she told him outright that she just wanted to still be able to eat at this shop, but hey he was hungry and he needed to replace all the lost mass from earlier. It had been a while since he was last able to eat anyways, but no, now it was some other guy, this one looking like he would do something too. And he was another one who liked to talk around his point, it reminded him of the bullies back in El Paso. Focused as he was on the food, Jericho got the gist of whatever the HLA guy was saying. A sigh escaped him before he began to speak, again, with food in his mouth because when a mythical Native American cannibal beast gotta eat, he gotta eat. Heh. "Oh Christ are you done now? First it was whoever the queen of chill ozone is, and now its you. I'm not hurtin' anyone. Need to eat. Back. Off." The agitation was palpable in his voice, terse and tired even as it rattled out into the air clearly despite the non-chewed food in his maw. A second set of jaws was set behind the extension of the first, fleshy and rather human; if a human's mouth was capable of constantly chewing up whatever came in contact with the teeth, without pause and capable of extending forward and pulling non chewed food closer to the throat.

Wendigo's attention was dragged away from eating as he noticed most of the other patrons in the shop leaving, stance shifting in such a way that it was obvious he was now wary of the newcomer. Apparently the guy was carrying author- Oh hey look that's a rifle. "I'm gonna go out on a wild limb on a wilder tree and assume that's loaded. Hm." The voice that rattled out of Wendigo's chest was higher in pitch now, resonating faintly with some of the windows in the shop as panic began to seep into him. He had dealt with bullets before, and most of the time he was able to just shrug 'em off, but the rifle that the man had walked in with looked like it was meant for dealing with large threats. Maybe Wendigo was wrong, but he hadn't had any training or experience with guns that didn't involve him being on the smoking hole end.

The skeletal frame of the beast turned towards Freischütz and lowered its head at him, angling the antlers downward and towards the center mass of the 'human' in a silent warning. While Wendigo didn't necessarily want to hurt anyone to get away, he would. After a moments pausing thought, ink swelled around the entirety of his frame, pulsing outwards once before subsiding as muscle mass seemed to just 'appear'. "Waste of a meal..." came the thought, muttered aloud. He shifted yet again, thinking on his 'feet' as it were, arms growing longer still as his stance became quadrupedal and shifted to a sort of gorilla-like sloping of the back. Those antlers never moved though, having gone through a split shift as well as they increased in volume and thickness. A little surprise waiting at the base of them should he really have to charge through this guy. Another moving of position, and Wendigo was out from behind the counter and out in plain view. Almost thirteen feet of now muscled fur, not counting the extra foot of onyx bone that the antlers added. Nine prongs on each branch, tips as sharp as mesquite thorns. The hind legs of Wendigo were clawes instead of hooves, though the claws on each of the ten toes was thick and blunt, making dents in the tile floor. The front claws weren't similar, being sharp and somewhat long; maybe an inch and a half. Wordlessly, a rumbling growl ripped out from the Changer's chest, loud and deep enough to feel in the bone, with an underlying chirping that seemed set on making every last bit of glass in the area quiver worryingly. Two sets of vocal cords were at work in the now thickly muscled throat.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jasmin Lehtinen (Sähkö) Character Portrait: River Riley (Zero) Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Mara Haruka Black Character Portrait: Devon Metzger(freischütz)
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After Ace said his piece, things were still relatively silent and tense.

Ding. Mara couldn't help but but shift their attention from Wendigo to the new presence. Only a moment passed before the man seemingly chirped his piece.

"So I'm guessing you are the changer we got those calls about. Though going by the callers it sounded like this place was to be wrecked by the time I got here. Nope, just a couple bucks worth of veggie, meat and bread getting devoured," the man said very cheerfully. It was slightly weird for her to hear such a tone coming from a hero dressed like this man - a man dressed in full body armor and armed with weapons. It was something she'd only really seen on her brother while he was on duty.

Regardless of what she thought of his outfit, Ace relaxed his stance at seeing a comrade but he was still wary of the two villains. Mara, however, naturally distrusted this new character. His actions were relaxed, but the way he moved in and eyed Wendigo contrasted his movements. She didn't know if that was due to experience, but it unnerved her slightly. It spoke of deception. Mara also noticed that he seemed to have a sense of humor that her brother liked, but she never saw the amusement in jokes like this. Though, she could at least observe that his very aura was de-escalating the situation. It seemed to reassure the people who were still left inside the shop.

"I would like to ask you all to please leave this fine establishment for a moment. So this gentleman and I can have a couple of words without me having to worry about what any third party might be doing." At that, Mara looked up at Ace and he looked down at her. They could certainly take care of themselves, but they would leave. After all, staying here might complicate the situation. They silently agreed. For now, they would do as he said. They both left the shop and were the last ones to leave. It couldn't be helped that most of the people were all too eager to get out.

Right after they closed the door, Mara felt more than heard windows trembling before it stopped. By the time she shut the door to the car, she heard a familiar growl from the opened car window. At this point, Mara was also at an angle where she could actually see the windows trembling as if they were scared. Her eyes drifted back to her brother, but Ace did not start the car.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jasmin Lehtinen (Sähkö) Character Portrait: River Riley (Zero) Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Mara Haruka Black Character Portrait: Devon Metzger(freischütz)
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Without much fanfare the people from the shop flooded out, many all too happy to oblige having desired a way to get out of that mess in the first place. But most importantly the two vigilantes were out of the way, and with them any twitchy reactions they could produce as well. The changer addressed Devon with agitation and a certain hostility. It's voice was, pretty much what you'd expect a creature of that kind of stature and mouth to sound like when it was trying to speak like a human, perhaps a bit more tired than expected. Apparently those vigilantes had soured the situation quite well before his arrival. Which was something he'd remember to thank them for if he ever saw them again. The creature however was more interested in food than in him, and given that it had stated that it needed food and was pretty efficiently dining away what was perhaps a months worth of food, it seemed pretty likely he really needed food.

The situation sharpened further as the changer turned his attention from the food to Devon, apparently and not entirely ungrounded seeing him as a major threat. The creature spoke once more this time in a higher and more painful voice as it reacted to seeing his assault rifle. Devon cracked a small smile as it basically asked his assumption of the rifle being loaded was correct. "Actually, it's empty. Like I said, I'm just here to talk and I can't exactly just drop a weapon randomly on the street. But how about you eat first, and we talk later. If you need more food, I know a place or two without the mass panic... Or the need to jump a counter, my treat." He said slowly motioning his free hand to the magazine pulling it out and giving the creature a full view of it's empty insides. He then re-inserted the magazine into the weapon.

However as he explained his intentions the changer had taken on a form he could only describe as aggressive, this thing now literally looked armed to the teeth. A rather impressive creature were it not for the fact that it might be attacking Devon. It came out from behind the counter, seemingly being more mournful about wasting food than anything else. Making an educated guess Devon assumed that him needing food was tied to his shapeshifting abilities, likely with him needing food to grow. At any rate that was less important than the immediate danger of having a fight with that beast right here and now. The entire situation favored the changer, there was only a short distance, confined and cluttered space, even if he'd kill the thing before the first charge hit the momentum of the corpse would still hit with a dangerous amount of force.

Devon sighed putting his free hand on the table he was leaning against. Both as leverage in case he'd have to dodge and because it was more comfortable than leaning on the edge with it's full weight, it was pushing his armored vest into a rather uncomfortable position. "A couple hundred dollars worth of food, easily resupplied by tomorrow afternoon, or a couple thousands dollars of damages and a business with closed doors for weeks cleaning up the mess. It's a simple equation and from what you showed before I entered you seem to not want to fight without reason. And like you said nobody is hurt, so I don't see any real reason to fight you. I'd rather not be known as the hero who trashed a sandwich shop, or even worse got trashed in a sandwich shop, over a couple of footlongs. He then said as a final plea to sensibility, in the hopes to avoid having to fight the changer in this confined space. The place would get absolutely trashed, probably both would be hurt and he probably won't even have the option of holding back on the lethal firepower.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Terry 'Tess' Farina (Hush) Character Portrait: Kayle Tallion (Twisted Smile)
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Kayle had been about to launch himself out of the alley, bee-lining home for food that his stomach so desperately craved. He had let his guard down, this had been an impromptu rescue after all, and now he was caught without his shadow concealing him. The moment the woman spoke, his head snapped back and once more he was wreathed in shadow. Stupid...stupid stupid stupid...should have stayed concealed till I was heading home. Kayle thought to himself as he got a look at the girl. She seemed somewhat defiant, her words gave way to appreciation with more than a bit of concern laced with them. Excessive? Spoken like someone who’s never had to cross the line, or remained ignorant to the truth that the true bastards of the city don’t respect anything but pain and violence. He let out a little smile beneath his helmet at the question of his professional moral alignment. Was he a hero? Nah, he never considered himself one. In fact, on public record, Twisted Smile was a wanted criminal with a record for aggravated assault and attempted murder, but the people on who he committed these acts were always casually brushed under the rug in order to make him look like the evil man he truly was.

What should he say to her though? People were often so scared of him by this point that their tongues refused to form words, their eyes shifted to the ground and their legs quivered beneath their bodies. Admittedly, that was partially his fault as he often spread out his empathetic aura to encompass an area, usually grabbing a civilian or two that were simply too close for comfort. She seemed to be afraid slightly, but had enough backbone to address him after what she had seen him do undoubtedly. He was caught in an uncomfortable situation. A lot of his persona, reputation and fear came from his demeanor and how he acted. It was one of the things that allowed him to get the drop on people, as true criminals would actually shake in their boots at the mention of his name, since other criminals would carry that information and create stories of the boogeyman, the chains that bind, the Twisted Smile.

“Did I ever say I was a hero?” Kayle stated through the dark shroud that now covered his body and motorcycle. “Brutality is a universal language, even idiots such as those can understand that. You call it excessive, I call it a translation.”

“You had stopped them. There was no need for that, that’s not…” Tess hesitated a little, the dark shadows enveloping the boy intimidating, and she wasn’t entirely sure whether he intended to use his powers, whatever they may be, against her. Swallowing nervously, she continued. “Just because they understand violence doesn’t justify it.”

