Curtains #3 - Problems of One's Own
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  1. #1

    Curtains #3 - Problems of One's Own

    Coast City skyline
    May 30

    Blazer streaked across the sky, his trademark streak of green sparkles dispersing in his wake. As he neared the docks, he lowered his flight path so as to conceal his approach. With his naturally brilliant aura, the stealthy approach never suited him, but he didn’t want to give the thugs too much warning.

    Hovering a hundred feet in the air, he poked his head around the side of a dark office building and looked down the length of pier 22. Just as his informant had claimed, there were a dozen shadowy figures moving quickly between a small ship and one of the non-descript warehouses. Coast City’s biggest drug deal in a decade was going down and he was going to stop it single-handedly. It wouldn’t look good for the police, but his own stock would certainly rise.

    “Maybe that would-be hero group will finally let me in,” he muttered to himself. “Solo work is nice and all, but having the sort of government and corporate sponsorship they’re pulling down now is hard to ignore. Besides, they need a good front man like me…that Fate guy is just lacking in the style department.”

    Blazer kicked into high gear, flying low over the dock at nearly a hundred miles an hour. The bright green halo of light that perpetually surrounded his body burst in a blinding flash – enough to knock the strongest man senseless, especially at night. Blazer landed in the midst of the group, ready to start unleashing coherent blasts of stunning light at any thug still moving.

    He looked around in worried confusion. In the brilliant green light, he couldn’t see any of the figures that were present moments earlier. The dock was empty and quiet.

    “What the…?” he said.

    Creaking on the pier caused Blazer to spin around, instinctively unleashing a burst of light in the direction of the noise. He found himself facing a massive humanoid form of stone and earth bearing down on him. It shrugged off the light blast as if it were a mere flashlight. With a mighty swing, the creature backhanded Blazer across the pier and into a shipping container.

    Blazer clung precariously to consciousness, struggling to shake the stars from his vision. The creature hoisted Blazer back up off the ground, holding him by the head with its two massive hands. It started squeezing with the force of an industrial press.

    “Granite?” Blazer said, the only word he could utter as he gazed into the deep eye sockets of the stony creature.

    “Enough,” a quiet voice said from the shadows. “We don’t want him dead just yet.”

    Blazer felt the pressure ease just a bit, but the pain was still almost unbearable. He couldn’t focus enough to manifest any powers. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something else arrive…something impossibly dark and wispy.

    Struggle all you wish, a voice said in his head with all the loving caress of ground shards of glass. Blazer’s headache, if possible, got worse. In a moment it won’t matter any longer. Blazer tried to scream, but nothing came.

    Blazer’s body was dropped unceremoniously in a heap on the pier. The stone creature walked to the edge of the pier and pitched itself in, crumbling into rubble and dirt as it fell.

    Well done. You continue to serve me well and shall be rewarded.

    “Thank you, master,” the quiet voice in the shadows whispered back. The owner of the voice waited a few moments until the shadow entity vanished with its usual soft thumping sound, then hurried off into the city.

    ooc - Just a little tease. I'll try to get your individual intros posted tomorrow. Please hold off on posting until then.

  2. #2
    The Centurian, Parkside, Coast City
    June 16

    “Anything interesting in today’s batch of email?” Steven asked from the kitchen where he was busy finishing up the scrambled eggs and bacon.

    “A few things,” Maggie said from the dining room table where she was pecking away at her AMD64 Athlon-powered laptop. (Shameless product placement ad.)

    “For who? Steven or Fate?”

    “Both,” she replied. “Steven has a few contract matters to clear up with the publisher, half a dozen speaking requests, and only one marriage proposal…from a young lady who apparently heard you speak in Philadelphia last Thursday.”

    Steven brought two plates of breakfast into the dining room. Maggie looked up, gracing him with one of her warm smiles. Steven decided that she looked better now, straight out of bed and dressed only in one of his button-down shirts, than she ever did when done up for a night on the town. She was a definitely a morning person.

    “Well, I’m afraid the young lady will have to learn to live with disappointment,” he said, leaning to deliver Maggie a quick kiss with her breakfast. “I might have to work that into my seminars – how to handle rejection to a marriage proposal. Think that would be a subtle enough hint?”

    “For these ladies? I doubt it. They just think you’re so cute and accessible.”

