Centerpoint warped gravity into arms and easily grabbed onto the futuristic weapons ripping them from the men’s grasps and sending them flying in three different directions. But that was the least of the men’s worries.
Brigit fist wreathed in Quantum Fire arrived and with one punch sent one of the armored crooks flying back into the banks wall where he fell to the ground amid a cloud of concrete dust from the impact of the body and wall. A second roundhouse sent another spinning away like a top before he too crashed to the ground.
The third bad guy was in a state of panic as Brigit spun to face him, he fell to his knees throwing up his hands in fear. At just that moment a light on the mans armor blinked twice and then glowed steady…and red. The man noticed, looked down and said “Oh shit…”
All five of the bank robbers, the two Centerpoint had initially attacked and the three who had just been disarmed, as well as the three weapons Centerpoint had taken from them now flew back together with a loud crash which Brigit had to dodge to keep from being hit again. The ball of bodies and weapons spun and started to collapse as the gravity around them increased at a rapid rate going from standard one gravity to forty in a five-meter sphere centered on the rapidly collapsing bodies and weapons being crushed into an ever-increasing artificial gravity well!
Tommy has an amused look on his face, "I am not a monster, Grace. Like you, I do do no flaunt my power, like you, I only act to protect my people and their communities. It was unfortunate that we met as we did, first impressions and all. Those gangs and the violence they breed is a blight innocents are often hurt. if the police would do their job, then concerned citizens would not have to interfere.
As for what I am doing here, Hu Chiang is an old friend of the mayors, I am here in part as his body guard, and to get the lay of the land so to speak. I was hoping your partners would be here. I was hoping to meet them. But I am also glad they are not because that allows me to spend time with you instead of working."
He smiles a charming and dazzling smile at Grace full of promise and invitation.
They passed through the warp portal and were in a completely dry tunnel. Unlike the tunnel above which had been created by the Utopians Novas, this tunnel was square shaped, something they had not been able to see due the the destruction the collapse of the upper tunnel floor had wrought. the Ancient wall carvings continued and the writing was more intact resembling ancient cuneiform, but even with Deezy's prodigious memory was so far undecipherable.
Around them the air moved gently and Deezy's sensors and measuring devices determined that the air was untainted and that the temperature was a uniform 84.7 degrees with inly a 26% humidity.
The tunnel was warm but also environmentally controlled.
There was a low pitched hum almost too low to hear but if one place their heads close to a surface the vibration could be detected.
It had been dark, pitch black with the absence of all light except that which they supplied but as they stoop and made their initial assessments all three noticed that the darkness beyond their light beams seemed to be lessening, indeed as they watch the ambient light of the tunnel brightened until it stabilized at about 200 lumans with no visible light source.
Gravity, already in a state of flux in the vicinity, twisted at Counterpoint's command. The weapon on the would be assailants hands bucked and then collapsed in upon itself like an aluminum can being crushed by an industrial compactor, sparks flew and the man scream as his right arm up to his elbow was caught in the titanic grip of the unseen force.
The second thug actually fared better, under the circumstances, the concentration of gravity Sean sent at him was more of a bolt that flashed down from above like lightning and smote the man and was gone. For a bone crushing instant the man experienced about 6 gravities in a slap that planted him on the ground dazed at the sudden shifts in weight he experienced, the only real damage was strained muscles and burst capillaries and a full body bruise, but other wise he was able to shake off the attack in a few moments to reorient himself. Unfortunately his day was about to get worse.
For the second time these asshats had blasted Brigit with their sci-fi super weapons and that really pissed her off. Leaping up from the rubble Dauntless charged out toward the miscreants, her rage visible in the glowing electric fire which raced along her arms and engulfed her clenched fists. at the same time the rest of the robbers, four more, exited the hole in the bank branch wall, drawn by the sound of the conflict outside. Three of the new comers leveled their own futuristic weapons at the two supper women while the fourth step back in the the cover of the bank!
Having first hand experience of how Deezy's mind worked via the mental network, as well as Mr Hawks, explained a lot to Temple, of course that was because she was attempting to unravel a technical mystery she had no knowledgebase to use of her own so her mind sifted the information, the know how and skill from theirs. They weren't getting anything from her because quite frankly she had no knowledge they didn't already have.
She smiled at Deezy, "Sort of. We can disrupt the illusion if you wish but not the underlying force field. That seems specifically designed to resist psionic penetration. But if I am not mistaken, Mr Hawke, it isn't shielded against your Quantum teleportation/warp ability. Very strange."
Temple projects her thoughts at the holographic façade and there is a blue rush much like a skein of lighter fluid on a table top burning away as the illusion of the collapsed wall is eaten away leaving only the tunnel, with a clear division, on one side it is filled with water and on the other, it is dry.
They danced and by the simple fact of what the two of them were, that dance became a work of art. Their movements became the music, their hearts the driving rhythm, for the 4 minutes of the song, which no one could later recall what it was, even the band, the world fell away and the center of the universe became these two incomparable beings.
The music ended on a lingering note, Tom looking down upon Graces serene face, then the crowd broke into a shower of applause. The two made their way upstairs to a balcony overlooking the city. once they were alone with drinks in hand Tom leaned back against the rail his back to the city. "I have not seen you in headlines, Apex I mean, once i stared looking for Grace Williams, there you were, mostly on the society pages."
Brigit, legs pistoning dashed past the wrecked bus and police car making straight for the two high-tech armed attackers. The two were cool headed, as if they had done this sort of thing before or at least trained for it.
One of them shifted into a firing stance bracing himself with legs spread wide and let loose a blast of gravitic energy at Brigit she attempted to dodge but the blast was too large and just like the other morning it slammed into her and picked her up knocking her back with the force of about six Gs', into the building on the corner shattering the brick facing!
The second had dropped to one knee and swiveled his weapon toward the sky and let loose a blast at Center Point!
"Will do, see you Thursday, bye." With a little wave Temple stepped away. To Grace it was if the girl just sort of twisted in upon herself, there was no sound, no movement of the air, just a slight change in the temperature where she had stood and she was just gone. It was sort of unnerving still.