Kayle gave a sigh, the shadows shifting around his form harmlessly as he looked down at the ground. This was an inevitable argument that happened too many times for his liking. Those who never had to go to such lengths because others like himself perform the necessary evil themselves. He could go into a discussion about morality, necessities and prevention, but that would drag things out. “If the world operated by blind ideals that everyone can and will do the right thing, then there would be no place for someone like me. The fact of the matter is that we don’t live in a fairytale.” Kayle looked at the girl, although he knew she couldn’t really tell which way he was looking through the shadows. “Villains and criminals consider heros to be an inconvenience, a small fight followed by a stint in jail. They’re never truly in danger because heroes will never kill them…” Kayle looked back at the crippled criminals. “That’s why they fear me…because they won’t be walking away unscathed.”

Tess wasn’t entirely sure what to say. Not initially at the very least. She couldn’t deny that there was some sense to what he said. Cold as it was, that hard logical standpoint was something close to the truth. But even so… Even so… “So you have the right to deliver that judgement all by yourself? What if you’re wrong?” Tess challenged, trying to take a step forward. She didn’t really manage it, since her legs still felt like jelly, so she instead remained where she was. “People make mistakes… And I don’t just mean you could be wrong. These people…” She looked to the unconscious and beaten crooks before swiftly turning back away, remembering why that was a bad idea. “People can change. They can be victims of circumstance. Can you really condemn everyone the moment they step out of line without any chance for redemption?”

“If they need to be reminded by someone like me that what they’re doing is wrong, then what they would get wouldn’t be redemption, it would be forced reform. At which point, they’re not acting nice and ‘good’ because they know and believe it’s the right thing to do...they’re doing it because they’re scared of me.” Kayle stated, looking back at the girl. “You obviously stand by your own ideals, and I respect that, but I can’t agree with it. Such a viewpoint always leads to repeated criminal behaviour.” Kayle revved his motorcycle once, indicating his intent to leave. “We could sit here and wax the philosophical all night, but I haven’t eaten all day. I suggest you get going home, chances are I won’t be around if you get attacked for a second time tonight.” Kayle finished the conversation from his end, revving his engine a couple more times before speeding out of the alley and taking a left to continue to his home.

He was stupid with hunger and stir fry was waiting.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Terry 'Tess' Farina (Hush) Character Portrait: Kayle Tallion (Twisted Smile)
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◄:Terry ‘Tess’ Farina:►
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As the shadowy man made his point of view clear, it was obvious that such discussion was unlikely to yield any change in either his opinion or her own. Though Tess wasn’t afraid to continue such discussion in a calm and rational manner, the situation didn’t permit a lengthy debate as the man oriented his bike to leave, giving some last advice that she make her way home before any other danger fell upon her. Terry didn’t exactly have any rebuttal for that, nor did she feel it prudent to delay the man from his meal. Not that she could, as even if she wanted to he had already driven away, leaving Tess alone in the company of the two incapacitated crooks.

Shortly after he left, sirens sounded nearby, a few police cars skidding to a stop just outside the alleyway as a few members of the local law enforcement entered the alley with guns drawn. Terry was quick to place her hands in the air, guided away to the back of a police car for an initial interrogation. Soon enough after describing what had happened – Both the chase at the hands of the criminals, as well as the shadowy man that had assaulted them – the situation became much less hostile as any suspicion they had into her potential involvement faded. In fact, at the mention of the shadowy gentleman Terry was pressed for further details describing him and his actions, along with being asked for a formal statement regarding him and the events of that night.

Of course, it wasn’t the ideal way to spend the night, but Tess wasn’t the kind to refute those working hard to protect the local citizens. After a somewhat lengthy phone call to her parents, Tess made her way with the police to the station and filled in a detailed description of what she’d seen of ‘Twisted Smile’ as the police informed her, a somewhat notorious villain known for his extreme methods and the ability to strike fear into those around him. From what Terry recalled of her own experience with him, the panic and terror of James and Buck stood as a prominent reminder of that fact. Still, for a villain, he had saved her. Despite the Police insisting that he was a criminal, it was pretty clear based on the information he was more of a vigilante. A misguided one perhaps, but he was trying to do the right thing, at least in his mind. That’s how she saw it at least.

“So he had a motorbike was it? Did you get to see the plates?” The interrogator asked her, urging Tess to remember as many details as she could. In all honesty, she could picture it all vividly, her memory far better than any normal person; but for the sake of seeming normal, she kept things relatively general, able to only describe the model and colour. For what it was worth, that seemed a good starting point for the police, and they intended to look through registration information to track something down. Once they were satisfied they thanked Tess for her time and provided her a lift home.

Worn out from the night’s excitement, Tess only briefly entertained her parents by talking through the events, making sure to assuage their concerns for her well being. In all honesty, she just wanted to get some sleep at this point. There was no sense in dwelling on what had happened. Instead, she’d have to look forward to what tomorrow would bring. Heading through her nightly routine, Tess did her best to sleep peacefully, but her mind tormented her a little with the sounds and visions of pain and terror she’d heard. It was going to be a rough night.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jason Riley (Quantum) Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton
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Jason looked the kid up and down as he spoke. He had taken some damage in the blast, but he still had the presence of mind to secure the villain. That meant his instincts were good. And is first thought had been to check on the civilian. That meant his morals were good too. He dropped the shield and held a hand out to the man behind him, who had dropped to the ground, covering his head during the blast. The man reached for his hand and then hesitated. Jason rolled his eyes. "It's fine, it's not actually flames," he said. The man frowned and took Jason's hand, letting him haul him up to his feet.

"Looks like we're fine over here," Jason said to the kid. He turned back to the man. "Best get home soon. You know how Capetown gets after dark." The man seemed to pale and he hurried from the alley, pausing to mumble a quick thanks in the kid's direction.

Jason leapt into the air, landing gracefully next to the fallen villain and the aqua-colored shield that surrounded him. Hesitantly, Jason reached out a hand to touch it. It was hard and smooth, almost like glass, but felt far less brittle. The villain within was out cold, but he needed to be transported to the specialized para containment sector of the local jail before that changed. Jason turned back to the kid, surveying him. The safest way to transport the villain was probably inside of this bubble and Jason wasn't sure he could replicate it.

"Call me Quantum," he said, and extended his hand to shake. "Any chance you fly?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jasmin Lehtinen (Sähkö) Character Portrait: River Riley (Zero) Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Mara Haruka Black Character Portrait: Devon Metzger(freischütz)
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Wendigo took a moments pause, taking in the logical words of the cape in front of him, the reminders weren't even exactly necessary but they helped bring for him back to a state of sensible mind. The trench coat was offering him a way out, without violence, and wasn't exactly saying he was going to arrest him either... But that was enough. That non-saying of 'I'll probably still try to arrest you' was enough to keep Wendigo on his claws, as it were. A long breath sighed out of the beast, another twinned growl echoeing soon after, setting the windows behind the HLA man once more wavering with the sound of the underlying whine that accompanies the otherwise louder and deeper thrum.

The beast shifted its stance once again, the head shifting shape first a short it become a falsified resemblance to a bat, if the skull of that bat was on par with a grown man's. Ink lashed out into the air around Wendigo, cloaking him for a short moment before falling away and revealing a new, skeletal form that was nightmarish in its improbability. Smaller than the wendigo form before, this form was sleek and painted a candied scarlet, even if the skin itself was translucent and showing the bones and organs underneath. Six sail-like wings adorned themselves to four arms and two hind legs, a bat through and through, with flaps of flesh attaching to the two foot long tail that extended from the spine of the beast. A sugar skull was painted on its face, emphasized by the skeletal and lightweight frame of the Changer. Claws adorned each limb, faintly curled and digging into the tile to the best of its ability, and chitin made itself apparent around the top of the skull and shoulders.

Two ruby red orbs were sat in the eye sockets, as Jericho let the chiropteran lips pull into an otherwise terribly unsettling smile; the facial structure of a bat not meant to make any kind of human expression, but hey, that didn't stop him from trying. This form didn't allow for speech though, and no amount of trying would fix that. Oh well. Wendigo stared at the man for only a second or two longer before he bolted, powerful arms and legs, even as thin as they were, rocketed the monster forward and over the head of Freischütz in front of him, slamming into the glass behind the hero with enough force to rip the door off its hinges, the chitin covering the head and shoulders allowing the Changer to do this without near as much damage to the form as could have been done.

There seemed to be a crowd outside the shop, and Jericho was willing to bet they were surprised by the sudden explosion of movement and glass. He gave them a grin too, just for kicks. He then took to the air, each sweeping flap of his wings sending air rushing through and past arms and legs. A long chittering peal of noise left his maw, pitched in such a way that he just couldn't get under control dammit! Leaving windows and the glass of cellphones vibrating visibly. If not cracking outright, or shattering in the case of some store windows nearby.

He turned in the air, powering four arms with sails of leather stretched between them, and quickly attempted to vanish from sight by landing on the roof of a building a good ten minutes away by walking from the Which Wich. He could feel the impact of some fast moving objects hitting his shoulders and his head, jolting him with faint amounts of pain... Then he felt one sink right against the top of his head and the patch of skin just above his heart. Bullets? Rubber bullets?! He couldn't fathom how the other cape was hitting him, and he didn't care; instead choosing to power himself faster still through the air, his wings making impossibly hard to ignore flapping sounds that echoed in the quieter parts of the neighborhood he flitted over. Moments later, he landed.

The moment feet touched the ground, his form shrank away into his true, human, shape, excess mass sloughing off in small clumps of ink as his stomach filled with the rest. A wasteful meal by his standard but, beggars can't be picky, right? And oh man oh man was he utterly terrified of the night's recent happenings, the fact that he had been lied to by a presumed hero! Who does that?! Then again... Presuming the guy was a hero was probably a stretch. Was he the kingpin that the lightning chick made comments about? The name escaped him, but caution about where he would be committing ANY sort of act would (hopefully) make the forefront of his thoughts. Maybe.