    “Not accessible at all,” Steven said, taking the seat beside her. “And for Fate?”

    “The Homeland Defense department is still pressuring you guys to decide upon a group name. Their press people are eager to give this arrangement a more formal and consumer friendly feel. I think the folks at Aztechnology are equally interested in settling this, though they haven’t said anything to me since you told Werner to give it a rest.”

    Steven shook his head. “Yeah, I still have mixed feelings about making this super team a genuine public entity. I know that having the equipment and resources is going to be handy, not to mention the degree of legal authority the Feds are offering. Maybe it’s just that it’s moving so quickly. It feels like control has slipped away a bit.”

    Maggie placed her hand over Steven’s. “I know, dear. I know. You can always back things off a little bit. The others seem to share your concerns and I suspect will follow your lead if you want to slow things down a notch.

    “At least the number of incidents has dropped off. Those first couple nights with ‘the guys’ were something else.”

    “Yeah,” Steven said. “Still, there’s something bugging me, and it’s more than just the stress with setting up this super team. I can’t put my finger on it. Guess I’m still worried about how that whole mess with Paul Link ended. Or even Blazer, for that matter. It’s been two weeks and the police have nothing on that case…aside from the similar condition of his body to Paul’s.”

    “I know,” Maggie said. “Being drained of blood is pretty creepy, especially when they can’t even figure out how it left the body.”

    Knock, knock.

    “Odd,” Steven said, looking across the apartment to the front door. “The doorman’s supposed to call up before allowing visitors.”

    “Neighbor, perhaps?” Maggie said. “Either way, I’m not dressed to answer it. I’ll be in the bedroom looking for something that shows a little less leg. At least you have your robe on.”

    Steven gave her a playful swat on her rear and then hurried to the door. He peeked through the eyepiece to find two women standing outside – one in her late teens and the other older, possibly her mother judging by the resemblance. They were both dressed casually and he recognized neither.

    Steven carefully opened the door a few inches, a spell ready on his lips just in case. “Yes? Can I help you?”

    “See! I told you Mom, it’s him,” the younger woman said.

    “We still don’t know…,” the older woman began, but was cut off.

    “Sorcerer, I’m Nichole, your humble servant,” the younger girl said, falling to one knee and bowing low before Steven. “We come in desperate need of your wisdom and powers.”

    The older woman just stood there and shook her head in embarrassment. When she looked at Steven, however, there was clearly a deep, penetrating curiosity in her eyes.

  3. #3
    Somewhere over western New York
    June 16

    “Sorry to interrupt your day like this, sir, but command was pretty adamant about bringing you in to help with the situation.”

    Thomas was having a little bit of difficulty hearing the officer’s yelling over the chopper’s blades, in spite of the noise canceling headphones he’d been given. The Army helicopter had picked him up near his apartment about an hour earlier and had just finished a brief stop to pick up intelligence officer Hadley.

    Thomas had known that the Army would probably come knocking some day. He was even more certain once he’d agreed to join up with the Homeland Defense Department’s metahuman forces initiative. It only went to figure that they’d come calling early in the morning after he’d just finished a closing shift at the bar. The co-pilot had offered him stale coffee from a thermos, but it was doing little to clear his drowsiness.

    “So what’s the story?” Thomas yelled back through his microphone.

    “Joint operation was going down last night to pick up a domestic terrorist cell. Something happened as it was about to happen and the terrorists were tipped off and fled. What our intel didn’t know ahead of time was that these guys had access to an abandoned coal mine where they’ve apparently been stashing arms and setting traps for some time. We found that out the hard way – three of our men killed and four others injured.”

    “And someone wants me to go fetch the bad guys back out of there, huh?” Thomas said, filling in the inevitable blanks.

    “You got it, sir,” Hadley said. “Intel thinks one of these guys has time sensitive information. Otherwise, we’d handle this slowly and wait them out. They want these guys taken out quickly and, ideally, alive.”

    Thirty minutes later, the chopper landed in a clearing filled with run-down buildings that probably dated back a hundred years or more. They were somewhere in western New York or eastern Pennsylvania – he couldn’t quite be sure. It was hilly and heavily wooded.