Grace recalled Temples last words. Thursday? Oh Christ, Thursday!
Grace arrived at the Gala event in a Escalade Limo, supplied by Karen, and was immediately greeted by flashes of cameras, the red eye tell-tales of video takers and small recording devices thrust toward her and the usual barrage of media questions of the grilling a Stormer was still subject to.
The Gala was a celebration of Mayor Edwina Buckley's seventy-fifth birthday. The long serving mayor of this once great city was a staple and one of the best loved in the city's history. Entertainment and Political celebrities' were in attendance as well as the rich and powerful. This was the kind of event where deals were made and pockets were lined.
Grace cut her way through with, as her name implied, all the grace and poise she carried. She answered a few questions, making the kind of statements that had little substances but were quotable and satisfied the paparazzi's with a few semi-posed stances to allow those massive payoff photos to be taken.
Once through them all and inside, she grabbed a drink off a waiters tray, and headed into the throng. She mingled, spent a few minutes each with several important members talking up the foundation. She listened to the speeches, thankfully she wasn't giving one today, and then retreated to the sidelines as the music started up and couples entered the huge ballroom dance floor.
Several Hollywood celebrities', both male and female, made to approach the beautiful Nova, but a smile kept them at bay without angering them or making them feel rejected, it was a smile that could have launched a thousand ships after all.
"Would you like another drink, or perhaps care to dance?"
He had come out of nowhere, Grace hadn't seen him approach and the words, so close caused her to tense but then she saw who it was.
Tommy Long, looking dashedly handsome in a tailored tux, held a champagne flute out toward her in offering, a pleasant smile upon his face.
After assembling what equipment, they thought the might need Ryan contacted Grant who in turn put him in touch with Dr Ross. He explained the plan and that he did have someone who could ‘see through’ walls.
Dr Ross listened attentively at her desk, Ryan was on speaker phone, the only other person in the office was Casper Drought, a tall abnormally thin man with distinctive features, he was in his forties and was one of the handful of Psion’s in the service. He stood silently in the corner leaning against the wall staring, unblinking at the speaker.
“You are not going to tell me who are you,” ask Dr Ross?
“No ma’am, who it is isn’t important,” was Ryan’s succinct answer.
“Have it your way, Hawke.” She glanced at Drought who shook his head slightly indicating a negative. Ross frowned, “Just the three of you? You think that wise?”
“Smaller footprint. We are going to investigate not pick a fight. If there’s trouble we will get out.”
Ross was quiet for a few seconds, “Alright you’re a go, Mr Hawke. Good luck, I look forward to your report.” She disconnected the line and looked at Drought, shrugging a silent question at him.
“His mind was shielded, completely, I couldn’t get anything.”
“Was it because we were on the phone?”
“No, his voice and the phone connection gave me enough to pinpoint his minds location and that he wasn’t alone. I could pick two other minds in close proximity and many more further away those were easy to read mundanes,” Ross frowned at the term, “sorry, baselines. They were at his company headquarters in Houston.”
NovaStorm Headquarters, Houston Texas
Ryan ended the call and looked at Deezy who was looking at Temple who was looking…elsewhere.
Temple took a deep breath and collected her thoughts. “She did have a telepath with her, but he couldn’t get past my shield so the three of us weren’t read. He was fairly powerful, I guess since he is the only telepath I’ve encountered up to now, he probably picked up stuff from those nearby who were not in my shield. I didn’t counter probe him, but his shield didn’t look insurmountable,” she ended with a shrug.
They were already wearing the diving suits and were packed ready to go. Deezy grinned, “We better get going before they change their minds.”
A few minutes later they found themselves deep underground underwater in the tunnel where they had ended their last sojourn to this mysterious place.
Africa, the ancient tunnels…
Deezy had brought some very interesting gear this time, devices which could passively map their progress for later digital conversion, another which could read the age of the construction without disturbing it by taking sample, all she had to do was run the device over it and she could get composition and age estimates. She immediately began her analysis while Temple and Ryan approached the collapsed portion of the tunnel.
Topics I Participated In
Ryan was pouring over maps of the Sahara, particularly the region known as the Eye of the Sahara, although its official name was the Richat Structure.
The structure itself was fascinating a geological dome that defied the geological data, it wasn’t a volcano at least not at any time in the last two to three million years, it seems to have been surrounded by the sea at some point due to the vast deposits of salt clearly visible from ariel and satellite images. It is home to a vast number of archeological artifacts, mostly stone tools like those found at other sites used by Homo erectus. These artifacts range in age of 1.5 million years all the way to 1.75 million years. The oddity is the dispersal, the artifacts are usually found in tight groupings located around the entire circumference of the structures outside ring, except where the dry riverbed lay, that once let to the ocean. Fascinating, puzzling, and infuriating.
His intercom buzzed, “Mr Hawke,” the voice of his assistant came through clear, “Miss Faire is here.”
“Thank you, Sylvia, please send her in.”
Ross had told them to be diligent and her advice to find some one who could see through walls might be useful had been a broad hint, there was a Nova calling himself Brightstorm, who seemed to be working for the government, or if not, at least he was based in Arlington Virginia and he was reported to have some sort of X-ray supervision. Rayan and Deezy figured Ross was hoping they would approach him and that she would have her a spy with out openly placing one on the team. Unfortunately they were at a loss, none of the Novas recruited so far by NovaStorm had any such power. Their last option was to see if Temple Faire, Davian Layton’s ward and apparently a powerful psion, who had managed to keep her existence a secret from well most everyone, until recently, if she could help them in anyway. So while Deezy was gathering gear Ryan had been waiting for the young lady.
The door opened and Sylvia a tall slim attractive black woman showed Temple in, “Can I get either of you anything?”
Temple looked at Sylvia and shook her head saying nothing.
“No we’re fine Sylvia, thank you.”