Jericho knew that he had probably made some amount of noise on the building he had landed on, but as far as he could see, there weren't any openings up onto the roof. A quick assumption that would probably cost him if any other heroes were near enough to have seen him, or heard. So he relaxed, falling on his butt and letting out a high cackling laugh that died away soon after, stress and andrealine fading from his consciousness. "Holy hell... Jeez. That was too much."

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Devon Metzger(freischütz)
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The changer stayed silent for a moment, not moving to attack, but at the same time not showing any signs of backing down. It was to the point where Devon could feel the nerves creeping up in his spine, he knew that if needed he'd be able to fire within the blink of an eye, but he didn't know how much of an effect his bullets would have to the behemoth in front of him. It apparently having decided on his course of action let another distorted and rather unnerving growl come forth, with the mix of sounds it produced it was impossible to deduce for Devon whether there was aggression, fear or any other indications of it's mental state were hidden in there. There likely were, not even humans were capable of suppressing the effects their emotions have on the signals they send out. However what was certain was that the howl put him even more on edge causing him to reflexively activate his overdrive. He could feel every beat of his heart course through his veins, surging to supply body with adrenaline and oxygen for what was seemingly inevitable to come next. The arm leaning on the table and his legs tensed like coiled springs ready to jump aside and out of the path of the charge that would come.

Though with the end of that howl came a different decision that proved his body's guts were off on this one. The form of the creature before him shifted once more, it's facial structure becoming much more bat-like in shape. It then cloaked itself in some kind of black liquid, though what exactly the substance was he'd leave to others to find out as he felt absolutely no incentive to touch the substance to find out, for all he knew it could toxic or corrosive. What appeared from the cloak was a form less disturbing than the one that had been standing in front of him before, but horrifying in it's own right. It's red eyes seemed to pierce everything it looked at, and the visible organs and bone structure beneath the translucent flesh was rather unpleasant to watch, the six large sails of flesh and bone and it's warped smile didn't exactly add to the ease at which one would be able to look at the being.

Though one thing was clear this form was for escaping from a somewhat safe situation, using it otherwise would be madness. It seemed much more frail than the form before with the exception of the shoulders and head that had a shine to them not dissimilar to that of a beetle, which appeared to be protected by a layer of chitin of unknown thickness and consistency. But what really sealed the deal was that translucent skin, no sane being would ever expose their vitals so readily in a situation where it felt it's life was on the line.

using the length of the limbs the creature jumped forward over Devon's head and straight into the glass behind. "Of course it had to cause more unnecessary damage, stupid creature." He thought as he jumped away to see the creature smashing it's way through the glass. It caused quite a ruckus outside, not exactly what he had hoped for, as he could hear more screams and yelling coming from outside. He himself rushed after the creature through the newly created exit only to see the flying menace in the sky and causing more damage with an almost unbearable squealing. More glass shattered to the street as Devon took aim. This wasn't something he wanted to do to a non-violent parahuman, and it had still not proven itself aggressive outside of situations where it'd have to take to the defensive.

Letting out a sigh once more he pulled the trigger and with three loud cracks echoing through the streets a burst of three rubber pellets to came flying out of the rifle. Though these were more for show as he still didn't mean real harm to the creature that amounted to little more than a starved dog in his opinion. The bullets homed in aiming for the chitin covered head and shoulders, losing much of their velocity as they homed in a hard curve to hit squarely on the armored parts. He then pulled the trigger a couple more times to fire rubber pellets aimed at the same target filling the streets once more with the sounds of gunfire. It would suffice to make it look like he was actually fighting the creature, but he then switched the rifle to single and fired another rubber bullet. This bullet was meant to warn the being to not make light of him, it's trajectory homed in on a trajectory that would put the heart and the brain of the creature squarely in it's path. Even to such a fragile being it wouldn't amount to more than a minor bruise at it's impact point from this distance though, that was if that creature couldn't just heal it's injuries through it's shapeshifting. Which was something that seemed to be within the realm of possibilities considering how fast the being had shifted it's forms before.

When the changer left his line of sight he felt tempted to give chase, but looking at the distance and the crowd he'd have to maneuver through the changer would be long gone if he decided to give chase. It annoyed him greatly, in this entire exchange he had felt that his powers as a hero had been largely irrelevant and that in part felt as the reason why the villain had escaped now. So many of his collegae heroes would have been able to deal with this situation much more easily and effectively, no doubt they weren't going to rub it in for the next week or even month. Even more annoying where the phones and camera's now pointed at him, publicity and more importantly those idiots on parahumansonline who insisted on decoding every scrap of information about the heroes and villains around. No doubt there'd be plenty of them looking at all the footage taken here frame by frame to try and figure out anything about him. They were just handing the villains information about their enemies on a silver platter, luckily for him there was little they could be able to discern from any video footage of him. Beyond publishing the files kept on him by the PCRT there was little that could be done to discern the nature of his powers, as most of the outwardly visible powers merely yielded heavily heated discussions about his powers while only making his powers seem more ambiguous in the end. After a light murmuring that he muted to the outside he moved his way through the crowds reporting his finding to HHQ via radio and hoping that the remainder of the evening would be without much more excitement as he continued his patrol.

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Character Portrait: Vic Martel (Nobody)
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Vic Martel picked the needle off the Willie Nelson record that had been the soundtrack to her life for the last couple hours. Being surrounded by music and music lovers at all hours was the benefit of working at a record store, but it was up to the customers what played. While Vic could appreciate some country, it was usually just before bed when she was about to fall asleep, not when she was trying to stay alert at work. The fact that it was a slow day didn't help, either.

She dragged the sign off the streets and trudged down the alley the entrance to the shop was hidden down. Ignoring someone leaning against the wall across from her smoking, she entered through the unassuming door on the side of the brick building and locked it behind her. A single yellow light bulb lit up the stairwell, casting her shadow against the walls heavily plastered with posters upon posters. She hated the entrance to her work. The stairs were too narrow and the walls hugged them too tightly. She used these stairs to torture herself, ascending them as slowly and purposefully as she could. Her shadow crept with her. She kept her eyes on the weak daylight above, ignoring the shadows and the crushing lack of space. It was time for her to get over this. Besides, at least they were stairs, not an elevator.

Once out of that horrible place, Vic made a beeline to the small radio on the side of the counter. She turned it on and tuned it to the local rock station, nearly smiling when she heard the trance-inducing sounds of The Velvet Underground. Rock and Roll was definitely the genre and song to refresh her palate after all that country. She swung her head and mouthed the upbeat lyrics as she flicked notes through her fingers, cashing up for the day.

Soon she was plugging in the vacuum cleaner and was about to turn it on when she heard a familiar base line crackling through the radio's speakers. She slowly rose from the ground and stared at the little mechanism. At the first crash of a symbol, her dulled eyes brightened.

“Her lips are ice cold,” a distinctive voice sung, “Baptized in ethanol... and I wonder, if I'll bring her back tonight -”

Vic sprang at the radio, turning it up as loud as it could go. It boomed over the noise of the vacuum as she rocked her heart out around the store, thrashing to the beat of her own drumming.

By the time she got home, the sun was setting. Her aunt had left out some spaghetti to be warmed up for her. She worked the night shift at the children's hospital and was already gone. Vic plonked her bag on the kitchen table and jogged up the stairs to her room. Vic's room was one that appeared messy at first, but in actuality if you took a closer look you'd see she took care of her living quarters. Band posters were scattered over the walls and clothes hung from hangers from nearly everything. A terrarium hosting two hermit crabs sat on her desk beside her laptop and an empty bottle of creaming soda. Vic tossed the bottle into the recycling bin in the corner of her room and sprinkled food pellets into the terrarium, stroking the shells of the crabs affectionately. A breeze tickled the back of her neck and she turned to the ajar window. She pulled open the black curtains then opened the windows up further. The breeze was cold but comforting, a perfect night to fly.

Vic shut her eyes and breathed before bringing her hands in front of her and focusing. Slowly, the particles from her fingertips began to disperse. She watched them float and become nothing, the anomaly beginning to travel its way up her arms. She looked down to she was no longer standing - her feet were gone, and her legs were going. Soon, she appeared to be completely gone.,, but she wasn't. She was Nobody. Vic passed through the open window into the sky. She traveled past the suburbs and over the city, to the canvas on which the squabbles of hero and villain took place. As Nobody, Vic watched. She slipped through the conflicts leaving only the faint scent of licorice behind her. She considered revealing herself to some and joining in a supernatural scuffle she happily watched unfold, but was too tired to go through the hassle. Instead, she took joy in bothering innocent people with strong breezes. When she had enough, she flew home, became Vic again, ate her spaghetti, watched a hilariously bad 90s horror movie and went to bed.

Such was the life of a parahuman whose ambitions laid in the mundane.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Jasmin Lehtinen (Sähkö) Character Portrait: Lucas Eklund (Chrysopoeia)
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Capetown, TX. 09/18/2017, 11:34 AM. 77°F,
Partly Cloudy (Sprinkling). Arc 2: Confluence.



It was an autumn morning like any other in Capetown, Texas. Even though I think was nearly noon, the sky was dark with clouds, an endless grey expanse with a barely perceptible texture, one side of the sky glowing slightly brighter than the other. Lucas Eklund had spent the better part of the morning fucking around with his power, trying to make cool artistic sculptures that he could sell on "Etsy" without it being suspect that it was power-made. But, like all things, he couldn't keep his commitment to it long enough to finish, and so, he goes, each day, not finishing his "job," if it can be called that. He has sold a few sculptures online, making something out of sticks and clay, then changing it to glass, or plastic, or quartz, and selling it on Etsy. However, most of the time he loses interest. Today was one of those days, as he was more interested in a faster way of making lots of cash.