    “O’Riley, this is special agent Wedlake, FBI,” Hadley said, introducing Thomas to a serious looking man with close-cropped silver hair. As Thomas shook his offered hand, he got the distinct impression that this man would have made an excellent drill sergeant. “Agent Wedlake, this is Thomas O’Riley, a.k.a. Granite.”

    “Good to meet you,” Wedlake said with little conviction. “I know you can stand up to small arms fire. How well do you stand up against explosives?”

  4. #4
    ooc -

    Apologies to the others...these intros are taking longer than I'd expected and I need sleep. I'll try to finish them tomorrow, or at the latest this weekend.

  5. #5
    I aim to misbehave
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    Fate HPs: 4/4, Wearing: Bath Robe of Might.

    The Centurian, Parkside, Coast City
    June 16

    Quote Originally Posted by Young Woman
    “Sorcerer, I’m Nichole, your humble servant . . . We come in desperate need of your wisdom and powers.”
    Steven chuckled lightly with a slightly amused grin. He had intended on throwing them out on their ears . . . but a desperate need was a need – someone needed help. “Well, Nicole, I’ve never been called Sorcerer before . . . and I don’t remember you serving me . . . I would have remembered," Steven said, appraising the young woman. “so I would hardly call you a servant. Some same that my speeches are magical, I just like to think that I help people.”

    “So, Nicole . . . ma’am," Steven acknowledged the other woman in the hall, “who are you, other than resourceful – at least at getting past doormen and security?” Steven inquired. “And, please, stand up, Mrs. Potts has enough to gossip about without having young women bowing at my feet.”

    As he was about to open the door further, Steven paused, and got a curious look on his face before asking, “You didn't, by chance, hear me speak in Philadelphia, did you?”

  6. #6
    Crosstown Café, Downtown, Coast City
    June 16

    For the first time in a couple months, Lawrence was finally starting to feel comfortable with his lot in life. Following the incident with the fungus, Lawrence’s father had found a way to reconnect with his son. They’d been meeting once a week for lunch, at the least, and Lawrence was making regular visits back at the house for dinner.

    In the meantime, he’d used some of the money that Aztechnology and the feds were putting up (salary) to get a modest apartment in town, conveniently close to both downtown and what would eventually become the team’s headquarters. Yannick was a frequent companion and Lawrence had even spoken with Jennifer a few times. She still hadn’t visited him face to face, but Lawrence felt he was close to a break-through with her.

    His father was a few minutes late for lunch at the Crosstown Café. That wasn’t too unusual, but Lawrence tended to feel awkward sitting alone at a table during the busy lunch hour. A waiter stopped by his table, carrying a large brown envelope.

    “Excuse me, sir,” the waiter said. “I was asked to give this to you.” He hands over the envelope.

    Lawrence takes it hesitantly, glancing around the room. No one seems to be taking much interest in him. The envelope has his name scribbled on the front. He opens it and finds two folded pieces of paper and a cell phone.

    Lawrence’s heart skips a beat at the sight of the first piece of paper – it’s an inkjet photo print clearly showing his father, in uniform but bound and blindfolded. The second sheet is a note:

    Mr. Thorn.

    An item of ours was recently stolen. You managed to aid in the perpetrator’s getaway. An acquaintance of yours who witnessed the incident was finally persuaded to explain the nature of the presumed shape shifter, the thief.

    While we have been unable to track down the thief proper, we have learned that the item has since been sold. You will retrieve it by 4am. Your father will be held as collateral to ensure your cooperation in this matter. Return the item and he will be released, and we will consider the debt incurred for your role in aiding the perpetrator’s escape repaid.

    Keep the phone handy. We will contact you at 4am with instructions on how you will turn over the item. Don’t contact the police, your family, or anyone else. If we feel you have lost control of the situation, we will disappear and your father won’t be seen again.

    The item is believed to be on the premises of 415 Marigold, in Rollingwood. It should be in a brown case, slightly larger than a briefcase with hard sides. The contents are a matched set of statuettes, one black and one white.

  7. #7
    XxaxX, Downtown, Coast City
    June 16

    Jorgi was moving to the hum and pulse of the lights and sound system more than the eclectic grunge music that the band was thrashing out. Marie loved to dance to this group, however, so it was good enough for him.

    For most of the last couple months, Marie had barely been able to spare any time to see Jorgi. She was busy finishing classes and working. Class had finished two weeks ago, though, and they were trying to make up lost time.