Ryan looked at the girl, no young woman, standing near the door. She had changed so much from the sullen, dirty haired, skittish teenager they had found nearly a year ago. She had been the victim of the storm, her family all killed, her entire town destroyed leaving her the only known survivor, the Gulf Coast of East Texas and western Louisiana turned into a burned waste land by a storm monster that had seemingly vanished.
Today she was a different person, a High School senior, well dressed, and Powerful Psion.
Ryan looked at her from across the room, she looked back at him, neither moved.
Finally Ryan broke the silence, “Are you reading my mind?”
“No,” Temple shook her head, ”did you want me to?”
With a near soundless whirr, the roller shades began to retract, baring the floor-to-ceiling windows that make up the East and North sides of the master bedroom. Warm, morning sunlight slid across the polished, honed pale grey slate of the floor. It rippled over the textured area rug, crawled up the low bed and the humped geometric-patterned goose-down comforter to caress an exquisite, golden tanned cheek.
There was the rustle of magenta silk sheets - not nearly as slippery as people assumed, it depended on how they were woven - and with a luxurious sigh, Sean sat up, sheets and blanket sliding from her shoulders. She twisted around, bare legs extending off the side of the bed and stood up with a fluid lightness, her feet seeming to barely touch the floor. She woke with an instant and energetic vitality that exceeded even the first time she’d been a teenager.
The ravishing, vivacious beauty sashayed through her walk-in closet, a silvery-lilac satin robe slipping over her shoulders with an unconscious thought and the precise manipulation of gravity, the sash tying itself loosely about her minuscule waist. Sean’s enticing lips bent wryly as she continued into the en suite, slate tiles transitioning to travertine.
Just over six months a woman and a nova, and her closet was already full to bursting with clothing stitched specifically for her dramatic measurements or tailored to fit. Her personal atelier Seraphine was a wonder. Sean was sure she owned more pairs of footwear right now than she had in the last forty years all combined.
While she had settled into the apartment Karen had found for her, one of the four apartments on the top floor of a residential tower, and had made her own touches on the place, she wasn’t sure it was home quite yet. She was too used to having a detached house to call her own.
In her office and study, she had a large stack of sketches and floorplans for potential dream houses of her own design, both in hardcopy and on her computer. She had to admit, Karen had done well by her, by all of them. With the stipend she earned being sponsored by Chicago, as well as fantastic endorsement deals with luxury brands Karen had arranged - and taking her modest cut of course - along with some contract work for NovaStorm and elsewhere, and some modeling, Sean was nearly earning in a week what she had in a year
She could afford to make her dreams real, what limits she’d once had were being left behind. Access to Deezy and her material wizardry offered all sorts of wondrous design ideas as well.
In the bathroom, Sean stopped by the vanity, skipping past the large walk-in shower stall and the deep bathtub. A modest make-up bag contained her limited amount of cosmetics. She hardly needed them, but sometimes it was fun to glam up a touch, and she had found it relatively easy to get the hang of it, just a different application of painting miniatures, really. On the side of the raised sink was a barber kit. She’d learned over the months that she healed extremely rapidly, like, almost Wolverine level of regeneration. As a side effect, it seemed her hair and nails regrew to their new natural length while she slept. So a haircut only lasted a day - she’d gotten used to the nails. If she wanted shorter hair, it was more convenient to do it herself, and she’d gotten handy at it. Deciding on long hair today, she gave her hip-length a few licks with a brush. It rarely tangled and in moments, it gleamed rose-gold in a glorious tail, tumbling down to her ass as she tied it back with a silken band.
Humming in self-satisfaction, she sauntered back into her bedroom, following the windows, passing the gap between the windows and the wall separating her room from the rest of the apartment, the frosted glass divider recessed into the wall, like it usually was, unless she had company. And even then…
The apartment had an open floor plan, the modest, one wall kitchen separated from the dining room table and living room by a half wall that acted as an island. It was decorated in muted greys and deep browns and glossy blacks, a typically masculine look, but leavened by accenting splashes of colour and a patterned area rug for definitely feminine touch.
The black leather sectional couch held vividly coloured pillows and an old, well maintained quilt draped over the back that her grandmother had made when she had moved out. Textured walls, glass-topped dining table and coffee table, along with the granite counter tops, stacked stone backsplash and dark wood cabinets and furnishings gave the place a modern, organic aesthetic, but with a few flourishes to lighten the minimalism.
One entire wall was glass that opened onto a terrace balcony that wrapped all the way around her corner of the building. Other walls, leading to the front door and down the hallway to her office and bedroom held prints of architectural marvels and abstract or minimalist art, and framed posters of classic movies. Bookshelves bracketed a huge, flatscreen OLED TV mounted on the wall, game systems discreetly hidden away.
Keesha, Sean’s four year-old golden retriever raised her head from her dog bed, tail thumping against the glass wall and the slate floor at her excitement at seeing her mistress. Sean grinned, cooing at her dog - Keesha hadn’t been tricked at all by her drastic transformation when she’d picked her up from the kennel, crouching down to scritch her behind the ears and under the chin.
“Let’s get you breakfast, Princess,” Sean said, gliding towards the kitchen, a scoop of kibble floating from a cabinet to fill her dog’s food dish, her water bowl floating to the sink, the tap turning on under Sean’s gravitic command. “Alexa, music.”
While Keesha started on her breakfast, Sean sang along to Mister Blue Sky, her hips swinging, her sweet, sultry soprano filling the apartment as she started on preparing her own breakfast, first with coffee. She perused her collection, selecting a pure Jamaican Blue Mountain.
She’d become something of a coffee snob, well a food snob in general, a gourmand of sorts really, her enhanced sense of smell and taste urging her towards quality and variety. It certainly helped that she could make wormholes to collect the highest quality ingredients from the source. From once being an indifferent cook at best, she’d really taken to cooking now, as well as visiting all sorts of restaurants and food trucks, not just in Chicago, but all over the world. It didn’t have to a super high end or expensive restaurant, it just had to be good food. She’d been binge watching Anthony Bourdain shows when she could, and had been on an episode of The Chef Show with Jon Favreau, that had been fun.