The sound of clicks and beeps as he dialed a number rang out through his apartment.
"Hey, Jazz, I have a new plan this time."
"No. I already know what it is. You want to turn another sculpture into gold. We've been over this before. No."
"No, this time I have a good idea. I mean, it's nothing special, it's obvious. But here; what if I do it little pieces at a time? A gold pebble sold here, a gold pebble sold there. If I don't do a whole lot, I can't get caught, right? What do you think?"
"I don't know. I'm not a Thinker. I can't see the far-reaching ramifications of this. But I still think it's a really bad idea."
"But you are a Thinker, you've told me that before, I think."
"Well, technically, because I have an extra sense, but I'm not the kinda Thinker that's smart."
"But you're smart." He retorted.
"Lucas, I don't think it's a good idea."
"Look, I know in the past you haven't wanted me to turn things into gold because it's dangerous, but look; if I turn a tiny rock, sell it for $100, who's to say it's not some nugget I found out in the wilderness?"
"Because if you start doing it too much, or make too much money off of it, the Thinkers that watch the economy are going to get suspicious. 'Hmmm. Where did all this gold come from? You know, the stuff world economies are based off of, and suddenly there's a lot more of it!' " She sarcastically imitated.
"Look, babe, just come over and I'll show you. It's fool-proof."
"Okay, first of all, you can't make a fool-proof plan. That's an oxymoron. Second of all, we are not dating." Jasmin stressed, leaving a pause afterwards."I've told you this. Third of all, I'm at work. You know, a job. One of those things you don't have."
"Ouch, you're turning my sarcasm against me."
"You're providing the ammo."
"Okay, okay. When do you get off of work? ...Five? Okay. I guess I can cause some trouble around town until you get off."
"Hey don't do anything that'll get you arrested."
"Jasmin, were villains. That's what we do."
"I'm only a villain because my job can't pay rent."
"Not this again. So you'd be a hero if you got the chance? All the rules and regulations?"
"Yes. No. It's complicated."
"Yeah, yeah. I'll see you at the hangout after five."

After hanging up, he glanced at the time. Ten past noon, got five hours to kill. He thought idly. He looked at the sculpture he he had been working on earlier, but decided on going out on the apartment patio for a smoke. The morning air smelled of rain, and he felt the pinpricks of the cool rain, more like a light sprinkle, on his skin.

"Today's gonna be a good day." Lucas spoke, to no one in particulars.

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul)
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The pattering of drizzle on his head was what woke Jericho up first, then it was the smell of vaguely iron-y inky substance. A moment was wasted in trying to wake up completely, then put to good use as he took a quick look down at his waist and his legs, watching as the 'waste' of the night before was washed off of him by the scant amount of rain from above. Ruby red ink trailed off of his face and his face, leaving only the painted sugar-skull on his 'money-maker' as the Changer had heard some idiots call it, to stay. A slow and heavy sigh escaped him, bones and joints creaking from the time spent in just one position as he stood up and stretched, blinking the sleep from his mind. A long yawn left his mouth, another stretch pulling his arms and chest into a sort of stance that involved a lot more twisting than strictly necessary. Jericho grinned, focusing for just half a moment as ink swelled up around his torso and legs, forming itself into a pair of leather like trousers- he really needed to just buy a pair of jeans already- and a leather jacket with fur lining the hood and collar, leaving his chest and stomach exposed to the elements. The ink faded as soon as it came, following the rapid shifting pattern that it always did with him.

He strode over to the edge of the roof, looking down over the raised lip of the building he slept on top of, staring at the street and subsequent alley below him, watching the clumps of people who decided to walk in the relatively pleasant weather with a slight smile. Jericho hadn't ever felt the need to walk with them before, but the past night of excitement left him feeling giddy and admittedly stupid with the need to be around other people. He spent a little while thinking, trying to decide whether or not going as a person would be a good idea, but ultimately feeling that he didn't really have anything to lose otherwise. He had managed to get away from that hero the night before, right? Eh.

Taking a quick breath, Jericho stepped out into open air; letting himself fall a good four stories down straight into the alley, landing with a loud thump and the slight cracking of concrete. Mid-air, he had shifted the mass of his arms- effectively erasing them from existence- and shifted that then unused matter into his feet and legs, reinforcing the bone and flesh there until it was just strong enough to withstand the hard impact. A blink of an eye later, and he had his arms again, dripping from the rain and leaving just a small amount of ink on the pavement under him, which was quickly washed away soon after. He hoped strongly that no one saw him, but from the lack of screaming or even surprised murmuring outside of conversational talk, the teen figured he was good. Without another moment spent thinking, he took to the crowd of people walking on the sidewalk outside of the alley. Some took one look at his face and chose to walk a bit faster, ignoring his presence pointedly while others simply accepted the 'weirdness' and kept walking at a sedate pace.

Jericho followed the flow of the crowds until he once again found himself in downtown, an eyebrow raised to his surroundings in surprise. Maybe... Nah, he didn't have any money, and making another huge mess like yesterday would only serve to get himself into an inordinate amount of trouble. Hmph... What was a shapeshifter to do? Nothing but continue to wander around until something else interesting happened, or maybe he would cause something interesting... Who knew. The tall buildings around him gave the Changer the impression of being caged, just a little bit-- Oh hey wasn't there a school nearby? Heh, that would be pretty fun, go in as a dog- again- and muck about with the students, give some of them a story to tell their peers? "... Heh. Reckless as hell." Came the muttered aloud thought soon after, recognizing that maybe that wouldn't be the best idea. A chuckle was spared at the actual, genuine planning behind it, and Jericho made up his mind. To the school he would go!

If he could find it. Was the school- were there more than one? What school would he even visit? And further more were they even located so close to downtown proper...?

Setting

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Character Portrait: Jasmin Lehtinen (Sähkö) Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Lucas Eklund (Chrysopoeia)
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Capetown, TX. 09/18/2017, 12:57 AM. 79°F,
Partly Cloudy (Sprinkling). Arc 2: Confluence.



"Fuck, I'm hungry." Lucas Eklund spoke aloud to himself, his voice muffled by his helmet and drowned out by the idle roar of his motorcycle, yet still breaking his train of thought, and curbing his annoyance at the sounds of the city a bit. For a man born and raised in Los Angeles, he sure did hate the hustle and bustle of a big city, with the background drone of talking voices, the beeps, screeches, and hums of traffic, the bass of a truck driving by blaring rap music, the occasional chirp or chortle of birds, it all grated with him when he was in a bad mood. Especially when he was in a bad mood. And that he was, because, as he evidently announced himself; he was hungry. He bent down and picked up a rock, no bigger than a quarter. Then he whipped out his phone, opening up Google, and typed in 'a gram of gold' into the search bar. $41 per gram. He thought. How much is a gram? He clicked on the images tab. Oh, holy shit, that's tiny as fuck. He looked down at the rock. About the size of a quarter in diameter, but it had volume where a quarter would be flat. If he transmuted it to gold, it'd easily be over 100 grams. Maybe 150 grams of gold. Worth it. What harm can one rock do?

Twenty minutes later, after stopping by an expensive jewelery store to "try on" a 24-karat gold ring, which he used to transmute the rock in his pocket with his other, non-ring-wearing, hand in his pocket, he was riding down the street on his motorcycle towards a pawn shop. Now here's the sketchy bit, he anticipated, knowing full well that he wasn't educated on the intricacies of the economy. He doubted it'd be as easy as walking in there and walking out with $500. And he was right, after having to wait an agonizing hour as the pawn shop owner got a "professional" to come look at his golden nugget, he was offered $350 for it.

"Fuck that, I know it's worth way more than that. I want $500 for it." Lucas said, scowling at the man behind the counter.

"Look man, you understand, I have to make a profit with this store. Now you're selling this, not pawning it, the best I can offer is $375." The pawn-broker counter-offered.

Lucas is not good at negotiating, but he is stubborn, and in the end he walked out of the shop with $400 cash. He checked his phone and it was nearly 2 PM. Maybe I'll go to The Ramsay Club, He thought, recalling one of the more expensive restaurants in the city, owned by a Cape-chef with non-combat cooking powers. A Tinker, if he recalled right, with the power to make food more delicious and filling than normal, out of regular or unconventional ingredients. Nah, too expensive, and I can't do this too many times or Jasm-

Scree-eeee-eeech! His thoughts were interrupted as he turned his bike to the right, screeching sideways, almost toppling the bike, coming to a stop inches away from some idiot with a skull tattoo covering his face. "Watch where you're fucking going, esse!" Lucas yelled, his Cali accent thickening his voice, while his hands instinctively made some obscene gestures.

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Character Portrait: Jason Riley (Quantum) Character Portrait: Alexander Dalton
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Alexander Dalton



A dream would have been nice. Though Alex couldn't and most likely wouldn't complain since Monday's were one of the few days where he had no class or any sort of odd jobs. Which would have meant sleeping in being an option. That was until an ungodly air horn of an alarm startled him awake so badly that he fell on off the bed in a tangle of limbs and bed sheets. Just the kind of way to start the day.

" I should have never tweaked that thing to be so damn loud." Grumbling to nobody in particular.

Rubbing his eyes, he glanced at the at the clock. Almost noon. Another hour would have been nice but that would risk wasting the day away and getting a possible scolding from the grandparents. Time to get the life together then. A nice afternoon shower followed by some instant coffee and he was ready to start on some new projects. He opened the blinds and windows to let some light and fresh air in. The weather looked cloudy and grey. Nothing unusual given the autumn season. Some rain would have been nice. a reason not to go out and patrol a bit when night came around. Alex mentally kicked himself for the thought though. He was better then that. And no self respecting hero would ever think like that to begin with. Turning his attention away from the gloom hanging over Capetown, Alex plopped himself at his work desk and booted up his computer. The usual tabs opened up. News feeds were nothing unusual, same cape related incidents as usual. Luckily no mention of his little event last night.

Right. Yesterday. He leaned back in his chair, spinning around for a bit. Why had he bolted from that scene at the shop? He could have changed quickly and went back to help. That's what any registered hero would have done. Heck some Most likely would not have even hesitated to just jump in while still dressed in civilian clothing. Alex sighed. There wasn't any point worrying about it now. best leave the past in the past and learn from it. Though, there was still THAT scene that went down. He groaned once again.





"Looks like we're fine over here," The burning man said to Alex as he made sure the man they had both saved was alright. As the man hurried from the alley, he pausing just for a moment to give Alex a quick yet genuine thanks before scurrying out of the ally. It gave Alex a warm feeling inside and made him reflexively smile under his mask. it was simple things like this that made the whole vigilante hero thing all worth it. even if he was only doing small things. it was still making a difference.