    Marie leaned in close, letting her lips graze Jorgi’s neck. She loved the way his electric field tingled her skin and she wasn’t afraid to keep on touching and touching and touching. “I’m ready to go,” she whispered in his ear. “Can you take me flying?”

    Jorgi could take a hint just as easily as he could take her flying. He wrapped his arm around her and led her through the front door. The summer air outside was pleasantly mild, perfect for a spin above the skyline. There were only a few others on the street at this time – most were still in the clubs.

    Out of nowhere, Jorgi was flung bodily through the plate glass window of a closed bakery next to Xxaxx. He hadn’t seen anything or anyone coming. It felt as if a three hundred pound lineman had laid him out from his blindside. Luckily, he wasn’t too injured and he quickly got to his feet, shrugging off a few minor cuts.

    Marie shrieked as she was plucked off the sidewalk and lifted a hundred feet above the street by an unseen force.

    A young man, dressed in black jeans and a black leather jacket lifts slowly off the ground on the other side of the street. He casually floats toward Marie, looking intently at Jorgi the entire time.

    “From Russia, with love,” the man says in perfect Russian. “The Syndicate sends their regards.”

  8. #8
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    As Lawrence finish to read the letter, his eyes starts to looks aimlessly into the air. His hands are shaking nervously.

    Father... How can that happen? I never helped the guy to escape, they were on Gus, the shapechanger had already escaped. They have all it wrong... ... I don't think they will listen to anything. How much time it has been since my last break... years. I won't be able to do it... I have no other choice... but what if I fail... what if someone learn I did it... my super-hero thing will be scrap... ok, ok, relax man. That time, you've time to think. You are familiar with almost everything at hand, you can do it.

    Lawrence fold the two paper and put it in his pocket. He put the cell in the other.

    What I have to help me. Some criminals want two small statuettes. Who are they... I have no clue... yeah, one. They don't fear the police. They'll become copskiller, and cops hate copskiller. They surely must consider themselves untouchable. 415 Marigold, in Rollingwood. I don't know a bit about that place, but I can just go there and recon. Good thing to do now.

    Lawrence quickly finish the drink he was taking while waiting for his father. He calm himself and then he call the waiter and gives him the cash. As he pays, he tells him with a smile and joyous tone. "Sir, where is the person who gaves you the package you gave me. I would like thanks him."

    OOC:If the person is still here (yeah, right), Lawrence will go see him.
    If not, he will add
    "Can you describe it to me?"
    Last edited by Velmont; Monday, 1st August, 2005 at 03:14 AM.

  9. #9
    The Centurian, Parkside, Coast City
    June 16

    Nicole stood and gave Steven a curious look. "Philadelphia? No, I don't think so. And I haven't served you before...well, not in this lifetime. We've been serving you for thousands of years, of course. But you already know that."

    The young woman talked quickly and seemed somewhat flustered. It's a reaction similar to what Steven had received from overly excitable fans of his work in the past.

    "Oh, and getting past the guards downstairs was easy enough," she continued. "Just a little Charm spell and he was more than happy to give us your apartment number and call for the elevator. 'Course, Mom doesn't like me doing that." She glanced at her mother as if expecting a lecture.

    "Please forgive Nicole's enthusiam," the older woman said to Steven. "She's convinced of your identity, though others of us wanted to watch you a bit longer before reaching that conclusion.

    "I'm Denise, by the way," she said, offering her hand to Steven.

    Steven noted Maggie's return to the living room from the corner of his eye. She was dressed in a t-shirt and sweatpants and seemed curious to know who was at the door.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Velmont
    Lawrence quickly finish the drink he was taking while waiting for his father. He calm himself and then he call the waiter and gives him the cash. As he pays, he tells him with a smile and joyous tone. "Sir, where is the person who gaves you the package you gave me. I would like thanks him."

    If not, he will add [/COLOR]"Can you describe it to me?"

    "Oh sure, he's right over there," the waiter said, turning toward the front of the restaurant. "Hmmm...maybe not. I don't see him anymore.

    "Middle aged guy, brown hair, wearing a dark suit. Kinda looked like a banker, though I suppose he could have been working in any of the offices around here. Looked like he was probably in pretty good shape."

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