That was another thing any house she designed would need a much more expansive kitchen, more counter space, more cooking tops, bigger pantry, bigger fridge and freezing. A true industrial, restaurant quality. Putting together a really good meal was another type of architecture and as much as her interests had evolved, she hadn’t lost the delight in imaginative creation.
As her coffee brewed, Sean prepped a frittata, cooking some maple-glazed bacon in the oven, sauteing mushrooms and other veggies in the grease. The stunning woman worked using her mastery over gravity than with her hands, knives and pans and veggies and deftly cracked eggs flying through the air under Sean’s lambent lavender gaze.
When the iron-cast skillet full of eggs, Gruyere and Buffalo Mozzarella, bacon, mushrooms, red peppers and a few other things slid itself into the oven to finish over the next twenty minutes or so, Sean collected her big mug of coffee, inhaling the delicious aroma.
Done with her breakfast, Keesha sat on her haunches, looking up at the tall, seemingly young, impossibly gorgeous woman with pleading amber eyes. Sean gave her dog a teasing grin. “I’ll take you for a walk in a bit. Let Mama have her breakfast and then a shower first, ‘kay?”
Sean sauntered over the floor-to-ceiling windows, one panel sliding aside, and stepped onto the terrace. The morning chill brushed against her legs, the stone still cold under her bare feet, contrasting with the warm mug in her hands. She nodded at her other neighbor across the gap to his terrace, offering him a gracious, welcoming smile.
She hadn’t really been friendly with her neighbors at her home back in Ottawa, despite having lived in the same house for ten years. Just a distant acknowledgment, only taking with them if they had to share costs to replace a fence or something. She was a great deal more outgoing and social now. Jack Langston was an old man, a retired service member who ended up as an exec in a number of companies. He’d been widowed for the last ten years, and couldn’t resist catching a glance at the unbelievably gorgeous young woman who had moved in next to him. Sean appreciated he kept his admiration subdued and respectful, and often chatted amiably with him during her morning coffee. His anecdotes from his time in the military and the business world were hilarious, and he seemed to appreciate Sean taking the time to listen to his stories, with his wife having passed on and his kids never visiting.
She leaned on the raised, molded railing, savoring her coffee as she looked over the city. From where she was, she could just see a sliver of the sun rising above Lake Michigan. Dawn still only hinted at the warmth of day, but the sky was already clear and so very blue. Even in the middle of a metropolis such as Chicago, Sean could smell the season beginning to change.
The chime from her laptop sounded, and she turned wondering who would be sending mail this early. She settled in her chair and scanned the news feed for headlines before checking the mail. Good, no Brigit or Dauntless sightings overnight, so she did go home like she said she would. That girl just does not know when to stop.
Sean opened her mail program and saw an e-mail from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Department of the Canadian government. She clicked and read.
Not a lot of information in the text but it certainly looked official. They wanted to interview her on Monday, next week. Nothing about what. Just a date and time and an office in the C.D. Howe Building in Ottawa.
How strange. Then her phone range. Sean’s eyes shifted to the clock and noticed that it had just turned eight o’clock. She picked it up on the third ring.
“Good morning,” a smooth pleasant voice came through the phone and Sean could literally hear the smile, “ Is this Ms. Sean Cassidy? My name is Agent Carson with Homeland Security, I’m very sorry to bother you so early in the morning, and I know you’re a very busy woman but I was hoping that I could have a few minutes of your time?”
Earlier that morning…
Brigit had gone home after dinner with Sean last night and after promising to go home and not go on another night patrol. Both Sean and Karen thought it a good idea for her to lay low for a bit until this lawsuit from Rene Espa could be sorted out.
Brigit had gone home where she tossed and turned and when she did drift off to sleep, she dreamed of the fight and what she had done to Espa.
Rene Espa had been a champion Boxer possible the best that had ever been, until she had stepped into the ring with Brigit for an exposition fight. Everything had been going well in the ring at least for Brigit who had not been knocked out, but she was still going to lose the fight, only she erupted and shoved Espa out of the ring and into the seats. The blow and subsequent crash into the stands had left Espa permanently paralyzed. Barring some miraculous breakthrough, the former champ would never walk again and only had use of one arm. Espa sued and now Brigit had joined the growing number of Nova based lawsuits crowding the civil court system since the Storm.
But Brigit couldn’t sleep so she had donned her Hoodie and hopped the bus to the old neighborhood. After looking in on her folks and sisters, careful not to wake them, she hit she streets. It was early morning after three a.m. and even the bad guys were snug in their beds. Still she had that itch she really wanted to punch something.
She made her way along the warehouse district by the river using the roofs to travel. She couldn’t jump as far as Apex but she could easily clear the distance between the warehouses and other building and most were only three or four stories. She had paused watching a tug in the river pushing a line of barges when the sharp sound of a muffled explosion came to her ears. It didn’t take long to locate the source, weird flashes of light and more muffled explosive sounds a few blocks away. She didn’t hear sirens so she leapt off the building and crossed the street at a full run.
Brigit skidded to a stop she wasn’t foolish enough to just run out into an unknown situation not with out at least seeing what was what. And what she saw peering around the corner of the deli she had paused at was four men standing guard across the street. They were decked out in assault gear wearing full helmets with facemasks and large backpacks. She wondered about the back packs but then she got a good look at the large futuristic looking weapons that each of them was carrying. They were standing in front of a big hole in one of the neighborhood bank kiosks, the hole was large enough for all of them to have gone through and it was perfectly round with edges that still glowed with red hot heat. There was a sound from inside the four were moving away from the hole but still keeping watch and two more men came out each holding a strange device which emitted a field of some sort. In the field was the Banks safe floating between the two men.
Brigit shrugged out of her hoodie which was her favorite put it on the outside window ledge of the delli and stepped out into the street.
“Okay you guys, nice and fancy gear but you had best put the guns down and take a break cause the cops are on their way and I’m not gonna let you get away.”
All of the men froze but looked her way then one of the guards raised his gun and shouted, “Blast her!’