Alex wasn't letting himself get his head stuck in the clouds though. not with the given situation. He was still by all technicalities an unregistered para human doing cape work illegally. And here he was with who he assumed to be an actual hero. not an ideal situation at all. He watched as the blazing hero inspected the captured villain and his barrier.

After what felt a lot longer then a minute the hero turned back to Alex. He hero was now looking him over in a way that made Alex swear he was about to be taken in for questioning. "Call me Quantum," The name sounded familiar enough, confirming Alex's suspicions of the guy being A cape. He would have to look the guy up later to see who he was dealing with. It was right about that moment when a flame covered hand was extended towards him for a hand shake. "Any chance you fly?" Alex hesitated before accepting the handshake. He had a plan that he hoped would work.

" Aegis, And to answer you're question. Yes and no. I can but not that good, yet." That was around the time he sighed and shook his head. " Sorry about this though."

Lucky him for the element of surprise. Alex yanked his hand away, and with his other hand he shoved the hero back. A thick aqua bubble snapping around the now trapped hero. " I'm really sorry about this sir! the bubble should pop in about eight minutes, the other guys should last twenty. Again sorry about this!" And with that, Alex made a break for it, doing his best to not look back.



It was debatable if that had been the right move then and there. But like the shop incident, it was in the past now. Either way it didn't ever hurt to be too careful or slightly paranoid. Thinking it was about time to get some actual work done, Alex sat up and began toiling at his workbench. Trying to modify and update his costume. He did want to look more professional after all. It would have helped if he had some sort of thinker based power for this kind of stuff though. Luckily there was the always helpful internet.

After about two hours worth of adjusting and minor works of fabrication Alex got tired of being cooped up and decided it was about time to go out on the town. Maybe do some shopping and get a few parts and materials for his costume while he was at it. He sprung from his chair and quickly slapped on his usual casual getup and exited out the window as usual. He breathed in the crisp air and smiled a bit. today should be a good day, or as good as a day could get in a place like Capetown. And so he headed off down the street, thinking he should go to the shopping district downtown first before hitting any more out of the way stores.

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Lucas Eklund (Chrysopoeia)
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The sound of wheels screeching to a stop along with a rush of rubber scented air caused Jericho to turn his head, staring at the sudden 'appearance' of a man on a motorcycle cursing at him. For a moment he simply stared, trying and failing to piece together just what had happened... until recognition of the surroundings told him that he had been walking right into the guy's path. Though he was screaming now, and quite frankly ruining the good mood he had been in. Jericho's blank stare held against the cursing motorist; irritation flaring for a moment as he thoughtlessly responded.

Ink swelled around his throat, staying in view as his chest shrank imperceptibly; though all this would've been distracted from by the roaring snarl that leapt from his throat, tearing attention to the two as even a couple of other vehicles stopped. It wasn't disimilar to the rumble of the 'cycle's engine, if only a great deal louder and directed into a particular... direction. That still didn't stop it from echoeing up into the air around the two.

Face pulled into a scowl, Jericho cut off the noise after a second or two; listening for a moment to the gasps around him before he heaved a sigh and focused on the man on the bike in front of him. His hand came up and flipped the bird, another roar falling out of his mouth before he focused his attention on his skin; a small smirk turning the corner of his lips upward. At first it merely darkened, then grew darker still- to the point that features were nigh impossible to make out- before he shifted his stance and seemed to vanish altogether. Seemed being the operative word, the Changer had never heard of any creature- nor eaten any- that could completely vanish from sight via invisibility. So he went with the easier route; go dark and hope that the goddamned tattoo on your face went dark too.

After darkening his form until he was indistinguishable from a shadow on the floor, if a shadow decided to impose itself on the world physically and with actual 'weight' to it, the Changer let his face fall blank and took off to the side; shape coalescing into an amorphous blop of ink that sailed through the air until it reached an alley, sending some pedestrians screaming and backing away rapidly until it was far enough out of sight to hide behind a dumpster and take the form of an incredibly dark furred canine; another large German shepherd. Skull tattoo adorning his face visibly. He thought of curling up, but all the shifting and warping left him thinking... slower. Than before.

Reckless as all hell. Heh. Fuck.

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Character Portrait: Devon Metzger(freischütz)
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With the smell of a freshly brewed pot of coffee filling the air Devon sat down in front of his computer. He turned the computer on and idly looked out of the window next to him as he waited for the system to boot up. The few rays of sunlight that managed to reach through the cloud layer unobstructed made the tiny droplets stuck on the glass look like the star lit sky, but it didn't last for much more than a few seconds as the clouds moved blocking those few rays of sunlight from reaching his window. With the mesmerizing view on his window gone he took a sip of his coffee and looked back to his computer screen.

First thing that needed to be done was some grocery shopping, else he'd have to tap into his stocks of canned food soon, not an appetizing prospect given the sheer mediocrity of canned food in general. September always ensured a bounty of freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, the only real question was which ones and in what kind of dish. A question easily solved by reading some recipes from various cooking sites and forums. Something Devon always felt was the true blessing of online grocery shopping, sure it was easier, but being able to just look up recipes and order the ingredients at the same time turned grocery shopping from an annoying chore into something somewhat fun.

After a bit of shopping he turned his attention to parahumansonline, with what happened last night he just wanted to make sure nothing particularly informative had found it's way onto the forums. No need for villains to have more information about him than was needed to strike fear into them. But it seemed that his worries had been for nothing, the footage posted showed nothing more than him firing his gun, nothing that hadn't been recorder previously. And as far as discussion nothing new had sprung up, the latest posts about him were discussions about the styling of his attire, apparently some found him to look too villainous. "I'll just take that as a compliment." He thought as he scrolled further.

There was one other thing nagging him about last night when he reported about the vigilante using electrical powers they seemed to think it might be linked to some convenience store robberies. They didn't exactly have a lot of information, but apparently some electricity wielding villain was involved in three convenience store robberies. The girl had seemed to insignificant to him that he hadn't paid much attention to her, not that the mask of magnetized material left much to be identifiable. Perhaps the site could be useful for once, maybe there was some footage or some other information to jog his memory. Devon didn't feel like going after some villain that just screamed villain out of necessity, but it also didn't sit right with him to just do nothing when he could help. Unfortunately after a bit of searching and exhausting his entire vocabulaire for lightning related words he hadn't found anything new, just the exact information he'd gotten from his superiors.

Devon tried to put his mind off of it with some good old HoI3, but in the end it kept bothering him that he couldn't get anything definitive. But as it stood he had no information to go on and lightning related powers weren't exactly one of a kind nor easy to notice the fine details in the powers. Deciding that taking a walk around town was probably the best way to get it out of his mind he changed clothes and made his way to the rooftop. Donning his costume he climbed down the fire escape and merged with the pedestrians, or at least as best he could while wearing combat gear. Perhaps there would be a villain to draw his attention to.

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Character Portrait: Vic Martel (Nobody)
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Vic sat at the kitchen table with her laptop in front of her, leaning back with her legs spread out on the chair she slouched on. She wore a black tank top showing off the tip of her tattoo and her chestnut fringe was pulled from her forehead in an unflattering fashion with a dozen unskillfully applied bobby pins. She regarded the computer screen dully, not even looking up as she heard footsteps walking down the hall.

“Mornin', Vicky,” her aunt excreted through a yawn. Vic glanced at the back of her dressing gown as she went straight to making coffee then fixated herself back on the computer screen, mumbling out a small “Afternoon,” in reply. The kitchen was mostly quiet as Vic clicked from page to page and her aunt made herself a bowl of instant porridge.

“I saw a monster last night,” Vic spoke up suddenly, without any conviction behind her words. She didn't look up from her laptop, but felt her aunt's eyes regard her.

“Oh?”

“Yup,” she confirmed simply. It went quiet again for a moment as her aunt went back to eating her porridge, wondering about how to respond to this. As she opened her mouth, obviously bothered, Vic interrupted, “Looked like something straight out of a heavy metal album cover. Something like... found him.” She went to turn the laptop for the woman to see the screen, then thought otherwise and turned it back. “Actually, you shouldn't see this while you're eating.”

“No, show it to me,” her aunt urged in annoyance and stood up, walking over to peer above Vic's shoulders. When she saw the site her niece was on, she sighed. Vic clicked a picture and it expanded on screen. She suppressed a smirk as her aunt gasped and covered her mouth. “My God. What is it?”

Vic couldn't help but grin a little now. “Human,” she tutted, “But I guess that's debatable. He's a Changer.” She raised an eyebrow at her aunt. “You've got to get out more. Your city is thriving with these people.”

“And you saw it?” The woman pried, ignoring Vic's last comment, “Last night?”

Vic nodded slowly, turning back to the screen to look at the horrific, translucent skinned, six-winged red bat thing. The creature was something straight out of a horror movie. “And it was awesome,” she breathed in satisfaction. She scrolled through the Changer's page on parahumansonline as her aunt returned to her side of the table and her porridge. Wendigo, he'd been fittingly named. She'd heard about him before she'd seen him the other night. He was pretty reckless when it came to exposing himself and his powers to the public. Vic appreciated that. She enjoyed spectacles, particularly presentations of superpowers on the creepier side of the parahuman spectrum.

“Huh. So that's who he was flying away from,” she murmured to herself as she watched a recently uploaded video of Wendigo fleeing a sandwich shop, being shot at by some guy she didn't know and couldn't get a good look at. It was a shitty recording. Nobody could ever get good footage of these things. “All over a sandwich?” She went to go put her fingers back on the keyboard when the laptop snapped shut.

Her hands froze mid-air and her green gaze slid up, unimpressed, to her aunt. The woman indignantly picked up her bowl and turned to the sink. Vic pursed her lips. She leaned away from the table and brought her hands behind her head, boring a look that said 'EXPLAIN' through her.

“I don't want you looking at that at the table,” the woman said curtly, “If you must, take it to your room.”

“Am I scaring you?” Vic accused, completely monotone. Her aunt hesitated to turn to her.

“The world is what's scaring me, Vicky. You young folk are obsessed with these heroes and not accounting them for the threat that they are,” she pointed a finger at the closed laptop, “Kids, and even adults, sharing pictures and information of parahumans like they're trumped up playing cards. Discussing origin stories in forums, who would beat who in a fight – it's sickening. The entire thing, it's sickening, and... yes, yes it's scary.”

Vic stared at her aunt's earnest expression, her own face unreadable.

“I'm surprised that you don't feel this way too, after... what happened," she continued cautiously then formed a smile when her words got no negative reaction from Vic, "I'm so happy, Vicky, that even though it was a horrible tragedy, you didn't... didn't...”

“Trigger?” Vic shot when it seemed like her aunt wouldn't be capable of finishing her sentence. She nodded, wiping at her eyes with a watery smile. Vic's gaze darkened and she returned the smile, through hers was wicked. “You don't know that,” she teased, “Even if I did, I wouldn't tell you. We heroes take our secret identities very seriously.” Her aunt laughed.

“I need a nap before your boys crash in here and keep me up,” she said, “See you later, Vicky.”

"You just woke up..." Vic trailed off as the woman walked back down the hall. She watched her go blankly. "Oh yeah," she said to no one, "And my song played on the radio yesterday."

She turned back to the table, staring at the closed laptop. She sighed and slouched in her seat, flopping her head over the headrest to look at the ceiling. 'I'm so happy you didn't trigger'. What bullshit. Absolute fucking bullshit. There was a wham as Vic's fist came involuntarily crashing down on the table. She was infuriated that her powers weren't triggered sooner in that incident. There were so many horrible things that happened in those weeks that could have awoken whatever was inside her, but no. It had to wait until she had seen every little detail of humanity at its most desperate. Until she had accepted her death.

Why the fuck didn't it wake up before she had to kill somebody?

Keeping everything a secret from everyone honestly made her feel like shit. Sometimes she wondered if openly being a parahuman would be good for her, especially for her musical career. Superheros were so much more popular than rockstars these days... but no. Not with everything that came with it. It was better if Nobody stayed this way - as nobody.




Vic got out of the house as quickly as she could after that. Her band would be holding practice at five in the evening, she still had several hours before being back behind those walls of pretense and secrecy. She jogged through a slight drizzle to her skateboard in a black and white striped jumper, baggy shorts obviously designed for men and lace up military boots. A skateboard wasn't the fastest way to get around the city, sure, but she couldn't stand being cooped up in a car in traffic for too long and the rain on her head wasn't a bad feeling. With one earphone in, she gave herself a push start before rolling down the road on her way to the skate park.

Nothing to see here. Move along, 2729001.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jasmin Lehtinen (Sähkö) Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Lucas Eklund (Chrysopoeia) Character Portrait: Teen Heroes of America (THA)
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Capetown, TX. 09/18/2017, 2:32 AM. 77°F,
Partly Cloudy (Sprinkling). Arc 2: Confluence.



Lucas Eklund could do little more than watch as a thick black liquid swirled around the man's throat. He's a parahuman. Lucas thought to himself before flinching as the sound of his motorcycle revving loudly emitted from the man's mouth while he returned Lucas' gesture and then ran away, his skin unnaturally jet black, looking like a shadow, but too dark and too easy to make out among the barely-visible shadows cast by the overcast light of the sky. Lucas stood there, confused, for a moment, before dropping back into his usual sarcastic wisecracking demeanor.

"Guess his bark is worse than his bike." Lucas retorted to the 'scream,' before doubling over, fits of laughter overcoming him. If Jasmin were here, she would have sighed and groaned at the pub, but Lucas found himself to be rather hilarious. "With a... With a power like that... What does he call himself... Frog Boy?" He gave a long wheeze before becoming hysterical with laughter once again. Finally, he calmed down, wiping tears from his eyes, his sides hurting with each silent hitch of laughter until he finally stopped all together. He let out a long sigh before - BEEEEEEP - Lucas looked behind him, only to realize he was still in the middle of the street on his bike. The driver in the car behind him had stopped when he did, and had probably been surprised by the parahuman's motorcycle imitation, and waited a minute while he laughed, but now the man was impatient. Without a word, Lucas revved his bike and rode off down the street, returning traffic to normal.

The next two and a half hours went by pretty quickly, as he had gone to a restaurant to eat, and then gone to a club for some entertainment. When five o'clock rolled around, he was driving towards Jasmin's house to meet her there. When he got there, he noticed the big "closed" sign in the windows of the Wich Which next to her apartment. Weird for it to be closed at this time of the day. He though, before shrugging. He walked up the steps to her apartment and knocked on the door.




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Capetown, TX. 09/15/2017, 9:00 PM. 70°F,
Partly Cloudy (Sprinkling). Arc 2: Confluence.
Three days ago...



Finally, it was nine at night, and his patrol shift was over. He stood on a rooftop, overlooking the traffic below him in the city, the sun having just set so the buildings created dark shadowy night below, but the sky was still lit on one half of the horizon. Red Jet stare down at the ground, ten stories below him. It would be so easy to step off. The thought didn't jolt him anymore, as it used to, as even if he did jump, the concrete below him would be much more damaged than he would. He sighed and rubbed his cheek where his helmet lining ended, and raised his visor to rub his eyes for a moment before lowering it again. He didn't enjoy being out here, on patrol, but now that it was over he couldn't bring himself to go back to the HQ. The beep of his phone indicating he'd received a text snapped him out of it, and he launched himself into the sky in the direction of the HQ.

Ten minutes later, Josh had entered the HLA/THA HQ and taken the elevator downstairs. When it
ding'ed open, Josh saw Hydro and immediately cocked a grin. "Yo, I got your text, what's the probl... em...?" He finished, noticing that every member of Capetown's HLA and THA had gathered in the room, twelve people in all. Not a good sign. He noticed Hydro look between their senior members before speaking.

"We're calling a meeting... About the Abhorrents."

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Character Portrait: Terry 'Tess' Farina (Hush)
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◄:Terry ‘Tess’ Farina:►
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“…And so that’s what happened. I really thought about staying home, but I think I’d just be bored.” Tess finally finished her explanation with a bit of a laugh, turning as they made their way through the gate to the school. It’d taken the vast majority of the walk to go through it all, though even then; she’d left out quite a number of details. Thankfully, her walking partner was more preoccupied with other thoughts.

“Gee, you’re so calm about all that. I think I would’ve fainted when they first called out to me…” Amy, Tess’s closest friend since the move to Capetown, gave what looked to be an involuntary shudder. She was a shorter girl, pudgier, with blond hair and a rounded face. She wasn’t exactly ugly or anything, but her weight, asthma and a multitude of other factors made her the social outcast that she was. Still, despite some low self-confidence she was genuine and honest, a real treat to be around, as she always wore her heart on her sleeve. “I’m really glad you’re okay Tess. I really don’t know what I’d do without you around…”

“Well, I imagine you’d be upset, but you really got to give yourself more credit Amy. You’re plenty capable on your own merit.” Tess reassured Amy as best she could, but got little more than a downward shake of the head. Gently, she gave her friend a pat on the back. “Hey, I was the one who got into trouble, so I’m the only one with the right to look that sad today, yeah?” Striding forward a few steps towards ‘their’ spot just inside the gate, the two were usually pretty punctual, so they had some time to kill before class. Waiting for them was another of Tess’ friends, Marcy. Unlike them, she was reasonably popular, but for whatever reason, tended to just keep her distance and preferred to hover in their company. An aloof girl, the only times she tended to chip in was for a sarcastic remark, but usually it was in good jest. There was one sole exception that she seemed to enjoy picking on however. Taking a seat on the bricks of the garden just under the perimeter tree, Tess reached into her bag to pull out one of the books she’d picked up at work as a point of discussion, but was swiftly interrupted as the intrepid fourth to their group made his grand entrance.

A scrabbling from the bushes behind Terry was the first sign of his arrival. Or had he been there the whole time? It was hard to tell, since he had a habit of avoiding Marcy. Soon enough however, the young man leapt from the bushes of the garden, shaking off the leaves of foliage and giving the three a wide grin. “’Bout time you all got here! I’ve been going mad with anticipation of revealing my latest and greatest plan!” Glen, as he was known, was pretty much a goofball. Eccentric was the polite way of putting it, but he always managed to make Tess smile with his antics and schemes. He lived in his own little world to some extent, but hey, at least that world was fun. With curly red hair, he’d certainly stand out, even without his extravagant personality.

“So I take it the ‘Lets Play’ career didn’t take off as you’d hope..?” Tess asked optimistically, and was swiftly silenced by a finger pointed in her face. “Hah! Everybody does gaming streams these days, if you want to be famous, you’ve got to be ahead of the curve!” Glen declared with gusto, even as Tess shook her head and used her hand to push his finger aside. Undeterred, he continued. “What you need, is to be a thing-“

“Really Glen?” Marcy interrupted with a raised brow, but was then cut off herself by him continuing. “As I was saying, you need to be a thing! Like, the violin girl, or or, the angry dude. So that’s what I’m going to do, with this!” Thrusting a hand out towards the three, Glen held a closed fist in front of them. Marcy was the first to give her opinion. “Oh, I get it. Elephantiasis hand man. People do like a freak show, Glen.”

“Marcy, don’t be rude. He’s obviously building suspense…” Amy chided, while Glen gave some approving nods of her defence. Slowly, he flipped his hand and uncurled his fingers to reveal…

“A Harmonica?” Tess stated the obvious, ignoring Marcy’s snort as she turned away to cover her laughter. “That’s uh, great Glen! You’ll be the harmonica guy then?” Amy asked, getting some vigorous nods in response. Finally composing herself, Marcy re-entered the conversation. “Glen, how many ‘Harmonica People’ can you actually name?”

“None, that’s exactly why I’ll be the first! If there was already a ‘Harmonica Guy’ I couldn’t be THE harmonica guy. Geez, think your questions through Mars Bar.” Glen pulled the harmonica up to his lips, making a series of three thweet sounds that steadily got lower in pitch, with the fourth one wavering a bit before he stopped to speak again. “In case you couldn’t tell, that was supposed to be the fail sound effect.”