All four guns swiveled at her and they let loose from the hip. Brigit tied to dodge but the weapon blast were like some sort of cone of red hot energy, she was engulfed and the combined blasts lifted her from her feet and threw her trough the now open front of the deli since the wall and window were likewise blast into shards.
Brigit smoke rising from her cloths and hair shook her head and leapt to her feet and ran outside she was singed and a bit embarrassed but not hurt. She skidded to a stop as she cleared the ruins of the deli and stared up. All six men were rising into the air the same sort of weird energy coming off their bulky back packs, the safe going right along with them. Brigit just stood there watching them get away, in the distance she could hear sirens finally. She took a deep breath put her hands on her hips let it out with a very frustrated sigh, “Well fuck me,” and waited for the cops.
Grace had made it plain and clear that she had wanted to care for Konami when everything was settled.
Once it was ascertained that he had no surviving family he was brought back to the states, much of the red tape on immigration was eased by Layton Industries ties with the Republics government. Back in Houston at the NovaStorm Campus, every effort was made to make the young boy welcome and at home. Despite his older appearance, his age was determined to be only eight years old which made him the youngest QED on record so far.
His older appearance was due to an adrenal gland malfunction which had caused an early onset of puberty a condition called peripheral precocious puberty. The condition had not been diagnose due to the remoteness of the island he and his family had inhabited and thus had gone untreated. Testing showed that part of the problem with his generation of Quantum was due to this condition which seems to play havoc with the Quantum regulation. Once treatment was begun for the condition and his puberty development was slowed his quantum generation stabilized but it is still much lower than a normal Nova but it is presumed that it will grow as he ages and develops further. As it stand Konami has the physical development of an eleven year old but is only eight. Furthermore his Quantum abilities are also in flux, and so far has displayed a number of powers but none of them appear to be permanent.
During the time of testing, Grace when her job allowed it spent time in Houston with the boy and once it was determined that he was going to be ok she was allowed to take him home to Chicago.
It didn’t take long for the boy to settle in, he proved quite intelligent, and warm and bonded easily with Grace. Despite the loss of his family and his home while these things saddened him did not make him depressed or melancholy. Grace had begun studying his language when they had first brought him back from the island and he in turn was quickly picking up English so communication while not yet perfect, was acceptable.
During the few months of summer, since their arrival back in Chicago, Konami had shown not signs of active Quantum power. He was a stronger and quicker than a child of his age but not to a degree that was easily noticed unless he was exerting himself in which case it was obvious that he was much stronger than a child his age should be.
And he was going to be starting school next week.
Grace leaned back in the elevator car as it whisked her up to her floor, it was later than she had intended, but luckily she had a babysitter who didn’t seem to mind. Tonight had been trying. The last big fund raiser of the season and as the Gladys Clubs face now, as well as her exploits with her fellow Novas who were called as group, by various names coined by the local News media both print and television, names such as The Female Furies, Danger Girls, The L-Force (the indie newspaper that had stated calling them that claimed the L stood for Ladies but it seemed implied, without proof, that it was actually Lesbians.). Regardless of the names or the source Karen had forbidden any of the three to acknowledge any of those names and to simple refer to themselves by their code names, Apex, Centerpoint, and Dauntless.
This fund raiser had been the premier anti cancer gala of the season. All the big names in the city were there and many from out of town. Several other Stormers had been present but none with the superstar celebrity of Apex. Usually this was a mingle and milk sort of affair and dinner, where various awards that didn’t mean anything but made people feel good about themselves and then a few entertainment shows followed by dancing and drinking. Her job was to let people stand near her awesome presence and bask in her glory. All very cynical but it did bring in the checks. But then tonight had turned a bit nasty.
It started when a group of doctors from the Cancer center down in Texas, in Houston no less, had gotten a bit vocal about how the promise of a cure is just around the corner according to at least a dozen Stormer backed medical groups. That these claims had been made within weeks of the end of the storm and the rise of the stormers, how funding had been cut to legitimate researchers to fund these Nova and Psion groups but outside of a few individual cases nothing was to show. At one point one of the doctors who knew of Apex’s association with NovaStorm, confronted her and demanded answers. Grace handled it well and forestalled a scene but it still left her drained emotionally.
The elevator halted and she exited and went o her apartment. She paused outside and listen at the door. It was quiet, she unlocked and went inside. It was dark except for the lights in the breakfast cove where he could see Temple Fair sitting with a few books and her laptop open on the counter.
Temple had been very helpful with Konami, helping them both learn each others language and Konami liked her. Aloof, moody, and withdrawn most of the time, when with Konami Temple was almost like a regular teenager. She often came to watch him when Grace knew she would be late as she genuinely liked the young boy.
“Hey how was your evening,” Temple asked Grace, as she closed her book?
“Long and not all that fun. Is he asleep?”
“Yeah, we had a good evening, we watched a documentary on super volcanoes and played some games then he went to bed. I was just catching up on some home work. You need anything else?”
Ok what I want each of you to do is give 2-4 story Ideas for each your characters.
should be just one or two sentence blurb with a plot. no details just a general thing.
Need at least two, they don't have be connected or have anything to do with each other or they can be intertwined. I don't care as long as its at least two separate plots
1) Brigit has to answer in court for the injury her eruption caused to the other fighter.
2) Brigit has come to the attention of the criminal mastermind of Chicago, who sets a trap for her to discredit her.
get me those and good things will happen to you
We will run combat in this thread due to the nature of how initiative can work. everyone will roll there initiative dice then post number of sux here. I will then list the action order.
Each player rolls the lower of Athletics + Cunning or Empathy + Dexterity. These dice pools are designed to factor in both physical reaction time and perceptual processing speed.
The number of successes each player generates is his character’s order of action. On your turn you may act, or you may pass your action to another player who has not yet acted. If you pass your action to another you still get to act but only after everyone else has acted or if you are designated by someone else. This is to allow power and stunt set ups.
In the case of if one or more characters having the same number of sux on initiative, determine the tie breaker by how many dice were in each pool. If the number is still tied, I will set the order.
once we have the order we will go down the list here make relevant rolls and declarations of stunts and what have you one the active character is finished with the rolls and the outcome has been determined then that character can post in the story thread and we will move onto the next active character.