“Right… If you can’t even do that correctly, I hate to say that your prospects of becoming the ‘Harmonica Guy ‘are practically non-existant.” Making some air quotes and shaking her head, Marcy paused as she seemed to notice something behind the group, giving a short wave. “Well, good luck with that anyway. I’ve got to go.” Jogging past them, Marcy was soon enough out of sight as Tess and the others said their goodbyes. Realising the time themselves, they decided they’d better get going to class; bundling up their bags and heading off.



Class was uneventful. For the most part, Tess was a focused and diligent student, but since her trigger it was becoming easier and easier to pay less attention, as well as becoming bored by the material. As such, lunch was a welcome reprieve and it gave her chance to better catch up with Glen, the two sharing the same free period on Monday. Though he was somewhat unpredictable in his interests, Amy clearly had mentioned Tess’ incident the night before, as the conversation quickly moved into the specifics of what had happened, and who she’d seen.

“The police said I was lucky he didn’t harm me.” Tess said as she took another bite of her sandwich. Glen shook his head, pulling up the details on his phone and showing her one of the many hero and villain based wikis. “I wouldn’t call it luck. The guy tends to go after villains. Probably thought you were just some cute girl and left you be. Honestly, I don’t get why he’s classed as a villain though, he’s clearly more a hero type.” Leaning back in his seat, Glen waved his hand about. “Honestly, the real fans like me are way better informed then the police. They could learn a thing or two about our information gathering skills.

“If you say so Glen. Though honestly, seeing how he dealt with those guys, I can understand why the Police aren’t too fond of him…” Tess trailed off, doing the best to force the image of their beaten bodies from her mind. Seeing the mild distress on Terry’s face, Glen decided to move the conversation along. “So… It was uh… Pretty traumatic, huh? Real scary. Maybe even…” Leaning in again, Glen gave Terry a nudge in the side. “…Triggering? I mean, if you DID trigger you’d tell me, right?”

Terry gave a laugh, and forced her best fake genuine smile. “Of course Glen, but you’re not that lucky to have a superhero for a friend. I was scared, sure, but he saved me well before anything actually dangerous happened.” Adjusting her position in her seat, Terry sipped at her water as Glen mumbled some odd annoyances at how ‘unlucky’ Terry had been not to trigger. If only he knew the truth. Deciding that she’d rather not dance around the subject and be forced to lie again, Terry took the smart option of moving the focus of the conversation back to Glen and his harmonica exploits, listening to his poor attempts to replicate famous film scores.

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Character Portrait: Teen Heroes of America (THA)
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Capetown, TX. 09/15/2017, 9:13 PM. 70°F,
Partly Cloudy (Sprinkling). Arc 2: Confluence.
Three days ago...



"The Abhorrents..?" He asked, his question hanging in the air, oppressive, the silence following hard to break. "Is there going to be an attack?" He asked, his eyes widening, his voice slightly quivering. He looked between the faces of the adults, the HLA members, and each of their faces were hard set and sober. Some had fought Abhorrents and lived, while some of them had helped with clean up or rescue. The THA, his team members, on the other hand had not fought or participated in Abhorrent events, because minors weren't required to face them. Sometimes, teams or individual members would volunteer to help, but it was normally a death sentence.

"It's been four months since the last Abhorrent attack in the Philippines. As you all know, Abhorrents typically attack every three months, give or take a week or two. They are well over due." A man in a blue and white costume with a golden star on his chest said, his voice deep with authority. Josh knew his as Cosmic, leader of Capetown's HLA. "And Capetown has always been a potential target. 7th in the state population-wise, but Capetown is the 5th in the nation based on parahuman-to-human density, with nearly 5% of the population having powers."

"Nearly 25,000 parahumans in this city, and our team has four members." Josh said, sarcasm dripping from his mouth as he sat in one of the black leather couches, next to Veil.

"You four are some of the strongest among teen parahumans in the city, both power-wise and in willpower for joining the THA. Most people default to villainy, or isolate themselves from help. Their trigger events are largely to blame, theirs were as traumatizing, if not more, than yours. We also have a large population of immigrants, both Asian and Mexican, from recent Abhorrent attacks. Many aren't citizens, and can't join the team if they wanted." A woman with red-pink hair and a matching body suit said to him. Her name was Trueshot, and she had uncanny aim and had never been recorded to miss a target, with any ranged weapon or throw. Josh shrugged, not happy with the answer.

"But that's not what we're here to discuss. A handsome man with a strong jawline and spiky black hair said. Josh knew him, Tendril, a guy with shadow-tentacles as his power. "The Abhorrents are likely to strike Capetown in the next week. It won't be Behemoth, since he was last seen surfacing around Alaska two days ago, and he can't travel very fast. He still seems to be wandering, not showing his usual agitation before an attack, so Alaska is likely safe."

Cosmic nodded at Tendril and continued for him, "Nor is it going to be Giant. As you all know, he attacked the Philippines a few months ago, and Abhorrents never attack twice in a row. That leaves Leviathan, Dragon, and Tangle. Leviathan was last seen in the Gulf of Mexico via satellite imaging. If he attacks, it'll be a costal attack, and Capetown will be safe, but almost all of us in this room will be traveling to Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christi, or wherever else he strikes to defend."

"Tangle was last seen traveling north from the Amazon jungle. He's presumably somewhere in the jungles of Central America, but he might even be in Mexico. He's good at evading satellite by turning invisible, but if he's still heading north, we're in his path." Said a man with a red hood and cape and a metal chest plate and mask. Josh found it ironic that though parahumans were called capes as slang, relatively few of them wore capes anymore, as it was impractical and annoying. Mostly, the name was a small holdover from when superheroes were only portrayed in comic books.

"And that leaves Dragon." A woman with a purple and black bodysuit said, "He's chilling in the middle of the Atlantic, easy to track as always with the giant unmoving tropical storm raging around him."

Cosmic nodded. "We are due for an Abhorrent attack any day now. I'd be thoroughly surprised if it takes longer than a week. It could be starting in the next ten minutes. We don't know. However, each one of us must be ready for it at any moment. If the attack isn't here in Capetown, Shift will come here to teleport each one of you to the location of attack. Teens." He said, looking between the THA members. "You're not required to fight if it's anywhere else. But if the attack is here, you are capes, and you work under the PCRT. The unwritten rules basically dictate that you help in one way or another, and that's what'll be expected of you."

"I almost hope it's here so I don't have to be teleported by Shift." Josh grumbled, and earned some stern looks as a result.

"We understand, sir." His leader, Hydro, said to Cosmic. And with that, the meeting was dismissed.



Capetown, TX. 09/18/2017, 5:00 PM. 75°F,
Overcast. Arc 2: Confluence.



Josh sighed, the beeping of his phone's alarm signaling it was time for him to do his patrol. It was a Monday, and as usual, school sucked. All four of the THA members in Capetown went to the city's biggest high school, Capetown High, but they were "recommended" to not hang out with each other so students wouldn't suspect them of being heroes. As a result, Josh had almost no friends at school, and school tended to be miserable for him. After school, he went to the HQ, where he's basically lived since his parents signed their guardianship of him away to the PCRT nearly a year and a half ago. Being a hero was a full time job for Red Jet, and though he was payed a salary, he still hated the patrols. Most nights, he found no villain activity. Night he did, he had to call for backup, or get permission to engage. It made him restless and feel like he was treated as a kid.

He walked out of the HQ in his red costume, and his heart leaped out of his chest when his phone made the Amber Alert tone. They really ought to change that. He thought, recalling the regular Abhorrent alarm tests. Amber Alerts having the same sound either downplayed the Abhorrent tests, or caused panic over simple kidnapping alerts. He shook his head, momentarily clearing it. He was bored, bored in a way that made him almost wish an Abhorrent would attack. It would be terrible, and literal thousands would die, but he still wished it in a perverse way that a normal person may wish for the apocalypse so they could escape the routine of their lives. Plus, Red Jet was one of the few that could go hand-to-hand against an Abhorrent, his invincibility allowing him to actually trade blows with them. Many people said his power was similar to Legend's, a member of the Triumvirate, and it was true. However, his "flight" and "strength" were worse, and his invincibility didn't include against energy, he was still a very strong opponent. They had spent the last three days going over strategy with their seniors, HLA members.

"Red Jet, if the attack is from Dragon or Leviathan, you can trade blows with them as they don't have any attacks that can hurt you. If the attack is from Tangle, the radiation would be a concern, but you could have Veil turn you invisible, shielding you from it. But you need to still be careful, you've had cars thrown at you, you've fallen out of the sky, and you've had buildings collapse on you, but those are relatively physically natural things. The Abhorrents are unnaturally dense, and it's possible that if they tried to crush you, your invincibility would be overcome." Tendril had told him yesterday, leaving him to ponder the limits of his power.

He liked to think he was like Legend, who was pretty much the real-world Superman or Luke Cage. Legend was so invincible, that nothing could harm him. Abhorrents like Giant and Leviathan had gotten their hands or claws on him and unsuccessfully tried to rip him in half. But would Red Jet be so lucky, or was there a limit where, if too much force was applied, his power would fail? It had happened before to other heroes. As he did his rounds that night, his mortality was all that was on his mind.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Vic Martel (Nobody)
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The sound of crackling glass and the sensation of pain in his side caught Jericho's attention. He regretted immediately, his choice of form. A dogs ribs weren't necessarily hard to hit targets, especially when said dog wasn't paying attention to his surroundings. A startled, human, grunt of pain leapt out of Jericho, winded by the sudden force of a foot in his relaxed side. Instinct shouted for his eyes to close; and breath continued to try to rush in through his nostrils and mouth. He caught a glimpse of an feminine form, bottle in hand standing just behind him. Panic seized the Changer then, scrabbling to get up and forgetting that it would've saved time and energy to just shift his body entirely around via his power. Oops.

When he finally got his breath back, Jericho lurched to his feet, form shifting into a smaller, less imposing form of the bat-shape that he took on last night; wings flinging him up onto the wall as heavy chittering fell out of his new throat. The presumed woman was gone, echolocation showing him that she had managed to... vanish. In the time that it took him to get back up. There was a bottle where he had been laid out; broken and with something inside that seemed to indicate paper. Or something similar.

After a moment's consideration, Jericho took back to the ground, shifting into a humanoid form and kneeling to quickly swipe up the piece of paper. A quick glance around spared for anymore surprises that wanted to kick him. Who even does that. What the hell?! "Rob the Prosperity Bank on Wadley Ave tomorrow, and you will be paid greatly. Doesn't need to be successful. Just provide a distraction. Come back here tomorrow night for payment. -Ρεκαλ," read the bit of note paper that was left in the broken bottle. One long breath, just one; and then a long winded, rasping spoken rant left the lips of the boy standing in the alley. "Oh really, what the fuck?! What the fuck is that, Greek?! Jesus... And who the fuck kicks people by way of hello?! What the fuck! No one just fucking... Christ! Fucking bullshit. Christ. Can't just be all mysterious in person, noooo, you have to fucking KICK THE FUCKING WIND OUT OF ME?!" The rant had reached a slow crescendo of volume, with the end reaching such a height that it reflexively pulled on the first 'form' Jericho had ever gotten comfortable with in his repertoire.

For just a moment, a long chitenous, segmented tail lashed to life from under his coat, a teardrop shaped stinger swaying on its end. Vanishing mere heartbeats after as his outburst fled him, the ink left over from the change sank back into Jericho's skin. A sigh... Then a hasty decision. But he would have to wait until much later to really act on it. So the Changer sighed, taking the form of a magnanimously large eagle of some kind, wreathed in muscle and hollow bone, with feathers of iridescent silver and jett-black.

The bird flapped its wings a few times, getting used to the way the muscles and tendons pulled. Highly dissimilar to a human, but all together more... Powerful was and wasn't the word for it, but to describe it was more trouble than it was worth in the end. They were strong and wide enough to let him fly at least; and that was all he needed. A moment was spent preparing for take off on the ground, and then suddenly he was in the air. Gliding over the city easily, ovular pupiled eyes glaring at the movement below him. Jericho was in a foul mood to be sure, but it fell off of him as easily as his wings stirred the wind around him. He took a double take mid-flap, locking onto a skate park below him as his sight locked onto the one or two actually distinguishable human shapes below him... Why not.

Another hasty decision later, and those who were at the skate park were treated to the highly startling sight of an amophorus shape diving out of the sky. At first it started as little more than a blip in the sky, then it swelled in shape and clarity until it was easily visible as a bird of some kind, the size of a Dalmatian, plummeting from the air. Then it's wings flared out, full of open holes for just a moment as it used them to slow, before closing up and gliding to a full stop on top of a fence post; giving the area a wary glare. Or the bird equalvalent of one; with its beak serrated with overly triangular protrusions, it looked to be frowning as they lengthened towards the base of the beak. Once more, that skull patterning was there, and it only served to give the bird an even more fearsome appearance. It sat quietly passing the time by just watching those who were brave enough to stay. Jericho spotted a woman- or maybe a man? Hm. He didn't care. Spotted a someone on a skateboard approaching, their hair short cut and wearing clothes that he couldn't help but approve of. It was an interesting sight really, but hey, the city was pretty diverse in the end.

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Character Portrait: Mara Haruka Black
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In her dark room, Mara lied on her bed, staring at the ceiling. After Wendigo escaped, there was nothing to do but go home. For her. On the way home, a loud sound indicating emergency alert sounded from both her and Ace's phones. It was just a test, but Ace seemed to have something on his mind since he hadn't uttered a word since then.

The girl was lying on her bed, but Ace was probably talking to his hero friends at this very moment. Maybe he was discussing where the Abhorrents would attack next. Where was he? Was he with the HLA right now? After what happened today, Mara wondered. Was Ace even part of the HLA? He'd never introduced her to his friends. She'd never seen him work with someone else. That hero from the shop didn't recognize Ace. No, no no. Stop thinking. Ace wouldn't lie to her. He would never lie to her. He'd even shown her his license.

Was it even real?

She forced herself to go to sleep. Tomorrow, she would have more training. Now was not the time to doubt her brother. He was her role model, her awesome big brother. Her parents (her evil parents) had been proud. According to the books and movies, that was a sign that he did something right. Or was it wrong since her parents approved?

Her shield had been getting stronger lately. They said it had something to do with her mental state, but she didn't listen to any of it. Why would she? They were all capable of lying to strengthen her powers. It was immoral to do that to children. Ace said so, and he said a lot of people felt the same way. Ace was her tether to this superficial world - this world split into inferior and superior, human and parahuman, weak and strong. As long as Mara had Ace, she could see what was right in this world. With these thoughts at the forefront of her mind, she fell asleep.

The next day, she awoke to a frozen bedroom and hard rubber balls bouncing off her shield only to fly back at her again. This was stage one of her current training. Dodge and absorb while getting ready to practice. While brushing her teeth, while taking a shower, while eating breakfast. And so began another day without Ace.

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Vic Martel (Nobody)
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It was when Vic stopped at an intersection, waiting for the little green person to light up, that her phone went off in her pocket. It startled a few people in the small crowd around her, including herself, as the first line of Chop Suey blasted at full volume, “WAKE UP!” She mindlessly took out her phone to check her messages, assuming to see something from her Aunt or maybe one of her band members asking questions about the rehearsal. Instead, she found a message left by a private number. Nausea bubbled in her stomach and crawled its way up to her throat the moment she saw the first two words,

[Hello, Nobody.]

The green man flashed from the traffic lights above her head, but she didn't notice. People pushed past her to hurry across the road while she stared at her phone. She didn't think she was afraid. She just felt sick. It took everything she had in her to click on the message and read further,

[Hello, Nobody. The Prosperity Bank on Wadley Ave. will robbed tomorrow afternoon. Will pay you to deal with it, without going to authorities. Good PR, too. Have fun, vigilante. -Ρεκαλ]

[Who are you,] Vic began to text, then backspaced and wrote, [How did you get this number?] After a couple more attempts of giving a decent response to the mystery person on the other end of the line, she deleted them all and simply sent back,

[Wrong number, my dude.]

A pitifully cute last defense of her identity. She knew that it wouldn't fool anyone, but it made her chuckle – albeit nervously. She immediately stuffed her phone in her pocket and flipped down her board, skating her way across the road and forcing a car to pull on the breaks. She left the honking and pissed off traffic behind her as she weaved through the people on the sidewalk, her mind distracted by everything that small message entailed for her.




When she got to the skate park, she found it practically deserted. Weird, this was usually the hangout for those kids who'd ditch school to smoke here. They generally hung out in the tunnel, blocking it off from anyone else. Guess that meant it was hers today. She rolled through the tunnel, looking over the ground at all of the cigarette buds and the amateur graffiti sprawled over the walls. Yeah, they could keep their tunnel. She skated back out and began simply meandering up and down the ramps of the park, a bored expression on her face as she did so. A trick every now and again, nothing too flashy (she wasn't amazing), a fall here, a reopened scab there. Eventually she rolled the board to a stop with her hands in her pockets. Her cheeks were tinted pink from effort and her knees were red, in dire need of another band-aid. She turned her head up, looking directly up at the skull-marked face of the monstrous bird that had been watching her.

Vic had known it was there, of course she did, you'd have to be blind not to notice. With her eyes still fixated on the bird, she flipped up her skateboard with her foot and caught it, tucking it under her arm. She walked up to the fence post the bird was perched upon and gulped water down from the drinking fountain near it. She lifted herself away from the fountain with a satisfied sigh and wiped her mouth, eyeing the dark-feathered bird yet again. She came over to lean her back on the fence beside it, taking out a packet of cigarettes and lighter from her pockets. She lit herself up one, drew a breath and let out a thin stream of smoke from her pursed lips. She turned her head back up to the bird, holding the packet out to it.

"Want one?"

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Character Portrait: Jericho Amile (Wendigo/Ghoul) Character Portrait: Vic Martel (Nobody)
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The monster-bird stared at the offered cigarette, its pupils dilating to mere points floating in pools of amber... Then it blinked and spoke with a very much human voice, "Mmm... No thank you. Can't utilize that well. Form is hard to talk in. One moment," before flitting to the ground and shifting from avian to humanoid in shape; giving way to Jericho's actual face and form. Skull tattoo present as always. A polite smile painted over his lips.

He took in the girl's appearance entirely, trying hard to figure out if she was familiar from anywhere... And finding no information coming forth. Oh well! Jericho'a voice failed him entirely then, sudden shyness overwhelming as he shifted and remained quiet after his simple statement from before. He hoped he didn't look imposing, but given that the- wait a second. "You... Weren't there at the sandwich shop or anything were you? Or in the alley? 'Cuz you are way too calm for someone... Are you a cape or somethin'?" The words came unbidden, granted the Changer was glad his brain was working faster than his mouth was for once. Paranoia fueled the questions leaving him, but they were politely constructed. Maybe just a little irritation, maybe.

He thought for a moment, and then shook his head; the woman in the alley had 'smelled' different, and while he wasn't incredible at reading other people, Jericho figured that if this one was the original note giver, then she would have given it away in some form. He frowned then, outwardly cringing at his- truthfully- rude questioning. 'Always be kind' his grandparents had told him, and yet here he was being all sorts of rude. Sheesh. "Ah hell, sorry, I guess I should explain. This... lady. Wanted to give me a note I guess, decided it was easier to fuckin' kick my goddamned side in and take off. Was kinda worried it was you since y'know, y'ain't freakin' out or anythin' over me. And y'ain't showin' any sign of recognition so I mean hey, you're likely not and man I'm ramblin' haha."

Jericho abruptly closed his mouth, slapping a palm over his face as he tried and failed to stop the rambling from going on for to long- he had probably cut off whatever the girl was going to say! Granted, he also hadn't really given her room for much to say, per se, but hey. Semantics right? He sighed and tried a winning smile, forcing his teeth to be as flat and humanly shaped as possible. There wasn't any need for aggression that he could see, yet, and hopefully the skater wouldn't give any rise for it either! ... had he replied to her offering of a cig' yet? Man thinking was hard, and he was- er is- hungry. Whoops.