The wind rustled through the corn stalks and the hot sun above beat down on Deezy’s shoulders and uncovered head, sweat dripped from her brow and made her glasses slip down her nose. It was hot and dusty, and she was thirsty.
Deezy stopped. What was she doing in a corn field? She turned around and around then stopped again, this wasn’t a corn field silly, these were soybeans.
“Hey Deezy! Come over here I need you to look at this engine, It ain’t right.”
The voice startled her, she spun again and the field was gone she was at her dads repair shop but it wasn’t her dad calling her it was Uncle Kevin. There he was in blue jeans, cowboy boots, and a denim shirt hair tousled but still stylish a bit of stubble on his cheeks and chin that the girls, the ones half his age that he preferred, seemed to find oh so sexy.
He was head and shoulders under the hood of a 1957 Ford F100 pickup truck that was red, black , and gray. It looked brand new.
Deezy walked up and climbed up beside her uncle who glanced at her with his crazy grin, “Now what do you make of that?”
She looked at the engine and tilted her head puzzled. It was her engine the one she had designed and had won her admission to MIT. She tilted her head the other way like a puppy that was confused. It was her engine, and it wasn’t. Things were the wrong size or seemed to be attached backwards but still it looked right. But it looked wrong. It looked both at the same time.
“Dorothy Zane! Get away from there before you get your dress all ruined!”
The shock of hearing her mothers voice, strong and powerful startled her awake.
Deezy sat up in bed she was drenched in sweat the dream vivid in her mind. She glanced at the softly glowing clock face built flush into the bed frame extension by her head.
She did not even remember going to bed or falling asleep. But then last seventy-two hours had been taxing to say the least.
Deezy walked rapidly through the shining hallways, passing Novastorm associates and interns she barely acknowledged. Her mind was, like always, going a mile a minute, in her head she had already mapped out at least three ways to id Dominic, then she briefly wondered about the essence of the Hallways, what made them hallways and not corridors?
She stopped at the door to her research lab and swiped her card as she blew toward the Breath Analyzer sensor. For really secure areas on Campus, they had Breath Identity Analyzers which were much more difficult to spoof than the more mundane retinal scanners that were once the pinnacle of security. The door recognized her and whooshed open sounding just like a door on the starship enterprise. That brought a smile to her face.
The lab was a huge multi story affair housing just about every scientific apparatus that money could lease or buy. What hadn’t been available on the market Deezy built herself with what some termed her stormer magic.
She paused just inside the door, breathed, and took it all in. The perfect chaotic bustle of machines and computer. And People.
There was half a dozen handpicked assistants, scientists, and engineers, working on various projects throughout the lab. All of them were older than Deezy, all of them had multiple degrees, Deezy still had none. And each and everyone of them could call the title of doctor or professor, theirs. All except Deezy. But none of them were as smart as she was, none of them could do what she could do. None of them had been changed by the Storm
Doctor Barry Bryant, thirty-eight, balding with glasses, stood a little over five and a half feet tall and looked like the epitome of geekdom. He even had a pocket protector and half dozen color coded pens in it. In any other lab in the US maybe the world, Barry would have been the smartest person. But not here. And that bugged him not one bit. In the parlance of today, Barry had a major crush on his boss.
Barry grabbed a data tablet off the counter he was standing by when he saw Deezy come into the lab and made a beeline straight toward her.
“Hey Deezy,” he said giving her a wave with the tablet, “With all the hush hush, I wasn’t expecting you back so soon.”
Divine Right Team-up
Issue One ‘Welcome to the Jungle’
Cassie sipped her drink as the sun beat down upon her. She watched a few people, tourists she guessed, frolic in the surf. It felt good to just bask in a bit of anonymity here at a little known but very expensive privet resort across the bay from Rio de Janeiro proper.
She had been in brazil only a couple of days and was not due back in Houston for a week at the earliest. This was the get her head strait decide if she were going to take the bosses up on the job offer or go her own way vacation she needed after Africa.
She took another sip and her mind drifted back to that early dinner just a couple of days ago…
Temple opened the door before Cassie’s hand had completed the knock and the younger girl grinned at her. “Come on in. Davian will be here in a bit, he had to take a call. You want something to drink?”
Temple barely breathed between sentences and seemed full of energy, a far cry from her norm, as she pulled Cassie into the lavishly furnished suite.
Ryan entered Davian’s private dining room, located by his formal office, he took a seat across from where Davian sat down. The girl, Temple, Davians Ward, came into the room after them and sat at the far end of the dining table away from both of them. The events of the last twenty-four hours weren’t sitting well and that meeting hadn’t done much to ease his mind.
The table was already set for three and a door opened and a uniformed waiter entered the dining room and took position between Ryan and Davian, “Good afternoon gentlemen, miss, for todays lunch we have the following selections…,” after explaining the offered entrees and the waiter noted their selections and took drink orders from Ryan and Davian. He then retired only to return a minute later with a tray of drinks, a bottled beer with a frosted mug for Ryan, a glass of wine for Davian, and what looked like a simple glass of water for the girl, not even any ice. “Lunch will be ready in about twenty minutes sir,” he said to Davian as he placed a bowl of bread rolls and a dish of butter on the table then left again.
Davian shook his head amused as the unnamed waiter closed the door behind himself, “It’s what everyone expects, I just play along," he said and took a sip of wine. Then he sighed and gave Ryan a knowing look, "Thanks for joining me for lunch Ryan, I know that this whole thing has you upset. I’m not too pleased myself. Losing Emily.” Davian shook his head again.
From - The Dauntless Recollections, vol I
Chicago is my city, my home.
My family have been a part of this city since the end of the American civil war. I was born here, both times, raised here. Went to school here, attended Church here, my first love was here, and my first heartbreak. Chicago is my city, my home, now our home.
I have watched the crime and violence grow. Witnessed the death and sorrow from gang violence, drugs. I grew up watching it, at first, then living it as it spread from community to community like a disease. Watched as politicians lied and got rich, while the working men and women suffered and grew poorer. Watched as jobs fled and good people like my own father were laid off. Watched as mortgages went unpaid and homes were foreclosed, families forced out into the street. Watched as hope drained away.
All I could do was watch.
Then the Storm happened. Now I watch new politicians doing the same as the old. I see crime soaring to new heights. Gangs holding open warfare in the streets causing chaos and destruction, refugees from elsewhere coming here because we did not have any monsters. But we do it is just that our monsters that were always here, back then they were human, now some of them aren't.
All I could do then was watch.
Now I can do more.
The Storm had spared Chicago, for the most part at least. Aside from a tremendous lightning storm which caused massive electrical failures across the metropolis and the cold winds off Lake Michigan which carried snow and ice across the empty streets, no monsters rose up to wreak havoc, death, or destruction as had occurred across the states and the world.
Chicago stood tall, but still the effects had been felt economically and mentally with what had been happening across the globe. The city untouched by the storms strange transformations became a place of refuge for many fleeing the death and destruction. A haven for those who had nothing left. A place where normal was still, at least on the surface, normal.
The population increase had stretched the cities resources. Unemployment, always a problem sored as refugees crowded in seeking jobs, Crime rates rose, poverty rates rose, a bleakness settled over the region. But still people needed distraction needed entertainment and one of those distractions was sports and one thing Chicago had always had in abundance and had embraced was the fighting ring.
Six Months After the Storm
The girl on the cushioned exam table wearing boxing shorts and a sports top was solidly built if a bit on the small side for a boxer. Normally she was very pretty some would say even beautiful. She had bright blue eyes and her reddish-brown hair was long and straight, but tonight was worn up in a coiled braid. She held her finely muscled arms up and out as the old man wrapped her ribs. She grunted in pain as the trainer, Manny, pulled the wraps tight. Brigit Moran glared at her trainer, she could barely see him with one eye swollen almost shut, she also had a bad cut on her left cheek and a split lip, both of which were also swollen.
Manny finished and began unwrapping her hands. “Dammit Brigit, you took a helluva beating tonight hun, you have got to keep those hands up and keep your face protected.”
She winched as he started on her right hand jarring the shoulder she had fallen on in the ring.
“I can’t just defend all the time Manny, I have to punch, it’s the only way I can get points...”
She stopped as the door opened and a tall well-built woman in her late thirties, blond, very attractive, came through a scowl on her face having herd the end of Brigit's statement. “Honey you aren't going to be winning with points from your punches, you hit like a goddamned girl and it isn't cutting it.” Karen Gayle, one of the most prominent female promoters in the Chicago area leaned up against the wall and lit a cigarette, as the trainer and the boxer glared at her.
Seeing the look they were giving her, Karen blew the smoke out through tight lips and said, “Oh, come on Brigit, we have been over this, this isn't the amateurs anymore, this is the pros, you don't score by just touching them, your hits have to mean something. That girl tonight Leda Sanchez, you have her by what 20 lbs. and she still kicked your ass. Dammit, look in the fucking mirror.”
Manny turns back to Brigit and starts treating her bruised face carefully washing the cut on her cheek.
“For Christ's sake Ms. Gayle, ain’t no call for that, Brigit is a goddamned good fighter what she lacks in upper body strength, she more than makes up in speed, stamina, and skill, and she's damned tough, one of the toughest I have ever trained guy or girl.”
Ms. Gayle snorts a laugh, “Oh Manny,” she shakes her head, “Jesus this is her 6th loss in a row, that is not a good start to a career.”
“Hey!” Brigit pushes Manny back and slides off the exam table, a flare of anger in her bright blue eyes.
“Quit talking about me like I'm not even in the fucking room. Look Karen, I'll take a few weeks off and do some crash strength training, I've been letting it slide a little, what with everything, but I can build my upper-body up and get my punches ...what?"
She sees both her manager and her trainer exchange looks. Manny speaks first.
“Honey, Ms. Gayle has a point, your punches..., your just not built for upper body Strength projection...”
“What the hell do you mean I'm not built for it,” Brigit interrupts, “what the fuck is wrong with my body? Fuck!” The young woman was starting to have a hard time controlling her anger.
“Brigit, Manny is right, to get your strength up to where you need to be you’re going to have to put on fifteen, twenty pounds and that puts you in the next weight class and right back where you are now.” The older woman was trying to calm her client down.
“Brigit, honey, you’re as strong as you need to be its your shoulders and the way your built up top. You just don’t have the build to project the strength you have in a punch, it’s not anything we can correct Bri. Your biggest points Hun are your legs they are strong and fast, Straight-up boxing just does not utilize your strengths well Bri.”
Brigit caught the turn of phrase Manny used ‘straight-up boxing' and saw where this was going. She just stared at her trainer until Karen spoke. “Brigit, you’re wasting your money paying me, and I'm losing money promoting these fights. I cannot promote you if you cannot win and you cannot win in the pro boxing ring." Karen drops her cigarette butt and mashes it out with her shoe.
"I like you Brigit. You are talented and you have the spirit, your just in the wrong ring, I can get you in the cage Ill even spring for training. Sixth months with Jenifer Marks, and we can get you in some low tier MMA bouts and you will shoot up the ranks like lightning. We both,” she indicates Manny, “think this is the way for you to go.”
Manny starts to speak but Brigit cuts him off. “I'm a boxer Karen, I don’t want to be a damn MMA fighter, I want to be a Boxer.”
“No, Brigit, your father wants you to be a boxer.” Karen said in a soft voice.
Sean David Moran was a fifth generation Irish American, born and raised in Chicago, Sean had always wanted to be a boxer, like his father and his father’s father all the way back to Ireland before the civil war. Boxing was in the Moran family’s blood. When Sean turned 18, he enlisted in the Navy, he had already been boxing in youth clubs and he figured he could box in the navy as well as learn a trade skill.
He did well in both until the middle of his second year of his enlistment when a shipboard accident left him with a shattered knee, steel pins in his hip, and a medical discharge ending both his navy and boxing careers before they had ever really begun.
Sean returned home to Chicago where he got a job with the union, met a girl, a local schoolteacher from a good Irish family whom he married, and six months later had their first child.
Brigit Fianna Moran the oldest of four daughters was born August 12th, 1995. By the time she was six and her three sisters had come along it was apparent to her father that there was not going to be any boys in this branch of the Moran family. Sean had wanted a boy. Badly someone he could teach how to box a son who could carry on the tradition that he had failed to carry. But he loved his four daughters dearly and never regretted having them not once.
But when it came to Brigit well, she was daddy's little girl, as she grew up she hung on every word, sat with her daddy as he watched the boxing matches and listen to all the family stories about boxing. It was in her blood and She was a tomboy through and through so she became the surrogate son her daddy never had and when she was ten he started teaching her how to box, at twelve she stated taking boxing lessons at a local gym and at 16 began boxing as an youth amateur. After she graduated High school Sean convinced His old Trainer James “Manny” Fitzpatrick a Retired Golden Gloves Champion to train her for the pros. In 2015 she went pro She won her first two matches against other first time pros before being taken on by Manager and Promoter Karen Gayle.
Gayle, one of the most Successful Promoters of female fighters on the east coast had risen to fame with the first Wave of Female MMA Fighters in the late nineties and early oughts. She saw the potential for a first-class fighter in Brigit even though she herself didn’t much care for Straight Boxing she figured she would take a chance and promote Brigit.
But Pro Fighting isn't like the amateurs and when Brigit found herself matched against experienced boxers, she found herself unable to clinch a win. She could stand toe to toe round for round, but she couldn't deliver the hits needed to score a win on points.
“So, Karen,” Brigit took a deep breath the anger turning inward and becoming resignation, “are you cutting me loose?”
“No, Brigit, I'm not, I want you to think about the MMA offer, in the meantime I can get you one more match, I think we can make some money off of. I'll set it up”
“What do you mean make money off of? I’m not throwing a fight.” Shoots Brigit back, glancing at Manny who is looking at Gayle obvious questions on his face.
Gayle laughs “There has to be an expectation of you winning for throwing the fight to have any value, and I'm kind of offended you would think I'd ever ask that of you. I'm putting you in the ring with Renee Espa.”
“What?” Manny shouts drawing both woman's attention to him. “Espa's a fucking machine she hits like a goddamn freight train! She has eight wins all knock outs within three rounds.”
“Exactly, Manny, and that plays to our strength. You said it yourself, Brigit is though, one of the toughest fighters I have ever seen especially in her weight class. It’s an eight-round exhibition fight a preview for her big championship fight next month, no one is going to be betting on who's going to win. The bets are going to be on how fast Espa knocks Brigit out.” Gayle explains as she lights another cigarette. “If you go all eight rounds, we can make some serious money, and more importantly it puts you on the map as the fighter that Renee Espa couldn't knock out. And that is a rep that could be gold we could stand could make a lot of money promoting that especially if she gets a knockout in the championship bout.”
Brigit doesn’t hesitate only looks at her trainer and her manger and says, “I'll do it.”
Brigit left Manny and Karen arguing about the Exhibition and caught the city bus home. It was late almost midnight and while her friends were probably expecting her at the pub, she just didn’t feel like it, not tonight. She looked out as the bus drove down what a year before would have been deserted streets and empty lots, now they passed tent cities full of men ,women and children, all displaced by The Storm, huddled around metal drums containing fires for warmth, These were now the homes for the homeless. She felt a despair she hadn’t felt in, well, in a while.
She let herself into the dark house where four generations of the Moran Family had lived. In the living room she found her sister, Keira a sophomore at the University of Chicago asleep on the couch, books scattered on the floor the light from table lamp and the silent tv throwing shadows across her face. Brigit shut off the lamp but left the tv on, then covered her sister with a throw blanket instead of waking her, she didn't feel like talking about her latest defeat.
She went into the kitchen looked in the fridge but didn’t get anything the thought of eating made her stomach flip. She checked the kitchen door to make sure it was locked. They lived in a good neighborhood but where you could leave your doors unlocked before now, thanks to the Storm, that was not a good idea. Brigit made her way upstairs, stopping to look in on the twins, Kathrine and Kelly, seven-teen and seniors in high school. Both were sound asleep.
Last she made a quick peek in on her parents’ room. She found her father asleep in the chair by her mother’s medical bed. He was out cold, and from the bottle and glass on the nightstand it was obvious he had drunk himself to sleep. She entered the room for a closer look at her mother.
Margret Moran, originally Travers, had been a beautiful voluptuous woman with striking red hair and piercing green eyes, all three of Brigit's sisters took after their mother while she had inherited her father’s darker reddish-brown hair and blue eyes. Now her mother was thin and pale a shadow of who she once was, the cancer eating away at her. Brigit checked the monitors and made sure everything was working and that her mom at least looked comfortable. It didn't strike her as odd her checking in on her family she had always felt protective of her sisters and with dad laid off and mom sick she just naturally fell into that care giver roll and no one else questioned it. Maybe that's why I took the fight, she thought to herself as she made her way to her room forgoing the shower she really needed, we need the money more now than ever.
Brigit fell into bed and drifted off to sleep dreaming of money and fighting and of her being strong enough to beat all her opponents, of being good enough to do anything of being the best in the world...
Temple got to see Davian’s other office this time - one made of wood tones and cream accents. He motioned her to move one of the chairs around the desk and sit next to him for the next several hours as he made phone calls to search into the ‘Utopia situation’. Watching him change tone, wording, even vocal quality with each call was a chameleon whirlwind as he passed from powermonger, concerned young man, and flirtatious, nosey upper-cruster. Finally - after nearly six hours, he finally had a phone number of someone known to be connected to the group of Stormers suspected of forming the core cohort of Utopia.
He sighed and sat back in his chair, giving Temple a small smile. <How are you holding up? This kind of digging, it’s mind-numbing after a while.>
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